This morning my daughter went MIA before school. We only had 10 minutes left before it was time to leave for the bus and she still hadn’t finished her homework, eaten any breakfast, brushed her teeth or put on her shoes.
I found her outside barefoot with some neighbor friends playing with a remote control car.
“Alice Albano!” I barked. “Get in here now.”
My bright light of a girl crept back to the house with her shoulders slumped. I embarrassed her. She didn’t speak to me the rest of the morning. Didn’t even wave good bye to me from the bus.
“Stop barking at me!” My husband is known to say to me.
Bark. Bark. Bark.
It’s what I do sometimes. I’m not proud of it.
It’s not easy to be an introverted, highly sensitive mother of three, married to the nicest man in the world.
After the kids get on the bus I luxuriate in coming back to my quiet house where I can be alone for six and a half hours. Is that right? Because, if we’re being honest, the time goes by in a blink of an eye.
I watch the clock like a terrified hoarder of each passing minute because at 3:10 I am back on duty.
And each minute that I count until those little faces run to me open armed after a long day at school, I grapple with the shame I carry for holding my quiet time so sacred.
While we are walking home from the bus stop and those little faces want to share their news from the day, I grapple with the shame I feel when all the voices all at once leaves me — already — exhausted.
I am a minute hoarding, hermit who barks and becomes easily overwhelmed by her children.
These are just a few of my defects.
There are many (so many) more.
I have to constantly remind myself that it has to be part of the divine plan.
Because I am also fierce. No one messes with my people.
I am also brave, the one who jumps first.
I seek God every day in my way.
As much as I am domineering, I tell the truth . I forgive. In the end I don’t judge people for being flawed like me.
As much as I am a hermit, I am in love with life, adventure and the world.
And I crave deep, deep connection even if it means baring my soul to thousands of strangers like this.
I will teach my children to be who they are no apologies, to tell the truth, to stand up for themselves and for what is right.
We will have adventures because I can’t keep us away from them. It’s who I am.
I have to constantly remind myself that just because I don’t fit the mold of what I consider to be a perfect mother I am their mother for better or for worse.
I have to constantly remind myself that I am not a mistake.
I have to forgive myself over and over again.
I am who I am.
I am perfect, for everything I am and for everything I am not.
Thanks for witnessing.