Breakfast and Love Warriors

This morning a friend posted, “How do you get kids off to school ON TIME????”

And almost immediately, a flurry of moms responded.

I am in the middle of reading Glennon Doyle’s Love Warrior, and all I can think about this morning is the perfect imperfection of being a mom.

Our kids are mostly teenagers now: two are in high school and two in middle school. The last week has been full of the stress of year-end projects, concerts and finals. Each night, someone has to be talked down off of the ledge. Each morning, they have to reminded that there are only 24 hours in the day, and it will pass.

And I can’t help but think back on the ‘work in progress’ that we all are. In any given moment, we have a tendency to judge: to judge ourselves, our performance, our roles, our spouses. Maybe it helps? I don’t know. What I’ve learned in this work and the heartache that is so often a part of it is that the important thing is to be honest.

Life is joy punctuated by pain, and pain punctuated by joy. I’m pretty sure that our hearts have to break to make room for all that is meant to fit inside.

When I was in the finance world, it was numbers, black and white, no emotion. I loved it that way. I hid behind five computer screens. It was all data.

When I learned how much this generation of children is struggling, when I saw what it was doing to marriages, lives, mothers, husbands, siblings, my heart shattered into a million pieces. And I wasn’t sure that I could get back up.

In those early years, there were very few people to help me stand.

I remember one night, curled up, turning to my husband and asking him, why he was standing by me. Why did he believe me?

His answer was simple: “Because you’ve never given me any reason not to believe in you.”

He helped me stand.

And I thought about all of the heartache, the nights laying in bed where my heart hurt so much I didn’t think I could move forward, I only had a prayer and a vision: that as I lay there, on my back in the dark, with my heart open to the sky above, I’d say this prayer: “Please God, let me learn the lesson here quickly so that I can move through this suffering and into the next chapter.”

That realization was so huge. Up until this work, I thought that somehow, we were meant to be free of suffering. That it was up to us. That success was defined by how good we were at avoiding suffering.

But as we wrap another year, with more dear friends diagnosed with stage four cancers, so many changes occurring on the global stage and here at home in the U.S. I am so aware that the only thing certain in life is change.

And I can’t help but think about the rhythm in that. Growth is a special kind of pain, like the growing pains a 13 year old boy might be having, a mother’s heart also experiences. The disruption of a seed emerging from the soil to become a flower.

And rather than run from it, as I did in my twenties, I’ve learned to sit with that disruption, to know that it isn’t here forever, and to teach the kids that an emotion can not kill you, no matter how strong it is. It is there to change you.

And with all of the love and passion and guilt and struggle that is parenthood today, I once again thought about all that is going into the kids heads and hearts, as well as what is going into their bodies.

And sometimes, I wonder which is more important: the fuel we feed our heads and hearts or the fuel we feed our bodies.

The world needs love warriors. Motherhood initiates you into that army like nothing I’ve ever known.

And as the kids rolled out to school this morning, I thought about how some days we get it right, some days we get it wrong, but that every day that we get going, we are moving this whole thing forward.

So to my friend who asked about getting the kids out the door on time? A hug is as important to feed their soul as a perfect breakfast. The playground can be a battlefield. Life can be, and I’m pretty sure that what the world needs out there right now is Love Warriors.