Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Other, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

You’re not the only one. Trust me…On Vulnerability Part 2

#33 – Raw reflections during the Lenten Season

It’s time to live unguarded. To fill life’s toolbox with courage, shame, vulnerability and lots of Band-Aids. Will we fall? Yes! Faceplant for sure. But we have to try, have to rise strong and know we can. 

“On Vulnerability” Part 2…here is March 2018’s updated version.

Here’s Part 1


When our children were younger, I would accompany them to birthday parties, playdates, practices, and other events and watch, wait, and chat with other parents.

I loved connecting, it was like I would imagine Eharmony for parents. A time to find your tribe of trusted moms and dads, then ever-so-carefully pick a few who relate to your cheeky humor, and pray your kids were in the next room bonding over a juice box.

As our kids aged, I noticed parents would leave these events, and return at the “pick up time”.  I always opted to stay, plopping down on the floor, cherishing my chats with the few other parents who would sit in their comfy cup holding canvas chairs (such a great invention). Sure, sometimes, I was the mom who brought a book/prop which other parents respectfully knew signified – whoever holds the book has just put themselves in a quiet, parental time out, essentially a “please do not disturb sign”.

The kids got a little older and there was another shift.  Either I grew more confident (or less patient waiting by myself) and would run while they practiced.  As long as I was within a mom’s stone’s throw between them, I felt I could reach them and perform CPR if needed.

Of course, I’m always happy to get in a run, but I missed the parent-share conversations…the dinner plans no one had or the way it’s impossible to leave Costco for under $100. A simple exchange between moms and dads that only the gap of time when our children are engaged with their friends allows.

Then one night, all three of our children had events simultaneously, and a tough moment ensued. Clearly, we had to pick our least favorite child, leave them at their designated practice and accompany the others.

Kidding. Our eldest was the default, and since some nights I was the lone mom hanging out for the two-hour stretch at swim practice anyway, I figured she’d be okay while I drove our son to baseball. As I drove away, of course thinking the worst, it was one of the few times I was grateful our daughter had a phone. Plus, at baseball, there were other helicopter parents like myself to share best practices, a clear bonus.

Our children’s activities, whether we realize it or not, give us a chance to pause and realize we’re not the only ones bouncing around blindly in this parenting pinball game.

While our kids solidify their friendships at a birthday party or discover team sports and aggression are not in their design, we are given the opportunity through conversation to share ourselves with other parents and be VULNERABLE. To open ourselves. To share.

I often feel the weight of parenting lighten as I walk with our children to the car after their practices. It’s a comfort to know I’m not alone. To know even the mom with the “coolest outfits” according to my daughter has quirky insecurities too. Sometimes we just need to know we are not the only parents out there who:

  • curses at Siri when she doesn’t listen
  • checks her children’s texts
  • never checks pockets before washing the laundry
  • considers cereal dinner
  • takes apart the washing machine, finds the penny bonking around, and ends up with extra screws when reassembling
  • panics about working after 15 years of staying home with the kids
  • hates texting
  • vacuums too much
  • never knows what’s for dinner
  • prays selfishly
  • stays up way too late because knowing everyone is safe and asleep brings calm to a crazy day
  • wipes the tears from our children’s eyes, and our own when their hearts are broken
  • prays our children will find their best friend
  • arrives late to pick up their child at school/practice/Bible Study
  • delivers their child’s forgotten homework to school
  • buys bras at Costco (one size fits most)
  • yells at our children and regrets it profoundly seconds after
  • colors the gray roots at home out of a box bought from the sale table at the supermarket
  • clings to their children –  as someone who is way too young dies in a car accident, from a health complication, or God forbid — inside their school.

Allowing ourselves to be transparent, and invest in relationships will only make us better parents. It takes pluck to be vulnerable, but there is courage in the imperfect, strength in sharing, and certainty in the uncertain.

Dig Deep:  Time your run, then challenge yourself to do the same run faster tomorrow.

Lenten Challenge:  “Give feet to your faith”. Feed the hungry, pray for the sick, and share your grace with everyone who crosses your path.

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Other, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

On Vulnerability…part 1

LENTEN REFLECTIONS #32

THROWBACK THURSDAY – This is a two-part post on vulnerability. I hate vulnerability because it exposes us, shows our imperfections, and breaks down the walls that keep us in our comfortable place and I love vulnerability because it reminds me to breathe through the tangled times, to say I love you first and to have the courage to tell our story.  

Part 1 (Originally posted March 2018):

Click for Part 2

“Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked.”  – Anne Lamott

I’ve always had a passion for writing. At nine, I filled the lines of my diary with trips to Disney and life-changing walks home from school. In middle and high school, I packed numerous pages with poems. During and after college, I chronicled my travels to placid beaches in Mexico and being witness to newborns in India gently held over the smoke of hot coals to promote circulation.  Additionally, 15 years ago, when the pink line on the little white stick silently announced motherhood was on deck in my life, I slid my mouse over the word “File”, clicked “New Document”, and 16 years later I pore over hundreds of records of family life — the wild and the wicked.

When the idea of blogging was planted in my head, I loved the thought, but as I typed my stories, the mere inclination of becoming transparent with the world (or my three followers- thanks mom, dad, and hubby), fear, and apprehension enveloped me. I asked myself and continue to ask: Why should I share my thoughts? What if I offend or hurt someone inadvertently? Who would want to hear what I have to say? Frankly, I can be a little snarky.  Uh oh, people will hate me!

Putting your self “out there” is scary. It’s unsettling. It’s a risk…and somehow, concurrently, it is transforming, cathartic, beautiful, and emancipating.

I will continue my thoughts on vulnerability in Part 2 because my son just announced: “It’s 11:11! Make a wish.”

So here’s mine:  to serve, share, and press PUBLISH with confidence.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage,” – Brené Brown in Rising Strong.


Dig Deep:  After your next run do a 25 rep challenge:  25 – squats, 25 – push-ups, 25 – sit-ups – REPEAT 3 TIMES!

LENTEN CHALLENGE:  Say one decade of the Rosary today.

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

How to keep the power of storytelling alive…

Throwback Thursday…Originally posted on March 2, 2018

Always, ALWAYS tell your stories.

LENTEN REFLECTION #26

FAITH IN STORIES

Last week, our son was riding bikes, exploring the woods, and climbing trees with a friend. After a while, he came home from the trails and told us a tree fell on him. A little daunting, but luckily he was with a friend who was able to lift it off. Turned out it was an old, small pine tree he was climbing when it just snapped. Thankfully, he was wearing his bike helmet and ended up with only a scratched face, and legs. On Monday at school, he was questioned by friends about the mark on his face, and he shared his story. In the group of students, one boy pressed further, “Do you have a video of it?” “No video” was the reply. “Well then, it didn’t happen.” They debated back and forth, then finally, being a professional selective listener, our son confirmed, “it really did happen” and then moved on, ignoring further hassle.

At bedtime, he told me this story and we sat and picked it apart like old layers of paint peeling off the wall trying to find the original color. My inaugural feeling on the boy’s need for documentation to prove the truth was a feeling of exhaustion. Nowadays, technology negotiates our day much like a seeing eye dog, but with swipes, texts, and posts. We click pictures of our meals, and memories, shorten words and deliver messages as fast as our thumbs can go. Conversations dwindle with our busy lives, along with the age-old craft of storytelling – exactly what our son was doing.

As young children, there’s faith in stories. Maurice Sendak takes us to a wild rumpus and faithfully floats us home with Max as he arrives home to his warm dinner.

Faith in friendship is palpable when Charlotte sits in her web and says:

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
― E.B. WhiteCharlotte’s Web

Faith requires vulnerability. Stripping the need for that which is tangible. In “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus” Francis Church interprets faith in his editorial in The New York Sun in 1897:

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.”

The historian Stephen Nissenbaum connects ”Yes, Virginia” with not only faith in Santa Claus, but faith in faith. In the late 19th century religious doubt ran rampant among middle-class Americans. According to Mr. Nissenbaum “…God must exist simply because people so badly needed Him to.” When Mr. Church referred to ”the skepticism of a skeptical age, he was speaking to grown-ups.”

Now that doubt cloaks children too.

We make an emotional investment with every story we tell. Some may believe if a tree falls on a boy in a forest it’s true, doubters will question and want video proof. The vital action is to tell the story, be the raconteur and propel your listeners with you on a journey of faith.

Dig Deep: Go on a Rosary Run! Yesterday I did and it took my mind off the pain. 🙂 Run on!

Lenten Challenge: Pray for the doubters and cynics in the world, truly that’s all of us at times. Keep story-telling alive!

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

What keeps you buoyant?

Lenten Blog #21

I’ve always had a step stool in my kitchen. It gives me the extra inches I need to reach the platters I love and the waffle iron tucked way back in the top cabinet. If the stool is missing I use the “throw my leg onto the countertop” method push up with my knee and kneel to reach whatever is needed. It’s just a boost, a lift, some leverage to help me reach higher.

Somedays I need a virtual stepping stool. Words. Someone else’s message to grant me the strength to push through the discussions about dicey teenage days, judgy attitudes (sometimes mine) or the pain we all feel and hide deep inside. 

So I find a quote, a podcast, an NPR story…maybe a TED talk, a song, a book or a prayer (lots of prayers) to bring me buoyancy. Keep me afloat when I feel I’m circling the drain. Ground me when I’m griping and not grateful.

So I will share some of the gems I’ve found in some of my posts. Here is one by Brené Brown who is a rock star researcher-storyteller who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

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May you all own your stories and enjoy every minute writing and sharing them with those you love.

Spiritual Workout: Find your quiet place and pray for peace. Emotional and Mental.

Workout: For goodness sake, try Pilates! Now that’s peaceful.