Mothers Are Stylish :: Part Three of Brooke’s Story
Brooke has been a close friend of the 31 Bits’ team for years. She’s lived more life in the past year than anyone we know, and as we started planning our Mothers Day Campaign, we asked if she would feel comfortable telling her story… (In case you missed it, click HERE for Part One and HERE for Part Two.)
“After my mid-life crisis, kitchen counter sobbing, pink hair, stressing because I better start shopping for a one piece, breakdown – I had to make an adjustment. First, I needed to feel the tectonic plates settle under me and grieve the parts of me that I’ve set aside for this season. Because, sometimes it’s still hard and I cry at the end of the day. Sometimes I have a difficult time remembering who I am. Sometimes the simplicity is too much for me. Sometimes the giving of myself feels unsustainable. So I needed to cry over being home all day and start to let all of the hospital trauma bubble up, over and out. I needed to make peace with being both deeply grateful for Colette and feeling deeply out of sorts. It was important to recognize the change, what was left behind, what I experienced, and who I am now. And then it was important to look ahead, or rather to be present. I was telling a friend about my new simple life and she stopped me to say, “it’s so short Brooke, it’s just for a minute, be here for it.”
If I become aware of it, my life is incredible. Being a mom is really fun and adventurous and deeply gratifying. If I live in someone else’s life, or a perception of what I thought my life would be, or the life I used to have, I’ll completely miss this very short season of life, which should I live to be 80, will be the spot in time I remember with the greatest of affection.
So this is the great shift. I’m determined not to lose my identity and yet I’m determined to wholeheartedly love Colette. I don’t want to become so enmeshed in motherhood that I lose a sense of the person I am and want to become. So I’m finding adventure, it’s just at home instead of in Paris. It’s a garden with some thriving kale and some dying leeks. It’s fresh baked sourdough bread and a rock hard lump of homemade pizza crust. I can’t hike but I can find parks, and flower fields and the perfect beach. My mind isn’t stretching like it was at work, but I can still learn and study with a library card and a $1.50 in late fees. I’m reconnecting with friends who had kids a while ago and filling up our social calendar. We don’t go out much anymore, but we host dinners more often in our home, which feels less like a place we sleep and more like our safe haven. I still love fashion and so you better believe we even get dressed up for the grocery store clerk. I’m spending my days experiencing the world as if for the first time, because for her, every mundane bit of life is a thrill. It’s all actually really really fun.
My days are different responses to the same me. I’m making an effort to become aware to all that is good, and making adjustments when it feels too hard. When days feel too mundane I’m finding adventure. When my mind feels stagnant I’m doing my own learning. When my world feels small I’m making plans.
For me, it’s about choosing how I respond to motherhood in all its highs and lows. I’m doing my best to practice mindfulness, so that I’m aware of the beauty around me, the temporality of this moment, the short-lived phase of baby chubs and babbling chatter; this way no matter what I’m doing, my awareness to the moment usually fills me with gratitude.
I haven’t lost myself but I’m not who I used to be, I think I’m more than I used to be; I’m deeper, kinder, calmer, and more generous. As mothers, the stretching of our hearts may at times feel like loss, when I think it is really just expansion. We might look a little different and maybe even feel unrecognizable at first, but as we adjust we find that the change isn’t really loss at all, but rather it’s fulfillment; that in fact, motherhood is our flowering.”
You can find more of Brooke’s writing at Brookehoehne.com.