I’ve been away from my role as Momma to my four children for the past five days. I’ve been at an amazing writer’s workshop and retreat at the Mohonk Mountain Resort with seventeen other writers discovering the heart of the Story that we feel we must tell. It was an awesome experience, and I mean that in the truest definition of the word, not the overused junk word that this has become – “Omg, these pancakes are awesome!”
I was at times completely and utterly in awe – gazing out at the gorgeous reds, yellows and browns of the Catskills as dawn’s sunrise bathed the hillside with gold. I was in awe as my body hiked and ran the trails of this incredible place. I was in awe as the true heart of my Story was revealed, and I now have a lot of work to do because I can no longer write a book without this at it’s center. I’m in awe that this realization of needing to infuse that heart’s story into the 70,000+ words I’ve already written, has not caused me to breakdown and cry. And I sat in rapt awe last night and listened as my new tribe opened their hearts to share their own Stories. There was so much talent, power and healing in that room, it was palpable.
The word that echoed in my mind all week long was gratitude.
Gratitude for the people of Tracking Wonder who put this experience together for all of us, gratitude for all the participants who were willing to be open so that incredible connections could be made. But mostly gratitude for my husband, Roberto and my four children, Elisa, Alejandro, Lucía, and Félix, who love me enough to let me go and have this time away to be more than Momma and wife. Their unwavering support will ultimately be the reason why my book, my Story, will be told.
It’s so important that all of us, especially parents, remember to do things that bring us joy every once in awhile. After we become parents, it’s all too easy for us to get swept up in the day-to-day grind of changing diapers and late-night feedings – the insistence of it all – that we forget that joy is something that each one of us needs in order to do this parenting work.
It doesn’t have to be a steady, constant joy. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic (like getting away for five days in upstate New York). It can come in small bursts and fits – as long as we’re ready to recognize it. Prolonged, unceasing joy isn’t very realistic or something that we would be able to sustain. It’s the joy that comes along to interrupt the day-to-dayness that matters. When we can get glimpses of who we are aside from the various roles we play, we feel that joy in concentrated amounts.
We don’t always need a lot of joy, but we do need some of it. Ask for it. You will find that (after your body clock resets from the three-hour time difference) you’ll come back to your parenting with a renewed sense of purpose and – dare I say it? Joy.
How do you find joy in your day-to-day life? If you’re feeling stuck in the day-to-dayness of your parenting role, how can you ask for the time and space to feel some joy away from your role as parent? If your partner is not having moments of joy, how can you help them find some?