Time stands still when you lose your child in a large, crowded place. In June, I lost my son in DisneyLand, the epitome of large, crowded places.
We had just ordered lunch and I led the way to a table. My thirsty son started to put his straw in his juicebox. His task became so challenging for his little five-year-old hands that he had to stop to concentrate.
When he looked up he was alone…
At first, when I turned around and noticed he wasn’t behind me, I wasn’t terribly worried. We were right next to the Star Wars Jedi show and I assumed he had just stepped aside to watch the light saber fight.
But every minute I walked around and called his name, every time that he didn’t answer back, every second I didn’t see him, my heart raced faster and faster and my mind begged me to start the process of completely freaking out.
I searched all around the food court, calling his name, looking for his blue and grey striped shirt, his sandy brown hair and his melt-my-heart ocean colored eyes.
He’s not at the Jedi show.
He’s not at the food court.
He’s not within the sound of my voice.
Where could he have gone? Is he scared? God, please don’t let him be scared. Fill him with your wisdom and peace.
Finally, I ran up to a Disney employee and said, “I can’t find my son. What can we do?”
Now, maybe there is a standard “lost child protocol.” Maybe a certain amount of time is supposed to pass before actually declaring a child “lost”.
Maybe I should have waited.
Maybe… I really didn’t care.
I was perfectly willing to be an overreacting mom who ends up shutting down Disneyland if it meant finding my boy.
If needed, I would scream my head off, have everyone stare at my wild eyed woman self if it meant finding my boy.
And if I found my son was in danger, I wouldn’t have had the slightest hesitation about hand-to-hand combat with a seven-foot, 300 pound linebacker-kung-fu-ninja.
He would have been at my complete and utter mama-bear mercy.
I had only one concern, one goal, one determination; to find my boy.
I was willing to take on absolutely anything that might stand between us.
I had no fear, felt no weakness. Nothing could get in my way.
I didn’t care what anyone thought, said or did.
Every fiber of my being was focused on one goal: To find my son.
I was motivated.
What Is Our Motivation?
As mothers, we are passionate about our children. We would do anything to protect and defend them.
But with 18 years to get our job done, we rarely feel that sense of urgency that gives us the focus, fearlessness and determination to do the impossible.
After all, it’s hard to feel motivated when you’re up half the night, the kids are crying all morning, you have no idea what to make for dinner, and your husband just called to say he’ll be an hour late.
It’s understandable that we want, hope for, dream of a mentor to come rescue us from our own weariness and overwhelm.
It makes sense and it’s good to want a mentor.
But friends, we can’t simply wait for one to pull us out.
We must to find our own inner motivation to climb.
We have to harness that mama-bear ferocity that rises up in us when our children are in need. That inner strength that pulverizes excuses and fear.
Because fighting for our kids means we need to battle our own baggage first.
At this point, you might be tracking with me or you might be thinking something along the lines of:
“Thanks, Kat, for that really vague advice…. How exactly does one ‘harness the mama-bear ferocity?'”
I’ve got you covered. Here are a few action steps and a little bonus motivation.
1. Name your goals.
If you haven’t already written down your goals, take time to do that now. Be specific. Be realistic.
2. For each goal, write down a list of things that motivate you.
Write down everything that comes to mind. There are days when “I want to be fit so I have the energy to run races with my children” motivates you, and there are days when the only thing between you and that second scoop of ice cream is “I want to be fit so I’ll look awesome at my reunion next month.” Think about what motivates you, pray about it. Make this list as long as possible.
3. Post your motivations everywhere.
Your bathroom mirror. Inside your refrigerator. On your alarm clock. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing so that you’ll keep doing it.
Bonus Motivation: You Are Already A Mentor
A few years ago, my daughter was drawing on her hand before school. I don’t know why she wrote what she wrote, or if it even made sense to her, but it has inspired and challenged me ever since.
In case you can’t read it, it says, “I will become…”
We are our children’s first mentors. They learn and grow as they watch us.
We can’t stop our children from growing up while we wait for a mentor. So, take time today to “harness your inner mama bear” and write down the motivations that will keep you moving.
What is one thing that motivates you toward your goals?
p.s. I found my son. An angel of a woman found him and called the phone number I’d placed in his pocket that morning. Joy is a lost child found.