I’m starting off the New Year by leaving my husband and four kids and taking off for Central America. Or, as I like to call it, living the dream.
The only problem is I’m a disappointment to myself and Mamas-In-Need-Of-A-Break everywhere because I’m already a teeny, tiny emotional mess, anticipating the longing I’ll feel for the ones left behind. Or, maybe not longing, exactly, for the Large One who’s hollering in his room right this minute; I might not be completely sure I’ll miss arguing with him and wondering how many ways I’m messing him up. But the littles? They’re harder to leave at this age.
It’s OK, though. It’s going to be All Right. These are important things to tell ourselves when we raise children. Important things so we can remember to Breathe and to Forgive and to do our Survival Best.
So don’t worry about the Big Hollery Kid or the Leaving, Longing Mama. It’s OK. It’s going to be All Right. I’m going to go ahead and Breathe, first of all, and then Forgive every one of us for the missing and the not missing and our collective mess. I’m going to keep doing the best I can, acknowledging that mediocre survival is sometimes our best — our Survival Best — and, when making it through the day is all we’ve got in us, it’s also Enough.
But I’m leaving, is my point. I’m leaving with my middle-most child to visit the country of her birth for a week. I’m not sure whether I’ll write to you from the road because I’m not sure yet what parts of her story are mine to tell and which are the ponder-in-our-hearts parts. I’m going without a writing plan so I can pay attention to my daughter and my gut and my heart, and it’s OK. This Not Knowing is part of what it means to be a mama. And a writer. And a human.
I started this blog four or one hundred years ago, and it’s become a lot like parenting in that I know there was a time that existed before I did it but I can’t remember what that time felt like. Two years ago, I dusted the blog off and decided to write like I mean it. To bear regular, honest witness to the mama experience — to the agony and the ecstasy and the wonkiness and the wonder of motherhood.
Somewhere along the way, your path met mine, and we started walking together. You came alongside as my witness, and you let me be yours. You joined me in the mission to laugh and cry at the magnificent mess, and I want you to know I’m grateful for you.
This year, I looked at all of the Five Kids blog posts from the past year, and I compiled some lists of favourites for while I’m away. Just in case we both need them. I hope you enjoy this walk down 2012 Memory Lane half as much as I did.
5 Favourites From The Heart:
- On Being a Brand New Mom: An Open Letter to New Mama Me
- On Getting the Hang of Mothering: Mothering doesn’t get easier. It gets stronger.
- On Parenting My Newest Teen: I love you. You’re not alone. Knock it off.
- On Having Kids on an Unsafe Planet: Where else would you build your nest?
- On Teaching My Kids to Love Themselves: What if I’m thankful for me?
5 Funny Faves:
- So Your Bathroom Smells Like Pee
- How to Organize the Linen Closet
- Sex and Parenting, a Special Video Production: If at First You Don’t Succeed
- There’s poop and a full ride scholarship under my front porch.
- What’s in plants?
5 Other Cool Places the 5 Kids Blog Appeared:
- On Little Boys and Little Traumas: Zipper Penis at Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
- On Faith, Doubt and Lunchables: Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe. at Rachel Held Evans
- On Calling Balance a Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: Rejecting the Myth of Balance at The Huffington Post
- On Redefining Successful Time for Myself: Radical Acts of Self-Care at Families in the Loop
- On Adoption and the Real Mom: On Being Made Real at I Am Not The Babysitter
And, of course, a great big THANK YOU for all your encouragement and support in 2012. Here’s wishing you and yours a very
Happy New Year!