By Leselle Theus
It was only dinner, or so I thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to go to dinner. I love going out to dinner. But, in the last four years, I could count on my fingers how many times I indulged in this sweet pleasure of mine, which was a bummer because going out to a new or old favorite restaurant was “my thing!” I loved it so much that it actually didn’t matter if the dinner was a one or five-star rating because, in my eyes, it was the experience that made my heart smile.
So sitting at the restaurant with my friend felt familiar, and it was lovely.
Actually, it turned out to be more than lovely.
This dinner CHANGED MY LIFE!
It produced a feeling in me that I hadn’t felt in a while.
I got home and walked through the door … practically skipping … floating, even.
“Hello, my boys!” I sang, with my chipper greeting being returned by strange looks from my husband and 4-year-old.
But I didn’t care. I. WAS. HAPPY.
Why did this dinner produce such a high? Why?
Because it was ME. It was 100% me!
I realized that when I became a mom, I gave up on myself. I can’t tell you why, but somewhere in the last four years, I thought that I couldn’t be both me and mom. One had to head to the guillotine. And sadly and quietly, I did.
What followed next was joy in motherhood. Delight in pouring into this brilliant, tiny human. Yet, there was also a silent mourning for me which masked itself in my overwhelm; in my pensive states; in silent screams of “something is missing.” Despite this, I was quick to self-reprimand with the guilt for wanting more, yet having so much to be grateful for.
I love my family. But this fraction of a person longed to walk in wholeness again. It was a longing that felt like a shadow that I couldn’t make out, until now. The shadow was me, wanting to emerge from the background to its rightful place.
So even though I couldn’t have foreseen it, going to dinner that afternoon was not just going to dinner. It was reintroducing me to what I love. To what fills me up. To what makes my heart smile. It reintroduced me to Me.
Here’s the reality. I didn’t have to choose. I just had to pivot. I just had to learn the balance. The balance of what makes me and the balance of filling up and pouring out. Now that I have, it feels great. I am feeling better than I have ever felt in four years.
What was I thinking? What are you thinking? Trying to mom on E(mpty)? Trying to mom without being 100% you? Your family benefits, somewhat. You benefit in no way. But everyone will benefit if you are 100% you.
Monthly dinners are now on the calendar for me. I’ll get to late-night dinners again soon. But for now, reservation at five, please, so I can fill up and then head home to my family to pour out.
Welcome back, Leselle. I missed you.