The imperfect of it all
makes it hard to breathe.
The tangle of should and
my own expectations
leaves me disenchanted and
trapped in wishes.
The wishes are light but strong
and form a web that gives the
illusion of structure
One wrong turn
and what I thought was giving
structure is what I’m now
desperately trying to get out of.
It’s in my hair, it is stuck to my skin
and all I want is out.
The web holds me captive.
This isn’t what I wanted
but I didn’t make a way
for anything else.
I want more than this
that is holding me hostage
to what we’ve created.
There’s filament silk
stuck to me
and my arms are flailing trying to
escape the sticky way its always been.
It tries to
Keep us –
right where we are.
I escape the web.
There’s no structure,
no – ‘This is how its going to be’.
I am not in a web
but now there’s
nothing holding me.
I turn to face what’s next
and see nothing.
I look for you
and I see you in the shadows
walking towards me,
*Photo by John Camacho
We have to be each other’s biggest fans.
I mean this parenting stuff is HARD.
Life is hard and relationships can be challenging.
There’s so much we are carrying on any given day…
and so it is necessary to our collective sanity to
be a support to each other.
What does it look like to a support to each other?
I think it probably looks different for different people.
Laugh with me.
Cry with me.
Eat food and chocolate with me
and every now and then
drink a glass of wine with me.
When I text and say
I am sending my child to your house
please say yes and I am sorry to hear
it is a rough day.
When I am celebrating,
celebrate with me.
When I step into vulnerability
meet me with, “me too”.
So today, I am practicing this by introducing you to a fantastic lover of moms. She serves moms and loves moms so well. Please go and visit her blog today and read her post on celebrating your own mom this Mother’s Day! But first, here’s a little bit about the incomparable Chris Moss.
As I have grown as a person, I am drawn more and more to people unafraid to step on toes. Chris Moss is a wealth of information and she’s not afraid to take up the space she’s been given either. This makes me love her. Each time I read one of her posts, I learn something. She is a champion for moms and her heart is to help her readers mine the often overlooked treasure of mentorship. Chris is real, tough and sweet and while I’ve had the privilege of meeting her in person I sure wish I could learn from her by sitting across from her at a coffee shop. For now, her mentorship of me will come through her blog.
He sat in front of me.
My sweet, little man – right at my knees.
He melted me.
Just because he is mine.
Just because he is.
I marveled how I have
always loved this
sweet little head.
Sometimes when I
hug him, hold him,
it is easy to imagine that
he is an infant again.
The curls of his hair
are the same.
His mocha latte skin,
his sweet spirit
and those deep, brown eyes?
I am undone.
Then and now.
I love when love
catches me off guard.
I wanted to just scoop him up
and squeeze him but it was
not the time or the place.
He humors me when
I want to squeeze him.
He allows me to love on him.
He believes me when I say
I love him.
He runs to my hugs.
He welcomes time with me.
It is a gift to love him and
a gift that he accepts my imperfect,
God loves me
with a perfect love.
Completeness resides within it,
wholeness is found inside of it,
the truth about who I am and
the truth of who he is clashes together
and somehow something new and
beautiful is made from it.
I walk away from it.
I turn my back.
I say no to perfect love.
I say, ‘I’ve got this’.
I run to everyone, everything
except the one who
loves me best.
Sometimes I give him a hard heart and an obstinate spirit
and he still gives his perfect love.
I love when love
catches me off guard.
I made a new friend today.
She asked if she could sit at my table at the coffee shop.
I said, “Of course!”
She sat and started asking questions.
She was comfortable in her skin and embraced the day and the moment.
I, comfortable in my own skin, embraced the moment as well
and as a result we had a wonderful conversation, as strangers.
She has two cats.
Lives close to the coffee shop.
She is headed to Michigan today to give two presentations.
She became a Christian at a university in Ohio.
She has lived in Ohio and Michigan – me too.
Was in New Orleans during the hurricane that came through town.
Her sister lives in Michigan.
I know where she works, the name of her cat who passed away,
where she attends church and how long she has lived in Atlanta.
We sipped coffee and enjoyed the conversation –
as if we did this every week.
As we said goodbye, we shook hands and
realized we didn’t know each others names.
Our names were not even necessary in order to have a conversation.
This was a lesson in the art of conversation.
I felt seen and heard and I hope that she did too.
I hope that she felt that her place
in our community mattered – because it does.
This was a lesson in being. In talking just to know someone.
No agenda, no jockeying for position,
no set up for future conversations.
It was refreshing in a way I never
expected a conversation with a stranger to be.
My sister recently share some information about
friendships that she heard on a podcast.
Shasta Nelson shares that healthy friendships
have three requirements: Seen, Safe and Satisfying.
These are all in the context of a long-term friendship –
not a happenstance meeting over a shared table at
my local coffee shop.
Nonetheless: Today I felt seen, safe and satisfied.
Definitely not something I expected to happen
this morning as I left the house to
work at the coffee shop.
The gift of conversation and embracing the moment left
me in a better place.
Not every conversation is going
to go this way, I know –
I think it is possible to pursue this in my conversations.
The best conversations are ones where each person
feels seen, safe and satisfied.
I can speak from experience that it is a gift
and it changed my day.
What if each person set out to have this
kind of interactions with others?
How might our communities be different?
How would we serve our neighbors differently?
How would priorities change?
How would tensions unravel and
preconceived ideas be debunked?
So, new friend – I pray your two presentations are fun and fulfilling.
Say hi to the Michigan air and leaves for me.
Thanks for the chat this morning
and the lesson in the art of conversation.
I was doing some research this week and came upon a website that had a pop-up, as so many websites do. I don’t have anything against pop-ups as I understand they are a necessary thing.
However, this pop-up made me upset. I was on a mom site. And the title of pop-up was:
It said something about getting tips and articles or something but the only thing I really could see was: Make motherhood look easy.
First of all, all the hacks and tips in the world could not make motherhood easy. It is an impossibility.
Second of all, I don’t want to make motherhood look easy.
Because it isn’t. The very way it begins isn’t easy! What would make a person think that carrying a baby for 9 months or waiting on the adoption process for 9 months has any correlation to EASY? Have you seen a 9 months and 1 week pregnant mom? There’s not much one can do to make that look easy. Just sayin’.
I don’t want to make motherhood look easy because to do so would be a lie. And I don’t want to live a lie.
For me to make motherhood look easy is a disservice to my fellow moms in the trenches of motherhood. What is really the point of making it look easy when everyone knows it isn’t!? I mean why pretend? It’s exhausting to pretend.
It wears a mom down.
And it makes her feel alone.
It makes her feel like everyone else has got this motherhood thing down.
What moms need to hear is:
While we don’t need to hang out all of our trials and issues for everyone to know, we also don’t need to make motherhood look easy. That is not your role as a mom nor should you feel pressure to take that role on.
Instead, let your mantra be, “Me too” when a mom reveals she is struggling. And if you are having a good day you might be the one to encourage another mom. If you see the opportunity to encourage a mom – run with it. I have been encouraged in several different ways this last week or so and it has made a huge difference for me. Let’s do this together. Let’s support each other!
And sometimes that means sharing a parenting hack.
Or sharing a struggle.
Or laughing together.
Or taking a week-long trip to lay on a beach somewhere. Okay, maybe that will always remain a dream…(I’m willing to let go of this one as long as there’s chocolate)
So if you see a mom struggling, remind her that she is doing one of the hardest jobs in the world (the other one is fatherhood) and so it is okay to be tired and frustrated at times. As a friend told me this week, “It’s okay to not know all the answers.” Can I just say there was sweet relief when that was spoken over me? Like melt-in-your-mouth-like-chocoloate-peanut-butter-ice-cream relief.
So. To all the moms:
A friend passed along a bag of clothes that included
a perfect-for-fall, mustard-yellow purse.
I switched purses on
the way home from church.
No need to delay.
And now when I see my friend I wonder
what she thinks when she sees me with the mustard-yellow purse
that is now a messy, bulging, mustard-yellow purse.
It needs cleaned out – always.
At present there are game pieces, and an entire container of
gum pieces floating around in there, two wallets, receipts, papers,
granola bars, makeup bag, travel deodorant (for when I forget),
a myraid of pens and lotion.
In short: a mess.
She doesn’t know the extent of the mess
of course, but I am guessing she has a good
idea from the way the purse bulges
and looks heavy – because it is.
And I wonder if she thinks to herself:
“That purse isn’t meant to carry all that!”
Surely, a good portion of what is in
there is unnecessary.
And it just makes the bag
so very heavy.
I know that I need to unload
some of the items and
that my shoulder will
thank me if I do.
And I wonder if there are other things
that I carry, unnecessarily.
Does the one who made me look at
me and think,
“She doesn’t need to carry all of that.”
He actually knows all that I carry.
Knows every little thing I hold on to:
pride, anxious thoughts,
what so-and-so said,
There are things I am meant to hold:
creativity, joy, love, peace, hope
but the mess of the other things
means I have to dig really deep to find them.
I look for joy and grab onto
anxious thoughts instead.
I reach for love and since I get to unforgiveness first,
that’s where I go.
I need to do a daily inspection
so that what I am meant to hold,
doesn’t get buried by what
I am not meant to hold.
What am I not meant to carry?
Lay it down, unload it,
give it the one who
waits for me to hand it over.