Two months ago, sitting in our cozy little living room, I peeled a vulnerable layer back in my heart and asked Mark to come in and see what was taking root there. It was December, and I felt it rushing toward me....CHANGE. Enormous CHANGE. Anderson goes to first grade in the fall, and so for the first time in TWELVE YEARS (or really my whole life) this woman right here is facing something I've never faced before in my life; utter silence.
I began to weep as I described how emotional I was feeling, "anyone who walks away from doing something they have LOVED for 12 straight years, will naturally grieve this major loss." When I was young and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I always said, "I want to be a mom!" In my mind, I could only wrap my brain around the mom part that included this season of always having someone at home. That season, for now, is coming to a close. Since that day in December, I cannot talk about August without bursting into tears.
I am VERY aware that my role as Mama is NOT ending. Trust me, everyday from 3pm-9pm, I am reminded how much my children (and their homework) need me. I call it the 6 hours of triage. I KNOW in all reality, their need for my presence in their daily lives will be at an all time high. Every other day, when the sweet secretary calls me from school, asking me to bring the left behind item, or pick up a sick kiddo, or volunteer for an event or activity; I know my calendar will not be bare come August, but y'all it hurts. For a second, I feel lost. I feel without. I feel that silent emptiness creeping into my world.
People are already asking, "So, what ARE you going to do come August?!" My palms begin to sweat, I feel like I have to quickly justify my answer before them. Or create some grand plan of success of how I'm going to fill 8-3, M-F and shout "BOO-YA" when I conclude. Some deep lie in me feels like I have to prove my worth, validate my cause and track the hours my children are gone on some time sheet for all to evaluate and approve. LIES.
Mark is so brilliant in his love for me! He is so gentle and kind as we face this major force of change. I feel him eagerly watching and waiting WITH me, helping me paint a melody of hope. No pressure, no demands, no rules. He quietly stands next to me, holding my hand in his and whispering, "let's go sit on the quiet, front porch!" No pushing and prodding for me to start bringing home monetary proof that I'm valuable or have a voice. He has ALWAYS valued my zero dollar contributions to the bank account, and elevated my million minutes of investments into the hearts of our children, by being present in our home.
One of my best friends Amy, whose life has eerily mimicked mine in motherhood, just walked through this season, and she gave me the BEST advice a friend could give.
"What you are doing to do next year is this; tell the whole world that you just swam across the ocean of raising four babies into semi-normal little people. You nearly drowned in gold fish, sleeplessness, baby vomit and diapers on a daily basis for 12 years. You have made it to the shore of survival, a shore you swore would never come. And now you are going to sit on the darn beach, drink a few margaritas, reclaim some missing brain cells..... and everyone can just deal!" (Paraphrased)
The silence tripped me up last night, it got so silent I was forced to think long and hard about what is coming next for me, for us, for our family. Whenever my innards begin to panic and my mind begins to spin out of control with thoughts like, "maybe we should have more kids, maybe we should be adopting to fill the silence (a very bad reason to do either!) maybe I should go back to work, maybe I should go back to college, maybe...maybe..maybe" I stop and exhale, and I envision myself sitting on the beach of survival, catching my breath, running after silence and embracing the major change headed our way.
I do not know what is next. We have some ideas floating around the double wide, floating around our hearts, but nothing seems concrete, fathomable, or attainable. This restlessness will bloom into an idea and the idea will birth a story that will just HAVE to be told. Reminds me of a November night in 2002, when I told Mark I had this idea...."let's have a baby!"
(Thanks Em, for the pic!)