Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Here's to celebrating small victories

Today I let Addie go to school wearing a horribly mis-matched outfit because she felt beautiful and because what she wears doesn't matter in the long run

Today I didn't lose my temper and say to Addie, "Go away," or "Addie, please, just stop," or any other words that would convey to my precious daughter that she is a nuisance (because she's not)

Today I loved and snuggled with 2 fussy babies who are sick and just want to be held, rather than get frustrated at their increased neediness

Today I remembered to move the laundry to the dryer. Even better, I didn't worry about when to fold it.

Today I waited until the evening to run the dishwasher because it's much easier to unload when Mike is here to help. Y'all don't know how hard it was to force myself to wait when 95% of me said, "just do it now and get it over with."

Today I took some time for me, even if it was just a 20 min. break to walk the neighborhood.

Today I started the morning gazing at the sunrise and telling God, "I can't do this by myself. Please, please help me."

Today I accepted that my failures are in the past and today is a new day.

Today I accepted that I'm still going to fail, and that's ok, too.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Song of Thanks (minus the music)

It is not an exaggeration to say it takes a village to raise triplets. So as much as today is a celebration of their birth, it also is a celebration of the people who have helped us get here. This song's for you:

  • from the beginning, my parents have been amazing in stepping up to be a 2nd set of hands. They helped find us a house in Jacksonville that was close enough to them that they could drop everything and come help with midnight feedings or fussy babies. They have babysat for us just about every week just so Mike and I can attend a Bible study or have a date night. We couldn't have survived this year without you.

  • Mike's mom, Bunny, has been more than gracious in helping and visiting us! She even drove the 11 hrs from Richmond by herself to be with us this past spring. Even from a distance, she makes her presence known through gifts of formula, diapers and clothes. We thank you so much for supporting us in more ways than one.

  • A group of 3 ladies surprised us with a thorough house cleaning while I was in the hospital following the babies' delivery. I don't see these Journey ladies much any more, but I'm still touched by the kindness and service of Annelyse, Stephanie and Nicole.

  • I have had a steady stream of helpers who have visited me weekly to help give me an extra set of hands. Mary Gilbert was a constant source of information in the early days about development milestones and how to help the babies progress. Allison has just 1 day a week when she's not working and she often dedicated that day to helping me. I am so humbled by her sacrifice. Lyn has never failed to bring us a delicious meal, a servant heart that doesn't mind folding laundry, and an over-abundness of love for our babies. To each of these ladies I say "THANK YOU!!"

  • My college roommate, Bethaney, surprised me more than once with cards and gift packages just to encourage me and let me know she's thinking of me. This lady is so precious to me and I have stood on her shoulders more than once just to make it another day.

  • There's not many teenage girls who would willingly give up a weekend to watch our kids, but on more than 1 occasion the Davis family baby sat for us. We relied on those date nights to keep our sanity, and it was even more touching that we would return to find all babies bathed and ready for bed. Thank you Sheri, Kamryn, and Amber.
There are so many people who have carried us with their prayers and words of encouragement. For each and every one of you, know that today we remember you, give thanks for you and acknowledge that we wouldn't be celebrating today without your support.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Joy of Breaking

Trust falls aren't really about closing your eyes and falling backward hoping someone will stop your fall. A true trust fall involves falling apart and hoping that when you open your eyes, someone will be there still loving and believing in you.

It's falling apart during a Bible study and weeping to a friend that you think you are failing as a parent. It's confessing that just this week you've screamed at your infant to shut up, and have felt such anger that you're tempted to shake a helpless baby (although there's just enough sanity left to keep you sitting firmly on your hands). And hoping that when you're done confessing, the other person doesn't look at you as though you are the worst mom ever.

It's talking to a friend whom you haven't seen in years and somehow admitting that earlier in the day you cried because you found a load of laundry in the washing machine from 3 days ago, and this clearly represents your failure to keep it together. It's hoping your long-distance friend doesn't hastily get off the phone to whisper about you to her other friends.

It's calling your husband to admit you just had a panic attack because the babies aren't eating lunch after they also refused to eat their breakfast, and obviously this is another reflection of your failure as a mom. It's hoping he doesn't dismiss you and your fears like you feel you deserve.

And it's finding that in each situation the other person responds with more grace and mercy than you expect. The first friend admits that she knows just how you feel, and she went through a similarly dark time as a mom. The second friends weeps with you and vows to pray for you. Then texts you throughout the week to check on you. And the husband hangs up the phone and rushes home to hold you, to help relieve the pressure of watching 4 kids and urges you to go get some alone-breather time in an effort to also get perspective.

I have found this week there is a joy in breaking and (finally) trusting others to help put you back together - or at the very least, sit with you during the breaking and encourage you with their presence.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Letting the plates fall

Most days I feel like the circus performer who miraculously manages to keep 4 plates spinning atop tall poles. The plates may wobble and tilt, but he notices the imminent danger and rushes over with seconds to spare and rights the issue. Then at the end, he bows and waits for applause from the crowd knowing they are amazed at his speed, agility, time management and multi-tasking.

Wait, did I just admit to being a self-absorbed, praise-seeking freak? Yeah, I guess I did.

Since the babies were born I have felt more and more like this circus act. Things are fine as long as nothing else happens to interrupt my concentration. But if one of my children becomes a fuss pot for the day and demands to be held more than normal, or if my 4 year old decides at the last minute she doesn't like the outfit she put on for school, or if I'm trying to cook dinner while cleaning dishes and feed 3 babies and I spill something, I lose my cool and tantrum. Seriously tantrum, complete with occasional foot stomps and door slams. And more than once I've gone to the garage to beat a mattress with a plastic bat to keep from yelling at my daughter.

My doctor thinks it's all because my hormones are still out of whack from my pregnancy. Personally, and spiritually, I think it's more due to issues of pride and stubbornness.

A few weeks ago I meditated on 1 Cor. 13:4-7. My translation says, "Love does not insist on its own way...it is not irritable." For me, this means I shouldn't be stomping my foot and snapping at Addie because she wants to do something her way. Just this past weekend, she and I had a kerfuffle because she wanted to wear an ugly shirt that she thought was pretty. But because I wanted things perfect in my world (in order to reflect well on me) I fought with her and eventually ordered her to change. She then cried and I fumed. Did I mention this was on her birthday? Yeah, score 2 bad mommy points.

I shouldn't have insisted on my own way. And when I feel overwhelmed by trying to keep the house clean, my children happy, my daughter dressed well and behaving, my pantry stocked and whatever other chore I think I need to tackle, I need to force myself to step away from the plates even if it means they fall.

This morning's Bible read spoke straight to this issue. It's the story of Martha and Mary attending to Jesus. One sister (Martha) thought the best way to show love was to provide a neat home and full buffet for Jesus - both of which required lots of time and effort. The other sister (Mary) thought the best way to show love was to sit at Jesus' feet and learn to know Him. Martha complains about her sister's laziness and Jesus says, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but 1 thing is necessary (my note: bet you anything it isn't to have a Martha Stewart home and meal). Mary has chosen the good portion ..." Lk.10:41, 42

So if you see my daughter come to school in pjs or my kids with food on their faces or clutter in my home it could be that I'm learning to rest in God and let the plates fall.