The Minute My Heart Stopped…

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It was a beautiful August day in Michigan. There was a slight breeze as the sun warmed the air. It wasn’t humid or too hot…the weather was just right. We have family in town so it was decided to go to the Troy Aquatic Center for the kiddos. Emma loves the water and I was excited to take her.

We got there and she was pretty fussy and unwilling to leave my arms. After a while she got more comfortable and soon she was splashing by the fountain pads and laughing. I took her into the water with me and we played. She takes swim classes and loves being in the water so there wasn’t much concern for me there. However, there were a lot of kids swimming and splashing around so I decided to take her out, maybe grab a snack and just sit for a bit.

I placed her on one of the lounge chairs as her uncle and cousin were saying hello and engaging with her. Here’s where the mistakes start…

I didn’t ask them to watch her for a second. I didn’t even see if they were completely interacting with her. I didn’t take her down so she wouldn’t fall. I turned away. I TURNED AWAY! I hear a scream and see her face down on the cement. My heart stopped. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to cry, scream, throw up and pass out all at once. I grabbed her. She was hysterical. I was hysterical. The blood wouldn’t stop coming from her mouth. I was a wreck, I still am.

Per our pediatrician, we took her to the ER. She was admitted, examined and released within one hour (great job Royal Oak, Beaumont!). No stitches, no CT scan. She is okay. That’s what my husband had to keep reminding me, “She is okay.” Her lips is pretty cut up and swollen and her chin is scratched up but other than that, she is okay. Thank you God, she is okay. I know it could have been worse. I know. But I can’t help myself. I can’t help but blame my stupid self for turning away. Why did I think that would be okay? What is wrong with me?!

I know she’s going to get injured. I know this won’t be the last time, but I could have prevented it and I can’t help but feel like the worst mom in the world. I close my eyes and see that image of her laying there. I cringe. My heart breaks. It makes me sick to my stomach. I want to permanently erase it from my mind.

While I realize it was an accident, I can’t help but feel angry at myself. It seems like she is continuously having these issues too. Her tooth incident at my mom’s house when she was only 8 months old, her chipping her front tooth with me in the bathtub (a week ago) and now this (by the way, her front teeth are a complete, chippy mess)! I wish I could just fix it all. I could just take a magic wand and eliminate the pain and the scars (these poor teeth!). But I can’t. This is a part of life. And as her mother, it’s important for me to stay strong which so far I have not been able to do…

The love of a parent is so amazing. It’s like my heart just jumps out of my chest for her. She has truly completed my life and if I never have another I will be okay because I have her. And that’s why I think it’s so hard for us as parents. We have this love that cannot be described until you actually experience it. And with that love comes this innate responsibility to protect. This responsibility is so strong that we would become superhuman if needed, we would do anything to protect them from all harm…but we can’t. It’s just not possible. Even if I bubble wrapped my child (I definitely considered it after yesterday), she would still get hurt. There comes a point when you need to have faith it will all be okay…whatever your faith may be. This is where I must learn to ‘let go and let God’.

Emma is okay. She’s alive and healthy with a few cuts and some chippy teeth (luckily these ones fall out!). I am very lucky it wasn’t any worse. It can always be worse…

So while I work on trying not to lose my mind when she gets injured, I think about how blessed I am that she’s okay. My advice for anyone going through something similar is this: Keep calm and ‘mom’ on πŸ™‚ You’re a great parent. Be thankful for the blessings you have and continue to pray for all those suffering, it could always be worse!

Why I Love This Job

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No one can prepare you for motherhood…even if they’ve tried. Sure, you can hear birthing stories (which you won’t understand until you’re actually having the contractions where you feel like you might die) or advice about getting sleep before the baby comes (there is no amount of sleep you could ever get to prepare you for all the sleep you won’t be getting as a new mom!). You can read everything on the Internet but that’s also just going to prepare you into a paranoid freak! At the same time, no one can prepare you for the love you will have. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. You will never feel anything like it until you are a parent. No once can prepare you for this journey you’re about to embark upon, but you know what, that’s why I love this job!

The first time I held my daughter I was overwhelmed with how much I loved her. It was like a tidal wave that flooded my heart and completely filled me up. Sure, it was tough in the beginning, but isn’t any new job? The insecurity of taking on a new role, how will you perform, what if you make a mistake and the overall uncertainty of not knowing what you’re doing. It’s the fear of the unknown…

And it’s the unknown that always get us…what’s next? what do I do now? is this right? should I be doing it this way? what if I’m supposed to do it that way? HOW WILL I KNOW?! You don’t get paid, you definitely don’t get raises, you don’t get reviewed (this is usually unsolicited and when I assume when most kids become teenagers) but best of you, this is one job no one can ever take away from you. You are a parent, congratulations πŸ™‚

Recently, we took some family photos to celebrate my daughter turning one. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Krista (from Krista Lynne Photography) did an AMAZING job…check out her page here! So this is why I love this job…I love being able to have sweet moments like this captured, but that’s only a small part of it. I love everything about this job, the good, the bad and sometimes, even the ugly. I love when someone asks her “where’s mommy” and she points to me…I love it when she screams ‘MA!’ even though I sometimes want to scream myself…I love when she runs towards me and falls right into my lap…I love her laugh, seeing her interact with her dad, her smile, the way she imitates everything, the way we play together as a family, her hilarious faces, how excited she gets to be chased, seeing already how smart she is….this list could go on forever so I’ll stop here.

But most of all, I love her. I everything about her. And although I have exhausting days at times, my best days are spent with her. They are cherished moments that I am fortunate to have because God blessed me into becoming a mom…and that is why I love this job :).

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What Really Matters

Emma GraceMy daughter just recently turned one so of course I wanted to have a big first birthday party for my little princess (that was the theme!). I drove my husband crazy with all the time (and money!) I spent on decorations, planning and cleaning to make ready for this momentous occasion. I know she will never actually remember it, but I was excited about hosting such a special event at our new home.

It was the first time practically everyone would see the house so with my Type A personality, I spent zero hours sleeping and every waking moment getting the place in tip top shape! Needless to say, there would realistically be no way mentally or financially that we would have the entire house furnished and decorated, I did my best. A part of me was worried about what people would think and that’s new for me because usually I don’t really care (ha!). I think because this home is so much a reflection of me and my taste since I did most of the decorating (okay, let’s be honest, I did it all and LOVED every second!), I wanted people to really love and appreciate it the same way that I do. I realize our style isn’t for everyone (think Farmhouse/Chip & Joanna Gaines style) but I love it, I really really do. And I spent a lot of time making it a place I could love. Online orders, in-store orders, “Renee, why is there another package at our door” my husband would shout and I’d pretend not to hear him, returns, returns and more returns! I also made a lot of things too, centerpieces, re-upholstered dining room chairs (thanks for the help, mom!) and my personal favorite, painting and distressing with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (check out my before and after bench here).

Yes, it was great…at first. My husband and I would argue about how I ‘get to do all the fun decorating stuff’ and he ‘just gets to do the shit I don’t want to do’. On some level, I saw where he was coming from. But as much as it was really fun, at times it was really daunting. I spent a lot of time trying to save money by making many of the items in our home. I had five weeks to get as much as I could done. Renovations with a child aren’t easy so that meant either going on my lunch break during work to shop and doing projects in the evening when she went to bed. But I’m happy to say it was worth it because we have enough of the house done to where I feel comfortable (minus our bedroom, we have no furniture so it’s kind of a mess).

But that’s not even the point. None of that stuff really matters. It’s all materialistic. What matters is family. We are blessed. We have a beautiful home and we are healthy. These are the moments that matter…

It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life. We are too busy and there’s never enough time. The other day I took my daughter to Partridge Creek to play in the water fountains. There was a moment when she walked towards me smiling and laughing. I scooped her up and hugged her tight. It was perfect. That’s what really matters…moments like those. Not house chores, not decorating, not party planning…

I’m happy to say her party was a success and I feel like all my planning paid off. But the best part of her birthday for me was the day my husband and I took her to the zoo as a family. That was our birthday with her. And those are the moments to me that matter the most. Find some time this weekend to enjoy what really matters πŸ™‚

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Wow, I’m Old.

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On April 15th, I walked into the bathroom at work which was turned into a girls changing room. As I maneuvered my way around shoes and bags, I listened to four twenty-somethings discuss their ‘outfits’. “I just didn’t think these leggings were going to be so short,” said one. “Omigosh! I love your dress,” gushed another. The conversation then turned into which bar they were starting at followed by a discussion about dating. I chuckled to myself as I thought, ‘wow, I’m old.’ Here are four young, single girls getting ready to go out for the day/night while all I could think about was my sick baby, her fever and getting her to the peds office (I work at a CPA firm and being the end of tax season almost all the CPA’s leave in the afternoon to go drink…no, I’m not a CPA).

And that’s when it hit me, I’m old. I mean wow, I’m old. I can’t even remember the last time I went ‘out, out’ let alone mulled over an outfit which wasn’t followed by ‘Ugh, nothing fits me!’ or ‘Why can’t I just lose this baby weight?!’. The bar seems like a place of my past and drinking isn’t an all-night affair but a glass of wine (because frankly, hangovers now seem to last as long as a cold!). Dating would consist of the few and far between date nights my husband and I get (but luckily I have him and no longer have to worry about what I considered to be ‘the awful dating scene’).

My girlfriends discussion is our kids, why our husband drive us nuts and going out consists of the park or out to lunch for an afternoon play date. Sure, we go out without the kids, but those nights are usually couple dinners at someone’s house and because of hectic schedules probably only occur once a month.

The older I get, the more I realize the bar scene just isn’t for me. Yes, going out and having a good time is great, but the idea of being at a bar until 2AM no longer appeals to me. I’ll take going out to dinner and the movies any day of the week!

But some days I miss my freedom. I miss being able to go somewhere without it taking twenty plus minutes or planning a vacation that’s actually a vacation. I miss the ‘pre-baby skinny me’ that could wear anything and drink without a three-day hangover. But now I’m a mom and those days are over which is okay by me. I think about how blessed I am to have a child because some people will never get that chance. I look at my daughter and my heart fills up with so much love. So yes, I am getting old but I view it as older and wiser…even if at times I still act like a kid. πŸ™‚

What is This World Coming To?

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I don’t watch the news. I don’t really read it either. As a journalism major, it doesn’t even pain me to say this. I can’t stand the news. I really can’t. I’m tired of all the violence, depressing stories and celebrity crap no one really cares about (actually a lot of people do because it’s so overwhelming covered).

Sure, maybe some people will say I’m naive (or maybe even stupid) or how can I stay up-to-date on current events but here’s my reply: one, sticks and stones (hopefully you can finish the rest) and two, I stay current on what I need to. Ebola? Yes. I watched and I read. Measles? You bet.

But there are some things I draw the line with. Do I want to hear about some lunatic that killed his entire family and now wants to plead insanity? NO! Do I want to hear about another that put her child in the microwave? NO! Or one who killed two of her kids and put them in the freezer? NO! It sickens me. It really, really does. When it comes to children I can’t handle it, I really can’t. What is this world coming to? What is wrong with people?

I am not here to judge, that is not my job, but it pains me what people do. Why can’t they get the help they need before they commit these terrible crimes? Are their symptoms going completely unnoticed? Do they just snap one day? What is it? The questions rack my brain as I hear about these stories. I recently watched a video that went viral regarding two parents abusing their children (if you haven’t seen it, click here, but be warned it’s brutal). The sister of the mom actually filmed it. I cried. I hugged my baby extra tight that day. Why? These children are innocent. Why? (side note: the parents in that video aren’t being charged yet for child abuse because there isn’t enough evidence…what?!)

I wish I had answers, I wish someone did. But what I do know is this is the reason I don’t watch the news and don’t read about it either. I can’t stomach it. And when I do find myself caught on something (I intently followed the Laci Peterson story in college), I can’t stop. I keep reading, searching and wanting to know the latest updates. As a mom now, I can’t do it. I can’t follow these stories. It’s too heartbreaking.

I pray for justice, I really do, but I also pray for these people. No child deserves this…ever. But there has to be something seriously wrong with these people. I can’t fathom anyone mentally stable doing these types of horrific crimes. There has to be an internal struggle they are dealing with.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that people stop killing and find a way to deal with their issues in a healthy manner. In the end, good will triumph over evil…we just have to continue to hope and pray. So the next time you’re tired of, fed up, frustrated and angry with your kids, try to focus on how much you love them. Children are a blessing to be loved for, protected and cherished no matter what…let us continue to hope that even in the toughest times, parents always remember that.