Everybody is Okay.
Dear Present Self,
I remember it. You were in the weeds. Deep in the fire of being Mama to young, young people. They fed off your energy, relied on your nervous system to balance their emotions. Those children searched for their power in relationship to their world, which was mostly you. You and Dada were their world. That little family, that house, those beds, that mess, the combined energy of the four of you, was an entity of its own.
Back then, you were in a bubble. A cell, with a Mama nucleus. All parts were so intimately connected. It was not always clear where one person ended and another began. You soaked in the sweet tenderness of that bubble. And at the same time, you longed to brush your teeth without chasing down a six foot string of dental floss. You missed the freedom of grocery shopping without a “customer in training” cart hitting your heels. Oh, how you wished you could leave the house when you wanted, without battles over shoes, bribes to get into car seats, and crying over loveys left behind. You couldn’t imagine feeling rested ever again.
Here’s some good news from the future. You are still their rock, their foundation, their soft place to land in the learning moments. But now, the outer world, teachers, friends, and extended family have expanded that early bubble. Your children feed off other relationships too. Thanks to your fostering, your children find limitless source inside themselves. They are emerging, forming their own nucleuses with a strong sense of self, moving into the world with their own unique bubbles fully intact. And you think back to yards of chewed up floss, bruised heels, brutally long exits, and nighttime comforting with a warmness in your heart. It’s okay you didn’t see the perfection in every moment. You see it now.
You were tired. You. were. not. getting. much. sleep. Many days, your balance was off. Your emotions were raw. Sometimes the interior of that bubble felt suffocating. You struggled to feel your power among the power struggles of your children. There were days you couldn’t imagine a time when there would be anything beyond that bubble. You weren’t perfect. You yelled. You cried. You reached your limits in not-so-graceful ways. At times, you listened to voices that told you to be the heavy hand that broke their wild spirits into compliance, obedience, good behavior.
Listen. To your voice.
You did not break their fierce souls. Most moments, you honored their souls in the same way you were learning to honor your own. You gently guided them to ways they’d find more ease. You showed them more love, more joy, more teamwork than you were capable of before they came. If you found yourself tearing, you were always repairing. They saw that. They saw raw emotion and apologizing. They learned that feelings are ok, and you can take responsibility when you hurt someone else. They learned that they were important, they were worth it, they were your reason. Because you stayed fiercely centered in that bubble, because you gave, because you searched yourself for all the gifts you have, your children leave the bubble with those gifts intact. And you, too, left the bubble, transformed.
Look at you now. You shower daily. You sleep all night. The dishes are done. The laundry is folded. You leave the house on a moment’s notice. Your personal space is personal once again. Your bathroom drawer remains pristine, your dental floss is rationed. You are using the gifts your children showed you. You are more compassionate, more gentle with yourself, and more able to help others find and live in the truest parts of themselves. You are a stronger, wiser, more loving self, thanks to your young people. And there is no do-over. It was a fleeting moment. It wasn’t forever, it was quick.
You aren’t perfect. You never will be. But you need to know, you did well. You’re still doing well. Your children know your fierce love and they see your example. An example of humility, authenticity, and learning. Always learning, always loving. Everybody is okay.
Love and hugs from the unknown,
Your Future Self
P.S. Your kids think it’s ridiculous you used to write “LOL” and "OMG"!