Thursday, May 9, 2013


I've taken a break from my blog for a while.  It was intentional and necessary.  You see, sometimes I get into a rut where I take myself and everything around me far too seriously.  I tend to over think situations and conversations.  My blog gives me an outlet to write it out and, in a sense, sort it out.  But too much of a good thing can always be a bad thing.  Especially when you're having a mental breakdown and identity crisis all wrapped up lovingly in a screaming, crying swaddle blanket.  So, my mantra of late has been "share less."  Because before I lost it, I was all about some sharing.  Sharing time, sharing ideas, giving it all away.  Take a step back.  In clearer moments, I've realized that I can still be a good mother, daughter, sister, friend without giving all of myself away.  So, share less.

All this to say, I'm taking myself a little less seriously these days.  The things that were important a year ago, even three months ago, seem small.

I've realized that there's a huge difference between what we want and what we need to survive.  Sure, we can equate this to tangible items like a diaper genie.  Its one of the more futile apparatuses that every new mother thinks that they need to survive motherhood and all of those dirty diapers.  But, really, when you get down to it, a trash can works just as well.  And truthfully, a diaper genie doesn't mask the smell of a dirty diaper all that well.  While its nice to have around, I curse its existence every time I have to deal with the snake of diapers I have to wrangle to the garbage can or change out the bagging contraption.  All of this with an almost-toddler pulling all the books off the bookshelf every time I turn my eyes away from her.

There's a lot about this motherhood thing that no one told me about.  I guess that's because there's just so much to it.  There's no one book or piece of advise that can encompass all of it.  There are so many situations that impact it all.  So many relationships to take into account.  And then there's the task of growing a human and then shepherding it into a successful adulthood.

I really like the visual of Matt and I being the shepherds and Emerson being the sheep.  Perhaps it is a comfortable image that I've grown up with--God is the shepherd and I am his sheep.  We are his flock.  But until I had an Emerson, I didn't really think too much into it.  Its an interesting concept.

Shepherding implies that Matt and I will not reign on Emerson.  We cannot make her do anything, we cannot make her be anything.  But we can guide her and stand beside her and help her as she walks along her path.  We can intervene when it is necessary and stand back when it is warranted.  I feel like adopting the notion of being shepherds will make Matt and I good stewards of the gift we've been given in Emerson.

Doing this job of shepherding does not require a diaper genie.  It doesn't require a wipe warmer or even a changing table.  All of these things are nice, but they are the luxuries of care.  Emerson would be perfectly happy playing with wooden spoons and our pots and pans over the large basket of toys she has in the kitchen (and in the living room…and in her bedroom).  She is content to sit outside and pick blades of grass and wait for one of us to try to stop her from eating it.

There are so many things in this life that we think that we need, when in fact, if we gave them up, we would be much happier.  Maybe the diaper genie is a bad example, now that I've gotten this far in my thought process.  But simply put, we don't need a lot to be happy and to survive this life.  And we definitely can't hang on to the bad--contempt, anger, frustration, anxiety.

The anxiety that I battled for months after Emerson was born has subsided drastically.  I've taken the pressure off of myself by lowering my expectations for what every day should look like.  This includes lowering my expectations of the people I surround myself with.  There doesn't have to be a plan, and that's how I prefer it.  The laundry can go undone for weeks and the kitchen can be a bit of a disaster, but we enjoy our free time together in the afternoons and on the weekends.  Heck, we can all be a bit of a disaster and that's perfectly okay.

Give yourself a break. No pressure. Its okay to be not okay.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In Review

2012 has been a whirlwind of a year (technically 2011 and 2012).  I mean, really.  I don't think I could have packed anything else in.  Bought a house, got married, had a baby. I feel very fortunate that all of these happenings have been blessings--huge blessings.

That is not to say that they did not come without their moments of fear.

Do you remember when you were little, perhaps just learning to swim, and you jumped fearlessly into the deep end of the pool?  The fear of discovering you'd gone too deep for the air you'd stored in your lungs, the burn in your throat as your heart pulsed with adrenaline.  Pulling water desperately through your fingers and frog-kicking madly.  And then, frantically, resurfacing.  Cough, spew, cough, tread.  Smile.  Its all okay.

Pieces of this year have felt like that.  Pieces of this year have had me madly searching for a sense of normalcy and peace.  I have looked in plenty of the wrong places and many of the right places.  I have floated through many days without much effort at all only to lay down at night and discover that, sadly, I didn't give the day much effort at all.

The great thing about jumping into the deep end this year is that I knew how to swim a little bit.  While I wouldn't say I was prepared, I only felt as if I was drowning.  In reality, no one was going to let me sink.

So, at the end of this hellacious (and breathtaking) year, I am most thankful for the support.  For the outstretched hand and kind words and genuine care that I have been given.  And, funny enough, I feel most guilty about needing these things in such a time of overwhelming joy, not tragedy or grief.

But I suppose it is the overwhelming part of the joy that I was most unprepared for.  It was almost like going to sleep one night with one life and waking up the next morning with a completely different life.  And as much as the life that I woke up to is wonderful, it is different.  It is all different.

In hindsight, there is no other way that I would wish to spend this year.  To buy our cozy, lovely home and to marry my incredible, grumpy, adjectives-don't-properly-discribe-him husband, and then! And then, to top it all off in a superb surprise, to have this amazing little ball of Emerson love join our family.  I just can not imagine it playing out any other way.

The weight that I carried around for months and months has finally lifted, after many tears and much talk and a lot of re-prioritizing my efforts and my feelings.  I still believe we must think abundance when it comes to ourselves.  There is enough to give and enough to keep.  Sometimes, though, we have to keep a little more of ourselves for ourselves and for our family.  And that was the toughest lesson to learn this year.

And, so, I've put myself back on the line.  All of me. My whole heart and life.  I have had to return to an attitude of total abandonment, of throwing all natural caution and defensiveness to the winds and put myself entirely in the hands of love by an act of will.  I am much happier for it. 

Never before have I pictured myself content with spending so much time at home, on the floor, amidst a mountain of laundry, bare feet, and a drooling, smiling girl.  Evenings on the couch with the baby in bed.  But that's how I like to spend my time right now.  Throw in the occasional yoga class and a good run.  I'm set.  Totally and completely.  

"And so we must learn to love with our mouths and voices, as well as with our eyes, flesh, heart, brains, and with everything we have, right down to our toenails. There is not anything about us that cannot love, and that is not called to love, and that is not destined to be turned, conformed, and reduced to pure love. It is the priceless deposit left by the burning away of selfishness."
Yes. I am ever so grateful for the people who held me up when I thought I was incapable of doing it myself.  You helped carry my burden and made me look up.