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(jen and i, taken summer 2010)

while john and i and true settle into our new life, i’ve asked a few dear friends to guest post from time to time over here in this space. i know i will look back on these posts with such tenderness – i’m really leaning into the idea that our friends and family have the most special gift of witnessing this time in our life and holding so much space for us as we find our way.

a day or so after arriving home with true, i sent an SOS email to a few friends. they responded with so much love and care. one of the messages was from jen who shared the the idea that nothing is wasted – that all the challenges that come with a newborn will help me in my parenthood journey as our new family grows together. that all that learning to soothe and comfort and trial and error will come in handy, not just in parenting, but in life in general. nothing is wasted. i asked jen to expand a bit more on this idea and here’s what she wrote. i’m so blessed to have friends like jen who totally get it and who hold so much wisdom…

Trust Will Lead the Way

My dear sweet Kelly Rae,

I wish I could come over and hold that baby boy True while you slept or cried or let yourself sit down and eat slowly, a real meal even. Instead I am all the way on the other side of the country, and all I can do is write letters and send love via text message. I cannot believe you have crossed over to the other side in the never never land of motherhood. Everything is different now. Nothing will ever be the same. This is what they always say, right? What no one tells you is that nothing is wasted.

It’s true.

Little by little the life you once knew will slip away, like so many tiny slips of paper on your studio floor. You will forget how it was before. You will lament what is passing as you watch each little piece float like a leaf to the forest floor. You will worry that you aren’t accomplishing anything, that you are losing time, that you are doing it wrong, that you are not enough–but even this will be needed in the end as over days and months and years you collect the pieces that you lost and recreate the life you love–only this time every scrap will be infused by the magic of one boy True. A boy who insisted that your love was the only way, even when you felt lost or confused or had no idea what to do.

Nothing is wasted.

You know the way that you wander around the studio, gathering your papers and whatever little artifact you think might make your painting beautiful? This is how your new life will be now. Every single thing that seemed fruitless or random or meaningless will be needed in the end. Your artist eye will find it like a long lost treasure on the studio floor when the time is right–for inside every empty moment lies the seeds of patience, tenderness, the raw unraveling you didn’t know could make you feel this alive, this real. And these seeds will continue to grow and shape you long after you have forgotten there was ever a time you feared losing the old you.

Nothing is wasted.

For years, I laid beside Madeleine while she slept, telling her in the night that she could trust now, that the world was safe for her, that she had no need to fear, that Love would hold her when she needed it most. I thought those words were kind but lost in the stillness of the night with her too young to make note or truly take it in. It is only now that I am coming into my own as an older mother that I remember them. It is only now as she enters her young teenage years that I understand that those words were meant for me and that I would need them now twelve years later to become the loving, strong woman she deeply needs me to be.

Nothing is wasted.

Some day True will be a man and he will pass you his baby daughter, the girl you never knew would be yours, and you will hold her and console her and tell him stories of how he cried and how much you loved him and how then you never imagined that knowing how to soothe a baby girl like this one would be a lifelong dream come true. You will tell her kind words before she can understand, and he will remember in a way that he almost forgot that you once loved him when he was small and difficult and new. On that day, Kelly Rae, you will remember how I told you that nothing is wasted and you will see over many years and many paintings and many chapters of being brave in sadness, brave in love that everything belongs.

Especially the parts when we are walking in the dark and have no idea where we are or what we’re supposed to do.

Hang on, dear girl.
You have everything you need now (and later) because Love is holding you.

It’s True.

Your friend forever,
Jen Lemen
Italic
You can read more from my friend Jen at jenlemen.com where she writes about what’s real and true with her heart wide open.

Hi, I'm Kelly Rae Roberts!

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my whispers and started playing with paint and everything changed. Now I’m a full-time artist, author and Possibilitarian, who helps women explore their creativity, nourish their souls and build a thriving creative business.

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