The Mrs. in the Mirror

Moms, some days it’s hard to let ourselves be loved exactly how we are. We think he must be up to something when he shows affection. How could he possibly be attracted to this? Doesn’t he see these dark circles? Doesn’t he feel the extra pounds I’ve put on? When we reject ourselves, we can end up rejecting others without even realizing it.

You wonder why I wonder
Why you’re staring at me
When I look in the mirror
I don’t see what you see

I see a tired mother
You see a grown-up girl
I see an empty shell
You see your whole world

I rarely put on makeup
You hardly seem to mind
I stress and fret and fuss
You just want me to unwind

I worry that you’ll see
When the day is done
This mom is not the same
As the girl who was so fun

It’s not the looks of yesterday
Nor the body that you’re after
It’s the carefree, the sparkle
The smiles and the laughter

You worry that I’ve changed
That my love’s up on a shelf
But it’s hard to let you love me
When I don’t love myself

So tell me that I’m pretty
I’m more that just a mother
More than just the Mrs.
I’m more than any other

I promise she’s still here
The girl without a care
I’ll try to see your version
Of what I look like in the mirror

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Do you love your reflection? I know most days (if not all), I don’t.                   (from sheknows.com)

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To Rachel On Your Wedding Day

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May you always be this happy. May he always sweep you off your feet. Or at least sweep the kitchen floor. That’s pretty darn romantic, too.

 

To my dearest cousin Rachel, 

How I wish I could be with you today. To see your glorious smile in person as you walk down the aisle and start the next chapter in your life. Fondly, I remember the many days and nights we spent together at Grandma and Grandpa’s, spying on our relatives, giggling until tears fell, and performing three-act plays in the living room for innocent bystanders. 

I hope your future husband knows how lucky he is. You’re a catch, to say the least. You’re beautiful, intelligent, funny, and have a heart big enough to accommodate countless friends and our entire amazing family. I’ve always admired how you’ve lived life to the fullest, dancing with your head in the clouds while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. 

Having forged the path of marriage several years before you, I only have a few words of wisdom. Marriage, as wonderful and glorious as it looks in the movies, isn’t always a picnic (this message goes along with the gift I got you). Here in a couple of months, or a couple of years if you’re fortunate, his jokes will start to be less funny. You’ll know all of his “back in the day” stories by memory (and correct him when he starts telling them wrong). His underwear left in the middle of the bathroom floor will no longer be mildly annoying, but will send you into hysterics. “Doesn’t he love me? Why can’t he just do this one simple thing?!” Then, if you decide to have babies someday (gorgeous babies from the looks of both of you), you’ll see a whole new side of him, one that will make you fall in love all over again. He’ll tenderly hold your newborn, and look at you with awe and complete respect. And as much as your hearts are forged together even more than you thought possible, a whole new set of challenges will arise. 

You’ll both be exhausted. Babies will do that, you know. Between feeding, changing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and all of other responsibilities, you may feel like you’re growing apart. But eventually, that baby will begin sleeping through (most of) the night. You’ll get a night away, and then a weekend away. You’ll reconnect, and be stronger than ever. Then you just might decide you’re crazy enough about each other to do it all over again. 

When the times are hard, and they will be, hang in there. Lord knows you’ve seen your parents go through hell and back after losing your sister, but they stayed together. That’s no small miracle. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it, so worth it. I’ve seen my husband grow and change over the years, and our bond has been made stronger. 

It’s obvious that you and Kurtis are head over heels for each other. The way it should be. Enjoy this day. Savor this moment. Remember the rush. I love you, and I miss you. 

The Couple Who Screams Together…

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I love this man. (Photo courtesy of CLG Photography.)

Sweat trickled down the middle of my back, and popped up in beads on my brow. The storm door smacked shut behind me as I traveled in and out of the house, arms stuffed with the day’s gathering. Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! Cool. Hot! I lingered a bit in the air conditioned kitchen before heading out for the next haul. Unloading groceries in a 110 degree heat wave is a tiring chore, but hubs and I were making good time. 

As he heaved in two five-gallon water jugs, one in each hand, I marveled at his brute strength. It’s one of our many differences that I appreciate. Some of our other differences, though, have made the already difficult road of marriage and child-rearing a bit tougher to navigate.

Parenting is hard, yo. Two little ones born 23 months apart, the maintenance of owning 82 acres of Kansas earth, the pressures of mortgages, car payments, doctor’s bills…it’s enough to tear down even the strongest of couples. And although we’re much closer than we were even six months ago, I know there are many trials ahead that will test and refine our relationship.

All the while we were lugging in groceries, our young daughters, ages three and one, were screaming at us. Both overly tired from the heat, lack of naps and a day full of activity. There was nothing they really wanted, other than to get it out of their systems. Anna (the oldest) protested from the couch, writhing around with her pink security blanket, ducking for cover whenever we came into the room. “Don’t look at me!,” she snarled. 

Erica, meanwhile, stood several feet in front of Anna, in the middle of the living room, dressed only in her diaper. Her hair was wild from perspiration, and her eyes were red from sleepy rubbing. When we were finally finished bringing in the seemingly endless number of sacks, my husband stood in the archway leading to the living room…and screamed back. 

Erica immediately picked up on daddy’s antics, and with a reluctant grin on her face, stretched her vocal chords again. “Ahhhhhh!!!” Anna, however, was not amused. Her sensitive nature kicked into over drive (just like her mommy). “It’s not FUNNY! Don’t laugh!” 

By now, I was standing at my husband’s side, and screaming along with him. I caught his eye. It twinkled. We kept this up for a minute or two longer, before we broke down in laughter. I leaned over and kissed his lips, the stubble on his face a contradiction to the softness of the moment. Our girls looked at us in bewilderment, and for the first time, it was us against them. Us. A couple. Laughing at this episode of ridiculous insanity in our house. 

When we’re alone, we easily reconnect. But when we’re taking care of our girls, our focus is on them, and we’re momma and daddy, two ships passing in sometimes rocky waters. But at this moment, facing off against our beautiful offspring, we were one.

The Wind and the Windmill: A Love Analogy

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Our engagement photo. We’re just as mad about each other now as we were then, and just as goofy.

He is not the mac to my cheese, or the peanut butter to my jelly. He is no Prince Charming, and I am certainly no princess. Our romance busts the mold of canned love analogies. He is the wind…to my windmill.

He is powerful and steady, a constant force of change and movement. I am a vessel, carefully crafted to harness his strength and refine it for a greater purpose. We are never stale, never stagnant. Together, we are productive.

He is gentle like the morning breeze when caressing our infant daughters, steady like the Kansas wind when holding my hand through tragedy, and mighty like a wild twister when he needs to be.

He gives me power, and I give him purpose.

Happy anniversary my love. May we turn many more years together.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

The Downside of the Domestic Life

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While staying at home isn't always "baking cookies and tickle sessions," it does happen from time to time.

Let’s face it. We all need a common enemy to “kvetch” about. Right or wrong, we bond over shared gripe sessions. (This is especially true for women.) When you’re doing the 8-5 thing, oftentimes the object of your grumblings is someone in the workplace, whether it be your boss, coworker or client.

No matter how wonderful (or not wonderful) they are in general, there’s always something that will get on your nerves, and when you come home, your significant other gets to hold back your hair while you verbally vomit (again). Well, what happens when you remove all of these situations from your life at once? Suddenly, you’re left with facing the enemy at home.

Were your kids this naughty while they were at daycare? Probably, but you weren’t with them for 50+ hours a week, so how would you know? Was your husband always this cranky in the mornings? Most likely, but you were so busy getting ready for the workday before that you didn’t notice. Was your extended family actually this crazy?  Oh yes, you just used work as a distraction to avoid the madness.

So there you have it. While staying home full time can alleviate some domestic problems, it exacerbates others (in my opinion). Do I still think I made the right choice? Absolutely.