In the past month or so, lots has changed around here, which is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Good things, more accurately, more good things are on the horizon for us I think. Which is real hopeful, since lately life has been a bit more stressful and stretched taut than my husband or I would like to admit.
And one of those good things for me personally has been the hope of having one of my pieces of writing published.
If any of you follow my Facebook posts, you know that I one of my pieces had recently been accepted for publication. Hooray! I thought. Finally! I thought.
Turns out that the publication was not able to get enough backers and advertisers to support the magazine, so the December issue (the one in which my piece would appear) and all issues after it will not be published.
Rats! I thought when I heard that news this morning.
But I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is not a bad thing. Which is crazy to say for someone who loves to write. For someone who longs to be published. Yes, crazy, I would have said oh, about six months ago.
But now, eh, just an inconvenience and a let down, but really: no biggie. Not a big deal. At all.
Sure I’d like to be published and people to read my words and be moved and touched by them, but maybe it isn’t my time yet. Maybe it’s time to (finally) trust God and time to (finally) let go of my need to control every aspect of my life. The control thing: it’s all an illusion anyway. The moment I think I have something or someone figured out, poof! it all changes and everything is entirely turned on its head. Or my toddler decides overnight literally overnight that a certain pair of shoes are now deemed unacceptable. How in the world can you control that?
But I digress. The point (yes, there is one!) is that this is a good thing, this not being published. This makes me slow down. This makes me less ego-driven. This makes me again, trust God instead of doing the work myself and the boldly asking him to bless it. How far I’ve come, but how far, far, I still need to go in terms of this whole trusting, not-being-in-control thing. The good news is I have the rest of my whole life to try and figure out how to let the bird of control out of my hand and be free, instead of almost crushing it’s wings before it tries to fly. And that learning can’t come soon enough.
So, without further adieu, here is the piece! A cleaned up (mostly) edited version any way. Feel free to share, and I’d love to hear if you like it/don’t like it. Truly.
My younger sister has taught me a thing or two about life. In between the fights over which boy band was better, what celebrity is doing what crazy thing with their hair, and my constant nagging (I call it educating), somewhere along there she grew up.
And got married.
And most recently, had a baby.
And this thing, this my-sister-is-having-a-baby, this my-sister-has-had-a-baby thing has thrown me for a loop. As in, thrown me for a giant loop so large I’m not even sure I’m on the same racetrack anymore.
She’s more or less figured out the motherhood dance.
In under six months.
Like her, I know how hard it is to carry, worry, and then give birth to something so small and yet feel as if you are carrying the weight of the world, of all of humanity in your hands. Down to my bones I understand that; we now have that in common.
But she, the younger (some days wiser but you didn’t hear me say that) sister, has managed the new parenting role different, better than me.
Everyone can hold the baby and love the baby unlike my new mother experience.
And also, she’s not holed up inside her house the first six weeks as if she were living with a contagious virus that means she’s housebound, on constant lock-down armed with burp rags and Lysol.
In short, she’s learned from my mistakes, and has also managed to learn what she needs in order to care for herself and her needs.
She needs community.
And I am in awe of this realization. Of course, is what I thought, after her son was born. She understood this need already. Aha, is what I thought, while trying to not mourn the sometimes inept choices I made earlier in my parenting journey. So you can do it another way, my husband has remarked openly, while I thought I really want to kick him in the shins right now.
Community. People. Loved ones. The piece of the new baby puzzle I hadn’t yet figured out.
The need for (and fear of) community was exactly what I was missing postpartum, and it could of helped a great deal with my early parenting misadventures.
But thankfully, now I see. Now I see, after awkward invitations sent out and returned, after a few weekends of more than just chores and family time, after a couple of times just hanging out with friends, now I see that. I see what the big deal is now, and how important community is. Community saves us. Some of us, it saves daily.
I won’t say I have it figured out because I don’t. Just last weekend we tried hanging out with friends more, and it was a success. But the next day I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself; it was like a bad hangover and in the end I figured out that I felt like a seesaw that veered to far into the people world and didn’t have proper balance with the alone time. One thing’s for sure though: there will be a lot more mistakes and learning to find the balance but that’s ok. I have faith that eventually I will find the balance of it all.
And I have my sister, my younger sister to thank for this.
Lest you think too highly of her, she still talks too much and has absolutely zero control over her maniac dog, but the parenting thing, she has figured out. For now, at least. I’m just going to end there, smiling smugly at the thought of the toddler years to come, as I hold all of the overly helpful advise in getting through those years.