On new year’s eve I took our two and a half year old to the park. She needed to run off some energy, and she also needed time for her mama to focus on her while the baby stayed home with dad.
So there we were, me and my toddler, climbing on the jungle gym as night fell. The park where we played was across the street from an event space, where people in fancy clothes were arriving for a new year’s eve party.
And I will admit that for a moment I wanted a different life.
Even after the years I spent yearning for a child of my own, I wanted to just check out of parenthood for a while.
And really, after this year we’ve had, who doesn’t?
Who doesn’t want a break, a respite from reality?
I wanted to gather with those other grownups and wear nice clothes and stay up late. (Or more accurately, I wanted to have the option to do those things, and then choose to read in bed instead.)
On a deeper level, I wanted to be carefree, to be independent. I wanted to be all the things that one is not when one has two tiny humans in diapers in the midst of a pandemic.
I felt a weariness in my soul – do you know what this is like?
When you’ve been pushed past capacity so many times?
When you have risen above again and again?
When you have shown up strong, even though you felt weak?
I think you do know.
I think you understand the ache I felt. The ache to rest, to be held, to have someone tell me what the suffering means.
But then my girl called out to me, and I let the fantasy fall away and gave her my full attention. And soon I forgot about the party across the street, because we were having our own party.
At one point I was kneeling next to her, and she looked me in the eye and said something I didn’t understand at all.
It sounded like, “I boo-ess you.”
“I kiss you?” I asked her. (Some of her consonants, like Ks and Vs, are works in progress.)
She shook her head.
“I boo-ess you.”
And then I had it.
“Wait … I BLESS you?! Is that it, honey?”
She beamed. “I bless you!”
Then she stepped forward so her hand rested on my shoulder and upper back.
She spoke softly, yet with authority.
“I bless you. I bless you in the heart.”
She paused just long enough for me to thank her before dashing off to play again.
Lots of us are so afraid that when we live our truth, we’ll lose people. We’re scared that others will see the secret we’ve been keeping: that we’re actually awful. That we are not so kind or generous or good after all.
This is one side of the story, yes. Sometimes living our truth means taking off the mask of “maturity” (read: numbness) and being angrier and sadder than we’ve ever been.
This is terrifying, because what if those pesky feelings of ours mess everything up?
And they very well might. Some things might fall apart and fall away.
But there’s another side of the story.
See, when we show up in integrity, when we live our truth, we bless everyone around us.
When we offer them our wholehearted selves – like little kids do – we bless others for real.
We bless them in the heart.
If that’s what you want your life to be about, then this invitation is meant for you.