Balancing Bedtimes

 

 

Parenting is SO hard!! I, mean REALLY HARD!! Did YOU know how HARD it would be? It’s not like they send you home from the Newborn Nursery with an instruction manual or a twenty-four hour Tech Support number to call when your newborn bundle of joy won’t stop CRYING!! Or worse, the newborn’s mom won’t stop crying!!! …and if you are lucky, there are two parents!! Two people who likely love one another, and likely have known each other a few years or at least a few months! They may have even promised one another that they would stay together for eternity, NO MATTER WHAT!!  …and what they don’t tell you is these ARE THE EASY YEARS!!!!!

It’s all a balancing act. Some people make it look WAY easier than it feels for the rest of us. Add to that the onset of Social Media-Hello FACEBOOK!!!!! Lucky for me Facebook was only present for two of my three babies. That means my first born eluded the BIG BABY reveal, the naked baby covered in goo picture and the “Welcome to the World” post making Him “Facebook Official”. I don’t think he minded missing out. I am profoundly thankful that I wasn’t “on” Facebook at that time. I was already struggling as a first-time Mom with a child who awoke if a mouse in our house farted – in short, he rarely slept. Add to that a child who didn’t suck well-so his mother and father and one notoriously anxious grandmother feared he was starving to death and would waste away in his sleep. If I would have had to make this newborn appear to be the blessing he truly was AND to appear impeccably dressed, clean, fed, well slept and happy to perfect the picture of what others imagined/expected to be the perfect family of three, I would have failed miserably!!

Then, there were two! My first born anxiously awaited his little brother already proclaiming his name to be “Dump Truck”. The newness quickly wore off when he announced two weeks after the birth of his sibling that,” I should have asked for a dog, instead!”  Little brother didn’t see this Blonde Monster coming for him when he “magically” announced, “Hey Mom, watch this!” and jumped lengthwise over Dump truck without warning. Lucky for Dump Truck, the first born meticulously landed the perfect dismount just past the peach fuzz on top of his little soft spot. The rivalry between these two has rarely taken a break. First born, still hadn’t slept through the night and REQUIRED (and I mean REQUIRED) a parent to sleep with him ALL THE TIME!!! Leaving the other parent with the night care and feedings of Little Brother. Eventually, at the age of four, First Born was diagnosed with a disorder and we were introduced to one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread; the weighted blanket!!! At age 12, he still uses this and it HAS been a LIFESAVER!!! Not to be out done by his older brother, Dump Truck went on to break his tiny leg in three places at fourteen months of age. He learned to walk with a full leg cast and that has made this child virtually UNSTOPPABLE from anything he has set his mind to!

SURPRISE!! Every brother needs a little sister!!! Just ask my four older brothers, I’m sure they would DEFINITELY AGREE!!! The boys were five and nine when Curly Sue came to be. I believe “GOD always gives you a baby in HIS perfect timing”, not yours!!! …..this was quoted to me millions of times during some of the hardest days of my life. I thought boys were hard!!! I had NO IDEA what millions of women had went through giving birth to little pink bundles all of these years!!! GIRLS ARE HARD!!!!! …and this ONE, this CURLY SUE is EXACTLY LIKE HER MOTHER!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! The Mother’s Curse, clearly states,” I hope you have one (a child)  just like YOU!” Yes, my Mom said those very words to me while I was growing up, and I GOT HER! That Mother’s Curse worked! Just a few months ago I was telling my mother a story of something funny that Curly Sue did. Let’s face it, it IS almost always funny after my surprise/anger/humiliation wear off a bit. I said,” Ohh!! That Mother’s Curse!!” Do you know what my mother said??? She said,” Oh Lisa!! This is normal three year old stuff!! That curse hasn’t EVEN started!!” I’m lucky that little girl is so darn cute or this would definitely pose a problem!!

Three children. Three children without Owner’s manuals or 24/7 Tech Support! Three children who I am to love, guide, teach ethics, morals, patience and keep alive and from killing one another!! This is SO HARD! I’m not going to lie, I’ve thought sometimes that they may have been better raised by a complete stranger than the mother they were given! I’ve laughed, I’ve loved, I’ve stressed,  I’ve cried….Boy, have I cried!!! I have been a single mother now for going on five years. I’m doing my absolute best, every SINGLE day-but, did I tell you how HARD this is???!!! Dad is in the picture, so I am not completely alone or solely responsible for these children. We co-parent pretty well from two different households! Grandpa and Grandma are just around the corner and some of those older brothers who were elated to have me…their baby sister are around to help hand out “whoop ins” or “talking to’s” as deemed fit. These kids are loved by ALOT of people! Even as I joke, they are my BIGGEST and BEST ACHIEVEMENT in life!!! I can’t imagine anything more profound happening in my life than these three kiddo’s!

My plate is full of responsibilities. My children aren’t a “phase” I’m going through, so don’t expect them to pass like a bad hair cut. Don’t think you will come into our life and save us, because we don’t need saving. They are my whole world and when they are grown and moved out I will undoubtedly miss every second of this.

“I didn’t set out to be a single mother. I set out to be the best parent I can be… and that hasn’t changed. ”

“Being a Mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”

“We grow up thinking our parents don’t understand our struggles, but the truth is they made sure we never felt theirs.”

 

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(Curly Sue’s autographed portrait…with a Crayon!🤣)

 

 

Moving Mountains

mountains

 

 

Those little thoughts inside your head.  They can get pretty overwhelming. The one that asks,” did you lock the front door after you hurriedly ran out this morning? Oh wait! Did you even shut the front door?” Maybe it’s the voice that says, ” Your checking account is going to be overdrawn if you buy that new pair of boots!” “You aren’t focusing on your kids enough!” “You need to focus on your career right now!” “You aren’t a good enough mother!” “You need to go see your Grandma in the Nursing Home!” “Christmas is coming!! How are you going to afford to get the kids what they really want!” Do you ever get overwhelmed with all of the thoughts? I sure do!

What do you do on those days when those thoughts are like a tornado taking over your brain. They make it become harder and harder to focus on the task at hand. I find myself talking with a friend and stop mid-sentence to realize that I even my brain is multitasking these days! This is when accidents happen, or life altering mistakes. We begin driving our vehicle and sometimes our life on “autopilot”. We send that very important email to the wrong recipient. We forget to pick the kids up after school. We  forget to drop the check for the mortgage off at the bank! It happens to all of us!

I was having that very day today. Everything seemed to be a struggle or not work out in the favor I was wanting it to.  The thoughts were racing and everything was saying, ” You are NOT good enough.” “You do NOT have this single mom thing figured out!” “You NEED someone to rescue you!” “This is TOO hard for you to handle!” I called my Mom, to tell her something important about something that slips my memory at this moment and while I was talking to her, I was making dinner for five children and myself that I knew the kids probably wouldn’t find exciting, washing dishes and hollering back at the “Threenager” who was diligently telling me what I HAD to do RIGHT NOW!  I began venting to my mom all of my worries and all of the silly thoughts racing around my brain all the while dealing with every day tasks. Mom suggested that the “Threenager” and I could probably both use a walk. I packed up the “Boss lady” in our little red wagon, and we headed for the park. She smiled instantly and was happy in her own little world. I flipped on my “Christian” playlist and this is the song that came on. One of my favorites actually, but today they struck a deeper chord.

” They say sometimes you win some

Sometimes you lose some

And right now, right now I’m losing bad

I’ve stood on this stage night after night

Reminding the broken it’ll be alright

But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing

When there’s nothing to bring me down

But what will I say

When I’m held to the flame

Like I am right now

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if you don’t

My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith

To move a mountain

Well good thing

A little faith is all I have, right now

But God, when You choose

To leave mountains unmovable

Oh give me the strength to be able to sing

It is well with my soul

I know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

Vut even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good

All of my days

Jesus, I will cling to You

Come what may

‘Cause I know You’re able

I know You can

I  know You’re able and I know You can

Save through the fire with Your mighty hand

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, I know he hurt

Would all go away if You’d just say the word

But even if You don’t

My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul”

-MERCYME

The racing thoughts all stopped.  Not just for a few minutes, but for the rest of the night. A calmness came over me.  This is exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment. My thoughts and my problems are miniscule to other’s in the world crying out for God’s mercy. I know that sometimes unanswered prayers often work out best for His plan for us. Some mountains he chooses to leave unmovable. I trust Him and I can say, ” It is well with my soul”. He gives me peace, that ability for me to breath and know that,” It’s already been handled”-my final fleeting thought on that walk and just like that, the flurry I had been feeling swirling in my brain all day was gone.

…it is well with my soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving an Addict

“Loving an addict is a very lonely place to be.  You continue to care about them while they prove more and more how little they care for you and how much more their addiction truly means to them. Eventually, you have to save yourself and walk away leaving them to deal with their own poison alone.”

 

“There’s no greater pain than watching someone you love…love their drugs more than they love you.”

 

So, I recently searched “Loving an Addict” on the internet and above are the first two quotes that came up.  Addiction comes in many forms, from methamphetamines to heroin to alcoholism. It also comes in the form of pornography, sexual promiscuity and things that we don’t even consider an “addiction”.  Your cell phone for example, Facebook, Snapchat; any one thing can become an addiction.

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

I became friends with a known addict about two years ago. Today, this addict is my best friend, she is my “go to” person. The one person who knows me better than anyone on the face of this Earth. The one who knows my deepest, darkest secrets, inflections in my voice, and worry on my face. She understands my love for God, my unconditional love for my children and my own deepest craving for a cold bottle of Mountain Dew.

I didn’t understand the depth of her addiction initially. I, sometimes was her enabler and her justifier. Before our friendship truly blossomed into what it is now, I would often vent about her shortcomings. Typically, my friends and family would respond with,” best to not even get involved with that” or “you don’t need that kind of stress in your life”. Maybe, I didn’t NEED that kind of stress in my life but this woman ended up saving me also!

I will never be able to say that I understand addiction. I often struggled with understanding how she could consciously make the sober decision to buy a bottle of vodka. How could she in a very sober moment choose that bottle over her marriage, her children, and her friendship with me? I also told her that lying was a “deal breaker” for me and if she lied to me I would have to be “done”.  I, later came to understand that the lie was actually part of the disease and that I could love her and hate the disease.

My friend began attending church regularly. Sometimes with the bottle of vodka in her purse. She began reading the Bible. She was “Saved”, (To be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, ( ie. lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc.,) will not befall us; that is forgiveness. But in addition, we get what we do not deserve, being in the presence of God.)  and then baptized as an outward expression of having been “saved”.  She still struggled with alcoholism.

She had struggled with alcoholism for many years. She had been to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, attended the occasional Alcoholics Anonymous classes, lost her driver’s license multiple times, and attended court ordered classes. Her relationships were failing, with her own children, her husband, her friends, and her employer. This is where most people give up. It gives them yet another reason to surrender to this addiction. My friend was at a crossroad. If there were any chance of saving herself, it was now. I’d like to say the next step was because of her strong will and that she went without struggle, but that would be a lie. She checked in to yet another inpatient facility for four VERY long weeks, nervous and scared.

In the rehabilitation facility,  she was without the temptation of alcohol, she was retaught the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  She was in group therapy and individual therapy. For four weeks, she learned about herself,  her shortcomings and triggers driving the alcoholism. There were few phone calls or contact with the outside world.

She returned home and I gained brand new friend. A friend with clear blue eyes, who can finally love herself!  An improved version of my friend that used to show up with a buzz or too drunk to stand on her own two feet. She is someone who can make me laugh until I pee in my pants. Someone that I can confide my insecurities in, a friend who understands my ridiculous need to drive on back roads listening to old country music. Some people are waiting for her to fall off the wagon and back into her old ways, and assure me that it will happen.  Some of us see a new person, something so different this time, something that is going to last. Her relationships rekindled, her life renewed and her own faith in God stronger than ever.

I believe in my heart that this woman is forever changed. I believe that this time is very different. I trust her and I trust God. She has a huge purpose in this life to fulfill.  It’s easy for people to judge others for sins that they don’t understand.

I have three former addicts in my life who I can call my close friends. Not being an addict myself, I don’t always see their struggles or relate to their “triggers”, but I love them just the same. We aren’t meant to fully understand crosses that others bear, but we can respect that we all have our own individual crosses to bear.

Addiction is lonely, it hurts them, the addict and their loved ones. Recovering addicts have spent a lot of time working on themselves and their relationships. They have learned critical relationship skills, including how to identify, process and communicate their emotions and to set personal boundaries while respecting the lines drawn by others. Recovering addicts don’t expect perfection, having learned firsthand that it doesn’t exist. They have committed – in recovery and in life – to honesty and integrity and making decisions in accordance with their values.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”

Connie, I love you and I thank God everyday for you still being in my life!!

 

 

 

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Works Cited

1. LaHuera.com

2. Pinterest: 91 best Love the Addict Hate the Addiction Images

3. Psychologytoday.com “What is Addiction”

4. Carm.org What does it mean to be saved by grace? | Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry