26 Mar 2015

Someone Saw What You Did This Week and Wants to Give You a Medal

After long days and nights and days again and at the end of long weeks I often wish I could reach through these words and give you each a medal.

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You there on the other side of the screen. You who yelled at your kids in the minivan this morning after they wouldn’t cooperate in the mall, the doctor’s office, the playgroup.

I like imagining you. I like meeting you. Because you look a lot like me and I feel more normal in my crazy when I hear from you.

I would give you a medal if I could.

I would give you a medal for all the 5am wake up calls after you only just got a couple hours sleep after nursing the baby.

I would give you a medal for sitting through all those hours of basketball practice.

I would give you a medal for sweating over that meal that everyone instantly declared “disgusting.”

You over there – you get a medal for keeping your cool while your kid raged the whole way through the grocery store.

You get a medal for remembering to buy milk. When you’d already checked out and unloaded all the groceries into the car. You get a medal for going back when it was the last thing you wanted to do.

You get a medal for making it through homework. Again.

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You single parents, you get a medal for faithfully showing up over and over again with no respite, no down time, no break. You get a medal for modeling heroic, anonymous sacrifice. For being the safe place, the chaser-away-of-bad-dreams as well as the coach, the make-up artist, the hairdresser and the Monday Night football guru.  For answering the hard questions that have no answers and looking truth in the eye and teaching your children by what they see in your eyes, your life, your nine to five that they’re going to be OK.

You working moms, you get a medal for the long hours you will commute before the rest of us get up. You get a medal for the courage it takes to keep home a place of food and warmth and security. You get a medal for bravely bundling sleepy kids up against cold and homesickness, for the trust it takes to share your children with someone else’s care. You get the hard won reward of trusting that the God who built our kids will parent them in our absence, will grow them in courage, and teach them over time that this is what love looks like – to lay down our wants for the needs of our families.

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You stay-at-home mamas, you get a medal for your over-touched, over-tugged, over-stimulated, over-worked, under-appreciated day in and day out of pouring out and answering the question, “what did you do today?” You get a medal for showing up at work 24/7 without a business card or a title or a bonus. For finding creative ways to respond when your husband’s colleagues, the pediatrician’s receptionist or the insurance salesman ask, “Do you work?” For never getting to go to the bathroom alone and forgetting when last you ate a meal hot.

You grandmas, you get a medal for loving from scratch again. For loving your children by encouraging their parenting, giving them room to fail, and even more room to succeed. For baby sitting, for arriving with chocolate chip cookies, for showing up because you heard the desperation in her voice. For loving those grand babies so hard it spills out of you and makes them irresistible again to their parents.

You dads, you get a medal for listening to the hundred thousand words that your women pour out after a day of dieting on kids and chaos, commutes and over commitments.

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You get a medal for listening even when you don’t understand, for loving even when you’re confused, for changing that diaper, taking the midnight shift, rubbing tired backs, muscles and whispering the words, “beautiful and beloved” into exhausted ears.

You family and friends, you kin and churches and support groups. You women who remember what it was like to live on four hours of sleep and don’t try and pretend it was pretty. You bakers and bringers-over of meals. You who know to leave when the baby falls asleep, to fold the laundry that’s sitting out, to stack the dishwasher while she’s stacking time-outs and bottles.

I give you a medal too.

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I give you thanks and gratitude. I give you a standing ovation and a whispered hallelujah chorus. I give you our tired hearts and our humble appreciation. I give you our sense of humor restored and our ability to get out of bed tomorrow.

You.

You all who build with people, patience and the cement of faithfully showing up.

I give you a medal.

You and you and you. Each one. An invisible essential medal.

That you can see when the light’s just right, reflected in grateful, miniature eyes.

 

All photos of our family in this post by the incredibly talented Mallory MacDonald.

Comments

{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Best. Post. Ever.
    YOU get a medal too!
    Thanks for remembering us grandmas. ☺️

  2. 2

    And a medal for you, Lisa-Jo, for tirelessly cheering on those who never hear cheering. You champion the ones who never feel like a champion at anything. Ever. You are the picture of grace for the me toos and the unfines. Thank you for taking the time after all the loads of laundry and your own daily lather, rinse, repeat cycle of life to build up others. May you be blessed immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine for the encouragement you so freely give!

  3. 3
    Alicia p says:

    Lisa Jo! I got my medal yesterday before you even WROTE this- {I swear you’re my spiritual big sis! Straight to the straight red hair (and temper!)} my boy was talking to me & I got LOST in his miniature dark ocean-blue eyes and I cannot for the LIFE of me remember what he was talking about. He was so innocent & tiny & big all at the same time. He’s 3 & 1/2. And it’s simultaneously exhausting (because tantrums.) and exciting (because NO DIAPERS!) thanks for the reminder of this. And for writing. You’re a hero to us all. And I’m praying right now you see the medal in each of your baby’s eyes today … Grateful for you!

  4. 4

    Thank you, Lisa Jo! This was such an encouragement for me today.

  5. 5

    Hi Lisa-Jo, I am in tears as I read this. Thanks

  6. 6

    What amazing words once again. We are lifting our neighbors up in our love and understanding of what it takes to raise little humans. They have 2 girls 18 months apart. Our 8 yr old goes to play with the older girl on Wednesdays after school and we take dinner over that night. Just a middle of the week respite for them and a chance for me to smell those sweet baby smells and remember what it was like when life seemed oh so hard but was really oh so lovely. I remind this sweet mommy that the days always will seem long and the nights will never be long enough.

  7. 7
    Kelly Bonner says:

    Sweet Lisa Jo I give you a medal for being one of the most real momma’s out there. You take time out of your busy day of raising kids, cooking meals, carpool lines, basketball, dance, etc. & encourage us momma’s! Sitting down in the evening or during my lunch break to read your posts is a calming moment in my day! Lots of love to you!

  8. 8

    thank-you for mentioning grandmas. I appreciate the medal.

  9. 9

    BEST. POST.EVER.

    I love all the moms and mother-figures you included in this tribute…all so deserving! But as the mom of a child…now an adult child…with special needs…I gotta give these special moms a medal as well. I guess it’s all relative, because, while we’ve had our hard days, and I’m sure there are more to come, I see some of our sisters out there dealing with the hardest of the hard…every second of every day of every year. I don’t know how they do it. Thank you for your encouraging words today…a great reminder to look around and give a hand to someone else who is walking this path. We’re all in this together…

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