So it’s a new year! And, with the New Year, a new post, and also a new purpose for this space. I recently read that famous passage Christians like to quote about how “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” We carry around a treasure – and this treasure is found in a jar made of clay. It’s not necessarily a beautiful, glazed, perfected jar, but a clay jar. It’s probably a simple jar. An unimpressive jar. Possibly even a broken jar. But it’s not the jar that is important – isn’t that the idea? It’s the treasure inside.
This got me thinking: what is my treasure? Continue reading
My sweet baby girl —
It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it?
You experienced so much change and you had to learn so much. In fact, you learned more in this first year of your life than perhaps you will in any other single year moving forward (!). And the change you experienced – it was unimaginable, too. You went from having every single need met so perfectly that you had never even experienced need – to a world in which you experienced every basic need and more – hunger, exhaustion, frustration, anger, fear, sadness – sometimes all in one day or even one hour. I’m so sorry, sweet baby girl of mine, that it’s been so hard.
And yet – you amaze me. Despite all these hard things, you grew and thrived. You learned to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, start to walk. You learned to drink and eat (and boy do you love food!), to smile and laugh and start to talk. I am so proud of you, already, for your persistence, for your feisty spirit, for all the many things you have learned and accomplished in this short year. Today, you are ONE.
My sweet baby girl, it’s been a hard year for your Mama, too. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, children, contentment, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, sensory overload
My last post got me thinking about love. (Too bad Valentine’s Day was last month. But this is very me, you know, to be a little behind.) Specifically, it got me thinking about a mother’s love.
Yes, perfect love is all the things the Bible says it is – patient and kind, not self-seeking or easily angered. Perfect love does not envy or boast and is not proud. Perfect love keeps no record of wrongs. Yes, it is all those things. Yes, this is my model for love. (Yes, I fail at this love. Often.)
As I wrote last time, a mother’s love is also a sacrificial love. We make sacrifice upon sacrifice for our children, giving and giving and giving – because we love. But a mother’s love is not only sacrificial. It’s also unearned. Continue reading
Motherhood is filled with hard choices. Lately, I’m constantly deciding which of my children comes first.
Maaaaamaaaaaa! Jacob hollers, banging his hands on the sides of his crib insistently with all the power and energy of a two-year-old.
Wake-up time!!!!!!! he calls, as though there was any chance I could have slept through his yelling. Nouk! Bum! Peatut burr!!!!” His way of demanding his daily breakfast: milk, banana, and peanut butter.
I glance at the clock, bleary-eyed. 6:34. At least it’s later than yesterday. I’m nursing his baby sister in my bedroom, hoping that she’ll get a halfway decent feed. The day before I’d gotten them out of bed together and she was distracted by his antics as he danced around with his milk while I tried to nurse her. I’d chosen to feed them together.
This morning, I’m choosing her. He has to wait. Continue reading
This winter, feeling tired and overwhelmed paved an easy road for hopelessness.
How’s it going? A friend would ask.
Oh, pretty well, I’d reply. It’s hard, but things are fine. You know, it’s just a different way of life now. A thin smile. We’re finding a way to make it work.
But the thing is, things were not fine, and things were definitely not working.
However, I’ve gotten really good at powering through. It’s easy for me to keep on doing and going and “yes, I’m fine”-ing (as I wrote last time). To keep showing up for meetings and attending church and getting myself and the kids dressed and out of the house.
So that’s exactly what I was doing, this fall. I just kept going and smiling and doing.
But I knew I wasn’t fine, inside. And my husband knew I wasn’t fine. And after a little more time, my kids knew I wasn’t fine. Continue reading
Last time I promised that I’d write about what depression is like for me in this season of life. It’s no cakewalk, but it’s not Hollywood either.
I don’t spend days in bed crying, forgetting to eat and unable to take care of myself. I also don’t have dramatic breakdowns resulting in hospitalization. (Although, admittedly, on my worst days I have wished that was the case.)
In fact, all outward appearances probably look pretty good most of the time – certainly this time around. (Helps to have cute kids, right?)
When depression rears its ugly head in my life, it’s not always the same – certainly there have been times in the past of poor self-care, insomnia, extreme hopelessness and bouts of crying – but I mostly left that permutation behind in college. And there have been many periods of gray, when I’ve fought, every single day, to go through the motions, to take care of whatever job or child or spouse or friend or piece of music or writing I needed to do, because everything felt futile.
This time hasn’t been any of those things, exactly. Continue reading
Remember how I wrote about figuring out what’s necessary in life?
Well, I’ll tell you how that’s going in a bit.
These days, I’m teaching my son to breathe. When he gets upset and I can’t talk any sense into him or get him to stop crying long enough to look me in the eyes or answer a question, I try to breathe with him.
In and out, in and out, in and out.
It often takes a long time until he can join me. But the minutes that I spend sitting with him, inhaling deeply and slowly and then exhaling fully –
those minutes are good practice for me, too.
Because I’ve been holding my breath for awhile now. Wondering what kinds of feelings each day will bring. Wondering if I’ll make it one, two, three hours before hopelessness starts to replace hopefulness. Wondering if I’ll start to know – and really feel, not just know in my head – that God is real. Wondering if it’s too early in the day to start drinking.
It’s been hard, the past few months. Continue reading
So, my son. He is just over two years old – you know, the beginning of the infamous “terrible twos,” so-named because this is the time when toddlers start to express feelings in all sorts of inappropriate ways (also known as, “tantrums”). Theoretically, this happens because the toddlers don’t yet know otherwise and haven’t learned how to manage their emotions.
My son has these outbursts – he actually becomes inconsolable and entirely hysterical, hyperventilating and such. So far these haven’t happened in the candy aisle at the grocery store (are NYC grocery stores big enough for a candy aisle?) or in the car seat as I try to buckle him in (what car?), but instead they happen in the stroller when we are walking home at night and he can’t see the moon (darn you, clouds), or at home because I took the corn out of the bowl and put it onto his plate.
(And we are talking MAJORLY upset, people. Out of control and sucking in air too fast and choking on saliva and tears everywhere upset. Hysterical upset.)
But the thing is, I’m not surprised. Continue reading
Filed under children, contentment, depression, family, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, running, Uncategorized, writing
“I’m done,” I said without thinking for even one second about how to respond to his innocent “how’s it going?”
He looked at me blankly. I guess not the answer he was expecting.
“Well, I just mean, I’m done with today. You know, ready for it to be over.”
Another blank stare. I realized that he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
And for a minute, I struggled to remember any other time, any time when feeling completely exhausted, worn out, used, tried beyond my patience, and completely out of energy at the end of the day – done – wasn’t the norm. Wasn’t the reality. (Not to mention that I was referring to 7:30 PM as the end of the day.) Continue reading
It has been a long time since I’ve sat here, staring at a blank screen. I’ve started a dozen posts in my head since I last wrote and mentally bookmarked just as many topics to address. I even have a small arsenal of posts that I wrote before my daughter was born so that I could continue to publish regularly throughout “the hard weeks right after,” but somehow using those now seems false, not true to where (or even who?) I am now.
And the hard weeks…hahaha! If only just a few weeks had been hard.
Far from it.
She’s five months old now, with a smile that charms even the hardest of hearts, but every day remains a challenge. And the reality of transferring any of those thoughts to paper or completing any of those posts feels staggeringly difficult. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, career, children, contentment, depression, family, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, running, writing