Monday, August 16, 2010

Today was Brooklyn's first day back to school. I snapped a picture with my phone real quick this morning as we headed out the door. This is grandma's house. (Well, one of them.)

We went to the first day of school ceremony. The kindergarten kiddos look so little! I don't remember Brooklyn looking so tiny. I wished her a great first day, and started walking down the sidewalk to our car with my Charlie monster. Another mom, who works at the school asked, "Is this Brooklyn's sister? She has gotten so big! She was such a baby last year and now she looks like a big girl... how old is she?"

"She's two. And a half. We are half way through..."
(chuckles) She said three was actually pretty bad for her. To which I reply, "Oh no! Don't say that."
"I was pretty spoiled with Brooklyn. She was the best toddler,"
Then the mom said, "She is a great kid all the way around. She is always happy, always has a smile on her face, she has the best personality..."
I can't remember if I thanked her for complimenting my girlie so. I was too busy smiling and feeling all kinds of proud.

I have heard it said that our children are not our own. We are merely facilitators. For such a short time, they are with us. We are supposed to teach them as best we can. All parents with grown children assure me that I will mess up. My kids will hate me at some point. I will fall short and I will wound them. There will come a day, when my girls wake up and realize that mom is human. She isn't any super woman. She makes huge mistakes. She gets lost and confused and really doesn't have all the answers.

Tonight, before bed, I hugged Brooklyn extra long. I told her I love her so so so much. And that I am so so so proud of her. I really am. She is the most beautiful soul I have ever met, and I am so excited that for the rest of my life, I get to know her and love her. I feel the same way about my Charlotte. She isn't nearly as sweet, but she makes up for it in strength of will. Charlotte will be her own woman. The sassafrass is so smart, so strong willed, and so funny! It amazes me, the intentionality with which they were created. They compliment each other so well, the way best friends should. 

I wish I could give them the world, everything they ever want. I wish that when Brooklyn asks about the ocean I could take her there tomorrow. I wish I had a home in the country, and a horse for them to ride. I wish I could buy them the latest toy, or take them to disney world. Most of all, I wish I could give them the ideal family that we all seem to long for. I wish there were no every other weekend with dad visits. I wish they could see inside my heart, to understand fully how much I love them and why I have made the choices I have.

When my human-ness becomes all too much, when my mistakes make them angry, when they hurt because so and so's mom and dad are still together... I hope they know they have a perfect God, who created them perfectly, who knows their hearts, and is always there to love them through anything. 

This facilitating stuff is hard work. Suddenly my heart aches for Mary...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a new direction for this here blog

Life is interesting, isn't it? I mean, so many times what we plan for, what we imagine, what we dream of, what we believe we can count on... it never happens.  Maybe fairy tales ruin us. Maybe expectations of others leave us no choice but to fall short. Maybe we make our own choices, and after so many choices, we look ourselves in the mirror and wonder how in the world we arrived here. What went wrong? The retrospection is dangerous, and quite useless. As is the guilt, the shame, the anger we turn inward.

When I was a teenager, barely sixteen, I moved out of my home. That was, at the time, the healthiest choice I could have made for myself. By eighteen, my stellar grades hardly meant a thing, because I was pregnant. I was pregnant and alone. I remember one night I slept with my Bible, I was so afraid. Boys don't make very good men, and it was only a short matter of time before I found myself with a beautiful baby girl, a heap of pain from infidelity, and single.

Every woman, at some point, should experience what it is like to walk in the front door after the end of a long day, with no one but herself to keep her company. It is both empowering and humbling at the same time.

Along comes this perfect stranger. He spent a summer making friends with Brooklyn before he ever even spoke to me. I think he knew the way to my heart was through my Brooklyn. It was absolute perfection, well, until one night he grabbed me by the ponytail and the arm, pulled me out of my car and through me down in the middle of the street. Apparently I didn't get to leave, if he didn't want me to. I remember standing up, adrenaline coursing through my veins, looking down at my hands at the gravel that had imprinted in my skin. I had to tell myself that this was really happening. The man I was hoping to spend the rest of my life with, the man I trusted to love my little girl, the man that I loved completely, was an abuser.

I encourage you, before you make assumptions, to learn about the nature of abusers and the women who find themselves with them. On average, a woman in an abusive relationship attempts to leave her abuser seven times before she gets out for good. I lived it, for nearly five years. I must have tried to leave dozens of times, only to find myself right back in his grip. I took a class on domestic violence. I read every book I could find on the matter. I had an amazing support system of women who were willing to do anything to get me away from him. I can't tell you why it took me so long to leave. 

So, I found myself single, now with another baby girl, and a daughter in love with a man that went about destroying her mother. As he had women before me, and I am so blessed to call a few of them friends. I have definitely had a few lingering looks in the mirror, wondering how in the world I arrived here.

Dare I say, this is the best time of my life. I have been on my own for quite some time now, and I love being a single mother. It is so hard, don't get me wrong. But I am so much happier than I ever could have imagined. I love waking up to my girls. I love tucking them in and saying prayers at bedtime. I love that they get to see me strong, independent, and growing more lovely with each passing day. They get to witness an amazing transformation in their mother... a mom who loves and respects herself. I can't help but believe, that some of it will be imparted on them. I have yet to meet a man good enough for them... good enough to model what a man should be, and how a man should love a woman. 

I have been praying for my husband since I was five years old. I remember my very specific prayers, as a child, for a good man, for a husband who is a great dad. I also prayed that I would only be married once. I know to have two children, with two different guys, doesn't really fit in any box society is comfortable with. But I smile every time it comes up. Because I know, God heard the prayers of my five-year-old heart. And that is precisely why I have been engaged twice, but never married. 

I have no real interest in dating. Although, I can't wait to hold hands. I can't wait to admire his laugh, his messy hair, the way he sings in the car. I can't wait to hug him so I can try to memorize the way he smells, the way my cheek rests on his chest... "In time, my daughter."

Statistically, I should never be where I am right now. Statistically, I should be neck deep in a horribly abusive relationship, raising two daughters that would no doubt follow in my footsteps. And in all actuality, statistically, I should be dead. I belong to God. He saved me. He saves me over and over, there are no limitations to His Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, and Love. I get to experience a freedom, that one can only truly appreciate after living in years of bondage and brokenness, and abuse. Sweet sweet freedom. 

I am as free as a bird.