I was under the covers with a laptop at my fingertips, when out of nowhere my son jumped onto the bed. It was nearly 9pm, well past bedtime, and he wore last year’s Halloween costume—the Hulk—with nothing on underneath.
“Look, Mom! I’ve grown! I’m getting SHO big! I’m almost as big as the Hulk! I think maybe I AM the Hulk!”
With great pride he showed me his muscles and then pulled the costume up to show off his bare belly. (“It’s SHO BIG!” he says, sticking it straight out.)
In that moment, I recognized the beautiful intersection of reality and fiction. He knows, on some level, that he is not the Hulk. But on another level, he believes he is.
He’s four and a half. The lines between truth and fiction are much blurrier for him than they are for me. And it is beautiful.
It makes me want to help him run with it. To hold on to that incredible imagination for as long as possible. It makes me want to read him stories about hidden doors, hold his hand while we venture into a dark beach cave, and sprint with him through a silent Christmas tree farm.
Instead of helping him see what is real, I want to dwell with him in what isn’t.
To think more about the intersection of truth and lies, watch this can’t-miss TED talk, which you better believe made my list of top resources for wholehearted women. In fact, it might just be my favorite TED ever.
And to all the little kids out there who know they aren’t the Hulk and yet know they are, I believe in you!
I lost my light for a few days there.
By the time I got the kids down every night, I had NO willpower to do anything beyond shrivel up in my warm bed.
I was giving my kids the best I had and my husband whatever was left, but I knew I had lost it. I had lost my light.
It came back the other day.
I was in the middle of vacuuming, three kids darting in and out of my path, when Trenton bonked his knee. I saw him shrinking to the ground and I shut off the vacuum.
He tucked his knoby limbs into my lap. (I try never to miss a chance to hold him, now that I know my chances are numbered.) Quinn edged her way in between us, concerned, and Chase (ever unaffected) chattered away at my feet.
And I felt it come back, my little light—my spark—right there among the vacuum strokes as the sun faded outside the window.
Sometimes motherhood is like that. You lose your spark. Maybe you’re distracted; maybe you’re disappointed in yourself. Maybe you’re working to quell some resentment; maybe you think everyone else is doing better than you. Maybe you’re just tired of the mess.
Or maybe there’s no big reason at all.
Whatever it is, it happens. We lose our light, but we keep giving to the people we love, and somehow, it makes its way back.
It comes back.
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