1

Crying it out.

EDIT: I just re-read this, and I realized I didn’t make this very clear – we never let Kenneth cry it out, which is why this particular episode was so painful for me! Please don’t think I’m promoting this practice in any way ūüôā Love on those babies, mamas!

Last night, as I was leaving the church parking lot, baby began screaming his lungs out and just would. Not. Stop. Even after I pulled over to feed him and comfort him, he continued to sob. I made it halfway home before I called my husband – “What do I do? Is there something wrong with him? Can you meet us somewhere?” I felt completely lost and, for the first time in a long time, like an inadequate mommy.

“Turn the music up,” he said. “He’ll be okay. He’s just tired, he’s had a long day. Don’t get anxious, that’ll only make it worse.” So that’s what I did. I listened to him bawl in his carseat, then to his little hiccups as he gave up screaming and his breaths steadied.¬† My heart rate began coming down, and I started thinking clearly again.

I wonder if this is what God feels like when he listens to me crying it out?

When I considered the last 24 hours, I knew that was exactly right. Yesterday, and the day before that, felt very much like a nightmare.

Things in our marriage had come to a tipping point.¬† I’ll spare you all of the ugly details, suffice it to say that both my husband and I felt hurt and that things were beyond salvaging.¬† I wasn’t convinced it was time to give up, and though in my heart things felt hopeless, I held onto this insane conviction that we weren’t brought together to be torn apart. He, on the other hand, was very much ready to walk away.

We went to two counselors yesterday, and at the second appointment, the counselor asked to speak to him alone. I took baby out to the lobby, and we played and giggled and laughed. But the nagging feeling that my future was hanging in the balance swept over me each time I glanced at the clock. An hour passed. An hour and ten minutes. Fifteen. Twenty. Finally, the door opened. We discussed continuing counseling, then returned to the lobby and made separate appointments for ourselves.

I don’t know what was said behind those doors, but when we got out to the parking lot, my husband spoke to me. I don’t even remember what he said to me at that point. I just remember the kindness and compassion in his voice that I’d been longing to hear since the very beginning of us. He had hope again.

Have you ever felt relief in every bone of your body? When baby finally stopped crying last night, I felt it all at once. I’m just so glad that when my life feels like a nightmare, and when I can’t imagine that anything good could possibly come out of the wreckage, and when I can do nothing but cry it out…

God is not inadequate. He knows exactly what I need. He’s walked this earth, and knows exactly how I feel. He’s powerful enough to mend my brokenness. And merciful enough to wrap his healing arms around me.

When I question my faith, and question if my God is truly bigger than THIS, whatever ‘this’ may be, he never fails to amaze me. Yesterday, after my husband and I took a step in the same direction for the first time in, well, what seems like forever, I was overwhelmingly amazed. And relieved. And so, so thankful.

3

Seasons and surrender.

Today at the library I checked out a book on color schemes. We’re finally starting to decorate our house, and I’m loving how it’s coming along. The furniture, the colors, the textures. Everything says ‘cozy,’ and it’s becoming a place I’m proud of and a place I want to be.

Of course, with all of the changes, there’s this voice¬†in the back of my head reminding me of the very real chance that in two years the army may decide to relocate us. If not, then my husband only has two more years before he retires, and then who knows where we’ll end up.

So tonight, as I’m cuddling with my main men in bed, my mind wanders – when it’s time to move on, what will I miss most about this house? And the answer is immediate: this is where we brought home our baby.

Suddenly, I want to go back in time and undo all of the changes we’ve made.¬† Here I am, correcting all of the ‘imperfections’ in my environment, not realizing that one day I will look back and associate them with September 1st, 2013 – the day our lives gained another level of purpose.

Yes, I want to be comfortable in the house I’m living in. But I wish I had at least documented the way things were before. Was it pretty? No. But it was a symbol of that chapter of our lives.

I know exactly how I will picture it in my brain forever:

The post-baby-hibernation-mess that happens when you haven’t left the house for weeks because you’re learning how to care for another human being. (Burp cloths stashed in every corner!)

The embrace of stillness as my universe, all 7 lbs 12 oz of it, rested peacefully on my chest.

The ever-present dim lighting, making it feel like it was always a varying degree of nighttime.

Maneuvering through laundry piles to rescue a distressed newborn at three in the morning.

The rigid tension in the air those nights he refused to sleep and I thought it might kill me.

I’ve heard women comment, occasionally, on their fear that they won’t be able to love their second baby as much as their first. At the time, I remember thinking something like, “Well that’s just silly! Of course you’d love your second as much, right? Isn’t that innate?” But now, I understand. Kenneth and I, we’re battle buddies. We learned something scary and new together. We figured each other out, and he was patient with me as I knocked down the walls that allowed me to meet his emotional needs. Now we have this bond, this crazy-insane bond, and I can’t imagine what it would take to build something similar with number two – to be honest, I can’t imagine why I’d invite another family member into this nicely-balanced triad we have going. Gosh, that sounds so mean! (Future second child, I apologize to you!)

But I digress. I suppose what I’m trying to say is, time goes by so fast. Before you know what’s happening, your walls are a different color. And ya know what happens next? You’re packing up the house you brought your baby home to and moving across the country.

During the aforementioned cuddle session with my boys, I had my hand on Kenneth’s little foot, and as he startled he brushed my hand with the toes of his free foot. I was reminded of the butterfly-kicks in my belly, before¬† I’d ever laid eyes on those precious little toes. Holding his little feet, I would have given anything to live in that moment forever. Or even to stop time just for a little while. Instead, I’ll go back to bed, and fall asleep praying that he won’t be all grown up when I open my eyes in the morning.

Aside
5

Disclaimer: A page worth of self-pity follows this sentence.

Does anyone remember Xanga?

I’m about to divulge my insecurities, which briefly took me back to high school, which reminded me of that wonderful web-diary where I jabbered self-indulgently about which girl had said what to me that week at school, and how long I’d spent on the phone with my boyfriend each night. Ahh, those were the days…

I wish someone had told me that high school isn’t actually so¬†different from the ‘real world.’

I still feel like I’m being judged by every girl I meet. ¬†Like it’s some sort of competition or something. ¬†Ridiculous, right? It’s not like I’m an adult, or anything…

I just find it a bit outrageous that I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning to get ready for a play date. When I say ‘get ready,’ I mean I spent an hour and a half showering, shaving, putting on makeup, styling my hair… I put on perfume, for Christ’s sake! And made sure I had on the proper number of accessories. Needless to say, I put more effort into preparing to hang out with these girls for 3 hours than I do on a daily basis for my poor husband.

This is only the third play date I’ve been to, and the first was at the mall. ¬†But the last two times, both houses of the hostesses have been¬†perfectly¬†clean, with candles lit, a spread of food – today’s even featured a Valentine craft.

…Okay, the craft was cute and I’m glad that we did it, but seriously!? I’m not Martha Fucking Stewart and I’m gonna stop going to these silly things because A) my son can’t even crawl, much less play and B) I leave feeling terrible about myself! Who¬†are¬†these people? Last time I checked, we live in Florida, not Connecticut.

Am I the only mommy out there who doesn’t always have a face and house and hair that are perfectly put together? Is it wrong for me to feel like I’m being ‘fake’ with these people? I wanna make friends here and everything, but I don’t wanna clean my house for hours before I invite them over!

Before I got married, I waited at least three or four dates into a ‘relationship’ before letting the guy see me without makeup. I am three play dates into this mommy-group, and still wearing a mask.¬† Does that say something, or is this charade what ‘normal’ people do every day? I just don’t know! It certainly doesn’t come easily to me – if you’ve read any of this blog, you know I have a vested interest in keeping things real. But I’ve never moved anywhere new, and never had to work at making new friends.

Days like today, I’d give anything to be back home and see something familiar. When I left the house this morning, I realized I’d memorized where the exits were between here and the next suburb over, and that felt like a milestone to me. Like this was starting to become home.

And then I tried to fit into this group of people that just aren’t my people, and I realized how much it would mean to me to raise my baby and grow my family around people who already love us.¬† I guess I took some things for granted – I never knew love and friendship were such hard work.