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Big Love Turns 6

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There is a garden in her eyes, where roses and white lilies flow.
— Thomas Campion

Sometimes I wonder what my heart felt before I had children. I don’t remember. What I have in my heart for my girls is infinitely larger than whatever it was before they came to be.

Big Love turns six tomorrow. And while I usually have mixed emotions about her growing older, this year the mourning became a little less…and the celebration a little more. She’s amazing.  When I was planning her 6 year session, I had visions of hazy summer light and whispering winds.  I envisioned her sitting under a big oak tree on a hill in her dreamy little world because that’s where she often resides.  But when it rained the motherload of all rains the evening of her session I simply couldn’t wait another day to do it and so we trekked out to the farm the next morning, the same farm where I took her 5 year pictures last year.  And I’m glad (for once) that I let my impatience get the best of me.  Not only was it overcast and cooler, but my sweet Big Love created her own hazy summer sunshine and whispering winds.  I watched her talk herself into her little world and she let me look in.  We talked about hopes and dreams and what she wants to be when she grows up.  We talked about the rain and the fog and the different types of grass.  She picked grass and made it into different shapes.  And it was ever so quiet out there, ever so peaceful.  No traffic.  No computers or cell phones (gasp!  I didn’t even take mine with me).  No tv or music.  Just us.  And it was perfect.  And what I got were images of my beautiful 6-year-old growing up little girl.  I’m so glad she brought Lovey along too.  It’s almost the only thing left that keeps my Big Love…well, little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Is My Life

This is my life
Its not what it was before
All these feelings I’ve shared
And these are my dreams
That I’d never lived before
Somebody shake me
Cause I, I must be sleeping

Now that we’re here,
It’s so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain
All the mistakes,
One life contained
They all finally start to go away
Now that we’re here its so far away
And I feel like I can face the day
I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.

– Staind, “So Far Away”

So it’s been a month.  And I’m wondering when I will stop comparing this life to the last, when I will stop saying, “It’s been ___ months now.”  I cannot deny that I’m so much happier, that pretty much everyone is so much happier.  It’s such an odd state of affairs.  Most people’s response to the news is, “I’m sorry.”  But I can’t respond the same.  And I’m not ashamed.  Of course, there are parts of me, corners of my heart that will always be sorry, that will most likely always be sad, but not really for the same reasons that other people are for us.

We’re making it through, and it’s not as tough as I thought it would be.  A month ago really does seem so far away and the change in my heart has happened quickly.  There are places in there that have been awakened that I never even knew existed, or perhaps forgot they existed. Most days that awakening overcomes all of the hurt, the pain and doubt.

There is still so much uncertainty, but that’s ok.  The uncertainty will strengthen my faith (hopefully soon) and keep my fire burning.  I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty, to accept that it’s ok to not know what the rest of my life looks like.  It’s totally fine to not know where I’m supposed to go from here.  It’s ok to know what I desire so desperately and to not know if that’s in God’s plans for my life.  It hurts some, and that’s ok too.  I have to accept that this is my life and while it is so vastly different from what I ever wanted, while it is not in any shape or form what it once was, it’s still mine…and it’s still life. It’s good.  It’s  blessed.  And there is so much more of it to live.

“Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not God Himself”

Miguel de Unamuno

 

A Snowy Day

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? ~J.B. Priestley

Although I really hesitate to call it a snowy day because there was more slush than snow, all children see is snow. They don’t care if it’s slushy or icy or dirty or beautiful. They only care that when they arose in the morning, their world looked so very different from when they went to bed. But for me, unless it’s a beautiful white snow that makes the world outside quiet and I can cozy up on the couch with something hot and watch movies (only to go outside when I desire), then I’m really not much of a snow person. However, 3 crazy kids+1 large dog+snow+ a mere 1000 square feet of house = the 4 of us bundling up and heading out.  And all in all I think our day was pretty successful…despite the fact that my socks were drenched and my feet were numb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Know A Girl (or Two)

I know a girl.  She puts the color inside of my world.

But she’s just like a maze, where all of the walls all continually change.

And I’ve done all I can to stand on the steps with my heart in my hand.

Now I”m starting to see, maybe it’s got nothin’ to do with me.

– John Mayer, “Daughters”

 

It’s no secret that I absolutely 100% adore my girls.  I am head-over-heels in love with them both.  They make me a better person, a better woman, a better mother.  They hold so much wisdom, intuition, and strength in their sweet little hearts that it brings tears to my eyes.  They’ve endured a lot…both of them.  They may not have had to deal with illness or starvation or homelessness, but they were each born more mature than their years.  Their perception of their lives is almost frightening.  I am so blessed.  I am so fortunate that they were given to me.  Each of them have provided nurturing in my times of need, wisdom in my times of distress, joy in my times of sadness.  It is hard to believe that creatures so small, so  young and inexperienced can give so much more to me than I give to them…without ever knowing it.

They are amazing.  They are beautiful.  They are life.

 

 

 

Peace

O, hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.

– “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. There is Someone who knows how to turn on the lights.

– Unkown

The last post I did should have been posted last week, the Advent week of Hope.  This past Sunday began the Advent week of Peace.  I can’t remember the last time I was peaceful.  Noise.  Tension.  Busyness.  Stress. Strife. Torment.  Unrest.  All words that have pervaded my life for months and months.  There have been many times, many seasons, where I have not had peace, but this season has been one of the most unpeaceful of them all.  This Christmas will be unlike any other.  I suppose each Christmas season is different in some ways, but generally they are the same.  For our family, this Christmas will bring joy and sadness.  It will be markedly different.  It will be a time of unrest.

I think we often make decisions based on the guidance of the outside world, and while the people in our lives often give good guidance and advice, decisions are ultimately ours to make.  And sometimes that is hard…more than hard.  Often they are not decisions we are peaceful about.  I have been in the midst of one such decision for months now.  But I have had to remember that God is a God of Peace, and so I finally laid my decision in His hands.  So whether my decision is good or bad, I know that I can still have peace.  Most days are not peaceful, but I have peaceful moments, and for now…in this moment, I can say with this decision, my heart is at rest.  My heart is at rest because I do not have to be afraid.  Despite whatever darkness I experience when the moments of peace pass, I believe that God is faithful…and He will turn on the lights.

 

Hope Floats

“She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will… ”

-“Hope Floats”

It’s been a long time since I’ve had time to write a personal post.  In many ways I am so thankful, but it has been an eventful few months.

There has been a recurring theme of hope in my life.  When I feel like the bottom has dropped out and the sky is crashing down upon me, hope seems to reappear.  One of God’s greatest gifts I believe.  And as this year comes to a close, and there is a season’s end approaching and a new beginning awaits, I am filled with hope for my life.  This ending will most definitely be sad and the beginning, certainly scary.  The hope is what’s in the middle, and it’s sure to make all the scary, uncertain, sad parts worth it.

 

Happy 30th Birthday

We used to paint puddles in the sky,
Jump around on trampolines and never go inside.
We’d wake up in the mornin’ and decide
What we would do for the rest of our lives
But the rest of our lives came quickly…

Oh my darlin’
Oh my babe
How long will it take
To be carried away
To go back to the younger days…

Katie Herzig, “Oh My Darlin”

Today I have left my 20’s.  In so many ways I’m excited about the rest of my life.  But in many many more I am not.  I wonder what I’ve done with the ten years that were supposed to be some of the most exciting and vigorous of my life.  And I long to go back and try again.  To do things differently.  To make better choices.  My life is so crazy, so full that I haven’t actually had a chance to reflect on who I am now.  The person I see in the mirror is not the same in real life as she is in my head.  Somehow, some way, I must figure out who this Liz is and what she stands for.  And maybe by the time I’m 40 I will long less for the younger days.  Maybe by then I will be more comfortable in my skin and I will be better able to embrace the me that is real and cast out the one that is not and never will be again.

Or maybe…quite possibly…I will have a similar post waiting.  Maybe I will discover that the person in my head is really who I am and whether she looks 18 or 80 she will always be that person.  And that’s quite ok too.

Time in a Bottle

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

Benjamin Franklin

“I want to be a grown up like you,” she said in the dark.

“No you don’t. You want to be a kid forever and ever,” I told her quietly.

“How many years are you, mommy?”

“29.”

“Wow, I definitely want to be that number,” she whispered softly and yawning, almost as if it were this dreamy number where the girl turns into a princess and gets whisked away by the prince.  She rubbed her eyes, and I wished her sweet dreams.

And so it has begun, I thought.

It saddens me now, my eagerness to be so grown.  I understand now what was so important about my childhood.  And I am saddened by this whole process of growing older, not because I don’t want to look older, but because I can’t be younger.  Sure, I can still act young and do young things, but I still have to act older.  I have responsibilities.  Duties.  Bills.  We spend 15-20 years of our lives trying to be adults.  And then we spend at least 40 trying to relive our childhood in any way we can (that is if we had a good one I suppose).

I have been somewhat taken aback recently as I look at myself in the mirror.  My face, while fairly wrinkleless, still shows signs of age.  I look different from how I picture myself in my head.  The other day Baby Love and I found ourselves in the midst of a bunch of high school kids coming to our local college to visit representatives from other colleges.  As we both watched them pass, laughing and talking amongst themselves, I found myself desiring to walk amongst them, for in my head, I am still one of them and I on some levels view them on the same playing field of life as me, or vice versa maybe.  Yet, they look at me so differently.  As they walked, and watched Baby Love play on the bricks, they looked at me like an adult, a mother, perhaps a wife, but most importantly older and not in the same stage of life as them.  And honestly, I was not happy with their looking, with what I saw on their faces.  It wasn’t mean or hostile.  It wasn’t mockery or rudeness.  It was simply how I looked at someone my age when I was in high school.  And I was sad.  And I am sad.

I know my children will do exactly as all children do and have done for centuries.  They will play mommy and doctor and teacher.  They will desire to do all the things the older children do.  They, too, will not be able to see with their eyes open until they are older and it is too late to go back.  They will want to grow up.

The thing about childhood is it is the period when we spend our time the best, not squandering it at a computer or in front of a tv, at work or paying bills.  It’s the time when we’re freest, the time when we’re best able to explore and learn.  It’s a few short years of really enjoying life in its simplest and purest state.  And unfortunately, there is absolutely no getting that back.  I will always encourage my children to remain children for as long as they can.  I refuse to allow our home and our lives to be conducive to inappropriate aging.  I know they will grow up, but they don’t need to do it too soon.

A little different today.  I couldn’t have a post without a picture!  This is actually a collage that I did while at North Carolina School for the Arts in 1996.  As you may can see, I had issues with time then too.

Disappointment

“I’m sorry to say
so but, sadly it’s true
that bang-ups and hang-ups
can happen to you.”

Dr. Seuss

We had such a great time hangin’ out with our community yesterday at our local festival!  Neither Big Love nor Baby Love had a nap.  They were dirty, grubby, sticky little creatures after running amok, playing in the dirt, riding rides, and eating snow cones.  Both of them remained happy, however, until Baby Love lost her snow cone ice.  The snow cone maker had actually just made them a snowball.  Finally, Big Love’s snowball melted until she could no longer hold it.  She said, “Oh noooo!”  Looked at it a few seconds, and then went over to the curb and did this, where I happily took her picture and tried not to fall over laughing.

I have to admit though, I actually stomp my feet when I’m disappointed….well, only sometimes. 😉

Went Down to the Beach

“”maggie and millie and molly and may”

maggie and millie and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

millie befriended a stranded star
who’s rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

E. E. Cummings

It’s amazing to watch the girls develop a love and respect of the ocean, to recognize it’s vastness.  And it’s amazing to see hubby there as well because he detests the ocean.  Yet for 3 years he’s gone and every year he does more and challenges himself to try more, and I am amazed and honored by the love that is shown to his family through his participation.  Essentially, it’s his willingness to go that allows us to go to the beach since a family vacation is not a family vacation unless the whole family is present (at least not to me).

This year, I was yet again sad to leave the beach.  The ocean holds so many fond memories for me, and it brings me always back to God’s greatness.  It makes me feel small and still.  I feel peaceful by the sea even if there’s turmoil surrounding me.  The ocean stirs my heart and my senses and reminds me of all the things about life that I’m passionate about. It is there that I am more grounded.  It is there that I remember myself and find all the pieces of me, and I am reminded of all the roles that I play while for a few days not having to play them all.  And I don’t know why all this is.  I just know that of all the locations that my heart could lie in this country or even in this world, it rests most peacefully in the midst of the salty breeze and constant sounds of the ocean.
  • This one of Sam was taken by my mom 🙂
My child walking around the beach with her eyes closed.  Not sure why.  She’s odd, but I love her.