I remember it so vividly. It’s about 10pm and I am standing over my 3 week old baby’s bassinet. I am frozen. I have just laid him down, he’s fast asleep and I can’t make a decision. I can’t decide if I should turn on the rocker to the bassinet or let it be still. While I could laugh and chalk this up to the indecisiveness of my Gemini nature, this dives a lot deeper. This is a frozen with fear moment that a year later, I still remember.
As I stood there, the following thoughts went galavanting through my brain:
What if I turn on the rocker and then he gets used to it, and when I put him in his crib when he’s older he doesn’t sleep because cribs don’t rock back and forth!?
What if I don’t turn it on and he can’t fall asleep and then he wakes up in 5 minutes, and this goes on for hours on end and I never sleep ever again in my whole entire life!?
What if I start the rocker and then for the rest of his life he needs to be rocked to sleep by me until he gets married, then he needs his wife to rock him to sleep and then she hates me because it’s a weird thing to have to rock a grown man to sleep!?
What if I don’t turn it on and 37 years from now he’s in a therapist’s office talking about how he would be a more well adjusted adult if his Mom used the rocker on the bassinet when he was a baby!?
This went on for a solid three minutes, all the while I just stood there staring like a sleep-deprived, fearful, first-time, never-done-this-before-in-my-whole-life Mom. Hubbz comes in and gently asks if I need anything. I reply that I am afraid of breaking our tiny human because I don’t know if I should turn the rocker on or not.
While all of these seem like irrational thoughts, I can assure you, in that moment they were not the least bit irrational. I was a new Mommy who was paralyzed with fear that I was doing it so very wrong. I was parenting out of fear of messing up my kid. I was parenting out of fear that I was going to royally jack something up. I was parenting out of fear that people were going to judge me for doing it wrong.
Our son turns 1 today.
To this day I can’t remember what we ever decided about that bassinet, and you will be happy to know, I didn’t break our tiny human! He’s a well-adjusted, happy, thriving, very strong (in strength and will) little boy. At some point in this past year a gradual change happened. I am unsure of the moment but somewhere along the way, I stopped parenting out of fear and started parenting out of love. Instead of parenting with fear driving my decisions, I began parenting with love leading the way. I realized that I don’t have all the answers and on this side of Heaven, I never will. Things are going to happen in life and I am going to screw up as a Mommy. For those moments, there’s grace.
Hubbz and I watched a parenting conference through our church recently (you can watch the first session free) and it talked about the purpose of parenting and who we are as parents. The only way baby boy is going to learn about grace, forgiveness and love is by what we show him. Children learn by what they see and experience. While this seems super #basic, it’s one of the most profound statements about parenting. As my sweet baby boy grows into a one year-old, I have to lay down the need to make it all appear perfect and more than that, I have to lay down the need to make it feel perfect in my heart. Sometimes being a parent doesn’t feel good. It’s telling him “no” when he wants to have his way (because I have this deep yearning to spoil him but I know that’s not healthy for him), it’s being firm in that “no” when he shows his temper (Lord, have mercy, he got his Mama’s strong-will and loud mouth #mykarma), it’s walking side-by-side with your husband and letting him lead as the head of the home (ummm super-duper hard for me because #ilikemyway), and sometimes it’s doing all of this while being deprived of sleep and/or personal time (Ugh. Just Ugh. #ugh).
As my baby boy finishes his first year on the planet, I think back on this first year as parents. We laughed, we cried, we said a lot of what the ‘effing ‘effs. Sometimes I questioned what I was doing and other times I felt like I had it under control. I am going to venture to say that while marriage is hard, being married with a kid is even harder. There are so many more variables that you literally have zero control of. We learned baby poop cleans nicely off leather seats and there is such a thing as phantom baby puke… All of a sudden it’s just there without warning. According to our son, bath time is the best time to pee. Speaking of pee, Apple watches are apparently pee-proof (though I wouldn’t purposely test that one). There have been ups and downs, disagreements and high-fives… Sometimes these things happened all in the same day. We are far from having it figured out but I believe in my heart we make the best team. Somewhere along the way we got very clear on our commitment to the endgame of a happy, healthy, God-centered home. It’s something that requires dedication, intentionality and so much prayer.
Almost a year ago, I stood paralyzed with fear over over the bassinet of my 3 week old son. As we wrap up this first year, I am certain that we got here only by the grace of God. Even when it seems hard, and we don’t have all the answers, He is working his infinite plan and it is so unbelievably good.
So much changes in an instant… Give it 2 years and life as you knew it can become unrecognizable. The post below showed up on my Facebook memories today from two years ago (Thanks Facebook for that trip down memory lane.) I am humbled where my life is at. I am humbled by this little boy that I call my son. I am humbled by the works God has accomplished through faith in him.
I urge you sweet friends, whatever you are going through, keep going!
The infertility that breaks you.
The marriage that is falling apart.
The financials that don’t make ends meet.
The job that you hate.
Whatever your struggle, KEEP GOING.
From the gut of my soul, I urge you to keep pressing on.
Keep pushing through the pain that you might not entirely understand. Where you are today is not where you will end up. Two years ago today, I sat in my living room with a broken heart. I was doubtful, sad and angry. I didn’t understand it and if we can be super honest I was certain in some ways that God was punishing me for being a crappy human. In the end, God took me through the struggle and as sure as I am sitting here today, he used it all for good. ALL OF IT FOR GOOD.
Keep going my sweet friends.
God’s got this.
Truths Discovered on My Journey to the Mommy Club
published September 28, 2015
Saturday night finds us posted up in our usual spot at church. The church is full. The message? A message on truth. Fancy that. The reason we showed up here tonight was because we (rather, I) needed a little unwavering truth in my life. Summer has been busy and football Saturday’s sometimes pull us away from being at church. We catch up with the messages that we stream online but sometimes your soul just needs to be here.
The lights dim, the band begins, my eyes see the words but my heart isn’t in this tonight and I can’t bring myself to move my lips to the words. I listen. I feel the words permeate the hurt. I wait for the hurt to lift… And it doesn’t. If anything it gets worse because now I am beating myself up for being ungrateful. I have a beautiful life. I have more love around me than I know what to do with most days. I have a great job, I am healthy, I have family and friends that are amazing… But this sadness is nagging at me. The music ends and as if on cue a baby cries from somewhere over my right shoulder. My heart aches to be able to comfort a baby. An adorable little human to call our own.
God, I’m really mad at you. God, I don’t agree with your will right now. God, I have a plan. I feel like you’ve turned your back on me, God. Do you even love me, God?
Our pastor comes up to deliver a message on truth.
He covers the History of the Bible to make sure we get the undeniable validity and truth of the book. And then…
“You’re here tonight for something.”
“You’re looking for something and it’s in here!” As he raises his bible.
Ok, you have my attention, God.
Our pastor read Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
His good, pleasing and perfect will… I’m listening, God.
“Be conformed by the world or be transformed by the word. God uses the word to change the way we think.”
So what am I supposed to do?
That’s it, God? That’s all you have for me? I am going through the most difficult time in my life and your advice to me is to read the bible!?
Is this a joke!?
The pastor finishes his message and the band plays.
How great is our God,
Sing with me how great is our God,
And all will see how great,
How great is our God.
Not gunna lie, I grumbled… All the way home.
I sat on the couch next to Hubbz and I opened the Book of Truth.
Alright God… I’m reading.
I flip to Romans because it’s heavy and right now, I need heavy. I need some solid truths to snap me out of this doubt and sadness that’s literally tearing me apart.
God leads with Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.”
My ears have perked up, God… Where are you going with this?
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
So let me process this here… I love God. And since this book is my Truth then that means God will work all things for good.
All things? ALL THINGS.
Even sad things? ALL THINGS.
Even the hard things? ALL THINGS.
Even infertility things? ALL. THINGS.
In that moment I looked up, tears streaming down my cheeks, the truth permeating deep into my soul. I don’t know if we will ever have a baby or not but I do know we serve a God who works all things for the good of those who love him. Regardless of the outcome, it will be good.
I look over at my now sleeping husband and our pup asleep on his chest.
A peace has began to replace the sadness.
The ache in my heart isn’t gone but it has began to subside.
In this moment I imagine God giving me a wink and saying “I got you.”
I take a deep breath, one that fills my belly.
I exhale and as if on cue, the words fill my brain…
How great is our God,
Sing with me how great is our God,
And all will see how great,
How great is our God.
I sit in the big comfy lay-z-boy recliner in his room and I rock him. The shades are drawn, the lights are off. The gentle hum of his sound machine fills the room. He’s cuddled up close to me. I can feel his not-so-little body relax, slowly letting go of his day and drifting into a nighttime sleep. Oh kid, you’ve taken my idea of what it means to live and thrown it directly out the window. I sit rocking him in this cozy place and get lost in my thoughts…
For a long, long time, I thought to live meant to take fancy vacations to places that you had to roll your tongue to pronounce correctly. I thought it meant oscar-style filet dinners and bougie bottles of champagne. (What can I say… #ChampsDrinkChamps) 😎 In all seriousness, to tell one on myself, for a long time, for me, a well-lived life was measured by the fancy things in it. Sweet baby boy, you’ve given me a new perspective on that and it’s literally blown my mind.
Life is lived on Saturday mornings when Daddy gets you from your room and brings you into bed with us. It’s lived by being woken up to your drool on my cheek and your sweet fingers touching my sleepy face.
Life is lived over dinners on the deck under our little canopy. Your daddy grilling turkey burgers while you let me hold you in my lap as the summer breeze tickles our faces. At dinner time a bite for you, a bite for me. That’s how we eat around here these days and it’s beautiful.
Life is lived on walks around the neighborhood. Daddy and I catch up on our day and you, sweet guy, take your evening nap-a-doo. It is in this space that we pause every so often to look down and you and fawn over how adorable you are snoozing in your stroller.
Life is lived on random Friday nights that are no longer filled with wine and dancing. Instead they are filled with toys and giggles on the floor of your playroom. Daddy and I “ohh and ahh” over each new thing you do still not believing you are really ours. My favorite is when you do something new and your Daddy and I get to experience seeing it together. Our eyes meet and together we are amazed at you.
Baby boy when people used to talk about their kid being their favorite adventure I thought it was an adorable sentiment. Sweetheart, I can honestly say I had no idea the magnitude of what they even meant until now. Everyday with you is an adventure better than the day before. Sometimes I look at you and I want to pinch myself that you’re ours. I know I’m super biased because I made you, but I think you’re the raddest 11 month old on the planet.
I look down at you fast asleep in my arms. There are a million other things I could be doing right now- things that at one point in my life actually seemed so important. The DVR is full of a million things to one day watch. I’m not entirely sure what football game is on tv tonight. The dinner dishes are in the sink and there is laundry that needs to be folded in the dryer. I watch the rise and fall of your chest as you dream all the things little boys dream. Your body is relaxed and the day has faded away. I’m supposed to put you in your crib because all the books caution against rocking you to sleep. I can safely say I threw caution to the wind on that one because you’re only a little boy once.
Sweet buddy, you took my idea of life and flipped it on it’s head. I have never, ever, ever been so grateful for anything in my entire life. You are truly our greatest adventure.
We spent a glorious Saturday in the Land of Sparta. Hubbz, Baby Boy, my bestie and I gallivanted from patios to campus and everywhere in between. It was Welcome Weekend on the greatest campus in all the land. There were families everywhere dropping off new and returning Spartans. As we walked down Grand River be-bopping in and out of shops, we passed a Mama wiping the tears from her eyes. As I pushed my not-so-little 10 month old in his stroller, my heart made a deep pang in my chest. My brain reminded me “18 years is just the blink of an eye.” Yes, I will be his Mama forever. Yes, I will nurture and dote on him until my last breath on this Earth. However, in the blink of an eye, I will be that Mama on Welcome Weekend wiping the tears because my baby boy won’t be a baby anymore, but a young man. He will be moving into his college dorm, embarking on his newest adventure before we know it. A sense of urgency strikes a spot deep in my soul to not let a moment pass without savoring him, without teaching him, without enjoying him.
We cross the street to campus and head to Sparty’s statue, because it’s Baby Boy’s first walk on campus and we need a photo with the greatest mascot in college sports. As we round the path to Spartacus, the thought hit me that this is going to be one of those side-by-side photos I will make in 18 years. The then and the now. This moment is a memory we will look back on and reminisce about.
How little he was…
How young we looked…
How easy life was back then…
On our way up the walk to the statue, a Mama passes me. Her, her husband and son had just taken their picture in front of Sparty. She smiles and waves at my Baby B. I tell her we have to take a photo now so in 18 years we can take another. All she is able to say is “this is my 18 year…” before she begins to cry. I stop in my tracks and turn to face her. I take off my sunglasses and look her right in the eye and tell her “Don’t worry Mama, we will take good care of him, I promise!” She looks at me kinda bewildered. I explain to her that I work at the university. I tell her about what I used to do on campus and all about the support systems in place for him. It turns out, her son will be affiliated with the college I work in. I meet her youngest son, one of our newest Spartans. I lead with “Welcome to the Land of Sparta!” I tell them how to reach me should he need anything at all. I love being a resource for students, but something deeper hit me this day. I’m a resource for Mama’s. It has never impacted me this hard until I had a child of my own. These students that are filling our campus this weekend are all someone’s baby. That fact that has driven my work has taken on a deeper meaning and made my heart for our students open more than it already was. Though my job is in communications, the calling on my life is in caring for and supporting our students.
In the gut of my soul, my heart feels full. We Mama’s just want the reassurance that our babies are going to be ok. No matter what stage in life, no matter how old they get. We just want to be at peace with the notion that they are safe and protected in a world that can be really hard sometimes.
I can’t be everywhere for our son and if we’re being honest, it’s not healthy for me to want to be. There is One that can though. I think about God and the miraculous things he has done. I think on the biblical truths that are blessed reassurance for our son’s future. I believe God orchestrates our lives and the people we come in contact with. My deepest hope and prayer for our son is that he walks with the Lord and his burden is light. I pray that God puts people in our son’s life that bless him and support him. 18 years will go by in the blink of an eye. My sense of urgency is heightened to not let a moment pass without savoring him, without teaching him, without enjoying him.
** Mommyhood has kept me busy and I have 72,463,795 half-written blog posts laying around. In an effort to share them, I will be posting them periodically on #TBT’s… Today is one of those #TBT’s. This was started about 8 months ago when baby boy was about a month old. Enjoy.
This morning as I sat and nursed my sweet little boy, while the rest of the house slept, I aimlessly flipped through my Facebook memories of this day. I love looking back and seeing how far life has taken me. There were a couple rough years embedded in those posts and to see how far I have come from such a rough time is a testament to the glory and goodness of the God I serve. Today’s look back was enough to bring me to my knees while tears of humble gratitude flow heavily from my eyeholes.
If you know our story you know the journey to the Mommy Club was a hard one. Infertility was our reality while trying to get pregnant and it was the most difficult road I have ever walked. Very early on this sweet Sunday morning, the day of our little boy’s baptism, I look back.
Facebook reminded me this morning of a blog post I posted one year ago today. I climbed up on a cold, hard hospital table and endured the worst infertility test of my life. I can now honestly say, it was a pain that made child birth seem like a walk in the park… No joke.
I still to this day have no idea why God picked Hubbz and I to go through the trials of infertility. I suspect it’s because God knew I would share our journey. There are so many couples on the same walk and so many of them don’t talk about it. There are women silently hurting and because of shame or embarrassment don’t talk about it. There is a stigma around infertility and I like to think that maybe in my little spot on this planet that I can help erase that stigma… Or at least shake it up a little. I like to think that our story can help others know they aren’t alone.
Infertility sucks. I can try and sugar coat it and look at the silver lining but at the end of the day, it sucks. It is through this helpless despair that I boast that there is a need for our God in our lives. A God who became human and endured the worst of the worst for you and for me. A God that sees, hears and understands all of it- even that thing you think he won’t understand- He gets it. A God that I have shaken my fists at and threatened to walk away from- yet a God that always showered me with mercy, love, grace and forgiveness.
I sit here on this Sunday morning, Baby Boy’s baptism day, and I am humbled. My sweet Hubbz asleep next to me and our little miracle fast asleep in my arms- I lean my head back and rest it on the headboard and I exhale.
God, you are mighty and your love is unfailing. In my shortcomings and pure human failure you bless me more than I deserve. I look back a year ago today and I am humbled at the profound goodness of your ways. I didn’t understand your ways and your timing but you have taken my immeasurable heartache and used it for good. You redeemed our hurts and our sadness a hundred times over. You God, are incredible and all I can do is bow my head, face my palms upward, and thank you. You are a mighty God that we serve.