On Wednesday I left the house still thinking about Gracie. I laced up and had a great run, but when I returned, I realized that I wasn’t quite ready to tackle a new post. Gracie’s spirit is strong. It has grabbed a hold of my heart. I wanted to give her a little more room, a little more time for others to read about her, honor her, and let it all sink in so she could do her magic.
If you haven’t read about Gracie, I encourage you to do so, though I have been told by readers that I should have let them know in advance that they would need a Kleenex…or six.
The love that Gracie so effortlessly inspired continues to be a gift to those that knew her and those that are meeting her for the first time. The beautiful bond that she had with her mother, Liz…well, I’ll let you experience that for yourself.
Today as I ran, I thought about new blog posts, excited about some upcoming ideas and reflected on my own journey into motherhood.
It was cold today. The wind coming off of the lake felt sharp, it went right through us. The sun helped a little, but the wind, it was a killer. Tony and I complained, of course me more so than him. It wasn’t all that cold compared to all of the years we endured Wisconsin winters, but in less than one year I have become a weather wimp and I don’t want to be cold. Fortunately we had a couple of laughs along the way to keep me distracted, like when I mumbled, “My knee is giving me some trouble” and he yelled “What? You feel like a turtle“. Well, I did feel like a turtle.
With thoughts of Gracie lingering, I decided that today was for Zoe, my daughter. She’s spunky, sassy, and makes me wonder if I have any sense at all sometimes, but she is so much more than I was when I was her age, and that makes me happy.
Check out Zoe here, taking it all in, she was seeing the Front Range for the first time. It was our first trip to Boulder, her first glimpse of where we might be living, and we were there to check it all out. This has become one of my favorite photographs, it captures so much about that moment and how we were all feeling. Expansive, excited, nervous, curious and ready for something new.
When I was pregnant with Zoe we called her “Baby G”. Since then we have moved on to “Zoe-girl”, and at times, “Zoe two-dots”.
As she grows and I gently let go of the nicknames that I have fondly marked her baby and toddler years with, she continues to surprise and inspire me, proving that she is no longer “Baby G”.
Over Thanksgiving she had my Mom take her to Target so she could buy me a new running shirt out of her own allowance (but as luck would have it, I would find out later that when you shop with Grandma Florida, nothing comes out of your allowance).
Excited to give me her gift and see me wear it, she quickly asked Grandma Florida to take her back to Target to buy a shirt for her that matched mine. She wanted to run with me. This was a big moment for me, we were moving into a new place in our relationship.
I imagine that we all strive for that parenting moment when it all comes together, even if for a brief time, where we feel like we are doing everything right. On the day that Zoe and I ran together, I felt like I was growing into the mother I wanted to be, and that somehow, Zoe and I were connecting on a different level. I was reaching her in a new way, it was exciting.
She has a fashion sense all her own. She likes glitter and fancy dresses, and is still puzzled by the lack of those things in my own wardrobe. “How is that even possible?“, she asks, wrinkling up her nose at my jeans and t-shirts.
She doesn’t mind getting dirty and is always up for a challenge. She is social, yet reserved. I don’t know how it happened but t seems to me that she has figured out how to be the right amount of sparkle and strength.
She’s passionate about the things she believes in. She cried when she was home sick on the day of the presidential election. There were tears, lots of tears. So much so that she had me send her teacher an e-mail asking her to vote for her at school, because “Mom, every vote counts“.
She knows what she wants, when she wants it, but sometimes hesitates. She can be stubborn, but sometimes for good reason. She doesn’t like conflict, which is leading her down a path diplomacy.
She is strong, but doesn’t realize yet how strong she really is, and will be. She is caring and compassionate, but trying to find that balance of giving without out giving too much of herself. She wanders and loves adventure, but always looks behind to make sure we are still there.
She pushes me forward, she pulls me back. She stretches me, and holds me close. I look at her and think, “She is going places and she’s taking me with her, buckle up buttercup.”
How will I ever keep up with her?
My hope is that I continue to give her the the love, the guidance and the space that she needs to do the things she wants and the things she is called to do in this life. No doubt I will struggle, not always knowing when to hold on and when to let go, which is never, right?
I want to be brave and mindful enough to to know when to encourage, not judge and when to listen, not advise. I can only hope that I continue to grow into the Mother that she deserves.
The girl that I describe here is not unique, she lives out there in duplicates. I love knowing that mothers (and fathers) are out there raising their own Zoe-girl to be strong, compassionate, curious, loving and spirited women. These girls are going to rule the world, together.
So Zoe-girl, when you push me, challenge me, and stretch me out of my comfort zone, I promise to always do my best to listen to you, to encourage you and most importantly, to thank you.