Last Wednesday night was one of those nights. You know the feeling: too much to do, a missed deadline, mistakes, exhaustion, and a list of worries big and small. There was also a thunderstorm, and one of my kids is terrified of “scary under.” So, instead of doing the 1,000 things on my to-do list, I found myself holding my kiddo late into the night in one of those arm-falling-asleep death grips that happen with a tired kid who doesn’t want you to leave. No amount of my super stealth sneak out of a kid’s bed moves was going to work.
I was stuck there.
It didn’t take long for my mind to turn into a bad neighborhood full of worst-case scenarios: kids health stuff with no clear answers, the finances and logistics of the new job, scary news in the lives of people we love, the seeming impossibility of accomplishing all the things as the minutes ticked by, and the general angst that comes from living in the year of our Lord 2019.
I was in dangerous territory.
Something my mama taught me about danger is that you’re safer in a group. She would also tell me just to avoid it and to drink a glass of water, but alas, I was literally and metaphorically stuck, so those were not options. With no other options in sight, I decided to focus on taking some breaths.
In these moments of stress, my default is hyperdrive – I am a woman of action. But, it turns out that every person who has ever loved me and been brave enough to shoot straight with me, and every counselor I have ever paid my dollars to has told me that the solution to my feeling frantic is not to speed up, but to slow down.
Honestly, it feels rude that they keep saying this. I wish they understood that I have so many things to do and the world has so many problems that demand some action. Also, I should move the laundry. There is always laundry.
But Wednesday night, faced with a numb arm, a beautiful, scared girl who was finally falling asleep, and no other choices, I decided to listen to the wise people in my life instead of my own janky mind. So, I breathed in my girl’s freshly bathed lavender smell and tucked her hair behind her ears. I whispered to her that she was safe and loved. I whispered to my own heart that I was safe and loved, too.
And somehow, miraculously, this was enough. It was enough to hold the girl I love and marvel that we belong to each other. It was enough to remind her and myself that we are safe and loved and that I will always be there for her in the storms.
Mama, it is enough.
You may not be able to solve all the problems or do all the things. Let’s be real. You will not be able to solve all the problems or do all the things. But today, you can hold the people you love. You can whisper to them the words they need to hear. You can whisper to your own heart, too. It may not be everything you thought it would be. It may not solve the problems you wish it could solve.
But, it will be enough.