I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and almost slid right out of my 3 inch wedges because my feet were sweating so badly. My hands were trembling and a bit clammy, my face was contorted somewhere between a smile and complete panic. I was on stage about to share the most gut wrenching moment of my life with a room full of people. The audience was filled with precious friends and family which was comforting, yet horrifying at the same time. I knew I had to get a grip before my turn at the microphone. I kept repeating to myself, “It is not about you, it is not about how you look or even if you fall in a puddle of your own perspiration, it’s about telling Katie’s story.” I prayed and God sent a complete peace.
As I read my blog post at the podium, the one about the moment the Neonatologist told me Katie was not likely to have a normal life my voice trembled and I had to pause to allow the giant lump in my throat to release the tears, but Katie’s story was heard and if it touched only one person it was worth it. I have learned a valuable lesson from writing my blog that was solidified that night…transparency is a very special gift we have to offer. Somewhere along the way we all learn to hide our feelings, tuck in our emotions, keep a stiff upper lip and never let them see you cry, but who are we kidding, this is not working. When we reveal the truth, that none of us really know what we are doing, there is a universal sigh of release.
This is one of the premises behind the Listen To Your Mother show that brought me out from behind my laptop. The show was so inspiring, but my favorite part was the commonality we found. We all live such different lives, but at the very core every human was built by the same Maker, we all tick the same. When we put down the “I am just fine” wall, when we expose our inner self, something amazing happens, we actually support each other. I’m reading a fabulous book right now that also supports this theory, Carry on Warrior by Glennon Melton. She reveals herself in such an entertaining and therapeutic way. She tells how we must teach our kids that it is okay to show our ugly. “She must be taught, in fact, that some people will want and need to hear about her secret self as badly as they need to inhale. Because reading her truth will make them less afraid of their own secret selves. And she must be taught that telling her truth will make her less afraid too. Because maybe her secret self is actually her own personal prophet.” Page 53, Carry on Warrior.
I don’t believe we should walk around constantly airing our dirty laundry, complaining about everything in our lives, but when we truly examine our own souls and admit the truth to ourselves we become vulnerable. Society says NO to vulnerability, but I say YES. Think about your closest relationships and how much you love the people who truly reveal themselves to you. If we all shared our true selves, jealousy and guilt would dissipate because we would finally realize, we are all equal. Some of us are really good at one thing and really bad at others, God gave each of us special gifts for our own mission, but He also made us human so none of us are perfect at everything. Once we understand this, we stop comparing ourselves, our kids, the cleanliness of our home, the food on our table…we stop beating ourselves us for not living up to this perfection we create.
As I was getting ready for the big debut I sat down with Katie and asked if she would send a special prayer to God for mommy, I told her that I was doing all of this for her, because she has something incredible to share and I vow to be her voice. She immediately smiled and wrapped her arms around me. She gets it, she knows the value in the TRUTH.
I try to be honest in my writing, admitting my miniscule amount of patience with my kids, my physical exhaustion that comes from caring for Katie, my anger that our lives are different. It has been extremely therapeutic for me and my hope is that it is for my readers as well. My prayer every day is that by exposing my inner self, exposing what it is really like to have a child with special needs; the ups and downs, the pain and beauty, the sins and the glory, that the message of hope is spread far and wide.