― Fred Rogers
I have been watching people a lot lately. As most of you know, I love watching people, perhaps even more so than anything else in this world. People are amazing, truly amazing. So unique, so REAL, they have so many levels, intentions, so much to give, and they need so much. Things that are palpable as well as metaphysical. And those needs, can change at the drop of a hat. So it never gets boring!
I had the privilege of sitting in on the selection process of a jury recently (first time I had ever actually been called in). I say 'sitting in on,' because I was in the second group and never brought foreword because they filled the box before I was given the opportunity to answer any questions. But I got to watch and listen, so that if needed, I could come foreword and fill a seat. I LOVED it! Here everyone had told me how boring it was and all the ways they thought best to get out of it. (Isn't that what you do when you have jury duty? Try to get out of it? I had in my head this miserable process, because everyone constantly just wants out of it!)
But no, it was fascinating! I got to hear about peoples lives, what they did for a living. Their kids, what they loved, what made them angry. What they considered important enough to change their view of justice, right and wrong - what helped to keep them un-biased and what lines they drew as far as prejudice was concerned. Fascinating!
I have been working hard to change my attitude about people lately. I find that I have been very focused of late on all the ways I feel that people regularly let me down. My last few posts have been a perfect example of that. I can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of brokenness that it makes me want to give up hope. "Why bother!? Eventually they will let their humanness shine though - or they will see mine which is even worse. Eventually they will break a promise, say sometime offensive or take something I say in the wrong way and then it will take energy that I do not have to spare. Better to hide in my house, see only a select few people marked 'safe' in my book and shut the rest of the world away." But as much as I would like to give in to my reclusive nature, when it comes down to it, I need people. I need people a lot. So that means I need to see the good, or at the very least - I need to not focus on the bad.
I love watching people, I love seeing what is different and unique. I try hard not to judge styles and choices (unless it personally hurts someone else) but I have very little energy. So while I love seeing people be themselves, if it takes energy to be with someone, I will avoid it. Because my kids come first. They need my best, I can't waste energy. I feel like a wimp, truly. Because I know some truly super moms that have physical struggles FAR surpassing my own.
I have a dear friend with the cutest 4 year old little boy, and she has dealt with physical hardships for her whole life, and she is amazing! She doesn't pretend it is easy, but in the midst of daily pain she is a truly spectacular mom to that baby boy. She laughs with him, she shows him off. She asks questions and finds what will work best. She takes life head-on, even in the midst of all kinds of struggles - she sees the beauty and the art in pain. She has such a heart for all those around her and creativity and passion flow from her unabridged, leaking into the world around her. That boy is so very lucky he has her as his mom. She makes me want to create something beautiful, because she is beauty and creativity - even when the pain makes it hard to move. She is so very beautiful. She inspires me so very much. I talk to her and I get so excited about life, about art. She is my superhero.
Me? My thyroid is a little low (tsh was at 35, even while on medication, last it was checked, for those that know what the numbers mean - so I have to go through the process of balancing medication again). So I'm tired. All the time. But really, that means nothing. I have it easy, oh so easy! I can get to the point sometimes where I feel so sorry for myself. I shouldn't. I have no right. I think that is the time when I need a good knock on the head or a slap in the face. I have it easy!
I love watching people.
I got to hang out with a lovely friend today, one I don't get to see very often. She has 5 beautiful children and she is so encouraging. She makes me want to be a better mom. She speaks so openly about her struggles and triumphs as a parent and her home is so surrounded in love and warmth. As we were leaving today my Ayla says "Mama, I wish I could live here." She knows! Even a 5 year old knows a happy and healthy home, without even knowing why. Not to say ours is not happy, I know Ayla just loves playing with her friend and she has no intention of moving out of my house. What kid doesn't dream of getting to live in the same house as a fun friend. But she recognized pure joy in a home, and she loved every minute of her time there. Sure parenting is hard, but this friend embraces the challenge instead of fighting against it. How easy it can be sometimes to become bitter because we are overwhelmed as moms. But she is so inspiring to me, she makes me feel honored to be a mom. Because it means I get to be counted in the same category as she. To be in her presence is to be with Joy. She is my superhero.
People are amazing!
My sister in law went through years of yearning for a child. God said wait. Now I have a wonderful nephew, who is no relation to her or my brother in law by blood - but there is no question in our minds that he is their baby boy. Sure there are challenges that come with adopting an older child. There is pain, there is grief, there is struggle. There is so much learning, but oh he is such an amazing kid! She was made to be his mom. To care for imaginary injuries, to give hugs and answer millions of questions. To get dizzy watching him zoom from room to room, to laugh at the crazy things he says. To make up for the years where he hadn't found her yet by giving lots of lots of cuddles NOW. To show off his spectacular skills and enjoy rare quiet moments of rest. It has been, and continues to be so inspiring to watch their journey. And she is so spectacular! She is so good at playing with that kid - whether it is throwing a ball for hours, going on bike rides or playing candyland 12 times in a row. She makes me want to be a better mom. I laugh at her stories, and feel such motivation to just get down and dirty playing with my kids. To see a family learn and grow together, when they started out as strangers. Sure it is not easy. But it is so right! Like the pieces of a puzzle. Sure they don't look alike (though I think he has my elbows) But they are so very right for each other! She is my superhero.
People are works of art.
I knew several moms of special needs kids. Wow. Just, wow. There are no words for how amazing you are. I want to give you a medal, bake you a cake. Throw you a party! I want to clean your house for you, cook all your meals for a year, give you a day at the spa - or even better I want to watch your kids so that you can go to the bathroom all alone for a whole entire day! I want to give you a hug and tell you that you are doing an amazing job. Because you are. Every single one of you. You love those kids so very very much. I can see it. Sure you are tired, probably way more tired then me! Yes you are overwhelmed. The everyday things you struggle with are magnificent. The things I take for granted that you strive towards so hard...I have no words. All I can say is that you are my superheroes. I am in tears because I want so much for you to know, you are SUPERHEROES. Every one of you. And I see how hard you work because you love your babies so very very much. I know there are tears, I know there is grief, I know there is much frustration. But it is paying off. Every drop of sweat, every tear. You are superheroes.
People are spectacular.
I know many single moms. Being both mom and dad, working to make a living and coming home to a house that won't tend itself. Growing and raising strong kids all on your own, without a break. Without a chance sometimes to even breath. I see you, you are doing such an amazing job with those kids, they are flourishing. You are my superheroes.
People are resilient.
I know so many moms that have to do it alone for 6-12 months at a time, working more than overtime so their husbands can be out defending our freedom. I see you. You are spectacular! You inspire me, you are truly my superheroes.
People are magnificent.
Mom's with empty arms. Whether the desire was there, but never full-filled or whether your arms were full - but only for a moment. I see you. I have not forgotten you. I want to hold your hand, look into your face and let you know that I remember you. I remember your little ones. I see the sorrow, the joy, the grief. I don't fully understand it, but I remember and I see you. I know that even though others forget, and move on - that you still think about your babies all the time. And that is good. It means you are a mom. You are still looking out for them, no matter where they are. You inspire me so much. So much. You are my superheroes. Don't ever forget that. You are superheroes.
People are broken. We are human. We are faulty. But we are superheroes. All of us. There is art in the sorrow. There is joy in the journey. There is peace in the storm. We are superheroes.
I'll end with a quote from the Doctor - come on, was bound to happen eventually!
"You know that in nine hundred years of time and space and I've never met anybody who wasn't important before.”
You, are important. You are inspiring. You are a superhero.