Mara writes: As a tired, busy mama of three kids, six years and under, who often finds herself out of the present moment, it is easy for me to get caught up in what’s going wrong, what I’m not able to do, and how tough parenthood is. In these moments, I admit that sometimes life gets the best of me. Given all that life has handed me in the past two months, it would be understandable to throw in the towel, turn on the TV, and let the kids run amok (more to come on that in a bit). Yet, then a blessing occurs, a tiny miracle happens, and my perspective shifts from what I don’t have and what is “wrong” with my life to what I have right in front of me and all that God has blessed me with. It isn’t a picture-perfect life, but rather a perfectly imperfect one.
In those moments my thoughts shift from “me” to “them” and I see my three beautiful angels in their truest sense – the little angels that not so long ago looked down from those heavenly clouds, pointed their sweet chubby fingers at me and said, “I pick her!” This belief, that these purely amazing, yet crazy and tiring little beings looked down at an immense crowd of women, pushed the others aside and chose me to hold their growing bodies in mine, to deliver and guide them in this beautiful and cruel world blows me away.
These shifts happen so subtly, so seemingly out-of-the-blue, and they continue to warm my heart each time and help me grow. Like this morning, when we were eating a late breakfast and I was critiquing myself for allowing them to watch a movie since I was exhausted after a hard night’s sleep and early rising, a shift happened. Something, someone helped me get out of my head and see my youngest daughter, Adella, now 3-½ years old, and notice how beautiful she is, how lovely her big eyes are, how much she has grown and I’m struck with awe of her. It almost brings me to tears. Or when I am just desperate to get housekeeping done and don’t want to be interrupted, my son, Lincoln, well, interrupts me, and tells me an amazing story to go along with his creative pictures of monsters and dragons and knights. I take a minute, set down my broom and dustpan and wonder how on earth these little creatures got so big. I reflect on how they came out of me, so tiny and needy, yet so strong and so already “themselves.”
These hidden blessings come in another form too, one that is a bit dustier and grimier and harder to see. A couple of months ago, our lives took a turn I wasn’t prepared for that really shook up our home. For sake of privacy, I will keep the details to myself, but let’s just say life was really topsy turvy for a bit and I’m aware that there are more changes soon to come. Through this journey, I have seen myself fall hard and fail. I continue to make mistakes all the time, some days more than others. I feel awful in these times and I regret ways of talking or acting. But then I get back up, each and every time, and I apologize for my actions or words. I commit to trying harder while knowing that I’m going to fall again, and I’m going to have to get back up again and again. I find the bits of good hidden in these hard times. I find my strength. I reassess what is important and what I can let go of. At the end of the day, I know I’m a good mom – albeit a messy and chaotic one – because I stay, I show up, I keep trying. My kids chose me and they chose each other. That belief keeps me going and trying and showing up each day.
A good friend, my husband, God, and life guided me to LifeWays. The instructors taught me some of the indications of Steiner and the one that sticks with me the most these days is how we see our lives from the heavens and choose our parents because of what we need to learn and accomplish in this life. Steiner wrote, “A soul on its way to incarnation knows, for example, that it will need a certain kind of education for its next earthly life, a certain kind of knowledge, which it must acquire at an early age. Now it realizes: yes, there and then I will be able to gain such knowledge” (excerpt from Unbornness, by Peter Selg). This idea that I saw my life unfold, that each of my kids saw theirs, and that we all chose each other not in spite of it, but because of what this life will teach us astonishes me. It has kept me going in some dark and seemingly hopeless moments. I am so thankful for this knowledge.
In this season of going within and facing our inner work, and on the eve of Thanksgiving, I find both fear and peace lay within me. Fear spikes at times when I think of all the work I have yet to accomplish here on Earth, but it also seems to fade at times and in its place, I find a little peace. Peace seems to arrive in fleeting bits, but it makes room ever so slowly for hope. The peace is knowing that even when I wonder why life has to be so hard, an inner, deeper voice tells me I’m right where I need to be, that light will come again, and my work isn’t yet to come, it’s already being done each time I choose to show up. Peace comes in knowing there is no “right” way to live, to parent, to be a wife, to be, to look. The only thing we need to do is try hard and work at serving others. I’m sincerely thankful for all the people who showed up and continue to serve me – my own parents, my husband, my friend, my kids, my teachers in LifeWays.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all – may we all be able to see our daily hidden blessings.
Mara Spiropoulos is a busy mom of 3 young children born within 3 years of one another, residing in Milwaukee, WI. She is a recent graduate of the LifeWays program and works tirelessly at letting go. This blog entry was inspired in part by Unbornness by Peter Selg, Love Does by Bob Goff, and the works of Glennon Doyle Melton (momastery.com/blog)