Michiana Chronicles: Interested?

Oct 22, 2020

The thing I want all of you to know is there was one time I nailed this stay at home mama deal. Sure, it was just that once, but since I left my job in August, I am here for the small wins!  In one day the house was kind of tidy, the kids got haircuts, we researched the past owners of our hundred year old house and I voted.  I also laid out a tray of hot cocoa and fresh oil popped popcorn for a pal and her brood. It was a socially-distanced-bonfire-and-whatever-you-find-in-the-garage playdate. Then I put dinner on the table.  I kind of impressed myself. This ONE day. Feeling accomplished around here is a rare occurrence.

The part that meant the most to me was the voting.  I had lots of feelings taking my girls with me to vote.  I believe it is important and every person should do it.  I told the girls it was a right, a privilege AND a responsibility to vote in every election they can.  I worried as I talked (AGAIN) to my young daughters about the importance of voting and (AGAIN) about the hard fought battle for our votes as women they tuned me out. (When I read this to them, Libby vehemently stated she did not tune me out!)  They do get feisty over politics, fed as they are by our loud, opinionated (and yet fact based!) adult conversations.  I have brought my kids to prayer vigils, to protests, and to courthouses with handmade signs.  I want them to be interesting people.  I want them to be INTERESTED people.

Credit Heather Curlee-Novak

When I speak at mom conferences, I often share a story about what my Dad said to me as a new wife and mother.  I was fumbling through the bleary days of cloth diapers and tiny humans when my Dad asked, “Are you keeping yourself fresh for your husband?”  (Uhhh, what?!?)  As I picked my jaw up off the floor, he clarified.  He was asking if I was interesting.  He wasn’t talking about ladybits, he meant was I more than the sum of motherhood? (AHHHH. Yes!)  It was one of the most powerful questions in my life and that is why I share the embarrassing truth of it with you.  The question asks, “Am I interested in the world beyond my own house and family?  Do I make an effort to learn new things? Do I read the paper, go to weird places, help my neighbors?  Am I interesting to speak with when my husband comes home? Do I take care of my brain as a person?”

This question fueled my life and motherhood ever since.  Last week the girls remarked they know what they eat at dinner is rarely traditional kid food.  They are both pescatarian while John and I still eat meat.  We are proud of their choice and cook vegetarian at home.  We say yes to new adventures and leatherworking and hotglue and learning experiences.  The kids have attended Dr. Martin Luther King Day conferences at the local University, we geocache, and explore the world around us.  We once again take the PAPER Paper so the kids can see current events on their own.  I read poetry and books I would not naturally gravitate to, simply to expand my little hamster wheel mind. I traveled to Sierra Leone & wrote a book.  I try to ask good questions in conversation.  I have finally learned other people have more to say than will come out in surface conversation.  It takes work to shove my family off the couch and walk the dog in a new wild place, but that work keeps things interesting.  It keeps us interesting.

The fastest way for me to improve my life is to do something new.  Movement is what creates change in our souls.  Consider today what new experience you want to undertake?  While our respective adventures may not interest everyone, we are all interesting.  In this season of staying home with my kids, my focus is creating a thirst for interest in them.  I want them to invest themselves in other people, to learn about the world outside their circle and to pursue what makes them sparkle.    What do you know that the rest of us could enjoy and grow from?  What area of learning could you research or borrow or immerse yourselves in? Are you keeping yourself fresh for us?  Whatever your days look like, remember this:  an interested person leads an interesting life.

Music: "Interested" by Sophie Angeles