grace.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

if i'm good at one thing,
it's being fully (overly) aware. . .of many things.
but most importantly, to me,
aware and appreciative of the encounters I experience each day.
i'm one of those whack-a-do's that thinks EVERY encounter is. . .something.
not just a coincidence.
even when it ends up NOT being anything special.
the familiar but also totally random connections with strangers, that occur daily.
if you're human, (i'm assuming you are,)
your life is filled with relationships.  all types.
and sometimes, even when we don't want to or expect it,
we're given a new one.  another person, another friend, another stranger,
to inspire us, make us think, show us something we needed to see,
even if not right on that 1st meeting.
and I thrive on those. . .friendships.  relationships.
even the ones that take time to settle in to.
like those new shoes you stumbled across when you weren't really looking, but just had to have and just might need. . .for something.
a little awkward at first, hurt like crazy for a few weeks, annoying with blisters and cramped feet,
but after awhile,
you settle in to them.  get to know them a little better.  see that they're really not all that perfect either,
much like yourself, you know,
and they start to bring comfort, easily slipped on and off, make you feel like. . .you.
or a better version of yourself.
and gosh, you could use a million different analogies here.
but you get what i'm sayin'.
i TRULY believe each person in my life,
whether hand-picked on clearance
or sent as a gift,
no matter how deep and meaningful,
or surface-y and superficial the relationship,
is in it for a reason. 
more than i love quiet and peace and solitude and alone-ness,
i love people.  being around people.  learning about people.  talking, digging, listening, understanding.
and yes, let's be honest here, gossiping, comparing, judging.  it comes with the territory of being a woman. . .and being human.
but always trying to be better, ditch the judgement, understand more and empathize with more grace and ease.
giving the benefit of the doubt,
because, as we know, you JUST DON'T KNOW what pain is in their life,
what makes them who they are, even if the state you found them in, is less than ideal.
and maybe they need you as much as you need them.
each of the special connections, i personally have, never fail to show me something amazing or not so pretty, not only about myself and this life,
but THEM and THEIR LIVES.
and one thing i've realized, through all of these connections,
is that these relationships, have a constant yet natural ebb and flow to them.
i'm sure we've spoken on this before.
but i remember a counselor i met with in college,
called relationships 'a dance.'
and they are.
we move in and move out.  then in again.  then back out.  one step forward, one step back.
minus the awkward hand-holding or creepy invasion of personal space.
this is a truth.
our relationships that are ever-evolving, being tested by time, space, hardships, disappointment,
trying our patience, our trust, our beliefs in each other. . .
as i've become more aware of this and have learned to accept this fact,
i've begun to watch my relationship more closely, with my most FAVORITE and cherished little woman on this earth,
my daughter,
how weeks can go by, where we're totally at odds with each other.
she's pushes my buttons, gets under my skin, antagonizes her brothers, lips off, typical 4-year-old behavior.  and i can go days truly not liking her.  ALWAYS trying to cut her some slack and see things from her little perspective, but it's hard.
and then, those other days.
she's an angel.  helpful, considerate, kind, loving, obeys, listens. . .and you feel like you should get a trophy for being an amazing parent, to have created such a wonderful child.
but it never lasts, as we know.
ebb and flow.  that is the only thing that's constant.
i've met and know many women, who say, 'oh, my mom is my best friend.'
i love that.
and although i want that with my own daughter SOME day,
a huge part of me, RIGHT NOW, doesn't.
i want respect.
i want my daughter, ALL my children, as teenagers and adults
to feel they can come to me with anything, their dad too.
but to still have a DEEP respect for us as their parents, their teachers,
i kind of feel like and want them to hate me first.
is that wierd?
but really.  fear me.  but in a good way.
to know i mean business and i'm not here to coddle and swaddle,
but to push, and encourage and challenge and discipline
and make sure they do the right thing and make good choices.
or at least learn to live and learn from the wrong ones they make.
of course, because they are my life, i want them to figure things out,
to be fearless and independent, but compassionate and kind and generous.
and i say all of that, because i'm a big talker,
but i still tie my 6-year-old's shoes (because i've been too lazy to teach him,)
i haven't been militant about potty training my 2-close-to-3-year-old,
partly because, i'm just lazy.
partly because, he's my baby.  and did i say no coddling?
(the thought of not having any more fresh packs of diapers in the house, breaks my heart.)
and my baby girl.
oh, my baby girl.  who i yell at a lot (and try not to, but sometimes fail miserably,)
well, some days, when it's just her and i,
i hold her little but big-girl-4-year-old body in my arms like i did when she was a baby.
and it's this relationship, right now,
because she's my only girl,
that has me holding on for dear life,
to these sweet moments, between preschool and kindegarten,
these short but precious days of summer to come,
before yet again, i have to let go of another one,
to the big, bad world of. . .school and finding their way in it.
before her innocence and carefree view of life becomes jaded and knocked down a couple notches,
and maybe we have a few more years before that REALLY happens,
we're not there right now.
right now,
we're in the perfect most beautiful place together.
a harmonious balance between princess dresses and digging for worms.
ballet slippers and muddy galoshes.
cuddling with mommy and playing baseball with her older brother.
doll houses and ponies and piggy banks,
and then head locks and sleeper holds and wrestling with her little brother.
she lets the boys chase her, but then she turns right around and chases them back.
so how do i preserve this balance in her?
all the things that drive me absolutely nuts sometimes,
are the things i really do love most about her.
clearly, at a that beautiful and strived for place,
having the ability to play well with others,
but also loves to be left alone.
a rare place, at 4-years-old,
where she's ok with who she is, loves herself, and doesn't care what other kids think or say,
whether her clothes match, if her hair is a mess,
she just does what she wants.
and God bless her.
and i know it won't always be that way.
or will it?
right now, i say, our parenting is about teaching them to RESPECT us,
to respect others.
but constantly challenges us to harness their uniqueness and teach them to embrace and love themselves, as they are, but to be strong and confident and fearless.
to teach them that yes, although we will ALWAYS be here for you,
that we love you more than life itself,
we are not here to be your friend.  (not right now at least.)
but your mother, your father, your teacher.
i think about these things a lot lately,
because i've had a lot of time alone with my my girl.
one day a week, gracie and i get a morning, just the two of us.
and some of those days are dragging her, unfortunately, 
from errand to errand, always trying to squeeze in SOMETHING special along the way,
and then their are days, where i get it and i take advantage and truly appreciate THIS time and nothing else matters.
forget the errands, we'll shop in our sweet, small town,
play her favorite game, 'i spy,' over a shared cupcake and tea.
and it's in those moments alone with her,
that the reality of just how crazy this life is.
how fast it goes, sinks in like an anchor.  heavy and painful and leaving me gasping for more. . .just a little more time in this place.
how quickly the time between 'it's a girl!'
to slipping backpack straps over my soon-to-be five-year-olds shoulders, goes,
sending her off to kindegarten,
the beginning of a whole new adventure.
it's heartwrenching.
it's too fast.  no matter how much you stop to enjoy it.
i always say this, but if God promised me endless strength and endurance,
and more healthy babies,
i'd have ten more kids, just to relive these little years,
the little sandals and sundresses, the carefree snuggles, bedtime stories nestled under cozy blankets,
little painted toenails, little bandaids.  little everything.
little voices.  hand-holding and carrying little, sleepy bodies to bed.
ugh.  to live without experiencing that, for me,
is a tragedy.
and now that SHE will soon be heading off to 'big' school next fall,
i'm wanting to soak up as much time with her as i can.
she has brought out the absolute worst in me,
but teaches me more than i ever would've imagined.
she is so much better than me and i learn from her daily.
we got to steal away for some more private time one afternoon, while charlie napped.
she really wanted to snuggle in our hammock with a blanket.
and as she laid across from me, tucked neatly between my feet, hers resting on my chest,
i looked at this face.  the most beautiful i've ever seen.
and wondered how i could be so blessed?  to have something so beautiful in my presence.
and how could these past 5 years have gone so fast?
i said in my last post, jack was my 'favorite.'  (actually, probably in a few posts.)
as horrible as that sounds, we all know as parents, the love we have for EACH of our children,
is equal.
and that we don't necessarily have a 'favorite.'
favorite, in my world, is simply code for, 'this one doesn't give me any grief.'
each relationship is different.  each relationship will bring different struggles and challenges.
up to this point, grace has been my biggest challenge.
but she's amazing.
and all the good things that i am not. 
so on these (finally) beautiful days of spring, the days gracie LIVES for,
i work to cherish and capture these moments of her in her glory.
traipsing through puddles, digging for worms, drinking from the hose, 
recycling through a new sundress every couple of hours.
soaking up the much deserved sunshine.

1 comments:

Sarah Joanis said...

Beautiful. Being a mom to a daughter is so awesome and you have me looking forward to some fun and trying times. You have also convinced me that you need to write a book.

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