Anxiety tells me.

Anxiety tells me I don’t really have friends. Anxiety tells me no one really likes me. Anxiety tells me my husband only loves me in obligation. Anxiety tells me that someone else could love him better. Anxiety tells me that … Continue reading

have you ever been so loved?

You walk in the door with a purse across your body, gym bag on your shoulder, arms loaded down with groceries, a cup in your hand

Overwhelmed before taking a step by a toddler teetering on two feet saying, “Mommy! Mommy!”

And a 60 pound dog standing on hind legs, clawing at your shoulder, grinning. Yes. Grinning.

When all you want is to get through the door and take a breath, maybe without tripping or dropping the milk
Have you ever been so loved?

You sit in the solace of your desk in the office, headphones in, mind focused when a peck on your shoulder makes you turn

A friend saying, “Hey, I’m so glad you’re here! I miss you!” when your goal for the day was to not utter a word but you smile and chat anyways because, well, you missed them, too.

Have you ever been so loved?
When it’s the third missed call, an unanswered text, answering with a huff and annoyance in your voice –  “I was just calling to tell you to be safe coming home” you hear while rolling your eyes at the same conversation you’ve heard years straight. The traffic is heavy, drive in space, how is work, how is Harper? “Well I love you, come over and swim soon.”
Have you ever been so loved?
A distracted moment, thanks to some  Disney song when you can run away… Quietly shut the door and sit down, before the first trickle, when you hear, “Hey, what are you doing?” “I’m…” “Mommy! What are you doing?!” And then the dog runs through the door and licks your face and before you know it the whole family is staring at you.

Have you ever been so loved?

“How is your day?” appears the message that you’re side glancing at on your phone, sighing, wishing you could chuck the thing into the bottom of a lake. I am tired, I am bored, I am content, I am happy, I am sad, I am blasé, I am existing, I am thriving, I am here.

I am here. I am good. How are you?

Have you ever been so loved?

A hug as you walk through the door, a gentle caress of your hand driving down the road, cold feet and sharp toe nails intruding your limited space in the queen size bed that contains a grown man and woman, a 60 lb dog, and a toddler who sleeps East to West. Someone asking for a kiss even though you’ve already put on your chapstick for bed. Sigh. 

Have you ever been so loved?

Just one more shoe to put away in the room across the hall, and some clothes to pick up in the bathroom, a few more toys on the playroom shelves… and two shadows everywhere you go, one with 4 legs, the other with two. Any room with your presence is followed by theirs too, blocking the doorway, tripping you up, consuming your space.

Have you ever been so loved?
A toddler screaming while your headache is pounding, and grabbing around your neck to hug you, trying to put them in a car seat so you can all go home, but they think you are leaving when you’re staying right beside them.

Have you ever been so loved?

Running downstairs to grab one thing. Just one thing! Your glasses, or milk, a snack. Working as fast as you can to run and head back up the stairs when you hear two feet padding down the hall, “mommy?” It’s been less than two minutes…

Have you ever been so loved?

The towels in a basket folded and stacked. Dishes on the counter, clean and dried. Vacuum lines on your carpet, that you’re sure weren’t there this morning. A happy sleeping toddler and a smiling face keeping your baby safe.

Have you ever been so loved?

A McDonald’s Coke because someone knows your weakness. Another love note hidden for you to find. A reminder of your daily failure to show everyone exactly how much you care. Little fingers swiping your Kindle, skipping a page or changing the font, just in an effort to get nestled closer to you, but it’s the 5th time tonight, and you’ve only read 3 pages. Passing in the hallway when you’re spun into a kiss and a hug, when you really just need to finish what you’re doing, you don’t have time for this.

Have you ever been so loved?

Working extra hours in the home office space that has more toys than a toy store, with a toddler in your lap, a TV playing Disney, a dog at your feet, and a husband in the floor. All sitting in this room for no other reason than to breathe the same air that you breathe.

Have you ever been so loved?

Have you ever been so loved that you can’t breathe without inhaling someone’s desperation just to have you touch them, hold them, hug them, love them? Have you ever been so loved that you can’t pick up your phone without someone trying to contact you? Have you ever been so loved that you can’t walk into a room and go completely unnoticed, so that someone is always saying hello? Have you ever been so loved that you simply cannot fade into the background? That you cannot escape the madness that is your life? Have you ever been so loved that you can’t lay down at night and go to sleep without anything, anyone, touching you? Because your touch is the comfort that everyone needs to find themselves floating in sweet dreams. Have you ever been so loved?

Four years ago I promised myself that I would never beg someone to love me again. I can’t see why I would ever have to. This season, right now, I have never been so loved.

what i’ve always been afraid i’d never have

Harper has been sick the past week or so almost with a bit of a cold so I’m not sure if that’s where this is coming from or not. Since my journey of motherhood had begun, one of my biggest fears was that Harper wouldn’t know I was her mommy. I was especially terrified when we couldn’t direct nurse and could only bottle nurse and then again when I went back to work. I was confident that she would think my mom or my mother in law was her mommy because I wasn’t there during the day.

These past few days though, she’s showing me that she does know who I am. Last night she’d cry if she sat on the bed next to me while I pumped (breastmilk) or if Brandon tried to play (She was tired – he’s a great daddy!) but if I popped her down in my lap in between my flanges and bottles, she was content. She wouldn’t lay on her pillow to go to sleep last night but wanted to be cuddled into my chest (unusual).

Tonight, she skipped her 6 o’clock nap and so we played, took a shower/bath (shower steam helps her congestion/bubble bath for fussy babies helps too and baths are more fun), then Uncle Joe came over and we cooked dinner. And got sleepy. And got fussy. And got mad. And got overtired. And wouldn’t let anybody hold her but mommy. I was trying hard to get dinner done quick so the boys could eat and I could get Harper to bed so I gave her to Brandon and she did fine. But if she saw me walk by or caught a glimpse of me she’d get mad again. So the boys ate and mommy and Harper laid down for bed. Except Harper didn’t want to go to sleep so she cried and cried and cried….and cried. She had a belly ache. Hours drug on and after an episode of Little Einsteins, two bottles (thanks daddy), and lots of tears and belly rubs… She rested.

While we laid there,  I thought about my dinner sitting cold on the counter and whether or not it would be good reheated, I thought about how we didn’t have anything in the house that I liked to drink and how thirsty I was, I thought about how I needed a Coke because it’s my drug of choice (laugh, people), I thought about my pump parts that needed to be washed before work tomorrow and the tubing I needed to replace before bed because mine got milk in it… I thought about the wet towels in the dryer, I thought about the dishes in the sink, the lunch I had to pack, the fact that I had no containers left clean to store milk in for tomorrow… I thought about how I wanted to pick out my clothes, fix my hair after my shower so I didn’t look like the mom of a 9 month old who doesn’t take care of herself anymore. I thought about how I wanted to paint my toes, that I hadn’t got my spray tan this week… I thought about my messy house. I thought about all things that I wanted to do and needed to and then I thought about Harper.

I thought about how I had to lay there with her and love on her and feed her bottle to her. I had to be the one to soothe her because she didn’t want anyone else. I had to be the cuddler, the comforter, the rocker, the tv stand, the singer, the kisser. And I had to pray for her.

I had to ask God to soothe her rumbling belly, to give her relief to any aches in her body, and if she needed comfort to be able to find it in my arms. I needed to ask God to fill the gap where I couldn’t. I just held her and prayed over her and realigned my focus, and off she went to sleep… peacefully, quietly.

So, I will take the cold dinner and messy hair in the morning. I will deal with the dishes in the sink (jk my husband will cause he rocks) and I will deal with the piles of unfolded clothes. I will find a few bottles for my milk tomorrow and I can throw my lunch together or eat out later. Who cares if I’m as pale as an albino ghost and have toenails that need pedicured, I have a baby girl who depends on her mommy and I’ll take everything I didn’t really want because it allows me what I was afraid I’d never have.

Taking the time to lay with her and realign my focus on God and where He is in our equation allowed me to realize that He’s in the messy house and the dirty dishes. He’s in the unpacked lunch and the frustrated, tired, overworked mommy. He works together everything into a beautiful masterpiece that is that quirky quilt you see in a primitive shop that is a little odd but the stitching is lovely and all together it’s really quite exquisite and you just have to have it because it’s perfect in it’s own way. That’s my life. The quirky quilt. And I will take the quirky quilt over a spotless house and a sleep-filled night any day of the week. Without my quirky quilt, I might forget what’s most important. I might forget who is most important. So pile up the dishes, Jesus, and force me into a room with a crying baby and remind me, anytime you want to, of my blessings and of our Father’s promises and that should it be His will, I should not need to be afraid of what I may never have, because I will always have, exactly what I need…

my favorite reason

Those who know me well, know I have had extensive battles with depression over the last decade. Yes, decade. I’ve been in some pretty deep and dark places over the years, my first battle when I was only thirteen years old. I wanted nothing, absolutely nothing, more than I wanted death so many times. I wanted out. I wanted peace. When I got pregnant with Harper I discontinued my medication because that was the safest option for her and I was supposed to start it immediately after delivery for high risk PPD but I didn’t. I thought I could do it without it. And even with this absolutely beautiful, bright shining new light in my life, the waves started washing towards shore until I was engulfed again. There were days this past summer where I thought that Harper’s days could be brighter if I weren’t here anymore. That my husband’s life would be easier if he didn’t have to deal with me. I loved them too much to cause them pain and I saw no way to fix the issues I was in without simply removing myself from the equation. If I were gone, they could be happy, then I could be happy… It’s so easy to let Satan whisper those lies into your ears. Then there were the days I would come home from work and my little baby would look up and see me and smile her gummy little smile. Or the nights my husband would wrap his arms around me and tell me he loved me for no reason at all. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He comes to wreak havoc on your life and feed your doubts and fears. Then God sings life. He plants a beautiful little seed of life that you nurture and grow, just like a flower, and then it blooms it’s lovely petals and you have your new dose of medicine. A baby girl who depends on you. Who reaches for you, needs your nightly cuddles, relies on your milk to nourish her, finds comfort in your arms… Will need you to fix her hair for school, take her shopping, be there when her period starts, when middle school mean girls pick on her, when she falls in love and has her heartbroken, when she gets married, when she has her own children to breathe life into her, when her husband misunderstands her because he’s only lived with her for a year not 25… She will need you. She will need me. Just like I needed mine. And if Harper is struck with this ugly disease, I will be there. I will be here. To carry her when no one else understands, just like my mommy carries me.

When I saw this shirt for the first time, I immediately fell in love and started searching the Internet for it because I had to have it. I showed my mom and without question she immediately understood and loved it too. She knows that Harper is my favorite reason to never give up…

I wore the shirt for the first time last week as a casual shopping outfit with no intention to take a picture in it until I had time to get a good one with Harper, share my story & the photo, etc. But then mom wanted a family picture and this is what we got. As soon as I saw it my heart swelled and then melted.

This is my favorite reason to never give up.

Every person here has talked me off of the cliff at sometime in my life. Whether it’s a verbal, literal talking off the cliff from my brother or my momma. Or the unconditional love from my husband and my father. Or the beautiful dependency and breath of life showered on me by my beautiful little girl.. THIS is why I’m here. THIS is why depression hasn’t taken me. THIS is why I keep pushing through.

You, my beautiful family, are my favorite reason to never give up. Thank you.

The etsy shop I got my shirt from can be found here.

When I’m old & gray

brandon

When I am old, and when I am gray, this is what I want to remember. Baby sleeping peacefully. The best of both worlds: A hot bath with a good book (Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian). My husband in his dirty old camo hat playing me music with his new guitar pedal in a pair of sweatpants I bought him our first Valentine’s Day because his old pair were too short, and his usual white t-shirt. Time together enjoying our favorite things all at once. Crappy McDonald’s coffee even though I don’t like coffee but we buy them because we have a BOGO card for any McCafe item. A too small home that is always messy because we don’t have room for all our stuff – and because I’m messy. A towel hanging on the towel rack because it is my husband’s efforts to get me to not leave my towels in the bedroom floor when I run out of the house every early morning. A Dove shampoo bottle that has virtually no shampoo in it, but I hoard bottles in the shower. A cheap, new fall candle filling our tiny bathroom with a smell like mulled cider (eventually – cheap candle, longer burn before you can smell it). Simplicity. Love. So much love. I never, ever want to lose love for the small things, the littlest things, the simple things. I want to remember this love when I am old and when I am gray, and I want to experience then, too.