My daughter graduated from Union Colony Preparatory School in Greeley last May. In two short days I will be moving her into the dorms. UNC to be exact. I walk into her room now and there are boxes, pictures, and clothes she will be taking with her all over the floor. In a few short days, she will no longer be living in our home.
I have been pretty open about the fact that this is going to be a bit of a rough season for me. It will be quite a transition for our family. I’m happy for her! And… we are going to miss her like crazy. I think it’s OK for it to be bittersweet. Yet for some reason I have this funny feeling it’s not.
When I talk to people about the transition they say things like: “She’ll only be 5 minutes away”, “You’ll see her all the time”, “It will be good for her”. All of these things are SO true. Yet in this season, I’m not quite sure that’s what I really need to hear.
It is quite clear to me how we use phrases like these as an attempt to make each other feel better. It doesn’t upset me, sometimes it does help. But most of the time all I really want is for someone to give me a hug and say “yikes, this is totally hard, and you’ve got this”. Do you ever feel like you just need someone to sit down beside you EXACTLY where you’re at? Yeah, me too.
Avoidance of all Things Hard
We live in a culture where we are taught to run from feelings rather than deal with them. Negative feelings are not acceptable. We must avoid them at all costs. And we must help others avoid them as well!
If you feel them there is “something wrong with you”. You are “dwelling” or “feeling sorry for yourself”. Rather than just being present and accepting of this season. If you really stop and think about it… we do this ALL the time.
We devalue the season others are in. Heck, most of the time we devalue our own season, experiences, and feelings. Rather than allowing it to be hard for what should rightfully be a challenge, we brush it off with a cliché phrase that are more like a swift slap on the back with a firm “suck it up buttercup”, let’s move on.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this is appropriate. Sometimes we have to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and move forward. Just not until AFTER we have allowed ourselves to be present and actually FEEL and deal with the current season.
One of the most popular in the list of things we say to moms that I have been focused on in my current season is… “It goes by too fast”. It truly does go by like lightning. The real truth is, it makes me sad if that’s where I dwell.
But the other thing it does is make me think about the differences in how these phrases impact our seasons. I would have come unglued if someone would have said that to me when she was two and three. Those years were HARD! I was going to school as a single mom. Those days, I felt like it was a huge accomplishment just to make it through each day. It’s just a really great reminder that the context and meaning of these phrases change depending where we are in our mom season.
Moms Supporting Moms
I saw a drawing once that has always stuck in my mind. I’ve searched for it a few times and have never been able to find it. So if you come across it… send it my way! It was powerful! This drawing was of a Mother holding her baby and hanging off the edge of a cliff. She was barely hanging on. The baby was crying, and you could see the look of pure helplessness on her face. At the top of the cliff was another woman looking over the edge and down on the mother. Her arms were crossed and she was saying “these days go by so fast, you just need to treasure it while you can” or something along those lines (Insert eye roll here).
That drawing has stuck with me for years because it was so powerful. I could actually feel the mother’s pain. I’ve been there! Have you? It also stuck with me for a few other reasons:
1. We are so quick to look over the edge of the cliff and tell other mamas why they should not be feeling the way they are. Why they should just “be more grateful” or “treasure the moments” rather than to meet them where they are. To allow them to express and experience the hard that may be occurring at this very moment.
2. Why on earth is it so easy to preach to a woman barely hanging on by a thread and not so easy to extend a helping hand? Girlfriend, I remember these days so vividly. I remember the pure exhaustion and complete and utter loss of myself. We should never be handing any other mama a cliché phrase to placate her when we could be extending her a hand of hope and help and encouragement.
3. We have not been taught to value the season we are in. To talk about what’s hard is “negative”. It somehow devalues all that is good. SO not true! We all need support in every single season. If you’re a mama, you know… this ain’t no cake walk of constant butterflies and rainbows. And that is OK! We’ve got to learn to embrace the hard and help others to do it as well in order to truly move forward.
Embracing Your Season
This is not a post to talk about how the “time goes by too fast”. Even though this is true (depending on your season). But, it is a reminder to just be present in the season you are in. Even if it’s a hard one.
In two days I will move my daughters stuff and I will be expected to turn around and walk away. I am grateful for the time I’ve had with her so far. I know it’s good for her. I’m really sure it’s not that far away. But that’s not what I want to hear. I want to know I’ll make it through.
This season will pass and things will continue to change. And someday I may look back and long for the season of today. But for now… this is going to be a hard transition. The beauty is, that’s totally OK. Growth doesn’t come from things that are easy anyway.