This Parenting Thing is Bananas

Our son is almost two and watching a not-so tiny human learn the ways of the world has been fascinating. Being privy to seeing his mind work as he explores this planet for the first time has been one of the coolest things I have ever done. Recently our son was posted up in his big-guy chair at the table eating a banana. Since he’s at the stage in life where he basically thinks he’s 17, he no longer wants his bananas cut up and they must be whole. This fact alone makes my heart ache and I am confident next time I blink he will probably be driving or graduating or getting married… I die. I also digress.
My son was happily chomping away on his banana and it broke in two. If you know anything about almost two-year olds you know that basically when something doesn’t go their way they lose their adorable, insane, almost 2-year old minds. My son lost his bananas over a banana and there was literally nothing I could do to console him. The more I stood there trying to reason with him the worse it got. I showed him now he had two bananas, were before he only had one banana. I showed him how he could hold a banana in each hand and before he only had one banana for one hand. None of that mattered to him because nothing I said could put the banana back together and that was what he wanted. When none of my reasoning worked, I used every Mommy’s secret art- distraction. I pointed to an imaginary bird outside and fed him some eggies using airplane sounds that made him laugh. Disaster averted.
As I laid in bed that night reflecting on my day I replayed the drama over the banana. It got me thinking…
There are going to be many, many, many, more times in our son’s life that I’m simply not going to be able to put the pieces back together for him. This fact makes my heart do this weird palpitation thing and if I can be super transparent, it gives me mild anxiety. It also reminds me that I must cling so tight and white-knuckled to Proverbs 3:5… and while we are at it, probably verse 6 too.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
There is only one place that I can put my trust and confidence and that is firmly in the hands of Jesus. Real talk? Those words are cringe-worthy for a recovering-perfectionist. Not because I don’t believe it or know how but because I have a penchant to control things. Proverbs truth would require that I release my grip on situations and outcomes and hand them over to the Lord – completely.
While we were busy praying for BabyB, God was busy preparing our hearts to love this cool little dude he has entrusted us with. One thing that has become glaringly obvious these past two years is that our son is as strong and independent as a child can be. That independence is going to allow him to soar but it is also going to cause him to stumble. My job in those moments is to be there, steadfast in love, gently guiding his path and pointing him to the truths of God’s Word. I won’t always be able to put the pieces back together but I can point our son to a God that can.
The Terrible Twos have 110% descended on our home and it’s bananas more than it’s not some days. I am learning as I go, and though I like to pretend I do, I don’t have all the answers. What I do have though is a whole lot of faith, endless amounts of love, a repertoire of solid distraction techniques (LOOK! A birdie wearing an ascot!), and the ability to find the humor along the way. Though it may be bananas, I’ve decided that for now, for this season of life, I will leave my anxieties at the foot of the cross and cling to the Truth laid out in Proverbs 3. For this moment, that’s entirely enough.
CheersDez cursiveslope

Of Love and Flower Obsessions

I’m kind of a neurotic nut job when it comes to my plants. It isn’t entirely my fault. When I was growing-up my summer job, in addition to caddying loops at our local country club, was to water the flowers around the house on the regular… and my Ma had 739 million flowers. No joke. All of this time spent outside and countless summers later and I ended up with a bit of a green thumb. Fast forward a couple decades… I ended up being domestic AF and now have 739 million flowers of my own. For the past few years I’ve wanted one of those silly Flower Shower Wands to water my plants with. You know, they are those mini shower heads on the long pole that hooks up to your hose. You can easily water hanging baskets and they give a glorious soft rain-like drink of water to your plants… it’s beautiful and poetic all at the same time… I shit you not.
Though I have wanted one of these silly little Flower Shower Wands, I never bought one because I never wanted to spend the money on one- I am nothing if not frugal… though Hubbz may disagree. 😂 I was outside watering my plants one day and Hubbz showed up after running some errands with a smile on his face and a Flower Shower Wand in his hand. You guys, I literally ran across the yard, jumped up on him and hugged him so hard that I almost knocked him over… and right about now you’re like, uhh why is she blogging this?
Because, you guys, #marriage.
I’m the first to tell you unequivocally, marriage can horribly suck and make you question what the hell you were thinking. There are some days when my marriage vows are literally the most challenging thing I have ever tried to live up to. On the flipside, when I start living sacrificially to please Hubbz rather than myself, marriage ends up being the best thing I’ve ever done… also, let’s just mention living sacrificially goes against everything that is natural for every cell in my body. #realtalk
This seemingly small thing that Hubbz did on a random sunny day isn’t so small when you really look at it. This little prezzy meant he listened to me. It meant he intentionally paid attention to the things he heard me say. It means he prioritized something silly and possibly odd that I wanted. All of these things combined show me that he loves me (yes, I have read the 5 Love Languages and yes, one of my Love Languages is prezzys). 😉
I think about the marriage vows I promised this man and I think about the sacrificial love Hubbz shows me. Then I think about Jesus… because it all points back to Jesus. Hubbz is able to love me like he does- even when I don’t deserve it- especially when I don’t deserve it, because the man loves Jesus first. It’s through this love that he is able to extend love and grace to me. 1 Peter 4:8 tells us “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”.
Love covers where we fall short- because we are human and we always fall short.
Love covers when our humanity steps in and gets the best of us.
Love covers on the good days and on the bad ones.
Love covers for better or worse.
For richer or poorer.
In sickness and in health.
Love covers it all.
and I have the Flower Shower Wand to remind me.
CheersDez cursiveslope

Remembering 9/11

There are moments when we close our eyes and can be transported back to a place in time in an instant. The smells the sounds, the emotion, the people we were with- it’s all right there. September 11th, for me, is one of those moments.

I don’t remember much about September 10, 2001. I was living in my dorm and had just started my Freshman year on the beautiful campus of Michigan State University. I probably went to dinner with my roommates and worried about my classes and made plans for the upcoming weekend.

I don’t remember a lot about that Monday night, but I will never forget that Tuesday morning.

My roommates and I woke up to a blaring phone that wouldn’t stop ringing. Through our grumbles and confusion someone managed to stumble down off the loft and answer it. It was my roommates dad, frantically telling us to get out of bed and turn on the tv. As we wiped away the sleep from our eyes we sat there in our tiny little dorm room. We watched like the rest of the world, shocked, helpless and completely heartbroken for the events that were unfolding.

Sitting there watching life as we knew it fade away I was mixed with emotion and I needed to call my Ma. The instant she answered the phone I knew something wasn’t right. It was then I remembered my brother was with his friends in NYC. My heart fell out of my chest as I learned that no one could get a hold of him. That morning they were supposed to be on a tour of the World Trade Center. A tour that would have put them at the top of one of the towers when the planes hit.

God had a different plan for my brother and his friends on September 11, 2001. It was later that morning through jammed cell phone lines that my Ma was finally able to reach them. By only the incredible grace of God, their alarm never went off. As the world around them fell to pieces, they were safe and sleeping in their NYC hotel room.

The days that followed left us all glued to the tv. We felt utter heartbreak and devastation for our nation, for our American people. We watched over and over as the news stations delved deeper and deeper into the events that occurred. We banded together as a nation. We took events that were meant to tear us down and we let them strengthen us. Over time, we as Americans tried to wrap our minds around the devastation, emotion and destruction. I heard someone once say that we never got back to “normal” we just found a new normal.

911

Today I remember.

I remember the 2,977 victims and their families, friends and loved ones.

I remember American Airlines Flight 11.

I remember United Airlines Flight 175.

I remember the North and South Towers.

I remember American Airlines Flight 77.

I remember the Pentagon.

I remember United Airlines Flight 93.

I remember the fire fighters.

I remember the police officers.

I remember the families that were torn apart.

I remember our military that has defended us everyday since.

I remember the survivors that bravely carry on.

September 11, 2001 changed us forever.

I will never, ever, ever forget.

Free ‘Yo Self

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you were striving for something? I don’t mean the type of striving where you set it out as a goal to reach in a healthy way. I mean the striving where you will unhealthily stop at nothing to attain what you want. If you have breath in your lungs and a heartbeat in your chest chances are pretty stellar that you have something of this nature in your life. That thing we strive for is different for all of us. It can be money, power, fame, significance, sex, material possessions, certainty, perfect kids, that perfect marriage, the right job, the fastest car, the biggest house, a number on a scale, a number in a bank account, a boat on that lake, that fancy life. If I go on long enough surely I will touch on that thing you want more than anything. Most of us have one… If I can be really honest, most of us have a few.

The thing about this thing, however we define it, is that oftentimes it puts us in a position of tension and unsettledness. When we spend so much time focusing on that thing we don’t have or that thing we are striving for, we miss out on what is right before us. We become chained and entangled in our pursuit to satisfy this thing that we want. When we focus on the restriction of what we don’t have, we lose the gift of what we do have. This struggle isn’t our fault, but at least we can do something about it so we aren’t chained and held captive by it.

Like any good basketball player knows, freedom comes with a strong pivot. A defender is in your way, pivot past and get the open lane to the hoop… so it is on the court- so it is in life.

We can free ourselves by pivoting our focus. What you focus on you find- if you are focusing on what you don’t have- that coveted thing – all you are going to find is what you don’t have. I close my eyes and I think about what I strive for. Man, it is enticing and I could keep clawing for it, working for it, focusing on it. But I realize something important- I am missing everything I currently have that sits unchained before me. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying don’t strive for things in life. Lord, I am not at all saying that. What I am saying though is stop letting it chain you. Stop letting it run you. Stop letting it define your happiness.

In a world that lives chained to the treat ‘yo self mindset, I think it’s time to live in the realm of free ‘yo self. Pivot your focus, take some massive action and get after that one relentlessly beautiful life that you have.

CheersDez cursiveslope

Once Upon a Shitty Morning

Motherhood and marriage isn’t always pretty. Our social feeds have become highlight reels and sometimes it makes me cray-cray because we all know full well, that’s not real life. 🙈 For you Mama’s who are having a rough day, week, month, season, enjoy reading about the morning I recently had… and feel slightly better about life.

I started off the day hitting snooze one too many times (and by one too many I mean 742 too many). In the bathroom, tensions rose when Hubbz was forced to maneuver around me taking up most of the space, shaving my leg over the sink while brushing my teeth. It doesn’t help my cause that when I get ready in the morning it can tend to look like a hurricane of makeup and hair product hit our bathroom (what can I say… #29Forever). The environment was prime and ready for a marital bump in the road and needless to say, I got into a disagreement with Hubbz. Even after spending 16 years together, two people don’t always agree on everything.

Hubbz left for work annoyed and in a huff and I moved on to a very upset toddler whose diaper decided to explode a nights worth of pee and a fresh morning poop EVERYWHERE. When I say everywhere what I mean is everywhere. All over him, the crib, my work clothes and yes, some in my freshly done hair. #sweet I did my best to clean him up with wet wipes but realized I was doing more smearing then cleaning. Also, I might add, while I was in the midst of doing more smearing than cleaning he decided that now was the best time to reach down and see if he could help… or maybe he just wanted to be a boy and grab his junk. Either way, I ended up with a poop covered hand hanging on to my forearm. There are moments in life when you realize you are fighting a losing battle… his poop covered hand on my forearm was that moment.

I’ve learned in life, sometimes when things aren’t going as planned we are forced to pivot. I took that as my sign to pivot… right to the bathroom and I put him in the bathtub. I, along with most of the bathroom, ended up drenched when he lost his bananas because this was definitely not part of his morning routine and though he loves baths he wasn’t interested in one this early (I can’t entirely blame him for feeling that way. I get it.) By only the grace of God, we got out of the house in one piece and neither one of us smelling like poop.

Our departure from home was a great accomplishment until ToddlerB screamed all the way to Starbuck’s because sometimes being 21 months and having your routine severly jacked up is hard. While I waited in an extra-long line that just so happened to decided to take 17 hours that day, he screamed and carried on. I tried every trick in the book and it wasn’t until I began putting his window up and down looking for imaginary birds and chickens that he stopped. Don’t ask me where the chickens came from- it was all I could think of plus, it worked. #littlewins I dropped #ToddlerB off at daycare where he instantly became a normal functioning human and even waved and blew me kisses from the window. I think he was casually saying “So long, Sucker!!!” I cried most of the way to work and spent the morning beating myself up because #momguilt and #wifeguilt are real things.

Sometimes as women with marriages and children and careers, we question if we really can have it all. We question what it takes to hold it together and if we’re really even capable of that. In case you were wondering, the answer to all of those questions is, YES!

Yes, you can have it all!

Yes, you can hold it together!

And, hell yes, you are capable!!!

Just in case no one has told you lately, we are more than capable… we are conquerors!

Mid-way through my day I paused because I couldn’t shake the mom guilt and wonky mood. I busted out some Jesus and read the days scripture. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8) I almost facepalmed myself for forgetting that truth but instead I took it as a gentle reminder. I was reminded that in my morning- in each moment that seemed to get worse and worse, I forgot to keep my eyes looking up. Sure the situation wouldn’t have changed but maybe I would have gone through it with gratitude, peace and even a little laughter. I called to mind that I get to share space with Hubbz each morning. I get to hear his very wise point-of-view on things. I get to nourish and raise a little boy with a very healthy digestive system. I get to make up silly games with him while we wait in long lines for delicious caffeinated beverages. I get to bring him to a place where he is loved and cared for everyday while I get to work in a place that I love and fulfills me. By keeping my eyes on the Lord, nothing about my morning would have probably changed, yet everything would have changed.

A long time before BabyB ever made his appearance, Hubbz and I vowed to love each other and raise our babies to know Jesus. This is where the rubber meets the road. In our marriage and in Mommyhood, we are in the midst of the moments that will matter. I take a deep breath (and thankfully no longer smell toddler poop in my nose holes.) I can rest assured that so long as I am living with my eyes firmly on Jesus, he hears me, he sees me and he’s got me… I won’t be shaken by what comes my way. Sweet Mama’s, without a doubt in my heart, this applies to you too. In the moments when the rubber is meeting the road, it’s hard to remember. Keep your dope soul focused on Jesus and you won’t be shaken by the life that comes your way.

CheersDez cursiveslope

PS… I just realized that I now have a baseline morning… no matter how bad it gets from here on out, hopefully I will always be able to look back and say “at least it wasn’t as bad as that one morning.” Maybe that’s wishful thinking but a Rookie Mommy can dream, right?!

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