Saturday, January 4, 2014

Look Back and Counting Joys



margaritas with Jason on the 26th

I know I said I am not a New Year's Resolution girl, and that I just don't think of January as the beginning, but I think being the keeper of a blog might just change that. I re-read  this post that I wrote last January. Here I am, not blogging for a few weeks and beginning to wonder "Why do I blog? Is this really justifiable?" and then I read that old post, and I am filled with gratitude that I put it out there. I love how a blog marks the passing of time, the seasons and stages and little victories of a quiet life. I love how a blog keeps you accountable and reminds you of what you really want. That post last January was so cool to read again because, I realize I had exactly that year that I predicted for myself. As I resolved in that post, I stopped trying to "do it all" or have it all or prove anything to anyone. I settled back into my life and my year was peaceful and slow and joyful. I showered my little family with love, and basked in their love in return. I spent all spring and summer toting Will along to the Y, holding hands as we ran through the parking lot to make it to childcare in time, so I could swim away my backaches and he could play with his little friends... or pushing him along on ambling, quiet walks in our shady neighborhood, ending invariably at the playground; I had a babymoon in Charleston with Jason, much-needed and therapeutic for both of us; we soaked in a year of sunshine and friends and family, and we had a BABY together - just the two of us, we birthed Henry into the world. We kept up with Jason's MBA and he has excelled at work as well as at school, and I can proudly say I have been there to cheer him on for every part of it - even through the sleep-deprived haze of the tail-end of my pregnancy and Henry's first weeks here. Although SIDENOTE he did have a complex migraine a week before Christmas that landed him 24 hours in the hospital because of how stroke-like it seemed, which made me feel as though I was allowing him to push himself too hard. It wasn't a good feeling! I kept crying to him, "I broke you!" which made him laugh for some reason. Nothing is wrong though, just too little water and too many computer screens. : /

I am going to make an embarrassing confession. Before I became pregnant with Henry, I fell prey frequently to the many available insecurities of motherhood. I often felt insufficient, competitive, and of course irritable with competitive moms, insecure about staying at home despite never wanting anything but that... I suppose I felt insecure about not wanting more for myself? When I re-read old posts from that season, my second year as a mom, probably few others would notice it, but hear myself over-explaining things, sounding unconsciously too defensive, trying too hard to proactively sidestep any potential criticism... Although I wasn't quite aware of it at the time, looking back I see what was really going on, that I wasn't exactly confident in my own skin. I cared too much if people criticized or misunderstood me, and I think that arises from a lack of humble confidence. Thankfully, this past year cured me of that - I hope for good, but I'll happily take it for any length of time. One thing I have learned is that the only thing we can count on is change. We, people, ourselves, our situations - will never stay the same. But I sure love where I'm at right now. Maybe I have become less self-involved. I don't know though, I'm still blogging, soooo.... ;)

So here we are: my Henry is 5 months old (in 4 days). Holy cow! He has just reached the stage that I call "My Baby Love" - where all we ever do is grab each other's faces and coo and smile and giggle and kiss and cuddle and nurse and squeal and stare and just take such delight in each other. I adore this stage. Although I also hate feeling as if I never am able to spend enough time just being lovers, never able to soak it - him - in enough. ;)


Being a mama of two, while your husband is working full-time and getting his MBA nights, is definitely challenging - but I could not have expected it to be quite as enriching or satisfying. I crawl into bed each night [always too late thanks to my body getting a second wind around 9] feeling as happily content as I feel tired. Always I have lists of things to get to tomorrow, but it is balanced with a singularly joyful fulfillment with where I am at right now, and what I accomplished today. I found the words for it while chatting about it with a friend... I am not surviving, I truly am thriving - just with no clean underwear and a pile of dishes left over in the sink from yesterday. Ha! But I am really not kidding - there is such sweet peace in my life right now. I can only thank God for that - my former self would've gasped in horror at the thought of what I just let go of now. 

Maybe I've gotten a runner's high from motherhood? ;)  

Life is too short to waste a moment of it not being who you want to be... standing on the sidelines envying others, or waiting for the good life to start. Life is too short for failing to recognize that you always have the power of choosing happiness. 

So, I officially have removed my name from the competition for Supermom. [You non-mom readers may be laughing at this, but THERE IS ONE. Trust me. Its brutal and intense and you don't even realize you're swept up in it until its turning you into a crazy person!] I am blissfully content just doin' my thing with my three guys and taking it one day, one moment, at a time. I'm gonna have some awesome kickass days, and some not so stellar ones. But no one's counting - especially not me! I finally feel a deep-seated security in the fact that, regardless of whether I am criticized for some things or misunderstood for others, I am at peace - and my family is at peace - and that is all that matters. Perhaps this is the meaning behind the verse "Count it all joy" (James 1:2)? Or the other: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation"(Phil 4:12). 

You know the other thing about that fantasy of the Supermom? I had this epiphany in the wee hours of one very cold night as I breastfed Henry in the glider, my mind wandering heroically in an effort to stay awake. Here it is: At the end of the day - I am the only person who could ever have been Henry and Will's mama. In all my weakness, insufficiency and mistakes. No one else could've created them, nurtured them and mothered them into the persons they are right now. Had they had a different mother - no matter how objectively superior - they would be different little people. And to me, they are perfect.  This is why it is only ever hurtful to constantly beat yourself up as a mama... you are essentially saying your children/husband/family are not good enough either.

I couldn't help myself making this slideshow of our past year after re-reading last January's blog and feeling the need to start thinking of the New Year as a true new beginning. This slideshow is really just for posterity, so do not feel obliged to watch it! I also could NOT contain it to one song, so its a two-song slide. : / Some of the pics are recycled from insta and the blog. And I am #notahipster so my song choices are hardly original. ;)




Ok, so, I just ugly-cried watching this blurry and amateur video. I am ridiculous. This is the first slideshow I've ever made, and I'm afraid it is a total gateway drug. O. M. Geeeee the possibilities. 
As for this coming year... I have no idea, really. I just want to BE in the present moment - fully, intentionally and contentedly. I hope for a year of choosing the beautiful life and creating it in simple little ways for my husband and children. You know, less reruns of crappy TV shows in the background and more walks in fresh air to the park. Less gossipy, snarky conversations and more deep, real, sympathetic ones. Less hurried, stressful meals and more laughter-filled, long, candle-lit ones with the fine china and wine in your glass and a napkin in your lap. Less wasting money on clothes or food and more spending on exciting adventures and trips to new places and lasting memories (the big one!). Less stretching myself too thin and more diving in to greater intimacy with the ones I love most. 

And please DEAR LORD... give me the grace of a year of clean closets! 

4 comments:

Ashley said...

I loved this post so much! I too have removed myself from the Supermom race and as silly as it sounds, I just want to be superME! Goal-setting and dreaming gets me fired up and keeps me accountable...I'm so excited to see where 2014 takes me. Can't wait to see where it takes you too, friend!

Sarah Tucker said...

Thank you so much for sharing your precious heart with us. Helps me more than I could ever say! Thank you!!

Marjorie said...

Thank you, thank you for this post!! You know even as a working mom I often feel insecure about my choice by other SAHMs.

Oh and the competive moms! You know first day of 2014 I was chatting to one of these "competive" moms by text. She said a few things that made me angry, but you know what? I was most mad at myself for contacting her and giving her that opportunity. I learned the best lesson I could to start off my year: separate myself from women like that. Not contacting or responding to or dealing with any of this year. Done. Thank you for bringing that all up though so I know I'm not crazy by what I sense from other moms.

Anna @ IHOD said...

You are a perfect witness to surrendering your heart to those entrusted in you while being able to maintain and value the gifts God has given you that make you who you are. I loved reading this and can relate so much to your words. Thank you for this!

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