When all seems broken.

A few nights ago, I got into a Facebook disagreement with a friend of a friend over the Syrian refugee crisis. I took offense to his comments which I found intolerant and ill-informed and we (respectfully) engaged in an exchange which unfortunately culminated in a response which was both chauvinistic and patronizing toward me. I chose to end the discussion there; I’d already said what I wanted to say and nothing gets accomplished when name calling enters in.

I left the conversation feeling hopeless and, frankly, pissed. I am all for the difference in opinions, but this week it’s felt like fear has completely taken over rational thinking in our country which means fear has also trumped the need to back up an opinion with any type of credible source. The prejudice, the racism, the xenophobia has been on high alert and I have been horrifically transfixed by the onslaught of distasteful posts on social media.

So I handled my anger the way I often do: I took to words. I typed a retort I was all ready to post as my status, all ready to tweet. It wasn’t going to be visible to this friend of a friend because I wasn’t responding to him. Yet I still needed an outlet for my feelings of having been belittled and hurt so, in passive-aggressive retaliation, I strung together a collection of words which eloquently put my irritation into prose. I was all ready to post and then…

I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t.

Earlier that night I’d cried to Ryan because some of my 7 year old students are going through some terribly heavy life experiences. I’d cried at the absence of hope and compassion on social media. And I recognized, finger hovering over that ‘post’ button, how I was about to throw my own bitterness out into that mess.

So I let it go. I convinced my little sister, always my defender, to let it go when she texted that she’d seen the exchange and wanted to throw in her own eloquently worded response.

It was so hard. SO HARD. I wanted to put my hurt on display because it seemed like the best way to release the frustration I was feeling. That one flippant comment directed at me had grown to represent the multitudes I was up against and I felt ill equipped to combat them. Words, on the other hand, serve as my sword, my shield, and my salve, and in this instance I wanted to wound in response to the repeated gashes I’d been reading all week. It made me want to hurt out of exasperation and hopelessness.

And yet, in deleting that post, I also felt strangely better. I’d been given the choice to release more bitterness into the atmosphere and I chose not to. Even though I wasn’t aiming my comments directly at someone. Even though my words didn’t seek a response. Even when I didn’t want to and even when I had to convince myself of it again later in the day, I chose to forgive and move up and on. I defended my beliefs, I spoke with respect, and even though it was hard, I CHOSE TO SPEAK LIFE. I had to let the rest go.

So get mad. There are many things worthy of anger right no

Find your voice. Stand up for what you believe in.

Do these things, but do so by speaking words of life into a world filled with death and brokenness. Do so by stopping yourself before your words cease stating your opinion and begin degrading or dehumanizing. When we respond to fear and anger with more of the same, we’re perpetuating a cycle of hopelessness.

I don’t want to perpetuate hopelessness. There’s enough of that going around.

I don’t want to speak more pain into an already hurting world, even if my initial intent is to bring justice. It isn’t bringing justice to speak against intolerance by feeding the same vitriol through my own lips. Deleting that post was difficult and a part of me wishes I’d still posted it, but I’m okay with it. I picked the tougher choice, but it was the right one and for that, in a world swirling with negativity, I’m learning to be okay with covering just a small bit of the hate with grace and peace. I can’t fix it all and I can’t change the mindsets of the masses, but I can choose my words wisely and I’ll go down fighting for the side of grace and peace.

 

It is hard not to feel better about life with a double rainbow, the larger of which actually doubled over on itself and started its color pattern over again. Costco and rainbows. That was my reward for shutting my mouth today...

It is hard not to feel better about life with a double rainbow, the larger of which actually doubled over on itself and started its color pattern over again. Costco and rainbows. That was my reward for shutting my mouth today…

 

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Dear White Christians:

When I was little, my sister and I used to love playing ‘Guess Who?’ Do you remember the game? You had to flip all of these little face panels up and ask your opponent a series of yes or no questions to narrow down the one person whose card your partner drew. There were primarily male faces and I remember thinking it was unfair how there were only a few women. It made it especially disheartening when you had drawn a woman and your partner inevitably asked you the damning question requiring you to give them the right-away to flip aaaaaaaaaall of those men’s faces down. Drawing a female’s card was bad and even as a little girl I saw the injustice in that.

Think fast! What do you notice first about this picture?

Think fast! What do you notice first about this picture?

I still own the travel version of ‘Guess Who?’ and this summer before a vacation I threw it in my bag to play with my 5 year old. When I later dug it out and flipped all of the faces up, I was appalled. Totally sickened. The game I was about to play with my black son had two, TWO, people of color. Did I remember that from my childhood? No, I did not. I was about to play a game with my son that sent the message that whites are more important and, oh by the way, if you’re a person of color you must also look like you’re going to: a) hurt someone or b) bawl. (Both of which, honestly, were probably completely accurate expressions for those characters considering the injustice they were forced to live out on those tiny cards.)

The game was promptly put away and I spent a solid chunk of the rest of my vacation wondering what else I’ve been missing. When I was little, I just wanted to see more female faces because I was a girl. We make sense of our world by what we see around us and I didn’t see myself represented well in the game. I had tunnel vision because I was seeking faces like mine (white, female) which blinded me from noticing how there were even fewer faces of color than female faces. I hadn’t yet had an experience to teach me to look closer. My initial inability to see the lack of color didn’t mean it wasn’t a problem. This is the core issue when people of color say, “Something is wrong with this picture,” and we reply with, “I’m looking at the same picture I and don’t see anything wrong.” We aren’t viewing the image with the same life experiences. We’re looking, but we’re seeing different cards. We need POC to point out to us what we are missing. 

This issue played out over the weekend on a grander scale. I just returned from a storywriting/storytelling conference which was as good for my soul as it was for my writing. I spent time learning from some powerful speakers… but I noticed on the first day how the lineup (including the breakout speakers) was starkly devoid of any people of color. When I got back to my hotel room later that evening, I saw there was an entire discussion being held on Twitter about the same issue. The initial tweets were primarily from people of color and the replies were primarily from whites. I’ve got to tell you: It was uncomfortable for me to read them. The white comments were nearly all pushback because they took the POC’s comments to mean their experience was invalid; these POC were personally attacking them and the things they loved which, in this case, was a conference full of speakers they looked up to. (One commenter tried the angle that the conference was diverse because one speaker was in a wheelchair.)  Full disclosure: I had to battle through how I should be feeling about those tweets, too.  I had to reflect on whether their comments invalidated the powerful experience I was having.

Let me tell you: It doesn’t.

Let me tell you something else: We should be wresting through what people of color have to say. Even when it makes us uncomfortable. ESPECIALLY when it makes us uncomfortable.

Listen, from one white to another, we need to stop discrediting the voices of people of color on the basis that we haven’t experienced what they’re sharing. As whites, we’ve been so wrapped up in a culture holding whiteness as the standard it has made it impossible to see clearly even when we’re staring directly at that which we’re missing. (Remember my ‘Guess Who?’ game?) For generations, we have marginalized minorities and their voices so we don’t even realize when we’re still doing it. I hate how it took having a child of color for me to start seriously seeking out the voices of POC; until it was a concern in my own family I was mostly oblivious. Even after digging in much deeper over the last few years, it was still hard for me to read those tweets about the conference. I admit this with despair but honesty in order to show you how much we are missing the boat by dismissing the grievances voiced by POC. We are continuing to attempt to keep them in the box we have created without realizing we’ve done so because our instinct is to immediately take personal what is being said. We’d prefer not to have to deal with the discomfort of discerning what we should truly be hearing in their message.

Once I could get past my inclination to take their grievances about the conference as a dismissal of my experience, I heard something completely different. I didn’t hear them telling me my experiences at the conference were invalid. I didn’t hear them saying I was a bad person for attending. I heard how it could have been so much richer with the voices of POC. I heard how I should be making an even more concerted effort to seek out voices from walks of life different from my own, from people who look different from me. I heard how I needed to be sensitive of the POC attending the conference and how they were unable to see their own faces reflected in the line up of speakers and I needed to consider the message this sent them.

I am a lover of Jesus, thus, I am a lover of people.

Loving people means looking past ourselves. Consider, would you, how our experiences may not be the best or only way to learn and grow. Consider that the cries of POC may not be spoken in order to personally wound us, but to call out an injustice long held in white Christian circles. Consider how our point of views and our faith may be blessed by broadening our horizons. Consider how our history may have blinded us to the plights of others merely because of our skin tone. Consider looking at the world through a different lens before reacting and responding. And, most importantly, consider seeking out faces different from our own to listen to, learn from, and support.

We were not meant to be divided.

We can learn from each other.

And not everything is about us.

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A letter to my students.

To my students,

I need you to look at me because I have to tell you something very important. I see you, okay? I’m not talking about your pants that come to your mid-calves because they still button around your skinny middle or the ones that reach your ankles but are rolled 3 times to compensate for the waist of the older sibling from whom you borrowed them. I’m not talking about the unruly hair you’re hiding under that hoodie because your mama hasn’t had the time or the money this week to take you to get your hair done. I’m not talking about the shoes you’re wearing like slippers, breaking those heels down because your toes were crammed up in those things so tight you winced when you walked. And I’m not talking about the times you come to school wearing brand new, tags still attached outfits because your mama just got paid and wanted to make the rest of those outfits up to you.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I see YOU in there, who you can become. I’m never going to lie to you and tell you I know what it’s like. My daily proximity to you does not give me the right to assume I understand what it means to wake up with the joys, fears, and experiences you wake up to each morning. I will never get it. Let’s get that out of the way right now because the important part is coming up:

I NEED YOU TO FIGHT. (No, not like that.) I need you to fight past all of those hurdles the world has set up for you just because of where you live. I need you to run right through, over, under those things. The world is unfair and you’re going to need to work twice, three times, FOUR times as hard as the kid a school district over. BUT YOU CAN DO THIS. I just know it. Your other teachers? They know it too. That’s why we are on you, all the time, about everything- because we know how much further you have to go to get to the same finish line. You’re going to have to block out what other people say about you and what you can or can’t accomplish. You’re going to have to push through all of those things you see and hear that you shouldn’t have to be exposed to. You’re going to have to wrestle those memories (the ones of the adults in your family worrying over money, over food, over safe places to live) into fuel for your fire to burn up and out of here like a rocket.

The girl who drew the picture of the shelter? She is living in one. Notice the other column? That’s why ALL kids need ALL types of experiences or ALL you know is what you see. While there is certainly nothing wrong with any of the jobs listed, if those are the only ones of which you’re aware, your world is severely limited.

You have so much beauty. So much potential. The world may be uncomfortable with you because truly seeing you makes them rethink how much their talk about the current state of poverty and educational disparities outweighs the actions they’ve actually taken to make change. You’re going to have to trust me when I tell you how desperately you need to focus on your studies now. Yes, even at 6 years old, 7 years old, 8 years old. I need you to understand that this is why I push you so hard. It is because I see you. I believe in you. I know you can do this. You’ve already got so much fight in you, Tiny Thing. We’re gonna focus that and get you anywhere you want to go. The world is your oyster, baby. Kick those legs, muffle out the noise, and take what is yours.

I see you.

You can do this.

Let’s go.

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What’s your ONE THING?

I went for a run this weekend and I really wanted to stop about halfway through. Usually, I hear my high school track and cross country coaches mystically yelling at me from across the 16+ year abyss: “Work it up the hills!” and “Keep up the pace!” This wasn’t that. This was me, tired after a long week of medicating a sick cat, disciplining a boundary pushing child, and a commitment immediately following school every day of the week. I wanted to walk for a little bit.

So I did it.

And it was fine!

No it wasn’t.

I hated it and I felt like a failure because I do NOT like to walk when I run, but I made myself do it anyway. I talked myself into it because I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m getting to the point where I no longer want to feel as though I have to do things that don’t make me happy just because I think I should. Or, for that matter, if I SHOULD do everything I want because even when the things I’m doing are amazing, I get overloaded.

I’m tired of feeling overloaded.

I’m tired of feeling like everything’s going to hell if I don’t do things the same way I’ve done them in the past.

I’m tired of feeling like if I don’t do _______ it will make me a crappy teacher/wife/mom/human being.

So, here’s what I decided on that run. Everyday, I’m going to think of ONE THING to say no to. To drop off. To ignore. To let go. On Sunday, I walked for a little bit in the middle of my run. I hated every second of it, but only because I felt like I was failing myself (false)- not because I wanted to start running again because I sure didn’t (truth). What it did do was allow me to take a baby step toward giving myself the freedom to release my self-imposed expectations.

FullSizeRender (5)

Screw you dishes. I’m going to listen to my 5 year old talk about the most fantastic purring chalk cat in the history of ever.

The thing is, I’ve had a lot of heavy talks with a lot of beautiful friends recently. We’re doing so much, so often, that we end the day expecting to finally have time to read, to watch a movie, to relax, and we see the clock and realize we’ve worked our way directly into bedtime. It is the reason I’m writing this blog 30 minutes past when I am supposed to be asleep. There was dinner to be made, and a child to be tucked in, and dishes, and clothes, and pets, and… and… and…

So I’m saying no to ONE THING a day. Maybe:

  • leaving the wet clothes in the washer overnight
  • letting the dishes stink up the kitchen sink for one more day
  • shoving my son’s clothes into his drawers instead of folding them all neatly because when he digs through them that business is happening ANYWAY
  • reading one bedtime book to him instead of two or *gasp* not reading at all for a night
  • skipping the floss
  • getting takeout
  • taking Isaac to another program at the library when he’d rather stay home and play a game with us anyway
  • putting off clipping the dog’s toenails for another day because she’s still going to act like a complete idiot on the wood floors even after I do it.

START SMALL! Build up.

I'm choosing cats. Cats trump dirty clothes every time.

I’m choosing cats. Cats trump dirty clothes every time.

I’m consciously telling all of these things, “No,” because choosing to set them aside is empowering whereas trying and not getting to them feels like a failure. I’m choosing to tell myself that all is not lost if I don’t get the chickens fresh water tonight (because it isn’t). The world will not end if I refrain from vacuuming the damn cat hair off of the couch today. Letting these things go does not make me a terrible anything. They are mini-practices for saying no to work or personal commitments I either truly want to do or just feel obligated to do, but shouldn’t be cramming into our already busy schedule. When I have time to read, to run, to do yoga, to write- these are things that make me a better EVERYTHING. I’m choosing just ONE THING a day to refuse because my time is precious and I’m tired of spending it looking in longingly from the outside. I’m saying no. (And I’m learning to be okay with it.)

What’s your ONE THING?

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Sometimes, adoption sounds like this:

Example 1:

We took Isaac to meet a new before/after school, in-homedaycare provider. Isaac played with her son while I filled out paperwork. I let her know that we have an open adoption so she wouldn’t be caught unaware if Isaac brought up his sisters or his other mom. Since Isaac has shared with me that it makes him sad when people talk about adoption around him because it makes him think of his first mom, I made sure he was downstairs when I shared this information. Still, as we were heading out the door, he whipped back around and called out, “Just so you know, I’m adopted!” It was seemingly out of the blue, so I asked him where it came from. “Well, I don’t want her wondering how come that black kid is with these white people!” He said it with a crooked smile that said, “Don’t be CRAZY. I’m just setting things straight,” but it was a perfect example of how often adoption, particularly his transracial adoption, is on his brain. This wasn’t out of the blue for him. It is something he talks about periodically but thinks about frequently. Adoption can be a struggle for him.

Example 2:

A friend was visiting and playing a game with Isaac. She knows his back story and about his first family. They were in the middle of the game when Isaac said, “You know S. (his first mom) died.” She replied that, yes, she did know that. “It just makes me sad that God made S. die right in the middle of her fun,” he said. We shot eyes at each other. How do you reply to that? That didn’t just slip out- it was a comment that has been picked and pulled apart by my 5 year old and is a piece of how he is viewing God. Adoption can cause him pain.

Example 3:

I had asked Isaac to come back upstairs to shut off his bedroom lights and close the door, something he frequently forgets to do which is an irritation when you have as many animals as we do and I’d prefer my child to sleep on fur free sheets. “Aren’t you up there?” he called. I raised an eyebrow to our empty bedroom because I’m a mom and a teacher and when a child is disrespectful that eyebrow goes up no matter who’s around to see it. “You can help around the house, sir,” I called back. Complying, he stated as a matter of fact, “I don’t think I should have to,” and then went back downstairs. Ryan, having heard the exchange, asked Isaac if he’d just told me that he didn’t have to help around the house. “Well this isn’t really my house. I live in an apartment.” Ryan asked for clarification and in my upstairs eavesdropping I braced myself because I’m a mother, regardless of how that came to be true, and I could sense it before the words appeared. “Well, S. lived in an apartment before I got taken away and that’s where I was supposed to live and she’s my real mom.”

I cried. I let myself cry for about 30 seconds upstairs and then I sucked it up and went downstairs as Ryan was trying to find some appropriate way to respond. “Listen,” I said gently to our son whom I love, “I’m glad you feel comfortable talking about how adoption is sometimes hard for you and how you wish we all looked alike or how you miss your first family. You should talk about it and I’m happy to talk about it with you. But you have two moms who are real in different ways and don’t you think for a second that if S. was standing here that she would be okay with you saying that you don’t have to help out in this family. So you keep on talking about the hard stuff with us, but you will not use adoption as an excuse to not help in our family again, do you understand me?” He nodded, because he did, and he’d seen S. and I together and knew I was right, that she wouldn’t have stood for it. He needs to see me calm and willing to talk and that means crying for him as well as my own human woundedness later, when he isn’t around. Adoption is confusing to him; he needs to evaluate and push and question to see where he actually fits into his families. My personal baggage shouldn’t be his problem.

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Frankly, adoption is confusing to me too. That entire dialogue took place in the span of a few minutes but my feeling unprepared can’t be used as an excuse for a lack of response. It is a precarious balance between acknowledging his need to feel comfortable talking while also corralling my own fragility. Being a parent (through any means) requires learning to be selfless even when it hurts and I know he wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was being honest in what he’s feeling. He trusts us to share his fears and woes and I feel immensely thankful that he does. Adoption is how I became a mom, but it isn’t how he became a son; I hold in my responses the ability to make his story more or less complicated.

This is why I don’t know how to respond to adoption questions: because I’ve become so passionate about the need for us to push aside the rainbows society has fed us about adoption and start admitting that rainbows must occur along side of storms, of rain. That being said, there is also so much sunshine and every child deserves a family in which to feel safe and well loved. It is the single most difficult, beautiful, confusing path I have ever taken, and that is something I have trouble articulating because I fear it sounds as though I am discouraging adoption. On the contrary, I have felt the weight of being an adoptive parent and I see the immense responsibility it offers up and if you are ready to take up that challenge… GO! Going into adoption with open eyes will better prepare you, can only help you both in the long run. The privilege of holding the hand of a child who could use a safe place to process, to feel, to question- it is enormous. It is miraculous. It is worthy of weighing out, it is worthy of looking past the hype. Be prepared, be honest, be sincere: it is worth wading through the storms.

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Why Aylan’s shoes should make us rethink everything about humanity.

When the photos of Aylan Kurdi were released, the world reacted in horror. That picture of such a tiny boy face down on a beach put an image to a crisis from which we feel irreparably detached. When my son was 3, he dug deep wells in the sand and, oblivious to the length at which it was possible for water to travel onto land, attempted to dig a crevice to connect his toddler made puddle to its far larger, lake counterpart. Little children were never meant to wash up onto the shores of beaches; they were meant to sit atop damp towels and eat sandy lunches on them.

I just finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book, Between the World and Me. At one point in this letter to his son, he writes of viewing the history of slavery:

“I have raised you to respect every human being as singular, and you must extend that same respect into the past. Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone.” (emphasis mine)

Coates is not a religious man, but I could pray this in a heartbeat, that we would all see mass injustices as atrocities affecting individuals as opposed to issues that impact, say, “refugees”- a noun which releases all responsibility from the rest of us to see beyond the country, the cities, the villages, the boats, and instead see the homes, the families, the Aylans. I heard another interview in which one man spoke of how Aylan’s shoes impacted him. As a father of little boys, he knew how lovingly he dressed his children in the morning and realized how Aylan’s parents must have velcroed his little shoes that morning with affection and fear, knowing what a hard road lie ahead of them.

When images like the one of Aylan strike our soul, it is because we are forced to look, with a hand on either side of our face, at the appalling individualism which is glazed over as a nameless, faceless, mass. It may be too big to comprehend, but Aylan was tiny. He was only 3 and far from an unidentifiable multitude.

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I’m not the only one who feels ill informed; the first suggestion Google offered was about Syria.

We must educate ourselves, yes, but we must also elbow past the daunting, glaring impossibilities wars pose and see only that there are people suffering, people who pull socks onto the feet of their children, who kiss their spouse goodnight, who have a favorite food, song, book. Over 6 million Syrians have been displaced, which is an incomprehensible number until you imagine trying to count your way, one by one, through those more than 6 million people in order to offer the level of empathy each deserves. More than 6 million individuals with their own stories and triumphs and heartbreaks. Dear God, let us remember to look past the numbers so we may be moved to movement, to opposition, to empathy. We need to be more intentional in seeing individual people in crisis so we are more likely to extend kindness, care, aid. Aylan was a refugee before he drowned; there are millions more waiting for us to show our solidarity, to show we also care about them while they are still alive.

 

Here’s one movement started in the wake of Aylan’s death. Click to find ways you can begin to be more involved and educated. #wewelcomerefugees


Should you be an
emotional like me, or simply feel ill equipped in your knowledge about the war from which he was fleeing, below are some background overviews from a variety of sources to get a crash course.

BBC: What’s happening in Syria?

The Washington Post: 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask (2013 article, but still useful)

BBC: Syria- The Story of Conflict

MercyCorps: Syria: What you need to know about the Syria Crisis

Unilad: This cartoon succinctly explains the background to the Syrian conflict

 

 

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It’s next to the butter!

I’m currently in the middle of another IUI cycle and I’ve watched my fair share of injection how-to videos. They are all very serious. This one… isn’t that. And while you don’t actually see me do the shot (I’ll refer you to the boooooring, serious videos for that), I WILL teach you the faces to make while you do it which is far more helpful.

You’re SO welcome.

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The beautiful after.

THE BEFORE:

In the last few days, I’ve posted a few joking remarks about starting up fertility treatments again. As an Instagram example:

Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Damn you, refrigerated medications! #infertility #chickens #tagwinner

Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Chicken meds: yellow. Fertility meds: blue. Damn you, refrigerated medications! #infertility #chickens #tagwinner

Obviously, I intended it as the joke for which it was taken. When I was pulling out that ball point pen fertility syringe for another round of IUI injections last night, I found it ridiculous that my Follistim was hanging out with the barnyard penicillin and Land O Lakes. It’s funny, right?! Of COURSE it is! (Maybe just the teeniest tiniest bit neurotic.)

THE BEAUTIFUL AFTER:

When things are difficult for me, writing and humor are my outlets. The tricky thing about humor is that it can actually serve to convince me that I am in good spirits. The tricky thing about grief is that it can come and go in waves and humor can mask that, too. While dwelling in the negative isn’t healthy, ignoring emotions isn’t either. I value humor highly, but I can also use it as a crutch.

After I posted the joking comments, friends and family reached out to me. “I’m praying!” they said. “I’m so excited you’re doing this!” they wrote. With each new message, I became more and more thankful that people could see past my joking to comfort me when I didn’t even recognize I needed it. That being said, I equally appreciate those who joke back because it IS funny. Humor can buffer pain in the best possible way. I just failed to recognize my cover up and probably should have addressed some of the emotions behind the scenes. Oops.

This is all to say that:

1) If you have friends who joke about difficult subjects, consider reaching out to them to let them know that you’re cheering them on. Still joke back! (Thinking about even HOUSING chicken meds next to your butter is nutso!) But also know that you seeing through some of the facade is deeply appreciated too. While it honestly does make me feel better to make cracks about infertility, I also have a really hard time being positive about it so letting other people carry excitement for me is an enormous relief and blessing.

2) If you are going through hard times, please think twice (or three… four… five times…) about keeping it to yourself. Having a behind the scene cheer team often does more than you could ever do for yourself. Trust others to carry you when you are just tired or incapable of doing it yourself.

 

Thanks for laughing with me and thanks for cheering for me. I love your hearts. (Even more than chickens.)

Sweet little babies.

Sweet little babies.

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Here’s what not to do during a tornado.

Last night we were issued a Thunderstorm Warning as Isaac was heading to bed. He asked if we were going to have to go to the basement like we did a month ago during a Tornado Warning. He was strangely excited about the possibility considering that during the tornado threat I’d handled waking him up out of a dead sleep by scrolling Amazon Prime for their free movies and settling on The Neverending Story. I’d grossly underestimated the terror factor of this movie thrown into a mix of a 5 year old and a dark basement in the middle of the night. After the tornado warning was over and we’d been about 20 minutes into the movie, I spent the next two hours putting my child back to bed because he was more scared of the creepy puppetry than the threat of tornadic devastation.

When I was little, I was horrified of tornadoes. I can remember sitting in my elementary school classroom and staring out the windows at broody, dark clouds, wondering if my stress stomachache was bad enough to warrant heading to the bathroom where my classmate Tracy was incessantly peeking over the stalls and laughing manically, an act which my teacher never seemed to take very seriously. Weirdo.

Growing up, my mom did not play around with a tornado warning. I can remember needing to go down into the basement and, like mother like daughter, grabbing our irreplaceables. It was fortunate that we never experienced a tornado because I was always too angsty to actually locate the irreplacables and generally ended up with whatever was closest to me when the sirens went off which I distinctly remember one time including one of those roller balls to soothe bug bites. We were also made to put on our shoes in case we had to walk over shards of broken glass and wood following the damaging winds and, though this still makes logical sense to me, it was not until I was married and Ryan mocked me for days that I came to understand that this is not something everyone does in a tornado warning. Ryan, as it turns out, doesn’t even like to go DOWN to the basement during a tornado warning which makes me so nervous that it is a good thing my mom-brain kicks in or I’d end up in the basement alone with my husband and son chillin’ upstairs while I hold tight to a lampshade or hairdryer.

Storm Face, 11:00pm. My husband and son upstairs sleeping, oblivious to storm raging on the other side of the slider door. Don’t worry guys, I’ve got it all handled. I charged my phone, got a lantern ready, and have bug spray. No, I mean, our irreplacables.

 

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