0

To my unborn son: A Letter

Good morning baby boy,

It is a cool Sunday morning in November, the air crisp with moisture and tension as Thanksgiving looms mere days away. Droplets of water tumble to the pavement below from roofs and awnings, their descent fraught with the same anxious energy shoppers possess as they navigate lines looking for last minute items to complete their holiday meals.

I sit away from the chaos of the outer world, nestled in the confines of my work area, penning this letter to you. It is only mere weeks until our first encounter with one another, yet in a mysterious way I feel as if I have known you for many years longer than I have been aware of your existence inside of my stomach.

As I think about the first time I will see you perfect, rounded cheeks, your beautifully crafted eyelashes that boys seem to possess by nature and women long for, I am filled with a mixture of excited and overwhelmed emotions.

Though you have been by far my easiest pregnancy in comparison to your brothers, you have been the pregnancy in which I have felt the most emotional turmoil. It is not your fault that I have wrestled with these emotions but what I feel is my own inadequacy as your mother.

I fear that you will feel confined. Though I know you have spent the last 29 weeks of your life nestled in the comfort of the darkness that is my belly, I am afraid that upon bringing you home you will feel instant disappointment. You must understand that I wanted to bring you home to a wonderfully large house, perfectly decorated with a nursery intended solely for your presence, it’s atmosphere warm and waiting for you to grow, to thrive. Instead, I will bring you home to a space that is far more cramped than I would like, but is what we have to work with right now. Unfortunately, in life we make choices, and in my desire to pursue my education with the intention of bettering myself, I acquired student loans, burdening reminders of the amount I owe that prevents me from bringing you in to the ideal home that I dream of for you, for us.

I fear that you will feel ignored. You have three older brothers, three little boys that demand my attention in different ways. Each of your brothers is at different stages of life, wrestling with new experiences and how to process them. Your oldest brother is nearly a pre-teen, fighting the urge to act as if your mother doesn’t exist while at the same time looking to me for comfort when mysterious forces disturb him in the middle of the night, whether it be an upset stomach or a nightmare. You see, though he is 9 years old and would never actively admit that he has these, he still does. In those moments, he still needs me.

You have another brother, who is 5 years old. He reminds me the most of myself. He is fiercely independent and stubborn. While these may seem like strong characteristics in their own right, having another version of myself who constantly challenges me can be trying for your mom. Yet, he is the sweetest boy.  He is so kind and loving, the first to ask if you are okay if you utter “ouch, ” after an unexpected paper cut while opening the mail, not aware that a captivated audience is watching. He may bother you at first, but I feel you will have the strongest bond together.

Your “younger older brother” as I like to refer to him, is still a baby himself. When we found we were expecting you my heart immediately felt as if it were wrenching, clenched at the prospect of denying either you or him of your baby years since you are both going to be so close in age. I don’t want to neglect either of your needs. This is my biggest fear, something I worry about in many moments of my day. He is so loving and gentle, and somehow, I know that it will all work out between the two of you. I have to remind myself of this, when I worry.

My dear baby boy, I hope you know that you are the most unexpected and welcome surprise. After the birth of your brother, I did not anticipate that we would introduce another child in to our family. To be perfectly honest, I was still processing how to effectively raise three children, a task I felt I was meeting with utter failure daily, when I discovered another person would arrive to rely on me. I hope you know that more than anything, I love my children. These three boys have shaped me in to the mother I am today. I still question myself, perhaps far more than I should, wondering in which ways I could have been a better parent during a particular day or instance. I still wonder, when I feel as if I cannot navigate another moment, another hour of parenthood under the weight of the sheer exhaustion that is motherhood, if I am the right person to be fulfilling the role of shaping your brothers and eventually yourself, in to the men, partners and parents that you will become.

I doubt myself constantly. But my sweet baby, I hope you will understand as you join our family, and grow older, that I will never doubt my love for you, the sweetest surprise of all.

 

Love,

Your Mom boy

0

Journey From Grace

It’s invisible, the burden she carries. No one can see the weight of the self doubt that consumes her upon a daily basis, a heavy garment of measurement draped across the expanse of her shoulders; a reminder of the many ways in which she falls short. She is aware that she is her own worst critic. She never gives herself the credit she likely deserves, because she feels like she can always be better, do better.

Along the journey of motherhood she is aware that she has lost herself. Yet she is so entrenched in the minute daily details of raising children, fostering a comfortable environment for a family to be nurtured, that in the midst of cutting requested corners from slices of bread for sandwiches, she has also cut corners in her self care. She is not a martyr by any means. She willingly offers portions of herself to her children and family, small slices of love, kindness and encouragement, tokens which she readily dispenses in to the wells of her children’s needs, reveling in their successes and questioning herself and her parenting in their failures. She understands that the cycle of life will damage her children, hardening their presently rounded edges in to sharper corners, building small nuggets of cynicism and doubt within them, as the path to adulthood so unkindly does. Yet she acts as their protective cover, their self described poncho from the storms of life, battering the criticisms and judgments that often come from others to ensure everyone who surrounds her is happy.

She is not certain at which point she ventured from grace. She feels as though she has weathered her path for so long that she cannot recall anyone ever walking the path beside her. She knows His presence exists all around her, that to Him nothing is a surprise nor is any part of her journey a mystery, yet she can’t remember when she lost her faith, where in her trials to turn to to find Him again.

Yet, that is the most beautiful and perhaps most painful part of grace. Often, in order to gain grace, to fully understand our purpose, we must lose everything. It is in those moments where we question ourselves the most that He finds us, reminding us of the way home.

 

blog

 

 

0

The Calling

God has tested me. He has pushed me to my very limits and made me question not only myself but the intent behind the journey, the reason for strife I didn’t ask for and what the ultimate outcome of the test might be.

Several months ago, I felt the call to be present in the life of another person, one whom I was not particularly close to. This person was a member of my family by association..a part of my life but not really someone who I could say I knew well. In spite of this, I was being asked to be a friend to this person, and though I didn’t understand it, in my nightly prayers I would always ask for guidance. Further in to the situation I was pushed, until my level of comfort was pushed to the maximum and I just didn’t understand how any negativity could possibly be God’s will. Why would He bring drama and unnecessary stress in to my life, in my journey to help someone else? Wasn’t the whole point of helping to make that person’s life easier, and not mine harder?

I think I understand now. God brings us to our breaking point, the edge of our metaphorical cliff not because He’s trying to make us feel painfully awkward or totally out of place. He brings us to this point so that we can meet Him in our times of confusion or in those moments that we feel lost, to remind us that this path we are in, which feels so confusing in theory, has been laid out for us and that the very position we find ourselves in is in fact no accident.

Change occurs not when we feel complacent, but when we dare to push ourselves further, to go in the direction of uncertainty and face it head on.

I’m not going to lie and say this walk with God, my path or the path of the other person, was easy. It was painful and left me feeling overwhelmed. Many times I questioned why I was in this situation or why I had been called to fix things when I was still trying to figure out how to lead my own life with grace.  I wanted to cry and I considered giving up on numerous occasions.

Yet now, after the storm of this season has passed,  I find myself stronger, and I hope the person I was called to help finds themselves renewed as well. In the face of those who were determined to destroy my peace and happiness, I stood firm and now, as they have departed from my life, I remain happy and content to focus on the positives in my life, leaving the negativity of others insecurities in the past. 8c5d77fe71d53d309293ba1d68338051

0

Hello old friend

Hello old friend.

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? We’ve spent so many of our waking hours letting little slices of life consume our attention, and we’ve forgotten to check in on each other. I hate that, don’t you? The way minutes can suddenly turn in to weeks and we realize all of the things that have happened that we want to share, storing these instances in the little file cabinets of our mind, waiting to share them with each other. I love the sharing, but I hate that it feels like it always takes so long to get there.

So I thought I would say hello.

Seems silly doesn’t it?

We already know each other..why am I introducing myself? Because I would like you to meet the new me, the last few weeks and months me that has endured more than I should have, that has come to a fresh understanding of who she is and I feel like you don’t know her just yet.

So hello.

I am more confident now.

Remember the times when we talked, and I mentioned how I was always struggling to find my worth, always feeling as if I didn’t belong, didn’t matter, didn’t deserve? I do. I remember her all too well, the girl who constantly wrestled with self doubt. The doubt usually one. Then she sat herself down, and with the encouraging and assertive words of another, took inventory of who she was. Not the person that she thought others wanted..not the person she was trying to be for them. She realized she had more to offer than she ever understood, and defined herself the way she wanted to be known, not what she thought was most likable. And when she shed the illusions she had of what life should be like from everyone else’s angle..it was the most free-ing emotion she had felt in ages.

I am more assertive now.

I came to understand, that in trying to be there for everyone, I was losing myself. I was giving so much of myself to others, trying to be everyone’s hero, that I didn’t realize how many people were taking advantage of my kindness. I was there for other people, but when I looked around, they weren’t there for me. It was lonely and so draining. And I made the crucial decision of removing them from my life. I want to see others succeed, to witness others embracing happiness, but when that goal affects my own happiness and my ability to function as the best person I can be..I knew at that moment I had to let them go.

I am happy now.

I am truly happy now. I am happy with how far I have come. I am happy with who I am turning in to.

So old friend, thanks for catching up. I am doing well now. How are you?

5e24da1e2dcea4a5ea342e50f857c7d3.jpg

0

Fear versus faith

Her words tumbled from the receiver in to my ear, like coarse granules of sand sifting from her brain in to mine. “It’s so easy to say that things will work out the way that they are supposed too, but how are we supposed to stop worrying?”

I think we have all asked ourselves this question, whether we would consider ourselves faithful or not. We don’t necessarily have to follow religious ideals to question at which point we should let the events of our lives fall in to place, and at which point we should be fearful of the uncertainty. Unfortunately, there is not a convenient nor an easy button that we can push when life and the many changes that evolve as we live it occur.

Her question caused me to ponder my particular position, and at the time I did not have what I considered a good answer for her. Yet, as I prepared breakfast that morning and completed a few small chores around the house, I paused, to really think about what I consider when a situation comes up that I didn’t plan or prepare for.

As you may know by reading other entries in this blog, I believe that their is an ultimate plan for our lives written before we were ever created, and that the choices we make will lead us towards our God given path. Others however, don’t subscribe to this theory, and feel that through our own series of choices we create the final outcome of our lives. Either way, the primary and striking word in both thoughts is choice.

We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to dwell, and to focus on the negative. Of course, we cannot turn off our emotions. If we did, we would not be human, and we would also be lying to ourselves. Our emotions allow us to process and fully understand our human experiences, so to say that we are completely without worry and are fully trusting of an unknown plan may be a bit contradictory. But it is possible, to not quite know what is going to happen next and CHOOSE to be okay with that.

Other factors will come in to play. Finances. Financial stability. Emotional stability. The state of relationships, the state of friendships. The list is long and varying, but at the end of the day, these and other factors drive not only our decisions but the way we feel about them. We can worry, about if the money that currently sits in our bank accounts will be available next month, or if an unforeseen circumstance will cause us to have to allocate those funds elsewhere. We can stress about the state of our marriage, the nature of our friendships, or we can focus all of that energy in to making sure that no matter what the outcome of a particular situation is, we are happy because we know it is where we are supposed to be in that moment.

It may sound hard, and some may be scoffing at this post and thinking it’s impossible, but I challenge you, in those moments where you are questioning your faith, in yourself, or your fear of the unknown, to choose to be content in this stage of your life, for whatever path it takes, this season won’t last for long.

 

1d3555c277a0cac7312a767c628429bf

0

The Lesson

There is a quote I have seen upon many a Pinterest board, categorized underneath headers with labels like, “words to live by,” and “truths.” This particular quote is one that I will admit sits in a position on one of my boards, one that I tapped, hit “save pin” and added to my board in one of many trips to this particular site, an article I have even shared as a graphic once on my Facebook wall.

But now I understand the true meaning of these words.

The quote reads, “The lesson repeats as needed”. At the time I saved this quote to my board, I liked the way it sounded. But in perspective, I didn’t think about the words. What did this actually mean?

In recent weeks, I have encountered circumstances that have repeated. The parties involved differed each time, but the situation was the same. Surely, there was a reason for this. It was not a coincidence that I was experiencing the same thing twice.

I have had to sever ties with people I never imagined would exit my life, much less by their own discretion. I would never have imagined that for my well being, for my personal and mental health, the best thing to do would be to end relationships that were toxic.

Toxic relationships, and friendships, do not always appear this way from the outside. There are no defining characteristics to tell you that a person will not be ideal for you. If everyone came with warning labels, hurt could easily be avoided. Unfortunately, life does not operate that way, and we discover the lesson the hard way. It has been said before, that experience is the cruelest of teachers, providing us with a test before the lesson has ever been taught, and I absolutely believe this is true. We thrive on emotion because we are meant to feel, even if in doing so, we break our own hearts by returning to something that we know is wrong for us.

And now, it makes sense. The lesson, does in fact, repeat as needed. To better oneself, to truly make them appreciate the blessings they are equipped with, we sometimes need reminders of everything we don’t need. Our hearts may long for something, but ultimately it may cause more harm than good, and for this reason we have to let things go.

Friendships will dissolve, but we will go on. We will create new friendships, and if we are fortunate enough to become truly comfortable with ourselves and our own company, we can be our own best friends as well.

Relationships will move forward too. The person that we thought we may spend the rest of our life with may not be the right person for us as we all grow and change. It is our decision to decide if we want to grow together or grow apart.

We will grow too, and we will keep learning, through the lesson, how strong we truly are. It will hurt, it will feel raw and emotional, and we may even break our own spirits and souls in the journey to becoming who we are, but it is far better to live a life that we can be happy with than to keep people in it who will make us regret who we are.f95071b73bceb738962bfe7cbcb45898

0

Tired

When I write a post on this page I like for it to be uplifting and inspiring. I like to share my experiences with others in the hopes that if they are currently in or have previously been in a similar situation, that person can find a way to seek the positive in that experience and be encouraged by the words I share here.

This will not be one of those posts.

Let me explain.

When I created this page, I did so with the intent of journaling my emotions at the exact moment that I considered blogging the best way to express them. As people actually started to read the blog, I shifted my focus on what I wanted to use this page to represent. My life is largely centered around my family. My children, my marriage and my faith are all experiences that I pull from to write these posts.

However, in attempting to create a page of encouragement and inspiration all of the time, I don’t feel as if I am always being fully authentic. I have been tired lately, not just physically, and at this point, I think that it is best to say what is on my heart, even if it’s not particularly inspirational or remotely inspiring.

So I must confess.

I am tired.

I am tired of feeling as if I give more of myself to others than they are willing to contribute. I am tired of one sided friendships and relationships, where I have to do all of the work. I fully understand, being an adult myself, the daily demands we face. Many of us are parents and I will be honest when I say the only free moments I have are often in the last few minutes before I go to bed. I do not expect someone to babysit me in a friendship all the time, nor would I ever demand it. But if I find that the only time I hear from someone that calls themselves a friend is when I reach out to them, whether in a text message or an email, and that person then tells me the details of their life; never asking about how I am doing before I have yet to hear from them again…unfortunately only one person is putting in effort and that’s just not fair.

I am tired of feeling as if I am too nice. I am tired that it even has to be a choice. As a person, I am naturally wired to be strong willed and direct, and while some may find fault with those personality traits, they comprise who I am. It’s disheartening however, to be told that being strong willed or direct ultimately makes you a rude person (or another term for a woman that I will not be using here). Why is it okay for someone to say that a woman who understands herself and what she will and will not tolerate is unacceptable because her beliefs are not nice enough? Would that same explanation suffice for a dominant male? Absolutely not. That male would be described as assertive, powerful, and commanding. If a woman acts the same way, she just isn’t nice. But I am weary of being too nice at the same time. If you are too nice, too friendly, it can almost appear that you are being artificial. I’ve heard it said before..”No one can be that sweet.”It’s a losing battle, and one that can be incredibly exhausting. Why can’t we be both dominant and friendly?

I am also tired of feeling like the events of my past are shaping my future. Of course, perspective is essential to growth. But those circumstances are a part of the past for a reason. I need to realize that I have to let these things go and allow new experiences to fit in their place. Of course events have created who I am today, but that doesn’t mean I have to carry them around with me, a heavy burden that I continue to bare while others have long since moved on.

I am tired of these things, and the way that they have made me feel. It’s time to finally start waking up.

ccc01a08647056a1f109b5479217927b