The night before Christmas, we watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. It’s been some years since I watched the movie, and there were a few moments in the story that gripped me afresh. But I just never got around to penning a post in the end-of-year daze. Come NYE, I listened to a sermon that reminded me to write it all down. So here’s my first post of 2018, on journeying through the wardrobe of life, wherever it may lead…
The other day, I was reminiscing to a friend how much I miss the Christmases of my youth, filled with weekend caroling practices, too many mini candy canes and potato chips, writing stacks of cards in sparkly pen, and staying up overnight in church playing Bridge or Dai Dee. Gone are the days when I could stay up all night and still get through another day on adrenalin, Coke and good cheer. After 36 Christmases, I’m no spring chicken 😉
How does one begin to write about the big, chaotic, colourful, exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, heart-breaking whirlwind adventure that is Motherhood?
After almost seven years of mothering two rambunctious chaps, I’ve come to the conclusion that no two mothers’ experiences are ever alike. It’s the little moments and the unexpected encounters and a myriad of factors that shape each woman’s completely unique journey of motherhood – and yet, we each make it work, in our own ways. Here’s a snapshot of my experience.
I’m sorry, that’s not a very creative title, is it? But really, it’s a post that I’ve been sitting on for a long time, and just didn’t feel confident enough to share. Now that we are almost halfway through the year (GASP!), I do feel like we have gained a little experience with primary school life – enough for me to share – and it’s also a good time to talk about this, as many K1 parents are probably losing sleep over this issue as 1 July draws nearer…
Growing up, I wasn’t the typical girly girl who wore frilly dresses and puffed sleeves and played lovingly with her Barbie dolls. Actually I was quite the tomboy, preferring comfort over ribbons and lace, and I chopped off my Barbies’ hair when I was about 6, then couldn’t deal with their hair loss, and promptly decapitated them and cast them down the chute – true, sad story.
But even as a little girl, I gravitated towards order and perfection, such as making sure my textbook covers were properly wrapped and uncreased, and using a ruler to draw lines on any paper before writing so that my words would always be straight. Looking back, I think those were my benchmarks of “beauty” back then. I wouldn’t say much has changed, although these days I am definitely very much in love with all things floral and sparkly.
In short, I had come to think of myself as a person who appreciates beautiful things. The glory of a golden sunset, of my child’s innocent smile, of the promise of crisp, new things and of words that touch the soul. Thus it came as quite a shock to me when I was recently challenged to examine my perspectives on beauty.
Silent night. The balls of crushed wrapping paper have been tossed into the bin, the opened gifts have been admired and rejoiced over, the boys are sweetly sleeping in their beds. Finally, time to sit and be still, after a day full of cheer and laughter, gifts and feasting, family and friends. Finally, alone.
I love lists. All my life, I have made list after list, covering everything from grocery runs to holiday packing to study schedules and wedding plans.
Whenever I am worried about something, I make a list to breakdown my insurmountable mountain into bite-sized points that I can wrap my head around. Sometimes my lists are physically written on paper, or the nearest napkin or receipt. Sometimes they just float around in my head.
Making lists doesn’t mean I always succeed in everything I do, that’s for sure, but they certainly help me stay calm and think of alternatives. Especially when the list I have already made becomes impossible, when things don’t go as planned…
Ten years ago, a group of us were invited to attend and lead worship at an international missions conference in the region. As I was serving in a music ministry at the time, it wasn’t an unusual request or the first time that I was part of such an event, but it is only years later that I am beginning to understand what a truly watershed experience it was for me.
Recently, it feels like I’m in a state of transition and limbo. Not alarmingly or distressingly so, but just, like SO. Part of me is at peace in accepting that life is always about change and uncertainty and new perspectives and goals. Then again, I also wrestle with those feelings of lostness and loss that are part of the journey.
Do you ever have moments like these? It feels like I’m on a bus headed somewhere. I don’t quite know where I’m headed, but I somehow know it’s someplace good yet uncertain. I have no itinerary for my bus route, so I don’t know where we are stopping at or for how long. I’m glad I have friends with me on the ride, but they are equally clueless about how we are getting to where we are supposed to go, and besides, we might be getting off at different stops along the way…
A wise pastor recently shared his own journey in recognising his personal inadequacies as a father, and in fact, how inadequate we all are as parents, and his words gave me much food for thought.
You see, I’ve never thought of myself as a perfect parent. I know all too well that what others see on my social media feed, and even on this blog, has been censored, filtered, painted in pretty words, no matter how raw or real. But the inner struggles of a parent are often not a pretty sight at all, and harsh words and unkind thoughts can’t be captured on camera. So no, I am definitely not a perfect parent.
But what struck me deeply about what he shared is that this is true of our own parents as well.