Each day so many prompts, ideas, words, books, essays, poems and philosophies are running through my mind. These are the good days, because when that creative voice is talking, usually the beast is silent. But they are also frustrating days, because I barely move for the pen that has been thieved away by my little daughter and by the time I have it in hand, a piece of paper beneath the ink, I have prevented seventeen accidents, changed two diapers, forgotten to eat lunch, saved the cabin fever cat from tipping over every water glass or anything interesting that it can knock from a height. I write a word and the paper is snatched away, again by the thieving daughter. The idea is gone. All energy goes towards bolstering my waning patience.
This morning I had a conversation with my older children in my head. They were calling me on the telephone, crazy and overtired and feeling like there was no end in sight to the messy, scattered time that can be life with little kids. In my head they asked me “Mom, did you enjoy it? Being with us when we were little? Did you ever hate it? Want to get away?”
My answer came from this glorious older version of me- calm, supportive, sure, steady. I give a little chuckle.
“Oh, honey. No! No I did not enjoy every second of it. Being home with two little babies drove me crazy! I wanted to get out and write, get out and hike, get out and just drive without the constant demand for attention and the constant needing of me. I had to remind myself over and over that though the days were long, the years were short. And I wanted to be the one you needed in that short time. I wanted to raise my babies. I just never realized the sacrifice it would take to do it.”
I see myself there on the phone, calm and wise, wild grey hair with bits of joyous color thrown in. I am wearing the clothes I always wanted to wear. I have studied the things I wanted to study. I am the owner and creator of a successful business. I have secret tattoos. A passport full of stamps. I live in a simple, functional, beautiful space, surrounded by beautiful things. John and I have lives full of purpose, and we have followed our individual dreams and woven them together. We have grandchildren! We have time. We have space. We own very little, on purpose. This older me wouldn’t regret for one second the time and energy it took to raise her children. She will look back on this time with nothing but fondness, and gleam in her eye, a knowing that the younger me does not yet have.
The older me still loves the things I love now. She never stopped writing. She has written books full of poetry, and has been able to travel and read it aloud all over the world. She found a way to integrate the things she loves into a full life. Her life is whole, not a bunch of separate parts, which is what she always imagined. She loves whales and has worked for their conservation. She loves the stars, astrology, philosophy. She has worked to bring better business practices into the world and only supports those who practice business ethically, from start to finish.
She has seen many people come and go. Loved ones have died, new life has been born. She bears her share of sadnesses and troubles, and although the beast is still with her, its voice is much quieter now. She remembers the thoughts that troubled her young mind, and with compassion, waves them away. She is now able to mentor other young people as they stumble along their own paths.
This is not a perfect person I see, but a perfectly imperfect person. A woman grounded in herself, a face full of beautiful lines from a life full of expression. A woman who has come so far, and has so far to go. Not everything has gone perfectly, but it has brought her where she needed to be.
She still believes in the theory that within every life is the blueprint for its purpose, just as within the acorn the blueprint for the mighty oak already exists. She remembers agonizing over this “purpose,” (and of course, the agonizing was an integral part of it) and she has realized over and over that she already knows the answers she sought. She has always known what she loved. She has always questioned and returned, questioned and returned. She has never ceased to be amazed by the miracle that is our existence on this earth.
My mind snaps back the the present and the only thought I am left with is the clarity that to get to that place is absolutely possible. I am doing the work. I must keep coming back, over and over, to my purpose. I must hone my focus. I must love my family. I must make the time.
Here’s to a life well-lived!