And, just like that, I’m feeling light again.

We’ll call this Emily Noir, overexposed. I was trying to snap a pic of a pretty tree at a stoplight and accidentally took this of myself (innocent iphone camera malfunction). I should’ve deleted it, but it shines a light on where I’ve been, mentally, lately.

It’s been a dark stretch of days. Treading through new territory, questioning myself, feeling pulled, being pulled. Suddenly everything around me has been newly urgent, important, strenuous. I’ve felt inadequate, not enough, not good enough. (Perhaps not coincidentally, many people close to me also have been feeling derivations of this brand of ickiness.) I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been shrouded in a cloud of something most closely resembling fear and anxiety.

And then I woke up today. The heaviness, the fear, the pit in my stomach, the ominous sense of things hanging over my head, it was lifting. And, by the end of the day, it was gone.

Does this shift mean I’ll be feeling less confused now?

The lightness was a culmination of things. My son woke this morning with emotional responses that made sense, his sensory system miraculously regulated after weeks of not knowing what would flip the switch that sent him spinning into sustained hysteria. Maybe he sensed I was calmer, maybe the conversation I had with him last night while he was sleeping actually got through, maybe he could feel I was present with him and so he didn’t need to hit his brother, chew the straw of his water bottle to oblivion, throw pillows at the dogs, repeatedly knock everything off the counter or erupt in 45-minute screaming fits to get me to connect. No matter why, I just knew, from the moment he came to greet me this morning, that his nervous system was collected and that he was feeling peaceful. My entire being coursed with thankful relief.

From there, the morning eased forth with joyful calm, peace between brothers and a giggling game of “bad guy and war plane” in which each of us were fatally wounded. When the babysitter arrived, I went to my office without protest from the kids, and when she took them to school for the first time this year—a dreaded event for both boys—they bounded out the door gleefully, consigning the bribery-laced “just in case” lollipops I’d left for her to the front hall table.

Let’s be honest, even the most peaceful morning involves a little pretend violence. In fact, the more I get make-believe defeated or destroyed, the better the day overall.

While working, I checked off my to-do list, I was engaged in the work, I said no to something that felt like too much and a large last-minute assignment fell through, releasing me to wrap up what I was doing and alight to my beloved friend’s kitchen table to treat myself to her perfectly frothed cappuccino, nourishing conversation and catalog browsing before picking the boys up from school.

Unlike any day in weeks past, the hours progressed without a hiccup. And then, rushing through the grocery store to make it to preschool pick up, time stopped in the checkout line. The checker eyed my diapers and softly asked, “How old is your baby?”

“I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old,” I answered.

“Oh! Aren’t they are just the sweetest little things,” she cooed, stating a fact rather than asking a question.

My sweet skeleton ninja at a Halloween festival last weekend.

“They’re sweet, but they are a freaking handful,” I’m pretty sure I sounded a little downtrodden. She straightened. I wasn’t sure if she was going to agree with me or chide me for not being gracious.

“You can do it,” she looked at me square in the eyes. “You’re able. God gave you those babies because you’re made to raise them. You can do it, honey.”

Her words somehow seared right into me. “Thank you,” I blurted. “I guess you’re right.”

My kid wants me to paint his face like a Day of the Dead sugar skull at the children’s museum? I guess I am made to be his mama.

“It’s true. God gave you those two boys so you can be their mother. You know, God’s got a tough job; God’s job is the biggest of all, but a mother? A mother has the second biggest job, second to God,” she nodded. “And you are fit to raise those babies. God is seeing to that. You can do it.”

I was gobsmacked. I’m accustomed to having bizarrely intimate conversations with strangers, and I’m almost cavalier about discussing God with anyone who will indulge me, but this woman was diving into my psyche and filling it right up with love. My cheeks grew hot and I stuttered in disbelief. “Uh, yeah, I mean, I think you’re right. Thank you. God is, yeah. Wow, um, that’s really…”

I grabbed my diapers in a teary-eyed haze. “Thank you,” I said, putting my hands over my heart and turning to walk away.

“God and the host of Heaven are supporting you,” she called after me definitively, nodding her head and smiling like some love-realized master, or like the Mother Berthe to my baby in  Mary Cassatt’s painting. “You take care, sweetie.”

I marveled at her word choice, “the host of heaven,” and beamed goofily at no one in particular while floating through the parking lot. Every one of us is supported by the host of heaven. How did I forget that?

Once in the car, I noticed it was 2:22 p.m. I’ve never been big into angels, but as I become more aware of the angelic realm, I want to learn more about it. (And, certifiably, I’m becoming one of those crazy people who collects angel statues, feathers and the like.)

Yes, the boys and I have a feather collection. It’s much bigger now than it is in this photo. And we love it.

Doreen Virtue is an expert in angel communication and number sequences. According to her article on spiritlibrary.com, the number two in a sequence means the following:

“Our newly planted ideas are beginning to grow into reality. Keep watering and nurturing them, and soon they will push through the soil so you can see evidence of your manifestation. In other words, don’t quit five minutes before the miracle. Your manifestation is soon going to be evident to you, so keep up the good work! Keep holding positive thoughts, keep affirming, and continue visualizing.”

It’s convenient for me to believe my angels were trying to pass me a note today, I recognize, yet why not? Frankly, everyone should try believing it. It feels incredible to embrace the idea that something divine would (and does) reach out to say, “Keep on going. Have faith. You’re fit for the life work you hold so dear.”

It’d been a while since I received such a blatant reminder of the way God can shine through people, giving us just what we need when we need it. I’m thankful I ran into this angel in human form. She shifted something deep within me.

Ten minutes later, Kip’s teacher opened the door for the parents to enter the classroom at pick up and he caught my eye from across the room, his own eyes melting into upside-down half moons, his rounded cheeks flushing and his mouth releasing a loud chuckle as his legs carried him as fast as they could into my arms for one long, luscious hug. He held tightly to me for a long time, stretching his arms around me, softly patting my shoulders and twisting tendrils of my hair in his fingers, his face tucked into my chest except to pull away and smile at me intermittently. His mommy was back. And, when we picked up Charlie, all three of us holding hands and racing the wind en route to the car, it was clear we were in a different, better, more loving place, a place in which we were aware of God and the host of heaven supporting us.

Thankfully, as of today, we’re back to feeling ever surrounded by love, joy, God and angels. And dogs. (Of course, just like the dogs, the divine has been there all along.)

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9 thoughts on “And, just like that, I’m feeling light again.

  1. Emily, your writing never ceases to amaze me. I really enjoy reading your stuff. 🙂

  2. Thank you Emily – for this beautiful and insightful piece. What a joy to read and bring inward.

  3. what a gifted writer you are, Emily! a lovely post that makes me feel understood as a mama.

  4. Molly and Brad, thank you so much for starting my day with such lovely comments. And, Amy, it’s so amazing to hear from you! Thank you for reading and for saying you feel understood as a mama. As often as I’ve felt alone navigating my own mom journey, regardless of whether I actually was alone, it makes me feel so great to know someone identified with this. I’m so, so happy you all enjoyed the post. I wish you awesome days!

  5. What store were you at? I need to meet this checker. Thanks for this beautiful post!

  6. Thank you for this Em such a beautiful story to read to start my day. Your words are such a gift.

  7. My first visit here Emily and your work is obviously from the heart and articulated very well. All that you said above is relatable for sure. Kind of comforting to see someone else’s honest feeling about a day in the life as a parent and artist. It isn’t easy for sure but so amazing!

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