this dance…..

this dance.....

 

Where are you as a parent?

New ones, little ones, big ones?

Are they loud and messy… shy & quiet? Thriving? Struggling? Dancing & singing? Crying? Close enough to touch or miles away?

I am all of this. A little bit of everything. Sometimes the vast difference in each life within a small family unit is overwhelming. Sometimes I can not wrap my brain around how people under the same roof can be so different from one another.

I often struggle with how to share these bits with you here. I want to reach out and tell you pieces of this story. And yet I stand here to look around myself and realize that so much of it is not mine to tell. It doesn't all belong to only me. While I might pour my heart out to you over a cup of coffee….. saying it here sort of feels like painting a billboard sign for the front yard. You know? You do.

And so this is one of those posts. The one where I struggle with words and let it sit in the drafts for awhile. The one I want so much to share with you, but have to find just the right way to say it.

And somehow if I let it be. It just comes. It finds its way……

I remember being a teenager and wanting nothing more than to be loved for just who I was. When I grew up I would be the perfect parent. And now, I stand in shoes so similar to my own parents. The irony of this is not lost. I'm stepping on my own feet trying to keep up with this dance. I've never danced it before. I don't know what the steps are… but I just keep trying. Keep loving

Sometimes my heart aches and I feel a little lost. I've been reflecting on what it means to be a good parent….. as you might have guessed…. it's a little different than my thoughts at 14.

Love & Patience

Everything else falls into place under these two. The first one I got, that second one isn't always so easy.

Someone asked me awhile back how Joe & I were so happy after fifteen years and four kids and so many moves around the country. I didn't have an exact answer that moment. But after some thought, I think it's because we've held on to the magic from the first moments of being together. We never let it go. It changed and evolved, but it's still here. It makes us laugh when things get rough. It keeps it all going.

As I stand at the edge of watching my older kids go out on their own and unfold into their adult selves. I realize the same goes for them. That tremendous love you feel for your child when they are first placed in your arms, the raw act of falling instantly, so deeply in love…. hold on to that. Don't let it slip. Remember the songs you sang to them. The way your heart melted. The way their tiny hand felt in yours. That's the glue that holds together the sometimes fragile pieces of this dance. That will help you love and be patient. Even when your heart is breaking. Even when things are hard. You'll get through this, and you're not alone.

There are a whole lot of us dancing with you…

 

25 thoughts on “this dance…..

  1. Love and patience. Along with empathy, these are what I strive for everyday in my parenting. Hard road for sure. I’m so glad i get to practice with little ones way before anything like a teenager emerges in my house. Blessings to you.

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  2. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for this!! I found your blog recently and check in every day. Thank you for your honesty and mentioning struggles that we all have as parents. It’s so hard, but so worth it. Your homeschooling family inspires me… as a mom to two little ones, I am just starting out on that path. It’s wonderful to read your words here. Thank you, take care, you are not alone!

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  3. Oh, thank you for this! Motherhood is quite the dance, isn’t it? Sometimes we feel the rhythm and things come so naturally and other times we trip over our own feet and struggle through it.

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  4. I’m in the full messy throng of little ones. Two girls under three. Both attached but learning independence in their own way. I’m in full awe of the human spirit. Thanks for this lovely post!

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  5. I have no doubt that, no matter what the next song is that comes your way, you’ll dance beautifully. Thanks for being such a wonderful dance partner for my grandchildren.

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  6. I made my best friend of 25 years read this post today b/c I’ve been thinking and thinking about it since I read it yesterday.
    I knew she would appreciate it. She became a mama when we were 16. She’s a strong, beautiful woman. Your stories remind me of each other in a lot of ways.
    Those last two paragraphs…truth and beauty, dear friend. Have a wonderful mother’s day weekend!

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  7. I just came through a particularly difficult two weeks with my two year old. I so appreciate your words. A dance indeed. I intend to remember your advice about hanging on to the magic when said two year old reaches teenagehood. Wishing you a beautiful Morhers day weekend.

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  8. Steph,
    As MacKenzie graduated from college last weekend your words couldn’t have been more meanful to me. As Tom and I walked to the ceremony, a young couple with a young toddler walked in front of us with their blond, curly haired daughter reaching upward to hold their hands as they walked the brick path. Then I heard one, two, three and they swung her as she giggled in delight. Tom and I looked at each other and smiled as a tear gathered in my eye. And soon she will be off to Japan for her first job and I’m sure it was just yesterday that…..
    Deb

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  9. Oh Nichole, I'm always flattered when someone passes along my ramblings here. I'm not always sure how or if I should put my thoughts out there. When it speaks to people it makes my heart sing. Enjoy your time with your friend! xo~

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  10. Thank you for the kind words Amber. I think it helps to feel connected to other mamas & families. Especially in the not so perfect and difficult moments in life. I am humbled this place here speaks to you, thank you for visiting πŸ™‚

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  11. Oh Deb. This is exactly it. Your words brought tears to my eyes. From the moment I saw you & your big kids interact, I thought to myself, “that is what I want.” You are are an inspiring mama and woman to know.
    Much Love to you.
    ~S

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  12. I am so moved by this piece-it is just what I needed to read. I have been having a very difficult, heart breaking time with my 13 year old who is suffering from debilitating anxiety. I too suffered through out school with the same paralyzing anxiety which eventually led to being home schooled in my sophomore and junior years of high school but not in a very nurturing sense of home schooling. It is such a tangle to feel so raw with empathy and yet so completely lost on how to guide him through this. We’ve made steps this week and reached out to those who can help. But, this isn’t at all what I hoped my child would inherit from me and I feel so awful that my bright, creative and humorous 13 year old is suffering so. But, we will keep dancing- with patience and love. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

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  13. Oh Amy. My heart goes out to you. My own oldest boy is so much like me…. right down to the struggles. It is heart wrenching. As hard as it is for all of you, he is fortunate to have someone who truly understands what he is going through to support him during this time. Somehow you'll manage this dance with love & patience & grace. I'll be thinking of you….

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  14. Oh I have tears in my eyes. What a lovely reminder of how to stay in love, with a husband, with a child, by accessing those memories of intense emotion from the very beginning. Thank you so much for your words. I have a son who will be starting college in the fall, and I keep having to remind myself that he’s morphed into a man, but still he needs a mother’s love. I so appreciate you having the courage to share your thoughts – it makes your blog so much more accessible, knowing that’s there’s a kindred soul striving for a connection with her dear ones, knowing she may not always get it quite right, but continuing on again and again.

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  15. Beautiful Stephinie. This reminds me of the Alice Walker poetry book I read last month, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. They do. I hope my girls know I’m dancing with them, too.

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  16. Thank you Sheila. I am so happy to know this piece spoke to you. Parenting is such a gentle balance of loving and letting go. It warms my heart to hear words of other mamas out there in such a similar place as my own. Many blessings to you on this next part of your journey….

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  17. Oooh…. now I have to look that up. I hope my kids realize it once in awhile too. Though I can tell you the first time I sat alone with Sam as a new baby on my lap….. a flood of emotion came over me. I called my own mama on the phone in tears telling her "I get it now, I understand." There was a lot of crying that moment. But the good kind.

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