Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Full circle.....

I am always jealous of people who live as adults
in the same area that they grew up in.
Watching your own kids romp around the same playgrounds,
swim in the same rivers,
attend the same schools,
and frequent the same hang outs
that you did seems like such a wonderful way
to raise a family.
I know the grass is always greener
and those people probably think that my life
of new adventures every few years
and getting to see so many parts of the country
is wildly exciting.
We usually want what we can't have.
Over the years I have grown to embrace and love my life,
but the longing for familiarity never leaves.
I feel like God has heard all of my silent thoughts,
and not so silent ones too.
He has seen how many private tears I have cried over
not being able to raise my kids near family.
He heard and saw it all
and now in his perfect timing,
He is making a way for me to
have the desires of my heart!
I still can't believe it!
We will be renting the beautiful house pictured above
for the next three years!
But that's not all....
God is a very specific God.
His blessings are pre-packaged.
They are personalized down to the very last detail.
This house is located exactly half a mile from
the house I grew up in on Wilson Road!
The same woods that went on for miles behind my house
and provided so many hours of tree fort building and
rope swinging also back up to this house!
I will be able to take my kids on box turtle hunts
and searches for the perfect branch to hang a tire swing from.
We will be able to walk down to the marina
that first sparked my brothers love of fishing.
We can feed the ducks from the same pier
that I skipped down as a pigtailed little girl.
There was one duck in particular that
was the loudest quacker in the bunch.
She was black and white
and just the most vocal bird I've ever heard.
My Dad named her Becky
in honor of my own ability to talk my way
into and out of anything!
I wonder if Becky had loud little ducklings
and gran-ducklings
that are still hanging around?
I can't wait to find out!
And so as we prepare to vacate one home
and build a life in another
I am reminded that I have a God
who loves me
and who has good things stored up for me,
including houses with red walls and
stone fireplaces
backing up to familiar woods
full of magical adventures!
Click Here for the link
to my very personalized gift!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hey mom, did ya see that?

So we've been going to the gym alot lately.
I really love it
and having David do it with me
makes it much more enjoyable.
When one or both of the boys go with us
the workout usually ends with a raquetball game.
On this day it was just David and Michael playing.
I have absolutely no desire to go into that room
and subject myself to a viscious game of dodge the
bouncing blue bruise making bullet ball,
so I watch from a bench in the hallway.
As I sat there, I noticed something.
After every single hit Michael made
he looked back at me and smiled.
Every single one!
And sometimes he'd glance over at me
with a sheepish look on his face
when he missed one.
I let my mind wander to when he was three years old.
"Watch this mom!" he'd yell from the other end of the pool.
He'd get a running start and do a cannon ball right into the deep end.
He was such an adventurous little guy
and I loved watching him accomplish all of his
rambunctious feats.
But, I have to admit,
that "Mom, watch this!" over and over again
during our visits to the pool or park
got pretty tiresome.
I was a busy mom with three little ones to look after
and we usually went to the pool or park with friends
so there was conversation going on.
Lot's of times I'd do the fake watching thing
that all moms do.
He'd shout "Watch this!"
I'd say, OK!"
but quickly go back to what I was doing
when his attention was off of me
and when I heard him resurface,
I'd say, "Great job!"
I don't think I realized then how precious
it was that my kids wanted so badly for me to be in awe of them.
Don't get me wrong,
I was a great mom who loved to have fun with them.
I'd roll on the grass with them,
toss balls, climb trees,
ride bikes, take walks
and build living room tents with them.
I cherished them as much as I knew how,
but I don't know if I really grasped the fleeting preciousness
of it all.
In those days of utter exhaustion sprinkled with
delightful exuberance,
did I really grab hold of all of the ordinary moments?
Did they know how much I enjoyed them
even on the fake watching days?
I sure hope so!
Now that my little dare devil boy is older
there are far fewer
"Hey mom, watch this!" moments.
They do still occur, but now there are more
"Mom I wish you could have been there to see it"
moments, because the natural flow of life
limits our time together.
Funny how something that got to be so annoying
is one of the things that I miss the most
about being a young mom with
three little ones under foot.
So, needless to say,
I was delighted to see that
the little boy in Michael will always want
mom to "watch this".
He still cares what I think about his accomplishments
and failures.
He still looks for the smile on my face
and the shouts of "That was awesome"
when he does something great.
And you know what?
I didn't take my eyes off of him for a minute
during that whole raquetball game!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love is......

I have been thinking alot lately about what love is.
Because of Valentine's Day everyone seems to have
love on their minds this month.
But I've been thinking beyond
moonlight and roses,
candle light dinners and
boxes of chocolate.
What is love lived out in
the daily trenches of a life?
Here are my thoughts and experiences of real love....

Love is flipping the clothes from the washer to the dryer
before you go to work every morning.

Love is letting me sit in the coziest corner of the couch
and letting me have most of the pillows.

Love is hanging and re-hanging a picture
on the wall of our new home and
being patient while I make up my mind.

Love is having picnics with me on spring days
when I know you don't really care for picnics.

Love is telling me I'm the most beautiful girl in the world
when I'm nine months pregnant
and we are sitting on a beach full of tanned,
creatively altered models, millionaires and movie stars in Malibu.

Love is bringing home just the right amount of chocolate
when you know I'm having a bad day.

Love is letting me have a red couch
when you want a brown one.
Love is watching football
with our sons
and jumping up and down and high fiving
after every good play.

Love is letting me keep the window cracked at night
to let the cool air in,
when I know that you hate getting into an icy cold bed.

Love is coaching our kids sports teams.

Love is holding the umbrella over me
when I know you are getting soaked.

Love is living a life of integrity
so that I can be secure in your faithfulness
to me and our family.

Love is getting up in the middle of the night to check out
a noise that only I heard.

Love is dropping everything anytime to come to my rescue.

Love is kicking butt at work so that you can provide
for our family well enough to allow me to
stay home with our babies.

Love is valuing a scrubbed bathtub, a mopped floor
or a carefully planned meal
and making me feel like I accomplished big things.

Love is showing mercy to our kids when
they really deserve wrath.

Love is filling up the gas tank for me
so I don't have to.

Love is enjoying a brunette
when I know you really love blondes.
Love is always choosing your family over your career.
Love is calling me a few times during the day
just to check on me and tell me that you love me.
Love is lunch dates on a regular Tuesday for no special reason.
Love is kissing me in public when I know
that's not your thing.
Love is honoring our daughter's decision to
remain pure until marriage
by replacing the cheap purity ring she bought for herself
with a real diamond ring.
Love is playing round after round
of a wii game with our son
just because he really wants to.

Love is letting me go out with the girls
and acting interested in the recap when I get home.
Love is watching chick flicks
and holding my hand during the
sappy parts.
Love is letting me hold the popcorn at the movie theater.
Love is driving slow in the rain or snow when you know I'm scared.
Love is making a special trip to pick up
tissues with lotion in them, orange juice,
cough drops and other comforts
when you know I'm feeling sick.
Love is forgiving me when I hurt you.

Love is jumping through hoops and
cutting through paperwork to fly home early from a long deployment
so that I could go be with my mom
when she needed me.
Love is meeting in the airport for 30 minutes that afternoon
as you were coming home from a five month deployment
and I was flying out
and assuring me that this was the perfect homecoming
and that our kids would be well cared for
while I was comforting my mom.

Love is not only opening our home to my grandmother
for an extended visit,
but sitting with her for hours on the back deck
listening to her stories and making her feel so special.

Love is coming with me to volunteer in our daughter's
classroom on your day off.
Love is making me feel gorgeous
when I'm tanned and toned,
when I'm having a bad hair and skin day,
when I've got last nights make-up on and tangled hair,
when I'm all dolled up for a night out,
when my jeans are too tight,
when my face is swollen beyond recognition,
when my hands are in dish water,
when I'm holding our newborn,
when I'm feeling less than confident,
or when I'm on top of the world.
Love is going through the Build-a-Bear routine,
including kissing the little heart and making a wish,
when we made a special bear for our little girl.

Love is taking care of me
and the kids and the house
when my doctor's orders had me elevating my ankle
for 8 weeks.
Love is having tea parties with a little girl
when I was still healing.

Love is putting so much energy into me
and my needs during my recovery
when all of the attention should have been on
you and your commissioning ceremony.
Love is choosing restaurants that you know I like.
Love is writing me love letters from the Persian Gulf,
from under the sea,
from across America,
and from secret places that I will never know about.

Love is not only buying that expensive bracelet,
but not making me feel horrible for losing it
11 months later
and still trusting me enough to
buy me more shiney bobbles.

Love is still being visibly in awe during intimate moments
even after 19 years.
Love is giving me the center brownie.
Love is letting me sleep in
when I know you are tired too.

Love is picking up a java chip from starbucks
for me, even when it's out of your way.

Love is laughing and saying,
"I love you sooooo much!" when I'm absent minded
or do something quirky.
Love is loving my friends and family
and being kind to them.

Love is spending time with our kids
and making them feel like the blessings they are.
Love is telling me that I'm a good mom
when I collapse in tears over
my feelings of inadequacy.
Love is not saying anything on those days
when you come home from work
and I'm still in my PJ's.
Love is taking me in your arms and telling me I'm beautiful
on those PJ all day days.

Love is ordering a dessert to share that you know I love
but that you don't particularly like.

Love is telling me how much you love
watching my ponytail swing back and forth
when I'm on the eliptical and you are
riding the excercise bike behind me.
Love is making me feel like I'm gorgeous
in a room full of chiseled,
athletic bodies at the gym.

Love is scooping up one of our daughters
and dancing around the living room with her.
Love is a thousand little things that you do
for me and our family everyday.
Love is my indescribably beautiful life
with you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

PTSD, it's not just for battlefields.

So, last month, I was diagnosed with PTSD.
I am not one to go in and discuss my feelings with a doctor
as demostrated when I waited 7 months to tell my doctor
that I was feeling a little "blue" after I had Brendell in 2003.
Feelings like that had been foreign to me up until that point.
But there was no denying the change.
Almost immediately after my c-section I felt different.
For seven months I felt different.
I kept thinking that it was my fault that I was not myself
so it took alot for me to go to my doctor.
I was not the lay in bed kind of depressed,
but I was having irrational fears about my new baby
and feeling completely inadequate.
I felt like everyone was judging me and
that they secretly thought that I was a horrible person.
This was the total opposite of my normal personality,
so at the prompting of my husband, I went to our assigned doctor on base.
She diagnosed me with post pardom depression
and put me on Zoloft.
I gained 15 pounds in 6 weeks and begged her to change my meds.
She switched me to Effexor claiming that it generally did not cause weight gain.
I put on 30 more pounds over the next four months
and was basically emotionally numb.
I went through the motions of motherhood,
but I felt very little.
I decided I'd rather be paranoid then a fat zombie,
so I weaned myself off of Effexor
and my hormones eventually worked themselves out.
By the time Bren was two and a half,
things were back to normal for me.
The weight, however, has stuck around give or take 10 pounds.
So, you can see why I was so reluctant this time
to tell my doctor what I have been dealing with over the past 6 months.
But, my symptoms were getting more and more bothersome,
so I really had no other choice than to have that
"please tell me I'm not crazy" conversation again.
I always thought PTSD was just for soldiers who had experienced
horrible things on the battlefield,
but the truth is that trauma (any trauma) is damaging in many ways.
Near death experiences change you,
and not always in the "I almost died, so now I'm going to go do amazing things
with my second chance" kind of ways.
Sometimes it makes you question your ability to protect yourself
and those for whom you are responsible.
Sometimes it makes you feel guilty for having exposed your loved ones
to such an event.
Sometimes it makes you feel like it was your fault for not
being able to avoid the trauma.
Sometimes when you don't heal back exactly how you were
it makes you feel both angry at your lack of control
and horrible for not being thankful that you healed at all.
I have been reliving my tubing accident more often than I'd like to
when I close my eyes to go to sleep
or when I catch myself zoning out in the middle of the day.
I have irrational fears about things I'm usually not afraid of.
We almost brought Bren with us that day and she would have been
on my raft with me.
That thought consumes too much of my time
and it's irrational to get so worked up over something that did not happen.
The fear I experience is strong enough to cause tightening in my chest,
difficulty breathing and restless sleep.
My usual "roll with the punches" attitude has been replaced
by someone who can't handle stress very well
and who flies off the handle more often.
I'm just not me.
Luckily, I have an awesome doctor now
who really listens to me and we decide together on a course of treatment.
She knew that I would absolutely not take anything
that made me feel like a zombie or put a single pound on me,
so we researched together something that had a low chance of doing either.
I'm taking Wellbutrin and so far I've lost 13 pounds
and I haven't felt that tightening in my chest in weeks.
I'm so relieved that I don't have to trade extra pounds and
emotional numbness for my sanity.
I'm also relieved to know that everything I was feeling
has a name and a solution
and it wasn't just that I was too weak to handle the trauma
or too selfish to be thankful that I am alive.
I'm still getting used to the medicine in my system
and I'm working on becoming more like me again.
It took alot for me to blog about this.
I don't like to broadcast my weaknesses.
Many of my closest friends don't even know what has been going on.
I don't like to stir up concern for me.
I'd rather comfort than be comforted,
and I like to be perceived as someone who
is strong and can be counted on
not someone who needs help.
I am energized by encouraging and being there for others,
but it is so hard for me to be that person who needs strength
from other people.
So, I hid everything, put on a smile
and pretended as best as I could,
but I wanted you to know why I've been so sporadic with my posting
over the last 6 months.
Sometimes I just couldn't get outside of my own head enough
to post anything relevant or interesting.
Hopefully, most of this is behind me now
and I can look forward to much brighter days ahead.