I like to think of myself as fun and relaxed, as brave with a touch of crazy. I’m the one who loves to laugh and awkwardly dance in public, the one who jumped off the cliff first and who shaved her head because she felt like it. I’m the one who traveled across the world alone.
So naturally, I thought I was going to be a really fun parent. A free spirit, spontaneous and unconcerned with dirt or danger. I’d probably raise kids who were sponsored by Red Bull they’d be so fearless and capable.
I sat across from you today. You are struggling, you are tired.
As looked into her eyes I recognized the exhaustion and the fear. I recognized the question, the one that asks am I going to be okay? I remembered a dark season in my life. I remembered when I was so undone with anxiety that I couldn’t take the kids to the beach or even make it out of the house.
I remembered when I had no hope.
I remembered a friend who showed up every single day on my doorstep. She’d ask, “What are you afraid of today?” I’d tell her and she’d listen. She’d really listen…that was the gift. When I’d run all out of words I would sit shaking on my porch trying to feel the sun that beat down all around me, but never touched my skin.
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.
Friends, we need each other. Live bravely today. Live shamelessly. There are people that will take your invitation. Not only will you find belonging, but most likely you’ll give the gift of it to someone else.