Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things you learn for yourself

As a mother there are number of things that you hear before and during the life of your child. Things previous mothers who have walked your paths have learned. They give warning, advice, and exchange funny tidbits of knowledge and sometimes you roll your eyes because you have heard it ten times before or you nod and smile because you know that they are right and that it's true and you are at the same time both nervous and excited for the future ahead.

Max is ten months old now. Double digits and time has flown so fast this past year. He has grown so quickly and now he squawks and screeches to communicate. His body no longer fits so snuggly between my arms but instead extends beyond the limits of our faded orange rocking chair.

At ten months Max is perfectly balanced. He alternates between daring explorer testing the texture of anything with his tongue. He rockets into the bathroom if it's being occupied or you happened to leave the door open on accident. He is curious about the workings of the bathtub and the toilet paper and the toilet. He loves to play independently, scurring about our apartment from the kitchen where is he has attempted to pull down our basil plant to the living room where he finds the throw blanket to play peekaboo with himself to the hallway where he bangs on the washing machine as his very own drum.

On the flip side he still wants me. He loves to be held at my level, to see what I see and do what I do. He usually wants whatever happens to be in my hands. At night when he is tired he will snuggle into my chest and oh the joy that a snuggle can induce. It is what I imagine heaven feels like.

Now he waves and blows kisses without his hand (who decided it was necessary anyway?) and he occasionally takes a couple of steps, still unsure of whether walking will actually be a faster mode of transportation.

Sometimes I have the fear of losing Max in this life. I have known families who have lost children prematurely and my heart hurts. It's a logical fear with the state of the world today and I love my child fiercly. When I tell my husband that I am drained emotionally at the end of the day it is because of the intense amount of love that I have for this tiny person. It is consuming and so utterly complex. The guilt we have as mothers? It's out of love. The frustration? Love. The small, seemingly miniscule accomplishments like them trying their first piece of watermelon? All of it is out of love for something you created.

So this love is contrasted by fear of loss and sometimes I let fear gain the upperhand because that is exactly what Satan wants. He wants me to believe that this life is all there is. But it's not true. I have to live in a way that proves to him that all of those false little lies that you will never see a loved one again and that they are gone forever is just not true.

But he will only be this small once. It will only last so long that he will fit on my lap and still give me opened mouth kisses. So time is flying fast and he is getting bigger before I even know it, but he will always be mine throughout time and all eternity.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

When life gives you a large roll of paper...

You paint it!

A couple of weeks ago I threw a bachelorette party for my best friend and we had a photobooth set up to take some silly pictures. My awesome Seattle photography friend Hannah offered to take the pics and when she left she left the backdrop which was essential just white butcher paper. I was going to throw it away at my Aunt's house in Seattle but it wouldn't fit in the garbage can so I just left it in the trunk of my car to throw away in our large dumpster.

I was about to throw it away when it dawned on me that one does not just throw away a giant piece of paper. My brain immediately imagined a painting party where we let some kids go wild.

I have a hard time with building up expectations and then being disappointed when things don't turn out the way I imagined. The painting party was nothing like that.

It was amazing to watch each child approach the paint. Some treating it delicately and others literally rolling in it.

Max had no issues crawling through the goo but definitely preffered to watch in the other children.

The colors mixed beautifully together and the children excitedly poured out more and more  until the paper became a medley of the rainbow with fingerprints and brush strokes marking the the imprint of childhood creativity.

Kids know intuitively how to create art, like I have said before we are here to create and I believe it starts at a young age. To test out how yellow and blue make green and how much paint you need on your brush to complete your shape takes practice.

What I loved best about this day was that it reminded me how awesome motherhood is. Sure it can be messy but it is oh so sweet to see your child crawling through globs of paint.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Motherhood is all about Choice

I walked out of the information session realizing that I knew which choice I was supposed to make. I wanted to start a family, I wanted to be a mother over getting my Master’s in Education. As I walked through the campus, sun setting and the air getting chill, my heart swelled and I had a vision of a beautiful baby boy in my arms. I envisioned kissing him and smelling his soft, sweet skin. I cried and my choice to become a mother was strengthened. This made it easier when breaking the news to my own mother who wanted me to further my education. It made it harder when I got pregnant and then lost the baby eight weeks later. I thought I was supposed to be a mother, why was it so hard to get there? I struggled trying to understand and when I finally got pregnant again, I was scared. Choosing back in early spring seemed so easy, so obvious, but when your belly starts bulging, skin stretching and you’re feeling nauseous, seeds of self-doubt and the reality of a mortal world can set in.

For nine months I was scared of the choice to be a mother, scared of losing the baby, scared of the responsibility, scared of entering a completely foreign stage in my life. But then they placed a sticky baby boy on my chest and he was crying. I started to softly sing to him and he stopped. He stopped to look me in the eyes. His face said, I know you, you are my mother.  Over time I have experienced many of these moments with my son. Moments where he gives me this look with such deep wisdom that it takes me aback. These were moments when he truly recognized me as his mother.

I thought it was a single one-time choice. Get pregnant, have a baby. But it’s not. Motherhood is a choice every single day. Motherhood starts before we even realize, as we choose to develop kindness, patience, and charity as youth.  We are mothers as we strive to learn and succeed in school and our jobs and when we are blessed to wake up to soft cries, change dirty diapers, and kiss chubby cheeks; it is a choice we are making. Sometimes our children pass before us, and yet it is still a choice to be their mother. Whether you have a child of your own or not it is an eternity of choices for all of us: to cuddle, to smile, to listen, to babble along, to learn, to carry, to be patient, to serve, to put others before ourselves. In this life and beyond the grave, as we choose there will be those small, special moments when children will see us as we truly are: mothers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the possibility of a beautiful creation

I am not the most organized person.  I try to be but growing up the floor in my room was often a mound of clothes, pinks mixing with yellows and blues, creating an abstract art for the teenager. It made sense in my mind, a sort of chaotic organization which always had me discovering a long lost shirt like it was buried treasure.

As a wife my organization is harnessed but whenever you mix two adults and then throw in a baby things can get a little crazy.

When I clean, it only makes sense to find a home for everything. I don't see a point in putting random objects in random spaces "temporarily" only to forget you put them in that temporary space and are convinced they are lost forever. This happens quite a bit as my husband chooses this method as his main form of cleaning. It's a sort of "out of sight, out of mind" concept and it works for when guests are coming over and you need to tuck a few things away.

I have been trying to be more deliberate with my organization, however. Not confined to cleaning, my desire to make sense out of all that I see around me has grown. I have lists everywhere. Of projects, groceries, things to do, places to go, stuff to buy. It can be extremely overwhelming at times.

There is so much I want to accomplish, so many adventures I want to go on, and so much to create.

The lists become chaos in my mind, thoughts darting from meals to books to art.

Then I remembered a brief idea that I had learned in a religion class in Seattle.

We were studying the Old Testament, Genesis, Chapter one. The Creation of the Earth. I read it lazily, not even trying to understand the dated language.  There was a lot about God seeing and naming and telling the Earth what to do.

But I had a teacher who understood how much can be grasped from that first chapter with its dated language. He explained that God was teaching us about how to create and most significant to me, God was teaching us that you can take matter, even chaotic matter, and organize it and make it into something beautiful.

Our teacher went on and the Spirit grew stronger within my heart. He said that God is showing us how He is creating us into something beautiful.

We are complex individuals with a myriad of trials and experiences and everyday God is organizing us. Dividing our strengths from our weaknesses and commanding us to become more than we were the day before. Just like He commanded the plants to create and the animals to create, He commands us to create, and not just by having posterity.

We are to create within our lives, within the walls of our homes, our offices, and especially within the confines of the sky. Our lives may be chaotic with ever-increasing lists of things to do, but we have the promise that if we divide and conquer and organize than there is the possibility of our lives becoming a beautiful creation.

And in the process, we become His most beautiful creation of all.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Tuesday is often overlooked. Squished between manic Monday and humpday Wednesday, nobody really cares what happens on a Tuesday (unless it's your birthday of course).

Yesterday was a wonderful Tuesday.  Because Tuesday hold no expectations to me, it always turns out special. Good weather blessed us with sunshine and so a trip the park it was. Max finally kept his hat on his head without screeching like a banshee for me to take it off. He watched the older kids play pirate ship and kick a ball and he was in heaven.

Kyle came home earlier than expected which is always a treat and he cooked dinner! Taco Tuesday! Tuesday isn't always Taco Tuesday, but I love when it is.

During dinner we discussed plans for the evening and Kyle suggested renting a movie if there were any good ones out. After I finally managed to shut my gaping mouth I discovered a chick flick that I had been wanting to watch, and Kyle agreed!

Normally we are a action movie type of couple. It usually entertains us both, but chick flicks. Well, Kyle doesn't really like them all to much so I usually end up renting them by myself and watching them with Max. So when I got the a-ok to get the chick flick I also suggested we make an adventure to Fred Meyer, because why the heck not!

Where we live Fred Meyer is a great place for people watching as it contains a very wide assortment of personalities.

At Fred Meyer we:
-looked at shoes (mens,womens,baby)
-found church/work/everyday pants for Kyle on super sale for $17!!!!
-got safety outlet plugs (finally!)
-looked at umbrella strollers but decided that our mega stroller was fine even if it was on the heavy/awkward to carry side

Max loved this adventure because while Dad looked at shoes, I let him crawl around on the green linoleum. He loved hearing his hands and feet make slapping noises and I loved that he managed to entertain everyone in a 30 ft radius.

Tuesday turned out to be a terrific day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A future home.

As I drive to our apartment each day up the main boulevard it is encompassed by a canopy of green. It is peace-inducing and reminds me why I love a climate with four seasons.

Just a month ago, these same trees were brown and gnarly, beaten by winter's cold ice they looked aged and done.

But then the grass turned from puddles of mud to lush green and the neighborhood brought out their lawn mowers and cut the grass bringing the potential of a summer of legs sticky with sweat and foreheads creased to see beyond the sun's glare.

Kyle, my husband, is in school to become a physical therapist which fortunately is a very high demand job at the moment. There are job opportunities everywhere and so we like to discuss where we will go once school is done.

My desires revolve largely around land features and climate.

I long for mountains, sunshine, oceans, lakes, a short winter, warm rain showers, wide open spaces, a town with a Target and a Gap but not so spread apart that I can't go to both in the same day, free parking downtown (i.e. not a city), oh and if family could be there that would be great too!

It is fun to lay in bed each night and bring up potential places where we will sink our family roots and make a home. But turns out I am incredibly picky. I want to will the weather to bend to my needs. Seattle was too gray, Arizona would be too hot, and the coast has the potential to drown me when the tides overcome the earth (this is a legitimate fear of mine).

I want sunshine but I also want the changing seasons, the physical earth sending us signs that change is always occuring causing us to learn flexibility. But oh how I dread the winter months.

Give me a week of snow and then I am done. Send it away to the mountains, but not too far away.

Don't even get me started on my need for falling golden leaves carried by the wind and the crunch of them beneath my feet.

I have this desire to try so many different states and towns and places to find where my heart will make its home. It feels like an adventure waiting to happen.