The Magnitude of Just Being

3 months ago I became mother to a beautiful 5 month old baby boy.  The magnitude of this has been overwhelming some days – suddenly my life is not my own.

It was an adjustment when I got married.

This is different.

Motherhood feels different.

There are many treasured moments that belong to my boy and I, or to my guy, my boy and I and these are ours alone.

My not working for a while, at least for as long as he was alive and not with us, feels like a public thing.  It feels a like I have had to redefine where I fit in my community and social spaces.  It feels like a gift and yet one which I have had to intentionally articulate.

 

Recently I was sitting watching my little man and suddenly it struck me that his biggest joy for the afternoon was my just sitting and being with him.

He gurgles, he plays, he explores, he cuddles and he checks in in between as his agility and mobility is increasing (way too fast some days for me!).

Yet the smile and the giggle that lights up his face when he knows that I have seen him, or am simply being with him overwhelmed me that afternoon.

just be

 

Just being  was enough for him.

No, I didn’t sit there passively, we engaged and giggled and smiled and made sure that he explored in a way the allowed for discovery with reduced risk of harm.

Yes, we feed, clothe and ensure he is cared for.

His joy though came from just being.

This forced me to question how much value I place on just being.

 

Just being with God

Just being with my guy.

Just being with my son.

Just being in community with my people.

Just being.

 

Is there enough value for me in just being present with him to transition joyfully into motherhood, with the lack of sleep some nights and my world suddenly seeming to be so  much smaller?

Is there enough value for me in being his mom or do I have to own that until this point much of my own validation came from being a part of bigger conversations, being a part of a work space where I knew people’s lives were impacted practically through research and skills and being with them?

My word for 2016 was to JUST BE.

I am learning how hard this can be some days.

Yet, after an afternoon in which my almost 9 month old explorer took a horrible tumble and there was snot, blood and tears (some his and some mine after); on top of his second ever illness since us being together, I had to concede that actually this mattered more to me than I had been able to fully own:

This just being his mom.

Just being his mom is far bigger, far more joyful, far more overwhelming and far more fulfilling than I could have anticipated.

I said no to further post grad studies to explore a relationship with the man who became my husband.

I am saying yes to just being my son’s mom. Who knows where that path is going to lead us?

Just being.

 

 

 

 

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Despite the challenges….

It’s been a while since I posted anything – not for lack of writing – but rather because processes have a way of “being covered in manure” sometimes before they makes sense. Seeds grow and germinate well in rich soil – the smell of manure at different times of the year from neighbours garden’s always reminds me of this (unless I get too focused on the manure and forget about the long term process at work). The reminder of Jesus’s words in John 12: 24 is seen around us all the time: Seeds need to die to become fruitful and more than just a single seed.
Things that seem to be sprouting at the moment include the possibility of life looking very different. Include the possibility of being excited about new beginnings. Include the possibility of new habits/ neural pathways and ways of being.

This morning I started reading a book on changing habits. One question that was asked is “what do you do first thing in the morning?”. It was hard realisation, again, to acknowledge that my habit is to get up and GO! From sleep state to MAX energy in whatever it is – often driven by a sense of underlying urgency or anxiety. So I STOPPED and asked myself was this necessary?

Were the reasons that I was GOING at this pace still even there? NO. Actually not. Intentional decisions have been made to ensure that this is not the case. My days are more measured.
Each day this week I have had to rewire my brain to accept that this week, this term and the rest of this year is not going to look like the past 12 months did in terms of work pace. It’s a habit of busyness at full tilt that needed to be broken. It’s okay for days to be full, but not perpetually full and rushed.

Honouring this slow-down process has been challenging in different ways. It’s required mindfulness. It’s required recognising where I have been messing up: in choices I make, in the way that it has impacted my relationships as well as in the impact that it has had on me: my body and my emotions.

It has been challenging when we come back from a time away to discover that there are unexpected glitches resulting in a BIG financial stretch due to complications in my husband’s transition from an old work season to a new one.
It’s been challenging for this “I always have a plan person” to not be able to take control of this process and want to look for extra work as we seek to save to buy a home; to shake off all financial stress and to trust that this is maybe a part of the process too.

It has been inspiring and affirming of a prayer prayed together with my husband of Lord grow our faith! It has been incredible to see my husband remain solid in this. It has been affirming of the marriage relationship to see us talking about other stuff – not the mess that has happened. In the midst of this big rollercoaster ride, my husband is still dreaming about homes and the goals that we have for life together in the long term.

This is the process of change and fresh starts. I am not sure why I thought it would be totally stress free?! The challenge for me really is to learn to live well, intentionally, despite the challenges, not without them.

SAME same but DIFFERENT

Things that are the same same but different are a big part of why I have been forced to slow down and stop sometimes.

This past week I have had lots of time to sit and think and reflect on what is good, what is hard, what is making this soooo very hard.

I know that I am not (mood) depressed – but two of my friends said to me there is a lot of underlying anxiety/ stress. They are wise, and honest and gentle and worth listening to often!

I reflected on what they meant by this and realised that actually there was.

There have been so many changes in the last 18 months, as well as the last 10 years. Many of these amazing changes, worth celebrating, like master’s degrees and mom’s healthy heart, and adventures in Africa and becoming self-employed. Maybe the biggest has been shifting from a 30 something single to a very recently married and very recently 40-something.

We are still in the midst of the unknowns and the pace at which I have been living has made this harder, but actually yes, there is a lot of underlying anxiety at the moment.

The gift this week has been recognising that I have not struggled with accepting more responsibility and the role of being married and a wife, but I have struggled with letting go of what it meant to only be single.

I simply added wife and married onto the existing things.

See I am the same person with the same dreams, passions and convictions but I am having to learn that my life
has changed and that means that the expression of this by default actually needs to change. It means finding clarity and focus and intent differently. It has meant looking at what is working and isn’t working energy wise.

It’s also meant that I have had the opportunity to look at what hasn’t been dealt with personally, or professionally that is fuelling the anxiety.

What are the unknowns and what are the unspoken, unfinished things that need attention?

What do I need to make peace with as possibly never reaching a finish line and what can I process and perhaps find peace in the processing either alone or another?

How can I not be grateful for this gift?

It’s about rest. It’s about peace. It’s about slowing down and it’s about healing. A journey I get to go on with God, myself and with community.

I like that a lot.