Lifting. And Pulling.
Its a funny thing, on so many levels, when you come out of the baby baby years. You finally scrub the last of the spit up off the couch. You no longer smell like sour milk. You pack away the baby toys, the boppy, the play mats and cribs.
And you take a step back, and assess life.
Three things I think.
1) WHO AM I AGAIN?
2) WHAT DO I WANT TO DO NEXT?
I write about those two a lot.
But I think there is another one, and it is this...
3) Who am I around the women of my life? Who are my friends? Who am I to them?
The fog clears and suddenly we are not just meeting in the park or at a house to carefully watch our small children learn to not snatch toys, not hit, not fall off of park structures, etc. Suddenly we are able to send them out to play and, GASP, talk. Talk like regular uninterrupted adults. Maybe even with a glass of wine in hand.
The first several...dozen...times I found this happening to me it was one of two things. I either talked the other (poor) women's ear off, like a verbal tap I couldn't shut off. Or found myself absolutely unable to communicate. Um, do I have any non-baby thoughts inside of me?
And then. THEN. We almost have to relearn interacting with each other.
Sometimes its lovely and bonding and we hold each other and cry about lost sleep, lost date nights, etc.
Sometimes it isn't so lovely.
Sometimes it is rough.
You know the kind of interaction I am talking about.
"Little Susie isn't sleeping well these days."
"Oh really, Johnny sleeps like a rock from 6pm to 8am! EVERY. DAY. Can you believe it?"
Watching your kids pick over their meals.
"Yea, she is going through a picky stage. Its been rough."
"Yea, well, you know, I read four books about picky eating in toddlers, so let me tell you what you are doing wrong."
or maybe its about career stuff, or lack thereof...
"So then I was thinking, I start a company! And I will sell all the little hairbands and tutus I've been been making for Claire! And I can do it from home! Wouldn't that be great!"
"Oh really? Have you ever looked at etsy? They have tons of that stuff, for cheap. But, yea, that might be fun!"
And this is what I have been thinking about. How do we, as women, come together, and face each other, and do this to each other? Why do we insist on pulling, so many times?
Lifting though, lifting can take work. It can take peace and gratitude where there isn't any. It can take good humor and love when you feel drained.
Yes! You can do that etsy shop, its a great idea! Yes, I think those new skinny jeans look GREAT on you! Yes, your meatloaf is sublime and NOT AT ALL BORING.
So, this is my question, are we lifters?
Or do we have this need, in our place of insecurity, to be pullers.
Come down here, to where I am, in my feelings about myself, which are low down grey feelings. Stay here with me. Here, I will help you. COME. DOWN. HERE...
We've all been in both places. The puller, the one getting pulled down.
And sisters, here is the thing, we have got, GOT, to be lifters.
Glennon over at Momastery writes about this a lot, and started an organization to help women do just that, lift each other up, sisters rising together. She's amazing for it. Also, ironically, one of those women, in this journey, that I have been insanely jealous of in the past. LOOK AT HER BLOG. LOOK AT THE PRESS. A few years ago I was dying to have the big old blog and the articles on HuffPost. I couldn't even read her blog, it made me so crazy.
But you know what I mean. I know you know.
The girl you graduated with from college who now has the job you totally thought you would have. The sister who seems to communicate with your parents more easily and readily than you. The coworker in your office who is always on top of everything. The woman at church who is always on time, who's children are perfectly dressed every morning.
And it irks you to no end. And so, on occasion, you are snarky about said person. You might even, on occasion, be snarky TO said person.
And it eats you up. And whether or not it pulls them down, to the place you are feeling, it does do one thing.
It pulls you down. Further. Deeper.
And the funny thing is, when we lift, the opposite happens, we lift ourselves too. We do. We are stronger than our moments of insecurity. We are stronger than our bad moods, bad days, selfish moments. When we lift someone else, we lift our own chin up too. In learning to celebrate each other, we learn to celebrate ourselves.
Congratulate that younger sister about her stellar career. She'll confess her insecurities. You admit yours. You encourage each other through it. Together, you are lifted higher.
Love on that younger mom who is always letting her kids run amuck during library story hour, even just a chat or a "What a cute little guy you have" comment. Because, remember those days?? When you daren't go out for fear of being the one with the run amuck kids??? She is doing it. Being brave.
Or that friend who is struggling. Or that acquaintance who is always snarky to you. Or that relative that seems to question everything you do.
Lift. Find a way. Not because you are higher. Because you are standing next to them. And anyhow, tomorrow you might need a hand too.
Be lifter, not a puller.
We moms, we parents, we have got to find a way through this life journey, however the walk takes us. And we are trying to figure it out. One careful tentative step at a time. One crazy helter skelter sprint at a time. Scaling those damned cliffs that sometimes seem insurmountable. And how we respond to each other on the journey impacts our own journey. Defines us. Molds us. And our kids too, as they listen and watch and learn from us - our mistakes and our successes.
Take the high road, if you want to think of it like that, sure.
But, lets take each other with us, walk the walk together, climbing those high roads, where, after all that hard work, the view is unsurpassed.
So, naturally I need to follow this post with pictures of my sisters who taught me as a child, and continue to teach me as women, about loving and lifting up. I LOVE YOU GIRLS.
(And also Brother. WE LOVE YOU.)
|that tall guy with his arm around me (crazy dread hair me)|
is our brother. Brother, we call him. He is lovely.