Sunday, March 9, 2014

Here's to Great Little Coffee Shops

I've been neglecting my blogs.  It's a sure sign I've been neglecting my writing and maybe even my soul.  All I can think about today is wide open spaces, mountains, oceans and deep, mysterious forests that go on forever and ever.  I've been dreaming about moss so deep you can bury your toes in it and water so clear you can count the rocks at the bottom of the swimming hole.

And then I dream about jumping.

And running.

And flying.

And now I'm not dreaming, anymore.  The reality sets in- the beautiful life I live is enough.  It has to be enough.  The dream storage inside me is so full it's leaking.  This is a problem.   I need to stop and make space for peace.

With every dish I wash and every sock pair I join with joyful surprise (because really, it can be a rare event) I'm trying to go more to a place of thankfulness than despair.  Just to clarify- I've never regretted my choice to be a mom or a wife.  But some days it just isn't all rainbows and sunshine.  Sometimes it's tears and regretted words and hurt feelings.  Some days it's black eyes and scraped knees and we all forget to say please.

And on those days I do my best to channel Ann Voskamp or Bo Stern because, really, what is so hard in my life that I get to complain about it?  But on those days my words feel like wood chips in my mouth.  My tears flow faster than my fingers on the keyboard and I'm stuck in a slough of no inspiration.  Like riding your bike along a nice dirt track and suddenly running into deep, deep sand that just grips your tires and knocks you flying over your handlebars.  Maybe that would be a good name for a self-help book:  "When Life Grips Your Tires and Sends You Flying Over Your Handlebars."  People like self-help books.  It could sell.  But today I don't want to write a best selling self-help book.  All I want to do is disappear into quiet and space and myself and just hide out in my favorite hiding place or a really good, funky coffee shop.

So this post is dedicated to all those great coffee shops out there that allow us to sit in stoney silence and don't admonish us for ignoring the piles of dishes and they don't shun us for running out on our husbands on a Sunday afternoon just "because," and they don't judge us for not shaving our legs or finishing that book club book or trying that new thing on Pinterest... they just let us sit.

Now- before I go I have to say this.  Jesus loves to meet me at that coffee shop.  Sometimes it's the only place I remember to look for him.  So please, please, put down your expectations and go meet him there.  Have some coffee and whine a little about your first world problems.  It's ok, he listens.  And when it's all done you've spared your husband the drama and your kids the unexplained tears and everything feels a little better in your world.  I know it works because I'm sitting here in this great little coffee shop...

I hope I remember to blog more often.  I hope you remember to be you, too.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning to Leave your Kids Behind

The title sounds terrifying, even wrong, somehow.  Didn't I just spend the last seven years of my life learning how to embrace every aspect of motherhood?  How many poopy diapers have I joyfully rinsed in the toilet? How many ENDLESS loads of laundry and dishes have I washed and put away?  How many pointlessly goofy questions have I fielded over the past seven years?  It's really impossible to say.  Really.  But one thing is for certain-

It is now very hard to say goodbye to my kids.
Which is ok.  Normal, even.  I really truly enjoy my kids.  I love to learn with them, play with them, set aside daily chores just to be with them.  It's true.  I don't like to say to say goodbye to them even if it is just so I can get to the gym 3 evenings a week or go to work to help support our family a few nights out of the week.  The problem isn't them.  It's good for them, and for us.

Will they know the real me when they're grown and gone?
For me this is the biggest point of parenting:  teaching your kids how to be make that awkward transition from innocence to knowledge; from childhood to adulthood; from living in the moment to living in the "now" and all it's busyness.  Do I want them to see the perfect me that never slips up and always keeps the house tidy?  Or do I want them to see my true fallen nature with the "insert-Grace-here" that makes it all possible?  Believe me, I'm not saying my kids should know all the shadows of my life.  Yet.  But they should have glimpses so that they can better understand their own shadows.  They need to know they are not alone in this crazy life.

And who exactly am I supposed to be?
If we forget how to say hello to ourselves, Mothers, we've lost something that may never return.  What is it that I truly need?  I'm not talking pedicures and play-dates, here, people (though they have a fun importance of their own).  What I truly need is adventure.  I need a reason to exist beyond my kids and my husband.  I need divine appointments and silence and the hopefulness that springs out of NOT BEING IN MY HOUSE SURROUNDED BY PILES OF STUFF.  Yes, I shouted that.  I really did.  And it's ok because I'm in my car blasting Ani DiFranco on my way to the gym.  Or to work.  Or somewhere that is not in the presence of my children or even my husband.  Speaking of which...

Can He even see me, anymore?
I need to be the woman my husband fell in love with; not the one he married, but the teeny-tiny "me" that he saw growing inside that was full of hopes and dreams and promises.  I cannot fail her and I will not fail him.  That's right.  It's old fashioned.  But it's true.  We made a covenant almost ten years ago that we would love, honor, cherish and protect each other which means that we will FIGHT for each other and for this marriage every day.  Most days it's truly not difficult.  But it will be if I forget who I am or if he forgets who he is.

Can He see them the way I do?
Of course not.  He's a creature driven by his own needs and desires and he has his own fight.  He has to say good-bye every day to these beautiful kids so he can go to work. He's the expert on good-byes.  I'm just the novice.  But I want him to see them with the same lens of passion and diligence by which I view them.  If only for one evening.  And he does when I am able to back out and go take care of myself.

SO- when the kids ask why I have to go to the gym or why I have to go to work I just tell them- "Because it makes me a better mommy.  And it's good for you to have some special time with Daddy."  And that really is an easy answer because it's true.

For more resources about how to help your kids with this difficult transition, check out my other blog and the post about Saying Goodbye to Mommy...