Breaking and Growing

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Breaking and Growing

"Remember, it's their day too."

Many months ago, I lost it. There was a night that broke me and shook me and changed me as a mother - and I grieved because it caused me to {momentarily} lose hope that I could always be patient and understanding toward my children. I know that the main reason this happened was lack of sleep and time to decompress at the end of the day, but I blamed myself for not being strong enough to handle every single challenging moment of life with a toddler and a new baby. After allowing myself to cry and opening myself to any and all meaning that could be applied to the situation, I had a moment of clarity. It was a moment that caused me to literally say "Thank you!" out loud to whatever it was that carried me back to reality and reminded me of what was important. I then took a minute to write my thoughts on paper so that I could always remember that moment and come back to the positive outcome that came of a lapse in love and patience.

Today, I am intimidated by the many tasks ahead of me. Both of my girls are sick and the littlest one is teething with fervor. I'm exhausted due to a night full of interrupted sleep and repeated nursing. My husband will be at work until dinnertime and we are in desperate need of a trip to the grocery store. We have yet to finish unpacking after Christmas travel, and the piles of laundry, toys and dishes rival in size. I'm anxious to get to work on my certification requirements and other business ventures, but it's all I can do to find a moment to use the bathroom without one of my children going into hysterics. All of this causes me to worry about what kind of mother I will turn into by 3 in the afternoon. I worry about how many tears my girls will shed before they rest their weary heads at bedtime. I simply worry.

But this morning, when I sat down in my usual spot to chug my lukewarm coffee, my elbow bumped into a note my husband wrote to me. It was a note full of encouraging words for the day ahead of me (a day he knew I was dreading), and it gave me strength. It reminded me of the letter I wrote for myself those many months ago, so I went upstairs while the baby napped to retrieve that letter and reread it to remind myself of what really mattered today (hint: it's not the laundry, dishes or business ventures). Something is telling me to share this letter here, on my website, so here it is, minus a few of the more intimate parts:

"This night, though negative, intimidating and stupid, has enlightened me. I need to rid myself of anxiety by ridding myself of my phone and excess research. I need to relax as a mother and go with the flow of the crazy. I need to hug my children - not carry them in anger. I need to strengthen my body, my patience and the trust my girls have in me. I need to be a guiding light and inspiring force of femininity for them.
This is REAL life. My family is all I need, and all I will ever need. Do everything for them. Live FOR them and WITH them. Be their comfort and their best example. Create a home that is filled only with things that are beautiful and purposeful, nothing more. Create a home that makes them feel safe, happy and inspired - a home that is warm and inviting and houses incredible memories.
I can be this. I can be myself, a mom, a lover and a friend all at once. I can avoid big mistakes by living with intent and trusting my intuition. I can succeed and empower my girls to do the same. I am strong, loved and wanted. I matter. He matters. They matter.
Tonight had a purpose. I will learn, grow and move on to a better and more fulfilling day-to-day life.
I will live for:
         my girls
         my husband
I will live with:
I will purge:
         unnecessary doubts
         negative energies
         unhealthy everything
         unnecessary addictions {phone, TV}
         unnecessary stress
I will write:
         for myself
I will {ultimately}:
         nurture my body
         break past habits
         honor my girls
         embrace peace and deny deny emotional chaos
         wake early
         sleep long
         work at ideal times"

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I Am Needed


I Am Needed

Song to Match: "Passing Afternoon" by Iron & Wine 

I am needed today.

I am needed so much that my thoughts disappeared. There wasn’t any room for them. I focused on what each of my dependents needed from me and nothing more. They needed a lot.

I am needed in a variety of ways.

The baby is teething and always hungry. I think she is also constipated. She needs me physically and emotionally.

The toddler is convinced she is more independent than she truly is. She needs me to do as she says, not the other way around. She also needs me to feed her and help her use the bathroom.

The cat has puncture wounds from the teeth of another animal at the base of her tail. She needs comfort, antibiotics and pain medicine. I am her caretaker more so than usual. It exhausts me.

The house is a flurry of remnants from past days. It needs to be pruned and cleaned and reminded that it is still cared about. I hope it knows that we need it as much as it needs us.

I am needed all at once.

The diaper needs changing. The litter box needs scooping. The toddler bottom needs wiping before I help her off of the toilet. All at once.

The cat bowl needs food. The baby needs to nurse. The toddler doesn’t like what I’ve served her for lunch. All at once.

The phone is dying. The iPad is dead. The laptop is charging. All at once.

The floors need vacuuming. The counters need sanitzing. The fridge is unspeakable. All at once (and most of the time).

The laundry needs folding. The closet needs organizing. The dresser drawers keep getting stuck. All at once (and most of the time).

My stomach is growling. My upper back is aching so much that it burns. I’m wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday because I slept in them the night before and decided upon waking that I wasn’t going to waste time changing them today. I stand by that decision.

All of this, and yet.

The baby was laughing. The toddler was snuggled into my stomach saying, “I love you, mama.” The cat was able to fall asleep on her designated towel in her quiet sanctuary (the upstairs bathroom).

The dinner was cooked (and eaten).

The bedtime routine resulted in sleeping children.

A beautiful song that makes me cry began to play on my favorite Pandora station. I let the tears fall with no need to hide them, for I was alone and had a quiet moment of reflection.

I wrote a complete piece for the first time in months.

I feel capable of doing all that I’ve been called to do (and I am able to hear quite clearly that little voice located toward the bottom of my right ear that’s saying, “You don’t FEEL capable. You ARE capable.”).

I welcome tomorrow.

I am able. I am loved. I am supported.

I am needed. But I need them, and all of this, just the same.


The Fullest Day


The Fullest Day

Today was a DAY. It began early, involved many firsts, transformations, appointments and sweet treats, and it ended late after a botched bedtime routine. But there were two hours of the day {in between an adorable and necessary ice cream date with toddler friends and a giggly cuddle session on the living room floor} where:

time slowed
the temperature cooled
all that we had to accomplish had been accomplished
and we were together as a family, with nowhere else to be but by each other's side.

Those two hours were spent at our happy place: the beach.

Walking through warm ocean water, sinking into soft wet sand, wearing a cozy baby, holding the hand of an excited toddler and admiring my husband were the best ways to spend the evening of the only day he and I will both have off at the same time for the next few months.

Because this day was a rare occurrence, I couldn't help but document the shit out of it. I took photos of every moment of Lorelei's first day of preschool; I took photos of Isla smiling at me in her high chair; I took photos of Lorelei and her little friends eating ice cream and saying "Cheese!"; and I took photos of us being happy in our happy place - photos that will forever be special to us because they capture our shared family soul at such an important and transitional time in our lives.

Today was good. It was full and complete and exhausting, and I'm happy to have lived it with the people who have impacted my life the most in such cool and varied ways. 

Yes, Lorelei took a wooden spatula to the beach. She's experimental like that.