Man. It’s been a long time since I’ve written.
I could go with the old standby excuse that I haven’t had the time to write. Time is not a luxury I’ve been granted here in the depths of the trench. But that excuse is getting old. I could always find justification in “I’m too busy.” But that excuse has also worn thin. They are poor excuses. And they’re not the complete truth. Time is flexible. Depends on how I use it. So, I’ll confess. I haven’t felt like I’ve had anything to say.
Shame. On. Me.
Everyone has something to say.
Which leads me to my soapbox. The one where I preach about walls and hearts and feelings and motherhood and love. Everything in the bunnies and rainbows genre. Fluffy stuff.
Here’s also where I introduce my blog as one that comes straight from the trenches of motherhood. Which let’s face it, is not always fluffy, unless warfare is your happy place. It’s honest.
Here is my resolution to finally say something. Anything.
Even if it doesn’t make sense.
It’s time to just write. It’s time to remember.
I am embracing the best parts of life. I am acknowledging the
hard parts opportunities. And I’m resolving to spread love. The kind of love that tingles your cheeks and ignites your soul with warmth. Can I get a match please?
Feel free to get out your red pen. My grammar is rusty. I whole-heartedly admit it. Don’t be a hater. I have a toddler on my lap as I type.
Ahhhh…this sound. Fingertips reacquainting with a keyboard. Tap, tap, tap, click, click, click.
The best kind of therapy.
Now, onto walls and hearts and wow, life can be difficult.
I don’t knock down the cinder block wall I have surrounding my heart. Ever. I mean come on, it’s made of cinder block. It’s not going anywhere. It’s stacked pretty high and has some serious mortar holding each block together. I have spent 37 years meticulously and carefully placing each block. It’s rather remarkable. Its craftmanship is quite good, if I do say so myself. I wouldn’t expect less from my perfectionistic self though. I’m pretty awesome at my invisible wall-building skills. Not sure that’s a skill to be proud of, however. I haven’t wanted to knock it down. Besides, I don’t own a wrecking ball big enough to do the job and I’m not sure I want the mess that would come from such a demolition job.
This wall of mine has held in some serious pain and anguish and has shielded me from feeling things that would shatter my heart into a million shards, had those feelings gotten close to it. It’s been a life saver actually. So I’ve hung on to it for a long time now. It just makes things easier. And I’ve been recently adding more layers to it.
It’s not helping me anymore.
I want to stop building it.
I was thinking, when we die, we take those walled-in thoughts, feelings and emotions with us. My guess is, when we are on the other side and see the bigger picture, we would have wished we shared more. We would have wished we could have done more to help others and think less about keeping our protective barriers up. I think there are more people in common with us than we think. We all just do such a good job at not wanting to dump our problems on others and I think we don’t want anyone else to think that life is hard for us. We want to appear strong and in control. At least I do. I was just watching “The Biggest Loser” and one of the first things those trainers need to do with the contestants in order to help them achieve their goals is to break them down. Get those walls to crumble to the ground.
What if our walls didn’t exist? What if we knocked them to the ground and what if we all came climbing from the rubble, hand in hand and we simply walked away. Together. And what if we were honest about our feelings and we helped each other? And we didn’t judge and we didn’t compare? Can you picture it? No more walls? Rubble and broken stones and cracked mortar in the rear-view mirror? Heads held high, people side by side? I would have attended fewer funerals caused by suicide this year had we all been able to leave our mess behind us or share our burdens and move on with a galaxy of friends, holding hands.
Wow. I can see it. Shiver. I can Feel it.
It’s darkness and light at the same time.
It’s being lost and found.
Refreshing. Icy cucumber slices on a tired eyelids. Peppermint gum. Menthol healing a chest cold. Aloe Vera chilling a sunburn. My brain just took me to Lake Powell, poured hot sunshine on me and forced me to jump off a cliff into a deep, green, abyss of perfect water. My sunburn is now in need of some Aloe Vera.
I’m getting off track here, where was I?
We all have our own version of them. Some small and some big. We need some kind of protection throughout life to help us cope and move on. Because let’s face it. Life is hard. Three words that are almost too ridiculously obvious to utter.
But true. Life is undeniably difficult for all of us. I feel guilty saying that life is sometimes difficult for me. I am not suffering from cancer or a debilitating mental illness or infertility or homelessness or starvation or war outside my door. My problems, I confess, are merely first-world problems. But that doesn’t mean they are less painful. “Pain is pain is pain.” My sister-in-law is often quoting that line to me.
So, life is hard. What’s the big, darn deal?
It’s supposed to be. If we didn’t know hard, we wouldn’t know easy. If we didn’t know pain, we wouldn’t know joy.
So now what? My mom has a quote on her bathroom wall. It says, “We are not put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.” Success and joy in life come from loving and being loved, being strengthened through trials, gaining wisdom and being made whole. I’m Christian. My belief in Christ plays a big part in all of this. I need Him desperately. Every day. I am broken. Need wholeness.
This blog will help me remove some mortar and cinderblock. Yikes! Wait while I pry my fist from my mouth. That’s a scary thing. Letting you in. I don’t even know who you are. But what I do know is that perhaps we have something in common. Perhaps, I can say something that no one else is saying. Perhaps I can admit to things that might be hard for you too. And perhaps I can learn something about myself in the process and be strengthened as well. And maybe at the end of the day you can say, “Hey, I’m not alone.” And “Hey, I don’t need my wall so thick and high either.”
I am a stay-at-home mother. I have worked off and on from home and that is…challenging. At the moment, I do not generate much of an income. I’m hoping I have treasures waiting for me in heaven one day! I truly believe that motherhood is the greatest job on earth. I have four young, awesome kids. I am married to a great husband. Sometimes, I get angry. Life isn’t perfect, I’m not always nice and most days I feel invisible. I wish I could say I never yell at my kids. That was never something I wanted to do. I try really hard, and am working on it every day. I have a punching bag in my basement that I use quite frequently. It’s also cheap therapy. Messy houses and chaos and selfishness and my weaknesses make me angry.
But my-oh-my…motherhood is hard. Motherhood is walking barefoot across a bed of nails. Motherhood is rewarding. It’s hitting the jackpot and hearing endless “ding, ding, ding” with an endless flow of coins emerging into your bucket. Motherhood is everything. It’s capturing the sun and filling it’s warmth in your pocket forever. Motherhood is an adrenaline junkie’s ultimate adventure. It’s flying down the Alps on a snowboard. Motherhood is re-reading your favorite book for the first time. And doing it over and over again. Motherhood is warfare, wounds, casualties, soldiers starving, bleeding and bursting with raw flesh exposed to extreme elements. Motherhood is a gentle sway in a hammock beneath a palm tree in the Bahamas. It’s the Pina Colada in your hand. It’s the rainbow umbrella. Motherhood is a tax deadline. Motherhood is wrinkles and gray hair. Motherhood is hearing your favorite song from 20 years ago and the Nile of memories to accompany it. Motherhood is fuzzy slippers on cold tile in the middle of winter. Motherhood is a lie. Motherhood is the truth. Motherhood is hell. Motherhood is heaven. Motherhood is 40 days in the desert without water. Motherhood is Niagara Falls. Motherhood is a thief in the night. It’s winning the lottery. It’s hot and cold. It’s anguish and joy. It’s swimming around the earth. Can you picture the exhaustion? The risk of sharks and thirst and nature? It’s hot chocolate after your best attempt at creating “Olaf.” It’s a handful of Peanut Butter M&M’s. It’s the fetal position in the corner. It’s a moment alone in the magazine aisle at the grocery store. It’s being thin. It’s being fat. It’s being as beautiful as a sunrise and as ugly as a muddy marsh. It’s puke. It’s Bleach. It’s a package on the doorstep from Amazon. It’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing, “Come thou Fount of Every Blessing” and your soul that flies with eagles. It’s the smell of asphalt after a rainstorm. It’s tears raining down your face from indescribable joy and pain. It’s a two year-old’s giggle. Motherhood is stronger than a grizzly. It’s weaker than a butterfly. It’s guilt. It’s freedom. It’s the sound of Beethoven blaring through a sparkling, clean house. It’s stepping bare-foot on Life cereal that is spilt on your kitchen floor. It’s running shoes pounding the pavement. It’s so many things and yet it’s the same thing over and over and over and over again. It. Is. Groundhog Day.
Motherhood is love. The only kind of love that can find its way through a meticulously engineered cinder block wall. The kind of wall that protects a mother’s heart from pain. The kind of wall that a mother hangs on to for emotional control. Yep, it’s love. It’s motherhood. It’s family. It’s love, love, love. Love breaks walls. Love is exempt from “No Trespassing.” Love is the wrecking ball. And motherhood is what makes love a verb. It’s what motivates an arctic heart to seek refuge near the equator. Just so it can bathe in sunshine. It’s infectious. It’s little bodies curled up into your rib cage so they can feel safe and warm.
I love being a mother.
Welcome to Simply Six.
Welcome to my heart.
7 thoughts on “Inside the Wall that Surrounds a Mother’s Heart”
This is so beautiful! Truly. You are a gifted writer. I love your illustration of breaking down our walls. I completely agree with you. It is such a worthy goal. I just wish it wasn’t quite so scary! Why is it so scary?
Best thing about this post? You are still the same beautiful, sweet, kind, intelligent person that you were back in 4th grade when I first met you. I am still grateful for your friendship during those years.
Not too long ago I was told we all have bags of “stuff” we carry around with us. Some days it is bigger than others, but you always know who is having “a big bag day”. Miss you Mandy. You are beautiful, and your right motherhood sucks, oh so good. I have had a hard time saying how hard it is because I have payed a lot of money and spent more times crying in not so discreet places to have these children, but I find myself with my bag open some days. Wish you did get paid for being a stay at home mom, lord knows you deserve it. I can not be at home. They are at my school and that is perfect for me. Write away little butterfly. You have a priceless soul.
Thank you so much Missy for your wonderful comment. You are wonderful! Miss you so much! What lucky kiddos you have. They have an amazing mother!
Love this. Love you. Keep on swimming! You’re an amazing mother!! And let’s go run away together one of these weekends! We need it! I’ll bring the peanut butter M&M’s 😉😘