Thanks so much for the kind comments, texts, and emails after my last post. It’s natural to become overwhelmed and feel buried beneath the weight of the everyday mundane sometimes, but we all forget to be kind to ourselves. Just hearing, “yes – me too” from a few of you plus the encouragement to take care of myself helps so much. Thank you.
This weekend picked me up a lot, and though it wasn’t restful with two kids and a busy schedule, it was a good reminder of what I’ve got. It’s more obvious to me in recent months that I am a part of a larger whole, a larger community, in a number of different ways. And a sense of belonging can make such a difference.
Friday afternoon brought Norah’s first soccer “practice” – or really soccer play time if we are being honest. She mostly wanted to do this simply because her brother does it as well. It’s a 6-week session for 3-year-olds, and it’s cute to watch.
They are both getting to these ages that are obviously still very young in the grand scheme of things, but feeling big to me in the immediate moment. We have real conversations and they are their own unique little people. Aside from that, I also see them developing their own relationship between the two of them as well. They know each other in a different way than I know them, if that makes sense. Their little world with their specific perceptions and observations. Sometimes I just try and stay out of the way as they feel that out.
When we got home, our neighbor was having an impromptu tea party that was decided the night before and casually mentioned in the driveway as the kids played. I’ve touched on this before, but I got so unbelievably lucky landing in this little spot. There’s no doubt in my mind that there was divine intervention guiding us here. Anytime I feel alone or overwhelmed in this parenting journey, I need to remember to open my back door or look out my window. It’s a village, and my kids feel the comfort of belonging here in the very best way.
Sunday brought a baby shower for a college friend of mine, and a few of us got to catch up over lunch just before the party. Including baby boy yet to arrive, there are ELEVEN (How did that happen!?) kids among us, I realized. We each have our own stories of triumph and loss and disappointment and new beginnings, and it’s created such a safe space free of judgment. I can tell these girls anything — and I often do. We talk parenting and life and nonsense when we are together. And we laugh a lot.
I ran across an Anne Lamott quote a week or two ago that I shared on Facebook that explains, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work. You don’t give up.” I’m gripping to this idea and knowing it has to be true, right? I keep doing the next right thing, and the next, and the next – as best I can with every move. And I know sometimes I miss the mark because I am human. But I’m trying hard.
I have no vision of exactly what my future will look like, but I assume if I keep stacking up all the good things around me, it has to work and all come together. Right now, I am waiting and watching and working, as Lamott says. The waiting is the hard part. It’s harder than the work. But sometimes I forget that I am not waiting for some blanket of grace and wholeness to cover my entire self all at once. It never works that way. It comes in tiny drops and little waves, and you have to keep your eyes open to see it.
Right now, I just have my finger on the pulse until the rest unfolds. I can hear that rhythm – thump, thump, thump. Good things are there when my eyes are open to see them. I’m still keeping up with my happiness jar and scribbling notes each night before I head up the stairs for bed. Sometimes I grab a handful and read what I’ve written. These tiny beautiful seconds I might have forgotten otherwise. How funny that they are what glimmers at the end of the day. August 23rd Clean house, rainstorm, midnight, in bed alone with a new book. // September 19th Grocery run with kids after dinner on a Saturday night. Both helpful, so sweet. Late summer sun perfect on them as they skip across the parking lot. // September 13 Kids back after a weekend away. Downstairs clean, soup in the crockpot, all of us home. // September 10 Jude drawing at the table while I wash dinner dishes. Quiet concentration, long eyelashes looking down at his paper. Last weeks of late daylight.
How strange that we all focus on the big things, those big moments of achievement. When really the pulse of my life – the moments that remind me I’m safe and alive – it is all held in the seconds we forget.