Cheers to You, Friends!

Over the last decade (and change), since becoming a mother, I have had different friends enter the landscape of my motherhood. Each has contributed something precious and necessary: community, advice, support, assistance, and laughter.

Must. Have. Laughter!

While all of my friends aren’t mothers (hello Jason, Joan, Sarah!!!), I’m focusing in on those fellow mamas today.

Some have come alongside to help me see clearly, when my eyes were too filled with tears to do so on my own. I’m thinking of my sweet friend Ally, who listened as I relayed a devastating fear about Sweetboy, and just held my hand and patiently listened and prayed with me.  And Dana, who hears my deepest anxieties, and prays with me then and there to allay them. They are truly like Job described when he spoke of a friend interceding on behalf of another – “…let him plead with God for a human being, like a person pleads for a friend.” 

Also, I’m thinking of a brave and kind friend, Aimee. We met as part of a weekly playgroup for Sweetgirl when she was a toddler. I was unable to see some obvious developmental needs emerging in her, so focused was I at the time on getting Sweetboy acclimated in our new town. Her words were so kindly spoken at just the right time.

Others have helped lift my eyes to the Right Place, when I forgot to. I think of my bold friend Kim who walked with me through my initial depression diagnosis; and, who weathered a mighty storm, side-by-side with me, with our then shared church family. She truly modeled Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a {sister} is born for adversity.”

I have deep thankfulness for my friends Rae, Kristy, and Erin, who push me and encourage me to keep writing and dreaming and become the best little writer that God wants me to be!

And then, there have been the precious few who have provided much-needed comic relief. My fiery-haired friend Erin, quick-witted friend Janet, and round-table friends Monica and Katie . I welcome the bellyaches from All The Laughter, and their cheerful hearts truly do bring a smile to my face. Often!

These are just some of the friends in my life. And, I cherish each one. Speaking with older friends and family members about their own friendships, I see the eternal Truth and Wisdom in these Words:

Two are better than one, because they have good pay for their work. For if one of them falls, the other can help him up. But it is hard for the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up.

Each new friend that God graces me with, online or off, provides more reasons to be grateful. Whether we share a love of God, writing, or eating – whether we’re commiserating over how hard it is to be a parent, spouse, or not eat – having friends to lift me up is truly a gift that I cherish.

And a special shout-out to those of you in this here blogosphere – you hold a special place in my heart. I can’t hardly express how much joy your comments and encouragements bring to my heart.

So…

Cheers to you, my friends! Thank you for being one.

Yes indeedy!

Here_To_Friends_Missindeedy

 

When the Landscape of Your Mothering Hood Changes

“I’ve got a job interview!”, a sweet mama friend recently announced.  She was in a mixed state of shock and elation.  And, truthfully, so was I.

It seems like each time I walk out the door to another meetup for coffee, yet another friend from my mothering hood informs me that she’s heading back into the working world.

There is a natural progression of feeling. First, I feel sadness as I consider losing yet another confidante` and partner in motherhood crimes. I almost always feel angry, next, that this economy has forced so many of us to have to go this route. And then, I instantly feel ridiculous for assuming anyone “has to” go back to work. Inevitably, though, I hit the acceptance stage, as I reluctantly admit that change is a part of life.

While I dole out congratulations with a mix of excitement for them and sorrow for myself, I redraw my friendship circles.  This one goes into the “I can meet her for coffee before we head out for our day” circle.  That one goes into the “we can meet at night for dessert, once in a while ” circle. And so it goes, because work schedules are as varied as the friendships themselves.

I find myself shaking and sifting my own daily schedule to accommodate the quick lunch downtown, the Skype session between meetings, or the neighborhood girls night out. And, every jig in the schedule is worth it, because I miss them.

Regardless of whether they re-enter the working world by choice or not, it’s obvious that the landscape of my Mother Hood is changing. Much like the transition from Fall to Winter, it is a bit upsetting to watch. I’m watching friends drop out of the picture like leaves blowing away in the wind.

But, there is new beauty to see, too. Watching mammas transform themselves with a renewed sense of care, is like watching the trees of Spring begin to clothe themselves in bright green splendor. As their children have flown away from the nest, or simply grown up enough to afford them time, they’ve been able to realize dreams that have long lain dormant.

No matter what the reason for each decision a mama makes, it’s clear that each of us is doing the best we can with what we’ve been given. And, I don’t think we give each other enough credit for that.

One of the things that I most admire about a landscape is its ability to transform with the seasons. The changes can be months in the making, like the dormancy of winter bringing about the brilliance of spring. Or, they can be as quick as a strong wind scattering a puffy white dandelion across a field, leaving a lone stem in its wake. I see our mothering decisions much the same way.

landscape_creationswap_Missindeedy

Weathering the changing landscape in my mothering hood is going to require looking for the beautiful in the new. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that a layer of grace makes everything more beautiful.

Indeed.

Change is inevitable. So, when the landscape of your mothering hood changes, seek out the beauty in the new. You will find it. There is so much beauty there.

What Mama Did

You might be wondering, “Um, Missy, is this still Five Minute Friday?”.  I know, I know.  I like to shake things up once in a while.  This actually still is a Five Minute Friday post.  It’s Lisa-Jo that’s shaking things up a bit this week. And I like it!  She has been highlighting four very different writer-friends’ posts on the theme of “What Mama Did” each day, this week.  Each writer has shared a Mama Memory and how their lives were touched because of it.  You really, really should go check them out! Each one is so very good and unique. Click here to walk down Memory Lane with them. And click the button below to read some other memories.  I’ll just bet you connect with one or nine of them by reading’s end! (And I can’t help but wonder how many tender phone calls will go on today, or soon, between mother and daughter or son. I’d love to be a fly on the phone lines to hear. Oh, I would.)

5-minute-friday-1

Here is my own contribution:

WHAT MAMA DID

Go…

mom_and_me85_blog

I think my facial expression captures “Teen Angst” perfectly, no?

Journals and diaries never held all that much appeal to me when I was a preteen. Does that shock you?  I knew they were a great place to store all of your angst and sorrow and bubbling expectation.  I did.  But I never seemed to be able to write in them with any consistency.  And I liked consistency. I craved it.

When we are young, we don’t understand why our mothers might foist their own desires for success or perfection or popularity upon us.  When we, too, become mothers, understanding dawns brightly.  And sometimes, too brightly.

The Nana might not be aware of it, but I was watching her, like a hawk, as I grew up into the woman that I am today.  I have many things to thank her for; but the one that might surprise her most, is my love for writing. And for one particularly heart-wrenching experience that I had with a writing of her own.

As a teen, our relationship was especially tumultuous. Especially.  Her desires for me to live out my days in a manner that would allow her to feel a sense of accomplishment burdened me. I struggled mightily to make sense of my own existence, let alone that of my mother.

This particular day that I am remembering, my passionate mother and my equally passionate father engaged in one horrific verbal battle that seemed, to my 15 years, epic and final.  The whole house was fraught with tension.  She left.  It felt like days.  Rehashing this particular episode with her, as an adult, she claims she was only gone for hours.  It felt like days.

I was going through the hope chest in the guest bedroom. This wasn’t just any old hope chest.  This wooden chest was deep and long and could fit a man’s body inside of it. Easily.  I sometimes, as a young child, would walk by it very quickly, just sure that a person would jump up out of it and snatch me away.

But this chest held things far more precious than a body.  The Nana’s wedding dress.  Baby dresses that I did not know she felt sentimental enough to keep. Snips of first haircuts.  Teeth, that I had mistakenly believed the Tooth Fairy possessed. Scraps of quilts that had promise but were never realized.

And a journal.

Buried deep, underneath the piles of fabric and clothes and baby casts and shoes, was a journal.  My mother’s.

I’d never dared to look at it before.  I’d never dared see what her heart was crying out about.  I suppose, I didn’t really want to know.

I did this day.

As I searched through the chest, I became frantic with the need to know what she had written that made her tuck it, furtively, into the chest and then storm out of the house.

What I read in that journal, while she was gone, brought confusion and pain into an already confused and pained teenage existence.

And in that moment, I realized the power of the written word.

From that very day onward, I knew that a word written with every ounce of the emotion with which it is felt, is powerful.

And I began my own journaling, in earnest, right then and there.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go call my mother.  And thank her.

Basic Cooking Skills Required

Dear Mom,

 
I wish you’d told me a few things about this Motherhood gig.

  1. Poop happens.  Or, even worse, it doesn’t.
  2. The song “Rain, Rain, Go Away” really has no power.
  3. Sleeping won’t happen when you want it to and will happen when you don’t want it to.
  4. God will sometimes feel absent.
  5. Friends are a necessary component to sanity.
  6. “A moment on the lips is forever on the hips” really kicks in at 40.
  7. Words can hurt so deeply.
  8. Hugs can be so healing.
  9. Basic cooking skills are required because children like to eat at least 3 or 6 times a day.
  10. Comparing rarely works out.
  11. A good strong power-walk will allow you to return to the house with some of your hair still intact.
  12. There will be so many tears.
  13. One really good babysitter is essential.
  14. The ability to function without sleep will rank up there with a medical resident’s.
  15. People will have such strong opinions about parenting.
  16. Kids are so resilient.
  17. Money will mean very little.
  18. The words you don’t want to be repeated, will indeed be.
  19. There will be so many moments where your heart feels full to exploding.
  20. Remember to pray. A lot.

This list is by no means exhaustive.   Oh, no, it isn’t.  And I’m sure I’ll think of about 20 more after I hit “publish”. But, I’m more curious what some of yours are.  Tell me!

Why, yes, that IS a Cabbage Patch Doll. And, yes, I am indeed sporting Farah Fawcett wings.

What do you wish you’d been told about Motherhood?