I Found It

I only had to write 200 posts…and travel this journey of self-reflection and facing fear and coming to know and like myself to do it.

If I’d known the process would be so simple and so freeing, I would’ve started years ago.

In the midst of a world clamoring for attention, with everyone shouting here and there, I lived in more of a state of absorption, uncomfortable putting myself out there.

I used to be okay with who I was. Now and then, I get a glimpse of that girl–poised and powerful. She existed in a world all her own, able to make up the stories as she went, experiencing every dewdrop of life.

She-existed-in-a-world

Then, something happened. Several things, actually.

Instead of letting them go, I internalized the trauma. I let the words of others drown me. I gave up my power. I became a mirror of the words and actions of others. My words became silent, poured only into volumes and volumes of journals and diaries–my personal sanity. Some days, I couldn’t even share myself within the confines of those pages for the fear that someone may someday discover me.

But, at some point, I decided to follow Kelly Clarkson’s advice belting through my earbuds when I ran around mountains and hills for the second time in my adult life. “Out of the darkness and into the sun….

I began a blog. It wasn’t my first, but it was my own. I participated in NaNoWriMo for two years. I did hard things. I faced my fears. I climbed higher and sailed longer and swam deeper and prayed harder than I ever have. And I started singing again.

The need for silence was so heavy at times, pressing upon me. Other times, I wanted to scream from the rooftops (& I tend to have height issues). People around me fought against changes. I even yelled for about a week, needing to get words out of my body and into the warming air. (I have since stopped yelling, thankfully.)

But, I found it. I hope it’s here to stay.

I’m writing consistently.

I’m singing daily. I even auditioned for a solo (& got it)!

I’m happy.

I have found my voice.
Out-of-the-darkness-and

A Change of Heart

Over past months, I have pondered something I wrote more than a year ago. The subject is one that lays heavy on my heart and affects my every day and night. The topic is motherhood, and more specifically aligning the way I mother more with the way I want to mother.

I’ve been tired. And I’ve been frustrated. And when my twins were born to an already child-filled home, I found myself with more than I could handle (my husband and I had already been blessed with three children ages five years and under when two more were born). I lost myself in the name of basic survival. I would consider a day’s successes in the fact that the children were all fed and in bed (never knowing what nighttime would bring). I lived in fear of illness, knowing whatever would come would make its way through the ranks–often at varying intensities–and could easily recycle itself through the family before everyone was well again. I tried to cuddle as much as I could with these precious little people, but some moments I craved space. I needed distance. I needed a moment to regroup and pull myself back together. I was grateful for the blessing of health (physically and emotionally–as much as was possible given the circumstances), but I found myself living in a new paradigm.

Gone were the days of meals we prepared together, with children around the kitchen island stirring this batter or tossing that salad. Over were nights filled with cuddles and cozy blankets and whatever our favorite bedtime stories were that week. I had no time to even notice–much less mourn–for those days, since I was overwhelmed with caring for two high-need infants–nursing, changing, consoling. I stopped singing. I barely read. I couldn’t keep a journal to save my life. I don’t even think I could cry.

I hated the fact that my children, who had always brought such joy into my life, were now more of an item on a to-do list, an obligation, a responsibility. I lost myself, and I lost time building essential connections with my little people. I lost myself, too.

Recovery has taken years (especially considering that life’s journey isn’t stagnant–that we’ve continued to deal with personal and family illness, relocation, and other varied experiences that just come with life). Each step has brought blessings, but I wanted more. I wasn’t content to let time pass without gaining ground into becoming the mother I (still) want to be.

I’ve had great examples of mothers over the years–both women who have mothered me and women who have mothered my children. I’ve known women who have connected better with my little ones at times than I could. I’ve been blessed by women who have found joy in my children when I had none. I know they were sent to help me see I needed to get out of the state I was in–a state of mourning for the past, a state of dwelling on what time was lost, a state of sadness with what was my new life–a life I had agreed to live without knowing what the experience would entail.

And I needed a change. I needed a new heart–a healed heart–and a fresh start.

I have spent time in prayer over the last several months. My request has gone something like this:

“Heavenly Father, please bless me to understand and know the needs of my children. Please strengthen me with desires to meet their needs and bless their lives.”

I have tried to be more engaged. I have tried to work more with them. I have tried to listen to their stories and concerns. But I have still been tired. And frustrated. And disconnected.

Over a recent weekend, something changed, though. I felt like my prayers were finally answered. I woke up on a Sunday morning with a new strength and desire to bond with and teach my children. I still can’t explain what happened, but I know that something changed…and I think that something was my heart.

My heart has been filled with love for my little people–and not just my own little people, but others’ little people as well. My joy is full in my children. I have had energy and desires to read to them at night, to teach them to prepare today for tomorrow, to know what they are thinking and saying and feeling.

I feel like myself again. And I feel like a mother again…only with a little more wisdom.

I still have moments of frustration. My children still make poor choices and get upset. They still push their limits (especially if I am distracted). But they are my children, and I am their mother.

And I am happy being their mother.

Finally. ❤

artsy heart 2

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(I chose this heart image because my heart is filled with love for so many. The love pulls my heart this way and that, but the pulling gives me direction and energy I missed before I allowed my heart to change. Much love! xoxo)

I Thought I Was Different

I recall bygone days filled with moments of his pleading for me to come eat lunch with him. I remember tying his little shoes in double knots because he didn’t know how to tie them if they came untied at school. I can still see him standing on a chair by the counter as we creamed butter, measured and poured in brown and white sugars, counted the eggs, and mixed in flour, baking soda, and salt. He always wanted to pour in the vanilla. I always placed a few extra chocolate chips on to the counter, just for him.

Now he can make cookies by himself…and tie his shoes that aren’t so little anymore.

He doesn’t ask me to meet him for lunch at school.

I thought I was different.

I knew other mothers around me who often shared this tell-tale caution openly: “They grow up too fast. Treasure every moment. Some day he won’t want you around as much.”

As he prepared last weekend to attend a dance with friends, I wanted to go so badly. I wanted to watch him experience the thrill of the dance floor, the upbeat music, the connection with friends. I wanted nothing more than for him to create amazing memories that would carry him through his youth and into adulthood.

He picked out his clothing and worked on styling his hair. When his ride arrived, I knew that moment so many mothers had cautioned me about was really here.

And, I wasn’t different after all.

But I have worked for over a decade to prepare him for these moments, and knowing he is learning each day to become a man helps to ease the separation.

I do hope that someday, maybe ten years from now, he will invite me to lunch again. I will sit across the table from him, and he will be grown and living on his own. I will tell him I am proud of the decisions he has made. But I will still hear echoes of that little kindergartener, so many years ago. I may shed a tear or two, as I am now.

But I will also smile in the happiness that we are not so different after all.


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