When we first got married I was so excited to do EVERYTHING together. I couldn’t wait. I worked at a coffee shop and I told a friend of mine that I was even going to start working with Graham (as a self-employed window washer). “This is a terrible idea.” he said.
I’m not sure if it was my inability to clean things, or the fact that I wanted to spend 24 hours a day with only one person that tipped him off.
Dear First Born,
I remember the day I first held you in my arms. You became, and I also became. I’d thought about motherhood for a long time, about how I’d be and how you’d be. But I was still so unprepared. Heaven and Earth kissed for a moment and I’d never felt so sure and so uncertain all at the same time.
I know you think I wear yoga pants and athletic-T’s because I spend my days doing pilates while my kids practice Mozart on their harmonicas. But, I’m here to tell you, I wear them because they’re stretchy.
Sometimes I teach my kids things that I did not intend to teach them. Sometimes this is an extra bonus, like when I accidentally taught my oldest child to be extremely bossy. I pretend to hate this, but really it’s like getting a third parent for free.
I’m half-heartedly retraining him to be a child.
It is completely not working.
Yesterday we took Oaklee to her first day of Kindergarten. I had been thinking for weeks about that day. I had been thinking about her zest for life, her joy, and her silliness. I had been thinking about her incredibly pure and kind heart.
She is such a treasure, as all kids are.
Maybe you’re sitting on a stool in your kitchen right now, surveying the damage from breakfast. You look in bewilderment at what appears to be the remnants of a crumb monsoon. You stare at your cup of coffee, looking for the answers to life’s questions. About that time, your kids run past you. They tear around the living room leaving a wake of toys, books, and unidentified underwear. They are screaming in decibels your mind cannot compute.
“MOM!!!” they shout in pure glee, “Can we have a SNACK???”
Now before I start this, let me just tell you, I’ve been running for 3 months. I am similar to that lady who ranted on Facebook about how parenting isn’t an excuse to not shower and have crumbs under the couch– and she has exactly one 2-week-old infant. We’ve all been collectively giggling while we sip our wine, and fist bumping thinking of toddlers running through Cheerrios on her freshly vacuumed carpet. I was thinking of emailing her to see if she could come shave my legs for me.
To My Kids,
Some people will say that the world is a scary, scary place. Some people will say that there’s no hope and that the future is dark and bleak.
My dear ones, don’t pay attention. There are things that are awful, and terrible, and sad, but there is also always HOPE and there is always GOOD. You have the tools already printed in your heart. You have love, mercy, compassion, generosity, and kindness. You have ambition and courage, and a radical sense of justice…and that is exactly what is needed.
You are not helpless to bring goodness and light to the world; you are well equipped.
Fear will tell you that it isn’t enough, and that there is nothing that can be done. It will say that you are helpless and a victim to fate. It isn’t true, my loves. The world is your canvas. Make your mark on it with creativity, compassion, and purpose…and I promise that you (and it) will never be the same.
The world is still very, very beautiful because it is full of people, people who have greatness inside of them. We must always be believers in people.
So far we have had exactly 49 days of summer vacation together. I’d like to make you all aware of some new positions that will be opening up, due to my resignation. Those are: Toilet-Flusher, Sock-Finder, Snack-Maker and someone to explain (every.single.night.) why the sun is still up at bedtime. Please submit your applications accordingly.
Also, from now on, when I hear bickering I will hide under my bed and listen to Taylor Swift until it is over.
A couple days ago, my precious one looked deep into my eyes, placed her chubby little hand on my cheek and said, “Mom, you don’t have a young face, because you have those lines on it.” That came only a week after she’d watched me get out of the shower and lovingly mentioned my “chubby butt”. I giggled a little, but said, “Moms probably don’t want to be told their bottoms are chubby.”
“But Mom,” she said her brown eyes wide with wonder, “It’s so big and round and you know…wobbles like this,” she said, as she flailed her hands dramatically.
Oh my dear soul…just what I needed. Sign me up for botox. We can use my butt to help my face, it’s a worthy cause…and my butt is happy to donate. Particularly today.
Years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to South Africa. The highlight of my trip was the period of time I got to stay in Bottlebrush, an informal settlement where the rates of sickness and HIV were astronomical. There I met the most beautiful girl, Monica (her english name). She was a little younger than me at the time. She was the happiest, most joy filled person I’d ever met with a contagious twinkle in her eyes. She had dreams of becoming a doctor and she would have been an amazing one, but a couple months after our trip we received word that she had passed away from preventable disease.