Wednesday, November 16, 2011

erica to Erica

I ran into a friend of the "other" erica's yesterday. This is the only way I know how to categorize my life before motherhood. The "other" me. This is the only thing that seems appropriate because that girl and the one that types on this keyboard now are vastly different people who happen to share the same name and a similar (barely) shell. Sometimes it throws me when I'm comparing other erica to current Erica that other erica existed a short 30 months ago...oh how quickly life can alter a person!

Life, the maturation process that we each are embarked on, can make two people who have moved from parallel to perpendicular paths feel derailed and untethered when they suddenly intersect. That is how I felt when I ran into a friend of erica's yesterday. Actually, we kind of literally ran into one another when Elias ran into her shopping cart in the grocery store. There were the usual, "look how big your kids are now!" and "how are you doing?" and then there was this, " stay home with them now." An observation, not a question. Suddenly I'm conscious of my dirty hair stuffed under a beanie and my splotchy face, sans makeup, and my 4-year-old sweater, and my jeans that are the wrong size now. Of course she knows I'm a stay-at-home mom now. There's no hiding it today.

"Yeah!" I said, way too brightly. I prattled on about the privilege of vocational motherhood and why I'm passionate about it, feeling the heat rise in my ears as I try desperately to control my 2-year-old by holding onto the hood of his sweatshirt. Finally, when Elias starts running tiny circles so the hood bunches in my grip and he goes careening into the paths of annoyed shoppers, she states graciously (and was that pity on her face?) that she'll "let me go," and we part ways.

Yuck! I wanted to yell after her that I'm a better person now, even if I do look like I just climbed out of a garbage disposal! I wanted to convince her that the cracker crumbs that never leave the bottom of my purse do not define my state of being. I desperately wanted to articulate to this girl that my world has been changed for the better because two of the most incredible little spirits on the planet were given to me for safekeeping for a while. I wanted her to envy me the way I envied her in that moment. That moment where she stood a single, working girl, in her super-cute platform shoes and perfectly flat-ironed hair. With her pink iPhone cover and her snot-free shirt.

After that wave of awkward, misplaced jealousy, I came to this conclusion: erica was her; Erica isn't erica anymore. Meaning, that while I do miss elements of life as erica, there is no going back. I would never want to go back. Aside from the obvious absence of my boys, I would never want to go back in time as earlier versions of myself in any form because that's not living. I have a new respect for aging as I have come to respect this newly new me, because I figure if I can feel this transformed in a matter of 30 months, then I'm gonna be a damn fine person in 30 years. Circumstance, Elias, Maddox, Logan, family, friends, tragedy, blessing, experience, the Creator and created will all see to that, right? I'm excited to keep discovering new Ericas.

...if only erica's friend knew what she's missing...

I pray that something (if not children) is transforming her into a better version of herself the way that my kids are perpetually transforming me. Maybe if I wasn't so hung up on how out of place our old relationship felt in my new life scenario I could have asked her about hers. Turns out Erica still has a lot of transforming to do.


  1. Oh, Erica... you are so articulate, you really just stated a LOT about "stay at home" moms... you really just stated a LOT about other folks who took another path... you really just totally made me want to "comment" here. I was you, in 1989 I had my first little bundle, followed by the second in 1992. I spent that decade... precisely where you are... I had a chance to escape toward the end, but decided to have child #3 in 1998... oh yeah, I feel your pain/embrace my decision. Not commenting here to brag/validate my decision in any stretch. Just want to let you know where I stand. My darling baby boys are currently in college and are pretty fun people to hang out with. I know I am the mom and totally biased, but I'm going with data here.. I have quite a bit to go on, won't bore your blog, but suffice to say that my boys have made an impact on people and it humbles me often. My third baby, darling Megan, who you know well is a constant "joy bringer" and I can't begin to articulate how happy we are with her. I felt very unimportant while mothering this trio, I spent many, many days in sweat pants and "sans make up" and yet... I feel like what I did was very much what God wanted for me and the kids He entrusted to me. Just for me, I'm not judging, just for me. That is what I want you to know. Trust your heart and your God. He knows.
    You are doing a great thing right now. You won't get much feedback for awhile, but it will come. Teachers will praise, pastors will praise. You will see the fruit. God has called you now. He knows.

  2. of my favorite encouragers. Thanks, friend. I appreciate you. And you're right: you have rockin' kids. ;)

  3. Love your post! Amazing how such little people can revolutionize our world and make us into better people.