Sunday, August 28, 2022

A New Year

I can't believe I haven't written on the blog since my blood clot last November. 

Maybe that represents more than I realize. That was a turning point in many ways. 

For some reason, I felt called to return to writing this morning. Maybe because I hosted a gathering for all of the Kindergarteners (yes, my kiddos started Kindergarten this week) at my house this week and I got to meet so many moms with children my kids' age. 

I see these moms and I wish I could sit down with each one of them and get to know them. There is so much to every mom, isn't there? Her fears, her worries, her own routine, her little joys, her sense of balance...I could go on. 

But I see these moms and their smiles, and I wonder...are they truly ok? 

Are they struggling in a way that needs more help? I pray for all moms today---of all ages. Especially as a new school year begins. Many of my clients are sending their children off to college and I can't even fathom that. 

My mom always says parents are meant to give their children two things---roots and wings. So I imagine I'm in the roots stage now--we're learning to care for others and ourselves (dental care is still a struggle!). We're learning to respect each other. We're learning to name our feelings. We're learning table manners. The list goes on. 

But, I know there will come a time, that I need to focus on helping my babies grow their wings. 

I see several of my clients doing this now. And my gracious, it looks hard. Children who push you away but secretly want your affirmation. Children who say they want to live far away, but desperately just want you to say that you will miss them. Children who have bigger dreams than you ever imagined. Children who don't know how to take a step without you. I guess as someone who counsels high school students, I see so much "wing" development. 

And you know what? It's sad and beautiful--all at the same time. But isn't so much of this life? Sad and beautiful. I think the older I get the more I realize so many things are sad and beautiful. And that's ok with me. Perhaps at a younger age, I was afraid of sadness as being something that swallowed me whole. 

But now, I see sadness as this reminder that many things are indeed meaningful. And meaning is one the things that I think most of us seek, right? On the way home from work last night, I heard Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind." I remembered that when the children were in my belly, I used to sing this to them every night before bed. 

Doctors required me to do a "kick test," to make sure the babies were still active. Granted, I had no idea who was doing the kicking, but doctors decided that was ok. 

So, I sat in a chair in our VRBO and counted 100 kicks each night. If I didn't reach 100 in 30 minutes, I had to go straight to Labor and Delivery. This was nerve-wracking, so I decided to sing. 

My mom and dad used to have a home on alot of acreage and Dad used to love to cut the grass. He'd sit in the cab of his giant John Deere air-conditioned cab of the tractor with this giant headset on. I can still see his grin as he would ride by on his tractor. It still hurts and helps my heart to think about these happy times. I remember one time as Daddy climbed off of the tractor, "Humble and Kind" was playing loudly in his headset. I know he loved that song. So, I sang this to my kiddos in utero. 

Someday, I will re-introduce them to this song. It teaches so much of what I want them to know. I'm sure each one of you has a song (or several) that you want your children to carry with them as they grow their wings into the next chapter of life. 

All of this to say, life is beautiful, but it's also sad, too. There are tough days that no one sees. There are things said that burn to the core. 

This week, as I posted pictures of my girls' first day at their school, many Facebook followers began to chide me about why I do not post as many pictures of Luke. 

I've been very honest here about Luke's life with autism. Children with autism see the world differently and in Luke's case, photographs are not something that he enjoys. But these folks who do not know me personally (only through social media) make assumptions about my level of love for my son based on the number of photos I publish. 

As much as I was insulted (and very, very hurt), I realized that so much of life is based on what we see. We really have to hold ourselves accountable to remember that there is so much more that doesn't meet the eye, right? 

There is mental illness. There is grief. There is family strife. There is sadness. There is trauma. And if nothing else, there is so, so much effort that we don't see in each and every family. 

So, in all of this, I just reminded myself to be mindful and appreciative of each mom (and dad) and all that they do for each of their children. Harboring resentment for strangers doesn't serve me. 

I hope today brings you a bit of rest (in whatever form helps you most). 

Here are some photos from the first week of Kindergarten.

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