Tuesday, April 30, 2013

one fine day (part II)

Up until that point all that she had thought about was how difficult her life was, how hard this day was on her, how her job as a mother was faltering. As the exasperated mother (we will call her L) sat on the park bench, she heard the following conversation from two women behind her:

"...I just can't keep up. She wants to do one thing and I want to do another- yet I don't want to argue with her so I let her have her way. It's easier than fighting...I am so tired..."
"Oh honey, I know. At this age you just gotta tell them how it's gonna be. Lay down the rules."
"I know...but I feel pushed around in so many directions...I need an out, but she needs ME."

The rest of the chat went somewhat like that-- and as she overheard little bits here and there, it was clear that L was not the only frustrated mom that day.

L stood up, turned around and walked towards the women. Nervously, she spoke up.

"Hi. I promise I wasn't prying, but I couldn't help but hear some of what you said. And I just have to tell you that I have been having the same kind of feelings..it is so hard. How old is your daughter?"

She was two, and she playing happily on the slide with the boy with a band-aid on his knee. She was also beautiful, her golden locks swaying in the breeze. Looking at her, one would think "What an adorable little girl" but in her mother's eyes she was the cause of desperation. She was the one person in the world that could pull her heartstrings in many directions at once.

This made L take pause. Looking at her own children, she knew she loved them endlessly and would give her life for them. She knew that others could see how sweet and beautiful they were. But she also knew that there were days when she didn't like them that much. Plain and simple.

The two young mothers sat and talked and shared and laughed and sighed together. They both felt the weight of motherhood heavy on their shoulders. But somehow, talking to a complete stranger about it made it a little more bearable.

And then suddenly, something amazing happened.

The daughter's mom spoke aloud- to no one in particular. Almost a mutter, but it came out very clear...
"Sometimes I think that there's got to be more. That somewhere, there are answers. I want to know that God has a plan for me."

L sat beside her, awestruck. This was a golden moment. And all at once she understood why her day was going badly, why her husband had to come home to prompt her to go outside, why after the boo-boos and temper tantrums she had to be here to meet this woman. This was bigger than her- bigger than her "problems". She felt Heavenly Father's love around her like a warm blanket. No more anxiety, no more stress. She knew her purpose today. She felt peace at last.

What to say....how to say it...her mind raced. She had been praying and fasting for an opportunity like this. She never, ever thought it would come so easily. This mother was suffering- she wanted more. A golden moment.

The stranger went on to say, "I have wanted to go back to church, but I just don't know where to go."

and then L knew exactly what she had to say.

"God does have a plan for you. I know it. I am a firm believer that He is aware of every individual. It sucks when we go through this kind of pain, but I really feel that it's the only way we grow."

After a few minutes of chit-chat, the two mothers got up to leave and L spoke again.

"You mentioned wanting to go to church sometime. If you're interested, you can come with me. That way at least you will kind of know someone. I'd be happy to give you my number. And oh, haha...by the way, my name is L. It is so nice to meet you."

The other woman smiled gratefully and said, "Hi. I'm R. It's nice to meet you, too."

As L walked her children home, she felt...calm. Nothing could bother her. It didn't matter that there were piles of laundry and dishes awaiting her, or hungry mouths to feed and little bodies to wash and dress for bed. All that went on earlier was of no more importance. The last few weeks of hardship had led her to this point, she just knew it.

It was so incredibly humbling and she wanted the feeling to last forever.

'God has a plan. He has a plan for me...'

Perhaps it was one very fine day, after all. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

one fine day

She closed the bedroom door behind her and gasped loudly, cupping her mouth with her trembling hands. Shutting out the cries and screams in the next room, she let her mind go to mute. On the floor her body rocked rythmicaly back and forth as she soothed herself into a trance. The trance broke too suddenly and she could do nothing but cry. Cry and cry. She prayed, she moaned, she cried some more. Her head spun and her heart raced. She felt like a failure of a mother.

There she sat, for a full half hour while her children continued to plead for her attention. She replayed the scenario in her head...

half an hour earlier:

"Mooooooom. I want to go fast fast. PUSH ME."

One of those days again... she thought grudgingly. Lately it is always one of those days...

"I can't push you, son. I can only help you because I am holding your sister."

"But I want to go FAST!" He refused to pedal forward on his own, still not sure how to make the bike that he sat on move. 

"Okay...just one second. Let me put her down in the grass. Hold on." The tired mom of two plopped her baby in the wet grass and quickly pushed her son on the bicycle. She glanced behind her and noticed a chubby figure waddle into the street. 

In seconds she swooped up her daughter and breathed a sigh of relief. She was faced once again with a screaming 3 year old.

"Okay! You know what? Let's go put the bike back and walk to the park. How about that?" She so desperately wanted to stay outside in the sunshine- that glorious sunshine that she'd been out of for the last 3 days because she knew that taking the kids outside would cause chaos. And she was right.

"NO!!!! I no want to go to park! I want to ride my bike!" Ride. Yeah, right. He wanted to be pushed for five miles, more like.

The battle from son to mother to wiggly baby commenced, until enough was enough. The mom grabbed the bike in her free hand and carried it to the back porch a few yards away, balancing her baby on her hip with the other. Her son screamed louder and ran away in the opposite direction. Her only option was to place the fussy baby inside, close the screen, and chase after him. It was going to be a really long day.

Once inside, she did her fair share of yelling and spanking to "fix" the situation, only making it worse and making her heart sink to the pit of her stomach. She was not calm, she was not kind, she was not gentle. In that moment, she hated what she was. That mom who yells and spanks and loses her cool. so. very. easily. 

Behind the bedroom door she tried to muffle her cries, tried to stop the sobbing- but she couldn't. All the anger and fear and shame from the past few weeks rose up within her and formed a ball of mush in her throat. Is this a panic attack? she wondered. Possibly. All she knew was that she needed someone to make it stop. She tried to pray but could not speak or think clearly. In a haze she grabbed her phone and punched the button to call her husband.

"I know you're on break. Were you going to call me?" Great, now she was making the person she loved most feel guilty. Great start.

"My lunch break just started- I was about to call you. Everything okay?" He was well aware of the difficult times she had been having at home.

They talked for a bit, but she couldn't really explain. She was sobbing too much still. He left work and drove home, keeping her on the line the entire time and trying to calm her down. When he arrived they sat on their bed and went over every detail of the day and every emotion she felt.

"I will try not to go 'therapist' on you and just be a husband counseling with his wife," he assured her.
"Okay...that would be nice. Just don't stop talking to me."

There they sat and talked until he had to return to work. He gave her inspired advice and she actually felt that God was speaking through him, telling her exactly what she needed to hear.

One thing he advised was to take the kids back outside after their naps. "It doesn't matter if they are cranky or won't listen or don't deserve it. Take them anyway. For you. You need to be outside and breathe in fresh air. Don't focus on being the perfect mommy. Be there to nurture and protect- that is all. Do not try and discipline them today."

When they woke up she did as promised as took them back outside. Within minutes her son walked the curb (something she warned him not to do countless times before), fell and skid his knee. Blood dripped from his leg and he yelled at her that it hurt. Her first instinct was to take them both right back inside and forget it. But then she heard her sweet husband's voice whisper, "Take them anyway. For you."

"This is what we're going to do. Let's go inside and clean it up and put a band-aid on the owie, then we'll go to the park."

A while later, they approached the quiet park where a few other kids played. Her son had a new band-aid on his knee and he was all smiles. Her daughter, who sat in the stroller, could not care less- but she was content.

As she walked the stroller over to the bench, she noticed another young mother sitting at a picnic table. They glanced at one another for one brief second, and as quickly as it happened a peaceful feeling came over her. For some reason, she strongly felt that she was to talk to this woman. She knew it just as sure as she knew that the sun was shining.

Normally she didn't talk to anyone at this park. How was this time any different? But the prompting was undeniable. She just had to say something.

Waiting for the right moment to say hello (and not come across totally awkward) , she took her seat on the bench.

As she waited, she couldn't help but hear the conversation that this young woman was having with the older lady beside her. In just the two minutes that she listened, she could hardly believe what she heard. Great big tears welled up in her eyes, and she shut them tight in her moment of awe.

to be continued...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

recap: 3rd birthday & miss cutie

T's birthday was splendid :]

We kept it low-key and it worked out perfectly (aside from 1st birthday, I'm not huge on planning parties). We were able to skype with both grandparents during the present-opening and cupcake-eating parts. So even though it was just us it felt like most of our family was there!

Talmage is much more into unwrapping gifts at this age. He really goes at it! It's fun to watch his face light up with every little thing he opens.

His dad got him a fishing pole that is just his size. If anyone knows my husband they know that fishing is his FAVORITE thing in the whole world- so needless to say he is pretty stoked about the idea of taking his son fishing!
The big present from us was a new bike (and first one ever!) But since it wouldn't come for a few more days we wrapped his helmet and explained to him that a bike was to follow. I don't think he fully grasped what we were saying but he was excited about the helmet, ha... oh, and also the markers from his Mimi ;]
We ended with some yummy cupcakes and singing "happy birthday" with all of the family over skype. I realized that minute that I didn't have any birthday candles so he blew out a normal jarred one. oops!
When his bike finally arrived, he kept saying "can I ride it now?". Even though he's still learning how to peddle he was very happy to be on that thing and never wanted to get off.

Another "gift" that was more necessity than anything was a new car seat. Charlotte outgrew her infant one a long time ago and we were never able to upgrade her to a bigger seat. So finally we decided to use his birthday as an excuse to get him a booster car seat. C now sits in his old convertible car seat and she loves her comfy & roomy throne..haha. And now that they both face forward, long drives are much easier (plus now she can see the dvd player so she's entertained). I kind of wish we would have done this sooner....it was much needed.
Meanwhile, Charlotte has been fighting teething and a cold. But she's still happy and cute. Here's some of my favorites from the last few weeks...

"Bunny"- her new lovey

I get the best pictures of her in the swing- probably because she's happiest and sits still long enough...so you may see many more "swing pictures" in the future.

My birthday is in two days and I refuse to make it a big deal, but Jonathan keeps hinting at some kind of surprise. I can't wait to see! And my mom and mom-in-law must be on the same track of mind because they both sent Joanns gift cards (craft posts to come very soon!)--but really I was thrilled to have some extra crafting money because it seems like I haven't made anything in a while. And it is my therapy...so you can imagine :]

The biggest surprise of all came yesterday. My dad called to let me know that two "little" packages were coming. A few hours later they came, except one of them was the size of our tv! We opened it and Jonathan said "No way...you're not gonna believe this, Linz." It was the newest iMac desktop--the smaller package was a cd drive. I was in shock. 1) I am not used to having nice things. pretty much everything I've owned electronic-wise has been a hand-me down (no complaints there- I've always loved them!) and 2) I have desperately been needing a new computer as my laptop is almost near its end and won't hardly charge. So this was the perfect thing for me...when I called my dad back to thank him profusely, he said "Now you have a nice big screen to edit your pictures on!" ah. he shares my love of photography and totally gets me. :] I can also finally use Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom now that I have a fast enough processor. woohoo!

I hope yall have a wonderful, sunshine-y week! As for me, I will try not to use all my spare time confined in the the bedroom & playing on my new computer. no promises, though.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

tulip fields

I have so much of picture-catching-up to do, but it's a lot of work to put all of them on the blog. I put all our newest pics on FB so if you'd like to look at them there feel free :] maybe in the near future I will put just my favorites on here (I still need to post about T's birthday!). For now, I only want to write about our day in Woodburn!

It's been beautiful & sunny here lately, but in a random pattern: rainy, rainy, cloudy, rainy, SUNNY, rainy, then SUNNY again. ha.

On the sunny days we try to take full advantage cause it could be an entire week before the next nice day. Tuesday was the perfect day to do something outside since Jonathan was home AND it was gorgeous weather. So we went to the tulip festival!

Last year we saw the tulips for the first time and we came near the end of the festival so a lot were already dead or wilting. But this year we must have come at the perfect time because they were so big & bright & full.

umm yeah, T totally picked one. oops.

Of course we had to take an applesauce break :]


There was a kid's area that Talmage loved more than anything- of course! He especially liked this tall, bumpy slide that I thought was terrifying. I went down it once and it actually kinda hurt...lol...but the boys thought it was awesome.

It's outings like this that remind me how beautiful Oregon is and how grateful I am to be living here. More than anything, I'm grateful for my little family that I can spend time with constantly! We've all been much happier individuals in these past few weeks- for a lot of reasons that maybe I'll go into later. I just want to enjoy this time that we have while our kiddos are young, even though that is incredibly hard to do some days. and perhaps I could spend more time counting my blessings...because there sure are more of them than I realize.

I can't wait till our next outing! Please, rain...stay away for a while!