Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boundaries

Disclaimer:  these are just some jumbled thoughts I've had over the past few days.  Please forgive...

The last few weeks have been pretty tough for me.  This pregnancy has been by far the toughest yet with unrelenting insomnia during the first trimester and now sciatic nerve pain.  I had to hold back the tears yesterday as I told a friend that I didn't know how I could handle 9 and a half more weeks of this.  If I've learned one thing, it's that I would be a terrible chronic pain patient.  I've thought often of my sweet uncle, who passed away earlier this month, who lived for over 40 years with intense chronic  and debilitating pain.  I wish I could ask him what kept him going and smiling all those years.

Although yesterday was an especially difficult day, I have to say that what Heavenly Father did not give me in physical ability with this pregnancy, He made up for it in giving me a happier me during this pregnancy.  The pregnancy hormones, which usually make me teary, irritable, and impatient, haven't affected me nearly as much this time.  I've felt more at peace and happier to be with my little ones than I ever can remember.  After a day of self-pity, today I woke up feeling much better.  I guess we all need to sit on our pity pot every now and then before we realize that our lot isn't all that bad.  Or at least I do.

But then this morning I had to follow through on some boundaries I had set for someone who I've been helping out for the past 7 months.  It felt miserable, and as I drove away, I felt sick to my stomach.  I had told him countless times that if he couldn't follow through on his end, that the arrangement wouldn't work. Today I finally had the gumption to follow through on my begging and pleas and left him standing at his front door, watching me as I drove away.   I wanted to cry.

Why are boundaries often hardest on the person putting them in place than the person who is on the receiving end?  You'd think it would be the other way around.  It sucks.

As I tried to make myself feel better about what I had just done, I found myself doing what I often do.  I started feeling a mounting frustration towards not just this one person, but towards all the self-entitled people who I felt expected so much from me in my life.  Apparently I  had found my perch back up on my pity pot.  Once the flood gates were opened, it was hard to shut off the torrent of frustration and self-pity.

In desperate need of some validation, I texted my husband and asked him to tell me I did the right thing by following through in such a harsh way.  As I put down the phone, I shuffled around the kitchen putting breakfast dishes away and felt the all too familiar nerve pain flare up.  "Not again," I thought bitterly.  "It's going to be another sucky day of pain."

Just as I had the thought, another thought came to mind, this time reprimanding me.  "You want to hold that sweet little baby in your arms, and yet you want to cuss what it takes to get her here.  You want something for nothing, just like all those people you were just thinking about."

I thought of each of my children and knew that I would endure a lifetime of pain for any of them if it meant that they could be a part of my life.  I know the way I feel for this little one will be no different.  After she is born, I'll think what a small price to pay a little insomnia and nerve pain was to get her here.  I'll think that I would have endured a lifetime of limping and of calculating every movement to avoid the shooting pain if it meant I could hold her in my arms.

Boundaries, although painful and  uncomfortable, are an essential part of life.  And I need to remember to set some boundaries on myself, particularly in my head.  I came across a blog post recently that talked about how each of us are living someone else's dream.  Everytime I go for a jog, I'm living the dream that someone who has been paralyzed could only wish for.  When I hold my husband in bed each night, I'm living the dream that a widow could only long for.  Even as a pregnant mother battling sciatica, I'm going through something that a woman struggling with infertility would give anything to endure if it meant she could hold a child in her arms at the end of it.

I am living not only someone else's dream, but mine as well.  My life is full and my cup runneth over.

I love the story behind this picture.  The other day I did an impromptu photo shoot with my girls.  Lauren had picked up my camera and caught the perfect expression on Calista's face as I was adjusting her hair in between shots.  Yes, my cup runneth over.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The 9 year old male mind

Almost every day Camden pulls me aside to show me his latest Lego creations.  That little man's mind blows me away.  He includes escape hatches, turbo engines, hidden dart throwers, and a million other little gadgets that only he would think of, all with an unbelievable attention to precision and detail.

And then I had a long laugh the other night about a little boy's lack of attention to things that don't matter in his little 9 year old mind.

While shopping for a white, collared shirt for Dennis, I realized I had forgotten to double check his shirt size before leaving the house.  I called Camden and asked him to pull down one of his dad's shirts and check the size for me.  I told him to look just below the collar for the label that had the brand name of the shirt, with the shirt's size right next to it.  I told him to look for a number somewhere close to 17/30something, since I couldn't remember his exact sleeve length.

"I don't see anything, Mom.  There's nothing there."

"Really?  Are you sure?  It should be there, right below the collar, in black and white numbers right next to the label."

He insisted there were no numbers, not even a label, and proceeded to check the entire shirt for numbers of any kind that might help me.  He found the shirt's item number, tiny little numbers on the bottom corner tag.  The shirt was made in China and was 100% cotton, he told me.  He even read the washing instructions off to me... in Spanish.

I was completely confused.  I told him not to worry about it and that I would check myself when I got home.

When I got home, I had a long laugh when I saw the white shirt that he had hung so neatly and carefully back on the hanger.


So how does a little boy build things like this...

....while missing this?  I don't know if I'll ever understand the male mind.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The randomness of being a parent

Sometimes when I call Dennis at work or text him a picture of the happenings of the day, I think to myself how delightfully random the little adventures a parent has with a houseful of little ones.  I think the unexpected randomoness of childhood does good for the grown-up soul since we're often so pre-conditioned to being ruled by the scheduling and the predictability of life.  Although some of their little "adventures" make me feel like I'm half way to the looney bin, I appreciate that these little things are what make my life so sweet and full.

On a cold, dreary winter day, the kids decided to entertain themselves by toilet-papering my bed.
I figured it was cheap (although environmentally unsound) entertainment.

You give two little girls some blue eye shadow and a bag of chips, and 10 very quiet minutes later, they emerge victorious.

One day we had so much crying for no apparent reason that I had to give up on being frustrated and just start to laugh and take pictures.  Which of course only made the crying worse.  But I figured if I didn't laugh about it, I'd be crying soon too.  


The boys after scouring their room for Wacky Wednesday costumes.  I especially loved the clothes pins on the socks.

Waiting for her bear, the second love her life, to come out of the dryer.  The first love of her life being her dad.

And who can blame her?  What's more attractive to a woman than seeing her husband read princess books to their daughter while she's potty training? Nothing, I tell you. 
What's cuter than a pair of chubby little baby legs?
....A pair of chubby little baby legs in tights, pink cowgirl boots, and a tutu- that's what.
...As well as chubby baby legs and chubby baby bum in undies.
Being a little knock-kneed only increases her squeezability, exponentially so.
Dennis texted me this picture and admitted that when he first saw her he panicked, thinking she might be hurt or unconscious, but soon realized she had just found the quietest, comfiest place in the house for a mid-afternoon nap.

Luke teaching his sister the fine art of applying glitter eye shadow.