I opened her blog and I saw it again. Another statement — an aside, really — explaining why she no longer writes about her children. It was just a quick note to her readers to help them understand the shift in her content, I think. Her babies are getting bigger, you see. And she wants to honor their stories as their own. To respect them and hold their hearts gently. To do everything in her power to protect their sacred space.
She wrote beautifully, as always. And compassionately toward her children. And gracefully. And honestly. And full of light and truth.
I was annoyed.
I will tell you now with as much honesty as I can muster, and I will confess, that I didn’t hear her words kindly or accept them as an invitation to spend time in her sweet spirit. Instead, I was a teeny, tiny bit eye-rolly and the smallest bit breath-huffy. Because when I opened her blog and I saw it again — again — it felt like a weapon. Subtle, for sure. But it hit the mark, aimed not just at what I do, but at who I am. A veiled critique of my writing, my sense of humor, and, most vulnerably, how well I love my littles and my bigs. How deeply I cherish them. How well I protect them.
I stopped reading her for a while, although I love her writing and her heart and her perspective. I stopped reading because her asides hurt my feelings and there was no practical way to defend myself. Also, it takes a lot of time to be grumbly.
But, I wanted to respond, can’t you see?
Can’t you see that I DO respect my babies in the very telling of our stories?
Can’t you see that in the middle of our growing, and the middle of our muck, and the middle of our pain and our joys and the wreck and the redemption that is family, I hold this space as simultaneously sacred and silly and holy and hilarious and irreverent and healing and true and deep and real?
Can’t you see that talking about this crazy, messy life sets us all free? And that silence traps us inside false models of unattainable perfection?
Can’t you see that I walk with my children and I ask for their permission and I hide some things in my heart and I do this — I write this — to honor them always?
Can’t you see?
Can’t you see me?
And that last question was when I realized I was wrong. GAH. I was wrong for all the best reasons, of course, which I always feel should somehow erase the wrong if the universe is just or merciful, but nope. Still wrong.
In my desire to be heard, you see, to be known, to be trusted, to be liked, and to live fully into my calling as one who writes the deepest truths I know, I took her truth, her conclusion, her best way forward for her family, and I made it about me and mine. I took her experience, I fashioned it into a knife, I fell on it, and then I blamed her in secret for the Not Good Enough way it made me feel.
Which makes me wrong — again.
And I’m sorry.
And will you please forgive me?
I’m not a big believer in the Mommy Wars. In fact, I went on record debunking them after I found so many mamas with so many differences who all share the same desire to love our children to the very best of our abilities. (Our abilities which sometimes suck, but still.) But here I found myself harboring a Mommy War of My Own Making. My heart — the same one that beats to the rhythms of other mamas’ hearts — was unable to hear one mama’s story because I was too myopic, too defensive, and too afraid that her truth was too different from mine to listen.
Oh, this is not who I want to be, friends, this person with a bit of war hiding inside me. This is not who I want to be at all.
I want to be a Listener, friends. And a Story Honorer. And a Grace Giver. And a Love Sharer. And a Light Shiner.
I want to be a Door Opener. And a Back Patter. And Ceaseless Praiser. And a People Defender.
I want to be Myself and champion You, too, even though we’re different or perhaps especially because we are.
So I declare a cease-fire in my soul. I declare that Peace has won the day. I declare that her truths are no less true for me having different ones. And I declare that I will declare the same things tomorrow and the next day and the next day and however many days it takes to lay the war to rest.
Let us all be our truest selves. And honor others for doing the same. There’s room, friends, for every one of us to live the truth out loud.
Please note: The “she” I mentioned up above? Isn’t just one person. There’s no one to find. This is a theme that popped up in many places over time, and I’m not pointing to any one specifically. Just so you know.