Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Day

For some reason it feels like January 1 to me.  Around the first of the year I am always filled with a sense of optimism.  I feel like I can make changes, start fresh, reboot.  Mondays often tend to feel like mini-New Year's days for me but today really feels like a fresh start.  I think it is because I have seen my husband for more than one hour for the last seven days. Sam's birthday was fun.  We had a great trip to Notre Dame for graduation and yesterday we did yard work.  None of this sounds extraordinary but it is.  It is totally extraordinary because we were a team.  We were a team in getting the car packed.  We were a team in handling the kids in Chuck E. Cheese.  We were a team when the kids got tired and cranky.   Jeff is an amazing, involved, active father.  He was also completely overwhelmed for most of the last seventeen months which left him for little space to be on team mommy.  He still helped out but I tried not to ask to much and he did not instinctively step up the way he normally does.  After about the first three months I just sort of got to used to it and it did not feel like to much of a burden but now that it is over I realize that it was really hard.  It was just hard feeling like I carried the weight of the family rock.  

I am trying not to whine because I certainly know that there are people out there who have it worse than me.  There are single parents and there are women who are married to inattentive unavailable men.   There are workaholic dads and moms who leave the other spouse to carry the entire family load.  I get that, but I am not in that boat.  I married a man with an amazing sense of work-life balance who comes home from work and is completely present with me and the kids.  I married a man who offers to take the kids and enjoys taking the kids so I can have a break from them.  I married a man who will take his children to the auto show or the air show or any other crazy busy public venue...without me.  He has no fear of changing diapers or wiping tushes, he brushes hair and teeth without being asked.  He reads stories and plays "tickle tickle tickle daddy eats a pickle."  But for seventeen months he has not had a lot of time to do those things and if he has the kids so I can take a break, then I am not getting to see him.  Most evenings I spent on the couch watching whatever while he studied.  I missed just sitting with him and talking with him and being with him.  I have him back and I am grateful for that.

This MBA has been good for both of us.  Jeff has grown personally and professionally.  It has stoked a desire to lead and rekindled his sense of who he really is.  It has been good for me in a different way.  While I find myself feeling a little jealous of his new found sense of self but I come away with a new found sense of who he is also.  I am so thankful for him and who he is and what he does for our family.  Maybe in the following months I will have a chance to learn more about myself and who I want to be as our family grows up and evolves.  Maybe not, I don't know what will happen but I do know that I am not alone on team mommy anymore.  Today that is good enough for me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sweet Baby Sam

Today is Sam's third birthday.  What a wild ride it has been.  Those first six months I was not sure either of us would make it.  Between the reflux he had and the post-partum issues I had, life was really dark for a little while.  I am so thankful to Jeff for the grace he showed me during that time.  I am grateful for my friend Kirsten who literally sat me down on my front porch and told me I wasn't crazy and held Sam while I cried.   I am most amazed by God's hand at work to turn such dark first days into such a bright ray of sunshine today.

 I love my little boy more than I ever thought I could. When I found out I was pregnant again I was really worried that I would not be able to love another child as much as I loved Emelia.  I had such a deep and profound sense of love for her that I could not see being replicated.  When Sam was so fussy and I was so sad I did not feel that love. It took me awhile to fall in love with my son.  That is so hard to admit but it is the reality of that time.  But when I fell, I fell hard. 

He is such a sweet boy.  He is loving and kind and busy and funny.  He likes to say funny things and he loves to laugh.  He loves his sister with a passion I did not know a three-year-old could posses. He loves to play with his daddy and do the "high-five game."  He is just a joy.

There are times when I allow my mind to wander to what the future might be like.   I suspect at some point Emelia will not want much to do with me.  She will be fiercely independent and yet cry in my lap when that first boy breaks her heart.  ( The scenario sounds familiar because I was that teenager.) 
Sam however I don't think will ever be embarrassed by me or want me to drop him off at the corner.  Only time will tell if I am right, but I just have a feeling.

I love you sweet Sam Sam!  Happy birthday. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Someone recently told me I should blog more.  I often find myself  with all sorts of interesting thoughts and I think, I should blog about that, but then life happens and I don't.  I think I will try though.  My kids are getting older and are less needy so perhaps the time will open up.  We will see.

Lately, I have found myself thinking a lot about friendship.  What do REAL friends look like, as opposed to "Facebook" friends? How do you know how to be a good friend?  Can friendship look different for different people?

I have decided that friendship IS different for different people and with different people.  I have a different relationship with my best friend from seventh grade than I do with my best friend from adulthood.  I love them both, but the friendships are different, partly because they are different and partly because  we have been through different things together.    I don't see either of them daily yet our friendships survive based on those shared memories. 

How do you know how to be a good friend?  I believe that is a learned skill. One which is most often picked up by being the beneficiary of a good friendship.  I have learned a lot about being a thoughtful friend from my friend Britt.  I have never met someone as thoughtful as her.  I have learned about how to be a good mommy friend from my friend Lindsey.  There is no subject that is off limits, no competitiveness about our kids or condemnation of the choices we each make, just a constant sounding board tempered by accountability and encouragement.  I have learned how to be a godly friend from my friend Tami, no gossip, no judgement, no selfishness, only love.   My first lessons in friendship I learned from my mom, my original best friend.  She was not my best friend until past the stage where I needed a mom not a friend, yet I learned about compassion, patience and empathy from her early on.    If you did not have a mom like that and if you spent a lot of time around friends who trashed you behind your back and if you have not been the recipient of good friendship, can you learn to be a good friend?  I think you can.  I actually think you just learn to be a friend because there really is no such thing as a bad friend.  A friend by its' very definition is good.

I think that you learn how to be a friend by first befriending yourself.  If you do not have kindness, compassion, grace and love for yourself, you don't have any idea how to extend it to others.  When you can give yourself the freedom to just be without demanding more, better, different; than you can open up room for those around you to just be also.  What a difficult journey that is though. We are often far kinder to others than we are to ourselves.  I recently went through a dark spell where I was feeling really bad about myself.  I was talking to a friend on the phone and saying all these negative things about myself when she stopped me.  She said, you can't talk about my friend that way.   It was a wake up call for me because I would never allow someone to talk about my friend that way, why would I allow myself to talk to me that way.   I also would never allow someone to talk about one of my friends that way.  How do we stop trash talking ourselves?    If you figure it out let me know.

I think one of the other difficult things about friendship is that for many people, like myself, there is an endless supply. I have room in my life for all kinds and varieties of friends.  The only problem is that I have a finite supply of time.  I can only give my time to so many people.  That is more of a balance issue than a friend issue but what does one do with that?

I recently read an article titled "Is Facebook Making us Lonely?"  The theory is our breadth of friendship has grown but the depth of those friendships is shallower.  Then there is the despair around the status update.  No one has commented.  No one likes my status. What does that mean?  Does no one like me?  I mean really, are all 435 of your "friends" really friends?  That is not actually possible. 

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.  When we deceive ourselves about our friendships it only complicates our lives and leaves us with false expectations.   We end up with expectations of friendship that no one can ever live up too which only adds to the complexities of friendship.

Alas, like everything else, I think the bottom line is it takes practice, like most everything else in life.