A Series of Unfortunate(ish) Events

This past weekend was just ridiculous. 

Thursday, we found out that Trent’s job is instating mandatory overtime indefinitely.  Since he already works two jobs, we’re not thrilled that they’re adding time to his already super busy schedule.  Our time together is at such a premium as it is, so it’s disappointing to say the least.  The bright side is that it’s mandatory overtime, which means more monies!  Which we will need, considering how the rest of the weekend went.

Friday, not even hours after a big grocery shopping trip, our fridge bit the dust and totally stopped fridge-ing.  You know.  So, it was a mad dash to find a fridge for hopefully a good deal so that we didn’t also lose all of our groceries.  We did find one.  It was still a pretty big purchase.  Appliances are just crazy.

Saturday, we went to the local dojo (hehe, a dojo in the middle of suburbia) to see a friend test for his black belt (Go, Nick, go!)  Ailey witnessed her first ever karate and seemed to love it, which is pretty fun.  No major expenses that day, thank God.

Sunday, we were lazing about, as you do on Sunday afternoons, and the cat jumped up on the bed right next to Ailey and me, scratched around a bit on our comforter, and proceeded to empty his bladder.  Right in front of me!  Clearly, we are dealing with a cat teenager here.  So, in my haste to save our mattress, I stripped off the sheets and comforter at lightning speeds (you’ve never seen me do laundry so fast, let me tell you), and threw them right into the washing machine (extra hot!).  Guess who left their iPhone on the bed (husband)?  Guess who didn’t see it until it was too late (wife)?  Oops.

Needless to say, we are having a rough go of it.  I’m thankful that all of these things are just minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, but man.  Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like things are going to go right.  But, then, as I scan back through the paragraphs I’ve just typed, words like “refrigerator” and “iPhone” and “extra monies” jump out at me.  And here is the bottom line: we have a lot more than we need.  Yes, it’s frustrating when the things that we’re accustomed to are broken or lost.  But, in this moment, instead of being annoyed, I’m going to be thankful that we’ve had the means to save for an unexpected refrigerator meltdown and that we’ll be getting a few extra bucks if Trent is required to be at work longer hours.

Also, our new fridge has a pretty sweet ice maker.

Do You Think About Death?

I stumbled across this article
in the New Yorker, written by Roger Angell. He’s 93 and has some fascinating things to say about life once you’ve lost many loved ones.

I read it and cried, because this is something I think about often. Do you? Sometimes it seems so sad and hopeless to imagine life in my later years and having to say goodbye to so many people. But Angell’s words encouraged me a little. We endure.

And I am grateful for the hope of heaven and that goodbyes are only temporary.

photo of my grandparents, on their honeymoon in 1947

So long, Maryland

Well, Ailey and I returned to the west(ish), so we are officially back in Colorado for the long haul. After three weeks in Maryland visiting family, it really felt like we lived there. And I guess in some ways, it should. I am a born and raised Marylander. My soul is chock-full of crab cakes and beltway traffic, if souls can be full of such things. I was surprised at how quickly I slipped back into routine there, even now that I have a daughter who wasn’t yet a part of my life when I lived there. But, you know, driving familiar roads and just seeing all of the same sights that I had just stopped noticing after 23 years, and oh, the rain! It just feels like home is supposed to.

So, now we are back in Colorado, where the air is thinner and the mountains are in view, and now that feels like home in a different way. Growing up is so weird and beautiful. I must be maturing if I can attest to the beauty of it, since historically I’ve resisted growing up with every fiber of my being. It’s hard not to cling to the familiarity of youth, isn’t it?  But now it isn’t so bad, this growing thing.  If I have to age, I suppose I should do it gracefully and enjoy the new experiences each stage of life brings my way.

Anyway, here we are, growing up, and along with that, cutting a different path and sorting out the details of a new life for this little family. Ailey will grow up familiar with mountain vistas and so much snow and very little rain–so differently than I did (not to mention legal marijuana, so there’s that). Life is weird.

Heartbeat

Ailey and I have been in Maryland with my family for the holidays, plus some. It’s been a delicious escape from reality to spend such a long time here with them. I’m so thankful for this time and these sweet people.

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Babies are hard, you guys

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This particular night of child-rearing totally kicked my butt. As soon as I start to think that I’m figuring out this motherhood thing, something will happen and boom! Ailey hates all sleeping ever.

So, basically, parenthood is particularly humbling is what I’m saying. I could use a good dose of humility just as much as the next person (probably more), so I am going to just chalk this up to character building and call it a night.

Over & out.

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In Defense of My Young Family

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I was 22 when my now husband, Trent, asked me to marry him. We were overjoyed. I joined the ranks of young people getting engaged and posting the news on Facebook.  I know for every person who liked my post announcing that we would be married, there were a few rolling their eyes. Once we shared the news, we were inundated with people, young and old alike, telling us we were too young to make such a huge commitment like marriage. Complete strangers would notice the ring on my finger when I was out running errands and beg me to wait. “There’s no need to rush into things,” they said.  At my bachelorette party, an older woman pulled me aside and chided me.  “You are way too young to do this!  You have your whole life to settle down. Why waste your youth like this?” I smiled politely and thanked them for their advice and moved ahead planning our wedding.

We got married a year later. Marrying Trent was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He is compassionate and strong. He challenges me to be better. He’s fun. He loves me every day more than I deserve on my best days.  He is steadfast where I am flighty.  I’m spontaneous and he is responsible.  We balance each other well.  Do we fight? Sure.  What married couple doesn’t?  Is marriage difficult?  Absolutely.  It’s hard to live with another person who could show me a lot of evidence that I can be really selfish.  But, being married to Trent has taught me so much.  Every day, I’m grateful to have him by side.

Seven months after our wedding, we were surprised to find out that I was pregnant.  It wasn’t exactly the timing  we’d had in mind, but it was happening.  Again, when the time was right, we shared our news on Facebook (as it turns out, baby posts get even more likes than marriage ones).  We were excited and totally scared out of our minds.  I can only describe having a baby as the craziest mix of the most extreme emotions I’ve ever experienced.  Our daughter, Ailey, was born September 27 and she is one of the greatest joys of my life.  I’ve been exhausted and frustrated and covered in spit-up at times, but I’m not lying or attempting to save face when I say that it’s worth it.  There are times when it’s really hard, but I have difficulty even remembering the tough times when she smiles her huge, toothless smile at me or wraps her tiny hand around my finger and holds tight.  I know we’re new to this parenting gig, so I can hardly speak with  authority, but so far being a mother has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Just like we’d experienced after we announced our engagement, once the pregnancy was announced, the dissenters spoke up.  In the months leading up to Ailey’s birth, we heard time and time again, “I can’t imagine having a baby as young as you guys” from others our age.  Several people who were much older than us said, “get ready for your life to change forever.”  “You’ll never sleep again,” they warned.  Upon hearing we were pregnant, countless people asked “did you guys plan this?”  It was pretty obvious that a lot of people thought we were way too young.

And I do understand where people are coming from when they say that we were too young to do what we’ve done.  Actually, I myself have said those things before we became the very people I was referring to.  I recognize that divorce rates of young couples are climbing.  I know that increasingly, kids are raising kids.  We all make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes are closely tied to major life decisions, like getting married and raising kids.  Here’s what else I know:  marrying my husband and giving birth to our daughter are two of the best things that have ever happened to me.  Having both of them in my life has taught me (and at times, forced me) to be a more selfless, loving person.  I think of my own needs far less often than ever, and I am a far better person for it.  Have I missed out on being young?  Maybe I haven’t partied, or traveled, or goofed off as much as I was planning to before getting married and having a baby, but I don’t know that it would have mattered.  I can say that no amount of single or childless years would have better prepared me to be a wife or to have a baby.  There is no “perfect” time at which you are suddenly prepared for marriage or parenthood.  We’ll travel more once our kids are older, while those of you who wait to have kids will still be raising young ones when ours are grown.  It’s a tradeoff.  Getting married and starting our family young was the best thing that could have happened to us.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying everyone needs to hurry up and start families.  Rushing into marriage is not what I’m advocating here.  I just want people to understand that my timeline is different from yours.  Actually, everyone’s timeline looks a little bit different.  There is nothing wrong with being unmarried at 35 or with having four kids by then.  The problems arise when we put pressure on others, or judge them, because their major life events are coming at a different pace than our own.  I experienced a lot of doubt and anxiety because so many people voiced their opinion that we were too young to do what we did.  Maybe they’re right, I thought.  My life is over, I worried, instead of enjoying the exciting parts of life that I was about to experience.

I’m also not trying to say that there aren’t young people getting married who should have waited.  That happens, too.  I’ve had friends announce engagements that have made me cringe because is was concerned it wasn’t the best for them. I think if my younger sister wanted to marry someone I didn’t think was right for her, I’d lovingly share my concerns.  But, the majority of the negative comments that we received cautioning us not to rush into anything were from people who didn’t know us well, if at all.  Unless you know someone well enough to have some business expressing your opinion about their relationship, just don’t.  Everyone who knew us and knew our relationship well supported our marriage, which was an important confirmation to us that we were doing the right thing.  I don’t think it’s wise to marry someone if the majority of the people you trust don’t approve, but most people, myself included, can’t hear that unless it comes from someone they really trust.  So why say it to strangers?

So, let’s all stop hating and just be happy for each other no matter which stage of life we’re in.  Mmmmk?

When Everything Isn’t Good

I have never struggled with worry. If I were to make a list of my greatest fears, it would be pretty short. It’s just not my particular struggle (believe me, I have plenty of others). I don’t like to think too much about tragedy and when I do, I just think of it as a part of life and just trust God for his timing and thank him for grace that we don’t have to live life in brokenness forever.

But, since becoming a mother, I’ve struggled with fear/worry in such a different way. I mean, I feel like my soul is now inextricably linked to this beautiful, feisty miniature human. It won’t always be this way, but right now, when she is her tiniest, and we as her parents are responsible for her every need, we are connected in such a strong way. The hard thing about that connection, is that we have very limited control over her vulnerability. I don’t have the power to prevent some of the hurts that she’s going to experience in life, and that’s so heart-wrenchingly difficult.

Nobody warned me about how vulnerable motherhood makes you. It’s so easy to get really caught up in the what-ifs. I find myself letting fear creep in and wrench my gut. My imagination races and my worst fears come to life in my mind. What if something bad happens? What if we don’t make it through this intersection unscathed? Before, when it was just me, that was one thing. But now? There’s a little life at stake–the most precious life I’ve encountered thus far. How would I go on if something happened to her? Sometimes, like tonight, I think the fear of “what-ifs” like this might cripple me.

I was totally blind-sided by these feelings once Ailey was born. Since I haven’t really been a worrier, I just assumed that would translate into parenthood as well. I told myself I just wasn’t destined to be that parent that hovers, scared of the world. But it is scary. And once there was more at stake, once this tiny girl entered the world and took hold of my heart like I didn’t realize was possible, the weight of it began to hit home. All of a sudden, I understood why my friend’s mom would obsessively check up on her while we were out. It became clear why mothers make their kids wait and wait to get their driver’s licenses. There’s so much more at stake, something I could never understand as someone who was only responsible for myself.

So now I understand. But how do I fight it? One thing I have always been grateful for about my mother is that she let us live. Sometimes that meant making mistakes and learning their consequences–but we learned. We were not sheltered, but fostered instead. We were taught to grow. Now I have so much greater of an appreciation for my mother, who must have fought the worry and fear of the unthinkable so that we could thrive. I want that for my children. I owe it to Ailey and to any others who are yet unborn.

I wasn’t expecting such a difficult balancing act to accompany my debut as a mother. How do you foster independence and confidence and curiosity in a little life while still protecting it? How do you completely surrender the dysfunctional side of the mama bear to let a confident person grow and discover the world?