Processing through Writing

Friday, November 11, 2016 1 Comments A+ a-

I have been processing this election since I heard the official results at 3:00am on Wednesday morning. Before I continue, I need to mention that he was not my candidate. Neither was I with her. In my humble opinion, the two parties presented us with horrific, corrupt, morally bankrupt candidates. In my humble opinion, it was a lose-lose situation and I was tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. So I took my vote elsewhere.

I'm trying to see both sides of this situation, and I'm trying to still see the good in my fellow man. I know there are folks who voted for him based solely on the divisive things he said and promised. But I don't know those people personally. While I couldn't stomach the idea of voting for him, I know there were people who were more afraid of her than him. And I think if we're honest, a majority of people voted for her, out of fear of him. I'm not so naive to believe racism, misogyny, and xenophobia doesn't exist. I know it's out there, and it breaks my heart. But as I look around me, I cannot apply those labels liberally and without evidence on my neighbors, friends, families, and coworkers. Whether you want to admit it or not, WE all put Trump in office. Neither party presented us with a choice that deserves the highest office. We created this maelstrom, and now my question to you is, what are we going to do about it?

We don't know what he's going to do in office. Did he mean the hateful and divisive things he said? Or was it more political rhetoric to get the vote? We don't know yet. But based on the things he said and promised during his campaign, we HAVE to understand that there is legitimate and genuine fear in those around us. We don't have the right to dismiss those fears. If you are not afraid of what Trump will do in office, then you are not one of the groups that he promised to deport or keep out by building a wall. If it's not political rhetoric and he truly intends to fulfill those promises, then we have a responsibility to stand between the crazy man and our neighbors, and promise, "Not on our watch." You may not have cast your vote for him, but how you react and choose to respond IS on you. Do you tuck tail and run to another country? Or will you stay and fight for the marginalized?

I believe a time of reckoning has come for our country. How we respond will speak volumes to those around us and I, for one, am choosing to believe in mankind. It may be naive, it may seem foolish, but I'm going to choose to believe that there is good in this world, in this country, in my fellow man, and that somehow we'll find our way back. Together.

A lil' Parenting Truth

Thursday, July 21, 2016 1 Comments A+ a-

Ok, my Loves, I have a secret I need to share with you. Come in closer… just a little bit closer… trust me, it’s a secret worth knowing… are you ready?

Your father and I? The ones who tucked you into a baby carrier and brought you home from the hospital, the ones whose names are listed on your birth certificates, you know, the ones who gave you life?

*deep breath*

The truth is, Loves, we have no freaking clue what we’re doing.

I think that thought first crossed my mind about the time that we stood in the entryway of the hospital with a screaming, newborn Devyn (who by the way, obviously HATED her car seat) and actually considered the idea of taking our 3-day-old daughter out of the hated contraption and instead hold her in my arms on our drive home. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed (in the form of one father-in-law who vetoed said idea) and we suffered through her first car ride together. But in that moment, when I debated her comfort over her well-being, I leaned over to Jon and whispered, “They’re actually letting us leave with a baby?! Do they not know that we have NO idea what we're doing?! Whose bright idea was this again?”

My Loves, I’ve decided that this parenting gig is just one big guessing game after another. Your father and I have struggled through decision after decision, all with one goal in mind, to mold you into responsible, loving, and caring human beings. At first the decisions seemed so big and so important. Would we do an all-natural birth, or go the route of drugs? Cloth diapers or disposal? Would we ascribe to the “breast is best” theory, or would we use formula? And that was just the tip of the iceberg… From there we were inundated with well-meaning advice about schooling, discipline tactics, working or staying at home, and we can’t forget the hot-button topic of immunizations. Each decision felt so heavy and weighted, as though these decisions had the ability to make or break our tiny humans. And for a while there, I can tell you that we ascribed to that mentality and defended each of these decisions with passion and conviction.

But let’s fast forward, shall we? After almost twelve years of parenting, we have been humbled over and over again. It’s been twelve years of your parents exchanging look after look after look, and asking ourselves, “What do we do now?” What worked for one child, did not work for another, and what worked one day, didn’t work the next. It’s been the largest carnival ride of our lives, and we’re never quite sure if we’re heading for the hill of “we got this, we’re totally on top of our parenting game”, or if we’re about to plummet into another “where did we go wrong, how are we going to fix this” pit. You’ve kept it interesting, my Loves.

And while it’s true that we have no clue what we’re doing, let me assure you of this. Our goal is still that you grow into kind, loving, and responsible adults. Outside of that, everything else is a bonus. And when we’re in the midst of a heated fight, where emotions are high and the ability to agree is elusive, remember that we still have a greater goal in mind, YOU being that greater goal.

All of the parenting decisions I mentioned above, in reality, none of them can guarantee that you’ll turn into the kind of adults that will be successful and a contributing member of society. They can help shape who you become, sure, but can't offer a single guarantee. So instead your father and I forced to deal with the heart of who you are, as individuals. What one of you struggles with, the others will not. When it seems that one child is getting the better end of the bargain, rest assured that Dad and I are in fact losing sleep over the heart issues of that child too. And when it seems that we’re being exceptionally hard on you, please keep in mind two things…
  1. That even though we have no clue what we’re doing, we are doing our absolute best.
  2. There might be things that we see in you that remind us of our own struggles. If we’re hard on you, it’s because we know it’s better for you to learn these heart lessons now, instead of learning these lessons in ways we wish we could have avoided.

Here we are, on the precipice of middle school and teenage years. And just like all the other stages, I’m convinced of a several things. There will be triumphs and struggles, there will be moments of joy and of despair, and there will be times that Dad and I will marvel at the people you’re becoming. But the greatest certainty is that in the dark of night, where we lay head-to-head and talk about our day, we will have our greatest moments of doubt and will still confess that we have no idea what we’re doing.

Oh my Loves, you have been our greatest adventure. And we couldn't imagine being, nor want to be, anywhere else but here with you...

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Back to Work I Go

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 3 Comments A+ a-

On March 25, 2010, I submitted my resignation to become a stay-at-home mom. Then on March 25, 2016, exactly six years later and one job offer later, I completed new employee paperwork. And to make it even more ironic, I’m returning to the same place I worked for eleven years. 

In early March, in the midst of a social media fast,I randomly checked my FB account.  (Truth be told, I clicked on the link accidentally.)  I noticed a message from a former coworker of mine, saying she wanted to run something by me and asked if I could give her a call. Intrigued, I gave her a call and we discussed some issues that the department was having, and she wondered if I’d be open to coming back to work, on a temporary, part-time basis. What she needed involved a couple of different hats: graphic design, public relations, marketing, and web development. In a nutshell, it was the job of my dreams! 

Jon and I spent the next three weeks discussing this opportunity. We sought counsel from family and friends, we prayed about it, we had family meetings, and essentially, everything was coming back in the affirmative. The kids were on board as long as I could drop them off at school and pick them up, and with the flexibility that I’m being given, will allow for that. Jon is thrilled that I’m getting the opportunity and I feel so supported in saying yes. 

Six years ago, I said that it felt like God was strategically moving around chess pieces so that I could quit my job to stay-at-home with little ones. And before I ever received a FB message, I told Jon that the things that were taking place in our own lives and at his job felt eerily similar to 2010. Weeks later and I find myself still amazed at this new direction He’s taking us.

I start work on Monday, and I’m nervous and terrified, and so, so excited. Six years is a long time to be out of the workforce, and truth be told, we had no plans for me to go back to work any time soon. The Lord knew it would have to be the perfect job and opportunity, and He provided it. Even the details for childcare have fallen seamlessly into place. We feel so fortunate to have family and friends who love my children as much as they do. 

But please, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during these next few weeks. As exciting as this is, I know there’s going to be a transition period and there will be a few bumps to iron out. I asked Hudson the other day if he had any concerns about me returning to work, and his reply left a goofy grin on my face. “Nah, as long as you still pick me from school, I don’t care. Oh, and as long as you have fun too.” Kid, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

New Season, New Changes

Sunday, March 13, 2016 3 Comments A+ a-

I blinked.

I don’t remember blinking, but I must have.  Life was going along smoothly, well as smoothly as is possible with four children.  We’d hit a stride, settled into a nice routine of school, homework, food, sleep… repeat.  School breaks and summers were laidback and restful, no longer a slave to scheduled feedings, naps, or diaper changes.  It was a beautiful thing, and I’ll always remember those short years with fondness.

Because I blinked, and I suddenly find my life and the lives of the Littles in a rapid, fast-forward acceleration.  

My oldest, my baby, the one who made me a mom, has grown into a full-blown teenager, complete with teenage angst and hormones.  We registered her for middle school, had THE talk (several times and all to her horror and dismay), she chose the viola for orchestra next year, and has joined a local, competitive swim team.  I want nothing more than to ask to be let off this crazy ride, because I truly don’t remember giving anyone permission to grow up.
Reagan’s soccer team begin practicing next week, and Hudson’s football team begins practices the week after that.  Ashlynn registered for kindergarten and received an award from her preschool teacher, all in the same week.  Reagan and Hudson participated in a photo shoot for a friend’s company, and then we discovered that Ashlynn needs to have her tonsils and adenoids removed due to sleep apnea.  Oy vey.

I’m looking at the family calendar and as I process the color coded appointments, sports practices and games, as I coordinate carpooling with friends and make lists of things to buy and do, and somehow try to squeeze in time to breathe, I realize that we’ve entered a new season of life.  I can dread it and drag my feet, kicking and screaming, refusing to let go of my grasp on a season that’s slipping through my fingers anyway… or I can embrace it.  And while I know this new season will have its hard stuff (hello crazy schedules!), I am also relishing grownup conversations with maturing children and investing in their passions and strengths.  I’m watching sibling relationships grow closer, I’m experiencing a little more freedom as I allow Devyn to babysit during short errands.  And if I truly believe in giving our children wings and roots, then we’re coming up on some formative years as they start testing those wings.

This new season also proves that every time I think I have this parenting thing figured out, life decides to shake it up a little.  Every. single. time.