This Sunday is Mother's Day. It's supposed to be all about "us" - our day to be thanked for the "love we've given, time we've devoted, and sacrifices we've made". We'll get cards, flowers, and maybe breakfast in bed or other thoughtful expressions of gratitude.
Jim asked me the other day what I wanted. Being 1 month and (almost) 3, the kids are obviously too little to do something on their own.
When he asked me, it really made me start thinking. I began picturing the times when they will make little cards and gifts on their own or maybe call me from their own home, way down the road, to thank me.
To be perfectly honest...the more I thought about it, the idea of "being thanked" feels REALLY strange. I appreciate it, just like every other mom out there. Don't get me wrong. I'll enjoy being treated to lunch on Sunday or whatever he comes up with ;)
The thing is though....it just feels like it should be ME thanking them. They, being my children, are the greatest gifts I could have received or will ever receive.
So, this Mother's Day, all I REALLY want is to tell my children from my heart of hearts, thank you:
Thank you for the day you announced your presence. I'll always remember the moment I saw those two lines. The sudden rush of emotions that swelled up in my heart, the instant love I had for you, and the bond that formed immediately. It was in that very moment I became a mother. Thank you to my two angels who left before I could meet them. I had instant love and dreams for you - the day I miscarried you was painful and something no mother forgets. You are and always will be precious to me.
Thank you for the day you were born. For those nine months of nausea, fatigue, and stretch marks. For the growing number on the scale and for clothes that stopped fitting. For the extra hormones, the hair loss, and the skin breakouts. Because it all led up to the opportunity and gift of bringing life into this world. Thank you for letting me feel you grow and move inside me. For showing me, in a physical aspect through labor, that the worst kind of pain can bring the greatest amount of joy. The day I looked into your eyes and heard you cry for the first time will always be counted as one of my best memories.
Thank you for being alive. For needing me, from the 2am newborn cries and the toddler tantrums to the future teenage trials. For the daily messes, dirty laundry, and sleepless nights. For the crumbs. For the smears on the window. For making the living room look like it needs vacuumed again, five minutes after I just did. Thank you for bringing me piles of books to read, even when I'm tired. Thank you for snuggling in my arms when you are sick. Thank you for each and every little sign that you exist.
Thank you for teaching me some of life's greatest lessons. For making me grow as a human. For showing me what it means to be selfless, to give of myself, and to really love. Thank you for making me a stronger person, while giving me a softer heart. For restoring my faith and helping me learn to look outside of myself for the answers.
Thank you for opening my eyes. Because of you, I get to see the world differently. Waking up on Christmas morning, watching snowflakes fall, or baking cookies...running through sprinklers, blowing bubbles, and watching fireworks light up the summer sky. Because of you, these simple moments are suddenly more precious and more beautiful than ever before.
Thank you for the chance to watch you grow, learn, and develop into the unique person you are and will become. For being able to be by your side during some of your biggest moments and watch you pursue your dreams. I hope that one day I will get to watch you walk down the aisle, graduate from college, or hold your own child in your arms. But even if I don't get to, thank you for giving me the chance to be the one who brought you into this world, so that you could experience all the gifts that life will bring your way. It's, quite simply, the greatest honor a person could ever have.
So, thank you.
Thank you for making me a better person.
Thank you for giving me a greater, bigger, and better purpose in life.
Thank you for making me a mother.
I remember the excitement of my first car drive. Alone. That first time I got to sit in the driver's seat of our cute, tan Honda which survived me going through Drivers Ed. The energy and enthusiasm inside as I put the key in. The heart-pounding excitement as I changed gears and pulled out onto the road, for the very first time. I was aware of everything. Every passing car and the speed of which I was going. The sensation of freedom and independence. The caution and hesitation when pulling up to a light or attempting to park.
We all have "firsts"...and plenty of them. Some smaller, like your first "licensed" drive and some bigger, such as the day your child was born and you looked into their eyes for the first time.
Our life is entirely made up of these moments.
Your first kiss.
The first day of the first job you ever were hired for.
That first day of college.
The first time you were announced as "husband and wife".
The first time you heard your child's voice.
All of these are gifts. And, in the beginning, we treat them as such - with excitement, enthusiasm, and gratitude.
And then we stop. We let ourselves get used to it all. We begin taking it for granted. We forget what life was once like without these gifts.
Why do we allow such beauty become mundane?
Why do we forget?
When do we stop remembering the simple truth: that everything in our lives, we did not nor will always have?
You did not always have children.
You did not always have your home.
You did not always have your job.
You did not always have your husband.
You did not always have [insert here].
You did not even always have life.
I want to remember this. I NEED to remember this. We all need to remember this...every single morning. Remember that what we've fallen into the habit of taking for granted...are actually gifts we were never really entitled to have.
A good childhood.
Being able to drive.
Being able to physically work.
Falling in love.
The list goes on and on...
Stop letting yourself get "used to" it all.
Don't get "used to" cuddling with your toddler every morning. Don't get "used to" your husband leaving for a good job and then coming back home every day. Don't get "used to" phone calls or visits with your parents. Don't get "used to" goodbye kisses, family meals, or even waking up every day.
Treat it all as if it were your very first time. As if you were seeing it for the first time. Experiencing it for the first time.
Kiss as if you've never kissed his lips before. Love like you haven't yet had the chance to love. Go to work as if it were your very first day. Give everything your absolute all - all your focus, all your drive, and all your energy.
Soak it in - every single moment.
Stop taking all of these - what was once a "first" - for granted. Never forget how special these moments were at one point. Don't believe the lie that any of it should be expected or that you are entitled to it. Open yourself to see, feel, and experience all of today's gifts, as if it were your very first time.
I've been working on a writing project that I hope to have finished in the next few months. I wanted to share this, some of my thoughts related to what I'm working on, back on March 26th (Epilepsy Awareness Day), but I was slightly busy with my little man :) So here it is, almost two weeks later.
watch that hue of blue creep over their entire body as they struggle for oxygen. Even though they've always made it through before, you still wonder every time if they will come back to you. Those minutes feel like they last a lifetime.
I've never experienced feeling so helpless before until the first time my daughter began seizing in my arms. My heart goes out to all the parents who have gone, and are still going, through it. I know that feeling - when you shut down and do the necessary steps. When you portray control, pretend to act calm, and somehow keep a steady hand, while your heart races and time seems to freeze. You do nothing, but wait...in a gut-wrenching desperation...for their eyes to come back to you, for their skin to regain color, and the shaking to cease. You wait..and wait...for what feels like an eternity for the sound of those sirens - the sound of coming help.
And I know what it feels like when it all seems okay. Those nights you can't sleep because you are worried you won't be there if it happens in the dark. The times you wake up in a cold sweat after another nightmare. You read the stories about SUDEP and your stomach gets sick from the fear of it happening to your son or daughter.
You are constantly on guard. There is never a break. It lingers in your subconscious. When it's happened more than once, you can't help, but feel as if you are always waiting, always preparing, for the next one.
It's a terrible feeling - to have something dangerous and awful continuously happen to your child that's out of your control. If you could trade bodies and have it happen to you instead, you would do it in a heartbeat.
When it's your child, everything else stops. It changes you. It changes your life. What kept you strong before is pulled out from under you. Your priorities shift. If you haven't grown up yet, you definitely have now. Forgiveness comes easier. Your heart softens. You let go of minor issues because you realize what's most important.
We all have times in our lives when bad things happen.
And then there are those times when really bad things happen. You can be bitter over it. You can ask "why me?". In my case, it was, "why her?". You can let it harden you.
You can allow it to better you. You can pick up the pieces and learn from it. I pray every day her last seizure was truly her last - that her diet continues to keep them away. I never want to see her have another one. Experiencing them, however, changed me as a person for the better. I'm a better mom. I'm a better human being, because of her. I am NOT thankful for her seizures, but I AM thankful that God taught me a lot through them, through her. It broke me...for the better.
So here's to finding some kind of good in the worst kind of bad, to learning from your experiences - from all that life throws at you. To being brought down to your knees, to finding peace amidst confusion, and healing in the heartbreaking moments. Here's to finding answers in the quietest hours at night and holding on to Something bigger (and stronger) than yourself to make it until morning.
Whether good or bad, allow what happens today to make you better than who you were yesterday.
I love these moments.
You are wrapped up in my arms, deeply breathing as dreams flicker their way across your face. Those expressions, even while asleep, are priceless.
How could I possibly love you more?
Life gets busy.
And it's about to get even crazier.
In the midst of it all, I'm reminded this morning of how time flies and of how many times I fail to stop as a mom and just soak it all in.
I hope I always remember these moments. I know they won't last forever.
I hope I never forget that every passing day is another beautiful step towards your growing independence.
I hope I always remember to stop and treasure each stage, every milestone, and every single chance I get to hold you in my arms.
I hope you always know how much I love and treasure you, and every second you are with me.
I've been attempting to make it a habit to start off every day listening to some kind of motivational message. This has been one of my favorites lately - I still haven't even watched the actual video, but have listened to this message a ton. So good! My favorite parts especially start around the 3:00 mark.
Bottom line: never give up. The ability to overcome and hold on despite whatever opposition or hardships you are facing, is a rare quality. I never want to lose that "fire" inside - that drive that won't let you quit, but pushes you through the worst of circumstances. I hope that inner strength is something my children develop, find, and hold onto. It's a passion inside - a desire - that people who care and aspire for more have. If I could choose only a couple things that they really learned in life, this is one.
To be and feel truly loved...
Means you must feel accepted,
In the most rawest of forms.
And respected enough for that love
To be free from confining stipulations and judgments."
Broken, shattered pieces lay across the marble floor.
I find myself lost in the reflection of the splintered glass.
Remnants of what once existed before.
Where are you now?
The girl I once knew.
She had deep blue eyes,
And a far too vulnerable soul
Those eyes, now clouded with distrust
And that soul, lost under the weight
Of far too many broken promises
And unending cycles of hate.
Whispers of white light reflect off the destruction
Rays of hope that tease and haunt
Pretending at possibility of resurrection
Will she one day recover?
Time will tell its truth
If these shattered remains
Will be put back together
And show her, her worth
I'm learning more and more that simple, small actions build up over time and turn into huge results (both positive and negative). It's my goal this year to focus on creating daily habits that will add up to achieving my goals by this time next year :) Here are some of the things I've committed to doing every single day in 2015 to make this happen :)
1. Every single day, do small things to achieve your big goals
The Slight Edge had already pounded this notion into my head (and I'm not even done with the book yet!). Figure out what you want and then break it down into small, achievable steps you can do each day. Walking 20 minutes a day doesn't seem huge, but what would happen if you walked 20 mins, 365 times, by this day next year? Choosing a salad every day for lunch might seem like a small change, but what would your health/weight look like in a year if you made it a habit and did it every day?
2. Every single day, write down three things you are grateful for
No repeats allowed. Train your mind to search for the positive by coming up with three new things to be grateful for each day. Happy people are grateful people.
3. Every single day, write down one positive incident that happens
The Slight Edge recommends taking just two minutes at the end of the day to jot down every detail about a positive moment from that day. I've been doing it a little different (I write down a positive moment from the previous day during the morning when I do my quiet time). Again, another method of creating a positive outlook in your mind.
4. Every single day, do [at least] one act of kindness
Make it a goal to do an act of kindness every single day (secret acts of kindness are best). Make it a goal to treat others how you would like to be treated. Think of what would instantly make your day and then, do that for someone else.
5. Every single day, do one thing to improve your relationship with someone
If you have a spouse/significant other, come up with (or find - there are plenty of articles or books with ideas) a list of things to do that will build your relationship, express your gratitude, and/or improve communication. If you are single, pick a relationship that you would like to be better (parent, sibling, friend, etc). Imagine the change you would see after doing this every day for a year?
6. Every single day, find a positive quote to meditate on
What would your outlook be like after doing this for a year? How big of an impact would this have on your thinking process?
7. Every single day, read 10 pages of a [life-changing] book
Reading 10 pages of a personal development book isn't much, but that is a 300 page book a month or an average of 12-14 books per year. What would your life look like if you made an investment in your knowledge/personal growth by doing something small like that everyday?
8. Every single day, set aside money [even if it's just a small, small amount] into your savings
I've been reading a couple financial success books over the last few weeks and every single one says the same thing: save every SINGLE day - even if it's just left over change. We all know this, but most forget to make it a priority.
9. Every single day, do some kind of physical activity/workout
Even if it's just for 15 minutes, make sure to improve your health (and mood) by doing some form of exercise/movement.
10. Every single day, do [at least] one thing that will better your future self
I have a couple on my daily checklist (vitamins, drink Shakeology + carrot juice, etc). If you choose to only focus on one a day until it becomes a habit (typically after a month), that's 12 new healthy habits that will improve your future by this time next year.
Ever since my 12th birthday, I've always taken time on this day to write down a list of things in my journal that I'm grateful for from the previous year, as well as a list of what I want to accomplish during the next year. Even though I'll do the same thing again today [now that I'm an ancient, quarter of a century old!], I wanted to come up with a new kind of list. Although I know Brooke has picked up on some things since the day she was born, she is now really getting to that stage where the focus isn't so much on physical accomplishments and milestones (sitting up, crawling, walking, etc), but rather more on her cognitive development and understanding. The values and beliefs that I want her to learn and be taught has been on my mind a lot more lately, so I decided to come up with something a little more focused on her today :)
So, in no particular order, the following list contains 25 [out of the many] things I hope that she learns by her 25th birthday ♥️
1. I hope she learns what unconditional love is and what it looks like - that she knows love never needs to be earned. I hope she realizes just how unconditionally loved she is by those around her, as well as learn how to express and give back that same unconditional love to others.
2. I hope she learns the meaning of acceptance and knows that she is fully accepted by us, regardless of any future differences or disagreements. I hope that she learns to accept herself, as well as others.
3. I hope she learns that it is okay to make a mistake - that mistakes don't define who you are or what you are capable of. They are lessons (that sometimes she might have to relearn a few times, especially if she's anything like me!)
4. I hope she learns, on that same note, to not let failure get to her - that she would not only understand the value of mistakes, but also learn how to push through and pull herself back up again.
5. I hope she learns how crucial it is to discover who she is - that it is important to pursue her own individuality and never try to be the person she thinks others want her to be.
6. I hope she learns that it is okay to be different - to embrace everything unique and special about herself and never attempt to hide it.
7. I hope she learns to value relationships with the people - family or friends - who unconditionally love her and will have her back, no matter what.
8. I hope she learns to never stop learning. I hope that she develops a love for learning that expands beyond school walls and that she realizes the importance of continual growth and personal development.
9. I hope she learns to really enjoy life and fully embrace every moment she has. I never want her to get so caught up in goals, aspirations, and the future that she forgets about today and just living.
10. I hope she learns to take each stage of life at a time and enjoy it. I hope her childhood is full of imagination and innocence, her teen years full of fun and a growing sense of independence, and her college days full of discovering who she is and what she wants.
11. I hope she learns what it means to trust and how to balance the fine line between trusting others while also guarding herself from harmful individuals and situations.
12. I hope she learns how to develop and maintain that [vitally important] deep inner peace - that sense of contentment that comes from living authentically and being exactly who she is meant to be.
13. I hope she learns discernment - that she will have the ability to read between the lines and to see through fake people who will only attempt to use her.
14. I hope she learns to listen to her instinct and intuition - and that she will never let someone else's voice override what she truly and deeply feels is right.
15. I hope she learns what her passions are - those dreams and goals that drive her forward and burn a hole in her heart. I hope she learns to pursue them wholeheartedly and that she never gives up on what she really wants.
16. I hope she learns how to fight for others and what is right - that she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her and those that don't have a voice.
17. I hope she learns how to forgive and let go - and to learn that forgiveness never means forgetting, but just realizing life is too short and she is too big of a person to be held back by the past.
18. I hope she learns to enjoy working hard and to take pride in her work and accomplishments.
19. I hope she learns to respect others, while remembering to always respect and stand up for herself.
20. I hope she learns how to voice her opinions, feelings, and beliefs - and that she never hides anything out of fear from what others might say or think.
21. I hope she learns to have faith and that she makes it her own.
22. I hope she learns to love her body, to treat it well, and to know that her value is never determined by the shape of it or the number on the scale.
23. I hope she learns how to be a good friend - how to give of herself in relationships, how to listen, and how to offer support.
24. I hope she learns what to look for in a guy - what actions and characteristics decipher between a man worth her time and a man who is not.
25. Finally, out of all the above, one of the biggest things that I hope she learns is her own self-worth - that she is worthy of respect and every basic right endowed to human beings. I hope she learns to never allow people to treat her as less or, worse, accept any form of abuse - that instead, to know she deserves to always be treated with respect, love, and acceptance. I hope she learns that her self-worth is never based on anything she says or does...but merely on the fact that she breathes and exists.
I'm a horrible procrastinator.
Like, horribly, horrible.
I'm almost always finding an excuse to do something else other than the ONE thing that I really SHOULD do. Granted - I get other things done, but the ONE, BIG thing that I was supposed to have done already?
All this post baby body weight? Yeah, that was supposed to be gone. But I put off workouts through out the day until I'm finally in bed and just say, "oh guess I'll start tomorrow".
And that's just one example. Dishes, laundry, thank you cards, my writing projects. All good thoughts, good intentions - but somehow it takes me forever to FINISH any of it.
So, I was reading one of Kat Loterzo's books today and it made me think about what my life would be like if I had taken the time to be consistent, dedicated, or whatever a year ago. Where would I be today if back then I had taken an hour every day (or even just 30 minutes) and worked-out. Where would I be TODAY if I had spent a daily 20 minutes writing or working on my book a year ago?
What if I had stopped procrastinating...a year ago?
My mind was suddenly flooded with all these thoughts of where I would - or how much farther along I would be - if this had really happened.
And then it kind of moved me, deep down, I'm not gonna lie, to think about where I could be in a year from now - if I made the decision to stop procrastinating TODAY....
Because, about the past, I can't change the fact that I didn't stop procrastinating last year - that I still have the baby weight, still haven't published (or finished, for that matter) the book - it's in the past, it's done and gone. Yes, I COULD have done that, if I had stopped procrastinating - but it's too late to change that fact that I didn't.
BUT...it's not too late to decide that I can stop procrastinating today.
And start imagining how different my life will be in a year from now, when I finally stick to my decisions and goals - and actually take action towards them.
That extra hour of sleep in the morning? I still wake up tired even if I have it, so I might as well take it away and replace it with an hour of exercise. How will I feel in a year if I stick to it? Think I'll regret not sleeping that extra hour?
Yeah, I doubt it.
What about you? What have you been putting off? Stop procrastinating already. You deserve better. Chase your dreams full force. Start doing things every day, the things that will change your life, and make a huge difference - do something today that the you-in-a-year-from-now will thank you for.
Now go do it.
Wife and lucky mom. Lover of beautiful words + big dreams. Passionate about alternative health, positive psychology, & early childhood education.