Most of the time, when you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they say something like a doctor, a policeman, ect. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and a mom. I was lucky enough to find a man who wanted to make me a wife right out of high school.
After 5 years of trying to have a baby, it seemed like my dream of becoming a mom would never come true. Then…it happened. For a moment, after I saw that the test was positive, I thought I was dreaming. Once I pinched myself a couple of times and realized that I was very much awake, I went to tell Bry. I could barely walk I was so excited. All I could do was fall into his arms and cry. For a second he didn’t know if they were sad or happy tears. Eventually, I got it out and he and I just held each other and cried.
For 9 months I did everything I could to keep her safe in my belly. It was amazing. I even smiled while I was puking! I was also terrified that I would lose her.
Then, my little miracle came into this world. Even, then she was quiet and chill. So much so that we thought she wasn’t breathing right at first! But nope, my baby was just perfect.
I have soaked up every moment of her life. We have been best buddies from the start. She never went through a difficult stage, no terrible twos for her. I never left her. Ever. Not because I was overprotective (even tho I am) but it was mostly because I was afraid of missing anything.
My little girl loved all the same things that I did. Disney, shopping, family and Britney Spears. As she got older, we only got closer. The day I had to leave her at preschool, I sat in the hallway and cried for a ridiculously long time. We both survived tho.
She was the center of attention for 5 years before we were surprised with 2 more munchkins. You would think that there would be a period when she was jealous or had a hard time adjusting but it didn’t happen. I’ve never seen a child fall so in love with their siblings even before they were born. She became a little mom to them, always wanting to protect them and take care of them.
Now that she’s older we are so much more than mother and child. She is my best friend. We talk about everything, laugh at the same stuff. Most of the time we don’t even have to talk. She knows what I’m thinking before I say it and vice versa.
She didn’t get her brains from me tho. That definitely came from her daddy! She is so smart. She’s artistic and kind and thoughtful. She is soft hearted and shy, SO shy.
Soon she will have to go out into the world on her own. I know she will be fine. Not so sure about me.
Before I write this, let me just say that I’m very aware that there are so many who are dealing with far bigger struggles than ours. No matter what has happened, we are so blessed to still have each other. I’m not trying to pretend that our struggle compares to anyone else’s. I’m just sharing mine.
My family is so close to seeing a huge dream come true. It’s so close I can taste it. I’m almost afraid to say anything in fear of jinxing it! I guess because we are at a turning point, I feel like I should take a minute to reflect and share some of the things we’ve been through the last few years.
Looking at my family, you would probably never realize the things we’ve been through. I believe there are several reasons why we are able to pull ourselves up and keep moving with a smile on our face. Just to share a few…
We don’t believe in pity parties. It doesn’t do us any good. As I stated before, there are so many people with struggles bigger than ours.
We believe in God. No matter how hard things become, He has a plan for us. There have been weak moments when worry takes over, but I KNOW he will take care of us.
We believe in family. We fight just like every other family, but we love hard and we are loyal to a fault. In the end, we always come through for each other. Our family has made unbelievable sacrifices for one another.
We believe in the power of laughter. We have laughed our way through even the hardest of days. (And at some of the most inappropriate moments!!) If we have nothing to laugh at, one of us will do something absolutely ridiculous to put a smile on everyone’s face.
We believe in sticking together. Things are going to get hard. Were not always going to like each other, but we don’t quit. We stick it out. We hold strong.
These things have brought us through some dark days and will continue to do so no matter what the future holds.
We lost so much when Bry was laid off almost 5 years ago. A house, a car, our dog (because we couldn’t afford food or vet bills) and there were times we had no money for food. My kids are scarred from it. I’ve mentioned in a previous post, some of the ways it has affected them. I’m not sure if they will ever fully get over it.
My husband will probably never be the same. He has really taken a beating since then. I can’t imagine how it felt for him. Bry’s the provider and he has always taken that very seriously. He had worked so hard to get where he was. He was so proud and excited when he was appointed VP. He loved what he was doing. Then one day it was just taken from him. He tried so hard to fix things. When he couldn’t find any jobs in his field, he started applying for any and everything he could. I cant imagine the humility it took to go from VP of a company to applying for minimum wage jobs. When no one would hire him because he was “over qualified”, my uncle helped get him a job driving a chip truck. It was so hard to watch him go to work while it was still dark and not come home until it was dark again. Especially since, according to the national average, he was being paid poverty wages. When his current job became available, I wanted him to take it no matter what it paid. I couldn’t stand to watch him work in 100 degree weather, in a truck with no air conditioning, one more day. Of course it is nowhere near the job he had before. The salary is job,t okay, he doesn’t get the credit he truly deserves and he isn’t always treated the best. Being his wife, I will always want more for him, but still extremely grateful for ANY job that he has. I know there are still so many people who don’t have a job, so I don’t ever take that for granted.
Then there’s me. This part is going to be hard for me to share, and probably very short. As other moms will probably understand, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how we feel or what we need. For me, as long as my kids and husband are happy and healthy, I’m good. In order to ” keep it real”, I will try to explain a little of how the last five years has affected me. I guess the most obvious is my health. I have several autoimmune disorders that are affected greatly by stress. It goes without saying that the last 5 years have been the most stressful of my life. I also struggle with depression. The newest issue is unexplained weight gain. Although I eat under 1000 calories a day & exercise, I continue to gain. I’m now on blood pressure medication and I’m being sent to a cardiologist for some issues that have come up.
I feel like pieces of my heart were chipped away every time my children lost yet another thing that they love (their dog, their home, their friends, etc).
Also, I’m assuming in an effort to protect me, my mind has thrown up blocks that have caused huge chunks of my memory to disappear. The past five years have felt kind of like a race, with no end in sight. Sometimes instead of living life day by day, I’m trying to get to a place where I feel secure again. I tend to think of my life in terms of “before the layoff” and “after the layoff”.
To be clear, the purpose of sharing all of this is not to whine and complain about how hard our life has been…boo hoo! It’s really about how blessed we’ve been. God has had his hand in every situation and emotion that I’ve shared. For example, when we lost our house, my brother and sis-in-law allowed us to move into their home. That’s four adults and 6 kids (five under the age of 5) living in a 5 bedroom home people! When my brother had to move, he allowed us to stay in his home. We couldn’t afford all of the rent on our own so my Mom & Step dad moved in to help us. Every one of my family members have come through for us in one way or another. When we couldn’t afford to feed our kids, gift cards to Kroger started showing up in our mailbox. Our church has provided us with so many things that we’ve needed. We lost our dog, and although he can never be replaced, Nicki has come into our lives and completely stolen all of out hearts. Bry lost his truck. A friend from church gave us a car that needed lots of work. So, another friend from church volunteered a ton of his time to repair that car. We lost some friends, but we’ve also discovered who our true friends really are.The blessings really do go on and on.
Yes, I still see things as before and after the layoff. However, our families bond has grown so strong! We have seen so much kindness and sacrifice. We’ve seen God’s love and provision. Our life is slowly but surely getting back on track.
We may have bumps and bruises, we may be taped together, but this didn’t break us! I’m sure there are many more struggles coming our way, but I know no matter what, we will always have God’s love, we will always have our family and we will always, always have laughter.
Jer 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Luke 6:21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
The first time I remember seeing my Dad cry was when I was around seven or eight. We were watching the true story of Adam Walsh. Adam was an eight year old boy who was abducted from a department store. The movie showed scenes of his Mom running through the store looking for her little boy, his family and friends searching frantically for weeks. I wont go into the gory details but he was found dead a few weeks later. Anyway, I think that was the first time I realized that parents got scared too. I saw the fear on the actors faces as they tried to recreate how Adam’s parents must have felt. I saw the fear in my Dad’s watery eyes as he thought about the same thing happening to his kids.
Although I saw the evidence of a parents fear that day I, of course, didn’t know the depth of it until I had Bailey. I remember being overwhelmed with love to the point that I felt that my heart would burst. Along with that love I almost immediately became afraid. What was I thinking bringing this angel into a world where so many things could harm her? I continued to have worries and fears that changed with the different stages of her life. It was the same with Luke and Presley.
When they were newborns I remember being afraid to leave their sides while they were sleeping. I was so afraid that once I lay them down to sleep they may never wake up. I can’t tell you how many times I would put my head to their little chests to make sure there hearts were still beating or even putting a mirror under their nose to see if their breath would fog it up. And if I still wasn’t sure I would tickle their little feet to see if they stirred. Maybe I was a little extreme, I’m a worrier by nature, but I’m sure every parent has their own version of these fears.
Once they started walking I was worried about them falling or pulling something on top of them. I gave serious thought to covering them in bubble wrap in case I wasn’t there to catch them when they fell. I was also terrified that I would lose them in some way. What if they got really sick? What if they wandered off or someone took them from me. I was at the store once when Luke was around 2 and Presley 1. They were buckled into their stroller and I was browsing sale racks looking for new clothes for them. My hand was on the stroller, I was talking to them, they were munching on their Cheerios. I heard Presley giggle and I turned around to smile at her. When I looked down she was grinning up at me and I stared in horror at Luke’s empty seat. At first I calmly looked around the rack. I mean, how far could he have gone right? When I didn’t find him I did my best not to panic but it was a struggle! Did someone take him? Was he running out the front door at that very moment? The front door!? Please let me get there before he does. I could see it from the back of the store, sliding open and closed. As I am rushing to the front a manager sees my distress and quickly realizes what is wrong. She gets on her radio and calls a “Code Adam”. (A system put in place for this very reason. Named after the little boy from the movie I had seen when I was young. If that code is called employees are supposed to stop what they are doing and block exits and start searching for the missing child.) Three or four minutes went by and even with the staff helping we couldn’t find him. I remember feeling like I was in a tunnel. Everything was a blur and my hearing was even affected. I took turns praying, picturing all the things that could be happening to him and seeing his sweet smile. Just as I thought I was about to break I heard a woman from the other side of the store yell “I found him!” Those were the best three words I’d ever heard!! I ran towards her voice as fast as I could. When I came around the corner she had him by the hand and he was looking around with wide eyes as if thinking “What is wrong with everybody? I was just taking a little walk!” I hugged him so hard that he started fussing and squirming. Then we had a VERY long talk about staying in his stroller WITH the seatbelt on unless Mommy told him he could get down!
Other fears I had aren’t quite so dramatic. Like their first day of school. The first time I would leave them with someone I didn’t know for such a long period of time. Spending the days and weeks before smiling and pumping them up and telling them how awesome it would be and how much fun they would have!! Hugging them so tight and reassuring them as I scooted them into the room while they looked at me with eyes that asked “You’re not really leaving me here are you?” Then trying my best to make it to my car before I broke down. Worrying things like would their teacher be nice to them? What if they fell on the playground? What if they missed me and started crying? What if they felt like I had abandoned them?
So many fears in between like the first time they spend the night away from home. Seeing them choke on a piece of candy, trying to break their fever, and holding their hand as they get stitches. Riding their bike without training wheels, getting into a wreck and looking back to see if they’re okay. Having a friend hurt their feelings, getting in trouble at school or not being picked for the team.
I’m about to head into a whole new set of fears and worries. Bailey is thirteen. Pretty soon she will have her first boyfriend. Will he break her heart? Will she remember the things I told her about protecting her heart, body and mind? Saving herself for her husband? Will she come to me if she makes the wrong decisions and needs my help? Will he abuse her like I was abused? Will she learn from my mistakes or will she use them as an excuse for making her own? Will people at school be kind to her? Will her friends be loyal or talk behind her back? Will her spirit be broken? When she is pressured to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or try drugs will she make the right decision? Will she hate me when I punish her? And I don’t even want to think about her getting her driver’s licence or riding in the car with one of her friends behind the wheel!! The thought of standing on the porch as they drive away is enough to give me heart palpitations!!
When Luke and Presley are her age I will have to deal with the same things. Will they get asked to the prom or in Luke’s case will the girl say yes? When they get picked on or bullied is it going to break them or will they stand up for themselves. Can they keep their grades up and be able to graduate with their class? When they apply to colleges will they get accepted? Are they going to move far away from me? Will they find a career that they love and become successful? Get married to someone who loves them as much as I do? Most importantly will they stay close to God and turn to Him when they need help with their biggest and smallest problems?
There are SO many things to worry about and fear. So many more than I could ever mention! When Bailey was a baby I worried so much that I became ill. I rarely left the house because I wanted to keep her in a little bubble. As if I could somehow protect her from the world outside. One day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am not in control here. I could do everything in my power to keep them safe and I still might lose them. They are not mine. First and foremost, they are God’s children. He is in control of their life and of mine. All I can do is honor the responsiblity he gave me as their Mother. Pray to Him for their safety and be grateful for every second that he gives me with them.
Every morning when they get out of the car and walk into the school I turn off the radio and I pray. I thank Him for another day of hearing them laugh, helping them make the right decisions and drying their tears. I ask him to protect them while they are not with me and also when they are. I pray for wisdom so that I can guide them onto the right paths and also that He will calm my fears. After that I just try to put my faith in Him. I know that He already has a plan for them. It might not be the plan I would’ve made or even one that I like but He knows better than me. The funny thing is that there is an amazing peace that comes with that knowledge. There is nothing I can do to change the path that he has chosen for them. All I can do is love them, be the best Mom that I can and then trust in Him for the rest.
That’s not to say that I still don’t worry like crazy! I’m only human! I’m their Mommy and they will always be my babies.
“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears”. Psalm 34:4
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Imagine if I called you up and said “Hey! The house down the street is on fire! C’mon over and we’ll run inside!” or how about “There’s a guy with a shotgun at the mall! Let’s go up there and … Continue reading
I’ve had people tell me over the years how unusual it is for siblings to be as close as I am to mine. They really are a couple of the best people I know. They are so fun to be around but strong and steady when I need them to be. I also can’t believe how lucky we are with how well our spouses have fit right in with us. I was always worried that they would marry someone who one of us didn’t get along with. Not only do I love my brother and sister-in-law but I really like them too. If I had a choice of who I would want to hang out with on any given day it would always be them and my sibs. Not to say we don’t have our rough patches. I think anytime you care about someone as much as we do there are gonna be times that you argue. It doesn’t take long for us to get over it though. I mean who better to put you in your place than your brother or sister right?
There have been so many times that my siblings have come through for me. Especially in the last couple of years. Not because they had to, not because I asked them but because that’s just who they are and how they love. They’ve helped me in huge ways, like Bubba & Jo inviting us to live with them or when Bre took Bailey to get back to school clothes. There have also been times when they’ve helped and probably thought nothing of it.
That brings me to the thing that made me want to write about what awesome sibs I have. This week Bre took her kids to the fair. It is something I always looked forward to when I was younger. Of course now it’s not something we can afford to do if all of us go. So Bre, as if she didn’t have enough kiddos to keep up with, asked Bay to go with them. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me. Bailey heard all of her friends talk about going and it would’ve broken my heart if she missed out on doing the same. As an added bonus she got to hang out with her best bud Aussie. 🙂 Like I said, I really don’t think they realize how much they have helped me over the years. And I’m sure if you asked them about it they’d wave it off like it was no big deal. It’s a really big deal to me.
I have learned something as I’ve gotten older. Hopefully a few things but one of them is this…if you don’t know what you’re talking about, its probably better to keep your opinions to yourself. Sounds pretty easy right? You’d be surprised.
For instance, have you ever seen someone park in a handicap spot then walk into the store looking like the picture of health? Did you have a moment where you thought…”Why does she get to park there? She looks fine to me!” Did you ever stop to think that she has a condition that causes her severe pain, especially if she has to walk long distances? There are so many medical conditions that you can’t see the physical affects of but that doesn’t make them any less real.
What about when you see a family eating out at a restaurant. You think to yourself “I thought they were broke? Well, they must not be that broke if they can afford to eat out!” Do you know how they are paying for their meal? Maybe someone gave them a gift card for their birthday? When you heard they were having financial troubles did you look at them and think “Well they’re just not working hard enough…they must be spending too much…they have to be doing something wrong.
Have you ever seen a pregnant teenager and think “Well, her life is ruined!”? She will end up being a statistic. She couldn’t possibly reach the same goals as someone who waited until they were old enough, someone who was married. Did you ever stop to think that she just might end up proving you and the statistics wrong? That not only may she marry the father of her baby and go on to have a successful marriage, possibly even more successful than most people who do it the “right” way. She might work her but off and put herself through school, not only while holding a job but also while holding that little miracle in her arms. Did you ever consider that she would get a job that pays enough for her to support her family all on her own?
Have you ever watched your friend greet everyday with a smile and assume because of her positive attitude that she must have the perfect life? Did you fail to notice there were dark circles under her eyes because she is in so much pain that it keeps her up at night? Or maybe you knew about the pain but thought it couldn’t be that bad…otherwise she would look like she was hurting. Did you realize she was getting ulcers from trying to figure out how she was going to feed her children or pay her billswhen the groceries and the money ran out? Or that her marriage was falling apart?
Have you ever seen someone using food stamps and assumed that they must be lazy? Otherwise they would get a job and pay for their own food, right? Did you ever find yourself having a conversation with someone and proceed to tell them just how you feel about those people? Did you realize that the person you were talking to may rely on food stamps to feed his family? Not because he is lazy but because he works his fingers to the bone and still isn’t able to make ends meet. Could you possibly know that you were killing his spirit and breaking his heart a little more with every word you spoke?
Listen I’m not pointing fingers here. I’ve been guilty of the same thing. I’m sure there are still plenty of times when I still look at a situation and think that I have it all figured out. All I’m saying is that I’m becoming more aware of that flaw in myself and I am trying to be less judgemental, less ignorant. My mom has always told me “Unless you walk a mile in someone shoes you will never know how they really feel”. I guess its just taken me this long to realize what that really meant.
I’m beginning to wonder if God hasn’t allowed me to walk through some of my trials so that i can learn lessons like this. To help me be kinder, more compassionate, not quite so ignorant. If that’s the case then I’m thankful for the struggles. Knowing that, hopefully the next time I’m in one of these situations or countless others like this, I will be able to remember times when I could have used a little less judgement pointed my way by people who had no idea what I was going through. I’ll also remember how wonderful it was when someone looked upon my situation with a compassionate heart. Even if they didn’t understand it or were ignorant to it, a few people just loved me anyway and walked through the trials beside me. Sometimes they held me up and even carried me through them. Maybe then I will be inspired to do the same for someone else.
Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
You know…we’ve been broke before. As a matter of fact, there was a time in our early marriage that we were so broke that we had one car between us that we could barely pay for; we couldn’t afford cable so we watched TV on a handheld black and white and some months we had to borrow grocery money.
Bry worked his butt off for years to get us out of that situation. At one point he had two jobs (I was working full time too). We would leave the house at around 6 am, work till 5 pm, drive home & eat a quick dinner and then he would be out the door so that he could make it to bartend from 6 pm till sometimes 2 or 3 in the morning. He is so talented but for years he was the “worker bee”, he did the work but his boss got to put his stamp on the job. When he was finally offered the position as VP of Development we thought “Finally, after all these years, he’s made it. We can breathe.
And we did breathe. Now I’m not saying that we spent all of those years struggling. We did okay after a while but there was still always that feeling of “Oh gosh, are we going to make it?” But when he got that job we felt like maybe we had arrived at that point in our lives where you just settle in and enjoy the ride. Well…that was our first mistake. 🙂
As I was saying…we’ve been broke before. This is different. It’s funny because I think that people have this idea that because he has a job now everything is back to normal. Here’s the thing, he gets a paycheck but that paycheck, according to studies, is poverty level wages. It is not even ¼ of what he used to make. People see us struggling and think well; maybe if you just cut back here and there you’ll pull through. Okay. If that makes you feel better I will nod and go along with you. It’s not the truth though.
Let’s forget about the money for a minute. We’ll pretend that he makes enough to stretch from payday to payday. My kids will never be the same. Luke and Presley still cry every time they talk about their dog, Max. Bailey doesn’t even talk about him at all. When you don’t have a home or money for your kids you definitely don’t have enough to keep your dog. Also, if they see you even think about taking one of their toys out of their room, even ones they forgot they had, they freak out. Not normal freak out like most kids do when this happens. I’m talking total melt down that eventually turns into sobs of “I miss Max”. Which we’ve learned is code for “I miss my old life.”
It’s affected them in ways that we haven’t even figured out yet. For instance, last year I found out Bay’s school was having a winter formal. I asked her why she wasn’t going and she said “I don’t know. I just don’t want to.” I could tell that wasn’t the case at all so I kept pushing her to talk. Finally she said “It’s okay Mommy. Yeah, I’d like to go but I know we can’t afford the dress and everything.” I was pretty sure I could actually hear my heart break at that moment. Yeah, I ended up figuring out ways for her to go (with the help of my sister) and yeah, we’ve found ways to help them get whatever they need but I know that they feel this more than they let on.
I won’t even go into the ways that it has affected me and Bry emotionally. Honestly, I’ve been too busy staying positive for everyone else to even evaluate my own feelings. I’m kind of afraid to feel them to be honest with you. I have this fear that if I let myself really “go there” that I will just lay in a heap and cry. That’s not my personality though. I’m a “keep it moving” kind of girl. And I also know that God has a plan for us. I REALLY believe that although it might not sound like it sometimes. No matter how discouraged I feel I am always brought back to that truth. No, that doesn’t mean that I have to like it or that it will be easy, but it does help pick me up off my feet when the burden gets too heavy.
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. Psalm 91: 3-6
Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip he who watches over you will not slumber; Psalm 121
Yeah so…it’s been a while. Needless to say that when Bry lost his job it put us into a tailspin. I read some old posts and was reminded of what a great tool this is. The kids are going to love looking back at these and seeing little glimpses of their past. Bailey already does. So yeah. I think I’ll give it another shot. Not making any promises though. If you are a Mom, have a Mom or know a Mom you’re probably aware of how hard it can be to carve out time for yourself! Bare with me… I know most of my old posts were about the crazy things my kids got into and the fun stuff we did together. There will be plenty of that but after everything we’ve been through the past couple of years I’m sure there will be some not so pleasant ramblings added in. But I guess that’s what you get when you are a Super Mommy…lots of fun, memories and love with a few bad days thrown in to keep you on your toes!