written by leah drinen
it seems as though my children were little angles, sent to me in those hard hard times after 2008, after it all came undone. (well, no. i guess it was just me who came undone!) but they were not just little cherubs in their chubby sweetness, hugs and kisses. at times they seemed mighty and profound beings.
now I know it was not their heavenliness that taught me, guided me, through those first hard years of healing. it was their humanity. my three year old’s wisdom was in fact unabashed humanity at it’s loudest. she said to me once soon after i realized i needed my relationship with my own mother to grow-up, “mommy, let go.” this amazed me…simple as it was. she also said, “i am my own person,” and she obviously was. how could i, at 30, still be too sheepish to stand on my own two legs?
when my daughter was only two, we were still living in hawaii, she walked herself in her little towel all the way from the beach to the van. when i commented on the fact to a friend standing near me, she said, “don’t watch me!” three years later (when we’d managed to find our way back to hawaii) the five of us hiked up into a huge fallen tree. after she slipped and caught herself, she looked me straight in the eye and said, as she herself realized, “i’m not a little girl anymore.”
why was she so self aware? why was i not? i suppose life (or death) had had its way with me at too tender an age. but here i am, a grown woman- come fully into her power, and this tiny person showed me the way.
when my days were at their darkest my oldest, now fifteen, drew a picture with myriads of greens, and wrote, “i am living”. i burst into tears when i saw it because i had just learned through counseling, i had been living as though dead. not long after i wrote a letter to the schoolmate i struck with my vehicle that dreary january morning, releasing her into the arms of death and asking her to release me to life, with all its rights and pleasures.
not too many weeks ago my oldest recalled the mother’s day card he gave to me in 2008 just before the summer we moved back to washington. his first grade teacher laughed out loud when on the back of his three-foot construction paper rendition of me, she read, “go mom, go!” i had to tell him how meaningful it was to me that 2008, scariest year of my life. when woke to find it taped to my dresser right next to my bed mother’s day morning, i laughed. but when i turned it over and read, i’m sure my eyes grew wide as saucers and i remember thinking, “he knows and he’s rooting for me. certainly, i should be rooting for myself.” then i thought, “you betcha! i am going and i am going to take this all the way.” i gave myself permission to finish falling apart and do all the hard work that needed doing (for myself) and one day, if i could, put it all back together again. it was my hardest fight, and he was rooting for me.
they were the ultimate humans, these 2-8year olds that had taken over my life. now i see, there’s nothing i needed more…to learn to be human and love myself at least as much as i would love my own child. my unconditional love for them in their neediness taught me to tolerate myself, but it didn’t stop there! it put the pluck back in my soul, they gave me the gumption to stick up for myself, to be my own greatest advocate. to be true to myself, and this i think, i really must say…is where it’s at.
emerson said “we must be our own before we can be another’s.” and now i think, wow! how in my pursuit of self improvement and “godliness” did i end up not being myself for jesus? how can i be devoted to anyone or anything, when there is no fidelity to self?