I am enough

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It has been a little over 7 months since I’ve written my last blog post.

But no, no excuses, no need for apologies and forgiveness, just life.

My priorities are and have always been my family, but sometimes even with that, self doubt begins to creep in. My house isn’t clean. I haven’t dusted for years. I’m definitely not perfect.

And then there is…

laundry at 9 PM so my husband has clean work clothes for the next day.

doing a load of dishes so that we have pots to cook in and plates to eat on, and they were needed 30 minutes ago.

burning dinner (again).

weeds and a lawn that should have been mowed 3 weeks ago.

putting on body spray because my last shower was 2…no 3 days ago…and I need to leave the house in 15 minutes.

realizing that I never got the laundry put away and all the clean clothes are gone out of the ‘clean and needs to be folded’ basket.

balancing school for my girls and school for my husband when he’s in town.

managing everything in the house, being a strong woman taking care of everything since my husband is still traveling for work and gone 4 days some weeks and working 40-50 hrs a week when he is in town.

paying bills and pinching pennies to make our money stretch as far as possible.

setting the lawn mower on fire while my husband was picking up an extra day at work to earn a little overtime. That overtime went to a new lawn mower instead of something fun.

the day when I just cannot because my auto immune diseases won’t let me.

 

Pretending to have it all together.

 

I’m a child of God, and yes that is enough in the eternal spiritual sense, but when the weight of the world is pressing in, it often doesn’t seem so. When obligations and duties pile on, it just gets to be too much.

 

A little over a month ago my husband arrived home to find a pot full of emotion.

 

He had spent the week with men only to be thrown head first into a sea of estrogen. The poor man couldn’t understand why I was crying about taking my daughter on a school field trip. But I was and at that moment, it was all that mattered.

He did the most wonderful thing. Instead of finding solutions to my ugly cry hiccup filled ramblings, he grabbed me, held me close, and let me cry and sputter on.

I apologized for crying, he stayed silent and held me a little tighter.

I apologized for getting tears on his shirt, he put my face in his shirt so it would soak them up better.

I pulled away and said I needed a kleenex, he held me in and let his shirt soak up the snot in my nose too.

I thanked him and said I was fine. Being the wise man he is, he held me longer and the tears started again.

I had been attempting to be the strong one for too long. I was trying to keep the stress of managing it all hidden from my girls. The long nights wishing my husband’s head was on the pillow beside me had taken its toll, for my best friend was not here to vent to. And when he was I didn’t want to spend our weekends adding guilt, stress, and pressure to him. I just wanted to spend our weekends together, relishing the few moments we have.

 

You could say the dam of emotions had burst and this reservoir was well stocked.

 

I had gotten so wrapped up in my failings that I forgot some of the most simple things. I was too busy running from one task to another, doing them as quickly as possible that I forgot to breathe. stop. rest.

And once I did that suddenly life didn’t seem so overwhelming.

That list of my failings? Most of it has occurred within the last month. But they don’t seem so overwhelming anymore.

Because even when living with those failings there is something much more beautiful around me.

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I have…

2 wonderful daughters who are well behaved and growing into beautiful women. What greater gift can I give them during this time of adolescence and self doubt than to show them confidence even during my shortcomings?

online friends who have become like sisters. They get me in a way that many don’t. Technology is awesome. It lets me connect, share, and cry with them when all I can manage is to move my fingers on a keyboard because my tears won’t allow words.

a wonderful friend who has loved me and listened to me when needed, but almost more importantly, just lets me be me. When I’m having that moment, she seems to know exactly what to say and what I need. Sometimes it is words, often it is just a hug or listening ear, or completely ignoring the issue so I can forget about the weight of the world for an hour.

the most amazing husband. He sees me at my worst and loves me anyway.

And the really cool part about it is that 13+ years ago, he chose me. There were other girls interested in them, he had ‘options’. My issues were different but I still had them. He saw the ugly side of me then too.

But he looked beyond that.

And picked me.

By watching his daily love for me, no matter what is going on in life, I can hold tight to one thing.

I am enough. Just the way I am.

Seriously, enough with the change already

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This year is supposed to be about looking what we have and improving on it. The foundation is set, we have what we have, and now I build.

But I am already wrong.

The “life building plans” just changed.

Last Friday my husband was told he has been put on an out of town job for as long as they need an extra man or until construction is complete. It is a large project and they’ve already been working on it for 2 months. This means he is gone every Monday-Thursday.

Every.Single.Week.Until.Who.Knows.When.

Then Tuesday he was told there would be at least one weekend involved. And it could be this coming weekend. As with all construction projects, it just depends on the stage of the project, when they can get in, and what other contractors are doing. We just don’t know.

So Wednesday morning I sat down with the girls on my bed and we had a chat of sorts.

I explained the situation. I told them it isn’t anybody’s fault, but it just is the way it is. That doesn’t mean it is better, it just is.

Through tears, they started asking questions.

  • When exactly is he going?
  • What weekends does he have to work?
  • How long is the project?
  • Does he have to go every week?

All I could say was I don’t know, dad doesn’t know, the company doesn’t know, because when dealing with construction anything can go wrong. Timetables can be tossed out within a moment’s notice and sometimes it has nothing to do with your work.

As I held them, I was reminded of the families who do this often. Of long haul truck drivers, traveling business men, and those in the military who leave for months with a tangible possibility of never returning.

And I felt slightly guilty living in my selfishness. My husband gets to come home every weekend for 3 days. My husband gets to make nightly phone calls. My husband isn’t putting his life on the line.

I made myself stop.

I know some families do this often, but this isn’t what we wanted for our family. He intentionally looked for work that would give us more family time, not less. It doesn’t seem fair.

I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, the job will end, he will be back home, but it doesn’t make this any easier. I’m tired of the change, tired of the unknown, tired of being flexible for anything that may be thrown away.

I want consistency. I want to know what is coming up.

But for now, I don’t get that.

Some days he’ll be here, some days he won’t. Some weeks he’ll be out of town, some weeks he won’t. And because he is the extra man and everything is dependent on how the project is going, we may not find out he is leaving until the day before he goes.

As Miss Crafty said, “This just sucks.”

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I try to stay optimistic and find the positives in any situation.

So to help me prepare for his absence, I’ve been looking. I had to dig deep and search hard this time but I came up with a short list:

  1. He will get 3 day weekends. So we get one extra day a week with him home unless it is one of those rare work weekends.
  2. He is doing so well at school that his teacher has given him a pass from attending class while he’s out of town. As long as his assignments are in on time and he’s doing well, he doesn’t have to do any additional make up work.
  3. We’ll use less diesel in the truck. I’ll take him to work Monday morning and pick him up Thursday nights. This is in essence only 2 days of commutes instead of 5 plus school.  It will save us $40-$50 per week.
  4. There’s gotta be something I can build in this situation. I don’t have it yet, but I’m holding on to the idea that a part of me is going to be stronger when I’m looking back from the other side.

That’s all I can come up with but at least it is something. So today, through my frustrations, I’m trying to hold onto those 4 things because in reality I want to curl up in bed and just pretend this isn’t happening.

It’s not fair.

I want to plan my life, or at least next week.

I want my husband home with me.

The girls need their dad.

This.Just.Sucks.

~Crystal

Side note: I will get over this, and I do understand how fortunate we are. But in the spirit of Living in Green Grass I’m choosing to share this side of me too–the side that shows nobody’s life is perfect or rosy. Sometimes things happen and it is what you chose to in that moment that helps determine whether you are content or not.

Sometimes love is cooking breakfast at 9 PM

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One of the things I’ve been working on this month is building up others around me. My focus is on my family–my husband and my daughters.

And even though it takes a lot of time and deliberate effort, I’ve realized it isn’t too hard for me to find special ways to make their days better, easier, brighter.

I’ve been doing little things for my daughters:

  • Learning hobbies they love
  • Encouraging them to continue trying when we both want to quit–and succeeding
  • Miss Crafty and I went on an impromptu window shopping trip
  • The Inventor and I built a Minecraft Lego kit together
  • Having a 3 person race in the middle of the park and not caring who was watching our moment
  • Giggling like school girls, and joining in with their immaturity instead of letting the weight of adult stress take over

For them, it is about time spent. Taking every little moment and just enjoying it. Letting them know that they are perfectly loved for who they are right now.

It has been a little different with my husband.

We have an awesome marriage, and one I am thankful for. I hear stories of people who struggle to like their spouse–not love, but like. Who struggle to share the same air, let alone a room or bed. It breaks my heart.

This is not us.

And I am very grateful for that fact.

So building him up looks a little different than your average marriage self-help counseling book.

I was stuck. I couldn’t think of what to do for him. So I prayed.

It hit me like running into a brick wall.

Every day brings something new for him. Whether it be learning a new skill at work or school, or dealing with difficult customers and improving customer relations. Change is always around.

Instead of building him up, I needed to be the constant, the one he can always depending on to be there no matter what is going on or the need, the one thing that doesn’t change.

The foundation so to speak.

Instead of changing, growing, encouraging, I just am.

That shift in thinking has changed our family dynamic in a very real way these last few weeks.

I spend all day with the girls, taking breaks for myself scattered here and there, so when he is home it is about him.

  • It is cooking a hearty meal so he has the energy to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
  • It is massaging his sore arms and muscles to give him relief at the end of the day.
  • It is having a cold pitcher of water in the fridge when he walks in the door.
  • It is playing our online game together when he wants and his arms allow.
  • It is understanding when he has to take a break, and watching a movie with him during those down times.
  • It is suffering through those ‘guy movies’ because it is not about what I want to watch, but about him being able to rest and relax in his home.
  • It is sometimes sitting on the couch quietly beside him because he has no energy to talk, but being there for when he wants to.

 

It is being there as the constant, to love and support him, the one person who can give him stability in the midst of daily change and chaos.

 

So when he called me Monday night on his drive between work and school and mentioned he didn’t have time for lunch, and he had forgotten his dinner in the work fridge, there was no hesitation in my mind as to what I should do.

I asked him to call me when he left school so I had time to cook him dinner before he got home.

He just wanted boiled eggs and toast, but I knew he needed more to recover from the lack of food that day and to be ready to go to work the next morning.

I wanted to give him a surprise, a gift of love.

Instead of curling up to a movie after the girls went to bed I waited for his call. And when he called me at 8:30 I pulled everything out of the fridge and warmed up the griddle.

At 9 I started cooking him a full meal of sausage, eggs, bacon, and toasted English Muffins.

And when he walked in the door at 9:30 PM I had a huge plate of sausage, egg & bacon sandwiches waiting for him.

 

Because being a foundation built on love is about doing whatever, whenever, and giving selflessly of yourself to provide security and stability.

And sometimes that means cooking breakfast at 9 PM.

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Dear daughter, I embarrass you because I love you

 

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Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Every night when I tuck the girls into bed we talk about good things. It started as a way to focus Miss Crafty on positive thoughts when she had night terrors. 8 years later, it is still part of our nightly routine. I consider myself very fortunate that my 9 and 10 year old daughters still want to be tucked into bed each night. It is a special time of girl bonding.

Often it leads to conversations that wouldn’t occur any other time of the day. I have a captive audience. They are stuck in their rooms and can’t get away from me.

A couple nights ago we had one of those kind of chats.

(fyi: I used color to help you follow the conversation. I am red, Miss Crafty is purple, and The Inventor is blue.)

I decided to kick it off as boring as I usually do: What is something you’re happy or thankful for tonight?

Miss Crafty: That tomorrow we might get to go to Wednesday night church.

I don’t know what came over me, it was completely spontaneous, but before I knew it, I was looking out the door checking out my husband who was standing in the hall. With a gleam in my eye, I found myself saying,

Well, that depends on what time my very handsome husband gets home with the truck.

Shock crossed her face. She covered her mouth and started giggling like a middle school girl who just found out her best friend has a crush on the boy next door.

Mom!!

Well, he is handsome.

But mom, no!

About this time The Inventor made it into the room to crawl into bed. Unaware of the conversation we’d just had, I asked her the same boring question.

The Inventor: That tomorrow night is church.

Sister!!! No!!!!!!

With a gleam in my eye, I looked at her, smiled, and heard the giggling middle school girl plead with me.

No mom, not again.

Well, that depends on what time………..your dad gets home with the truck.

Realief washed over Miss Crafty. Perhaps she thought I was done embarrassing her for one night.

Oh, thank you mom.

What was wrong with that? I don’t understand what mom said that was so bad.

You didn’t hear her the first time. She said that dad…… No, I can’t say it.

Knowing that I couldn’t leave it at that, I decided to fill The Inventor in on my little secret.

You see, sweet daughter, when your sister said that I told her it depended on what time my super handsome husband got home to his wife.

Miss Crafty tried to hide her red face and stifle her giggles with a pillow. It was completely unsuccessful.

A look of understanding crossed The Inventor’s face. She smiled, looked at me with eyes that seemed to say, “I think I just heard something private between you and dad, but that’s cool.”

With a giggle, hug, and a kiss, I walked out of the girls bedroom knowing I had achieved something much more important than embarrassing my daughter. When The Husband and I started our family, we decided that appropriate PDA was going to be allowed in our house. My girls see us hug, kiss, and flirt often.

It is intentional. I want them to know that it is entirely appropriate to be infatuated with your husband even after the honeymoon years.

[Tweet “I want my daughters to know there is more to physical attraction in marriage than locked doors.”]

I don’t want them to feel ashamed of being attracted to their husband or sex and in the Christian culture I think that happens more often than people are willing to admit. We are taught about abstinence until marriage. We are taught that sex is dirty and a sin.

Then suddenly, one day, it all becomes okay. Magically, after one ceremony and a signature on a document, sex, physical attraction to the opposite sex, touching each other, flirting, etc becomes encouraged and healthy.

There was shame that you felt anything before, and an internal struggle that it is suddenly okay. It is like one big dark cloud of confusion.

One that I’m trying to lighten up a little for my daughters. I’m attempting to model appropriate healthy physical relationships for them.

And I think they’re getting it, in a developmentally appropriate way.

So, for the rest of their lives, I will continue to embarrass them. I will continue to be that mom who flirts, kisses, and holds the hand of her husband outside of our bedroom, and outside of our house.

All because I love them…(also because I love my husband and feel like flirting with him)

 

~Crystal

 

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