There are some days when I find myself watching the clock. That long hand seems to drag like a spoon through pudding. “When will Daddy come home?” I ask myself on the particularly long days of carrying around a medicine ball in the form of my 6 month old, and trying to keep my pride and authority alive with my two year old. When is nap time? When is bedtime? When is lunchtime? Anything to break up the day. I know these days are fleeting. My girls’ childhood is just a tiny snippet to a feature-length film, and I don’t want to wish it away. I want to take it all in, catching every minute, even finding humor in the hard times, so that I can laugh and say when we’re all old, “Remember when…?”
My little two-year-old has become quite independent. She now sleeps in a big girl bed, after a few months ago, she tried to climb out of her crib and crashed onto the floor. Ever since then, “nap time” in the afternoons have essentially become alone time for her to put on a fashion show with everything she owns. I’ll hear her little feet bounding across her room from the kitchen below as I make dinner or sneak in a few minutes of writing. The first time I heard her cry, I ran upstairs to see what was the matter. She had simply gotten herself stuck trying on a new pair of shorts. She’d stuffed both feet inside of one leg hole and then like a mummy, couldn’t move. The same thing happens with her putting on her shoes. She’ll struggle and whine, as she uncomfortably tries to shove her feet in the opposite shoes, but she won’t ask for help. Now is not the time for Mommy to assist, but to allow independence to grow.
My oldest daughter just turned two in early June. She had been talking for about a year even prior to that. Everywhere I take her, whether it be to her classroom at church or the YMCA or even to the grocery store, people are stunned that she’s only two because she can talk so well. Her vocabulary is impressive, even for most three or even four year olds. However, because she can speak so clearly and with her vocabulary, I totally expect her to act older. I get so frustrated when she changes outfits at least five times in a day, or throws food on the floor, or sticks her hand in the toilet, or spits inside, or snaps back, “NO!” when I ask her (or tell her) to do something. She’s two. She’s exploring her independence long after she’s mastered the English language expected of her age.
Today is a Five Minute Friday write with the online writer’s group, and the prompt is PRAISE. Here is the linkup if you’d like to read some more from other writers.
Today is also Day 12 of the 31 day challenge (also with the Five Minute Friday community) to write for 5 minutes on a given prompt.
“Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart and give Him Praise, and give Him Praise! All glory and honor and power unto Him, Jesus the Name above all Names!”
That song from growing up in an Assemblies of God church as a kid has been on rewind and replay all day in my mind. I can still remember vividly scenes from inside our church in Woodbridge, VA. Initially, we met inside the gymnasium, chairs having to be stacked and set up every Sunday morning. On Wednesday nights, they’d be set up again, but by Thursday night, all the chairs would be gone and co-ed volleyball games would be playing in their place. I can remember when our new church building was finished and how all the pews were upholstered in a scratchy mauve material over padding that had zero give. There were enough seats for 2,000 people there. We would sing praise songs for over 45 minutes each Sunday morning before Pastor Roberts would preach. Those were the praise songs that had everyone clapping, not just listening or observing the band. There were no fog machines, but a huge choir on stage in their billowing robes. As I flip through my old piano music and read the book of Psalm, I’m reminded of the hundreds of praise songs I actually know and how we used to sing them all.
Schools here in Charlotte were cancelled today because of the potential flooding and winds from Hurricane Michael. Most of the day was similar to a few weeks ago when Hurricane Florence decided to plop down and kick up her feet over the whole state of North Carolina. The video images of Mexico Beach, FL are shocking. Hardly anything is left standing. They essentially dealt with a sustained water-filled tornado for hours. Here, I just had to keep the door closed in order to prevent the storm from coming inside. My roof didn’t peel back, the ocean didn’t come in through the floor, and our house is still upright sitting perfectly on its foundation. Others were not so fortunate. They tried to keep their doors closed to the storm, but it blew in anyways. How can I (we) open my (our) doors to those in need?
I decided last minute that I was going to take a flow yoga class today at the gym. I hadn’t planned to go to any class today, I was just excited that I managed to get both girls fed and in the car before 11am. After I checked my girls in at the childcare desk, I figured I’d go look at the class schedule for the heck of it. I was pretty excited that a yoga class was going to start in 15 minutes. Of course, I was totally unprepared. I had a baggy t-shirt on, my yoga mat lay rolled neatly in my living room at home, and my toes are screaming for a pedicure. Oh well, I had two hours of free childcare, and since I really didn’t have the motivation to do my own thing in the weight room, I filed in to the exercise room as the doors opened. I grabbed a (too-short) squishy mat in the supply closet, and pulled off my socks. A very sweet, soft-spoken woman smiled and asked me if I’d been to this class, or any, yoga class before. Admittedly, it’s been about three years, and I’ve had two babies since then so I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was nervous the instructor would fly through poses and contortions and leave me in child’s pose. But, I somehow made it through class, only once saying out loud, “How in the world do you do THAT?” as I watched everyone flip gracefully from downward facing dog to somehow belly up with two hands on the mat and just one foot. Overall, I enjoyed it. My back is sore. My butt is sore. I feel like I worked hard, but I don’t think I’ll be nervous about how I’ll get through my next class.
I just finished reading a fantastic marriage book by Dr. Emerson Eggerich titled Love and Respect. The main message he was getting across is that as women, our deepest need is love. The deepest need of a man is respect. With our culture trying to demasculinize men, this was such a refreshing read. A symbiotic marriage only works when each partner is giving what the other needs to feel accepted and secure. Wives, nagging and berating may temporarily work on your husbands to get some chore completed, but that will not inspire any desire on his part. Those eye rolls and making decisions on behalf of both of you for what’s best for your children are slowly eating away at him, and building a wall between you, brick by brick. I want to have a marriage that inspires and sparks us, gives glory to God, and makes our children feel secure in our family. Starting now.
I got to spend the afternoon with one of my college roommates yesterday. There is something so comforting seeing her face and spending time with her because she really knows me. For more than half our lives at this point, we’ve known each other. It makes us feel so old that we can say college was twenty years ago, and can remember vividly that time. While our faces reflect that much time has passed, our laughter does not. When we get together, we run down the list to make sure we’re caught up on each other’s lives, including our families, spouses, parents, and siblings. It is a balm for one’s soul to be known and loved, and to have a friend like this.
The hardest part about growing up is figuring out where you belong. That really isn’t a question that ever crosses one’s mind as a baby, toddler, or even an elementary student. You live with your parents. Done. Not much else to figure out. But by the time you’re in middle and high school, those gnawing questions continue to get louder. Who do you hang out with? To what group do you belong? For me, moving in the middle of my Sophomore year of high school, chorus was my saving grace. I was an Alto. Although I was painfully insecure, I knew I belonged in that room full of people who loved singing as much as me. Each successive move, new job, and life event is like a rolling wave that forces me to find my feet, put down roots, and reclaim a new sense of belonging.
While I’m still doing the 31 day challenge of writing for five minutes each day on a given prompt, today’s prompt is from the weekly Five Minute Friday. FMF is exactly what it sounds like – set a timer and write for five minutes on the given prompt.
It’s so much easier to share that I was struggling with something in the past, than to divulge that I’m struggling in the moment. While I was in probably the second worst emotional funk of my life after my second baby was born, I felt like I couldn’t share it with my family. They’re so accustomed to seeing me happy and laughing, and the way I felt inside was the negative image of that persona. I had spoken to a family member a few months prior to my baby being born, and she had read a few of my posts online that were pretty heavy and dark, even for me. But they were honest about how I’d felt during the other rough period in my life, about fifteen years ago. “Be thankful for what you have. Don’t dwell on the past,” she told me. It made her sad to know how lonely, broke, and hopeless I once was. I’d always talked up the concerts and baseball games I was going to, and what I was doing at my job. I never shared with anyone how my life really was at that point. And then I felt shamed for sharing it in writing, even though it was retrospective. But guess what? Life is messy. Life is not always fireflies and s’mores and laughter. I’ve learned that when I share how life is in the present, I’m able to help others through the same trials, and also be encouraged by those who have been through it and came out on the other side.
As a mother of a six-month-old and a two-year-old, I find myself asking “Why” a lot more than before I had kids. Or maybe my questions to my two-year-old just sound so ridiculous, I feel like I’m asking “why” more often.
Why are you licking the windows?
Why are you playing with your poop?
Why are you throwing your food?
Why are you spitting onto the floor?
Why did you poke your sister’s eyes?
Why did you take your diaper off?
Then the questions I ask myself are as follows:
Why is she up already? It’s only been a half hour since I laid her down!
Why are they snotty again? They were just sick last week!
Why does my head hurt?
As a mother of two babies, I can scratch the surface of understanding how God feels about me. When I look at my precious girls, I look at their big blue eyes, long eyelashes, ginger curls, dimpled fingers, chubby thighs, knee rolls, doughy bellies, tiny toes, and not quite pinned back ears with adoration. Each part of them is something unique to them, yet still part of me. Everything about them is perfect, intentionally created. Nothing about them physically would I change. How much more love and grace does our Creator have for us, when I can’t fathom the depth of love and grace I have for my own children? I believe God has created each of us exactly how we are supposed to be, despite how we feel about ourselves. Feelings are fleeting, but I know we are each created for a purpose.
This song from Lauren Daigle is so beautiful, and the lyrics hit to the core: