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My daughter had an assignment at school recently to write a letter to herself, and the teacher will send it to her when she graduates high school. As I listened to her talk about her letter, I found myself thinking about my own letter.
Last year I wrote a letter to my body; perhaps a strange birthday gift to myself, but one I found so freeing. As I face another birthday I wondered what a new letter would look like. One that isn’t just to my body but to my whole self.
Well, finding a starting place is hard. I feel like I’m in the middle of most everything, and one thing I’ve learned about the middle is it is messy. Not bad messy, but the kind of messy you are trying to make sense out of. The kind when you go through a box of old photographs. You’re overwhelmed by the volume of life represented, but find beautiful moments to remember along the way. I’m definitely in the middle.
I’ve finally adjusted to this mom skin. No, not my actual skin (although that has changed as well). This is the new role we find ourselves in as a mother. Adjusting from being Becky to Mom. It was always something I wanted, but the things we want are not always easy.
I don’t resent being so-and-so’s mom instead of Becky. It’s like wearing a favorite sweatshirt, perfectly broken in. I wouldn’t want to change this role for anything, yet I’ve found it’s changed me over time. I suppose most things do.
Just as I am beginning to understand who I am as Mom and wife, I find myself needing to relearn who I am as Becky in light of those things. For a long time I lost myself to my new roles, but now I’m in a place of discovering. It’s less an unearthing of what was, and more an acceptance of what is and hope of what will be.
I’m stronger than I thought I was. I’m also more like my mom than I ever knew I’d be. (I even wrote about this once.) I’m not as book smart as I used to be, but I’m definitely more heart smart. Is that even a thing? Perhaps we could all use a little more heart smart.
The way we feel matters less than the way we live. Feelings are not always reliable, so I’m learning to stand on truth more than the evolution of feelings. There is only one truth and it’s really the thing that matters most. I’ve always known it, but I’m learning to live like I believe it. Notice, these are still in process.
You need to know it’s okay. Whatever is coming, whatever was, whatever came in-between. It’s okay because this isn’t the end. No role I play as a wife or mom or writer, no book I write, no home I live in or thing I accomplish changes the end of the story. This choose-your-own-adventure always ends in the same place. Eternity in heaven is far more significant than the traffic on the highway or the wondering why something happened. Maybe I need to spend more time living that way.
The middle may be messy. It may be full of comfort and wonder. It may have gray hair and milestone moments. It may have hard days and harder seasons. But a single day doesn’t make a season and a season doesn’t make a lifetime.
Keep living. Even in the messy middle. Find the moments that bring joy and laugh well. Be present in the moments that bring heartache and cry full. Look forward to the moments to come and hope deep. And in all of it love. Love in the laundry and the grocery shopping. Love in the words typed and the books printed. Love in the celebrations and the grief. Love in the moments and love in the seasons. Love yourself and love others.
Love is always the answer.
P.S. There is no one I’d rather live this adventure with than the man by my side. Love him well.