I had a chat with another mother recently about the state of our country right now and how hard it has felt to stay connected to our humanity…to turn our sadness and anger into responsibility and social action, to not shut off, to keep showing up to parent our children mindfully.
I decided I want to share one story each week for the next year about an engaged mother and her child that will reconnect us to perseverance, heart and resilience. To that spark in all of us, and in our children, to pursue the things that matter, even when we feel like we might want to give up.
Honored to share this first one from a powerful writer who has persevered through years of addiction to come home to herself and her family, and who isn’t afraid to use her powerful writing to stand against policies that hurt families, Janelle Hanchett.
I’m excited to share a conversation with Janelle on the podcast Thursday and will link here to a recent post on her Renegade Mothering Blog that connected me to the separation of families in a visceral way.
And, if you have a story of your own, or one from another mother on a quest for a future installment of Mother’s Quest Tales of our Humanity, please hit reply and tell me about it. Make sure to like the Mother’s Quest Facebook page if you want to see future stories.
Here’s to Janelle, her thoughtful partner, and her daughter Ava. To resilience, heart, and connection. Here’s to being mindfully engaged as parents. Here’s to our humanity
Week 1 of 52
By Janelle Hanchett, Renegade Mothering
Hey, so do I have a story for you, shared with the gracious approval of my teenager.
So, many of you probably know my 16-year-old, Ava, joined a mountain biking team a few years ago. She’s never been the fastest, but she works her ass off. Her dad, Mac, has been with her the whole time, driving all around Northern California, going on rides with her, fixing her bike.
It’s a lot.
Anyway, every year they have a camp up in the redwoods near Mendocino, where they bike and work on their skills. This year, Ava announced she isn’t going. When we asked her why, she explained that she is always the last biker during the rides. She’s isn’t getting better and she’s sick of it. And she can’t take the embarrassment.
Mac and I sat there rather stunned. We explained that it’s in the freaking mountain redwoods of Mendocino, and she got a scholarship, and kids would die for such an opportunity. But she was adamant. By day three of her nearly constant declarations of refusal, we sat on the porch and Mac looked at her and said “You don’t have to go, but if you don’t go, I am done with biking. I won’t do it anymore.“
And then he walked away.
It was a bold move, and a little out of nature for Mac and me, but I knew why he did it. I believe Ava actually stomped her foot. I looked at her and explained that it wasn’t “blackmail” as she had indicated, but rather a natural consequence of the situation. I explained that the biking takes a huge toll on our family, it is a lot of work for us, and if she isn’t willing to put the work in, neither will we.
We either demonstrate our interest, do our part, or we don’t.
She glared at me.
Mac went into her room later and said, “You know, Ava, whenever I ride with adults, I come in last, too. But I’m not there to come in first. I’m having a good time where I am.”
Now, she thinks her Dad is a pretty cool guy, and when he said that, something shifted in her, and she apologized for being “an entitled jerk” and decided to go.
When Ava walked away from my mom into the camp, she said, “I’m going to have a great attitude.”
Every year, at the end of camp, the counselors choose one camper to receive a new bike. They say it’s the camper that most exemplifies the spirit of the camp.
And this year, they gave it to Ava, in a unanimous decision.
Because of her support of other kids, how hard she tried, how she helped clean up and picked up trash on the trail. They said her spirit lifted the whole camp.
She texted us a picture of the bike her in tent. She glowed when we saw her on it. She said, “And to think I almost missed this.”
To think we almost missed it. Fear, the bastard. Ego. Man, we have to show up, come in last, and pick up some fucking trash along the way.
And see what happens, you know, when we set ourselves aside. Maybe a new bike. Or a parenting lesson that actually works. Or a whole world.
How can a mama hold this much joy.
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Stay Tuned for this Week’s Podcast Episode
I am looking forward to sharing this week’s podcast episode with Renegade Mother, Janelle Hanchett. It’s a powerful conversation about claiming our truth and goes live this Thursday! Watch out for it and make sure to subscribe to the podcast to have it delivered to your phone!
If you want to get the full story of Janelle’s journey in anticipation of the episode, order her honest, gripping, and surprisingly funny book I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering today.
Milestone Rite of Passage Coaching Session
The focus of the last episode on the podcast with my son Ryan was about honoring the milestones in our lives. I’ve learned that when we’re moving through these periods of transition, it can be so powerful to slow down and reflect on our experience. If you’re on the verge of a new chapter and would like coaching to cross the threshold thoughtfully, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about my Milestone Rite of Passage Coaching Session. I’d love to help you gather your lessons learned and clarify your vision for what’s ahead.
Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life
Join me for the first “Spark Your E.P.I.C. Life” Pilot! Four consecutive weeks of one-on-one coaching using a signature process I’ve been facilitating in my circles this spring 🍃
I have space for three clients to experience an intensive, one-one-one, four-week coaching process this summer. Could this be you?
✨Do you feel like you’re on the threshold of a powerful shift in your life?
✨Are you ready to spark new perspectives, new ways of being, and some E.P.I.C. action of your own?
✨Have you wanted to participate in the Mother’s Quest Circle but the timing wasn’t right or you prefer to work one-on-one?
We’ve had an amazing experience in the Mother’s Quest Virtual Circle and I want to bring the same practices and flow to work one-on-one in a more focused period of time…over one month instead of three.
Interested? I’d love to schedule a time to check-in about what’s happening in your life and how this could support you.
✏️Sign up for a discovery session at this link or message me some times that could work for you if you don’t see something that fits your schedule. https://mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession
Love the idea of an uplifting story a week – to support focus on building connections and what works.
I may have something to share with you in the near future.
You are an inspiration Julie!