A daily...meh, weekly dose of babies, reality, and love.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good morning, Tuesday.

I've been surprised at the response to my post about inadequacy. I heard from people I haven't talked to in years, I heard from my best friends, I heard from strangers, I heard from one of my sisters, who called to make sure I wasn't about to jump off a cliff (my extreme narcissism would never allow for such an act). The overwhelming feedback was of thanks. And understanding. And stories of other people's own struggle with the exact same issues. You know what all of that feedback tells me? We're not alone in this battle, you guys. Amen, amen. I didn't write that post from a good place, or one of encouragement. I wrote it from deep pain, a sorrow brought on by hurt that I wasn't sure how to handle. So I am glad that, in my pain, you found some peace. I am glad that God turns our ashes to beauty. I am glad to call you friends.

Speaking of friends, the beautiful Cassidy Jo sent me this video a few days ago and I just watched it again this morning with Clara, who was rapt in attention. We both were. Cass told me that there are some weeks she has to listen to this every day, just to find strength to get out of bed in the morning. Watch it, because it does.  This man Anis Mojgani uses his words to give you strength, and reminds you of your lovely lovely loveliness, even on days when, perhaps, you would indeed like to jump off a cliff. Thanks for sharing, Cassidy. Love you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

When you feel inadequate.

Some days are heavy-heart days. Days when you are told, over and over, in more gut wrenching ways than I could imagine, that you are not adequate.
You do not parent correctly.
You are not good at your job.
Your house is not good enough.
You will never be out of debt.
You don't try hard enough.
You try too hard.
You never listen.
You are selfish.
You are a bad friend.
You are not attractive.
You are not smart.
You are not fun.
You are not what we want.

You. are. not. good. enough.

Do you know these days? These drag along, head down, heavy heart days? The days of an overwhelming message of INADEQUACY?

I am there. I am deep in there.
What I find most difficult about these messages of inadequacy are their varied origins and disguises. The mouths of dear friends. Well-intentioned advice from strangers. Impersonal lectures from professors. The cries of my daughter. The mess in her unorganized closet. My empty refrigerator. My restless sleep. The  prenatal pills I forget to take, the homework I put off, the floors I do not mop, the money I do not make, and the people who say they love me but are relentless in their hammering home of my total inadequacy to meet their needs.

Are you as tired as I am? 

I'm at a breaking point. And you know what? It feels good. It feels like freedom. Because I KNOW WHERE THESE MESSAGES COME FROM. I know these whispers and shouts of unkindness and judgement can only be the work of someone who really, truly, does not want me to grasp my true worth. These are messages of shame. And I know where shame comes from.

Because I have taken a stand, because I have committed my life to following the God of the Universe, I have invited the dirty work of the Master Liar into my head and heart. And he will take every chance he gets, through friends and family and strangers and my own anxious thoughts, to remind me that
I am not good enough. 

But you know what kind of lie always works best? Take it from me, someone who has been a good liar her whole life: always use a half-truth. Big fat lies are easier to see, easier to step around. But half-truths are harder to discern, harder to sort through. So the Master Liar will use complicated half-truths to confuse you. And his favorite half-truth?

You are not good enough. 


I will never be good enough. I will never be perfect. I will never be everything to everyone, or be able to keep everyone happy, and I will never find the balance in my life that I ache to attain.
But guess what. 
It doesn't matter. 

I don't know where your sad messages of inadequacy come from. Maybe your past. Maybe your friends. Maybe your family. Maybe your spouse. Maybe your own worries. But this is truth.

My worth is not determined by anyone except the God I worship. And He says I AM WORTH IT ALL. I am worth the life of His son. I am worth the daily battle for my heart, broken as it may be. I am worth new mercies every morning. 
I am worth the world, simply because I am me.
Do you hear that? YOU ARE WORTH IT ALL.
I am valuable because I am deeply, unfathomably, as far as the east is from the west, LOVED. 

My house is a mess. Twice in the last few weeks, I forgot to feed my baby dinner. People are mad at me. Homework is incomplete. I am barely making it through each day, failure at every turn, and yet.

And yet.

I am valuable.
You are valuable. 
I am worth more than my heart has room to understand.
You are worthwhile. 
You are valuable. 
You are worthwhile. 
You are loved.

God doesn't swoop into my life like the rest of the world, demanding my time and my ears and my hands and my heart, demanding that I change to be what He wants before He can really love me.
He comes in gently.
He comes in Truth.
He comes because I am worth it, whether I believe it or not.
He comes because He is the Chaser, He is the Pursuer, He is the King and He wants me.

Shame is never the work of God.
Only justice. Only grace. Only love.
So join me. Let's see this half-truth for what it really is, and release ourselves from this enormous unreachable goal of pleasing everyone and being everything.
I am not enough for this world.
But I am enough for my Heavenly Father.
And because I am enough, because I am loved well, I CAN LOVE WELL. I can ignore the messages of inadequacy. I can look past the mean spirited words and actions. With the power of the Holy Spirit, I have the ability see the truth behind it all. I only have to ask.
I can love. Because I am loved.

Freedom, my friends. What glorious freedom.

"I sought the Lord, and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame."
Psalm 34:4-5

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Clara's broken leg

You give birth to this tiny, perfect, beautiful human being, and into your throat leaps the war cry of every parent.

"I will kill anyone who tries to hurt this little person. KILL." 

You might not be thinking those exact words (or maybe you are, you creep) but the sentiment buries deep in your heart and really, honestly, that's how it should be. We have to be their protectors, their advocates, their champions. It's how families are designed. Not in a crazy way, of course. You don't want to be the guy calling your son's college professor, or blaming your daughter's friends for all her poor decisions. But you do want to be their safe place. You should be their safe place.

Then you break your baby's leg and really, how much worse CAN YOU GET?

A few weeks ago, Sam and I had dinner with our friends. We wanted to stay late, so we tried to put Clara down for bed in their pack and play up in the bonus room. She wasn't having it, and Sam went up to rescue her. On the way back down, he slipped and tumbled down the last few stairs. He fell hard, but held on tight to Clara, and she didn't leave his arms. I felt sick when I saw them laying at the bottom of the staircase, but so thankful that Sam had protected her and not dropped her, or let her head hit anything. He absorbed the impact and kept her close. She cried hard for a while, and we thought she must have been scared from the fall. She had a hard time staying asleep that night, too, but again, we just thought it was because we got home late and she was still shook up.

The next morning, Sam and I packed for our trip to Washington. We were headed to Seattle for Labor Day weekend, to watch a football game and see our family and friends. I propped Clara up to the wall in our bedroom while I folded clothes, ready for her to race off. But she wouldn't move. This was weird, because just the night before she had taken the most steps ever by herself, and we thought she'd be excited to try again. But she wouldn't move. I tried to lead her down the wall, but she sat down and stared at me. I called for Sam.

"She won't walk. Isn't that weird?"
"I don't know. Maybe she just wants help?"
He held her hands and helped her walk across the room. Her right leg dragged behind her, and when she tried to use it, it collapsed under her weight. We looked at each other, then back at her.
"Should we call a doctor? What if she hurt it when you guys fell?" I asked.
Sam picked Clara up and kissed her head.
"Yeah. Call them, babe. Might as well check, right?"

I called the doctor's office and described Clara's behaviour to the nurse. She asked me a few questions, then said to bring the baby in right away. Nothing better to assuage some parental fear than a doctor clearing their schedule to see you. I was supposed to be in class that afternoon before we left on our trip, but we decided it would be best for both of us to go to the doctor. Sam was nervous that they would file a report with CPS if something really was wrong with Clara's leg, and we had no idea if they would even let him take her home if they found something serious. This might sound paranoid, but we just weren't sure, so I e-mailed my professor and we drove to the doctor together, assuring ourselves that it was nothing, probably just a bruise, and we would feel silly after all of this was over.

 Our doctor was out of the office that day, so we saw a nurse practitioner we had never met before. She was incredibly kind and understanding, and gentle with Clara. She took one look at her leg and told us that we needed to go to the hospital for x-rays.

This is when Sam and I both started crying. Neither of us could choke out our questions about where to go or what to do, because the thought that there might be something wrong with our little daughter was too much to bear. Sam was holding Clara, and he buried his face in her back, kissing her over and over with tears brimming his eyes. I took a deep breath and asked if we should cancel our trip that weekend, apologizing for our crying. The nurse hugged both of us (so sweet) and told us that crying just made us good parents, and that accidents happen, and that everything would be fine.

"You guys are going to make me cry, goodness gracious!" she said, handing us tissues and telling us where to go in the hospital. We got into the x-rays quickly, but I couldn't help hold Clara because I'm pregnant, so Sam had to be with her while she screamed and tried to get away. Horrible moments. The x-ray tech sent us home and said the doctor would call us after they went over the pictures. We took our tired baby and anxious selves home to finish packing and wait for the phone call. Clara napped and we loaded up the car, hoping nothing would be wrong and we could take our baby on a trip and not worry about her leg.

A few hours later, the nurse practitioner called to tell us that it appeared Clara had a buckle fracture in her right tibia. It was minor, she said, it happens to kids all the time, but we needed to bring her back to the office to get a splint. We said yes, of course, we'll be right there. But before we could leave, she called again. She had spoken with an orthopedic surgeon to get advice about doing a proper splint, and he said to just leave the leg alone. She was too little to cast, it would heal in 2 to 3 weeks, and we just shouldn't encourage any walking.

A few days later, our baby with a broken leg wanted to get up and walk. We tried hard for about 24 hours to keep her immobile, but FOR PETE'S SAKE, HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO KEEP A ONE-YEAR OLD IMMOBILE? It was impossible. We decided to trust her, that she wouldn't walk if it hurt, and we made an appointment to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon when we got home, just to make sure her bone was healing properly. Due to some crazy circumstances, we didn't get in to see the pediatriac surgeon until two weeks after the accident. He took new x-rays, and this is what he showed us:

Clara had, apparently, broken both of the bones in her lower right leg. The tibia and the fibula both had buckle fractures across the same line, probably a result of the way Sam held her tight against him when he fell. The surgeon said if he'd seen her after it happened, he would have cast her leg up to her hip, but it looked like her bones were healing perfectly even without any help, so he wasn't going to give her a cast at all. It had only been two weeks, and her leg was almost completely healed. She hadn't broken her growth plate (thank you Lord, that girl is already short enough) and he said she'll be 100% in no time.

SO. Clara broke her leg. Sam wallowed in guilt for a few days. I did too, because our parenting is so intricately connected, and it seems that whatever he does is what I would do, and what I do is what he would do. We broke our baby's leg, we like to say, because it sounds awful, and it is awful. But we know that she is an amazing testament to God's creation, the intelligent work of bones and cells that replace themselves so rapidly it cannot be explained. The human body is a miracle unto its own, and our little Smooch is living proof.
We are thankful that she is healed. We are thankful that she did not get a cast. We are thankful that she is ours. And we are thankful beyond words for Sam's job, for our health insurance, because we did not have to, for even one minute, debate the risks and rewards of any doctor visits, x-rays, or hospital stays. That is a blessing without equal for a worried parent, and we do not ever ever ever want to take it for granted.

Whew! There you go, the long version of how these adorable x-rays came to be, and of our dramatic introduction to worrying about our children's health and safety. But I mean seriously, have you ever seen an x-ray that is so damn cute?? Her leg chub, the miniature length of her calf... I melt.

That arrow is pointing to the break in both bones. 
All the darker white on the bottom is new bone growth. 
Our miracle :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

birthdays and babies and goodbyes

Boy oh boy, it has been a WEEK over here. And I promise (to myself, for posterity) to follow up on all of these things and keep a better record of our life. Just in case my kids read this one day and wonder why the heck I am so bad about keeping up on my writing.

Things to write about:
-Clara's broken leg
-my parents moving to Boston
-plans for our new baby
-the play I'm writing (adapting from the book Charlotte's Web) and directing
-finishing my last semester of college
-learning to be content in all things, even when they honestly kind of suck.

But for now, here's what we've all been waiting for! The video!

BOY OR GIRL?? We broke a pinata at Clara's "Woodland Animal" themed birthday party to find out, so...here you go!

*Thank you to my wonderful mother and father in law for ALL of this footage. Love you both :)