Sunday, September 27, 2009

Easy Does It

I got to spend time with a good friend this week--one who knows so much about me that we simply pick up where we left off. In the four or five years since we've seen each other, we've navigated middle- and high-school transitions, full-time employment, relational quandaries, second-floor bathroom overflows that require holes cut into first-floor ceilings...the usual. There's an absence of judgment and an abundance of laughter. My petite blonde friend is raising three active boys, so her looks deceive: She has a core of titanium underneath the slim exterior.

We laughed about how lax we've become, as moms, as the years pass: What once would have sent us in a panic to the ER now merits an unsterile Band-Aid, haphazardly applied. She noted that a woman she knows refuses to let her boys play with pretend guns at home. But she has no problem asking my friend if her boys could come over to play with her boys' pretend guns. And, somehow, this woman is the better mom for it. Go figure.

The further I slog down the Mommy Superhighway, I'm finding I know less, not more. I thought my utter dedication and tireless supervision would keep life in line, but there's so much over which we have zero control. My girl's heart gets bruised with some regularity. Plans change, people leave, life is terribly unfair. I get crabby when I'm feeling overworked and underappreciated.

I wish someone would have told me early on that diligence is fine and all, but Easy Does It should be the new mom's mantra. I think I'd have fewer gray hairs and more good memories, less stress and more fun. I wouldn't have gone as ballistic years ago when I saw my then-toddler sharing her ice cream with the dog (one lick for her, one lick for him), or as wigged out over a 104-degree temp that barely slowed her down.

I'm hopeful, as Eve's Daughters progresses, that we'll have more stories based in an easier-going reality--of times when cereal suffices for dinner, when cleaning the toilet gets waylaid for a game of tickle, when an outing for $1 ice cream is doable even on the tight budget. When Easy Does It becomes a way of life.

How have you simplified?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All Things New

It's become my favorite time of year. I love September because, to me, it signifies a clean slate, a grand re-do. Close your eyes: Remember the sawdusty smell of freshly sharpened #2 pencils? A new tip meant a new start: mulligans for all, with hope abounding.

My girl came home from her first day of middle school and said it was “awesome.” My heart leapt, relieved, as I’d been wondering about her all day. She had teased me this morning, asking if I was going to cry like I did when she started first grade.

I told her today was kinda like first grade again, but she was taller.

Fresh lunchbox, fresh backpack, fresh start. My heart aches, grateful.

I cannot tell you how or why, but it feels like I’m getting a do-over as well. I have been quietly thankful, not entirely sure of the circumstances or how long they’ll last. But I feel supported, buoyed by a clear course. I’m no longer rudder-less as I was in the early days of my divorce. It feels to me like an early thanksgiving—purposeful but humble, jubilant but shy. It took a long time, but I’m becoming new.

I talked to an old friend tonight who’s known me since I was 12. I told her about this strange state I’m in; she told me I was due. The newness is tempered by the full knowing that life continues to twist and turn, to present challenges and those ubiquitous “growth opportunities” that “build character,” as if we need any more of that. Things will break; homework will perplex; doctors’ bills will come. Nothing really changes, but everything does, seemingly. Something has shifted, and I think it has to do with purpose, and direction, and understanding and maybe some hard-won wisdom.

I’m getting to see things, people transformed, and it’s pretty amazing. As bittersweet as it is to watch my girl grow, knowing she’ll need me less and less, it’s equally thrilling to watch My Girls (and I use that term with love) grow—the amazing single moms I’m meeting and learning about. I mean, how cool is that—that I get to be along for the journey?

I hope you enjoy the strange newness of the season as well—I’m finding what seems like an ending often is a beginning.