Saturday, April 13, 2019

They Want It All


     I am sitting down to a moment of peace and quiet.  In front of me is a yellow package of my favorite cookies that my husband ordered online just for me, Lemonade Cookies.  They don't sell these cookies in our region, so when they arrived in the mail as a pleasant surprise I decided to hide them in a special place for such a time when I could enjoy them alone. It was my plan to partake of these delicious lemony treats when I could eat them without worrying about sharing, more specifically with my sweet-faced babies. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind sharing.  However, out of all of the things that I do share with my wee ones,  I really wanted this to be a mommy-only treat.  After all, I share everything else with my babies. . . . . . . . Finally, I had my moment.  My sweet babies were distracted and I decided to take my chance and have a favorite snack all to myself.  I carefully opened the yellow wrapper and pulled out the sleeve of shortbread cookies with the lemon frosting on the back.  My mouth was watering and I was excited that it was finally my time.  As I take out my first cookie to enjoy, I hear the most interesting sound. "Mommy, peeaassee (please)..... Cookie, peeaassee......  Mommy, peeaassee."  Oh no, it's my toddler begging for one of my cookies.  How did she know I was here and how did she know about the cookies?
     Such as it is, I shared some of my cookies with her and my other crumb snatcher when she came with her hand reaching out.  As a mom, it is a joy to be able to give what I have just to see a sweet smile on their faces.  But sometimes, I can't help but to think of how much is enough?  Am I not entitled to a moment to enjoy a sweet treat?  Is it too much to ask for a moment in the shower without having the curtain pulled back by a toddler trying to join in on the water fun? Dare I ask for my own shoes back that one of my babies has taken and decided to walk in for the fun of it? And as grateful as I am to have been able to breastfeed for so long, sometimes I just don't want to share the "milkies".  Although it is pleasure in giving to our children, it is also important for them to see that they are not entitled to everything. But where is the balance?  Honestly, I can't expect for my toddlers not to act entitled at this stage of life,  but I do love the fact that they are learning to give also. We are teaching them the art of sharing with each other.  My oldest one loves to nurture and give to her sister.  Then she fights her to get it back.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Being Content In Our Seasons


      Before I married the love of my life, Mr. Awesome, I remember doing what most women I knew did.  I sat and fretted, and worried, and wondered when  I would meet my Mr. Right.  I would wonder if the stranger that I had just met in the grocery store would be the one. I would sit through a date wondering if it would become something more than just the dry chicken on the plate. I had accomplished so much as a single person and was able to do things that I liked such as travel and work a career that enabled me to help people and their health. I had been blessed with material things, health, the love of family and friends, unconquered time, and I was still focused on the one thing that I really wanted, a soul mate.  In fact, there were times that the yearning was so strong that it consumed me.  I would look at other women who seemed to be happy in a relationship and wonder why I couldn't get a decent guy.  "How am I suppose to become a wife, if I couldn't even be a girlfriend." I would ask myself.  At the time, I did not realize that I was not destined to be just a girlfriend, but a wife. After years of going through the waiting season of singleness, God matched Mr. Awesome & I in such a perfect way.  I am so thankful for our union, but looking back on my time of waiting, I often wonder why was I in such a state of discontentment.

     Like some of the single women that I  have had conversations with recently, their story is much of the same.  They are often in a rush to shed the 'single & fabulous' status like it is some type of disease.  I often say that as great as it is to be married, I wish that I would have enjoyed the positive aspects of my season of singleness during that time.  Despite what culture says and what we are taught as little girls, there is a beauty in every season of life and that includes the single season, married season, season with young children, season with older children, career season, etc. Many single ladies waste time waiting to be saved by Prince Charming that they forget to live their lives and their purpose. There is so much that one can do while waiting on God to give their heart's desire, whether single or married. Just because we are waiting, doesn't mean that we have to sit with idle hands.  One thing that I can say is even after being married, waiting seasons don't stop.  As many know, we went through a season of waiting before babies came along and now I am missing my season of sleep.  No matter what season we find ourselves in, there is something special about being content where we are and enjoying the benefits of each one.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Am I Coming Or Going?


   Today someone asked me how things were going with having two babies two years of age and under.  I knew that her question was well intentioned and I knew that it was coming from a place of her own personal experience.  I looked at her while trying to get my toddler into our car and said " Its going.......Either you swim or drown."  That's the best way that I could describe it as she asked me during a time that I was trying to get my toddler and baby out of the house and into the car to run an errand. Before I had two babies under two, I had heard people use the term in a way that lets you know that the task was challenging.  Yet when I became pregnant only six months after my oldest baby was born, I didn't imagine what was coming my way.  Although I was overwhelmed at the thought of having two in diapers, I was glad to have an unexpected new addition to our family.  When our sweet baby girl arrived, the challenge did not initially hit as she did a bit of sleeping those first few days.  I was excited because she appeared to be a great sleeper, unlike my older baby who had nightly "parties" between 12:00-3:00 am. 

     One night, our little Yazmine woke up with a cry for milk, nothing extraordinary.  Then  it happened.  My older baby, who had become a great night sleeper at this point, decided to wake up and join the crying party at the same exact time.  That was the first moment that  I knew that I didn't know what to do.  One is crying.  The other is crying.  There is only one of me.  And Mr. Awesome was getting his sleep on right in middle of the crying fest........................ Although I knew that he would have helped if I had awaken him, I didn't want to disturb him at that moment.  Before I decided to join in on the crying fest, I got my nerves together and tended to my youngest, then oldest, then everyone was back asleep.  I had put out the first of many "fires".  As time had gone on, I had been challenged to divide my attention between my two babies, while trying to do other things that needed attention.  Yaz needs milk,  Alayna needs a snack, the dog needs to be walked, the dishes are getting dirty, the clothes are piling up, I need to grab groceries with two babies in tow, someone has a doctor's appointment, and I hadn't had a shower in three days.  Mr. Awesome is being put on the back burner and I struggled to find the time to pay him much attention......................... Now that my youngest is one and my older baby is two, it has gotten a bit more manageable, but not by much.  I hear that it gets easier as they get older.  Sometimes  I like to hear that.  But honestly, I am basking in this stage where they are ALWAYS around my legs, pulling on my dress, running around giggling, and looking at me with a smile that absolutely melts my heart.  I am so thankful that God let me experience this bond with my girls that lets me know that I mean so much to them as they do to me.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Coming Home

  One month after I turned the ripe old age of sixteen, I was behind a cash register of a popular fast food restaurant, asking customers about the size drink they wanted.  I was so eager to work outside of my home that I asked my parents to drive me down to the restaurant with the 'Now Hiring' sign on the billboard and I quickly filled out a paper application.  A beam of pride surrounded me after I was hired, because I felt that this bold move would be the beginning of my independence.  It was an independence that was shining bright even through the fact that my parents had to drive me to my place of independence.  From that time on, I believed in the almighty time-clock that most often hung on a wall in a narrow hall or an office somewhere.  After  I graduated from high school and made my move to the big college campus, I really felt the obligation to continue to work as those tuition bills began to roll in.  The money that I was making became less about luxuries and more about necessities. It was seriously challenging to hold a job and try to further my education, but I was determined and proud.  Although, I had the emotional and moral support from my parents, I knew that they did not have the extra finances to help.  So keeping an outside job was not only a source of pride, but it was also a necessity.

     After I graduated from college, I was blessed to begin enjoying a career that I deeply loved and appreciated. To have a career that I really enjoyed brought on a satisfaction that I was proud of. And that was something that I was able to bring with me as I entered into Holy Matrimony with Mr. Awesome.  I knew early on that working for me was my choice in our marriage, but we did not have any small babies, so it was nothing that I put much thought into as I made the drive into work.  During a portion of our marriage, I did work part time, so that I could have more time to be the keeper of our home.  Mr. Awesome has always been supportive of my choices, but together we made a great team.  Fast forward a few years into our marriage, I finally became pregnant with our sweet Alayna.  Like most women,  I had a choice to make. I knew that I wanted to take time off to be in the bliss and duty of new motherhood. Yet, the real question was how long would I stay off work.  I continued to work throughout my pregnancy until it became too physically taxing at the eight month mark.  My boss graciously worked with me to find a viable solution as I pondered over what decision to make.  As I pondered this decision, I thought of the countless other women who did not have the option to stay home and had to make the sacrificial choice of having someone care for their precious baby while they made financial means.  To these ladies, I tip my hat because neither decision is easy.  It made me even more grateful that I could freely make such choice with the support of my husband.  In the end, I decided to leave my job a few weeks before Alayna was born.  But the real moment of truth and perspective came when she was born and I held her in my arms for the first time. At that very moment,  I knew that we had made the right decision for our family.  It was then, that I had total peace with having made the choice to come home.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Pregnancy Chronicles (Part I)

Courtesy of Eclipse Photography by Design (James Williams)

   First Trimester

     I remember seeing pregnant women walking along their merry way while smiling from ear to ear, with their hair blowing in the wind, and a glow on their faces that was contagious.  I would often see them rub their ever expanding baby bellies while gleefully sharing their excitement for their new addition to be. I would see people doting over them as the mommies-to-be relished in their delicate state and I thought that they looked so happy. So when I became pregnant with our sweet Alayna, I just knew in my heart that I would share the same sentiments.  I knew that I would have that special glow that pregnant mommies often have and I would not have any discomforts, especially since I rarely caught a cold.  Just a few shorts days after our positive pregnancy test, the reality of pregnancy came in like a mighty rushing wind.  I would wake up in the morning with an upchuck episode and these episodes kept coming to the point that I would have about five per day. Day after day.  It would happen anywhere in the home, in the car, and at work.  In fact, I missed a lot of work during this time because things were so rough. I started driving hubby's car instead of mine because the smell of my own car sparked an episode.  The smell of grease outside of restaurants would trigger an episode, as did the smell of garlic. Although I was a hungry woman, I couldn't keep anything down and the major source of my nutrition came from the IV fluids they gave me in the emergency room.  I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is an excess of nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.  By the end of my first trimester, I had lost 20 pounds and it was noticeable.  When people began to notice my slimmer face,  I just passed it off as having been under the weather since I wasn't ready to share the news yet. The thing that really kept me going during this time was seeing our baby moving around during an ultrasound.  Just to see the heartbeat and wiggly legs, I knew that this discomfort was worth it.

Second Trimester

     Around the 13th week, the nausea subsided, but I still had an average of five episodes per day.  I was feeling a bit better and was able to resume my normal work schedule, yet I still had not told many people what was going on especially since I was not showing.  On top of this, Mr. Awesome was deployed, so I was in the battle semi alone.  At this time, we were trying to figure out if we wanted to know the sex of the baby.  I wanted to know but Mr. Awesome sternly claimed that he did not want to know until the birth.  We had many debates over this and it turned out that he was just as excited to find out before the birth, but felt the need to play around with me.  Since he was on deployment, we used Facetime during the appointed time in which we both found out that our baby was a girl.  Thank God for technology.  After the initial shock of finding out that our baby was a girl, I began to buy little outfits and hair bows to get prepared for the mountain of cuteness that was on its way.  It was also during this time that an unfortunate family emergency brought Mr. Awesome home from deployment early.  Even with the emergency, I was glad to have him home to share the rest of the pregnancy with.

Third Trimester

      As they say, the third trimester is tough.  Space was getting tight, my hips were taking a beating, and this is when the waddle became real.  This was also when people really knew for certain that I was pregnant without wondering if my belly was just flabby. Yes, baby girl was showing.  Finally, I did have a glow as I was anticipating the arrival of our little one.  However, that glow did not show the inner readiness to feel like a normal person again.  The glow did not show the desire to have  my energy back.  The glow definitely did not show the lack of sleep that I was getting, because I had to sit up most nights to be comfortable.  The glow did not show the effect of the summer heat on a pregnant body and my relief with a cup of ice and Coca Cola.  I never liked Coke until I was pregnant.  But, with all of the discomforts of the third trimester, I was so ready and excited to meet our baby girl................. Then one morning, labor started . . .  . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, June 15, 2018

Happy Father's Day, Honey!!


     From the time that I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a loving husband in my life.  Among the qualities that I prayed for, I knew that I wanted him to be a great father for our children.   That is one of the things that attracted me to Mr. Awesome.  I saw how he was with my Bonus daughter.  Although things weren't always perfect, I saw that he was a great father, much like the example that I had from my own father.  Seeing the way he has fathered and now how he dotes over our babies is a site to behold.  I love his provision and protection over them.  I love how he lights up when he comes in the door to see them and how our toddler always does this happy dance when he comes home.  I love his support of me being home with them.  I can't say enough about how blessed I am to have him as their father and my parenting partner.  I look forward to all of the days to come as we go through the trenches of raising them. Thank you, God, for the gift of my hubby and to him I say,  Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 8, 2018

My Beauty, Their Beauty



To Alayna and Yazmine,

       In a world where your beauty will be measured up against an unrealistic standard of airbrushed models and scantily clothed entertainers, I want you to know that your beauty is God-given and is not dependent on the amount of skin that you show.  In a society that will try to make you ashamed of true femininity, it is my desire that you will walk in the full beauty of what God has placed in you as young girls and someday women.  In a culture that will try to judge you for having more or less melanin in your skin than others, I want you to know that God has put his personal seal on your beautiful shades of Mocha.  It was he who made all shades.  In a world that will try to convince you that you have to have certain physical features or a certain body size in order to be accepted, just know that your features and size are something to be content with.  Yet, we must treat our temples with respect.  Whether you are quiet like your mama or loud like your dad, I hope that you accept these traits and use them to speak up for the helpless and talk for the voiceless.  It is my desire that you look in the mirror at the curly and coilly locks on your heads and confidently flip your hair as you go on about your day, because your mama is flipping her hair too.  It is my hope that you look at your height, whether it be tall or short and see the unique benefits of it.  Whether you have a straight smile like your dad or a unique crooked one like me, I want you to always smile your biggest smile, because that is one way of letting the light that God put in you shine. Don't forget to rejoice with others who also shine the light that God has given them.   And about those chiseled arms that I know that you two inherited like your big sis, wave them proudly as your mama proudly waves her not so chiseled arms. Someone may be forgotten or ignored all day until you wave to them.  I pray that you always walk with your heads held high, not because you are overly confident but because you confidently know where your beauty really comes from.  It does not come from a magazine cover or a television commercial. It does not come from someone's opinion on a particular day or the amount of money that you have, it comes from the Lord. In him, we are fearfully and wonderfully made and wonderful are his works (Psalms 139:14). It is with this confidence that you can go out and fulfill your God-given assignment and I know that he has something special for you two to do.  Always remember that there is only one beautiful you, so don't waste time trying to be someone else.

Your mama

They Want It All

         I am sitting down to a moment of peace and quiet.  In front of me is a yellow package of my favorite cookies that my husband o...