Fifteen Things that Sum Up the Ridiculousness that is Parenting

Fifteen Things that Sum Up the Ridiculousness that is Parenting

I’ve learned quite a lot over the past six years as a parent. I’ve learned what to do and infinitely more what not to do.  Kids are often times the best teachers to have; from our kids, we learn how to live and how to love; how to be humble and how to be proud; how to keep it together when we ultimately just need to lose our shit.  You get the idea.  As a mom of two mad-crazy little guys, ages 2 and 6, I have begun to really lose my shit lately.  I’m not as cool and calm as I always thought I’d have been; my 12 year old self figured I’d be a hip, laid-back mom. BAHAHAHAHA.  These days, I’m so high-strung that a Stradivarius would be envious.  Thankfully, I have realized this and I am trying to find the humor in things that would normally set me off like a Roman Candle.  Because of my new-found work-in-progress, I have begun writing down little snippets of what parenting is to me.  Now, you may find yourself jumping on my bandwagon, and you may leave here today thinking I’m a total fruitcake (and… you’d be right).  Nevertheless, parenting is, like I said before, a life lesson for us all.  And so, for those of us who live in the real world of make-believe and near parenting-induced alcoholism, who also do not have the benefit of expensive live-in nannies, I present to you my list of “parenting is…”.  I hope it at the very least brings you a chuckle if not a Katniss-esque salute of sympathy.  I’ll be starting my list with one point that ventures towards the macabre — but I know y’all will feel me on this…

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  1. Parenting is: plotting out for weeks on end the murder of America’s favorite fictitious character, Mickey freaking Mouse.  Call it hateful, throw around the term “kill-joy”…. but that mouse is a parent’s nightmare on crack.  Now, did I personally always feel so violently towards the peppy, over-the-top excited little dude?  Nope.  There was a time I, too, was rather fond of Ears.  But Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has rendered me irritated, at best, with it’s unrealistic expectations of childhood behavior.  Not to mention, he’s Connor’s idol and a small mutiny occurs in our home every time that damn mouse is refused.  My mind is leaning towards a Saw like end to the Mouse.  I’m thinking a backwards mousetrap.  Too much?  Oh, well.
  2. Parenting is: wanting to get housework done, but the toddler is sleeping on the couch, and if parenting has taught you ANYTHING its, “Don’t wake the bear.”  Hello, Netflix marathon.
  3. Parenting is: stress eating cheap pizza because “For the love of God and my waistline, quit stalling and do your math facts!”  Move over, skinny jeans; the muumuu is strong with this one.
  4. Parenting is: hovering around the fridge, spoon in hand, avoiding hard stares and denying any knowledge about the banana pudding on the second shelf (behind the Country Crock, adjacent to the Dijon) and arguing that, “No! I’m not going to eat anything, promise! DON’T JUDGE ME, TODDLER!”
  5. Parenting is: a conundrum.  On the one hand, parents love to their kiddos sing pretty much anything.  On the other hand, hearing the chorus of any song over and over on continuous loop because that’s literally the only part of the song they know makes people want to pull their hair out and throw darts at the walls.  See also: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse freaking theme song.  Scooby Doo’s theme is equally annoyingly endearing.

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  6. Parenting is: telling the kids to shake it off after pretty much any injury, knowing full well that if it were YOU, you’d either A) swear at the air until the “ouchie” goes away, B) cry like your two year old who has been refused Micka Mouf, or C) stress eat anything that doesn’t move.
  7. Parenting is: repeating yourself calmly a thousand times over, in the most serene of voices, until something in you snaps and suddenly your neighbors all think you’re a metal-band groupie and, “Oh my gawsh, she ate a bat’s ear off, I swear!”
  8. Parenting is: hearing yourself say things — things that should never be said — and not knowing which direction the day will go afterward.  Case in point: I always say weird, off-the-wall things to my kids.  They do weird, off-the-wall things, after-all, and well… shit happens.  But the other day, I said within a five minute span, “QUIT LICKING THE DOG!”, “No, we cannot sell your brother.  No, I do not care that you need more Legos.”, “Santa does not bring presents to little boys who pull on their private area.”, “Please quit putting your butt on the window and put on some pants.”, “No, wiping your ass is not one of my favorite things to do.”  “No, I do not think I look like Velma.”, “We do not point guns at the mail lady.”, “No, I do not think she looks like Velma.”, “No, I will not smell your finger.”  Five minutes.  No lie.  I’ve thought about bringing my kids in for testing, but I’m afraid I’ll never get them back from testing.
  9. Parenting is: s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g… until your six year old breaks down that impenetrable code (damnit, ELA).  Then, parenting becomes speaking in movie references to anyone who will understand because said six year old is all, “I ain’t droppin’ no eaves.”
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  10. Parenting is: attempting to reason with a screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler, only to realize that it would be easier to do and sing the Hokey Pokey backwards and in Pig Latin.  It would also be more enjoyable.
  11. Parenting is: looking feverishly at that untouched bottle of wine in your fridge and managing, somehow, to save it for the weekend even when it’s been a Monday of a Wednesday.
  12. Parenting is: ending most days with someone in tears, someone else covered in Nesquick, and you on the verge of nervous breakdown… but, one way or another, finding the humor in it all, odds be damned.
  13. Parenting is: guidance, chauffeuring, chaperoning, disciplining, kissing booboo’s, and scaring away the monsters.
  14. Parenting is: being loved and getting to love.  It is special.  It’s a gift.  It’s humbling.  It’s pride-bearing.
  15. Parenting is: an experience.  Several experiences, really.  Ones that should be spent with your kids, not at your wit’s end.  It’s hard, it’s tiring, it can be a nightmare; but it’s worth it. They’re worth it.  And so are you, momma and/or poppa bear.

This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful for my kids.  I am proud of who they are — even if they drive me positively berserk.  They are my reasons to be thankful for anything; I am blessed beyond measure.  And tired.  I am so, so tired.  Time for the daily battle with Mickey Mouse.  I’ll give you a hint who wins: it’s not me.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Postpartum Depression and Turning Corners

Every year, I try my best to write about my personal struggle with postpartum depression.  It was such a huge part in the turning of chapters in my life, and I feel obligated to share with other mommas who may be experiencing, or could experience, the same hell I lived in for several months of my life.  PPD is left largely undiscussed.  No one really talks about the post-natal depression because it still widely viewed as “taboo” or a “non-issue”.  Hell, the “baby blues” are barely mentioned.  That fact has left me gobsmacked ever since Gabe’s arrival six years ago.  In fact, the longer I think about, the more ludicrous it’s absence in every-day talk seems to me.

Even knowing my family’s history of varied mental illnesses and depression, my OB/GYN at the time didn’t even warn me of the possibility that I might develop the problem.  I was very young — twenty at the time — and might have heard of PPD in passing, but never at length, and never from the one person who could have filled me in.  I don’t blame him in particular — I blame society, mostly.  A society that is in no way, shape, or form idyllic has these contorted views of what the “ideal” mother should be.  I’m telling you right now — the society that runs the world today should have no say in what an “ideal” mother is.  Plain and simple.

But backing off blame, I’m here to urge anyone who might have this problem or knows someone who might have this problem to seek help — NOW.  Asking for help is not embarrassing.  It does not make you a bad mother.  It does not take away from your parenting abilities.  IGNORING the problem, however, will absolutely emphasize the problem not only for the mother, but also for the people that surround her — including her child(ren).

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I have found that opening up a bit about my own conflict with PPD has helped a few women seek help and counsel regarding their own struggles.  It is still somewhat difficult for me to come forward with my own story, but it is something I am more than willing to do to spare anyone of the terror that went on inside of my own head.  So, here goes:

My Gabe was born on August 20th, 2009.  As luck would have it, my heart truly began beating on that day.  I, however, wouldn’t have that feeling of pride and warmth for several months after the fact.  All my life I’ve been told of these miraculous stories of “adoration at first sight” upon a mother holding her baby for the very first time.  That this feeling of pure bliss just soaks down into very fiber of their being without question and without exception.  A love that, as I’ve said before, is nearly nauseating.  I didn’t have those feelings.  In fact, I was very nearly numb to everything — except terror and the unknown.  The unknown of what I was experiencing; the surprising terror of being petrified — of an infant.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it and I was certain no one else would be able to, either.  So I kept quiet.  I kept quiet for nearly a year.

I’ll go to grave believing that a plethora of factors contributed to my depression; family mental illness, being overweight and in an unhappy relationship, working three jobs from sun-up to sun-down… I believe all these things contributed to my issues.  Add to that a rash of unstable post-natal hormones?  I was just waiting for someone to put me in a padded cell.  My attitude towards everyone, not just myself, was deplorable.  I couldn’t not cry — any and everything made me bawl.  I was living with my parents at the time and refused to be left alone with my own child — I was out of control on a downward spiral.  I needed help and I knew it.  But, due to my fear and hardheadedness, I decided to wait.  I waited almost too long.

For months, I would climb into my grandpa’s old leather chair when my parents would settle down for the night.  So every night from 10:30 to 4:30 the next morning, I would sit there, in my “safe place” — forcing myself to stay awake.  I feared that if I slept, I would hurt Gabe.  He slept soundly every night in my arms — never suspecting; trusting me fully.  He didn’t know that the person he trusted the most had no faith whatsoever in herself.  One day after a long night, I couldn’t tell if I was awake or dreaming.  Awful thoughts and fears poured into my mind as though someone had removed the top portion of my head only to fill it with fright.  Horrified and feeling monstrous, I finally sought help.  Adding to the fear of losing my mind, was the new thought that I could feasibly lose my child.  That the possibility of having my son taken from me could lie in whomever I sought counsel.  Sitting in the counselor’s office didn’t help any — waiting alone, wondering what would be said… what would be thought.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, my name was called.  I was led to another smaller office where I waited once more.  I considered running — I considered calling the appointment off under the guise of a “reschedule”.  What little common sense I felt I had at the time finally took course and I stayed, anxious and alone.  And then someone with the kindest eyes came in.  She held my hand.  She listened.  She let me express every fear I had, no matter how silly or unreal.  I talked until I was out of words and cried until my face was sore.  And after all was said and done, she hugged me the tightest hug I’d ever been given.  She assured me that I was not crazy and that everything would be fine; no one was going to take Gabe and no one wanted to.  To this day, I have not experienced the kind of relief that I did in that room.

We continued to meet for quite some time.  I was prescribed a strong antidepressant that gradually became less and less.  The last day of that prescription, I enrolled in a local college — I had been given two new reasons to live my life fully.  I finally had my little boy, even though I was never physically absent… and I’d been given my life back ten-fold.  It became my wish from that point to today to educate and spread the word regarding postpartum depression in its every form.  I hope you will do the same if you took anything away from this post.

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Postpartum depression is real and horrifying.  But there is help and hope.  For more information on PPD, follow this link.  If you or anyone you know is suffering from or could suffer from this problem, please seek help and encouragement.

The Unfathomable Gift

The Unfathomable Gift

It’s Christmastime once again.  Hardly feels that way, though.  Unlike our bitterly cold winter last year, this year has been unseasonably warm for winter’s sake — yet, seasonably normal for Louisiana.  Louisiana Christmas usually equals cool-ish and rainy…. much like today, as a matter of fact.

Also unlike last year, Ev and I have two little guys who are simply Christmas-ravished instead of just Gabe who, last year, could not figure out why Connor was so ambivalent about all the festivities.  Both boys are excited for different reasons;  Connor is in awe of the lights and all the pretties in the house (he’s still pretty blase` about the whole gift thing — you’ve seen one rowdy toy, you’ve seen ’em all), while Gabe has finally set his sights on Santa Claus and gift-getting.  I am pleased to say, though, that he is generous minded and is just as excited about giving gifts as he is receiving.  Every time we pass a Salvation Army bell-ringer he begs to drop a coin in their bright red pail — even if it’s something as small as a penny.  A mere token to most is super-gratifying for him; he beams a shy grin every time he hears, “thank you & merry Christmas!” from whomever is manning the post.

I’m not overly concerned yet that my kids will become so infatuated with gift-getting.  We don’t spoil them throughout the year, and even at Christmas they are not over-whelmed with gifts.  As much as we enjoy doing for them, we know that over-loading would be detrimental to their childlike spirit of Christmas and try to keep everything at a minimum.  We decorate the tree and this year we painted our first advent calendar; there are decorations in the house and lights strung around it; gifts under the tree, Frost on TV and hot cocoa to be had.  We keep it festive, for sure.  But we also keep it real.  Since Gabe is old enough to sort-of comprehend the real meaning of Christmas this year, I’ve really been preaching it even more than Santa Claus.  He’s learned so far that candy canes were originally made to resemble both the “J” of Jesus (ask Gabe what “J” stands for and he’ll gladly yell, “Ummm, JESUS!”) and the shepherd’s staff.  He also learned that the bold red stripes symbolize his blood and the white stripes signify that because of the red stripes, we are washed “white as snow” (he really liked that part).  We watched a kid-friendly movie earlier that (here’s the link if you’re interested) really described all the details put into Christmas… from the origin of Christmas to the reason we use Christmas trees, etc.  He is excited to learn all these new (to him) things, and I’m pretty excited to share them with him.

I’m so glad that he is beginning to understand that, while it’s okay to believe in Santa and have holiday fun, the true meaning of Christmas was a gift so unfathomable to us all.  Something that, even as Christians, we cannot fully comprehend.  I, for one, could not imagine allowing one of my kids to die for a world that most definitely would not do likewise for one of them.  And I most selfishly could not give one of them up for my own good — I carried them in my body nine months.  I carried them in my arms when they could not walk — and still do when they are tired or sad.  I will carry them in my heart until it ceases to beat.  I could not and would not give them to a world who, I feel, does not deserve their innocence.  So it is hard for me to understand why Mary — or, greater still, God — gave their Son to die a death so undeserved to him.  Why he would feel every pain and every dark moment from the time he was put on the cross and to times far beyond that.  I cannot understand.  And, frankly, I don’t want to.  Some things are better left alone.  Right?

Anyway.  I heard something on the radio this morning that I want to share with you guys, and then I’m going to jet.  There is a passage in John 8:1 – 30 that tells of a woman brought before Jesus for adultery.  By Old Testament law, she was to be stoned for her crimes — an experience I’m afraid she would have endured if the Pharisees would have had their way.  The Pharisees said, “…this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  And do you know what he said?  He said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And it hit me right there in my car like a brick to the face.  Not one of the Pharisees could cast stones; they were not without blame.  But there was one there blameless.  One who had a right to cast stones.  But he did not.  Instead, he forgave her by saying this, “Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, right?  Hang in there.

Her not being stoned is not exactly our greatest gift.  But right there, in that very moment, she experienced her own greatest moment of Grace.  She was pardoned.  She was set free.  And of course she would go forth and sin — she was human.  But at that moment, she was set free.  Really, she had been set free the day of his birth.  We all were.  Christmas is a day of giving.  We were given the ultimate and unfathomable gift of new life from a little one who would do no harm — who would commit no wrong.  It’s a beautiful story that I am proud to tell my kids.  It’s a story that I hope, one day, they will tell their own children.  We celebrate Christmas (or Christ’s Mass) for the most incomparable gift that can never be returned and that always fits: Hope.manger-to-the-cross

Merry Christmas, y’all.  And in case I’m not back in touch before January, Happy New Year.

From a Momma Bear

From a Momma Bear

2014

2013.  Oh, you’ve been eventful.  So much has changed — not much remains untouched by your presence.  One thing uncontrolled by your rapidity — yet, altered still: my momma-bear love for my little ones.

My boys have grown so; even my Connor in his short little life.  Gabe’s laugh continues to fill a room and Con’s lovely smile brightens dreary days — both little bodies warming our hearts and providing a constant reminder of what an enchanted, and sometimes monotonous, love really is.  I so love, and envy, their growth; for they see things in a way I’ve long since forgotten.

But this momma bear sees more than just their childlike innocence; I am not blind to the chaos and utter sleeplessness that little ones can bring.  Hardly.  I have been brought to complete agitation by disappointing news and pre-k hardships.  Left in zombie-like conditions by 3 o’clock feedings and teething pains.  Brought to my knees and sometimes bewildered laughter by incidental growing pains felt by parent and child alike.  No, I am not ignorant of these things.  I am all too aware.  But coupled with these sometimes back-breaking moments of sheer chaos and backwards steps are the wonderful and enlightening learned mobility I see in my kids.  And those, truly, make every sleepless night and heartache dissipate — even if just for a moment.

Oh, though I love my little ones, this year has not been without its frustrations.  I have growled and snarled; been the gruffest of momma’s.  I have not always been patient, nor have I consistently been kind.  I have misunderstood; I’ve snapped when instead I should have clung to.  But nevertheless, this old momma bear, even in her snarliest of ways, loves the little ones that I am privileged to call my own.

Upon entering 2014, we look to new beginnings, trials and errors.  Hopeful that this year brings forth good news and revelations.  And in hindsight, I hope we remember the good of the Old.  To sweet union, new life, and delightful hopes and dreams — we say Happy New Year and God Bless.

And to you gruff momma bears out there — Cheers.

best

On Progress and SPD

On Progress and SPD

Oh, progress.  What a stress relieving thing it is.  As you know, we’ve been struggling to figure out what is wrong with my oldest, Gabe.  We have been mind-boggled for years, actually.  But time after time Gabe has been cast aside as if nothing is wrong and he’s just an uber knucklehead and I have been chucked away as that mother without parenting skills.  While that last bit may hold partial validity, I’m also sure (and have always been sure) that something just isn’t quite right.  That Gabe is so smart and so bright — but is still so off and so behind on things I’m really shocked at.  My little backwards boy.  Even when he was tee-tiny he excelled at things beyond his level and behind on things that should be right at his fingertips.  Almost like his little mind had a serious case of the Benjamin Button’s — but in comprehension, not age.  Obviously.  I’ve known for a long time that something was not right.  But I’ve constantly been put off as one of “those moms.” You know the kind.  They want their kid(s) doped up and tout d’suite, please, because they cannot be bothered.  No.  That’s not me.  Gabe’s a little boy, and wild though he may be I’ll not zombiefy him for the sake of a little peace and quiet.  There are too many risks involved and I’m not big on medicine anyway.  But until recently, we were left to our own devices.  Left to shuffle through the mounds of “could be” disorders and to figure out where we went wrong.  Left to translate what my four year old has been trying so desperately to communicate, and screaming inside what I wish he would understand.

I’ll admit, after being told a hundred times over that, “You’re the problem,” you really start to wonder if that is the case.  I don’t mean to make this about me so let me do a little closet cleaning; I’m not saint and hardly a good momma.  I’ve done my fair share of yelling and screaming, spanking and cussin’.  I’ve muttered under my breath and daydreamed about getting in a cold beer to let some of the aggravation off.  I’ve wished the day would just end already and I’ve dreaded the drives home knowing that I wasn’t doing the right thing.  Knowing that all the sand raising wasn’t right.  Knowing that following my gut was what I should have been doing and wasn’t.  Knowing that my actions, and the lack thereof, were positively vile.  As much as I love that child, I’ve been equally a terrible mother and a virtual no-show on support because I didn’t understand.. or because I was being told that I wasn’t doing right.  I couldn’t physically or mentally understand the child I carried and gave birth to.  I loved him, and love him still, with every heartbeat that pumped within me.  Yet, I couldn’t muster enough patience with him to see past my own shortcomings to help him fix his.  It was too easy to label him “disobedient and unruly.”  Just as everyone else had done.  Great momma, right?  Hardly.

It took a teacher complaining about her possible loss of career (a crock, by the way) and pretty much hating on my kid that made me call bullshit and seek more help.  Thank God I stumbled on the right path with the right people.  And thank God my faith and patience are being restored.  I almost gave up on my kid.  And I hate myself for that.

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My boy is thought to have SPD; a sensory disorder that can mimic ADHD, Asperger’s, and some signs of Dyslexia.  It not only mimics those disorders but can also coincide with them.  With help from a speech pathologist and occupational therapist he can learn how to deal with his issue and how to advance in spite of it.  We too can be taught how to help him grow and live to his greatest potential.  I will not allow myself to be that crippling mother that tells her challenged child to sit back and just “get by.”  Gabe will be expected to thrive and push — just how any challenge should be handled.  With dedication and commitment.  I will continue to be the same grumpy momma bear because (with some exceptions) because I know that he absolutely can.  Of all my short-comings, I’ve never once truly doubted his abilities.  He is bright and imaginative and I really believe that with a little extra effort he’ll soar.  And really, won’t that little extra effort make the pay-off so much more rewarding?  I think so.

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If he is willing to play a little hardball then Evan and I will be his hard-nosed but deep down rooting for him coaches.  He has an amazing support team made up of great friends and family who are already offering support and shoulders without question.  This little “disorder” might be exactly what the dr. ordered for this little family!

And so our journey begins.  Keep us in thought, y’all.  There are a lot of changes to make!

August on My Mind

August on My Mind

This Mother’s Day I am being hurdled through a wave of emotions.  I am overwhelmed by so much — just as we all are.  I am especially overcome, however, with the seemingly accelerated on-coming of August.

August, Sarah?  Really?  Yeah.  Really.

August, because my oldest will start “big boy” school.
August, because he’ll be four.
August, because that is his biggest step towards independence.
August, because he’ll need me less and less.

August, because we’ll be celebrating a new life in Connor.
August, because as one child lets loose, another will cling.
August, because my two greatest blessings and challenges will be on my heart and mind endlessly  — as if they’re not already.

August will be the closing and beginning of chapters.

Any other time the days would roll by as slow as molasses.  But now?  They hurdle through time at suffocating speeds.

I say all of this as if it were awful.  Honestly, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.  I most certainly am.  These “chapters” — they are phenomenal advancements in my life.  Truly beautiful little lights that I swore I’d never possess; amazing adventures that I will get to watch unfold.  And now, here I sit, captivated.  Taken by all the good that has swept me up in nearly four years.  Frustrated — and yet, smitten with my life.

And it is still so overwhelming.  Such a curious thing.  Yet, I know as bewildering as it all seems now… come the fall it will just be a vivid memory.  Bittersweet in it’s very essence.

I am ready to have both of my boys in my arms — regardless of time’s terrifying rapidity.  Ready to see the only two little souls that have shared my heartbeat.  And, yes, ready for my August time fears to dissipate.  Ready to see the three loves in my life — all at once — that let me know this life is worth living and giving.

This Mother’s Day I am overcome with a medley of feelings, yes.  Both satisfying and excruciating.  But I have been given a life I have never deserved because of the lives I, too, have given.  And, truly, I am blessed to feel this way.  I feel these things, all of these things, because I am a momma.  And there is nothing in this world I’d take to replace its intensity.

Leaves are a’Changin’

Leaves are a’Changin’

I can hardly believe that it is finally, FINALLY fall.  We are actually experiencing one here in CenLa, and lemme tell y’all — it is beautiful.  For those of you who aren’t from around this area, the weather here is about as reliable as a coin toss.  It can go either way… and sometimes, quite another.  I pretty much hate coming to work now because I am missing the beauty of the days.  I am (slightly) consoled, however, since my chair allows full view of the brilliant autumnal colors.

I think that’s my favorite — the colors, that is.  Don’t get me wrong; the cool air (sans dripping humidity) is refreshing.  But the colors.  I’ve always found it peculiar that even in death the leaves are stunning — as if in their short “lives” they’ve lived extraordinarily.  I adore, and sometimes envy, them for that.

Gabe and I… well, our own lives are changing although, thankfully, not dying.  On the contrary — it blooms.  Or so it would seem.  Gabe and I are finally possessing some stability.  A stability that has taken nearly a year (and lots of love and support) to cultivate.  Relieved.. that would be putting it lightly.  We have had a truly amazing support system and are finally ready to venture out away from our comfy spot… in the knowledge that we’ll be alright.  We have already stumbled upon a few roadblocks, but have jolted back up just as quickly as we fell.  For now, we opt to remain contented with what we have and just be happy.

Oddly, even in my relief, I am a bit saddened.  I’m saying goodbye to what I’ve known for some time now and approaching something almost completely foreign.  Granted, it’s not as dramatic a change as I make it out to be.  I’m not saying goodbye to the people, just familiarity.  But I’ve known this was coming for a while, as has everyone else.  I’m ridiculous, I know.

At any rate, this is November.  And the 2nd at that!  And during this month of gratitude I choose to be thankful for hits & misses.  Friends & family.  Blessings — even tough ones that don’t go as I wanted them to.  Thankful for health and wealth that most don’t have.  This month I will be grateful.  This month I will take a step back and take in everything that I’ve been given and try not to think about what I haven’t.  Because maybe I haven’t earned it.. or maybe.. it’s a blessing in disguise.

I have so much to be thankful for, and for the next month I will try my damnedest to post about things I feel I’ve been blessed by.  Whether it be people or events… although in no particular order.

The leaves, they are a’changin’.  And they give me hope.  Even as they die, they are lively.  I will be grateful that as long I have breath in my body, I too can be vibrant.  I too can live.

My, Oh My.

My, Oh My.

Word of warning: this is a “dripping with sap” post.  I haven’t had a good Hallmark moment for a day or two, so you’ll have to deal with it.  My emotions are running amuck anyway due to mother nature’s bullshit tough love… so this is just phase one of the mood swing.

Most of you who read this blog know me personally — or you’ve just been faithful readers to my bullshit ranting & what I like to call dry wit (although you may beg to differ).  So it goes without saying that you know all about Gabe.  You’re also up-to-date on all the other goings on.  Back in school, living with my best friend & her Abi, yadda yadda yadda.  Most of my posts just skim the surface of my particularly boring existence & are filled with parenthesis (a terrible habit of mine (see??)).  I rarely ever delve off into detail because:

A) …there are maybe ten of you who read this malarkey and it’s not like you won’t hear about it later, anyway.. and/or

B) …there are maybe ten of you who read this malarkey and you’ve all got lives to return to ASAP.  Not like you won’t hear about it later, anyway.

But today I want to talk.  You have been warned… reader, beware.

In case you didn’t know, I am completely smitten with the little minion that I gave birth to nearly three (!!!) years ago.  I try not to be all sappy with him because I am a single momma to a little guy, and I”m trying my damnedest to toughen him up to ensure that he never changes his name to Gabriella Gingerpants (sorry.. it’s the best I could come with on the fly).  But.  Anyone who knowsanything about us knows that even in the midst of my cussin’ and fussin’ I adore that little hunk.  I still hold him until he goes to bed — a habit I know I must break lest he start wearing cardigans and mandals (blah).  But life is so hectic these days, and that’s our “us time,” so I really don’t feel so bad about it.  Yet.

He’s a mess, that one.  He is so improving in his speech and behavior (there are days I’d beg to differ… Cate, too, I’m sure… but really — it’s much improved).  He’s becoming a little boy.  My baby is becoming a boy.  It still seems so strange… hard to wrap my head around.  Sometimes I just wish I could keep him little.  That the potty training, counting, and just… growing up… wasn’t actually real yet.  Most days, though, I find myself so eager to see just what he’ll be.  What he will make of himself.  It’s a mixed up, mashed up feeling, really.  ‘Cause while I am bubbling with excitement, I am also reeling in fright.  He is finally becoming more independent… something that I have hoped for, for so long.  And now that it is finally happening, I find myself wishing that he’d reach for my hand or hug my legs like he did a few months ago.  He still does sometimes — when we’re somewhere brand new.  But it occurs less and less.  A good thing, I know.  But mildly bitter all the same.

He fell asleep last night while we were watching TV and my mind took to flashback.  I can still see him as a newborn.. just as vividly as I can see him now.  And its eerie and pride-bearing all at once.  Last night I saw him as this tiny thing when I was struggling with PPD.  He slept so sweetly and so soundly — not knowing that the mother he curled in to was terrified of his touch.  He just believed that he was loved.  Looking back now, I believe it too.  And I get to believe it everyday I hear him whine or laugh — frown or beam.

I am so thankful he exists.  He is a big ol’ grouchy bear held in a popcorn laugh sunbeam; a riddle wrapped in an enigma.  And quite frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mountains & Valleys

Mountains & Valleys

My pastor has struggled with illness recently.  After being in the hospital for about eight days, he was able to return to church yesterday morning.  Bro. Webb preached what turned out to be one of the most simple, yet most profound, sermons I’ve heard in ages.

He has wrestled with kidney failure lately and is hardly well; although to see him yesterday you wouldn’t really know it.  He’ll have to give up his farm and everything else he does that requires a lot of him.  Even still, his faith remains unshaken.

His situation reminds me of my own about two years ago.  Most of you know I struggled with PPD when Gabe was born, and did so for about a year & a half.  Here we are, very nearly two years later, and we’re fine.  It is amazing to me how during our hardest times we cling to God.  Not always — more often than not I’ve run from him.  There again, never in my life have I ever faced anything like postpartum depression.  I found the only thing I could do was fall face first into Him.  It’s in my nature to get angry and run from the problem.  Thankfully, although I did initially run from the truth, I ended in Him — and because of it, all ended well.  It was a long, hard battle.. but I made it.

I have a few friends who are struggling right now with their own lives.  Coming from experience, albeit different, I have to say that in even in our bleakest hours, God is here.  He is in the mountains & the valleys of our lives.  Admittedly, when I sat up for hours on end terrified that I could do harm to Gabe, the furthest thing from my mind was “God’s got this”.  I had to make myself say it, and eventually I believed.  But He is here.  I look at myself, sometimes, and wonder how I got to this place.  With all my twists & turns in this life I shouldn’t even be alive.  Not only am I very much alive, but I am beyond blessed.  I don’t know the reasons and I don’t know where I’m going.  But I believe that God’s very much in control, and that anywhere He will lead me is where I’ll belong.  Right now, I’m a momma.  I’m a student.. I’m a friend.. I’m a daughter.  There are days it just doesn’t seem like enough, and there are days it seems like too much.  But for the moment, I remain content.

My boy will be two in less than a week.  The time has flown, and I have loved watching every moment of his life so far.  We’ve already crossed over our own mountains & valleys together… I look forward to so many more.

Being Momma

Being Momma

I wasn’t going to post until after finals, but then I read this.  So, now I’m posting…. and I hope you’ll stick around.

I read her blog pretty regularly.  In case you didn’t click on that first link, and really, you should, let me fill you in.  As much as I can, anyway.  She lost two of her little ones a few years back — twin boys, Jake & James.  She’s talked about them before in previous posts, and of course, I’ve at the very least teared up.  Tonight was different.  I didn’t full on cry, mind you.  But my heart swelled for her.  I can not imagine losing my Gabe… and I doubt I’d take it with as much grace as she seems to carry.  She’s got two little guys & a little girl… and she’s expecting another ankle biter.  God love her… I have no idea who she is, but I hope to one day have a little of the strength she possesses.  She’s a good momma, & I wish her, and her little ones, all the best.  Go check out her blog… it’s worth reading.

Anyway.  The past few weeks have been kind of hellish.  They’ll continue to be until after this semester is over & done… but now I don’t mind so much.  My Gabe has been such a little man the past couple of weeks.  We’ve had a few rough spots, but hell.. he’s not even two yet.  I think I can handle a few rough spots.  I love that little boy inside & out.  We had a picnic of sorts Saturday… just the two of us.  I love watching him… it seems like everything he sees is brand new.  And even if he’s seen it a hundred times over, he gets just as excited.  I’m finally getting to a point where I can (almost) slow down and just watch him.  He’s so smart… and SO HARD-HEADED.  He’s been particularly cuddly as of late, which I adore.  I can always make time for some Gabe lovin’, no matter how much I’ve got backed up. 

Picnics at the park

A friend of mine had her baby Monday.  She & a lady about my mom’s age were talking about “child rearing” (seriously)… and I couldn’t help but wonder if I sounded so naïve when I first had Gabe.  And, in spite of myself, I wondered just how naïve I sound now.  There are days I think I’ve got it all together.  “I’ve got this” I say to myself.  But do I “got this”?  Nope… probably not.  And thirty years from now, I still won’t have it.

“Being Momma.”  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I never thought that would define me.  Three years ago, if you’d have said “You’re gonna be a momma” I’d have probably double over laughing (only after putting my drink down first).  Here we are… and I’m Momma.  When did it happen?  When did I make the transition from “The Drunk” to “Mommy”?  It all happened so quickly.  But you something?  I wouldn’t go back to the bottom of that bottle for love nor money.  For the first time EVER in my life, someone needs me.  For the first time EVER in my life, I can make a huge difference in someone’s life.  That, my friends, far out-weighs out-drinking anyone.  Period.

So yes, I’ve traded in my heels for an apron.  Not only am I totally okay with being momma, I’m sooo much more comfortable, too!  Why the hell didn’t someone tell me that flats are God’s gift to toes?!

We’re approaching the Terrible Two’s.  In just a few short months I’ll be digging bunkers.  Will I feel so lovey-dovey to my toddler then?  Prooobably not.  But we’ll be okay.  Other momma’s before me have managed to not only get out alive themselves, but also keep their chirrens alive.  The bottle & I may get re-acquainted… but I hope not anytime soon (kidding, guys!  Don’t call the state on me yet!).  As for raising multiple children?  I’ll let Zohrbak handle that.. ’cause she’s pretty good at it.

Y’all have a good evening.