The more I learn about people and the more I learn about myself, the more I am convinced that one of our basic needs is to not feel alone. We are not meant to be alone. Not physically. Not emotionally.
In the dailyness, when I’m doggie-paddling and hoping to stay afloat, I long to hear a Me too!, to know I am not the only one. During moments of crisis and despair, I seek out the friend who says, Me too! I’ve been there, and I’m making it through. And her words wrap around me like a life jacket, hugging me tightly and keeping me afloat.
Are you sleep-deprived? Did you stumble out of bed, bleary-eyed, to lift a crying child from a crib or fix breakfast for the preschooler who rises with the dawn? Does your house look like the Fisher-Price factory exploded all over the place? Do you even remember the last time you ate hot food? That was me. For years and years, when I was in the thick of having babies and nursing babies and chasing toddlers. That was me. I’ve been there, and it’s hard and the days seem long, but I made it through. You are not alone, Momma.
Do you feel like the worst potty-trainer in the history of potty-training? Sister, you are not alone. And trust me on this one, if there were some sort of contest for this parenting skill, you would rank higher than I did. At some point in the middle of it all, I realized that one of my life’s purposes was to make every other mother feel better about her potty-training skills. But you know what? It’s all good. All of my children have complete bathroom skills now, and we have no idea which of their school friends and soccer teammates were potty-trained a month or six months or even a year before mine were. Hang in there, Friend, you are not alone.
Is your house a mess? Does cleaning house feel like trying to bail water with a teaspoon from a sinking ship? I have been there. Children can make messes faster than parents can clean up messes. It’s part of the law of thermodynamics or something. You may see staged Facebook photos of immaculate homes or peruse Pinterest ideas for organizing your clutter and feel as if you are the only person with piles of mail on the counter and crumbs around the table and an entire Little People zoo overtaking your living room. But believe me, you are not alone.
Do you have a baby who won’t gain weight? A toddler with a developmental delay? A precocious preschooler? A child who can’t read yet? A child whose temper erupts spewing the hot lava of ugly words and broken toys and slammed doors all over your home? Are you struggling to parent a child who might be smarter than you are? Or a child who thinks she’s smarter than you are? Do you spend your late nights researching neurological disorders or medical conditions or curriculum options? Do you love your children more than a hundred-thousand delicious squares of Ghirardelli chocolate but wish they’d leave you alone long enough to enjoy just one square in the dark solitude of your closet? Oh, Friend, we are practically twins!
If horribleness is raining down on you and your world is falling apart, let me hug you and -if you live close enough- offer you a casserole. I have been there. Me too, Sister! If all your dreams are coming true and life is sweet and the sun is shining, I have been there. Let me celebrate with you. Me too, Me too! If all your dreams are coming true, but it just feels blah and you feel guilty for not feeling more grateful, for not feeling more joy, then hear me say, Me too, Friend. I have been there as well.
And whatever it is that you are feeling or wrestling with or wallowing in or hiding from or bravely conquering, if I haven’t been there, I’ve probably been close-by. Or I probably know someone who has been there. And you probably do too. You are not alone. Actually, someone you know is probably feeling or wrestling or wallowing or hiding or conquering or frantically doggie-paddling and is longing to hear your voice, your Me too! Me too! like a life jacket, wrapped tightly, hugging her above the waves.
One of the best things – the kindest, the most loving, the true-est things – we can offer each other is a Me too! Because none of us is made for being alone. And we need to know we aren’t.