A day late but I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!
I sat down to write yesterday and just couldn’t get my thoughts together about this day. It is a strange holiday (or maybe it has morphed into a strange holiday). You were either showered with gifts or forgotten. You were either utterly in love or alone, or falling out of love or mourning lost loves. You were made to feel special or you were feeling left out. It’s ok. Love comes to us in so many forms if we can just allow for it. Otherwise, the weird expectation we have associated with this day can set us up for disappointment.
I have a valentine that my Grandfather gave to my Grandmother in the 1940’s. It is a lovely paper card with a puffy stitched satin heart and lace. And it smells like old perfume. This little card was kept and held onto so dearly by my grandmother and I’m sure it was looked upon with a tight throat after his passing. And here it sits, alive and well in 2016 among the 4 feet tall teddy bears, sparkly lingerie and gluten free-nut free-vegan-fair trade organic chocolate bars. Frozen in time. A reminder of the simple gesture of what Valentine’s day once was. A beautiful card purchased at Woolworth’s for a nickle.
I received nothing this year and I am not complaining. My husband isn’t consistent about those kind of things. But he shows up. Every day. There he is. And he fixed the toaster and cleaned the kitchen. He showed up. There was a little tug at my heart with each facebook post of flowers, chocolates, beautiful meals out and even shoes. Our relationships have seasons and where this may have upset me 10 years ago, yesterday, I focused on the love that I have for so many people around me. For my little ones and how their face lit up when they opened my silly little paper heart cut out. For the plants that nourish my body and the animals that bring me such joy. For my family who love me despite my craziness and for friends who do amazing work in this sad and scary world.
And I was also reminded yesterday of the love I have for myself, or am starting to have. For my legs that take me places I need or want to go. For my arms to hold and carry those little ones so tight, my eyes for taking in all of the beauty during my time on this great and spinning earth, and my heart that keeps on pumping life to the rest of my body. As long as it keeps beating I will have love to give and will allow room to receive it. No matter what the form may be.
Wait a minute! I did so receive something yesterday. My 6 year old made me the most beautiful paper heart with ribbon and fabric heart cut out and glued on. It will be treasured and displayed yearly, and passed back on to her someday as my Grandmother did with her beloved Valentine.
I see you Mamas. All the Mama bears out there. I see you. Mamas with little babies and little kids. Mamas with not so little babies and kids. Mamas getting ready to let grown up babies go….. I see you. I see you at the mall pushing strollers around, getting out of the house for a change of pace but not a break. I see you digging in your bag for wipes and binkis and snacks. So many snacks. Wondering how you will survive until bed time with these little creatures. Toys thrown, faulty sippy cups, blankies dragging on the floor and little shoes that never seem to stay on. I see you getting your kid an Icee at Target even though you know it’s not good for them and you said you would never feed your kids such crap but you do it to survive. You do it so you can go buy deodorant and bread and diapers and lots of chocolate. It’s ok. Then I see you leaving carts full of baby-brained purchases as little one yells, “I gotta go poop!” even when she just pooped 8 minutes ago. I hear you playing I-spy in the bathroom stall wondering if you will ever leave the bathroom and return to normal existence or if you should just bed down for the night.
I see you at the grocery store struggling with car seats and buckles and carts with buckles that don’t work and meltdowns when all of the race car carts are gone. You aren’t even in the store yet and you’re breaking a sweat. Wandering the isles in a foggy haze repeating the words “sweet potatoes” over and over. I SEE you.
I see you lugging so much stuff. So. Much. Stuff. I know the time and care you put into planning a simple trip from home. The right blanket, extra clothes, the right snack, bottles, band-aids and 20 diapers because you just never know. I know you miss just walking out the door whenever you feel like it or need to. It’s ok. I see you struggling to do the simplest things. Things you used to do with ease. Things you never even thought about and I see the look you just gave the young kid-less woman standing next to you, drinking coffee while it’s still hot and on her phone actually having a conversation.
I see your beautiful smile and how strong and full of grace your body is even if you don’t. I see your arms and know how they have rocked and patted and held all night long. I see your mouth dry from shushing and kissing and singing. I see your eyes, red because some nights you are awake more than you are asleep and because sometimes nursing hurts and because you think you should feel happier than you do and because your toddler will be awake for the day in 45 minutes.
And then I see the Mamas of older kids and those with even older kids. I see how you look longingly at the new mamas and how you think your heart is about to explode as you fill out college applications and watch your baby drive out of your driveway for the first time in a real live car. You’ve watched them on that very same driveway on a little scoot toy and a tricycle, scooter, a bike with training wheels and then a 2 wheeler. And now a car. A real car. I see how strong you are in front of them and I know how you weep when they are not there.
I know how overwhelmed with joy you are at times. Complete and utter joy and contentment. I know what you sacrifice for these little people and how you wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s ok. It’s all ok. We can do this together. We can help each other. We can tell the new mama at the mall that she’s doing a great job. We can tell the mama of the high school senior she’s doing a great job. Because sometimes we just don’t believe it and sometimes we really need to hear it. We can support and rise each other up. When someone says they had terrible morning sickness or their baby won’t latch on or they don’t want to nurse and will bottle feed it is a precious invitation. We must care and be gentle and when we see or hear someone say these things to us we must hold that with absolute tenderness. If something in you signals to someone else that they are safe to share their struggle, we must meet them with kindness. Even if we look like we’ve got our shit together or are pretending we’ve got our shit together, we probably don’t. If we can rise each other up it will be a hell of a lot easier.
Yesterday I overheard these words from my 6 year old while she was playing with her dolls:
“Are we all too weak to stand?
Are we all too weak to fly?
Then spread your arms and soar. We can do this together”.
I had to really let this sink in for a bit. How beautiful is this? This pure, innocent view of helping each other and working together and rising each other up. Even when we are too weak to stand, maybe we could have this little 6 year old pep talk in our mind that we are not too weak to fly. Maybe we can be more loving towards each other. Maybe we can give more pep talks and look past what we can not do. Maybe the things that we CAN do are quite remarkable and amazing if we think outside of the box.
This is my first real post here. I’m not sure where this whole thing is going and I’m not sure how it will evolve but I know that I just need to write down the things that float around in my mind. I’m a disorganized/ easily distracted homemaker and sell vintage treasures on ETSY. I struggle to plan meals, cook healthy, lose weight, keep my house clean and avoid panic attacks. But my kids are happy and my home is warm. I seek peace, balance and to find bliss in the present moment. You probably wont find 201 Pinterest worthy kid crafts or ideas on how to turn a chicken into 35 meals plus make an end table out of the bones. BUT, I would love if you joined me. Will you join me? We can do this together.
Great finds at today’s yard sales! Can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and listed in my Etsy shop!
I have a new obsession: Melmac. Or Melamine dish sets from the 40s- 60s. So just to be clear, I only have these cups, 3 plates and 1 saucer. But I am in love. Do you have any melamine dishes?