Loving people through “it”

Don’t be lame

I last left you people with the story of Clark’s diagnosis.

When you receive a life-changing diagnosis, you cannot explain how it rocks you. For Clark, the diagnosis was actually a relief because of the months building to that moment. The hard part was when our neurologist dropped the heavy truth-bomb that Clark was not and would not ever be “typical.” For my friend just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, it was the moment of diagnosis. I am absolutely wrecked with their news. I love this person and their family so, so much. I want to take away all the hurt and fix the situation–hello, nurse over here 👋

Y’all, I’m going to get serious for a minute and tell you all the things I’ve learned from my personal experience about dealing with someone’s heavy stuff.

  1. They are hurting. Like run-over-by-a-mack-truck-mangled-and-gasping-for-air kind of hurting. Life-changing news actually takes your breath away. That’s not just a saying. The affected party actually struggles to get enough oxygen with their breaths because it feels as if their lungs are stupid and are not cooperating.  Do not delegitimatize this level of hurt. Don’t say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s some bullshit and is completely unhelpful.
  2. Now, if you do love them, you’ve got to let them hurt. Let ’em. You don’t have to have the magical words to make them feel better because *spoiler alert* you cannot make them feel better with any words. Let them tell you how destroyed they are. Let them tell you their life is falling apart. Let them ugly cry. Yes, I know it can be totally uncomfortable when they are sniffing and dripping their own snot with their swollen, red, blotchy-faces. Just let it happen again and again if they need it.
  3. DO NOT SAY “I’m here if you need anything!” Look, Brenda, they do not know how to tell you what they do not know they desperately need. Instead, just try being there. Send the note, text, email, letter, gift, package. Tell them, “I’m thinking of you, and I love you.” Show up with all of your inadequate words and your Mawmaw’s casserole that uses two cans of Cream of Chicken soup. Just show the hell up.
  4. Also, don’t ask “How are you?” And follow it up with “but you’re okay, right?” They aren’t good. That’s a given. Instead say, “This sucks, and I’m here. Want to talk? Want a drink?” Let them know that you know the situation is messed up, the future is uncertain, but you are there for all of it. I promise this means more than “Oh how are you?”
  5. They are not the same anymore. Acknowledge that, but love them anyway. Keep inviting them to every function even if they never show up. Know that they have been forever changed, but also let them know that you don’t care. Be the friend you want to have when your life is wrecked, because one day it will be.
  6. Treat them like a human without the kid gloves. Nothing will piss a person off faster than being treated like a fragile piece of glass. If you regularly text the person pictures of floating hair, aka tumbleweaves (like I do), then still do that! If you screenshot hilarious and dramatic Facebook statuses (guilty, again) don’t stop. Keep up your friendship, oddities included.

The moral of the story is to be a friend, which I think is a lost art. Truly. Think about it–we live in Facebook world where everyone is a “friend,” but that’s just not true. Not every acquaintance is your friend, and not every friendly person is a friend. You can be kind without letting everyone into your inner circle, and that’s totally okay. But if you claim the title of friend, then be a good one! Show up and stay through the hard parts. Go out of your way and love people so, so hard. Show up with the meal, write the letter, and love on people consistently and genuinely. I just cannot emphasize this point enough–Be authentic, invite your people into that inner circle, and love them aggressively.

We are not perfect people. We’re going to mess up and say and do the wrong things. So what? Do better, love harder. What everyone says about “millennials” is bull because we are hardworking, we are accepting, and we are far more genuine in our relationships than anyone gives us credit for. Let’s show them all how we’re going to change the world by eschewing the platitudes we’ve been taught and embracing authenticity, both in friendships and in life in general. Until next time,  love to all. ❤

Three and fabulous

Happy birthday, Darcy

In some ways, I cannot believe that Darcy will be three tomorrow. That she has been earth side for three whole years–the most life-changing three years of my life. Parents, you understand this feeling. These children drop into your life and consume it so completely. Don’t get me wrong, you still have your own things going on, but nearly every single activity is impacted by this new, tiny person. And it stays that way, I think forever. So in that way, I can totally believe it’s been three years because sometimes the days are freaking long, man. This past Sunday lasted approximately 92 years, of this I am certain. I thought about writing Ben a “Goodbye, Good luck, and Godspeed” note because it should have been bedtime, but it was actually 11:00 a.m., and I just could not mom anymore. And in the same moment, I remember this night, the night before you were born, so very clearly.

Darcy. Girl, you are unique. I know everyone says that about their child, but you really are. You make expressions with your face that you just shouldn’t make out loud. If you don’t think something is funny, you aren’t going to laugh or fake laugh. You can glare and mean-mug like a champion, and it can be so embarrassing, but you are you, girl. You also belly laugh and smile so big that your eyes close. You love to run and play with your friends. You are O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D with Shabbat. You love it so much, and Friday is your favorite day of the week, fo sho. You demand the Hamotzi before every meal, and you cover your eyes when we light candles, even if they’re just scented candles because Libby stinks. Also, you love bossing Libby around–to any new readers, Libby is my “single girl” Westie that is now almost 9 years old. You are in love with the color blue, and want blue everything. You were so sweet the other night and asked me to make blue waffles. I felt like a superior, fun mom, and I made my baby girl some blue waffles.  Then you threw up blue waffles all over my couch. Fun times. 😑

You love baby Clark so much.  You call him “baby Cwark” or “my baby.” The other day I heard him crying (rare) and saw that you were dragging him by his legs to your room to “pway wif me.” I mean, obviously I had to rescue him, but the sentiment was truly precious. You love him and defend him so well. You love to read him books and make up new stories and songs for him. Your daddy has always sung a special goodnight song and good morning song, and now you sing them to Clark at ear-splitting decibels. It’s got to be a rough way to wake up, but he is so in love with you and lights up when he sees you.

You. Are. Sassy. The other day I told you that you were not listening to me and you hissed, “I IZ yistening!” You totally weren’t, and you got reprimanded for back-talking, but inwardly I laughed a lot.

This morning after Daddy left for work, you looked at me and said, “Mama, Daddy picked this out” while pointing to your dress.

Me: “Yes, he sure did.”

You: “Daddy. Picked. This. Out.”

Me: “Oh. I see. You want to change?”

You: “Yes. I not yike this.”

You tell me to “hear it up” when you want the volume to the radio louder. You call lemonade “lemma-lade.” You love to bake, and turn into such a little hostess when the cookies are ready. You want to serve and serve (and serve) all of the cookies before you start eating one. “Chicken filly A” (Chik-fil-a), waffles, and anything chocolate are your favorite foods. Sack is still your main man when it comes to lovies, and you love to read books and run.

You have been so excited to turn three, and you’re going to have a big, blue cookie monster party this weekend. We are going to start your birthday tomorrow with “benny-yays” at Coffee Call, and I just cannot wait to celebrate you, my Darcela.

Darcy-girl, I just love your toddler-speak. I love your sass. I love your sweet heart. I love you. I will never recover from falling in love with you, and I cannot wait to see what’s up ahead. Happy birthday, baby.

 

 

Clark is one!

Happy birthday, my baby.

This time a year ago, my legs were itching. Unbearably itching. You see, I had shaved my legs prior to my scheduled C-section, and when I got to the hospital, I had to wipe my legs down with antiseptic wipes. This caused my legs to burn and itch like none other for the next 30 minutes or so. Isn’t it funny the things you remember?? If you haven’t already, you can read more about baby Clark’s birth and the immediate aftermath here and here.

Oh my baby Clark. Today is your first birthday!! You are so precious. You smile all the time, laugh this delicious belly laugh, and irritate your sister by grabbing her toys. You love books and bath time and your mama and daddy. You have red hair and crystal blue eyes framed by the longest eyelashes known to man. You are SO loud! You babble nonstop and happily screech all day long. You are truly all of God’s grace wrapped up in one tiny body!

It has been one of the hardest years of my life, hands down. In the beginning, you were evaluated by eight separate physicians. Only two were positive when discussing your “outcome.” Had you not been the absolute light that you are, I could have let negative thoughts steal every inch of my joy. To be honest, I did allow them to steal more joy than I should have.  But then again, those fears led me to my knees. All the nights I spent praying, all the tears I have shed–you, sweet boy, are worth them all. My God has healed you, sustained you, and has held us close during the dark valley of hard surgeries, “suspected” diagnoses, and just plain fear. When my anxiety, fear, and lack of faith have rendered me utterly useless to the kingdom of God, He has given me hope through your laugh and smile. Over the last year, I have discovered that when I spend time praying to my Jesus, and I focus on your (always) smiling face, I can experience both peace and joy. By meditating on the goodness of His promises, I can be thankful for the now instead of becoming sick with anxiety for the future. My faith may be small, little one, but God has allowed it to move mountains. I will move all the mountains for you, my baby. And if I can’t, I will climb them with you. I am so thankful that we’ll never have to go back to life before you ❤ 

Help me, I’m stupid.

And some questions to help me get smart

So, in one of my previous posts, I detailed the weekend before Ben’s birthday. We went to the coast, ate fancy, and basically were #goals. His actual birthday fell on the following Tuesday, and I still wanted to do something special for the actual day. I got cards from the kids and myself AND I ordered a cookie cake for him. Ben really loves cookie cake. It’s his request every year, and I usually get it from a particularly awesome bakery in town. That bakery is kind of out of the way though, and this super awesome grocery store, only a half mile from my house was just remodeled and has a bakery. So I call, and I order a cake. Here’s where I went wrong. I had decided that didn’t want the small 8″ round cake, so I decided I would get a sheet cake. My mom always makes sheet cakes when we have a crowd and they are pretty huge. So I knew I would want half that amount since it was just Ben, Darcy,  and I. Being a reasonable person and all, I ordered a 1/2 sheet cake. It was like twenty-ish dollars and I thought that was a little high, but whatever. I told them to put a lot of icing on it because Ben loves that.

I go to pick up the cake.

Me:”Hey, I’m here to pick up a cake for ‘Rayner’.”

*sets massive box on counter*

Me:”Oh, no, you see I ordered a little cookie cake.”

Bakery:”Here it is!”

Oh shit. I ordered enough for an army. You see, what my mom refers to as a “sheet cake” is actually 1/4 sheet cake. I wanted 1/8 sheet cake. But because I am an idiot, I ORDERED DOUBLE WHAT MY MOM MAKES FOR OUR TWENTY-PERSON FAMILY. Lord, help me from myself.  It was beautifully done, and honestly at $20ish dollars,  it was a damn steal. Anddd I learned my lesson. We had cookie cake for days, so it could have been worse. But, I’m really thankful I didn’t order a whole sheet cake.

In honor of that act of stupidity, I’m going to post a few questions I have for the greater world. Some are legitimate questions while others make fun of people who have crappier judgement than even me. I can’t help myself y’all. Feel free to help me out here, people.

  1. Why are workout classes/gym memberships so dang expensive? Is it necessary to pay $1 a minute for a class? I’ll just wear ratty tennis shoes and run around my neighborhood, thank you.
  2. Are lunchtime margaritas a thing? Or does ordering one make you look like an alcoholic? I’m asking because I’m going to eat Mexican in the next hour and this is a priority right now.
  3. How often is it acceptable to check up on favors? You know, when someone offers to do something to help you out, but you don’t hear back from them? You don’t want to be all, “Hey girl, remember that time a week ago you said you would help me?” but you feel kinda like, “Look here lady, you said you would help me. I’m gonna need you to do that.” When and how do you check up on that?
  4. Why do they have tube tops and crop tops for toddlers? It just seems so weird to me. I’m just really confused on this topic.
  5. Do people really make that much money with MLM? From the way people post, they’re making a lot of money. Is this real life, or are they lying? This is an earnest question y’all because I want to buy all the things.
  6. At what point do you quit trying with people? Like you’ve tried to foster a relationship with them, and they are just not very responsive. I’m not talking about random people, but people you’re “supposed” to be close with.  When do you give up? Or are you just supposed to keep at it forever?
  7. Is there anybody  that actually watches movies on Netflix? Like doesn’t play on their phone the whole time, agrees with partner/friend on which movie to watch, actually enjoys the movie?? If so, throw suggestions my way.
  8. How much spit up requires an outfit change?
  9. How often does a child really need to bathe? Especially when he or she screams like a banshee the entire time? Please don’t say daily.
  10. In light of the whole “Me too” and feminist movement (rise up, ladies!), are we still shaving our legs? Because that’s the important question here. I won’t if you don’t!

So, here are my stupid questions along with a little pearl of advice–don’t order a 1/2 sheet cake if there aren’t at least 20 people present. Unless you like cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a minimum of a week. I actually did enjoy that part, so maybe I’ll ignore my own advice on that…

The 2nd anniversary of my motherhood

Or, Darcy’s birthday letter

Bittersweet. According to Merriam-Webster, bittersweet is defined as, “pleasure accompanied by suffering or regret.” I know for a fact (okay, not really) that this word was invented by parents to describe the landmark occasion of their child’s birthdays. Today, Darcy is two years old. That two years represents so much to me. Such as:

1. The death of my beloved sleeping patterns. RIP late weekend sleep-ins.

2. The death of my intense selfishness–thank you God for working some of that out of me!

3. The birth of my motherhood. I’m a mom, which has been my greatest blessing in this life.

Darcy-bird, you are it, man. You are the most precious little 2-year old on this planet. You love to play outside. You pronounce “outside” as “a-die” by the way. Your daddy and I had no freaking clue what you were saying for like 2 weeks. Mattie finally figured it out–yay Mattie! You stall like a pro when it comes to bedtime. You have to say goodnight to EVERYTHING. Including the “tash” on the floor which means “trash,” which reminds me of another thing you brought into my life:

4. The death of my clean house. I used to be able to walk barefoot (LOL) without that special *grit* you manage to spread all over.

I know all parents think that their children are beautiful, but you ARE. You have huge brown eyes with long, perfect eyelashes. You have a luxurious mane of hair. You can’t even see that big scar from your surgery. In fact, it’s very hard to get all that hair wet during your bath. It repels water like a dog…in a good way, though. Girl, you make me so proud with your “I do it!” attitude, even if it stings a little sometimes. By that I mean that while I am so glad that you are self-assured and brave and independent, sometimes I want to shrink you tiny again so I can just hold you. That’s the bittersweet part, love. I never despair the passing of time. Really. I don’t want time to slow down or stop. Watching you grow is beautiful and special, and each birthday we’re given is an absolute gift from God. ABBA–who prominently stars in our dance parties–wrote a song called, “Slipping through my fingers,” and it describes your growing up best:

Slipping through my fingers all the time,

I try to capture every minute,

The feeling in it

Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Do I really see what’s in her mind?

Each time I think I’m close to knowing,

She keeps on growing

Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture,

And save it from the funny tricks of time,

Slipping through my fingers all the time.

I want so many things for you, baby. I want you to always look in the mirror and smile, just like you do right now. I want you to continue to drop it like it’s hot in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store when one of your jamz comes on. People may laugh, but you’ll get to groove to some awesome music, and dance parties have always made us feel better. I want you to always walk into a room, belly-first, knowing that you sparkle, and that you are an important person. The world will try to smash that out of you, but I’m going to do my best to fill up your love-tank. Your daddy will, too. I cherish these times with you, Darcela. I really do, even when you’re unreasonable, which is a lot because you are two years old.

You are the answer to so many prayers, and I know you are going to do so many big things. I just pray I get to see you accomplish all that God plans for you. I’m so proud of you little girl.