Parenting 101 (part 2): Enjoying the View

Tonight, like every night, I will kiss my kids and tuck them into bed, and pray they don’t remember how I’ve failed them. I will lay in my bed, like every night, and think of how to be better, love better, be more present, be more prepared and ask myself, “how do I not fail tomorrow?”

The answer is the same. You are here. You are present. You love them. You are a good Mom. It’s not what you do. It’s not what you say. It’s that you love. And I love you.

I spent five days in the hospital, and by God’s grace He made me grateful for it. 
I saw the leaves on the trees. I was able to look above the concrete, from the elevator hallway floor-to-ceiling windows, and see creation.  

I saw people. Hurting people. Lonely people. Chronic pain. 100s cycled through; hundreds cycled through- just the NE wing: floor 7- in five days.

I saw my friends. I saw love. I saw compassion. I saw that I matter to a lot of people. I saw that I am not alone. As much as I believe that horrible lie, I saw that I am NOT alone.

I saw my husband. I saw how much he cares for our family. I saw how much he protects me. I saw his unique, individual, only-Joseph-shows-empathy-to-me-this-way love. 

I saw my kids. Not just their physical bodies. I didn’t just hear their words. By God’s grace I saw their hearts. 

When they weren’t even there, I saw them. I saw that my performance and parenting skills, at which I have often boastfully reassured myself to be good, does not produce mathematical results. I saw that there are not always answers to every question. I saw that I don’t have to make up an answer to every question when I can’t find one. I saw that my life that I define as “Crazy” is beautiful. 

I missed them. I missed the crazy that I often want to run and hide from. 

It was oddly bittersweet getting into those elevators; I knew I would not be able to stop several times a day, feel the warm sun peering through the glass, and see the view above the buildings. 

It’s amazing how quickly the images of hurting people leave my mind’s eye when the day to day tasks and frustration arise.

It’s amazing how all that I “saw” starts to become blurred by the distorted lenses of fear and doubt.

I am choosing to take off those lenses. I’ve done this before in other ways on my journey, but this time I don’t want to put them in their protected case. I want to step on them, crush them, destroy them, so they can never be worn again. Anyone with me?

Let’s take off the lenses of shame. 

Let’s take off the lenses of judgement. 

Let’s take off the lenses of doubt.

 Let’s take off the lenses of fear. 

Let’s let anxiety be the uncomfortable, itchy eye-sore we never want to enter our home, instead of wearing it like our cozy sweatpants we’ve had for ten years that we don’t want to get rid of.

And for those of you who don’t identify with any of this parenting stuff, love those in your life who might. Spend time with them so yours eyes see a little more clearly the reality they face daily. “See” them. Listen to them. Ask questions. Offer help with your hands not your mouth. 

Use your mouth to speak words of encouragement. If you start to judge, self-reflect. It’ll be better for everyone, including yourself! Maybe you’ll see the amazing qualities you have to be life-giving to someone who feels hopeless and helpless.

I Love this picture of my daughter and I hiking! 

This is friendship.

There are many mountains we will climb in this life. Let’s not kick someone in the knees and make them fall to their face. Let’s help lift each other up when it’s needed. Let’s walk side by side. Let’s find a walking stick to empower each other and strengthen each other. 

Find your people. Be that person to someone. Love even when it’s hard. Be the light that shines hope in the darkness not a magnifying glass to imperfections. 

Who’s in?

I used to say, “until my munchkins next nap,” but in this season the reality is my writing will wait, “until the next time I have an opportunity.” So in the meantime, surrender, smile, breathe, cry if you need to, kiss those you love, and find an opportunity to make someone’s day, not break it. 


Paradigms- Perspective changes

My world is being bombarded with perspective. Do you ever find yourself blasted with new realities? It must be time for a paradigm shift:
It was dark, cold and rainy this morning, the perfect morning to stay bundled in my down comforter. Ha! Ya right! I can’t remember the last time that was my reality. Of course, this drizzly gloomy morning was my baby’s dreaded 4 month immunization appointment! To make matters worse I had to wake him from his peaceful sleep to be there on time. Any mom knows, You DON’T wake a sleeping baby!!! There I was exhausted, my mood about as happy as the weather, [salivating over just the thought of a rich espresso roast coffee to drag this booty out of bed] and I quietly lean over his crib to disturb his peaceful sleep…dreading a shrieking scream…who am I kidding?… my munchkin rolls over with the biggest grin on his precious little face. Now that’s how I want to wake up in the morning: with pure joy and not a fear or care in the world!!!

Off we go, I load him in his “race car seat” and he’s happy as a clam. Of course, he doesn’t know he’s about to get poked and prodded, but nonetheless he has the biggest smile on his face. Even as I unwrap him from his cozy blanket to strip him down and lay him on the cold, crinkled paper, he starts rolling around and playing. After getting his shots he cried a little, ate, and went back into play mode, and minutes later passed out on the drive home. This kid is teaching me so much about my attitude.

About 30 minutes into his nap I decide to move myself to the other side of the house to watch a little tv. I turn on my video monitor to watch him sleep and there-is-no-baby-in-the-crib!!!! Oh my gosh! My heart skips a beat and body jumps up! Where’s my baby? He’s not even crawling yet, how’d he get out?

I look back at the monitor as I get ready to run to his room, and he’s right where I left him, passed out. What?!? I’m confused! Apparently my monitor froze on the last captured image before I shut it off this morning, which was of course…an empty crib. It was literally TWO seconds before correcting itself, and I had already worked myself into panic rescue mode. This is when I realized so much of my life operates this way. Situation>Emotion>Reaction>Reality.
[clearing lump in throat] -Perspective-

How often to you see a situation, draw all sorts of opinions and conclusions, some may not be a big deal, some may be life altering, and then one circumstance or glimpse of a different reality opens your eyes to a new perspective?

Before becoming a mom I had all sorts of opinions about parenting. Would i use meds during labor? Never! Should my baby be on a schedule? Of course not! Would I get my baby immunized? Obviously! What types of foods would I first introduce? Only veggies! I would never use those stupid monkey backpacks as a leash! I would never bribe my child to eat with desserts! And the list goes on. (Maybe we’ll revisit these topics and i’ll share what i’ve learned.)

I’m realizing that there is not one way. There is certainly no right way. There are certainly ways that are better than others. For instance, my child is not going to live on donuts and fried chicken (I might as well let him run into the middle of a busy intersection). Some of those opinions above haven’t changed like leashes…I still can’t figure them out; however, my child also isn’t walking yet. Like every child is different, every parenting decision must be different. I may still feel very convicted and confident about the choices I make for my son, but that, by no stretch of the imagination, means every other parent needs to make the same choices or that mine are even the right ones. I’m learning very quickly that everyone has an opinion on what I should do, even those who don’t have kids [that was me ] just as quickly as I’m learning humility. I’m learning that the best parents are the ones with questions not a laundry list of answers. I’m learning that the only way to make it through a sleepless day is by cherishing every minute, because as soon a I look at a clock I think I’m going insane. I’m learning to laugh with my son. I’m learning from my son. Because one thing is for certain: anyone who can be woken from a dead sleep and start the day with a smile on his face is worth emulating!

Bottom line: smile, breathe, let go and let God, learn from yourself, learn from others, stop running on emotions, and face each day with a new perspective.

I hope this encourages you and brings a smile to your face. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can laugh at me. Well, until my little monster’s next nap…