When I was about six years old, my aunt took me to the community pool. Up until that point, I was sure I could swim. Upon getting there, I immediately saw a friend from school and he suggested we jump off the low dive. I had no reason to believe I couldn’t swim adequately enough to get from the low dive to the ladder so I went for it. The whole incident lasted no more than four minutes. I jumped in, and began to flail about until the high school aged lifeguard jumped in to pull me out. I remember just feeling the water thrash around me, like there was no way I could get back to the surface. My lungs were filling with water as I gulped, reached, and begged the pool to spit me to the surface. It felt like I would get a little oxygen, and then get sucked back under. I felt so helpless.
Sometimes that imagery is the best way I can explain being a stay a home mother. There’s always 89099 chores you didn’t get to. Your kids reject the notion of listening. You berate yourself, because everyone else seems to have it together. You wake up an hour earlier, and you stay up an hour later. Yet, the metaphorical water still sucks you in. It can be so brutal, so harsh, and a little isolating.
Somehow the general consensus continues to be, that it is worth showing up again and again for. Loving these little humans with all your might, and taking solace in knowing someday your home will be silent and spotless. You’ll hate that too. When I was growing up, I always hated when people told me “you’ll understand once you’re older.” “you’ll get ‘it’ when you grow up some.”
This year, this holiday season, I’m beginning to understand Thanksgiving and appreciate it in a way I never truly have. My beef with Thanksgiving comes from a feeling that we should be grateful every day. From guilt that we are overeating while so many beg for crumbs. Probably even a little bitterness that we can’t celebrate Christmas sooner! This year I’m changing my perspective.
This year I’m choosing to appreciate havine one, specific day where we focus on the positives in our lives and tell those we care for how much we appreciate them.
We need it this year. There is so much negativity in our world right now, we need one day to emphasize love and gratitude.
I’m beyond words thankful for my family. This is true every year, but I feel especially blessed this year. We are entering into a new season of life with our boys. They are gaining independence and getting so, so smart. Talking to Liam is such a delight, he’s absolutely hilarious. He is so much like me, and I love that. Sawyer is more like his dad, which is honestly the highest compliment I can give. He is so
hateful serious, but when he hugs you or smiles at you it seems a million times more meaningful. You truly earn his affections, and it makes you feel so special. I really see the personalities of our boys lately, and I’m finding myself breathing better. I’m realizing they are going to so wonderful. Do I wish they were slightly more gentle? A tiny bit more obedient? Of course. Definitely. I’m just in a better position to see it is all temporary, and someday.. I will miss being elbow dropped or screamed at. They will be passionate attorneys who paid for their undergraduate educations with wrestling scholarships, and I’ll miss the days of preschool violence. Then, there is my husband, this man of stern wisdom that leads our family daily. I get the gentle side, I love that I make him mushy. I love how fiercely protective he is of me and our boys. How happy his dog makes him. I love that we a sectional couch, but the imprint of our bottoms is on 1.5 cushions, because as the years roll past I can never get enough of him. He is so smart, so humble, and an incredible cook. While the rest of the world is weeping, he is working. He carries on, he compartmentalizes, and I pray for our children to be just like him. (except not as loud.. he has the loudest voice!) He is timeless. He is my partner, and he makes me a better version of myself daily by simply being so wonderful. It is with him, I find the family I always dreamt of. A mother in law and father in law that love me as much (if not more, because I’m so awesome) than their own children. They do the most thoughtful things for me, and I appreciate and love them so much. A fabulous sister in law that has filled the void I’ve always had for a sister. She keeps me in stitches and while I’ve been known to give her a hard time, I hate seeing her sad.
My friends- I am a village oriented individual. I draw energy from my village, I believe they call us “extroverts.” It hasn’t been easy to be my friend this year. I started 2016 in bad shape. Tons of baggage from 2015, I shoved down. I was exhausted, overworked, and my priorities weren’t in the right place. Being my friend wasn’t easy this year, I wasn’t my best self until our three month trip to Oregon. Where I devoted myself to my bible studies, resting, and mastering the art of self grace giving. When we got back home, I found myself at peace with life. Simplifying my days, and finding a significant amount more joy. I have the best friends. They are the most encouraging, hilarious, communal people. There is something about the women and families in the trenches of having young children. It is a raw, gritty kind of love and friendship, there is no room for superficial friendships. Life is too short, time is too valuable. I am so thankful for my friends who invest in me, and allow me to invest in them. I know this year is harder as we prepare our hearts and our kid’s hearts for our upcoming move. I feel it.. like a black cloud looming, just marking time. I hope you all know how much you mean to me, how thankful I am to know you. The way you allow me to energize myself with your examples of grace, motherhood, and intelligence. The way you share your gifts with me, the opportunity to parent alongside you, or sneak away with you for a weekend. The way you encourage me to reach my goals. The way we eat meals together, and live in community. That is what it is all about.
My readers- When I started blogging almost four years ago, I never dreamt the opportunities it would provide my family. I started blogging to make an online diary for friends and family. I started blogging to give myself a creative outlet, to organize my recipes, to have a place to document all the things I did during the day. So, I could combat the voice that was screaming “you just don’t do enough! do more!” while I sat nursing my new baby, or spending hours at doctor appointments, or watching Army Wives while nursing a baby who had just gotten tubes in his ears. I couldn’t have imagined the response to my authentic struggle and my daily celebrations as a mother I would later experience. I want to say it is my raw talent, my truth telling, my vulnerability, my sense of humor that has made me a relative “success.” that would be a lie. It is those of you that read this, comment, share, like, whatever. It is you that started with me four years ago, that encouraged me to keep going. To keep pursuing beauty in words and continue to share that life isn’t always rainbows and ponies, but we are beautiful and life is beautiful. Most importantly, you made me feel normal. You made me see that feeling insecure and wondering if I’m doing this mom thing all wrong is okay! We all feel it from time to time. Your love, time, and encouragement have opened doors for my family I never knew possible, and I appreciate you so much. I hope you’ll continue reading this blog of mine and know that through all seasons I am grateful for you. We are evolving and changing, but friendship remains.
My relationship with God. My relationship with God has soared this year. I’m so, so thankful for the opportunities to strengthen that bond this year.
I am also thankful for my health, my laptop, coffee, my community, my gym membership, the companies I’ve worked with this year, food, and so much more. Happy Thanksgiving!