Friends! It feels truly wonderful to once again be writing for you. It’s possible I’ll throw you a what-I’ve-been-up-to post in a bit here, but know this: life has been rich, full, hard, easy, stressful, fun, and lovely since I posted last. And now it’s a brand new year, and I’d like to back into some regularly scheduled Premeditated Mama. So here we go!
I’m starting today with a confession, and I’ll close with a story from this past summer. I hope it brings some value to you.
I love Christmas. This should come as no surprise to anyone who, you know, is nearby. I’m seriously considering making tattoo #3 Christmas-themed. YES, it’d be permanent all year long. YES, that’s what I want. Anyway, Christmas and me are like peas and carrots. I start listening to Christmas music in – OK I don’t ever really stop, but I really ramp it up around September. I own no less than three Advent Calendars (or four? Five?) and don’t even get me started on my Christmas Board on Pinterest. It’s a doozy.
Also this is a sweater I willingly and gleefully purchased for myself:
But I have depression. I do. And anxiety. And after weeks (months) of Christmas excitement, I get bogged down. My brain fills up, my heart runs out a little, and I falter. The wrapping paper is too much. The cookies are too much. The laundry, which so rudely doesn’t think to at least take a rest during this busy season, is way too much. And before I know it, I’m fighting every voice in my head that says to cancel every plan. To binge-watch every show. To just, kind of… stop. And this year? Things seemed especially hard. Every day the news carries some horrible story. Every day the government seems to fall apart a little bit more. Every day the world hurts.
That was my confession. Now for a story.
This past summer was the first one that Boone could really ride a bike on his own. Near the end of the summer, he was feeling so confident (and I so optimistic, I guess) that I suggested we ride our bikes to the local ice cream place, Captain Sundae. It was a little over two miles from our house, but Boone knew there was a giant ice cream cone to be had at the end of the journey, so he agreed. We started out with stars in our eyes (that’s actually a quote from Dear Evan Hansen, which if you haven’t listened to, DO IT), and everything was great. Until we came upon a decent sized hill right outside our neighborhood, and as Boone took on speed, he lost his balance and tumbled forward. We’re a helmet-loving family, so thankfully there was no real harm done. He got a scraped up knee, but it wasn’t too bad. I asked him if he wanted to go home. “No,” he said, through tears, “I want to get ice cream.”
And so we carried on. I was, of course, asking too many questions as we rode. “Are you OK?” “How’s your knee?” “What are you thinking about?” And finally, Boone said, “Mom, can you not talk right now?” I was taken slightly aback, sure, but I figured he was concentrating on balance; then he continued, “I’m just praying a lot.” I did have one more question: “what are you praying about?” “Mom, I’m just praying that God will keep me safe on big hills.”
Because that’s all he was worried about. He wasn’t worried about bees or other cyclists or sprinklers or stop lights. He was worried about hills. He needed to give his hills to God. (And yes, Boone got his ice cream and made it back home, completely owning every hill he encountered.)
I remembered this story as I felt the heaviness of the Christmas season weigh down on me. And please remember that I find medications and therapy to be life-changing and vitally necessary to those who suffer from depression and anxiety. But I learned something about letting go from my seven year old son on that summer night, and it’s to know when to say God, I just don’t have this. And I didn’t have it as I drove to a Christmas party this past December. I felt down, though I had been taking my Prozac and crying to a therapist. So as I drove, I prayed, God, please help me to feel lighter.
And. I. Did.
I know my meds are important, and I feel like God gave them an extra boost when I asked for it. Prayer is hard for me, and it’s something I wrestle with, but this prayer was immediately felt and answered.
When Boone was on that bike on that summer evening, not falling was the most important thing. When I felt weighed down on the way to that party, feeling lighter was the most important thing. Yes, the world is so broken and sad. Yes, the news is exhausting and terrifying. But I realized that these things aren’t more important to God. They are important, yes – but there isn’t a hierarchy with your little problems on the bottom. This has been the realization that has carried me through Christmas and into the new year. I know it isn’t groundbreaking or revolutionary. But the fact that my problems – minuscule in the grand scheme – are so important and so known? It’s what I needed to learn. And maybe you needed the reminder too.
Happy to journey through 2018 with you all. Thanks for reading!