Sunday, September 4, 2011

A brief update...Memories vs. Worries

It's been a while. I've been so motivated to write out my thoughts and joys of watching my beautiful girl grow into, well, just that...a beautiful girl. Unfortunately that battle against time seems to wedge it's way in there. So many experiences have happened, from seeing my Lovey turn two to hearing her speak to me in actual grown up sentences to her excited exclamations of going "pee pee on potty" that make me melt. Through it all, I of course wanna just cover her in blankets of cuddles, but also have those uninvited bouts of worries as I see the grown up girl coming out more and more, my mind jumps MILES ahead of me..."she's getting older am I gonna handle questions about peer pressure, what about when she's old enough to really start resisting my orders of what to do and what not to do, how will I handle her questions about God, about death, about sex....and the list goes on...and on...and on..."And I know people are saying "oh man just relax and let the kid grow up! Worry about it when that time comes!" But I can't just sit and not think about it, it's a reality that sometimes kicks in when I dont want it to, maybe because being a single mother, I am the one who will be handling all these not so trivial questions. Yet times goes on, and these nuisances of thoughts fade for a time, and I just allow myself to get a kick out of her being her, and the intensely cute phrases and remarks she comes out with. I take joy in the way she looks out the window for me waiting for em to come home from work....and as I pull up to the house...that oh so gracious face stares...peeping out in excitement and anxious waiting, her eyes looking intently for the car "full of boo boos" that mommy drives. And as she sees me, I watch her mouth the word "Momma!" over and over as she runs from the window to the door to greet me...and I run over knowing what comes next....her running away from me as I come in to show me something she has, or simply standing by me telling me new phrases and sentences or things she did that day. These are the times I truly realize as childhood memories-and mommy memories-in the making, the simple everday ones, as well as the more eventful ones...such as her first ride, first swim in the pool, but even a twentieth "bye-bye" being waved to you that you just so happen to really appreciate more that day...that comes at a time when you really need a smile that only her quirky little wave could deliver. That is a memory maybe even more precious than that of a first unwarranted climbing within counter-top reach to grab the forbidden prize of mom's glass of water or plate of leftover food just waiting to greet the floor. Though I must admit those actions will be worth retelling :). Memories are great to relive, but so much more amazing experiencing them first hand...and so, amidst the worrying about possible scenarios of the future and nagging assumptions that squeeze their way into my thoughts unwelcomed, I remind myself of the beauty that is happening NOW and tell off the futile thoughts that much better. Sigh of relief. And back to enjoying the beautiful blessing awaiting me with her irresistable demands for attention and affection...and yes, more memories to enjoy making.

Monday, April 11, 2011

There's something so poignantly beautiful in how God uses the uneducated and sweet simplicity of a child to break through a hard, calloused adult heart. I was blessed with the opportunity to watch this unfold recently as I watched my daughter interact with a dear relative of ours. A woman who doesn't tend to show much affection, who very much keeps to herself, and understandably so, as she has had a rough life. While spending time with her and others, it came time to sit around the table for a nice dinner gathering. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my 19 1/2 month old daughter reaches out her arms and says "hun", which in Jayliatta terms means "hug". And the first one she chose was this woman. Upon realizing what my daughter was doing, the woman-who does not readily respond to much affection at all-immediately got up and smiled, went over to her, and reached out to hug her back. I was amazed, touched, bombarded with emotions of shock, joy, wonder...and above all, realization; realization of what God echoes throughout His word regarding relationships and the human heart (when I say heart I mean the entire being of the human, not just feelings or the mind but body, soul, and spirit). God chooses the meek and humble to be taught and to teach, because they are the only ones who can truly see the significance in things as God sees it. And He it seems like He uses simplicity as the approach. They are not blinded yet by the world's foolish demands and obsolete ideas of values and standards and worth. Untainted yet, they do not have filters of bias over their eyes that hinder their true vision due to society's distorted and corrupt views. They see things as they truly are, through God's eyes...and therefore are able to truly love and learn and share their love with others. And it's through these living examples of love and trust and just being that one is capable of breaking through even the hardest of hearts that not even the most experienced professional counselor can do. This, is true beauty in my eyes. This, is how true love is developed. true. How seemingly small and fragile children are used to confound us "well-knowledged" and much more "experienced" adults is something powerfully life-teaching and deeply touching. I ask you this, what good is earthly wisdom and scholarly background filled with much experience and formulas of impressive words if we don't even know the basis of love? What good is all the information in the world if we don't know how to extend ourselves to others to truly help and nurture them? We tend to get so caught up in diagnosing everyone else's flaws and "weaknesses" (which I think are actually strengths waiting to metamorphose at the hand and timing of God) that we overlook the simple acts that can truly heal. Maybe if we took time to get to know someone, invest a little more in our "hello's" and "how are you's?" ..and maybe even dare to actually MEAN it when we ask that question at all, which has sadly become a thoughtless, reflexive short-hand form of communication done out of obligation more than concern of the other's well-being. Maybe we should take time to look at a person when they're talking, acknowledge their presence by simply giving a smile or nod, even when they're not talking. Maybe we should turn from our virtual lessons of research and tried-and-true methods of the trade and instead turn our hearts towards others' needs and hurts. Maybe, just maybe, we should take lessons from the little ones, and try giving a hug to a person where medicine or therapy has grown old, even where it hasn't.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Realizations of... Realizations

I watch my daughter as she grows, and learns, questions, explores..soaking up this great big world of newness in her toddler-sized eyes. She takes everything in with all her senses, which by the way she proudly shows she knows-ears, she points to them; eyes, she points to them; mouth she points to it with the added sound effects of smacking her lips together and making a popping sound; nose, she points to or up it....which sometimes then leads to a mini excavating adventure of the nostrils. And she revels in the joys of her new big self, more capable then the 6 pound 10 1/4 ounce being she used to be. And I think..."Where did the time go already?" I can recall her tinyness and fragility but almost only as though it was surreal, and the pictures I look through are like reminders that it really DID happen, that she really DID grow this much already. Wow...what an abundant amount of maturing and developing that this little precious one has been doing. Still, she teaches me as much as I try and teach her...and a new level of humility comes into the picture now as well, as I realize and have to accept that I don't have all the right moves as a new mommy, even if I were a mommy for a second, third, fourth time...I will not ever have ALL the right moves and answers, which is why I need to constantly and consciously point her to the One who does, and always will. But that humility, oh it is a sweet thing in the long run, that is something that will change me in an increasingly profound way. It can turn the most prideful, insecure mess into someone with such richness of character in wisdom and beauty. And who would have thought that this would be something that you are made aware of as you are watching your child and being entertained by her many triumphs and accomplishments? It is amazing, that the most seemingly unrelated topic and thought is connected to you studying your child. And this type of unexpected revelation and realization is yet another reason why I love of the many...

Learning about Love...

I know I've been MIA for a while. That would be due to the lack of time and having a kind of writer's block, though I don't know how that could be since I don't write much! Anyways, I've been thinking a lot about love. But not love in the Hollywood-ized, lovey-dovey, twisted up version. I mean real, to-the-core, unconditional and yet unfathomable love...that we can't fully even grasp but can definitely experience with the presence of God in our lives and hearts and the people He uses in our lives. And it isn't something that just "happens" is something that I am experiencing in a whole new way, a way that goes beyond hugs and cuddles, and even beyond that of my daughter...who God is using in my life to show me how to love unconditionally...and that is the kind of love that comes with having your very own child. This love is one that teaches as it grows, and it disciplines you yourself as you either choose or don't choose to base every action from it. I see how all-encompassing it is, within the realm of family. When one person is hurting, the rest are affected. And as Jesus says, if one member of the body is hurt and can't function right, the other members are affected, and it is up to them to then step in to reach out to the one in need. This is how it should be, this is how it is meant to be, within family (and of course with anyone who is in need-which I guess is pretty much everyone since we all need love) . I have seen how much I HAVEN'T done things in love towards another person. And since having my daughter my eyes have been opened a whole lot more, and I praise God for it.

Motherhood is indescribable, and I know I tend to use that word a lot, probably because when you find something indescribable....there are no other words to decribe it besides....INDESCRIBABLE! But it's a potent combination of care mixed with love mixed with compassion mixed with empathy, which can all be placed under the essence of love itself, though each has different times when they are individually exposed and exercised. Love is what grows us, and grows our children, and that is why it is so important to always act towards them in love, and that doesn't always mean "lovey -dovey" happy times, it also means firmness and times of disciplining. But see, that's the beauty of love, it is so beautifully ironic, contrasted in such a way that it makes it's cause stronger, because in the those times of firmness and disciplining and steering someone in the right direction even against their own will...the ending result is a stronger closeness and love that is developed in themselves, whether or not they realize it at the time. It teaches, it shares, it supports, it encourages, it comforts. Yet it also admonishes, disciplines, cautions, and is always completely and sometimes painfully honest. But with it all, love is made stronger, and the more it is used and practiced, the more beautiful and incredible and deep a relationship will be.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A non-materialistic view of Christmas Gifts

Hello All!
Long time no write, and I've missed it! I guess the busyness of the holidays plus the beautiful distraction of raising a toddler have been holding their places firmly :). Anyways...with Christmas time around the corner-my all time favorite holiday-it is a time when people feel more inclined to openly give thanks for the blessings in their lives. And I think that's one of the things I love most about it...everyone, not just the saint-like at heart, takes time out to say "thank you" more, to greet each other with holiday send out cards and other gifts to people they wouldn't normally do so with, and some go so far as to muster up the humbleness to talk to that person they may have been at odds with for a while. To others, this may give them reason to think of this holiday as a time full of meaningless fake acts of kindness "just because" me, it's an unconventional glimpse of how we as a human race should be...and could be. I love the fact that we can actually take time to put others first and give "just because"....even if only for a day. I love that our God-formed abilities to love, to care, to serve, are all revealed in this holiday manifestation of generosity. For a moment, we put aside the work schedule and appointment book, and turn our eyes towards humanity and what truly matters from the heart. Our vision is more focused in on those without, on giving to the needy, and on those we've distanced from due to the world's demands. And in this time, it is a beautiful thing to observe and be part of...perhaps even encouraging some to continue it throughout the year. It is a gift in itself, and a worlwide phenomenon that amazes me, as this flow of warmheartedness breaks boundaries and cultures and exceeds limits. This, is more than any retail sale item can put a number to.

And of course, in all this talk of holiday gifts and things to be thankful for.....I am incredibly thankful for my precious gift from the Lord. She is now 16 1/2 months old, and each day my heart leaps within (actually my body leaps outwardly too at times lol) at the joys of new things learned, concepts grasped. She is just so aware and observant and ...LOVABLE! And I am thankful for her, and for what she brings me, again a matter far beyond mere sales quotas and black friday door busters. She continues to show me new things and I love watching her step by step and witnessing each new development, that started out from infancy and has now matured into toddlerhood. The most beautiful thing is seeing the changes taking place , this tiny piece of creation forming her own ideas, likes, dislikes... beautiful, amazing. And I am thankful that we aren't limited to the superficial temporary "happiness" that comes from getting everything we want on our lists, because if that were the case... the season would have lost its true warmth long ago...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweetness in a Bitter-Sweet Lesson...

It's been a while...and lots of growing and learning and...yes TALKING...has been going on! Yay! My beautiful Lovey is now saying many words and phrases...from "Baby" to "oh man!" ....yes thats right..."Oh man!". It cracks me up everytime...and at the same time it teaches me about the awareness, and the studying that she is doing as she watches my lips form these great new noise-like creations called words. And she enthusiastically blurts out the sounds and phrases and knows she has accomplished something big by the reaction from me cheering for her and applauding her. And that look on her face that says she knows ..."Let me do it again Mommy thinks it's great!" . And it is. It is more than is fascinating. My Lovey has this unexplainable way of causing me to fall more in love with her every day...even when she is crazy squirmy and not letting me change her or dress her! And even when she is exploring up her nostrils and tooting in her diaper....things that we as adults are somewhat repulsed by are so incredibly adorable and lovable in the vessel of sweetness that is a child. The months are flooded with numerous achievements and discoveries, and while it seems I am just referring to my daughter here...I am referring just as much to myself. She is teaching me, as I teach her. As I watch her learn and grow, I am aware of the growth that has been happening in me--still undoubtedly continuing and always will be because, hey, I have a LOT to learn about Mommyhood! And while it's of course not as much as I would like it to be, it is enough that I can write about it here...growth. I have learned the invaluable lesson, for example, of taking in what everyone says without taking it all to heart. I have learned that everyone else doesn't always have the best answer for me and that...SURPRISE...I actually CAN decide things on my own when it comes to caring for MY wonderful daughter. But perhaps one of the most signifcant and hard-to-learn lessons for me has been...not to compare myself to others so adamantly, but instead to decide what's best for my daughter despite what the numerous articles and professionals and other mommies say works best for them....each child is an individual, each child is cared for best in a way tailored to their own unique needs and character. And while other advice is definitely appreciated and helpful to a good really is ok to not do EXACTLY what he or she says they impressive as it may seem. I realized looking back, that I have a tendency to treat advice like a religion in and of itself...trying to strictly adhere to the "do's" and "dont's" to the point that it kind of formed blinders over my own ability to use my motherly instincts. And that realization was good, because it showed me the need to stop. So now? Now I focus more on my own decisions and see what works best for my Lovey. Don't get me wrong, I still do enjoy learning of new ways of doing things and new products out there and still take in info and ask about things. That is always a healthy thing to do, to keep learning, but now I don't just drink up the information...I sip at it, see how it flows for my daughter and I, and take it from there. I am getting to know this mom called Tara...hey how about that? And ya know what? I may not be the best at cloth diapering (I got pretty discouraged about that) and I may not be the most babywearing mother of all babywearers, and that's completely alright (wait a minute, was that really me saying that??? did I just totally accept that I am not the best at something and NOT crawl up in a hole of self-pity or assign myself to my "bad mommy" corner??? hehe) ...but what I do is whatever I see as best for the care and support of my Lovey, my Jayliatta. And I'm embracing the fact that although I am not supermom I am MOM, and I am LOVING my daughter...Loving in a verb form...because loving involves actions, not mere feelings and words (though they have their place). And I can talk about this now, and share about it because I accept things the way they are and enjoy all there is about being is beautiful. And I guess, in fact, that my writing about this at all is the product of growth that has been taking place in me. It's freeing, it's relieving, and though I still have my times of going back to that, I remind myself that it's not about the doctors and columnists and authors....not about the other "wonderwomen" of moms out there...but it is all about my daughter and me as her Mom, and I want to be a wondermom for her...and, hey, maybe I already am in her eyes....

To all you other mommies out there who may struggle with similar issues.....turn inward, just for a little bit at least...enough to see for yourself what is best for your own situation, your own child or children. Don't get drowned by the flood of information-though much of it may be sincere and offered by very caring and well-meaning people-allow yourself to breathe...just you and your child. Watch each other, listen to each other, study each other's faces over and over and over again and bask in it all. Soak up one another, and love it and Love your child in verb form.....and allow God to guide your steps in it always. Everytime you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by what you "should" do or what you "could" do or what you messed up on (since the other moms didn't do it that way so after all you must have failed right??? Wrong.)...stop and turn away from the outside noise and inside insecurities...and turn to God...turn to prayer. And then thank Him for making you a Mommy to your unique, custom-made blessing...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Well, Lovey's birthday is officially past. She had such a great time it was an absolute blessing to watch her! I still can't believe the very tiny creation the Lord allowed me to birth into being last year is now walking and talking (in her own way of course) and venturing out to explore things from the basket of books in front of her to the rocks outside, to the very people she waves too and smiles at on her outings. She gets a real kick out of that too I must say. It's so beautiful and amazingly cute to watch her get all "googly eyed" and smiley at the smiles given back to her as she woo's other people with her giggles and shouts and smiles. My darling is growing, and I am embracing every moment of it, every word, every hug, every kiss-which I admit I am very persistent and excessive with...I probably annoy her at times but hey Im allowed to, I am a mom. In fact I am sure it was annoying just to hear that last statement :) . But seriously, there is something so therapeutic and calming, soothing if you will, in watching and simply observing your precious little child. No words. Just eyes, thoughts, quietness, as you watch and listen to her being introduced to the ways of the earth and all that is in it. Listening to and watching her boisterous response to the balloons that rustle as they float back and forth from her her attempt to talk back and let me know what she thinks of them, those shiny, intriguing packages of air that crunch when squeezed, that must be fascinating in her mind. And watching her as she takes each brave step closer to her destination...mustering up strength and confidence with each step, accumulating more of each as she draws closer and closer to that prized finish line of the mound of toys awaiting her arrival..."Almost there. Almost...there! I did it! Mom did ya see that???" And just looking in her eyes and telling her how beautiful she is, and "I love you" drifts over and over like waves out of my mouth...with high tides of playful kisses and raspberries....that usually results in goofy giggles she can't hold back. Then I am the one cooing over it.

These are what are I mean by therapeutic. They offer more than any man-made, over-analyzed study of quanititative/qualitative research producing sterile solutions to a matter that exceeds human "cures" to any form of distress. And that's the beauty of it, there is no concrete step by step instruction booklet to be applied to the joys of watching your child grow, there is only you, your child, God, and each moment...each moment to take in and swallow, to digest and reflect absorb like a sponge that doesn't dry out, because you are getting more and more of the wonderous experiences of growing and watching and growing and watching fed to you as times go. No scientific or psychological theory can be applied to that type of therapy. It is an intervention that comes all on its own, offers all on its own, relieves all on its own, heals all on its own...God-breathed.