Real as it Gets

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Blurry cell phone photo, but isn’t she adorable? Playing around at Home Depot.

I have been writing this week’s edition of Keeping it Real in my head since yesterday. I’m going to make an attempt to write it, but don’t have high hopes. A microburst hit our little neighborhood tonight so we’re in hour four without power and I’m writing from my phone in the dark, too hot to sleep. A power outage right at the end of a heatwave is pretty poor timing, but at least we have power most of the time, right?

But back to keeping it real – I love these posts for creating a space for celebration and honesty all at once.

It’s a beautiful thing to cultivate gratitude, but when that’s all we do, it can be both inauthentic and alienating of others. Life is the hardest beautiful thing we all experience, and I’m always so grateful when others are willing to share their challenges as well as their triumphs. It is in this spirit that I write today’s post. My goal is not to complain or wallow in self-pity, but to share that no matter how blessed I feel in my life, I sometimes find it incredibly, awfully hard. And of course as much as it can be hard to cope, there are always incredible blessings to hold me up and remind me that it all balances out in the end.

I have more to say than fits in a short list today…

Thorns

Moving is hard, folks. Although we have made it through to the other side of the move, we’re still living without most of our belongings, and we’re still settling in. I’m often tired, often overwhelmed, and often grumpy.

We’re spending money left and right – stocking the pantry, finding window coverings, buying car seats and birth supplies and paying midwives’ fees. We planned for all of this, and we’re fortunate to be able to take care of all of it with some creative budgeting, but no matter how much planning you do, it’s stressful to watch your bank account as it slowly drains.

Annabelle is, quite understandably, seeming a bit unsettled and is needing so much patience from me at a time when patience is in short supply. As I wrote about earlier this week, I’ve been prioritizing quality time to focus on just her and that has taken so much pressure off,  allowing me to just enjoy and appreciate the wonderful child she is. I foolishly expected that shift to be a quick fix, however, and when at the end of a day where I did little but read books, snuggle, and play, she walked out of the bedroom announcing with a smile that, for the fourth time in just over an hour, she had peed on our bed, I couldn’t do anything else but cry. I was completely at a loss, as I have been several times in the past week. What in the world was I doing wrong!? Perhaps it just comes down to a need to relax, let go, and adjust my expectations. Today was much better, and for that I am grateful.

The tiredness, the leaky bank account, and the parenting challenges have left me with even less patience for my poor husband than for the rest at the end of the day. I’m relieved that we have made it this far without driving one another literally crazy and just hold on to hope that our survival thus far bodes well for the next few months. Things I haven’t written much about are also factoring in there, like the fact that he’s in the middle of starting a new business and I’m in school and at the end of a term with gobs of work due. Perfect storm.

Anyway, it has been hard. I’ve been irritable, impatient, frustrated, and at times completely at a loss. I know these times come, and I know I’m immensely blessed despite it all. I’m trying to trust that I’ll come out of all this stronger and better able to withstand all of the major life changes in our future.

Roses

I have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of our brand new community. Just after learning that our belongings won’t be arriving until much later than expected, a neighbor shared that she had a toddler sized table and chairs to give away. Today was so much smoother than any before it, and simply being able to sit with Annabelle at a table her size, just for her, had so much to do with it. It seems like a small thing, but it was huge. Being able to borrow items from neighbors, like pots and pans, too, has made this so much less stressful. It’s amazing to have so many people willing to help us settle in comfortably without even really knowing us.

There are so many little things I had never thought of as missing from Anabelle’s childhood, but that I’m realizing she wasn’t exposed to on Guam. It has been such a joy to see her blow on a dandelion to send its seeds off into the wind. Being able to walk together to the park and the farmer’s market has been huge, as was getting her first library card. I had forgotten how much we had to look forward to coming back here, and I love introducing Annabelle to all of it.

I can’t even describe the contrast between the military hospital experience and having midwives visit you at home. The smile I got from listening to our baby’s heartbeat as a family, on the couch, was so big that it hardly fit across my face. Oh, and this sweet baby. He or she wiggles like crazy and feels so very big already! I’m so grateful for the crazy movements that help me shift my focus when I need to most. Such a beautiful thing, this little life.

And the husband. It worked out so beautifully that he wasn’t able to start his new job right away. As much as we have alternated between ticking each other off and driving each other crazy, I’m not sure I would have made it through the past couple of weeks without the extra time spent together, as a team. I’m so grateful that my  shortcomings tend to be his strengths. I have really been relying on those strengths! Not having to shave has helped his case, too, as it makes him especially handsome and me a little more forgiving. In seriousness, though, at the end of the day I have a pretty fantastic partner by my side.

So that’s the messy and the beautiful of our week. It has probably been the most difficult for me as a parent, but I made it through, as did Annabelle, with little to no permanent damage.

16 thoughts on “Real as it Gets

  1. Melissa Vose

    Hang in there, lovely! Remember that when we stumble, as parents, or as spouses, it models to our children the freedom to forgive themselves when they stumble, too. You are a wonderful momma. Some days are hard. xxxxoooo

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      Thank you, Melissa. Some days definitely are – but thanks for the reminder that that’s okay. <3

      Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      She likes to climb in and on everything these days! We were picking up a steel tub for outdoor water play, and she had to test it first ;)

      Reply
  2. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ

    You’re creating a beautiful environment for your family to thrive together. Moving is HUGE! I still remember the overwhelmed feeling of moving as a small child. The extra time you’re investing with her will give her the stability to come to it as she needs.

    It’s good to cry and get that release, especially for bed pees. Those still get me crying at times, even after 3 kids and a well-oiled procedure for handling the bed pees!

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      Thank you for the encouragement, Zoie! I’m glad you can relate to the upset over what may otherwise seem like a small thing. Beds get wet, but once in a night is enough for me!

      Reply
  3. Rach

    My god, you are so strong. Moving, studying, parenting, settling in…and all without anyone you know around and heavily pregnant. Yet you are able to not only see it clearly, but write about it too! Would not condescend to give any advice, just thinking of you.

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      I’m sure that any advice you could give would be very wise, but I really appreciate the thoughts, too. Thank you!

      Reply
  4. Jessicaahoo.com

    My oldest would have accidents when he was a little over A’s age. Right after some major upheaval in his little world. Take a deep breath! Buy a waterproof mattress cover and an extra set of sheets. I believe it’s pampers that now has waterproof disposable bed pads. The child will still feel wetness on their clothes and self, however the bed remains dry and clean up consists of simply tossing it in the trash. They also make whats called puppy pads sold at pets stores that do the same thing. If cleanup isn’t such a big deal and things aren’t getting ruined, it might be easier to be patient and you won’t have so much laundry. My son got through it we just ignored accidents and praised success. It’ll get better, don’t worry.

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      Thanks for the suggestions, Jessica! We have definitely been sleeping on an absorbent pad every night, but once it gets wet, it’s on to the sheets, and then when the spare sheets also get wet, as with the other night, I really don’t know what else to do. Good ideas, for sure.

      Reply
  5. Amy @ You Shall Go Out with Joy

    What a week! Annabelle is lucky to have such supportive parents to help her through this huge transition for her. It sounds like you have moved to a great community–what a blessing to have neighbors like yours! Hoping the coming week is a bit more settled.

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      Thank you, Amy. I feel like it can only be up from here. I hope so! We really have found an incredibly community, which helps to make all of the challenges of moving feel more worthwhile.

      Reply
  6. Jessica

    Girl, moving is tough and definitely stressful. In the end, it will be worth it. Take it easy and enjoy the roses more! Sending lots of love your way.

    Reply
  7. Amy

    Good luck! Moving is always incredibly emotional and pregnancy only makes it more so! And, goodness does it cost money! I know the military provides some reimbursement for moving costs, but the costs you’ve captured here are the ones that the families certainly have to cover.

    I love that you are getting to go to the farmers’ markets together! That has certainly also become one of the highlights of my week! And, I’m glad to hear that the transition to midwife is going well!

    Reply
    1. melissa Post author

      Thank you! We’re definitely grateful that the major costs, like actually shipping our stuff, are covered.

      I’m glad to hear you and Q-ball have been able to get in on the farmers’ market love, too! :)

      Reply

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