Today a homeless woman with three children reached out me. We were sitting in the library, my daughter playing with one of her daughters. She told me how she had left her husband, leaving her and her three children homeless and she didn’t know where they were going to get food today.
I didn’t have much to give, our family is struggling too. So many families are struggling right now. I wanted to help her though. We had some fruit in our car that we had just received. It was fruit that was supposed to last us through the week. We have other food at home though and I knew what our dinner would be, and that I am blessed to have a kitchen to cook that food in.
I pulled my daughter aside and told her that her new friend and her family didn’t have any food and that I was going to share what we had in the car with them. She agreed. I checked out our library books, went to our car and brought the fruit up.
I gave it to the mama and told her where it had come from. I told her this was all I had to give and I wished so deeply I had more. Tears welled up in her eyes and she thanked me. We didn’t speak another word until my daughter and I left and she mouthed the words “Thank you” to me again, with tears in her eyes.
My heart has been breaking for this family since we left them this afternoon. I am grateful that this mama reached out to me, and I am grateful that I was able to offer her something. I am mostly grateful for the gift she gave me.
You see, I’ve spend the last several days cranky. I was complaining to my husband this morning about how I’m so bored with the food we’ve been eating, how tired I am of cooking, how frustrated I am with the constant dishes and laundry and cleaning. In the last few days I have complained about how I don’t like our dining room or living room furniture, how our bed “needs” new bedding. I’ve been ungrateful for what I have, seeing so clearly what I do not have and wanting, grasping for more, more and more instead of being satisfied with the blessings we have.
We have a kitchen, dishes, a working dishwasher, a working stove and food. We have clothes, a working washing machine and a working dryer. In fact we have an over abundance of clothes, enough to get each of us through a couple weeks of me not doing laundry. We have multiple bedrooms in our home and we have comfortable beds to sleep in and sheets and blankets and pillows to rest our heads on. I’m in a beautiful, healthy and loving marriage and we have an amazing, healthy and wonderful daughter.
It is easy to get wrapped up in lack though. It’s easy for us each to forget all the abundance that we truly have in our lives. It is easy to see all that we don’t have, all that we want, all that we hunger for. It’s easy to tell ourselves the story of how our life would be better, happier, shinier if only we had this or that. It’s easy to sink deeper and deeper into a sense a lack, even when on paper and to others, our life looks amazing and perfect.
With practice, we can step into a place of abundance. We can see all that we do have. We can become satiated with what is, what we have in our life now, this moment. We can learn to unravel the myths and see them for what they are: stories, pieces of fiction. We can feel, deep in our souls, the abundance of our lives, even when on paper and perhaps even to others, it may not look or sound all that amazing.
I’m grateful for the family I met today. I am grateful that I was able to help them, in some small way and that in return they helped me a very profound way. I am grateful I was able to offer them food and that in return, they offered me my Soul.
When my daughter was a baby I was in overdrive. I worked outside the home, in a job that required 50 hours of time on a slow week and up to 70 hours of my time during crunch weeks. While I was being Super Career Woman, I was also determined that I would be Super Mom too. The problem was, I didn’t quite understand what being Super Mom truly meant.
For the first couple years of my daughter’s life, being Super Mom equated to what I now consider incredibly superficial and ultimately irrelevant things. Things that in the big picture absolutely don’t matter. Things that my daughter won’t remember or know unless I tell her. Things like being determined to cloth diaper, making *all* of her baby food from scratch, only allowing organic foods to enter her body and dear gosh there would never be sugar anywhere near her. No TV either. And all her toys would be wooden and there wouldn’t be a commercial character anywhere in sight. And of course all her clothes would be made of organic cotton or bamboo.
I laugh now at how much I just did.not.get.it. How I put such emphasis on these things that have nothing to do with our relationship or connection. I overwhelmed myself doing all the “right” things, when perhaps allowing myself to be human and having faith that my child would survive to see her next birthday, even if she did play with a plastic Disney Princess tea set. I focused on the outside things, not the inside things. I lost myself a bit, thinking that if I controlled all these outside things *that* would mean I was good mama. And dear god, I so desperately wanted to be a good mama.
Fast forward to today. This morning my daughter ate Oreos for breakfast (hey, she had organic milk with them, so it’s okay). She was outside in her pool before 10am and before the temperature had reached 65F. I did manage to get some apples and sunflower seed butter in her before she snacked on a cupcake. Lunch consisted of chili cheese fritos, a hamburger patty, three green beans and then some more cookies and milk. Yep, I’m going for that Mother of Year award, Nutrition division.
I played Barbies with her today. We did some painting together. We snuggled and watched a couple of TV shows. We cleaned our living room, dining room and kitchen today, without tears or screaming. I gave her lots of hugs and asked her for help and mentioned how she always makes the shoe rack look extra awesome when she organizes it.
We had a great day.
I finally have it (mostly) right. It’s not the outside stuff, like whether every meal is fully nutritionally balanced or whether she has branded character toys, it’s the inside stuff – the fact that we played together, that we created together, that we worked as a team cleaning our home – that matters.
It was quite a process of letting go and realizing what truly matters and what doesn’t. I was guided by not only my own instinct, but also by great mama writers and bloggers. Women who have been there and done that. Women like those in the Mindful Parenting eBundle (note this is an affiliate link – I appreciate your support). Parents and organizations who know what is important for us to focus on our relationship and connection to our children and all the rest is truly small stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter.