There you sit in your sea of dirty dishes and laundry piles. Drowning in deadlines, fundraisers, and playdates, just trying to keep afloat. Wishing someone would fly over and see your SOS while secretly hoping that no one ever finds you hiding in your cave eating a KitKat.
It’s a desirable place, an island. A place to run away to and put the world behind you. A place of rest and respite.
But it’s also a lonely place. Isolated and insulated from a world that desperately needs you.
I’m sorry, dear Mom, but you are not an island.
You see, motherhood is a funny, funny thing. It brings out the best in us…right alongside the worst. We learn to love more deeply than we ever thought possible, but we also find ourselves teetering on the edge of crazy far more often than we’d like. We crave adult conversation and being known, but we yearn for silence and solitude. Sometimes we just want to go about our lives and figure this thing out on our own (because we really are just figuring this out as we go), but we also need to know that we’re not alone in our times of need. We desperately want to make an impact — on our children and on the world around us — but we don’t want people to know our deepest struggles and our epic failures.
But you can’t have it all.
You are not an island.
On the contrary, you are a tsunami.
Whether you like it or not. Every wave of you, big and small, is making an impact on shores both near and far. And you are surrounded by a sea of people who notice you and are influenced by you, even when you are unaware.
Let that be terrific and terrifying all at the same time.
Every kiss, every sock, every sandwich. Every errand, every practice, every story. Every harsh word, every hasty decision, every eye roll. Every timeout, every tear, every crumb. It may not seem possible, but…
…everything you do touches someone else.
The teenager in the grocery store watching you giggle with your baby.
The child who got pinkeye because you were running late and barely looked at your toddler before you dropped him off.
The teacher whose day was better because your child gave her a compliment.
The driver behind you when your middle-schooler forgot his project.
The weary friend who was relieved because your floor was dirty, too.
They seem so small, the millions of things you do every day to keep your family functioning. You think they go unnoticed, but the rippling effect is greater than you could ever imagine. It would be sweet if our hearts could run solely on the acceptance of our children or if our failures could only be seen by the few in our home. But your reach is far wider than that. And the eyes that watch you grow as a parent are innumerable. You may never know who was watching. Who was learning. Who took notice and who took warning.
You are a tsunami. Powerful, influential, and raw. Whether you like it or not.
And that’s ok. The cashier in Target knows a loved child when she see one, regardless of what you’re wearing or what kind of food is in your cart.