I opened my mailbox today and found a little package from a girl I had gone to high school with. Ah, dreaded high school…let’s just say it wasn’t the happiest era of my life. On graduation day, I shot out of there like a bat out of hades. This cute gal and I hadn’t been particularly close back then, but the past few years we have reconnected on Facebook and have had a lot of fun writing back and forth. It’s funny, I’ve made friends with a few other girls from back in the day, and every single time I wonder why we couldn’t have figured out how well we mesh a decade and a half ago. It’s a crazy shame! When I used to think about High School, I always felt it was me against the world. Come to find out, there were a lot of us that felt like that. We were all just struggling to stay a float in a sea of hormones and “it’s all about me” mentalities. I guess sometimes it just takes 14 years to figure that out.
The past two months have been brutal. I’m usually not much of a worrier, but things were adding up faster than I could process them…four months of my husband’s trucking, kid issues at school and home, car problems, church work, medical testing and bills, hard times in my extended family, blah blah blah, stress and more stress, then add my man in the hospital with an appendix ready to rupture. On top of it all, someone said something out of nowhere about me that like an idiot, I let rip my heart to pieces. I am pretty embarrassed to admit it. Please don’t lecture me, I totally realize that what this person said has nothing to do with me. But as pathetic as it is, when your defenses are low, anger seeps in pretty easily. I can usually shoulder a lot, but things were getting heavy and I just wasn’t feeling very strong. I put on weight, my hair started falling out, and I turned into some sort of screaming banshee version of myself that I really, really don’t like.
I couldn’t get out of my own head.
You know the feeling, when you constantly second guess yourself and over analyze every little aspect of your life? It’s torture on the heart and does a number on your mind. That ugly place that I think all of us have visited a time or two.
About a week ago, this girl from high school sent me a message asking for my address. She said she wanted to send me a little something. You can bet that my first thought was, “Ooooh! Multi-level marketing party invite. Yay me. Ugh.” So, I waited to prove myself right.
Saturday I went to bed with a migraine, and a couple hours later was woken up by a call telling me that someone I dearly love was put in the hospital. Needless to say, sleep didn’t come easy after that. Sunday morning my face started twitching, then I got to sit and listen to a 16 year old tell me that being “just a mom” wasn’t living up to your potential, that we should be striving for grander goals. By that point I was past the point of caring. I wish I would have said more to help her see how incredible being a mother is, but I was too tired to take a stand. I was just trudging through to Sunday afternoon when my family was coming because then everything would be ok. If my folks were any more amazing they’d have to wear spandex and capes. I don’t even have to tell them what’s wrong, they just wrap their arms around me, and suddenly I’m six again and all is well. They see me for me, and think I’m something, even when I’m “just a mom” with patchy hair and under eye circles.
After days of waiting for whatever was coming in the mail it finally arrived this afternoon. I opened the package expecting to find the words, “I’d like to invite you to my purse/skirt/oil/jewelry/candle/wrap party!”
Instead, I found this…
The little quote in the corner says, “What if our hearts and our hands shared an occupation. Oh, what a rich and wonderful life.”
Suddenly, I don’t even remember the painful words I’d nearly memorized from the weeks and days before. They don’t matter. Because someone OTHER than my folks thinks I’m inspiring. I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life enough that they felt prompted to send me a note to tell me so. Wow! Happy tears, lots and lots of them.
My shoulders feel so much lighter tonight.
I don’t think she has any idea how much I needed her sweet little act of kindness. Isn’t it amazing that the simplest thing can change everything for someone else.
You know, I’m not just a mom. I’m not full of it or pretending. I’m not less than anyone else or not good enough. And, I’m not missing out. But, I sure am human. I’m a tender heart who is doing her best to raise her children and love her man the best she knows how in the situation that she has been placed in. I’m a friend, a sister, a space cadet, a neighbor, overwhelmed, a daughter, a failing multi-tasker, and some weeks I am even mom AND dad. I am not nor ever will be perfect, but I try every single day to be better than I was the day before. I’m learning, I’m growing, I mess up, I try again. And, you know what? I am doing what I love. I’m creating a “rich and wonderful life” that I can be proud of. I’m being myself. I have my ups and downs. But, I’m true to myself and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
All the sudden I found myself remembering all the sweet little acts of service I’ve received the past few months. The chocolate cupcakes and potato soup, the movie night for my kids, the color book and Oreos given to the kids to keep them from pile driving Manly in the stitches, the random text of love from one of my besties when I know she doesn’t have time to remember her own name let alone mine, the bear hug from the self conscious teenage girl at church, the old cowboy at the grocery store who always tips his hat and winks as he passes by, the hand-beaded medicine bag in my favorite shade of sunshine yellow, and a hundred other things. Life isn’t as hard as we make it sometimes. It doesn’t have to be. But, it’s incredible to know that even in those moments that we allow ourselves to puddle on the floor, we are not alone. People see us, and they think we are something special.
via Kendra Scott
It feels heavenly to be out of my head and back into my heart where I belong.
So, sweet high school friend, I say thank you. Your little something was just what I needed. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for you… and all the other people out there who see me for me, flaws and all.
What little act of kindness has someone else done for you this month?
Pass it on.