I have to tell you, there are times when, as much as I felt like I wanted and needed a vacation, as much as I yearned to have a little bit of space from the constant mommy life, that there was a little fear, a little voice that said, "What if you go on vacation, or go away for a few days and you don't miss the girls? What kind of mother would that make you?"
Well, I can happily report that I don't have to answer that question because I miss them like crazy! Alright, maybe not like crazy all the time, I am enjoying the break (just a little bit!), but I do miss them a lot. It's weird, it's like all the other mom's have always said, it's like there is a little piece of my heart that I'm walking around without this weekend and it makes me feel just a little lonely.
I want to kiss Ella's head and belly and legs. I want to hug Ava and smell her hair. While I'm at it, (and just in case Scott is reading!), I do miss you too honey! But missing him is different than missing them. Perhaps because they are and were literally part of me.
For those that don't know, I'm in Grand Rapids Michigan this weekend. One of my closest friends Sarah and I are attending the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. She has family here and so the trip was as follows; Sarah drove from Massachusetts to Buffalo (a trip that took her 8 hours by herself, the brave girl!), she spent the night in Buffalo (at my in-laws of all things, because Ella had a bug and we didn't want to chance passing it on), and then we drove from Buffalo to Grand Rapids on Wednesday. The conference started Thursday.
It was been a wonderful trip. The conference has been encouraging and inspiring. Like a little pep talk to the artistic sides of both of our souls that can get a little thirsty and frustrated in the midst of mothering.
I have heard some wonderful writers speak; Eugene Peterson remains one of the most moving so far (he is the writer of "The Message" among many other works). I've also heard Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn Dixie), Sara Zarr (a young adult author), and yesterday I met Steve McCurry the photographer most people know best for that amazingly beautiful picture from National Geographic of the beautiful, young Afghani girl with the incredible blue/green eyes.
It is a privledge to meet these people and hear them speak. They are role models, in some ways, in artistic pursuit. And as much as I miss the girls and that part of my heart feels a little lonely, the writer part of my heart is being nourished this weekend, and it needed to be.
I've had moments where I've wondered if I'll leave here feeling frustrated that I can't go home and jump, with full force, into all the writing that I want to do. But mostly I feel peaceful. I feel peaceful that God has me right where he wants me. That he KNOWS me so much better than I know myself and that he SEES my passions to write and to reach others.
I am peaceful that because he knows and sees and that because he most likely placed the desire in my heart in the first place, that he has an ultimate plan for it. I am content with where I am now because I feel as it is part of the journey that I am on and I need to experience this part of the journey, with the challenge of finding time to write, in as much as I'll hopefully someday experience other parts of the journey in which I have much more time to write and maybe even more published words to my name.
Eugene Peterson is a humble, faith filled, incredibly spiritual man who is nearing 80. He has journeyed through a lot of life. And though all of his words were meaningful the thing that stuck with me the most was his references to his wife and his family; crucially important parts of his journey. He talked about certain writing and teaching dreams that he let go of at a young age to become a better husband and eventually pastor, and the teaching dreams and ideas his wife gave up to become a pastors wife. It seemed as if there is/was a give and take in their relationship. A sacrificing of some things for the betterment of others- like being a good husband and father, mother and wife.
In the end, as I said, this trip has left me peaceful about the WHOLE person that I am...a mother, and a wife, and a writer and a daughter of God, on a journey.
There are times in our lives when the focus has to be more on one of these things than the others. Right now the mothering, but it doesn't mean the other parts need to cease existing. They are all inherent to who I am and they will all come to fruition in larger ways at different seasons in my life.
Today is the last day of the conference and I am looking forward to the rest of the pep talk. I am grateful to have been here and peaceful about my place in life. I'm ready to go home and see my girls and my husband and I'm content in my season.
I know I may not be feeling that way when the girls are screaming at each other Monday morning while I'm trying to make scrambled eggs and tripping over dirty diapers, but I am glad to have had the realization and feel like it has added a layer to my life, that despite up and down emotions, is now a new layer woven into who I am.