I attended Refresh Chicago this weekend. I had been planning this for months. It has been on my calendar since March. I barely made it. Joe and I had a HUGE fight. The kid in our home who struggles the most with attachment chose the week of the conference to have a week of meltdowns. This isn’t atypical once we get into the swing of school. She begins to feel safe and she lets her trauma flag fly. Still, this week though?!? NO!
I missed Friday morning’s session. I almost didn’t get in the car. Then a friend messaged me, “We don’t care how late you are, JUST COME!” So, I dried my tears, loaded up my janky, old SUV, and headed out. I enjoyed three blissful hours in the car, three hours to myself to laugh at podcasts, cry at Tom Petty songs, and to just be alone.
I made it for lunch, for the afternoon breakout sessions, and then for the Friday night general session. Refresh is a religious conference. While religion is painful for me, faith isn’t. Faith is strength in this home. In fact, there are times when it’s all I’ve got to go on, faith that it will get better. Friday night’s general session wasn’t about getting through it though. It was a night to let go of it. A message about faith and about letting go of what is burdening us.
The Refresh leaders gave us each a Sharpie marker and a balloon (never fear, both the balloon and the string are specially crafter biodegradable materials, I didn’t even have to ask, they offered that info up, because they know their crowd). They asked us to write out the things that were burdening us the very most. I took a pic of my balloon.
But, this picture is a lie. I’m going to own that right now. My balloon was full of so many other burdens. I should have taken pictures of those words too. I had a moment of fear about being quite so open though. My daughter is waiting too long, that’s true. That is a huge burden, but it’s a more acceptable burden, because that isn’t within my control. I worry every single day that Isabel will die before we can get there, that she will die without ever having a family.
There were other burdens on this balloon though…
“My marriage is a mess right now.”
“I have a child who HATES me. She might never know secure attachment.”
“I can’t support all the teachers who work for me the way they need to be supported.”
“People hate me for using public resources for my children.”
“There is never enough money.”
“I don’t do enough to fight racism, homophobia and xenophobia to make up for the fact that I was blind to it for too long.”
“I’m fat and ugly. I don’t take care of myself well enough.”
“I am not enough.”
I didn’t take a picture of any of those words, because, “I am scared” was also written on that balloon. I am scared. That might be the biggest burden of them all. I live in fear of never being enough for all the people who depend on me. I drive myself into the ground trying to help everyone else before I help myself. I’m going to do better. I have to do better.
I have to let all of that go. I did that this weekend. It is my prayer that you will read this and let this go as well, because there was another take away this message this weekend.
You’re not alone, and neither am I.
–FullPlateMom, who is here if you need to let go of something, and who hopes to see you at Refresh next year. Let’s make our ‘me too!’ group the largest EVER.