Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lessons From Mother Nature

The other night I lay in bed, listening to the rain. 

As a child, I loved the rain. Probably had something to do with my soggy upbringing in the Pacific Northwest but I'm one of the rare ones that can honestly say that the rain always had ways of calming me, soothing me, and lulling me to sleep. 

As an adult? Not so much.

So as I laid awake in the guest room of my mother's home, listening to the symphony of my children's soft breath dancing along to the melody of the rain, my mind began to wander. 

Not to the events of the day or what was waiting for us in the morning, but to the colossal, insurmountable ways that I was screwing up my children. 

But this one is too this, I thought. 

And that one is too that

And don't even get me started on this. Or that.  And the other.

And those soggy thoughts followed me throughout the next day.  And the next. And nothing I did could get them away from me.  The umbrella I usually carry, the one that keeps out the self-doubt, that protects me from unwanted thoughts and worry, was useless against the punishing thoughts that rained down. 

And as all self-doubt does, it colored everything that I said and did.  My temper was short, my words were harsh and the chill from my own personal rainstorm was palpable. 

And then, as quickly as the rains came, they went.  I shook out that umbrella and popped it open, holding it high and refused to let the cold chill me anymore.  I took deep breaths, loved on my kids and did the best I could. 

Because here's the thing about rain:  like all things in life, we can look at it from two different perspectives.  It can be menacing, and chilling.  It can dampen everything around us and foil our plans.  It can keep us awake at night and soak our spirits. 


It can wash away the bad.  Feed the souls of those in need.  Cleanse our minds from the dirt that finds a way to sink in.  It can renew us and lull us into a perfect sleep. 

I'm not a perfect mom.  I can't sew.  I can't help with math homework past the fifth grade.  I can't reach things on the top shelf.  But I am the perfect mom for my four children.  The ones who love me regardless, who show up everyday to teach me and see through all my imperfections and think I'm the best mom there is.  Because to them, I am. And that's all a mother needs. 

The rains will come again.  They will do their best to wash away the good I'm so diligently trying to do.  Find a way to get through my trusty umbrella. They might seep into my bones for a bit.  

But just for a bit.

Because I'll be ready.  Standing tall, arms out wide, ready to dance in the rain. 


melanie said...

What a beautiful post. I waver between these two places often. Especially the past 6 months realizing I will be a single mother to 5 kids. Can I do it? Can teach them? Can I instill self worth? Can I guide them to build a solid foundation? Can I raise them to be resilient? Can I provide all that really requires two people? I needed to read your post tonight, thanks for posting words with so much meaning. I'm going to keep my umbrella a little closer for the rains I know for certain will come.

Melanie said...

please write more! Seriously Karen. Your kids are going to cherish these words...just like me!

I want to wring out those soggy feelings and then kick them in the teeth. Seriously. You are the perfect mom for those four people. Their strength and character and charm are evidence everyday.