Dear World: My Heart is Big Enough

Something funny happens when you become a parent. The first time you look down into your child’s little eyes, you find it impossible to believe that you could love anything more than this bundle of joy. If you were like I was the first time around, you can’t even imagine that there is another person who loves her child more than you.

If and when you decide to expand your clan,  you worry about irrational notions, such as can I love another baby as much as I love my first one (or two in my case.) Is it even possible?

And then you look down into those little eyes, and you can almost feel your heart expanding in your chest. You breathe a sigh of relief. You realize: my heart is big enough.

This is the message I want to share with the world today, the world that is more filled with fear than it was yesterday. There is so much hurt and pain and sadness that we are starting to turn on each other — just when we need one another the most.

My heart is big enough.

This morning I woke up and saw photos of women standing in line hundreds of people deep, with eyes filled with pain and sadness. Some held limp, little bodies in their arms, babies whose wide eyes protrude out of small faces filled with fear. I want to help these women and their scared children who have walked miles trying to outrun terrorists who are determined to annihilate them with chemical weapons, bullets and other unimaginable horrors.

They’re fleeing from imprisonment, torture, rape, and death, willing to risk it all to cross an ocean or be smuggled over borders. I can’t imagine taking a chance that an over-crowded boat or an armed border crossing offers a better prospect at surviving than remaining in their home country. But for these people, it is a reality.

I care about them because I know as a mother I would do the same. I would risk it all to protect my children.

But because I care about these people who live half a world away from my safe home filled to the brim with food and clothes and stuff — the people I only see in pictures or on the news — does not mean I care less about other injustices, some of which I see with my own eyes.

My heart is big enough.

Because I care about the Syrian refugees does not mean I care less about the veterans we often cast aside after serving our country. Because I care about our veterans does not mean I care less about the children who go hungry in my own community. And because I care about  these children, it does not mean I care less about my friend who is hoping for a miracle cure for her cancer diagnosis.

My heart is big enough.

In this cold, dark world, bad things are happening so often that we are becoming jaded, almost immune, to the horror of it all. We need to stop getting angry at the people who care and be relieved that at least they are still feeling something, anything, at all.

Our personal experiences shape our beliefs, and our beliefs shape our actions.  My personal motivation for donating time and resources are often geared towards helping children, the innocents most impacted by the decisions of others. I care equally about the children of Syria as I do about the little hearts who live in my community.

There are too many injustices in this world, however, and as individuals we can’t fight them all. When we see friends dedicating their lives to supporting other issues, such as wounded warriors or international food banks or global environmental issues, important causes that may not be our own priorities or help those living in our own country, we need to ensure our hearts expand right in our chests in that moment, instead of closing it off bit by bit.

We cannot let ourselves become angry or bitter because we see someone trying to do their part.  A person is not a hypocrite for deciding to speak out or support a cause that motivates him to act. It is okay for different people to have certain burdens on their heart.

Because my heart is big enough to care about all the world’s problems, even when I am only talking about one. 

And I know yours is too.

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Lies About Parenting — Guest Post About Dinner Time Dilemma

One of things I despise about parenting in the Internet-age is the vast amount of “research’ we moms and dads have at our fingertips. Research that says our baby will have a third arm growing out of its back if you don’t breast feed; research that says your kid will never get a job if you are a helicopter parent; research that says your kid will be a thug if you don’t eat dinner together as a family five times a week.

As parents, we devour this research and feel determined to adhere to it. We feel smug when we achieve this lofty goal, and deflated when we can’t.

That’s how I felt about dinner time this year. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my busy brood together around the table at the same time.  I read the research, and I knew the benefits of eating together as a family — teens who stayed off drugs, achieved higher grades, and were just, well, better.

I imagined my kids smoking cigs under the bleachers and skipping school because we didn’t break bread on a regular basis. I was failing them.

And then I started digging deeper and realized it’s not so much about dinner as it is about dishing. Family dinner time is often the only time families are spending together, which is why it is so important. Spending time together. Now that is something I can work with. I also forced  myself to take a long, hard look at my kids and I remembered that these girls are happy and healthy. We are doing okay.

I am excited to write about my dinnertime dilemma further on one of my favorite sites: Lies About Parenting (LAP). LAP debunks  popular parenting “advice” that may not work for everyone in order to raise happier healthier kids — and parents.

Find my article here (http://liesaboutparenting.com/family-dinner-bonding-alternatives/).

Bon Appetit!

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