I’ve been entrenched in honestly lately.

I keep looking in the mirror and seeing things as they really are, not as I would hope them to be. I look literally in the mirror and see MORE of myself than there was a few years ago. There’s more around my middle, stretch marks that gleam in a holographic and fascinating sort of way, winkles and bags around my blue eyes.
I used to will them away -wish them gone.

Today I can look in the mirror and honestly treasure it all -the WHOLE package. I want my lines and my thickness. They all mean something -they’re signs of what I’ve done, who I am and everything I’m capable of handling.

I love what I can see on the surface. My honesty has gone deeper than my skin, however, and I’m finding a gigantic lack of perfection throughout.
At this point, I’m going to leave the definition of “perfection” up to media because so far as I can see, there isn’t a satisfiable definition out there -there’s only an appetite.

Did you know I’m a terrible housekeeper? I’m awful. BLOODY awful.
Organizing is so foreign to me. It doesn’t make any SENSE in my head.

I can’t coordinate colors or apply make-up very well. I don’t follow any trends because I’m terrible at them and keep finding that I actually hate them (Chevron? It’s not pretty. Hombre? Stop.) because they don’t jive with anything I like… which happens to be everything everyone 80+ is currently enjoying.

I eat cookies. A LOT of cookies.
I haven’t been able to work out in a long time, but I still eat cookies. I ate cookies for breakfast and I gave the kids cookies for breakfast.

I forget to send thank you notes, but I write a lot of them.
I forget the birthdays of the people I love dearly but always remember random birthdays of people I knew ages ago who probably don’t remember me at all.
I don’t take care of animals very well, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a kitten. I didn’t consult anyone. I just saw a kitten, wanted it, and snagged it up. And I have to be honest… this little prince has my heart and soul. He gets extra food and love and I’m quite certain I’m his favorite.

I’m spontaneous but I hate change. I hate shopping unless I’m alone in an antique/thrift store… or a yard sale.

And I’ve been grieving lately. I have a job, you know? It’s part time and family friendly. The environment is great, the people I work with and for are amazing (Hi, Mom!) and I’m very blessed to be where I am.
I was LED to my job. Heavenly Father worked everything out and handed it to me, all tied up in a neat, vibrant bow.

But I realized, even as I unwrapped the gift, that unwrapping one gift meant boxing another up tight.

I’m not longer a stay-at-home Mom. I work part time. My routine of cleaning on Monday and cooking on Tuesday is gone. I’m lucky to clean at all anymore. I don’t have Wednesdays for laundry and Thursdays for shopping. There’s no crafting on Fridays.
There’s no home preschool, and the amount of home made meals in our home has decreased from 4-7 a week to 2-3.
I said goodbye to naps, to spending all day in yoga pants, to spontaneous mid-morning crafting with my kids.

I KNOW this needs to happen. This is supposed to happen, and there’s no way in heaven that the Lord would hand me one gift if He wasn’t sure I could handle boxing the other up.
This is good. This is okay.

But guys… I was GOOD.
I was a good stay at home Mom. And sometimes I cry about it, and that’s okay too.
Because along with being unorganized and absent-minded (SOMEone might have just asked her optometrist to fax her obstetrician records to another office… oops. and gross) I am an emotional creature by nature.

And when I read articles about shiny, happy Mormon Mommy blogs, I only make it half way through before exiting out as fast as my pointer finger can “clickclickclickclickCLICKCLICK!”

While my home may not be shiny, it is full. And while I may not be ever-present to plan themed parties and decorate my home the way a mother “should” (whoever came up with that standard…) I do other things. And I do them REALLY well.

I’m creative and insightful. I work hard and I’m a fighter. I fight for what I believe in.
I listen to my inner voice, and I know when to stand up for myself. I use words to express myself. I use my hands to make music with several instruments. I crochet. I know how to bake.
I tell stories and read poetry to my children. Teaching comes naturally to me, and I love to laugh. I find humor everywhere. My life and wardrobe are full of color. My home decor doesn’t reflect any kind of magazine, but it does reflect ME (unless my husband had his way with it, and he often does because sometimes ME is a little too colorful for his comfort).
I’m a daughter of God, a mother of three, and an important person.

THAT is what I see when I look in the mirror.
I didn’t used to, but I do now. What changed? I changed. How did I change? Lots of harrowing hours of Soul Work that led me intentionally toward the art of surrender and the Savior’s atonement.

Today I can feel my grief as I slowly box up my stay-at-home package. I know it needs to be done, and I feel peace. But feeling peace doesn’t always mean I don’t feel grief.
I will feel it -let it wash over me -and I will give it to God. I’ll probably have to do it again tomorrow and again and again and again, but that’s okay. Heavenly Father will catch me.

Even now, I can sense Him behind me, pushing me up and forward. I’m hesitant and digging my heels in, but He’s behind me, both hands on my back… saying, “It’s time. It’s fine. I’m here. Go… forward.”

Today I will go forward with imperfection and grief and humor.
And caramel apples. For obvious reasons.