Paradox

You know what I love about life? I love the part where the lessons have been gleaned, and the lightbulb moments have happened. I love the victory, the happy ending. I suppose it’s human nature. We love the finish line celebration, but cringe thinking of the work of the actual race. Slogging through the rough parts to get to the good stuff – and it’s what’s necessary for the good stuff to actually BE good stuff. 

It’s ironic really, how time works.

I want him to leave. I want the uncomfortable and the ugly-cry and the yuckiness of farewell to just be OVER. I want the heart-hurt for my kids to be eased. I hate this part. I’m not a fan of transitions, never have been. Messy equals uncomfortable and learning and growing. I am looking forward to being through the yuck to get through to the good stuff of self-reliance, pride, and looking forward to homecoming. And yet, I am hating the constant ticking by of the clock reminding us that our time together is limited. I think that’s what sucks about crap week in general – it’s the constant push-pull of wanting them to stay and needing them to leave – to get over the bridge of yuck into the land of hopeful anticipation.

If this process has taught me anything, it’s that there is no escape from the yuck. It just has to be sat in and gone through. Any attempt to numb, ignore, push down or stuff will only lead to more pain. Just gotta ride the crap wave; cringing, clawing, and refusing to let go of the flaming surfboard as it returns to shore. That’s essentially what deployments feel like, in a nutshell. Adulting and managing life while everything is on fire.

Here I shall sit, in the crap. Thank you God for coffee, and dogs, and amazing kids.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Cringe

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Radical Honesty

Authenticity, radical honesty, and simply put in the author’s own word: brutiful – Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior is sitting with a bookmark half way through it’s pages, begging me to finish it.

Seriously.

It is SO raw and honest. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. Reading this feels like when you stare directly into the sun. It’s piercing honesty will force you to set it down, simply to digest it before picking back up again. Her response of “how was your day” with 3 children left me open-mouthed, marveling at how brave she is to bare it all. It’s against the rules to say this stuff out loud. We are supposed to “cherish every moment” while raising our kids. Aren’t we?

B.S.

Not every moment is Instagrammable. Some of them down right suck.

“It was the best of times and the worst of times. I was both lonely and never alone. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed. I was saturated with touch – desperate to get the baby off of me and the second I put her down I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. This day required more than I’m physically and emotionally capable of, while requiring nothing from my brain. I had thoughts today, ideas, important things to say and no one to hear them.

I felt manic all day, alternating between love and fury. at least once an hour I looked at their faces and thought I might not survive the tenderness of my love for them. The next moment I was furious. I felt like a dormant volcano, steady on the outside but ready to explode and spew hot lava at any moment. And then I noticed that Amma’s foot doesn’t fit into her Onsie anymore, and I started to panic at the reminder that this will be over soon, that it’s fleeting-that this hardest time of my life is supposed to be the best time of my life. That this brutal time is also the most beautiful time. Am I enjoying it enough? Am I missing the best time of my life? Am I too tired to be properly in love? That fear and shame felt like adding a heavy, itchy blanket on top of all the hard.

But I’m not complaining, so please don’t try to fix it. I wouldn’t have my day or my life any other way. I’m just saying – it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain – an entire day with lots of babies. If’s far too much and not even close to enough.

But I’m too tired to say any of this. I’m a windup doll that’s run out. So I just say, ‘Our day was fine.'”

-Glennon Doyle Melton, from Love Warrior

How often do we respond with, “I’m fine”? And how often are we not fine at all?

While not all the specific parts of her life are necessarily universal, most are symptoms masking the truths which are; shame, vulnerability, worthiness, etc.

I am a huge fan of Brene Brown. What she discusses in terms of shame and vulnerability in an academic way from the viewpoint of a researcher, Glennon “does her research in the field”. If you have read Brown’s work or seen her TedTalk, you need to know Glennon Doyle Melton.

I’m going to go finish my copy while you go purchase yours!

Here’s What I Want You to Know….A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Sweet Girl,

You will be 5 in just a few short days! The time goes by so fast (and slow simultaneously) I know that I’m going to blink and you are going to be asking me for the car keys. *Shudder* While it may be awhile for some of these, there are some nuggets of wisdom I would like to pass on to you. Life stuff, girl stuff, love stuff – a bunch of stuff. Growing up is hard. Here is my advice for just some of it…

Make up

Right now you are far more interested in dirt, keeping up with your brother and showing me how strong you are. You are starting to express yourself in more sparkles, pink, tutus, and purple. There will no doubt come a day when you want to wear makeup to go along with your creative outfits. Understand that no matter what other people do, when it comes to make up – do your own thing. Less is more. Trust me. Unless you are in the school play on a stage, you don’t have to cake it on. Use make up to enhance, not mask.  You are beautiful just as you are. You don’t need makeup before you engage the world. Even if I wasn’t your mother, I would think you are beautiful without it. Seriously. As cliche as it sounds, true beauty will shine outward from within. Make up doesn’t make you. You make you.

Watch this (when you are old enough to handle a sprinkling of language):

Fitness

Find something that you love and do it. Regularly. I don’t care if you don’t like the same things I do. You’re you. Find what you are passionate about. Soccer? Gymnastics? Yoga? Softball? Do what you love, not what you think your father or I want you to do. Finish what you start. If you decide you want to run track, but decide you don’t like it after 3 days – sorry. You need to finish that season. You don’t have to do it again, but we finish what we start. Even when it’s hard. Sometimes it takes a while to fall in love with an activity.

Those Girls

You know the ones. The girls that are always perfectly put together, they have the greatest style that appears effortless.  Their lives seem amazing compared to yours. Trust me, that’s not the case. They have their own insecurities, worries and problems just like everyone else. Don’t try so hard to be cool that you stop being yourself. Popularity wanes. It’s fickle. If you have to compromise what you believe is right to gain approval – they aren’t worth it. They aren’t worth YOU.

Listen to this song:

Crying

Like me, you are a deep feeler. Things affect you. There is nothing wrong with that. If you need a good cry to feel better – do it. Tears are cathartic. Have your moment. It is far easier to cry when you need to, than to bottle up your feelings and not deal with stuff. Even when it’s painful. The only way is through the pain. Learn to sit in the uncomfortable. It will be okay.

Significant Others

They say that 90% of your happiness or misery is a result of who you choose to spend your life with. I agree. You can go through the roughest of times, but clinging to each other while life is chaotic can be what gets you through to calmer waters. You may not be besties with your spouse, but you should like them as people. You should want to spend time with them, even if you aren’t doing anything special. The romance and infatuation of the beginning of any relationship will fade over time. When the adrenaline of falling in love subsides, be sure there is a relationship to nurture when that happens.

Choose someone who treats you the way you deserve to be treated. Do not stand for anything less. Like Maya Angelou says, “When people show you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Look for someone who makes you laugh. Laughter will see you through all kinds of things.

Don’t buy into the lie that you have to be with someone to “be complete”. No one will complete you. You complete you. There is no one true soul mate. There are people with whom you will be more compatible than others. When you choose someone – choose that person over and over again every day. Love is a verb.

Motherhood

If you choose to have kids, you’ll have so many ideas of what you want to do and how you’ll do things. Things you swear you’d NEVER do, things that you think you would ALWAYS do. Be wary of the always and never statements. I’ve found I’ve had to eat my words on more than one occasion for all the times I swore “I would never….”. Trust your instincts, even if it doesn’t feel like you have them. You do.

You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You are not perfect. I am not perfect. No parent is perfect. It’s okay. When you mess up, ‘fess up. Apologize. Make it right.

Listen to your children. Hear them. Don’t be so busy that you miss them growing up. You will have far more distractions than I did growing up. I feel like it will be even more challenging for your children to keep the distractions at bay long enough to grasp the really good things in life. I will not tell you to “enjoy every moment”, because truthfully, some moments just bite. They do. But you will get through them. Your kids will grow you in all sorts of ways you never thought possible. And you will know the meaning of unconditional love. You’ll think you know before, but when you hold that child, your child in your arms – you will feel the depth of love that you have never felt before.

Tattoos

Not until you’re 18. Don’t get one just because. The longer you wait the better. Make it mean something.

Work

When people ask you what you want to be when you grow up, think in your mind, “What do I want to do?” Your occupation is not who you are. It doesn’t define you. When trying to figure out what you want to do for work, ask yourself the following:

What am I passionate about?

How can I use what I’m passionate about to help others?

Is there a way to make a living doing this?

What you think you want to do at 18 will undoubtedly be different than 28. And perhaps even 38. Your interests will change. What ever lights your fire and sparks your passion may change. That’s okay. Most likely there will be a common thread among your interests. Be enthusiastic, optimistic and courageous. If it’s a little scary – that’s often a good sign. Whatever you choose – when you do it, it shouldn’t feel like work. It’s a livelihood.

I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you!

I love you and always will.

Happy (almost) 5th Birthday!

Let Them Be the Hero

So often, I rush in as the mom to “help” my husband with the kids.

Regardless of whether or not he asks for my help.

Especially after a deployment, it is so incredibly easy to just jump in and handle any situation with the kids. I’ve been doing it the whole deployment anyway, so why stop now? What I’ve come to realize is that I need to consciously take a step back and let him get back into the groove of being home and handling the kids. Even if it’s bumpy. Even when it’s not how I would do things. Different is just that – different. But it’s not wrong. (You would be correct in assuming that I have tendencies toward perfectionism and controlling behavior.) But, I’m working on perfecting that!

I wasted no time after Eric’s homecoming to get out of the house, mostly for my own sanity, but also to give the minions and their dad a chance to reconnect, without my interference – well intentioned though it may be. Sometimes I get it right. Often I jump in and have to back track. And sometimes I get it all messed up.

Tonight though, tonight was one done right. Eric had assumed that Jacob was done with dinner and tossed his last piece of pizza. (Jacob said he was done, left the table and went in the other room to play.) 30 minutes later, Jacob comes in and wants his last piece of pizza. Eric looked at me, feeling horrible, looked back to Jacob and said, “I’m so sorry, buddy. You said you were done. I tossed the last piece.” Jacob then sighs that big 4-year-old sigh, slumps his shoulders and whines, “But I wasn’t donnnnnnnnne!” (In my mind, I know this kid loves this Hot Rock Pizza we get at the farmer’s market,  I would have saved it for breakfast, but whatever. Eric was cleaning up, the kid said he was done – so I didn’t give it another thought. )

Instead of rushing in to try to soothe Jake, I whispered to Eric (who still felt bad) that perhaps he could offer him a pudding. That way, the dessert came from Daddy and they could work it out between them. Eric’s face lit up, Jacob was more than happy to have a pudding, and all was right with the world once again.

How easy it would have been to rush in and get a pudding for Jake and undermine Eric, not to mention make him feel even worse. I think as mothers, especially after a long deployment, it’s “just easier to do it” ourselves. But then they don’t get to be the hero. They don’t get to stretch their parenting legs and get back into their groove. If we are to model a marriage for our kids, shouldn’t we show them how to treat a spouse by example? We don’t always get it right, but we love and respect each other in our marriage. We trust each other. Our actions are our best lessons to our kids on how to treat each other. (Not to mention what to look for in a potential mate.)

I love watching my husband be the hero his is to our kids.

And me.

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