“My life, my life has to be like this. It has to keep going up.”

It seems like an eternity since I scribbled down my thoughts. My dark tunnel turned out to be the passage to unveil a beautiful period in my life. I once heard someone say, “Things are replaceable but people and relationships aren’t.” I thought I had a grip on what that meant but I was wrong. 

I have a few very special people that have walked into my life recently. They have given me grace when I haven’t deserved it. They have offered it just because they are good souls. They’ve listened when I have cried or complained and been at my most vulnerable. They’ve held me when I had no idea how I would pick up the pieces. I recognize that not everyone is so fortunate. This is a thank you to each one of those people. Little do they know how much they have renewed my faith in people during an otherwise dark time for me. 

My son is the person I owe the biggest thank you to. He’s the reason I refused to crawl into that big dark hole to throw the most extravagant pity party you can imagine. His heart is so pure and kind. 

I’m so excited for life right now. I’m amazed when I think back on where I was even two months ago. I think it speaks to how amazing the people around me are. They are forgiving and understanding beyond measure. I’m the busiest I’ve ever been both professionally and personally. I’m often tired but I don’t remember the last time I was so happy and had so many things to be proud of. I think it’s easy to agree when you hear some cliche about people and relationships not being replaceable. But being at your worst and having people who show up and unknowingly elevate you to your very best is a pretty incredible and humbling experience. 

Here’s the truth. 

I’ve glanced back at my previous posts and they’ve been pretty sappy. I have read each of them 10 times (at least) to find perspective and I still get a little teary on a few of them. Reflection can be quite a roller coaster. 

The truth is that this is a form of therapy for me. A place to be honest. And the honest truth is that I’m going through a difficult season. 

My primary focus is my son. Making sure I make it to work everyday and look put together and smile is all the world should expect some days. Another truth is that accomplishing those simple things is truly my very best some days. 

The unraveling of a life you once thought would be shared with someone is painful. No matter who’s fault, the reasons why, or the amount of support you have will make the heartbreak seem like less of a failure.

And yes, it is that stressful and painful. 

The specifics do not matter. What does matter is that my son will pull through this. Anyone who knows him, knows I’m right. And I will make it through this just fine. In fact, I’ll be better. I’ll be better because this is one more life experience I’ll navigate only to help someone else through later. One less person to pass judgement on them. One more ear to listen. I’ll be one more hug they’ve been dying to feel.

I’m gradually accepting this new season. I’m finding the rainbow. I’m throwing myself into things that used to scare me yet I’ve had passion for. 

I’m typically not a mantra type of gal. But I keep having the same phrases race through my mind. BE HUMBLE. BE GRATEFUL. I promise, when you think the good in life has left you in the dark… someone else’s life is darker. Colder. Lonelier. Being humble and grateful can mean the difference of being in a rut and living your life in a valley.  

My Visit to Jonathan’s Place:Break the Cycle, Not Her Heart.

Some of you may know I’m involved with the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce. I honestly had no idea what I was signing up for. My life recently has had some serious stress that I can’t control. What I did know is that I needed something positive to put my energy into. (Cue Beyonce’s “I’m a Survivor” anthem.) Along with the position came a lot of responsibility. Philanthropy is something our community needs. But what I think about most is who won’t be helped if I fail or don’t try hard enough. 

This feeling was intensified when I paid a visit to Jonathan’s Place. Our organization has worked with them many times but being a new face I felt I needed to really absorb what they did first hand. I got more than a brief tour and a counselor telling me they need construction paper and bed sheets.

The first building we entered was the home of 7 young girls. The girls who live there have endured traumatizing sexual abuse. Stories I can’t repeat. Stories that shook me to my core and gave me chills. We all know this is happening, even in our backyard. What I wasn’t prepared for was to be standing in this beautiful girls bedroom and to stare at her precious face in photos as I heard how her innocence had been taken from her repeatedly. 

She’s beautiful. Her smile is bright. I could almost hear her laughter. Yet I know the pain she’s hiding from the world. She wakes up every morning and attends public school. She sits next to a “normal” girl who has a “real” home to go to when the bell rings. That “normal” girl doesn’t fear being an object to a monster that should love and protect her. She goes home to a house full of other girls who share her same tragic story.

So often this story repeats itself. I witnessed this during my visit. I walked through the emergency shelter. I saw two children. A boy and a girl. The little girl was probably about 2. I asked about their stories. I was told about the boy’s life. He was beautiful and reminded me of my own son. The little girl was just as wonderful. I heard her story shortly before her mother walked in. I was told the little girl’s mother was a 16 year old who lives in the house I had just toured. A mother at 14. She had been raped repeatedly by a family member. She sought love in all the wrong places and became pregnant. This is the cycle Jonathon’s Place is dedicated to breaking.

I’m so glad I visited Jonathan’s Place. I’m hopeful as I make plans this year for our organization that I remember those stories. After all, that’s what it’s about. Being a voice for those can’t speak for themselves. Making a difference by pulling together as a community. It’s so convenient for many of us to fly through life without realizing the pain some people face. I’ve been guilty myself. 

For more information about Jonathan’s Place and how you can help, check out: http://www.jpkids.org

Reset Your Humble Gauge.

There are evenings I look at my tired self in the mirror and want to write the phrase “STAY HUMBLE” in red lipstick on the mirror. I’m hoping it will leave a stain that I can’t seem to get rid of no matter how many times I find an amazing Pinterest pin declaring it will completely remove lipstick from a mirror. Why? Because I never want to forget to be humble.

Let’s be honest. I’m tired. I’m really tired.

hosHowever, I am never too tired to pry my eyes open for “One more story”, “Mommy, please sing sunshine song again.” I salute you too, Moms. You are doing the same thing. Every. Single. Night. Your daily schedule is likely different from mine but we are all moms. Do not let anyone tell you that your day is any easier, less complicated, more cushioned than theirs. The reality is that every one of us magically gets the day done only to lay our tired heads on a pillow. We all fall asleep praying that this wasn’t the day we didn’t do enough, love enough, or pay enough attention. Just stop it. It was enough.

I’ve been in a room of others mom’s before and thought, “I have nothing in common with any of these women.” My perspective was wrong. Common ground is all you need. We each pray for our babies to be healthy and happy. It’s simple. We are each doing our very best for our children.

I’ve never been a new year’s resolution kind of girl. I have never understood why I can’t just decide something is right for me and do it. However, I feel differently this year. I want to be consistently humble.

Last month I randomly went to tidy up the restroom my son uses. I’ll admit, I used to become slightly irritated for what I found. Often I’d find that he hadn’t put his towel up, imagehad wasted the ENTIRE tube of newly purchased toothpaste to paint the mirror, or that he thought it was super cool to decorate the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper.

This particular evening was different. I checked out of my day for a moment and sat there. I saw a shower curtain halfway closed. I felt proud he tried to close it on his cute tippy toes. I saw bath toys randomly everywhere. I felt grateful I was blessed with a child with a creative mind. I saw toothpaste in the sink where he had drawn a heart for me to find. I found toothpaste splattered on the mirror. I felt relieved I didn’t have to ask him to take some initiative. Oddly enough, I left that bathroom more humbled and grateful than I had anywhere else in my life in a very long time. I savored each page of the story book that night. I sang our special “Sunshine Song” until I saw his sweet face fall asleep. I sat there wondering if he would ever truly know how much he’s taught me.

yardSince that evening, I’ve felt more grateful for many people in my life. I’ve recognized just how great people can be. Perhaps it’s always been there but resetting my “humble gauge” has given me a renewed heart that is incredibly grateful. Each of us know how challenging
parenting can be. I can also attest to how difficult juggling life can be. I’m learning to really savor the reality that I am guiding my son through life. However, we will forever be educating each other as we navigate each phase of life. And that is the most beautiful and humbling gift I could ever receive.

Dear Son, I am not your friend.

I don’t feel compelled to be my son’s friend. 

I have a desire to act lovingly towards him. Nurture. Protect. Guide. Provide him with tough life lessons. All of those lame parental terms. He’s literally the only person I’d actually lay in the street for. Does it make me lame? Boring? Maybe to some. #idontcare.

I recently filled out documents that had this question: “Describe how you define the role of a parent. Additionally, list your strengths and weaknesses.” How would you answer this? It was much more difficult than I thought it would be.

What a double edged sword!  Strengths and weaknesses?!? That list could vary depending on the status of how the morning went at drop off. Or what color my son was on that day. (The dreaded color coded behavior chart!!!!) Did I have to threaten to give away all of his toys to get him to tie his shoes? I can’t be the only one who has those types of mornings.

The truth is that I have strengths and weaknesses. Both as a parent and a person. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend who becomes very caught up in my own day to day life. Thankfully, I have very forgiving people in my world.

It took a long time to really absorb the question. My reflex was just to answer in genetic bullet point responses. But the question really got to me. I did make the list. I had more strengths written down than I thought I would. My biggest weakness is stress management. I have some stressors that I simply cannot control. I have to be committed to letting those go. At the end of the day, all it does is steal my joy. It robs my son and me of moments. I own that and it’s getting better everyday. Remember the bachelor season where that diva had the anthem, “Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!” Her mama was right, guys! 

My biggest strength by far is acknowledging that I don’t know it all. I will never have this parenting thing down. I will never stop growing, evolving as a person, or know everything about the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m always chasing the next thing or that I’m unsatisfied. It doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence. It means I’m always growing. I feel that is the best thing I can show my son. My heart strings pull when I see that our shoes are almost the same size. But I don’t ever want him to stop growing.

Did you hear about the HEARD?!

My son and I had a roaring good time this weekend! We’re talking fort building, pizza party, mountains of legos kind of time. One of the highlights was THE HEARD MUSEUM, located in McKinney. 

I haven’t heard many people mention it so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ll admit, I usually gasp at the thought of going north of 635. So the questions is… Is it worth it?  Here’s my take on it…

  • Cost:   Very reasonable Adults: $10, Seniors 60+ & Children 3-12: $7, Heard Museum Member & Children 2 and Under: FREE
  • Parking: #Winning. Parking is limited. However, this was not an issue and I magically found a front row spot. It didn’t seem like a packed place. And I didn’t see any jerks inventing parking spots. 
  • Staff: Very nice! A young girl provided tickets and pointed us in the right direction.
  • Play area: Humble & Historic. As you begin and end the trail outside, there is a small play area, Pioneer Village. This is primarily 50 million pounds of wood mulch with numerous wooden old houses. 
  • The Main Event: Dinosaur Live!            My son LOVED this! The first Dino on the trail was a life sized T-Rex that actually startled him. It moves in ways that makes it pretty entertaining for anyone. The small details, like the eyes scanning visitors, make it so much fun!                   

          My son enjoyed the ease of the map and it made him feel like he was really leading us to the next big find. Each dinosaur moved, made realistic noises, and one even spit! There’s even a spot for a photo op with a Triceratops. 

         We made it through the main event in about 30 minutes. It’s a casual, not congested stroll through the trail. 

  • Animals of the World Exhibit:              This was unexpected! Just off from the front desk, is a great exhibit! I think I may have enjoyed this more! They have lemurs, an iguana missing a claw, owls, Texas sized snakes, and giant shells collected by Miss Heard herself! 

My favorite find had to be the Mosasaurs! This giant sea reptile was excavated in 2008 from Duck Creek in Garland. It is sure to impress anyone AND IT’S LOCAL!

In all, the price is fair and the kids will love it. As a parent, the highlight was just getting outdoors and feeling like we checked out of city life for a minute. There’s something about being on a trail outdoors and experiencing life through your child’s eyes that is magical. 

Check ’em out!

http://www.heardmuseum.org/

Normal Is a Setting On Your Washer.

Life is tough sometimes, y’all. 

Other times…I can’t even handle the indescribable beauty I’m graced with. What is difficult for me, could be easy for you. Having grace for one when they fall short is showing what you are capable of. 

At the end of each day a political race doesn’t matter. Your really shitty work day doesn’t matter. That jerk who cut you off in traffic….that also doesn’t matter. 

Comparing ourselves to the next family or the mom in the carpool lane who just seems to freaking have it all…. stop. I can assure you, it’s hurting you more than you think. 

Can you think about a time you thought you had it all? Perhaps it’s a wedding proposal, a pregnancy, a graduation, a career move. Whatever it is, I can imagine you felt thankful. Beautiful. Happy. Optimistic. Anything positive. 

Fast forward a few years. Do you still feel the same passion? I don’t mean “Oh yeah, I’m lucky… I know.” I mean real passion. 

When you thought you had it all, your passion became your normal. That is incredible. 

What humbles me the most is remembering that normal is a cycle on your washing machine. Life is a cycle. It can be delicate, heavy, normal. No matter what cycle you run it on, it must be handled with care. If we’re being real, life will give you the light load and the dark load. It’s even going to yield that ridiculous load you wash and then dry 3 times only to want to just start it over again in the washer 5 days later. 

And that is normal. Learn to love your normal. 

I’ll Accept That You Think I’m a Princess.

My son keeps cutting out Princess Leia tattoos and laying them on the bathroom counter for me to find. It’s day three. The first one I was so excited about I immediately applied it. 

That’s so cool and a GIANT ego boost. 

I don’t know how much longer he will think I’m this awesome. Today when we rushed out the door and I hurried him off to school, he still managed to steal my heart.

We did our normal exchange of hugs and kisses and “Please be on a good color. Be respectful, okay?!” As I walked away I heard “Mommmmy!” I turned around to find him racing to me. Typically this would be a “Crap. I forgot FILL IN THE BLANK.”

It wasn’t. I got it right today. He was running to me for one last hug. One last kiss. One last smile. He said, “Our hug wasn’t tight enough!” I looked him in the eyes and told him how right he was. How he has the most special hugs I’ve ever felt. And how I knew he would have the best day ever. It was such a moment that a dad even stopped me to tell me how sweet it was. 

Our days are busy. Sometimes they just don’t go right. I’m learning how a “good day” is more about your perspective. I enjoy my job. I think we are doing amazing things for a lot of people. I’m proud to be a part of it everyday. No matter what, if I’m having a bad day at work and I think about that little boy…. work always fades.

When I play back that first grade boy with glasses, obsessively combed hair and a love of all clothing with a collar…. nothing else matters but that moment. Living life with him is always a good day. 

What I’m reading: “Parenting the QBQ Way”

Staying in the moment isn’t always easy for me. Loving my son is. I often feel pulled in 10 different ways. This often leads me to feel I’m halfway good enough at anything. I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to equip myself as best I can for not only his betterment, but my own as well. 

This book… you need it. 

Not only for parenting. But for the relationships in all aspect of your life. The questions behind the questions is really an accurate title for this book. It’s far more than a “How can I stop my kid from being a jerk sometimes?!” or “Teach me how to not screw my kid up!” kind of book.  It encourages each of us to slow down and dig a little deeper. 

Our children learn from us. They hear us. They see the world through us. Especially when we don’t think they are tuned in. This book instills family values and the power of personal accountability. 

When we as parents hold ourselves to a higher standard and remain accountable first, our children directly benefit.

We won’t get it right many times. (And relax, it’s okay!) But how we handle ourselves in those moments may have a bigger impact on their development than the good times. Children are resilient and amazing little people. We should help them preserve that for as long as possible. I’m thinking we would all learn something really beautiful along the way.

And so, I have a blog.

thisone

I started a blog. Apparently it’s trendy. But let’s be honest, I am not trendy.

Yes, I’ve followed the trend expecting someone in the blogosphere to think I have something to say. 

Why do I expect this? I suppose my thoughts of just being a normal mom make me feel like I’m relatable. I keep revisiting the thought of “I can’t possibly be the only mom stressed out hoping to not screw their kid up!??!”

AM I RIGHT?!?!

I’m actually incredibly excited to have a platform to share my mom stuff. By stuff I mean, struggles. The daily struggle. I know each mom has their own struggle every day regardless if they are a SAHM or a corporate mom. We’re each just hoping to figure it out. That’s what I want to represent. Not the SAHM. Not the corporate mom. Just a mom. My mission is to strip away the labels that follow us outside of being a mom. Because those labels or jobs will change. What wont change, is that we all need each other. I can’t even handle the mom shaming I hear about. It’s just gross quite honestly.

I’m not perfect. Im incredibly flawed. I have a motto that I’ve lived on for many years…

THE MOMENT I THINK I’VE FIGURED OUT, IS THE MOMENT I REALLY SCREWED UP.