What I Discovered Under the Sink

How an old toy bin reminded me to keep growing

While searching for sunscreen under the bathroom sink, I discovered that baby oil had leaked all over the Sun Bum sunscreen and boxes of Band-Aids. But the next thing I discovered intrigued me more.

When I pulled out the plastic bin to wash it, I noticed a label stuck to it.

It said:

BIONICLES

I don’t even remember what Bionicles are — a type of Lego or Transformer, maybe? This must’ve been my son’s old toy bin.

As I peeled off the label, I got to thinking.

We have a lot of labels as people. Sometimes they’re hard to peel off.

Labels from the jobs we used to hold. Or the roles we play in life.

After my husband’s bike accident 6 years ago, I was full time CAREGIVER. When that role was no longer needed, I had a hard time peeling off that label. I wanted things to be back to normal — just husband and wife — but sometimes I had a tendency to caretake when it wasn’t necessary anymore.

I do it with my kids sometimes too.

Yesterday, I made a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for my 16 year old and I cut it in to quarters.Wha?!?!What’s the label I’m holding onto there?

MOMMY?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making someone a sandwich. It can be an act of love. But sometimes we’re not doing these things for the person we love.

We’re doing them for ourselves.

To feel needed.

Significant.

Fulfilled.

To hold onto the label of MOMMY a little longer.

Maybe your child just decided they don’t want to play the sport they once loved, so you’re no longer going to watch their soccer games or bring snacks to the volleyball tournaments. You’re no longer that Team Mom.

What do you want to take on next?

What new labels would you like to describe yourself?

I know a 54 year old TV producer who went to DJ School after her daughter left for college. And now she DJ’s parties for fun.

Another woman was a traveling sales rep and now works with kids with special needs.

I know a 77 year old who tried zip lining for the first time last summer.

It’s never too late to try a new label. Or peel off an old one.

What’s something you might like to try? Do it before you show up to Thanksgiving dinner. Give them something new to talk about over the pie.

Teacher. Coach. Founder of Your Next Chapter, helping women take small steps toward big dreams. www.your-next-chapter.com

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