Seasons

Living from Season to Season

Fall is almost here. It’s so close, I can actually taste it.

It’s always been my favorite season, for so many reasons. But mostly because it’s quite possibly the only REAL season we have around here.

Living in Texas, all the seasons seem muddled together, with no real separation. Often it feels like Summer just when Spring has begun. And even more often, it feels like Summer lasts the entire year. Our Winters have no snow, just mild temperatures. And scarf weather? Only if we’re lucky.

But Fall.

Oh, how I love Fall in Texas.

No, our leaves don’t turn electric shades or orange and yellow. But the weather alone is enough to make you want to stay forever.

To me, Fall is the only distinctive season we have–reminding us that they really do exist. Beginning, middle, and end.

I have a theory, that to be happy in life, you must understand and respect seasons. And I’m not talking about Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.

I left my job two years ago to be a Stay At Home Mom. Making the decision to leave my career–what I had worked so hard to build and achieve for ten years, was an almost impossible decision to make.

Until I stopped looking at my life as one, big, long trajectory. Until I took the pressure off, and realized that I should be living from season to season, instead of beginning to end.

Let me tell you, it was life changing.

All of a sudden, I was leaving a season…not my career. And I was entering another, that would be just as beautiful and unique.

And someday, this season I’m in will pass (something I have extreme mixed emotions about) and I will move on to another.

The problem is, the deeper you get into your season, the easier it is to forget you are there.

My season has had some rough days, as of late. Being a Stay At Home Mom to two littles is extremely challenging, mentally and physically. Add your husband starting his own business to the mix, plus my bout with chronic migraines and well, we’re weary.

I wrote a post a while back, about surviving Stay At Home Mommy-hood…to which a sweet friend commented:

You are in a really tough season right now. One of the toughest. Hang in there, it will pass.

Those words set me free in a way she’ll never know.

How could I have forgotten, in such a short amount of time???

Of course. SEASONS.

I had forgotten that I was in a beautiful, complicated, flawed and messy season.

And most importantly, that it’s finite.

It’s funny. Seasons are so easy to recognize in the calendar year, yet almost impossible to see in our everyday lives.

Your newborn baby? Crying every hour on the hour. Eating every two hours. And waking up the exact moment that you finally fall asleep…every single time?

It’s a season.

That slump in your marriage? Because the kids have you so exhausted you can’t see straight? And you wonder if you’ll ever have time for yourself again, much less each other?

It’s a season.

That stepping stone job? The one that you can’t wait to leave but you can’t live without? Still wondering what you’re going to be when you grow up someday?

It’s a season.

And your days at home with little ones? Being tugged on and pulled on and stared at as you go to the bathroom? Those days that turn into a never ending meltdown, where you wonder if you really will lose your sanity, instead of just thinking about it?

It’s a season.

We’re human. And I think we all get caught up in the NOW. But what if we could remember that there’s more to the picture? That, with every new beginning, also comes a middle and an end.

Because the beauty of seasons is what they bring with them–change, growth, and new life. Everything God wants for us.

And in the end, they pass. Leaving us better than we were.

My season right now is my babies. It’s a season full of love and heartbreak. It’s changing me. It’s making me who I am.

And for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.

But it’s just a season.

Spring still awaits. And with it, brand new leaves…

Thank you, Fall, for the lovely reminder of seasons, that life is ever-changing–and so are we.

Now hurry up and get here, alright?

The Roller Coaster

 The Roller Coaster

There is nothing in the world more conflicting than being a parent. 

Last week marked Isaiah’s first day of pre-school. In the days/weeks leading up to it, I did my best to prepare. Both him AND me. 

We talked a lot about what his new class would be like: about how to make friends, how to use nice words, how to share, and other important lessons that often tend to get overlooked…like how to speak up for yourself. And how to know that you matter in a sea full of other children. 

I organized lunch totes and Isaiah picked out his very own backpack, which he earned from his sticker chart earlier that week.

The night before, I laid out his nap mat, lunchbox and backpack. We read “The Night Before Pre-School” and I answered his questions to the best of my ability.

We were ready.

And the next morning we were off.

I watched him walk (no, run) into his classroom, and my eyes filled with tears. 

He was GONE. Today it was pre-school, but tomorrow it’ll be college…

My baby.

I dried it up long enough to make it through the first-time parent orientation, then I headed to the car. 

And as soon as I left the building, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could literally feel it bubbling up from the inside…

But it wasn’t sadness.

It was joy. PURE JOY. Elation really. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’d miss him. But I suddenly realized…

No “Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-Mommy’s.”

No temper tantrums or time-outs.

No teaching moments. For once, someone else was in charge of the teaching moments!

Y’all.

THIS WAS HUGE.

I was FREE!!!!!!

And what the heck? Two minutes earlier I was in tears watching him leave. I actually felt my heart leap out of my chest watching him walk into his classroom.

Now? I was practically dancing in the parking lot. I could do whatever I wanted!

TARGET NEVER SAW ME COMING.

I’ll say it again. There is nothing more conflicting than being a parent.

Think about it… 

From the second you find out you’re pregnant, you’re all “This is amazing! HOLY CRAP I’M SCARED.” 

When you take your newborn home for the first time, you’re on cloud nine. And then you’re all “WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!”

Take every baby milestone. You’re thrilled when they start walking, but you instantly miss that adorably clumsy crawl–all in the same millisecond. 

And don’t even get me started talking about my boys growing up on me. I can instantaneously cry tears of joy AND heartbreak picturing my babies getting married someday.

The more I think about it, the more I think that there must be something to those intensely opposing emotions. The highs and lows. The internal conflict.

The roller coaster.

I’m not sure what it is, but I know I’ll find out.

For a while I thought I was crazy. Then I realized…I’m just a Mom.

It’s my existence to ride this roller coaster. The ups, the downs. The twists and turns.

And I may throw up, scream out loud, or laugh hysterically all on the same trip.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because the girl who got on this ride won’t be the same girl getting off. She’ll be changed, for the better.

And if you ask me, THAT’S a ride worth taking.

 

Happy first week of school, Isaiah. We’re so very proud of you.

Love,

Mommy

To The Mom Who’s Pretty Sure She’s Screwing It All Up…

Isaiah loves art. He’s full of imagination and he LOVES to create. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)

The other day I complimented him…telling him what a good painter he was. 

“Yeah. I am.” he replied.

His response tickled me. And then it made me think. If only we could all have that kind of confidence. If only we could share that same sort of self-assuredness out loud, and not feel any shame. 

There’s a quote floating around on Pinterest. Have you seen it?

It goes something like this…

To the Mom who's pretty sure she's screwing it all up...

The first time I saw it, I was all…how fast can I pin this?! A resounding YES came over me. It reassured me, and made me feel like my crazy was somewhat normal.

But the longer I thought about it, the more it started to bother me.

The “why” hit me the other day at lunch. We were all sitting around the table, when I realized I forgot to turn in some important school forms. 

“Ugh. Mom of the year.” I said out loud, sarcastically. (Because three-year-olds understand sarcasm, right?)

Minutes passed, and I still couldn’t let my “Mom fail” go. 

“I CANNOT believe I did that. I’m such a bad Mom.” I said, under my breath.

It wasn’t the first time those words had come out of my mouth. But this time, something wrestled with my heart.

I looked at Isaiah. My little sponge. Sitting there, eating his peanut butter and banana sandwich. Listening to every word I muttered, and sensing every bit of shame I was projecting onto myself. 

He understood it all. 

All of a sudden, the emotions came flooding. 

Our children are born with this inherent sense of confidence. And we worry, as we send them off to school or out into the world, that their confidence will be broken–that others will make them feel like less than they truly are. When really, it starts right in our very own homes. 

When we berate ourselves for “screwing it all up”…our kids are there. Watching. Listening. 

We’re teaching them to doubt themselves, before anyone else gets the chance to. We’re teaching them to break themselves down, in a world that is waiting to do that for them. 

The thought of my children learning to punish themselves for their mistakes, all by watching me? Heartbreaking.

So to the Mom, like me, who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it all up…

STOP. You aren’t. In fact, you are doing an amazing job. You are loving your children. You are tending to their needs. You are doing the best you can. Know that, and BELIEVE it. 

Let’s teach our children to believe in themselves, by believing in ourselves first.

Let’s show them how to love themselves, by loving ourselves…even when we mess up.

And most importantly, let’s model the importance of God’s grace, by showing ourselves a little every day.

Because I know I could use some. 

Couldn’t you?

Today, Isaiah and I did some painting. 

I told him I was a good painter, too. 

This.

This.

This is why I can’t get to any of my planned posts lately.

This is my every day.

This is what gets me up early, and sends me to bed late.

This is what is what makes my heart sing and ache, all at the same time.

This is my life, my love, my struggle.

All summed up in a few pictures.

If you have yet to see this photography collection by Ken Heyman, you are missing out.

Motherhood, at it’s finest. And the best possible visual description of this beautifully chaotic season of life.

Happy Wednesday, Mammas.

mamma

 

 

Chutes and Ladders

ChutesandLadders1

We’ve been playing a lot of board games at our house lately.

I’ve always been a fan of board games (LOVE me a game night) but we’ve yet to really play as a family–probably because most of them are “3 and up.”

But since Isaiah is 3.5 now, I decided it was time to introduce him.

We started with the basics…Candy Land, Go Fish, Memory, etc. And tonight, we broke out the “Chutes and Ladders.”

Now, brace yourself. But I never played Chutes and Ladders growing up. (Insert gasp here)

So this one was new to both of us.

Nevertheless, we forged on…learning the rules together (which turned out to take all of one minute).

And just in case you are unfamiliar with the game, like me…

The purpose is to move your player from the first space to the hundredth space–climbing ladders whenever you can in order to move ahead, and avoiding the “chutes” that take you backwards.

So we start to play, and pretty quickly Isaiah hits a ladder. Loads of fun. And then he hits a chute.

I’m bracing myself for a minor meltdown when he realizes he has to move all the way back to the beginning. But instead, he seems thrilled.

I’m thinking…he must not quite grasp this game yet.

We spin again. And sure enough, he hits another chute.

“This is fun!” he says.

So…it might take him a few times to get it, I think.

We spin again.

Another chute.

“Wheeeeeeeee!” he squeals.

Time for the teaching moment.

“Isaiah, honey. You don’t want to go down the chutes. You want to climb up the ladders. You want to get to the very top. You see?”

And without missing a beat, my little one says…

“But Mommy. That’s boring. But the falling, that’s fun. You can always get back up. You can always keep going. But you see more spaces when you fall.”

Out of the mouths of babes, I tell you. Out of the mouths of babes.

Sometimes I look back at my “falls” in life and see nothing but heartbreak, and precious time lost.  But when I look a little closer, my baby’s words ring so true.

Without those falls, life would have been so boring. Without those chutes taking me “backwards”…I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I wouldn’t be WHO I am today. And I most definitely wouldn’t have seen as many “spaces.”

To be honest, I’ve felt a little like I’m “falling” lately. Life is changing so quickly, and it seems I have no control over any of it. It’s scary.

But after tonight, I got a little twinge of excitement. Because sweet Isaiah reminded me that the more I fall, the more I learn. The more I grow. And the more I become who I was meant to be.

Thank you, sweet boy. Thank you.

And Lord, please grant me the ability to teach this boy just half as much as he teaches me.

If it’s possible…

 

 

The “Best” Mom

The Best Mom

Just last week, I was in a conversation with a friend when she took a deep breath, sighed, and said…

“You’re the best Mom.”

I immediately felt my heart leap into my throat.

The best Mom? What the whaaaaa???

It’s funny. You do a few crafts with your kids and write about them, and suddenly you are Supermom.

Don’t get me wrong. I was flattered.

But I got all sorts of twitchy at the mere sound of those words.

The hardest part was how to respond. Because what I really wanted to say, was that I just snapped at my kids two minutes ago.

And I don’t mean the “hurry up we’re going to be late” kind of snap. I mean the “if you whine one more time, I might make a scene right here in this grocery store” kind.

See that picture above? It was taken just seconds before I lost my cool when the boys wouldn’t take a good picture. On MOTHER’S DAY, no less.

I spend too much time on my phone.

I am THE WORST at dealing with my three-year-old’s incessant question asking. (Why Mom? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? You think I am kidding.)

And get this…I have days when I wonder if I was even built to be a Mom. Maybe I just went and made that decision one day, before I really knew if I could “handle it.”

I guess my point is this:

I’m not so sure there is such a thing as “the best Mom.” And if there is…

I think the best Mom is the Mom who shows up. And tries. Who is real. And has flaws. And shows those flaws, unapologetically. But also apologizes when she should…

Who teaches her children that it’s okay to mess up, because nobody is perfect. And that we all doubt our abilities sometimes, but it’s still important to believe in ourselves.

I think the best Mom is easily frazzled, because she’s giving so much of herself to her children.

And I think the best Mom is the Mom who loves her children, the best way she knows how.

Guess what. The picture above? On Mother’s Day? It’s one of my all-time favorites. Because it’s REAL.

It’s so easy to watch other Moms and think…they are SO much better at this than I am.

But that’s where we’re wrong. Because no one can Mother our children better than we can.

God created them for us and us for them. End of story.

So let’s level the playing field, shall we? Let’s lower our expectations of ourselves–and while we’re at it, of the others around us.

Because deep down we’re all the same.

Whether we do creative projects, lose our cool, work, or stay at home.

We’re all just trying our best, day in and day out.

And you know what that makes us?

The best Mom.

 

Something

Something

Last week, I had a really rough day. Isaiah had been challenging every ounce of my being from the moment he woke up. Samuel was cranky, and refused to take his usual naps. And Michael was working late which made it a long, long, day for all of us.

The boys and I had just finished dinner, and it happened. Isaiah said/did something hurtful…I can’t remember what.

And I lost it.

I just started to cry.

I couldn’t help myself. I was exhausted, and my brain was flooding with thoughts. I had been trying my hardest with him, all day long. Had nothing gotten through?

Was I doing something wrong? Was I making bad parenting choices? Was I failing as a disciplinarian? As a Mom?

How on earth could I try so hard at this Mommy-thing, and have a day as rough as this one?

I mean, it’s not like we Moms get “quarterly reviews” or wear bumper stickers that say “How am I Mommy-ing?”. So how can I even know if I’m on the right track? Especially when our weeks/months/years are brimming with rough days?

This Mommy business. It’s hard.

Just then, as tears quietly streamed down my face, Isaiah tip-toed over to me–face filled with concern. And he said…

“Mommy, it’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. But you can dry your tears…because I love you. What can I do to make you feel better?”

This. Kid.

Where did he learn to care like that? How did he learn to console so tenderly? How did he learn that love is the ultimate source of comfort?

Then I realized.

I must be doing something right. I’m not sure what…

But something.