6.08.2010

It Takes All of Me


I jumped on my bike the day after my birthday to ride with a group of friends. My time was limited due to my nursing baby, but I was happy to have the freedom to do something I love. As I peddled down the road, the wind tickled the hair around my face and I smiled. Then I noticed how small and hard the seat was on my now larger than it used to be rear end. In an instant, the smile left my face and I was pulled into the reality of my life. I'm a thirty-three year old mom with three children and a husband whose work hours have no resemblance to anyone else we know. My life is not what I thought it would be. The freedom I once had to pursue the things I love has been put aside for a life of sevice to my family. For the life a mom.

This is not the first time I've grappled at trying to place my twenty something, and even childhood, self in the same context as the current me. They don't fit together in a nice neat way. It's almost as if I am several different people. As a child, my blond hair and big eyes defined me and my joyful demeanor kept me oblivious to the wider, not-so-friendly, world. In my teen years I began my quest to be an active, healthy and spiritually alive adult. I entered college with a scholarship to run cross country and track and started working toward my theology degree with the intention of being a youth minister. In my early twenties, my life was headed in the direction I had planned. I was a youth minister and still a runner. I even took on mountain biking and dappled in hiking big mountains like Mt. St. Helens. The only thing missing was my ultimate dream: to be a wife and a mother.

Whatever happened to the dreams of my youth? I'm living them now and dreaming of my youth.

I know that my life now is a life I live by choice. I could be out gallivanting around mountain sides and running races, but those things take time. Time that I am really not willing to give up. I have made a choice to be a mom and I want to be a good mom. Finding time between school schedules, work schedules and social engagments is impossible because I am not willing to give up the precious time I have to be with my children. It's the most important thing I will ever do. I also I realize that the life I lived before becoming a mom contributes to the kind of person, and mom, I am now.

Writing, thinking and knowing the lofty ideals of motherhood does not make it any easier. It is a life of service, a life of sleep deprivation, a life of guilt, questioning and worry. The fact that I used to have so much freedom and such a fit, skinny, body can sometimes really bring me down.

Yesterday was one of those days. I was in a daze just trying to hold it together. The baby kept puking and crying, my girls were tired and testing all the boundaries and my husband was edgy (as he gets when he is working on a project and this kitchen project is BIG). I did manage to get myself and children out of the house without tripping over boxes of plates, silverware and pans. We went to my mom and dad's to celebrate my mom's birthday. It was a pleasant evening, but my emotions from the stress of motherhood and family life were just under my skin. Then, after loading the van to leave, I twisted my ankle and fell heavily to the ground.

I began to cry, no weep and wail, not only because of the pain, but because of everything. I am fragmented and lost. How can I maintain this life? The sobs coming out of me surprised me and so did the feeling that I just wanted to stay there and cry. I didn't want to get up. Meanwhile, my parents thought I had broken something and my children were crawling out of their seat belts to catch a glimpse of me in a puddle of misery.

I finally got up, dusted myself off and continued on. I had to. I am a mom.

One day I will have the freedom to do the things I want to do. I may have to buy a bigger, softer bike seat and walk instead of run, but I have a feeling that I will miss these days. In the midst of all this self-doubt and heaviness, is joy. There is joy in my baby's first giggle, my three-year-old's ballerina dances and my seven-year-old's discovery of Archie comic books. There is joy in being the wife of a hard-working, loving man and there is joy in being me, all of me.

3 comments:

  1. You had quite a day there! Sorry you twisted your ankle, I know how that feels (among other injuries, lol). But you seemed to get yourself back on track and move on. Sometimes we do need a good cry, sometimes the best thing to do IS cry, it is an emotional release, tears are also unspoken prayers which God collects, and believe me I have done my fair share of crying. As someone who can relate to what you are going through (my children are now 24 and 21), I can tell you that I have lost my temper on more than one occasion and broke things. After calming down I realized that those things that I broke, I was going to have to replace. That kind of tempered down my temper tantrums, lol.

    You are a great mom and a loving wife. Let the tears continue to fall; frustrations, aggrivations, things that move the spirit, joy and pain, fatigue and at times fear, those tears serve a purpose. You are doing a great job mom:-).

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  2. I've been reading your blog since you spoke to our MOPS group, and today you brought me to tears. You really captured for me the feelings swirling around motherhood and my "lost" youth ... thanks again.

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  3. YardleyMommaJune 10, 2010

    Oh my goodness! I just had similar thoughts the other night which left me in tears. I love my children and yet then you feel a sense of loss for the other side of who you are or your other dreams. I love being a mom and I am not giving that up but I do think as my children age I will also share my passions with them so they can see "mommy" as an individual, too. It has been funny getting back on FB because so many of the talented people I went to school with are in education as teachers, aides, etc. I thought that was so cool that so many of us who were talented in school are giving back by sharing the gift of knowledge with others and motivating them to complete their dreams and goals. In a sense, as moms, we do that too, nurturing and supporting our young into their potential. Thanks for sharing this, one of your best blog posts! Loved it!

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Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it!