2016, Goodbye

2016 was rough. So rough. So super, super rough. Not just on me, but on a lot of people I love. Lets recap:

  • My husband had three different jobs.
  • I was in the hospital at 24 weeks with a threatened placental abruption for 10 days.
  • I bled from the first of January until I gave birth in April with a very small 2 week break.
  • I had a baby at 33weeks gestation, who then had a 12 day hospital stay, where she couldn’t meet her (very anxious) sisters.
  • The alternator went out in our van. Our heat pump died. Our washing machine died. Three things that can’t really wait to be purchased.
  • I was on bedrest for basically the first 5 months of the year. Then I had a super high needs preemie, who had to have her tongue and lip tie revised.
  • My oldest broke her arm.
  • I have lingering back issues, probably from the 5 months of bedrest.

When you type it all out, I’m not quite sure how we survived the year. I don’t understand how my husband and I are closer than ever, really. I don’t understand how we have the happiest, healthiest 8 month old in the world. Looking at this past year, we shouldn’t be where we are.

But my husband is happy at this job. My business is BOOMING. My babies are healthy, and happy. My house is semi in order. I have a car that runs, a washing machine that cleans (it is part of the recall though, so boooooo there), and heat and air conditioning in my house. Yes, we’re farther in debt than we were. But not as much as we could have been.

God is amazing. That’s the one thing that is really easy to look back over the past 12 months and see. It’s easy (now!!!) to see his hand in everything. At the time, we were floundering. We were drowning. We were crying out for him to PLEASE HELP us. And he was. Oh, he was. But it took a bit to see that. All those job changes led to Carl being better prepared for his job now. Our baby came exactly when she needed, and was perfectly healthy and a BIG size for her gestation.Those hospital stays got us a healthy baby. K’s broken arm was SO minor. My chiropractor is fixing my back slowly. WE ARE ALIVE. We are thriving. God got us through.

We’re not super active in the church right now. It’s a season of life where someone is always sick, or I’m just a paranoid mess about the baby getting sick, or there are chiropractor visits to attend… It’s a season. But even if we don’t make it to church much this year, I hope we can continue to show God to our girls. To preach his goodness, his love, the gospel of Jesus to our babies.

I have hope for 2017. I have faith that it will be amazing. I can’t wait to look back this time next year, and see God’s hand in it.

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Community

Today I lost my community. My imaginary friends. The people who I had become close to, shared in their joys and sorrows with, over the last 5 years. I lost it because my political views don’t align with theirs. 

And that hurts. My views have been different from theirs all along, and I’ve just scrolled by their posts, rolled my eyes and moved on… but I wasn’t rewarded that same courtesy. 

I had left a lot of the groups anyway, but knowing they’re talking about me hurts. Knowing that they’re dispariging me because of religious and moral views I hold dear hurts worse. I never tried to change their minds. I just viewed the world differently. I viewed the world logically, at least to me. 

And I can’t go whining to anyone, because they are who I would whine to. It was a toxic environment, and I know I’ll feel better in a few days. But tonight…. tonight I’m sad.

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Moving on 

I cried tonight. For the first time since your birth, I cried about that first day. A stupid movie, that had nothing to do with birth or anything similar triggered it. I don’t know why. But I cried. 

I cried because your birth was so stressful. Because I was so scared. Because the unknown was so fierce. I cried, because I missed that magical first hour with you. That hour where I counted your fingers and toes, memorized your ears, marveled at how perfect those little breaths felt on my neck. Where I nursed you for the first time. 

I cried, because the first time I touched you was tainted. I cried because I can’t remember that night without remembering that awful nurse screeching at me that I was only allowed to touch you during certain times. I cried because of how hurt, and how incompetent she made me feel. In a night filled with every fear emotion, she should have comforted me. I cried because she made me feel worse. 

I cried because I’m still broken. You are 5 1/2 months old. You are almost 4 months adjusted age. But I still wake up in a panic at night, terrified that I’m bleeding. I still lay awake at night, even with you sleeping beside me, because the terror is still there. I am still scared of a pregnancy that is long done. I am broken. 

You are a high needs child. My sweet baby B. My darling mommy’s girl. I don’t worry about our connection. Even with 12 days of hell, you’re here. You’re nursing as I type, another milestone I worried we wouldn’t achieve. I cried in the NICU, terrified we wouldn’t get to nurse. I thank God every day that you are thriving. 

I’m not healed from your birth. I’m not healed from the pregnancy. I’m not even remotely close. I feel like a shell some days, and like a ticking time bomb on others. I need to get my life together. I need to give my girls stability. Order. Cut down on the chaos. But I don’t know how yet. I’m not there, yet. 

But B… oh baby B. You. You are perfect. You are our miracle, and you are perfect. 

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When everyone is asleep…

Sometimes, when everyone is asleep, it’s peaceful. 

Sometimes it’s anxiety ridden. 

It’s hard when it’s quiet. Your mind races, you think of what ifs, and what you should do. You plan, re-plan, and then forget it all by morning. 

When your husband is snoring beside you in bed, and you’re up contemplating how you’re going to pay your electric bill. 

When you regret your night out, but don’t regret it at the same time. 

Why is it always finances that keep you up at night? Why can’t it be butterflies? 

Sometimes the quiet is wonderful. Relaxing. Intimate. Sometimes it just drives you mad.

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Quiet

Stillness and quiet are all that I crave. 

In the loud, boisterous, messy long days. 

My mind is muddled, I cannot make sense, of the noise and the movements and the chaos it brings. 

The yelling, the dishes, the TV turned up. The singing, the questions, the talking all day. Little flat feet, slapping the floor. Bodies in motion from the time they awaken, until I shut their bedroom door. 

Yet, late at night and in the earliest hours, I lie awake. I have stillness. I have quiet. But I can’t sleep. 

I miss the laughter, the shrieks, the cries. I miss the wet kisses, the hand rubbing my face, the demands to be held and the sweaty, sticky body that climbs in my lap. 

I think, in that stillness, of the days to come. The days of a house that will always be quiet. Because those tiny children. Those babies. MY babies. They will be grown. They will be gone. My house will be clean. My house will be quiet. And I’ll be stuck in the quietness. Trapped in that stillness. 

I want to creep steathily through the house, and sneak into their beds. Hear their quiet sighs, feel their sleep damp heads on my shoulder. But the baby needs me close, so I resist. But I still find myself lost… Lost in the thing I desire most during the day… Because at night, it turns into my fears.

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Stillness

You are rarely still. You run, you climb, you play all day long. Even when you climb in my lap, like you do a hundred times a day, you are always moving and talking, a bundle of energy. 

Naptime is your only repreve. You take my hand in your tiny one, and we walk to my bed. I put you on the bed, then lay down with you. With a soft sigh, you snuggle in close. Your head on my arm, I can count your eyelashes and see the green flecks in your hazel eyes. Your voice softens as you continue to babble. I whisper I love you, and you respond “You too.” 

As your eyelids get heavy, I love to watch your eyelashes brush your cheeks. So long, coal black, with the perfect curl. Your exquisite little hand rubs my arm. Your breathing slows, and your eyes stay closed. 

Sometimes I get frustrated with how long it takes you to fall asleep. I have things to do, I’m hungry (and don’t want to share my food), or you’re restless. But I try to soak in these moments, to soak in these snuggles. You’re almost two. I know (believe me I know) that these days are numbered. I want to soak in these curls that stir when I breathe, these tiny little legs that are curled so cutely, this small body that fights to be as close to me as possible. 

Today I’ve struggled a lot with being patient, and remembering that although you look like a toddler, you are still a sweet baby that needs her Momma sometimes. As I struggle to clean and pack, you simply want my attention. You want my touch. You want me.

And darling girl, darling Ellie.. I desperately want you, too. Even when I’m tired. Or busy. Or frustrated. I want these snuggles. I want these hugs. I even want the temper tantrums. Sometimes I just have to pause, to be still, and to remember that.

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I remember…

I remember the last time you picked me up and carried me. Maybe it’s the fact that I was hurt, or maybe it’s because I realized I was to big to be carried, but I vividly remember it. We were at a neighbors house, raking leaves for her, and I was jumping in the piles. One pile was, unbeknown to us, over a yellow jacket nest. I jumped in, and then started screaming. 

I don’t remember the look on your face. I don’t remember much else about this day, but I remember you scooping me up and carrying me the twenty or so feet to your old blue pick up truck. I don’t even remember where I was stung, or what Miss Lil was saying or doing, but I remember you driving us back next door and then carrying me in your house, where Mamaw and Mom were. 
That’s where the memory ends. But I remember (or at least I think I do), the shirt you were wearing. I remember the feel of it under my cheek, drying my tears. I remember being shocked that you were carrying me. It must have been a long while since you had done so. I know that your back must have ached after that. I know your arms must have been sore. But you never complained.
I remember odd things. I have a hard time remembering your face without looking at a picture, but I can picture your bare chest and back, riddled with scars from a war you fought overseas. I can see your muscular arms, with a year round farmers tan. I can picture your glasses and your hair. In my memory, whenever I think of you in general terms, I see you sitting in your living room, a guitar on your lap, strumming and singing away. 

It’s hard, this remembering. It’s painful that I don’t remember much. And the memories themselves are painful, and usually come with tears, because of how much I miss you.

I wish you could see my girls. I finally gave you the blonde haired, blue eyed granddaughter. And boy would you have loved her. I can just picture you drawing endless animal requests. Singing to them as they host a dance show. I’ll try my best to teach them the songs of my childhood. Sometimes it’s just hard to sing through the tears. 

Thank you for the gift of music. Thank you for the love of music. 

I love you, Papaw. And I miss you so.

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