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.

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15

Who I am vs. who I’m “supposed” to be.

So. It finally happened.

I was on the phone, today, with a deceptively-kind-sounding salesman, when he said something that revealed the wolf beneath his sheep’s clothing.¬† He asked me what I ‘do,’ and I replied that I’m a stay-at-home-mom. This guy replies, “Ah, one of those ‘domestic engineers,’ eh? I laughed for about 15 minutes the first time I heard that one!”

Wait.

15 minutes? It’s not that funny. And not all that far from the truth.

Perhaps I was already on edge after reading an article that an acquaintance posted on the lovely Facebook (if you must read it, you can find it here). The gist of said article is that women who choose not to chase after a career for fulfillment are inferior to women who do.

Say what?! Oh no, she didn’t! (But yeah, she really, really did.)

So here’s this poor guy who’s just said exactly the wrong thing to me at exactly the wrong time. Only, I’ve never been faced with this situation before and never even considered how I would handle it because it wasn’t until reading this stupid article that I realized people actually still feel this way.

What a slap in the face. First, some lady writes some obnoxious article arguing that the role I chose to take on in my family contributes nothing to society, and then this guy, this stranger whom I have never spoken with before, laughs at the term ‘domestic engineer,’ as if to say, “Why on earth would you compare something that doesn’t require a college degree to something that someone without a college degree couldn’t possibly have the aptitude to understand?”

Wait, wait, wait… Let me give you some background information.

I got my discharge papers in the mail yesterday. My attempt to go back to school courtesy of the United States Army collapsed around me in the wake of a surprise pregnancy.¬† And BAM: the unspoken-of, not-so-happy ending to that story arrives yesterday via certified mail.¬† I am no longer a member of the military. My bonus? Gone. My GI Bill? Nope. That 97 I scored on the ASVAB? Doesn’t. Mean. Shit.

So the message that I’m some sort of failure isn’t just coming from all around me.

If I’m 100% honest, it’s coming from within me, too.

I am so disappointed in myself.¬† I am such an intelligent woman… I have test scores out the wazoo to prove it. So why the hell can’t I finish anything I start? Why can’t I be that person who powers through college and walks away with a diploma to show for it?

The truth is, it just doesn’t matter enough to me… And the reward isn’t worth the risk. What I’m afraid of (and I think many men and women of my generation can relate) is taking out loans, investing four to six years of my time, doing everything everyone has told me I “need” to do to get ahead – and coming out with a job that pays just over minimum wage. Or, worse, not being able to find a job at all.

There are five or six things I think I would enjoy doing, but the only thing I have ever known I needed to do, the only thing I’ve ever felt called to do, was to be a mother.¬† I know I’m¬†capable of graduating college.¬† I just can’t bring myself to give so much to something that matters so little to me. I’ve never been a career-minded person. I’ve always felt most alive with family.

I don’t know that I need to justify this to anyone else. After feeling angry over the whole deal for a couple of hours, I decided Ms. Amy Glass and Mr. Salesman-guy can suck it.

Sadly, I do feel like I need to justify it to myself.

So:

Dear Lindsay,

You are doing something so very worthwhile.¬† If you need a reminder, just look at the man who’s closest to you – look at the hurt he’s suffered at the hands of a woman who should have made sure he only ever knew what it felt like to be loved.¬† This world needs more mommies.¬† Its children need hugs when they’re afraid. They need someone to take their picture, so they know they’re worth remembering. Someone who will stop anything she is doing at any time to make whatever is wrong, right.¬†They need someone to accept them just as they are, wherever they may be. They need to know that, yes, they can make mistakes, and yes, they are still worth loving. Someone in their lives has to take the time to create opportunities for memory-making. Someone has to perfect the art of making a house a home. Someone has to be patient enough to recognize that even though all of the little things she’s doing can sometimes feel like ‘nothing,’ together they add up to something really, really important…

…Love.

I know that sometimes you feel like no one sees the things that you do. No one recognizes the value in the person who washes the dishes and does the laundry and makes the beds and cooks the meals. No one sees the sacrifices you make for your mission, your goal.

But God does.

Please know that everything He’s brought you through up until this point has prepared you for this, and you will not fail. This is what you were created to do. Sometimes you wish you were one of ‘those’ people, and that’s okay. Go ahead and let yourself feel that way if you must. But after you’ve felt it, let it go. You are right where you need to be.

Maybe the people you’ve loved will, one day, recognize just how much of yourself you’ve given. But probably, they will never fully understand.¬† And that’s okay, too. What you are doing has a forever impact. An eternal impact. For now, make peace with not always being able to see the big picture. And quit trying to change your ‘stripes.’ You are more than enough.

Hugs and kisses,

Me

1

Kick me, baby, one more time!

Today, I am a proud mama! Last night, I was watching American Idol with my mother, lying on my back with my palm on the bump just below my bellybutton. ¬†Candice Glover was singing a song by The Cure, and my Tiny Dancer must have loved her voice, because I felt the teensiest little ‘thump’ on my hand!¬†Twice! So of course, I promptly freaked out, and grabbed my mom’s hand, and she felt it, too. ¬†By then, I was in tears, and my heart was racing, because in one single moment I realized that all of the mood swings, and breakouts, and morning sickness, and looking like I’ve eaten one too many cheeseburgers, and the constant fear that I will lose this one, too –¬†it was worth it.¬†There is, in fact, a baby in there, and it’s strong enough to kick my belly!

No, my fear won’t go away until I have a living, breathing,¬†healthy baby in my arms. In fact, as all of this was going on, I had to push the thought out of my mind that maybe Baby is allergic to the peanuts in my Peanut Buster Parfait. ¬†But, as I’ve learned, God has His hand in everything. ¬†It’s out of my hands and, thankfully, into those of One much more competent than I. ¬†All I can do is love my child with everything that I am. ¬†And pray.

…And maybe lay off the Peanut Buster Parfaits.

Parting words of wisdom: Storms have a way of teaching what nothing else can.