Feeling deeply inspired by my children tonight.
Little, little boy. Delight of our hearts. His name means “Given to God” and it’s proof that all that is consecrated returns to us hundredfold. I came home Friday morning to him scrubbing the art counter with fervor and thoroughness. Using all the kinds of soaps and rags. When I inquired if that was part of his chore rotation for the day, he said, “No, I gave myself an extra chore because I woke my brother up.” He is not yet seven and he remembered his brother’s boundary and the attached consequence and carried it out on his own.
Being ten is funny and awkward and in-between. He leaned in with enthusiasm during the kayaking adventure even though there was some awkwardness around meeting my partner’s kids for the first time. He watched cheerfully as they braved jumping off the bridge into the pond. “Maybe I’ll do that when I’m twelve.” He kept watching. And when the 9 year old hit the water, he rowed to the shore, climbed to the center and jumped! And jumped again!
Joy. It’s just who she is. So quick to make peace with what’s before her. Riding the tumult of 12-to-13 with so much grace! Leaning in to the big changes in our family with honesty and courage. So good at “being okay” that she needed mama and sisters to notice her hiding her changing body in sweat pants during hot summer days. Speaking the truth of her self-consciousness and utter discomfort at shopping and trying on. Heeding the encouragement to look on herself as she would a friend. And letting it in when mom deliberately showed her the price tags and said, “I love buying things you need to feel comfortable and beautiful.”
A little dumbfounded by my 14 year old asking for a ride to the grocery store. He wanted to buy his own groceries this month. On the way home, I asked him what made him decide to do it. He said, “I know it doesn’t really make a difference to the people who don’t have food, but it makes a difference to me. I want to feel humble and appreciate what I have. I’m going to eat healthier and do regular fasting to help me be more mindful of when and why I eat. And it’s important for me to realize what it’s like to buy food. It’s amazing how much just a few groceries can cost. I don’t want to just eat without thinking anymore.”
A shopping trip inspired by the need for a swimsuit went something like this: Mom driving a friend in crisis to a family outing. The girls in the backseat listening on while I offer encouragement and support. After I drop the friend off, the 17 year old expresses awe and gratitude. “I feel so grateful for my life, for my family, and I’m so amazed at how good you are at what you do, Mom.” We spend some time talking about privilege and the responsibility that goes along with it. How important it is to keep our family unit healthy so we can spread that love to others. How incredibly she plays that role in loving attendance to household responsibilities and the loving care she shows her siblings. Soul-work, and she is good for it. I emphasized the importance of speaking our needs and boundaries and talking about when we need a break. I honored her for speaking up this week when she felt like Dad and I had been gone too much. Flower.
The precious gem who bravely weathered the Covid storm during the end of high school, gave college her best shot but got blind-sided by health problems and had to move back home. The worst! She spent the last year showing up for her health, finishing her medical assisting certification that got hijacked by Covid, working two jobs, buying her own car and finally, finally being able to move out again. She has picked herself back up time and time again and shows up with laughter and love wherever she is. I miss her.
I found out today that the 22 year old who is back home for a mental health break took the 14 year old clothes shopping because he found some good sales. He’s been showing up big for himself and his siblings. He paused on his way out the door on a bad day to pull out the cello and play along to Canon in D to celebrate the 12 year old who learned it on the piano and wanted the family orchestra to accompany her. He’s doing it so well even though it’s painful. Little Raven, thank you for singing your dark, dark song.
I stopped by the 24 year old’s today to see his daughter. His daughter! The past year has thrown him a few surprises, but he shows up for it. So much fun and so much kindness! Dental school exam is just a week away. I asked him how being a dad has been for him. “I love spending time with her so much! I study all day and I miss her, so when I’m done in the evening its so great to hang out with her!”
Honored and humbled, my loves. Thank you for walking this sacred journey with me. Thank you for trusting me, forgiving me, teaching me, supporting me. I bow to each of you.