The kids and I did absolutely nothing for Mother’s Day weekend this year. The Gorilla was out of town for work, and the three of us did not leave the house one time. We switched back and forth between pajamas and swimsuits. We didn’t brush our hair. I read a whole book and we ordered pizza and took two long naps and ate leftovers twice and the kids painted dozens of sheets of paper with cheap watercolors. It was unexpectedly the most blissful weekend of my life.
We’ve hit a stride, our little family. The combination of the kids getting a little older and our intentional efforts to scale back on all the do-ing in our life has created this little pocket of whole-hearted living. Because I am nervous by nature, I keep looking over my shoulder for the thing that will ruffle this season, but I try not to project those fears onto anyone else. Today is a just a culmination of everything that came before it.
If my sixteen-year-old self would have gotten a peek at how 35-year-old Laura spends her weekends, would she be surprised? Excited? Devastated?
If my twenty-two-year-old self caught a glimpse of the same thing, would she have believed it?
Because it was that Laura who broke in such a way that felt permanent. Oh, sure, I’d had the usual self-esteem chips of adolescence: mean girl antics, a freshman year heartache, a cruel teacher, a sad and lonely truth playing itself out. But the break that changed the shape of my soul came as I just entered adulthood, and it stayed for a long, long time.
But if I were telling my life’s story, and I got to the part about being twenty-two, and my voice just trailed off….the listener would be forced to ask:
And then what happened?
Whatever-age Laura would have no choice but to answer with what came after.
Well, then I fled to California and did a lot of fun and crazy and out-of-character things in an effort to heal and find myself, and it worked. Eventually I met a man, and we had babies and all of those broken places got written over with love.
Even so, with a partner and children, the fractures still came. There were losses of the biggest and smallest kind. But there was also healing, a cycle that repeats itself not in ease, but in consistency. Even the hurts we nurture get scabbed over with time. I’ve been so lucky, all things considered.
That’s what happened after I was broken. I got stronger. But it took awhile.
I suspect that is how a lot of these stories end. It might take years or decades to shake out that way. Longer than we would like, or care to admit. For some of us, it may become a life’s work, breaking a cycle that has gone on for generations.
If you’re comfortable with it, I’d love it if you’d share your “…and then what happened?” story. Even if the answer isn't cut-and-dry (because what answer really is?). I believe in the power of sharing your truth, and naming the things that broke us can whittle down its looming significance. But for so many still in the trenches of hurt, who needs to hear about the possibility of healing, could you tell the rest of your story, so far as it stands?
So you were broken. And then what happened?
photo by David Goehring via flickr