If Only…

We live in a world of hurry. We want everything yesterday, five minutes is an eternity, waiting is should be outlawed and time is money. If only we could see the other side. The side where the thought of waiting leads something beautiful like the miraculous birth of a child or the moment when no amount of money could replace time with a dying loved one.

But we’re too much in a hurry. We’re too driven by our own needs for immediacy. Life can change in the blink of an eye and in those moments we question ‘why’, we are not prepared and we don’t understand yet we expect those instantaneous results in almost every other aspect of our lives…

The other day I ran into the post office to mail something. It was my day off and one of those 50-degree Michigan afternoons. I figured it wouldn’t be too busy and I could run in and out without having to lug my sleeping daughter in the car seat. I was first in line with one woman working and an elderly lady just finishing up. I figured this would be less than two minutes until the elderly woman after paying stayed to talk to the post office clerk. I almost lost my mind! There are people lined up behind me now. Do I just leave? Do I go up because she is finished? Do I tell the lady I’m in a hurry? I started tapping my foot I was so frustrated. It was only a few minutes but it felt like an eternity.

It wasn’t until I got into my car where my angel was still perfectly sleeping when it hit me. Maybe that is the only interaction this woman will have today. Maybe she enjoys her trips and talks at the post office because it’s the only time she can get out. Maybe she just wants to be heard. If only I could have been more understanding. If only I could have thought about her instead of myself.  If only…

I read this beautiful email forward my mom passed along and it bought me to tears. I hope you read it. If only we could have the love and compassion for life the way this little boy did. Can we? Can we all just stop being in such a hurry?

I don’t know. I truly don’t. We have been trained, maybe even a little brainwashed if you will, to rush and to be rushed. We have things like flash sales (buy me now before I’m gone!), instant coffee, fast food (the name alone says it all), rush delivery, and the fast lane (for driving purposes). We are bombarded with hurrying!

For most of my life I lived in a hurry. I didn’t have time or the patience. I rushed as often and as much as I could. I wish that I didn’t. Life is a learning experience and that’s one I’ve definitely changed. People felt my need to hurry. I hurt people in the process. I was constantly ‘rushing’ and never had the time.

If only I knew then what I know now. If only I could see how precious and beautiful waiting is. I waited for my husband. I waited through bad relationships and lots of broken hearts. I waited impatiently. And then, I gave it up to God and He gave me my husband. I thank God for him each day and for showing me the reason why I needed  to wait…it was for him. I waited 27 hours to meet my daughter. I waited that long to find out my baby was a she! I waited in pain and discomfort and at moments in fear, but the minute I saw her, I forgot about it all. She is everything to me and worth all of the waiting and more!

I bet any of you would wait patiently if you could see someone who is no longer here…someone who has left this life already. If you were told you have five minutes and all you have to do is wait you would. And you wouldn’t complain or huff and puff. You would be filled with joy of that moment to come. You might be overwhelmed with love and maybe even a little worry. But you would wait…wouldn’t you?

If only we could have that kind of patience with everything we do. If only we could stop being in such a hurry. Today I looked at pictures of my daughter when she was first born (pictured above) and thought to myself, ‘if only you were that little again’. If you’ve ever stayed up late and seen one of those infomercials to buy whatever it is they’re selling at the end the voiceover comes on and says “Why wait? Act now!” and then continues on with what you get for purchasing at that exact moment. So why wait? Why not?!

Life is full of unexpected and beautiful surprises. If only we could all just be in less of a hurry to experience them.

We Bought A Zoo!

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Well, it’s official…WE BOUGHT A ZOO! Just kidding, but ever since that movie I envisioned myself saying the phrase when we eventually did buy a home. Ironically, I looked at the home first without my husband (something with work came up and I had to go solo) and texted him ‘We bought a zoo!’ because I fell in love with it. We went to see the house together the next day, put an offer in and we got it! This is our new home (pictured above). For the first time, my husband and I are homeowners together. I stress the together because I moved into his home when we got married and even though I added my own personal touches to it, I never really felt like I could call it mine. It feels great to be able to say that now!

While this is an exciting time for us, I also feel like it is one of the most stressful. The mortgage process alone was enough to make you go completely crazy. I felt like our bank accounts were being monitored by the FBI! “Everything needs documentation” is all I kept hearing. It went so far as having to explain check deposits from family that were Christmas gifts! On top of our own pressures at work, we are juggling parenting, packing, figuring out our finances, trying to get quotes for renovations at a home we don’t even have keys to yet, picking out furniture, paint colors, decor and all the things needed for our new home as well as the challenges of everyday life! I know these are all things people go through. This is the change that forces us to adjust. It forces you to either come together as a couple and make decisions or cause endless amounts of arguing. We have mostly come together but at times we have come apart…

Life can be stressful, especially when you throw a million other things into the mix. But what’s great about life is the adventure. Every day is a new day and you decide how you want it to go. Sure, there are things that impact your day which are out of your control, but some that are not. I have little patience when driving and get quickly irritated by other drivers but then I think about the precious life in my backseat. Is it worth her safety? Never. Is it worth me getting worked up about? Absolutely not. No one but you should determine the mood of your day. You make the decision to be angry and frustrating or patient and compassionate. It’s easy to get angry, say hurtful words and become frustrated. It’s much harder to stay calm, choose your words carefully and become more understanding. At least, it is for me…

So while my husband and I might not agree on all the decor in the house, we bought this house together and just like in marriage, there will be a lot of compromising! We are blessed to be moving into an amazing home that we’ll raise our growing family in. If there’s one thing I learned through the whole process it’s not to sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, being happy isn’t about the perfect paint color or that amazing couch from Restoration Hardware, it’s about being thankful for what you have. Life is a blessing, try not to let the stressful moments of it take away from that. And if you haven’t seen ‘We Bought A Zoo’, I suggest you watch it, super cute movie!

Managing Stress.

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I don’t manage stress well. I think everyone in my life knows that. I go into a panic mode, feeling like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown and could cry at any second. I love this picture above because I think it perfectly depicts my face on a daily basis…you want me to do what now?

Yes, I’m an awesome multitasker and say that proudly, but when it comes to handling stressful situations, I suck. For instance, my daughter’s freak tooth accident, I cried more than she did and was sick to my stomach for days. DAYS!!! But to be fair, it’s really impacted her daily activities from eating (only solids, no sharing of ‘our’ food which she loves doing now) to playing (no toys in her mouth which she also loves mostly because she’s teething). She was also in a good amount of pain which has gotten better, but still broke my heart because there was nothing I could really do.

So, how do you manage stress? Well, I’m definitely the wrong person to ask! I manage stress the way I manage money…I don’t! I have been trying to find healthy outlets for my stress but I usually just end up eating chocolate or chips and having a good amount of wine (lately it’s been my new obsession, hard cider!). While I think it’s important to treat yourself every once in a while, I don’t think making this a daily habit is going to help me in the long run.

After taking some time to think about it, I realize my stress comes from two places: fear and love. I fear the unknown and things I cannot control. I fear life without to-do lists, organization and plans. I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person and never will be. I thrive on order and prioritizing. The second part of my stress is love. The love I have for God, my daughter, my husband, my family and even myself. Sometimes I don’t have enough love in these areas and sometimes I have too much. Sometimes I become needy and insecure, or sometimes I become distant and unsure. While my stresses continue, both are driven by these factors which seem so opposite but really are quite similar.

Both are motivators. We do things out of fear and out of love. They drive to do better, be better and try harder. Both are destructive. We can let fear and love control us. They can cause blind decision making. They can destroy our self confidence and self worth. Both are consuming. We can become so wrapped up in our love or our fears that we lose ourselves. But most importantly, both are feelings that can be controlled. We can control what we chose to fear as well as what and whom we chose to love. While we don’t have the power to control our lives, we do have the power to control our feelings.

I probably stress out about something on a daily basis. Lately, it’s been about 10 things a day. I realize this isn’t a good way to be so I’m working on it. Aren’t we all a work in progress anyway? Currently, the box checked for my stress management is ‘needs improvement’, but I hope in the near future it moves to ‘satisfactory’ and maybe even one day ‘exceeding expectations’!

I’m Not Cut Out For This…

It was her first accident. I wasn’t there. It was a complete accident but nonetheless, it made me think that maybe I’m not cut out for this… 

Emma has two teeth now and her bottom one had hit the edge of those plastic tables kids with all the gadgets on top that babies her age play with. While the injury was unknown of its location at the time, I was told she cried very hard. 

 She wasn’t herself on the way home. It wasn’t until I began feeding her solids I noticed her tooth had gone from upright to bent forward. I had my husband confirm it which he did. I started to sob. I couldn’t stop. I was angry then sad then angry and then sad again. While it was an accident, I couldn’t help but be upset because I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there.  

 I gave her Tylenol to ease the pain and she was back to her smiling, happy self (pictured here). She wouldn’t put anything in her mouth and it was clear why. I felt terrible. I felt helpless. I felt in the moment that maybe I’m not cut out for this… 

Maybe I’m not cut out to be a mom. 

I can’t handle the stress of knowing that these injuries will only continue! I can try my best to prevent them but I won’t be able to. I won’t be able to control it…any of it. And yes, I’m not supposed to. I’m supposed to trust that everything will work out and when it doesn’t that everything happens for reason but I have a hard time with that. She is my baby. She is my sweet little peanut. She is the joy of my life! 

I heard a beautiful homily at mass the other day. The priest (deacon who is married) talked about how you don’t really know what true love is until you have children. He said that couples who first get married are in love with the idea of love, but it isn’t until you are responsible for another human life that you realize what unconditional love and sacrifice really is.

He couldn’t have been more accurate. I love my husband but it was honestly the birth of my daughter that I really understood true love. I understood the love that Mary had for her only son Jesus. And she had to watch her son be crucified. I. Can’t. Even. Imagine. 

I can only hope I continue to grow stronger, especially when she is injured, intentionally or unintentionally. But for now, I will be a little heartbroken over her accident and how I would give anything to take away her pain. Maybe I am cut out for this after all :). 

 And it’s off to the peds dentist we go!

But Do They Really Get It?

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Sometimes I sit and wonder if my husband really gets what I do, whether it be home with our daughter all day or just the generalized wifely duties. I try my best to do everything and maybe that’s the problem, but sometimes I just feel like he doesn’t get or appreciate it. Sometimes I feel like we’re arguing over the fact that I left some lights on which needed to be shut off instead of appreciating that I was able to pick up around the house and make dinner.

It’s frustrating. It really, really is. On the flip side, I get what he does, maybe not completely but for the most part. I get that he’s the major source of our income and works hard each and every day to provide for our family. I get that he has stresses about his job, its security, our family and being able to support us. I can’t imagine the stress of that financial responsibility. And maybe I also don’t always show or tell him how much I appreciate what he does…and maybe that’s the problem.

When we both stop appreciating one another, we start resenting. Resentment is the worst. It causes a build up of anger, disappointment, sometimes jealousy and overall frustration. It makes us snap over little things. It causes us to dislike something or someone little by little. And in marriages, it takes away some of the compassion, love and support we should always have for one another. It takes away our ability to understand, to have empathy for, to reason with and to find patience. Resentment is an evil feeling that if continued too long, can really wreck havoc on ourselves and our relationships.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not perfect. At times, I can be impulsive, say things without thinking and can go from zero to sixty in an instance. I am not proud of these things, but again, I am not perfect and all I can do is try to improve these behaviors. But when I feel unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood, I have a hard time being anything but resentful.

This is when a new pattern of thinking needs to happen. This is when I need to express what I’m feeling and hope my husband would do the same. Instead of harboring anger, I need to channel my frustration into love. I need to remember that we are a team, we are in this together and the way I say things to him can determine how a conversation will go.

But the question still becomes, does he really get it? I think so, or at least, I hope. Because I am trying my hardest to be the best mom, wife and employee that I can be. I am trying to balance it all without losing myself in the process. And maybe I don’t always appreciate him the way he doesn’t always appreciate me, but at the end of the day, I hope we can take the time to find the appreciation in one another. And when all else fails, there is always hope. Hope for a change, hope for tomorrow and hope for the chance to make a difference. I will always have hope for us and our relationship.

On some level, we all can be unappreciative of our blessings. The important thing to remember is we can always find our way back. Appreciate what you have, for at any moment, it can be taken away from you.