In continuation from the other day:
Dear fresh, young me,
I’m telling you now – 15 years later – appreciate it fully. Notice the peace of life as a newlywed couple with only one Little Nugget running around. Breathe in deeply the simplicity of one schedule, ONE SCHEDULE, by which you abide. Savor those long naps with your babe and the 7pm bedtimes that leave your nights free to be a grown up couple, because you’ll have more kids and you’ll have roughly 26 more years to go of raising people, and there will be times you’ll have to work to remember this same brand of joy.
You’ll get buried under laundry, you’ll do endless loads of dishes, you’ll do grades kindergarten through fourth four more times besides your own, until you release these kids to do the whole school thing alone. You’ll hope you can stop repeating elementary around 4th grade, but be careful how much you let go, because letting go too much is not good either. Of course, there is a book about exactly how to do this in exactly the right way and you will never make a mistake ever.
That’s a lie. You won’t know exactly how to do any of it. There is no book with step-by-step instructions, and the best you can do is your best. Try your darndest and don’t ever quit. Throwing in the towel is the only 100% wrong thing you can do here.
There will be times when it all feels so pointless. You’ll feel like your entire existence is picking up other people’s’ socks and dishes and broken things. You’ll feel sometimes like your life doesn’t even belong to you. And you’ll get upset about it.
You’ll have to do some work when this funk starts to pull you under. You’ll have to look at what is sucking you down and do your best to alleviate it. You might have to ask for help, or you might need to take an overnight trip with your husband, or you might need to study or create or build something new that goes hand in hand with your big picture, because you need to know you’re growing too. You need to feel yourself BECOMING as a mother and as an individual.
You’ll need friends. Good, solid friends who stick with you through thick and thin. Don’t ever shirk this piece of advice. You need them, and they’ll need you, and together you hold each other up. There is nothing like the soul deep friendship of a best friend to pull you out from under the garbage heap and pep-talk you back into loving the life you lead.
Eventually, you’ll realize your life does belong to you and it matters immensely. Even though you don’t always see it, your work is the most important (listen to your husband here. He tells you this but you don’t always take it to heart. He is right, Dear. Let it sink in.)
It is. IT IS.
I can’t say this to you enough. Your work matters. And one day, you’ll see this and you’ll actually feel it deep down in the very purest part of you. You’ll know it’s true.
Every time you look into those little people eyes, every time you hug, every time you sit and harass about homework, every meal you prepare, every time you put down your thing to pick up theirs, you are showing them they are loved. They are valuable, they matter. You are forming people who understand love and respect. You are growing, cultivating, training good and loving people to send out into the world.
To be continued (again). . . .