I light a candle,
As I putter about the kitchen,
A candle for the mothers
Who are tired
Who want to live freely
But that path was not cut for them,
So they – so I –
Am cutting it now.
In the kitchen
In the office
Through our home so our children may follow
I am preparing dinner
But my soul is kneeled
With my hand on the soft, green
moss covering a rock
And the other on my heart.
From the time I was a preteen until I was about 24, I was ashamed that I was not the effortlessly shiny, attractive person that other girls seemed to be. When I moved to London to get my master’s, I began coming into my own and stopped being embarrassed. I remember the moment this new reality crystallized for me. I had made a mistake at work, and I thought, “Hmm, I am not embarrassed of my self. I want to do it differently next time, sure. But I’m an alright person regardless.” There are still moments when I hear the internal question, “Should I be ashamed of my self for this?” And from deep within, the answer comes, always, “No. A thousand times, no.”
In that vein, I offer Brene Brown’s Manifesto: “Showing up is our power. We are the brave and brokenhearted.” Oh the beauty in brokenness that is brave enough to show up.
Some research suggests that being a parent doesn’t make people happier. Parenting is stressful. You have to stay up later and get up earlier and make food for people who don’t want to eat it and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince someone to put on socks.
I find meaning in parenting in two ways, though: first, I wanted parenting to be part of the meta of my life. It was always a filter through which I wanted to experience the world. (Not everyone wants to be a parent, and that is totally legitimate, too!) Second, there are some very specific moments of parenting that bring such joy. They are often the most random, simple moments. Like today when I came back home from dropping the kids at school and our van at the repair shop and my husband at work, and I walked through the door, turned to shut it behind me, and saw that little fingers had drawn a smiley face, complete with curled hair, on the screen door.
That’s why I’m a parent: I would not have wanted to miss that.