Monday, April 30, 2012

lucky girl

Many moons ago, Ross and I decided I would stay home with our children. It was a personal decision made after much prayer. It was right for us. Naturally, it wasn't until our girl was born that we realized just how much that decision meant. It meant more joy than I could ever imagine and more sacrifice than I anticipated. Give me five minutes and I would happily rattle off all the sacrifices I have made. From putting a career I loved on hold to spending 99% of my time with someone who grunts for conversation, I have felt that, while worth every millisecond, I have certainly sacrificed.

Today I sat in the end of the year luncheon for our church Bible Study. Surrounded by 100 women, I closed my eyes during the final prayer. Filled with peace and gratitude for this group and what it has meant to my Monday mornings, I had an image in my mind. It wasn't my group members or the leaders who have facilitated such a spirit filled place for women. It wasn't the new friends I have met, encouraging me in my faith and role as a mom. It wasn't even the childcare workers my daughter loves, giving me that weekly time to fill up my own cup to be a better mom to her. The face I had in my mind was my husband's.

For all the sacrifices I have made, the ones Ross has made enabled me to be in that room.  You won't hear him use the word sacrifice because he is the single most optimistic person on the earth. He would never think about what he could do with my extra salary (or what it might be like to live with someone who "got ready" for the day.) But he sacrifices plenty for us, for us to live this life, for me to be in a room like I was today. I think he knows that this Bible study and MOPS make this job at home bearable and better. I hope he realizes I am a better mom and wife because of them.

I could just cry thinking about this man today. While he never expresses any need to have more "things" that a second salary might buy, I know this man would love to plan a hiking trip without factoring in naptime. I know he would love more time at the lake.  I know there is pressure in being the sole provider for a growing family. He takes all that on, with never a peep of complaint. He gives and gives and gives some more.

I sat in a room today, feeling so at peace and so filled with love, knowing EXACTLY how lucky I am.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ya neva gonna get it, neva gonna get it

Friday night I was at a glorious dinner. I was with 5 women, all other moms who fill my heart with laughter, renewal and joy. I came so close to not going to that dinner, the very thought of getting my pregnant self ready for a nice dinner too overwhelming. After a little whining about not feeling well, with a promise to Ross that I'd be home early, I rallied and left. And two and a half perfect hours later, he was calling me. First, he gets concerned if my eyes are open after 9:30 pm and secondly, the one night in 3 years that I am out at 10 pm was falling on his poker night.

I answered the call and, while I said I'd be home in time for poker, alluded to how much fun I was having and would he consider skipping poker this week (he plays many friday nights after I go to bed.) I was trying not to let an edge creep into my voice. "Babe, it's really really nice to spend time with these ladies and I'd love not to rush home. Is there any way you can play another night?" He waited a second before calmly telling me that he was really looking forward to playing. "I haven't gotten to hang out with friends in awhile and was wanting some social time. You get to see these ladies a lot."

I took a few breaths and avoided the many words that wanted to come out of my mouth, many of them with 4 letters. That last sentence summed up a place where friction has wedged between us since we have become parents. It's the "you don't know what my day is like" discussion. No matter how many times (usually I) describe my day, or how many phone calls made during meltdowns so he can hear the madness, I still fear that he feels like my day is all lunch dates and shopping. In fairness, I envision his days as feeling fresh and showered every morning, feeling confident as he authoritatively manages a project and being respected for his expertise, all while checking gamecock stats online during breaks.

As he uttered that sentence, I breathed deeply, not wanting to start a discussion in public. I stayed miraculously calm as I reminded him that while I do see other moms frequentlly during the week, and while that is incredibly encouraging, that I could not remember one significant detail from anything they said. I reminded him that while I have lots of social interaction, it is interrupted every 2.1 seconds by hair pulling, snack stealing, diaper filling, nose wiping, booboo kissing, disaster avoiding intervention. I was having actual adult conversation, with no interruption, with a drink that looked like a real drink and without a diaper bag. It felt like fresh air.

Yes, he says, "I understand. I would really like to play tonight and would like some social time (turns out, corporate america isn't all about $200 dinners- despite the texts I get when he is traveling!). If you need to be a little late, I can make it work." I'll admit that I wanted him to tell me to stay out, order another fruity virgin drink and laugh until the sun comes up. But in a moment of pure grace, I was able to see that he was trying to meet me in the middle. I fully believed that I deserved to stay out all night and soak in all that adult-ness, but agreed to do what I could to get home on time.

On the ride home, we chatted briefly. I told him that I would have loved to have stayed but was okay  coming home.  (the checks were on their way. I left just a few minutes earlier than the other ladies.) I told him that while I didn't feel like he totally gets my day, I would concede that I don't get his days either. My precious husband said that, "no, we might not ever be able to understand each others' days but we can respect each other and our needs."  I did not understand why he had this great need to play, to compete with other men (hello, read a book on men!) but I had to respect it.

I'm not gonna lie. I still feel like he totally should have conceded the night to his wife. I had make-up on for goodness sakes!! But as good as staying out that extra 20 minutes may have felt, it felt good to compromise, to acknowledge that he met me in the middle, and to have his needs met, just as mine had been a few hours earlier.

I feel like the angst ridden talks about whose job is harder may be on the decline. Because even if we swapped roles for a week, our experiences with each others' jobs would be different. (read: Mary Kate would nap for 4 hours a day and be a saintly little angel toddler all week.) Instead of trying to beat my oh so difficult experience over his head, I will begin putting that same energy into simply accepting that our days are different, that we will never fully understand each others' very different worlds. We can only respect the other persons' experience and trust each other when our need to renew arises.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flower girl, etc

Our sweet girl was a flower girl this weekend at my cousin Daniel's wedding. Daniel and Krista are a beautiful couple and we were honored to be a part of the wedding. The church Ross and I were married in asks that flower girls be 5 years old to participate in the wedding. I previously thought that was crazy but now I think they are very, very wise! Seriously though, MK did a great job despite a total overhaul in schedule and being in a hot dress with mosquitos only Savannahians can understand! She waved going down the aisle saying hi to everyone. For full disclosure, she then got to our seat, tooted, and yelled to the 45 guests during a quiet moment that she had filled up her diaper. And just as I was thinking about how sweet and dainty my little girl was being...

feeding the ducks with granddaddy on a gorgeous Savannah afernoon
A facebook re-post but this is exactly how every single car trip since July 9, 2010 has gone. You name it, we have tried it. It is truly the protection of God that has gotten us through unscathed. If it weren't for the lady below, we would never go to Savannah. Mom, thank grandma please.

This was actually back in November during my half marathon weekend. I love that two of my favorite people on the planet are just smiling at each other. As I said, it is because this lady can't travel that I even entertain the idea of tortuing ourselves every car ride home!

found this on mom's camera while we were home. It was taken when Ross and I returned home from a wedding weekend in May. We didn't even make it into the house. My first time away was oh so hard and hasn't gotten any easier. How I love this wild girl!

another found on mom's camera. Look how tiny my precious girl was? I am so so so thankful that soon I'll get to have that same feeling. Even if new baby wants to eat 24/7 and sleep only during daylight hours, I know I'll feel as happy as I look in this photo of July 2010!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cell phone dump

I lost our camera- our new, saved for, researched, camera. The good news is that the guy at Enterprise (crazy car situation lately) remembers seeing it. The bad news is, he can't find it. Poor guy probably wishes he had lied and said he hadn't seen it for all the grief I've been sending their way. Still hoping St. Anthony pulls through because I'm pretty sad. While I try to keep in perspective that a camera is a "thing" and that while we are not able/going to buy a new one right now, I will keep taking bad blackberry photos. The quality doesn't make me smile. The subject lights up my life. So, in the event that all we have to record the first half of 2012 is a blackberry, here we go.

playing in her room, Easter 2012

I am sure she is begging loudly for "e-i-o, e-i-o" which used to be the Baby Einstein Old MacDonald movie but is now the "baby animals" Einstein show. Holy animal obsession. Giving her Frances as a middle name was fitting!

not the best photo but this is the first time she "danced" with someone other than daddy. Grant is our sweet friend and we couldn't be happier of her choice for that first non-daddy dance!

just a cute breakfast photo. 90% of that would end up in Mack's mouth. Guarantee.
No disney princesses for this girl and her dad. Ross always sings "abba, father" to MK at night but we both only knew one verse. He broke out the hymnal my mom stole from Blessed Sacrament (we used to sing hymns to calm her on those tortuous car rides and got tired of making up words :) Now he knows more verses and MK breaks into "abbbba" many times a day. So sweet!
got this peapod for a major steal at Kindermart. I have almost no faith that MK will sleep in this on trips but it definitey works for a rainy day activity for now!
We have a small trail by our house and on one evening when Ross was out of town, I surprised MK and Mack with a nature walk (usually this is totally dad's job). Hate that she looks 4 to me in this pic
just like this pic of our girl showing mama her "teeth"

sweet Easter photo. Love that the sun puts a "glow" on her. 30 seconds later she was throwing a monster fit.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Never gets old

I just came home from our 16 week appointment for baby Ninness. I am willing to bet that even those with 5 and 6 and 12 kids never tire of hearing their babe's heartrate and of the assurance that baby looks healthy. It feels like I already know this person and only get to "see" them once a month. While I didn't get to look at little person's face and while little person hid from the ultrasound for an excruciating 30 seconds, the second I heard that precious sound, it was pure joy. Little baby seems much more active than big sister ever was, moving so much we could only hear interference for awhile. Heartrate was 150, down from 162 last time so he/she is keeping us guessing on gender if you believe heartrates as an indicator. This is definitely one of the fun parts of waiting until birthday to find out the sex- the guessing and wondering if old wives tales are true. One tale says we are having a boy while another says girl. I could not be more honest if I said I  could care less which we get. Maybe after 3 or 4 girls I will start whispering to God that a boy would be nice but until then, I am in a state of pure joy that I get any kind of baby.

To little baby Ninness, you were created by Jesus to join our family. Whether or not you question His judgement one day, you will never wonder how much you are loved.  You are a gift to this family, another little soul to add light to this world. Stay safe little one and know what a blessing you are!