Somewhere between pre-mom days and this very moment I have lost a bit of myself. In all honesty if I were to try to tell you what part of myself I have lost I’d stammer, because I can’t really put it into words. Well, that’s not entirely true, I COULD put in into words, I just have an underlying insecure fear that I would suck at attempting to use them. It’s more than just a tiny nagging tugging at me from the inside. It’s more like a giant alarm clock that has been going off for years and I have been slapping the snooze button on, time and time again. It aches. It truly does.
I’ve heard of middle-aged men having what people call a “mid-life crisis”. The stereotypical story played out in my mind is a half balding man, slight gut and all dad bod, socks with sandals.. or worse.. skinny jeans and boots, riding in a bright red Corvette, blasting Van Halen’s Panama, all while thinking that every chick who happens to look anywhere near him, is checking him out. It’s a sad, sad scene. I shudder just at the skinny jeans image. Now that I have made you cringe, or laugh, I sigh and re-think it a bit. I think it might look more like this: a man, married(could be unmarried) with 2.5 kids, a mortgage, a car payment, insurance payment, a job that once was exciting and held promise, now just what seems like a jail cell that has to be occupied to pay the bills previously stated. A wife that loves him, but is tired and quite frankly not interested in giving the energy to “go to Funkytown”. Kids who want to play with him the moment he gets home from his jail cell job. He is exhausted and has not watched anything other than Doc McStuffins or Youtube videos for what seems like an eternity. He thinks.. “Is this all that life is?” That.. seems more accurate. How do I know? Because, y’all I am that middle-aged man in crisis…. err.. let me rephrase.. middle aged CHICK who is in crisis.
It all started when I peed on a stick. (don’t all great stories start with that line?) I was mid thirties and both my children were nearing the golden age of “no more Nick JR”. We were actually planning a trip to go Rv’ing to Yellowstone. It was to be the Year of Adventure. I was traveling with my music career, and was on the brink of truly busting out of my insecure shell and really put it all out there musically, and then I peed on a stick. I had this “feeling” that due to the fact that while sitting in Chicago traffic for over 2 hours, I had to pee over 4 times. Like, REALLY had to pee. It was weird that I had not even considered it up to this point. “Was I? I couldn’t be.” I kept the thought inside my head, and the moment we hit open road and flowing traffic, I used the idea of having to feed the kids and picked a fast food place right next to a Target. I excused myself and made up an excuse to run quickly into Target to grab something. No-one seemed suspicious and so I ran in, grabbed my stick and kept it to myself. When we arrived in Wisconsin hours later, we checked into the hotel and touched base with the people I was doing to the concert for the next day. The kids wanted to swim, I again, made an excuse to stay behind and catch up in a few minutes. Off my husband and kids went to the pool and I tore open that box quicker than I ever did a present on Christmas morning. Then, I peed on the stick. I waited… not that long, because the two pink lines almost instantaneously appeared and there is was. I was pregnant. I was also, in shock. It had been 8 years since I last had a baby, and honestly, this was not even on my radar. I sat on the bed, put my hand on my stomach and had the warmest feeling of happiness come over me. I jumped up, ran to the pool and told the family the news. It was happy news, unexpected, scary, what the what news… but happy news. Luke was born 9 months later, and my music career was all but over. I think I was figuratively wearing the socks with sandals by then.
So here I was 40, new baby, (make it babies.. because SURPRISE! Elijah joined our family as well) and I was busy pouring into these precious little ones, and into my now pre-teens. I was constantly thinking about how to meet the needs of all 4 of them. It was never a burden, just kind of somewhere along the way it became more of me constantly thinking “how many more minutes to the kids bedtime?” I was beyond tired. To top it all off, we as a family decided (after MUCH praying) to step out of our comfort zone and step out in faith. We left our position at the church we were serving at for almost 16 years and waited on God. He led us to another church in the area and BAM we are serving there. It was not the cushion we were used to, in fact stuff happened that downright stretched our faith, our patience, our sanity more than ever before. So much change was happening and I was trying to be the supportive wife, the diligent mother, the encouraging friend, the inspired worship leader, add to the list all the trappings of what we try to shove into our “Hi my name is” label. I remember sitting at home and just crying while the two younger boys napped and the other two were at school. I cried because I thought “Is this all that life is?”
Before you throw your Jesus Juke stones at me, please hear me… I KNOW my identity comes from God. I KNOW I should not attach what I do to who I am. I get it.. I know it… but still I find myself searching for this little lost piece of me. I also want to say that I think God creates us to be creative. I don’t think He gives us passions and gifts for things that He wants us to just shove in a dark corner somewhere while we try to be super wife and mom and friend and …fill in the blank. I am on a mission to explore and excavate this myth that when we become moms that we have to shove ourselves aside. Hear me.. I will always think of and put my kids needs above my own. I am talking about dreams we chase. Things that God has created us to do that we ignore out of some sense of martyr motherhood mentality. SOMETHING has to give. I intend to dig deeper on this and post about my journey. I want to be as vulnerable as possible, putting out there the things I find and maybe don’t find. I know that I was made to be something beautiful… and dang it I am going to dig her out and try to revive her again.
Til’ next time…