Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Public Service Announcement!

Since I can't figure out how to add a permanent button on the side of my blog I wanted to do a quick post about a great non-profit organization that is the first of it's kind in Minnesota.

How many people have extra diapers laying around because their baby grew into the next size or became potty trained and you don't feel right about just throwing those extra, perfectly good diapers in the garbage??

Would you like a place you can give those diapers (even opened packages?) and know that they will help a tiny butt in need? you go! Click on the link and you will be able to read all about The Diaper Drive and find out where you can drop off those unused diapers!!

Put your unused diapers to a very good use!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Do I?

How do I stop myself from begrudging someone what is rightfully theirs when it infringes on my own justified desires?

How do I make peace within my heart for things my head can not wrap itself around?

How do I let go just enough so that those I love dearly stay safe but also thrive from the experience?

How do I sort through things that make no sense and keep my sanity when the answers remain elusive?

How do I make decisions when what I so desperately want is in constant conflict with doing something that is “for the best”?

How do I trust when the fiber of my being remains suspicious?

How do I act as the protector when I am so frequently helpless?

It is in the absence of courage that fear resides. It is in the presence of courage that faith endures.

Psalm 118:5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

When I need him, He is there for me. He hears my cries and pulls me in safely to His side.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

I don’t have all the answers (heck…I don’t even have a few of the answers). Nobody does. Nobody but Him. My trust and my safety lies with Him.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

I can’t do this by myself…but through His grace, I can see a glimpse of what my life will become if I follow His word and His way.

I don’t know how I do all these things I’m “supposed” to do. Every day, I make mistakes that I wish I could undo. The only solace I have is the knowledge that I get to wake up again tomorrow, forgiven, so I can try to do better.

My motivation to do better is the most beautiful kind there is...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bye-bye Baby Days

This past weekend I spent a lot of time going through everything the girls have outgrown. I separated everything into piles according to what I’m going to sell or donate and what I can hang on to for Goosie to grow into. As I folded all the tiny things from their baby days, I was overcome with how fast time has gone by. Packing up tiny little shirts and dresses and jammies made my heart HURT.

Goosie was such a challenging baby with colic, reflux, illnesses, and unexplained seizures. She demanded SO much one-on-one attention from the day she was born. I made a mantra of telling myself that I would NOT wish her babyhood away… No matter how exhausted I was or how little time I got to spend with Peanut, I told myself that she was only going to be that little for a few short moments. Every day she spent crying or whining or being sick I made apologies for the things I couldn’t do because I was tending to her. Somewhere inside me, despite my desperate attempt to cherish her baby days, I did what I swore I wouldn’t do… I wished it away. I found myself daydreaming while I bounced her or rocked her in vain, trying to coax a nap out of her, about the days to come when I could talk to her and she would talk back. Days when she could be dealt with using reason and logic and understanding seemed so far away at the time and I longed for her to be older.

Every time Goosie would have a particularly tough day or go through a really challenging phase, I would cry to my grandmother that I felt like a bad mom. She always consoled me by saying the same thing… “She won’t be like this forever. One day soon, you’ll look back and this whole thing will seem so far away. One day soon, you’ll stop and realize that she’s outgrown this and you won’t even remember when it happened.”

She was right.

I turned around this weekend and realized Goosie is almost four. She outgrew the colic and the reflux, survived RSV and has been seizure-free for two years. I can talk to her and reason with her. She understands the difference between right and wrong and she can easily tell me what her needs are. Those challenging days are past when I didn’t know what to do for her to make her stop crying. The days when I was afraid to sleep out of fear that she’d have a silent seizure are gone too. But, with those days went my baby girl. She doesn’t want to be rocked anymore. I can barely get her to sit next to me for a story these days. Goosie is an on-the-go girl and nothing slows her down except for that pesky nuisance of sleep she must endure for a few hours each night.

Today I long for the option of swaddling her tight and rocking her for hours. I wish I could put her in her high chair and feed her strained fruits and veggies and watch as her face contorts in all kinds of silly expressions. It would be wonderful to bathe her in that plastic blue tub on the kitchen counter and hear her squeal as she kicked in the water.

She is my last baby and I really feel today like I wished those moments away. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have another baby. Two children are all I will have and I’m perfectly good with that but I didn’t realize how quickly they would grow. I was so careful to soak up and cherish every baby moment with Peanut and it was so easy to do with her because she was the ideal firstborn; easy to console, loved to be rocked, happy 99% of the time. Goosie was just so much more demanding and challenging that my commitment to enjoy those days didn’t override my desire for easier days to come the way I’d hoped it would.

So, as I packed up the last of the tiny little t-shirts and tennis shoes, I packed away the last of the baby days. I know there are equally special days and moments to come. My girls are growing into such special people and I really love seeing that happen. Watching the world unfold for them is amazing.

I think I’ll be more careful now not to wish away any moments….even the difficult ones. Because, once those moments are gone, all that’s left are photos and memories. You can’t snuggle a memory…you can’t smell a memory’s sweet scent. It won’t ever be as vivid and real as it was when it happened. Letting go of the baby in my daughters is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It hurts. A lot.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How I Became A Single Mom ~ the hard way out

I figured that since I’m writing this blog from the perspective of a single mom, it was appropriate to start out with a post that explains how I ended up as one.

Being a single mom isn’t a choice most women would make. I didn’t wake up one day and think, “Gee…it would be SO awesome to raise these girls all alone and have to give them up every other weekend to someone I don’t really like.” When I got married, I swore to myself, to my husband, and to God that it was a forever thing. Divorce was not something I thought I would ever consider since I was a child of divorced parents myself. My mom and dad split up when I was two and a half so I was raised being shuffled back and forth a couple times a week, every other holiday, and for weeks in the summer. That wasn’t a life I ever wanted to bestow on my children.

Unfortunately, there came a day in my marriage when I looked at my husband and no longer felt a desire to share my life with him even though we shared children. After a lot of soul-searching, praying, talking to family and friends, and marriage counseling…I decided that it was my responsibility as a mother to show my daughters what a healthy marriage looked like. If I couldn’t do that, then I shouldn’t be showing them an example of a bad marriage because I feared they would emulate that in their own lives. My husband and I talked about that at length. It really came down to what was best for our girls. We tried very hard to make things right between us but in the end, we were at opposite ends of the spectrum on too many key issues and no hope of reaching any sort of compromise about things that married people should really see eye-to-eye on. That was not what we wanted our daughters to grow up seeing and experiencing.

We wanted more for our girls so we made the mutual decision to dissolve our marriage because showing them how to have a bad marriage was the “easy way out”.

It might not sound like it…but in fact, choosing to divorce was a much harder decision to make than staying in a poorly constructed marriage. It would have been easier to endure the endless arguments than to try and find ways to compromise and agree when we were no longer accountable to each other at the end of the day. It would have been easier to bicker about who did the laundry, picked up the dirty dishes or bathed the baby than to face doing all of those things alone all the time. It would have been easier to hold grudges about who got to sleep in more on weekends than to face two weekends a month without my children. Easier….but not better. No, definitely not better.

I could tear my ex-husband to shreds and say that our divorce was his fault; that he did things I could not forgive him for. That’s just not completely true. We both contributed to the demise of our marriage. We were lazy, selfish, controlling, unbending, and unforgiving….both of us. We held grudges and complained about things that weren’t really a big deal in the scheme of things. We disrespected each other and largely, each other’s families.

I could throw stones and say he was worse than me…and (if I’m going to be really honest) some days I really think he was…but that’s not the kind of darkness I want clouding my heart. It’s hard for me to accept my part in our divorce because I was so dead-set against it from the beginning. My kids were never going to be those kids whose parents were split up. To blame my ex-husband would be the easy thing. It’s so much harder to admit my part in the whole situation. But, there it is. I did stuff wrong too.

When the damage finally outweighed any love we still held for each other, it was a simple snap of a twig. There was this clear, defined breaking point that we both felt at exactly the same moment. We were on the phone, arguing about something that has since left my usually solid memory, and we both said simultaneously, “That’s IT. I’m DONE!” Had it been about anything other than our marriage, it might have seemed comical. As it were, the moment was exclaimed and we really didn’t look back. From that point forward, we just started making plans to divide; financially, emotionally, physically.

A lifetime of battling about things we were not ever going to agree on was not something either one of us was prepared to accept. Our girls deserved better. Even though we couldn't show them a healthy marriage, being independent, self-respecting adults was something we could show them.

So, that is how I became a single mom. Now, over two years later, I don’t regret my (our) decision in the slightest. We did the right thing even though it was not the easy thing.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Just for the Record

For anyone who is interested in the picture I posted (and the photographer behind it), a good place to get answers would be Of course, living in Minnesota would work to your benefit too...otherwise it's just inconvenient.

Introducing Goosie and Peanut

I thought maybe you might like to see a picture of the children in question for this blog. For those who noticed I mentioned I'm not a photographer, good catch. I didn't take this photo...but I do have the copyright to the image so rest easy. Goosie is the little one and Peanut is the big one.

Well, Here I Go

So I've heard about this whole "blogging" thing but, until about a year ago, I never really understood what it was. Now that I've read enough of them, I decided to start one myself for a few reasons.

First; an overwhelming majority of the blogs I've read are written by married women with several children and they talk about things like baby-wearing, organic food, photography, cloth diapers, and being stay-at-home moms. Now, I don't find one single thing wrong with any of these topics...really, I don't. I've read, appreciated, and been personally touched by a lot of blogs with themes that fall into those categories. However, that is not the life I lead. In short, I'm a divorced mom of two who thrives on things that make life more convenient so that I can maximize my enjoyment of it and minimize the hassle in it. I struggle with everyday things like paying bills, being a good mom who creates a healthy life for two sweet girls, and staying on top of my faith so I never stray too far away from God. I think I just really felt that there wasn't a big enough voice for moms like me. Maybe by blogging about myself, my thoughts, and my experiences...moms like me might not feel like they are out there alone. Or, maybe something I say might touch a cloth-diaper using, photograph taking, baby-wearing, organic-food cooking mom the way some of the stuff they've said has touched me. I want my life and experiences to be a beautiful blend of diversity from all the aspects I choose to incorporate into it.

Second; my head is full of words and I need to clean house, so to speak. I have all these things I think about every day that can sometimes make me dizzy with wonder and pondering. So, I was thinking if I got some of them down "on paper", there might be more room in my head for things like remembering to do the laundry or pay my cell phone bill.

Third; accountability. This is a big one. I have all kinds of big plans for myself; this grand life I want to lead (figuratively speaking). Plans to lose weight, go to church more, de-clutter my desk (aka: life), get down on the floor and play more with my kids....stuff like that. I figured that maybe if I wrote about some of those things, I would be more likely to hold myself accountable for doing them. It's easy to say "I can do that laundry tomorrow..." or "mac and cheese is okay for supper....again." What I want is to voice my desire to do better and have it out there for the world (or whoever chooses to spend time reading this) to see so that I feel a little more pressure on myself to actually do it. It's a lot harder to back out on something once you've told a bunch of people you're committed to doing it.

So, I guess that's my "Why I'm Going To Blog" answer. The plan is to slowly introduce you to me...and maybe give myself a little insight to me in the process; attacking random issues one by one and sharing about my experiences as a single mom and life in general.

Well, here I go! I hope I learn, I hope you enjoy, and I hope that wherever you are on your journey to be the you you want to be, you will come along on mine.