Saturday, April 23, 2016

Please don’t buy me candles for Mothers Day

Please don’t buy me candles.

I’ve never wanted to put parameters on gifts because I know so often gifts are expressions of love, but I have to gently share with you something that I've long needed to share:

please don’t buy me candles for Mother’s Day. 

Or earrings. 

Or some really cool thing for the house you know I’d love. 

Chances are, I would, you know, love it. 

And chances are I would feel the love coming out of any of these thoughtful gifts meant to display your affections for me. 

But I have to tell you — I’m already so stuff-heavy. 

And I’m sorta kinda most often drowning in our stuff — trying to organize it, sort it, stash it, display it, clean it, pick it up — that I need your help in not adding more. Because, you know, I cannot bear to part with the beautiful things you’ve bought me; it reminds me of you. It hurts to part with it even when I’m no longer using it or wearing it or when it’s collecting dust. I love it because of the memory of love it holds, but the actual things are making my life heavier in so many ways that I need your help in communicating love through giving me gifts that aren’t so heavy for me to carry. 

Like the gift of your time, all of us together for an entire afternoon of enjoyment. Shower me with your best memories of the last year, your favorite mom-moments, your laughter spilling out of your lips as we remember together the times we’ve rolled doubled over laughing, as we make new memories. 

Or if you absolutely need to physically give me a something, give me a gift that will help me care for myself in a way I hardly get to do while I’m caring for everyone else— like a gift certificate for an overnight at a hotel where I can just sleep uninterrupted. Or a a massage session. Or a pedicure. Or a painting class. Or a day-away retreat. Or a certificate for a family night out. Or something else that feeds my soul while I’m in the midst of daily feeding the souls of all the people in this house. 

So, my loves, please don't buy me candles this Mother's Day or really even anything else. The only gifts I want I already have - and that's the gift of each of you. 

Just give me a way that day to enjoy those gifts: be present, be kind and be you. 

(I'm not every mom so please note I'm only speaking for me; but if this does resonate with you, feel free to use these words for expressing your heart.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tears in the Carpool Lane

It's her first day of preschool, and she literally unbuckles her seatbelt, flings open the backseat door, jumps out of the car and doesn't even say goodbye before excitedly slamming shut the door and taking the hand of the aide who will walk her into the building.

I barely get to call goodbye through the closing of the car door.

She's not angry or irritated or looking to escape anything unpleasant.

She's just ready.

She's ready in the every sense of the word to stretch her legs and her mind and her heart and grow more fully into the her she's rapidly becoming, the her that was long stuck in the mode of surviving rather than thriving.

She's ready. And so she goes, looking back only briefly to smile and wave as she adjusts the book bag on her small frame.

I am the last car in the carpool drop off lane so I pause long enough to take a picture of this little girl who has overcome so much in so little time, this little girl who reminds me so much of my own self despite not sharing the same DNA and only being together as mother and daughter for 10 months, this little girl who stretches me to my own limits and shows me I can grow beyond them.

This little girl. She's taught me so much about resilience, perseverance and grace.

But more she's taught me about one thing in a very real and loud and epic way: we cannot care for others well unless we care for our very selves well.

When I pause in the silence of my car, I feel tears spring to my eyes.

I am not angry or grieving or looking to escape her strong and demandingly passionate presence like I was even just a short month ago.

I am just ready.

I am ready in every sense of the word to stretch myself into a new chapter where I go beyond surviving motherhood and adoption and, well, life, and embrace thriving.

I am ready to care for my very own self beyond going through the motions of squeezing in exercise or a nap or a girls night out.

I'm ready to care for my very own self and all the facets that make me up.

When did it become "selfish" to care for our own selves, mamas?

When did exercising our bodies in the beauty of sunshine and our minds in the beauty of books and taking time to nurture our hearts with good conversation or quiet reflection and engaging our creativity become a luxury rather than just an essential part of caring for the human soul?

Isn't this what we do for our children? We don't simply feed them and bus them around. If we did, likely we wouldn't be so tired.

We see our children as holistic people who need play, rest, nourishment and connection.

While motherhood changes much in our lives, it doesn't change that we are holisticly mind, body and souls, not just bodies to merely keep alive.

I don't know where along the way I picked up on the slightest but also noisiest of messages that seemed to say that focusing on the care of my own self is selfish --

maybe it's in the way that we wear busyness as a badge of honor in our culture

or maybe it's wrapped up in our own assigning of self worth

or the way the world values us for what we can do rather than who we are

or our thinking that everything, including time, is scarce and fleeting --

I don't know exactly where it's come from but it's there embed in my mind as belief and I'm working small-step by small step to uproot it.

The work of uprooting requires digging our fingers into the sinking soil and following the root all the way down to it's start, and that takes time.

Time and time again of returning to the place and pulling out all the roots of lies so they don't regrow and crowd on the truth and instead planting seeds of truth that look a lot like making time to care for my soul day in and day out and making time to care for my body each and every day and making time to care for my heart and my mind, filling my own self with love and care so I can love and care for others.

Yes, there are tears in the carpool lane but it's not because I'm grieving or sad or angry.

It's because I'm ready.

I'm ready to say yes to growing and loving me and taking care of me so I take one step closer to that as I drive away and choose

not to go clean my home

or even start dinner

{though I know those are important tasks that need tending to}

but rather to sit down first with a hot cup of tea

and feed my soul as I would feed my body

first.

And choice by small choice,

I move from

I am ready

to

I am living it.

May God give me and give you the strength and inner love and resolve to carry on in the task of self love daily, day by day, small choice by small choice. <3 p="">

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