Tag Archives: memories

When did I stop playing?



I made a huge discovery the other day that I have to share with you.

I am taking the training for Kids Holy Yoga.  We have been talking about play and how important it is. One of our assignments was to play for 20 minutes.

Oh my gosh this was eye opening!

I decided to swim.  It’s October but I live in Texas and we have a pool and it’s 94 degrees so…why not?

Picture this…it’s mid-day and I decide to put on my swimsuit and frolic in the pool for no reason but to play. To say this felt weird is an understatement.  I was thinking, “What if someone stops by?” I felt like I was wasting time. I had no purpose.  My mind was telling me, “Just swim some laps so you can count this as exercise”.

You guys.  When did this happen?

When did I start needing to account for every minute of the day?  Why was I in the pool feeling like I should be doing laundry or at least reading a book or something.  Weren’t there colleges to research and wasn’t there grocery shopping to be done? HOW WERE MY KIDS GOING TO TURN OUT IF THEY FOUND OUT THEIR MOM WENT SWIMMING ALONE MID-DAY????

Honestly. When did I become the party pooper?

So, I forced myself and started shooting some hoops.  I am so bad.  I can’t make a basket to save my life regardless of the fact I played center in junior high and my dad called me Kareem.

I swam a little and immediately became winded so I started doing handstands and talking to myself under water…”Scooby Doo”…Did you do that? Say things underwater to your friends and make them guess what you said? We had categories.  I was playing TV shows.  By myself.

I did some flips but my ears filled up with water so I stopped.

At one point I chuckled to myself thinking about how long it had been since I just played for no reason.  How long it had been since I had gone in the pool with no regard for how my thighs looked or if my hair was going to get gross or if getting wet was worth it because then I have to shower and get dressed again.

When did this happen?

Years ago.

I sidelined myself years ago.

If I was doing something active, it was for a work out.  I would walk or run or go the gym.  I went because it was good for me and I wanted to stay healthy.  I wouldn’t say any of that was “fun”.  Even my yoga, that I love so much, had become a “have to” in my mind.  I was thinking of it from a “teaching” perspective and I forgot how much I enjoy it.

How does this happen?

I had seen my husband go up on the side of the hot tub and slide down into the pool. There is no slide, he just made up something fun, imagine that? (Side note: He has not sidelined himself.  Ever. He puts on his swimsuit every day after work and jumps in.  He likes the back runs of the ski mountain.  He’s gone sky diving. Friends that went to Mexico with us can attest to the fact that he likes to jump off cliffs and now in Texas, he’s taking up hunting and fishing. If there’s a game or activity happening, he is in. Is this a gender thing?) Anyway, I went in the hot tub and then slid into the pool.  It was fun and refreshing and I startled myself thinking, “I want to do that again!”

When  my husband came home and saw a beach towel out and the basketball in the pool he started asking the kids…Did you swim today? They were like, “No, mom did.” He was incredulous. And envious.  He kept saying, “I always want you to swim with me.  Why don’t you swim with me?”

Ugh. Why don’t I? What the heck have I been doing?  Was I too busy to have fun? Is he thinking…”Where is the fun girl I married?!?!”

I tried to hold my breath and swim across the pool under water without coming up for air.  It reminded me of the many long summer days spent in the pool.  Hours and hours of mindless fun, pruny skin and green hair.  We would leave the pool sun drenched and exhausted.  The next day we would ride our bikes in a pack to do it again. The pool always signified freedom. Summer. Friends. Long lazy days of nothing.

I’m convinced God can do amazing things in those lazy days.  He is the author of freedom.

We spend all this time reading and writing and working and studying and striving and not wasting a precious minute…and yet, He beckons…put that down, come outside, swim with me.  I want to see you laugh and play and be free.

Yesterday, I said “Yes” and I could feel His delight.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved


The Last First Day

Be still my heart.

This is the Last First Day.

My oldest is a senior in high school.  Lord, hold me.

How did we get from this:


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To this:





It seems impossible yet it’s happening all around me.  Kids are growing up.

Last night I went up to Natalie’s room to tuck her in.  Yes, I still like to tuck her in. That’s normal, right? If not, don’t tell me. It just so happened that the other kids followed me last night. That’s totally normal too, right? Is it also normal that I made her lunch today and I might have suggested some cute earrings and a ponytail?  SHE IS ALMOST EIGHTEEN.  You guys…I cannot cut the cord.  I cannot stop.  Seriously, send help.

So there we are, all three kids and mom, snuggling in her bed, tucking her in.  As a mom, I was in heaven.  ALL MY BABIES WITH ME. You guys…I could not help it. I started crying and talking about when she was young and how much I love her and all the feelings and thoughts.  She smiled and patted me, “It’s okay Mom.” “I know Mom.” “Don’t worry, Mom.”

We talked about how it’s the last of the family years. You know, the ones you look back on and say, “Remember when…” Those memories of all the kids in the house, of all the chaos and the mess and the laughter.  I just kept going on and on.  I think they were just stunned, staring at me and murmuring, “It’s going to be okay Mom”.  But yet, they didn’t leave.  They didn’t run out or tell me I’m lame or look at their phones.   They listened.  They let me have my moment. And then a miracle happened.  They let me pray. For them. For me. For dad. For all the moms and kids and teachers and all the world. Amen.

Everything is changing.

But not yet.

We’ve got this year.

I keep reminding myself that with endings come new beginnings and I love new beginnings.  I remember so vividly when it was just me and Natalie during the early days when her Dad went to work and the others weren’t born yet. Just us.  I made mistakes with her. I was lost and confused and usually clueless and she stuck with me.  She didn’t have a choice of course. Where was she going to go?  Plus she didn’t know all mothers didn’t cut grapes into quarters because they were afraid of choking and she didn’t know or care if our house was messy or if I was messy.  I pushed her in the stroller and I took her to the park and I read books to her and we met friends together. We were figuring it out.  I can’t help but think she has a different understanding of me…one only the oldest child can have…from the days when it was just us and we were together in that new beginning.  She was so trusting.  Can you stand it? I mean, aren’t you just so HONORED to be in this?  I’m in awe of this motherhood thing.

Crying again…gotta go.

Praying for all you moms who are feeling all the feelings today.  Let’s vow to treasure the gift of our kids…whenever and however we can for as long as we can.

These are the days we will remember.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved





Clapping and Crying with all the other Moms

I always weep at endings.

The end of the school year slays me every time.

More than any other ending, it marks time for me. The slash on the calendar is dark blood red. This ending has been earned. Yet I don’t want it.

The door closing feels heavy and even though I know I have no power to stop it, I feel like running toward it, asking nicely if it could take it’s time…close slowly…tenderly…give us a few more days.

The slamming seems final. And it is.

Another year of lunches and rides and notes and homework…the cycles of sports and choir and band and art…the friends that hurt and the friends that helped us heal…the joy of newness and the scary stuff…the failing and fumbling and the tears.

All the laughing and running and playing is dying down over here.

No more Barbie Jeep, no more sparkly streamers hanging from handlebars.  No one wants to play on the slip and slide.  I remember days of baby pools and strollers and swing sets…the messiness…the laughter…the living.

Star Wars figures have taken their place on the shelf…dusty and alone.

I’m wandering around the house trying to look busy (to who? I don’t know? The busy police?)…trying to be busy to take my mind off the ending.  But I just wander…not really understanding how I feel.

I look at the bookshelf…a safe place to get lost for a while.  The books mark our journeys from Junie B. Jones to John Green and I can’t seem to part with any.  It’s like a living scrapbook of words that have fed our souls and kept us company.  We will never have too many books. They are our friends…constant and reliable.

I just saw a friend who is moving in a week.  She welcomed us when we moved into the neighborhood 11 years ago.  We have had many a cup of coffee and a glass of wine while the kids played and the years passed. I love her. She was boxing up things and I was in her empty house and I just couldn’t take it.  We both just stood there and cried. No words.

Another ending.

I always weep at endings.

The last of my kids finish up at elementary school this year.  The adorable, loving, little, everyone knows your name elementary school.  The place where they have taught and nurtured and loved my kids for 11 years.  Talk about the end of an era.

We “Clap out” our kids at the end of school.  All the parents line up and clap while the 5th graders march out.  I think they should call it the “Cry out” for me.  I’m anticipating weeping at that ending too.  Hey! We should call it the clap and cry out…clapping and crying at the same time pretty much sums up motherhood.

Weeping seems bad, right? Like I’m unhappy. But I’m not. I swear.

I’m just confused.

How did I go from eagerly anticipating my first baby to having three kids out of grade school (and two in high school!)?

How did I go from spoon feeding peas to worrying about drinking and driving and dating?

My son said the other day that he “hates change”.  He said, “Change is bad”.

Oh no I thought…I have to help him see change in a positive light…change is the only thing we know for sure will happen.  We have to get used to it.  We have to accept it.  It’s not bad…right?

Maybe he thinks it’s bad because I’m over here crying looking at baby pictures.  What have I done?

I specifically remember my mom talking to me about this.  Many times.  It’s an ending sure but it’s a beginning too…or it’s a beginning and it’s exciting and you are happy but the reason you are crying is because it’s an ending too…how many times over the years are we in that space…that in between…the ending and the beginning.

The sadness and the excitement…the saying good-bye and saying hello.  It doesn’t even matter how many times…I always weep at endings.

I remember once I was crying on the phone to my mom during the college years…I was distraught…things were changing…I just had a break up…I was down.  This is what she said to me…no joke…and it worked…”Honey, seriously, stop crying…wash your face, put on some lipstick, get a Diet Coke and Get out there.”

Diet Coke and lipstick…the cure all.

And now I’m the mom. I have to buck up and give the advice now.

Of course I can’t tell my son to put on lipstick.  What’s the equivalent for a boy?

And telling them to have a Diet Coke seems archaic like I didn’t get the memo…so do I say…have an organic green smoothie?  That doesn’t have the same ring to it.

How about this?

Change is part of life.  It’s difficult and it’s okay to cry.  When we cry, we know we are most alive because our heart is feeling things.  When we are sad to move on it means we have loved where we have been and that is a gift.  A treasure.  You are building your story and God is moving you along as you become who you are meant to be.  You take all of this with you.  All of the memories, the people, the experiences, the feelings, the knowledge, the wisdom…you are like a sponge and you absorb it all.  Things are changing yes and so are you – you are ready.  Be grateful. Take a minute.  Let the grateful tears fall…acknowledge that you are a little scared of something new…recognize that you were comfortable and that felt good.  But part of life is getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  Learning that you can do hard things.  Trusting that all will be well.  It’s time to move on now.  You do not go alone.  Dad and I are with you every step of the way.  And God is with you…he knows what you need and He can’t wait to give it to you.  Life is amazingly beautiful. Get out there.

Step joyfully into this new adventure

I will be stepping out with you…clapping and crying all the way.

graduation first step

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved