Michelle Massie is a family coach with LSSND's Family Coaching program. Each month on the Coach Michelle blog, Michelle shares insights and reflections on her experiences as a mom, wife and family coach.
She was the one, the one who crawled last in the line of hundreds of other kids headed north to the pasture. She was a big girl, and she carried extra weight and pain with each stride. Her head down, her breath heavy, her face as red as a tomato, soaked in sweat, she turned to look at me and breathlessly muttered, “I quit."
I was her nurse, and it was summer camp six years ago. The whole week, I had heard excuse after excuse from her on all the reasons why she was checking out of her life. Reason after reason why she spent most of her time faking sickness at the health lodge and not participating in arts and crafts, playing soccer, riding horses, or lastly, making it to the north pasture for our traditional sacred fire.
And, on the last night, with her “I quit” halfway to the fire, my kindness broke just like her lifeless legs let go as she fell into the grass.
I broke, my patience broke, my empathy and understanding broke. My God-given quality of compassion broke.
And I heard myself, clearing my throat and speaking loudly like this:
“Girl, you quit years ago. That’s all I have been seeing this week: you quitting. You feel sorry, feel shameful to tell me that you quit. Well, look in the mirror and tell her, tell that tired girl, that you quit. I am just wondering how long are you going to be sad and continue quitting and living your life with quitting on repeat? Life is waiting. God is waiting. Your friends are waiting in the north pasture. Today, the waiting game is over. The 'I quit' story does not work for this momma/coach/nurse. Today the 'I quit' isn’t an option. Get up. One foot in front of the other. We're headed north….NOW."
She slowly stood up, speechless, looking at me glaringly with tears rolling down her eyes, moaning as she put one foot in front in front of the other. Then, I felt the wetness of my own tears dripping down my cheeks.
That’s when I realized that this momma/nurse/coach was also speaking loudly to….. herself.
Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, Grandpas, and Grandmas: why do our kids trigger us? Why do they make us break and lose all the warm, empathetic feels that we know we have?
I believe they show us where we need to grow ourselves. They model to us where we need to let the light in, to heal. They are our reflectors.
So, here’s to a new year. The walk of 2021. Here’s to a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other for 365. Here’s to more happy and less sad. Here’s to no more waiting games, and here's to saying goodbye to excuses. Here’s to more pep talks (and maybe more empathy, understanding, and compassion).
And, most importantly, here’s to more reflectors that break us open.
Let’s do this life together with our kids, one foot in front of the other, NOW.
With Warm New Years Blessings,
Michelle Massie is a family coaching specialist for Lutheran Social Services in Dickinson, ND. She works with families on raising children — birth through adulthood — as they navigate through rough waters.
Michelle ensures families have the right materials at the right time to construct, maintain or repair well-being.
Call 701-223-1510 or fill out the form at lssnd.org/help to get connected with this program.