I am sitting in the chair nearest the window when she swings the door hastily open and comes bustling through. The salon is downtown and has been beautifully remodeled to have an urban, modern feel but the building itself is older and the door has a push button handle and creaks loudly, boldly announcing the arrival of new clients. She is wearing heels and a navy skirt suit and her hands are overflowing – a brief case and purse in one and a laptop computer in the other – but despite juggling all of these while also trying to command the door, she is in complete control.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” She announces and then takes a deep breath, “I came straight from work.”
We never really mean to eavesdrop at the salon, do we? But it seems the close proximity of chairs makes it nearly impossible not to. As she sits down with her stylist I hear all about her day full of meetings and presentations for clients. The longer I listen the lower I feel myself sink into my own chair.
I am now one week out of work, one week into my dream job as a stay-at-home mom and I am more confused than ever. There was once a time, not so very long ago, that I thought I would be that women in the salon – the career woman in the business suit juggling many things at once and seemingly doing it with ease. I look at myself in the mirror, half my head covered in tin foil, and wonder frantically in my mind, “Who am I now?”
I hadn’t realized how much my identity had been tied up in my career and I was completely unprepared for the onslaught of feelings I was going to have when I could no longer say I was a working mom. Being able to stay home with the kids is what I have been dreaming about for so long but now that it’s finally here I’m so bewildered, instead of rejoicing I feel like I am mourning the sudden loss of a life-long friend. I feel like a part of me has been ripped away….a part of me I didn’t even realize I was grasping onto so tightly.
I stop at Target on my way home from my appointment because I need diapers and office supplies – it is a quick stop as my time limit is about up, the baby will be hungry soon. As I am hurrying down the aisle a display on the end cap catches my eye – it is an office name plate that reads “The Future is Female” and on the shelf just below it sits a coffee mug that says “Strong Like Mom.”
My cart comes to an abrupt halt the second I read the words. I picture my daughter, Stella, as the voice in my head utters to her with a condescending tone, “Except not your mom.”
“Am I weak? Is that who I am now?” I think to myself. “The woman that couldn’t handle working and raising kids? The woman who tried to juggle a million things but instead of balancing them perfectly – like the lady in the salon – she dropped nearly every ball she had in the air. Does walking away from the working world make me weak?”
I push the words down and my cart away, refusing to let the anxiety rising in my chest get the best of me in the office supply aisle at Target, but the thought lingers.
“Do you think I’m weak, now?” I blurt out as soon as I step in the back door. Collin looks utterly confused at the question. “What? No. What are you talking about?” He asks as he trades me bags for a baby.
The boys are roller blading around the couch and the sound of their wheels reverberating on the hard wood floor amplifies the overall noise level as they laugh and yell out “Hi Mom!”
Stella comes running from the school room exclaiming “Mama Hoooome!”
The baby is giggling and kicking in my arms.
It is the most welcomed sight, really, and one that should instantly snap me out of my despair but that nagging question is just still there, still pulling at my heart…”who am I now?”
The baby and I retreat to the back of the house; he’s hungry and if I can find just a bit of quiet maybe I can continue my soul searching. As I sit down in the brown rocker in the nursery I close my eyes and ask God for an answer to my question.
I feel so deflated and my ego could really use a boost. I hope that He will pour accolades into my heart – that He will tell me I’m strong and capable, worthy and successful.
With my elbow propped on the chair I rest my head in my hand and I hear His answer:
You are my daughter.
Those four words rolled around in my head for several days as I tried to make sense of them; it wasn’t at all the response I was looking for – I wanted some recognition and assurance that He has grand plans for me. But after some contemplation what I have come to realize is that the answer I received is so much better than the praises I was looking for and in my heart I have found a deep sense of peace.
You too, my friend, are a daughter of God. What does that mean to you? I would encourage you to let those four words roll around in your head and nestle into your heart.