Desperate Texting–My Messy Beautiful

Friday, April 18, 2014


I was part of a writing group earlier this year and it allowed me to learn more about both writing and myself.  One thing I discovered is that although I always strive to be authentic and open in what I write, there are certainly topics I avoid for fear of what people will think about me.  I guess some things feel too real.  And embarrassing.

But after that group, I told myself I was going to try to delve into to some of those avoided topics.  And here, sooner than I planned, I find myself in a new project which invites me to share some of my unflattering stuff, my mess.

I grew up surrounded by really strong, confident women.  They were warm, and kind, and funny.  They worked incredibly hard, and weren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.  Also, they didn't put up with any s*#t.  But the best part is that they were my family.  And I always knew that they believed in me and thought I was strong too.

So now, I have a really strong desire for my children to grow up not only believing that I'm strong and capable, but that all women are.  However, I'm scared that they won't and it will be all my fault.  I'm scared that they won't view women as strong and independent, because they won't see me as such.  This fear pops up occasionally and usually with a few common triggers:  1)  The evening hours, the empty time between the end of the work day and dinner and 2)  When Jaron travels.

Certain days, between the hours of 5pm and 6pm, can be really rough for me.  And I hate to admit that.  I feel so weak when this happens, but is this not the most terrible time of the day for anyone else?!  I could have even had the best day with Emmitt and Cora... maybe we were doing a puzzle or playing an incredible game of make-believe, laughing and smiling moments before, but it always seems to go completely downhill like clockwork.  And then I'm real ready to not be the sole person responsible for those angry kiddos.  Also, I'd love to go to the bathroom by myself, if it's not too much to ask.  And thus begins my downward spiral into catastrophizing.  I start what I have recently begun to refer to as 'desperate texting' my poor husband.  It's possible that I gently, calmly, and coolly ask his ETA, but if he's not pulling into the driveway, like stat, then I start frantically texting about all the stressful things happening at the moment, because everything and everyone are the absolute worst right then!  I do this sometimes when Jaron is out of town too.  I really hate when I do it.  In fact, I loathe myself, and feel pathetic and ungrateful for the things that I truly love.

I have a tendency toward anxiety, being anxious... I'm a worrier, if you will.  But, I don't like to cause trouble or stress for others or bring attention to myself in groups.  I want to be calm, easy breezy, go with the flow.  And I can pull that off to a certain extent.  But sometimes I just cannot be calm.  I've used up all my being calm, so Jaron and a few other lucky (can you hear my sarcasm?) people get to hear the brunt of my freaking the flip out... often during a desperate text like situation, as mentioned above.

I tell myself that if I can't handle a simple, few extra hours with my kids than I must be weak and I'm sure they will see that.  I tell myself that I'm not like the strong women I grew up with.  But then, after a little bit, (and usually after Jaron has made me inhale a large amount of food, because come on, I was also hangry!) I finally take a step back from such negative self-talk and remind myself that feeling stressed or overwhelmed with my job at times doesn't make me a weak person.  And letting myself believe that those strong women in my life never struggled or don't continue to struggle now doesn't help me or them in any way.  I didn't think they were strong because they always did everything perfect and never had to trudge through difficulty.  I thought they were strong because they just kept on it, all the time, through good and bad.  Mostly, they made sure I knew I was loved all the while.  Making sure my kids know I love them is something that I'm honored and grateful to aim for.  If along the way, they see my struggles and celebrations, mistakes and wins, as strength, well then that's an extra special added bonus.  I'm thankful for those beautiful women, old and young, who continue to inspire me and give me strength.  May I be more like them.


This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

A Moon, A Haiku, A Fresh Start

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I think I've mentioned that sometimes we drive to help relax everyone, mostly the kids.  If nothing else is calming Cora, a car ride will often do the trick.  However, this trick seems to be wearing off, as the last few times we've loaded up in the car for an evening ride, Cora has cried and yelled (no really, she yells), and Emmitt somehow falls asleep, and me and Jaron's heads explode.  So last night, after a nice little dinner, and baths and jammies for the kiddos, we thought a drive would be fun.  We were wrong.  Cora disagreed.

Cora was in a rage about the car ride.  And it was making me feel sick to my stomach.  As we turned east on the highway, heading back to our house, I saw it.  Was it really the moon?  Surely not, it couldn't be.  And as I was realizing that it was indeed the moon, Jaron nudged me and pointed to it.  He knows my affection for a lovely moon.  And this one.  Oh this one.  I've never seen one more glorious.  It appeared enormous, as it moved out from behind buildings.  It was the most beautiful color, red and orange dancing together.  Almost instantly it eased the anxiety within me, caused by a screaming child in the backseat.  All became steady and still.  I wanted to ask Jaron a million scientific questions, but didn't dare upset Cora more with my voice.  So instead I stayed quiet, took it in.  And prayed.  A prayer of thanks and praise for such wonder, for new understanding.  And then, Cora's cries softened, slowed, and she fell asleep.

Oh my God, that moon
What's a blood moon, I wonder
Right now, it's Heaven

I've had this weird thing happen recently where I decided that I want to write more, because it makes me feel a lot of things, but overall, more alive.  And this simple, seemingly small self-discovery made me excited, inspired, and hopeful.  It also made me go blank in any of my efforts to write.  So this is writer's block, I kept thinking.  I've felt paralyzed, I guess with fear.  Maybe admitting to myself that writing is really important to me put more pressure on it?  Yes, I think that's certainly true.  But also, I've gotten so behind in things I wanted to write about that my obsessive-compulsive tendencies have held me back, caused me to not know where to start.

I've wanted to write about our Winter weekends.  How they sustained me through the long, cold weekdays.  How they restored me with lots of time with my people, in our home and throughout our city.  I've wanted to share pictures.  Pictures of our adventures with friends and family and our adventures of lazy nothingness.  Pictures of our kids growing and changing and interacting together more and more.  And there was this great need to get it all perfect.  To tell it all or nothing in just the way I needed to remember and record it.  Well, that has overwhelmed me and kept me from writing much of anything at all.

But here I am, writing.  And it feels good to be writing.

I don't often pray with a haiku.  Okay, never.  But I'm telling you, that moon.  That moon was something special.  Thank you, God, for that moon.

Since I don't have an amazing shot of that moon, this feels like a good photo as this was right at the end of Winter/beginning of Spring.  We can start fresh from here...

15/52

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Emmitt:  On Saturday, we celebrated Emmitt's 3rd birthday.  He actually turns 3 tomorrow.  This picture completely captures what I was desperately hoping he would feel as we gathered to honor him.  
Cora:  It was a farm party, because in case you missed it somehow, E loooves animals.  So of course we had cowboy boots, bandanas, some cowboy hats....  Here, Cora is joining in on the dress up fun.  Cora seems to looove a party.  Also, she thinks all the parties are for her.  

Hey, no for real, I'm about to start writing something besides a 52 post.  Whatever, you'll see.  I hope. 

14/52

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Emmitt:  We often find E looking at a book or magazine just like he's reading every word.  Sometimes he's even mumbling along as he reads it.  I suspect that one day sooner than I expect, I'll catch him reading the actual words.
Cora:  On Saturday, Cora turned 10 months old.  The last few months have surprised me with how fast they arrived.  But I'm feeling particularly nostalgic with this latest milestone.  I've been thinking of this time last year as we prepared for E to turn 2 and Cora to make her debut.  Makes me ache a little, but I know that's just how life is.  Thankful that I get to be a part of what they're each doing right now.  

I wrote about E turning 10 months old here.  It is apparently a difficult time for me ;).  Also, that seems soo long ago.  I'm having a hard time getting back into writing for a variety of reasons, even though I desperately want to.  I joined a writing project that is due in the next week, so hope I get over my writers block stat.  Happy Wednesday, friends!

13/52

Monday, March 31, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

E&C:  Some weeks I have such trouble choosing just one picture of the kids for this project, but toward the end of last week, I realized I hadn't taken any.  We had a pretty perfect Saturday, lots of relaxation with just the four of us.  We spent some time in the sunshine, that included a picnic, E playing at the park, and all of us enjoying the ducks and beautiful water at Lake Hefner.  Jaron was the photographer this week.  That's allowed.  

Hoping to post more this week.  I hope that every week.  And that's okay.  Happy Monday!

12/52

Monday, March 24, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Emmitt:  I'm sure E was trying to take in some fresh air and the beauty of his surroundings after being in the car most of the day, but it seems likely he also wanted to scare his Mama.  And a job well done on that front.  The camera was already around my neck so I couldn't resist snapping a quick shot as I made my way to get him down.  
Cora:  C was also exploring and getting some fresh air.  The kids and I took the fastest of family vacations last week with my parents, sister, and nephews to Beavers Bend State Park.  It is such a beautiful part of our state and we are grateful for the memories! 

And a happy Monday to YOU!

11/52

Monday, March 17, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Emmitt:  I think E is looking at me like this because we were all siting around in the midst of the mail and the kiddos were playing with it, and E put a rubber band he found on some flyer in his mouth, which I quickly vetoed.  Moms are always killing all the fun, huh?  I had the hardest time picking between this photo and another one.  Ultimately, I chose this one because of that face and the way he's sitting... both little things I will want to remember from this stage.  
Cora:  While E was at MDO one day last week I let Cora play in his room.  We all play in there, but she usually doesn't get free reign of his toys, so I think this was pretty special for her.  She has E's woolly mammoth.  The tusks are perfect for her to chew on.  Or so it seems.  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I sorta forgot all about it until after my kids and I were dressed and out the door.  Please don't pinch them.  Also, I guess I'm the worst.  
 

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