Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Inner Child

Yesterday was awful. I mean awful.  I felt overwhelmed in every aspect of my life.  I had several irons in the fire and not enough time to attend to all of them.  I hadn't been sleeping all that well and neither had Ben.  In fact he was up several times during the night and then decided to take a 45 minute nap rather than the hour and a half we're used to.

Ben was ornery and clingy.  I was ornery and distant.  We both had to be around each other longer and the to do list had thing that just needed to be done.  The setting was just right for the perfect storm.

It hit at about 7 that evening.  The kitchen was a mess, there was flour on the floor that needed to be vacuumed up, and every room in the house was in a state of disarray.  Every.  Room.  Laundry, cushions, toys, papers, crayons... everything everywhere.  There was no sanctuary.  No place of order to hide and calm down.  Just chaos and a child whining and clinging to my leg constantly.  Constantly.  I had to pry him off to use the bathroom.  Noise noise noise noise noise!

My patience had been used to the very last drop. There was no reserve, no bottom of the barrel to scrape.  It was just gone.

I handed Ben off to David who was equally tired and spent and began trying to find some order in the chaos.  2.5 seconds later Ben was at my skirt whining to be carried and I just could. not. do it.  I exploded.  I let out a primal yell all my own, stomped on the floor, and had the grown up equivalent of a two year old fit.  The reaction it caused would have made James P Sullivan of Monsters Inc. fame proud.

Ben ran scared to David for comfort and I felt like a monster.  A monster of a mother who lost her cool in a big way.  A monster who scared her child rather than comforted.  A monster who stomped and yelled and caused disarray.

David quickly took Ben out for a walk and I rampaged around the house throwing things to get them in order, cleaning like a mad woman and working very hard to calm down.  Bewildered by my own reaction and scared of myself. By the time they got back I was able to hold it together and apologize for my behavior.  I felt ashamed and a little lost.

Now for today.

Today was better.  Today I decided that the to do list could go and to do itself.  The important things got done and the never ending list of other things did not even get thought of.  I went for a walk with my son this morning and let him take the lead.  We ended up at a nearby park and he decided when to go home.  We had lunch on the deck with David and we all laughed with each other.  Ben went down for a nap and I went to the temple.

At the temple I regained some perspective and asked for my burden to be lightened.  There was nothing to take away, but God could bless me not to feel it so heavily upon my back.  I listened.  I asked questions in my heart and received direction and answers.  I came to understand more about the blessings and the power of God in my life.  About the Priesthood.  About men and women and why we work well together and why we have to work together.  I asked to be a better mother to my son.  I left with peace in my heart.

It was hot when I got home.  Hot enough to put Ben in his swimsuit and put a pair of shorts on myself.  I threw propriety, caution, and my own inhibitions to the wind and Ben and I got soaked in the sprinklers together.  We played outside all the rest of the afternoon and walked around the neighborhood in wet clothes, sunscreen, and the best big floppy hat in the entire world.  I felt like a kid again.  My body remembered the feel of the never-ending Summer days spent outside, playing in the water, listening to the wind in the trees, and feeling the sun warm my wet skin.  Ben's belly laughs as he took control of the water and sprayed me down made it even more magical.  I showed Ben how to leave wet swimsuit marks on the porch which was amazing to him.

I do have an inner child and for the first time in a long time it has been let out to see the sun.  It was free.  I was my child's best friend today and we both enjoyed our extended time together immensely.  There was no whining, no patience drained.  In fact it was hardly even tapped into.  Ben chatted away happily at dinner time and the whining of yesterday was replaced by laughter today.

Today was a gift.  I hope tomorrow will be one too.





Saturday, May 31, 2014

Etching Deeper into my Heart

I woke up this morning with words running through my head.  Tumbling over themselves in an effort to be spoken or written or just noticed.  I started thinking about why I want to write and what I want to say with my words.  Tawnya wrote a post on some of her writing inspiration as she was walking around campus for her exercise and I've been thinking about them all day and apparently into the night.  

I remember the times I would sit at the top of Old Main hill just by the amphitheater so as to be out of the way, hidden almost, and feel alone with my thoughts.  It was what I wanted.  To get away from work and school for what felt like stolen moments, which made it all the more tantalizing, and think my thoughts and write what came to me.

I had visions of writing a book about my experiences.  A means to inspire those who came after me.  I could picture my future daughter reading my words and finding her own self-worth in the pages.  The right words at the right time giving her permission to let her heart be free and to follow it.

At the time I was struggling with my single status as I did often those days.  It wasn’t an everyday thing, but I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with me.  Why couldn’t I find a husband?  What was I doing wrong?  What did I need to change? What was it about me that the boys I liked just didn’t like me enough to ask me out?  Stuck in a perpetual hang out cycle while roommates had more dates than they knew what to do with. 

Every six months I had a breakdown.  I ended up sobbing on the phone to my mother asking the “what is wrong with me” question out loud, it having caught up with me once again.  My mother listened, she cried with me in her heart, and told me that nothing was wrong with me.  I was strong and beautiful and someday someone, the right one, will see that.  My tears would dry up.  I would remember what I had been taught so many times, what God had taught me so many times, that I had value and I was loved and that he had a plan for me and it was a good one.  A lesson that I would continue to need reminders about and sometimes still do.

I wrote down the pain in my heart and hoped that I could share those lessons and spare someone else the wondering.  I wanted to inspire worth.  To create a place of words that could comfort and reassure in times of doubt.  Words that could give permission to free the soul and let it soar above the mundane and the hurt and pain.  A soul that knew its origins and where it was headed.

Words that would help me remember my own lessons learned.  Words to spare me the pain surrounding heartache and heartbreak.  A means to etch self-worth ever deeper into my heart so I wouldn’t have to question anymore.

I’ve learned a few things since then.  Heartache and heartbreak make us more compassionate people.  We are more likely to help those around us and our experiences give credibility to our words. 

I’ve learned that it isn’t the words that etch those lessons deeper into our hearts, but the re-learning of the lessons.   Each time we find ourselves asking the “what’s wrong with me” question, whatever that may be for you, the lessons we’ve already learned are revisited and more depth is added.  We gain a greater understanding of ourselves as just us and ourselves in the eyes of God. 


The lessons become precious to us.  The lessons help us become free.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wishful Thinking or Actual Hope

I've been thinking about hope lately.

Hope for the future.
Hope that things will get better.
Hope that our plans will actually work better in real life than they do on paper.
Hope that I'm not residing in the world of wishful thinking rather than actual hope.

Hope has a foundation, a form, a steadying influence.  It is based on Faith.  Faith in a higher power.  Faith that we are here on this earth doing more than passing time.  More than just letting the days go by until they don't anymore.

We have purpose and meaning.  We have worth.  We have something to offer this world that no one else does.  We are not "stamped out" by a machine, meant to look and act and think and be the same.  Our lives are different.

We are individuals even if we share facial features.  Even if we share views and religion and opinions, we still have our own unique perspective.  Our own convictions that can only be taken from us as we give them up.  Willingly.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Our paths are our own.  By choice or by circumstance, they are still our own.  Not meant to be compared to other's.  Unique.  Designed for us.

I have hope for many things.
I have hope for another child to join our family.
I have hope that we can someday live at least a little more comfortably from paycheck to paycheck.
I have hope for happiness not based on circumstances.
I have hope for greater faith.

I have Hope.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

EEEEEEE!!!

So I'm kind of a real writer!  Like for reals.  Not on my own site here for myself.  But somewhere else that's all professional and stuff.

I didn't want to say anything to anyone earlier because I thought I would either jinx it or really just make myself more nervous about it than I already was... which was a lot.  I gave myself anxiety.

But...

BUT!  It was published!

You can find it here.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Said "Hold Please"

Remember when I said I was putting life on hold for awhile so that I could sort out the better from the good and the best from the better?  Maybe not so much in those words, but that was the intent.  Take time to breathe.  Take time to make the choices to have those things in my life again.

Remember that?

Did you hear the universe laugh right after you read that?

I didn't myself, but clearly it was.  Last week was one of the busiest in a long time.  All good stuff. Several unanticipated events.  Play dates, planned and not planned.  The chance to help out a friend in need.  The opportunity to help a sister in need, the kind that just shouldn't be let go.  David and I actually had a date night, you know that time that gets set aside for you and the hubby to actually spend uninterrupted time together outside of your own living room?  That weekly event that happened before you had kids.  It's been so long since we've actually had a shot at one that there was no way either one of us was going to give it up.  All of these good opportunities that apparently waited until I decided to "take a break" to show themselves.  Needless to say, the breath was taken away and filled with some goods, betters, and even bests.

But...

I'm tired.  My house is just icky in places.  My son is missing his alone time with mama because he simple hasn't had the luxury of my breath either.  At least not without me trying to do two or three things at once.

So today has been his time.  I have done the bare minimum (feed the family and shower) and the rest of the time has been spent with Ben.  I have let him lead today.  So far we've played at the park, watched Finding Nemo, eaten goldfish till we could no more (I haven't decided if that's cool or disturbing that we eat goldfish while watching a cartoon fish go to great lengths to save his son), and finally gone down for a nap.  Which is why I am here.

When he wakes I'll see where the day will take us next.

The dishes can wait till this evening.  Responsibilities will still be here tomorrow.  But today is ours and it feels good to breathe.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Find the Love

Do you ever have those times where the love for something or someone just hits you over the head and leaves you trying to catch your breath?

The kind that causes something inside to ache with the love that his overflowing your entire body at that moment?

The kind that makes you want to snatch up whatever or whomever is the object of that love?

I had that today for my son.  My son who drives me absolutely insane sometimes but at others I just can't seem to get enough of him.  His giggles, his smiles, his plethora of facial expressions.

Today I read a book to him.  "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.  It's a story about wooden people who go around rating each other on their accomplishments and attributes with stickers.  Stars for those who did well, gray dots for those who did not.  Stars for those who looked good, dots for those who did not.  There is one little wooden man who always has gray dots no matter how hard he tries to get a star.  He feels bad and finds himself not even wanting to go outside for fear he will do something wrong and get more gray dots.

One day the little wooden man comes across a girl who has no stickers at all.  No stars, no dots.  They just don't stick to her.  People try to give her stars or dots and they just fall off.  He decides he wants to be like that as well so he is told to visit Eli, his maker.  In his visit he finds someone who knows his name.  Someone who loves him no matter what because he is special.  When he realizes that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it only matters what Eli, his maker, thinks, then the dots stop sticking to him as well.

I couldn't help but think of this precious little boy that I have in my home.  This child who is learning and growing and wants so much to be able to do everything.  This child that is special because he is a child of God.  If we could all see ourselves through the eyes of our maker... wouldn't we be filled with love as well?

My challenge to you is to find the love today.  It's there, even in the crappiest of craptastic days, it's still there waiting to be noticed, seen, and felt.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hold Please

It's time for some changes in my life.  It's time to get back into this writing bit.  This writing bit that's just for me... and whoever is bored enough to read this.

Recently I have a felt the need to put everything on hold that can be put on hold.   Meetings, books, projects.  Do you ever get that way? Feel that need to just stop and set everything aside until you decide that you actually want to pick them up again instead of have to pick them up again?

My life is at that point that it is so full of good things, things that I willingly put into my life, that those good things have stopped being a choice and have instead turned into a chore.  Instead of a bright spot in my day they have turned into another thing on the list of everything else that needs to be done and I'm left wondering when it is that I have time to breathe.

So I'm taking a break for awhile.  A break from some of the good things so that I can remember what it is like to take a full breath.  I want to remember what it is like to want to do something instead of feel obligated.  I want to choose to put those good things back in my life again knowing that they really are good and I really do want them.

So this week I will do the necessary laundry and cooking.  I will take time to really honest and truly clean my kitchen.  I will take a look at all aspects of my life and put it into perspective.  I will stop being tossed about by everything that I could/want/should do and make real choices based on real abilities, real time, real results.

There. That felt good.  Now to conquer the world!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Happens at Two... Continued

There were so many good suggestions and helps and reassurances from all ya'll on facebook and in real life and here on this blog that I've decided to do a follow up post on what I've learned and decided to implement.

So, what have I learned?

1.  I have the coolest, best, perfectly wonderful loving support system in the world.  That's you guys in case you missed it.

2.  Ben understands more than I think.  Which is something that I kind of knew, but it's one of those things that still takes me by surprise because he has not mastered the art of language to let me know he understands.

3.  He's still little.  As in it is easy to forget that he's just a little guy with very little experience in this world even though he's running around all over asserting his independence.  He's finding new things to do and he thinks they are awesome when I think they are annoying or just plain inappropriate bad behavior.  He has to be taught what is right and wrong and that's my job.

4.  I have learned that Ben will be more content at meal times if he has had time to play beforehand.  Especially breakfast.  I too often have made the mistake of having breakfast ready for him right when he gets up when in reality he needs some time to decide that he's okay being up, and then another short stint of time to play and reacquaint himself with the toys he was loathe to leave behind for the irritating purpose of sleeping.

5.  I have learned that there are times when time out is the best thing in the entire world.

6.  I have learned that Ben acts up and earns himself a time-out when he either doesn't get his way or I have been ignoring him for an extensive amount of time.  The later one eliciting the more serious and explosive ear-splitting volumes.  I have learned that the best way to snap him out of it is to wrestle him (and at this point it is a wrestle) into a hug.  It takes him a moment but he melts into me and wraps his arms around my neck and I hold him tight and then we both forgive each other.

7.  I have learned that a lot of times it's better for me to go with him when he slips his hand around my finger to pull me away from what I'm doing because so very often it is to do something simple that he can't do for himself.  Like fill his sippy cup, or get the sock monkey out of the crib.  He just needs a little help to get something done and then he's content to go and play without me and I can return to my work sans tears and trauma.

8.  I have learned that there is still so very much to learn.

So, with all of this new-found/newly-remembered information, just what will I do?

1.  Quiet time during the day.  This idea I love with all my heart.  It might be a little tricky finding the best time to do this but I feel in my heart of hearts that it will be totally worth it.  He actually does pretty well in church most of the time.  There are days when that's not the case, but rarely.

2.  It's time to be more insistent that he pick up after himself and I need to teach him how.  I need to be consistent.  And sometimes that is really, really hard.

3.  Rather than try to "fix" everything at once, my husband and I will discuss what is most important to us... what will have he biggest impact for all of us and take the time to make sure it is worth the effort.  The last thing I want to do is spin my wheels in frustration over something that really doesn't matter in the long run.

4.  We will be keeping a strict bedtime for him despite his "energy crisis".  We put him down, make the room as dark as possible and it's up to him whether he stays down or not.  If he yells for us, we will go to him, figure out what he needs and inform him that we will not be coming in again. So far this has worked really well.  He's not going to sleep as early as I would like, but he's not yelling/crying/screaming either. I have found that the best way for me to handle him not going to sleep at his bedtime is for me to stop listening to the monitor.  If he needs something he can yell loud enough and that way every little sound that comes from the monitor isn't adding to my anxiety.

So there's the recap.  I think what I a really learning is how to be a parent.  First time parent, first time kid... we've all got a lot to learn.