Spicy isn't so bad

I recently read this post. Well, skimmed it. In the bathroom.  While avoiding laundry, a cluttered basement and dirty floors.  (Just wanting to keep things real around here.)

In three days my baby girl #1 starts preschool.  Until a few days ago I was totally freaking out. Things were escalating as follows:  Am I less of a mom because I'm not homeschooling her?  Have I given her enough tools to handle the nitty gritty of a 4 year old social life? Does she know how to "just say no"?!  Oh Lord, please don't let her be the mean kid!  As you can see I was in a full blown spin out.

Man, this mom gig is hard.  I spent so much time wanting and waiting for it, I don't think I gave time to truly thinking about all motherhood entailed. I knew it would be hard, but I don't think I anticipated the constant mental ticker tape running around in my brain.  It's this strange combination of keeping track of basic survival, emotional well being, and spiritual leading while wondering if you're doing it all wrong.

On top of this there is this new(ish) level of expectation of perfect consistency and patience flying around that honestly pushes me over the edge.  I blame Pinterest, Facebook, Mommy Blogs and  Mrs. Duggar.  I mean, 19 kids and she's still all smiles and quiet voices?! C'mon!  It's just frustrating.  

Then I read this.  The wind of fresh perspective blew over me and a breathed it in as if I had been suffocating.  We are just a spicy family.  There's no way around it.  

My big girl has an opinion (or a 1023 of them) about everything and my baby girl's personality holds consistent with the statement "all or nothing" .  There is no way a can shove either of them into a "sit still and crochet" category.  Believe me, I've tried.  Somehow, I thought this meant I wasn't doing something right.  I thought perhaps I wasn't patient enough (well, is anyone, really?) or consistent enough or soft enough, basically,  just not enough.

Where did this come from? When did it start?  When did I start thinking we weren't "right"?  I grew up in a so called spicy family and loved it.   The result was three sisters, three strong personalities, three woman that fiercely love God and their families.  When did that become not enough?

It's time to walk back under the umbrella of grace.  It's time to remind myself that God is the one forming my motherhood and He knows what He's doing.  It's time to look those other preschool moms in the eye and not compare my ability to brush hair-in-motion against theirs.  I was made to raise my kids.  I was chosen for them and they for me.    

Together we knock off each other's rough edges and fill each other with big, bold, shmooshy love.  We forgive constantly, we talk truth and we grow exponentially.  I think we're doing OK.  

Thanks, Jen Hatmaker.  Thanks for reminding me that spice isn't so bad.  In fact, it's pretty great.  After all, how boring would life be if not a little spicy?


To Her

It's been years since are friendship began to crumble to its demise.  I'm not sure when the chipping away first began.  I'm not sure who first decided walking away was easier then hanging on.  It doesn't matter.  We are here now; a few city miles and a million silences apart.

It's been years, yet I still think about you almost daily.  Sometimes it's a wafting thought that comes and goes.  Other times its a nagging, stabbing pain that I can't believe is still there.  You were such a big part of my life.  Now you're not.  Do you think this way? At all?

I see your precious babies.  Once we marveled over them together all fresh and new.  Now I see them tall and beautiful and they have no idea that we spent hours and hours together, keeping them up late and crazy. It felt like family, joined by friendship and faith.

I know your life has taken all kinds of twists and turns that we never talked about and I never saw coming. I know I failed you.  I know I stopped seeing.   I know where I left behind compassion and picked up judgement.  I know where I started staring inward instead of outward.  Few things grieve me more.  

If you were on the other end of the couch right now with a mug of coffee and creamer I would tell you I'm sorry.  My perspectives have changed so much.  My life has changed so much.  How I love has changed so much.

Today I read this blog post and all I could do was cry.  Tears flowed because with all my heart I thought you were this person. My person.  My forever friend.  

Perhaps it wasn't the same for you.  I may wonder that the most.  How else could this have happened?  Did you think we were too different?  My world too small and restrictive?  Did I just not hear you or see you fully? Did you think there would be no room in my heart for the truth? 

Regardless of your answers, on this end of things you were the best kind of friend.  Crazy and cracked in places, but full of something contagious and brave. I miss what you carried with you.   Its strange how I still feel like you are supposed to be the one around.  I don't know when that will leave.  Maybe never.  

You have walked through so much over the past few years.  New voices at your side.  New faces in your home. New milestones. A new life.  Often I wonder what it's like, what you are like.  It's strange not knowing.

There are days I have the audacity to hope that somehow, someday we could repair the chasm created by life moving on.  There are other days I tell myself to move on and just let you be a sweet decade of memories.  

I don't know if you'll ever read this.  If you do, you may find flaws or reasons for further distance.  My hope is that you will read it and only find love and gratitude.

I want your life to always be full of goodness, hope, joy and love.  I want you to know rest and peace.  You need to know you are missed and loved.

Although I never thought I'd see you go, I'm  thankful to have lived life with you for over 10 years.  You walked with me through the most painful decade of my life. Together we shared laughter, hope, pain, empathy and faith.  No one else could have spoken bravery into my scared heart the way you did.  All I can inadequately say is thank you. 

With so much love, thank you.