You and I, we struggle with balance. (Here’s a secret: everyone does.) You hoard pool noodles and stuffed animals and plastic bowls, begging to be filled with your latest finds from around the house. You want to wear both headbands, use every sticker, eat the whole bag of pistachios. You want your sippy cup filled all the way – overflowing – “just in case” you say.
And I’m much the same. I hoard memories and moments in a futile attempt to seize the day before it passes too quickly. I want to wear both hats, use every gift, eat the whole bag of pistachios. I want my cup to overflow, too.
But instead of plastic bowls, I hoard plates. Ripe for the filling – ready to be juggled and spun and thrown far into the air – higher, higher, higher. And instead of an overflowing cup, the whole set of dinnerware comes crashing onto the floor.
My heart wants to be the kind of mother who is fun, bursting with activities and plans and crafts galore. But my body is tired. And my mind tells me that I’m not that kind of mother.
But my mind is wrong, Bee, because my heart also knows that “that kind of mother” doesn’t exist. A crafty mother is simply a mom armed with a glue gun, someone who makes a series of choice decisions to be intentional with the ideas she’s been given. A healthy mother is simply a mom armed with a grocery list, making a series of choice decisions to be intentional with the information she’s been given. And a good mother is simply a mom armed with a purpose, making a series of choice decisions to be intentional with the time she’s been given.
The labels, then, are irrelevant. I make crafty choices on some days, healthy ones on others. There are days you have a TV marathon while I catch up on work, and there are days I leave my emails to multiply while we explore and adventure and do. And I suppose that’s balance in itself – a bird’s eye view at a series of very unbalanced days, all adding up to something harmonious.
And Bee, just as “that kind of mother” doesn’t exist, neither does “that kind of child.” You are bold and brave on some days, shy and subdued on others. You’re disciplined and structured in the morning, wild and unruly by dinnertime. You’re just like me. You’re just like everyone. And I want to allow you the grace to grow into your choices, to learn that perfect balance – like most things – is impossible if we seek it too closely.
So I promise you this, Bee. I will do my best not to limit us, and to value the beauty of our big, whole, vibrant personalities. I’ll try daily not to pigeon-hole us or label us or let my mind wander to “that kind of”s. We are mother and daughter, living lives more parallel than we both realize. And Bee, when you zoom out a few billion miles and peer at us from the heavens, that’s the only balance that exists.