They are all that matters.

“Is that your son?” she says to me with a look of disgust. I am jolted from my conversation with my friend Nina. A rare moment in the day where we were sitting. We took a moment to stop, while our little beauties played within the ‘Bob the Builder’ room at the children’s museum. We had been chasing and playing all day, trying to keep our toddlers busy. I am tired and hitting the 1 pm wall and Nina is really pregnant. We deserved to sit, or so we told ourselves. They were happy playing on their own so we were taking advantage. We had strategically positioned our selves in front of the only door in or out, and watched them play. Canton was unfortunately just out of view, hidden by a big slide. We knew he was there, as we could hear his little voice talking to his trucks. He kept counting his trucks, calling them by name. I was trying not to giggle as I heard him say, ‘This is my chuck the truck’ which sounded all too much like he was cursing. His voice slurring the sounds to make it sound all too much like he was swearing like a sailor.

“Grey sweatpants and blond hair? Yes, he is mine” I say with a smile, trying to save this interaction.

“Well, He just yanked my son from the big truck.”  She looks at me with a look I recognize too well. The judgmental stare of a mother. She looks us up and down, frowns and walks away.

As she brisks past me, I embarrassingly mutter an apology and go grab Canton from the yellow truck. Of course he throws a massive fit. He is two years old and he wants trucks! He has no idea why I grabbed him. I try to discuss with him what happened, but seriously, he is two. He has no idea why he is in trouble. He doesn’t remember pulling that boy out, or hurting him. He simply is in love with trucks. His whole world is shut out when he is with the love of his life, Chuck the Truck.  It was three minutes ago and to him it might as well been a lifetime ago.  My beautiful and brutish son has a memory of goldfish.

I can feel the woman’s eyes on me. I am now acting in fear of more judgement now. I better do something, I tell myself. If I don’t act fast, I am terrible mom who lets her kids bully other children. The worst mother. If I don’t do something the whole world will know I am fraud. A child pretending to be a mom, because sometimes that’s how I feel. Like I am playing dress up in my real life.  Like I am pretending to be an adult and soon someone will catch on that I really am nothing of the sort.

So I put him in a time out, for an event he does not remember and I did not see. Its insane. He is screaming, I am frustrated as I pin him down to the bench. He is kicking me and I am getting more upset. Nobody is winning, and I want to cry with my boy.

I decided to give up.

I take him in my arms, wipe his tears, hug him and whisper in his ear that I love him and he can go play with his trucks. I still do this very silently so no one will know that I gave up. I did not follow through, I did not go make him apologize for something he does not remember or do I take away the trucks, since now the other boy is busy with the ball vacuum as his mother stands near him.  With a new smile on his face, Canton skips away and keeps on playing.

We don’t last much longer in the room, Nina and I both sense eyes on us. Our free playing, fun-loving children are weirded out that we keep coming to play with them. They stare at us and walk away. They were happy to be doing their own thing and telling us the stories of their adventures once they felt like finding us.  But we are simply trying to do what good moms do.  We are following the rules.

We leave the museum, pack the kids up, get them cozy in their car seats and let them nap in the car. We are in a mission to find a Starbucks to get coffee. Our minds our busy with the preoccupations of the daily lives of a mom.

On the forty minute drive home, we finally talk about what happened. We let words replace the silent energy that we both felt. The feelings that made us so uncomfortable, that we were judged for not being there with our kids. For not letting our kids be the center of our world for 15 minutes. For failing as moms for those moments. We knew they were safe and happy, we were doing what we thought was best.

I realized as we talked, as we let our feeling free, that mom rules are bullshit and makes most of us feel bad.

These rules are designed to give us hope that we are doing OK as moms. If there is a set of rules to follow, whatever set you choose to follow, you can feel better about who you are a mom. We can judge others who follow a different set, then we can feel better about out choice. We can feel good and know that we are doing a stellar job. The judgement gives our ego a sense of superiority and in motherhood, a world so foreign to us all, that makes us feel good.

but I have a secret, YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM! No one can tell you any different. Just take a moment to look deep into the eyes of your child and you will see just how beautiful you are. Just how loved you are. Our children love us unconditionally, and their opinion is all the matters. Not the opinion of the parenting gurus, or the grannies at the grocery store, or even the moms at the museum.  Your kids are all that matter. They love you. That makes you a great mom. That makes me a great mom.

You are a beautiful mama, no matter what ‘style’ of parenting you adapt.  You love your kids no matter what. You show up everyday, even if tattered and broken, you show up.

Showing up the hardest part.

So lets stop judging ok? We have no idea what each mama’s stories is. As they have no idea what our stories are. So instead of judging and breaking down all the wrongs, lets band together as storytellers.Telling our stories to one another with honesty and love, too show our kids that showing up counts and love is powerful. Lets show our children what it is like to embrace the world around you with compassion and grace.

Lets simply forget the judgments.

Who cares if the mom next to you is on her phone the whole time he child plays on the jungle gym? Maybe she is working from home and took the time to bring her free-spirited child to the park. Maybe she has a family emergency she has to deal with and doesn’t want to alarm her child, so she brings him out and deals with it silently. Maybe she is tired and this is the only down time she gets, browsing her phone. The possibilities are endless. So who are we to judge? Smile instead. Act with beauty and project love and acceptance. Simply know that another down fall as a mother is not meant to make you a better mama. Your kids know you are a great mom and they are all that matter.

Much love,

Jessica

museum blog post

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Creative writing course… My assignments :)

I have enrolled in a creative writing course. We have assignments bi weekly. They seem to be helping me spark a creativity in my writing.

I thought I would share them 🙂

Fleeting Moments

By: Jessica Kennedy

‘So to conclude, this week has been a gongshow. We all need to buckle down, pull out the big guns, put in the time and get the work done. C’mon team. Show me you are worth the effort.’

His loud and icy tone allowing his voice to penetrate each corner of the room filling the space with a fear that consumes. Shit. It is here, the moment I waited for all morning. Nervously pacing, Dreading, anticipating. The whole morning filled with this feeling. The ‘pit in my gut’ feeling. This weight. If I wanted to speak, if I wanted to show this man I am more than what he perceives, I have to do it now.

NOW!

I can’t go another week, waiting for another one of these mundane and redundant budget meetings to finally be the woman here I am meant to be. It is bad enough that I am the only woman here. Either ignored or leered at. I am background noise to them. A way to fill a quota, a way to diversify. I mean nothing substantial, I am here to make them feel good about who they are. I am here to rub their ego a little more.

I really thought this time it could be different. It seemed different. In the beginning I came out blazing, all my confidence on high and my knowledge connected. I was on fire. But then IT happened. The unspeakable. After that I lost what I had gained. And in turn traded my power for fear. Here there is more fear. But I can change it, All I need to do it speak. Regain control, be brave, and show them who I am.

I need this.

I need him to appreciate me, to understand me, to know I am more. I need them all to know just what I can do here.

Come on Julie, Speak! Form words. Coherent thoughts. You can do this.

Repeat after me, I am a powerful, intelligent woman. I am a powerful, intelligent woman. I am a powerful, intelligent woman.

And here I go… His world is going to be rocked, his mind blown and my status regained.

‘umm, sir, hmmmmm….excuse…’

I speak, Like a field mouse to the big blue sky. My thoughts lost in the vastness of the moment.

‘Fernandez? What?’ His blue eyes gazing at me with a sense of disgust. ‘Really, we need to get back to work now. Seriously, have you not been listening at all? What do you want?’ The voice from my nightmares bellows towards me.

‘Nothing sir, sorry to interrupt. You did a great job. Great presentation’ And its gone, again. My moment to shine. My potential smothered just a little more. My fire losing its air, being snuffed out slowly. This day simply adding to my list of fleeting moments, their potential to be grandeur and transformative blending into one another. Losing all relevance in the big picture. Meekly I travel on the road to an unknown fate.

There is always next week.

The Restaurant

By Jessica Kennedy

The car door made a loud noise. I covered my ears. Loud noises make me feel scared.

 

I am scared lots of times.

When I get scared the monsters show up.

 

A lot of things make the monsters sneak up.

Loud noises definitely make the monsters come.

 

I feel her hand. It’s on my shoulder. She helps with the monsters. I didn’t think she knew about them but she is always around when I feel the loud shakes and stomping sounds.

 

She takes my hand. We walk together.

 

She is good.

She knows not to talk to much.

Most people talk too much. Most people make too much noise and move around too much.

Most people make the monsters appear.

I know today is important. She told me this lunch was a special lunch.

I don’t know why.

I couldn’t hear her when she was talking to me today.

 

My brain waves were somewhere else.

My brain waves are really busy. Always really busy.

I feel better when my brainwaves keep me busy.

It is easier to forget pounding monsters when you are busy.

 

Today I was with my cars.

Counting and lining.

Counting and lining.

Counting and lining.

That helps with the monsters.

 

I only remember my cars. I did not hear why today was important.

 

We are walking slow.

 

This is a new place.

We have never been here before.

I am glad we are walking slow.

 

It is really bright outside. The ground is black. Hard and dark. It looks new. I think the big truck was just here to put this ground down. The smell hurts my nose. It smells kind of like the stuff in the bathroom that she uses to to make the red on her nails go away.

The sun makes the black ground feel like lava under my flip flops.

 

A car is coming towards us. Slowly.

It stops.

 

She makes me walk faster. She says the car doesn’t want to wait for us.

She makes my legs move faster than I like. They feel wobbly.

 

We finally get to the sidewalk. She says we are here.

 

I look up. It is a red building. Bright red. The walls are stacked stones. Perfectly staked. I can count them. I like that. The walls have lots of posters on them.

Lots of peoples faces.

Too many faces.

 

I can smell pizza.

 

Yum. I like pizza. But I don’t like cheese and the red sauce. But I like mushrooms.

Just mushrooms on my pizza is my favorite.

 

It is a big building. Tall and wide. The shadow of the building blocks the sun. I feel better. I am not as hot.

 

We walk closer to the door. She lets us walk slow again. I like this. I am feeling ok. The big sun blocking building doesn’t seem so scary.

 

There is Music is playing. It is coming through a black box above the door.

I don’t like the music. It’s too loud.

 

I cover my ears again.

 

She crouches down. I can see her face.

Her face is wet.

I don’t know why. It was dry when we were in the car.

I tell her she should get a towel, her face looks like it had a bath.

 

She laughs. I like her laugh.

 

She tells me it is going to be ok. She tells me that we will find a place to sitaway from the loud black box.

 

I nod.

She is good at promises.

 

We push open the door together. It is big. Heavy. And red.

 

I don’t like red. It is too loud. I am starting to not like this sun blocking, loud, red building.

 

We walk through the door and enter a little space. I ask her if we can eat lunch in here.

I like it in there.

No music, no other people, no monsters.

 

She laughs again. But not as nice as before.

This laugh is different.

 

She says this is just the entrance way. We have to enter one more door to get into the restaurant.

 

We open the next door. Slowly. Even more slowly.

I am glad.

Because I am scared.

 

The door is open. We have to go in.

 

The music is so loud. I cover my ears again.  A girl with shiny hair is talking at me. The girl is bright and sparkly. Shiny girl is smiling a lot and staring at me. I don’t like it.

I look away.

 

We have to follow Shiny girl. She is walking fast.

 

We walk to a room in the back.

 

Shiny girl looks at us points ahead and walks back to the red doors.

I am glad.

She moved too much. She was too sparkly.

 

She crouches down and hugs me. She takes my hands off my ears and tells me it is quieter back here.

I put my hands back.

I am keeping them covered.

 

We walk together. I am looking at my feet.

I have new flip flops. I like them.

We got them at the big blue store.

We have a few stores we go to. A blue store, a red store and a yellow store.

The blue store is my favorite.

 

I liked these shoes the best.

They make a ‘slap-slap’ noise everytime I walk. I feel it on my feet.

I count each ‘slap-slap’.

My brain waves are busy.

This is good.

 

She stops. I feel her hand on my shoulder.

My ‘slap- slap’ stops.

 

I look up.

It’s him.

I keep my ears covered.

Much love,

Jessica

Lesson while cleaning the church

I clean my church. I took this job because I love my church and love quiet alone time. And I am learning that I love cleaning. I clean at the break of dawn. I pray and clean. I do my best thinking at this time. It is a wonderful and peaceful way to start the day.
It was time to wash the floors. I stared at the floors. They were worn, chipped and weather torn. They had seen better days. They needed to be sanded and stained. But in that moment they held a certain beauty in their imperfection.
They had seen many feet travel on it.Many tables and chairs moved across. Meals have been shared, prayers have been spoken. These floors have held important meetings of the heart. They have carried the joyful feet of fun. These floors have held up this church. They have been the base of a place of beauty. A place that nurtures, loves and creates joy.

The imperfection of these floors reminded me that life is like this as well, imperfect. Our lives are meant to hold beauty between the broken cracks in the floors of our soul. There should be light beaming through the shattered glass of our spirit.
Life is meant to hold our beauty wherever it can. The more broken we appear, the more opportunity to find mysterious beauty.
Imperfection is not failure. it allows us to practice the ability to any circumstance as it is. To see the beauty in all moments, even if unconventional. Even if it seems so hidden, the beauty is still there. Always. Because we will can always find spectacular joy in our imperfections. We are Unique in our special ways. With each moment in life we learn from our imperfection and that makes it beautiful.

Life is imperfect. Life is beautiful. You are a beauty. Always.

Much love,
Jessica

IMG_0229.JPG This is my favourite picture of imperfect beauty. They were suppose to to sit and look at me, and smile. But this is so much better.