motherhood, trauma

Stitching it back together with love

I am sitting here in my favorite oversized sweater that smells a little bit like beagles, but maybe that makes me love it more. I wore this sweater while studying for exams in law school. I wore this sweater in the drafty farm house in Iowa as my belly grew larger and larger when pregnant with my daughter.

I don’t get to wear this sweater as often anymore in Florida, but I woke up chilly and even the dogs are snuggled together in a puppy pile. It is a brisk 58 degrees (seriously I am not trying to rub this in–I know that everyone else in the US is dealing with arctic temps) and my first thought was, at long last I can put on my favorite sweater. And more importantly, at long last I can write.

I don’t even know where to begin with what has unraveled these last few weeks. Unraveled has a negative connotation but I mean it as a neutral term. Merriam Webster defines unravel as to disengage or separate the threads of :  disentangle b :  to cause to come apart by or as if by separating the threads of; to resolve the intricacy, complexity, or obscurity of :  clear up <unravel a mystery>.

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That has been my last few weeks. Resolving the intricacy and complexity of challenges and clearing up mysteries. It involved a coming apart in the sense that it is no longer longer knotted up.  It has been untangled and laid bare so I can see it for what it is and begin to slowly and lovingly stitch it back together. It turns out that my healing and my daughter’s growing pains seem as intertwined as the DNA that we share.

The way I write makes it sound so dramatic. It isn’t. Nothing large or scary happened. It all felt large in the way that things often do when we are triggered or afraid. And the stitching back together felt large, but it too was not. It involved daily acts of love (which makes it sound easy but it was anything but easy), done in minutes and hours and days.

Those small things done with love are the hardest parts of parenting. It is a slow slog that surrenders to trust in the process. Trust that many small steps will add up and make a difference. They do and it is beautiful.

I will write more about the untangling and the stitching back together. But for now I will wear my oversized sweater and drink hot coffee on the lanai. I will prepare to go Christmas shopping with my husband, and then later I will listen to my daughter sing Christmas songs at preschool. My heart is full.

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2 thoughts on “Stitching it back together with love”

  1. I love the way your sweater tells a story. The smell of beagles. Law school exams. A farmhouse in Iowa. Pregnancy. It makes me want to hear the long version of each of those stories. I also love this positive perspective on unraveling as untangling and laying bare. The clarity that comes with it. And the opportunity to stitch it back together. This sentence real struck me: “It all felt large in the way that things often do when we are triggered or afraid.” I know that feeling so well. And “Those small things done with love are the hardest parts of parenting.” Yes! So hard perhaps because it requires moment-to-moment mindfulness. Thank you for the important reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness how is it that I am only replying and you posted on the 17th? My apologies! (Clearly we are still stitching things together over here in my household…ah, baby steps.) Please know your words uplifted me and after I read them I thought, “wow Sarah should be a writing professor!”- you always provide such beautiful and supportive feedback! (Or maybe you are a teacher already and I just don’t know it! :D) It is funny how you mentioned how you would love to hear more about all those stories I hinted at. If there is one thing that frustrates me about (very) part-time blogging it is the inability to follow those stories. Alas, someday! Thanks again for your kind words & wishing you a beautiful Christmas eve!

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