Wasn't Jesus the original hippie? With his sandals, dress and kind, compassionate, tender, joyful nature? What a loaded word that is! I am oftentimes called a hippie – in some ways, I am, some not. I am an Older Mom with Young Kids and Older Kids, Four in All – Remarried, Striving to make a Step Family with Love and God's help.
‘The Best Nest’ was one of my eldest child’s favorite books. One of those books that I ended up reading several hundred times.
I never did care for it as the Mama Bird seems quite rude and unappreciative, demanding a new nest from her husband as she feels her current one is not good enough.
Not me. I have always gone out of my way to do everything I could for everybody at any expense … especially when it came to my children.
But sometimes, this leads to hitting a brick wall.
In the book, to build their new nest, the birds get some straw, some horse hair, some man hair … me, when I needed to build my nest, I got my Ipod, some books, water bottles, healthy snacks … and I retreated.
Sunlight streaming through the windows, peaceful music playing – away from the messes and demands of a busy household.
Oh, and most importantly, my brand new baby … to figure her out, to just stare in wonder at this gift from God, to recharge and to Just Be.
Drifting. Nursing. Welcoming every nook and cranny of this new addition to the family. Time floating by. Listening to my body which had screamed at me for years, ‘Stop’!.
It took me four children and 42 years of living before I finally learned how to make my nest. My family has a history of high blood pressure, and I have lived with it on and off since my 20’s.
On child number three, I was put on bed rest with preeclampsia around week thirty-three. I had recently remarried, was caring for my two sons and was beginning to ‘blend’ a step-family which is no easy task.
I may have been on ‘bed rest’, but I did not build a nest. I still stressed and fretted from the couch trying to do everything I could to provide and take care of others.
With child number four, I was determined to avoid bed rest so I watched everything I ate and exercised every day. Life was a bit more on the sane side (which is funny because it was still quite crazy), and I felt more secure.
Security is so important to a pregnant woman. When your body is building another human being, you need to feel as if someone else has your back – the more, the better. What husbands, supportive extended families and close friends can do for a pregnant woman, especially if it is your second, third, fourth child …
To get that desperately needed daily break from being responsible for little ones – the blessed nap where you can tune out the world and know that someone trusted and responsible is taking care of your children. And more importantly, in the larger sense, the ‘you are not alone, I have you covered, while you are building another human being, if things arise, I will be there for you’ sense.
That is so essential.
On pregnancy number four, I made it to week thirty-seven, and then, just as my other three pregnancies, I delivered three weeks early.
In the hospital, with that beautiful button to call for every need, my blood pressure stayed within the normal range.
I felt …. Okay.
But as soon as my husband took me home, the minute I walked in to …
Mom!!!!! I’m so glad you are home, do you know where the green football is? I needed that permission slip signed … I am at negative five dollars for lunch money. Mommmmmmmeeee, can you read me a book, puhhh lease???
And the dirty house with undone chores that my husband and mother were struggling to keep up with … hit me in the face.
My blood pressure soared.
If you have had high blood pressure, you will know that it makes you feel very, very, very cruddy. Your eyesight goes. Your adrenaline and your anxiety sky rocket.
It is a horrible ’everything’s gone wrong’ feeling.
Add to that sheer and utter, it’s-been-eleven-years of lack of sleep, caring for little ones, a lot of the time feeling as if the entire weight of the world (or at least your household) is on your shoulders. Don’t screw up. Don’t mess up their lives. Don’t stop, don’t breathe … work, work, work.
And I was done. Capital D, capital O, capital N, capital E. Done. Stick a fork in it, turn it over – I was Done.
And my beautiful, wonderful, caring doula came over in my frantic, ‘I can not do this‘, ‘oh my God, what is wrong?’, I-am-freaking-out stage, and said ’Karen. Stop. Build your nest and stay there.’
‘It is Okay. Everything is okay. Your husband, your mom – they have it. ’
‘Stop. Recharge. Get to know Georgia.’
‘Stare into her eyes and know that everything you have given and will give … is worth it.’
Wow. The voice of God. It oftentimes does come from others, you know.
One time, I read a parent article about being ’to-the-bone’ tired, too tired to open a peanut butter jar.
I know that feeling.
Walking down the stairs was an effort. One time a day, that would be my big excursion. Afterwards, my heart would be pounding, and my blood pressure soared.
In my nest, I was okay.
But getting out of my nest, was downright scary. I had the thought, ’what if there is a fire or something?’ I honestly didn’t know if I could get out of the house on my own.
Do you know that feeling? It is one of the scariest feelings in the world. Not being able to do for yourself. Not being able to provide for yourself. Having to rely on others and trust completely. Fully.
But that is what we all come into the world doing. And a large percentage of us will go out doing.
In between, the trick is to have these moments when you do the same. When you let go, and know that everything is okay.
One of the many reasons children are great life teachers, especially multiple children, is because you learn there is no way to control things, and you must have those moments when you just ’let it go’ and trust that God, your spouse, your family, your friends, your neighbors – someone, and God has always put that ’someone’ there when I needed them, will be there.
I got through that rough period. Moment by moment, I regained my strength.
And nowadays, I am appreciative of all the times that I daily climb up and down my stairs, take the children around the block and lug all of the things to all of the activities … that I have the energy to do this.
And sometimes, I don’t.
Sometimes, I still hit that brick wall.
But my nest is still there, and on those moments, I retreat to it, turn off the world – knowing that it will still be there when I return.
This Nest really is Best.
Do you know a Mama that needs a nest? Do you have your own Nest?
Colette O'Neill, Innovator of Goddess Permaculture ~Plantswoman ~ Teacher ~ Writer and Photographer
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