234 Hours and Counting…

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As of today, my children have been home 234 hours that they would have been in school.  This does not include the hours they are home when they would have been in hockey and swimming.

234 hours.  I know its daunting for everyone.  I get frustrated and overwhelmed myself at times.  Its a lot.  But do you know what else I think it is?  Amazing.

234 hours that I wasn’t “supposed” to have with my children, I am getting.  I get to have this amazing time that I’ve always said I longed for.  How many times did I reflect on the fact that I missed when I had 3 littles under 3 and we were just together?  Now I have my 3 not-so-little littles here again.  Together.

I know these are hard times.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge this giant pause as an enormous blessing too.  I get to be an even more hands-on mom!  Time is something we don’t typically get back but I am!  You are!  Revel in it.  Look at the silver lining that it is.

Be safe.

 

I miss you still.

I have a notebook I started for you.  Letters written to the baby I was carrying.  Letters that began quite literally moments after receiving a positive pregnancy test.  I suppose its no surprise that being a writer, my first expression of love for you was in writing.  I imagined you having the notebook your whole life.  With it, you would know how adored you were from the start.

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I felt such a connection to you.  I found out you were coming to me on the anniversary of my father’s death.  I thought it some way God was trying to reach me, a wonderful right to a horrific wrong…

I wrote to you often and with such anticipation.  Life was great.  We were blessed.  I tracked your size each week and would read all I could so I would know everything I could about you.

Baby names were kicked around, gender neutral clothes purchased, hand-me-downs from family trickled in and were oogled and fussed over.  My goodness, you were so wanted.

11 years ago today, I had a different entry in our love journal.  The love letter I wrote you was scary.  It was hard.  A mother should never have to write such things.

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I wrote this 11 years ago today.  I am not sure I’ve prayed harder.  This week tested my faith to the extreme.  This week is the reason I left the Catholic Church and declared myself Christian.  This week was life-altering for us both.

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I have wanted to write about you, to you again, for longer than I can say.  I just didn’t know how.  The loss is still breathtaking and I never even got to hold you.  A meaningful footnote is that this last entry is your brother’s birthday.  One year after writing this, he was born.

This stirs guilt in me sometimes.  Had you stayed, he wouldn’t be here.  And as a mother, this is a hard emotion.  Because I feel pure glee that he is here I sometimes wonder if that makes you think I love you less?  I trust Jesus to hold your hand and explain to you that I love you no less.  My heart is big enough for all my children.  Always.

I keep this notebook of ours.  I keep it even though you are no longer here to receive it.  I keep it for myself.

These days there is much debate in our government over when a baby is a baby.  To many in the mainstream, you were not.  This is untrue.  You were everything.  You were loved and you mattered.  You are thought of every day.

Life has gone on and more children have been bestowed upon me.  I am grateful.  I am happy with my role as their mother.  I hope you still feel how important you are and you know the place you hold in my heart.  I will certainly miss you all the days of my life until I see you again and hold you for the first time.

Until then,

I miss you still.

XOXO

Listening to yourself

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There is a voice in us.  A faint whisper, and we can to decide each day whether to listen to it or to completely ignore it, but its there.  Are you listening?

I wasn’t.  For some time, years even, I didn’t listen.  The result?  A feeling in the pit of my stomach that would never cease.  An ache for something missing.  And if I am going to be honest, I can admit that I was so removed from myself that I would not have been able to tell you what was missing even if you had asked.  I had let myself get that far away from myself.  It was a sad time.

Slowly I began making my way back to my center, my passion, my vocation.  What I can tell you from that experience?  I was met with pure bliss.  A reckoning of mass proportions!

Most recently, I have become involved in other things, other things took my time and my attention.  Things I thought would enhance me or make me better.  In truth, those endeavors I sought began pulling me once again from my place of true being.  That time I was now dedicating to new things was taking my time from my vocation.  Promises to myself to tend to the writing were not kept.  Goals I set were not met.  Further and further I found myself drifting.

I will not hesitate to tell you, I experienced true angst in this predicament.  I sensed a huge weight on my shoulders and with each day I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, more weight was being added.  I felt true pressure.

Here came the voice.  The inner voice.  A whisper at first, barely noticeable.  A hushed voice.  “Remember what brings you joy?”.  More time passed and such, less writing was done.  The voice called again with more earnest.  “Are you doing what lights you up inside?”.  More days checked off on the calendar.  More days just going along feeling like I am hiking further from myself.  The voice boomed.  “Go back to your center!  Do what it is you are meant to be doing!  Make time to be you! Do the work for that!”.

And so I remembered to listen to myself.  A decision was made.  And do you want to know something?  The second I made the decision, the very second I made it, I felt like I could float.  I felt like all the weight was gone.

THAT is how I know it was the right decision!  Listening to ourselves is so critical.  Life-changing and life-saving!

Be still and listen….

XOXO

Identity

Who are we really?  Do we even know?  Do I?

This blog calls me a housewife.  Is that all I am?  Will I be that forever?  When that changes, does the blog need to change its web address?  If that changes, am I enough on my own to even stand alone as a web address?

I write.  It ebbs and flows but is that all that is required to make me a writer?  Is it enough?  Does it still count?  Can I call myself a writer when sometimes weeks pass without writing a word?

How much of our identity is what OTHER people tell us we are?  Do we really know ourselves?  Isn’t it time to get acquainted?

I’m in a wondering mood….

 

 

Wonder Wednesday 03.21.18

I took a break last week from my blogging and my writing. I settled in on vacation with my family and tried to be present for all of it.

And you know what? It was amazing. It was the epitome of the wonder I am seeking year long.

This was last week. Beautiful beach. Sea air. Colder but still majestic. Today? I sit staring out at the first full day of spring- watching the skies dump huge amounts of snow for hours upon hours.

I see the wonder in both. I am so lucky!

The point of choosing a word is so you can have focus. So you can enhance your life and hopefully other’s lives. I feel blessed because I am finding the wonder in each thing. And it is such an amazing quest to be on.

Dont misunderstand me; not everything is perfect or without stress sometimes- but this word is leading me intentionally to seek the joy; the wonder.

xoxo

 

 

Wonder Wednesday 03.07.18

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I’m feeling all the feels today.  Full of wonder and gratitude.  Even surrounded by inclement weather, I feel the sunshine.  This man, my husband, turns 43 today!  And I am in wonder every day that we get to share this life together. It is a blessing.  I see it for what it is.  That is a gift in and of itself.

I am also feeling a touch of melancholy today. You see, this 43rd birthday for my husband has been huge for me.  My father died when he was 42.  I was 7 and at the time it seemed as though he was so old.  I remember being perplexed when people said, “Oh, he was so young…”  I was cognizant of many things all year that my husband was 42.  I was aware we also had 4 children.  That we also had a 7 year old.  The familiar roles were at times, startling.

And now, today, he is 43.  The spell has been broken.  We are together and we are living on.  Sometimes tedious, sometimes hard but always, always full of wonder.

 

 

Wonder Wednesday 02.28.18

I suspect most of the wonders I seek this year will be hidden.  Will be things that I need to take a second or third look to see and find.  That is part of their wonder, true?

Today, I found wonder in an obvious place.  Some would say easy even.  I don’t care.  My goal is to delight in wonder all year long, where ever I should find it.  Even when I don’t have to look far at all.

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Look at her.  My eldest child, Studious.  She is my wondrous find today.  I often marvel at how she has grown.  How she has navigated this life to find her own place in which to stand and grow.  She has faced adversities and she always and repeatedly rises.  I am so proud and so in absolute wonder that I had anything to do with this.

In this photo, we were on a recent trip to NYC – just the two of us.  It was such an amazing gift from my husband.  It was perfect for too many reasons to list here.  In this picture, she is standing on the top of the Empire State Building (which needs to Go Gold for Pediatric Cancer- seriously, their refusal infuriates me BUT that is for another time).  She is standing overlooking NYC and I am in awe of her.  The old adage of ‘The world is her oyster’ is so true and she is so lucky.  And what makes her so full of wonder?  She knows this.  She knows that she is a participant in this world and she was not just put here to pay bills and die.  She has goals and aspirations and she will leave a positive impact on this place.  She is so wonderful or rather WonderFULL.

When I look for things or moments this year to encapsulate wonder for me, I will look broad and far.  However, today, I recognize that when someone you have known their whole life, still takes your breath away- you call it what it is and you celebrate them.

I am so blessed to be on this journey.  I am so blessed to be a mother.  It is the greatest role in life.  I will stop to see it and I will do my absolute best to recognize and delight in it.

Thank you to Studious for constantly showing me wonder.  For 21+ years I have been in awe of you, your dedication and determination.  I love you.  XOXO

You’re kidding that its almost March, right?

My word for 2018 is Wonder.  My word I pick is always intentional and thoughtful.  I try my best to map out the year I want to have, the year I envision and then I set out to pick the word that will best help me stay my course.

2018- Wonder.

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(art done by in house artist, Spicy)

I want to see the world through a different lens, perhaps a psychedelic one.  I want to see the good in all.   I want to feel that glimmer of extraordinary in everything.  I want to make intentional choices for myself that bring me wondrous things.  I want to inspire others to seek their own wonders.  That was my plan.  It most certainly still is.

But somehow, it is nearly March.  How is that possible?  Is anyone else shocked by this?

I feel in times such as these, when we have fabulous notions and ideas but we let time slip by (or rather it squeaks by on its own), the best plan of action is a PLAN OF ACTION!  A purposeful intention that is also a regimented intention.

I vow to check in here each week, we’ll say Wednesdays- I call them:

Wonder Wednesdays!

  When I write this little blog of mine, in my little space on the internet- I will report to you the wonder I have seen, felt, tasted and discovered.  I challenge you all to go find wonderful things as well.

 

 

Christmas Spirit Fail

Not feeling like such a hot parent today.  I had big plans.  I was going to pick up my children early to surprise them and take them to the new Christmas movie, Star.  I thought it would be a fun moment for us as we get ready to swing into the holiday season.  After all, Marlin (our Elf on the Shelf) will be here this week and we are psyched for his arrival….

Then, today, my children did this cute little thing they do some mornings.  I don’t know if any of yours do this.  Ah, its the BEST!  See if it sounds familiar….

“AUUGHHH!”

“HE touched me!”

“She is looking at me!”

“It isn’t MY job!”

“You need to come because now its getting physical”

“AUUGHHHH!”

“Why can’t we have Halloween candy for lunch?  Seriously, Mom!  You are such a fun ruiner.”

etc, etc, etc,  (all actual quotes here).

Surprisingly this doesn’t have me feeling all the feels if you catch my drift.  It has me thinking, “The only star you are going to see are the ones twirling around your head like a cartoon character…” just kidding about that part but COME ON!  A Fun Ruiner?? I am like- the QUEEN of Fun!

I am now sitting at the library working on a writing project but I keep coming back to this morning.  I keep coming back to the fact that despite it all, I STILL want to surprise them and pick them up and share this magical moment with them.  Am I delusional???

Then, now that I am calming (writing does this for me), I am forced to remember some other things that ALSO happened today that I had forgotten when I let the negativity take over.

“Spicy, you can go first.  Ladies first- Always.”

“Thanks for recording the Steelers for me mom. I can’t wait to see if they won.  Don’t tell me, I want to be surprised.”

“I’m going to love nature A LOT today in Environmental Science class today. Like more than normal.”

“I’m going to ask my Spanish teacher to help me write a book in Spanish.”

“I love you, Mom” – times 3.

I love you all, too!  I love it all.  The Christmas spirit isn’t failed here like I thought.  I just need to embrace it all and remember that its tough sometimes; being a parental unit.  But, if you just keep your eye on the Star (the good), you’ll find something that makes all the travels worth it.

XOXO

 

 

“Come to meet his mom…”

I have been sick over these hazing stories and deaths that keep coming up in the news.  I wrote about it.  I pray for peace for all families affected.  It is just so tragic.

 

Come to meet his mom  by Jennifer Woolford

 

She kept him safe from harm

Holding him by the arm

for Oh so long.

Don’t talk to strangers, keep close to home.

A mother’s usual repeated song.

 

She watched him grow into a young man

with dreams and hopes and wants

Headed off to college

to make them all come true.

Then he met you.

 

She heard about you right away

on his very first day.  He said,

“Mom, I met this cool kid.  I think we’re gonna be great friends.

He’s gonna help me fit in.”

 

She felt a sense of calm.

With friends looking out for him what could go wrong?

He now had people on his side

Just how she’d been all his life.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now part of her past.

 

“You can be our brother

If you have another.

A few more things you have to do

For us to think you’re worthy and for us to like you.”

 

Its called hazing and it makes you feel so superior.

Makes you feel like men.

But when his mother is gripping his coffin

Where are the big boys then?

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom

She’s the woman hunched over in black

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now a part of her past.

 

You’ll brag about it, the hazing.

Laugh about it

Thinking it makes you so cool.

Its pathetic and cruel

Playing Russian Roulette with someone who looks up to you…

 

We each make our decisions

That’s how you’ll skirt any blame.

God forbid your generation

feel any obligation or shame.

Yes, he decided he would do anything to be your friend.

You really showed up, didn’t you?  A “friend” to the end.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her how you’re the reason

Her son, her life, her everything is now a part of her past.  ~JMW