My daughter recently returned from a trip to visit her grandparents. While she was there she spent time having heart to heart talks with my mom. My mom is inquisitive and empathetic. She digs deep and loves hard, especially her granddaughter. One of their discussions included how my “unfogging” and consequent advocacy has effected Maddie. When she got home she wanted to talk about it.. and it was hard to hear.

In my fight for Family Preservation I have often taken my own family for granted. I haven’t had the emotional bandwidth for extra relationships, filling in the cracks only with those who “get it”. It was about survival. But, it’s also reasonable for my daughter to point out that in doing so, the people who have always loved me and will always love me, really missed me.

Our youngest is a senior in high school this year. This is it. In our home we have a ‘say anything’ approach. We openly process thoughts and ideas, even when it’s uncomfortable. For my son, because he is wired in his own unique way, this approach isn’t as natural for him. He requires 8 zillion questions in order to partially decode some of his more complicated feelings. He has always needed a little extra.

And, I don’t want to miss more than I already have.

During the last week I’ve felt a persistent tug back to center. I thought if I ignored it, it might stop.

I had two significant conversations, both with friends I’ve known most of my life. The first, a friend whose brutal honesty is one of the things I love most. No fluff. No bullshit. He said, “You aren’t going to change the world, Steph. You’re going to make yourself insane. Focus on what you CAN do.” The next day, a conversation with my most nurturing friend, her friendship always my anchor. She suggests that in order to be healthy I should take breaks so it doesn’t dominate my life – she knows it’s not sustainable. All of this work matters, yes, but so does the health and happiness of our family.

When Maddie came flying through the front door, full of epiphanies and light, it blindsided me: Joy. She grabbed my hands and pulled me to the living room sofa -knee to knee, face to face- her (nearly) 22 year old self, in that moment, filling up every corner of my heart. She voiced the response to the persistent tug. This is my center.

And, I don’t want to miss more than I already have.


2 thoughts on “Center

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