Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I haven’t even bought anything for my kids’ Easter baskets yet. I don’t even know exactly what our plans are and am in no hurry to figure that out. When my kids were younger, I was that slightly mental mom who had all of the fun holiday and birthday activities and gifts planned out way in advance and parties were being thrown for any and every reason (and sometimes for no reason at all). My face would often be seen in the elementary school classrooms, lunchrooms, on field trips and behind the concession stand at school functions. My kids and I were involved in church activities, I was a Brownie troop leader, a Sunday school teacher and there were always picnics and sight-seeing adventures on the agenda. I loved doing those things with the kids and watching my girls interact with their peers. I am very fortunate. I had the privilege of raising my girls and being a full-time mom for the first 12 years of their lives. And then all hell broke loose.
I became a single mom with literally no income, no degree and almost nothing to start with. Finding work was not easy, starting a business felt impossible and being away from them often felt unbearable. It still rattles me to be away from them for any extended period of time. While I’m physically out doing my thing, my heart is somewhere else out there wondering where all the time went and longing for ways to stretch what little bit of our time we have left of this chapter. I can accept the inevitable change that will take place in three short years when they will both be out of high school. I have loved every stage we’ve encountered together and I look forward to each new chapter that awaits us with much enthusiasm (and a little ignorant bliss never hurts either).
But today I can barely muster up the motivation to go do something that I normally would’ve already done weeks ago and I find myself making unfair comparisons between “Full-Time Mom Karen” and “Business Owner Karen”. Fortunately, I caught this pattern before I went straight-up Chuck Norris on myself. I decided that I can live with my Easter lameness. But what I absolutely cannot accept is watching one of my children make consistently poor choices that are putting her in potentially harmful situations. I cannot accept what is happening to my daughter right before my eyes.
I’ve heard lots of comments and advice. I know people are genuinely concerned and most people mean well when they offer their insights. There are also quite a few comments being made that I am completely in agreement with. The bottom line is this: It’s a very thin and wobbly tight rope to walk from here. If you push too hard, she may fall off, but if you don’t push at all, she may just take a flying leap, assuming no one is paying attention. But it still leaves me with plenty of options in between about how we navigate the next steps that get her to the other side of the circus tent. I don’t want to just get her there in one piece. I want to get her there as a rock star living far beyond what she imagined possible. I want that for all of our kids. When one of them falls down, we all go down with them, whether we even know them or not.
The last six years as a single parent and business-challenged business owner, have left me feeling like a tiny little boat being thrashed around by provoking waters. It has taken me a while to understand that I have often given these waves more power than they deserved by trying to fight them instead of simply riding them. I didn’t understand that they were there for my benefit. They used high tides and salty uppercuts to teach me how to finesses and master my strokes in the water without exhausting my abundant supply of love, joy and light. The best part is that I haven’t wasted much time taking those new skills and teaching young people how to manage the crazy waters of humanity. I can also remind them of something I did not see in those dark waters until now…that they are always swimming with dolphins.
We do not have the luxury of believing that we are alone when it seems we are drowning. That is a bold lie, but if we believe that is our truth, it becomes our truth. It will require some vulnerability on our part though. While being vulnerable is not always easy, it is most definitely required if we want to truly be a pro at being a human being on planet Earth.
So, what are you waiting for? Come on. Dip your toe in. Hell, do a cannon ball or a belly flop off the high dive. The water may NOT always be fine, but you are never alone here.
Parents, if you want to help your teenage daughters learn new skills and create a manual for their own self-care, I highly recommend this upcoming workshop. For more information, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/know-yourself-an-empowerment-workshop-for-teen-girls-ages-13-18-tickets-33230910548