Friday, September 30
I'm still spinning from the thoughts that hatched with yesterday's post. If you'll allow me, I have more on my mind I'd like to ramble on about...
I think the thing that is hitting me the most with this book I'm reading is that I am suddenly, sharply understanding that all this WORK I'm putting into my life right now is.... essentially.... for nothing.
Wait. I know that sounds AWFUL. So let me try to explain. I guess, in my innocence here as a relatively new mom of only 4 years, it has seemed that every day I am working to refine myself to be a better mom, better wife, better person. There are concrete steps to get there--- feed my kids healthy food, give my kids opportunities to explore and imagine, lift up and support my husband as he provides for our family... And even through the bumps-- a hard pregnancy, a colicky baby, a changed career path-- I have seen PROGRESS. I am able to feel authentic in my daily life, like I am becoming who I have always wanted to be. It has been WORK, but I am seeing results.
Katrina Kenison, veteran mama, is telling me, gently, that all too soon, I will no longer be able to define myself so simply. The work in becoming THIS mama will no longer be relevant. I will have to figure out a NEW way of being "Mom" to my kids... and then, even after all THAT work, one day I'll have to figure out how to be authentic as just ME again... Kids gone, living their own lives. So in that, way, I am stunned... and a bit sad... at the revelation that all this WORK I am doing RIGHT NOW is for something temporary, really.
So of course, I KNOW it isn't for nothing. The work I do now is building my own foundation, hopefully, so I can be ready for the next level, and then the next, and the next... Trying with every stage to be authentic and to be the person God wants me to be. And I know that even for my kids, this work I do now is setting them up for success in the next stage--- the disconcerting adolescence that seems so far and so foreign to me right now.
It just brings to me a weight of sadness and melancholy to realize that these days now, with their repetition and their SAMENESS and their routine... these days that seem so endless-- sometimes frustratingly so-- WILL have an end. Ms. Kenison writes,
"...I felt so certain that tomorrow would be just another day, another chance to try to get it right-- followed by another, and another after that, and hundreds more, all more or less like the very day I was struggling to get through at that moment..." pg. 6
And so... it turns out this isn't so. Of course, logic cries that I should have know this all along. But my heart is so entrenched in this daily business of rearing a pre-schooler and baby (and more to come, God willing), that it doesn't have time to step back and understand that one day, these days will run out.
I'm not trying to be a downer. I'm not trying to work myself into a full-blown depression about the futility of my daily work.
But I AM seeing with some new clarity just how poignant and beautiful THIS version of "mama" is. My gosh, it's exquisite, when you stop to think about it. These are the times where hugs are the currency of the day, and sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters can brighten an entire afternoon for that little person... These are the times when there is an answer for everything, and all your kids really NEED is security and consistency and love... with a LOT of fun sprinkled in. When they aren't being torn into a thousand pieces by the bigger, wider, often harsher world, and still only really know the things YOU choose to teach them. When forgiveness is immediate and completely sincere. When WE PARENTS are the ultimate superheroes to our children. What a magical thing. And I LOVE it. I love it so much I don't think my heart can hold it all in.
And I know I have YEARS ahead of this, especially if we are blessed with any more children. I know that for now, the days DO number in the hundreds. I thank my God for this.
But I also now understand that I will miss this. I will miss the "ME" I am working so hard on right now... The "mama" that will have to adapt one day and become "MOM", with totally different requirements and challenges and expectations. I wish.... I don't know... I wish I could keep refining and cultivating THIS "me" forever.
But we are placed here on Earth to learn, to grow, and to CHANGE... and I need to have faith that everything has its season and that there will be incredible beauty and truth in the next levels ahead. And possibly, it will only get BETTER. Wouldn't that be amazing? This feeling I have now, only magnified by more years and deeper experiences?
For now, though, I am deeply, humbly grateful for these thoughts this week. For seeing my present life with fresh clarity.
Because my gratitude for all of it is so sweet I can hardly breathe.
And thank you, commenters, for your incredible comments yesterday. They carried me through the beginning growing pains these new thoughts have given me. I am so glad this resonates with many of you... that it's not just silly me, being too analytical or emotional or sentimental. Please keep the thoughts coming. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll try to respond with comments of my own if there's something that begs a response... And PLEASE go get these books if you are feeling a connection to these thoughts. Ms. Kenison is incredible at putting the beauty and emotion of motherhood into words. I am so glad I took the time to read her first book, and know that this second book will be a huge journey for me with these ideas of change and how "mom" is defined at different times of our lives. Get reading, and come back and let's talk!!
Posted by Emily S. at 11:05 AM