I’m conducting a little experiment. My family and I, we are the only participants. Or more precisely, my husband, our youngest daughter and I are the only participants – though neither of them knows they are part of an experiment.
Let me explain.
One Saturday about a month ago I discovered, among our youngest daughter’s beauty items, a product designed to enhance curls. I have a bit of body in my hair, but usually I style it straight. When I saw the curl-enhancing product I decided to give it a try. I was amazed at the results and eager to hear my family’s surprised responses.
I waited the entire day.
By evening I could stand it no longer. Hadn’t they, I’d asked, noticed something different about me? My husband, struggling to discern exactly what was different, just stared. Our daughter, on the other hand, matter-of-factly stated that I’d styled my hair differently. She was clearly bored with the topic.
A few weeks later I decided to wear my glasses. (I have previously not needed corrective lenses.) When I kissed my husband goodbye that morning I thought he’d tell me how cute I look in my new glasses, but he said nothing. Maybe he didn’t like my glasses, I thought. By mid-morning I decided to text him.
“Did you notice anything different about me this morning?”
I took a picture of myself and sent it to him.
“Oh! They look cute and so professional,” came his reply.
Then earlier this week I had an especially stressful day, so I decided to wear the same outfit the following day. I was emotionally exhausted and didn’t want to use energy trying to decide what to wear. Plus, the outfit is one of my favorites, which made it easy to decide to repeat it.
I thought my family would notice. If they did, neither of them has said anything.
So, as an experiment, I’ve decided to continue wearing this favorite outfit to see how long before one of them asks, “Hey, what’s with the uniform?”
Today marks the fifth consecutive day repeating this favorite outfit.
Let me just say, this is all in good fun. It is providing some much needed amusement and distraction.
But it does make me wonder how much I miss when I look at my husband, our daughters or my friends. How often am I distracted with thoughts of groceries, meal prep and all the million little details needing attending to that I don’t see them? I mean really see them.
One of the main reasons I chose to start the Unnesting blog was to figure out how to stay heart-connected with our girls as they grow into adulthood.
Jennifer Senior, in her book All Joy and No Fun, notes that connection is “made up of a thousand gossamer strands” by which I believe she means connection is a fragile and delicate thing.
I believe another interpretation of her observation is that connection craves an eye trained to observe the subtle details of the lives of our loved ones. It requires a conscious effort to remain present in order that we might learn what the other needs and how best to love them right where they are. When we fail to see with intention, we risk the fragile bonds that connect us to our children, our spouse, our friends.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
EXPERIMENT UPDATE – Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
About a week was all I could stand of repeatedly wearing my favorite outfit.
First, there was the day when I traipsed off to the local hardware store for gardening supplies, feeling more than a little ridiculous in my business-casual outfit.
Then, there was the fact that this favorite outfit was beginning to weary of being laundered multiple times in quick succession.
And finally, I found that I was beginning to dislike this long favored outfit.
So, one night, as my husband and I sat comfortably together in our living room discussing one of those emotionally-heavy topics typical of this stage of life, I decided to tell him about the experiment.
“On a lighter note,” I said, “have you noticed anything about my attire lately?”
He stared back blankly. Clearly, he had no idea what I was talking about.
I gestured to the clothes I was wearing and explained that I’d been wearing this same outfit for seven consecutive days. At that we both burst out laughing.
It was good to laugh together. This unnesting stage can be so hard on our mama-hearts, on our relationships with our kids, and on our relationship with our spouse.
However, so often it’s these difficult roads that lead us into deeper dependence on God, the author and perfecter of our faith. So I dig into His word where He speaks to my heart, sustaining me with His peace.
And I continue to look for opportunities to laugh with my husband, believing that, despite how challenging this season may be at times, we will get through it together.
As Kelsey said, “This too shall pass, just not very quickly.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13