20 years ago today, my beloved daughter, Mackenzie was born. The lessons she brought with her are numerous and all rooted in love. From the moment I realized I was pregnant, I could not contain my joy. The test barely showed I was pregnant and I jumped up and down with excitement, for I was going to be a mother! The most amazing part was realizing that my body somehow knew what to do. Mackenzie started with the lessons of life while she was in utero and has not ceased. Some lessons I have mastered and others I swear I will be working on for the entirety of this lifetime. Here are few of my favorite ones to share with you on Mackenzie’s birthday
Lesson 1: You have no control, so you might as well surrender to the process.
At about 6 weeks pregnant, bleeding began. I was at risk for a miscarriage which then turned into bed rest. All the things I thought were important like work, exercise, socialization suddenly were not. Apparently, this was just the beginning of that lesson. At the time of Mackenzie’s grand entrance I had been on bed rest for about 6 months. Talk about surrender. What the female body does to create a baby and birth it into this world is nothing short of remarkable. The female body only needs 1 sperm to bring forth life. Just surrender and allow the body to do what it is designed to do. My job became focused on eating healthy, allowing my body to do its job, and try not to lose my mind in the process. The surrender lesson continued at every stage in her life. You have only the illusion of control. Make plans, and watch God change them!
Lesson 2: Children are the wisest people on earth
Mackenzie asked if she could go play with a group of kids on the other side of a field when she was about 5 years old. I agreed and walked with her to the group. She started to run and I told her that we would walk together. She explains the proper way to make friends is to run up to the group, say Hi, ask their name, tell them yours, ask if you can play together, and then you are friends. “It’s that easy Momma.” I pause and realize how much life as an adult could be simplified if we applied that technique. Unfortunately, the experience of puberty and middle school gives great weight to of caring what others think. That concern of others’ thoughts can make the simplicity of friend making difficult. While on my Tree Hugging tour I applied this technique of a 5 year old. It was freeing, wonderful and I made friendships that created an incredible experience. These simple joys in life that children are the first to notice is our reminder to live in this moment with an open heart.
Lesson 3: Friendship and connection has a flow to it. All you need is faith
Lesson 3 is a combination of 1 & 2. We all have friendships and relationships that come to a close in our lives. Relationships flow in and out of our lives. Some are for a lifetime, and some are for a season. No matter how many times it happens, it can still be painful. I was struggling with the ending of one special friendship when Mackenzie was 12 years old. She could see I was having a tough day and asked what was wrong. I explained that I missed my friend and felt a bit lost without this friend. She says, “I am sorry, Momma. Just remember that you are moving towards new friends just as they are moving towards you. You just haven’t met them yet. Have faith, they are coming.” Her words touched my soul and warmed my heart. I remind myself of those wise words whenever I am feeling lonely. The needed people are moving towards each other all of the time.
Lesson 4: Apologies and forgiveness has incredible power to love fully
Growing up I remember asking my mom WHY! On many things, only to hear her say, “You will understand when you have children.” I would get so mad and try to demand her to tell me now. Of course, that never worked. When I became a mother, I suddenly understood many things that my mother was talking about. I called my mom several times during Mackenzie’s childhood and adolescence. Some of the calls were to share my new found understanding. Many of the calls were to apologize for my heartless behavior as a teen. I remember hearing the relief and love in her voice as she forgave me and offered kindness as my daughter did some of the same things to me. Karma is a bitch. I tried to continue to apologize to my mom in order to clean up my karma in advance before adolescence hit my world as a mother. No such luck!
I recognized as a working parent and tired person that sometimes I was not at my best. Recognizing that and apologizing to Mackenzie had incredible power of love as well. With my apologies, Mackenzie opened up and not only forgave me, but would reflect on her own behavior as well. I have been blessed with heartfelt apologies from her, and I did not have to wait until she became a mother. She has shared with me on several occasions that my willingness to apologize when I was hurt or angry helped her to remember that above all I love her completely!
Lesson 5: Kindness does not require agreement
As Mackenzie was growing up I had a few very simple goals for her at the time of high school graduation. I wanted her to be free of drug addiction, free of children, and free to follow her dream at that time in her life. We all know that our “dreams” change and careers are rarely lifelong. I wanted her to have a clear path to create her own life. Well, as clear as possible. I see drug addiction as something you forever have to navigate. I know having a child shifts everything. I am also aware that creating your own path is challenging especially if your chosen something different from anything your family knows.
All of those things did come true for her. She did choose a path in the culinary world. She was greeted with great resistance from loved ones. I had the opportunity to support her on her path or try to steer her into something that I am comfortable with. I chose to support her, for I saw the passion and joy in her face when in the kitchen. She loves what she is learning about nutrition, the culinary world and life itself. None of that is easy, for I remember being a 20 year old college student. She is on her very own unique path. Sometimes it is a challenge because I once had a different story for her life. It was my job to carry her story as she was a child, now as an adult it hers to complete. My new job is to love her as she makes her way in this world. Agreement is not required for love and kindness. She has fledged from the nest, I cheer her on. I now have my own path to create after my adult child has left the nest. We are kind and love to each other daily!
Motherhood is the most rewarding, expensive, heart opening, challenging, and worthwhile event I have done in my life. I thank God daily for gifting me with Mackenzie! Happy Birthday to my sweetheart!