I am GreatFull!

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Blooming...Still!

My life is active and full as a wife, stay-at-home mother of three precocious, active children, cook, laundress (or washerwoman, as they used to say back in the day), chauffeur, homework helper, literary champion, nutritionist, lullaby master, wardrobe composer, and part-time fitness instructor. These are just a few of the hats that I normally get to wear.

So when I went in for surgery this past Monday, I was reminded that I would have to depend on others to fill in where I cannot.  This sometimes makes me feel limited and inadequate, especially as I recuperate at home, albeit slowly, at least according to my standards.  Believe it or not, my mind is even more active than my body, as I am always thinking of what’s “next” on the agenda.  Who needs what?  What needs to be done now?  Balancing the needs of the day while being prepared for what’s up ahead is something that I’m used to doing.  Hence, the realization that I don’t have the luxury of doing things “my way” during this time is alarming. Nonetheless, I must keep in mind that I am not sick.  Rather, I am being restored; healing; being made well.  Through these lenses, I am thankful for the mental reprieve, as well as the physical rest that is necessary for this restoration. I am Grateful!

Did I expect 5K readiness straight out the gate?  Of course not, but I certainly was not ready to admit that I could not carry on with “business as usual”, or to hear about the levels of healing required for “complete” wellness.  On a deeper level, however, I knew that I had to trust, that in order to be fully well, I had to also give up something, even if only for part of the time.  Moreover, I needed to take comfort in knowing that, I am at least in a position to get the help that I need, from Angels near and far. These friends and neighbors, surprisingly, have become a new type of family that extends beyond bloodline. They help me in a multitude of ways, especially with our children, and I fully recognize that, that in itself is a privilege. I am more than grateful…I am GreatFull!

Apparently, the road to restoration is a humbling one.  Paved with personal, life-altering encounters; adorned with admissions of vulnerability and limitations; bespeckled with blessings from a newly defined community of family, neighbors, and my sistah/gal network; and decorated with dollops of delight (sweet kisses on the brow and hugs from my sweethearts, though “only on the legs” for fear of “not squeezing Mommy too hard”); it is definitely a scenic route, one well worth the journey.  Despite its power to slow me down, I am pleasantly amazed by some familiar stops along the way. The sun still rises to greet me in the morning, and I am still able to usher in its light. I still get to witness the shifting winds, though I don’t get to walk in them, and I still get to marvel at the displays of new life as Spring magically sprinkles its colors in spaces that before seemed to lack life or vibrancy. I am GreatFull…Still.

Healthy Inspiration on the Subject:
BlogTalkRadio The Empowerment Place: “You’re Stronger Than You Think”, with Valerie Burwell

Dreaming…on Purpose

Lately, I’ve been giving thought to many of the hopes and dreams that I set out for myself a long time ago: some before motherhood came a-knockin’ and some since; some before the attainment of the wisdom that I now have, and some since then; others since childhood, and others the makings of real dreams – the things that the nightly ones are made of. While I do many things, and rarely do I have a moment to truly be bored, I will admit to wrestling with the idea of purpose. What is my life’s purpose, and am I living it?

As a stay-at-home mother of three, I realize that I am blessed beyond belief to have the opportunity to be home with my children, and to be as hands-on as I am. This is especially a luxury given the current state of our economy; however, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the occasional question, of whether I should be doing more, does rear its head every now and then. I am of the belief that most of us are alike than we are different, so I don’t have to poll other stay-at-home mothers to validate that my question is a real one. I know it’s the case. Furthermore, I live in a community in which I can easily find other women such as myself – accomplished, smart, educated – women who had been successful in their own right before children, women who either chose or were chosen, to be home with their children, so my sample population is legitimate.

Among these women is a group of sister/gal friends that I call my sisterhood, one which I deliberately set out to create, out of necessity. Our family relocated here just over four years ago, and while we were very blessed to land smack-dab in the middle of a place which offered a community of other progressive families with young children, I realized that the onus was on me to forge ties with other women in order to create a network for my family and children. I was determined not to pass up the opportunity to build relationships with other like-minded, or similar situated folk! I vowed to not insulate myself, which many stay-at-home mothers tend to do because for some reason or the other, they don’t think that there are other mothers that can, or want to, empathize with the unique nature of their roles. (Perhaps we’re still looking for those Superwoman/Supermom awards in going it alone? I can create an entirely separate post on that subject.)

As a result, I have a few really good sister/gal friends that I can call on in the event that I need to…for whatever reason. They don’t look for reciprocity, but they know that it’s there when/if they should need it. It’s not about calling in a game of favors. The relationships are authentic. This is my circle of sisters. We look out for each other’s children, talk about the challenges of being married and raising children, and are uncompromising in our priorities. We may not always know what the next season may bring in our lives, but our values are unequivocal and nonnegotiable.

From these women and from my own experience, I’m learning that the question of purpose will continue to surface, but the answers will also take shape over time as well, as we ourselves change, and respond to the unique seasons in our lives. As we tell and share our stories, we re-discover our true gifts and recognize that what we thought we initially set out to do might have been someone else’s dream. We become unapologetic for what we now know, and seek to re-invent ourselves apart from what has been projected on us as the “ideal”.

As for our hopes and dreams?  We still have them, but we realize that some of them may have to be put on hold for a while – deferred, but definitely not “dried up” - for very important reasons. Some of them had to be redefined as they took away from that which we deem as most important to us, and that is not an entirely bad thing. Others had to be retrofitted for our specific lives and the arrangements that we chose. While we live out our most visible dreams as mothers, wives, writers, sisters, friends, and lovers, we maintain credibility in our families as women with unparalleled vision. As such, we impart wisdom and understanding to the dreams of others, and facilitate their success. We take great pride in knowing that we’re planting seeds for generations to come by making the investment of time and care in our children.

As for purpose? I know that it is not a position or a title, but rather a multiplicity of things, among them to affect change and inspire joy at a very personal and meaningful level for many. And for now, I’m cool with that.

\”Sweet Dreams\”, Eurythmics

“A Dream Deferred”, by Langston Hughes