Monday, October 22, 2012

A big mess

I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.  A big mess.

Don't judge me, but I'm about to reference Grey's Anatomy.  I was watching last week and I had a little revelation.  I'll call it a little revelation because, right now, every day day presents small, eye-opening incidents.  Plus, Shonda Rimes has a way of making her viewers fall in love with the characters and then she does crazy things to them, like plane crashes.  

Grey's Anatomy viewers the world over have been saddened by the plane crash that killed off some of our favorite characters.  The first few episodes of this season have been no fun, all drama.  We've all be mourning with Meredith and Derek and Christina and Callie as if their losses are our losses.  And then, when you least expect it, Miranda Bailey has a human moment.  In the vortex of all the awful that's swirling around her, she's worried about her little boy letting go of her hand.  A small problem compared to what everyone else is dealing with.  But the chief cared.  Someone cared.  

For about 13 weeks exactly, I have been a mess of a person working hard to figure it all out on my own.  Outside, I'm a functioning adult caring for an almost 5 month old, working a job that I love, and living the perfect life with my awesome husband.  And yes, with the right perspective, it is all perfect.  Maybe I'm lacking the right perspective.  

Or maybe I'm having a human moment.  

A meaningless conversation with a good friend sends me into a panic because it is just that.  Meaningless.  And certainly the hallway at work is not where you answer the question, "How are you?" with, "I'm staying awake at night worrying over the future of every relationship I have, including ours.  I am a walking trap of anxiety, disappointment, and guilt. I can't really breathe."  

No, meaningless is not doing it for me right now.  I need a good run with a good friend.  

I am about to pay someone to have that conversation with me that I used to be able to have with a friend.  And that makes me a little nauseous.  But I can't keep staying awake at night and coming home from work with furrowed brows.  These thoughts can not keep ruminating in my head.  

Parenthood is hard, whether we are home or away or single or married or rich or poor.  Parenthood is hard, not because we are doing it wrong.  Just because its hard.  Like life.  Like friendship.  All are hard because we love them so much.  We love life and we love parenthood and we love our friends, and so we want to do it right.  

But I'm not sure there is a way to do it right.  We just listen to life as it makes demands and we respond thoughtfully and we remember that, sometimes, the more out of control things feel, the better.  Because then it is less easy to pretend we are in control.  

We are not in control.  We're just not.  

I am a mama and a wife and a sister and a friend and a neighbor and I am very shareable.  I am making time and making myself available. 

You, too.  You are enough.  You can be shared, and all who share you can have enough.  

We must think abundance when it comes to ourselves.  There is enough to give and enough to keep.  

And, finally, lately, this is where my broken heart lies.  Not quite okay with where I am.  Logically, realistically, I know.  I know that I've got it good.  But that doesn't make it sting any less.  It doesn't make the transition any easier. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

E, Myself, and I

There’s a lot to be said about spending the majority of your time with a person who is unable to communicate verbally.  Actually, there’s not.  Its pretty quiet.
As I approach month 4 of motherhood, I’m very grateful that the tearful moments are becoming less and the joyful moments are more.  I’m enjoying all of the new skills Emerson is acquiring–slobbering, eating her fists, grabbing onto her paci lamb, trying to laugh, holding her head up, etc.  It seems there’s a newness to every day in the Green household.
Our latest breakthrough: sleeping through the night. I am hesitant to share this news with anyone for fear that I will jinx myself into waking up at 12 and 2 and 4 all over again.  But for the past week, we have had nights of 9-5 sleep.  And then 5-7:30.  I can’t decide if the exhaustion I still feel is from the two months of night duty before or the shock of too much sleep to my system.  Either way, I’m waking up a happy mama. And I’m learning how to function without sleep, when necessary–I’m almost back up to full speed.
This is not to say that I am normal.  I don’t know if I will every be the person I was before E.  I have spent many hours mourning the loss of that person, that schedule.  I really, really miss my friends and I am keenly aware of a shift in dynamic that I can’t fix.  That makes me sad.
I’ve tried walking it off and I’ve tried running it off.  I just can’t shake my anxiety.  Which makes me feel guilty.  Which gives me anxiety. I can’t breathe.
And then I get to play with a sweet, chunky, smiley girl and it makes it almost all better.
The transition back to work has gone well so far.  Matt has been excellent at his new post as dad-on-duty and my mom has helped a ton.  We are very lucky that we do not have to drop Mowgs off with strangers or germy kids. While I would rather stay at home and play all day, I have been happy to be back at work with my friends and the kids.
There is a lot of work to be done, though, to make up for all of the work that I didn’t do last year.  My pregnancy brain took over my life and between buying a house, getting married, and having a baby, I don’t remember much else about last year besides floating around at work and not being very good at any one thing.  I was okay at a lot of things, but not great.  So, I’ve got a lot of work to do to redeem myself.  Anxiety.
All of the anxiety squeezing at my lungs has made me a bit more prayerful this summer.  When we brought Emerson home from the hospital, I prayed that she wouldn’t stop breathing, that she would sleep, and that maybe I could sleep, too.  And my prayers transitioned as she started to grow and we got more comfortable.  I prayed for her to eat well, to take a nap, to smile at me when I was feeling sad, to grow into a good person, to know that I am trying my hardest to be a good mom.   I pray that when we go on walks in the afternoon that we both feel fulfilled afterwards.  I pray that she is comfortable in our home.  I pray that she is a daddy’s girl. And I still pray for sleep.
“We forget that joy, like rest, is a basic requirement~we need joy in our lives. We think that it really isn’t necessary, that most of life is meant to be endured, not enjoyed. And yet we are God’s children, and He desires that we be happy. Joy and rest are intimately linked. Resting helps us unclench and let go of all we need to do, so that we can open our hands to receive.”
As I’ve been praying, I’ve been reading.  While my brain has only been able to process written word in small amounts and very slowly for the past 3 months, I’ve been given several tools that have played a key role in my poor readership.  One of them is a book called Champagne for the Soul by Mike Mason.   Constant reminders that joy in life takes work, is necessary, and can only be found if you look the right way.
Joy changes how we define happiness. Happiness is not always feeling wonderful. It might be doing the best I can in a tough situation, or being confident I can overcome anything, or giving myself a break, or letting God’s grace release any pressure to perform.


How to think faster than our blackest thought.  Give yourself a break.  No pressure.  Its okay to be not okay.
I am praying that the difficulty I am having and the heartbrokenness I feel are only preparing me for the challenges ahead.  Because I know that this is not the most difficult part of parenthood.  It is the most beautiful.
Every day, every moment, provides possibilities for joy. In no situation is it impossible to turn to the light.