I’m sitting on my front porch that is slightly illuminated by the street lamp across the street. I’ve been sitting here for about a half of an hour just trying to piece together words that might be worthy of a blog post. Across the street, our ten year old neighbor is stalking a lightning bug that is just escaping her grasp. All around me the birds continue to sing their tunes, seemingly unaware that it is dark. Inside the house there is silence. The kids have been tucked in and Chad just came out to sing his final rendition of Goodnight Sweetheart in his deepest pretend baritone voice.
I sit and upload photos from a weekend spent at “home”. My childhood home, that is.
(The neighbor girl just called in reinforcements–little brother has joined her with a jar in hand. They creep upon the illuminated bugs with no success and they quickly give up.)
Taking pictures has proven to be a profound experience for me. Sometimes, it is not until I go back and look at the images that I realize the moments we were creating. Somehow seeing the images frozen in time forces me to look deeper and see things as if for the first time. . .
. . . like this scene at a park just a short half mile from my Dad’s house. . .
This massive hill contained in the park used to be one of the places where I would escape when life felt overwhelming. On some days I would march up the hill with journal in hand and plant myself at the very top and write. I would write about the very “serious” thoughts in my teenage brain and the trials of my adolescent life. On other days, I would adorn myself in my running shoes and I would pant my way up and down and around this hill and work out the confusion that is every teenage life. In those days, I didn’t see an escape from my confusion. . . in those days I could have never imagined that one day I would watch my own kids play on this very same hill, in this very same park.
For a moment I sat at the top of the hill and closed my eyes. I paid attention to the light breeze that brushed against my face and listened to the happy squeals of my children. I heard their laughter and felt their joy and the only word that is appropriate is surreal.
How did I get here?
The girl that sat on that hill so many years ago never thought about being a Mommy. She certainly never thought she would be a Mommy of two–and certainly not three. But here I am now, raising my kids and watching them grow and change so much faster than I’d like. I remember the girl who sat on that hill, because she is still in me. Certainly, she is stronger now and can roll with the punches (a little bit) better. She has learned that the beauty is in the small things and not the big ones.
She has come to understand that the questions are so much more important than the answers.
Revisiting this place brought me face to face with a reality of life. Challenges come and we face them–each of us in our own way. I realize that some day my kids are going to need a place where they can escape. Someday, they will likely battle their own thoughts and their own confusions and I will not be able to help.
Someday, they will need an escape from me.
As much as I want to wrap my arms around them and protect them from anything that will steal away their innocence, I realize that my reach will only extend so far. Along the way, they will need to realize how strong they are and that will only happen because I let go.
I know that it’s not going to be easy–for me or for them. But revisiting this place reminded me that growth has come because of the struggles and not in spite of them. Revisiting this place brought me face to face with the reality that one of the greatest gifts I can give my kids is space to grow. However, today is not that day . .