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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Best intentions

Sometimes life just gets in the way.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. A writer of what, I’m not quite sure. But writing has always had a part of my soul. Maybe it’s just the books that I love so dearly that pulls me this way. Maybe, like one of my college professors said, if you have a story, it will one day be told. It will worm its way out, until you get it down. Maybe that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s just a part of my soul. Maybe it’s what God has in store.

I know, however, that right now I am in the trenches. I’m in the trenches of…well, life. I’m the mother to three beautiful girls. One is almost 6, and on Wednesday we dive headfirst into this homeschool journey. One is 3 and a half, and never stops moving. Every picture of her is at least a little blurry. And one is 20 months old,  only four short months away from her second birthday. She is loud, vibrant, opinionated, devilish, and delightful all at the same time. On top of our homeschool journey-to-be, I own my own business, we have soccer practice, and my husband is rarely home from work before 9pm. We are so deep in the trenches that our thighs are muddy.

And really, other than maybe a slightly cleaner, more organized home, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Okay, maybe I would make Ellie be every so slightly less daredevilish. Turning around to find her standing on the kitchen table when .05 seconds earlier she was hanging on your pants is a bit of a scare. But I know it’s a phase. I know I’ll look back on these days in the trenches with a smile.

One day, the story that lives in me, the story that has been slowly simmering for 10 years will get out. It will get written down. Until then, I’ll continue to wash these muddy clothes, and I’ll continue to try to appreciate the trenches. Maybe, just maybe, I need to tell another story first. Maybe it’s simmering because I’m not ready to tell it yet. Maybe something more important needs to come first.

Sometimes we have plans, and then life happens. I started this blog two years ago. There is exactly one post before this. While that post still rings hauntingly true, there was so much more I could have said in those two years. But life got in the way.

I’m hoping that I can get in lifes way, just a bit. To have something to look back on fondly in years to come would be nice. To preserve the memories, and not just to facebook, would be a blessing. But beyond that, to express myself somewhere where someone other than a 5 year old would hear would be heavenly.

Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take me another two years to write again.

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My Philosophy

I like to consider myself relaxed. You know, most of the time. I’ve teetered on the edge of different parenting labels for years, but none of them have really fit.

Natural Parent – YES! That’s me! But my girls have both mainly wore disposable diapers (SHOCK AND HORROR) and I don’t buy all organic food!

Attachment Parent – Again, I meet a LOT of these “requirements,” but when it comes to discipline, I tend to move away a bit. And as much as I love the concept of a family bed, the reality is that even in a King size bed, I get little to no sleep.

Christian Parenting – While I am a very strong Christian as is my husband, we both disagree with some of the “experts” in this field. We believe in a child-led relationship, especially for the first few years, not a parent-led. Don’t get me started on my disagreements (at least when it comes to parenting styles!) with Andy Stanley.

There are others… but you get the picture. I don’t fit in. And that’s okay.

I like to think of myself as an instinctual parent. I’ve read several parenting books, and while I take what works for us in the moment and ditch the rest, I much prefer to just go with my instincts.

My instincts tell me to soothe my crying child. My instincts tell me to nourish my child at my breast. My instincts tell me that my baby sleeping close by me is best. My instincts tell me that my baby crying in a dark room away from me is bad. Your instincts may tell you different things… and you know what? That’s okay! My instincts have been different with my two girls.

I’m also a relaxed parent. One of the most relaxed ones I know in fact. I wasn’t the first time around, but my dirt-eating, table-climbing, bed-diving, hell cat of a second daughter has made me loosen up a LOT. I cried just about every time K got hurt, especially in the first two years. With A… Lordy… I have cried (I’m not a callous person who treats the second child differently) but she has taught me to take a deeeeeep breath first. It helps when she (now 19 months) stands up, hitting her head on the table, and goes “OW!!! I KAY!” and then runs off, content to play a little longer. Our kids change us, and mold us… and that’s okay too.

My philosophy with this blog is that I am going to be blogging about things that work FOR US. It may not work for you. You may think we’re crazy (we are). But please be respectful of our choices, just as we will try to be of yours.

So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and lets get to know one another, shall we?

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