Life is fluid. Change is inevitable and it isn’t just what we observe outside ourselves. As a Mom watching the rapid growth and constant changes happening in my children, I forgot that it could happen to me. It was happening to me. Nineteen years of parenting, it wasn’t just the seventy kids who grew, changed and moved on. Mine has been a slow change as a stubborn and busy adult I am often my own worst enemy in recognizing my soul. There is a new wrinkle in the mirror, a depth to the circles under my eyes that mimics the depths and wrinkles growing deeper more internal.
Sometime around Christmas I began to have an incredible pain in my eyes. At first I thought it had to do with a recent virus, a bit of an effect left over from the fever. It got so bad I had to lie down and cover half my face with a toque covering one eye so I could watch TV or I would be nauseated. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t read. Finally, I went to the optometrist, thinking something was very wrong and I probably had a sinister disease.
I needed glasses. That was all. Forty some years with no additional assistance for fabulous eye sight and overnight it changed. Surely, there must have been some warning, other than the number of candles blown out as the years flew by. In the mirror before me lines map out years, memories etched in skin and now glasses, thick rims, framing the window to my soul.
At the birth, nineteen years ago, of my first child I saw there was a right way to raise a child. She must have all immunizations at the correct time and not eat honey or peanut butter until the prescribed age and if I followed the correct parenting advice to the letter I could churn out perfect, obedient children. Young, madly in love with my new little person I was desperate to know there was a right way that I could rely on. The lines around this point of view softened rather quickly but I carried a sense that my style of parenting, our lifestyle of home schooling and foster parenting- though admittedly not for everyone- had a ring of rightness. For years every plan made, every vacation, house purchased, every big decision was for the betterment of the family as a whole.
Looking back, small changes took place for me. Feeding my soul slowly became more and more necessary, more and more of a priority. I knew the importance of self-care from the beginning of my parenting journey, but this was different. This was not self-care. I recognized in myself a need for space, quiet and alone time a shift in my creative passions- from stage to page. I began to feel a need to assert my independence, a shift in a delicate balance.
In the mirror now I still see the things I like the most about myself. I see the path of my parenting journey has not always been right, or straight forward. It is littered with mistakes but covered with love and effort. With my new glasses I see the complexity and simplicity of grace, of mercy and peace. Instead of looking at my children and thinking this is the right way I feel there are some ways, let’s see what works. Time changes perspective, priorities and I see the brilliance of colours, of options, chances and changes instead of black and white. The young mom who struggles to keep her cool with her toddlers in tow meets my eyes in a line somewhere I want to reach out my hand and touch her gently on the arm and tell her I can see her effort, she is doing a good job and everything is going to be okay.