Within the first ten minutes of arriving at our new home, I proceeded to lock myself and my five year old daughter out of the house. It was just long enough to also leave my phone and car keys inside the now-locked house. With my agenda altered, I rummaged through the car, looking to find something productive to do while we waited. Little arms suddenly wrapped around my leg. I looked down to see my child staring back up at me with her beautiful blue eyes. “Let’s play, mama!” With a request like that, I really had no choice but to just enjoy the beautiful Spring day and follow her lead as we explored the grounds. We marched into a small patch of woods and found a clearing of large greenery. As we sat underneath the cascading tree, we talked about how this would be her new “hide-out” and chatted about school and life as only a five year old can. I realized for the first time that she was slightly nervous about moving into a new home. I hadn’t taken the time to really listen to her fears and reassure her that we would be bringing all the things to the new house that were important to her. “Yes, of course, the kitty cat is coming with us!”
She was so happy to just have me, all of me- not the mom who is always checking her phone or talking to other grown-ups, not the mom who is only half listening while mentally racing through a list, and not the mom who says one more minute after I just said one more minute five minutes ago, but a mom who could soak up all this little girl was offering. The universe may have had a hand in shutting doors, but I needed to be the one to take the time to listen to the very people who matter most to me. Being locked out of the house was probably the best thing that could have happened that day.
A few days later, I returned to the new house alone and with a car full of boxes. In my haste to get everything done, I stumbled over the brick pathway and fell, hard. I could feel my ankle swelling and the blood running down my leg. I was mad. Who wears flip-flops on a rainy day while carrying boxes and rushing around on a brick patio? My leg was throbbing. Once again, the universe helped me to get grounded, even if it meant knocking me off my feet. I continued to sit on the cold, hard brick, annoyed but glad to be still for just a moment. I decided this was my reminder to take some time to check in and stop moving through life like I was pushing a large bolder uphill.
The next morning, I abandoned the unopened boxes in favor of sitting down with a cup of hot tea to write out Mother’s Day cards. Since there aren’t many of us in my family, we often joke that we don’t have enough members for a family tree, maybe just a twig. We couldn’t fill a large dining room table even if we invited my husband’s immediate family and mine! For Mother’s Day, though, I always enjoy writing to many of the special “mothers” in my life. I wrote to birth family members, to “aunts” and “grandmothers” who became more than just family friends, to Godmothers, and to friends who were like second mothers to my children. I wrote to friends who would be celebrating Mother’s Day with their children while still grieving the loss of their own mother. I wrote out cards to the women in my life who helped me be a better mom and felt blessed to be able to include my sister, my grandmother and my mother. By the time I put down my pen, my heart was full of gratitude and love. I could feel my shoulders soften and my perspective lighten. It was just what I needed to be reminded that we can fill up with love simply by letting others know how much they mean to us and how much they are loved.