Friday, April 30, 2010

Fortyness - Walking a Mile in Their Shoes

If you are a mom, you know that no one knows your children better than you do. You have the intimate knowledge of them to know just by looking at their eyes that they have strep throat or a sinus infection. You know from the moment they come out of their rooms in the morning whether they are going to have good days or bad days. You know by their stature when they walk in from school or away from a chat on the computer if they are dealing with friend issues, heartache or disappointment.

I have three beautiful Baby Hats, A,B, and C. They were precious baby girls that are now turning into amazing young women. Am am in awe everyday of who they are and what they are becoming. They will truly make a difference in the world in some way. I couldn't be more proud of them.

Being a woman I have always felt like I had an advantage raising girls. I know that many of the things that they will experience will be the same things that I experienced growing up. Heartbreaks, hormones, homework - I can relate. Friendships, fearing the future, feeling awkward at times - I've been there. Sadness, success, silliness of being a teenager - this mom has lived that too. I understand the intricacies and bonds surrounding growing up with sisters. I know the insecurities, the joys, the quirkiness and challenges of growing from a girl into a woman.

I know my babies intimately. I know their hearts.

However, as well as I know them, I know there is much that I don't know about them. They may not reveal every fear, every joy, every interest, or every concern to me. My desire in my fortyness is to know them even more. I want to know them more to help them navigate the roads that lie ahead of them in life. Even though I have traveled them, their own experiences change the terrain. In order to guide or even walk with them, I want to be familiar with the roadblocks, u-turns and forks that they may have to negotiate.

This year on my birthday, I am giving each of my daughters a gift. I am giving them a pair a canvas tennis shoes in my size and a pack of permanent markers. As a gift to me, I am going to ask them to put on these shoes, all the things that make them who they are - hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments, successes and failures. Whether they choose to simply write words or create pictures to represent, it doesn't matter. This is something for them to express who they I can know them better.

When they are done with these shoes, I hope to be able to be a better mother to them. I hope to be able to understand their hearts even more. I hope to be able to have a deeper connection with them as I put the gifts on my own feet and walk a mile in their shoes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I turned 40 this year.

I didn't really mind it. As my birthday approached, I didn't feel the loom and doom of the age suffocating me. I didn't feel the need to hide my chronological age behind the guise of the everlasting of the 39's. I didn't lament my last day in my 30's. In fact, I remember my last day in my 20's being much more difficult and emotional. 40- I didn't mind least not from the aspect of being old.

As the day I celebrated my 40th year on this earth came and went, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I took it. I had a lovely day with my family and my parents who drove 400 miles to celebrate it with me. I was conscious of how "undifferent" 40 felt from 39. I though to myself, "This 40 thing is a breeze!"

But as the days and weeks of my 40th year passed, a funny thing happened. I uneventfully but steadily descended into fortyness. It wasn't a single event or a single day, but an accumulation of a lifetime of experiences, memories, circumstances and relationships that rattled around deep inside of me and quietly created where I am today - in fortyness.

This fortyness thing makes me look at my world and the things in it a lot differently. It affects how I view, assess, and react to almost every aspect of my life. Kids, work, education, body image, relationships, personal responsibility, parenting, friendships, material stuff, you name it, fortyness changes how it looks.

It's funny how I remember when my parents turned seemed so.....well....old. Now, not so much. In fact, it doesn't feel old at all. It is liberating, comfortable, and at times, challenging. It is a state of being, not an age that defines us. We define it. Do I mind it? No. Does it cause some change and discomfort, both good and bad? Yes.

Over the next several months, I'll be returning often to and writing through the lens of fortyness. I know I can't be the only person who is in this place. Hopefully you can find something you can connect with and, in these writings, find a place where you can see that you are not alone in your fortyness. As always, I'd love to hear your comments.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On the Hunt...

It's here! It's here!!!

It's that time of year when the stores are overrun by pastel colored stuffed bunnies, plastic eggs, a bagillion different types of candy all donning their spring wrappers, and of course, the classic little yellow marshmallowy .....mmmmmmmmm...Peeps!

It's Easter time again.

Even though my baby hats are all turning into young women, they still look forward to the fun Easter activities they have done since they were little. Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, new dresses, and dying eggs - there are 18 boiling on my stove as I write this, are still a hallmark of the holiday. They are an expectation and a tradition in my household. The Easter grass, the smell of vinegar in the dye, and the inevitable egg that gets forgotten - this time of year just would not be the same without them.

Of course it is a lot of work for me. It gets tougher to find stuff to stuff in eggs and baskets as they get older. Dying the eggs is far from an unmessy activity. And yes....I will even have to untangle the brushes of my vacuum cleaner every time I run it for the next 6 weeks as it sucks up the grass that made its way from inside the basket to tangled in the carpet. Even though it sometimes feels that they are getting too old for it, that they don't appreciate it, or if they've driven my nuts and I feel like they don't deserve it, I still do it. It's a sacrifice of time and a labor of love. But it is all a small price to pay for something that brings my girls joy. And it in no way compares to the price that was paid for us.

We have fun and partake in all of the fun "Eastery" stuff. We always have. It has brought a lot of pleasure to watch the girls hunt for their eggs hoping to find their heart's desire hidden in each little plastic egg.

But, the central focus has always been the true meaning of Easter. They know that the gift they have been given his far greater than what any egg or basket can hold. It goes far beyond the temporary pleasure of the sweet chocolate bunny in the pretty foil. It is a gift that is everlasting, eternal, and by far, the most precious thing that has ever been given for another.

It is the gift of forgiveness and salvation. On this Easter we will again remember and celebrate the sacrifice and labor of love that Christ gave for us. He gave his life for us, in exchange for our sins. He took the pain for us, as undeserving as we are, so that we would have eternal life in heaven. That is the true gift this Ester.

This Easter, when the hunt for treasures is on, remember that the temporary treasures and pleasures will be hidden in the grass and under the bushes. But to find the eternal one, there is no need to look ant further than the cross.