I’ve been doing this mothering thing for 4 1/2 years. You’d think I would some sort of clue as to what to expect. NEW FLASH: I don’t. I remember when I was a little girl and all I wanted was to grow up, get married and have babies. I didn’t dream of making it as an actress or singer, I didn’t want to be a teacher or a scientist. I wanted to be a mom and it didn’t occur to me that I might want more to my life. I know, that’s a recipe for disaster.
I believe there’s a lot of fulfillment in being a mother and it’s changed me in a way that I never expected. The love I feel for my family is so intense that it hurts sometimes. I know that I have the love of an incredible man and 4 beautiful children because God chose me to give them to. There’s noting I could have done to deserve this life. And yet I haven’t given it my full attention. I fall short in more ways then one when it comes to my wife and mom role. I have so much more to give and I don’t know how.
Pierre traveled this past weekend to our old stomping grounds (do people still say that?) in Maryland for a friend’s wedding. We lived there just before we moved to Michigan, I found out I was pregnant with Eva the week before we moved away. I cannot tell you how much I wish I was there. For the wedding, of course, but I also wanted to see my old friends and travel familiar streets. I wanted to connect with people I haven’t spoken to (in person) in years and feel like the Jamily from so long ago. Everything changed when we left. We became parents and somewhere in between the long nights and diaper changes, my priorities changed and I changed.
Little by little, I stopped taking care of myself and began taking care of my family. The change was so slow and gradual that I didn’t see it happening. Then the real curve balls started to fly. Pregnancies, job changes, moves, babies and more babies. I’ve been so busy being a mom and wife that I forgot what it’s like being me. You know, there’s still times I stop before I answer when someone asks me my age. Sometimes I almost say 23, that’s the first number that comes to my mind. For a while I didn’t know why but I had a revelation. That’s the age I was when I left Maryland. The age I was before becoming a mom. Five years of hanging on to the past.
I’m not proud of this but, on occasion, I find myself looking back to the times before I had kids and wishing I was back there. A time when I knew what I was doing, a time when there wasn’t so much depending on me, a time when I didn’t have these little people to let down (over and over), a time when I knew who I was. The crazy thing about it is that even if I could go back to those times nothing would be the same. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago and I can’t go back. I’ve lived, I’ve changed, I’ve hurt. It doesn’t mean that those times weren’t special because they were. They shaped me and I met people I look up to and admire to this day. People who showed me kindness and friendship and leant an ear.
I can’t offer my husband and kids my best present if I hang on to my past. I can’t continue to wish I was somewhere else when I’m needed here and now. This is scary for me to write, to be so open and honest and vulnerable. But I wholeheartedly believe that I’m not the only one. Are you hanging on to something that won’t let you move forward? It can come in so many different forms, for me it’s motherhood but for you it could be a relationship or a career. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. When we let go we let the memories fade into our minds, we stop longing for a different time and we can enjoy where we are now. Be proud of the person you’ve become and if you’re not then change it. God’s love and mercy is new every day (Lamentation 3:22-23). We can start with a clean slate, make new memories and chose to live in the present and let go.