Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bumps, detours, and melt-downs.

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new."  -Rajneesh

How huge is that statement?

For most of my life when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was "A mom.  I just want to be a mommy."  My other answers?  Veterinarian, Zoo-Keeper, Wild animal photographer; specifically to see the snow leopards in the Himalayas.  (I vividly remember that one being my answer in about the 6th grade where I spent hours in the library looking at pictures of snow leopards and reading all about them.)  But more than anything having to do with the animals, I wanted to be a mommy.  I wanted to grow up and get married and have beautiful babies and stay at home and do nothing but keep a clean house and cook great meals and bake delicious things and be the best mom in the whole world.

How many people actually grow up to be what they always wanted to be?  Some do.  Some take the proper steps and do exactly what they have always wanted to do.  Some don't.  Some change their mind completely.  Lots of times even.  Some people hit bumps in the road which lead to detours which eventually lead to a completely different life than they imagined.

I am a mommy.  I have been for two years, one month, and two days.  That is what I've always wanted to be.

My road to being a mommy was not the road that I planned on taking.  I hit bumps and I took detours.  I didn't have the husband and the house and I don't get to stay at home and I am a terrible cook and I rarely bake.  And oh my hell, my apartment is a disaster.

I am a single mommy.  Life is hard.  It is really hard.  I don't have a lot of time to dwell on it or feel sorry for myself.  I get up and I rush out the door and I hate dropping my baby off and I am always, always late for work and when I'm at work I am wondering if my baby is ok and thinking about how messy my house is and how I really need to go grocery shopping but I am really broke so the thought of having to get groceries just stresses me out which leads to being stressed about everything else that I can't afford and how I hope that I will be able to pay rent on time or if I can't just hoping that my landlord will be understanding. (He absolutely is, which I am SO grateful for.)  And then I pick up my girl after work and I am so happy to see her and she is hungry and tired and I am tired and we go home and after a rushed lunch I just want us both to go to sleep.  Meanwhile more dishes were added to the sink that was already full and more clothes are thrown on the floor and toys are being dragged all over the house and I just stepped on a cookie and crumbled it into the carpet and then I am getting grumpy because Ayla is so tired but rather than taking the nap that she needs she is throwing things and whining and nothing I am doing is making it any better.  So eventually she takes a nap but by this time it is too late for her to be napping which means that we will be having a late dinner and both be up until 2 AM which causes me to have to rush out the door in the morning without taking the time to get ready for the day and feel good about myself and feeling bad about dropping her off and being late to work all over again.

Deep breath.

Sometimes it all catches up to me.  Sometimes I feel like throwing myself into bed and not ever getting out when I think about all of the ways that I am falling behind and all of the things that I can and should be doing better.  And I get angry at myself for the choices that I have made and I get angry for the detours that were made in my life, whether I wanted them or not.  I feel angry that I am a single mother because this is not meant to be done alone.  It's difficult enough with two parents in the home.  It is not meant to be done alone.  And I am angry that I am not home with my baby and that I am stretching myself thin and always being so tired and not being present.  I worry.  I worry about everything.  I worry about time and money and food and clothes and cars and phones and decisions.  I worry so much that I forget to be present.  I forget to enjoy today and now.  I forget that I can be strong and even though this parenting job is not meant to be done alone, I can do it.

And oh my gosh, every tear, every ounce of stress, every bit of pain I feel is so worth it.  I love my daughter more than I could ever hope to put in words.  She is the most beautiful, silly, loving, frustrating, smart, amazing little girl I could imagine.  She is everything I always dreamed of in a child.  And as often as I feel lost and tired and angry and like I am failing, she makes me feel the opposite.  Two days ago we were in the car and I was crying.  Tears streaming down my cheeks.  I can't even tell you what I was crying about.  I cry a lot, but rarely ever in front of Ayla.  From the backseat I heard, "HI!"  I looked back and she had the most concerned look on her face.  The way she looked over my face broke my heart.  She said it again, "HI!"  I smiled and said, "Hi baby!" through my sobs.  She said, "I wuv you!" with that concerned look still on her face, never losing eye contact.  In Relief Society we learned about angels in disguise and about how people are there for you when you need them even if they don't understand why.  I know that Ayla was concerned and she knew that something was wrong and that she didn't know what else to do but say hi and tell me that she loves me.  That was all I needed.  My little girl that I worry so much about taking care of was worrying about taking care of me.  A little angel in disguise.

And speaking of angels, I can't say enough about Kyle.  He keeps me grounded.  He gives me hope and he makes me laugh and he makes me forget my long list of worries without even trying.  He literally makes my problems melt away.  Sometimes I am stubborn and sometimes I stay grumpy and I fight it, but I don't know why.  When I just let myself be me with him I feel happier and more care-free than I have felt in years.  I feel like I am the person that I want to be; the person that I am but haven't been for so long.  He literally makes me want to be the very best version of myself that I can possibly be.  And there are days like today that I bring myself down so much.  I tell myself that I'm not good enough for him and that I am holding him back and that I seriously don't deserve someone so wonderful.  I wish I wouldn't do that.  I wish I would always let myself be happy and care-free with him.  All I want is to make him feel the same way.

I love him so much for showing me that people can be good and can be trusted and for reminding me what it's like to be treated well.  He makes me feel special.  Sometimes I don't even know how to respond to how amazingly sweet he is to me.  I've not ever been treated as well as he treats me.  And the way that he treats Ayla... I know that he makes her feel special and feel loved and I couldn't ask for anything more for my little girl.

What is my point with this post?  I just wanted an outlet.  I wanted to type it and read it back and maybe lift a little bit of weight from my shoulders.  More like make a little more room in my head.

I wanted to remind myself that my life IS hard and I CAN admit that, even though I try so very hard to keep it to myself and carry that burden of stress and shame of failure by myself, I need to let it out sometimes or I will be buried in it.

Ayla is awake now.  Her nap was too long and too late.  Even though I am exhausted and want nothing more to go to bed I am going to get in the car and we are going to get ice cream.  After all, I didn't get dinner because like I said before, I am a terrible cook and I ruined the dinner I tried to make for Kyle and I.

I am going to drag myself out of my bed after hours of tears and heartache over bumps and detours.  There's no going back down those roads, I can only move forward from here so really, there's no use in crying over it, eh?

But even when I cry it's understandable because I'm only 2 in mommy years and all two-year-olds have melt-downs.

"Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed."  -Linda Wooten

*I apologize for the run-on sentences and fragmented thoughts in this post.  It just felt right!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mr. Lee

I sure do love him!

And so does she :)

Making Memories and Making our own traditions.

In Orem on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, in case you live under a rock.) Santa arrives at the mall to take his throne for the next month.  He arrives in a helicopter.  I know, I know.  Santa is supposed to be in a sleigh.  But each year his sleigh mysteriously breaks down and he has to borrow the KSL 5 chopper.  Turns out the kids are ok with this, they even seem to love it.  And I love it!  How exciting is it to stand with hundreds of people, sip your hot cocoa, listen to live Christmas music, and wait for Santa to come shake your hand and give you a candy cane?!

As silly as it sounds I want to be able to look back, years from now, and say, "I went to sleep pretty early on Thanksgiving night.  I didn't fight the Black Friday crowds.  I didn't wake up before the sun to wait in ridiculous lines to save $5."  I can't wait to tell Ayla how she got to watch Santa come down in a helicopter.  It will go like this:

On Friday morning I woke up before I wanted to.  I quietly got dressed while you slept peacefully, sprawled out across my entire bed.  I picked out your clothes and made you some warm milk so that you would have it when I took the blankets off of you and your entire body got goose bumps from the chill of our basement apartment.

I woke you up gently saying, "Ayla baby, wake up!  We're going to see Santa!  Yay, Santa! Woooo!"

You sat up and stretched and with your little sleepy voice echoed, "We see Sintas!"

I got you dressed in your new snow coat and your sweet little pink gloves.  You called them "pwetty glubs".

When we got to the mall there was hardly anyone there.  I thought to myself, hmmm, that's odd.  Santa was supposed to land in 20 minutes.  Turns out he was landing at 10:15 this year instead of 9:00 like the previous year.  So we went into Starbucks and got some drinks, you had a vanilla steamer in the snowman cup that you love so much, and we decided to walk around the mall to kill time.

Once we were in the mall I decided that you should make your very own Build-a-Bear.  Out of all the animals you chose a dog.  Of course!  You loved that little doggy that was all flat because it hadn't been stuffed.  You were not thrilled to hand him over to be filled by the nice girl who helped you make him.  I had to step on the peddle to fill him up because you were scared of the machine - it was so loud!  You picked out a heart to put inside of him and she stitched him up!  We looked at the clothes and we even tried a bunch on your doggy, but you did NOT want him to have any clothes on.  So we created his birth certificate, we named him doggy, and we paid for your naked little doggy.

We walked through a few other stores, but I was too busy thinking about getting back outside to really look at anything, so eventually we went back outside to wait for Santa.  There were so many people now!  There were ladies making balloon animals for the kids, you wanted one but the lines were SO long!  There was a band with a British singer playing Christmas songs.  A station to decorate cookies.  Free hot chocolate.  Wheels to spin and win prizes... So much fun!  While we waited (not so patiently; you and I don't really do patient.) you sat on the ground throwing a silent fit because you wanted everything that the other kids had.  Nothing you ever have is good enough, you need someone else's too!

All of the sudden the British man was hollering into the microphone that "SANTA WAS ABOUT TO ARRIVE!" and we could hear the chopper overhead!  It flew around and around, circling the mall until it could land perfectly in the center of all the people anxiously awaiting Santa Claus!

The entire time the helicopter was landing you were saying, "Das a car!"  and I would say, "No, it's a helicopter!"  You would respond with, "Yes, car."

And then there was Santa!  He came out of the helicopter jolly, waving, and ho-ho-ho'ing at us all!  You weren't scared of him when he came by and shook your hand!  You were so excited to see "Sintas!"  And you were even more excited to see his elves following behind him handing out candy canes!

As soon as we had seen Santa we headed to the car.  We both needed a nap after such an eventful morning!

 I love the time that I have with my little girl.  I want her to grow up with special memories of the things that we did together.  I want her to have traditions to look forward to every year!  Even though it's just us two we sure do have a lot of love.  "This is my family.  I found it all on my own.  It may be little, and broken, but still good.  Yes, still good."  I am so looking forward to the rest of the holidays with my sweetest little girl!

p.s.  Kyle, Ayla, and I also went to Target later that day and back to the mall to have Ayla's doggy restitched since it was already coming undone.  It was restitched by a guy with one arm.  ONE ARM!  And he sewed that puppy a million times better than the first girl.  Guys got skill.  And I can't forget dinner with the Lee fam at Wingers.  What a great bunch of people!