A few years ago a baby was born. And soon another.
I was terrified.
So began my greatest (ongoing) adventure. The freefall into motherhood and later single motherhood has been even more thrilling than skiing off a short cliff in St. Moritz while showing off.
I’ve so often cracked the sorry joke, “It’s a miracle my kids aren’t ax murderers,” I believe it. You see, I was not born into an equipping family towards encouraging motherhood and peace. The constellation of my birth was an angry fearful bitter painful swirl of junk heaped upon four children doing their best. I am not alone in this.
So it is no small miracle those two babies grew up into such people of life and verve and hope and perfect comic timing. They lead and love and are willing to keep learning – adding to their toolboxes. They forge ahead, stagger back afoot, and bring people with them through the brambles and the brush of living. These are imperfect people who feast at the banquet which is life and invite others to the table.
Madi and Kenan have taught me the truth of miracles over time.
Most parents, I’d guess, can speak of miracles over time. The announcement is made – a baby will be born – and soon potty training, first dates, driver’s licenses, prom, graduation, and beyond. Then the kids do crazy things like volunteer at an inner-city garden for kids or help a hefty friend get fit at o-dark-30 in the mornings. Miracles of character and self-governing are revealed and they keep on coming.
If we are willing, we see miracles over time in sheltering trees once planted as tiny seedlings
Chicago rivers running clear after years of industrial and domestic pollution
Kids who adapt to succeed in school when their beautiful brains are wired for…SQUIRREL!
Mangled legs walking again after hundreds of hours of painful therapy
Joy after grief.
Sometimes we are able to witness miracles which arrive in instants.
In my life, miracles come over time.
After hard work
Making the coffee at 4 am to get started on a project before work
Asking for help
Embracing the imperfect real over the trumped up designer-new
Letting go of the outcomes
Learning to live light on my feet and agile
Loving fully after healing from violence and duplicity.
I learned this as a parent. From our kids.
Once I learned there was only room for one of us in their lives (and it wasn’t me), the miracles began.
When I learned we need not be perfect to be good* at life, the best miracles began.
Good friends, new tools for the toolbox (shout out to “Parenting with Love & Logic” here), and humor-in-failure became the compost from which our sweetest miracles grew.
And they are still growing.
Daily we are met with what is unfair, destructive, soul-crushing, and blistering fractious.
Daily – in our derring-do – we overcome and press on towards something better. We plant seeds and seedlings of hope and integrity which – over time – grow into forests of great moments and life well lived.
Sometimes we let the destruction wash over us. We just cannot find our sword (or tank) to join the fight.
This is when our friends and family become the biggest miracles as they call out to us “grace” and love and light and hope. They help load the accumulated crap of our lives for the next dump run or hold our hair when we are sick.
These people – they are the miracles made over time.
Let them inspire your derring-do.
If we are fortunate fools, we may inspire too.
* “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
See below for my favorite miracles. They just keep amazing.