It happened last summer. The kind of incidence that resonates with you, that sticks to your bones, that whispers to you as you try to sleep. I’ve carried it with me, quietly, for six months now, wondering how to proceed. In a crowded restaurant, a sweet ten-year-old, whom I adore, looked straight across the table at me and said, “So, you’re just a mom, then?” It was a dagger, nonchalant and unexpected, straight to my soul. “I mean, you don’t work? You just stay home?” The need to justify all of my life choices and all of the repetitive days that had accumulated over the past three years swelled with me until I thought I might burst. Yet, the words that spilled out of my mouth were calm, deliberate, gentle. I am a mother and he just a child, after all, so why did his question hang around and haunt me for days, weeks, months? Until, it hit me. The shame that I felt from this accusation, this affront, had absolutely nothing to do with a boy’s innocent observation. It had everything to do with me. It was about the little, defining pieces within me that I felt slipping away with each day that passed. It was about the ideas and words and contributions that were being buried by the needs and demands and desires of others. It was about the silent narrative, ever-present, within my mind taunting, “Time is fleeting.” It was the assault of the word just.
Yet, what if, just had the power to be hurtful only when we allowed it to be self-limiting?
Just a mom seeking fulfillment
Just a child seeking to be heard
Just a worker seeking recognition
Just a student seeking their own path
Just a writer seeking the words
Just a wanderer seeking a calling
Just hurried and seeking calm
Just lonesome and seeking companionship
Just darkness seeking a little spark of light
Just one single person in the sea of so many
What it it was redefined? What might occur if we allowed ourselves to embrace whatever we just happen to be in this moment? When we are wholly just as we are, perhaps our own existence might be liberating, powerful, and even transformative.
As I have spent these months in confrontation with my own spirit, I have emerged with the realization that loving and accepting myself just as I am is the only path toward reconciliation.
Yes, right now, I am just a mom. I am just a mom capable of manifesting her own fulfillment.
Perhaps, along my journey, I will find that just is enough.