Kindness: A Balm to the Soul

It’s remarkable how complacent we become in our day-to-day routines until something upsets the rhythm and we are left scrambling to find our footing. In the constant juggle of everyday life, we often fail to appreciate the little things. When our world goes awry, we’re caught off guard – unbalanced – and crave a state of equilibrium. How petty we seem until we look at all the little details in the big picture.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for friends – the ones who reach down when we are at our stubborn worst and find us the help we need, the ones who step in and provide the help we need when we are adamant that we. are. fine. These are the friends to hang on to. The friends to cling to tightly.

One of my strongest “love languages” in action is acts of service – as in this is how I communicate I care… but I’ve also learned when I’m drowning, I will stubbornly tread water instead of reaching for the life lines that are thrown my way. Why do “helpers” always find it so hard to accept help? I appreciate the ones who will jump into the water with me and hold my head above water. They are priceless.

This week, I’m once again, grateful for health that I often take for granted. I’m thankful for a warm, soft bed; a house over my head – mess and all. I’m appreciative of my kids and their little quirks (even when my thirteen year old texts me while I’m in an ER hooked up to an IV and awaiting chest x-rays asking if I will be getting a new phone so he can have my old phone after I leave the hospital – even then I am grateful.) I am recognizant of my blessings as small as they may seem (clean socks this morning even though I haven’t tackled the laundry all week…) or when they seem overwhelmingly all-encompassing (a freezer full of meals that were prepared by hands that weren’t my own!)

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth

I’m reminded once again that it’s okay to ask for help, to grasp that help when it’s freely offered. I’ve been humbled enough to see that it’s okay to let go of something for a short time to tightly hold onto the things that matter. I’m learning that in our weakness, we find strength; at our frailest, we find our foundations; in our humility, we see what’s truly meaningful.

The journey of life can be hard. One day it can be a perfect path for ambling along without a care beyond getting a sunburn and then you round a bend and hit a roadblock, in the rain, and you don’t have a coat. It’s full of smooth, straight paths in one moment and abounding with steep cliffs and rubble the next. Cling to hope. Know where your anchor lies. Bring companions on the trail. If you shed some tears along the way – so be it; laughter can be a lifeline; but kindness? Kindness, of course, is a balm to the soul.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This…

I had some hours owing this week and decided it was time for an overdo salon visit followed by lunch with a friend. However, despite my best intentions and contingency plans and schedule adjustments, when my feet hit the floor I just knew that today wasn’t going to be “my day” – even though, for everyone else’s safety and my own sanity – I really need a day for me.

The oldest got ready with excitement and speed as it’s the first ski club session of the year. The youngest lagged and lagged and eventually moved from the bed to the couch, looking decidedly pale and green. He’s currently tucked up beside me in our bed because whether you’re 11 or 37 years of age, we all want our mamas close when we’re feeling crummy.

As parents and partners this is often what our days look like. We make our plans and our plans change because life throws some little hiccups and giant monkey wrenches our way. We’re up to our necks in chaos and tears and laughter and cookies and completely forget ourselves. (What’s my name again?!) We understand the importance of self-care and independence, but also know that sacrifice and caring for others are just as important in the balance of a healthy relationship.

So today is not my day, and if I wasn’t consumed with endless love for this child of mine, I’d be upset that he sabotaged my plans… and I’m human enough to admit I’m frustrated – with the curveball, not with him. I’m feeling a little helpless because my care doesn’t seem to be soothing and a little angry that we’ve been hit with something again. I’m definitely irritated that I can’t make things better and have been washing my hands like crazy.

There are days… days when it seems to a stressed out mama or other caregiver that they’re always the ones who have to bend. There are days when they’ll feel like they’re stuck in the trenches with no hope of ever climbing out. There are days when they’ll be holding puke buckets or little hands or bottomless laundry baskets…. and all they really want is a Frappucino and a spa day. These are the days that they need you.

Let your fellow mamas know that even though life can change at the drop of the hat or gust of the wind, they are never alone. Let them know they have a comrade in the nitty gritty ins and outs of this parenting gig. Check in on the strong and silent ones too – not everyone knows how to reach out when they’re drowning.

Be a comfort – send an encouraging text, commiserate over the phone, surprise them with some takeout and offer to fold a load of laundry (but don’t mention the dishes in the sink) and remind them that their day is coming.

And if it is your day? Think of all the strength you can lend! I’m a little jealous, to be honest. Maybe tomorrow will be my day…. in the meantime, those laundry baskets are mocking me and I have a great excuse to dive into a new book without feeling guilty!