Forgiveness

photo-1454532256047-6f79947885b9

It’s been four days since I saw you across the street, the first time in years. We made eye contact, both holding a stare upon one another. Although those few seconds were silent, except the noise of the small crowds separating you and I, the eye contact voiced so much.  I smiled at you, thinking to myself that you look great.  But I already knew this. I’ve seen your photos on Facebook. We were friends, actually. The internet said so.

So I was stunned when my smile was met head on with a frown. A frown that grasped the edge of a grimace. The sheer displeasure masking your face blasted me with ugly emotions, making me look away from your mean stare.

It took me a long minute to understand that your look was a silent burn directed at me. That realization made my eyes run far from you. Instantly, confusion and awkwardness fueled a heavy dose of self-consciousness to pull at my chest. My heart was quelling for flight.

After a few heavy beats, I forced myself to look back across the street. It’s the masochist in me. In search of you, my eyes shot in every direction, but you were gone.  My pride silently cried out; pleading to be rescued by the benefit of doubt. Maybe this person didn’t recognize me? (You do love filters, Sarah.)

Embarrassment nearly gobbled me whole admitting that my pride was front and center to that theory’s swift beheading. Because a little while later, you walked directly past me, a distance of six feet or less, with a scorned look centered right at my face. When I blink, I can still see your despise. You knew it was me. No assumption about it; the obvious trumped any benefit I could possibly muster.

In the days that followed our encounter, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dictate some (or a lot) of my mental space to trying to map how I hurt your feelings.  Anger (that scornful look) is the face of hurt.  Was it something I said in high school?  Again, it’s been years… Maybe if I went on a week of solid exploration I could probably pin-point the grievance, but lets face it—who has that kind of time? I’m currently living in a land ruled by four kids, who believe I can sleep when I’m dead.  My memory barely has the length of yesterday.

So in my attempt to understand, I felt gravity in this encounter. This felt like one of those moments—when experience fights the battle for you.

I have learned in the years since becoming a full-fledged adult that I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me. But that didn’t stop every part of me from wanting to hug you, screaming we’re really making it! Look how far we’ve come since high school. We’ve got homes, jobs, children…we are in the very midst of building our legacies. I wanted to say this to you, because, sigh…this life is hard enough. Everyone needs hugs and affirmations.

My own cowardliness robbed me and my disappointment felt suffocating standing across from you.

I have also learned how heavy grudges are to carry through life. I’m not displacing blame, or discrediting the feelings behind your angry facade towards me. But what I am saying is this…

Grudges, ugh. They. Are. Heavy.

I promise you, I’m not worth the exorbitant weight it holds. Because even if I sank to my knees, clasped my hands together, and begged at your feet for a solid hour asking for your forgiveness it still wouldn’t be enough. My apology, any act of restitution, could never be enough. Because I am simply not enough. I am not worthy of you being held hostage, a victim of anger. No one is.

Forgiveness is never for the people who hurt you. It’s for yourself, because you are enough. It means you are no longer willing to be prisoner to the hurt. Forgiveness is a choice.

Today, I woke up and chose to forgive myself, releasing myself of the guilt summoned by your dirty look. I cannot change the past, nor unwind vines of hurt I have spun, but I can choose to be better, live greater today.  I can choose to live by doing the next right thing. Because, sigh…this life is hard enough. We all need grace.

Next time, if we ever see each other again, I’m going to smile again. I hope you’ll smile back.

Daughter, When He Breaks Your Heart…

photo-1436306896198-6f280fe8481b

You are going to love him.

He’s going to be sonnets and sprinkles. His love is going to be sweltering, an incandescent jacket in a cold, lusterless world. Your cheeks will be shaded the color of pink peonies and the octave of your voice will whimsically dance just speaking his name. He’s going to feel like a work of fiction and a lifetime is going to seem oppressive, because its span is not long enough to love him…

And then he’s going to leave.

And it is going to hurt. Dreadfully.

The desolate, wintry oblivion of shade that lives on the backside of love means nothing until you’re forced to navigate its depressing landscape.

You will feel wrecked, shattered. Yet, the world around you will vivaciously continue to move, the ebb and flow untamed by your heartbreak. You’re going to feel buried by dirt, ache, and anger. Your broken, heavy emotions will place you upon the unmoving sidelines of this world brimming with non-stop action. Most days, the pulse of your heartbeat will be the only sign you’re still alive, somehow surviving.

You’re going to feel victimized, it’s natural. A war for ownership of your dignity will be declared, as you carelessly stack yourself against the break-up. One you didn’t want. The injustice—the demise of a relationship, a love you believed in–is going feel like a burning vise upon your heart.

Oh my love, life’s realities, the fractures in a perfectly crafted foundation of expectations, will be hard to stomach. It’s true. The stigma ‘be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle’ will hit you between the eyes. And you’re not going to understand. You’ll seek comfort, but refuse its embrace. People (probably even me, too) are going to tell you that everything happens for a reason…

Don’t believe them. It’s bullshit.

There is not always a lesson to be learned, some greater meaning to dig up, or push yourself in search of. Sometimes, life just hurts. Period. (and it’s okay to sink into it for a moment) But do not take this as a generalization to blanket over your entire life. There are plenty of lessons to be learned, most monumental occurrences teach you something—unwilling or not. But that doesn’t mean it happened for a reason.

We were given a conscious for a reason. The only reason. Trust it. Even when its own honesty hurts. Even when you want to hurl insults at your own conviction. Don’t silence its greater wisdom. Let it whisper enhancements you could make that benefit you, not his memory. Let it roll call your values, your character and then let it push you in a direction that builds them, grows you better.

Don’t spend time on fruitless ventures. Don’t chase after him, or his memory. It has nothing to do with his worth. Or even yours. Nostalgia is not meant for past loves, neither are rearview mirrors, strictly because they never give accurate descriptions. They are dipped in grey, surviving off moods teetering the edge of fictionless fiction.

You don’t have to forget him, but you do have to place him behind you. Not in front of you, or even beside you. Behind you. And then you need to force yourself to not look back.  Reminiscing is secretly a thief, a beautifully dressed one meant to manipulate your conscious. It’s a stalemate, keeping you stagnant. Ceasing you from reveling in the feel and pleasures of the present.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your sorrow too big, you willpower too small, you control your thoughts…push past ones of him. You don’t need his acceptance, because your acceptance of self is the true journey.

My love, resolve yourself to trek after light, because darkness lends immortality to hurt and sorrow. Do not let his memory consume you, holding you without touch. You are worth presence and the present at the exact same time. Do not let failure of expectation eat off the platter of your self-esteem.

You were perfectly crafted. God says so. Believe him.

Let me hug you. Let your best friends call him an asshole and believe me when I tell you not listen to sad songs, and better that you will fall face first into love again. And it will be glorious, because you are worthy of love.

Keep moving, expanding your heart to a blazing sun, to sonnets and sprinkles. Believe that happily ever after is still out there.

The only way to meet it is if you’re moving forward.

The little love…

photo-1455642305367-68834a1da7ab

{Photo cred: Amy Treasure}

A week ago, I stood upon the threshold of my oldest daughter’s bedroom. My tired body leaned into the door frame. It was late, past completion of story time, lullabies, and prayers.

I’d been on my way out, my headspace churning gears in an attempt to gather energy to go downstairs and mind the kitchen still in a state of disarray from dinner.

“I love you. I’ll see you in the morning.” I smiled at her.

I nearly walked away, but her stricken face kept my feet planted at her doorframe. I was motionless for the greedy pull of my eyes. I watched as her small fingers pinched the square Hello Kitty pillow in her lap as her eyesight continually bounced from her feet back to me. Her heart shaped face was injected with an emotion that made weariness jolt my brain awake.

She was restless and most definitely had something to say to me. She deeply inhaled, before our thoughts collided.

“Mama, I have something to tell you.” She exhaled in a voice radiating excitement. Then her face broke into a massive grin, the kind that sinks the corners of her mouth deep into her cheeks.

I released the air, heavy as rocks stuck deep in my lungs, before taking a few steps toward her.

“What is it?”

Pregnant silence.

“I have a CRUSH!” Her voice energetically barrels out and then she slaps the pillow to her forehead and lets out a high-pitched squeal into it. She continues to hide her face a full five seconds, before swiftly pulling the pillow back to her lap. She’s wading in a pool of embarrassment. Her demeanor says so. Her eyes jet towards me, connect for a mere .0000007 of a second with mine, before dashing away again. She looks at her lamp. The posters on her wall. Her fidgeting fingers; anything to avoid looking at me.

I feel like choking. My oldest daughter has never been boy crazy. Now, her younger sister is mad for boys. She’s seven and already been in love forty six times–the total number of boys in her kindergarten and 1st grade classes.

But Avayah, this is new and feels heavy. My spine involuntarily straightens. Adrenaline floods my entire system. I cough, before forcefully breaking my face with an easy smile. I drop into the chair beside her bed and place my elbows on my knees before cupping my jaw.

Reactions. Dang, they are hard as a parent. You can pull out the wrong one and completely ruin the moment (and they never share with you again). There I am sitting in her chair trying not to smile too big, or worse, scowl. (This is my first baby, she’s not allowed to grow up. My heart is screaming, NO! I am not ready for this.)

“Who is it?” I croak. I’m positive my voice sounds stretched too high. She looks at me strange. I think she’s gauging my trustworthiness. I almost scoff at her in return.

“His name is Russel.” She giggles. Here is where I want to roll on the ground, stomp my feet, and act like a straight lunatic, because I’m hit with about 27 different emotions I don’t know how to comprehend.  It feels insane.

She is my first baby.  A slide show of firsts flickers before me. I’m spaced out, watching a mental video of all her milestones, as that country song, ‘I loved her first’ plays alongside it, inside my head. I can feel my hysterics inching up on me. (I’ve already cried five times writing this post.)

I’m seconds away from becoming a legit basket case. Call the asylum now. (All the while, I want to tell myself to get a grip. She’s 10. It’s not like she told me she’s getting married, but still. This is new territory. We won’t, no she, she won’t go back from here—insert ugly cry here. I need tissues…and hugs, friends.)

My baby has found intrigue in the opposite sex.

While I die on the inside, we make casual small talk about Russel. Her cheeks are pink; her face alight with infatuation. She says he’s nice, funny, and cute. He even stopped mid-race to help her up when she tripped. Gush. These parents are raising this boy right.

Yet, as I sat in that chair beside her as she spoke, I felt a small part of me dissipate into a pool of ache. The crack in her childhood just split by a substantial proportion. Light is no longer leaking, it’s bleeding out.  And it’s probably the first time I’ve despised its presence. Who hates light?  Me, right now. I know it’s selfish, but sigh. Motherhood hurts. This is the part you are never prepared for. The separation.

Near the end of our conversation she told me that he’s moving to Florida at the end of the school year and that he doesn’t know that she likes him.

I told her that she should always tell people how she feels. Unless their married. Or engaged. Just basically do not mimic a Julia Robert’s movie, unless it’s Runaway Bride.  (You can always run to Mama.)

The next day, my brave girl spoke her puppy love feels via a secret admirer note she wrote. It was the most precious thing ever.  I was so honored she let me read it (and to have gotten away with secretly photographing it, too.  She can kill me when she reads this blog much later in her life.) It went something like…I’ll give you my initials and if you guess who I am, I’ll admit it was me.

It was my turn to giggle like a tween, because they are in the same class. I don’t think the mystery will last long. Actually, it didn’t. He knew, but still wrote her a note back confessing he liked her too, along with his initials.

Ah, to witness puppy love as an adult…I’ll admit, it gives you the feels. It’s so innocent that you can’t help but giggle about it to your closest girlfriends. (Sorry Avayah, but in truth…those women love you too and your secret is safe with them…and anyone who reads this blog.  Eek, I’m starting to question my trustworthiness now.)

A week later and they’re in love and we’ve set the date.  Okay, not really. They’re just buds, who play xbox live together and see each other in class and that’s about it.

I knew this day would arrive at some point and I’m excited for Avayah, even if this milestone hurts.  If you see me, hug me and tell me that I’ll survive my daughter’s first love.  (and ignore me when I start singing, “I loved her first..”)

Because obviously, this is about me.  Not Avayah at all.

Tis Motherhood.