Dear Rachel

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“left Over Paint” By Kirsten, “Sun and Moon” By Elle

Wednesday, 20th of April, 2016

Dear Rachel,

Your letter was so helpful to me, everything you said was spot on, and really allowed me to articulate a few things I needed to verbally clarify in myself, like for instance, it isn’t a desire to be famous, it is a desire to share myself and make myself available to more people, and it isn’t a desire to have a fortune, but to have money to use wisely to help others. I think when I was younger I was naive to this, but like I said, when I look back now, there were clues. Once the impetus to give was right, I knew I could embrace my desire to “share myself” and make myself public, basically, just be open and free, the same on the inside and out. Both fame and fortune can create positive energy and power, and really it is the impulse to grow stronger, wiser, and use my resources and skills to my greatest ability that is important to me. Doesn’t everyone want to tap into that part of themselves? To have a reason and the resources to give. It does just turn out that some people end up being really good at something… Like for instance, let’s look at Kelly Slater… the surfer. He never would have said he wanted to grow up to be a famous surfer (well maybe he did?), but you can bet he wanted to shine in his field or otherwise he would not have competed in surf comps. He had to compete so that he could spend his life doing what he loved to do – surf. Some people want to be famous for no good reason at all though, but others need to be famous so that they can secure a position doing what they love. To me, famous people represent those living out an intensive soul calling, on wings – it represents freedom. Of course people are famous for being trapped in something negative too, there are two sides to it, like with everything.

My goal is to communicate well, through writing. I want to be free to write all day long – famous or not. At this point, I am good at mothering and I am free to mother all day long, but when mothering as I know it now comes to an end, I want to have established and invested enough interest in something else that my husband recognizes I have set myself up with another occupation. Cam does not want to be the sole bread winner of our lifestyle forever. He would like to follow his passions too, and have me contribute financially. He loves his career, but he does not really have any other choice, since I had the over riding passion to mother. I feel I have been very blessed to be able to put motherhood first. Also, I made it happen. I blazed my trail to be a mother. I made choices well in advance so I could be a stay at home mother. I knew I had to, for my happiness. Thankfully fate allowed it.

As I said in my other reply to you, it is like motherhood is a meal, and it has completely filled me up, and satisfied me, but one day, with time, motherhood will be digested, and then my tummy will be empty again, and I will need something else to fill me up. I am content with my full belly now, but simultaneously, I have to be mindful of where my next meal will come from. What will fill my tummy when there is no more motherhood left to fill me? Of course there will always be a little motherhood, and then grandmother-hood too, but I know I will have more time on my hands one day, and I will want to do something meaningful. Which is where the notion of having to be more comes in I think… which is likely why I do not feel like enough some days.. because one day I will have to be something more. I wish I could be a young mother forever…. well that is not true, but you know what I mean. You are so lucky, you have two and a half times the children I do. As they say, the beauty lays in being present and grateful.

And my ideals and ego around going home to Australia… it is like I want to take a big plate of metaphorical food back, to nourish my whole family… just because I think I can, and could, and should.

So I write. I write because it feels like another calling, and I write for therapy, and I write for fun. I write whether or not anyone is reading. I write because when the children are asleep at the end of the day I have to do something (besides have sex). I have been blogging for 7 years…and believe me, for years no one read my blog. No-one. My blog has changed a lot over that time… well for starters I do not call it a blog anymore. It is my journal now… it is our journey, and my diary.

So back to the food analogy, and fame and fortune… I want people to have access to my life of being a stay at home mother, because that is what I want to see more of in the world. It seems to me I can help this happen in a few ways a) By making it look so appealing that people want to eat it. b) Jotting down notes so that people can be conscious to make motherhood a goal, e.g. know the recipe on how to cook up motherhood c) keeping it real, so people are aware in advance how much time and energy it takes so that they are prepared and in a better position to cope, thrive and enjoy it.

Do you think we can explain to young women in advance, that some of them are going to want to grow up to be mothers only? That whole “just” a mother thing needs to be thought out… I would love to do high school student talks…touring schools talking about motherhood. That seems like a good stepping stone to a Ted Talk! I knew I wanted to put motherhood first from the time I was a small girl, and I did not really want a career at all… I made sure not to have student debt. I saw student debt as a detriment to finding a partner that would support me to be a stay at home mother. I know love transcends money, but it is a tough reality if you have to say, “I would like to be a stay at home mother but I have $60k of student loan debt.” I want to write a post entirely about that.

Gosh I have had a full day. I spent the best part of it playing with Elle. Today she decided she wanted to build a cubby house outside on the rope clothesline. “I need three blankets” she told me. So I went in and got the blankets, and then she had me put them over the line. The idea was good, but the blankets were not long enough and they were too heavy to peg out and open like a tent. So she quickly came up with another idea, with cardboard and sticks. We went into the basement and found a huge box. She ran and grabbed the Stanley knife so I could cut it open. Then she had me put the sticks in the ground as four posts and she wanted the cardboard set on top of the sticks. It was a breezy day and this idea was not working either. I knew all along neither idea would work, but I had to let her take the lead and fail, so that she could tap into her resourcefulness, and perseverance. She knew exactly what she wanted to do and she would not let me give her any advice anyway. It was great to see actually, even though it was a bit annoying that I had to keep contributing towards something that wasn’t working. It is all process you know…

Then she got a little upset and she allowed me to properly help. “I just want a cozy house!” she said. After that she decided she would build her cubby in the living room. I was finally able to be a good helper. We moved all the furniture in the room around and now one end of our living room is a giant cubby. Elle was so pleased. It had been a long while since we had done this. Her afternoon was spent accessorizing her ‘cozy house’. It was cozy too, it had a lovely rainbow roof made from a long colorful Sarah’s silk and the Mexican blanket.

Sadly Maya was not interested in playing because she still has her nose deep in The You Know Who Wizard series. (Harry Potter).

I cozied up with Elle in the cubby. First we played Chinese checkers in it, and then she read a very long dog book out loud. It was so nice, for half an hour she sat on my lap reading her book to me. Thank goodness for her love of dogs. Having a theme that she adores has made learning to read so pleasant and consistent. Then we did math problems and some painting. As Elle was painting her picture she would not tell me what it was. “I have an idea” she kept saying “but I am not telling you.” and then she said. “It is something mysterious” I was entertained that she said this, and then when it was all finished, she held it up. The title was “Sun and Moon” As she sat there looking at her painting, she asked me, “What do you think came first, night or day?” What a good question that was, I said… “What do you think came first, night or day?” Elle thought day came first. I told her I felt darkness came first… that light was born out of darkness… things get deep with a seven year old.

Then I used up all the paint she did not use. I can not bear to wash paint down the drain. My painting is titled. “Left Over Paint.” A mama should always paint too.

I have been getting a lot of one on one time with Elle since we lost Maya to literature.

Bye for now.

Kirsten x

P.S. I made banana strawberry lassie for breakfast, black bean and walnut burgers for lunch, and yummy noodles for dinner. What did you cook today?

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7 thoughts on “Dear Rachel

  1. Oh Kirsten, I loved this. And as I read it I started to cry. And I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because it is so fitting to me and why I too declined university, because my heart yearned to be a mother. And maybe because when you mentioned Rachel and her 5 children it made me grieve for the other babies I will most likely never get to have. And maybe too because I know this time at home being a mother will have to end far too soon and I’m shitting myself at the thought of having to work and provide for my family. And then the realization that there’ll be a time when I won’t be needed the way I’m needed now and then what will I do?! And I think too I got teary because it all just felt so familiar to me in ways with your thoughts and then with Elle building the cubby and the problem solving it took and it’s funny because I had the exact circumstance with Evie today over her building a cubby in the lounge. And it felt so good reading it all, like I was talking to a close friend who just ‘got’ me. And I’m also feeling this full moons energy and I just had a glass of wine (it was a tough day!) so excuse me for my tipsy rambles but I just had to share with you. And thank you for sharing your life with us. I do hope you make it back here one day so I can give you the biggest hug xx

  2. You are so beautiful Shelley, your sweet heart, and the path you have walked. You have inspired my onwards. Thank you. Bigs hugs right back to you. I look forward to when we meet too. xoxo

  3. Hello, Kirstin! I want to say here, like I did on Instagram, that I hope I didn’t give you the impression on my thoughts on your Dear Courtney post that you personally were seeking fame. I meant there can be a societal pressure to be something ‘big’. The example I gave was the movie Zootopia where the main character feels she is destined to be so much more than a carrot farmer. And that got me thinking about how it was great for her to be something ‘more’ – she was the hero of the story line after all. But there is still something valuable about being a carrot farmer! The world needs carrot farmers!

    As mothers our work is valuable and intrinsically important. One’s childhood shapes a person for their entire lives. A somewhat recent study showed that people with warm and happy childhoods were buoyed by them even into their 80s. And I hope by raising children in love and kindness, they will in turn, be people of love and kindness and that they will be burden lifters on their own journeys here on earth.

    But I too think about what I will do when this season of my life is over. I like to have my sewing and my photography. Perhaps I would like to work as a photographer someday. Or sometimes I think about going back to school and getting my PhD so that I can do research and teach at the university level. That was my original plan before having children. And so I wasn’t at all advocating that motherhood be one’s only path. Just that it is a legitimate and valid one. :) And I hope that was clear. Big hugs!

  4. Your passion is perfect Rachel, you are so inspiring! Oh no, I know oyu were not advocating motherhood be one’s only path, but of course it is a great thing to support, because you do believe in it so strongly. It is hard these days to feel absolute about something, there really is not right path for all people… but yes, lots of us will relate in one way of another, and there is nothing like motherhood for defining us. Oh and the fame & fortune stuff, do not worry about that either, it is just something I an interested in talking about repeatedly because it is FF>> and because the notion of fame and fortune is really part of our times… and sort of something I want to protect my children from, well the negative sides anyway. xoxo

  5. Oh gosh, so sorry I spelled your name wrong up there! I was taking a shower and it dawned on me – I think I spelled her name wrong. Yes, I sure did! Sorry about that!

    I’m glad you understood where I was coming from. I feel that same tension between wanting to honor the importance of motherhood while recognizing that each person has their own path. It’s not an if/or thing anymore and I think that’s really great.

    xxoo

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