This one has been a long time coming. This blog has been torn straight from my heart...straight from my soul. I love to write and I write about semi-personal things. However, I have had this story on my heart since the day I started this blog. Now, now is the time.
As many of you may know our family has been through some rocky times. When I was in eighth grade my mom started getting sick. She and my dad visited the Mayo Clinic multiple times to figure out what was wrong with no luck. After numerous hospital visits, tests, possible diagnoses, and doctors she was diagnosed with something called NASH (non-alcoholic steato hepatitis). Which basically meant her liver was failing and for no apparent reason. She had none of the characteristics that a person typically diagnosed with this has. She had to stop teaching and was basically confined to our house and bed my whole high school career.
She suffered. We suffered. It was the single hardest thing I have ever faced. There were many times I questioned why my mom? Why us? What did we do? We had always went to church. We had always believed and trusted in God. So...why was this happening? My parents did a pretty good job of keeping my little sister and I sheltered from the worst of it. But sometimes, we peeked through the cracks and we saw the worst. In those times of weakness, sadness, worry, doubt, and death, HE was there.
He was there every time I saw my dad open his Bible to read. He was there in my Aunt's unwavering faith. He was there when my mom and aunt habitually took the Lord's supper. He was there in the form of a man that would end up being my husband. He was there in my grandmother's prayers and my sisters' tears. He was there in my mom's strength. He was there when bills were paid. He was there in each meal or card we received. I remember finding verses on healing in the Bible and posting them all over our house. On the doors, in my mom's room and her bathroom...everywhere. I would declare and pray the verses aloud every time I saw them. He was very much there.
She spent many many nights in the hospital. She was on a list to receive a transplant. She was called once around Christmas. However, she was too sick to undergo the transplant. We kept praying and believing...even when it looked impossible.
This picture is from Hoop Queen the January before she received her transplant. She had just had a liver biopsy (if I remember correctly) and was sent home with a pain patch. JUST so she could watch my sister and I walk for Hoop Queen. She was in so much pain. She was so strong.
If my mom ever reads this I will be in SO much trouble for sharing this picture. She hates it. So do I. It tears at my heart each time I see it. Our storm...her storm looked impossible that night. I was afraid I was losing my mom and I was afraid I was losing her quickly.
Fast forward to May and we got THE CALL. The one that meant she would be saved. This hell was over. We packed up and left in the middle of the night to drive to St. Louis. I still remember stopping at the gas station with Trey, Shelley, and Ciara. I remember being so excited, nervous, scared, and thankful. I remember the song that played over the speakers outside the gas station "everything is going to be alright...rock a bye". I felt like that was God calming my fears. We all thought it was our happily ever after.
Fast forward a few hours. My mom has been prepped for surgery and is waiting to go in. We get a call. Its a NO GO. The liver from the donor is BAD. I cannot remember a time I have been more angry at God. I was so heartbroken. I remember thinking "really? Is this a joke to you? Do you think this is funny?" So back we went to the "normal" we knew. I remember her...she was so strong. She was so positive and HER faith was astonishing. Mine, mine was diminishing by the second.
Three months later we receive another call...at night (because for some reason these things don't happen during the day). It was my dad's birthday. I called my boyfriend (my hubs now) he was in Detroit interning at General Motors. He told me he would be on the first flight he could catch. I remember walking downstairs cautiously excited. My dad was in the living room getting things organized. I remember asking him "how do you know this is going to work? it will probably be bad again!" His reply, I will remember all my life..."Let's pray". Right there, in the middle of our living room, my little sister and I joined hands with my parents as my dad led us in the most powerful prayer I have ever heard. A few hours later...well a lot of hours later, my mom had a new liver.
The day my mom came home with her new liver. HIS grace is sufficient.
I told you all of that to tell you this. No matter what your storm is, God is BIGGER. I have been struggling with some things. I have been struggling with personal, little, everyday things. I haven't been able to shake them,no matter what I do. Tonight at church we sang Cornerstone. The part that spoke to me is this:
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Savior's love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
And then he spoke to my heart. He asked me why I trusted him with my mom but I couldn't trust him with my own personal struggles. Why do I keep picking up those struggles up seconds after laying them at his feet? Then I thought about the lyrics...
Through the storm HE IS LORD.
He is the God who made the Universe. He is the God who hung the stars. He is the God who knew us before we were born. So, why can't I trust this awesome God with something so small? Because, instead of letting go and letting God, I tried to control the problem. You see, with my mom, I had no control. I HAD to give it to him. With big things in my life I have no control. But with little things I think I have control. In my own arrogance I decide to help God.
God doesn't need our help. Whatever you are going through...know that our God's grace is sufficient. If he can hang stars and form the mountains and heal my mom, he can take care of whatever you are facing. Let go, and Let God.
My sweet Jesus healed my mom. I am SO thankful he did. Because without his perfect blood, I wouldn't have these moments.
I have came to the very sad conclusion that I am in the middle of a quarter(ish) life crisis. I never really believed in those until, well...now. My actual quarter of life was last year, but I guess I am a late bloomer. When I was little, I always heard adults talking about how "time flies". They would make comments about how they couldn't believe how this child or that child had "grown up before their eyes". I would just smile politely all the while thinking "whatever..." Now, I understand. Time flies. In school it was slow...it was painfully slow. College was also painfully slow. Then it was like I got put on a fifteen second roller coaster. We wanted to start a family...bam I am pregnant. Then just like that... bam our baby is here. Now, he is almost eight months old. EIGHT MONTHS OLD. Which means that in a few short months he will be one year old. Then, I might as well start packing up his stuff for college. I feel like it was yesterday I found out I was pregnant. But it wasn't yesterday...it was, in fact, 16 months ago. I went to peek in on my little baby tonight, instead I found this not so little baby sleeping in the very top corner of his crib, as if he passed out while trying to escape. I knew he was growing up, but seeing him pulling up on everything today, really pushed me over the edge.
I also turned twenty-six this year. Yep...you read that correctly 26. FOUR years away from....you know...don't make me say it. How is that possible? For some strange reason, twenty-five did not bother me. Twenty-six bothers me a lot. So much so, that I gave my father strict instructions that my birthday cake was to say 25, not 26. This past August, we celebrated my grandma's 90th birthday. That brought on a whole new wave of emotions. No, not the "oh, she sure is growing up" emotions like my little man...but the "how many more birthdays will I get to celebrate with her?" emotions. My husband will be 30 in August. For those of you past 30...don't hate on me for this blog. I'm sure you had similar emotions as you were nearing this dreaded age. I just cannot understand how I am this old. I am totally and completely getting old. I am thinking adult thoughts, I am worrying about adult things, I am saying and doing things my mother did/does, I don't even know what is considered "cool" anymore, and after owning an iphone for almost four years I still don't know how to use all of the features, and I have now started to use wrinkle creams. Because...I figure I better get a head start on it now!
Where does life go? Why did it seem so slow when I was younger? Why am I so nostalgic about everything? I can't walk into my little guy's nursery without flashbacks of us decorating it. I can't drive by the hospital without thinking about the last time we were there. I can't shake the feeling that I need to call my grandma at least once a week because if I don't I might regret it later. I know what you are thinking..."that's life honey...just enjoy each moment." At least, that's what my husband told me as I was sobbing into his chest earlier. That is hard for me to accept. Because, I am the girl that has always enjoyed every moment. I am the one who saves voice mails, cards, movie ticket stubs, and even boarding passes. I think I have taken a picture of my little man every single day of his life. I savor every second and document every moment. Still, life flies by. Is motherhood just a huge emotional ball of nostalgia and worry? If so, I don't ever remember signing up for that.
I guess there is nothing I can do to slow it down. I will have to keep savoring and documenting. I will continue to hold on to each moment until my knuckles turn white. I will replay every sweet memory in my head and my dreams until a new one happens. I will continue to wish and pray that time would slow down even just a tiny bit. If that doesn't work, I guess I will have to just thank God that I have a life so blessed that I wish it would slow down.
I feel as though this may be more of a rant so bear with me. When I found out I was pregnant I was so beyond excited. I couldn't wait to be a mom. I worried about my little man from the minute I found out I was pregnant. I was constantly asking my doctor...and Google what was safe and what was not. From nail polish to hair dye to caffeine. After worrying about miscarrying or birth defects I had a new set of worries. I had to be induced. I had pregnancy induced hypertension. Well according to the internet and message boards... I was at a high risk for excruciating pain (worse than normal labor pain) and there was a good possibility that I would rupture my uterus. Then of course there is the awful, horrible, no good, very bad....epidural. Yes, I had one. Yes, I loved it. I had been told that it would delay my l labor and that I would eventually end up with a c-section. This is interesting because it actually sped my labor up! like...a lot. I ended up with a "natural" delivery...although, I'm apparently not worthy of the medal because I didn't do it without drugs. Doing it with drugs makes me selfish, a baby, and it means that I don't care about my baby. I loved my labor and delivery and I wouldn't change a second of it. WHERE DOES THIS NONSENSE COME FROM?
I did not know that becoming a mom puts you under this unwanted scrutiny from others. Every decision is constantly questioned. I did not know that I would be receiving advice from everyone and their dog. I actually don't understand why everyone cares so much?!? There is the circumcision vs. uncircumcised, breastfeeding vs. formula, disposable diapers vs. cloth, pacifier or no pacifier, homemade baby food vs. store bought, bed sharing vs. crib sleeping, cry it out vs. no sleep at all, working mom vs. stay at home mom, oh...and you CANNOT forget the vaccines! Then a little further down the road there will be home-school vs. public school.
It's as if with each decision I will be awarded a gold star if I make the right decision. If not, I could be at the mercy of other mom's who think that I should be put away for child abuse for giving my child a pacifier. Why do we tear each other down? Why does using cloth diapers and not giving vaccines make you a better mom? I briefly worked for the Children's Division...and I can ASSURE you that none of those things constitutes child abuse. Nice try though. If you use cloth diapers and don't do vaccines...good for you, you get two gold stars! If you are a working mother, use disposable diapers, and formula feed...you also get two gold stars! Why do we feel that we are better moms because we chose to breastfeed? How does breastfeeding make us better moms? It doesn't. I am not trying to get into an argument over the benefits of breastfeeding. I actually took that class...I know. I breastfeed...but I have given my child formula too. I actually couldn't care less what you do with your child (as long as you aren't abusing them). The bottom line is that it's none of my business.
At the end of the day, we don't need criticism from other moms. We don't need a reason to question our mothering skills. Because we have beat you to it! We are already questioning every decision we make. We are already worrying that by working we are missing out on our children. Or...we are worrying that we won't be able to give them the best because we aren't working. We worry about vaccines, diapers, formula, pacifiers, choking, development, car-seats, bullying, our bond with our child, sleeping, SIDS, abuse from babysitters, accidents, car crashes, lotion and rashes, intelligence...I could go on forever. We need to empower and uplift each other. We need to encourage each other.
Whether or not you breastfeed or you use pacifiers is irrelevant. That is not what makes you a great mother. Loving your child, spending time with your child, kissing boo boos, reading books, going to after school events, working hard to provide for them, holding them when they cry, and being their biggest fan...THAT is what makes you a great mother.
"Everyone has a love story, mine is my favorite" Let me take a minute and tell you about my guy. After almost six years of marriage, I really thought we had this marriage thing figured out. I didn't understand how couples had relationship/marital problems. Our marriage had always been so easy. I heard somewhere "real marriage doesn't begin until you have a baby". This.Is.So.True.
Ohmygosh! Unlike a lot those lucky couples, we were not prepared to bring a baby home (mentally speaking). Our house was perfectly clean, nursery was picture perfect, diapers were stocked, and of course we had taken a four week course entitled childbirth. We really thought we had this down. All that we lacked was that perfect quiet baby... ha! What we hadn't taken, was a four week course entitled how to survive. They really should add that one. seriously, ...they should!
We sent my mom home with my dad...we didn't need her because we so had this covered. Little did we know, we would be calling her to come back just a few days later.
My little man had his days and nights mixed up, wouldn't sleep in his bassinet, cried a lot, had reflux, and I had the mastitis. I learned very quickly that we didn't have this thing figured out....not even close. How were we supposed to survive? Didn't this kid know we needed sleep? Oh, how you come to appreciate even twenty minutes of sleep. What this taught me, is how very much my husband loves me.
I was awful ( I might elaborate in a future blog...if I am feeling brave). I cried a lot, especially, that first night. The picture I had in my head, you know, the one of the sleeping beautiful newborn wrapped up in their bassinet? The one where the mom and dad are all snuggled up watching him? Where they talk about how in love they are? um...ours didn't look like that. Mine looked like a crying mama, a crying baby, no sleep, haven't showered in days, house a mess, and a rock of a husband. Yes, he was also a bit sleep deprived, but I didn't see it.
He took our baby and fed him, rocked him, walked with him. He slept with him on his chest. He encouraged me daily. He told me how beautiful I was (in my haven't showered in days, just gave birth, gigantic ta-tas body). He told me how great of a mom I was (even with a screaming baby), he kissed me and held me (when I wasn't kissable or holdable). He went to every appointment (in fact, he hasn't missed an appointment. yet! and that includes every single prenatal appointment). He let me sleep when he needed sleep desperately. He searched high and low for things to do to brighten my day...to make my day easier. He brightened my day when I was crying, and sad. He did it when I felt incomplete and worthless. He did it when I looked awful and felt awful. He did it when I needed it most. He loves me more than I can ever comprehend. How did I deserve this man? I don't. I will never deserve him. I am so thankful for him.
That girls....that is a love story.
It's 5am so this blog may be more rambling than anything else (you can't say I didn't that warn you). I can't sleep. I woke up thinking about Christmas and the never ending list
that still needs to be taken care of. There are toys that still need to be bought, gifts to be sent, and cards that need addressed. It seems that every year I am equally as stressed about all of these things. Since I couldn't sleep, I went downstairs and got on my Ipad. I wanted to make a list because that's how I deal with all of the mess that goes on inside my head. During my list making, my little man woke up. I went to get him to feed him. My husband woke up and wanted to know what I was doing (he usually takes the night feedings...yes, I know, I'm spoiled). I told him I was already awake and explained my thoughts. He told me that I always have to find something to stress about, this is true. That leads me to the point of all my rambling. Why does Christmas bring so much stress? It is supposed to be a celebration of our savior's birth. Yet, we have complicated it as only we can do. We have turned it into this commercialized mess.
I'm certain, that years down the road, my child is going to ask me why he received three presents inste
ad of four. He will be so upset that I didn't get him that rocking horse he so desperately wanted at six months of age. He will be scarred for life.
Why do we do this? Is it because we have become brainwashed by society? Is it because we feel like we can buy happiness? No, I don't think that is the correct answer. I mean...I'm sure many believe that. I don't. It is not my truth.
I'm going off base for a minute. My love language is words of affirmation. For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about, pick up a copy of the five love languages, it will change your world. Anyway, my primary love language is not gift giving, but it runs a close second. Receiving gifts is not my thing, my thing is giving them. Before you start to think I am super materialistic, I am not. In fact, in a lot of ways, I am the opposite. I love giving gifts. I love seeing the reaction. I love seeing the person's eyes light up. I love letting them know that they are thought of, and that they are very special to me.
This is why I go overboard with Christmas. This is why I stress so much. I want everyone to feel the joy and excitement of the day. And... to be completely honest, I do love being the person who got someone the "perfect gift".
The conflict that I have, is that I also feel very selfish and materialistic when I think of all of those that don't have. I think of those that struggle to just give one gift to their children.
I start to think about how precious life is. I think about how none of these things really matter. I think about how I can't even remember what I got for Christmas last year. I'm sure you probably can't remember what you got either. Then, I hate myself for worrying so much about how many gifts my 6 month old will open. How ugly is that? It's pretty ugly.
Sadly, I will probably always have this struggle. I will continue to buy gifts and worry about them being the right ones. I will worry if one my my family members got the gift they were so wanting. And...I will still lay awake some nights wondering why I am so blessed to have these problems. If you have the same problem as me, don't beat yourself up. You genuinely want to bring joy to others. Remember, that whether or not your kid got one more gift really doesn't matter (if it does matter, then we should be having a "come to Jesus meeting" with our children). Maybe, instead of giving that one more gift to your child, find a child that is in need and give it to them. If gift giving is your thing, don't feel bad about it. Just make sure that you are also giving to those in need. And...that you are thanking God daily for the blessings that you have been given.
Happy gift giving :)
sorry for the rambling. now I can sleep!
this is a "gift" that my nephew (5yrs at the time) gave his mom for her birthday. Proof that gift giving really comes from the heart :)
I don’t know if it is my age, or if it is my stage in life. Lately, I feel enlightened or…awakened. All that is on my mind lately is self-improvement. Do you ever feel like we spend so much time and energy on the outside that we often neglect the inside? I do. I told my dad not long ago that I wished there was a “gym” for my soul. I know…church is that “gym”. However, I need a more regular gym than every Sunday, occasional Wednesday, and life group. My soul needs a “workout” daily because it gets fat, lazy, weak, and just plain ugly very quickly. That leads me to the question: who do you want to be? Do you have a picture of her in your head? I do.
Who is she? She is made of the best qualities of those closest to me and of those that I admire from afar.
My grandmother is someone I would love to end up like. She has all of the qualities I wish to possess. My most favorite is her kindness. She is even “naively” kind. She is kind to those that are not kind to her. She loves those that don’t love her. And…she isn’t kind because she feels like she needs to be. She isn't kind because she is striving to be a better person (like me) she just is.
I want to be confident even when i don’t feel confident. if you know me, you know that I have a hard time hiding my feelings. If I feel intimidated, I look intimidated. I am learning that confidence doesn’t mean that you are arrogant. Confidence means that you are comfortable in your own skin. Oh, to be comfortable in this skin….
I want to be humble. I LOVE that quality. There is something so very attractive about a humble person. I think one of the ugliest qualities, if not the ugliest, is arrogance. I actually hate it. That quality is the one reason why I didn’t want to have a blog. I don’t ever want to give off the impression that I think I am better…because I am not. I could write a whole blog on the things that are wrong with me (stay tuned I’m sure it will appear one of these days!) Confidence and humility go hand in hand, oddly enough. One of these days i will figure that one out!
I want to be generous and helpful. I want to be generous and helpful in every month (not just December). I want to spend time helping those in need. One of my most favorite quotes in the Bible is Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ I really believe that a lot of us are just one pay check, one lost job, one accident, one sickness away from being “the least of these”. So many people, maybe you, helped my family when my mom was sick. Some sent money to help pay bills, some made food, some visited us in the hospital, some helped take care of my sister and I. There are too many things to even list. Let me take the time to say thank you. Thank you for showing us the love of Jesus. Thank you for being so kind and generous. Thank you for caring about us. I don’t know how we would have made it through without the help, support, and prayers of our community. The point? I want to be one of those people.
Have you ever been around someone that just made you feel better about yourself? After talking to them you felt genuinely happy and encouraged. Like when you are talking to them, you feel as though you are the most important person in the world. I have. I have met quite a few of those people. I want to be one of those people. I want to be the type of person that others are genuinely happy to see.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all of the qualities I wish to possess. And... you don’t have time to read them all. How do I become that person? The only answer I have, is to display those qualities, even when I don’t feel them. Then, maybe I will transform into “her” one of these days. Who do you want to be? what does "she" look like? I think the world would be a better place if we all spent more time worrying about the size of our heart instead of the size of our jeans.
This is my first blog. And…my first time to admit this internal and very constant struggle I have. Should I continue on this journey of a stay-at-home mom or should I return to the career world? Usually, when I am upset, I can do one of three things or a combination of all of them, run, write, or eat. Sadly, more often than not, I revert to the last of my three escapes. Today, it’s freezing outside and we have nothing to eat, so writing it is! I never in a million years pictured myself at home in my exercise clothes, changing diapers, tackling the never ending task that is laundry, and making my own baby food. Yet, that is exactly where I find myself. I had grand plans for myself. Plans that looked something like college, career, marriage, kids. I have had all of those things but not in the traditional order.
I planned to “have it all”. The most perfect job (where I can prove my worth and independence and one where I get paid vacations, holidays, and I am at home by 5:00 everyday) , the most perfect home (where all the laundry is done, house is spotless, dinner is healthy and on the table every night), the best body (you know…that picture you have in your head…you have one, we all do) perfect marriage (date night every Friday) full of romance and of course amazing you know what, and last but not least the most perfect children (3-4 the number has yet to be determined). The problem with this picture, this life, and this woman is she may not exist. This picture may not be attainable. Yet, I am constantly striving to be her. Oh how badly I want and need to be her.
I try to have the house perfect but that usually ends with me in the middle of baskets of laundry and a screaming baby who wants his mama’s attention. I try to run/train every day or at least sneak in one insanity DVD but some days…most days, that doesn’t happen. Supper is sometimes perfectly on the table and other days it’s on the table made by someone else. If I spend the day playing with the little man I am thinking about how I should be cleaning and cooking. If I spend the day cleaning and cooking I think about how I should be playing with my little man. It’s Christmas and all I have this thought about lately is how much better I would feel about myself if I had a job…a REAL job. Yes, I said it. Before you start your rant on how being a mom is the hardest job there is…I KNOW, I DO IT EVERYDAY! But for some strange reason I don’t feel as I have as much worth when I am in my “mom mode” complete with a t-shirt smeared with baby food and spit up and of course no makeup. My husband commonly refers to this persona as “sporty spice”. Because these days, all I wear is workout attire even though I rarely make it to the gym. Then there are those six years of school and two degrees I have…and you can’t forget those student loans. Those 6 years and two degrees are doing nothing for me now.
The point to this ramble? I’m not sure there is one. Except…why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Why do we let society paint this unattainable picture in our head? If I was working I would be thinking about all the time I was missing with my precious boy. You know… “the grass is always greener”. I’m at home because I chose this. I wanted to stay home and be the best mom I could be to this precious precious baby. Now, I am second guessing myself. But tomorrow I may be totally at peace with it again. That is exactly how this internal battle goes. The one thing I go back to is, at the end of my life, I will never regret the time I spent with my sweet boy. I keep seeing this poem and it gets me every time...
If you are somewhere in this battle with me, just know you aren’t alone. If you are working, good for you! You are making your child’s future brighter by the opportunities you are providing. You are teaching your son/daughter that women are just as independent and capable as men are. You are teaching them to go for their dreams and that they can have a family and a career. You are an awesome mom! To the mom trying to keep her home clean, child alive, and somehow manage to be halfway presentable, you are a great mom! And…no mom is perfect. That picture you have in your head of the “perfect” wife/mom…isn’t real. Instead of worrying about laundry and dinner, cuddle your little one and be thankful that you are able to stay home.