Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Letter To Me, Before:

Breathe.

Take a look around you. See that little baby, just learning to sit up on her own? She loves you, simply and with her whole heart. Soak it in. Do not be afraid of her love.

You think this is so hard, impossibly hard, this parenting thing. The long hours, the boredom, the constant needs. You don't feel up to the task, do you? You are doing fine. More than fine. You just can't see it.

That anxiety you feel? That deep fear? Embrace it. It's a gift, because it means you love fiercely. You want to hide from that love, because it's deeper and more powerful than anything you have ever felt before. It's mother-love, and it scares you. You don't know if you can bear it, the sheer weight of it on your shoulders.

Be gentle to yourself. You don't have to do everything perfectly - there is no such thing. Trust your heart, it knows what it's doing. Don't over think. Your mind can't get a grip on matters best left to the heart. Put down the parenting books, the magazine articles. Stop the constant comparisons, your endless quest for ways you don't measure up.

See that glass in your hand? The deep red swirl of wine? You think it makes the fear, the insecurity, the weariness all better, don't you? You feel it masks the anxiety, the self-doubt, the boredom. Know this: it masks the love, the joy and the laughter, too. You are trying to erase yourself from the picture, a little at a time, because you don't believe you're good enough.

You can't picture letting go of your fear. You think it is keeping you safe. It is keeping you stuck and alone. You can't imagine a life without the need to hide from yourself.

You don't really hear the giggles of your baby as you rub her belly, or notice how her face lights up at the sight of you. You don't really notice how strong her chubby fingers are when she clutches your thumb, or how she likes to rub her feet against you as she falls asleep. You don't see these things because you are scared to love that much. You are hiding within yourself, afraid.

Know that this fear isn't born out of despair, it is born out of love. A beautiful, all encompassing, love.

Have faith that it is going to be okay. Things will work out the way they are supposed to, and all the worry and anxiety you feel won't change that. So let go. Get up each day with a grateful heart. Or at least try to. Be present. Be present for all of it.

Breathe.

14 comments:

  1. Wow! How beautiful and so, so, so true.

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  2. Such a beautiful post!! Thank you.

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  3. I am so that woman that you're writing to there. Thanks for what you wrote, it does help.

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  4. Thank you, Ellie, for another beautifully written piece.
    My oldest turns 8 today, and this piece was a very timely reminder on this anniversary of my becoming a mother.
    Thank you.

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  5. When my kids reached a certain age I felt like the word "Listen" was popping into my head every other minute. It was hard work to listen. Being present is hard work. Aren't you so glad that you know being present is an option. There was a time when being present wasn't one for me.

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  6. what a great post- all those simple joys we missed "before."

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  7. i want this so. how do you let it go?

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  8. Anonymous -

    There isn't an easy answer to that one. Part of it was that I just let myself be afraid and uncomfortable for a while. Before I could really let go, I had to own that I couldn't drink in safety, and that alcohol was destroying the person I wanted to be. I reached out for help, and when I realized I wasn't alone, I felt SO much better.

    If you want to email - I'm at ellieandsteve@verizon.net If not, just please know that a life without alcohol is not nearly as scary as a life full of fear, self-doubt, lies and shame. There is hope. And you are not alone.

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  9. Wow Ellie, thank you for this gorgeous essay. I followed from BFB - thank you so much for posting. I'm all weepy and trying to pull it back together 'cause you just nailed it with your words. Thank you...

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  10. I'm with Jane. Teary and grateful for that link. Oh man. It's just so so true and beautifully written. thank you.

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  11. You are just lovely. Thank you for sharing so much with all of us. Oh my heart this touched me so. xxx

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  12. I just clicked over from your most recent post, and this is amazing. Absolutely.

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  13. I just clicked over from your most recent post, and this is amazing. Absolutely.

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  14. what a great post- all those simple joys we missed "before."

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