It has been years since I really worked at writing. After years being blessed with freelance work for our local Catholic newspaper, I had to step away when our 4th child was on her way. Now, with her youngest sibling nearing her 3rd birthday, writing seems to be coming back into focus. Although I truly was in love with my writing assignments for our local paper in the past, I have felt a tug to write something of my own. But the “right” subject or topic never seemed to be presenting itself. So I would dutifully jot down the writing ideas that came to me without any inspiring projects jumping to the foreground. I would come back to the same logic every time: until something is nagging at me to write about it, I should (like every great writer) just keep reading. Perhaps that was my largest writing hurdle over the last 9 years. Finding time to read (and stay awake) was challenging in my sleep deprived mommy years. So this last year of getting back to reading has been the greatest gift I could give to my own writing. In reading, I uncovered a passion for the story of human life. The journey humans take to is absolutely fascinating to me. Each one being just as compelling, tragic, inspiring as the last, I find I devour memoirs and biographies from all directions of life. So it hit me one day, that the greatest story (right now) that I have to tell, is my own. I use the stories of my life all the time, with friends, other moms, my children, as examples of things I’ve figured out or struggled with on my journey. So, recently I began my new project. One that has already been developed, and has only to be documented and streamlined. Whether anyone else will ever read it, is not something I will concern myself with now. At least I have begun! And it feels like the right writing project for me. Finally.
Times have changed. Women will go to great lengths to try to be all we can be these days. But there was a time (not that long ago) that those words were just an Army slogan and not so much a way to look at life as a woman. I know the 70’s completed a transition that many women from the past fought hard for over 50 years just in the US alone. But was there something strange that came along as a by-product when women gained new rights? When women went to work in a man’s world, what did they leave behind?
In many ways they left pieces of their carefully woven sisterhood lying all around. When we became more independent and we stopped living near our aunts, grandmothers, sisters and mothers, we left behind a built-in support system that has long since been stretched and thinned. In leaving this behind, we gained so much, because we grew into people who can reach new heights and stand alone. We might not “need” a man or a husband. We can break away from our parents and stop listening to our mothers (let alone our aunts). We can forge our own lives and break molds and have children and jobs whenever we please and be equal partners with the fathers of our children or never know those fathers at all.
But somehow, day after day, in our own houses and as we work our jobs, over time we can get to feeling we’re all alone. As women, we can work, clean, battle, survive, love, cook, eat, serve, struggle, pray, laugh, and sometimes cry. And many times we do all this alone. We have a responsibility to continually keep rising above our ever-changing roles. Perhaps because the women of our past truly did sacrifice so much so we could live these lives. But, back then they had the bond of womanhood and the well-known roles that part in this life assigned to them because they were women. And they had the women who had done it before them at their side to show them the way.
Now we are living in a completely different era than our mothers, aunts or grandmothers before us ever did. We are sisters in this new age where we as mothers give out consequences for children instead of JUST BECAUSE I SAID SO or GO GET THE SWITCH. We have husbands who love and support us in a brand new way for men and sometimes it causes a new kind of stress and different expectations on women. We don’t cook from scratch (as much) or milk the cow or churn the butter and rise the bread (very often). Today we spend that time battling with how to balance between utilizing technology (the iPhones, the laptops, the On Demand cable) to be the Super Moms we think we might be expected to be and the ginormous distraction the thousands of texts, emails, and Facebook posts can be when thrown at us 100 different ways every day.
We are distracted at every turn from the possibility of living our full potential in this lifetime. We use to know what our “job” was. Now we struggle with knowing what we think we need to know (like the best buy on toilet paper this week, and where to keep the schedule for our entire family without losing our minds–God forbid that simply be on paper) all while filtering out what keeps us from having enough time to “do it all”.
I know I’m not alone. I know I have my Creator and my Savior, so I know in that way I am not alone in this life or on this journey. (Thankfully)
I also have a best friend who married me and who stands by my side daily to help raise the 5 little people we were so blessed to help bring into this world.
But when my best friend goes to work and I am here in this house living this role that no one can ever give you the instruction manual for, it is God and the other women in my life I rely on to get me through my day. I don’t know what I would do without either of them. And I believe God placed those women (and my husband and children) in my life purposefully so that I could feel His love for me here on this Earth every day.
I’m so blessed to have all of my friends and all of my sisters — the ones I have from their birth and the ones who came along later. I’m incredibly grateful for both of my mothers — my own and my husband’s. All of these women were carefully selected to be their own version of a handmade blessing in my life. Each of them help to remind me that “alone” is just a perception.
We all stand together bonded by the ever evolving roles we have as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends. So, I will acknowledge, love, hug, support, encourage (and yes, even message) the women in my life as much as I can. Because we are living in this new and sometimes crazy world . . . together. And we are only as together in this as we feel. And today we only feel that same togetherness our fore-sisters felt when they baked and sewed together when we make the time to reach out.
So let us reach out. Let’s remind each other that we are not alone. Women are in transition. We are setting the new standards of womanhood, of motherhood, and of sisterhood that our own daughters will watch and follow. So let’s raise each other up, point our eyes to our priorities, and encourage each other. Maybe it’s not going to be over a quilt while we are stitching our fingers raw, but it can be over a cup of tea, or a homemade sandwich, or heck . . . even over the Internet.
Ever wonder when you might feel like you have it all together? I have wondered that for perhaps my whole life. Well, ever since that day that I woke up and was less a kid and more a teenager and I realized that the decisions I was making were actually going to start impacting more than just my next few moments. Remember that? When you realized that if you didn’t do this paper AND the next 3, that it would mean you failed that class, and failing could post-pone graduation? Or not getting your permit by THIS date meant that your time to finally drive would be pushed back that much farther?
Well, I still feel like I am barely holding on by the skin of my teeth most days. But I’m starting to wonder if many people feel like me too. Am I the majority, or the minority here?
But, what do you think? Is it possible to wake up one day and finally just be accomplishing more than you are not accomplishing? Is it even feasible that over time one might gradually be closer and closer to meeting their many, many goals in life.
I suppose this is why Bucket Lists were created. So we could have those important things we do not want to die w/o doing laid out there to tick off like a to do list. So, it is a new day. Every day is. I’d like to lay out some of the things I’d LOVE to carry out gradually (’cause we can’t just get crazy here) over the next 6 months before we ring in 2012:
*Paint the main level of our house (has NEVER been painted by us though we celebrate 12 years in this house next month)
*Make working out daily a habit
*Have more lean muscle than I do FAT
*Make writing every week a habit
*Make blessing my house something I do on auto-pilot
*Carve out regular time for my business so it can grow
*Make reading the bible a morning ritual
*Grow and cultivate systems for our personal finances
So there. I don’t think it is too much to ask that I am able to improve upon and create in these areas. And having the above list be a reality in my life would give me such a thrill! I’d like to have the life the above would give. I’d love to sit here in January next year and have to really concentrate to come up with a new list . . . after checking off the above as done (and will keep being done)!
Anyone care to share their list and join me? It is the last half of the latest new year. Has yours gotten stale? Or is it still a new day for you?