After this post on processing life with littles in tow, a friend messaged to ask what the compost pile produced from that season of phonecalls. It got me thinking and pondering, and one thing that it produced was connection. Connection with others. Connection with my heart.
Trying to do and be and keep up is really hard. Expectations bind and should’s keep a person small. My heart was full of both.
I worked hard at my life trying to get it right. I tried to be the perfect daughter, girlfriend, fiancee, wife, mother, teacher, friend, big sister, the list goes on. Oh how I tried. And failed. And tried harder.
Those were lonely, dry years. I was locked down tight with the key lost somewhere beneath the piles of rules and guidelines and man-made burdens I was trying to bear.
I cared for the hearts and dreams of others. Theirs had value and worth. Looking into the eyes of my students, siblings, children, friends, I saw potential. Future. Hope. My own eyes were dead. Future resigned. Hope aborted.
Pressing on. Tossing in. Packing down.
Then it happened. I began to break. To crack. Just a little.
They started. The phone calls. Heart calls. From sisters. From friends.
I shared. They didn’t run. They remembered. I collapsed.
She came to me.
I remember a particular friend who I didn’t know well at the time, also a mommy of littles, calling to check on me. I was honest. She didn’t judge. She called back. We processed life.
I felt safer sharing my story. I practiced trusting that people cared about me. Those phone calls were drops of cool water on my dried-out heart. I began to soften inside and feel freedom to look at some painful places.
It was a time of great breaking in order to bring about great healing, but I wasn’t alone. I had my phone-a-friends.
It’s funny, but not really, that it happened as I was incubating the second half of my family. Having spent my 20’s as a working mother of four, I embarked upon my 30’s with a sense of What will this decade bring?
It brought four more children and the stay-at-home version of me.
I remember thinking, At least I have an excuse to be home, because I am caring for all of these little (and big) ones. Must there always be an excuse? It wasn’t until a few years later that the compost produced choices, but for now, there was connection.
And it was sweet.