Monday, September 5, 2011

the dust is slowly settling on another season passed.
and it's nice.  to shake it off.
patting our denim hard,
like a cowboy after a hard days' work on the ranch.
time for a change.
although this time of year, always bittersweet,
as we tuck away shorts and t-shirts to be replaced
with trudging boots and heavy coats,
i eagerly await the turn of seasons,
with the promise that 
before we know it,
we'll be here.  again.
fall is not quite here, but in the air,
with the sound of crunchy leaves underfoot,
soon to replace the night time crickets and croaking of tree frogs.
and then, howling winds at the windows, the crackling of our fireplace,
the ruffling of blankets, as we nestle in to another minnesota winter
(hopefully less dramatic than the last one.)
but we got in our 'lasts.'
our last swim.
pruney toes,
sticky fingers from one last icecream cone,
a sagging swimming diaper,
luring tired bodies back to the mini van,
bidding adieu to another summer gone by,
and our favorite pool,
until next time.
soaking up the presence of my baby girl, 
before she heads off to the big leagues,
kindergarten this week.
(i'm sure i'll post about that later, a blubbering mess of a mommy, letting another one free from the nest, to learn the things i can't teach her.)

reflecting on her face,
our summer of adventure together. . .
road trips, plane rides, roller coasters.
but even more importantly,
the adventure of raising a girl.
learning to occupy the same space together,
day in and day out,
how to better understand and love one another,
a huge challenge for me this summer.
but something we both came out on the other side of,
a little wiser, more appreciative and more accepting.
i was able to take a 'last' little mommy break,
a night away with some awesome chicks.
my dear LORD, how much we need that, 
as mothers.
to just get in the car and go.
fast and freely, 
or slow and leisurely,
spreading our wings out long,
and not to hover or shelter little ones,
but to fly.
unencumbered by chores, the incessant chatter in our ears from little people,
the constant demands that come along with being a mom, whether working or at home.
i believe to my core, that WE, mothers,
absolutely, positively, NEED that to survive motherhood.
for years, i didn't think that.  my kid(s) were my world and that was all i needed.
but we added a few to my plate,
and, well, THIS mom learned to welcome and TAKE breaks for herself.
it's so easy to lose ourselves in this all-consuming career,
constantly caring for little ones.
over time, it takes a HUGE physical and emotional toll.
and unlike our working counterparts,
we don't always get to take a lunch break,
walk around the block for a half hour,
get a full nights' sleep 
punch out.
we are on.  always.  and almost always with someone in tow.
a heavy role to perform.
and little escapes, breaks here and there,
can significantly reconnect with ourselves,
with our own thoughts,
with the solitude and peacefulness that our bodies truly need and crave.
i was able to find some of that here,
where quiet dirt roads guided us through laura ingalls wilder territory,
through some of the most lovely wisconsin countryside,
to this sanctuary.
a welcoming farmhouse nestled comfortably in its own pocket of solitude,
a place where some tired mommies could put their feet up,
eat, drink, laugh,
leaving behind, if just for a moment,
teething babies, crabby toddlers, disheveled houses,
to just, be.
again, i really have been made to see the importance of this time in our lives,
swept up in the tornado that is motherhood,
to stop for a minute and step aside of it all.
our breaks don't have to be spa days, week-long vacations, expensive and outlandish,
(well, for me, sometimes they do.:)
but they can be simple.  an hour here.  
ten minutes there.  to quiet our minds and feed the beast that lies in ALL of us women.
the one that's always wondering when you're going to give a little back to yourself,
the one that will be waiting there for you when this is all over,
when the kids have grown up and moved on.
i'm hoping, REALLY hoping, that little pit stops along the way,
will make the arrival to that destination,
a little easier.  less painful.  that i won't be a hot mess by the end of it,
that my marriage will still be in tact, maybe even better.
raising kids, know matter how many we possess,
is the most challenging job we could ever have.
and without actual pay or near enough recognition,
breaks need to be our reward.
little treats here in there, to keep us going,
keep us motivated, keep us from getting lost in the shuffle.
the trick is learning to get good at it.
letting go of the guilt.
trusting that it is perfectly ok to say yes to ourselves too.
what good are we to our families, our children,
if they don't see us independent of them sometimes?
isn't it encouraging and influencing in some way,
showing them that mommy and daddy have lives too?
that although we love them with our whole being,
that's it's not ALL about them all the time?
i think they need to see that.
as hard as it is to leave sometimes.
or at least to know ourselves well enough at this point,
to know what we need, to keep our head above water,
to keep ourselves sane, healthy and strong.
the little things that feeds US outside of THEM and gives us a little leeway 
to be who we were meant to be, aside from mother.
as we head in to another school year,
a huge shift in the life of stay-at-home mom,
who has spent every waking moment shuffling and entertaining,
feeding and caring for,
is ready to accept some back-up.
to take THIS time,
to reinvent, refocus some love back to herself,
so she can be better for him.  for them.
dusting off the heavy-ness that has built up on her exterior
from a summer of full-ness.
to lighten the load a little and clean up all that has been left in its wake.
we're slowly heading in to the season of rest, 
which, for us northerners, is long.
but much needed, as our summers our crammed to the hilt.
and as much as i'd like to hold on to these days a little longer,
as they slip quickly through my fingers,
no matter how exhausting and challenging,
it's time to get centered again.  
to go in to the season of cheer and good will, celebration and family,
with a lighter heart, a well-cared for soul,
in order to give more and nurture well, the little lives that make up our own.



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