Lean in…

masterpiece

Not everyone will allow themselves to cry in public. I have definitely been known to openly shed a tear or two. I’m not talking about a big ugly cry, but tears on the cheeks, yes. Last week at my Bible study, I cried. It wasn’t something I had planned on doing, and to be honest, it even surprised me a bit. Now that I hopefully have your attention, I’ll explain.

I’m currently in a new season of life. These birdies that I have been raising are trying out their wings and I am nervously biting my nails as I watch them teeter on the edge of the nest. With one a college freshman and one a high school senior, the milestones come daily and it’s all a bit overwhelming. For the most part, I am able to focus on the positive and enjoy this season of new found independence – I’m doing OK (until I’m not).

accept

This particular day at Bible study, I was commenting on a scripture passage that we had recently looked up. It was Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece – created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” While reading this scripture out loud, the words caught in my throat and I had to pause and pull myself together. You see, I have always wanted to be a Mom. Knowing very little what it would actually involve, the idea of raising littles was a tad magical to me.  I felt that God was in agreement, since He blessed us with 4 stinky butt babes. But now, as my children have grown, I tend to wonder a little bit more about these “good works” that are meant for me. They aren’t so obvious anymore. I’m still busy, yes. Feeling productive, yes. But I am lacking that sense of being needed, feeling necessary – and frankly,  this feeling is not the greatest. What else does God have planned for me? To be clear, my concern is less whether or not He does have plans for me, but will I love these new plans as much as  I loved being a Mama to littles?!

acceptance

I read before, that in order to deal with our pain and uncertainties, we need to lean in. What does leaning in look like? For me, it looks like sorting through boxes of outgrown clothing and pouring over scrapbooks containing pictures of years gone by. It’s sitting attentively as your senior debates between colleges , when all you really want to do is pull her onto your lap and read her a Golden book. It’s repainting bedroom walls from bubble gum pink to sophisticated grey. It’s talking with other parents about how to let go, while holding tight at the same time. And it’s tears – sometimes expected, but often an embarrassing surprise. It’s a big messy box of acceptance wrapped with a sloppy bow of denial on top. Even though we experienced these emotions just last year, we are still novices at this whole “watching your child grow up” gig. 

I don’t think anyone should ever have to explain themselves when they are leaning in. It takes a lot of extra effort and is very important. It looks differently for everyone, but is crucial for all of us. Don’t think you can skip over tough things and hope it won’t catch up with you. It will. I’ve tried to ignore things, it doesn’t end well. 

So what about you? Are you avoiding a tough situation right now? Or are you leaning in? Please know that I’m here – online if nothing else – if you’d also like to lean on me!

 

 

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All of my eggs…

eggs in one basket

I have the best conversations with my friends. And a lot of them happen when I am on the elliptical. This is good for several reasons. First, I can schedule these chats ahead of time, as in “Hey , I’ll be on the elliptical at 9, want to chat me up?” Second, and most importantly, it takes my mind off of the God awful activity that it is my goal to do 40 minutes a day, four times a week. Talking to a bestie helps me to shift my focus from *NOT DYING* to solving all of the world’s problems – as long as we can wrap it all up before my cool down.

ANYWHO- the other day I had one of those great conversations, this time about being the Mom of a teenager. This particular friend and I were sharing stories about being a bit lonely in our homemaker roles. We shared feelings about how we feel that our postion has been downsized, and we are not ready for it, nor happy about it. This Mothering gig is a confusing one, we spend over a decade on these babes teaching them to be self sufficient. Then, they want to go out into the real world and be independent. The nerve.

I know, I know, we are still necessary- vital, I would even say- for a smooth running household. A home that contains a well fed and clothed family still provides “chores” for it’s Mama, even if the children are over 10 years of age. But, it’s different. At least it feels different. There are days when I literally feel like the hired help- although I don’t ever collect a paycheck. There are days when the only time I hear “Mom” said with any urgency is when “Have you seen my red shirt?!” or “Can you give me a ride?” is the question. It’s almost as if  the work that I do is important, but not me. Not every day, but sometimes. Sounds pretty pathetic when it’s written down, but it’s the truth – and I’m guessing that I am not alone in this thought process.

Back in the day, I was their world. I decided their menu, their schedule and picked their outfits – and most of their friends, for that matter! They played and wanted me to join them. They cried and wanted me to comfort them. They had a great experience and needed to tell me all about it – admittedly, I am still needed for this {THANK GOD!}. I was more than a chef/driver/laundry doer. I was a companion. I wasn’t AN option, I was the ONLY option. I guess that is what I miss the most. The little hands reaching for my cheeks as I read to them. The little feet following me everywhere… except to the bathroom. That was gross and awkward.

I was warned by many to not “put all of my eggs into one basket”. In other words, I couldn’t expect for my husband and family to be the only things in my life to bring me joy. I completely understand this logic, but I also know that for 20 years now, being a Wifey has made me very happy. And the 17+ years of parenting has also left me quite fulfilled (and exasperated, exhausted and utterly dazed at times). I refuse to take those eggs out of my basket. I have, instead, started adding more eggs… writing more, speaking engagements, teaching religious education, a weekly Bible study, TAKING NAPS. I have more time now that my children can bathe, dress and feed themselves. Time that was once allocated to their care and safety can now be spent reading a book (that has nothing to do with parenting!).

I know that God has things planned in a certain order, as in written in Ecclesiastes  3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It was necessary for me to first be the nose-wiping, meal-making, booboo-kissing Mom in order  for them to trust the homework-helping, friendship-fixing, college-selecting Mom that I am today. There is joy and pain in every season, but God is also in each season, which means I can handle it and even {maybe} thrive in it. I pray the very same for you, as well. So – if you still wish to chat about it, I’ll be on the elliptical tomorrow at 8 AM – give me a call!