Percentages and Margins

every year in the heat of june, a group of our friends pick a river and pack up tents, campers, rafts, and kayaks for what caleb coined riverpalooza. this past summer was our sixth year, riverpalooza 6.0. it’s cool having things that take place every year because it lends an opportunity to see the way things have changed. there were years gunny would not leave my side. this year he kayaked on his own and rode the bike loop with his buddies and just asked me for things like twizzlers and capri suns. fray, on the other hand, would be happy in my lap all day, every day. that hasn't changed much since he was born. he asks for hugs several times a day and has taken to calling me "princess mommy." and hank was content to spread dirt really fast with his hands and then sneak rocks in his mouth. 

on day two, after hardly sleeping the first night, i hit a mom wall. cal and i were bickering and i had gone into the trip totally disorganized. i decided to take hank and sleep at home, which happened to only be 10 minutes away this year. a night of decent sleep and a hot cup of coffee lent time for me to think through what's been going on in my heart. 

i think we are 100% people. this may seem obvious. but we only have so much percentage to give. when i was a mom to just gunny i had much more bandwidth to offer. i poured into my people, work, and him. then fray came and now hank is here and i have like 33.3333% for each of them. a lot of days it doesn't feel like i have enough. with the kids being so little, i only have a small bit left for all the people and things that are important to me.

as i was driving home the night before, tears were falling and i was asking myself, “why can't you be tougher? why can't you handle it all like everyone else? why do you have to feel everything and be so sensitive all the time?" the familiar self-emotional bullying. at home i tended to my flowers and looked at the holy moments of the day. i poured an icy cold chai latte and organized the house. i did all the simple, tiny anchoring things that centered me again. and i tried to talk to myself as i would a friend… ”this is a season, it won't always feel like your percentages are completely taken up, you are normal.”

and sure enough, a couple of weeks later, caleb took the older boys camping on the mesa and some percentage opened up. my friend came over and we drank café affogatos and chillable red wine clinking with ice while i gave hank a bath. i swaddled him and gave him his paci and he cuddled down in his crib and fell fast asleep. my friend and i had time to sit out on the swing and talk about all of the things. a tiny margin.

life right now doesn't have many of those moments of margin; there aren't many percentage points available outside of rushing from one task to the next, one load of dishes to the next, one drive to work to the next, one need from one little boy to the next need of the next little boy.

that night was a tiny margin—a 2% gift to ground me for the week. we gotta grab at these moments of margins as moms to littles. and we have to be careful not to let the toxic voices of shame and doubt tell us who we are just because we are used to their rants. we have to learn to speak back to them, loudly and boldly. and of course, as always, we need our mama tribes to remind us that we are doing alright. we survived another day, mamas. praises.

Palisade, CO

Rickelle takes joy in the simple things in life and can often be found pointing out things of beauty–both big and small. As a licensed Therapist, she enjoys helping others find truth and breakthrough. However, Rickelle's main loves are Jesus and her family. She and her husband, Caleb, have two adventuresome boys. Rickelle also delights in conversation and time spent over coffee with treasured friends.