Identity, Motherhood, Parenting

Even Though

At the beginning of all “this” (i.e. a worldwide pandemic), I took a moment to start writing down what I would want for my family during this time … as I started drafting my list (28 days ago), I realized that I had already written this list … years ago, actually. 

Here’s what I wrote in May 2019 (almost a year ago now) … 

  • I want good quality friendships … we talk about ideas, dreams, aspirations … not other people or gossip … 
  • I want a friend to walk / run with every couple days …
  • I want to spend time with my kids …
  • I want to spend time as a family …
  • I want JOY …
  • I want to take time to learn and grow …
  • I want to take time to REST …STRETCH, RECHARGE.
  • I want to continue homeschooling Mackenzie …
  • I want to SAVOUR … be present …
  • I want to practice gratitude …
  • I want to send (MORE) thank you notes/gifts …
  • I want to “do” more acts of kindness … 
  • I want my kids to have lots of experiences …
  • I want simple afternoons out in nature with my kids …
  • I want to post more in Our Life Well Lived … I think it matters, and I think the “pause” and “reflect” is good for the soul …
  • I want my kids to be a part of a church community … 
  • I want my kids to know they are NEVER alone and that they are loved by God (no matter what) … I want them to pray … express gratitude, ask for help, think of others …
  • I want to eat well … but also not be afraid (or feel guilty) of having a treat (or something unhealthy) once in a while … 
  • I want to exercise regularly … I exercise for ENERGY.
  • I want to listen to good music …
  • I want an orderly house … I don’t want stuff in our house that we don’t need or use or love … 

A year before that in April 2018, I wrote “The Important List” and published it on my blog.

This is what THAT list said … 

It is important for me to …

  • do the right thing.
  • choose my kids.
  • set a goal and follow through until it is accomplished.
  • be honest.
  • talk less and listen more.
  • spend time outside where the air is fresh.
  • share what I have with others.
  • speak kindly.
  • exercise.
  • eat well.
  • drink enough water.
  • spend time with my husband.
  • use my talents for good.
  • help others.
  • write.
  • follow through with my word.
  • listen to my heart.
  • spend time cultivating a new relationship.
  • give people a chance.
  • listen to music that feeds my soul.
  • attend church on Sundays.
  • connect with others.
  • stretch.
  • be challenged to think in a new way.
  • take time to pray.
  • change something for the better (or just to keep things fresh).
  • have only what I need and nothing more.
  • create.

ALL of these things are STILL important to me now (and maybe more than ever) … 

Sure, there are things on these lists that are HARDER now that we are self-isolating … like maintaining good quality friendships, giving my kids lots of experiences, or being part of a church community, but MOST of the things on my lists ARE STILL POSSIBLE. And, even the things that are HARDER, are NOT IMPOSSIBLE … they just might have to be “accomplished” in a little different fashion (with some effort) … regular phone calls or text messages instead of in-person visits, “experiencing” things at home instead of “afar,” or reading bible stories on our own time instead of with our minister on Sundays … 

On her FB page this week, Jill Ethier, challenged “viewers” to think about how they would use their time if this “retreat” was chosen. In particular, she wanted us to think about whether or not a “shift” would be in order between what we would want and what we are actually doing … of course, I had to give this important question some thought (especially after a few too many evenings of scrolling social media) … 

If this were “chosen,” I would DEFINITELY take some time to focus on my family … love my kids … HARD … do fun stuff with them … listen to them … learn with them … challenge them … 

I would also make sure to spend lots of time as a family … and I would make time for my husband … I would work on the book I started last summer (a compilation of all of my writing from 2012 to 2018) … I would want to take some time to work on something new … a new (albeit humbling) skill or talent maybe (like playing the piano) … I would want to rest … do a puzzle … take afternoon naps … eat well … SIT and EAT and VISIT … STOP and DRINK a cup of coffee or tea (and just stare out the window and offer a prayer of thanks) … I would exercise … reflect … ponder … write … savour … help my kids learn something new (like sewing) … spend time in nature … I would create some things … maybe do some painting … or work on the cross-stitch project I started … I would read … 

There you have it … I just made THE SAME list again … THIS is what I WOULD do if I had chosen this “retreat” … 

THIS is what I AM doing … 

At least for the most part … 

But EVEN THOUGH this is what I AM doing … and it’s been mostly GREAT …

I miss my parents.

I miss my husband’s parents.

My kids miss their grandparents.

I miss our extended family … my nieces and nephews … my sister … my brother … my aunts and uncles … and some cousins too … 

I miss my friends … 

And I miss my kids’ friends … 

My kids miss their friends (and their teachers) … 

I miss chatting with people in the grocery store or at the Red Apple.

And my heart is breaking right now … for the lonely … for the suffering … for the sick … for the new mothers … for the medical professionals … for the people working in the service industry … for those who have lost their income … for those who have lost a loved one …

****

So EVEN THOUGH I am doing EVERYTHING I can to make the BEST of this whole ORDEAL … there’s parts that are STILL SO, SO HARD … 

… and with no end in sight … well, it gets to be a bit much at times, doesn’t it? 

I will keep revisiting my “important lists,” keep making the best of this time, keep savouring … knowing that there will be moments where it’s all just a little too much to bear … not FOR ME necessarily, but for some of my colleagues … for some of my friends … for some of my family members … and for some of the people in my community … 

May you find strength in your own “important lists” during this unfamiliar time … knowing that limitations AND opportunities will COEXIST … ALWAYS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s