It’s a tricky thing to be honest with those around you. We walk a tightrope of comfort and transparency when we consider sharing our authentic selves. When I have shared life with a friend, I sometimes walk away having a review conversation with myself about what I should have said differently or kept to myself. As a woman, I know I’m not alone in that struggle. With that said, I would like to share how very conflicting it is to carry on this blog. I read a lot of personal stories and realize more and more that every single person has so much to give. Why would what I write, or don’t write, make a difference? I had a post written for Mother’s Day that was a celebration of the two years we have clocked in our journey as a new family. I didn’t post it. The reason, I felt it would be hypocritical. I had a complete meltdown on Mother’s Day evening. Timing is everything.
For the last six weeks, I have grown in an area that is private to most and disappointing to me. The ugly parts of me have been exposed in my interactions with my step sons. I have found myself in a season where reality is sinking in and the cost of giving up my single and childless lifestyle is hitting home. My head now understands that there is rarely room in the schedule for just catching my breath, finances are usually tight and boys are a different breed than girls altogether. It’s stretched me out of my comfort zone and quite honestly, I haven’t stretched quietly. I feel like making it to the end of baseball season with my marriage and sanity intact was a complete miracle. I have no idea how families that do travel ball make it. I have found resentment, selfishness, un-forgiveness and doubt in my heart and it is disgusting to discover. What I realized is that an old track that played in my head in a prior life had found it’s way into this one.
On Mother’s Day, as we returned home from a road trip, I couldn’t wait to deliver them to their mom’s house and regain the peace and quiet of MY home. So many things are wrong with that sentence, but it’s the truth of what was on my mind. I had spent the last 30 minutes of the drive home stewing in frustration at the lack of peace and quiet. When we reached the driveway, they exited the car and walked to the front door, without a glace back or a good bye. The moment I had waited for had arrived and instead of feeling relief, I felt loss. As I watched them disappear behind the door, I felt the tears come. The drive to our driveway was short and by the time we made it into our house, a wave of grief washed over me. Dave asked what was wrong and through my sobs, I told him, “I can’t talk right now, just pray for me.” I walked into our bedroom and collapsed beside our bed into a heap of tears. The waves of emotions washed over me and as I heaved the sorrow from my soul, I had no idea or understanding about why such a simple act could produce this kind of reaction. Slowly, as the moment brought calm and the storm began to subside, I felt a quiet knowing that this grief was bigger than the simple driveway incident. The timing of the day and the act of departure was no coincidence. It was THE purge. The emptying out of years of pain and disappointment for what would never be for me. No sonogram photos, no protruding belly, no girly showers with matching cookies and ribbon, no tiny fingers wrapped around my finger or smiling responses to my voice. This was the reality of my motherhood. Caution, trepidation, desire for love met with shallow response, competing affections and tender hearts.
In the following weeks, through personal study, amazing preaching and the secure voice of God, He unwrapped what this lesson held. I got lost in romanticizing the idea of our family. I had begun to rush us to become and for me to be. The timing of the blend has to move at it’s authentic pace or it is forced and will disappoint. God showed me that He would not have called me to this life if He had not already provided every single tool I would need to cover every need. My impatience with the gift He has given me in my new family had brought me to a place of careful consideration. When I was arrested by the willingness of my heart to discard what had been given to me as a blessing, I felt breathless at how I could even consider a trade. As a trade off, this past weekend, I was given a glimpse into not one, but three tiny hearts that was earned through trust. Because I could admit my faults and apologize, I earned the right to listen when they opened up.
I am in awe of single parents. Their ability to wear so many hats and keep it all spinning is miraculous to me. They don’t have the option but to keep going and to find the beauty in their situation. Getting acquainted with parenthood has been very conflicting for me because of my tendency to romanticize the whole experience. As I live the reality of the cost, I have not done a very graceful job of transitioning. My three step-sons and their father have extended so much grace toward me as I pout and react with passive aggression until the mirror of the Word is held up to me and I have to repent to them. What truth lies in 1 Corinthians 13!
If you are new to life with kids, know that it will challenge every selfish place inside and cost you dearly. However, when you receive a piece of their hearts, it makes every sacrifice worth it. Also, I highly recommend finding humor in it. There’s plenty of it flying around so don’t take yourself so seriously. Trust the process and don’t even THINK about attempting this without Jesus Christ at the center of your relationship with your spouse. These days pass quickly and it will be quiet before you know it. Don’t waste the opportunity to shape a life.