My 5-year-old came over and sat beside me. I noticed her moving out of the corner of my eye and turned to find her doing something with her hand. I asked what she was doing. She hesitated a moment and then said, “I’m waving at Jesus. He’s everywhere.” She went on to repeat a phrase she learned in children’s church months ago that keeps coming up around here: “Just like air, God is everywhere.”
Boom! What was that about feeling distant from God? I gave my kiddo a hug and told her that she was absolutely correct and it was perfectly fine to wave at Jesus any time. I told her I was quite sure that He liked that. And then, well, I basically got over myself. I remembered back to my own childhood when I’d sneeze alone in my room and say “Excuse me” to Jesus. I mean, if you’re going to be polite, you ought to be polite to the Lord. I had faith back then that He was always there. Just like my daughter has faith that He’s always there to see her wave.
Sometimes as an adult I have times where I start to forget that exact sentiment. I start to forget that Jesus is always there. I start to forget that we can just hang out and be friends. I start to forget His closeness and relegate Him to corners of my life. I feel His presence in my prayer and Bible reading time. I feel His presence in worship throughout the day as I listen to and sing along with Christian music. But sometimes I miss Him in all the little ways that He’s around me. I’ve been praying lately for Him to open my eyes even more so that I see all the small stuff He is involved in. He used my daughter last week to remind me that He really is around all the time. He’s hanging out all the time even when my mind isn’t on Him and it’s on the task at hand or worrying about a situation out of my control. Just like air, He is always there. I just have to look for Him.
As I hugged my daughter in her preciousness last week, all I could do was thank God for using her to remind me of His presence. I thanked Him also for her love for Him. I have many times heard and read the Bible verse from Matthew 18 about having faith like a child. I remember my own faith as a child. I see the faith my daughter now has as a child. And I get it now. Children don’t have life experiences and responsibilities to get in the way. They just believe and they see Jesus everywhere. Oh that I may see God as my daughter does! And that I might never forget He surrounds me, loves me and holds me close when I need it most. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. I can take Him at His word. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for not giving up on me!]]>
I love being a mother. I don’t mind being known as a mom. I feel honored to be a mom to my two precious children. And I love being a wife. I’ve been at it for 15-1/2 years and I love my husband more now than I did the do we said, “I do,” which I didn’t think was enough possible. We’ve been through all sorts of life together and I love him more for it. He is an awesome dad.
Sometimes, though, I get lost in the fray of life. I especially get lost in motherhood. New babies are so consuming for the first couple of years really. Now that my kids are 5 and 2, I’m starting to get a few chances here and there to meet up with myself again. It’s nice. I’ve missed me, I suppose, in the way that I didn’t know I missed something until it started coming back. Oh! There I am! Well, nice to meet you again. I didn’t realize I was missing you until you showed up and now I’m so glad that you’re here! (What? You don’t have conversations with yourself?)
And the truth is that I don’t need to be me or find me all the time. Most of the time, I am content to be mom. I am content to make food, wipe noses, change diapers, listen to stories, drive to preschool, run errands, pick up toys and all the other many tasks that go along with being a mom to small kiddos. I am happy and blessed and content.
However, it is nice to meet up with myself sometimes and remember that I can do grown-up things. I can be a professional. I can have intelligent conversations. I can conduct interviews, do research and write articles for publications. These are the things I used to spend 30 to 40 hours a week doing back before babies came. I wouldn’t change it right now and go back to that. I am quite thankful and blessed to be able to concentrate most of the time on just being mom. But I like having a chance every so often to go back to professional Stacey instead of Mom Stacey. I like remembering who I was. I am still that person, yet I have also changed and grown. That’s what happens with motherhood. It’s still nice to meet myself again sometimes, though.
Mama, how have you met yourself again recently? What can you do for even an hour to remember the woman you are besides mom and wife?]]>
Children are messy. Motherhood is messy. I have gotten in worse messes with my kids that are much less pleasant than stray cereal bar goo. There have been gross bodily fluids. I still have one child in diapers and am dealing with those messes throughout the day. That’s not to mention extra stuff that goes along with sick little ones. And let us not forget the toys and mess that occurs when playing. We have just put our house on the market to move closer to the interstate for my husband’s commute and I am trying to keep the house clean. I have deep cleaned and organized. I did this while the kids enjoyed grandparent time. Within 5 minutes of their return home, I found toys on my kitchen, dining room and hallway floors. My 5-year-old is pretty good at putting her things away. My 2-year-old, though, is like a roving toy tornado who lets no toy go unturned. Messy.
I’m not sure any aspect of motherhood is clean. Even when we are sitting together reading books quietly, there are still noses to wipe or fingers that are slobbery because they’ve been sucked on. That’s just how kids are. I must also admit that I have never been a kid person. I know women who have loved kids and babies since they were young themselves. I was never one of them. I didn’t know what to do with kids. I didn’t know how to talk to them. And I surely didn’t want to be in charge of cleaning up their messes. Now that it’s my own kids I don’t mind one bit. I don’t give a second thought to wiping noses and bottoms, cleaning off messy hands, picking up toys over and over again. OK, maybe I do give that last one a second thought sometimes. We’re working on everyone putting away their own things, but it is most certainly a work in progress. Mess just goes with the territory of motherhood.
I have thought maybe that will change as my kids get older, but I don’t think it will. The types of messes will change, in that I won’t be looking at a Little People Superman and his plastic dinosaur pal lying on my dining room floor in another 10 years, but there will still be messes. There will be school papers and maybe athletic equipment or musical instruments. There will be muddy footprints from being outside alone and running back into the house without thinking. There will be laundry dropped to the floor instead of in the hamper. There will always be messes with motherhood as long as kids are around. Even once they have left home, they’ll still bring their messes back with them. Messes go with people. We all have some degree of messes that alerts the world to our presence. And moms don’t mind. I’m guessing once they’ve left home that when they come back with bags of dirty laundry or eventually their own messy kids that I won’t mind nearly so much. I’m guessing that I’ll be thankful for that mess to be back in my house because one of these days, I really might miss it.
Knowing that makes today’s messes just a little bit easier to clean up. Knowing that one day my daughter will be off on her own in college and not need me nearly so much makes me want to sit and hold her close in the midst of the toys. Knowing that one day my son will be off on his own and no longer wanting to snuggle with messy hands and face makes me want to hold him all the tighter now and get as messy as it takes. The mess of motherhood, dare I say, is a precious one. So, go ahead, kid, give me a hug with your gooey, sticky hands. The mess will wash away while the memories will always remain.]]>
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
— Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
That last sentence is what sprang to my attention: “He gently leads those that have young.” I stopped and re-read it wondering if it said what I thought it did — what I needed it to. It does. Tired mama of small children, God sees you! He gently leads you, because he knows having young children isn’t easy. That was what I needed to hear as I was looking forward to a really difficult and busy week without much relief. God knew it. My pastor facilitated it. And my heart was renewed because of it.
I am not a fan of the line of thinking that nobody understands what I’m going through in life or how hard it is, because I have been down that path and that line of thinking and found it to be a bunch of nonsense. When I spent my early 20s just after grad school laid up on the couch, inside more than out and trying one medical procedure and appointment after another to try and get my bladder into manageable condition again, I felt woeful. I felt sorry for myself. I felt like nobody else understood. I have been down that path. I have been down that path again in the years since when other hard times have inevitably come. In the last few years, though, I have seen how I’ve let that stinking thinking cloud my thoughts.
Life is hard. Everyone has a story and a struggle. We all have stuff we deal with. And maybe my stuff is different than yours. But that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to each other having a struggle. We all know what it’s like to have something turn our lives upside down. As mothers, we all know what it’s like to get up each day and try again to make it a good one and find that balance of getting things done and spending time with our children. We all know how sometimes just making it through the day is an accomplishment. We all know how sometimes we want to hide in the bathroom for five minutes of peace and quiet just to get away from the fray. We can relate. We are more alike than we are different.
And God knows that, too. He knows and understands us even better than we do ourselves. He’s been involved with mothers of young children since Eve first delivered Cain and Abel. If ever a young mother needed help, it was Eve. She was the first to do it. She had no sisterhood of mothers or even her own mother to talk to or learn from. But she had God and what more help can any mother ask for than that of our Divine Creator? He saw her needs. He has continued seeing the needs of mothers ever since. Years later this verse was penned to remind mothers of young children that God sees them and leads them.
I particularly like that this verse promises to lead us gently. The last thing I need in my life right now is more complication or even more forcefulness. I battle daily with a 2-year-old who strongly wants his own way all the time (what toddler doesn’t?) and a 5-year-old who is pretty sure she knows everything about everything and certainly has an opinion on it all. And that’s just the abrasiveness I face with my children. There are lots of other things coming at me from work stuff, family relationships, finances, major life decisions and more. I don’t need more conflict. I don’t need a heavy hand. I need a soft place to fall. I need a gentle hand on my back guiding me the way I should go. That is just what God has promised in this verse and what He continues to do now years and years after that verse was written. His Word stands strong and true even in 2015.
I am left feeling thankful and awed. He knew the struggle and had a response for me. I’m sure there are different ways to interpret this verse; that’s usually the case with Bible verses. All I know is what this verse said to me this week. It gave me a promise to hang on to. It gave me hope to know that God sees me. God understands. More importantly than other people understanding our plight (and trust me, others really do understand more than you might think), God understands our plight. He sees our hearts. I feel like every year I learn more about who I am and how I tick. These are all things He has known about me since I was in my mother’s womb.
I praise God for knowing what I would need this week and providing it. Self-pity gets me nowhere. Reassurance that God is always with me keeps me moving forward. Come, Lord, and continue to gently lead me.]]>
1. We all need Cinderella moments. Whether sparkle, ball gowns and fancy shoes are your thing or not (the girly girl in me loves such things!), I think we each have an innate desire to feel beautiful (at least sometimes) and have shining moments. We may not seek or desire the limelight. We may not want a whole ballroom of folks looking at us or need pomp and circumstance, but we each need to feel validated. We each need to feel seen by someone. We each need to feel cared about. Perhaps more than anything, we each need an occasional break from the mundane tasks of daily life. We all need a bit of fantasy sometimes and a bit of a break from reality. We need something to look forward to, to hope for and to fondly remember later on.
I think back into my own life and the times I’ve had these moments. Some of them have been big events, like when I dressed in a big white dress and married my beloved high school sweetheart just over 15 years ago. And some of them have been smaller events, like when my husband and I returned to our high school years later on a scavenger hunt and stood in the parking lot, dancing to our song next to my car. I was wearing jeans and a hoodie yet felt as beautiful as I did on my wedding day. For those couple of minutes, I was totally his world and he was totally mine.
And I think of my daughter. I think of the kind of magical moments I want for her. She’s had a few already in her five years of life, but I know there are so many more to come. There will be proms and maybe a wedding. She will grow in grace and beauty even more and I hope and pray that she will have Cinderella moments.
2. We all need love. The last few Disney movies I’ve seen have focused less on romantic love and more on other types of love like between siblings (“Frozen”) or between caregiver and child (“Malificent”). I get that. I appreciate that. I don’t want to teach my daughter that her validity comes only through the love of a man, but at the same time I also want to teach her that true love does exist and she deserves it. Will she learn this solely from Disney movies? Heck, no. She’ll learn it more from watching her dad and me and her grandparents. She’ll learn it from lessons at church. But is it so bad to dream of finding true love? Not one bit. There is something magical and special about finding it. There is something magical and special about marriage.
Please don’t mistake my romantic musings for ignorance. Romance isn’t necessarily being swept off your feet by Prince Charming and whisked to the ball in glass slippers. It isn’t necessarily having a man come striding in to save you from your rough life. It is finding a man who cherishes you, who loves you, who cares for you, who is kind to you and who makes you better just for knowing him. While all of these things aren’t conveyed in a Disney movie (because there’s only so much that can go into a two-hour movie, anyway!), they are important tenants of life. It’s important to dream. It’s important to love. It’s important to hope.
So many times marriage advice tends to focus on how your spouse may drive you crazy and you live with it. Or churches may even dole out advice to avoid adultery and other pitfalls that can destroy families. All of these things are important and vital, but it’s also important and vital to remember the good things about marriage. My life is better because my husband is in it. He doesn’t bring me flowers all the time. He doesn’t write me love letters daily. He shows me love in working for our family. He shows me love in supporting me. He shows me love in the responsibility he feels and takes seriously to help me navigate and enjoy life. I have seen his romance in sitting by my bedside after surgery wearing a T-shirt proclaiming “My Wife Rock” or advocating for me to try a new treatment that might help my bladder. I have seen his love when he notices that I am worn out and frayed around the edges and sends me off to nap in our bedroom for an hour while he takes charge of the kids.
It’s OK to want romantic love. It’s OK to admit that you are better for it. Yes, these things can be misconstrued and we will certainly teach that to our children. We will work to instill in them a love for God, their family and themselves, but I do dream and pray that my children both find true love one day and have wonderful spouses who help make their journey easier and better.
3. We all need courage, kindness and forgiveness. Perhaps more than any other message, this latest version of the Cinderella story focused on these attributes. These are things I find mostly through my faith in God and that is what I am sharing with my children as they grow. Cinderella isn’t a religious movie or story by any means, but these attributes are all things that would make the world a better place if everyone adhered to them. It takes courage to be brave and face new and challenging situations. There are times in life when it takes courage to even get out of bed and face the day. Other times courage is much bolder in taking big leaps of faith. We may be scared, but we more forward with courage.
And let us not forget kindness. Can you imagine if everyone you ever met in the world was genuinely kind? It would solve so many problems. At its root, kindness is thinking more of others than yourself, which is exactly what Jesus taught. A smile for a hurting person, a sandwich for a hungry man, a cup of cold water given on a hot day — kindness comes in many forms and makes a profound impact.
Finally, forgiveness. In the end, Cinderella forgave her stepmother before she moved on with her new life. (I’d say spoiler alert, but it’s pretty much the story of Cinderella that’s been around for ages.) You cannot move forward when you’re clinging to the hurts of the past. It’s not possible. Forgive. Move forward. Simple and yet profound.
And this is why I was surprisingly dazzled this week when we went to “Cinderella.” I’m not sure she’ll take over as my favorite Disney princess. I can’t help but love bookworm Belle, and I have an attachment to her after spending a summer in marching band performing a “Beauty and the Beast” show. But I really enjoyed Cinderella more than any other recent Disney movie. (Sorry, “Frozen.”) It spoke to the romantic girly girl in me and it spoke a bit to the mother in me. Who knew that a Disney movie would make me wax philosophical and sentimental?!]]>
So I had to improvise. I hated to waste the pizza crust. I decided to go with the flavors in my husband’s favorite bacon bread recipe. And thus bacon ranch pinwheels were born. They were yummy and a hit with our whole family. We at them with some ranch dip and baby carrots. The kids also had blackberries. We enjoyed the rest of the kettle corn from the farm festival for dessert.
Bacon ranch pinwheels
1 can refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 packet ranch dressing seasoning (I used the kind you add to sour cream to make dip, because that’s what I add, but the kind that mixes into salad dressing would work as well)
1 cup pizza or mozzarella cheese
7 slices bacon, cooked until desired crispiness (I use the precooked bacon and heat in the microwave until it’s crispy)
1. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.
2. Cook the bacon to desired crispness. Set aside to cool enough to touch without burning your fingers.
3. Spread the pizza crust out on a flat surface (I use my cutting board to make life easier).
4. Use the powder from half of the ranch dressing packet and spread over the pizza crust. Pat it into the crust gently.
5. Sprinkle cheese all over the ranch-coated pizza crust. Break up the bacon and spread over that.
6. Roll from one of the short ends of the rectangle into a log. With a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 1-inch thick circles.
7. Place the circles on a baking sheet. I line mine with non-stick aluminum foil to make clean-up a snap. Parchment paper would also work well. If you aren’t using anything of the sort, you may want to spritz the pan with a bit of non-stick cooking spray.
8. Bake at 425-degrees for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm with ranch dressing or dip.]]>
Right now I’m sitting on our dining room couch. A cushion down from me is a finger puppet, a snack cup, a Mickey RV, a car with a figurine in it and a dishtowel that was used to wrap an ice pack in for a bumped head. I won’t tell you what I see under and on my kitchen table or under and on the end table beside me or on the bar countertop area or on the kitchen floor. And that’s just the stuff I can see. Am I a bad housekeeper? Maybe. But, the fact of the matter is I am home all day every day with two small children. Is that an excuse? Yes. I completely own up to that. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t try. I do. There are times the house is better than others. The better I feel, the more I can do. Things get out of whack when my bladder flares or the kids get sick or I get sick or whatever. It’s just the phase of life we’re in and it happens.
I see blog post after blog post encouraging moms to have organized homes and clean homes and magazine perfect homes. I see posts telling me how it’s my job as a housewife and mother to do these things for my family. I see posts with photos allegedly showcasing messy houses with kids (Puh-lease! Two toys on the living room floor do not a messy house make!). I see posts telling me that if I can make my house be clean and clutter-free for a party or when I know company is coming then I can do it all the time if I just put my mind to it and stopped being lazy.
Sometimes I start to feel guilty or ashamed because I ought to be able to do all of those things and still have time to play with my children and make every meal from scratch and attend to my husband and play with the dog and write lengthy blog posts and books and magazine articles and on and on it goes. All I can do is laugh. It’s not possible. It’s just not. There are times my house is going to be a mess. There are times I’m going to choose to sit on my hind end and read a book after they go to bed because I am too tired to put away stray toys the toddler has lugged around the place. Heck, I rolled over in bed last week and landed on top of a toy I had missed clearing out of the way before I climbed under the sheets. The next night I went to sleep with a Batman figurine watching over me from my nightstand. These things happen with small kids. They happen with chronic pain issues. They happen with life. And it’s OK.
Should I strive to do better for my family? Always. But the definition of better varies. Better doesn’t always mean a cleaner house or a more organized to-do list or a cute menu planning board. Better is defined by each mama and what her version of that is. My goal is to be the best I can be. You be the best you can be. Your version of better and my version are going to look different because we are different. No one blog post can tell us what is the perfect balance for each of our individual lives and journeys. We each have a story to tell and a journey that we’re on and none of us are identical. So, we just have to do the best we can and not beat ourselves up for the things that fall through the cracks or aren’t exactly as we’d like them to be.
Could I be decluttering my house a bit right now instead of sitting on the couch writing this blog post? Sure. However, I can also tell you that I need to sit on this couch and rest because my bladder is flaring and if I don’t sit and rest while I can then I won’t be able to play with and make dinner for my children later and those things are way more important to me than clearing clutter. I can also tell you that my son has taken to only sleeping with his bedroom door open so if I work too much around here and make too much noise, I am going to wake him up and all bets are off for getting anything done of any sort.
It’s a balance each and every day. Heck, it’s a balance that can shift every hour of the day even. And it’s OK. I have learned my limits. I know what works and what doesn’t and I’m done beating myself up over it. Just like Elsa, I’m letting it go. Join me!]]>
My bosses are adorable. They don’t know about Employee Appreciation Day. And, quite frankly, I don’t want them to ever think of me as an employee, so I’m not going to mention it to them. But, you know what? They show me appreciation every single day.
It’s there in the little arms that wrap around my neck for hugs and cuddles. It’s there for soft lips that graze my cheek with smooches. It’s there when they say “Thank you” for the things I do. We have made those two words a priority around here, and even the 2-year-old uses them often. In fact, I just handed him a sippy cup of ice water before I sat down to write this post and he gave me a sweet “Thank you.”
The appreciation is there when they look at me with love and adoration. It’s there when they laugh at my corny jokes. It’s there when they seek me out to ease their hurts. It’s there when they are excited to tell me about something good that happened.
But here’s the thing. While I may joke that I work for my children who are tiny, demanding and sometimes unreasonable bosses, I also get paid immensely. Those things I mentioned how they show me their appreciation aren’t small. Hearing them say and show how much they love me makes my heart burst. I give so much to my children and yet I also get so much back from them. Before having children I always felt blessed in my work. I felt blessed to be my own boss and to do what I love. I felt blessed to be able to share people’s stories and write articles that could help others. Now, I feel even more blessed in my work. It’s way harder work. It involves a lot more pressure because I’m shaping people here. People! I’m in charge of taking care of them and teaching them. But it’s awesome work. I’ve got these sweet little faces looking to me everyday for everything. And it’s good. It’s really good. I am so blessed to be a mother.
While I want my little employers to appreciate me, I also appreciate them in return. I appreciate their sweet smiles. I appreciate their love. I appreciate their hugs. I appreciate their compassion. I appreciate the way them for who they are. I appreciate that God blessed me with them. I appreciate that I get a chance to go through this life with them and watch them grow. I appreciate it all, even on the hard days.
Happy Employee Appreciation Day, moms! Your employers are small, demanding and incredibly sweet. Know that even when they are grumpy and don’t show it, they do appreciate you and all that you do. Because you, my mama friend, are awesome! Keep up the good work!]]>
For some reason, this photo moved me. I was struck at that mama bird sitting there weathering the storm and cold to protect her babies. This photo represents motherhood in a nutshell. Fortunately I don’t have to sit on my children to keep them warm (they’d never hold still), but I am charged with protecting them. I feel this bald eagle mama. I feel her discomfort and cold and her sheer determination. I understand where she’s coming from. I’ve been there in different ways. Motherhood is uncomfortable. It starts very early on with morning sickness and all sorts of other pregnancy joys.
I spent a year tied to a breast pump to keep my daughter fed and nourished when she was unable to nurse. I spent the last three months of my second pregnancy in constant pain. I spent three months sleeping on the couch with a baby boy who cried all night long night after night. I have slept in all sorts of weird and uncomfortable positions to keep vigil with sick children and just be present for them. I have held buckets to catch vomit. I have been covered in bodily fluid that is not my own. I have lost more sleep than I even can count. I have found energy to keep going when I thought I had no more left to give. I live the life of a mom. Every other mother can share similar stories. We protect our young. We are uncomfortable for them. And we don’t really give it a second thought. Of course we get discouraged. Of course we lose heart. Of course we get weary to the very core of our being. Of course we get frustrated. Of course we get fed up. But, of course we continue on because our love far outweighs all of our discomfort and irritation. It really, truly does.
Like the eagle protecting her eggs from the cold by shielding them with her own body, we sacrifice and give up parts of ourselves to protect and care for our babies. It’s how motherhood works. It’s not easy or always pleasant, but it is always beautiful. It is good.
What else is good about this is eagle is that she’s not over-thinking motherhood and her skills as a mom. She isn’t berating herself because she isn’t a bear who can go deep into a cave with her young to keep them warm. She isn’t judging herself harshly because she should have known better than to build a nest in Tennessee where freak snow storms have been known to take place. She isn’t comparing her nest to the other eagle’s nest in the next tree. She’s got her head down, doing what needs to be done without second guessing herself.
Oh how I could learn from that eagle. I’d like to tell you I never second guess myself, compare my mothering to others, judge myself harshly for things out of my control or wish I were a different kind of mother. But I do all of those things and more. I have times I worry and fret. I have times of doubt and fear. I have times I lose my patience. Just yesterday we had a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos go awry that ended with me threatening to throw away the game and sending a sobbing child to her room to just calm down. Do I want to be a mother full of grace and patience? Of course. Do I always succeed? Definitely not.
My best times of motherhood are the ones where I just let go and enjoy my children. It’s the times when I’m not worried about what all needs to get done on my to-do list or beating myself up over my shortcomings. It’s when I am just being who I am and enjoying my children for who they are. Those are the good times.
I’ve started reading a new book that I know will result in a blog post later on, but right now what’s stuck out to me the most is a reminder that moms need to stop focusing on their shortcomings and start remembering their talents and skills. So maybe I’m not good at having my kids out and about in lots of activities that, quite frankly as an introvert, drain me completely. But I am good at sitting and reading book after book after book. I am good at getting on the floor and rolling around cars or making dolls talk to one another. I don’t need to beat myself up for what I’m not. I need to be thankful for what I am. Of course I need to improve where I can. Of course I need to get out of my comfort zone sometimes, but I don’t need to constantly beat myself up. I need to take a lesson from the mama eagle, put my head down and do what I know how to do best. I need to keep moving forward taking care of my babies, even in the middle of storms.
Today, my mama friends, channel your inner mama eagle. Keep your head down, moving forward and don’t worry about all the other muck around you. Celebrate yourself for what you’re good at and how far you’ve come. You are awesome!]]>
As part of our quest to find the right school for her, a couple of weeks ago she went to one school for some testing. The kid is smart and there are a couple of gifted programs that require testing. I don’t care so much whether she gets into gifted programs, but I think it would be a good fit for her and we’re trying to leave all of our options open, so we went. This school decides sooner than others.
I got her all ready to go. We talked about how they’d have different things for her to do and that she should try her best but not worry and all sorts of stuff like that. We sent her brother to stay with my parents and the two of us ventured out. She wasn’t really nervous or excited. I was a bit anxious, because I worry about whether we’re doing the right thing and I never want her to feel pressured and, well, I’m just a mom and we’re good at worrying and being anxious.
She was fine. We were fine. Until we turned the corner on the way to the counseling office and ran into a classroom of perhaps third graders who came streaming out on their way to lunch or somewhere. They weren’t rowdy or inappropriate, but there were quite a few of them and they surprised us. Lexiana immediately grabbed my hand. She needed my comfort as she continued walking forward. Oh that kid! She will never know it, but I needed her hand just as much in that moment. I was hit afresh with how my baby girl is becoming a big girl and all too soon she’ll be one of those third graders lining up and going about her school day without me. We held hands tightly for a minute and kept each other safe and in check.
I know that the time is coming not too far away when she won’t always want to hold my hand or cling to me. She grows more and more independent daily, but I want her to always know that while I am working so hard to let her go and let her explore and live her life that I will always be her hand to hold — whether that’s literally or figuratively. When she is worried or afraid or just uncertain, I will be there for her. When she takes a step of independence and falters, I will be there for her. I will always be that hand to hold even when she is grown. I will be there. I will reach for her as she reaches for me. We’ll find our way together through all life has to bring. Whatever hard times come her way, I will always be her hand to hold.
I continue to take steps forward toward letting her go a bit more all the time. It both breaks my heart and makes my heart burst with excitement and joy at the same time. I can’t see her fly if I never let her leave the nest. And I have a feeling this kid of mine is going to soar with her big heart and her intelligence. But she is going to have falls along the way. There will be mean girls and young love. There will be difficult teachers and lost competitions. It won’t all be easy, but learning to fly isn’t easy. I can only promise her that no matter what happens, I will always be her safe place to land and her hand to hold. For now, I will just be there. We will hold hands. I will clasp hers tightly as she clasps mine. I will quietly be thankful that she still needs me to help her when she’s overwhelmed, because sometimes I need her the same way.
This motherhood business is awesome and really darn hard sometimes.]]>