Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Year's Resolution Slump? You're not alone.


"It's tempting to think "a little" isn't significant and that only "a lot" matters.  But most things that are important in life start very small and change very slowly, and they don't come with fanfare and bright lights." - Fred Rogers

photo credit: flickr
I love me some New Year's resolutions.  As a teacher, I got to experience them twice- professionally in August and personally in January. I have grown to crave that blank slate after the hustle and bustle of the holidays or the freedom and indulgence of summer.  But as with all things new, the honeymoon period wears off as the daily grind sets in. The papers pile up again, the crumbs accumulate in the corners of the kitchen counter, the slush dirties up the new running shoes and all of the sudden, friends, it is the end of January.  For many of us that can mean. . .ugh. . .New Year's Resolution Slump. If we aren't measuring up after a few weeks of effort input, we start to feel as though maybe we weren't cut out for this whole "change" after all.  My new year begins full of exciting ideas, plans to be better, grow spiritually, be healthier, waste less, want less, read more, learn a new skill, exercise daily. . .the list goes on.  And when I make up my mind to change, like most people, I want to do it RIGHT NOW.  

Um. . .
Did you hear me, God? 
Right now!!?
Help me grow. . .NOW!
Change my heart now.
Make me a better person. . .right now!

But here's the thing. 

There's no magic button to change a heart.  (Or become a better reader, or lose weight, or pray more. . .you get the picture.)
But we can take comfort in the fact that the whole year. . .and, in fact, or whole lives stretch before us.
There's no finish line.
It's not a race.
Every day is a new beginning.

So, whatever your New Year's Resolution is this year. . .take some comfort in the words below.  One of my faves shared it and I have been holding these words in my heart as I try to grow as a person this year.  I hope they help you, too.

The Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ



You can join one of my favorite, and most encouraging bloggers in the whole world, Holley Gerth, here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A winter with littles. . .

I don't remember a lot of vivid details about the winter when Phil was 3, Daniel was 2, and Josh was an infant, but I have but one clear image in my mind when I try.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror in our less-than-sparkling guest bathroom.    I was wearing sort of a misshapen purple tunic sweatshirt (to camo my extra baby pounds, of course), a gray tank top and and black leggings, all of it pretty much somehow stained or snotted on at some point since I had put it on that morning. I had spit up/chew marks on my baby-carrying shoulder where a 7 month old Josh had been teething on it.  I was barefoot, of course.  My mascara was smudged, hair in a messy side ponytail.  I remember stopping and squinting at my reflection in that mirror, and just thinking a little "Whaaaatttt happened to you, girl!!??" to myself before I ran off to clean up the next bodily fluid that was in my path or feed the next snack or dry the next tears.  Not in a mean way, just sort of a befuddled way. . .like, who is that person in the mirror?  Is that me?  The girl who used to wear sparkly jewelry and pantyhose and high heels every day and plan a month's worth of outfits on a CALENDAR?  

All of this motherhood still seemed so fresh and new.  One day with three tiny people that winter could sometimes feel like three put together, and when I fell into bed after mothering all day I felt pretty spent.  Plus, everything was gray and slushy and cold because it was winter. . . in the midwest.  This was also the winter that I cancelled all magazine subscriptions because they felt like too much pressure.  And all I can say is thank goodness Pinterest wasn't around to make me feel like an epic failure because no one was eating vegetables creatively shaped into zoo animals, reading scripture daily and reflecting on it or making leaf rubbings from native Indiana trees.  My house was full of snotty, giggly, teary, goofy, chubby-arm-and-legged boys with messy hair and mismatched socks watching excessive PBS kids.

There's a phrase I see going around on my facebook feed and blog posts, and the first time I saw it all I could think was- YES!!  

"Mama of Littles"  

Would that this phrase were around when I was knee deep in cloth diapers and Cheerio crumbs and lost pacifiers and endless Goodnight Moon!  I was one of those??!! If that phrase had been going around a few years ago, I would have felt like I was in a club!  A super-awesome club!  The "Mamas of Littles" club!  But, instead, I must admit as much as I love being a mom, I felt a little isolated during that period of my life.  And not intellectually stimulated.  And kind of sloppy and messy.  I felt like I never got much done, and I am an over-achiever, so that was killin' me.  I wish someone could have really showed me, during those few long "littles" winters, that I didn't have to enjoy every SINGLE moment, just grab a few and hold on to them.  Or told me how important and glorious that daily work is.  That's why it makes me so happy that so many mommy bloggers are telling mamas to give themselves a break.  Wiping boogies is grace.  Wiping booties- also grace.  Washing dishes- pure grace.  I am so happy to know that now, even if I didn't fully grasp it then.

I am never one to wish away a part of my life.  As the older boys grow, it gets harder in some ways, but also richer and more meaningful and more fun and beyond my wildest dreams hilarious and heartwarming and awesome.  Three years ago, I was cleaning up vomit and other bodily fluids off the floor nearly every day.  Now, people only really vomit when they are sick (knock on wood).  I was reading my kids the same board books over. . .and over. . .and over.  Now, I read my big kids CHAPTER BOOKS- ones that I loved when I was a kid!  We were tied to a nap schedule.  Now we drag the little guys along and they grab a nap in the car.  I had to constantly intervene to break up toy disputes or help with this or that train track piece or block, now they play together endlessly with no help from me.  I would talk TO my kids, but now I can really talk WITH my kids.  They ask me amazing questions.  Spiritual questions.  Science questions.  History questions. They give me insights into human nature.  They challenge me to learn new things.  They dress themselves and zip their own coats and brush their own teeth.  They say hilarious stuff and make me laugh until I cry.  They sing songs with me.  They help me clean up the toys.  They can PUSH THEMSELVES ON THE SWING.  Occasionally, they even wipe their OWN booties.  People, it gets easier.  And I know that there are other great things to come- like reading whole books to themselves, and taking family bike rides, and campouts and sleepovers and watching grown up movies together.  Someday, we'll even sit down and have a beer together, my all-grown-up men and I!  But I don't want to wish away the now- the sweet Kindergarteners who love stuffed animals and Angry Birds and Legos and still love cuddling with their mama and watching Sesame Street.   A sweet blonde head leaning on each shoulder while I read or watch TV has to be the best prize I have ever received in my entire life. I'll clean up a million cups of spilled milk and change a million diapers all over again for that.

So, "mamas of littles", hang in there this long, cold winter.  All my love to you. If you can relate, please do what I didn't do so well in the beginning- give that messy lookin' gal who doesn't get out much and her slightly disheveled children some grace.  A day will come very soon when you will look back and it will all be a mostly-happy-because-you-have-forgotten-all-the-details blur and you are a card-carrying lifetime member of the "Mama of Littles" club who earned her "I Survived a Midwestern Winter" badge.  I am granting you bragging rights for eternity for winter 2013-2014! 


P.S.
I even took some pictures during that period of my life. I enjoyed looking back on them all and noting that in every single one, my hair is in a side ponytail, I am wearing a sweatshirt, and my house is pretty much a mess.  As is my kids' hair.  I am pretty sure I didn't brush it all winter!  And even with all that I am still glad I took pictures! (and at this moment three years later, I am also wearing a tunic, and leggings.  And I am barefoot.  And my hair is in- you guessed it, in a ponytail. But I've grown into the look now, and at least in my mind I'm rockin' it. ;)



 
 
 
 
 
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Appreciate.

A few weeks ago, Paul and I had been enjoying a little too much fun time with the kids and had not been enforcing any sort of clean up of the Lego area in the basement.  I feel like it is really important for the kids to have an area where they can just "be" and not have to clean up after themselves constantly- work on their project, leave it, come back to it, be messy, just pretend.  When the Legos were in our family room, that didn't happen because we had to clean them up every night- which when you have tired kids (and many of them) can sometimes be quite the struggle!  The day we moved the Legos to our basement was a happy, happy day. . .but even then, the kids do have to clean them up occasionally, like the other week when there were definitely about 4 Legos in a box and 4,000 Legos on the floor.  So, we pumped ourselves up, pep talked, put on some Queen for "Queen Up Time" and sat down as a family with the best of intentions to clean the Legos.   Well begun is half done, right? Noah was in his Exersaucer, providing a lovely soundtrack of crashing toys, Josh was in charge of the wheels (and mostly forgetting), Phil was cleaning diligently and Daniel was, well, Daniel.  D picks up a Lego, but before he can even put it in a box, his mind is swept away by all of the SHEER POSSIBILITIES of this tiny piece.  What could it be?  What could I turn it into?  What creation could I add this to?  Isn't this Lego funny?  Let me tell you a story about it.  Where is the minifig that goes with this?  What was I supposed to be cleaning up, anyways??  By the time several hundred Legos were boxed away and Daniel had only managed to clean about five of them (one per three gentle reminders to stay on task), Paul looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "You deal with him.  I am going to looooose it."

You have to understand, D is not TRYING to avoid cleaning up the Legos.  He doesn't mean to be this way.  He's like our little absent minded professor. . .always dreaming and spilling his milk and tripping over things and drawing amazing pictures and thinking of great stories and jokes and always the last one out the door with his coat unzipped and one shoe half on.   Being the insightful little buddy he is, he seems to get this about himself. . .but sometimes Mommy and Daddy can use a reminder!  So, since it is important that both parents don't lose it at the same time and it was my turn to not lose it, I worked very hard to be patient with him and said, "D. . .honey. . .do I have to yell at you to clean up the Legos?  Why do you not listen when I ask you nicely?  Do I have to get angry with you for you to clean?"  

And he looks at me and drops the knowledge bomb.

"Mommy.  You and I just have DIFFERENT BRAINS.  My brain thinks about Angry Birds.  And Star Wars.  And Legos.  Aaaaand Lego.com.  And Batman.  Your brain is a mommy brain.  It thinks about cleaning and washing dishes and, like, taking care of kids.  We just have different brains."  

(And of course, since this was Daniel talking, it was accompanied by his adorable raspy voice, excessive hand gestures and Legos are most definitewy Wegos.)

Daniel gets it.  We do have different brains.  Different priorities.  Daniel is hardwired for creativity and play.  I am more likely to think about keeping the baby safe and Cheerios off the floor and dishes in the dishwasher and checking things off my to-do list.  Someone has to do it, of course, but I think our kids can be a powerful reminder of how we used to be and how we could still be if we freed our minds just a lil' bit.

And just in case I didn't get the lesson, the same thing happened when he was telling me about school the other day.  A friend wasn't letting him play and was leaving him out (because his name starts with the letter D, you know, the obvious reasons. ;).  I was getting a little indignant and asked him why he thought his friend acted like that, and he simply said in a completely Zen tone, "Mommy, he just has a different brain than me."  What I love about D is that he just accepts that.  He doesn't condone the way his friend acted, or think that he would ever act that way.  He understands that different people just, well, think DIFFERENTLY.  We all have different brains.  Different experiences.  Different ways of being in the world.  And even if we don't always agree, that's OK.

I think as adults it can really be easy to get stuck in our own my-way-or-the-highway mentality.  Daniel reminds me that I need to accept and appreciate that about all of the people who cross my path- starting with the people closest to me!  Sometimes I can come at my kids or my husband from a place of criticism of what they aren't doing, instead of a place of appreciation for the gifts that make them unique and amazing.  And just a quick glance at any comment section of pretty much ANY article on the internet shows that many adults approach life with a preeeeetttyyyyyy critical eye, unlike the littlest members of our society, who simply appreciate.   I am pretty sure Jesus called us to take a cue from our kiddos here.  

Less criticism.
More wonder.
Less judging.
More loving.
Less trying to change others.
More appreciating their differences.

If there weren't a bunch of different brains out there, the world would be a pretty boring place.  We can't really change other people's brains, but we can change our own hearts. . .and bring more simple, childlike Love into the world. 

Thanks for the reminder, Sunny D- just in time for Christmas, when Perfect Love came to Earth as a child.

(One of my favorite pictures of D at age 2, taken by my sis.  I love the wonder of little kids, and this just about sums it up for me.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Neighborly Wisdom- Specially Prized

I have this fantastic book, by my favorite superhero. . .Many Ways to Say I Love You, Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers. . .and if you don't mind I think I will just continue to write a few things about the quotes in the book. Just because I kind of love it and want to share it with the world.  So. . .here's another that cut straight to the core of me!


"Young boys and girls don't really want their mothers and fathers all to themselves all of the time, but they do long for the feeling of being best-loved and most beautiful and specially prized at least some of the time."

- Fred Rogers


For the first 10 years of my life, I was an only child.  I had all of the attention and love of the grown-ups on my life. . .all to myself.  It was awesome.  Then, when my sister was born, I was old enough to not feel jealous at all and just think, once again, it was awesome. . .because now I had a cute little kid sister to show off everywhere I went.  Shoot, I am STILL showing off my kid sister and bragging about her everywhere I go!

Look at me!!  Look how specially prized I am. . .I AM IN A BUBBLE!!!  OVER MY PARENTS' HEADS!!


So, of course, when I had kids of my own I had the expectation that I would be giving them lots of attention and one-on-one time.  However, as baby boy after baby boy arrived in a span of a few short years, I was faced with a challenge I was not really prepared for.  It wasn't the extra laundry or extra time spent cleaning up bodily fluids or the extra dishes to try to artfully arrange in my dishwasher so I never actually have to actually touch them with a sponge.  The greatest challenge has been one within myself. . .and that is how, in the busy, hectic, rushing-ahead whirlwind of time and things to do and people to see and lists to check and noses to wipe and meals to plan and shop and prepare and serve and clean- 

to SEE my children

really SEE them
as individuals
instead of as "the boys".  


When we found out we were expecting a fourth boy, I was actually relieved!  Another BOY!!  They are still 'the boys'- WHEW!  Sometimes it is easy for me to feel like a mother duck, herding my little ducklings from one place to another.  If Noah could walk I think I really would look like one (especially since I have a small problem with dressing my kids in matching outfits).  



But here's the thing. . .God gave me four UNIQUE SPECIAL SOULS to love and guide and cherish.  They have their own thoughts and feelings and passions and interests.  They are truly little presents waiting to be unwrapped.  I have so much to learn about each of them!  But at times it can be more convenient for me to see them as a mass of kids. . .a group of boys needing an activity to keep them busy, an assembly line to bathe and dress and toothbrush and read and kiss and send to bed. . .a line of plates to fill and then have emptied into waiting bellies, scraped in the trash and brought to the dishwasher. Sometimes I can get more concerned with the end result. . .quiet kids, sleeping kids, fed kids. . .that I forget about the fact that God didn't give me these kids to manage or organize.  He gave them to me to nurture.  And the end result has less to do with the efficiency of bedtime and more to do with who they become as adults.  If one is more quiet, or dragging behind, or having a hard time falling asleep, or has a tummy ache, or can't get their shirt on, or is bursting to tell me a story, or needs an extra cuddle, who am I to deny them my attention just because I have three others to attend to as well?  What teachable moment will I miss out on, what chance to build relationship will I allow to pass me by, what opportunity to serve and love will I deny if I simply brush them off or snap at them because they have stepped out of our routine or are keeping me from executing my previously envisioned plan (or they happened to be the unlucky one who spilled the thing that pushed me over the edge or woke me up for the fifth time in three hours?)

So, friends, this has become my challenge to myself.  God in His perfect vision sees my boys as the individuals He created them to be.  They see themselves as individuals every moment of every day. They have one Mommy, and that's me. . .even though I have four of them.  Now, I can't forgo all of our household routines and expectations and procedures and rhythms of our life, because those are an important part of our sanity and our stability as a family.  I also recognize that I can't heap unreasonable expectations on myself and my time, that fair doesn't necessarily mean the same for everyone. . .and that they have the added benefit of attention from each other every second of the day, not to mention amazing grandparents, caring neighbors and friends, and wonderful teachers and playmates to shower them with love.  

There is no way to give them all of my attention all of the time, however. . .

I WILL be more careful to listen when they are talking to me either with their behavior or their facial expressions or their words.   I am going to stop and listen more, to REALLY listen, when one of my little buddies seems to be struggling to have his best day.

I WILL carve out those moments where each one gets to feel the most "specially prized."  I will verbalize the things I notice about them, ask them questions, take just one to the grocery store with me and be present to them.

I WILL take notice when I am starting to fray a bit around the edges and try not to snap at the one little guy who just happens to be the unlucky one who pulls the last thread.  :)  

I WILL be more aware that they are Philip, Daniel, Joshua and Noah as well as "The Boys".  Their place in our family is an important part of who they are, but it is not all of who they are.  It is my job to recognize both.

Everyone deserves to feel seen, heard and loved.  I will give that to my own children, so that as a family we can give it to the world.

"We need to try to show our children that we love and value them.  By doing so, we can help them learn that there is much in the world to love and value as well. . .and that goes for the people in it, too."

-Fred Rogers



Friday, September 20, 2013

5 Minute Friday- She

On Fridays, a group of writers gather to share their thoughts on a single word. Today's 5 Minute Friday prompt is "She".  Thanks again for another beautiful one, Lisa-Jo! Thinking about my Darlin today and missing her as always.



She

She would have been 90 years old tomorrow.  It's been three years since we said goodbye, and I miss her every day.  Her smile.  Her laugh.  Her whiskey voice.

She made me feel like the most important person in the world.

She loved high heels, Estee Lauder perfume, and the Blessed Mother.
She prayed for me.
She played tea party with me.
She could bake better than anyone I know.
She thought I looked like Cindy Crawford and sang like Julie Andrews.  I doesn't matter if neither of these things are true, because in her mind, they were.
She taught me how to play cards.  How to cook chicken.  How to chop a green pepper.  How to make a Jello mold.  How to pray the rosary.  How to be a friend.

She was my best friend, after all.

She let me drink Diet Pepsi and watch Night Court and wear tanning oil and eat as many pretzels as I wanted.
When I was four.
She taught me that preparing food is all about how you present it.  Or giving a gift, or anything lovely for that matter.
She always wore nylons.
She told me stories.  We laughed and listened and cried and laughed some more.  And watched Jeopardy, and did the crossword.
We still did all of those things together until the very end.

She smoked for a long time.

I used to try to steal her cigarettes.  When I was six, I took all of them out of a crumpled gold soft pack and replaced them with 20 rolled up pieces of paper that said, "I love you" and "Don't smoke!"
She quit.
She started again.
She covered it up with the Estee Lauder perfume.  :)
We called her out.
She quit again for good.
She still got lung cancer.  Cancer sucks.

I miss her every day.
She made me feel like the most important person in the world.  She thought I was beautiful and lovely and smart and funny and stylish and wonderful and bright.
And because of her, I was.
She was.

STOP


 
 
 
 
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Count.


During my years at Purdue, my girlfriends and I made many, many trips to the mall.  They always included 
A.  The juniors department and Clinique counter at L.S. Ayres  
B.  Bath and Body Works for some sun ripened raspberry body glitter or whatever we were into at the time and 
C. A trip to the Hallmark store to stock up on pansy-themed goodness.  

Being Tri Deltas, we were obsessed with all things pansy, and one of my favorite Hallmark store items was a pansy-covered plaque with this quote. . .

Count your garden by the flowers, Never by the leaves that fall. Count your days by golden hours, Don't remember clouds at all. Count your nights by stars, not shadows. Count your years with smiles, not tears. Count your blessings, not your troubles. Count your age by friends, not years.
~Anon


I still get a little bit choked up when I read it.  Just like one of my other college faves, the song "Seasons of Love" from Rent. . .how do we measure a life?  (Spoiler alert. . .it's lo-o-o-oooooooo-ove.)

As a part of our human nature, we tend to like to quantify, count, measure and mark the things that make up our day-to-day existence.  We spend about 20 years in the incredibly quantitative environment of "school", measuring our age by the half-year and ourselves on our grades and our class rank and our number of credit hours or test scores or clubs or awards or medals or athletic achievements.  Then we are thrown into the slightly less quantitative world of adulthood,  where the measurement isn't always handed to us on a daily basis. . .so maybe we start to measure our own things. . .our mile running time or our number of facebook friends/twitter followers/instagram likes or our salary or our advanced degrees.  Success is measured in a completed work project, a pound lost, a promotion earned, a new car, an award, an engagement ring.  Check, check, check.  Maybe our age is measured a little less closely (I am not sure the last person I met who claimed to be 37 1/2 years old) but, still, we try to count it all.  I am not saying all of this measuring is always right or always wrong, just sayin'. . . it's a part of our human nature.

Then, enter parenthood.  What on earth are you going to measure here?  I learned pretty quickly that starting to count the accomplishments of parenthood in a day can get a little bit depressing. . .15 dirty diapers, 5 loads of laundry, 42 dirty dishes, 8 times through goodnight moon, 60 minutes of Elmo's world, 22 times up and down the stairs to put a pacifier in someone's mouth, 3 vomit messes cleaned up, 5 times up in the middle of the night, 4 hours and 30 minutes of sleep, 1 shower this week. . .well, you get the picture.  Quantifying the world of a parent can get you pretty down.  Or, even worse, it can get you stressed out!  Did I nurse 15 minutes on each side?  Is he saying 20 words?  Did I read to them for 30 minutes today?  How much screen time did they have? (or grams of protein or number of playdates or hours of sleep. . .you get the picture.)

Then, one day I was scouring a parenting book trying to get to the bottom of one of my little guys something-or-other sleep issue he was going through, when I saw a line in a section on the need to take it easy on yourself in the area of measuring sleep and counting feedings that stopped me cold. . .something to the effect of "Do you count the number of kisses you give to your baby?"

Crap.

You got me, lady.

Um, well of course I don't!!  Gosh, if I did, I bet he gets about 500 a day. . .I am kissing those sweet little cheeks nonstop!!?  This one line changed my whole perspective on parenting.  It was time to stop quantifying.  If I am not going to count the number of kisses or hugs or snuggles or tackles or giggles or sweet smiles or deep breaths in of baby smell or high fives or toys cleaned up with no fuss, then I have no need or business to be counting anything else.

Not the dishes, loads of laundry, middle of night trips to the bathroom, hours of missed sleep.  Not the diapers changed or shirts folded or Legos stepped on or countertops wiped down.

I am calling out the numbers for what they are. . .tyrannical jerks.

And It. Feels. Awesome.

Now I try my best to stick to the simple counting- one-two-three-four- got 'em all?  OK!  Let's go!  

And not worry about the other counting, like EXACTLY how many pounds I haven't lost since Noah was born (because even estimating about it gets me stressed) or how many times Paul got up in the middle of the night vs. how many times I got up in the middle of the night. . .yep, an awesome side effect of not quantifying is that my marriage benefits as well.  If I don't count, I can't keep score, and that is the surest way to more love in yo' life.  And now that I recognize data for the collective jerk that it is, I can tell when it is creeping back in.  I can pretty much guarantee any time I feel like I am getting stressed, or starting to lose my patience with my kids, or teetering on the edge of insanity it is because numbers are trying to creep their way back into my head.  "You only have one more day to get this work project done!" , "The kids are up 20 minutes past their bedtime!", "If we don't hurry up we are going to be 15 minutes late!"

A few weeks ago I called Paul in the midst of a mental breakdown about an electric bill, and I've definitely caught myself saying to the kids more than once, "How many times have I told you to. . .", so I am definitely not cured by any means.  But I am trying harder every day to count the things that count.

The golden hours.
 
The smiles.
 
The blessings.
 
The friends.
 
The flowers.
 
The stars.
 
The good stuff. :)


Love.



Photo credits- Pansies by cbransto via flickr, bottom image by Raw Sugar Photography. . .any other images that look good are by my wonderful hubs, he's got skills
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday- Story

Ohhhhkkaaaayyy- better late than never!!  We were on vacation, but if you make a promise to yourself you had BETTER keep it, so now I am back and ready to do my 5 minutes on Lisa Jo's prompt this week- STORY.  And can I just say how much I love Five Minute Friday?  I just love reading everyone's takes on the same work and so many times thinking, "me, too!  me, too!!"  And that sort of brings me to what I was thinking today!


Story

I don't remember much at all about when Philip and Daniel were babies.  Less than 13 months apart, I call my sweet little D money (who just turned 5, by the way!) the best surprise of my whole life.  But as sweet and easy of a baby as he was. . .well, I did have two babies.  So I don't remember much at all.  But one day, I do remember.  SOOOO clearly.  Daniel was about 2 or 3 months old, and this might have even been before Phil was diagnosed with his life threatening food allergies so we were dealing with a lot of vomiting on top of oh, you know, probably molars coming in and other toddler stuff.  And on top of it, Daniel was so super fussy this day.  SO super fussy.  Later that afternoon, after his eardrum burst, I figured it all out. . .but early in this afternoon ear infection wasn't on the radar and I was just wondering what had happened to my sweet baby.  In fact, I might have just been wondering what had happened to my LIFE.  I finally coaxed Phil into a nap at about 2 and bounced Daniel to sleep in the Moby wrap at the same time and had a few minutes to myself.  I was thinking about maybe eating some chocolate, or just crying for a while, but then for some reason I sat down at the computer.  And I googled. . ."Babies really close in age" or something brilliant like that.

BAM.

In that moment, a whole world opened to me.  First of all, I discovered that having two under two has a name apparently, it is called "Baby Bunching" and some people actually plan that.  Who knew?  ;) I also discovered in the fact that it had a name, that I was sooooooo not alone.  And not only that, wonder of wonders, I discovered blogs.  I had honestly never read any blogs before besides the ones my friends kept to post pics of their kids before we all started using facebook, and oh. my. goodness.  My eyes were opened.  I started reading these ladies' stories, pouring their hearts out, walking the same walk that I was and thinking, "Yes, yes, oh my goodness, yes!!  I laughed out loud at their stories in the midst of my exhaustion and despair.  I was alone in my basement with nothing but babies and a cat and a huge mess of laundry and toys, but all of the sudden, I was NOT alone.  Their stories reached right through my screen and brought me home to myself.  Everything was going to be OK.

I was not, in fact, alone.

This is what we do when we share our stories. . .we break our lives open to one another, and bring each other in, and it is SO, SO good.  So, blog ladies everywhere, THANK YOU!!  Whether you get picked to be on the parenting page of Huffington Post, or only your mom reads your blog, or somewhere in between. . .your stories are awesome, and you matter.  And someday, somewhere, some desperate young mama in her basement is going to stumble across your honest, open heart and you are going to bring the body of Christ to her right there.  Write on, sisters!!

Write on.