My daughter was named after my father’s mother, Grandma Jewel.
Like most Jewish grandmas, she had her form of “mischigas” (idiosynchrasies). Sometimes her standards were a bit too high, and she had trouble appreciating the musical taste of us crazy young kids. But she had many many gifts. One in particular always struck me. Grandma Jewel had a way of finding magic in the mundane. Whether she was sculpting a rose out of an orange peel, turning a few packets of Jell-O into a rainbow masterpiece, or transforming the inside of a toilet paper roll into an extension chord holder, she was making something extraordinary out of something ordinary. And she was having fun. I don’t highlight Grandma Jewel’s gift as a means of promoting domestic perfectionism. I’m not suggesting we start flitting about our kitchens like mini-Marthas, or whistling joyfully while scrubbing toilets in butterfly formations (although now that I think of it, that may be worth trying).
What I am talking about is being open and willing to find beauty and magic in the most unlikely places. I’m talking about having some more fun, being a little more like our kids, bringing a sense of play and adventure into our lives – even when we’re doing something that under most circumstances would be deemed unimportant, unimpressive and dreadfully boring.
At an even deeper level, I’m talking about learning to see ourselves -- and all that we do as mothers -- differently, and in a more positive light. I want us to look beneath the seemingly endless mundane surface of our lives and find the magic. Lord knows, in this productivity/success-oriented Western world of ours, so much of “mother’s work” is invisible. If we’re not making money doing it, if we’re not earning an award for it, if our resumes aren’t enhanced by it, then “IT” -- whatever it is --doesn’t count.
One thing is for it not to ‘count’ in the eyes of society. That’s painful & obvious enough, and tragic on so many levels I won’t even get into it here. But it’s a whole other thing when it doesn’t count in our own eyes, when we find ourselves looking at our own lives, and not seeing any of the fullness, or the beauty, or the richness, or the accomplishment, or the deep and utter importance.
So many of the moms I work with -- even those who full-heartedly chose to let go of their “careers” and embrace their roles as mothers from a deeply empowered place, even those who LOVE being moms and are in highly respectful and mutual relationships --still struggle with feelings of invisibility and unworthiness. They still look at what they’re doing and have trouble seeing and FEELING the value. They’re seeing the orange peels of their lives as orange peels, not as glorious roses-in-bloom, or about-to-bloom.
So today, I invite you to acknowledge the masterpiece you’re making out of life’s Jell-O packets! Find a little magic in your mundane. Look at your laundry like a clump of fluffy clouds; find animal shapes in the socks and give out a chuckle. Or give yourself permission to PROTEST! If you’re going to find an aspect of your life boring, be bold about it. EMBRACE THE BOREDOM. Sing out at the top of your lungs, in an operatic voice if you dare, “I am booooorrrrrreeeeedddddd!!!!!!!!! THESE DISHES ARE DISGUUUUUSTING, and I reeeeeeeaaaaaaalllllllyyyyyyyy am not ENJOOOOOOOOOYING washing them!!!! No I’m not! No I’m not! No I’m noooooootttttttt!!!!!!!” (You get the idea.)
And even more importantly, look at your beautiful face in the mirror… with its occasional dark circles and latest lovable wrinkles, and LOVE THAT FACE UP!! Love YOU up… Love yourself for your dedication and devotion, for your patience and persistence, for your resilient heart that keeps opening and opening, no matter what daily cards you’re dealt with…
You, my dear friend, like my grandmother, and my daughter… are a JEWEL… And it doesn’t matter if you’re polished or in-the-rough. You are waiting to be remembered, discovered and celebrated by YOU. That’s right. You are the award committee you’ve been waiting for! So go to that mirror and say, “You are a JEWEL, (name), just the way you are. I honor you for your beauty and brilliance, and for every little thing you do, even though most of the time, 5 minutes after you’ve done it, there’s absolutely no proof! I don’t even care if there’s evidence! What matters to me is that that you’re here. And that you’re fabulous just the way you are! I can’t think of anything more meaningful than the sum total of your life! I’m so glad you’re alive. And that I get to be you! And that your kids get to have you as their mom!” Then take a deep breath, shout a final, “Wahooooo!”, and give yourself a giant hug. (This or something better!)
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Disclaimer: Rosy is an ordained minister of Designed to Blossom of AIWP and provide something more akin to spiritual counseling than psychotherapy. The work I do is with highly functional people, for whom ‘spirit’ plays a central role in their life. I do not give diagnoses, work with pathology, or claim to be an expert offering a treatment or cure.