What Tugs on Your Heart

“Getting fired was the best thing that happened to me.”

I’m sure you’ve heard about remarkable people with a plethora of rejection letters that say rejection fueled them forward. Every rejection letter brought them closer to the right fit, the right job. Edison said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That is perseverance.

I am hopeful for a time where the hindsight becomes indisputably clear. The a-ha moment, where I say, “Oh!! That makes complete sense.”

This my friends, is hope. This my friends, is faith.

Getting fired. Just saying it (well, typing it) makes me…hopeful.

It allowed…no, forced me to take a step back and examine what was next. I hated the job where I got fired…the description was actually so perfect: creativity, facilitating change, creating a captivating culture, organizing. It all sounded so wonderful but job descriptions can be deceiving.

And when it vanished, or when they pulled the rug out from under me, it made me question everything. Maybe Human Resources wasn’t the right fit. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. I had a lot of free time now to doubt myself. Maybe it was time to try something completely new – or maybe this was a test of my own tenacity and I needed to push through and carry on. 1 down, 9,999 to go. That seemed daunting.

When I was a student at Central Michigan University (Fire up Chips!). I remember proudly declaring my major my sophomore year. Though I was ready to declare it at Freshman orientation (although, I could have declared it in the middle of sixth grade).

fire up (1)

French, please. Ah-hem, Francais, s’il vous plait!

I wanted to shout it from the rooftop of Pearce Hall! I adored the culture, the language, the pastries, the literature (mostly Children’s) and everything about the Eiffel Tower to Mont Saint Michel to the white rocky beaches of Nice. My passion was clear! My excitement was unparalleled.

My parents, who have always supported me, cautiously, said, ok… They encouraged me to pursue something I loved and boy, oh boy, did I love French.

People would often ask me, French and what?

And I would say, “and what, what?”

Why did French need to be accompanied by something? Why wasn’t it good enough to stand alone? I tried some teaching courses and had to complete some hours observing and I was as bored as the students in the classes. And yes, could I teach French in a unique, dynamic way? Probably, but I just didn’t feel that tug, that lets you know you’re undeniably, on the right path; that passion, that is a necessary component of a powerful, impactful teachers (Read: Richard McMullan, Rebecca Schrauwen and Geoff Wickersham).

So I tried business.

Yikes!

Then, sorry, French, but for a brief moment, I had a tiny doubt. A doubt-let. I wondered, shoot! Is this what I am supposed to do? Is French it? Is that dumb? Is that a marketable skill or just a neat party trick? But a Bachelor’s degree is a Bachelor’s degree right?

Then I found Hospitality. That seemed like a natural connection. This would likely propel my soon-to-be amazing career and take me to amazing places far and near. And it did, but more on that later – it also helped me form one of most meaningful friendships, in my adult life. And our love of the language, perpetuated us on a trip to Paris, only after having met each other in person, one time.

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Paris, France 2018

So, I stuck with French. Because it has captivated me for so long. I often long for Paris, Angers, Auvers Sur Oise. I long for the metro smell and then the more pleasing smells like fresh bread, wafting and dancing over me as I stroll casually, immersed in my favorite country, wondering if anyone can tell, that despite my very French scarf, that I actually didn’t belong.

And my passion for French is similar to my passion for people. My favorite thing about Human Resources is the people. When I worked in retail, early in my career, specifically in Customer Service, I would often experience such shock at the unkindness and harshness of people who didn’t get what they wanted. They yelled and screamed like children. I used to go home at the end of the day, flop on the couch, in my red and khaki and say, exasperatedly, “I hate people.”

Ironic, right? But HR is the behind the scenes of people. The man behind the curtain. (Or the lady in the office upstairs). I was able to help people, just like at customer service, but I was helping them grow, chase their dreams (as corny as that sounds), provide development opportunities and encourage them that even when things get hard, it gets better. I was a champion for corrective action and helping teams get better or make a different career move. I helped women in abusive relationship, I helped people who were experiencing homelessness, find solid ground. I grieved loss and miscarriages with my teams and provided love and light and usually chocolate. I celebrated new marriages, new babies, promotions.

“We all have stuff.” My favorite boss used to say this to me and was a big turning point in my adult, leadership education. We take care of our teams so they are able to work hard for us and for themselves. This is core of my passion. When our teams know they are cared for, they care for us too. “We all have stuff”, makes us not just manager and employee but rather, just two humans. We relate to each other knowing that even though we may have different loads to carry, we are still both carrying loads, and sometimes they are too heavy and we need to know that we are allowed to set them down, even if only temporarily.  I think this is called, compassion.

It is the people that my heart is called to.

So, my passion is clear. People. And French. No need to doubt. It tugs at my heart – so I know I’m on the right path. So, now, on the pursuit of what’s next, I will allow God to provide me with my undeniable a-ha moment. And I will be joyful and patient in the pursuit, because I know it’s coming.

 

 

 

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Categories: change, family, France, friendship, hope, inspiration, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waves.

As I reflected back on my 2018 – it is only appropriate to say that I made it out of the back half, alive, barely. Stress, anxiety, financial burdens, career changes, address changes, marital status changes and illness all rocked my world.

I sat in the unemployment office for nearly eight hours when they finally called my number. I’d finished a book and did a significant amount of people watching. I judged them harshly- taking advantage of the system, I’d thought.

But was I any different? I had been fired (!?) from a job without any fault of my own. Wasn’t the “system” supposed to help me stay afloat until I found a life raft, a ship, a dolphin, a wave to ride to shore? As the day wore on, and I eavesdropped on conversations of unjust terminations and connected with my bench buddy who was laid off from his construction job, I softened. Are there people who abuse our systems? Yes. But I don’t think they hold the majority.

I am certainly not even close to a Mother Teresa type of human- but it made me think of what she said about people: If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Now, did I fall in love with my bench buddy? No, but he crushed my preconceived notions of those who wait in the unemployment line.

As 2018 drew to a close and I was fighting near unbearable upper respiratory shenanigans, I kept thinking to myself, that the waves will subside.

I kept getting knocked down by waves. Really big ones. Really close together. Surely, the waves won’t last forever.

My divorce was finalized in September. Bittersweet to be sure. I got a new job in the fall and I thought it was the dream. It was closer to home, my boss had so much knowledge and experience and it was flexible with my home schedule. It turned out to be a flop. He hired me to replace a woman he didn’t get along with – but then had her train me. This should have been a red flag but oh, the rainbow.

Let me tell you about the rainbow. When I went into accept the new job, I left there, feeling apprehensive. Was this the right move? Is this what God had planned for me? Was this where I was meant to be? And as I unlocked my car, I saw something reflecting in the window – it was a rainbow. Obviously, rainbows symbolize God’s promise – but after having miscarried and a rainbow baby that joined our family later – it meant so much more to me. God is faithful. God is present. God is always working. God sees me. God put me here for a reason. He was affirming my decision. I felt like I could walk on water, calm the waves with my hand. With God cheering for me, how could I falter?

My boss, worked out of three locations and I never knew where he was. When he was in my location, his door was shut. He never responded to my emails, never gave me a list of things to work on, never spoke to me. So I shadowed the other HR woman who was supposed to be terminated who I grew quite fond of.

And then, six short weeks later, I got a phone call, the Friday before Christmas and my boss, whom I’d idolized from the get-go, said, “you’re fired.”

“Why?” I managed to whisper.

He went on to explain that even though I had organized employee files, created new applications, rewrote the employee handbook and negotiated benefit contracts – that I was not the right fit.

Truly, honestly, that hurt my feelings more than if it had been the quality of my work performance. To me, it was so personal, he just didn’t like me. He was cold and callous. I said, “it’s Christmas.”

He replied, “Well, there’s never a good time to fire someone.”

And all I could mutter was, “well, there is a bad time.”

He hung up the phone.

But the rainbow!

The rainbow?

On that cold, wintery, December night, it was dark. No sun, no rainbow.

I wondered why God had lead me down this path. Why did he allow the waves to keep coming? One after another. I barely had time to catch my breath before another wave came to knock me down.

After the holidays, things will settle down, I thought. Surely the waves won’t last forever.

And then I got sick. It was the long lasting, never ending, illness that knocked me off my feet. So, tiny sliver of silver lining. At least I didn’t have to go into work. I could rest and try and recover.

I went to my parents lake house on Lake Huron for a change of scenery.

The lake there is incredibly blue and deep and powerful. It is so often my church. I spent many evenings on the rocky jetty, worshiping and chatting with God – usually with a glass of wine.

As I watched a storm roll in, the wind blew in these incredible giant waves, I saw that they were relentless. They were deafening. They were crashing on shore, washing away the beach and clearing a path. I was so moved by their power, their persistence, their tenacity.

Waves are powerful forces. They change the landscape. They move things. They redirect. They shift. They change. They are fierce but there is beauty in their power.

waves are powerful forces. they change the landscape. they move things. they redirect. they shift. they change. they are fierce. there is beauty in their power.

Am I God’s landscape? Is he using these waves to transform me? I want to shout above the roar of the waves, “Just tell me what you want, I will do it, I’ll be it, I’ll give it.” But a lump of coal doesn’t demand to be a diamond. It endures heat and pressure, and it’s own waves, as it were, to become a diamond. It takes time.

Any maybe in this uneasy, unpredictable season (I hope it’s just a season), I am being transformed. Into what? God only knows.

ripples

Photo Credit: Vinia Photography

And when I find myself praying for the waves to cease, a reprieve from the big ones. I am often caught off guard with the thought that waves are never ceasing. Even on a hot summer day, when there is not a whisper of a breeze, the flatness and calmness of the lake still shows ripples of waves. Tiny, to be sure, but waves nonetheless, a gentle reminder that God isn’t finished with us yet. 

 

 

 

 

Categories: change, hope, inspiration, lake huron, Photography, travel, water, waves | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Thrill of Hope

When I was younger, I remember my Grandma Thelma, getting excited over my achievements or

adventures. She would always say, “Oh Cathy, I’m just so thrilled.”

It stood out to me, even then, as a lover of words. What made her choose the word “thrill” over other

words, like “excited,” “stoked,” “jazzed?”

Thrill, to me, was often associated with danger and bad choices.

My grandma, I’m sure had her fair share of thrills, married to my grandpa Bill, drag racing down Ten Mile

Road, but I knew this wasn’t what she meant.

Being thrilled was to have a classy (my grandma is nothing, if not classy) excitement over something. So

exciting in fact that it might even cause a tremor of fear.

“A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices.” Has always been one of my favorite lines of one of my favorite

Christmas carols, although, not until recently did I truly hear and understand the line. Sometimes, the

world does seem all too weary. Too much hardship, too much hunger, too many bills, too many

catastrophes, too many acts of violence, too much politics, too much pain, too much hurt, too much

sadness, too much death, too many commitments, too much suffering, too much despair.

Weary, indeed.

I had a job interview last week for a job I lazily applied for as I was scrolling through the job boards. I was

really hesitant about the job itself and the company in general. I was really doubtful and was surprised

when I made it through the recruiter screening and was scheduled for an in-person interview.

I got there a few minutes early and said a prayer, as I almost always do, before an interview. “Let it go well

and let your will be done.” I want to do a great job, leave it all on the table and present my best self.

I will let God control the outcome and I will accept it – I just don’t want to look like an idiot.

In I went, and who greeted me at the door? A Great Dane named Bella. She was happy and friendly.

The place was modest but there was a tangible, positive energy. I had been saying for years that I really

wanted to work at a place with a dog. (Was this, a sign unto me?)

I left, kind of dazed. The interview went well, really well, so well in fact, they checked references before I

even got home that night. They wanted to make an offer in 24 hours.

When I left that interview, my heart was racing, I was excited, no, I was more than just excited. My

Christmas song suddenly had meaning, depth, it was like I had heard it…like really heard it for the first

time. I had a feeling down to my core. I understood what it meant to feel a thrill of hope. A job I wasn’t

sure I even wanted seemed to be the exact right fit. I was more than excited. I was absolutely thrilled – so

thrilled in fact it scared me a little. It was this incredible feeling deep down to my bones of something

better, something exciting, something good is on the horizon.

And the shepherds that night?

A thrill of hope.

Excited but terrified? That sounds about right.

But it’s now been 94.5 hours (but who’s counting?). So, I’m thinking it’s a no for this job. But there is a tiny

sliver, a tiny ray, perhaps from a bright shining Bethlehem star, of hope. But this isn’t really about a job. It’s

a lesson intertwined into the everyday moments.

In the waiting, I’m hopeful.

The parallels are not lost on me. As we are immersed in the Advent season, the season of waiting,

anticipating the good, the better, the exciting, it’s only fitting that we are asked to wait.

So, weary world, we will wait and we know the promise of a future that is good and better and thrilling,

is one worth waiting for. The shepherd’s will tell you that. The thrill of hope is coming, and it’s worth the

wait.

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Preschool Prayer

Five years ago – we decided to try for you. It was a long road. We longed for you. We prayed for you. We railed against God when you didn’t come and when you finally came, to say we were overjoyed, would be a gross understatement. We noticed your every detail, every feature, every grimace, every scowl, every yawn, we gazed at you in awe. You were pure love, joy and light.

The last three and a half years, though we didn’t think it possible, we grew to love you more – falling more in love with you every day. You are incredibly funny, you have impeccable comedic timing for your age, you are kind, you are feisty and fierce, you are imaginative, you are compassionate, you are so special and we are so lucky.

In your short life, so far, you have had many adventures and we have left you with grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, other family members and good friends. You have always adjusted pretty quickly and are pretty excited to experience something new, albeit cautiously. Tomorrow, you embark on your first very big adventure : preschool.

Your bag is packed and you are ready. My sweet boy, you are ready. And, though, when the moment comes, as so many other big moments in your childhood, it is dripping with the bittersweetness of one chapter coming to a close and another brand new beginning.

I will watch you, wearing your giant Lightening McQueen backpack, your crazy “Minion hair,” walk down the hallway with your teacher, through teary eyes and will be anxiously awaiting to hear all about your silly day.

I pray that God will protect you. I pray that you are kind, you remember your manners, you share. I pray that you follow directions. I pray you make good choices. I pray you laugh. Play. Make new friends. I pray that you have fun. I pray that other kids are kind to you and you to them. I pray that you learn and grow in your independence. And I pray that you feel safe and happy at school. And I pray you aren’t the first kid to pee your pants. (and if you are, I pray the extra pants I packed, still fit you).

I love you, love bug. Have a great day at school and I will be right here to pick you up at the end of the day.

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Happy Birthday, Little Girl

Good Morning, Little Girl and happy birthday. It’s a hard day for me as today would have been your birthday. I think of you every day and the sweet little baby you will always be to me. I only carried you in my belly for a few short weeks but will carry you in my heart for the rest of my days. When I saw those two pink lines – I instantly knew you were a girl.

On the day you left us back in March– I wasn’t sure I could ever go on – how would I “get over” you? How would I move on? And what I’ve learned was that those were never attainable goals of things I needed to do. I needed time and I needed to adjust to having my baby live in heaven instead of here with us. I was slightly comforted in the fact I wasn’t alone – that there are lots of mommas whose babies go to heaven all too quickly. And I was comforted by the image that God presented me with one night, lying in bed thinking about you.

To me, you are swaddled in light pink baby blankets, rocked in a rocking chair by your Great Gramma Halmhuber in heaven. I imagine the little girl you would have become; stubborn and sweet just like your big brother, your baby blues conning me into giving in to your every request. I pictured us having lovely tea parties, playing dress up and painting your nails. I imagine the crazy teenager you would have morphed into that I’m sure would leave me wondering how your grandma put up with me in my crazy adolescent years. I imagine the big joyful tears streaming down my face as I watched the woman you’d become walking down the aisle and someday holding your own babies.

I long to snuggle you and breathe in that baby smell and the sweet pinkness that encompasses little, tiny, girl babies. I long to comfort you in the wee hours of the morning, rock you in your room, and connect with you as you sleep on my chest. I long for your brother to know you, protect you and show you everything about this world we live in. I wish for your daddy to hold you in his arms and know that while girl babies are scary – he wouldn’t have our family any other way.

Tonight, Cameron, your daddy and myself (and your baby brother or sister in my belly) went to a park on Anchor Bay and released a pink lantern into the sky to celebrate your birthday and honor you, sweet baby. Cameron asked sadly, as it floated to heaven, “Is that lantern becoming a star?”

“Yes,” we replied. Our little star. We will think of you when we look at a beautiful night sky and remember how we celebrated your birthday.

And I know that while all of my dreams for you may not be realized, I do know that I will someday be reunited with you and hold you in your sweet pinkness and for now, that is enough.

Happy birthday, little girl, I love you.

Love, Momma

(from Pinterest)

(from Pinterest)

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A Moment, 17 Years in the Making

Seventeen years ago I was forced to go to church camp…not just any church camp but choir camp. My family and I had just moved back to Michigan from Pennsylvania and this was going to be a “great way to meet people.” At 13 years old, I was less than impressed by the prospect of going to a nerdy bible camp where we had to sing all day, every day. I can’t carry a tune and had no interest in learning but my mother forced me to go.
And (long before today) I was so grateful.
When I timidly stepped into the musty, dingy cabin with my turquoise sleeping bag under my arm a bright bubbly blonde interrupted my 13 year old angst-y thoughts.
“Hi! I’m Amy!” She said. She was a magical ray of sunshine in that dark, dreary cabin.
And that is how I met one of my oldest friends. We survived middle school and high school together having an occasional class together , we grew up in the church choir room together, four more years of choir camp, and then we went our separate ways to college. But we still had our chats on the dock of Walnut Lake, cinnamon toast from Einstein’s, we traveled around the world separately, we both got married back at home and then we both moved away.
After fifteen years of friendship, I got the most wonderful news! After a long road, she and her husband were expecting twins. I was thrilled and deeply saddened at the same time. This was the time that Matt and I had been trying for over a year. We had decided not to share our news or lack of news with anyone to try and avoid undue stress. But when I found out that she was pregnant, I knew she could be someone to reach out to. She talked me off many levels of ledges and our friendship grew in a completely different direction.
A few months later, we were pregnant too! We literally grew out together during this time. We were 700 miles apart but it was as though we were sitting on the dock sharing our stories, thoughts, and worries along the way.
Last week, we spent time together. In person. With our children. We drank coffee and cinnamon toast and traded stories of how wonderful a blessing our children have been to us. And conversely how awful and lonely mother hood can be. How messy. How grumpy. How exhausting.
Our kids played near each other, stole each other’s food, and drank out of each other’s sippy cups and we watched the three of them in awe. She reaffirmed my parenting style and I told her how beautiful her children were. We reminisced. We laughed. I cried.
Big sappy tears: Tears of happiness; to finally have a friend who understands without judgment. Tears of sorrow; for knowing our visit was going too fast. And tears of joy because how lucky am I to have had a friend for seventeen years for many seasons of life? How blessed. How magical.

the six of us

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Waiting for Cameron

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time now but was never sure how to start it…. So tonight, one the eve of my son’s first birthday, I thought I would just dive in.

Someone once told me, they had a hard time getting pregnant with their second child, “it took three months,” she said. Three months!? Really? I was twelve months deep and still no baby. I had been poked and prodded, medicated, charted and still nothing but heartbreak. To have compassion for this woman was beyond my realm of possibility. Or was it?

I realized that we are in a society of instant gratification, when we want something, we get it. When we want a baby, we want one immediately (or at least 9 months from that decision). So no matter how long it took you to get pregnant, whether it’s three months or three years, it’s heartbreaking month after month to discover you are not.

It took us fourteen months to get pregnant with Cameron and we needed a lot of prayer and a few milligrams of science to get us there. When my cousin was pregnant with her third baby, she connected with the Michael Buble song, “Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” And it became their song. When I got pregnant with Cam, our song was, “1,000 Years,” by Christina Perri.

The song is melancholy and lovely and for me describes my love and relationship with Cam from the day I got pregnant, to his birth, to his first birthday and beyond. And while, I love this song, I can’t sing it without a lump rising in my throat and a tear falling down my cheek. I didn’t know I was capable of such a love. I sang (or tried to sing) this song to him when he was readmitted to the hospital five days after he was born to treat his jaundice, I sang it to him when we danced in his room, I sang it to him on my last night of maternity leave and I sing it to him now when he has trouble getting to sleep.

When they placed him on my chest, after one power outage, one viewing of the Wizard of Oz, one Tiger’s game, one epidural, two tums, lots of ice chips and 23.5 hours of labor, the lyrics came to me. “I have died every day waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years.”

I couldn’t believe my prayers were answered. Every devastating month waiting to get pregnant, I had the hope in the back of my mind that God was just waiting for the perfect time to send the perfect baby and in that moment, when I held him for the first time and heard Matt whisper in disbelief, “It’s a boy,” I knew I was right.

So, happy birthday, Cam. You have taught us what unconditional love looks like, what patience looks like and you have taught us that sleep is mostly overrated and something we can do without, more often than not. You are kind, you are loving, you have amazing hair, you make us laugh, you love to eat everything, even carpet fuzzies, and I can’t imagine our lives any other way. You were so worth the wait.

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Happy Birthday, love bug.

“A Thousand Years”

 

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Image
Categories: baby, birth, family, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy, singing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Kind of Holiday

Christmas is my kind of holiday. I have always loved Christmas. But who hasn’t? I guess it’s more appropriate to say, I am passionate about Christmas. I love the Christmas story – the basis for my faith, I love our Michigan Christmases which are usually white, I love time with family, I love wrapping gifts – though my wrapping skills pale in comparison to Matt’s, and I love working… wait.

Let’s back up. I started my career in retail as a happy accident. My first year, I was appalled at the length of the season (I was so over Christmas by the time it came), the overindulgence of gift buying and consumerism, the mean spirited-ness of busy shoppers, and loss of the true meaning of Christmas.

I felt like Charlie Brown. “Isn’t there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?!” He shouts it with desperation, with anxiety, with intensity. He feels like Christmas has slipped out of reach.

But last year in my work life, things were different. I chose to see the joy in each work day, knowing that somehow, someday I could and would make someone’s holiday different.  Exceptional. Amazing. I might find the perfect toy for a new baby, new jammies for an adopted family, the perfect gadget for that hard-to-shop for person, maybe with a smile and a quick conversation, I could make someone’s day.  Maybe I could help create an experience for our guests that would make their holiday brighter, more cheerful. Now that’s my kind of holiday.

Inevitably, we will all experience the stress and frustrations that the holidays can bring but I know that Christmas is about so much more than shopping – which is sometimes difficult to understand or see working in retail.

Cameron has changed my life in many ways  and Christmas is no exception. As I sit here, he is peacefully sleeping in his swing, my Pandora is set to my lullaby Christmas station, (our first) snow is whipping around the yard, dusting my evergreens with the most beautiful powdered sugar coating and I am savoring a peppermint mocha, I picked up on my way out of “the office”.

In my line of work, Christmas comes early – we all know that somehow Christmas comes earlier and earlier, year after year but this year I realized that, that just means we get to enjoy the season that much longer.  And with a baby who seems to grow and change at every blink of my eye, I will capture the longevity of the season.

Why not take a little more time to enjoy time with family, gazing at the swirling snow, warming up by the fireplace, listening to Christmas carols, reflecting on the gift that Christmas is. Why not put our babies in funny Santa hats and Christmas jammies and snuggle them throughout November and December? Why not enjoy the peace that Christmas brings a little longer? Why not sip our peppermint mochas a little more frequently and perhaps start our holiday movie viewings a little early? Why not get out the Christmas towels, read the Christmas books and maybe dig into some Christmas cookies?

cameron claus

Why not? What’s not to love about Christmas? They very first Christmas changed a lot of lives right? And I think it’s safe to say, that if we take the time to enjoy the Christmas season which exists long before the music starts playing and the wreaths go up and exists long after the tree is on the curb and the lights are down –  Christmas might just change us too. Now, that is my kind of holiday.

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For Me, For Next Time.

I will enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy and I will try to enjoy the anticipation.
 
I will make sure I have all my bathroom necessities in all bathrooms.

I will not attempt to do dishes or clean for, at the bare minimum of, four weeks.

I will not feel bad about that.

I will ask the doctors how to take care of me. At the hospital – all the information given to me was how to care for this precious little baby. That came more naturally to me than I expected – but how to take care of my traumatized body was something I wasn’t prepared for.

I will make freezer meals, have paper plates and lots of snacks.

Water bottles will be at every nursing station.

I will realize what I’ve just done – given birth – and celebrate the miracle of life as well as the strength, energy and courage that it took to get that baby out. I will remind myself that I am a warrior.

I will not be afraid to take the baby into public or outside or in the car nor be afraid to bath the babe.

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I will ask for help.

I will not feel guilty for taking naps when we have company.

I will remind myself that I am beautiful whether I’m dressed with makeup or in my pajamas and a disheveled ponytail.

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I will not do laundry for the aforementioned four week period – at least.

I will not even think about working out, restricting calories or shedding excess baby weight I’m ready, emotionally and physically.

I know I will cry – and I will not apologize for any of it. It happens.

I will put away clothes with maternity tags.

I will stock up our DVR with my guilty pleasure shows like Full House, Gilmore Girls and Friends (even though I’ve seen them all more than a few times).

I will try to understand that needing a break from my baby doesn’t make me a bad mom and doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It means I need a moment to myself, to sleep, eat, shower, brush my teeth and regroup.

I will enjoy my pajamas.

I will shower every day.

I will call my girlfriends when I’m ready.

I will make play dates when I’m ready.

I will sleep, cry and remember to laugh because all too soon I will be back to work and he or she will be growing out of newborn onesies.

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Categories: baby, birth, family, friendship, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Our First Swim

Last night we had our first swim. It has been in the nineties here with ninety percent humidity and needless to say, it’s hot! Cam does pretty well with the heat but we try and limit our time outside and maximize our time in the AC.
Fourteen years ago – I started babysitting for a family from my church. Tim and Laura had one daughter, Julia, who was almost one in addition to a 10 year old daughter, Ashley and a 12 year old son, Josh. We slowly became very close and they became a second family to me. They had Kaylee a few years later and I instantly fell in love with her as I did with the rest of their family.

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They cheered me on when I graduated from high school, supported me when I studied abroad, Ashley stood up in my wedding and when Cameron was born, they visited us in the hospital.
Last night, Cameron and I stopped by for a visit with Tim and Laura.
Again – it must be said – it was hot. The journey from the car, up their driveway to their front door had me covered in sweat. Lucky for me, they have a pool. I changed into my swimsuit and jumped in the pool. As I swam from one end to another – it was unbelievable that I was living this moment. Fourteen years ago I was changing diapers, rocking the girls to sleep and never imagined that Laura would be changing my son’s diaper and rocking him to sleep.
After Cameron’s nap, Laura brought him outside and we dipped his chubby little toes into the water. Tim took him for a lap in the shallow end and then I finished off his swim dipping him up to his shoulders.

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He looked relaxed, content. Eyes closed, arms out. He looked the way we felt. I think we all reveled in the moment, reflecting on our friendship, thankful for our past and looking forward to our future.

Categories: baby, family, friendship, infants, newborns, parenting, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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