stage crew

On the shelf above my desk, between a dozen old school directories and half used notebooks hides a red suede journal. In fact, it hid so well this year, I had to clean the entire desk area before the little book revealed itself.

All year long the red book is ignored and pushed aside as we search for more urgent items, but sometime, during the first week of the year, we open it’s pages and scribble our New Year’s resolutions.Well, actually we read all our old resolutions first. Since the book spans back more than a dozen years we have lots of entertaining goals. A few from 2006:

Ben– I will be nice to Stefan.
Stefan– I will be nice to Ben.
Hans– shower and brush teeth every day
Xander- Stop picking my nose.
Gabe– Eat one piece of fruit every day. I will learn to read.
Mary– no hitting, no kicking, no biting, no scratching, no pinching, no licking

Hey, look! They all accomplished their goals. Maybe not that year…but eventually.

But as we filled the lines this year, everyone calling out ideas while I hurriedly scribbled in the right spaces– practice French Horn, learn Russian, two hundred pull ups, make the gymnastics team, be patient, read scriptures every night– I wrote nothing next to my own name.

The next few months are full of so much, SO MUCH, I don’t dare put any more pressure on myself. With all of our birthdays in the next month, Stefan leaving, Ben coming home, I feel like I need to get on the roller coaster and simply enjoy the ride. Except for the fact I’m the engine behind the coaster– nothing happens without mama.

Oh you could argue with me– all these events will come and go even if I don’t do a thing (well, except Ben’s college registration– he’d really be up a creek w/o me). But mothers make birthdays, arrivals and departures, holidays, recitals and even shopping for suits and socks exciting. And I love my role as the magic maker, support staff, cheerleader.

This won’t be a year of much personal development for me– the videography class can wait, I won’t be entering any writing contests and I probably won’t run any races. But I hope to be patient, kind, calm, to take setbacks with grace and well, to actually get everything most things done.

The day of my mother’s funeral I was struck by the thought, “My life is irrevocably changed, but for almost everyone else, it’s just an ordinary day.” The guy in the parking garage still has to collect money, policeman write tickets, kids do homework, the guy at McDonald’s fills one order after another. And I remind myself, when I have important events at my house, I can’t expect the world to stop for anyone else.

Years ago, I apologized to one of my friends when I thought I’d offended her. “Oh, you can’t offend me,” she replied, “I am never offended. I figure 99% of the time, people don’t mean to hurt me and the other 1% when they do– well, they must be incredibly unhappy and deserve my pity.”

I’ve thought about her words thousands of times and even took to reading 1 Corinthians 13 every day for years, but I’ve never been able to fully incorporate the principles. This would be a good year for it, yes? I want to be the happy stage crew– solving problems, arranging the backdrops and lighting, taking the inevitable problems in stride, listening to direction from above and happily shining the spotlight on others.

January 6, 2013
January 16, 2013



  1. jen

    January 14, 2013

    Wow. I’ve been reading your blog since just a little after Ben left so it must be two years now. I can’t imagine how excited you must be!

  2. Kerri

    January 14, 2013

    This is so wise, Michelle. I want to think about this some more. And I love what your friend said about being offended. I think I may adopt her philosophy.

  3. Cath

    January 14, 2013

    First of all, your 2006 goals very much mirror our family right now. Gives me patience and hope!

    And your goal/s of being the woman behind the scenes for your loved ones is so like you. So beautiful and gracious. So willing to make another happy. You are humble and good, and the way you live always inspires me. xoxo

  4. Tracy

    January 14, 2013

    Do you know what – you make me cherish motherhood so much. Thank you thank you thank you. xoxo

  5. Linn

    January 14, 2013

    Good grief, I love this post. Right now is my season to be the stage crew. And I never dreamed I would love it so much. I’m so thankful.

  6. Blue

    January 14, 2013

    some of the best personal development takes place within the quiet, solitude of our own hearts, and makes a far bigger difference in our lives than any number of classes, accolades or external accomplishments. and no one may see the growth, but we are better for it. ♥

  7. Annie

    January 14, 2013

    My year ahead looks quite a bit like yours (with of course our own variations); thank you for the reminder to cherish it. Because I really do.

    I’ll bet if you asked your family, though, they would say you’re one of the stars of the show. Not because you hog the spotlight or even step into it very often but because the magic you create is so essential to the whole, a foundation to their lives, and your presence is so crucial to them. xo

  8. Tasha

    January 16, 2013

    Love this. I’m not a fan of New Years’ resolutions that set you up to fail. Mine this year is to simply be kind to myself. And I think being the stage crew for your beautiful family is much more important than finishing any races or contests 🙂

  9. ellen

    January 16, 2013

    Enjoy everything you’re doing!

  10. Michaela Stephens

    January 28, 2013

    I love what you said about making the magic for everyone else.
    I also love what your friend said about not being offended. I’ve tried really hard to make that part of my life too.

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