Sunday, January 22, 2017

Imperfections are Perfection

Our day was spent celebrating Kadence's 9th birthday. 
(...and doing basketball, gymnastics, church and dishes...just keepin' it real)

I still cannot write it any better than I did when she was 3...Here

A day turns into a week. 
A week into a year...
and before you realize it you're nine years in. 

This year I have committed myself to completing a parenting course of sorts. 
It is called The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown. 
It is phenomenal and challenging. 

I have completed 2 of the 4 lessons.
However in the process, I have watched the first two lessons two or three times now.  
There is just so much to think about. 

Every year I get further into this parenting journey I realize how much I have yet to learn.
The one thing I know for certain is: 
There is no such thing as a perfect parent all you can do is keep learning and trying. 

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on something she talks about.

When we bring a new baby into this world,
 what we say ourselves and what others say to us is "She's perfect." 
The problem with thinking that this perfectly beautiful newborn is ....well perfect, is that everything that goes wrong from that day forward....
That's on us. 
That's on me. 
And that's just not true. 

Our kids are genetically and neurobiologically wired for struggles. 
Our kids are wired with strengths and weakness. 
That beautiful newborn is not perfect.
That is just neurobiologically not true. 
Many of us walk out those hospital doors, 
destined to carry a burden of failure purely based on that one belief.
That we started with a perfect newborn.

I am not a new parent by any means. Cohen is about to turn 12. 
However the realization that I am not solely responsible for their deficits. 
Their weaknesses. 
Their struggles, 
was really a new place for me. 

It has allowed me to shift how I am seeing my children evolve 
and it has shifted how I see my role as their mom. 

How do I help them see they are imperfect and amazing and worthy of love and belonging?

                                                                                                                                  ~Brene Brown

This is not (and never has been)about keeping kids perfect because they don't come to us that way.
Its our job to help them learn how to turn their struggles into something beautiful. 

I am not sure I have been cognizant of that in the past and find myself struggling to find my way because I'm not sure I've done that well for myself. I fear failure. I always have. 

...and right on cue from that self reflection 
I started lesson two in the course which centers around the belief that:

We can't love our kids more than we love ourselves. 

                                                                                                    ~from the Gifts of Imperfect Parenting

Every year that we celebrate another year of life
there's a piece of me that lingers...
not ready to take another step forward. 
However it won't help either of us if we stay where we are,
so we continue growing together. 

That's all we can do.
That's all I can ask of her 
because that is all I can ask of myself. 

My wish for her this year and into the next is that
she is able to see her imperfections not as weaknesses to be avoided but as opportunities. 

That she can embrace her gifts and her imperfections.

That all of those, yes those gifts and those imperfections 
are both needed to be who she is:


...and maybe she can teach me a lesson or two in that process. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The journey of a week.

Where does one start?  

I suppose the logical answer is the beginning 
but I am not sure where the beginning is....

Perhaps we should just start at the end.
We closed the chapter on 2016 last night along with all of you. 

The irony of that is 
we also drove home last night from Sidney 
as we closed the final chapter of Mickie's, Mark's mom's, life. 
The end of a year. 
The end of a life. 

Her life and her death is not my story to tell. 

Tonight at our house as we settled back in,  a candle flickers on the table.  A reminder of a life lived.

Cancer can be an evil beast. 

It has been exactly one week. 
On Christmas Day my dad said we had to come outside and see the brightest rainbow any of us had ever seen. I was in awe. The rainbow itself was so defined. Glowing almost.  I have never seen a rainbow this glorious. The picture just doesn't do it justice. 
We knew that day, Mickie  was not feeling well and 
we knew her journey in this life was coming to an end. 
As we marveled at the beauty of this rainbow on Christmas day I just knew. I thought to myself....Mickie is saying goodbye. I didn't say it out loud. I knew Mark would look at me like I was half-crazy and it was Christmas day so I just thought it to myself. 

It would only be a couple hours later that we got the call. 
Mickie's life here on this Earth had ended.

She was a woman who excelled with numbers so reflecting back on that now perhaps it is no coincidence that we are looking at a pattern of 1 weeks time.

One weekend before Christmas. Exactly one week from the day she passed we said goodbye not knowing for sure if there would be another. 

The changes were undeniable.

An extended Thanksgiving weekend had only been but a couple weeks before.

As we all know, our lives are not guaranteed. 
None of us know if this will be our last New Years,
our last Christmas
our last Thanksgiving
our last demo derby to cheer on our son proudly...

Our last trip back to visit family and catch a game....

We can't know. 
I don't think I want to know. 
Would she have wanted to know?

I've spent the last week helping plan a funeral and reading numerous cards expressing their sympathy and recounting how Mickie touched their lives.
Maybe it was because of Christmas..
Maybe it was because of the New Year coming...
Maybe it was because we were saying goodbye...
But as I read each card I wondered...did she know?
Many of the cards were sent by people I have never met so I have no way of knowing but it left me wondering all the same. 
Did she know her impact on your life?  
We set aside time to say goodbye as people leave our lives but do we set aside time to let others know what they mean to us in the midst of living everyday?
I don't think we always do. 

I read an article the other day about setting a New Year's Intention instead of a New Year's resolution.

My challenge for you is this:
A New Year's Intention. 
In 2017, 
may you find a way to be intentional in 
expressing your gratitude 
for those in your life that impact 
who you are, 
what you do, 
where you're going,
because life is as fleeting as a rainbow.