This summer, I took a bit of a silent vow with myself to say ‘yes’ more often—sure, to my own dreams and ambitions, my husband’s summer hopes, but even more specifically, my kids’ big bucket list of dreams that I envisioned them having.
As a mom, I find myself saying ‘no’ a lot of the time. I know the reality is that I’m likely not. I actually say ‘yes’ a fair amount too. But, when you are asked so many questions a day, you can often find yourself feeling the weight of the no’s.
And I’ll stop there. Before I get too deep and begin to spiral into a big “reasoning session,” I’ll simply state, I found myself wanting to say ‘yes’ to a lot of fun things this summer.
Simply because I can.
And I know these moments with them little are fleeting.
And I am convinced that despite the chaos, mess, and
sometimes lack of personal space that I have,
I will look back and miss these days so very much.
I asked the girls their bucket lists and they were surprisingly small.
- The pool (LOTS OF TIMES)
- Having friends sleepover
- Nighttime swims in pool (yes, the pool made the list twice)
- Movies (specifically BFG & the next Harry Potter DVD)
- Ice Cream
- Sleeping in
- Making a fairy garden
- The pool
- 5th Birthday party fun
- Ice cream
And Bryn repeated everything her sisters did. Especially ice cream.
So, we’ve been saying ‘yes.’ We’ve been saying it as often and as much as possible. And it has been SO much fun! We go to bed most nights this summer exhausted from a day of fun and sun. The girls are happy and we are soaking in the moments.
And, as usual, in the grand scheme of saying ‘yes,’ the seemingly underlying agenda is that (yet again) I am learning an important life lesson.
You see there are amazing benefits to saying yes. There are awesome things that come as a result. We get to watch our kids make so many memories. We get to see them laugh and be thankful and give us random hugs and kisses because they can’t contain their excitement. And when we do have to say ‘no’ (because let’s be real, that needs to happen sometimes too), they seem to be realizing more and more and as much as they can in their own 9, almost 5 and 2 ½ year old ways, that it’s not so devastating after all. And that mom and dad actually LOVE to say yes! And there will be another ‘yes’ coming very soon. Good gifts. We love to lavish them with good things.
And all of this is shifting my own heart in a new way toward God… who actually loves to tell us, his sons and daughters, YES as often as possible too! Much like our own hearts are naturally geared toward being our children’s biggest cheerleaders, so is our Father’s heart toward us. He loves to cheer us on. He loves to see us embrace big dreams and chase them!
And yet, perhaps the lesson I’m learning even more in this season is that He’s always there.
An exuberant and confident ‘YES!’
doesn’t always mean the confidence will
naturally carry through whatever it is you are saying yes to.
And He knows that too. And He’s there through it all. He’s not waiting for us to fail so He can say, “I told you so.” But, He’s ready for when we do fail (or when we lose a little of that confidence) so He can say, “Here I am. Come to me. Let me help. I know you so well and I love you so much.”
About a month ago, my two youngest daughters and I met up with friends at the zoo. Near the baby polar bear exhibit, my friend and her 2 littles approached us with smiles—and her little girl in a full-on lace and frills flower girl dress from a wedding she’d been in the week before.
I felt my face open in a huge smile, and a weight lift, as I soaked in the meaning of her attire.
Mom said yes.
On a hot day in the middle of summer, at the zoo, with her sneakers on for walking, Mom said yes. And her yes was bringing me unknown amounts of freedom. Because sometimes the ‘yes’ that we know we’re supposed to give isn’t always easy, but I can guarantee that it always brings freedom. So much. Freedom for others to realize that we are in this together—this “band of mothers” seeking to do our best to raise powerful and happy lovelies.
We joined up with hugs and greetings and made our way around the zoo. Pretty soon into our adventure, we met up with another dear friend and her daughter. And all the kids wanted to ride the infamous “pirate ride.” The moms looked at one another with somewhat intuitive looks as we said, “OK!” I’d never ridden this before, nor had either of my kiddos. Early into the ride, I realized that the cannon shooting water was loud and the well-placed pirates were actually kinda creepy- mostly because they resembled characters from The Walking Dead as they seemed to be falling apart and the material of which they were constructed was breaking down. It was an old ride, in need of maintenance, and that was adding a level of “creepy” to it all.
My girls were quite terrified. But we were there. My mom friend comforted my 4 year-old in the front seat as I let my 2 year-old snuggle deep into my side and I “took it like a champ,” as a pirate shot water directly into my ear. Lord help me. What was this yes all about?!?!?!
We made it through the ride. They may have regretted that yes (HA!), but they learned one very important thing that day.
I won’t leave you when your ‘yes’ gets hard.
And sure, today the ‘yes’ was a simple kids’ ride at the zoo. Years down the road, the ‘yes’ may become one I truly struggle with them making. It may be something that causes those in my life around me to judge and have very strong opinions toward how I, as a parent, should handle their ‘yes.’ But even then, it is my hope and prayer that I’ll remember the pirate ride and I will choose to remain. Choose to let them snuggle in by my side and not point an “I told you so” finger. Choose to remain their biggest cheerleader and choose love over any sort of fear-driven shaming.
A few weeks ago I took all 3 girls in for haircuts. In the chair, with her beautiful long blonde hair combed neatly down her back, the stylist asked our 4 year old, “How much do you want cut off?” Without hesitation, she said, “Take it to my shoulders.” Gulp. We had not talked about this prior to this moment. She has always said she wanted long hair. Just a trim today was her game plan. And in a moment, it all shifted.
The stylist looked at me and I looked at Harper. “Girl, are you sure?” She locked eyes with me and nodded stoically. OK. I gave the stylist the OK and he proceeded to cut. Massive amounts. Of her hair. Drifting to. The. Floor.
She smiled the whole time. She was so happy. She nodded her approval when he asked. It went so well.
And then… we got in the car. Her eyes filled with HUGE tears and her lip quivered as she asked, “Mom, how long before it grows back?” Oh man. Hair regret. We’ve all been there. I locked eyes with my oldest and without saying a word, we both jumped into action.
“Harper, it looks AWESOME!”
“It’s so great girl! You can definitely pull off a long or short cut.”
“Wait until Daddy sees how beautiful you are! It’s amazing!”
“Harper. Think how easy it will be in the pool. Not nearly as many tangles.”
(cue the occasional comment from Bryn, “Is Harper sad? Harper is sad. Yep.”)
And the clincher from big sis, “Now your hair is the same length as your friend Reese’s! You guys can be twins!” YEEESSSSSSS!!!!
I quickly texted Brad to prep him. He is a lover of long hair. I let him know the situation and told him to put on his game face and be ready to encourage Harper a ton. Got it. He was on board and we were all united in the “Help Harper to Not Regret Her Big, Brave Choice” mission. And it worked. It worked so well.
It’s so fun. Sometimes it’s so hard. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.
But, perhaps the bigger win is
who we all become in the process of saying yes.
Here’s to being our best selves and
bringing the best out in our kiddos.
And to that, I say a resounding YES!