I’ve been thrifty with my facebook/internet/news time lately. It’s hard to read and watch and listen sometimes (all the time?) to what is going on. It’s too much.
So I turn it off. I tune it out. I unfriend it.
I look the other way and that view is usually full of roly-poly humans who fall down the stairs and fall off of bicycles, piles of laundry, dishes in the sink and sticky spots in the refrigerator. I text my husband a weekly apology for my abysmal housekeeping skills.
The thing is, my housekeeping skills are not abysmal, they just do not fall high on my priority list. The baby falls down the stairs, but she’s learning boundaries and she gaining independence and she’s not really hurt by it, just scared. And I’m there to pick her up and dry her eyes and help her navigate those stairs again. And again. And again, until one day she’ll learn how to go up and down and it won’t be so scary anymore. Finn falls off of his bike a lot, usually when I let go for the briefest of seconds to prove to him (and me) that he really can do it. And I help him stand back up, and I brush off his pants and smooch his cheeks and cheer loudly for the whole neighborhood to hear that he did it! Even if it was only for a moment, he biked on his own! I’ll keep picking him up and brushing him off and cheering loudly for him again. And again. And again, until one day he’ll learn that he can balance on his own and it won’t be so scary anymore.
Every day these small humans that I’m charged with growing are doing amazing things. Every day they do things that cause my hair to turn grey, too. But when we tuck into bed at night and pray our bedtime prayers and say our God Blesses, we talk about the best, most wonderful thing that happened in our day. And each night I’m reminded sharply that the best, most wonderful part of our day is that we’re together. We are snug and safe in our little house on the shore. For one more day, the wolves didn’t nip at our heels; I didn’t wonder where our next meal was going to come from or how I was going to keep my humans warm, clothed, safe. Which is a heck of a lot to be thankful for.
I don’t watch the news right now because I see myself in those refugee women’s eyes, I see my own small humans in their babies. I see how easy it would be for it all to slip away and that scares me. It’s probably the writer in me, but I often think that many of those women woke up one morning with husbands who had jobs, kids who went to school, play dates, a grocery store down the street that carried the peanut butter their kids love the most, and then they went to sleep that night on the run; in a field, in a tent, huddled in close and scared out of their minds. One minute, the world is spinning as it should, the next it’s titled off of its axis and everyone is disoriented and everything is disheveled.
It’s easier to play ostrich and stick my head in the dirt and pretend that the world is a giant unicorn parade, full of rainbows and sparkles and love. It’s not though, is it? It’s full of messy things, scary things and hurtful things and I’m doing myself a disservice when I pretend otherwise. I’m doing my small humans a disservice when I look the other way. I want to teach them to be kind and compassionate grown ups, but if I don’t model the way, how are they ever going to grow up to be kind and compassionate?
If I’m being truthful, I’m not getting into the messy, ugly stuff because it’s scary there. There are real dangers there. I’ve let myself be soothed with the trite: Well, you’re raising the next generation; you’re doing the real, hard mom work. And it’s true, I am and it is real, hard work, but is that enough? In the grand scheme of things, can I really hang my hat only on: I raised good humans. I don’t think so.
There it is, the crux of my problem: I feel like I am not doing enough. I feel like I am not showing up. I have this intense calling to do something, but I really have no idea right now what that something is. I lack the training and the patience to be still and pray and listen, to know when to seek and when to wait, because it’s right there, waiting for me to say, “Oh, yeah. That’s what this season is about, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.”
So. All of this to say: I’m struggling. I want to show up. I need to show up. I just don’t know what that means for me. And if you’re in the same boat, if you wake in the morning with a dull ache in your belly, remind yourself that today might be the day it all becomes crystal clear. And then again, it might not. Either way, we’ve got work to do, so let’s push up our sleeves together and dive into the world – the big one that swirls around us or the little one we tiptoe through each day, it doesn’t matter as long as we show up and make one small difference while we’re waiting to know what comes next.
Show up with me in your day today?