I didn’t mean to see her.
Sitting in the parking lot of my daughter’s studio. Me in my car with a sick toddler, her in hers. A head shaking “no” cradled in her hands, while fingers somehow still caught and swiped tears. Because moms multitask, I thought.
Yes, we multitask. We carry on when our hearts are breaking. We pack lunches in the midst of a season of heavy mourning. We kiss and smile and sing while we wrestle something beastly on the inside. We button up coats and help pull on boots while life squeezes and cuts in like a garment worn too tightly. We drop off at dance, wave and encourage and then hold our breaths until that door slams. Because then we can let it go for a minute. Maybe.
We are still on the surface while just below, we are paddling frantically.
We put this insane pressure on ourselves to not let anyone know. Self-imposed expectations of seeming “together”. Why? As if those days aren’t hard enough, we then expend still more energy showing the world that they aren’t hard. We push upstream for no good reason beyond reaching the shallow waters, the false idol of “fine”.
I say we stop.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating blowing your lid under the veil of “being transparent”- those rants often breed more negativity, hurt relationships, and offer nothing productive. But what if we could just be honest with God, with trusted friends, or our significant other? I think we would see that there’s more grace available than the small amount we ration for ourselves each day- especially on those days. I have seen it before, and again just a couple of days ago: when mamas open up in earnest, it creates this incredible ripple. It gives other moms permission to open up, too. There is release and there is growth. Brave breeds brave; honesty encourages honesty.
I think the thing I love most about Christianity in its purest form is that it all comes down to redemption. Beauty from ashes; restoration beyond imagination from nothing less than brokenness. God seeping into the cracks and rebuilding something stronger than it was before the fall. And I want to live life like that, where beautiful things can come from my brokenness, if only I’ll stop hiding it.
To all the fellow moms, cradling their heads in their hands, deftly swiping tears, always doing at least two things at once: I’m praying for you. I’m praying for us. If we must walk through these seasons, I pray we are also cultivating something beautiful in them as we learn to let go and be open; something more permanent the struggle.