Christmas Eve 2014
Another year has gone by, and I’m reflecting on the year of 2014 while my son naps on this New Year’s Eve afternoon. It was a good year – many rejoices with friends and family over accomplishments, new life celebrations and new jobs. And it was a good year for our family, too – Wes’ continual learning has been evident, we have less debt and more savings, etc.
I’m not very good at typical New Year resolutions. I’m terrible at keeping a planned commitment together, so weight loss and reading schedules are out the window by week 2. It’s discouraging to set a resolution like that because I get irritated with my “lazy” self and inability to follow through.
Last year, I resolved to be a more attentive mother. I can proudly say that 2014 has been a year of many romps around the house, read-aloud book time, kitchen experiments, day-trips and excursions. We have had a truly fun and fulfilling year with our preschooler. Making that resolution wasn’t just for Wes, it was for all of us. Paying more attention to our family has brought us closer than ever, and there is a sense of joy felt when we’re all 3 together.
So, for 2015, I want to piggyback off that joyful feeling and apply it to the rest of my life, our lives. I know I blog about this topic often, but I so, so desire to be content, and it is a daily struggle that seems to only have gotten more difficult.
A few days ago, a local mother posted in our neighborhood’s “baby mamas” Facebook page. She was desperately looking for other women who were mothers of only children. I commented on this post, offering to talk, and we ended up sharing via Facebook message for the next two days.
Her experiences are very different than mine – after her third miscarriage on Christmas Eve, she was ready to stop trying for a second child completely and wanted to know (and confirm her decision) about the benefits of a 1-child family.
Over the summer I blogged about our trio family, and I still receive comments and questions about that post, even today. What might have been hidden between the lines was my despair. I have worked very hard over the last year to be at peace with our decision, and it has been most difficult. Granted, I haven’t been very consistent with praying about my contentment; many times my prayers have been only to take the pain away or distract me somehow.
I reached out to this mother because I have felt alone. It’s been a very difficult journey because it’s tough to know how and who to open up to. As much as I love Steven, he cannot understand my mourning for a child that doesn’t exist. And I hate to bring it up (as much as it’s on my mind) because it stirs up emotions that could eventually turn into
fights disagreements. I don’t want him to feel like he’s “wrong” and I’m “right,” because that’s simply not true. It’s what we have decided, though it was a much more painful pill for me to swallow than for him. My yearning doesn’t do an ounce of good for our relationship.
My mom is sad for me and shares tears, and sometimes that’s helpful, but it’s draining and I can’t see that it will help for healing if it continues forever. My sister is a great listening ear and also shares my sorrow, but again, I feel the need to limit my open vomiting of sadness. My friends are great, but many are expecting or have had new babies, and it just makes for sometimes awkward conversation with a very large elephant residing in the room. And those that ask about our family planning open up a very raw conversation that is very strange – no, I will not sacrifice my marriage for another child. (I will not have an “accidental” pregnancy.)
I wanted her to know that when she feels lonely, there are other women like her and they can mourn with her. I was also truthful: that days can be tough – especially after wonderful, quiet moments with your existing child. While you’re loving that present moment, it’s bittersweet in that it’s the only child with whom you’ll be able to experience it. Every laugh with Wes, every sporadic ice cream trip – nearly all great things about this year have been shadowed with a dreadful black thought – this is it.
All that aside, yes, I’m grateful. I adore my little family and am truly blessed with my boys and dogs. Our life is full of silliness and experiences, and it’s better than anything I ever imagined. This Facebook mother was also grateful to hear these things, even though she very well understood black days…possibly even more than I will ever know. To know a life within you, and then lose it – I don’t know that I could fully recover on this earth.
I’m thankful that she publicly sought help. I guess that’s kinda what I’m doing now, by being real on this silly little family blog. Keeping it bottled inside isn’t allowing for contentment. Life is full of disappointments and sadness. But it’s also what makes JOY so amazing and wonderful. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think joy = happiness. But joy is a different sort of peace. It exists in my heart, but it needs to be more present.
I don’t ever want Steven or Wesley to think that they aren’t enough – they make my heart beat and burst to fulfilling levels. Heck, all we TRULY NEED is Jesus, and I already have him in my life and heart, so honestly, I am complete. Yet, we are fallible humans and my lack of trust in the Lord is a constant struggle.
So, 2015. Here we come. I realize I will fail some days, but overall, I am doing my best to be content with everything I have and need. These verses from Paul will be my yearly reminder:
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)
Snuggling with a not-so-happy Jake
One of my favorite new scents is the sweet, sticky smell of sweat and dried slobbery boy-just-woken-up. It’s a horrendously pleasant scent that I have come to associate with a whole new dimension of love.
As the new year begins, I’ve been able to inhale that scent many times. The last few weeks have been wonderful – staying home, lounging, snuggling – but these habits in between Christmases and traveling have made Wesley’s sleep patterns completely off-kilter. During these two weeks, some days he’ll nap 3 hours and be super cuddly the rest of the day. Inhale scent. Other days, he’ll fuss and scream and/or talk to himself for an hour in bed. Team no nap!
This week, in particular, he’s had lots of trouble going to bed at night. Typically he’s exhausted after a full day of school, and he usually is ready for bed shortly after dinner and watching “Brian.” That’s Brian Williams. He loves that guy. And has been very disappointed that he is on vacation over the holidays. “Where’s Brian?!” Anyway. It’s been a week of restlessness and stalling and crying from the bedroom. He actually STAYED UP for New Year’s, which is crazy, and was up nearly that long last night until he finally fell asleep with me in our bed, post-Benadryl.
But, “since we’ve no place to go” (it’s snowing today), I really don’t mind that he’s wanting/needing extra attention so much. Oh, I know next week is going to be rough as we adjust back to normal routine, but I’ve enjoyed spending precious moments rocking and holding my little boy. He is too long for my lap, so we have to get creative these days. My favorite is squeezing in his little crib-sized toddler bed and whispering secrets to each other. Sometimes we recite whole verses of Jingle Bells in a hushed voice. I breathe in the scent of tired kid and it relaxes me enough to dose off right alongside that boy.
It’s been a great winter break. If nothing else, it’s shown me my New Year Resolution. I’m going to be an attentive mom for my son. I will listen and be available. Not that he will be spoiled, but he will know that he can confide in his parents as he continues to grow. It does me well, too. He helps me keep my head on straight. That pleasant dirty scent may not always appeal to me – especially once hormones change! – but right now, it’s delightful.
Posted: January 2nd, 2014
Comments: 1 Comment
I didn’t realize how much I needed this break. We’ve mostly read, spent time with family and played on the floor with Wes. I’m pretty sure Wes needed this break, too, because he’s slept much better at night (daytime sleep is still iffy) AND he’s finally rolled over! And to top it off, he decided to take it one step further and is sitting up really well. Of course we have pillows all over the place for when his balance sways, but it’s so much more fun now that he’s able to grab his toys while sitting. We can entertain him for a pretty good amount of time this way!
Christmas was so fun. Wes was a little overwhelmed by it all, but he enjoyed watching all the paper thrown around everywhere, the lit candles and eating apples, bananas and sweet potatoes for the first time. Santa was super generous this year.
My To Do List for the week was pretty simple (that way I could actually accomplish everything and not feel guilty if it was too overambitious). In no particular order:
– clean bathtub/obliterate rust stains
– take down tree & put Christmas decor away
– find homes for Christmas toys & gifts somewhere in the house
– take Wes’ 5-month photos (I didn’t have the nice camera, so I had to take them outside. It was snowing and made super cute shots!)
– update Baby Journal
– work on Joy’s House calendar design
– spend Christmas money on clothes for me!
I’m proud to say that I have nearly all of these items accomplished with days to spare! I feel productive, which is important for me even while on “vacation.” Now I’m looking ahead to 2012 and how to make it as successful, efficient, productive and fun. Some of our Christmas presents (and Pinterest, of course) helped me shape what I want to focus on for the coming year.
1) We got a deep freeze from my parents! WHOA, I know, it sounds crazy ridiculous, but I’m waaaay stoked about this. We had to be creative on how to maneuver it into the basement, but there it sits, humming away, and it makes me want to FILL it with STUFF to STORE. I’ve known since I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to make baby food when the time came. I’m all oodles excited now that I have ample space to cook tons of food and freeze it to use as needed. I found some really amazing sites, like this one, through Pinterest, to get me started. Who knows if I’ll get geeky nuts about it, as it appears this blogger is, but regardless, it’s happening. My parents, along with my sister & her husband, are all going in together to buy half a steer, too. We’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but we really didn’t have the space before. EEEEEE, now we do! Lots of fresh beef a-comin’!
2) More visits to the Children’s Museum and Indianapolis Zoo. Wes is becoming much more aware and responsive, and I can only imagine how he’ll enjoy these two favorite venues, now that we have memberships (and grandparent memberships) to each. We’ve gone to the Children’s Museum a couple times with him before, but he was a “blob” then and slept the whole time. I want to make sure to set plenty of family time aside for us.
3) Read aloud more often. As much as I enjoy reading, I really haven’t done a very good job of reading to Wes. My neighbor purchases a new book for her 3-year-old daughter every month. This is an easy way to build up his library and make it fun as you build up.
4) Teach Wes to sign. Not much to say about this – I just think it’s fun, educational and most likely streamlines communication between kid & parent. (Also hoping for less tantrums!)
5) Personal resolutions:
– Practice contentedness. I’m tired of complaining and wanting, only to GET and still not be satisfied.
– Trust. Worry is written all over my face and all over my heart. It’s a no-brainer to just let God handle it.
– Pray for wisdom. I already do this, but not nearly enough. God has promised to give wisdom to all who ask – who wouldn’t want this amazing gift?
Mr. Chubs is awake now, so I am off to play blocks and cars on our freshly cleaned rug. Watching him learn is thrilling. Here’s to an exciting 2012!
Posted: December 30th, 2011
Tags: baby food
, New Year
Comments: 1 Comment