Moments

My grandmother has buried two children. The first, my Uncle Ricky, when he was just a baby passed away from SIDS. No rhyme or reason. The second, my Aunt Tammy, passed away on Mother’s Day which was also her fiftieth birthday from an autoimmune disease. I’ve never asked my Grandma which was more painful. I’d venture to say there was an equal form of hell present in each situation. And where having children causes your heart to multiply in size, the loss of a child causes permanent removal. A hole in your heart–bloody, gaping, seeping, never healing.

Of course, this is all speculation being that I haven’t ever lost a child of my own. And I don’t plan on it. That’s the sick concept of losing a child. Death is certain. For all of us. No matter how much money you have or how healthy you live we will all die. There’s no argument. But, logically, death comes with an order of expectations. Children should and are expected to outlive their parents. Unfortunately, we live in a world of infinite possibilities–not for just riches and fame and decadence, but for pain, anger, and brokeness. This is reality.

For everyone.

I hosted a baby shower a few months ago for a close girlfriend of mine and during an intimate portion of the festivities we all shared little bits of advice and or encouragement for her. When it got to me I felt compelled to be honest. Honesty veiled with a bit of morbid truth. And this is what I said:

There will be moments where you will regret your decision to have children. Moments where you will question your sanity in the chaos. Moments where you will say, “WHY THE %^&(! DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF?” But the beauty of motherhood is that these are moments. Some moments may last a few seconds, others a few days, and if you’re unfortunate enough to experience postpartum depression, then potentially months of moments. But, like all moments, they fade and as your children grow your love for them does as well. And when you are in the heat of these moments, when you find yourself awake every hour with a puking child, or in a bathroom of steam trying to heal croup or up at 3am with a teething, crying, fussy, inconsolable mess–I want you to stop. I want you to stop stressing, stop the anger, stop the fear, and the frustration of not sleeping and remember this:

Your child is alive. Breathing. Beating. Screaming. Alive. And even though it’s hard, even though it’s exhausting, even though you want to throw in the towel and quit–they will live to see another day and so will you.IMG_1385

There are no guarantees in life. No matter your status or position we have no guarantee that we will get another moment. Another hug. Kiss. Smile. Or its opposite. Another chance to calm a screaming child. Soothe a teething baby. Reason with an emotional teenager.

It’s all a gamble.

And yet we allow ourselves to be burdened, torn down, and emotionally overwhelmed with the moments. The moments that are out of our control and can only be resolved with the quiet allowance and assurance that time will pass. That you will get from one moment to the next and hope that so many of the moments will be filled with love, peace, joy, grace, and freedom. Freedom from the overwhelming sense of all these burdens that encompass life in general.

But I want you to think about the parents who have had the insurmountable task of burying a child. Think about that hole in their heart. The bloody, gaping, seeping, never healing wound that they will now have to accept and ask yourself which you would prefer: The moments or the hole?

Find joy, my friends. Even when it seems lost, continue searching. And to everyone who has lost a child, my heart goes out to you. You will carry a burden far greater than I could ever imagine. A burden only God Himself could understand.

Dear Daughters

1535476_10152202451431796_1183685641_nYou are being raised into a world of choices and opportunity. Opportunities with choices and choices with opportunities. The problem is the world expects certain things from you. The world wants to compartmentalize you and restrict you, but it also wants to see you soar and succeed.

Why?

Because the world has no idea who it is or what it stands for. It is everyone and it stands for everything. It is full of questions with contradictory answers. It hates and it loves. It gives and it takes. So my daughters, rule number one of your life is to not chase the world.

If it must do anything … let it chase you.

There are many other rules you will learn within the Art of Being a Woman and I’d like to warn you ahead of time of the ones you do not have to follow.

1. The Girly Girl
Over the years the idea of being a “Girl” who is in fact girly has somehow grown disdainful. Most women do not endeavor to be viewed as “The Girly Girl”. I do not rightfully know how this came into place, but I dislike it. As I grew up, most of the girls around me strove to be known as  “Tom Boys”. They didn’t like being associated as a weak, ultra feminine, delicate “Girly Girl”. They wanted to be cool with the boys, play sports and get dirty. They felt that losing their femininity made them more powerful. And that my sweet daughters is just not right.

What I want you to know is that you can get dirty, play sports, be aggressive and tough all the while wearing a dress with pink nails. Your femininity is the most beautiful thing about you. Being a girl isn’t a bad thing. It’s the BEST thing. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you graceful. It doesn’t make you dumb, it makes you compassionate. It doesn’t mean you can’t achieve anything your heart desires. Do not let the idea of being beautiful, delicate, graceful, feminine or any other concept of womanliness detour you in life. Let it empower you. Being a woman is a gift. And yes, I will teach you how to change a tire in three inch heels–I do not raise helpless women–but if somewhere along the road you find a man who wants to do it for you, you let him.

2. Slutty is Sexy
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Sex appeal, being sexy, being desired does not come with DD boobs in a crop top or your butt cheeks squeezed into a mini skirt. Confidence is sexy even if you’re in sweatpants three sizes too big. Knowledge is sexy as long as you’re not flaunting it. Flaunting anything is not sexy, it’s a demand for attention. And you do not demand attention. You are given attention without having to ask. Respect is sexy. Kindness is sexy. Being you is sexy. And to the right man, being you will always be sexy. No. matter. what.

3. Biting Your Tongue
You are being raised by a mother who has a large mouth. My lack of self-control growing up got me into trouble many times, but it also kept me out of trouble more times than I could count. Men will try to quiet you. Women too. I will not. I will try and teach you how to control it. How to use it wisely. But more so I will teach you how to voice your opinions, voice your self, so that no one questions who you are. So that no man would consider you a toy to be played with. No woman a tool for her manipulations. That in the darkest moments of your life, in the times when you feel there is no way out, you will feel the words within you, the boldness of your self pour out and not be contained. That you feel safety in using your voice at all times. You have not been given a spirit of timidity and I want to see you soar.

4. Beauty is Everything
You are beautiful. Beyond my wildest dreams you are more beautiful than I could ever have hoped for. But be wary of beauty. The power. The pain. The fickleness of it all. The world has made sport of hunting even the prettiest of eagles. You, even in your innocence and youth, will not be made an exception.

Be wary of the world dear daughters. It only wants to take.

xoxo, mommy

Today.

Today I held you. I watched you sleep. I said to hell with my list of errands and my mile long to-do list and hello to your little closed eyes, your tiny lips sucking on your pacifier and your sweaty head laying against my chest.20131023-145027.jpg

I stared at you, smelled you and felt your heart beat against mine. You grasped my finger and I grasped back. Your eyes flickered as you slept–totally unaware that I was memorizing your every breath.

Your perfect little nose.
Your delicate hands.
Your round, pudgy cheeks.
Your double chin.

I didn’t have the luxury of doing this with your sister. I was too depressed. Too concerned with the house being clean. Too exhausted to realize I was throwing away one of the most precious stages of her existence.

But with you I’m making a different choice. I’m not depressed. I don’t care if the house is clean, it can be dirty for a couple days. And I’m not allowing this stage to bring me down.

The days are long, but your first year will be quick. And I’m afraid if I close my eyes that I might miss something. A crooked smile, a gassy giggle, the nuzzling of your slobbery cheek into my neck.

And then it will be over. All of it gone and only the memories to look back on. No more napping in my arms, cooing at my funny faces or midnight diaper changes. No more excuses to spend the day in our pajamas or not shower for a week.

And even though I’m tired.
Roma, my dear sweet girl… I’ve never felt more awake.

 

Stupid Murphy

A few nights ago I found myself chatting it up with a dear mom friend of mine at 2:33am in the morning. Yes, exactly 2:33am. Ask me when’s the last time I showered and I’ll scratch my head and count backwards on my calendar. Ask me how many times my children woke me up and I’ll remember those blaring blood red numbers like Ricki Lake’s naked boobs in The Business of Being Born.

Some things you just can’t unsee.

Anyhow, we were discussing parental disclaimers when having children and how I apparently skipped over the small print on page 578 of The Official Guide to Parenthood that unofficially does not exist. The part where they explain the side effects to bringing a second child into your perfect harmonious world of blissful living.

The part where parenting begins to get really gritty. The part where you really begin to hate Murphy. As in his law. Or her law. I’m not even sure if the law has a gender. But either way… I. Hate. It.

I’ve experienced circumstances outside of children that had me quoting this stupid law as a witty response to an unbelievable occurrence, but you never fully understand the repercussions of such a law until you have kids. Trust me when I say that anything that can go wrong WILL go wrong when you have kids. Even if you have thee best children on the planet (which if you’re reading this than you don’t because Moms with perfect children don’t read Mommy blogs. They read recipes with more than 20 ingredients. They are off showering because they can. They are outside planting that spring garden because the children are playing quietly in their bedrooms. They can enjoy silence because silence doesn’t mean that someone found a misplaced jar of fingerpaint and are now dousing your recently steam-cleaned cream carpets in electric green paint. No. No. No. Moms of perfect children don’t even need the internet. What in the world could they possibly google or post a FB status update about that is worthy of reading if their children are perfect?) Continue reading

Loving Motherhood

2D11A6D8-2EB9-4E36-ABBB-4A6C21BCEC4AI’m in a stage of my life right now where 99% of my time is spent in my pajamas, at home, smelling like breast milk and poop and ketchup and raisins. It’s not very glamorous.

But guess what?

I’m in love. I’m in love with Motherhood. I’m in love with the fact that my entire day is focused solely on making sure an almost three year old and an almost three month old survive to see another day. I’m in love with the fact that cheerios are a main source of my daily diet and that I’ve memorized the theme song to Dora. I’m in love with the fact that sometimes Roma cries during every nap unless I hold her. So the dishes don’t get done. The laundry is still sitting in the washing machine–wet and mildewy–waiting to be washed for a third time since I keep forgetting to transfer it to the dryer. The floors are covered in crumbs and the toilets haven’t been scrubbed in weeks.

I. Am. In. Love.

I’m in love with the fact that sometimes I get woken up at various hours in the night to ease a gassy tummy, calm the screams of a nightmare, massage the cramping foot of a growing toddler, and feed a hungry baby. I’m in love with the fact that one of these little humans knows that my name is Mom, Mommy, and Momma. I’m in love with the fact that the other little human is tracking my voice and smiling at my face and wanting me to hold her. To rock her. To cuddle with her. To just spend hours staring at her.

I’m in love with the fact that I have to drink coffee in order to stay awake and that my belly sags over my underwear. I’m in love with the fact that I have two scars that show the lengths I went through to have this love. These little loves. My little loves. I’m in love with the fact that one of them likes to wear high heels while she waters the plants and the other likes to be splashed in the face with water during bath time. Continue reading