Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Glimpse...

Things happen. It's a simple fact of life. You can't change them, they just happen. The air in your tire is sucked out on your drive to work leaving you stranded with a dead cell phone in the pouring rain, you step on a lego and cry for a week about it (not that I'm admitting anything...), Rent becomes due before a paycheck is received, or your life gets ripped upside down by choices your ex made. At this turning point, I believe, there are two options... two paths you can choose from. The fork in your road has come and left or right must be chosen.

My fork, came up not-so-unexpectedly, at 6pm on one specific day and left me facing a daunting choice. Words and bruises in between punches threatened to take the hope I protectively tucked in my battered arms. The choice was chosen at 6 am when hope was now dangling by a frail thread, my desperate screams were answered by a determined pounding on the door. My shaking fingers managed to unlatch the lock that held me in that house. The antagonist who was my husband was apprehended. The night had ended. The morning was beautiful and fresh. I gasped inhaling the air through the rusty taste of blood drying on my lips, my first step toward my chosen path had just been taken.

It would be a lie to say that I made my choice and haven't looked back. That night has been thrown in my face, tormented my dreams, and followed me for years and years. As hard as it has been some days, I am a better person because of it. My strength, faith, and frankly, my sanity have been put to the ultimate test. I face another fork in the road daily. I can choose the path down self pity and sorrow. I can think those self destructive thoughts such as 'Why me?'.  I, instead, choose to take another path.

The path of Gratitude. No, I'm not thankful for that night. I am ,however, thankful for the qualities I learned I had within me. The qualities I hope to share with my children through example. I am thankful for the new perspective I gained as I inhaled the fresh morning air that day I stepped out of that house and into a new life. The gratitude I felt toward another day I had been granted.

So when that Glimpse of the wrong path creeps it's ugly head my way, I hold my head high. I inhale another fresh breath of air. And. I stare that path in the face with the strength I found in my heart that night. That path can be quite the stubborn Brass Bowl and I can't deny there are times I nearly surrender to the depression and sadness that trods along that road. I am a lucky momma though, I have the ultimate antidotes. I have the gift of a loving and forgiving heart. I have the gift of a strong soul. I have the gift of self preservation (unless you count the times I step on legos and cry about it, but, again, I am not admitting to anything.). I have the gift of a beautiful surrounding of loved ones. Most importantly, I have the gift of  my two boys. They need me almost as much as I need them.

When life pushes you down, and Heaven knows it will, there are two choices. You can A.) Choose to sit down, give up, cry, wallow in self pity, and think those self destructive thoughts. Or B.) Choose to pick up your beans. Flip the bad finger (ok, not really, but you know you'd at least give it a good thought before declining). Stare it in the face and let it know you're not one to back down. Push past the thorns, and though they may draw blood.... YOU CAN AND WILL MAKE IT THROUGH.

SO.... Mr. X.... I survived you! What's up now?

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm sorry can you repeat that... or better yet can I have a do-over?

Why is it that we think we’re being bad parents if we don’t scrapbook? When I ask if someone scrapbooks, often times the response I hear is this: ‘I wish I did, I’m such a bad mom. I just am not that creative. My poor kids.’ Really? REALLY? This answer astounds me. I cannot for the life of me understand. Since when did "scrapbooking" become something other than preserving life? When did memory making become a competition for who's page is the best, who used the best paper or the newest products to decorate?  The act of scrapbooking isn’t what is important. It’s life that’s important. It’s creating memories with your children and family.

I choose to  chase bubbles with the boys and snap a photo here and there, instead of standing behind the lens and watch the magic of my kids’ childhood unfold with one eye closed, with half  my brain concentrating on the kids, while the other side is correcting my composition for the perfect photograph.  The definition of the perfect photograph is, in my opinion, quite distorted.  The make-up of a perfect photograph is not whether the lighting was exact,or if the composition was impeccable, nor is it the perfect posing of subjects. The perfect make-up of the perfect photo is whether the essence of the moment is captured even if there is chocolate or boogers streaming down my sons face as he’s laughing in the sunshine because his older brother is chasing him with a worm or some other creature. This ‘imperfect’ photo would transport me and I would be taken back to that day at that time when I was there experiencing life. I don’t want to remember the perfect technicalities of the photo, I want to remember the sound of his giggle, the sound his tiny pigeon-toed feet make as they glide across the green grass, the magic I felt in my heart as the happiness dripped from the hands of my 8 year old who holds a soggy worm discovered after the recent rainstorm. Snap photo's while you are enjoying living life, but don't worry about having the perfect photo so much so that you forget about being present. Trust me, they notice!

There was a time when I was so wrapped up in the art of memory making that I forgot to see the reason behind the art. I had the perfect scrapbook area set-up complete with a baby gate to keep little baby hands away from the supplies. There were times I would tell him just a few more minutes, I was almost caught up. There was a time when I was too busy concentrating on how many photographs I was snapping and how I would arrange them on my colored card stock, which patterned papers I would match them with, the font I would journal with, and the amount of accessories I would adorn the page with.  You know what though, the time came when I would sit down to journal about said event. The words that escaped through my pen, were generic. “ We had a great time at the park.  Ayden really enjoyed the swing. Caler sat quietly in his car seat observing his older brother with awe.”  Yes, it is what happened, but it’s not what happened.  If I had truly been there...been 100% present, I would have written about the changing expressions that appeared on Ayden’s face as he soared higher and higher. The way he leaped excitedly from the swing to land safely in his momma’s awaiting arms.  I would have been able to write about the way Caler gazed after his brother longing to be running alongside him. I would have written about the way my heart pounded as Ayden climbed the ladder nearly reaching the clouds.

Please, I'm begging you take the time you have been presented with and use it wisely. Choose to be there instead of half-way there. Choose to play hide and seek instead of watching from the sidelines. Choose to LIVE LIFE and as you LIVE IT ... OBSERVE IT IN ACTION. 

This way... you won't need a do-over.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

You're the MEANEST Momma! Expletive!

It started today at about 5:45 am. I am ripped from the blissful serenity of sleep by a blood curdling, glass breaking scream. I throw off the blanket and rush to the source of the shriek. There sat Caler. His eyes could have easily been mistaken for lasers. He was glaring at Ayden with a look that expressed he was beyond livid. "What in the world is going on you two?" I asked trying to push the rage, I myself was feeling, away from my mind and concentrate on taking care of business. "Ayden took my light saber!" Caler managed to spit out through clenched teeth. Ayden's smirk confirmed this. I asked Ayden to give it back. Ayden did as he was told and graciously released his death grip from the space sword. Caler snatched the toy from his brother with pure disdain. Then as quickly as I managed to turn my heels and head back to my room... SMAAAAACK.....AAAOOOOOOWWWW!  I didn't have to turn around to know what crime had just been committed. "Caler D! Why on Earth did you think it was alright to hit your brother?" It was mostly meant as a rhetorical question but I got an answer anyway..."Because he deserved it." Period. End of discussion. I couldn't believe the matter-of-fact attitude that fell upon this child. He truly believed his brother had deserved to be smacked on the head with the light saber for his bad decision. Maybe it was the early hour, or the tiredness that seeped through from my head to my toes, but no matter how hard I tried... my brain could not muster up any kind of response. I ushered Ayden (who was still rubbing a growing lump on the top of his head) out of the room. I turned to the frowning little boy with folded arms and angry sulking eyes, "Caler, you need to stay in your bed and think about the family rule you have broken." I closed the door to screeching and tears. I was doing the same inside.

I went out to discuss the value and importance of sharing with Ayden who stared at me with blank eyes, clearly thinking "but I wanted it and therefore I took it. Duh Momma!" I asked him how he felt about sharing, the sound that came out of his mouth sounded like an agonized mumble of the term  uh huh.  I was too exhausted to call out his bluff. I sank to the couch defeated. The shouts from the kids' room grew overwhelmingly loud. The banging began, which meant he was kicking the wall and the frames were about to fall. The millisecond that thought crossed my mind, the first frame fell and so did my patience. It crumbled. I walked to the room, opened the door, and faced this yowler of a child. I looked him in the eye and told him he needed to pick up the frame and return to his room where he would stay for the remainder of the day.

The term  If Looks Could Kill doesn't even begin to describe the change his eyes made as he learned his fate. The screaming didn't stop as I walked back out of his room in search of my journal (aka: solace).  It was as I was passing his closed door that I heard it. I heard the words that snap a parents heart in two. My sensitive heart shattered. " I HATE YOU MOMMA!" I choked back the lump that had settled in my throat threatening another bombardment of waterworks and replied " Well, my darling boy, I most certainly LOVE you." He apparently wasn't convinced " You're the MEANEST Momma EVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR!!!" I wasn't sure I could reply. Just as a snake can sense fear, my Caler can sense when I am close to a breaking point. It's not that he revels in it, no, he just knows that this is the time for him to test his limits. He does.... and he tests them well. So well, in fact, that the next phrase out of the mouth of my FIVE year old was a word that rhymes with Brass Bowl. An expletive. An expletive from the mouth that still uses bubble gum tooth paste and a light up Batman tooth brush.

If there was any doubt in his mind that I was the meanest momma before, it was confirmed when he had to brush the bad words out of his mouth with the hot toothpaste that Momma uses.

So there you have it.... Confessions from the MEANEST MOMMA EVVVEEERRRR!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I love being a Baby Momma

Timing never has been my strong suit… so there is no surprise that I’m a few days late posting about Motherhood. But, better late than not at all. 
I decided to list 10 out of a million reasons why I love being a momma:
  • After a long day there is nothing like “nuggles” from my babies
  • In the eyes of my children there are no better dancers, singers, or all around performers than their Momma (and you can’t argue with the kids… )
  • My refrigerator is never plain or boring… it has AMAZING pieces of their Art glittered all over the doors and sides
  • The way their faces light up on Friday afternoons when I tell them the next two days are ours to spend with each other.
  • Building blanket forts in the living room and extending them into the dining room.
  • Who doesn’t love a game of Candyland?
  • The daily laughs I get from listening to them converse… my kids are SO hilarious!
  • I imagine at some point there will be a reward for allowing my 5 year old to work for the US government….
  • All those math lessons I ignored in school…. I get a second chance by being instructed from my 8 year old how to apply fractions and what pi is.
  • They’ve taught me a new dimension of unconditional love…. They can wake me up every hour on the hour starting at 2 am, They can puke on me,  they can turn my freshly cleaned house upside down and I will still love them with all my heart 3- Ever and Ever!
Speaking of 3-Ever and Ever, I can go on listing all the wonderful wonders of Motherhood 3-Ever and ever….
Being a momma wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 18, but it certainly is on the list for my proudest accomplishments. I am thankful for the opportunity I was given to be a momma no matter the age I started. The joy most definitely outweighs the frustrations. That’s not to say that at times I don't feel defeated and overwhelmed. The two boys I’ve been blessed with, though, have this magic ability to turn my frowns upside down (no matter how hard I try keep those frown in place). How can I possibly put into words the love and joy I feel when I hear their giggles and see their smiles? In short… I’m one lucky momma! 
I have so many amazing women in my life that need to be celebrated.
My own Momma.... for the example you gave me to take hold of my challenges and stare them straight in the eyes. I celebrate your strength.
My sisters... Jen and Britt you are beautiful mothers. The very proof of how amazing you two truly are lies in the sparkle of your children. The happiness is evident on their sparkling faces. I celebrate your beauty and the nurturing eminence you show your babies.
And to all Mothers.. You are caring, selfless, and loving. I celebrate you... 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Can I please be grounded?

I promise I won't talk on the phone, or do anything but sit on my bed.... I might even fall asleep early!

See, I really deserve to be grounded...

My Wednesday is Woeful…. Woeful Wednesday… I am full of Woe. I had a break down last night. On my un-mopped kitchen floor. I quite literally broke down into shoulder shaking sobs on the dirty kitchen floor after listening to Ayden repeat the word Mom increasing the octave and volume by the second, after a night of only 4 hours of sleep, after opening 5 unexpected bills, after walking into a living room full of cluttered craft supplies reminding me of the unfinished Teacher Appreciation gift that needs to be completed by Thursday, and after I broke my new favorite baby blue display dish holding banana’s (banana's that might as well have been bricks ).  It was the snap of the porcelain that snapped the floodgates and my tears flowed freely.

The Tuesday night Tear Jerker...

Momma's can sometimes have Temper Tantrums. And I did.  My head was throbbing. My feet were killing. My ears were ringing. I was forcing a smile I didn't feel. I was having a momma melt down.  In several moments of selfish thinking and relishing in self pity … I was cursing (or at least spelling out curse words in my overwhelmed brain) at my seemingly infinite problems.

How easy it is to fall victim to our own thoughts. How easy it is to give in to collapsing knees and sink to the floor with thoughts of how horrible life is. How easy it is to think that life is unfair. How easy it is to think that you are the only person suffering. It was that last thought that stopped my shuddering shoulders and slowed the water escaping down my cheeks in a steady stream.  I sat there, on the floor, for several minutes longer fighting the urge to ignore the voice suggesting the audacious idea it was going to be alright. Telling me to take a deep breath and grab my Gratitude journal.

Ten minutes went by and I was still fighting. I stood up, grabbed my journal and took a long hard look at line after line of extraordinary gifts I was blatantly ignoring in the name of Self-Woe. But really WHOA,  a sense of awe at all I've been given chased away the majority of what I was feeling. I literally pushed up my sleeves and stood to face my challenges. I checked on the boys who were now sleeping peacefully. I added a few calls to my To-Do List for the next day. I finished painting Ayden's teachers' gift (thinking to myself that his teacher is the true gift). The porcelain dish can and will be fixed. The crack I will see when I reach for a piece of fruit displayed amidst the baby blue will remind me of the moment I fought back the feeling of woe and replaced it, with whoa.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm a hot babe out jogging.....(this is a lie, I despise jogging!)

I'm out making sure this...stays a ten, when you drive by. You're checkin out my awesome headband, when.... oops (or Oopsie Daisies, in my case).

As much as I love this commercial, I don’t love the reminder that I’m lounging instead of making sure I stay…. Well, that I stay in shape enough to be able to chase my kidlets around.
I go through different phases when it comes to my outlook on working out… I can be super proactive about the importance of staying fit and I'll work out religiously. Then I can feel like I want to eat a gallon of cookie dough ice cream with Oreo’s and a giant Dr. Pepper in the gym parking lot.   

I ate a cheeseburger last night and as I took the first bite... the thought that popped into my head was not "Oh man, this is going to be amazing" it was, instead, " Oh man, this is going to go straight to my hips, I'll have to work out for three days to rid myself of how many calories are in this thing... I should just put it down. I can't eat this. I shouldn't eat this. Why am I eating this. I am going to regret this."

Guess what World? I didn't regret it. The cheeseburger was delicious.

I've decided I don't want to spend another second drooling over the pair of size 2 jeans I would have to starve myself  just to dream of fitting into. I will, instead, spend the time I've been given enjoying the curves I have, the curves that I happen to love.  I have spent too many hours worrying incessantly about what size I fit into or if I'll ever look as good as the girl across the street with the amazing stiletto's and legs that are as tall as skyscrapers and stick skinny.

I am not suggesting to throw away all vegetables only to replace them with Oreo's and deep fried Twinkies.

I sincerely believe in being healthy. My idea of being healthy though, most definitely includes loving myself the way I am.