Thursday, July 29, 2010

Motherhood as a Career Choice

It's a job not suitable for the weak of stomach or spirit. Motherhood is an around the clock position that requires self-sacrifice, patience, and a certain sense of whimsey, that is most adequately conjured through the mind of a child. As an adult, I struggle to maintain a sense of order and adventure with stability and variability. Within me a battle arises between being completely submissive to the needs of my children, verses a personal desire to desperately hold onto some sense of my personal identity. I am attempting perfection and balance, imperfectly.

As of late, I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed, which I primarily attribute to the impulsive addition of another puppy within the family. I am exhausted most of the time and as a result my exercise regime is scattered, my nails are chipped and those things that I did for me are fading into the background. I feel like I am loosing myself in the chaos. Due to this, I have been regressing to a time in my youth where I acted selfishly. The time before marriage, kids and pets, the time leading up to my salvation when personal gain outweighed worldly consequence. I know this is wrong and I know that I have to stop, yet within this relapse I feel slightly laissez-fair. Keep in mind that there is no cause for worry, all the kids are fed and clothed, loved and nurtured, but my mind is not always present; I've become distracted. Knowing that I should take the dogs for a walk or work through a reading lesson with Sophia is outweighed by a self-indulgent desire to lay out in the sun quietly and alone while the kids watch a movie or research nonsense on the internet, serving little to no purpose, while the kids entertain themselves. I feel for the first time in my adult life, a sense of laziness which is the antithesis of who I thought I was.

This honesty could cast a less than appealing image of my abilities as a mom and make you question why we would add more children to the broad, but within this truthful expelusion, I feel a sense of relief and accountability. It would be an injustice to the career of motherhood to hide these scattered lows beneath a cloak of random highs. I've had numerous moms approach me in shock when they hear me admit to my mommy struggles, to them I appeared to have it all together and in my admittance they feel validation. With this said, I am in no way advocating less than present parenting, I am simply stating that as parents we all make mistakes, we all do or say things that we regret and we all need to move forward from these events with a greater sense of determination to replace the bad with the good. A sense of redemption can be found in imperfection.

I am where I want to be, but I want to be where I am not. I am thankful but I am not always reasonable. This is motherhood. This is what I signed up for. This is what I am meant to do.

Sophia and Anna

I've never seen a doll loved as much as Anna is loved by Sophia. The heart of a child is so uninhibited.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eight Years Later


The life that AJ and I live today resembles in no way the life that we sanctified in marriage eight years ago today. We wed in our early twenties with a sea of possibilities none of which materialized in the form we foresaw. We've experienced life, death, rebirth, wealth, poverty, submission and have become the couple I would have admired from a distance in my youth, but would have never aspired to become. Today, I can imagine living no other way than as we are, together with a growing family and deeply in love with one another.


The Confusion That Is Capri-Sun

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Verse of the Day

Matthew 11:28 - 30  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seven Years Old

I heard her name from across the Piazza San Marco in Venice. A voice I didn't recognize but one that caught my attention regardless. It was a father calling to his daughter.

AJ and I had married three days prior and we had just begun our two week long honeymoon tour of Italy. Children were not even a passing thought but in this moment, as a little girl named Sofia ran into her father's arms, I knew having a daughter was a dream that I longed to fulfill. The name remained at the forefront of my mind and a few months later, after we found out we were pregnant, I had a vision of my own sweet Sophia. Today as I look back seven years later, I am celebrating a young lady so kind, loving, patient and sincere, an individual graceful beyond her years and a blessing to everyone fortunate enough to know her.

Happy Birthday Sophia, our love for you grows with each passing moment and our lives are rich because of you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Captain Spaghetti

To say that Etienne LOVES when we go grocery shopping could be an understatement. His little eyes light up when he opens the pantry door revealing a plethora of snacking options. If he could eat 24 hours a day 7 days a week he would while somehow managing to remain skinny as a rail. During his feast of Oatmeal Cream Pies and PB and J's he made mention of how he would like to share with the kids in Ethiopia who don't have food.

His eyes may be bigger than his stomach but his heart is bigger than his being. I am proud to call Captain Spaghetti my son.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Haiti: Mission Trip

Much can be said for the impact of being uncomfortable. AJ's brother and his wife spent the past week in Haiti, camping on a concrete slab in 100 degree heat, desiring to be used wherever they were needed. There was no complaining or reluctance, only submission. With this servility they cultivated a deepening of their love for others and a heightened thankfulness for the life that they have been given. It was a week that changed their purpose and outlook, a week that grew their faith ten fold.

Sophia: "I cried when I heard Daniel and Denise's Haiti stories because it broke my heart." 

While they were away we all anxiously awaited their return, eager to hear of their experiences. When they got home we listened intently, with a genuine yearning to understand their heartache. The stories they told hushed the otherwise chaotic room and brought us all to tears of despair and triumph, Sophia included. Their is a French saying Les yeux sont le miroir de l'dme which translates to 'The eyes are the mirror of the soul' and in Matthew 6:22 it says that "the eye is the lamp of the body." As we listened, and as I looked into Daniel and Denise's eyes, I saw a depth that was not apparent before. It was as if their souls had been transformed. In them I see Jesus and I can only assume that the people they encountered in Haiti saw Him through their eyes as well. 

How do you know what you have until you see the have not? A completely unique perspective is granted to those who have witnessed the world in it's greatness and plunder. Daniel and Denise saw the Bible played out almost as if a movie... From the blind man praising God as tears streamed from his eyes to the humility and grace of washing the feet of another. It can be said that the Lord was seen in Haiti despite the darkness; God seems to be moving within the country's walls to shake them into submission and lead them into salvation. As they cleaned up rubble, loading wheel barrel upon wheel barrel full of rocks and debris, little to nothing remained intact and then Daniel unearthed a child's Bible journal, fully together. As buildings were crumbled to the ground, churches in the same row remained tall. When Satin tries to take, Jesus begins to save with vengeance.

AJ and I are so proud of the generosity of Daniel and Denise's hearts, the kindness of their spirit and the responsiveness or their flesh. We are encouraged by them, passionate because of their stories and fortunate to share our lives together.  We love you sincerely.  


All photos by Denise Fink

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Etienne: "I have an Elmo headache."
http://www.berlinwallpaper.com/PrissPrints/images/Sesame/ELMO2.jpg
Charlotte's admiration for the little red monster has been completely lost on Etienne.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Poopie

I'll spare you pictures, however I feel like plastering the news across every major headline... After weeks of studying the Elmo Potty DVD, Miss Charlotte took it upon herself to make a poopie in the potty. I was out running errands, completely immersed in which type of rawhide to get for the puppies, when the phone rang. On the other end I could hear the excitement in her raspy little voice as Charlotte proudly said "poo poo." AJ got on the phone and said that she told him that she had to go, so he sat her down and when he came back in to check on her she stood up, looked in the potty, began to cry and ran to him for a hug. The poopie came out and the without the concealment of her pull-up the turd she expelled looked a little scary! Despite her fear, she tried again this morning with the support of her trusty Elmo DVD, a bag of Hershey Kisses (potty reward) and her stuffed Elmo. She went pee pee.

Potty training is one of my least favorite parenting responsibilities, but also one that provides the greatest sense of accomplishment. The look on their faces when they finally succeed in using the potty chair is priceless. I'm uncertain of how this voyage will continue, whether it will be quick and easy or long and painful, yet either way my baby girl is on her way to becoming a big girl. I am so proud of the strength and determination that my daughter is capable of.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Audrey dressed festively... The kids were too occupied by the excitement of fireworks for me to get a proper photo of them... For the record they too were dressed in red, white and blue.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Missed Opportunities

It was 2:30 in the morning and I was letting our newest puppy outside. Exhausted I waited patiently for her to finish up, imagining lying back in bed fast asleep, when I glanced up at the sky. The stars were brilliant and I was taken in by their beauty. In this moment I realized that I have not yet taken the time to sit down with my kids to simply stare at the sky, pointing out constellations and imagining stories of space travel. In this moment, ashamed of my oversight, I recalled something that Sophia said to me earlier in the day, "I wish I had two mommies." Confused I asked her why she would want more than one and she replied "because then one mommy could play with me and the other could make dinner." Feeling as if someone had punched me in the stomach, I realized that I have been missing opportunities to spend quality time with my babies due to a desire to maintain order. I have been running our home more like a business venture than a family, striving for a false perfection that will never be obtained. My heart began to ache for all of the times I have been too preoccupied to notice the generous gifts before me.

I need to change things up, I need to be more present and less distracted. I don't want to look back at this moment in the lives of my children with regret over what should and could have been. Therefore, as of today I am going to attempt to be less structured and more carefree. This aspiration was tested this morning when Sophia came into my room carrying a bird feather she found outside. Instead of freaking out over the potential for germs, I thought back to when I was younger and how thrilling it was to find something unexpected. I was sincerely excited for her before I encouraged her to wash her hands. I know that I won't change course in one day but I hope that this is the beginning of seized opportunities.
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