Category Archives: Spiritual Encouragement

Parental Paradox

The day I left the hospital with a tiny human tucked into his (and eventually her) car seat, I looked around furtively waiting for someone to say, “Ma’am, you can’t keep him cause you have no idea what you are doing.” Why and how I could suddenly be entrusted with the LIFE of another human being?

Being the avid reader, I, of course, took to the library, finding any and all books on the how-to’s of caring for an infant, taming a toddler, and raising a healthy child. No matter how much I read or how many months passed in those first few years, I felt ill-equipped, spending many days drowning in Mommy guilt. Honestly, it was the one job at which I never felt fully successful. At least I had a plethora of books I could consult to at least find a possible solution to any child-rearing problem.

Fast-forward to the late teenage years, you know the ones ,where the very-opinionated small semi-adult has strong ideas and feelings on how life should go and how Mom does, or doesn’t, fit in that space. With every decision, that same feeling of inadequacy rears its head again. I stand in a place where I have hardly any answers to some really tough questions, and there are no books to consult, as few authors have felt the confidence to tackle this most difficult dance of parenthood: the letting go and holding on.

Poems and thoughtful, nostalgic essays have been written on the topic, but no direct advice given. This motherhood stage is jam-packed with ALL THE FEELS. Just in the past week while celebrating the high school graduation of my youngest (which means empty nest looms), I’ve gone from excited to melancholy, giddy to tearful, confident to panicked. I am ALL OVER THE MAP! Just call me the emotional version of Carmen Sandiego.

When my oldest started his senior year just a few years back, I suddenly wished I was an octopus. I could then have eight arms to grab and hold time, people, and events for just a second longer. All around me, days moved at warped speed and nobody seemed to notice but me, the mom. It’s not that I wanted time to stand still so things couldn’t change; I just wanted to savor moments a little longer, to weigh them down in my memory.

For so many years we grip tightly to our child’s hand, even when he or she pulls against our hold, and then one day, which always comes too soon, we must loosen our fingers and let her hand slide from ours. While she turns and runs into their future, our hand stays forever open for those times when she’ll look back and need to grab hold again just to know we are still there.

In her book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memior, Katrina Dennison says, “letting go is also a way of saying, ‘I love you.'” The precious days when we all shared the same roof, the same dinner table, and the same world are suddenly gone. We can’t stall the days nor can we force our children to stay. So we loosen our grip and tighten our hold on the memories. It is in the letting go we declare our love because even in our own painful loss of so many things, we want our children to live a happy lives of their own.

The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s selfishness. And if there was one thing I learned early on in motherhood is that it is the most selfless thing I have ever done. Therefore, it’s only fitting that as face the ending of this season of motherhood, I’m  required to make yet another selfless choice and let go of so, so much as another birdie takes flight into a life of her own. When I let her spread her wings and fly, she will hear me whisper once again, “I love you.”

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Winter Life Savers

This winter has been difficult here in my corner of the world. There were more overcast, rainy, sleeting, super cold days than bright sunshiny but chilly days. It’s only my third winter here in East TN, but I could definitely feel the seasonal affective disorder creeping in.

Luckily, I discovered a few things that brightened those dreary winter days. I thought I’d share them with you in case you needed some help holding on until Spring makes her complete and grand appearance.

  1. A stationary bike and spin class app. Several years back (like 10 or so), I became a fan of spin classes. In fact, I loved them so that I would go the gym at 5:30 AM and take a class before work. I always left feeling great and very sweaty:)  However,  taking a spin class at a local gym or spin boutique these days can be very costly. In comes the wonder of iPad apps. The hubs purchased a stationary bike from Amazon, and we downloaded an app (requires a monthly subscription fee) that allows us to participate in live or on demand spin classes occurring in Spin Class gyms in other parts of the country. Instead of venturing out in the the freezing cold— which was a mental battle in itself —to get a brisk walk or run in, I just hopped on the bike and worked up a sweat in the house. LOVE IT!!!!
  2. L.A. Colors Color Last Nail Polish. Never been one to keep a constant manicure. Never been one to keep unbitten nails either; until recently that is. I accidentally picked up this polish (under two-dollars at Wal-Mart) for a quick self-manicure. I was amazed that after a week it still clung to my nails. If your like me and hate polishing your nails every 2-3 days just to keep the chips away, then check out this bargain.
  3. Spring-scented candles. Found a set of lovely candles at my local Dollar Tree in some great scents: Watermelon, Italian Ice, and Strawberry Sundae. Burning those each morning, helps me hold on till the real smells of spring waft through the air.
  4. Dave Barnes Instagram Account. If you aren’t a Dave Barnes fan, you should be. He is a singer/songwriter whose songs have been performed by Blake Shelton and Thomas Rhett. He’s a fantastic songwriter (not just for country fans) with a great voice that has over 10 albums, each of which I adore. But even better is that he is HYSTERICALLY funny. In fact, he is doing a tour this year where he blends his musical talent and his stand-up comedy. I attended his Christmas show this year and was enchanted by his music and his humor. Check out his Instagram account for crazy funny (and clean) posts and info on his music @DAVEBARNESMUSIC
  5. Water bottle with fruit infuser. I’m not a fan of water, but need to be at my age. Drinking it with some fruit infused flavor, however, makes it much easier to consume.  Found this gem at TJMaxx and it works perfectly.
  6. The view from my window. My reading spot is situated near a window that looks out to the front of our home to the mountains beyond. On days when the sun spills through the slats on the shades, I’m reminded that winter can’t last, Spring always sends it packing. Both my mind and heart need to be reminded of that.

Hope you gained some inspiration to help you make it until Spring.  And please share any thing that kept you going this winter. We all need a little inspiration to make it through the last chilly days before Spring.

 

Please note: no company has paid me for my endorsement for any of these products. I’m simply sharing my happy discoveries to my friends.