0

Priorities.

Dear baby girl,

As I sat at the kitchen table on my computer last night, I glanced out the back window and saw pink and orange flames lighting up the crystal blue sky.

I was so struck by the beauty that I stopped what I was doing and stepped outside. To get a better view beyond the trees in our backyard, I walked out in front of the house. The hues streaked across our quiet street, beyond the rooftops and trees. I continued to walk in the still silence of the late evening, feeling as though I were walking in a spotlight, yet with no audience watching. There wasn’t a person or creature in sight as I slowly strolled down the sidewalk, hoping to catch more of a glimpse of the magnificent sunset. I didn’t even get a picture, as I left my phone and everything at home, completely caught up in the moment.

This beautiful, peaceful moment was just what I needed. In the midst of the chaos that is life, sometimes we need these moments. Moments where we can clearly see beauty when all we want to do is focus on the ugly. There are times when I feel like God orchestrates special moments like last night to remind me of His presence in my life, even when I don’t always feel it or see it. Sometimes we need these little reminders from God that He created the universe – and us – and He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

I need these reminders because it’s pretty easy to lose focus. Distractions call, seemingly demanding my attention from the present. Instead of letting my heart be content, I choose worry. Instead of embracing where I am at, I compare my life to those around me. I let others’ priorities make mine feel inferior, wondering how I can make time to do or be more.

Last night the Creator reminded me that I am not inferior. None of us is inferior.

Throughout life, our priorities change. Circumstances change us. Life changes us – if we let it. We can face challenges and choose to be angry, bitter and remain the same person, blaming the world and being a victim. Or, we can choose to learn from hardships. They may feel like they define us, but really, it is the character that is shaped in us that defines us.

Priorities change. Seasons change. Our hearts, our passions and our priorities are what define us. It’s easy to get caught up in what we feel like we need or ought to be. I sometimes need the reminder that just because I am not the super-involved or Pinterest-cooking and crafting mom, doesn’t mean that I am not enough.

I look at you, and I know in your eyes, I am enough. In God, I am enough. And you, baby girl, you will always be enough.

You, family and God are my priorities. Why should I expect my priorities to match anyone else’s? We all have our own lives, our own stories.

I tell you all of this so that you might hold on to these reminders and truths someday. I hope to share a lot more with you here along the way.

With love,

Momma

Advertisements
1

First Father’s Day : Part One.

Dear baby girl,

Father’s Day has not been an easy holiday for your daddy and me the past several years.

I lost your grandpa, my dad, nearly five years ago when he passed away from brain cancer. Your daddy lost his dad, your pap, more than six years ago, to skin cancer. It was a very difficult time for us, both personally and in our marriage. We still miss them and wish they were here to delight in their grandchildren, but we know that they see you from heaven. It is our hope that you will know them as we share stories when you are old enough to understand.

As I write this, your daddy and I have been married for nearly seven years, together for almost 11. Going through losing parents and other family members seemed to be the theme of our marriage the first few years. There was a point when your daddy said he was ready to start adding to instead of subtracting from our family.

We got through the losses together, thankful for each other’s love and support through the process. It seemed as though we would go through similar losses of family members so that we might further understand and be there for one another.

I tell you this not to make you sad, but to help you understand why I write this blog. I don’t know when my day will come, but there are so many things I want to share with you while I can. I tell you these stories now in hopes that you will be able to read them someday.

I look forward to tomorrow, celebrating your daddy’s first Father’s Day. While we will still remember our own dads, we also get to celebrate the day with you. As we remember life passed on, we will also celebrate new life, your life.  I may have a few special things planned for your daddy, and I look forward to spending the day together.

Your daddy is an incredible dad, and seeing him love you makes me fall even more in love with him. I will share with you more tomorrow about him and our special first Father’s Day together.

With love,

Momma

1

Consistently inconsistent parenting.

Dear baby girl,

Since before you were born, I have found myself reading just about everything I can get my hands – and eyes – on. From researching car seats to cribs to nursing, I wanted to be prepared for your arrival as much as possible. I even found myself joining local Facebook groups on a variety of topics, from babywearing to thrifty spending to cloth diapering, following other parents’ questions and tips on a variety of issues. I subscribed to emails, read blogs and Googled more random things than I ever thought I would.

Do yourself a favor if and when you have a kid someday: don’t read everything.

While some information is useful and helpful, it’s easy to get information overload via the Internet. There are so many options – and opinions – about everything. No matter what you read, you will feel like you’re not doing it right, or that you’re not doing enough. Parenting “experts” will give you advice on how to ensure your baby is sleeping through the night or how to not scar your child for life. Some parents will tell you to meet your baby’s every demand while others will tell you that your baby won’t learn independence through attachment parenting.

I’ve quickly discovered that parents are more judgmental than high school teenagers. Mommy bloggers and parenting experts galore are quick to share their opinions, stories and successes, which usually involves a rant about those who do things differently. It’s painful to read, and it’s unfortunate how guilty it makes mothers feel about their parenting choices.

Your daddy and I don’t subscribe to a certain parenting method or lifestyle. We babywear and use a stroller. We cloth diaper at home and use disposables when out and about. We let you cry to sleep sometimes, and I nurse you to sleep. We don’t have a strict schedule, but by following your lead, we tend to feed you and put you down for naps on a regular basis. We nurse and bottle feed.

We do what we feel is right. We follow our instincts. We put your needs first and shower you with more love than we ever thought we could possibly pour out to you. We aren’t consistent in our methods, but we are consistent in loving you.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my reading, it is that just because people may subscribe to a certain parenting style or opinion, doesn’t make it any better or worse than my own personal choices. People may try to tell you otherwise.

Parents know their own babies the best. It’s helpful and okay to look for advice and resources, but ultimately it is up to me and your daddy to know and trust what you need. The decisions we make to care for and raise you may not be the same decisions others would make, and that’s okay. Ultimately, we are looking out for your safety, your comfort and your health. We want you to know you are loved and cared for – more than you will ever know.

With love,

Momma

 

 

0

My first Mother’s Day.

Dear baby girl,

It’s my first Mother’s Day today, and my heart is full. I feel blessed to be celebrating this day, and I couldn’t be more thankful or proud to be your momma.

Just one year ago – on Mother’s Day – is when we announced to the world that we were expecting your arrival. We made it “Facebook official” as they say, by posting the picture below.

IMG_7663

Needless to say, we were pretty ecstatic to be sharing the big news with everyone. I remember last year’s weather was pretty similar to today, with storms and tornadoes on the horizon. The weather is somewhat symbolic of our life’s journey at that time and now, as we were just coming out of and are now going through some storms in life. Your daddy and I have been through some hard times together, but no matter what curveballs we get thrown at us, we always seem to make it out on the other side stronger. Without each other, and without our faith, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I am incredibly thankful that no matter what challenges I experience, I have your daddy and you alongside me to carry me through. And today, as I celebrate Mother’s Day, I am so thankful for my mom (your gammie), as well as the love and support of the rest of our family. It is the depth of our love for one another that blesses me the most. It is my hope and my goal for you to know and understand the love that I have for you. And, that the love we have for one another is just a glimpse of the unconditional love that God has for us as His children.

No matter what curveballs life will throw your way, sweet baby girl, know that I will be here to carry you through. As your mother, it is my joy to protect you and be here for you through it all.

With love,

Momma

2

Balance.

Dear baby girl,

It’s been three weeks since I returned to work, and we are starting to settle in to a new normal. I’ll admit, it was pretty hard to let go at first (I may have had a minor meltdown on day four), but it has been good for me to get back into a routine. I do miss you like crazy when we’re apart and spend probably more time than I should staring at pictures of you on my desk, thinking about our time together. The highlight of my day is getting to see you after work. Your face just lights up when you see me, and you give me this big grin that fills my heart with joy and lets me know that you missed me just as much as I missed you.

3 months
On my third day back to work, you turned three months old! 

Being a working mom is going to have its challenges, but I’m okay with that. I have thought a lot about balance lately, and to me, it’s not about finding the perfect balance between everything in my life. Instead, it’s about prioritizing what – and who – is most important, making sure to not let my plate get too full to keep me from those priorities. At the end of the day just being your momma is all that matters. Being able to nurture, protect and love you with all of my heart.

Something I have found freedom in recently is the power of saying no without guilt. I have learned that it’s okay to not sign up for something I am not passionate about. It’s okay to be honest with others and yourself about what you can handle and what you just don’t have time for. It’s okay to say no to one thing and say yes to something else. No one can fault you for your priorities. Hold onto these truths for someday when it will be easy to want to please others and not let them down (if you get that trait, it will be from me).

The weekends are now my favorite, when we get to spend the entire day together. I cherish our time, even the simple moments, like bath time, nursing or rocking you to sleep at night. Even the hard times, like when you don’t want to go to sleep, are worth it all. Because being your momma brings me the sweetest joy in the world.

With love,
Momma

0

Awake.

Dear baby girl,

I decided to watch you sleep this morning.

IMAG1209

After your last feeding, I have been awake in bed for two hours and finally decided to get up. A lot has been on my mind, as today is my last day before returning to work tomorrow. I have to admit, I was looking forward to getting some extra sleep this morning before your next feeding and was getting frustrated that sleep was eluding me.

I sit here listening to your coos and sighs as I type, and I watch you lie so peacefully in your crib, and I would have missed out on this magical moment had I stayed in bed. I watch you stretch your legs, roll side to side and slowly fall back to sleep.

It’s funny how much you think about sleep as a new parent. How much you are (or aren’t) getting and how much your baby is (or isn’t) sleeping. A lot of parents complain about their lack of sleep. I see it through my Facebook feed daily. Other parents ask how much sleep you and I are getting, wondering if you are letting me sleep.

I’ll admit, I love my sleep. Before you were born, I would love to sleep in late on the weekends. I would hate it when I couldn’t sleep in or my sleep was interrupted. Transitioning to parenthood has been interesting to say the least. I am convinced that coffee had to have been invented by a mom.

But as I sit here this morning, slowly watching you wake up, I am thankful for this moment. I am thankful that I get to experience the beauty of watching you sleep. And I don’t want to sleep through the moments I’ll treasure the most. I don’t want to wish for more sleep for the sake of missing out on time with you. I don’t want to wish away time so I can spend it sleeping.

As I watch the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out, my breath slowly exhales. This is what being a mom is about. Treasuring moments. Treasuring you. Because time is going to go by way too fast. And I want to be awake for it.

You’re starting to stir now; I suppose it’s time for me to get you up. I can’t wait to start the day with you.

With love,
Momma

1

Happy One Month Birthday!

Dear baby girl,

I can’t believe you’re one month old today!

Hannah 2
Pretty in pink! 

It feels like it’s only been a few days – time has flown by. With visitors coming and going and the Thanksgiving holiday, we have had a busy month filled with family and friends. And you of course!

Hannah 7
I got a sweet smile from you this morning! 

Somewhere in the midst of the first few sleepless days after you were born, in the wee hours of the morning when I was up with you, I was overwhelmed with this feeling that I needed to let go of the things that I worry about that don’t matter. I am pretty good at over-thinking things and being anxious about the unknown. Having a newborn baby where I need to learn as I go is a life-changing experience for me in many ways. I am not only experiencing the joys of raising you, but I am also feeling myself being challenged and changed as a person.

Last week, it hit me. The words “be still” were laid on my heart. As a person who loves crossing things off to-do lists and is always thinking about what needs to be done, these words hit home. I was stressing about things to do before the Thanksgiving holiday when I knew I needed to just be still.

God impressed on my heart that just as we need to be still before Him and be in His presence, I must also do the same with you. Enjoy you and our time together. Everything else can wait. Be still and be present. Embrace what matters most. In the midst of the chaos that is life, I must always remember to be still in our time together and not be worrying about other things I could or should be doing.

Since then, each day I am making sure to take moments to be still with you. Whether I am singing you to sleep, taking way too many pictures of you or holding you and feeling your tiny body rest against mine, I am embracing life as your momma. Everything else can wait.

Hannah 5
One of the many pictures of you I took of you today  🙂

I’m one month in, and I know the coming ones are going to go by just as quickly. Pretty soon I will be going back to work and this time together will be a treasure in my heart. I will find the time every day to be still with you, enjoy you and make sure you know just how much I love you.

With love,

Momma