I should be in bed. I went to bed, I rested my head on my pillow and then it began.
I am confident. I am smart. These truths can be intimidating. It has been at the root of broken friendships and relationships. However, people are often shocked when they learn that I am incredibly insecure. I am lonely. I am depressed. I have thought on more than one occasion that it would be better for everyone around me if I didn’t exist. I feel like I bring pain to those around me on a regular basis.
I have struggled with insecurities and self hatred for as long as I can remember. From appearance to not meeting other people’s expectations, I have beat myself up brutally. I care so deeply about how other people feel about me that I begin to let their words define me. I soak it in like a sponge. When something happens that confirms that “truth” I pack it away to remind me that I am indeed a failure.
I’m not sure what image you have when you think of someone who is depressed. Maybe someone who sleeps a lot? Maybe someone who is really quiet? I work, I run errands, I play with my kids, I tend to my husband, but in the quiet moments, I fall apart. I start to wring out the sponge of “truths” and mentally beat myself up for being such an amazing loser.
I have gone to church my entire life. I think people expect church-goers to be perfect. Obviously, if you believe in Jesus, you have everything figured out, right??? I believe in Jesus because I believe in his Forgiveness and Grace. I believe we make mistakes and I’m thankful for his Mercy....and if He hasn’t given up on me yet, I’m pretty sure He’s in for the long haul.
I often “preach” that people should tell their story because you never know what your story can mean to others. I haven’t really openly shared my story and as I write it I’m still thinking “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” but since it is suicide prevention month, I figured I should put my story out there. Depression is very real. It feels very tangible to me and I am completely in its web.
I know that there are people that don’t understand depression. Once you let the “d” word out of the bag it is almost like they start packing bags. Their minds cannot wrap around the idea that someone ponder death. I am certainly not condoning the behavior. I HATE that I think about it. I don’t want to think about it. I want to be active and happy in everything I do and trust me, I work REALLY hard at doing it. I want to be a positive role model for my girls. I don’t want them to ever feel like they aren’t good enough, so I wake up every day and TRY.
If you have a loved one that is depressed, don’t expect them to be over it quickly. Don’t expect medication to do a magic trick with their thoughts. It’s a long, painful process.
I think it is important that we encourage one another. It’s amazing the power words have, both positively and negatively. So, my plea to anyone who is reading this, don’t wait another minute, let someone know that you appreciate them, that you love them. You just never know what demon they might be up against. Your words of love could be what gets them through another day.
I am home alone. (funny that as I wrote that I felt like I should put my hands on my face and scream AAAAAHHHHHH)
Anywho....Since I am now uterus free, I'm using the quiet time in the house to be lazy. I'm not sure I will ever have this kind of excuse again, so I might as well use it right? The problem is, in this peaceful, quiet, home I'm finding that I sure miss my little nuggets that make this house so incredibly loud! I was looking back at pictures in my phone and found that we have had an incredible summer. I definitely got a little blog lazy and posted most of my pictures via Facebook...but we have been busy bees! Rode rides at San Diego Fair, decorated the house for 4th of July with flags, shopped, attended birthday parties, met Hello Kitty, performed headstands in our empty "old" home, got face paintings done for the first time, visited orange county fair, got new big girl beds, lots and lots of dinners and bbq's with friends, celebrated Brian's birthday with gourmet food trucks, horse racing and stone brewery, went swimming in pools and ocean, concerts in the park, first haircuts and numerous hours spent in our backyard playing playing playing!
There have been several moments this summer that I look at my beautiful girls and think, wow! they are changing. Their height, their faces, their attitudes (sometimes for the worst, sometimes for the best). The girls have found such a solid friendship with each other. It's so neat to hear them call for the other to join them in whatever activity they are playing.
In the past couple of weeks while I've been healing, I have found that my little family has so much love for each other. My poor girls witnessed me get sick a couple of times, but what I love about it is how they watched Brian come to my aide. They became very observant of anything he did for me. Their favorite thing was when they watched him help me down/up a couple of stairs. Emily started to feel like it should be her responsibility to help me up the stairs. Anytime there was any type of step up, she would come offer her hand to help me. Kinley would ask all kinds of questions. "why daddy close your door, is it because of yous boo-boos?" "you need help up stairs mama? I hold yous hand okay mama?" "yous sick mama? because of yous boo-boos mama?" There's been an awful lot to this healing that I didn't realize would be so difficult, but I think the absolute worst is not being able to hold them or snuggle them. I can't be the mom I want to be with them right now, but I have been so blessed and overwhelmed by their love and their concern for me.
This summer has kind of had it all. From lots of fun to deeply rooted family love. I am blessed beyond measure.
Brian and I moved into our home four years ago as a family of three. Emily was almost five months old when we first moved in. She wasn't crawling yet...just sitting, giggling and babbling. Obviously, she grew up. She learned to crawl, to pull herself up, to walk, to eat solids, to dance, to swim. Her first friends visited her in this home. She sang "Jesus loves me" to my belly when I was pregnant with Kinley. She became a big sister and then she helped Kinley learn to crawl, to pull herself up, to walk, to eat solids, to dance and to swim.
So, here we are less than one week remaining in this home and I am recalling every sweet and precious memory that we have shared together in this home. I know that our new adventure will be just as full of incredible stories, but in this moment, I'm thinking of the first time Emily fed Kinley a bottle. In this moment, I'm thinking of the times that Kinley looked out the window and called out to the neighborhood boy and said hi. In this moment I'm thinking of our bedtime prayers and songs sung together.
I have always enjoyed change. I love learning new areas. I look forward to family trips to the beach on the weekends. I envision our children playing in the backyard (since we don't have anything but a street to play on right now). I picture going through lots of band-aids and giving lots of snuggles from boo-boos. I imagine cook-outs. I see the girls having dance parties. I see fun.
Although our family has grown together here, I know that this is not where it stops. Even though I am a little nervous to leave the safety of my current comfort zone, I am ready for the new adventure.
When I was about six or seven (i think) I was swimming in the ocean in Florida. A wave crashed over me and I got lost in the middle of it. All I could hear was the sound of the waves rushing over me. I couldn't catch a breath, I couldn't even scream. I flailed my arms and legs trying to find the ground and panic ensued. I was more than scared. I was petrified. I thought I was going to die. Thankfully, a man came to my rescue and pulled me out. He calmly pulled me out of the water asked me if I was okay and walked away. To this day I can vividly recall the fear that took over my body. As I sit here typing it out my heart is beating faster and my body temperature has gone up a few notches. I feel a lump in my throat and my eyes want to well up with tears.
When I graduated high school, my family and I went to Hawaii. I remember lying on the beach looking out at the ocean and thinking it can't be that scary. I was sure I could go back into the water. So, I did. I swam out as far as I could. I was captivated by the beauty of the clear waters. I could see everything underneath me, but somehow my foot lightly touched some coral and it sent me into a panic attack. My dad who was swimming near me came close. Honestly, I don't really remember what happened in those few moments except for sheer anxiety. I grabbed tightly to his shoulders and screamed in fear. I remember a lady asking my dad if everything was okay and he just calmly said, "she's gonna be fine, I have her."
I have had dreams recently about the ocean. I have heard that water in dreams represent change. I don't know if it is true, but what I do know is that I believe my family is about to embark on change. I am not exactly sure of the journey, but I know that we are gonna be stretched over the next few months. Any of you who know me well know that my brain doesn't turn off too easily. I'm always thinking and I almost always have some sort of song playing in my head. I have no idea why my thoughts often play in songs, but they do. Over the weekend there have been four sentences from four different songs that keep playing in my head at different times.
"I will remain when everything changes"
"Your love is deeper than my view of grace, higher than this worldly place, longer than this road I traveled, wider than the gap you filled."
"Many waters cannot quench your love, rivers cannot overwhelm it. Oceans of fear cannot conceal your love for me"
"My faith is like shifting sand, turned by every wave, my faith is like shifting sand so I'll stand on grace."
I find it interesting that the songs flooding my mind are centered around change, grace and water. Although I still have a pretty healthy fear of getting into the ocean, I find myself at peace when I stare off into the ocean. There's something soothing to my soul about watching the waves crash onto the shore and making the sand look "new" with every receding wave from the shore. The past two days I have had the opportunity to sit at the beach. To watch the ocean. To remember the fear. To remember the feeling of my dad telling me he had me.
I'm scared. I hate the unknown.
When I saw the picture of Kinley (at top) that I took on Saturday, I couldn't help but associate it with how I'm feeling. She was so cute about the ocean. She ran right out to it, but once she realized it came up to her she ran back toward me. She then slowly moved forward and put one foot in, then the second. She turned around and looked at me (wishing now that I was camera ready) because she had the biggest "I DID IT" look on her face. Smiling ear to ear she ran to me and said, "ocean mommy, ocean!"
I'm hopeful that at the end of this journey, I too will look back with a smile on my face and realize that I DID IT too!
Kinley continues to amaze me as she grows up. So many things are changing. Her vocabulary and sentence structure is really fun. Her attention to detail like knowing what things belong to certain people, where something was when she last saw it etc...amazes me. The latest and greatest is potty training.
We've talked about the potty a lot. We've had the "little girl potty" in the kids' bathroom for months. One day when I picked her up from daycare she told me she wanted to go potty....and...she did! Since then she has pretty much gone potty except for naps and nighttime and I couldn't be more thrilled. She's doing so great! My baby is growing up. Although I don't want her to grow up too quickly, I look forward to the idea of no diapers or pull ups! Whoo hoo!
My sweet, funny, curious, baby turned two on Friday. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE birthdays. I may have terrified Kinley a bit when she woke up on Friday with my birthday cheers, but by the end of the weekend, she loved telling anyone who would listen that it was her birthday.
Friday night we started out with family at Chuck E. Cheese. Grandma and Papa, Uncle Cory and Auntie Holly, Auntie Kristi and cousins Haley and Lexi joined us in the fun. Before I knew it we had spent almost THREE hours there! We had so much fun. So many giggles, smiles, and just altogether good fun.
Although it looks like she is giving her baby CPR, she was just giving lots of kisses to her new baby over and over. She loves the handmade blanket my mom made her babies too.
On Saturday morning we met up at the park with our friends Mark, Jaime, Elliot, Addilyn, Laura, Tommy and Sara. The kids played and we all baked in the sun! Kinley rode her first tire swing and seemed to really enjoy it. She spent a lot of time in the sand too.
After naps we headed to dinner and Dairy queen for a little birthday treat.
Sunday we headed to church and then straight to Disneyland for some fun with Joe, Alisha, Oliver and Henry. Henry and Kinley are just two days apart in their birth and it was such a fun day celebrating both of their lives. Alisha and I have such a kindred connection for sharing pregnancy, child rearing etc...together with each child.
Trying to pull out the sword...
Emily and Oliver have had such a special connection since birth. I don't know what it is about those two, but it's pretty fun to watch her with him when I know just how shy she is. Oliver cares so much about her too and it just warms my heart. (Yeah, I know that they are only four.....)
I just love this picture of Henry and Kinley. There is cake sitting in front of them, but they look like they are just getting carried away in conversation. It's precious.
My little tired bug. I asked her if she wanted to ride a ride or if she wanted to lay down. She told me lay down and she was asleep in less than two minutes. Poor girl. We just had too much fun all weekend.
It is two days away from Christmas....figured I should get something up about Thanksgiving! My parents generously took our family on a Disney cruise for Thanksgiving and it was truly magical. I have never experienced so much emotion watching my kids experience something so special. Now granted, my kids hide their happiness (I have no idea why, truly drives me bonkers), but I know the certain looks in their eyes when they are captivated. Emily can have the grumpiest look on her face, but if I see the look in her eye and the way she holds her mouth, I can tell when it's fake, so I spent a lot of time saying, "Don't you dare smile, don't you dare have any fun" and she would bust up laughing. It was a great family vacation, one that I really hope I get to do again. It was amazing.
These pictures loaded out of order and I just don't have the time to fix it---so here it goes...
My mom and dad joined me and Brian for a kid-free dinner. I have no idea if the food was as good as I think it was or if it was just that I didn't have to give my attention to the kids. The two hour dinners proved to be quite difficult for my little ones. Anyway, this dinner was scrumptious!
Thanksgiving night. We came "home" and had a turkey on our bed. Tinkerbell held tightly to her Mickey with the turkey close by.
Just got to Cabo San Lucas and Kinley loved being on the top deck looking out at the "land"
Oh man, looking at this picture makes me tear up. My mom is such an in the moment kind of lady. This picture was taken right after a very "magical" dinner at Animators Palate. The restaurant is all black and white and by the end of the dinner everything is in color. They surprised the guests with Mickey coming out and it just hit my mom. Everything she had been planning for---to provide a family vacation full of surprise----well, surprised her. She was truly captivated and teared up. This picture is so precious to me.
My little princesses....
My Mickey/Minnie wearing girls.
Hilarious face on Kinley....They put all of these napkin hats on the girls during the character breakfast.
AARGH----Emily as a pirate
Kinley modeling for Disney Wonder. Puerta Vallarta behind her
The kids had VERY LATE curfews each night. I'm pretty sure this was 11:30 pm and we had just received our room service. Emily was always hungry when getting out of kids club. Thankfully she just wanted crackers and cheese.
Jerry and Sally (my in-laws) took us on an incredible Christmas cruise when Emily was one year old. The boat in the background is the Carnival Spirit. We ran (not literally) into it a couple of times while cruising and Emily knew that was the ship she was on "as a baby" so I had to get a picture of her with it.
First day----Emily and Kinley couldn't get enough of the porthole. Every time we were in the room, this is pretty much what they looked like. They just loved looking out.