on feelings

The thing is, is that I feel too much.

  
I’m extremely sensitive, which can serve me well or betray me bitterly, depending on the circumstances.

This week, it felt like so much betrayal. Everything felt harder, each new hurdle compounding upon the others until I was just heavy with the weight of all of it.

I’m not sure that things are any better, but maybe I’m just deciding that they will be, whether the circumstances change or not.

I will redirect my sensitivity to the best things for how. I’ll take the bad in stride, while I keep moving toward more good. There’s no avoiding the bad stuff, but that doesn’t mean I have to dwell there.

Instead, I will dwell with the good and the beautiful and the growing and the overcoming. Instead, I will thrive.

an honest prayer

God, I am tired of this mess.

What are you doing here?

These are the questions of my heart, I pour them out in quick prayers over and over throughout the day.

I’m having a hard time, God.

I’m not sure that I know you that well anymore.

The only things I can think to pray are selfish, angry, hurt, and bitter.

Why are we here, God?

You must be doing something in this, right? Could you maybe show me soon?

My faith wears thin and I am clinging to promises that he is faithful when we are not, but barely.

We try church after church and don’t find much of you, God. Is that because you are not here or because I don’t remember how to look?

Why do I see you more clearly when I’m watching my daughter discover something new, or in the joyful bounds our dog jumps when we come home than when I’m sitting in a pew trying to look past the “show” and see your face?

I’ve grown up in the church. I’ve barely missed a Sunday in 26 years, until now. Now Sundays are really hard and when I actually find it in me to get to a church, whichever disappointment we’re attempting that particular week, I’m just discouraged.  I have been on the “inside” of American Church Culture for the last 26 years, but for the first time, I’m on the outside, and I don’t like the view.

Where are you, God? I used to know you once. We used to walk together and now you seem far away. I can’t seem to find you in the places that proclaim your name. But you must be here?

Where are you, God?

wrangling dreams

I used to have such a great memory.

But now, there are things that fill up the space and interrupt the making of memories, or their recall. I’m not sure where the breakdown is, but my has it broken down. It’s a weird thing, having your most trusted companion in life twist and shift until she’s a little less trustworthy. That’s my memory, a slightly less reliable version of a friend I used to have.

Lately, I find myself with less time to write it all down, and that has to stop. That’s the only way I’ll remember the details, because there’s so much to focus on, that otherwise they’d all run together. So, I’m writing it down and remembering this:

Today, Ailey walked barefoot in the grass for the first time. She’s done it a ton in her shoes, which she loves so dearly that we rarely leave the house without them, which is why it’s taken 19 months of her life before I realized that she’s never felt grass between her toes.

So I took her hand and said, “I bet you’ve never felt the grass under your toes, have you? Believe me, you’re in for a treat!” And her eyes lit up and she squealed and jumped around a bit, thrilled with the new sensation.

I thought my heart my literally explode right in that moment, and basically this is a picture of what parenthood has looked life for me so far. Sure, there are the days that are really hard, when toddlers are inconsolable, and mamas are tired and just not. having. it. But days like today are the ones I will remember best, when I had the great privilege of holding a tiny girl’s hand when she first felt mud squish between her toes. I know this isn’t the dream gig for everyone, and parenthood isn’t in the cards for each of us, heck, I wasn’t prepared for it when it was thrust upon me. But, man. I am overwhelmed with it. Ushering a new person through each new life experience. What an honor.

my girl, 18 months

 Climbing into this giant chair is just one of the hundreds of things that Ailey insists on doing herself these days.

Her independence is both exciting and hilarious. It’s hard to do things on your own when your fine motor skills are still developing, you know? She sits for quite a while trying to put our shoes on. 

When it won’t cooperate after 10 minutes of trying with the same shoe, she’ll fuss and throw it in frustration. I’m going to pretend she got that from her dad (she didn’t). 

The first few times, I’d ask, “do you want some help?”

And she’d look up, eyes big, and say “hewp?” and nod.

Now, an offer for help is met with a resounding “noooooooo” and a swat. We’re working on manners. 

 

I think what I’m enjoying most about this age is her growing vocabulary, which is still part nonsense words, but the majority of it is actually English. Who knew?

My favorite pronunciations:

-water = watee 

-color = cuyee

-Lauren = Owen 

-blanket = ban toot 

-doggie and daddy, which sound like the same word

Each day is a new adventure of first experiences for her. How sweet to rediscover the world anew alongside of her, discovering for the first time.

Today, I picked you up from daycare and you didn’t protest leaving your friends or your favorite toys. You laid your head against my shoulder and snuggled close, a little less independent than you might like to let on.

That’s okay, baby. You don’t have to do it all on your own.

I love you, Ailey girl. 

motherhood is crazy-making

I’ve been a mother for 18 months, which really isn’t very long, in the scheme of things. But, considering that it’s the most full-time of jobs, that you’re never really off-duty, 18 months seems longer than it sounds.

I’ve been told by mamas more experienced than myself that our babies change so rapidly in the first two years that you can’t keep up–as soon as you adjust to a new phase, new behavior, new difficulty, it’s over. It’s a little exhausting, this parenting adventure.

All I know is that I feel crazy. My emotions have been on the proverbial roller-coaster since Ailey was born. This tiny human, whose appearance in my life I was in no way ready for, arrived and ruined me.

I have been astonished by the way this little person has nestled into a space in my heart that I didn’t know existed before she arrived to fill it. It’s a wonderful little paradox, parenting. I know everyone has different experiences, and I can’t sit here and say that motherhood looks the same for every mama, but I have experienced so much grace through the life of this sweet little girl.

And I will keep reminding myself of this–grace shown through new life and my new role as a mother and care-taker, someone who consistently has to look outside myself, whether I like it or not. Sometimes I need reminding, on days like today, when there are more tears than smiles and I am ready to scream and give up and get back under the covers.

On those days, I need reminding that this is new for both of us and we are still learning each other. Actually, the truth is, we take lifetimes to learn each other, us humans, and even if we’d known one another 100 years, we’d still have to work out some kinks. We’ll get there. My tiny girl isn’t a baby anymore, and she’s starting to have opinions and a desire to express them. Maybe I need to shift my perspective and be thankful for her little spirit and personality when she proves to be more independent than I expect. I should be honored to raise a strong woman, and she has all the makings. We’ll work together, she and I, learning the ways of the world together. We both still have so much to learn and so much to teach one another.

year 26

Today is my 26th birthday.

I am full to bursting with all the love around us that bubbles up to the surface on birthdays.

Today was the perfect kind of day. I went to work at a job I love, where birthdays are special and fun, came home to take out that Trent picked up, which we ate on the patio because the weather was glorious. Trent also got dessert–mango sorbet for me and coffee ice cream for him–which we ate on the front stoop while we FaceTimed with my parents and watched Ailey push her beloved toy stroller on the sidewalk, exclaiming “push! Push!” all the way.

I opened some mail. We chatted with neighbors. It was the most delicious kind of day.

  

This guy was an early present to me, proof that Trent loves me deeply:

  

So there weren’t any material presents, and I decided that I like it better this way.

I did get some gorgeous flowers at work, which probably count as a present.

I am thankful for a day to lift my spirits, and a day that reminded me to be good to others, because that’s how we show them we love them. And we all need a reminder that we are deeply loved once in a while.

Motherhood: Doozies and New Days

Today might have been the hardest day of this almost-18-months of motherhood that I’ve experienced yet.

Ailey and I have both been epically sick, so much so that Trent had to stay home one day this week with the two of us, for which I am eternally grateful. Even as I type this, she and I are alternating coughing fits. It’s been a real party. In addition, tiny lady is teething four molars and at least a pair of eye teeth, which apparently is no walk in the park, although I do not remember my own experience.

A lot of mothering is just getting to know your kid, and to be honest, a year and a half isn’t that long to know someone. Ailey and I have a lot more to learn about each other. I’m so thrilled that we get to do this together, and today was one of those days that teaches me that we still have a ways to go. Hey, idiot, you don’t actually know it all. Don’t we all need a reminder of that every so often?

So, there were no major tragedies in our house today, but we just couldn’t get on the same page. There was a lot of crying and a lot of snot and exactly zero naps. Then, all of a sudden, it was bed time and I stayed downstairs while Trent read books and brushed teeth and listened to the whole delightful thing over the baby monitor. I married such a good one, who reads the same book over and over in silly voices, and asks a tiny girl if she wants to pray with him before she sleeps and then waits for her to say ” ‘men” to end the prayer. 

Then, all the frustration of the day leaks away with the rainwater pounding windows outside and I’m reminded that even these rough days count. This is it–our life–and it’s a good one. We are growing and learning together, and even when it’s hard, it’s so good.

I walk the dog before heading upstairs for the night and realize I actually need a rain coat. It’s pouring, which is rare here, and I love it. There’s a bunny seeking shelter under a tree and we’re walking in the rain, which is washing us and the world around us new for tomorrow.