Dammit, I miss you!
The doorknob hits my hip as I stand there, still groggy, toothbrush in hand. “Mommy, can you make room for me?”
I scoot over, pulling my robe closer around my body as she walks in and hugs my waist. “Good morning Boogie. Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah, I slept pretty good.” Her drowsy little voice catches my attention as I realize she is really growing up. I take this morning bathroom routine for granted so often. Her big eyes staring up at me as I dry my hair or put my makeup on. Not just the mornings, but all of it. Her warm, cuddly, over-the-top, excited hugs when I come home from work. Her desire to be right next to me no matter what I am doing.
I remember when Jay was like that. When he wanted to be a part of everything I did and followed me around all day. I don’t remember that last time though. I don’t remember the day that he stopped asking me to make room for him. I don’t remember when the kisses goodbye in the morning stopped and I started getting a quick wave and a signed “I love you”.
I know all too soon, Jaylah will follow in his footsteps and will be too old to want to do this. Sleeping in will become more important than watching me put myself together in the mornings. The excited hugs will become “Hey Mom” with a quick kiss on the cheek. Technology will take the place of her desire to follow me around.
“Mommy, can you make room for me?”
Oh, my dear children, I will always make room for you.
But how often, in everyday life, do I come through on that promise?
How often do they ask, “Mommy, can we play a game?”
“Mommy, if I tell you this, can you not get upset?”
“Mommy, can you snuggle with me?”
“Mommy, did you hear me?”
How often do I choose dishes, or laundry, or my to-do list when they want to play?
How often do I choose to make room in my heart to hear them out, even if I am upset?
How often do I say “I would love to, baby, but I have to…?” instead of a simple “yes”.
How often do I “listen” with distracted ears and eyes, not really paying attention to something they find so important?
Too much. Far too often.
I love to be busy, love to be productive, enjoy feeling like I am making a difference.
And sometimes that means I neglect time for play.
Sometimes my impatience overpowers my compassion.
So often, I want me-time at night and I allow that to determine how long I lay there, or how much talk time they get before bed.
Technology distracts me far more than I care to admit, pushing out room for heartfelt, genuine conversations.
Sometimes I look at all the missed opportunities that I will never get back and my heart breaks.
Times when I could have made him feel important, but I was on the phone.
Times I could have made her feel valued, but I was too busy.
Times I should have answered “Yes, baby, I will make room for you.”
I know that we are all busy. We live in a fast-paced world with to-do lists that are longer than our days, or sometimes even our weeks. Long days can be hard. Messes get repetitive and frustrating. Work and school and volunteering and getting everything done seems so critical. Everything seems urgent.
But one day its over. One day it is the last time they ask for a story before bed. One day is the last time they try to barge in the bathroom so they have a captive audience while I am in the shower. One day, they stop wanting a kiss goodbye or a giant hug hello. One day, games with mom aren’t cool anymore and time spent at friends’ houses looms far more important than time spent at home. One day, they know that sharpie bleeds through paper and they don’t make that mistake again. One day they just grow up.
And you never know what moment will be the last time.
I don’t want the last time they ask me for a story to be a time I turned them down. I don’t want the last Eskimo kiss to be distracted and impersonal. I don’t want them to feel like the things they share with me are less important than my phone or my show on television.
I want these to be moments where I can show a little extra compassion or a little extra love. I want to give them MORE hugs than they request, more listening than they desire.
I want to snuggle them, and hold them, and kiss them more than they could ever want.
I want them to know that they are so important, so valuable, and so loved that there is nothing more urgent, no busywork more important than what they are going through right now.
I want them to know that I support them. I want them to know I am here for them. Fully alive. Fully present. In this very moment.
My kids are growing up. Jay said the other day that he is “halfway to being an adult.” Jaylah started school this year. It goes by faster than I ever thought possible.
It isn’t long before clubs and sports and friends and homework are the priorities… and I hope in those moments, the moments when I ask “Hey, can we talk for a sec?” that the response is “Yes Mom, I can make room for you.”
*Found on Facebook. Happy to give credit where due. Just thought it was beautiful.
Ah. I love the sound of the wheels grinding back onto the tracks after being derailed for awhile.
Sometimes we just need a little nudge, a little push or a great big wake-up call.
Sometimes all three come in the way of a coffee invitation and a warm, welcoming smile.
(After all, coffee is the only love I have ever written poetry about.)
You are all of the above. A breath of fresh air. Exactly what I needed.
Pain. Laughter. Memories. Regrets. Openness. Authenticity. Reality. Vulnerability.
Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of all of it.
It’s been a while.
Reading the stories of our hearts, between the lines, deeper than comfort allows at times.
Scenes of days long gone dance through my mind, bringing cold coals back to blazing fire.
My dormant senses awake with purpose and passion once more.
That was always my phrase.
Adventures await the bold, the brave, the beautiful.
And I needed to remember.
No matter how tumultuous or tiring your journey, you carry hope with you, freely showering it on anyone who will accept your gracious gift.
It blazes from you, warming those who dare to walk close enough, lighting up the dark places, and consuming those who are too frail or fragile to withstand.
Raw. Pulsating. Vibrant.
I needed that. I needed you. You will never know how much.
I will keep reading.
I will keep writing.
I will keep painting.
I will keep going.
And today, it’s all thanks to you.
So much brokenness. So many hurts. If you’ve lived a little, you know the feeling.
My kids have been with their dad this week. But before they left, we started growing crystals on my kitchen counter. They made me promise to send them a picture each day so they could watch the progress since they wouldn’t be here.
Yesterday, I sent a picture and got a response about all the broken pieces. If you didn’t know, crystals break off as they grow and they create a nice little mess.
That’s right… The broken pieces bring growth.
Brokenness creates the room that is necessary for the crystals to become more.
Much like life, isn’t it? Sometimes we need some brokenness, an end, a change, a hurt that spurs us to be more. Sometimes we can only find growth if we accept the brokenness. Sometimes the broken is the best thing for us.
How beautiful is that?
I found this journal entry that I wrote in 2012 and wanted to share it with you. There is so much truth in this. That period of time was the most painful, challenging time I have been through, but I feel that it made me stronger and wiser than I ever could have imagined. Reading this, I can feel how deep my pain ran, although if you had asked me at the time, I would have told you I felt nothing but numb. It wasn’t long after this that my world changed forever.
We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through love and friendship can we create the illusion for a moment that we’re not alone. I have become so enthralled with that illusion that I wrapped my entire self in it and lost my individuality in the process. I am on a journey to discover who I am and unwrap myself from the illusion. I can’t have my identity wrapped up in another being or I will never discover happiness.
Jim Morrison said: “A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.”
I want a love like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning it is a flame, hot and fierce, slowly fading to something light and flickering and fun… When it is fed with oxygen (freedom and trust) and wood (affection and affirmation), it dances and lights up the night. As the fire matures, as two hearts meld together, love becomes like coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
I know that all love shifts and changes, becomes something different almost daily. I don’t know if you can be wholeheartedly in love all the time. Love does not begin and end the way I always thought it would. It isn’t a fairy tale with a “Happily Ever After.” Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. And a painful one at that. But I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
It is sad not to love, but it is much sadder not to be able to love. To fear love is to fear life, and in fearing life, I am already three parts dead. Love is so vulnerable though. It takes off masks that I fear I cannot live without and know I cannot live within. It reveals more of me than I ever thought one person would know and that makes me tremble in anticipation of being left for who or what I really am. I have heard so many times that you never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. I just have to figure out HOW…
I have a picture of love in my head. Love, wholehearted, unabashed, more than I deserve kind of love. Love that sees the flaws and works to be a covering. Love that tells AND shows in everything. Love with trust and respect and affection and the knowledge that one is valuable and needed. Love- a gift bestowed freely and willingly, without any expectations. Love is a commitment with no guarantee of whom or what the other person will be… when they are given an endless supply of forgiveness and grace. Love is a persistent pursuit of passion for one another. Someone to stand by you. Respect you. Give you two arms to cling to and something warm to come to.