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Monday, February 1, 2016

My Camino

This is my Camino de Santiago: Parenting.  I have always wanted to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.  To endure the physical feats of this 600 KM foot journey and enjoy the spiritual component of this travel.  It does not look like the Camino is in my upcoming travel plans.  However, I have realized that this parenting thing, with a 3 year old and newborn twins, this is my Camino.  Parenting really is a journey.  It brings out the worst.  It brings out the best.  These days I have many moments for real life reflection.  My days demand it.  These blogs are a coping mechanism that is working well.  There are the moments when I want to quit.  When I truly would walk away if there was a good way to do so.  There are moments when I feel like I am making progress and that is rewarding.  There are moments when I stand still in the beauty of my children.  There are moments where I want to cry.  There are moments where I feel blessed.  There are so many moments when I just don’t know what to do.  In all of this, two things I know.  Firstly, that my God promised He would never give us more than we can handle in His strength.  Secondly, I will not be unchanged by raising my children. 

And so in this journey, this slow, arduous Camino, I seek and strive to ensure the change that parenting creates in me will be positive and beautiful. 

Reflection on parenting this week

January 29, 2016

Moments of Joy from my last week or so

I’ve had many moments of beauty the last short while.  I’ve held Allison as she drifts off to sleep for her nap and I’m overcome by her.  She is a breathtaking and captivating girl.  I am certain there will never be a dull moment with Allison in our family.  We’ve been told her incessant crying is a sign that she will have a spunky personality.  I believe this to be true and am starting to embrace all that she is.

Yesterday Allison was beginning to fuss when she lit up hearing Rayna talking to me near her.  A smile crept on her face simply from her big sister’s presence.  I encouraged Rayna to continue talking and to sing to Allison.  She did.  I see the beginning of Rayna really engaging with her sister and it’s beautiful.

Rayna gives the best embraces to her brother and sister through out the day and at bedtime.  She is really stepping into her big sister role in stride.

Garrett has become a charmer.  He is babbling now and cooing in the most coy way with irresistible charm.  When I’m nursing him he wants to stop and look into my eyes and talk to me with the hugest grin (yes this does annoy me some since it interrupts his feed and then keeping him on track with getting food in his tummy so he’s not up all night is a challenge – but I must allow myself to fully enjoy the sweetness of these moments.)  His whole face lights up as he smiles.  It is in his nature to be content and happy.

These moments of joy are flanked with the daily struggles.  I am fighting a cold and battle to keep my 3 year old from waking me up at 5 in the morning when I’ve already been up through out the night with the twins.  I’m trying to figure out how to get Garrett to nap more than half an hour and by the afternoon his overtiredness makes him a seemingly angry little boy to put to down for a nap.  I feel like we are fighting and slowly I am losing control of the situation.  Allison still has cranky days here and there where crying is the tune of our household and its impossible to get anything else done.  I’m tired of getting up 3 times a night and wonder when I will ever have a 7 or 8 hour uninterrupted sleep again ( and marvel at how easy I had it with Rayna who slept through the night by 2 months so I could wake well rested every morning so I could face the day and have the evening to myself to enjoy).  I do not know how I will possibly put food on the table once my Mom leaves in less than a week.  I’m tired of constantly battling to keep my milk supply up; any blip, like an illness, has me worried I won’t have enough milk and Allison’s weight is being monitored since she’s skinny and not gaining as much weight as she should be. Like any parent I look at the clock in the afternoon and count the hours until the kids’ bedtime…..and there’s one or two nights a week where Garrett fights his bedtime and so the haven of 7:30 PM is gone and I keep willing the kid to sleep when finally he drops off as it’s time for me to go to bed too.

This is my life.  The cliché thing to say would be : “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”  I can’t truthfully say those words right now (though at least I do not have quite the strongest feelings like Ryan who says he won’t wish twins on his worst enemy).  But, I can say it is real.  It is human.  And in the very real humanity of my daily life there is much beauty when I stop to look at it.  In the reality of my life right now, these are the moments worth celebrating (and miracles like that its 7:15 AM right now and the kids are all still sleeping!) 

I’ve had lovely interactions through out my days this week too.  The mom at the doctor’s office.  I accidentally showed up 20 minutes early for Allison’s appointment and so we visited for some time bonding over our colicky babies.  Everyone’s story is slightly different but as a parent, challenges are inherent.  (I only wish I would have got her phone number ) 

The lady working at the store who essentially blocked the aisle so I couldn’t get by and doted on my twins.  At first I was annoyed, to be honest.  Then she said, “Twins.  How wonderful!” I reply with a cheesy smile because really it isn’t just always wonderful and my husband would go further….  But she continues, “I’m a twin.  It probably isn’t actually all wonderful for you as the mom; but, I LOVE being a twin. It’s awesome.  I love it even when I hate my twin sister.”  Followed by an overly exuberant, but 100% genuine “Congratulations!” 

And I see, it’s not all about me.  Garrett and Allison will have something special because they are twins.  And Rayna gets the privilege of knowing what having both a brother and a sister is like. 

This parenting thing is not about me at all.  And yet it is about me in that parenting is perhaps the greatest tool to bring out greatness and wholeness in me.  I’ve never been one to shy from a challenge and so I accept this invitation to journey towards greatness. 

Keeping it real

January 22, 2016

I am riddled with discouragement.  There are so many things that I’d like to do and I would be satisfied with only doing one or two; but right now it’s challenge enough to get food in my body and maintain some level of personal hygiene.  That is in the waking hours.  Sleep remains the other challenge.  It was hard to get myself out of bed this morning; yet I knew that if I did not do so I would not get these 20 minutes to myself.  Some evenings I get an hour to myself, maybe 1 and ½ if I short cut my sleep.  But last night it was 0 minutes.  The twins fussed and needed reassurance to fall asleep and Rayna rises in the ridiculous hours of 5AM.

I want to start working towards fitness.  I had wanted to work towards the Whistler marathon; however, now I would be happy to have any level of running.  I tried to start running but my body screamed at me. I need to reestablish strength to my core and stretch these achy hips.  But when?  I scream WHEN?  I would gladly go to a yoga class; but do I pay $15 and risk Allison crying her head off and maybe Garrett fussing too?

I want to get rid of these thank you cards that eat at me everyday.  I want to send them out so that those who blessed us will know that I appreciated it.  I want to finish this so that it is done, complete, doesn’t nag on me on a daily basis.  But, when I sit down to address some I usually am able to accomplish one before I am needed elsewhere.  And so they sit there as a reminder that I can get nothing done.

I feel alienated.  I want to see friends.  Heck, I want to actually talk to my husband.  To feel like I’m in a marriage.  But how do I even start to do that?  Certainly not out of my home?  I have had a few lovely visits; but oh how sparse they’ve been and never without being “on-call” for my children.  And it does not appear that escaping is on the horizon.

I do not feel human.  I feel like a machine.  A machine that is seriously lacking its regular maintenance.  I feel like I am going to malfunction.  I do not know how to stop this from happening. 

How do I become human again?  How, do I have the joy that I’ve set out in this journey trying to find on a daily basis in some way?  How do I find moments of beauty?

I suppose in the meltdown that seems to be happening within I see that I am human.  I am so limited.  I am being pushed to the edge and feel uncertain that I can remain whole.  Yet, God asks us to come broken.  It is easier to shape pieces.  So shape me God.  I don’t know how I can stay sane in the reality of life right now, so show me how you will do it for me.  Give me health: mental, emotional, relational, spiritual and physical health.  And grant me wisdom, patience, love, tenacity and the power to thrive in these crazy days. 

Thoughts from a tired twin Momma

January 15, 2016

This, this is the hardest thing I have ever done: living my daily life right now.  And yet my days are flanked by the sweetest of moments.  They are ever so brief; but I am able to capture minutes of solitude before the twins awake and after all the kids are in bed.  It is in these moments that I can see: “it is worth it.” I am tired and I am worn. More tired and worn than I have ever been and in a way that one cannot anticipate until it is present.  I get worn out in so many capacities.  My body aches from nursing my babes, from being so deconditioned, from lack of sleep.  My morale plummets on days that are sleep deprived or filled with Allison’s incessant cries.  I feel like adult company is so elusive and all I am right now is “mom.”  And then I see how beautiful it is to be “mom.” How precious my babes are.  And I do not want to forget these moments in the trenches that push me to my max; for, within them, if I look, there is incomparable beauty.  It is not my hair, it is not my body that are beautiful.  It’s not my house, not even my children.  But it is how present I am in these moments.  It is demanded of me.  There are days I want to quit.  There are days I want to give up.  There are days there is simply no energy left to cry; but surely if there were I would be a sobbing mess.  Yet, here at my computer, as I give up precious moments of sleep to reflect, it is beauty that surrounds me.  My Christmas tree still up mid January that reminds me of the joy my 3 year old had this year celebrating.  The spit up on my couches, the dishes on my counter, the laundry folded but not put away for days that tells the story of real life.  My words that don’t string together as eloquently as I’d like showing that my head is foggy from an exhausting day.  And the rounds I’m about to take to check on each of my precious children.  Today I’ve done a good job.  This I must remind myself of.  And in the beauty of this moment, realizing this is the hardest thing I have ever done I can see this is also the most worthwhile thing I have ever done.  Indeed, how I cherish these moments when I can remember why these crazy days are so worthwhile.  Rayna, Garrett, Allison, never forget that your momma loves you.