Motherhood

Being a Mom is Awful

Grey’s Anatomy is one of my all-time favorite shows. I’ve watched every episode of every season, many episodes more than once. The writing is the best. There have been so many moments when I felt like the writers were in my heart or brain, grabbing my own words and feelings.

Tonight was no exception. The main plotline involved two 8-year-old boys finding a gun in the home, with one of them being seriously injured. The residents and doctors fought to save the boys’ life and help the other not to forever blame himself for hurting his friend.

As sisters Meredith and Maggie (who live together and raise Mer’s kids after her husband’s death) walked out of the hospital after their shift, Maggie began crying and they had this conversation:

Meredith: What’s wrong? What’s wrong?
Maggie: I don’t know how you do it, Mer.
Meredith: Do what?
Maggie: Love your kids like this. I really love them.
Meredith: They love you too.
Maggie: No, I love them like – if something happened to them, I would die. My heart is so wide open and they’re so fragile. I don’t know how you live like this. I don’t.
Meredith: It’s awful.

Yep, it’s absolutely awful. It’s the hardest thing about being a parent. The love is almost too much too hold sometimes. When you say, “I’d give my life for them,” you mean it literally and with every fiber of your being.

It reminds me of this quote I heard years ago and has always stuck with me:

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
― Elizabeth Stone

Yep. It’s absolutely awful. And I wouldn’t change it for a thing <3

BnL Book Review: “Help, Thanks, Wow” by Anne Lamott

I read Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott last year but it came to my attention again because it’s a Kindle deal. You can get it here for only $2.75 right now.

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I snagged it right away because I loved this book! It was one that I’d borrowed from the library and read through twice before I returned it 2 weeks later. And then I kept thinking about it for months. Yeah, it was THAT good. Plus, it’s a quick read. BONUS!

This is one of those books you want to shove in your friends’ faces and make them read – ha! Yes, it’s a book about prayer and spirituality but I think unless you’re really offended by those topics, you’ll enjoy it. Anne is SUCH a gifted writer. She puts big concepts like prayer, gratitude, amazement, and pleading for help into such real, everyday, meaningful terms that you can relate exactly to what she means.

I came away – both times I read it – laughing, appreciating life more, feeling sadness for people’s suffering but peace at the same time. I think it’s an especially good read for memorykeepers because we’re already the types who want to savor our “moments” and realize how quickly time passes, how blessed we are even in our struggles, and are looking for meaning in how we live our lives.

So PLEASE read this book! It’s quick but powerful. I think you’ll love it like I did. And it’s cheap right now. No brainer.

It’s the Little Things: Sea Jewelry

Part of living a grateful life is appreciating the little things. It’s those tiny surprises that make you smile. They don’t have to be expensive – and usually aren’t. The pretty “sea jewelry” my mom sent me falls into that category.

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My mom’s aunt has been making jewelry for as long as I can remember – it must be at least 30 years if not longer. She started out as a rock hound, then began making jewelry out of her lovely stones, and now she buys jewels and beads as well.

At family reunions, my great aunt (after we beg her) puts out her jewelry and let’s us choose from all her treasures. It’s like the best kind of shopping EVER! She won’t let us pay anywhere near full price and would probably just give us the jewelry if we’d let her.

Whenever my mom visits that part of her family, she makes sure to get us some “Aunt Norma jewelry”. My mom is a jewelry maker, too; in fact, she has an Etsy shop where she sells her handmade jewelry along with vintage jewelry she finds and restores. My mom has started listing some of Aunt Norma’s jewelry as well.

So this was the latest Aunt Norma jewelry I received from my mom. First of all, isn’t it such a neat feeling these days to receive a little surprise package in the mail? Then to open it and find something this lovely. I was especially touched because this bracelet and earrings have 2 of my favorite things: hearts and the ocean.

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The beads are gold-filled abalone shell. They’re so smooth and soft, like a piece of sea glass. As my mom knows, I’m an ocean girl and it’s my happy place. I go there whenever I can to relax, de-stress, play, warm up, cool off, smile, get the wind in my hair and the sun on my face.

The earrings are made with sterling silver (another favorite) and do you see the little hearts? Yep, another thing I love. I have a whole Pinterest board about hearts.

So not only do I absolutely love the Aunt Norma earrings and bracelet, I’m so grateful for the extra special things about them that my mom knows I would adore. And I adore HER for taking the time to think of me as she picked out my jewelry, as she does with all the gifts she gives. Mama, you are the best!

Funny how ‘the little things’ are sometimes actually ‘big things’ . . . <3 PS: There were handwritten tags on the jewelry with some more details, in case you were curious. The glass beads are hematite; the earrings were $12 and the bracelet $32.

A Life That’s Good

I came across this song via LENNON & MAISY who sang it on the NBC show “Nashville.” I was really touched by the lyrics, written by Sarah Siskind and Ashley Monroe.

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*Image created in Canva

Sittin’ here tonight,
By the fire light,
it reminds me I already have more than I should.

I don’t need fame, no one to know my name,
at the end of the day,
Lord I pray, I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me, heaven to ground me,
and a family that always calls me home,

Four wheels to get there, enough love to share
and a sweet sweet sweet song

At the end of the day,
Lord I pray,
I have a life that’s good.

Sometimes I’m hard on me,
When dreams don’t come easy,
I wanna look back and say,
I did all that I could,

Yeah at the end of the day, Lord I pray,
I have a life that’s good.

When I was a young woman, like most I was into material things – clothes, make-up, nice cars, being “known”. Man, it’s a good thing Pinterest wasn’t around then . . . my boards would’ve been SO shallow, LOL! {And, come to think of it, maybe that’s not a bad thing – to curate that time in my life . . . kinda’ fun}.

As I got into my 30s, a certain type of home became very important to me. I wanted out of an apartment once and for all. We were lucky enough to buy our first home at 26 – small but brand new, and I spent all my free time (after work and college classes) on decorating it and making it comfortable. I bargain hunted and DIY’d and loved it.

Now, I’m a little older (ahem) and those things just don’t matter to me anymore. I actually *should* care more about clothes and make-up and my home, ha! But at this time in my life, it really comes down to the basics – my family healthy and safe, a roof over our head, a 14-year-old car that gets us where we need to go, great music and books, my writing, the small pleasures, and God in my life.

That’s why I love this song so much.

Because when it comes down to it, that’s all I want: A life that’s good.

BnL Book Review: “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell

I think a new book has been added to my “Top 20 Books of All Time” list. It’s “ATTACHMENTS” by Rainbow Rowell.

Book Review:

This was a book I couldn’t put down. I had a very busy weekend and lots of other things I was supposed to be doing. But I kept grabbing my Kindle and reading this book. To me, that’s the sign of a great one, yeah?

Here’s the book synopsis from Amazon:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

This book was written in 2011 and I’m, like, legit mad that I haven’t heard of it and read it until now. Grrr . . .

The story is unique, the characters SO well-written (I want to meet Lincoln’s mom – and eat her cooking!), and it has a main character you can love. Sure, Lincoln has his issues. At one point, I wanted to send him to the doctor for some depression meds. But he’s so stinkin’ likeable, you can’t help but root for him to figure it all out by book’s end.

The friendship between Beth and Jennifer, told entirely in e-mails, is touching and real. The sub-plots involving fighting against inevitable motherhood, being the band-boy’s girlfriend, and Lincoln’s varied friendships that sustain him are engaging and full of people you’d love to meet and have a coffee with someday.

And I laughed out loud. A lot.

This book wasn’t overly happy or overly sad, it was just real everyday life. I would highly recommend this book and am now seeking out other novels to read by RAINBOW ROWELL. Immediately after finishing “Attachments”, I downloaded “ELEANOR & PARK” and I’m sure “LANDLINE” will be next.

Book Review:

And I found her blog. And followed her on Twitter. Yep, I have become her “FANGIRL”. (Ugh, sorry! It had to be done).

If you’d like to read “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell, you can find both the paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, along with her other 3 novels. Currently, the Kindle versions other than “Landline” are under $5 – which I love because I’m cheap, LOL. But you know Amazon, that could change at any time.

Happy reading!

You Never Know What People Are Dealing With. So Be Kind.

I’ve had some interesting jobs that have allowed me confidential access into the private lives of total strangers. I’ve been a 9-1-1 dispatcher, also a medical and psychological transcriber.

These are not people in my circle. I don’t hang out with them in real life. I don’t partake in their tragedies. I merely observe from safely in my bubble.

I’ve seen and heard things that would make you sick.
Would make you cry.
Would make you want to hit the wall with your fist.

I’ve been angry at the horrors people commit
And I’ve come to understand why they commit them.
I’ve forgiven the unforgivable.  {Not that it was mine to forgive}.

I’ve spoken to a hysterical young mother who accidentally dropped her baby head-first onto fireplace bricks.

I’ve typed a report about a convicted murderer who was a 9-year-old boy once who watched his father shoot his mother, and then himself.

I’ve known a friendly postman who had a drifting smile for every person, and a wife at home with bipolar illness and drug addiction.

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*Image via Unsplash

We are so quick to judge others.
We are so ready to “hang ’em high!”
We think nothing of calling them out online.
We think we could do so much better.
We live easy lives and point fingers.

But you never know what people are dealing with. So please be kind.

Note: Details have been altered to maintain confidentiality.

Mother’s Day 2014: Finding Meaning in an Unusual Place

I had visions of breakfast in bed followed by a family day in the sunshine at the beach.

Then I heard whispers of a college game that “everyone else” was going to except us. But it was on Mother’s Day so no one wanted to ask me if it was okay for them to go 🙂

I surprised them with tickets bought online – because that’s what mothers do, right? If they’re happy, I’m happy.

I sent them off, determined to enjoy a rare day of (non-work) quiet at home. As I drank my coffee, I got sucked into a movie called “Honeymoon for One” with the ever-terrible Nicolette Sheridan. But, hey, it was set in Ireland with all that pretty green scenery. And the love interest was a masculine Irishman with crinkly eyes.

So I put up with Nicolette.

Then “The Impossible” came on. I’d been afraid to watch it at the show. I heard it was very hard to watch. And it was.

There are heart-wrenching scenes of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. It’s really brutal to watch, actually. Kind of a strange way to spend Mother’s Day, I suppose.

But I came away with a reminder of – and deep sense of awe about – the power of family. Without exception, every person in the movie didn’t care about their things and all they had lost. They just wanted their family members.

The mother (the main character) is a doctor so I think it must’ve been the scariest for her. She knew how serious her injuries were and what was happening to her. She made huge sacrifices for her son.  And for a total stranger’s son.

I kept coming back to one of the opening lines of the movie. The resort porter is showing the family into their room. He asks where they are from (they’re British but living in Singapore for the husband’s job).

The porter looks to Maria (Naomi Watts) and says, “And do you work?” She shyly says, “I’m a doctor, not practicing right now. I’m taking care of the kids.”

He says, “Ah, I see you got promoted.”

And that’s exactly how I feel. There is no job on earth more important, or to be more proud of, than being a mother. And I am very blessed to be one.

Well, my family just called. They’re on the way home from the game, stopping to buy supplies to make me a spaghetti dinner. Can’t wait to hear about the game, see the smiles and sun-pinked noses, and get my hugs.

Happy Mother’s Day, my loves.