What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?
Hey babes. If you haven’t read part one; I suggest you start there. Otherwise I may not make total sense to you all. You can find part one here.
Otherwise I hope you enjoy another installment on some pretty amazing realizations I had this past New Year’s.
A day after I had laid there on New Year’s and decided some changes needed to be made. I was tested.
January 2, 2018 our amazeballs of a family dog almost died. To save her was emptied our bank accounts and I even returned my Christmas gift from my husband to pay for her veterinary bills. I was freakin out. However, where it used to be about where the money would come from; I saw the bigger picture; life. A week after her brush with doggo death, we took Alice back for a recheck. Once again I could have worried where the money would come from; but once again I saw the bigger picture; life. Alice has made a full recovery. We learned that what had caused her quick downfall was all the lover we gave her; in the way of table food. The enormous amounts of food scraps we gave her over the holidays attributed to her pancreas not happy about it. So lesson learned and a warning for you all- Don’t feed your pets table food!
January 4, 2018
Genesis 31:49 “Let the lord watch over us while we are separated from each other.” After 3 and a half years here and numerous false alarms; my husband was finally given orders…. For a 14 month deployment. I could ask God “why?”, I could yell at Him and blame him for pulling our family part. But all I could do was hide a few fallen tears. I had to keep my crap together for the kids. As parents, we weren’t ready to tell them yet. We needed to deal with it first.
Psalm 56:8 “Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when we can’t speak.”
Luckily, since I have been through deployments before, God has prepared my heart for what is to come. Every deployment is different and this one will not be like the others. Our children are growing up and understand the significance of a deployment and what possible outcomes there can be. Only recently did I attend and then have to explain to our children about a local soldier’s heroic actions that cost him his life. The outcomes are all too real.
This year has just begun and I am sure God will test me over and over. Here is what I felt He was saying to me that night:
1. Reset Your Expectations
I heard this piece of advice while listening to something Alexandra Kuykendall Said. Alexandra is an author and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) mom. She was a guest on the MOPS podcast. In it I heard Alexandra say how she thought of herself as a “go with the flow” type girl. However, she was always disappointed and stressed out. Until one day she realized she did have expectations; even for the flow. She had expectations for everything.
I realized the expectations I thought I had, were not the ones I was actually living by. I have only recently started to process this new perception; but here is where I started….
I have never looked at my children as having special needs.
I expect them to make the same milestones, expect them to act like typical children their age and expect them to love like a normal person would. But when I sat down with myself and really looked at what I was expecting of them vs. what I just assumed I was expecting of them; I was completely off. Here is one example of that:
Where I feel most children shower their moms with hugs and kisses; rarely I get any. I always told myself it was because my children don’t love me. I have a horrible complex of low self-esteem. But in reality, my expectation of them wasn’t right. My children don’t deal with emotions and touch the same way other children do; because they have special needs (and admitting this is someone else I need to learn to deal with). Hugs from my two children with special needs are ritualistic and about as physical as boys who think girls have cooties. I should be grateful my youngest (and mini me) has physical touch as her love language. I need to reset the expectations for my older children to remember love from them comes in forms of a simple smile or laugh.
You also need to keep in mind, that this isn’t just you taking a closer look at yourself; but also the expectations that you have of others. I can’t expect my children to give me unlimited hugs and kisses. But I need to expect myself to understand that and more importantly; be ok with it. Right now I am going to start small. I want to take one expectation at a time.
2. You Are Needed/Wanted
I am going to read you all a story:
“God gave me a mission, to take a snail out for a walk.
I couldn’t walk too fast. The snail was already doing its best and yet why had it made only a little progress? I urged it, fooled it and blamed it. The snail looked apologetically at me, as if telling me, “I have already done my best!”
I pulled it, I tugged it and even thought of kicking it. The snail was hurt, it was sweating and it was breathless … moving forward.
How strange … Why would God ask me to take a snail out for a walk?
“Sigh! Perhaps God has gone catching snails!”
Alright then! Let go! God doesn’t bother. Why should I even bother?
I sulked while letting the snail crawled in front me.
Huh? I smelled the fragrance of flowers … oh there’s a garden on this side. I felt the breeze; I wasn’t aware that the night breezes were so gentle. Then I heard the chirping of birds and insects. I saw a sky full of stars; it was so beautiful!
Huh? Why didn’t I have such delicate experience before?
Suddenly I remembered. Perhaps I was wrong? God wanted the snail to take me out for a walk.
Moral of the story: Upbringing children is similar to walking a snail. There would be times, while walking through their childhood and youth with them, when we would seem to lose our mind and patience; and yet they unwittingly showed us the most beautiful side of life where it all began. Children have straightforward vision and unique perspective. Parents, why not slow down, put aside your subjective point of views and savor the flavors of life with your children. Listen to the echoes of your children inner voices in this secular world and give yourself a little time away from the endless routine in life.” The story and moral can be found here.
Children remind us to be patience, to slow down, to experience life and to live in the now.
In 2017, I felt so unloved by my friends, by my family and by my children. I felt like I had failed everyone. In some cases it was easier to quit loving them. But recently I realized that in between the “can I have a snack?”, “I don’t want to go to bed” and even the tantrums, it’s there…..Love. My children still want me. They still need me, and they still love me. I challenge you to slow down and look at those requests and even tantrums as their way of saying I need you, I want you and I love you. I know it will be hard, especially on those long days. But I promise it will be worth it in the end.
Until next time- embrace the now.