Wednesday, June 15, 2011

my 10 month old is a bully.

Dear Austen,

Today was a little difficult for us. You are walking now--everywhere. That leaves you little time for much else. You do not really want to sit down to eat, take a nap, or play with any other babies. You just want to walk. It is really sweet to watch your teeny legs carry you all over the house--but it can also be exhausting for your mommy who is quickly running out of diversions.

This morning, we went to the library where there are other babies for you to play with and room for you to walk as much as you please. Being the curious little gal you are, you wandered over to a few "big kids" playing at a train table. I know you just wanted to see what they were doing. Maybe play with a train yourself. Unfortunately, my dear, those big boys did not know what to make of your teensy self. They were not very nice to you. One of them even pushed you down. Did you cry? No, my sweet Austen, in your typical style--you got back up. You went back to that table. And you took that boy's train.

We had to leave soon after that. It appears some little boys and their mommies do not appreciate your fiesty spirit. I couldn't even scold you--there will be time to learn about sharing. I was just so proud of your determination. Please always go after what you want, ignore those that push you down, and do not ever think that you can't do something the boys are doing.

Oh, and tomorrow....lets try a nap! :)

I love you. Endlessly,


The scene of the crime.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Let's get real.

"When a woman has a kingdom heart, she has an active understanding of what matters most to the heart of God. She lives in the balance of passion and contentment. She learns to love well, give without regard to self, and forgive without hesitation. The woman with a kingdom heart may have a duffel bag full of possessions or enough treasures to fill a mansion, but she has learned to hold them with an open hand. Hold everything with open hands. I don't think we are ever allowed to grab hold of anything or anyone as though they matter more than the kingdom of heaven. When you hold relationships with open hands, then people come in and out of your life as gifts of grace to be cherished and enjoyed, not objects to be owned and manipulated. And then when you hold your dreams with open hands, you get to watch God resurrect what seemed dead and multiply what seemed small."

Ok, so I just stumbled upon this awesome blog and in it the Casey wrote about how she worries about how her children would be cared for if she was gone. I think this is a natural fear for any woman. She included this quote at the end of her blog, and it sang to me. I am not going to get super preachy on you. Sometimes I go to church, sometimes I dont. How I feel about God is a vibrant, colorful conversation that we can have over coffee someday. But--open hands--open hands...I needed those words, today.

Now, let me be really honest. Not only do I have this fear, I have many fears. Too many fears. Chad has to constantly remind me how fruitless my worry is. It doesn't keep me from worrying if we will ever be out of debt, if Austen is okay, if he is happy, if I weigh too much, if the floors are clean enough...on and on. After Austen was born my anxiety became unbearable. I couldn't watch thenes because I would literally bawl as I pictured myself trying to protect m sweet, new baby from the evils of the world. It was overwhelming. Being responsible for another person suddenly made me feel incapable of even going to the grocery store. It was bad.

Since that time, I have worked hard to gain perspective. I think being a stay at home makes this especially difficult. Austen is my all-day, everyday concern. I have begun to learn that having other interests can really go a long way to ease the pressure of feeling like I have to be one step ahead of the next disaster. However, sometimes I still find myself back to my old ways.

When I read the quote above, I really got it. Open hands. Ther harder I try to hold, control and perfect the things around me...the worse I feel. Holding the things that matter most with open hands means trusting god...and myself. It means believing that I can do a good job at my marriage, my parenting, my blog...whatever. And when I fall short, it is okay. Because I am not measured by the things I hold in my hands. Trying to define my life by material things or other people is a recipe for failure and I know that. It just happens so quickly. You get married, have a baby (or vice versa) and suddenly it becomes an do I keep everyone happy, give them what they need and want, and never let them down.

The things I hold so close, particularly my sweet baby and my dear husband, are not enjoyed fully when I am worrying over them. My worry is felt by those around me and creates a cycle of anxiety. It something I need to harness. To stop. Part of that means replacing the time I spend thinking of them and worrying about petty things with writing, becoming better. That is so so scary. I know I need to write. And not two paragraph blog posts. I need to allow myself to turn off the "mommy" hat and be who I have always been. I'm not sure why this is so terrifying. Its like it if i take the time to be who I always was, I will neglect who I am now. I will drop the ball.

I have to learn balance. I have to learn release, and about the positive side of change and the unknown. I need to give myself permission to stop worrying and start really living. For Austen and Chads sake, I shouldn't just be the worrier of things. I think I feel like by doing that I am showing them love. However, I am asking them to never ever bring to light my fears--and that is an unfair expectation, particularly on a child. The only way to stop it is to have open hands. To relinquish control and spend my time growing, writing, becoming...instead of rocking in a chair of worry.

Open hands. I will try. Everyday. To let go. Let will be, be. To have open hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It gets easier....right?

This whole parenting business is no joke. It is hard. No, this isn't my usual rant about sleepless nights and teething monsters. As the end of year one looms, I find myself faced with transitions like formula weaning, pacifier removal, and somewhere in the not too distance future--potty training! I try to read what the experts say, ask my mom friends, ask my actual mom (she did a pretty good job). Sometimes the advice is helpful, sometimes it stresses me out even more and sometimes it just doesnt seem applicable to our lives.

I find myself wondering if it really matters if Austen is still waking for a 4 am bottle at a year or using a pacifier at 2 years. Sure, it is not ideal. But will she face a college board one day, where a solemn faced dean will profess her unworthy of further educational pursuits based on previous pacifier use? I try to reassure myself there are bigger fish to fry. Ya know, larger issues such as teaching her compassion, a good work ethic, and...the big one....sharing! Seeing as how most of these virtues are taught by leading through example, I am working on accepting that I may not always do perfectly at them either.

I will, however, always get an "A" for effort. I really do want what is best for Austen. I am learning that a great deal of parenting is about patience (which everyone told me) but i think it is also largely about seeing the big pictures. Things happen in stages. There are frustrations, concerns, and great joys. Then that stage ends and there are new wonderful and awful things to dwell on. Spending too much time worrying about doing the right thing now usual means being blindsided by the next thing. Which leads me to realize that somehow, the next 18 years are going to go by so fast--yet so so slowly.