The “Why”s in Motherhood

Some days I wonder why.  Why my life looks like it does.

The past four days or so have been rough; Levi came down with fevers and couldn’t sleep, which means we all haven’t had good nights of sleep.  His fevers stopped but a rash showed up – little pink/red spots all over his body.  His throat has been hurting and he hasn’t been eating.

The fevers started in my body and wiped me right out.  Now, as I sit on the couch with a burnt out overhead light and cold rain falling outside — I too have the little pink/red spots.  (I’ve spoken with a nurse and am going to get checked out tomorrow, don’t worry.)

But I sit here questioning, why.  Being a mother is hard work; I didn’t know the full extent of the work until I was in it, which is a good thing.  It’s exhausting.  It’s so many days of being home, just Levi and me, trying to be creative and get his juices flowing and help him learn.  It’s lonely.  It’s constant housework, cleaning in circles, trying to relax when things break and little hands put foreign objects in places they don’t belong.  It’s going to parks and playgrounds and seeking out venues that may have other children he can play with.

It’s a separation from life before.  I think maybe this is the hardest part.  So many times I ask God why He surprised us with a baby so soon.  We wanted kids, absolutely, but we wanted some time first.  Time to get to know each other as married people, instead of just dating; time to explore and go on dates and have a flexible schedule.

For the most part, our classmates and friends are still in the single/dating phases of life.  Many of them are traveling the world, going to parties, having dinners out, going on road trips at the drop of a hat.

And here I sit next to a pile of toys strewn across the floor, having just scrubbed the bathroom down.

I traded the traveling and exploring for kid’s museums and loud playgrounds.  The dinners out are so few and far between; instead, we try to convince a toddler that green food is okay and I rarely spend an entire meal in my seat.  The orderly, cohesive home I started out with quickly became overrun with toys — toys that have even made their way to centerpieces on the coffee table.

It’s only been a little over a year, and I wonder if maybe this parenthood thing is a lifelong adjustment — it’s not a one-and-done thing the moment your child is welcomed into the family.  Your heart and your mind and your strength rise and fall with the ebb and flow of this new life.

It’s a new life that many of our friends can’t relate to; and we can no longer relate to theirs.  It’s the separation that plops me on the couch or leans me against the table and begs the question, why? 

Why now, why not a little later?  Why first — why not after a couple of our friends?  Why the feeling as though our freedoms have been stripped, my identity and interests put on the back burner until who knows when?  Why is it so hard?

I’ll admit, I took a break from writing this post.  First because nap time was over, but also to process and pray some more.  Sometimes these life changes hit me hard.  I decided to let my creative juices flow, regardless of what Levi was doing.  So we rearranged the living room while he ran around and delayed our progress.  But it helped perk me back up and show me that my own interests are still valid and necessary.

Some days it’s hard.  Some days I wish I could go out with friends, walk through the city at night, have a day to myself.  But I’ve realized and reminded myself of a few things that I think are important —

  1. Just because it’s a “no” right now doesn’t mean it always will be.  And as babies get older and more self-sufficient, outings and flexibility can happen.  And, babysitters are there for a reason.
  2. Instead of waiting for the empty-nest years to do the fun things, do the fun things now — with kids.  It can be fun if I choose to make it fun.
  3. Motherhood is a gift.  Children are gifts.  If I have been privileged enough to have a child, I want to make the most of this calling.  It’s a blessing to have a little one to raise, nurture, direct, and provide for.  It’s a greater depth of love and sacrifice than I’d known before Levi came to being; in all its hardships and struggles, it’s an incredible love.

 

The dirt and messes and shrieking may not get easier.  But I pray my view of them continues to change, even if it’s a slow adjustment.  Instead of fighting the new normals in my life, I think I’d do best to allow God to soften me and change my focus.  To see that He’s given me the gift of motherhood, and to embrace it and learn to wholeheartedly love it.

With that being said, my little one is outside my door anxiously awaiting some food.  Time for me to go give him a kiss and make some dinner.  :)

Dear Diary

I got to see a friend today!  Mommy took me in the car for a really long time and I didn’t like it, and I told her that.  But then we got to a playground and my friend was there!

First I had to give him a hug because I really like to do that.  He didn’t like it a whole lot.  Then I found the slide — well, he found it before me and I watched how he did it.  The stairs were fun and there was a big hill on top.  Mommy and me walked on that for a little time because it was so cool.

And I went down the slide too, but it’s not my favorite.  Mommy and her friend say that I need more practice and then I’ll like it.  ‘Cept I don’t think I want more practice.

My friend went down the slide a lot.  But one time he went down a bad way and he got hurt and had dirt in his mouth.  He cried, because he was sad.  I was sad for him too.  And I got hurt on another thing, and I don’t know what it’s called, and it hurt a lot.  Well maybe it wasn’t awful but I was extra sleepy and I wanted to stop playing.

We had a snack and that helped me wake up, but I still wanted to stop playing soon.  After a little time Mommy took me home and I fell asleep in the car.  And then I think I slept a long time because Mommy said she had to wake me up in the house — and I always wake up when she gets me out of the car.  But she said she liked snuggling with me, I think it was nice but I was asleep.

The not nice part was when I woke up because she changed my diaper and I don’t like that.  We got to play and have lunch and that was fun.  And we played more and now I’m in my crib because it’s naptime ‘cept I can’t fall asleep.  Mommy walked me for a long time and I can’t fall asleep.  So I’m telling Mommy my stories so she can tell you and maybe I’ll fall asleep soon.  I threw my books and bears out of my crib and now I have nothing to play with.

I maybe need to tell Mommy to come back in.  I like it better when she’s in here with me.

Sincerely,

Me

Tracks in the Grass — a Thank You

“Are you hurt ma’am?” the officer asked.

“No, no — just this seatbelt rash –” she answered shakily.  “Just that — I’m fine.”

“So how’d you end up here?  How on earth did your car go across that median and into this tree?”

The officer looked confused as he surveyed the tire tracks and kicked up dirt that didn’t match any logical path.

“I blacked out, I don’t –”

“She passed out back there,” a man pointed down the road, “and kept going in the wrong lane.  Hit another car back there and almost hit me — then she just went right down that bank over there, came across this median and kept going down again till she hit the tree.”

We replayed it in our minds and looked at the smoking car.  How she ended up with only a seatbelt rash was God’s grace.  I prayed her 29-week old baby was still safe and sound in her little belly.

More sirens sounded in the distance; the initial wave of responders had made it to the first car she’d hit and a second group was headed to help her.  Policemen and firefighters and EMTs, soon they all flocked the scene and got to work.

“You don’t need me for anything, do you?”  I asked the policeman next to me.

“Nope, we’re good,” he replied.  “Thanks.”

I nodded and walked back down the hill with Levi on my hip.  We ate our breakfast and watched out the window as everyone worked and cared for the young woman.

Some were talking with her, checking to make sure she wasn’t bleeding anywhere.  They helped her up and brought her to the ambulance.

Others walked around the car and looked it over, deciding how to handle it and which parts might be dangerous.  Scraps from the bumper and front were strewn yards ahead; a couple men went around to pick them up.

The mulch and tulip leaves she’d plowed over were swept back into the median, and the road was cleaned right up.  Soon cars and trucks began to leave and one group of firemen was left waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

They hooked up the car and the tow began to pull — scraping the grass in two clean strips straight up the hill.  They picked up the other bumper fragments and made some paint marks on the tree and grass.  With a few finishing tasks, they all loaded themselves up and off they went.

As I watched the whole process I couldn’t help but be in awe.  From the time she hit the tree to the moment the last responder vehicle left was no more than an hour.  It amazes me how quickly and efficiently everyone works — and they all work together, however many of them, without stepping on each other’s toes.  I’m sure there are moments they get in each other’s way, but think about it; they come on scene and work.

They make sure everyone is cared for first.  People are the priority; and once they’re covered, they jump head first into whatever the problem is.  They see it through to completion and make sure everything is accounted for.

If you know someone or multiple someones who serve in these ways — will you thank them?  Thank them for their dedication, their resolve to do their best, their sacrifice.  They do the dirty, painful, hard work that often goes unnoticed but undoubtedly makes our lives so much easier.

And if you’re reading this as one who has served, thank you.

Dear Diary

Today Mommy took me to the mall and I got to see a friend!  There’s a place that has these big colorful things that you can climb on and one of them you can go into.  And there are spinny things on the wall.  And a mirror — I like mirrors a lot.

We ran around and my friend was a little faster than me, so I tried to keep up with her.  She liked to run outside the place and then her mommy had to chase her and bring her back.  I tried to too because the other stuff looked more fun, and mommy let me go for a little bit but then she brought me back.

We played for a time and then our mommies put us in our strollers and gave us snacks and we got to see the whole mall.  There was so much there!  Sometimes I couldn’t focus because of all the things and there was a lot of music.  And then I got a little grumpy because I was tired.  Mommy made me miss nap so we could go play.  I guess that’s okay, because then I just slept in the car.

Except when we left the mall then we had to get groceries, and that wasn’t a lot of fun.  I wasn’t allowed to touch everything and it took a long time and Mommy took away the bag I was chewing on because I was getting it too wet.  So I was grumpy and fell asleep in the car.

And guess what?  When I woke up I was at home and Mommy was holding me and telling me that it was time for lunch.  I really love food.  :)

Sincerely,

Me

Happy Friday

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It’s the little things that make us smile, isn’t it?  I took my camera out to my parents’ house not too long ago and grabbed shots of their budding peach trees.

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The smell was faint, with dainty, beautiful blossoms to match.  I couldn’t help but stand there for a few minutes and take it all in.  Thank God for cameras, so we can keep those moments alive longer!

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Happy Friday, friends.

Sunny Days & Dark Days

I’m sitting at our desk with hot coffee and the front door wide open, the bright sunshine coming through and warming up the tile floors.  The birds are chirping away and flying from tree to tree, popping down into the grass and then scooting back up.

We haven’t had much sun lately; it’s been chilly and rainy for a while.  Once that sun shows up, it’s like a whole new world.  Everything comes alive!

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Sitting here I’ve been thinking — days like today are ones where good attitudes and positivity come more easily.  Things are bright and happy and you can’t help but smile.  (In general, of course.  Some days are just hard because bad things happen.)

Yet there are long seasons of darker days, at least in some parts of the world, where the sun doesn’t shine quite as much and the temperature is much lower.  It can be harder to join in with the good attitudes and positivity; the cold and dark can wear on you.

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So I’m curious: if you’ve sat in your chair on another cold and dark day, maybe in the middle of a long winter or the middle of a rainy season — if you know the challenge of staying positive, what things do you do to help?  How do you keep a genuine smile on your face and a good attitude?

Do you add plants in your home for some life and freshness?  Do you have a habit of journaling thanksgivings and blessings?  Are there Scripture verses you memorize and keep visible around the house?

Share in a comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts and wisdom, and I know others will benefit as well!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.  :)

Dear Diary

Hi everybody!  I’m playing with letters right now and I see that Mommy is busy… so I’m going to open the drawers that she says I can’t touch.  Oh she caught me.  I’ll just go over to the door… but now she’s not looking again — oh yes she is eeek!  I’ll go back to the door with my letter.

We got groceries a little time ago and we went to a store we only went to sometimes.  I was confused because it didn’t look like the one we always go to.

Hey look, what’s that?  I’m gonna eat it.

Anyways we got groceries and then we came home and had lunch.  Mommy gave me some of her food and it was really yummy.  She thought it was funny when I took a big bite and looked away, cuz then I looked back and smiled and she laughed.  Now we’re playing — and we got to dance cuz Mommy has music playing.  I like dancing!

These books are on the table but I think I want to throw them on the floor.  I’m gonna do that.  Have you read the Duck book?  It’s a good book, but sometimes it gets boring.  I threw that one and I don’t know where it went.

Hi Mommy, I’ll give you a hug.  What are these on my shirt?  Mommy calls them buttons.  They don’t come off though.  I’ll go open the drawers again.

Nope, no no no no Mommy!

I’ll just go eat the door.  Wait, what’s that?

Sincerely,

Me

A Time for Everything

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To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain, and a time to lose;

A time to keep, and a time to throw away;

A time to tear, and a time to sew;

A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

A time of war, and a time of peace….

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a