Currently, I’m sitting on my nice long porch, in one of my bright green chairs that makes it simple to find my condo, listening to the chimes my friend Linda gave me as a house warming gift a couple of years ago. From the sounds they’re making, there might be a storm coming. I love a good storm, don’t you?
It was only a few years ago that I found it easy on an evening like this one, to sit outside and bust out a quick and meaningful blog. And it’s still pretty easy for me to collect all sorts of ideas to write about. My brain is just full of them! But when I sit down to write, I’ll be honest – I get concerned that I sound like a know-it-all, and I certainly don’t want to be known for being a know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.
And sometimes, I sit down, my fingers gently lying on the keyboard, and my mind goes blank and I start to wonder if the older I get, the less I know. Then I start to wonder if maybe I just know some “stuff” that I really don’t feel like sharing except in a private, intimate conversation with a friend. And then on a night like tonight, I think to myself…. Nah. I definitely know some stuff. I don’t know all of the stuff there is to know, but I certainly do know some stuff. After all, I did just turn 60. If I don’t know some stuff by now, I might as well start over. LOL
But I can’t start over. That’s the thing. So what then, shall we do with all the stuff we know? Don’t we have an obligation to share it? I think so, anyways. I think I’m just getting a little better at knowing when, and with who, and how to share the “stuff.”
But there is this one particular conversation that I just keep having over and over and over lately. And not even with the same person! No! It seems like it’s a subject I often find myself sharing conversations about with other women – women in the same season of life as me. And I was so encouraged today to get to share some of that “stuff” I know with someone a season or two behind me. So yeah, I think we’re supposed to share, spur one another on, and encourage each other – even if it includes sharing our mistakes we made along the way. In fact, I actually think we have an obligation to do that!
I could list, like I’m sure you could too, several very difficult seasons of my life. Broken hearts, scary times, strained relationships, and schedules that those little calendar squares never, ever had enough room to pencil all of our commitments and obligations in. But right now, I wanna focus on one very difficult time in my life, one that I just know God will allow me to share one day in greater detail, I just know it – in order to encourage someone else. I’ve spoken about it so many times in my blog. There was a time when it made me cry from sadness, but now it makes me sit back, and cry with gladness. Seriously. I know how corny that sounds (especially by actually using that outdated word “corny,”) but really… Someday, I hope to encourage someone with all that “stuff” I learned by doing a lot of things wrong.
I didn’t realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a Mom. I didn’t realize the reason I was so exhausted was because raising two boys by myself was all I did, and when I found myself with an empty house, 1/3 the laundry, and trying really hard to figure out how many potatoes were needed to make mashed potatoes for one… I realized I didn’t know what to do with myself during the hours after work when I was sure I heard every tick of the hands on my clock. I eventually figured it out, because here I sit, listening NOT to the hands on my clock, but to the sweet sounds of those wind chimes that remind me that TIME is a gift.
I could go on and on. My friends will testify to that! But my phone rang three times, and I had three lovely, lengthy conversations between this paragraph and the last. So before I bore you to tears, I’ll just list a bit of the “stuff” I would love for those in the season behind me to know… if you care to know, that is. Like I said, I don’t know all of the stuff there is to know, but I do know a little bit of stuff. So here goes.
Single Mommies, married Mommies… Take a ton of photos. Write down every single sweet or hilarious thing your kiddos say. You will never stop cherishing a notebook filled with those darling little nuggets.
Moms of boys… When your son is standing at the altar, and you’re up there in the front row, and the doors open as the music plays, and the entire, and I mean the ENTIRE congregation turns around to look at the bride… have yourself a few glances, but you turn that head of yours back around and you watch your SON, too! Don’t take your eyes off of your baby boy! Watch him as he sees his bride walking toward him, and anticipates becoming her husband.
Pray. Do not pry. Let them make mistakes, let them figure out hard stuff, and don’t come running to their rescue every time you think they need help. We figured it all out. They will too. And while they figure it all out, just the two of them, their relationship will grow, grow, grow. So butt out, back up, be ready to help pick up any pieces that need picking up, but wait for them to ask. It’s their marriage. We had our turn. It’s not our turn anymore. Every time you feel like you want to “pry,” stop yourself, and add that letter “a,” hit your knees, and just pray for them. They need that more than they need anything else. What a gift our prayers are to them!
When you hear people laughing at women for being emotional while going through menopause, stop and educate them. Hormones might be partially to blame for some of our mood swings, but aren’t most of us going through menopause when the babies we raised, (and some of us all by ourselves), are leaving home? We’re GRIEVING – NOT HOT FLASHING! Okay, maybe we’re hot flashing too, but for reals… don’t laugh at us. There’s a ton of “stuff” and grief going on that no one prepared us for.
Your job as a Mom – it’s not over. It never ends. I am convinced more and more lately that God sustains our bodies while we’re raising kids because He knows it’s hard work. And then, when our knees and hips and shoulders start to ache from all of that work, there’s so much we cannot do anymore, but oh, oh, so much we CAN do now. Much less physical, but still so very meaningful and important! You can still have a great influence on your kids, sometimes from just being quiet. And praying. Not prying.
Get yourself some friends a couple of decades older than you. Now THEY really know a lot of stuff. Ask them to share some of it. Then, find someone a couple of decades behind you, and share some of that stuff with them. Women NEED intergenerational relationships as much as we need oxygen.
Becoming a mother-in-law, and then a grandmother, has taught me a lot of things. The biggest lesson is that it’s not always all about me. In fact, it’s rarely ever about me. The Bible gives so many examples about dying to oneself on a daily basis because as John 3:30 says, “He must become greater. I must become less.” If I truly live this out, if I really die to myself every day, I get to point my grandchildren to Christ. Now, I may not be able to run a mile anymore, or go line dancing, or other physical things I used to be able to do. But I’m convinced God saved the best “stuff” for these years. So I’ll continue to pray, not pry, and I’ll keep trying to learn some more “stuff” from those who are a few laps ahead of me in this race. I plan to cheer those on who are a few laps behind me. And, I plan to finish well.
Today was a terrific day.
And here I sit, still listening to the wind chimes. The storm came. The power is out. I love a good storm. I think I’ll pr-a-y now.
Goodnight all of you bootiful hoomans! xo
“He must become greater. I must become less.” John 3:30
ps) Also, don’t save furniture for your kids. It’s going to be outdated, dusty, and they are just going to buy their own 😉 LOL #truth