Will has been helping me do the dishes a lot. Its his new favorite. Not so much mine, seeing as how he always manages to get water and soap EVERYWHERE... but I do love encouraging a spirit of helping in him. ;) And it is much more productive than tv!
Come to think of it, that spirit of helping is the common thread through all of Will's interests nowadays. Here he is helping me do my mat workout...
And helping me finish the grocery shopping...
We went to Charleston for a weekend at the very sweet invitation of Sarah. It was overcast and rainy the entire visit, of course, because winter hates me, but we had a perfectly lovely time anyway. I really needed to become friends with Sarah right when I did. She is the kind of girl and mother who is refreshing and inspiring all at the same time. If all this blog gives me in the end is getting to meet and know Sarah Pankus, I will walk away satisfied.
We hung out with our 3 collective little boys in her spanish-moss shaded apartment during the rain. We took turns running around the block in the marshy neighborhood and watching the babies. We drove out to the beach for lunch and a few hours of the afternoon, and let my antsy Will run his energy out.
She made us an amazingly juicy steak dinner on Saturday night, which we, (Sarah's sister-in-law who is also my friend Jess) and I, devoured gratefully. Wine and laughter late at night, hot coffee in the morning and the entertaining antics of our children filled the weekend.
I think we need the challenge of making new friendships more than we realize. New friends are able to ignite a spark in us that an old comfortable friendship might not have. New friends open up new ways of looking at life, new truths about ourselves and others. New adventures. You get that experience in college, and its incredibly growth-inducing; but its so much harder to make new friends as a mama. Mothers are intimidating; women tend to be critical enough, but throw in a passion about motherhood and doing everything right for your babies and you have a whole hugely intimidating dynamic.
But as hard as it is, I have come to the conclusion that it is even more important. It is easy to get into ruts as a mother... ruts of discontent, or insecurity, or anxiety, or PRIDE, or vanity, or unhealthiness, or know-it-all-ness... these ruts can keep us from really enjoying our experience of motherhood and, more crucially, our children.
Being around a new friend whom I find so inspiring and lovely was exactly what I needed to help push that "Reset" button, and renew my own zeal in pursuing the kind of intentional life I so deeply desire. And the "around" part was kind of the clincher. I had more time to think about it at a Mother's Night In reflection night for my MOTs group at Church. We had pizza and wine and chatted about everything, ending the night in a heart-stirring reflection in the quiet, dark Church.
The reflection was about Martha and Mary, and how the real problem with Martha was not that she was too busy - she was after all working passionately for the Lord, which is good! - but that she was anxious. That she was comparing herself with others - and not to encourage them or to grow herself, but in a spirit of criticism.
Blogging these last few years has been like a training wheel to help me continue to make new friends as a new mama. It helped me get out of my comfort zone a little, and meet some amazingly cool people. It helped me to have a creative outlet, to start writing again. To put myself out there. Now I feel like its gotten a bit stale, like I need to take the next step and start looking for ways to encourage others as I throw myself happily and more invisibly into the work that is given me.
That girls weekend in Charleston with Sarah, I realized I am craving that encouragement IN PERSON. Its in person that you can really see the full dimension of someone's life; its only in person (at least for me because I am a total extrovert) in a real conversation, that you can catch that contagious spark of excitement... that thing that C.S. Lewis so impeccably expressed:
I have been able to get by and be so inspired by blogging, emailing, commenting and the like, to forge these essential new and growing friendships. But now - having the privilege of group texts with some of these people, long phone calls with others, and a whole weekend at the home of one... I am realizing I need to apply all that energy I had been using for the blog, and throw it into these blossoming relationships IN REAL LIFE.
I would do both if I could... but as anyone knows who has had the misfortune of being stuck on the phone with
me a mother who is constantly interrupted to discipline her toddler - time is of the essence and the energy to focus even more so! It was doable with one, but I am finding that with the two boys I just don't have the time to write for my job, take care of my family, take care of myself, nurture my friendships, and write here.