“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” ~Anne Morrow Lindenberg
How many times can I return to the same book? Every summer Gifts from the Sea calls my name. Some summer I read the entire thing. Some summers I read a chapter or two. Every summer I read it.
This summer has been special. This summer I am home with my boys. I’ve been the beach Mrs. Lindenberg so gracefully describes. I’ve lied empty, open and choiceless. The sea hasn’t left me disappointed yet.
I’ve received so many gifts from the sea, and not one of the gifts has been tangible.
I’ve been gifted time -time for myself, time for my family.
I’ve been gifted strength – physical strength and emotional strength.
In this moment of pause, I’ve had time to process one of the deepest scars of my life.
I’ve gained a clear vision of what I want and what I’m willing to welcome into my life.
While I cherish all the gifts I’ve been given, the greatest gift is one I’m giving myself. I’m letting myself off the hook. Mom-guilt is something I’ve always carried.
If I didn’t work, my house would be less cluttered. Our home would feel less stressful.
If I didn’t work, Chet would have a better bedtime routine.
If I didn’t work, I could shower Cole with the one on one attention he craves.
If I didn’t work, I’d have more of myself to give to my marriage.
If I didn’t work…
The list was endless.
During this moment of pause, I’ve realized that none of that changes based on my employment status.
Working or not, I’m the exact same mom. Working or not, I’m the exact same wife. Working or not, I am exactly me.
Perhaps the greatest gift is knowing that being a working mom or a stay at home mom doesn’t change who I am. What influences my ability to give to everything I love is how well I take care of myself. Boundaries are important. Environment is important. As I begin to transition back to being a working mom, I now know how important it is for me to continue to hold on to the gifts I’ve been given.
Taking time to care for myself is important. Taking time to care for my family always happens.
My journey to continually find my strength is one I cherish. I’m holding on to it tightly.
Healing is a process.
Having a deep sense of what I’m willing to give myself to will always guide me to where I belong.
And the mom guilt, it’s no longer welcome. It’s the one thing that holds me back. My boys are loved. My home is my refuge.
“I want first of all… to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints–to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.” ~Anne Morrow Lindenbergh
Soon this new chapter will begin. As I begin to navigate this new space, the best gift I can give to other is to take care of myself.
This next chapter is going to be a good one. It is my gift from the sea.