Today I Will Own My Brave

As my legs carried me out of the grocery store that morning into a November drizzle, one baby in the carrier and two horn-beeping big{ger} kids “driving” the car cart, a mom loading her two toddlers into another dreaded car cart looked at me and said, “You are one brave momma.”  I wasn’t sure what to say, and I muttered something about being a desperate mom in reply. After all, that was the truth. The stomach bug had hit earlier in the week, and I was not only desperate for a few groceries, but I was also desperate to leave the walls surrounding me and my three little princes.  We all needed to escape our space for a bit.

I wasn’t offended. It wasn’t a “you sure do have your hands full” kind of tone.  I also don’t think she meant it with pity.

I came home, made one child a grilled cheese sandwich which he did not eat {okay, fine, it wasn’t my best work}, fed another child a bottle, and made a third child cinnamon toast. He had the stomach virus after all, and I was just hoping he would eat something. At some point I had all three in bed. No, they did not all sleep. Indeed, I did not nail the nap trifecta, but they were in bed, and as I rocked the baby to sleep, tears streamed down my face. The dam to my physical and emotional exhaustion had burst, and there was freedom in those tears. After all, the little guy cradled in my arms was drifting to sleep and would cast no judgement and ask no questions.

I couldn’t stop thinking about her words.  “Yes, I am having a hard week,” I thought. “But brave? Did that make me brave?”

Brave is a parent separated from his child. Brave is a parent hoping for another breath and another day. Brave is a parent cradling a child not in a plush nursery chair, but in a hospital bed. Brave is a parent longing to hold a child just once. Or maybe once more.

Yes, those parents are brave.

Brave are soldiers overseas missing their loved one. Brave are parents of those soldiers. Brave are mothers and fathers around the world living day to day and traveling miles to provide clean water for their children.

Yes, those parents are brave.

But to this mom, I was “brave.” And that’s okay.  I have to rise up to the challenge of my brave daily. My circumstances may not be extreme. That’s not to say that perhaps at one time or another they weren’t. Or that they won’t be in the future.  We only have today.

braveToday I have to swing my legs out of the bed, plant them firmly on the floor, and raise three boys from the moment they wake until the moment they sleep.  But what makes me brave is not that I have to keep them clothed, diapered, clean, and fed. It’s my responsibility and my privilege to show them how to be kind, to show them how beautiful is the soul of each person they encounter, to guide them to the good. It’s my job to know when to step in and when to step back. And I’m not always so good at that.

I decided that I know why weekends are easier for me. Yes, there are extra hands for helping. That’s a big deal in itself, but for me, it’s about having a partner, someone there with me to get me in all of the challenges a parent faces. Someone to understand that the answers aren’t always clear. It’s having someone to smile with at a funny four-year-old, and someone to nod in agreement that our middle child has the world’s best giggle and our youngest is the world’s best snuggler.

So for the days that I spend with our three little guys alone, yes, I am brave.

And brave is knowing that no matter what type of day I had, what successes, what failures, I have to lay my head down each night ready to swing the same legs out of bed again the next morning. {And perhaps several times during the night for feedings and reassurances.}

And if my grocery shopping appears brave, then yes, I am brave. After all, I begin each outing knowing it will be an adventure of some sort, for better or for worse.

The beauty is that our braves don’t have to compete.  We just weren’t created that way. But if my brave gives a spark to someone…anyone…and in turn lifts up his or her brave, well, then today – I will own my brave.

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Jenn is an English teacher turned stay at home mom to boys Wyatt {2010}, John {2013}, and Abram {2014}. South Louisiana born and raised, North Louisiana educated, and Texas “polished,” she has found Houston to be home with her husband for the past ten years. After infertility struggles, in 2010 she traded in A Tale of Two Cities for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and has since been busy discovering ways to learn while playing, maintaining a semi-scheduled family life, and integrating both Texas and Louisiana culture into her family. Besides making memories with her boys full time, she enjoys reading, running, crafting, cooking, and football. Y’all stop by When In Doubt, Add More Salt to read more about family adventures with the boys and Jenn’s thoughts on hot summers and Pinterest pin attempts, and her love/hate relationship with March Madness brackets.



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