I Don’t Want to Forget

IMG_6621-0.JPG
I don’t want to forget you, but I’m afraid that is exactly what’s happening. I’m sorry Momma.

I remember the day you died in vivid detail, yet the events still seem like a fog. The moment I heard Daddy say, “it’s your Momma baby;” after that things were never the same.

I didn’t know what it was like to feel my heart ache, like the actual muscle inside my chest felt as if it were clinching so tightly that it would simply dissolve into itself.

Sure my tired eyes felt like they were burning from so many spent tears, and my raw throat stung from so many wailing cries, but it was the nonphysical that hurt the most. It was that void inside, down deep that longed to hear your voice one last time. That was what caused me real pain. I don’t think I knew pain until then.

This morning I woke up, and I had forgotten you Momma. It’s your birthday, and I didn’t even remember.

I bring flowers to your grave, and I talk to your granddaughters about you. But as we walked away from your gravestone today I realized I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry last year either. Does that mean I’m forgetting how much I love you?

It just took so much out of me. Missing you. Wanting to call you, and spill my deepest fears or darkest secrets. There’s something so devastating about repeated disappointment. I have to be completely honest. I think I forgot about you on purpose Momma. It just hurt too much to remember.

Today as I walked away from your grave the memory of you called to me, and I was compelled to turn back around. I looked at the purple flowers, and I thought of you.

The hot tears came like I knew they would, and then I called to your eldest grandchild, the one who is bright, and a jokester just like you. “Wanna sing Happy Birthday to my Momma?”

And we did. I sang, and she sang, and afterwards she said, “Race me to the van Momma!” Then she took off like a light.

I let her win because in that moment I was remembering you. “Happy Birthday Momma.” I whispered. I knew I could never forget you.

Until we meet again.

10 Ways Children are More Ironic Than Alanis Morissette

I guess I’ve given away my age with the title of this one. Remember the 1990’s song by Alanis, Ironic? It came out the year I graduated high school, and I thought it was the best music video ever. In fact, if memory serves correctly, it won best video that year according to MTV.

I thought of that song this morning. I typically flash back to the era when I think music was still cool, the nineties. But it wasn’t simply nostalgia that brought it to my mind. It was my four year old.

Yep, kids are the epitome of irony. Or maybe it’s simply a juvenile double standard. Either way, I’ve noticed that kids have their own rules, and nine times out of ten it makes no sense to me. I could seriously write my own lyrics off their antics.

IMG_6613.JPG
Here’s ten ways my kids are more ironic than Alanis Morissette.

1. My kids can run around outside or with other children for hours. Hours straight. I watch them running around in circles and it exhausts me.

Yet after five minutes, or less, in the grocery store they are too tired to continue. Mine actually trudge with slumped shoulders like they’re going to pass out any minute. “Mom… My legs are so tired!!”

2. Kids have no trouble making you wait twenty minutes while they put on their shoes by themselves.

Running late? Doesn’t matter. “I can do it!” they’ll scream independently. So you wait. insert Double Jeopardy music

But when they want their drink you better watch out. “I’m thirsty! Oh! Oh! I’m so thirsty!”

You’ll think they’re transversing the Sahara according to the dramatics. They truly expect you to stop the vehicle or whatever task you are performing and hand them a cup of juice right away.

3. My kids will eat their boogers. They’ll pick up a dropped food item off a public floor that has been heavily trafficked by people with possible dog poo on their shoes. And they’ll smile as they chew this germ-laden edible.

But they’re going to turn their nose up at English peas or tomatoes. “Uck! Yuck!” insert dramatic dry-heave noises

4. My kids could fall from a ten story building, jump up, and say, “I’m okay.” If they’re playing no fall or tumble can harm their super threshold for pain. They’ll rub some dirt on it and keep on trucking.

If we’re at home doing nothing, and they’re tired? Forest Gump’s feather could fall from the sky, land on their shoulder, and they’d start screaming like you just cut their arm off.

5. When my kids are tired they could fall asleep standing up, in a fire ant mound, while a train goes by. You can’t keep them awake!

But, if I’m trying to make them nap? Forget about it. I don’t care if I make it dark, turn on a white noise machine, and rock them. I could feed them turkey and warm milk. My sleep ninjas will fight me to the death!

6. When it’s birthday or Christmas my kids always pick out the expensive toys. They don’t understand money yet, but somehow they end up wanting the most pricey gadgets.

You know what they end up playing with? The box.

7. My kids can’t find their shoes. Or their coats. Or anything for that matter. Even if it’s right in front of them. (They must get that from their Dad).

But put them in the backseat, and suddenly they know where everything is. “Ahhh, Mom, you just passed the park.” Or, “Hey Mom. This isn’t the way to McDonald’s. You forgot to turn back there.” Thanks tiny navigator. Go to sleep.

8. My kids hate cleaning up after themselves. Again with the trudging, you know?

They can’t seem to figure out cleaning their room.

But if I want to mop or dust, oh my goodness. Suddenly they’re tiny maids eager to help. (Or get underfoot). “Mom? Can I Swiffer?” Sigh.

9. If I put my kids in play clothes, like the embarrassing stuff that doesn’t fit, and we just hang out around the house; then they are immaculate.

Put them in a white dress prior to an event, and records will be broken. In 45 seconds they will be stained.

10. My daughter will stare transfixed at a SpongeBob episode for 28 minutes. She memorizes the entire dialogue between Patrick and Squidward.

Yet she finds it very difficult to keep her attention on my face during a 28 second delivery of instructions for her schoolwork. She typically starts sighing and looking off in the distance after 13 seconds.

So Alanis’s 98 year old man may die right after winning the lottery, but seriously I think my kids have her beat. I think children are ten times more ironic, seven days and week, and twice on Sunday.

Don’t you think?

50 Things That Drive Nurses Crazy

I remember when I was a little girl playing with my mom’s medical bag. I would put her stethoscope around my neck, and then pretend I was just like her. Seriously, my Cabbage Patch Kid was the healthiest doll around.

I thought scrubs were the most amazing fashion I had ever laid my eyes on, and I loved going to see her on her lunch break at the big hospital. So I wasn’t a bit surprised when I followed in her footsteps fifteen years later and became a nurse.

While I now know there was plenty back then I still had to learn, and many factors I couldn’t see about the career due to my rose-colored glasses, the fact remains that in many ways I’m just as eager and excited about the field as I was as a young child. I still love nursing, and am excited I get to work in my dream field. Most nurses would agree with me. But some days…

IMG_6583.JPG
Some days you want to pull your hair out. Just like any job nursing has a few things you’re not ecstatic about, and it in fact has a number of things that can drive you absolutely crazy. Here’s a few off the top of my head.

1. The IV pump alarm for “air in line” that continues to go off when there is absolutely no air in the line.
2. Medications that will not scan.
3. A patient that’s only nauseated when you tell them it’s time to get up out of the bed.
4. The sound of expectoration.
5. Doctors who always yell/physicians who are demeaning.
6. Patients who tell you they just can’t quit smoking. (And this is strictly because I’m an ex-smoker. I know it’s tough, but it can be done).
7. Patients who require Phenergan for their Demerol to work. Sorry if this is you.
8. Getting the patient in DTs (Delirium Tremens).
9. Time change that occurs on a work day.
10. Changing your password. Again.
11. When you’re giving medicines, realize you’re missing one, and have to go back and get it.
12. When the supply Pyxis won’t recognize your fingerprint. Damn dry hands!
13. When a grown man has the pain tolerance of a four year old girl.
14. When you finally get to sit down, and a coworker asks for help transferring someone.
15. When someone keeps asking questions, but interrupts as you answer. If you know so much then why are you asking?!
16. When you’re taking a telephone order from a doctor who either mumbles, talks insanely low, or has a really thick accent.
17. Patients who are noncompliant, and wonder why they keep getting sick.
18. When you call multiple doctors about a really sick patient’s problem, and each one wants to pass the buck.
19. When a doctor knowingly asks you to do something outside of your scope of practice simply because they don’t want to do it.
20. When visitors wake your patient who finally fell asleep.
21. When a half dose is ordered, but the pill isn’t scored.
22. Giving Lactulose.
23. Core Measures.
24. Tangled lines.
25. Getting a bad report, like you wonder if the off-going nurse even walked in the patient’s room.
26. When scheduled meds aren’t available from the pharmacy.
27. The fact that all sterile kits contain insanely large gloves. Help. My fingers are lost!
28. When you don’t get an IV started on the first try. I have failed you.
29. When you get pulled to another floor, and you get there and everyone is sitting around doing nothing.
30. When your fingers lose all sensation while holding pressure, but you know that sucker ain’t done bleeding yet. Abhor pulling arterial sheaths!
31. When people forget the words “please” and “thank you.” Please allow me to feel appreciated!
32. Putting a NG tube down a conscious and confused individual.
33. When you walk in the patient room, and the first thing they say is, “I have really bad veins. Everyone has trouble starting an IV on me!” (While this might be true, and I appreciate the heads-up, you have now cursed us all)!
34. When the ER sends you a totally stable patient to your ICU. Then the doctor rounds and writes MedSurg transfer orders. And you’re still putting your admission assessment in the computer. Sigh.
35. The majority of patients who happen to be “allergic” to all pain medications. Except Dilaudid. (I said majority, not all. You may un-wad your panties).
36. Patients who think it’s a good idea to lie to their healthcare team about how much alcohol they drink. (You do realize we’ll find out eventually, right)?
37. Mandatory meetings. On my day off. That only last 15 minutes.
38. Two words. Press Ganey.
39. When a patient who absolutely had to have their pain medication right away falls asleep while I’m at the bedside drawing it up.
Yes, I know pain is real, but seriously, you’re slurring.
40. The new nurse who knows everything.
41. The old dog who knows everything. But also refuses change.
42. The doctor who insists on you using his archaic, preferred method of monitoring equipment. We’ve come a long way baby!
43. Golytely. Especially if it’s a GI bleed.
44. Doctors who feel the need to touch nurses inappropriately. Yeah, so thanks, but I really don’t need a shoulder massage today. Okay. Bye.
45. Tube feeding.
46. Doctors who steal your chair. I finally got the height adjusted just right!!
47. Patient family drama.
48. Grumpy old men.
49. Patient family phone calls. Seriously, I don’t mind updating folks, but after a dozen conversations I’m like, don’t y’all communicate with one another?!
50. When it’s dark when you go to work, and it’s dark when you head home. Entire. Day. Gone.

That’s a pretty good chunk of stuff that can drive you loony, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day we still love what we do. Just because stuff drives me crazy, it doesn’t make me a bad nurse. It makes me human, and that makes me a good nurse.

It’s like my kids. Some days they drive me crazy, but I love them more than the air I breathe, and I wouldn’t change my life for anything. So even though some days I make a rat-tat-tat sound while sweeping my imaginary machine gun around the room, I’ll be back tomorrow with a smile, and a real one too.

Because you learn to embrace the crazy moments, and somehow love them all. Except for Press Ganey and Core Measures. That stuff is for the birds.

The One Thing in Life You Can’t Accomplish

I once knew a woman who never ceased to amaze me with her zeal for life and pristine persona. I mean she had a cute little figure and a super sweet personality to boot. It was crazy. Her kids were always polite, and exceedingly adorable. They wore the cutest outfits and always said thank you. And so did she!

I was pretty sure she sat down daily to have coffee with Jesus himself, and the thought of an ugly word crossing her lips was unfathomable to me. She. Was. Perfect! Ugh. I wanted to hate her for it, but the thing was I couldn’t. She was so darn likable.

I can recall many a time where I would look at her happy marriage or her snazzy wardrobe and dream that I could one day be that amazing. I wasn’t sure when I’d find the time to feed the homeless and bake bread, but I was willing to give it a shot. Either that, or I could just continue to stare at her in amazement through slitted eyes and slightly gritted teeth.

After I became a mother I had the opportunity to spend more time around this imagined Mary Poppins. I began to notice the most peculiar things. For example, upon questioning she didn’t do any of the stuff that my What to Expect the First Year book said to do. Even the stuff that seemed really important.

IMG_6567.JPG
I got to know her and I realized she yelled at her kids, ran late, and I was pretty sure she said “damn” that time she dropped her plate at the church dinner. Gasp!

She suffered PMS too, and I’d even be willing to bet she got bloated, or suffered from occasional constipation. Although I couldn’t say for sure.

The point is, as I got to know her I realized she wasn’t perfect at all. She was still freaking awesome, but she was also human. Just like me. Her kids misbehaved, and she had bad hair days.

I have discovered that perfection is a farce, yet this fact doesn’t stop us from looking at others and imagining that their life is beautiful, wonderful, and practically perfect in every way. Then we might just wish for a minute that was us.

The thing is, though, you will never obtain perfection, you will never be perfect, but it’s fine because neither will anyone else. Even the people you imagine have it all together.

The woman with the “perfect” figure may suffer from the worse self-esteem ever. She may actually even hate the body you covet.

The woman with the huge house just wishes her husband was home instead of working all the time.

The mom with three adorable children is so overwhelmed she just wants one night of uninterrupted sleep. And the single, successful business woman just yearns for a baby to hold.

Did you know the “perfect” couple on Facebook is talking divorce, and the upbeat, jokester is wearing long sleeves to cover where she cuts?

The preacher’s wife hides in the laundry room drinking vodka, and your next door neighbor is regretting his affair.

And the one thing all these people have in common is that someone thinks they’re perfect, someone looks at some facet of their life and wonders, why can’t that be me?

The truth is there’s no such thing as perfect, the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, and every person has struggles, hardships, and areas where they miss the mark and fall short. You just may not always see that.

The only thing you can be assured of is that we are all perfectly imperfect, and fabulously flawed in some way. Yet we are loved by a God who shows us how to try and be a little better every day.

But when you can learn to love yourself despite your imperfections then you get as close to being perfect as is possible. For when you can be happy with yourself and rejoice in the life God gave you then that’s pretty perfect. Or at least it feels that way.

No past mistake defines you, neither does your name. Your outward appearance doesn’t mean a thing, and neither does your relationship status.

Your economic standing is of little concern, and your rung on the career ladder is just a step in life.

A grateful heart, and a kind demeanor mean much more. How you love others says a lot. How you view yourself says even more. You can never be perfect, but you can be yourself, and you can be happy with that.

Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Do You Know Why Mom Doesn’t Get a Nap?

I’m tired. I mean I’m really tired. Am I as tired as I was when I was pregnant with my second child while chasing a two year old? No, not exactly. But back then I took naps. Not so much anymore.

In fact, I haven’t taken a nap since I was pregnant, and as my youngest daughter approaches two I realize this. Actually I discovered it yesterday right after I failed at nap time.

As I rocked my toddler, and she snoozed so peacefully in my arms, I thought, man, that looks awesome. And I decided to give it a try. It was a long time coming after all.

Just as I began to succumb, for the first time in years, I was roused awake quickly by the doorbell. Grrrr. My first thought was to let it go, and fall back into the beautiful arms of sleep, but then my eyes popped open with worry. What if my four year old decided to open the door?!

What if it was a crazed maniac, and they stole her right from our own front door, while I lay in bed sleeping, neglecting the poor, helpless child?! Agghh! Panic attack. And so was the end of my nap. I looked at my watch as I ran to check on my preschooler, and was amazed at the record nap I had taken. Four minutes y’all.

After I confirmed my eldest had not been kidnapped by a brutal pedophile who knocks on doors at random to lure little girls outside, I realized something. Mommas don’t get a nap. Ever. But then I wondered why.

Sure, this time it was the doorbell’s fault, but why had it taken me two years to give it a whirl? I agree my life is hectic, and it’s hard enough putting the kids down for a nap, much less myself. But do I ever stop to rest? Do you?

It’s not the kids, and it’s not the load I carry. Not really. This momma doesn’t refuse a nap because I don’t have time, but rather because I don’t think I do. After all, who can nap when there’s laundry to do, dishes to wash, or a checkbook to balance?!

Yesterday I was teaching a daily phonics lesson to my four year old, and she just couldn’t grasp the new letter we were going over. She began to get upset, and as she got an answer wrong she wailed, “I’ll never get this right?!” And then I watched in surprise as her lower lip began to quiver and she started to cry.

As I held her, consoling her, I wondered why she had gotten so upset. Why did she think she had to get it right on the first try, or all the time for that matter?

Then I realized that’s why Mommas don’t nap. That’s why we push and push. It’s why we place so much value on a tidy home and a trim waistline. It’s why we stress over our children’s nutritional value and what theme we should use at their next birthday party. And while all that stuff is really great, it can be exhausting. Sometimes it makes you want to cry because you don’t get it right the first time, or every time, or hardly at all.

While I love nothing more than a floor free of food and sticky mess I think I probably put more emphasis on it than need be. I’m sure my husband appreciates my housekeeping, and though he’d likely notice if I stopped, I know for a fact that it doesn’t rank towards the top in order of importance as far as he’s concerned. If he were here I’m pretty sure he’d opt for the nap over mopping the kitchen.

Always doing tasks, and making sure it’s all done? That’s just what moms do, but maybe sometimes we need to take a break. Sometimes I need to realize it’s okay to stop for a minute and just do nothing.

It’s okay to not get it right, or perfect, or even close. And even though magazines full of Hollywood moms, Pinterest, or worse, other moms I know do it one way, I don’t have to follow suit. I can use store-bought cake mix and Halloween costumes instead of laboring over making my own. Then I can use the excess time to sit on the couch and watch a grown-up show while eating gluten-laden snacks if I so choose.

By George, I can take a nap. I really can. And most importantly not feel guilty about it. That’s the hardest thing to get past really, the voice inside my head telling me all the things I should do instead.

I have decided I have to loosen up a bit, and not believe the mommy lie that I must complete every thing on my list by bedtime. It’s okay to ask for help, or get it wrong, or refuse to do it at all. It’s okay to sleep, and play, and actually enjoy being a mom and wife.

It is a job, and it’s a busy one, but perhaps the most demands on me are imposed by me. I’m my biggest critic, and most grueling boss (although the toddler is a close second).

I’ve decided it’s okay to not get it right. It’s okay to not be a super hero because just being a mom makes me super enough. And being super is exhausting. So hence the need for a nap!

Now, who’s with me?

IMG_6541.JPG

My Husband Didn’t Sleep in Our Bed Again Last Night

IMG_6502.JPG
While getting up early is never my favorite thing it somehow seems better when I wake up suddenly, and I am shaken from my sleep by my alarm only to realize I’ve been out like a light. There’s something satisfying about a good, hard night’s sleep where your body resembles a rock, and you even check the mirror to see if you gathered moss while you snored.

This morning was that kind of morning, and though I was jolted awake to my disappointment, the sting of wakefulness was soothed by the fact that it was the first time my eyes had opened all night long. The room was dark, and the humidifier was running. It created a beautiful, white noise that could lull even the most insomniac of minds.

The side of the bed to my left was empty. In fact it was untouched. That side of the bed was still tidily made, and that told me two things. One, I really had slept like a rock. And two, my husband had not come to bed at all last night. I wasn’t surprised one bit.

I thought then of yesterday morning when I had been running late for work. As I had gotten into the car and cranked it up I experienced momentary distress. My mind produced images of the illuminated gaslight I had noticed the day before, and I realized that even as time worked against me so did an empty gas tank. I knew I would have to stop for a fill-up despite the lack of time.

But when I looked at the dash a half tank of gas looked back, and I knew it wasn’t a visit from the fuel fairy that had saved me. It had simply been the thoughtfulness of my spouse.

And wasn’t that what it was all about? Doing small, insignificant things, day in and day out, not because you were asked to or because of what you got in return, but simply out of love.

Favorite meals made. A honey-do list checked off.

A tidy house. A tuned-up car.

Love notes and laundry done. Yard mowed and the broken bed mended.

Nothing big, not in the grand scheme, but simply small, mundane tokens that collectively made a house run smoothly. And subsequently made you feel special, taken care of, and secure.

Yet he wasn’t in my bed.

I trudged in a sleepwalk haze towards the bathroom, but not before stopping to find my spouse. There on the living room floor lay my husband, surrounded by three girls, and one of them was actually sprawled out across his chest.

It wasn’t a party I had missed, but an action to ensure I slept undisturbed. The three girls were our rowdy daughters, and the youngest snored softly on her father’s sternum.

An empty medicine dropper lay in the sink for soothing incoming molars, but I hadn’t heard a sound. Not one single cry.

I had slept hard, and good. I had drove to work with plenty in my gas tank, and I had arrived on time. But mostly I had walked into work feeling loved and appreciated.

I felt special, and worth doing the little things for even when nothing was promised in return. I was grateful for the gift of him. Plus I knew he’d be back in our bed come tonight.

Living the Dream

I ran my fingers through her curls, and I knew. As I gazed down at the back of my toddler’s head, finally still after a battle lost to the sandman, I knew I had come very close to making a grave error. I had come very close to allowing discontentment with mediocre routine to steal the deep-seeded satisfaction I deserved to savor at all times.

How easy it is to become dissatisfied with a job that seems unrewarding, or become frustrated with a schedule that is grueling, and busy, and hard. How slippery is the slope that leads to aggravation with the mundane day-to-day.

How often do I dream for a different way, or a better home, or a bigger kitchen? How many times do I wish life could be better, my hair could be longer, and my bank account fatter?

When and how does discontentment toward a small factor within your life lead to an overall longing for more? More time, more room, more children, more, more, more.

Does a longing for more ever lead to fulfillment, or simply lead to more? More wanting.

While a dream is dandy, and striving is sweet, can blinders of ambition blot out the obvious blessings peppered throughout the way? In my dreams for going further in life did I forget that I’m already living the dream?

When a heart loses the ability to practice gratitude what is left? The inability to see grace in all its plenty.

When eyes cease to see blessings on the battlefield then life becomes a war waged against you where you’re forever losing. Forever falling to the tactics of the enemy to steal the victory of joy. The banner of joy is the shelter that is always present, but so often we leave the shadow of its wings in search for the spoils.

So I run back to the truth. I look at the precious, blond curls, the rise and fall of a sleeping chest, and I say thank you.

Thank you for this, and thank you for that. Thank you for the things I too often lose sight of, the blessings that come in the form of hardship, or struggle, or strife. For even then I am blessed.

Forgive me when I forget, when my focus leaves you, and is blinded by the world. Forgive when I want more, or think I have less. Forgive me when I forget it is all meaningless in the face of eternity, or when I take for granted the gifts I am given.

Forgive me when I forget to be thankful, when I lose sight of gratitude, when I stumble and fall. I do that a lot.

Forgive me if I forget I am living the dream. Help me to remember a piece of it is sleeping in my lap, to impress upon me to never lose sight of that fact again.

IMG_6385.JPG

The One Question Every Parent Needs to Ask

My daughter just turned four this week so I’ve got a while, right? I mean, even though she asked me yesterday, “Mom, am I old enough for a phone now?”

Of course I answered, “No ma’am, you are not!” But still, it got me to thinking, and as I look at her this morning, so beautiful, and so spirited, the thought of that confidence being crushed makes me want to cry. It makes me want to grab her by the shoulders, look deeply into her eyes, and convince her, “You are perfect, you hear me? Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise!”

I think of my own adolescence and I shudder. Is a prepubescent existence ever easy? No. The answer is no. It wasn’t when I was a young girl for sure, and I fear it will be even harder for my girls.

There will always be issues with self-esteem, and I can easily recall looking at my Mom’s Vogue magazines, and thinking, wow, she’s thin! Is that what I’m supposed to look like?

Or I can recall admiring the older girls in school, then coming home and trying to recreate their wardrobe from my closet contents, or practice for hours in front of the mirror to get my hair to stand up that high. (Yep. 80s kid.)

My efforts were judged by a crowd of my peers I’m sure as I made the long walk down the junior high hall, praying that I wouldn’t slip since I was wearing non-skid dance flats with my insanely snug, tight-rolled jeans. A compliment from an upperclassmen boy would make my tween spirits soar, but otherwise, if no one seemed to notice then neither did I.

What I didn’t have was a quantifiable means with which to judge the popularity of my appearance, or others’ opinion of me. I couldn’t place a number on what other people saw, and then use that figure to decide if I was pretty enough, desirable, or well-liked.

My step-daughter has an Instagram account, and we quickly became friends on that social media outlet. Once friends with her, I received follows from other boys and girls around her same pre-teen age group. And what I saw bothered me.

I noticed these young men and women had a big interest in the number of followers their account received. They also desired likes for their photos, and would come right out and beg for them. They took screen shots of how many likes or follows they got that day, and I couldn’t help but wonder, why does it matter?

IMG_6471.JPG
I see it, and I can see it’s a problem. I look at my daughter, and then I look at myself. I mean, I’m guilty too, right?

I started this blog with great intentions, and as an outlet for the things I felt led to share, but is my response always what it needs to be?

I remember when my first blog went semi-viral, with over 700K views. I practically crapped my pants! They like me! They like what I have to say!! I was so elated, and then the numbers trickled down.

Again, it happened, well over a million on another post. Yippee! Oh, they do like me! But the Today Show didn’t call, and I still went to work that weekend. Then the numbers went back down.

I’ve seen more viral blogs since, but I have decided they only serve to infect me with a false sense of importance. Isn’t that what going viral really is? Everyone wants to catch it, they all want a post to go viral, but then what?

To feel special for a moment, is that what social media is teaching our children?

Will my daughters enter into a social media tainted world view where they feel the need to gain followers and foster more likes? Will they falsely base their importance or self-worth on how many people comment on their photo? God, please, no!

I can see it happening around me, and I can see how easily one can be influenced. I can see that I must be even more vigilant as a parent, even more involved in protecting their hearts, and helping them develop a positive and realistic vision of themselves, and their self-worth.

It’s up to me to show them they are special, and insist that their value is not based on how many “friends” they have on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever else will be around when they get older.

It will also be up to me, as the parent, to curtail social media use if I see it tearing down their self-esteem, affecting them negatively, or, God forbid, them using it to make another person feel less. I don’t see that as being overly involved. I see it as being a parent.

Things have changed. Life is still hard, that is the same, but I know one thing. I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up in an adolescence full of selfies, video cameras in your pocket, or the possibility of having my teenage social life destroyed on a public, internet platform.

For now I am glad their main interests are dolls and dirt, rather than Instagram and Snapchat. And then I remember she asked me yesterday if four was finally old enough to have a phone.

Sigh. Is it too late to move to Amish country?

IMG_6473.JPG

I Hate to Blame the Hormones, but the Dog’s Already Busy

My poor dog just had puppies, six of them, and when she came out from under the shed that first postpartum day, with dirt mixed with unmentionables in her tail, I felt for her. Bad. I patted her head, and I rubbed behind her ears for a long time.

“Good job Momma.” I said, and I patted her tired head one last time before heading inside to my own litter.

The rest of the week hasn’t been much kinder to her, and though the afterbirth has been washed from her fur, she still has that look of sheer exhaustion in her droopy eyes. And that’s not the only thing sagging either.

Her full breasts were dragging the dirt today as she came out to greet me, and I thought, I feel ya there little Momma. My own nipples status post wean are still resembling a stroke patient’s mouth, and I keep holding out hope that the cocoa butter will work a miracle while I sleep.

My husband has mentioned that the dog is acting strange, pooping in front of the shed rather than out back, and getting her runner tangled around the tree. He noticed that she just wasn’t acting like herself, and even said, “that dog has lost her mind!”

I feel ya there little Momma.

I hate to blame it on hormones, as I’ve always despised that sort of thing, speaking as if it’s a disease women suffer from rather than the gift it truly represents. But I told my husband regardless, “honey, I think she’s hormonal.”

Today I found myself in a pickle of sorts. It was like I had wound my runner around a tree, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to right myself.

I couldn’t breathe! Why in the world I decided to wear a fitted, button-up blouse with skinny jeans while I was retaining water was beyond me, and as I sat in the van waiting to pull out of the driveway of my in-laws house I considered ripping off my shirt.

I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t think. I had forgotten the hotdogs, and my hair was frizzy. My head hurt, and my tummy hurt, and I couldn’t breathe. I waited, and I waited, with my turn signal on, but cars kept coming, and I couldn’t breathe.

Help me Lord! I cried, and hot tears came. And still the cars kept coming, and I couldn’t breathe.

Help me Lord. I have no control over this! And then there was a break in the cars, and I turned left, but I still couldn’t breathe.

“Don’t forget the hotdogs.” My husband had said as I headed out the door, and besides changing shirts, that was the whole reason I was going home. As I looked at him quizzically, I realized he must think I had lost my mind.

I feel ya there little Momma. I was honestly surprised I wasn’t shitting all over the yard too.

I hate to blame hormones, but the dog’s already busy. She’s got problems of her own to tend to, and hungry puppies don’t wait until you’re done crying in the bathroom with the door closed. Do they?

Some days you just have to change your shirt. And then try another one. And then twelve shirts later, with a pile of discarded clothes in the closet floor, you can dry your eyes and head out the door. Because you got a litter to feed, but it’s okay because at least you can breathe.

And sometimes you turn around again. Because you forgot the hotdogs. Again. But you don’t cry this time, you laugh.

I feel ya there little Momma.

Now if someone could just scratch behind my ears, and tell me “good job Momma,” I think I’d be fine. I can breathe, so I think I’ll be fine.

IMG_6463.JPG

The Things I Never Knew

They said my life would change, and that it would in fact never be the same. That’s what everyone said when I told them about you.

My belly was still flat, and you were so very tiny, microscopic even, but still friends, family, and even strangers couldn’t wait to tell me all about you. They couldn’t wait to warn me how my life would change when you arrived.

I got your room ready. I bought dainty white furniture, and I decorated the walls with bright colors, and scenes from Noah’s Ark. I bought the smallest socks I had ever seen, and I lined them up in a top drawer, nestled beside the tiniest bloomers I had ever laid eyes upon.

I got strollers, and a car seat too. I got a baby monitor, and even a special place to dispose of your soiled diapers. I looked at the newborn diapers, and I wondered if you could really be that small. My belly felt huge, so surely you were bigger than that.

I waited, and my belly grew even more. People still gazed at my enlarging tummy, and they would smile while they offered advice of how my life would soon turn upside down. I knew enough by then to realize I better nap while I could, but you had gotten so big inside me that I couldn’t rest no matter how hard I tried.

As I folded onsies, and prayed for your safe arrival, I felt certain of one thing. It was the one thing everyone seemed to agree upon. My life was about to change. I looked at your animal-themed nursery, and I straightened pictures on your wall. I’m ready, I thought. I’m ready for my life to change. That I knew.

You announced your arrival with steady, easily-timed contractions, and when my water broke suddenly at midnight I was nervous, but I was ready. I was ready for my life to change. Just like everyone had told me it would.

I remember crying when you first cried, and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. But I think what amazes me the most is how the memory of that newborn squall causes me to weep even now. That was the thing I never knew. I knew when I first heard that cry that my life was changing. What I did not know was that it would never stop.

I didn’t know that today, four years after your birth, that I would still be constantly evolving, adapting, and striving to be better. For you.

Despite everyone’s forewarning, even as God stitched you together in my womb, that you would change my life, I realize now that I didn’t have a clue. How could I?

How could I fathom the extent to which a tiny baby could capture my heart, or how God would mightily use that same babe to inspire profound change within me? I think even if I could somehow travel back in time to tell myself that I still would not believe, or be able to conceive such an alteration of my universe as I knew it then.

Because you see, sweet darling, you changed me. I know, I know. They told me you would, but I just couldn’t see. I couldn’t see what they meant at the time.

I assumed they meant less sleep, or more stretch marks, or even the cessation of going out on a whim. And while all those things were true, it was oh so much more than that. So. Much. More.

You changed everything. You were like a fire God placed in my heart, and you burn there still. You were a catalyst he used to stir the desire within me to be more, and he uses you still.

No amount of shopping, showers, or preparation could have prepared me for how I would feel about you. It couldn’t have prepared me for how I would suddenly place someone so much higher than I placed myself.

So although they told me I don’t suppose I really knew, at least not until we met in person. Today we celebrate your birthday, but everyday I celebrate you, and the changes you brought, and still bring to my life.

I love you birthday girl. So much. Certainly more than words can say.

IMG_6434.JPG