Dear Lauren and Lydia,
You’ve got to see your momma in a wide variety of settings and situations. I guess all kids do to some degree. But even more so, you’ve seen your momma in huge loss and you’ve seen her carry on for 7 plus years on her own. You’ve seen her take on Europe and Israel, Alaska and month long road trips out west. You’ve seen her take on mulching, rocking and re landscaping an entire yard and major house projects that most women wouldn’t even consider. You’ve seen her deal with car problems and being perfectly stranded on the side of the road in a state where she had no one to call that was familiar for help. And probably a whole host of other situations I’m not even thinking of.
I believe that you probably think that you have a pretty strong mom. You’ve probably even been told that from time to time by others watching on. They may have also connected the words crazy, adventurous, courageous and impulsive…but strong was probably a word that many would’ve used to describe your mom.
Then…I met Dane, fell in love right before your eyes. Sometimes I think it’s as if you saw me as a rock and all of a sudden I became water and you wonder what in the world happened.
I get it. I can see how you might look at me now and feel a little confused. You might even be disappointed in me from time to time because you had grown so used to counting on me being your rock.
I taught you to be strong and press on and suddenly it could appear that I am weak and have a kryptonite almost…
I want you to know…I am not weak. I am not wimpy. I am a fighter, a stay in the game until it’s finished kind of girl. I am a work hard, pull your own weight kind of momma, always have been, always will be.
But girls…can I tell you how amazingly good it feels to be water these days instead of a rock. Water is just as powerful…in fact water over time against rocks actually moves and changes the rocks (Remember the grand canyon!!). I feel stronger than ever. I feel braver than ever.
Yes I like having Dane by my side as much as possible. Most of us aren’t made to live alone. And Dane is definitely my best friend. And yes, these days I don’t have to do it all on my own…Praise be to God! But I am strong girls…I am healthy and active in ways I never have been before. I am happy and at peace. I am deeply content. I am secure. For this girl who easily was insecure for 40 plus years…that’s HUGE. I look in the mirror and I like who I see. Again, HUGE.
I am fully alive.
Sometimes when I was single parenting I was able to plan trips and adventures, to take on projects and keep our daily life going, but in the process…sometimes I had a hard time really being in the moment…really feeling alive.
Ultimately, that’s why I quit teaching. That was a HUGE first step.
Maybe strength doesn’t look like what we think it does. Maybe it doesn’t mean going it all alone all the time. Maybe it means totally risking it all and opening your life to someone else completely, receiving their love and giving love freely. Maybe strength is all about vulnerability.
I’ve always been fairly open and vulnerable…hence my history of blogging about anything and everything, but to be completely bare before another human, face to face, as in my relationship with Dane is the highest level of vulnerability I have ever experienced.
It may be hard to see…but I am still your strong, sometimes crazy, impulsive, adventurous, brave momma…I will always be. I’ve just switched the strength of standing alone like a rock, to flowing with life like a powerful river.
I often look at the Mississippi and think…surely it wouldn’t be that hard to swim in it. I mean, I’ve swam across lakes before. Dane has told me several times…oh but Ruth, you don’t understand the current, it would sweep you under before you even realized what was happening. And I know he’s right. He’s just smart that way :)
So when you take a look at me these days…don’t mistake the changes in me for weakness. I still am an individual with plenty of thoughts and feelings, plenty of ideas and things I want to do. I am not wimpy. I am stronger than ever. I know what I want in life. I’m living how I want to live. I am fully aware that the future is unknown and I know with confidence that whatever comes…I will keep pushing on, throwing off everything that entangles. I will finish this race strong, you can count on it. I will finish with nothing left in me because I will give this life all I have to give it.
Having a partner…a best friend, a husband, Dane…has not weakened me in anyway. I promise you. And it sure feels good to flow with life instead of just feeling like I’m a rock.
And by the way…I do still cry, and have moments of untogetherness and that’s perfectly fine too.
Love your momma who stood on a rock yesterday by the Mississippi River and realized how strong I feel these days. It’s a beautiful thing. Not because of who I am. Not because of Dane and who he is. But because of God in both of us and what He is doing in our lives.