Friends, here’s the truth: Life has been HARD recently. Hard hard hard hard.
Not necessarily tragic or traumatic or full of drama – just HARD.
You ever have one of those seasons? When it just feels like you can’t catch your breath or catch a break?
We are in the middle of one of those. It’s like monsoon season over here, with a newborn and a toddler and a house full of boxes and a husband who may or may not be deployed this year. It’s been hard.
And being the highly sensitive emotional introvert that I am? Well, let’s just say I’ve lost my cool more than once.
So yesterday, in the interest of self care, as soon as my oldest was down for a nap I handed the baby to my husband and declared, “I’m going up the Pill Box Trail!” I laced up my new purple sneakers and headed out.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into, stubbornly climbing my way up the steep, overgrown embankment making up the initial ascent. All I knew is that I wanted to see the Pill Boxes, I wanted to sit on the edge of the graffiti-covered concrete and stare out into the blue. Whatever came before that would be worth the climb.
So I whispered to myself “It’s okay, you can do this.”
And I remembered in a flash the moments right before my youngest was born–before the move, before the malaise, before whispers of deployment–when the pain was too much and I didn’t think I could go on. I remembered my own hoarse whisper, coaching myself through labor, reminding myself that I could do hard things.
So I kept walking. And climbing. And scrambling. And even scooting on my bum when the trail got too steep. I was slow and perhaps even timid. But I was also tenacious. I kept going.
And I did it. And it made me proud: proud of the body God gave me. Proud of the strength I’ve been slowly building at the gym. Proud of the wisdom it took to take a break from the monotony of motherhood. Proud of the courage it took to stretch into the blue sky and the hot sun and the sandy rocks.
After three hours in the wilderness my feet were worn, clothes sweat-soaked, and fingernails caked in dirt. And when I returned and my oldest approached slowly, quietly asking: “Mama?” as though he wasn’t quite sure I was the same woman who left, I smiled to myself.
It’s about time he meets this version of me, I thought. It’s about time he sees me doing hard things. It’s about time he sees the brave woman I need to be to raise his brother and him well.
It’s about time I see her, too.