This picture feels like a great representation of my life these days. My boys, they are a changin’. In the past if I came in for a kiss, I would have immediately gotten one back. (Haters gonna hate – so if you’re one who doesn’t think adults should kiss their growing kids – go on then. This one isn’t for you.) I’ll be chasing mine, trying to get one more kiss, until the day I die.
These are just awkward years.
These are the years they’re trying to figure it all out. Surprisingly, it’s not only awkward for them. It’s awkward for me too. We’ve always been thick as thieves. We played in the mud. We wrestled in the floor. We played dodgeball. We explored the forest. No matter how “rugged” our activities, we’ve always hugged, and often kissed, as we parted ways.
But sometimes lately, I feel a little bit like a rejected junior high kid.
I lean in to give them some mama sugar. I close my eyes . . . and I wait. I’m waiting for my kiss, and it doesn’t come. There are days they don’t want to sit with me at lunch. There are times it’s especially hard, because I’m in a season of such high growth with the business of HeartStories, that I’m not available at their every whim. I’m putting in extra hours to make it all happen, but there are certain times I protect, just for them. I clear everything to make special time and space for them.
You know what’s been happening lately?
I shut it all down to make myself available and then, they don’t “feel” like hanging out with mama. They’d rather hang with a friend, or read a book. Sometimes when they’re going through something difficult and I know it, they don’t feel like talking it out with me. I feel that sting of rejection, even though I know it’s not personal.
I know it’s not about me.
They’re simply growing up. It’s so good and healthy for them to be working through where this grown woman who fed and diapered them, yet still adores them, fits into their lives. I’m figuring that out too. Whether it’s about hanging out together, talking about something difficult, or getting a mama kiss, I’ve learned to say, “It’s okay. I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere.”
“I’m here, ready when you are.”
I’m seeing so clearly through this season, that waiting patiently, and selflessly, is one of the hardest lessons in life. I’m learning that continuing to show up and put yourself out there by staying present and engaged, even when it feels like rejection, is much harder than I thought.
And it’s such good practice for all of life.
When you show up for the people in your life, with a heart full of loving kindness and all the best intentions, there are times you will feel rejected. It might not be the right time for the other person. It might be that the old way of connecting might not work in this new season. It’s okay to feel the sting of that. Change doesn’t always feel good.
But you can’t let it stop you from showing up.
Sure, recognize that you might need to show up differently for a season. You may need to adapt, and adjust your expectations. Just like I know my baby will one day decide he can kiss his mama again, even if it’s only on the cheek. Keep showing up anyway. Keep declaring to your people, and your life:
“I’m here, and I’m ready when you are.”
Because showing up, imperfections and all, is the only way to truly live.
to more love,