This is Us: Pause | Kansas City Photographer Merry Ohler
Every year, there is this brief, shining flurry of days when our little ones' ages line up all pretty and in a row. And every year, when that window opens, I'm reminded of the ellipsis. (You know, the "..." that signifies trailing off, or a change in subject.)
I'm convinced that if anyone were ever to write a screenplay of our lives during these early years, those three little dots would pepper the page anytime my character would come to life. Call it a combination of growing-a-business-while-raising-Tinies, or mom-brain, or creative-brain, or whatever you want to call it, but on occasion (read: more often than I care to admit) I struggle to finish a sentence.
Have you seen that post about the mom, just standing there in front of her husband, trying to remember what she was saying before their kids interrupted her 175 times?
I'm pretty sure I made that GIF in my sleep one night.
I once read that the word "ellipsis" also means "a pause."
That definition stuck with me.
Every year, when we reach that string of days between Ezzy and Zai's birthdays, J & I work hard to slow down with our little tribe and lean in to a collective "pause.'
We plan lots of little unexpected (to the Tinies) joys, like reading nights, breakfast for dinner, family game nights and pajama rides, lots of splash park visits and going downtown to see the "train tractors," as Ezzy calls them.
We celebrate this "Summer Ellipsis" because we need it. We need days without electronics and time spent refocusing on our family and discipling our little ones. We need time to reset and refresh, to choose each other and our Tinies over all the noise.
This life is racing by so fast.
The years pick up speed with each passing month, and whomever said, "the days are long, but the years are short" got it exactly right.
Sometimes, when we're in the trenches of motherhood, we forget.
Sometimes, when I'm in the trenches of motherhood, I forget.
It would be easier to say that there aren't days when my rough edges cut the people I love most and that I never forget who I am and to Whom I belong. It would be easier to say that I never lose my temper or speak unkind words or argue with my husband, or that one of my children didn't throw a tantrum the size of Texas and scream hateful words to a parking lot of strangers.
It would be easier to say we're better than we are.
They call it "the trenches" of motherhood for a reason.
It's because we're fighting for something down here, Loves.
Digging deep to unearth the beauty that's hiding there, in between the dishes and the diapers and the mom-guilt and the laundry.
Motherhood is full of so much joy. Motherhood can be lonely and isolating, too.
Loves? We have to get to the place where we understand and adhere to the truth that when we hide our sharp edges and rough places behind shiny social posts, we are hurting ourselves and one another. We were never made for this faux world of "friendship" based on likes and comments, groups and views.
We were made for real relationship.
Sometimes it's hard to get back home when we've been gone for a long time. We remember the way, but the trees look different. We aren't quite as sure as we once were.
If you've been struggling or feel isolated and are having trouble connecting with others in your life, can I encourage you to do something different today?
Pause. Pick up the phone. Text a friend (because we all know you're not calling anybody) and set up a lunch date. Or coffee, FaceTime. Doesn't matter.
And when you get together with them and they ask you how you're doing?
Tell them how you're really doing.
The shiny parts, sure. But also the rough patches and sharp edges. Stop worrying about what they might think of you and show them where you are so they can help carry some of your burden... and so they will feel safe to share with you. Sometimes, we are desperate to go deeper, but we hold back because we are afraid to be the first one to dive in.
Our people are drowning, and it's because we can't even see that they're sinking.
Someone has to dive in first.
I'm in. Are you?