On March 25, Koa David arrived via a quick and peaceful delivery.
More to come, as I re-enter the land of the living.
There was a brief period from about 1994-1996, when I was pretty sure I was being raised by idiots. Turns out I was wrong. Here are just a few of the five kabillion things my mom was right about…
1. You’ve got to clean for the cleaner.
Last week, I made an uncomfortable confession over at Lark & Bloom: I have a cleaner.
When I was a kid, my parents had a cleaner who came a few times a month, and I could never understand why, the night before she was due to come, my mom would make us clean the house.
“But Mooooom,” we’d whine. “What’s the point of having a cleaner if you’re going to make us clean anyway?”
Now I get it.
I do my dishes and pick up all the toys off my floor because those things are easy, and if I’m going to pay someone to come and clean my house, I want them to spend their time bleaching my grout and scrubbing my toilet with a toothbrush (thanks, Sharon ), not do stuff I can do myself…or bribe my two-year-old to do.
2. Nothing good happens after midnight.
98% of the stupid things I’ve done have been in the wee hours of the morning. I’ll leave it at that.
3. When you know, you know.
About a week before I met Simon, I called my mom from England to talk about a boy back home who’d told me he loved me.
“I love him,” I said. “I’m just not sure I’m in love with him.”
“Baby,” she answered, “if you’re having to work this hard, it’s not right. When you know, you know.”
During those painful early teenaged years when I thought my mom was crazy, she told me I’d understand one day. She was right. So go on, add that to the list too.
Some days, everything just hurts.
I am tired and sensitive and easily offended. I am sure I am a selfish wife and a lazy mother and a rubbish friend. And I feel too weak to carry all the weight this world asks us to bear.
On those days of hurt feelings and two-year-old temper tantrums, of ruined plans and crap weather, everything that’s broken in me cries out, “Who am I?”
And often, honestly, I hear my words hit the wall.
But on the days when I am quiet enough to catch it, if the TV is off and my phone is on silent and I really want to know the answer, I can hear Him say, “I will tell you.”
Because only He knows. Only He has it written down – scrawled in steadfast, permanent ink.
Not wife or mother or friend. Not artist, not writer, and certainly not try-hard, wannabe, failure.
Only daughter. Only His.
And here I can let go. And close the curtains. And rest. In the knowledge that my shortfalls and my setbacks do not define me. My weakness has not changed what is written, what cannot be erased.
Who He says that I am.
Today you can find me on Kelli + Vanessa, where I’m part of a series very close to my heart, called My Everyday.
I’m so honored to be a part of it, and I’m also inspired by all the other women featured. I think you will be too.
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but there’s something about a new year that inspires me to think about what’s gone and dream about what’s coming.
I’ve always – always – spent a lot of time dreaming, and when I’ve remembered to write those dreams down, I’ve loved looking back later and seeing just how many came true. So instead of resolutions, here are a few thoughts, ideas, and dreams for 2013.
1. I’m following one of my favourite women/moms/entrepreneurs, Lara Casey, as she shares some of her knowledge about Making Things Happen. Lara inspires me, and I’m hoping to glean some of her wisdom.
2. In 2012, I started reading up and picking some of my friends’ brains about real food. That is, natural, healthy food. No “low-fat” or “no added sugar.” No processed stuff. I’ve slowly been making changes for our family, and I’m looking forward to doing more of that this year.
3. 2012 has been a great learning year for me when it comes to business. I’m looking forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned about entrepreneurship with you here, and to putting some of my revelations into practice.
4. I’m so excited about the new addition to our family. I can’t wait to welcome our little one in March, and to see Adlai become the amazing big brother I know he’s going to be.
5. I’m going to be 31 next month, and the thought of that used to make me feel really nervous. For some reason, 31 felt a lot older to me than 30 did. But now that I’m approaching it, and I can see all that God’s doing in our lives, and all that He’s been calling us to, I just feel excited about this year.
In 2012, I started my own businesses, shot my first two weddings, celebrated five years of marriage, got pregnant, celebrated my son’s second birthday, and became a small group leader with my husband.
2013, I’m so excited to hang out with you.
During the summers in college, I worked at an all-girls’ camp. My friend Molly had a Bath & Body Works air freshener hanging from the ceiling fan in her room. It was Moonlight Path. And she said she liked it because it smelled like a man. Go ahead and laugh if you want – I know what she meant.
This morning, my friend Amaris sent me a message to say she was up (in America) in the middle of the night, working. But, she said, it wasn’t that bad, because she was accompanied by the lingering smell of a man who’d been helping her earlier.
When Simon and I first started dating, he wore Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male. It comes in a man-shaped bottle and everything. He hasn’t worn it much the last few years, and now, every time I walk by a man who’s wearing it, or smell it in a department store, I am 21 and it is Autumn and I have butterflies in my stomach.
(On a negative note, I occasionally smell my ex-boyfriend’s Hugo Boss and I am 18 and it is summer and I am depressed.)
The smell of a man’s cologne is a powerful thing. For me, it is the smell of sweet memories. For Molly and Amaris, it was the smell of possibility.
How about you? What colognes (or perfumes) make you feel, hope, remember?
It seems fitting that you’re turning two today, on Thanksgiving Day. I’ve only ever been as thankful as I am for you today for one other thing, and that is your Daddy.
On the day you were born two years ago, you were the answer to so many of my prayers: prayers for a child, prayers for a boy named Adlai, whose name means “my witness.” I prayed you would witness God’s faithfulness from the moment you were born, and you did – we did – when you spent two days in the neo-natal unit and recovered quickly, miraculously.
Since that day, God has answered so many more of my prayers through you: prayers that He’d teach me more about His amazing love, His amazing grace. Prayers that He would use you to reconcile broken relationships, to heal broken hearts. Prayers that you would be kind, strong, patient.
All answered. All come to fruition.
Your middle name, John, means “God’s gracious gift,” and that’s what you are, sweet boy. A gift to me – one that personifies the word “gracious”, because I have done nothing in my life to deserve you. You bless me every single day.
You wear me out sometimes, you silly boy. Some mornings, you collapse on the floor and flail about, arms and legs kicking, desperate not to put your coat on, to put your shoes on, to go where I need you to go. You sleep solidly for weeks at a time and then, one day, decide you’d like to wake up at 2am and stay awake till 4, just for the heck of it. Then you wake again at 6:30, ready for the day.
I am tired a lot. I have no idea how to discipline you now that you’ve got a will of your own and a personality that is different from mine. I would love to sit and drink a cup of coffee and read a book for an hour. I would love to walk to town by myself and look at clothes in TK Maxx without you wriggling out of your pushchair, begging to go look at tractors. I would love to sleep till 9am.
I never really understood before when I heard parents say, “It’s all worth it.” I couldn’t imagine anything being worth never sleeping again.
But I’m one of those parents now.
It really is all worth it. You are worth it.
No single thing has brought me greater joy than getting to know you over the past two years. I am truly honoured, in the deepest sense of the word, to be your mother. To spend my days with you. To know you.
And I can’t wait to know you for the rest of my life.
With all my love,
He calls me his little wife, but there is nothing little about me.
I am 5’10″ and 160 pounds of belly laugh and Southern drawl and running into door frames.
Out of three sisters, I was the one with the strong back. The one who drove the tractor on the weekends and shifted furniture and dog houses and wooden sheds.
My strong back is splintered now. Some days it can barely carry the weight of me.
When I walk beside him, I am too tall. His arm around me is uncomfortable, because my shoulders are just this much too high.
But at night, in bed, I scoot myself down till my feet touch the footboard, and my head fits perfectly there, in the crook of his arm, on the curve of his chest.
I am little then, and little has never felt so good.
*photo by Ashley Perry Blevins Photography
In college, I used to meet up with about ten other girls once a week to talk, pray, and study the Bible together. They were a beautiful group of women, and I’ll tell you more about them another time.
At the beginning of our evenings together, after our initial snacking and chatting was done, we’d take turns saying what was happening in our lives. If you’ve ever been in a Bible study or community group, you know what this looks like. In my current small group, we call it “highs and lows”, where we each say something good that’s happening, and then something we feel like we need prayer or support for.
This one particular night, we were doing that. Girls were talking about feeling stressed about their exams, about new friends they were making, about how their relationships with their boyfriends were going. And as each one talked, I could feel a knot in my chest growing tighter and tighter. I was overwhelmed and tired. I had only just met Simon a few months earlier, and he was 3,000 miles away. I was doing really badly in my biology class. I was struggling with my roommates. I couldn’t wait to spew all this out to my friends, so that they could pray and ask God to help me.
Finally, it was my turn. But when I opened my mouth to speak, what came out wasn’t a string of worries and prayer requests. It was a deep, rolling laughter that bubbled up from somewhere in the pit of my stomach. You probably think it sounds like hysteria, and that’s likely what some of them were thinking, too. But in the middle of the laughter, I had the greatest sense of peace. And all I could manage to mutter was, “He loves us.”
In the midst of all of my worries, I was overwhelmed by the joy I hadn’t yet asked for.
Today, I’m praying the same for you.
I have noticed a trend among American moms recently to refer to themselves as so-and-so’s “mum.”
I get it. It sounds cute and British. And there were days not so long ago, days when I first met Simon, when I thought one day it’d be so cute to have my little half-British children calling me Mummy.
But then I moved to England, and I am doing my best to hold onto my roots so my little boy knows where his mama comes from.
Because if I am going to take my son to playgroups where he is taught that the wheels on the bus go ’round “all day long”, that the spider is “eency-weency” instead of “itsy-bitsy”, that what it’s all about is the “Hokey-Cokey”…
…if he is going to start saying “cahht” and “glahhss” (which is, okay, so cute)…
…if he is going to think cookies are biscuits and biscuits are scones…
…well then, I’m sure as heck gonna feed him good enchiladas and chicken ‘n’ dumplins and sweet iced tea.
I am going to let him know that it is also all about the “Hokey-Pokey”.
I am going to teach him to say “yes ma’am” and “no sir.”
And by golly, he will not substitute “ta” – which is not even a real word – for a good old-fashioned “thank you.”
And for all you “mums” over there in America, you go right on ahead if that’s what makes you feel good. Meanwhile, this mama will be here, in England, holding it down with her Rainbow flip-flops and her “Heavens-to-Betsys”.