Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas

I've become a holiday writer.  Owning it.  One day my toddler will slow down and I will be able to process my thoughts instead of my current routine of cooking, feeding, cleaning, repeat.  One day.

I was called off work today, so I am trying to capitalize on the fact that I have some time I wasn't expecting.  I am trying to take a momentduringn nap time to do something nourishing...instead of cleaning up all things Christmas.  

Christmas was good.  I never thought I would say that.  Yes there was a huge hole in the day and in the days leading up to it with my mom gone.  But ultimately, Christmas day was good.  We created what I needed on that day.  Instead of running around and trying to see and meet everyone, we opened up our house and demanded that if people show up, they come in pajamas.  It was fantastic.  Breakfast with some family members, dinner with others.  Two naps from my boy.  And way too salty Chinese food at the end of the day with Jon.  A new tradition he insisted on starting.  Next year I will hopefully be better about picture taking. 

Christmas Pajama Breakfast


We slowed down.  We were present.  Grayson played and destroyed, having no interest in the presents except to stand on them.  That munchkin gets cuter each day and brings me so much joy in the little moments.  Especially because this face is frequently what I get to see.  The stinkface.



I'm so grateful that people came.  I'm grateful for family.  I miss my mom like crazy but tried to surround myself with the Christmas beauty she created when she was alive.  With the crazy toddler we went a more unconventional route in our ornament hanging this year.



Break out the staple gun and put some lights on your basement ceiling and deck the halls.  I kind of love it.  It might be hard to go back to a tree.  The majority of those ornaments were my mom's.  We are now completely aware that it was truly an obsession. 

I can't wait to start more traditions next year when Grayson shows an inkling of interest in anything Christmas related.  My early riser thought that 4:30 was a good time to wake up.  We waited until the sun was up to take pictures.  



Some Christmas card outtakes.







Our snow baby loved the snow as much as his nanny did.






I bet my mom's Christmas in heaven was far beyond her wildest expectations.  I hope yours was fantastic as well.









Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One Year

Grayson,

It was this time one year ago that I was laying in bed next to my mom and my contractions started.  I was pissed.  It was not the right day to have a baby.  My super sick mom would not be able to come to the hospital and I wasn't ready.  I wasn't ready to be the mom to this baby.  I wasn't ready to nurse this new little life while I was walking with my mom through her final months.


But it didn't matter.  Life doesn't wait for you to be ready sweet boy.  God knows when you are ready, and his timing was perfect whether I was in agreement or not.


So it was on this night, one year ago, at 12:21 a.m. that I pushed you into this world.  Surrounded by friends that I loved and friends that loved us, you took your first breath and I decided that I was ready.



Not only was I ready for you Grayson, but I loved you with every fiber in my being from the second they placed you on my chest.  Even though that was the first time we were ever separate, it was one of the first times that I truly felt connected with you.  You, my dear, are your own little spunk of a person.



While you now captivate and own a large piece of my heart, it is not my job to smoother you and shield you from the heartache and brokenness of this world, but rather to walk beside you as you live in it...as you experience it and hopefully change this world for the better.  It is hard for my mama heart to let you get hurt...but that is how you learn.  You are learning to walk by falling down.  You are learning the magnitude of your giant head by whacking it into things.  A helmet and pads or my constant eye and holding won't help you learn....they might temporarily alleviate discomfort and pain, but ultimately it would be doing you a disservice.




So please forgive me if I sometimes am overbearing or shield you too much.  Deep down I know I want you to explore.  I know I want you to be brave.  I want you to learn that there is enough in this world.  There is enough love, hope, and joy.  It is there already and yours for the taking.  Please continue to crawl off into the yard knowing that I will get you if you have gone too far.  Please keep trying to stand up, even when you fall down.  Please keep coming back for more snuggles and love so that you are all filled up and can go share it with the world.




Grayson you are a joy and a light in this world.  Not only that, but you crack me up.  I know I am biased, but baby boy you can command a room better than a politician.  Even at this age you engage with people.  I hope you never let that go.  I hope you forever engage with people and use those big brown eyes to look inside and see what people are truly about.  I hope I teach you to see people, Grayson.  I don't want you to see faces, I want you to see souls.  Souls filled with hopes and dreams and wants and needs, just like you.  I pray that I can teach you to see and appreciate the differences in everyone, while learning that we are all so alike as well.



I hope I can teach you to live in the moment and work past your discomfort, fears, and insecurities to truly be yourself.  Babies are magical in that way.  You don't care how loud you scream in the library, or if it is an appropriate time to fart like a grown man.  Granted, I want you to one day control your gas, but I hope you always go for what you want and feel no shame when you are being yourself.  This isn't my strong suit sweet boy, but somethings are worth screaming about. Fight for what is right, and just, and good.  And sometimes just fight because you are going with your gut and your heart.  Your even keeled parents are working on this.  You are helping us to experience more passion, and we are grateful.  Thank you for teaching us so we can continue to teach you.


Thank you for falling asleep in my arms today.   I know tomorrow will be very similar to the day before, and the day before that....but it was special to me.  Thank you for giving me those moments where I could remember.  I could remember going into labor and being with my mom.  I could remember holding you for the first time.  I could remember your dad looking at you and watching his heart melt.  I could remember placing you in my mom's arms.  I could remember watching your nana and your aunities and uncles all share in our excitement that you are here, and that you are you.  That is all you need to be Grayson.  Just be you, my crazy haired, super loud, gremlin speaking, great eating, snuggle bug.  You, sweet baby boy, are more than enough.


Happy Birthday.
Mom.




Friday, August 23, 2013

Tears

Saturday was my mom's birthday.  I woke up and cried.  Missed her terribly with that ache in your soul that comes straight from your gut.  I was grateful to be with family...with others that had that same ache in their soul.  It was awesome to look back on posts from her last birthday.  While it was spent in a hospital room, it was filled with so much love and grace.  It was good to remember, pray, and cry.

Wednesdays have been hard for me lately.  I typically work Wednesday nights, and the night shift is kicking my butt.  More so, my child is kicking my butt with his inconsistency in napping, especially on Wednesdays. It's like he has this super sense and knows that I really need to sleep, therefore he really doesn't.  So after struggling for an hour and a half to get him to go to sleep, he finally fell asleep in my arms with bottle number 3 (yes I was desperate, and no this isn't normal.  Normally my kiddo goes to sleep wide awake in his crib all by himself.  It was a really bad day.)  Prior to finally getting him down, I lost it.  Put him in his crib and let him cry as I made a run for my front porch with multiple doors closed between us.  I couldn't do it anymore.  I didn't know how to love him, or even tolerate him in that moment.  And I desperately wanted to call my mom and ask her what I should do.  Not that she has magic answers, its just in those moments of desperation and wanting to kill your child, mothers are the first people you want to call.  And I couldn't. So I sat on my front porch and prayed and cried.  Then when I finally had enough where with all to go back to my screaming child, he finally fell asleep and I cried again.  Apparently I don't run out of tears.

Grayson's tears used to hold so much validity.  He only cried when something was really wrong.  In the last two weeks we have jumped on the drama bus and Grayson now cries at the drop of a hat and sounds like you have just severed an appendage.  We were out at an Italian restaurant and I was letting him eat some bread.  I took away the soggy nasty piece to replace it, and he shook his fists and screamed in agony...for about 10 seconds until the new piece was in his grubby little fingers...and then he laughed.  2 second rebound rate.  This kiddo needs some language skills so that screeching is not his only method of communication. You like bread.  Mommy got the message.

Yesterday I cried because I tried to make a last minute appointment to get a massage or pedicure or facial...or anything with my gift certificate, and they are all booked.  I should probably go pee on a stick because all this crying is getting a wee bit ridiculous.

Today I am doing better.  No tears thus far...even when my little bugger learned how to climb the stairs.  So here's to hoping for a day with more joy and a little less sadness.

After my rough day with G baby.  This is what he blessed me with the next morning.


Shameless selfie to capture the moment.  Those baby snuggles are redemptive and I savor them.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Journeys

I apologize for my absence.  I am learning that if I want to continue to write, I will have to look at it more as a discipline or a practice, rather than something that will naturally just happen.  I enjoy it.  I love it.  But rarely do I sit down to do it.  I see the value that it adds to my life and how it helps me see little things throughout the day.  So I hope to start writing at least once a week, regardless of circumstances, because in the end I never regret it.  It's kind of like going to the gym.  I should start to practice that disciple as well.  My hips would agree.

Life has been quite the journey lately.  My mobile little munchkin keeps me on my toes.  He is developing such personality, and I am loving it.  

I am learning at a much deeper level that marriage takes work and intention.  These are good and necessary learns, but it is hard to be humbled.  Why my naive self would think that Jon and I are any different than any other married couple is beyond me. I know it is ridiculous to have thought we were above the struggles that lead many to divorce.  So I am grateful that we are working on us now.  I am grateful that love is messy, and that messes can be cleaned up.  

My biggest learn is how impossible it is to love Jon exactly where he is at, when I barely love myself. ( I am pretty sure I oscillate between hatred for myself and thinking that I am all that and a bag of chips... just keeping it real.)  Many of the hardships we face are just symptoms of the deeper truths.  The obvious symptoms just scratch the surface, and it is the shame, guilt, lies, and fears that lie deep below that need to be addressed and processed through.  

So last night we sat on the couch and told the truth.  And I wanted to throw up as I cried. There is immense power and freedom in the truth.  He told me that he didn't like my wedding dress and the amount of guilt that he had about feeling that way.  And I am grateful that now, that after almost five years of marriage, I am OK with that.  I loved my wedding dress.  I loved that it was hand made.  I loved that the lace was from England.  I loved that only my mom saw me in it prior to my wedding day.  And I felt beautiful.  I was beautiful.  And it is OK that Jon didn't love it, because I know that he loved the girl who was inside of it.  It is OK for us to like different things, and I am glad I am at the point where that was not devastating news.   We have grown and we have changed.  

Many more things were shared in that sacred space and the level of trust and intimacy that followed astounded me.  When there is no second guessing, no thoughts in the back of your head that you wonder if they are true, you are able to truly dive into the mess that is love.  The humbling hurts, but I am grateful that I didn't marry someone perfect, because I am far from it.  And it is in the conversations and the truth telling that I see that imperfection and forgiveness is far more beautiful.  

In case you were wondering, I don't have it all together.  I barely have a fraction of "it" all together...because I am human.  

So instead of running in the perfection race, I am learning to be more messy, and I am pretty sure that it is ten times more attractive and genuine than my put-together face.

In my mess I am learning to embrace the fact that my sister is leaving in January.  In January, Aly is travelling with TheWorldRace to 11 countries in 11 months.  In January my sister follows her dreams and her God outside of her comfort zone.  I am so excited for her and I also want to tie her up in my basement and keep her all to myself.  This is the opportunity of a lifetime for her, but man am I going to miss my sister.  I added her blog to my side bar where she will be keeping everyone updated now and throughout her trip.  She is trying to raise support to pay for a portion of her trip, and it would mean the world to her if your would support her financially and/or in prayer.  I have no doubt that God will use her to impact lives.  I have no doubt that God will allow her to touch others that are hurting in the same way that so many came alongside and touched our lives as we felt the deepest hurt we have known.  I am so excited to support her in her journey, even if it is on the other side of the ocean for a year.  

While I am not really sure who reads this, thank you for sharing a piece of your journey with me.  Thank you for any and all connection as I walk through life.  Thank you for your love and care.  

Here are some pictures of my sweet babe at 9 months.  I could seriously eat him for dessert.  He is delicious.






Sunday, July 7, 2013

He Burped in my Nose

Grayson burped in my nose.  Not around my face...in my nose.  The kid was acting all sweet... grabbing my hair and "kissing" my face (which is really trying to bite my face as if I were a piece of cake).  He seriously locked his lips around my nose and as I tried to untangle his sticky fists from my hair before pulling him off, he burped in my nose.  Absolutely disgusting.

Parenthood is seriously amazing.  It is amazing that someone can burp and yet still captivate your heart.

My pregnant friend...of which I have many at the moment...holy baby boom...recently honestly and beautifully confessed her fears about potentially not loving that baby in her belly.  Her first baby.

Her fears felt so familiar, yet also worlds away.  I can remember wanting to plan the perfect time to get pregnant.  You know, the time where I got all the holidays off, we would have ample money in our savings account, Jon and I would have traveled to Europe, and I would be incredibly well rested prior to giving birth.  It would all be just perfect, because everything would change after.  Our worlds would no longer be just about us, but this little all consuming being called a baby.

Well I nailed the holiday thing, but everything else was so not a part of my plan...but it was still perfect...kind of.  Of course I wouldn't take any of it back.  I would not take the sleepless nights spent with my mom or all of my PTO that I used before giving birth.

What I was planning for was the easiest time to have a baby, not the perfect time.  How many times in our lives do we try to plan for the easiest course?  But easy does not challenge us to grow.  Easy does not bring out our inner warrior.  Easy does not stretch us and mold us into the people we are capable of being.  Easy is nice every once in a while, but ultimately I don't want my life to be easy, nor do I want that for my son.  I want my life to be rich, challenging, full of growth and depth.

So with out a doubt I could tell my friend that she would be enough and that the little babe in her belly would captivate her heart.  Yes, her life would change, her house would be more crowded, childcare might be tricky, her body might never be the same, she will spend more money than she can imagine, but she would experience so much of the essence of life, that it would all fall into place and be worth it ten times over.

Even if that little stinker burps in her nose, it will all be worth it.




Friday, June 28, 2013

Baby's First Year

I have stunk it up at keeping track of Grayson's firsts and milestones.  I haven't written anything in the baby book or sent any emails to the account I made.  Documentation is not my strong suit.  So it's pretty funny that I have a whole box of over-priced scrap-booking crap in the basement.  Want to know how many scrapbooks I've made?  2.

You know what milestone I have mentally seared in my head at the moment?  We are on night 6 of sleeping through the night.  Hallelujah.

I forgot what it is like, and now question why people want to have more kids and start that process over...kind of.  I still want more kids.  My baby no longer feels like a baby, but rather a boy with a great sense of adventure.

I have lost a good deal of my writing momentum.  Writing had served as a way for me to process, and honestly I am ready to just breathe.  I will still cry when the wave hits and remember my mom when the OscarMeyerWienerMobile drives by, or I hear the ice cream truck.  But there are days when the sting is less and the joy runs deeper.  Not because I am forgetting, but because I am healing.  It feels good to heal, and scary.  It's scary to get further and further away from the days when she was alive and part of my life, but there is peace in the fact that with each day that passes I am closer to seeing her again.  I know she is OK.  I know she is celebrating with her Savior.  And I am OK too.  At least today.

I think my writing may start to shift.  It may be more about my process and struggles in parenting and marriage and home ownership.  It may be more about the ridiculous stuff that runs through my head throughout the day.  It may take me a little while to find my voice again, but hopefully I will get my writing groove back.

I might write more about that little love bug in my life, because then I will actually be able to tell him about his firsts.  So please feel free to skip through the boring posts if you want.  

I'm just learning to let go of scrap-booking Jaci.  Did you know I am not superwoman?  Because for a while I thought I was.  Humility isn't always my strong suit.  I thought I could do it all...but I'm learning that I would rather do less, well.  I would rather wrestle my boy than cut out little letters and stickers and arrange it all on a pretty page.  It just doesn't fill me up and my time is limited.  As time seems more and more sacred, I would like to slow down and breathe it in.  I want to savor the little moments with Grayson instead of feeling like I have to do it all.  It is OK to rest.  It is OK to just be.  It is OK to not get it all done. I am slowly learning to prioritize and figure out what does fill me up.  Sometimes my head is really thick.

The house was a mess, but the weather was nice.  So we hung out in the splash pool.





Here's to hoping for night 7.  A week of sleep.  Holy Guacamole.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

June

June has been rough.  I feel restricted in life based on my number of weight watcher points as well as our new budget.  Both necessary but restricting and annoying none the less.

My little babe seems more like a little man now that he has a tooth and is almost 8 months old.

I didn't anticipate June being any different.  I didn't think it would be harder than May, but for one reason or another it is.  Grief has it's own agenda.

Mother's day was filled with wonderful distractions being surrounded by some dear friends in Florida.  I let the tears fall as we went to a Cirque show and I underestimated what being on any Disney grounds would do to my soul. I never really counted downtown Disney as part of Disney World, but as we walked by the many shops and roads I have walked arm in arm with my mom, I could no longer swallow the lump in my throat.  My friends put their arms around me and we kept walking.  Because that is what you do in life.  You remember, you cherish, you grieve, and you keep walking.  Those were good memories.  It was good to be close to a place that she loved on Mother's Day.

Does anyone else get incredibly overwhelmed by the card aisle?  It is my sister's 23rd birthday.  So card shopping last night was an event. I know the perfect card is always out there, I just have to find it.  So I scour and I debate, and then I find it and it is way too much money ($8.99 for a piece of paper with glitter on it, are you kidding me?!?)...so I determine the next best card is out there. I had to take a few moments to breathe as I walked passed all the "birthday cards for mom."  I never get to give her another birthday card.  Ouch.  Breathe. Keep walking.

I love cards.  I used to save all of them.  I have since been able to let generic ones go, but many the good ones are like a piece of treasure to me.  I love how others can use words to say exactly what I'm feeling, or how something so simple can make me laugh out loud in the store aisle.  And honestly I love the ones with little gems or doused in glitter.  I just love the sparkle.  I love all the cards I have from my mom.  Many from her to Grayson still reside on my fridge.  She knew that cards were a way to my heart, and she always found the best ones.  I love that other people are willing to sit in that aisle and debate on my behalf, trying to figure out what will speak to my soul and let me know that I am loved.

I should make my mid year resolution to actually mail out more cards.  Finding cards, I'm great at, actually getting things in the mail, not so much. So my goal for this week is to send out the cards from my mom's memorial service...only 4 months late.  Looking through the list of people that attended brings tears to my eyes.  Many left a name with no address, so I cannot send a card.  Many envelopes I lost with the return address, so again, no card.  I hate sending out these generic cards with no sparkle.  I want people to know and hear our gratitude, but man these cards are boring.  Confetti inside the envelope might be a bit inappropriate.  So I will just stick with the generic on this one, but please know I wanted to send a sparkle card with a hug inside.  I wanted to send a card with something that would make people laugh.  I want people to truly know and feel our gratitude, because to this day, I cannot get over how people loved us.

How do I keep that going? How do I keep swimming in the river of love and invite more people in? (I'm picturing a river a red glitter and hearts where we are all splashing gleefully...I hope one day I have a daughter to share my love of glitter and sparkle.)  I know that sounds cheesy, but I think the last year is how I want to live my entire life.  I want to be intentional.  I want to give to others what so many people gave to me.  I want to be an open book where people can add to my pages and join in the story.

I think June is hard because it is when everything changed last year.  Yes, my mom died in February, but June is when I moved into the hospital.  June is when the roller coaster ride began.  June is when my mom had her heart attack and we had no idea.  June is when my mom started to flirt with death.  So this June, all the pain feels fresh and raw.

So I will keep walking.  Today I will walk while I cry. Maybe I will cry tomorrow to, we will see.  Because today I miss my mom.  I'm sad that the good memories feel farther away than the bad.  Today I'm just sad, and that's OK.

My cutie in Florida and some of my dearest friends.