My Sister.

My baby sister, my only sister, passed away a couple of weeks ago. She had been sick for many years and it was expected.

I told people I know on Facebook by sharing a picture of she and I seeing each other for the first time in many years. The paragraph started with the words, “my sister and I were not close…..”

Fast forward to several days after her funeral. Facebook has been draining me. I’m so overwhelmed with all of the hatefulness there and what is equivalent to people constantly talking around me. I needed a break. Deactivating and decompressing has helped me to put other thoughts and priorities in order. Lying in bed two nights ago, I realized that I had lied.

My sister and I WERE close. Very close. “Thick as thieves”, as people say, at one point in our young lives. We slept together, ate together, got in trouble together. I tried to feed her M&Ms when I was just a toddler and she was a baby. It almost gave our mother a heart attack! I just wanted to share my candy with my baby sister that I adored.

Unfortunately, our mother and her father divorced at some point, and for reasons I was too young to understand, my mother nor I got to see her again for many, many years.

Since her death was expected, and we had lost that closeness, I thought I wouldn’t be affected much by it. I was so wrong.

I’ve realized that this time I’ve taken from Facebook and in all the things I’m doing for myself in place of it, I need to process my sisters death.

I miss her. I miss those two little girls that loved each other dearly, and got yelled at by our momma because we snuck off the porch, where we were supposed to stay, so we could play in a mud puddle at the end of our house.

I miss the relationship we never got to have as preteens going into our teenage years; secrets, late night talks, sharing clothes.

I miss her not being the Maid of Honor at my wedding because we barely knew each other anymore.

Death is permanent. There is no undoing it. It is final and heartbreaking.

I did not expect to grieve or mourn the sister I “didn’t know that well” until I realized that I knew her just like she was my other half. Because at one point in our lives, she was. 💔

The Chaos

To say that the last several months have been a whirlwind of chaos would be an understatement. We had been dreaming of a house in a more rural area, a front porch with rocking chairs, no more hustle and bustle of New Orleans, and great public schools for our boys. For a year, we had been planning to put our house on the market in January of 2018. What we didn’t expect was to receive an offer the very next day from the first person who viewed it and to be under contract the next day! We hadn’t even found our perfect home in the country yet!

Thankfully, we had a wonderful realtor, quickly found a home, and 34 days later both deals were done.

That brings me to the now. We have been in our home for two weeks tomorrow. Besides the chaos of buying and selling a home, we’ve now faced moving, unpacking, getting the house situated to look like a home (which I still haven’t finished), buying a shed, a new lawnmower for the additional property we now have!, changing the address and phone number for a hundred things, finding a new pediatrician and pharmacy, and the list goes on and on.

I have been BUSY! And this morning I had a reality check. I was looking through social media before my children woke up, and came across the profile of someone I once knew, realizing that she lost her baby a few years ago. Every mother that sees or hears of these things feels that dismay at the thought of losing a child. It’s unfathomable. I quickly checked on Brody though the video monitor and felt so grateful that my baby was still here with me. I was then immediately hit with the guilt of losing my patience with both boys the last couple of weeks. Deagan has been acting out and refuses to do pretty much anything he is asked. Brody is a stage 5 clinger, and wants to be held constantly. To be fair, though, he has been that way from day one of his life outside the womb! I’m convinced all that skin to skin immediately after birth made him that way.

The point I’m getting at is that I’ve realized my children are being extra clingy and acting out because their life has been chaos and broken routine as well. Just as stressed and frustrated as I am, so are they. In their world, there is no good book to settle down with, no glass of wine, no long soak in a huge bathtub to calm down. There is only me. I am their anchor, and the calm in a storm of moving, a strange new house, and a completely different world. Yet, I’ve fussed at them for it. I’ve begged Brody to just quietly play so I can unpack another box, mop a floor, or cook dinner. I’ve made Deagan go to bed after yelling at him because he has had a meltdown over something I’d perceive as trivial.

There is no such thing as a perfect mother. While I beat myself up over the mistakes I made, I am fortunate to know that realizing my flaws and correcting them make me a loving mother.

So today, I will hold Brody as much as he wants. I will hug Deagan when he becomes frustrated and begins to stomp his feet. Phone calls, emails, errands, housework, and dinner can all be paused. But these moments in my children’s lives will slip away quicker than I can blink and I never want them to be moments they remember that I wasn’t there for them. ❤️

Regret is Bitter

My mother in law passed away two days after Christmas.

Ours was a difficult relationship. It wasn’t always that way. She accepted me with open arms and loved me as her own from the very beginning. As is often typical, though, with mothers in law, there were some privacy and boundary issues over the years. I will certainly say that I am not always a pure delight to deal with, as well! We all have our flaws, and ways that just flat out piss other people off.

The last few years, there was very little relationship left between myself and my mother in law. I mostly came around on occasion out of respect for my husband and to allow my kids to visit their grandparents.

Without going into in depth detail of matters that I feel to be very personal, I will say that I made the best decisions I could for my children. I didn’t allow my sons to be left in the care of my mother in law any longer, because certain other members of their family would come around that had harmed their own children. My husband and I felt it safest to be with our children when they visited, so that we were able to remove and/or protect them from any situation which could arise given those other family members were present. Sadly, there was always some sort of drama when they came around. Every, single time.

Not everyone will agree with our decision, as my in laws didn’t, and that is okay. We all parent differently. And we all do our best.

The point of this post is to say that, while I do not regret the decisions I made to protect my kids, I regret that I didn’t make more of an effort to bring them around myself. My oldest son adored his grandmother. And she loved him very, very much. We didn’t see eye to eye on much at all when it came to him, but she loved him. I never doubted that.

Brody had just been born when she received her stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, she was so sick, there was never any bonding between her and him.

My heart breaks at knowing I could have, should have made more of an effort for her sake and for Deagan. All that he has left of her are memories, and because he is only 4, so many of those will fade. I should’ve taken more pictures of the two of them together, so that he could see what he wouldn’t remember.

I could’ve put my own feelings aside to show compassion for a dying grandmother and I didn’t. It was so difficult, but I should have tried. No one expected her passing to happen so soon, but we should always live like anyone could pass away at any time. The regret we are left with when we don’t, it’s so bitter-tasting.

I Have Dreams & Goals, too…..

Two years ago, I was at a job I loved. I was in a management position I had worked long and hard for. I was thriving and the property I took over management of was making a great comeback at my hands.

All of those in positions above me praised and bragged on me for the great job I was doing. Of course, I never could have made it without their help and direction, and the assistance of the staff I also managed. I was in a good place, or so I thought. My salary was almost that of my husbands.

God had other plans. I’ve spoken in prior posts of the extremely long days, being on call 24/7, and the time with my family sacrificed. I knew God was pulling me away from my goals because they weren’t part of His plan for me. I kept feeling the nagging, pulling emotion of it; not quite Gods voice, but I knew it was Him, all the same.

So, I sit here today with laundry to be put away, toys covering the floor, all of my expensive, professional clothes are packed away and I’m wearing leggings. I pretty much wear baby spit up daily. Our bills get paid and we do what we can to give our kids toys and experiences. It’s not as much as others are able to give, but they certainly don’t hurt for anything. We no longer have a savings account. Emergencies that arise have to go on a credit card.

Yes, it’s risky. Yes, I’m aware that we are teetering on a thin line here. We live paycheck to paycheck with no safety net. But this is what God has told me to do. And He did not say the weapons won’t form against you; He said they will not prosper.

This is a season of my life that He wants me to raise the children I prayed so desperately for. Some people think I have no goals, no dreams, no motivation and that stings a little. I do. It’s hard for me seeing so many of my high school friends going back to school again, furthering their careers, accomplishing their dreams. I want to do that. I want to feel educated, important, and not be looked at with criticism that I “don’t work” or that it’s my fault because my family struggles financially sometimes.

Then God reminds me that, to my children, I’m the most important person in the world. They need me more than the corporate world or a college does. The time that they are so small, so innocent, and so needing of me is really such a short time. It can’t be squandered chasing other dreams. There will be time for me to accomplish other goals on my list, for me to help my husband financially so he doesn’t have to work himself into an exhausted stupor every week, so that we are able to provide our children with a college fund, or a surprise weekend trip somewhere fun just because. There will be time for me to grow intellectually, to find the career I want, and work towards it. In HIS time.

I’m no less important, no less intelligent, and not unappreciated because I do not have a paying job, am not continuing my education, or building a career.

King Cakes and SnoBalls.

My family and I currently reside on the Westbank of New Orleans. I have lived here on and off since 2007, and permanently since 2009. It is far from my favorite place in the world. I was born and raised in a few small towns in rural Mississippi. Culture shock is the appropriate term for what life was in Mississippi compared to life in the Big Easy.

While I’m apparently never going to be a fan of big city living, there are traditions and culture in New Orleans, and some all over Louisiana, that I’ve grown to love.

King Cake is a main course during Mardi Gras season and with good reason. They are delicious! Be careful, though, that you don’t break your tooth on the plastic baby hidden inside!

Speaking of Mardi Gras, it’s unfortunate that many people that do not live here believe that Mardi Gras is all boobs, beads, and beer. This simply isn’t true. While you will absolutely encounter all of these “downtown”, Metairie and other areas have family friendly parades and our children are taught at birth to yell, “throw me something, Mister!” Watching your babies dance to the music and reach for beads is incredibly sweet and fun!

Chicken and sausage gumbo over rice is a staple and it’s amazing! Making a roux is a skilled practice and requires constant stirring for an entire hour. Yes, you read that correctly.

These Cajun people love to kiss and hug! I’m honestly not big on all of that, but it’s their thing and you can’t be upset about people that just LOVE. The world needs more of that.

You aren’t going anywhere here without crossing a bridge, probably multiple ones, and you learn to appreciate having to stop for the draw bridges to raise and allowing boats to pass. You get to check Facebook or turn around and look your kid in the eye while threatening them.

One word: Beignets

Sometimes you encounter those with much heavier accents than the rest. You can NOT understand them, but you smile and agree anyway! Same goes when they speak to you in half English and half French. It’s kind of endearing.

You pretty much live and breathe for po-boys and cry when snoball season ends. The crazy thing is that we experience summer weather well into Fall and rarely have more than 15 cold days the entire winter. Why are snoballs not sold year round?!

So, while I know that I’ll delve into my love for rural Mississippi and how it will always be home in some future post, I had to take a moment to honor NOLA. I hate the traffic and the crowds, the tiny yards, the public school system, the cost of living, and the crime, but there really is much to love about this grand city.

My family and I plan to move to a different parish next year for a much better school district and less population, but we will not be a very long way from New Orleans and will still have all of the same staples and traditions there. If you’re here long enough, Louisiana will absolutely seep into your blood! 💜💚💛

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Being a Stay at Home Mom

I’ve worked to make money since I was 14 years old. Of course, at that age it was mostly babysitting, but it paid. I purchased the brands and style of shoes, clothes, and makeup that I wanted instead of what my mother would have bought.

I finished high school, but didn’t go to college immediately. I mostly waited tables over the next 6 years but had other jobs including pressure washing houses, retail, in a floral shop, in a custom framing shop, and eventually started taking on office and administrative jobs before going back to school. Seriously, I worked those crazy jobs! I didn’t care. I wanted to support myself so I always tried to.

My parents never purchased a vehicle for me. I bought all of my own. I paid rent to live with friends or share houses.

After I got married and finished school, I worked until I had my first son and from the time he was 1 until 2.5. My husband and I both feel that I should be home with our boys now. I know this is where God wants me. I know that I’ve contributed so much to my family by way of income before I made the decision to stay home. I know that no amount of money in the world could ever pay more to my children than my being here for all of their big and small moments. I don’t second guess my decision, BUT………

I still hate the stigma that is attached to stay at home moms. You know, the women that “don’t work.” The women that don’t make “their own money.” The women that spend “their husbands money.”

In my marriage, my husband and I are equal partners. He has never once acted like the income he brings in is HIS money. Due to being this one income family, we are often on a tight budget which means I don’t go crazy buying extras anyway. I handle all of the finances and make sure bills are paid in full and on time, food is purchased, and our children’s needs are met. If I do want to purchase something, I don’t have to ask permission. This is our family’s income. It is not solely my husbands although he may be the one to earn it. Society does not look down upon a father and tell him that he does not raise his children because he leaves for work every day. Of course, he’s raising his children; he goes to work to provide for them. And, of course, a stay at home mother works; she is a nurturer, a taxi, teacher, maid, chef, and accountant.

She is certainly fortunate to be able to be home with her children, and recognizes this, but is in no way less valuable to society or to her family.

As I once was a “work outside the home mother”, yes, I understand that they also do the same things as a mother who does not work outside of the home. I would never take a stab at working mothers or attempt to belittle their role. We do have to acknowledge, though, that the hours that a working mother is away from home are all hours that her children require a caretaker, that her house is not being destroyed by a toy explosion, and there aren’t 49 different dishes piled up because she had to cook breakfast and lunch for them, too, and not just dinner.

I say this not at all to say that stay at home moms have it harder. I say it to show that the workload, whether you work outside of the home or not, are equal. We, as mothers, are equal. We, as marriage partners, are equal.

I am not superior to a working mother because I am home with my children every day and not missing out on any part of their lives. A working mother is not superior to me because she contributes financially and possibly, likely, has a bigger spending budget than I do.

My husband is not superior to me because he earns our family’s income and I am not superior to him because I am the main caretaker of our children.

I know these things. I try to view the world with an open heart and mind. I am not insecure in my family’s choices, but unity in this busy, exhausting, crazy, but so fulfilling world of Parenthood is badly needed.

Maybe, just maybe, we could all attempt to show a little kindness and understanding for not only those that are just like us and that we relate to, but to everyone in the world. ❤️

The Struggle is Life!

It is so easy for others to view little glimpses of your life and think you are so confident, maybe even a little smug, in who you are, how you live your life, how you parent, your marriage, career, and so forth. The reasoning behind this is because we don’t typically blast the negative as much on social media or break it down for people that we don’t consider in our inner circle.

I’m here to tell you that my true, honest to God friends know that I am a hot mess mom! They know this because I share my struggles and concerns with them knowing they genuinely care.

While I will on occasion state that I am exhausted, or overwhelmed, or frustrated at a certain situation, maybe even ask for advice on something I’m struggling with, I’m not going to consistently tell 300 people on Facebook that I kinda sorta know or once knew well that my infant is a “high needs baby” and how much I’m struggling physically and emotionally with it. Im not going to constantly complain to them all that I’m more often than not sleep deprived and often unable to meet my own physical and emotional needs due to the high needs of my baby. I’m not going to complain daily to them that I literally cannot put him down during the day and have to hold him while attempting to cook, clean, take care of laundry, help my preschooler with homework and family projects or how any errand I run has to include wearing him because he will just scream if left in his car seat in the buggy. I don’t tell them how I’m seeing a chiropractor weekly for ongoing back and joint pain that having to constantly wear a baby only makes worse. I don’t go on and on about how my 3 year old is every day and all day acting out because of all of the attention his brother gets and he has felt left out the last 3 months even though I take as much one on one time with him as I can when Dean is home and can take the baby. I don’t tell them that I get so frustrated with both of my children and how the guilt of that each night as I lay down eats me up inside because I feel like an awful mom and that I’m failing to meet their emotional needs. I don’t tell them how hard these things have been on my marriage and that my husband and I are simply in survival mode at this point. I haven’t breathed a word of how I utterly cannot put forth a huge effort to reach out to many of my friends and family (that aren’t here in my every day life) because all of my mental competency and physical energy is exhausted on just keeping myself going after meeting the needs of both of my young children who are at an age that they need so much of me every minute of the day. I admit this now not to complain about them and anyone directly involved in our lives will tell you I love those boys with a Mama Bear fierceness!

So, no, I don’t always tell the land of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all of those things, but who I do very often tell is a small group of women that I know love me and they just “get” me.

I’m not in a competition with anyone. I don’t purposefully attempt to “sell” my life on social media or make it seem like I have it all, that I’m on Cloud 9 every day all day, or that I am just doing life better than anyone. But I also don’t feel the need to bombard over 300 people, many of whom with I have no real, personal relationship, with the insanity, stress, and downright mess that is my life most days.

Now, if you’re my close to heart good friend, I can’t spare you. You’re just stuck dealing with my need to cry to you about it all!

So the next time you’re scrolling through social media and think your single friend is living it up, your mom friend is the perfect parent, your career oriented friend has reached her goals and is on top of the world, your childless friend and her husband must have it made because they can have alone time, date nights, and a full nights sleep, just know that they have their own struggles and insecurities going on as well, but many do not send a daily morning report on it to hundreds of people that will quite possibly judge and mock them, and consider it nothing more than gossip and entertainment.

And, certainly, do not ever think of your own struggles and compare yourself to those you presume have a life that is perfect because you see a few glimpses of the highs on social media, but only sporadically, if ever, the lows. Trust me that we all have struggles and lows, but yes, we really are doing fine, and furthermore, so are you!

*Picture of high needs baby doing what he loves and needs the most!

You Were Here but for a Moment…..

I’ve had no urge to write in the last 10 months or so. I was pregnant, tired, and uncomfortable. The last two months that our second son, Brody Keith, has been here, I’ve been even more exhausted and busier than ever. We are so beyond blessed though!

Tonight I felt an urge to write but so much has happened in 2017 that I couldn’t decide where to begin or what to write about and what to leave out. Scrolling Facebook, I came across another post about October being National Pregnancy and Infant loss month. There have been so many women posting and each breaks my heart for all their losses including my own. The post tonight encouraged women to write a letter to their babies. I knew immediately that this was what I NEED to write about because the baby I lost has been so heavy on my heart recently.

My Angel Baby,

You changed my life more than anything and anyone ever had at the point I found out you existed and again when I was told “I can’t find a heartbeat.” You weren’t supposed to BE. That’s what a doctor had told me before. I wouldn’t conceive you without medical intervention. But I did. You were there. In my body and in my heart.  I was in shock over it. And so quickly, too quickly, you were gone. I was so angry at God. I didn’t understand why he’d allow you to be then snatch you back before I could ever feel you move inside me, before I could see your perfect face, or hear your beautiful cry. I grieved what would never be: your laugh, your eyes, your chubby little hands, your first birthday. I know you so well, perfect baby, because you’re in my heart so deeply, yet I don’t know your face or your sound. It’s heartbreaking; excruciating. It doesn’t get easier and it never will. You, with your perfect, brief existence taught me true love and real, raw grief. You taught me how to cherish so much more your brother who was born the next year. Three and a half years later,  your second brother followed and again, I hold these precious little boys so dear to my heart thanking the Lord for them because the loss of you is still so profound. Maybe that was your purpose. I trust that God works in our lives even when it hurts so much, we can’t fathom how he could have his hand in it. You are every bit a part of my life as the two children that lay in my arms every day. You are embedded in my soul just as they. You go where I go. You live because I love you. One sweet day I will see the face of you that I’ve longed to see.

Thank you, Angel Baby, for making me a Mother.

These Are the Days of Our Lives…

I’m sure the less than 5 followers I have haven’t noticed I’ve been MIA in the last several months. Man, life has been hectic! To catch up, I’ve visited family out of state twice and the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays have passed. I chopped off all my hair and regret it. The offspring, my sweet, big boy Deagan K, just celebrated his 3rd birthday with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese and a Caillou themed party the next day. Go Mom! Oh, and we found out we will be welcoming offspring #2 next summer! Getting pregnant, period, when you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can be an adventure, but getting pregnant naturally isn’t nearly as easy for many of us who suffer with the disease. So, can we all just stop for a moment and pat Harold Dean and I on the back? K, thanks. Carry on…..

Life is wonderful for us at the moment. We have ups and downs as any family does. Deagan K. refuses to potty train. No kid goes to college in diapers though, right? Right?

I miss “date nights” with my husband. It’s been hard for me being so far away from my family and even several of my friends, not only for the emotional support, but because a reliable sitter every once in a while would be nice.

Thirdly, the smell of my dog makes me gag. Seriously. She is the stinkiest animal I’ve ever encountered. She gets a bath without being bathed too much and is sprayed with the fruity stuff in between, but to no avail. Stinky Dog is here to stay. My pregnancy hormones are not digging this.

So, as you can see, there is no perfectionism here, folks. There is however, a lot of love and a lot of prayer. We do alright.

We would appreciate prayers for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Until next time, folks!

 

 

 

Words……

I’m no writer. 

A dear lady I know raved about my writing recently and stated that she hoped I continued to write. I thought she was either crazy, just trying to be nice, or genuinely saw a talent in my words that I couldn’t see. 

I often struggle with putting my heart and my thoughts into words and sentences that make sense or accurately explain what it is I’m feeling. A recent Facebook post that many misconstrued proved that.  Although in my career field, before I became a stay at home mom, a fair portion of my job consisted of writing; drafting letters from scratch that had to be punctual, intellectual, and professional. I thrived on this and everyone knew they could depend on me to draft letters and documents if they couldn’t find the appropriate words. 

Honestly, in my every day life, especially social media, I dislike the use of  such wording. Why use words that make you sound smarter than the average bear if you aren’t appealing to your audience because many won’t quite understand? It’s easy to lose the message when you’re smothered by the “hey, look at all the big words I know!” that jump out at a person. 

With the chaos of the world as of recently, I’m shocked and overwhelmed and at a loss for words, period. Highly sensitive people, such as myself, tend to take on the emotions of those around them or whom they are in contact with. There is so much turmoil inside me that I physically cannot pull the words to explain it. I can’t stomach my Facebook newsfeed right now. I can’t formulate a response to the hatred and criticism I see because I feel like nothing is enough to explain how it rips me apart inside. Instead, I just stay away and seek peace through prayer, Bible study, my home, and my family. 

The one thing I can be grateful for is the personal growth in which I am experiencing. The last few weeks have shown me how people  feel one way or another. Seeing it made me realize I never want to be perceived in the way I was perceiving many of them. It’s changing my outlook and allowing me to empathize with others more; even those I don’t know. Of course, with empathy comes frustration with those that lack empathy. Yay. 😕

All in all, I feel myself as a person and as a Christian changing and growing and it’s an amazing feeling. 

I don’t know my purpose in life. I do know that God called me to be a homemaker for this season. I feel there will be more to me than that, although I don’t know what, but I’m trusting God and his process. Maybe it’s meant for me to write. Maybe the words will come and be comprehensible in the way that I need them to be to reach people and have an effect. I don’t know, but God does.