It’s been over 4 months since I’ve written in this space of mine. There was a time when I felt like hitting publish here was something I could do in my sleep and now? Well, it’s become my place to write now and then. I didn’t think I would ever be okay with that but as time as went on, I really truly am. I’m also grateful for those of you who check in and read whenever I do post something.
I’ve been feeling guilty this week. Really, really guilty. For the past few months I’ve been throwing little pity parties for myself over things that other people probably wish were their only problems: family drama…husband working a lot…limited funds for summer activities…etc ETC. Then a couple weeks ago I decided I needed to give it over to God. All of the times in my life where things became clear, or things worked out in the best way for me were times when I leaned on The Lord. The peace and comfort I felt at those times are indescribable and I was mad at myself for even attempting to handle life on my own. It was then, when I surrendered, that things DID become clear as they always have in the past.
What’s ironic about two weeks ago is that I actually looked at this blog and thought man, my last post was about my aunt back in April. My top post is kind of sad on here and now she’s doing so much better and things are looking up in all the areas I spent worrying about all summer. I should post something happy so my top post will be happy because I’m a lot happier now than I was a couple weeks ago.
But I didn’t. I left my top post about my aunt.
Monday afternoon I got a call from my aunt. She’s been given a short time to live. The cancer has taken over in too many ways. She decided to go home and spend the rest of her time with the people she loves in the home she loves. Through both our sobs we talked about the past and I promised her I would see her when I’m back in Ohio in a few weeks. Later that night I remembered this blog and how my last post was about her…and I was sad then. I never updated it to mention how she had beat it just 3 months ago and now it’s back again…for the third time.
I’ve spent this week ridden with guilt…the kind of guilt that literally weighs your chest down. I can’t imagine having to call anyone I love to tell them I’m going to die soon. I can’t imagine knowing that while I knew I was going to be with Jesus, I would be leaving people who needed me behind. I have spent hours and hours consumed with myself and my own problems that are still problems to me because problems are relative but in the grand scheme of things, they are temporary.
My aunt’s peace inspires me. She is so comforted with the thoughts of being in Heaven. I pray I can be that way if I’m ever in her position.
So, through my guilt this week of realizing my priorities needed some serious tending to, I have spent time thinking about the good things I have and reminding myself that I am so very blessed. I pray I remind myself daily to not take things for granted because things can change so fast. Cancer is such a terrible thing and more and more lately good people that I know and/or love are being taken because of it.
My best friend told me this morning that our greatest gift is our health. That is something I needed to hear because she is right. With my mom and my aunt having so many health problems, I need to be even more grateful for my health, The Man’s health, and my girls’ health.
I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. I’ve learned that time is precious and things can and do change in an instant. The only thing we are guaranteed is right now, the present, which we’ve all heard is called that because it IS also a gift.
My heart is still very heavy with sadness, but at the same time it is heavy with gratefulness.
Grateful for health. Grateful for the right now. The present. The gift.
There’s a saying that goes something like your children are your hearts beating outside of your body.
What a very simple way of saying something so very complex and yet so absolutely true.
I know I’ve been absent from my blog for almost 2 months now. It’s taken me a long time to come to the place I am now regarding social media and blogging…blog/Tweet/Facebook/Instagram when I want and when I don’t? Don’t. It sounds simple and yet it was VERY hard for me to get here because so many of my friendships have been made online. Yes, most of my “online” friendships have been taken offline to meet ups or even vacations together but the fact remained that I wouldn’t have these friends if I hadn’t been online a lot. So, being in the place I’m in now is a huge milestone for me.
I was struck with inspiration to write this post at like 11 pm last night and really, I should have written it then but I waited until today so it’s probably not going to come out as well or as passionately as it would have last night but I’m going to try anyway.
It started much like how I’m sitting now…with a cup of coffee. I made myself coffee late last night after the kids were in bed and The Man was still at work. The TV was on the background but I wasn’t watching it. Instead I was staring across the room at the couch. There were a few toys piled up on it and my usual response would be to make a mental note to nag the kids about it the next day because we have a new rule that the toys have to stay upstairs now. Instead? I smiled. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled at a mess of toys in my 10 years of being a mama.
I had a feeling of relief. It came out of nowhere. For some reason I instantly thought of the grief friends of mine have faced in their loved ones dying way too early in life. I pictured moms and dads who would give anything to stare at a mess of toys just one more time. I thought of kids who weren’t blessed with piles of toys because they live in poverty. I thought of parents who were on their death beds and memorized messes of toys because they knew their time was short on Earth and they wanted to remember every little thing. I’m pretty sentimental and emotional and yet most days these things don’t strike me…especially not randomly at 11 at night.
After I thought of those things I thought of my girls upstairs sleeping. Two perfect, beautiful girls lost in dream land lying side by side in the same bed. I was so overcome with love and appreciation right then. I am so glad that my girls get along so well together. I am so grateful that Hannah, 10 years old and 6 years older than Livie, is so good to her and includes her instead of excludes her. I am so grateful that I have two girls with this incredible bond that will surely last a lifetime. I am so grateful that the dreams I had for my family life have come true in some way or another. I thought of The Man and how his latest text said he would be home soon and how grateful I was that he is so dedicated to us…his girls…his 3 women as he says.
Hannah told me that my sister told her she’s glad she’s having a baby boy in June because she’ll be the only girl in the house still. I could tell she was looking for me to say something wise about that considering that none of us were the only girl in this house. I told her “Well, that’s nice for her and I’m sure a lot of moms say that when they aren’t blessed with daughters because they don’t know what it’s like to have a daughter. And that’s okay. I’ve not been blessed with a son so I don’t know any different but you know what? I’m glad I’m not the only girl in the house. I never wanted to be and never will want to be.” She smiled after that and I smiled too.
The days of painting their nails and Hallmark movie marathons are just beginning. The tender side of The Man I see when he fathers his baby girls is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.
God gives us what He wants us to have and He wanted me to have girls just as much as I wanted them.
They are my heart beating outside of my body.
There will still be days of nagging. I will still lose my patience. They will still tell me they’re mad at me and slam their doors. I will still want to run away for a few hours…or days. These girls challenge me and inspire me at the same time.
So the pile of toys that I stared at last night that usually would make me crazy? It’s still there…and I’m still smiling.
Today Hannah came downstairs with her iPad while Face Timing her friend. With a smile on her face, she said “Mom. Madison wants me to spend the night at her house. She wants you to Face Time with her step dad so y’all can meet and I can go over there.”
This is not the first time she’s bombarded me with a sneak attack Face Time moment except the other times it was just to have me say hi to her friends. I was annoyed those times but I let it go. Today I did not.
I told her I was busy and to hang up. Once she did, I lost it. I yelled at her and told her it’s inappropriate to “meet” parents on Face Time and I sure as heck wouldn’t talk to a parent for 2 minutes on Face Time and just let her spend the night. I also reminded her that it’s rude to just surprise me with Face Timing anyone, parent or a friend. I also told her that it’s rude for her friends to put their parents on the spot as well. I ended it with if she ever did it again, I’d take her iPad.
She was mad. I was mad. And it ended with her stomping up the stairs.
If your kids have Face Time, have this discussion before this happens to you and you’re the one sounding like an asshole while I’m sure the other parent is somewhere close by and can hear you say you’re too busy.
I feel like I suck at this mom thing about 32% of the time. It’s definitely a learning journey and Hannah, God bless her, gets to be the one I figure things out with.
And now for some happier moments from the past couple weeks. It rained for like a week straight but then for the past week? Sunshine. 70 degree weather. No humidity. It’s been amazing and we have been outside a lot.
You got it dude
Coffee on said patio
Foggy drives on country roads
Smiles because it’s nice out. And also the only pics I’ve taken on my DSLR in weeks because I suck at New Years goals but also because Instagram is an addicting whore and I take all my pictures on my phone so I can post them there.
May this weekend be filled with smiles and less drama around here.
Wanna know the last time I got excited to throw my kids a birthday party?
When Livie turned 1. And before that? When Hannah turned 1.
My reason for saying this is because until Hannah turned 9, for her 8 other birthdays, I threw big parties. I STRESSED OUT. I invited all of our family and some friends. I spent money (that I currently don’t have) on decorations and a cake, presents, food…etc. Last year I asked Hannah if she wanted a party or if she’d rather us give her a bigger present and have a little party with just the immediate family. She opted for the bigger gift and I’ll tell you what- that’s the way to go.
I can remember about 3 of my birthday parties ever. Sure, there are pictures and I knew I had fun but to actually remember it?
This year Hannah opted for a hotel night with her cousins instead of a party and I guarantee you she’ll remember that way more than one of her other parties.
Livie’s birthday is next month. Her first and second birthday we did parties at home with just a few people. Last year for her third birthday we invited A LOT of people- all of our family AND friends, got a bouncy house plus all the food and decorations. Want to know the difference between this
About $200. Why?
The first picture was just the close family with no extras with just a cake and a few decorations. Last year I went all out. What I realized today? Both parties were fun. Both were memorable….FOR US. She’ll never remember either one.
I’ve been mulling over what I wanted to do for her birthday next month. I can’t get away with no party like I can for Hannah yet BUT do we really need a bouncy house? Do we really need balloons and decorations?
No. We don’t.
So here’s what I decided and after getting the opinion of a few close family members I knew I made the right choice: have the immediate family over, get a cake, skip the decorations, skip the bouncy house, make an easy and cheap spaghetti dinner, and call it a day.
She’ll still have candles to blow out. She’ll still have presents to open. She’ll still smile and know it’s her special day. And us? We’ll have saved a LOT of cash.
Kids birthday parties are expensive to throw. And since I suck at being thrifty and pinterest is a nightmare to me, throwing the party like this is all I came up with and also all I’m willing to do. Life keeps getting more expensive, I keep getting overwhelmed, so this year I decided to make some changes but still give our baby a good party.
Related: can you believe she’s going to be 4 next month? Oh. Em. Gee.
Also, a couple quick random pics because I still am so grateful they play together even if they’re 6 years apart.
Here’s to minimizing stress and expenses in 2013!
I will continue to enjoy my life with my girls and really take the time to enjoy things like Christmas mornings just a little bit more…
and continue to appreciate how amazing my in laws have been in adopting me as their own since my family is so far away…
and also to continue to appreciate how amazing The Man is to me and how blessed we are to have brought in our 15th new year together…
and to continue to love how gorgeous it is here even in the winter.
There will be ups and downs this year just like there have been every year before this one. It’s how we handle the downs to make it back to the ups that keep us going.
Goals for this year to keep the ups coming:
Go to church more
Stand up for myself more
Take more pictures on my actual camera
Read and comment on the blogs of those of you who read and comment here
Here’s to a fabulous 2013.
When I was a kid my mom used to buy album after album of Christian songs for us to sing and learn. She brought us up in a very Christian home and we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. I never minded though at that age because I loved the albums we had and I have very vivid memories of my sisters and I dancing and singing all of those songs.
When I woke up Friday morning I began my day just like any other day. I made coffee, packed backpacks, and took Hannah to school. Livie and I are off work/school on Fridays and we spend our whole day running errands with family so like every other Friday, that’s what we did. We went to breakfast. We went to the post office, Target, the mall…and finally ended up back here at our house so my sister in law and I could watch Grey’s Anatomy. Such a simple, run of the mill day. Halfway through watching Grey’s, The Man texted me that there was a shooting at an elemetary school in Connecticut. I paused the TV right away to read what I could find online. I read from our local news station’s website out loud to my sister in law and we both sat there wondering how in the world this has not only happened again, but this time in an elementary school.
Later that night through tears I began to think about how those babies must have felt in their last moments when suddenly I remembered a song from one of the albums I loved as a kid. The title was “My Father’s Angels” and the chorus said:
They’re all above me
They’re all around me
My Father’s angels all protect me…everywhere
I imagined that right before these innocent babies took their last breaths, in the midst of the chaos and fear, they saw angels. Their angels. And these angels took them to Jesus.
I have/am currently struggling in my faith. I’ve been questioning a lot of things I learned growing up regarding being a Christian and what the Bible says versus what it really means. But this I am sure of and will never waiver on it- we all have guardian angels and the Bible says in many places how closely children’s angels stay to them. I know with all of my heart that angels brought these souls to Jesus and he is holding them all so closely now.
I can’t make sense of anything else that happened Friday. I have shed so many tears reading and watching the news and just thinking about these parents and families of the victims…and how it’s Christmas…and just everything. I am so emotional over it all.
I took this picture before I took Hannah to school Friday morning without knowing that I’d stare at it throughout the day ever so grateful that my babies were with me yet wondering how many of those parents of those babies took similar pictures before sending them to school that day.
Pray for the families. Pray for healing. I’m not sure of everything I’ve learned my whole life but I know God does listen to us, and he does provide comfort. Pray for comfort and healing for the families affected Friday.
I love them so much…even more after all of this, if that’s even possible to love them more than I already do.
I said in the last post that I was going to hop on the Christmas train down a red, gold, and green rainbow.
You know what? Not only did I get on the train but I rode up front with the conductor. That’s how much I’m embracing Christmas right now.
2 things contributed to this:
1. I had to have a serious pep talk with myself. I had it before I hit publish on the last post but I guess now is the appropriate time to elaborate on said talk with myself. I told myself that just because I’m going to let go of things and move on with the season didn’t mean that the things and/or people that were holding me back were going to disappear. I was smart in telling myself this because none of it disappeared. It pretty much goes on what I said in the last post- you CHOOSE happiness therefore you CHOOSE to let those people or things, whether they’re annoying you or you miss them and can’t be with them this time of year, be. Let it be. 3 simple words. VERY hard to do. The things that were bugging me a few days ago? Still bug me. I’m just choosing to not let them ruin my day anymore. The people I missed 3 days ago? I still miss them so much it hurts. I just can’t let that keep me from moving on with my life. It’s okay to be annoyed. It’s okay to miss people. It’s not okay to stand in the shower crying for 20 minutes while your family waits on you for the bed time routine. (Guilty as charged). Will I be annoyed tomorrow by people? Probably. Will I miss the people I miss tomorrow? Definitely. Am I going to let it wreck my day? No way in hell.
2. It’s cold. I know I complained that it was too warm for December. It’s like Mother Nature heard my bitching because on Monday she blew in with the hand of God behind her. The temperature dropped from mid 80s to mid 50s. We said we were going to wait until it got cold to see Christmas lights because it just wasn’t the same sipping on hot chocolate when it’s 75 and breezy. So Monday, while the temps were well on their way to the mid 30s for a low we went to see the lights. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my life to wear a scarf and sip on hot chocolate with gloves on.
The bigger kids were loving it. Livie? Not so much. She had Daddy hold her most the time and said she was cold a few times. I’m definitely raising Texas babies.
So here’s the thing: we plan to do this together as a family every year. The Man and I pack up the kids, but so do his cousins and his mom and step dad go. It’s a big to do. I realize that the kids don’t see the big picture like I do and that’s okay. They don’t have to because I see it all the time. Tradition is a big deal in every family and this is one for us. The kids may bicker along the walk. Noses run. Cocoa gets spilled. The bigger picture? We’re all together and it’s Christmas.
My Christmas is back to being holly and jolly. Mission accomplished.