Growing up, I absolutely loved the colorful cartoon maps Six Flags gave out to their guests. I don’t know if they make them like that anymore. Days after visiting the park, I would let my imagination walk through the paths of that map as I lay on my floor in my bedroom—map opened up— riding the Log Flume and the Screaming Eagle again and again. I enjoyed all the goofy faces of the cartoon guests, the greenery dotting the pathways, and how similar the rides really were to the really thing.
You are here.
To point to a place on a map and see that it really is a long walk to the other side of the park, even in happy drawing form, that was something too.
I think of motherhood this way sometimes. I think of a map. Colorful. Silly. Happy—even if there are turd emoticons and the cutest little cartoon barfing baby you ever did see.
You are here.
You are on the island of loneliness.
You are in babymoon bliss.
You are in hormone hangover.
You are on the emotional roller coaster of I - want - another - baby - but - - - - hmm.
You are stuck at the gate (holding a balloon).
You are on a bench soaking in the view & smiling.
You are lost.
You are waiting.
You are laughing huge and ridiculous. Like, seriously you look ridiculous. Get it together.
You are riding the new ride and shitting your pants.
Your toddler is shitting his pants.
You are waking in the middle of the night in tears of guilt and sweaty stress.
You are holding your sweet baby and memorizing her every everything and praying “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
You are singing Old MacDonald again.
You are overwhelmed, looking for the nearest exit.
You have heart eyes. All the heart eyes. Stop. You look ridiculous again.
Yeah. I think of motherhood this way. I don’t love every minute. But a lot of times I’ll think Okay. I’m here! Now where are we?
Oh, we’re disciplining? Ok. Oh, we’re saying prayers. Got that. Oh, we’re stopping / failing / winning / learning / reading / tickling ? Sweet. I know how to do that.
I don’t love every moment of parenting but I’m learning how to bring love to each moment. I’m slowly learning to first and foremost recognize what is it this moment is about. Because it’s not all snuggles and heart eyes. But it’s also not all grit and guilt either. In fact, everything is all over this map.
One moment I’m nurturing. The next I’m training. The next I’m opening the door to wonderment. The next I’m answering my sweet boy’s question about death and hearing the twins laugh in the other room.
Heck. As moms, we’re holding entirely different maps than one another too. One mom leans over and asks about Fillintheblank Zone on the other mom’s map and that mom says, “Uh, pretty sure that’s not on my map.” <scratches head>
So here I am. Here you are. Where are we?
- I am in summer, my favorite season (fall is a tight, tight runner-up). I plan on wearing my swim suit come low or high water, but hoping for very high water.
- I am tying up the strings on our 1st year of homeschool & happy to see a fresh stack of brand spanking new books on my desk for fall ready to be cracked open—-but not just yet.
- I am reading On the Banks of Plum Creek with Thomas. I am ordering too many books on Amazon. I am still still still reading In This House of Brede.
- I am potty training twins & days away from celebrating their 3rd birthday. This is huge!! This past year was the roughest. Yes, worse than the death-knocking-on-door sleep deprivation I had their 1st year. I’m so excited to see so much growth & growing up in them right now. (And yet they still want to snuggle and squirm into my lap as well.)
- I am finishing up the 1st year of the hemophilia diagnosis. Some days I’m so tired of the calls from the pharmacy I want to scream. But mostly, I am very grateful this isn’t so much (cross my fingers) a season of waiting room visits and wondering what information I’ll be leaked next. We have definitely found our new normal and that’s all there is to it. It feels totally okay, just as it should be by now. I look back and feel sorry for Superhero Ashley that spent dozens of hellish hours in waiting rooms with the boys…but what can I do? She was prideful and she needed a swift punch to the gut to get over wanting to do all and be all. She got it last year. ;)
- I am taking care of my health. I’m doing the BBG program with my sisters—mix of cardio and strength. I feel myself truly, distinctively, measurably, visibly getting stronger with every session. I’m so happy we are doing this together and that I’ve got such a great support system to cheer me on!
- I am texting Paul lots of kiss face emoticons and also computer emoticons and Panda emoticons and any other emoticon. All the emoticons.
- I am still off Facebook. Still in need to not be there with everybody. Still thinking about noise and distraction and what part I need or should play in all of that, but mostly just happy to have a little more time away, tucked up tight here minding my own business. Mostly. ;)
- I am grateful. Always.
Okay. Your turn. Where are you?