“Get your backpack little one and fill it with your favorites,” I called from the small open spaced kitchen as I reached into our old green faded fridge to grab fruit snacks consisting of red dye 40, a sugar induced Caprisun and a granola bar — her favorite snacks. Cause I was an awesome single mom, living before Pinterest came along offering thousands of “quick and healthy snacks for kids” ideas.
With her hands full and her little footsteps toddling down the hallway and into the living room, I looked at her adorable, barely three-year-old, face with those two messy-twisted buns on the side of her head, and I knew I had to work hard to stuff every bit of it into her little bag. It’s not an option to leave anything behind when you’re heading out on an adventure.
That was the beginning….
Many years of adventures followed those sweet days. We were a team exploring the world around us. The moments we shared living together — me and my girl — in that tiny apartment built our little family’s stable foundation. It was during this season that we bonded and became very aware it was just us two.
Although I was the adult, I was so much like her; I was also waking up to an exciting new world. We shared laughter, innocent giggles and simple moments at the park, getting a balloon or enjoying her favorite sugar cookie together.
I remember saying yes to almost everything that would make us feel good. A doughnut? How about 12? Yes, you and momma, loading up and heading to Krispy Kreme to indulge in as many doughnuts our dear hearts desired. I’ll never forget her little feet dangling from the bench, her head barely peeking over the table, reaching for that third glazed doughnut. Oh, how that smile lit up my heart.
This indulgence was just the warm up session and snack during the day. In the evening?
Why yes! Here are six for you and six for me. Just before bedtime and just for starters. Have seconds, if you wish!
It was the only thing I could do…
To not lose my sanity. Our little family was walking out of a season of trauma and we didn’t need more rules or to-do lists beyond the daily grind of just getting through.
We needed to delight in frequent moments of vegging out on lots of food, fun, and freedom.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a single choice I made for her, or for me, during this time except the ability to sit and savor each precious minute.
One. More. Time.
Because it goes by fast.
They say this. Mom’s who have already raised their littles. They tell you to slow down. Stop and be present. Don’t feel the rush or hurry of making up time you have lost. Or mistakes made. Life is too precious. Too sweet. And those beautiful babies of ours? Their hearts are too valuable to skip over and leave behind in the shuffle of busy days.
When I dig deep, I can see the sparkle that was shining in between the weighty burden of parenting alone. I can hear the laughter and giggles of our hearts from a distant season when it was just me and her against the world.
I am so beyond grateful for the opportunity to see those years from the perspective of a healed woman. I trust my girl is well on her way to that same view.
Even though we have since added to our little family and began new adventures in a new season of our life, nothing can take from those very beginning adventures.
The wisdom I have walked away with over the years has taught me that regret’s sole purpose is to rob me from seeing the beautiful in the middle of the mess.
If you bear the weight of your past and holding tight to “mom guilt” or play over in your head the regrets of the past, take the time to rewrite your script. Please don’t allow it to rob you from seeing the truth of your family. Begin to tell yourself a new truth.
Life is a beautiful precious gift, my friend, even in the middle of the mess. That is the truth.
Food for thought: It takes time to heal. Allow yourself and your littles the time to grieve but don’t stay there. It is not a permanent place to reside. A beautiful friend told me recently, “There is a difference between visiting that place and living there”. That is what I hope for any of us that experience the loss of and brokenness that life hands us. Sit with the pain. Process it but don’t set up camp and live there. Find the beauty. It’s there. Oh, how I promise you, it is there.