Doubts in the Dark

I’m going to be real honest with you. Sometimes I’m not so sure I’m doing this mothering thing right. There are times when her little face looks up to mine and she smiles and says the wittiest thing that has ever come out of a three year old mouth and I am in awe by what I have made. But there are other times, when it all seems so much harder. When the darkness is around us and she’s been struck by whatever bug is circulating  and neither one of us can sleep from the coughing and the wheezing, I have my doubts. Why would the Lord trust me with His amazing creation? What if I don’t deserve it? What if I fail? Her soft skin burns and her teeth chatter and I lay beside her helplessly holding her and wishing I had some kind of magic to take it all away.  I think of everything I know to do. I turn to Google in the middle of the night. I pray.

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:14)

Tears creep down my face because helpless is not a feeling that comes easily to me.  I feel a little hand reach out in the darkness and find my hair. She twirls her little fingers around the dark ribbons and looks up at me with sleepy eyes, “I love you, Mommy. I’m better now.” And she snuggles in close and fades away to sleep. Of course, she’s still sick, a miracle did not strike down from the sky. But I realized right then that I have everything she needs, even when I have nothing at all. A mother’s job is a hard one, and often we underestimate ourselves. When I step back and see myself through those little eyes I know exactly how she feels. I was a child once and in the darkness of the night, when I was sick or scared, there was only one thing that I truly needed, my mother. And I wonder now if she doubted herself too while I snuggled in close and trusted in her as Reagan now trusts in me.

Doing Important Things

I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler. Sort of a “jack of all trades and master of none” if you will.  I have a hard time saying no. I don’t want to miss out on anything. This has always been a great way to live. It has led me down so many paths to a million amazing adventures. 


It also makes me very tired. It causes me to spread myself too thin. It makes me wonder if the fact that I do too many things is why I don’t do anything exceptionally well. I often wonder what would happen if I just focused myself on one endeavor. That will never happen.


Since the start of the new year I have recommitted myself to my fitness goals. I plan to reach new weights at the gym. I fully intend to run a half marathon in under two hours. I have charged into 2014 with a fresh outlook and energy. It has all gone really well, until today. 


Today’s rainy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon. I planned to hit the gym, but when I saw the sun shining I changed my mind. I figured I’d go for a run instead. By the time I got home, I’d lost that motivation too. You see, when I asked myself what was the most important thing I needed to get done today, the answer didn’t involve any of the things I’d planned. What I needed to do today, was be a mom.


Of all the things I dabble in, of all the things I like to do, there is nothing compared to being a mom. So today I decided to see the world through my daughter’s eyes when it was time to decide what important things needed to be done.

There were masterpieces that needed to be created.

And long journeys to take across the yard, trying to reach that ever- elusive moon in the sky.

I thought at the end of the day I would feel guilty about missing my workout- not following my plan. Do I? Nope. Not one bit. You see, I don’t stand a chance at being an expert on anything. I won’t hold a world fitness title. I won’t write a bestseller. I won’t win “teacher of the year”. I won’t win a Grammy. But to one person in this world, I am already everything I need to be. I am enough. I am Mommy.

Monday…

 

Best laid plans…I should be at the gym right now. I have a Monday morning date with myself every week. A 6am sweat session, the only one that I am guaranteed each week. The rest get filled in when spots open, but that 6am Monday slot has become sacred. A quiet drive through the dark streets of my city, a challenge to my body before the battle of the workweek begins. It has become the one thing that makes Monday bearable.  

How can life possibly weigh me down when I start my week reminding myself of my strength? That I have the power to just lift myself back up?

But 5:15 came too early today. When 2am brought a toddler that wanted juice, and to play, and to wrap her fingers in Mama’s hair, 5:15 came way too early. 

Some days are like this. I’m learning that the best laid plans do often fail. Sometimes I need a reminder that I am not in control.  My strength is given to me by a God that knows my heart so well. He knows what I need, right when I need it. He gives me the strength I need when life becomes heavy. He carries me.

So this week, when I feel like I have already let myself down, I will call on Him. When my attitude slips, and my weakness shines through. When I’m trying to squeeze it all in and still make time for myself, and my husband, and for tiny fingers and toes that dig in the dark to find Mama, I will call on Him, for He knows my need.

Currently, my need is coffee….and a shower…and to get to work. Happy Monday, everyone. 

 

Beating the Funk and Petting Pigs

Do you ever get in one of those funks that just feel like the world is crumbling down around you? I very rarely get that way, and kind of pride myself on that fact, but yesterday was one of those days. I was in a look out, get out of my way, someone kicked my puppy and peed in my Cheerios kind of mood. It was bad. Not even a hot bath and a glass of wine did the trick. At 9:00 I informed Jon that I would be taking two squares of chocolate, eating them in bed, and then going to sleep to try for a do-over tomorrow. He totally understood.

Today is a new day! I slept in until a glorious 7:15, had a cup of blueberry coffee, and decided the cloudy sky would not ruin my Saturday with my baby girl. So we packed up and hit the road looking for adventure. First, her and I did a little yard sale hunting. We found a couple, but my quest for a super cheap exersaucer is still ongoing. Next up we hit the farmer’s market. Something about that place just makes me happy. I love seeing all those people selling things they have made and grown with their hands. I love to talk to the farmers and hear how passionate they are about the quality of the food they are selling. I also love to see all the people buying fresh local food. It makes my heart smile. 

I picked up a watermelon and a dozen ears of corn. The guy even slipped a free cucumber in my bag.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I feel about cucumbers the same way I feel about snakes, spiders, liver, and other icky things. Jon will eat it. I almost left the farmer’s market with this:

I’m not kidding. If I had the cash on me I would be petting my pot-bellied pig right this moment. Jon came home with five turkeys one day, why can’t I have a pig? Later, I called and asked him what he thought….let’s just say it is not completely off the table.

I bid farewell to Miss Piggy and Reagan and I hit the Riverwalk Trail for a run. I was so excited about today’s run. She got to ditch the car seat and ride in the stroller like a big girl (facing forward)! She’s finally big enough and strong enough to do it. I wedged her in with some blankets to be safe, but it was awesome! She was so much cooler in there and so happy to look around as we moved.

One thing I love about my town is all the opportunities there are to be active if you want to be. Sure, there’s also about 75 fast food, fried food, country cookin’ places too, but if you want to live a healthy lifestyle it’s pretty easy to do. The Riverwalk Trail is such a wonderful place to run. It’s so calming to race along next to the water.

We went a few miles and then stopped at the Fit Stop so I could get in a few squats, pullups, toes to bars, and pushups done while she slept. This little “park” is such a nice addition to the trail.

A few miles back and Reagan was ready for lunch, as was I. We hightailed it home and hung out together while I fixed up a little something. 

Some people have been trying to convince me to try to go Paleo. I eat pretty healthy, but I just don’t think I could go that far. I really love cheese….and beans and flour and milk and yogurt and all the other wonderful things that I couldn’t have anymore. I just don’t think I want to do it. I know I could, I just don’t want to.  I mean, doesn’t that look delish? Trust me, it was.

I guess my awful funk from yesterday stemmed from the fact that I finally had to go back to work. I’ve been off with Reagan for almost four months. I know that’s such a blessing and most people don’t get that much time off, but it’s just so hard! I kept thinking about all the “firsts” I’m probably going to miss. The thing is, I won’t be her “person” anymore. I mean, I’ll always be Mom but she will now spend the most time with Grammy. Again, I know, we are very fortunate that she stays with Grammy when so many people have to use daycare. Cut me a little slack and let me wallow in self-pity for just a minute. First-time mom here. 

 So today I decided that the only way to deal with it is to make the most of the time we DO have together. It doesn’t help to be sad about things I can’t change. Being a working mom is a decision that I made a long time ago. She’s too little now, but someday she’ll be able to remember mornings like this one and when she looks back on her childhood I hope she’ll smile at the mom that took her running and wanted to buy her a pig. Okay, the pig was for me, but still.

Life Lessons with Mom

What kind of daughter would I be if I didn’t blog about my mother today? In case you live in a cave, it’s Mother’s Day. Here’s the thing, she’s a pretty private person so I don’t think she would want me to tell you a lot about her.  So instead I’ll tell you about a few things I learned from her.

When I was a teenager, I used to think it was awful when I was on the bench at a basketball game and I would look across the court to see my mother sitting exactly the same way as me. We would cross our legs and rest our chin on our hands.  Now I know that any type of grace or poise I may possess came directly from her. 

A while back, Jon washed his brand new iPhone in his pants pocket. He came to me pretty embarrassed about it, knowing I would be mad. I laughed a little and then researched how to dry out an iPhone. (You can’t, by the way, I had to buy a new one.) My mom taught me that possessions are just things that can be replaced, but relationships can’t always be mended when you break them. You can’t take your words or actions back. You can always buy a new phone.

When my nephews were little, my mother took them to the beach. I won’t dive into the whole story, but they got stranded and had to walk several miles back to the house. There they were on the side of the road, carrying their little sea shell buckets with cars whizzing by. My mom didn’t whine or fuss or panic. She told them they were “having an adventure” and she meant it. When Jon and I found ourselves on a catamaran in Jamaica during the biggest thunderstorm I had ever seen, he was plotting our escape route while I was thanking God for the adventure.

When I lost my baby last January, I struggled for a few days and then got busy living again. I’ve never questioned or wallowed in self pity. I made a choice to be strong and not let the sadness swallow me. I didn’t question why because my mother told me that sometimes there really is no reason. I never felt sorry for crying, because my mom said sometimes it’s ok to just be sad. Mom’s really do know best, you know. Her life has had many trials, but they don’t define her. This will not define me.

Once we got lost on or way from Florida to Georgia. We knew we were lost because we saw a sign that announced we were entering Central Time Zone.  It took hours to get back on track. My mom just laughed and laughed. She said, “Well, we made a memory.” I’ve heard that line more times than I can count and have said it more than I’m willing to admit. Everything you do with the ones you love will be remembered. You decide whether they remember it with laughter or tears.

I could go on about the things my mom has taught me, but the best lessons (how to treat people, how to survive a difficult time, how to show someone you love them, how to be strong, how to dedicate yourself to something, how to be honest even when it’s hard, how to see the positive, how to trust in God) she taught me when she didn’t realize I was looking. Thanks Mom.

**Just a side note: If you have someone in your life that has lost a baby or is having trouble conceiving, someone who wants to be a mom but it just hasn’t worked out yet, give them an extra hug today.  We would never want to take anything away from the mothers of the world, but this day can be pretty hard for us. I picked a fight over a mango with my husband today, just to have a valid reason to be mad. (He was awesome enough to realize what was at the root of it, and let me cry until I felt better. Then he laughed at me and called me a Looneybirdicus Americanus. Yep, he did.)  Happy Mother’s Day.