February 24, 2015
I live in my mind a lot (an introspective extrovert, I’ve been labeled). One day soon you’ll realize this about me. And you need not worry because majority of my thoughts are positive ones… feelings of gratefulness or relishing the fleeting moment that’s in front of me, visions or memories or future hopes and dreams. I feel deeply for people, near and far, and sometimes I read articles or watch documentaries that stay on the forefront of my mind for days. The only times my brain drives me a bit batty is when I’ve lost vision of my purpose. Most often this happens when I’ve either 1. Spent too much time studying other people’s lives (if social media still exists when you read this use it sparingly and with wisdom) or 2. I’ve inadvertently fallen into a rut of doing things I think I’m “supposed” to do (the most dangerous thing a human can do, in my opinion) or 3. (And this is a big one because you will undoubtedly experience this when you become a mother) I get tired, distracted or have given too much of myself away indiscriminately.
Re: point #3: This happens often. It’s not my fault or your fault; it’s simply motherhood. Right now you’re so young and needy and you want to try out everything on your own and the day’s tasks and messes are never-ending. And if you grow up to be type-A like me know that it can be hard to keep vision outside of the walls of your home because the laundry list of to-do’s feel bigger than they often really are. I think type-A’ers have the hardest time deciphering between what’s important and what’s urgent and in a perfect world everything would be tucked, tied and blow-dried all on the same day.
But regardless if you are type-A or type-B, every day is filled with incredible efforts when you’re a mother and causing insult to injury is the lack of effort that is found with the passing of the calendar and the days that turn into weeks and the weeks that turn into months and suddenly you’re no longer babies or a even toddlers. Every morning I’m reminded that our wild and precious lives truly are a mist, here one second and gone the next (James 4:14).
And sometimes (not always, but right now for sure) I find my brain heavy and my synapses over-firing looking for direction. I know I’m a wife to the love of my life and I’m your mother and I know how to manage our household like a well-oiled machine (minus the cooking part – sorry about that) and I know how to take a good picture of you at any time of the day. And I promise you I don’t take any of these things for granted. I feel humbled often to have the life I do. You all are my dreams come true and I say that with the utmost sincerity.
The past year though, I’ll confess, I’ve lost myself a bit in the midst of it all.
Because here’s the deal… The things I should do are quite obvious. Whether that be the daily chores (full hamper? time to wash clothes), the things that come easy to me (want some shelves here? I’ll build them.), or the things that have been engrained in me to do to be a well-rounded human being (work out, pay attention to our finances, read books, etc.)
It’s the things that are not right in front of me (the things that aren’t easy to obtain or obvious to tackle) that still flood my mind in those rare, quiet moments (late at night or while in the shower) that I’ll admit I quickly categorize as a dream that will never be realized. But, “it’s okay because I get to mother you,” so I tell myself.
And, there’s truth in that statement and it’s the obvious one. But, there’s also a lie and in case it’s not as obvious to you it’s this: my dreams are no longer important because you were born.
What a tragedy it would be for me to raise you as if you are the center of the universe and incapable of thriving without me hovering over you every second of your day. I think it may be the easiest way to mother, but you would undoubtedly grow-up handicapped. And, so I won’t. Not for you or for me.
So, these things I promise to you, girls, because I believe you deserve to grow-up with a mother that runs off a tank of joy and not off a tank of obligation or self-imposed standards:
- I won’t give up my life for you.
- I won’t give up my dreams and then assume that I’ll be more fit to help you discover yours.
- I won’t operate out of fear that if I follow my own God-given callings you will suffer long-term because I may not be as readily available as you may need (or think you need).
- I won’t let my tank run dry and then resent you for my own doings.
- I won’t lose myself to perfectionism in body-type, wardrobe or the managing of our home.
- I won’t put my God-given gifts on hold until you’re older.
- I will show you by example that you were made on purpose for a purpose by living that way myself.
- I will be bold and I will be brave.
- I will be obedient to God (because when I say yes to Him I’m out of harm's way).
- I will not be influenced by the opinions of others.
- I will not live my life vicariously through yours.
- I have high expectations for your life so I will do the same for mine.
- I will live fully alive in God, by God, through God and because of God.
- I’ll tell you every day I’m with you that you’re the loves of my life.
I also promise you that:
- I will leave home without you.
- I will set boundaries that will hurt your feelings.
- I will let things go and forget things that are important to you.
- I will do things that will not make sense to you.
- I will have times where I need more from you than I can give you.
- I will most likely not be your class’ room mom or hand-sew your Halloween costumes or clean your bathroom for you (or as long as you are young, not until guests are on their way to town).
- I will disappoint you and fail you and screw up a thousand times before you leave our nest and even after I’ll continue to do so.
Because girls, here’s what I believe to be true for our family: I don’t exist for you and you don’t exist for me. We exist for Him. And He put us together because the sum of our parts make us a hell of a lot stronger than we are apart.
As I write this, we are currently in a season where your butts need wiped and your exploration often causes giant messes that only I can cleanup. But, you are growing and you are growing fast and I want you to know that you have a great and specific purpose in life. It’s why you were born! And, as long as we stay committed to moving forward together as a unit, all of us in the same boat, but each of us with our own rows, we will all thrive, not just survive.
As life moves us forward I promise I’ll try my hardest not to obsess over how the future is going to pan out. This letter is a small, but perfect example… I had little idea where it would lead me. I just knew I had something I needed to tell you (and therefore tell myself.) And here I am… at the end of a letter that has been quite therapeutic for me to write to you. Word by word a path was paved. And so will our lives together be and eventually apart when you set out to pave your own paths.
I won’t worry about tomorrow (and please don’t you either). Instead I’ll leave you with one last promise and it’s that I won’t let mothering you unfold one monotonous day followed by another. That will only breed exhaustion, depression and desperation in me and maybe you, too.
Instead I’ll show you the life you have waiting for you when you get older… a life of vast ventures, where fears subside and God feels closer than ever. I’ll show you that motherhood is truly the greatest adventure there ever was! (Forgive me for all the days I’ve done just the opposite. I told you I would fail you.)
Your madly in-love Momma