For the moms…

This post is for all the moms/mothers/mamas who…

-want to leave a legacy behind beyond just a jumble of genetics.

-work long double shifts just to make sure all the needs of her family are met.

-are valiantly supportive and strong for their husband and their children even when they feel weak and crumbly on the inside.

-stay up late, way too late packing lunches, editing unacceptable crusts off of their children’s sandwiches; packing lunch bags and backpacks and little bits of herself along the way.

-have 5 loving sons whom they adore, but were hoping for a daughter there somewhere in mix.

-let their children fail so they will really learn a lesson about self-reliance and responsibility.

-have scraggly nails, mostly bad hair days and are in desperate need of a massage, but who have well-groomed and spotlessly clean children.

-toil after their dreams; for higher education, for another job, trying to capture the intangible thing called a dream so that her children will have a good life in part because of her hard work.  And so her children know what hard work looks like.

-have to mend broken hearts and wounded feelings and kiss imaginary boo-boos on little ones’ hearts and heads.

-have learned to restrain out-loud, open-armed love, and instead adapted to their teenager’s love language of a laid-back cool mom that just sort of listens.

-deal with messy, sticky jelly hands, Cheerio breath and peanut butter kisses on a daily basis.

-try to not to rescue their kids every time they fall, though every thing in their hearts wants to shelter their children from pain.

-work outside of the home or inside the home; the moms who still have to clean up messes seemingly all the time regardless of if they grab their morning coffee at the office or at the kitchen counter.

-wish they could solve their daughter’s 20-something broken heart boo-boo like before-with a hug, a kiss and a Barbie band-aid.

-stay up way too late and get up way too early cleaning the house, doing laundry and prepping dinners just to make sure her family is well-fed and cared for.

-hold their tongues and their disappointment when a son comes home from college with a nose ring; for the moms who have teeth marks on their tongue from just smiling and nodding at their mother-in-law’s overly generous advice on child rearing.

-take the long, slow, seemingly snail’s pace time to figure out their children’s needs, wants, personalities, dreams and hopes.

-choose their children’s contentment and needs over their own wants of life’s little luxuries like sleeping in, excessive bubble baths and beautiful jewelry.

-have to tie knots upon knots upon knots just to make all the ends meet.

-whose hair and house and body has seen prettier days; before the little ones became her hairdresser, before all the handmade pottery and refrigerator door art, and before all the meals of Cheerios and Goldfish scarfed down on the go.

-have to make some bittersweet and tough choices on how to best provide for her children.

-eat lovingly homemade Mother’s Day gifts of handmade granola with gummi bears and poorly made weak coffee when in actuality, the best Mother’s Day gift would really be a night at a nice hotel, sleeping in and getting a day to herself.

-would do anything and everything to protect their children and have the scars to prove it.

-love and love and love their children.

This is for the mothers of super heros, princesses, dinosaurs, dragons and “mommy, I’m a cat today!”; for the moms of babies, of small ones, moms of ones who are all sighs and teenage drama, angst and ignoring; the moms of children who are adults, the moms of those who know better, and those who haven’t a clue; the moms of children who have seen and known to much for their short lives already, and for the moms whose little ones seem blissfully unaware about anything in the real world.

If you are a mom, a mother, a mama- this is for you. Thank you for doing all that you do.

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Laundromat

You know those favorite shirts you have? Those wonderfully soft, comfy shirts that you wear over and over again? Your favorite tees, you have any of those?

I do.  I have several like that, and my favorite one is grey, with an illustration of small frog playing a guitar on it.  My small daughter sees this and asks “what’s that?” and I tell her; and she (this is why I love children) accepts this as-is, as if it would be totally natural to see a frog strumming a guitar.  Yep, frogs playing guitars occurs in nature. Up next, unicorns with wings!

Back to the point-I love this shirt. Would probably wear it all the time if I could just for the sheer comfort, if not for the awesome guitar frog picture alone.

But this shirt-hasn’t had a breezy life.  It’s easily close to a decade old, and not only that, it went through my husband’s wear and tear for a couple of years, then one fine day became mine when I shrank it by putting it on too high heat in the dryer for way too long.  And when it became mine, then the wear and tear only just began, for I am not easy on clothes.  I probably launder them too often (and we’ve already learned that I do not know how to use a dryer very well) and I usually catch my jewelry or my ring on delicate threads. Shirts generally do not look at me and think: yes! She should be my owner!

But the shirt is so soft and pliable now, so much so that I can sleep in it if I so chose. Didn’t start out that way, but with all of the washing and drying, the wearing and inevitably, tearing or pulling, and the constant use, it’s become a treasured shirt.  And it should be considering all it’s been through.

This is not unlike life, you know.  The constant wearing and tearing, the consistent, relentless wash-dry process called life should be enough to break us down and make us soft and supple, too.  Sometimes this happens, most times it does not, and we get bitter and rigid.  But who wants to wear a rigid shirt?

Not sure what happened to you in the washer-dryer process of life, or if like me, you feel like you are being constantly tumbled, but I do know one thing for sure:

It ain’t a bad thing to be considered soft.

Good Grief

So, lots of grief lately.  Ironic, touching, strange, a whole slew of emotions-especially all of the grief that  my friends and I have experienced right up to the hours before Easter Sunday.

And Easter Sunday: my friend who had complications and was just barely alive: winked, smiled, wiggled her toes.  Miraculous.  Both in big and small ways.

And she was a fighter, fiercely independent before-we didn’t think she would take anything lying down, but who were we to judge what God had planned for her? Regardless, we begged and pleaded with God; we bargained with Him as if that were to change His mind.

Which, I’m not sure if it did or didn’t, those are mysterious things that I may never know about or ever begin to understand.

However, what I do know is this: Grief and love and loss-all unlock a new level of caring and loving each time we pass through them.  Each time we get our heart-broken, we can elect to be more defensive, more protective of our hearts or we can become more vulnerable.  Same with grief and loss and hurt-it can paralyze us or we can use it to propel us forward, to new levels of depth and appreciation for life.

And, BTW-The softest, sweetest people I know are those who could have been hardened, mean, bitter. They so very much have the right to be bitter because of what life had handed to them.  But they choose not to.

And this is a silly, crazy little comparison-but it’s not unlike video games-you never know there is another level (of compassion, patience, love, etc.) to unlock until you get there.

And then what you find when you get there: the realization that it was there all along.

Am I a bad mother…?

Am I a bad mother because…

…I would rather her know the names of the stars and constellations than all the names of Disney princesses and all the celebrities?

…I want her to know about mud pies and skinned knees and tree houses and how to keep a secret?

…I’d rather her know about bugs and butterflies and the mystery of every living thing more so than the latest toys?

…I want her to know, deeply and truly about what fireflies and wolves and bees are before they are extinct?

…I want her to know about what cursive is, what the post office does, and what manners are before they are extinct too?

…I want her to know about the super heroes that don’t make it the movies; about the ones that hold the frail, aged hands of the dying, the ones who fall in the shadows, unnoticed; the ones who are made of grit and courage and patience but whose skin may resemble more sandpaper than skin, but whose soul is soft as butter?

…I want her to have and know a true girlhood before she becomes a tween; that I want her to be a girl detective more so than a princess; that I want her to believe in the power of her own dreams and determination than relying on a prince on a horse to save her?

…I want her to be both gutsy and tender; courteous and kind; God-loving and God fearing; knowing when to roll the dice in life and when to play her cards close to her heart; that I want her to be courageous and yet vulnerable; strong and yet gentle?

…I would rather fill her little head up with ideas found in books, and imagination from exploring rather than the ideas that come from TV?

…She is truly confident because she knows she is loved unconditionally?