Many of you have heard me say it before; I’m an accidental mama. Motherhood wasn’t in the cards. This job continues to surprise me with its monotony and challenges, and often with its wonder. Eleven years later and I still find myself catching my breath. Days line up in a succession of ordinary hours. Occasionally these everyday moments provide a dose of magic. To wake us up, to make us laugh, to remind us of purpose.
There is nothing like the eyes of a seven year old to see magic is everywhere! It’s in those moments I realize, accidental or otherwise, that I’m amazingly blessed to share the delight of ordinary with these small people.
Last month my snaggle-toothed blue-eyed charmer insisted that we needed a fairy house. I was inclined to agree with her! After a break in the rain, while every leaf was a shimmering emerald, we set off in search of proper fairy house material. A little moss, magnolia leaves, and ferns fit the bill.
We giggled and used our imaginations. The transformation of an old coffee can, toilet paper tube, and some leaves was quite satisfying. Throw in some shells from our recent beach trip and before you know it we were certain to have some fairies!
I have to acknowledge a deeper magic at work in my children than just mere delight in beautiful or whimsical things though. I am amazed by their contentment, their resilience, and their determination to trust. A year ago we told the children that we would probably be selling our new house and moving away because daddy had lost his job. I had painted hot air balloons in Maggie’s pink and purple room. Her best friend lived down the street. This was not easy news. In October daddy left to begin his new job, we stayed behind, we missed him. At Thanksgiving we joined daddy and moved in with people my children had just met. It quickly became home. They amazed me with their adaptability and eagerness to love.
In January I put them in a new school. Max, who is in fifth grade, has been to a different school every single year (including being home-schooled in third and part of fifth). In February we moved to a two bedroom apartment that kind friends were willing to share with us while they lived with family. At the beginning of May we moved into the house of another set of kind friends while they summer in the north. (The generosity and love of the body of Christ is another post all together!)
Three relocations in six months. Making new friends. Starting a new school. Missing old friends. Sharing a room. Through all of that my kids have never once said it’s not fair or why did this have to happen. Of course there have been the occasional tears over their old home and friends but rarely a bad attitude.
Being a mother isn’t what I asked for, but it is a gift I was given. God knew it would shape my heart and fill my days with wonder at these remarkable little people who choose to let love in.
I’m proud of the way they have accepted change outside of their control. Both of them have worked hard for good grades and academic growth. Maggie was student of the month in April. They’ve made friends young and old. They are a joy!
But the transition has taken a toll, especially on little Maggie. Those inevitable feelings of tension and anxiety have insisted on being expressed. Which has resulted in a hair pulling habit. We have a doctor’s appointment this week to seek help. Friends in town will have noticed a change in her appearance. She has plucked her eyelashes and eyebrows almost completely bald. It’s a habit that has been developing over time. The day she finally plucked all her eyelashes out my heart broke!
So much of my motherhood experience has felt accidental. I succeed accidentally, I fail on accident. Don’t we all have those moments as parents when we feel like parenthood is going to get the best of us! But we love those little people. We pray for them, we sacrifice for them, we often have to apologize to them. And we watch each other do our own dance of success and failure as parents.
I haven’t figured out how to help Maggie talk about her struggle with hair pulling (I would imagine she’ll be diagnosed with trichotillomania). But I expect I’ll learn a lot about how to help her in the next few weeks. Ultimately I’m learning how to help her cope with life – which can be too big for each of us at times, how to exchange an unhealthy behavior for a better one, and how to talk about what she’s feeling and experiencing with others. I hope her heart will recapture magic. Not a fanciful childhood magic that we wish existed, but the ability to find wonder in ordinary and even difficult moments. The magic of hope.
So if you see Maggie it’s okay to talk to her about her lack of eyebrows. Just use honesty, grace and humility with her, and encourage her to do the same! And if you are experiencing one of those rough seasons of parenthood and could use a little more magic in your days leave a comment here so that we can encourage one another!