Mommy’s Here…

Tags

I was twenty-one when I gave birth to my first child; she was beautiful. There was nothing that could have ever prepared me for the depths of love that filled my heart as I held her for the first time.

I knew right away that she was worth my every effort. My relationship with her made me feel as though I had been designed to be a mom, I felt completely made to be “mom.” Every moment with her felt like my soul had found it’s calling.

I felt like I could see things for what they really were. One restless night, Shylee had been crying for so long, at each failed attempt at making her happy I felt more and more like a failure. I started to cry with her, I could feel her pain and as the tears came down my face it became clear to me that this moment was about more than finding a way to calm her down. This moment was meant to build a trusting relationship with my daughter. I whispered in her ears “Mommy’s here.”

I was filled with excitement everytime her cries woke me from my sleep. I knew I was getting out of bed to show my daughter that I would be with her through thick and thin. I was showing her that even though I can’t always make her troubles go away, she never has to fight them alone. I knew someday her troubles would be bigger and that this moment and every moment like it acted as a stitch in the fabric of our relationship, and every stitch made us stronger.

Shylee will be five years old this July. There have been many sleepless nights since we sowed that first stitch. With each stage of our relationship, the “Mommy’s here,” mentality has served as a lamppost as we’ve made our way through more difficult challenges. The phrase “Mommy’s here” was the most humbling statement I had ever made as a new mother. I was admitting to my daughter that I did not have it all figured out, I did not have a solution for her troubles, and that the most I could offer her in this difficult moment was merely my presence.

I have eleven brothers and sisters, I am number seven in that lineup so my mother was a pro by the time I came along. I have so much respect for her; she is so loving and wise. I honestly believed that she was perfect and I wanted to grow up to be just like her! I thought being a mom meant you had some kind of power or insight that others didn’t and that you always knew just what to do or how to fix anything! When my mother said “Mommy’s here.” I knew things would get better because MY MOM WAS THERE… Her presence made everything better!

Uttering the words “Mommy’s here” not only humbled me it shattered the unrealistic ideas I had about being a mom. It’s not being perfect, it’s being present, it’s not having the power to fix anything; it’s having the bravery to face anything. Being a mom doesn’t mean you have all the answers, and that’s ok because this isn’t a test, it’s an opportunity to love wholeheartedly.

Advertisements

When I Walk I Fall

Tags

My youngest daughter Ember loves to be held, she wants me to carry her everywhere we go. Lately I have been working with her, teaching her that walking for herself is a good thing. I tell her “I will hold your hand and we will walk together.” She hates it, she gets upset every time I don’t pick her up and carry her. One time she wanted me to carry her from the car into the house and I told her no, but that I would walk with her. She grabbed my hand and said “But mom, if I walk I’ll fall.” She said it like it was a perfectly good reason to never walk. At first I thought that was she was being rediculus. Before I could respond I realized that she thought not trying was acceptable because I had been leading that example.

I hold back from the things the scare me. I sacrifice my desires because I’m afraid I will fail. I run away from games in fear that I’ll look silly. I avoid all things that I just might “fall down” while doing because I’m afraid I’ll end up on the floor.

I got down on my knees and I told Ember that it’s ok to fall, it’s ok if you get hurt while trying because I will be here right beside you, you wont walk or fall alone.

She stared to walk and a few steps later she fell, she was so frustrated and said, “See mom, I told you I would fall!” I reminded her that it was ok and encouraged her to try again. She got back up and walked the rest of the way to the house without a trip.

Later I thought about this beautiful moment with my daughter and how meaningful it was to me. I thought about how much she trusted me, and how inspired I was by her bravery to get back up and walk again.

My kids learn by watching me, so I have to be sure that my walk teaches them that it’s ok to fall. This meant I needed the grace that we as parents give to our children when we are actually teaching them to walk.

I thought about my girls and their first steps, when they would take two or three steps and then fall flat on their bottoms. Not once did I question if they were meant to walk. I never picked them up and said, “Oh no, you fell, you’re not good at this, lets stick to crawling and leave the walking to somebody else who is better at it than you!” Instead when they fell I cheered, “You did it! good job, you walked! I’m so proud of you!”

I didn’t see their falls or the amount of steps they took before they fell. I saw their efforts. I saw their beauty and I lived in the truth that they are enough. I cannot think of a time when I have failed or fallen and thought, “Good job Kami, you did it!” I have always focused on the fact that I was sitting on the ground with cuts or bruises on my pride.  When I give grace, my daughters learn to give grace, but it’s only when I receive grace that my daughters will learn to receive grace.  I have to change the message,“Stupid, stupid, Kami, why did you even try!” That I tell myself when I mess up. I have to start telling myself, “Good job Kami, you did it, you gave it all you’ve got!” I must stop clinging to my doubts and start walking, and when I fall, I must fall into the grace and love that I want my children to live in. Our mistakes are not a place for shame. They are a place for grace, love, learning and believing that we are one step closer to something amazing!

I know it hurts to fall, but I’d rather walk with bruises then stay in one place crippled by fear.

I am still learning that falling isn’t a bad thing and I take my steps trusting that when I stumble grace will be there to pick me up, brush me off and say, “good job!  you did it, you are enough!”

 

When Flowers Dance

Tags

It was a cold day and I was walking through a field with my youngest daughter. The wind was blowing, shoving everything around. My daughter looked up at me, grabbed my face and said, “Mommy stop, look the flowers are dancing!” Before I could correct her, she continued, “Mommy, the wind is helping the flowers dance!”

I stopped walking, and looked around. She was right; the flowers were dancing! I had never seen that before. In my mind the flowers were always being shoved around whenever the wind was blowing. I couldn’t believe that I was going to “teach” her that the wind was blowing and that the flowers were not dancing.

As a parent I can get so caught up in my role, always trying to teach my kids how things work, right from wrong, and the “facts of life.” That I forget how much my kids can teach me!

I am so grateful that my daughter made me stop, and invited me to see the world through her eyes. She has such a beautiful way of seeing things. I am trying to change the way I parent from “what I have to teach,” to “what we can learn together.” To think that I might have gone the rest of my life watching the flowers be shoved around by the wind, instead of seeing the wind as something that gave the flowers the ability to dance saddens my heart.

As an adult it’s so easy to see the negative side of things when we are facing hardship. We can become so overwhelmed by our “to do lists,” seeing it as all the things we HAVE to get done, and be burdened down by the end of the day when there is still so much “to do” left on our list. We climb into bed exhausted, feeling behind, wishing there was more time in the day.

I am certain if there were more time in the day, I would just make my list longer, and still climb into bed feeling like a failure because I didn’t get it all done. If we can change our mindset from “to do,” to what we “get to do,” maybe then we wont climb into bed feeling bad about what we didn’t “get to do,” and feel happy about what we did “get to do.” Maybe the list would stop pushing us around, and just maybe it could be the very thing giving us the ability to dance.

There have been many times that my girls have said “Mommy come play with us!” And I’ve told them I can’t because I have to do the dishes. I am constantly making them wait ‘til I’m done with some chore. I do these chores because I want to take care of my family, but I have made the mistake of letting the chores come first, my priorities are out of whack at times!

When I do this, my actions say that the dirty plates, cups, bowls, and silverware are more important than you right now. I need to be okay with a sink filled with dirty dishes, and say “Yes, what I’m doing right now is necessary, but you are more important, and the dishes can wait!”  Then when I wake up the next morning to a stack of dishes I can feel proud, I can feel happy because the dirty dishes exist because my family was fed, and they remain because I spent quality time with my daughters. In doing this I’ve changed a chore undone into a meaningful accomplishment.

It is important to remain balanced in this though. We cannot ignore all our responsibilities. Things do have to get done. I am only suggesting that we examine what is most important and why. Are we beating ourselves up when our house is a mess? Or are we going to bed feeling like failures when we don’t accomplish all of our goals for a day? How can we rest when we feel overwhelmed and behind?

I want my list to reflect how I feel about my priorities, and my roles as mom, wife, and Kami. I don’t want my list to control how I feel. My list does not get to decide who I am, what my value is, or my dedication to my family. I make my list, and if something doesn’t get checked off it, it’s not because “I’m a failure,” it’s because something else mattered more.

I like the thought of dancing through our days because, one really has to let go and be free in order to dance. We can’t worry about what others are thinking of us while we’re dancing. We can’t plan our every step, we have to listen to the music and just let our bodies move. Dancing is fun, it’s freeing. You can dance the dance however you like!

I am not the most comfortable dancing in front of people, and if you’re the same, you might be thinking, “No thank you! Dancing is not freeing or fun, it’s frightening!” But I’m not talking about the dancing done in ballrooms or bars. I’m talking about the dances we dance in the shower while singing into our bars of soap. The dances we dance when we are cooking dinner, or cleaning the house, you know the dance we dance when no one is watching. That is the dance I’m talking about, and if you’re thinking, “What? Who dances around their house like a crazy person!” then yea, I’ve never done that either! (But if you have, then you know that “free to let it rip!” spirit you get when you’ve got the place to yourself!) I want my “to do list,” to become that, “Let it rip, you’ve got the place to yourself!”  soft breeze that whispers, “May I have this dance?”

Our lists do not make us; we make them. What we get done or don’t get done, does not make us doers or don’ters, it makes us dancers.  The next time your day feels like a rush of winds shoving you around may you dance like the flowers in the field.