You’re My Best Pizza

You’re My Best Pizza

Your yogurt smoothie is questionably balancing on top of your semi-truck, and it’s a matter of seconds before the whole concoction falls apart; and you’ll either belly laugh or face plant on the dirty rug in total despair.  My sock is on the mantle, chocolate is smeared all over your chair that I just washed; your pumpkin is strategically placed on your plate next to your snacks, and 9,000 colorful straws are currently decorating the floor. You just recovered from a meltdown because the dog ate the food you shoved at his nose.  

I stare into space, totally and completely overwhelmed, on the verge of losing my marbles- a statement you took so literally the other day that you actually started searching for marbles.  

You go scurrying through the house, a 2-year-old pantsless ball of energy, as I slowly rock your newborn baby brother.  You begin telling me a story, something about snakes, rocket ships, and peanut butter, and my mind shifts from all the (kind of hilarious) mess.  I start to think about how just weeks ago, you and I were just two best friends taking on the world together, inseparable.

Then I brought home your brother, a tiny and perfect little boy who I was immediately immensely in love with, just as I was you, when you were born.  But, to you he’s probably a screaming alien that just popped in and zapped 75% of my attention, and you’re still trying to figure out why the heck you love him.  And I let all the guilt creep in, watching you play alone for probably the first time ever, wondering if it’s possible to clone myself so that I can give you each 100% of me.

Eventually our day draws to an end, the sun goes down and the world is quiet and dark. I sit in silence feeding your brother, and just like I’ve always done, I replay our moments together in my mind.  

I loved today.

Today I was  “your best boy” and when I tried to explain that maybe I could be your “best girl” instead, you cried.  So today, I was your best boy.

Today I was your “best friend” and for months now you haven’t let 15 minutes go by without making sure I know.  

Today, you even told me that I’m your “best pizza”.   And that’s everything.

Today you loved me in the middle of all the mess, regardless of the lack of attention that I gave you.  You loved me when I gave you goldfish for breakfast, forgot to brush your teeth, made you wait 76 hours for your milk, and didn’t race around the hall with you like I said I would.  Today, just like yesterday, you loved me through my failures.

Thank you.

And for the record…you’re my best pizza too.  Forever.

 

The Day I Started Being Thankful for Breath

The Day I Started Being Thankful for Breath

I rocked my sick toddler in my arms.  He’d turned 2 just the day before.  

Suddenly his warm and peaceful body jolted forward gasping for air.  I stood up, panicked, trying to see his face, when he began violently seizing.  

I was completely alone this Saturday evening.  My husband’s brother was getting married, and we’d cancelled our ring bearer plans due to a strep diagnosis earlier in the day.  I’d opted to sit the wedding out and stay home to care for Finn.  As sudden chaos developed, my husband was in the middle of his brother’s wedding ceremony.

I held Finn for several seconds as his body shook, and I realized this wasn’t ending.  I laid him down on the rug and grabbed my phone to call 9-1-1.  I screamed my address to the dispatcher & again to the second person they connected me with.  By the time I was repeating my address for the 4th time, I could hardly find any breath, but was somehow yelling hysterically.

Finn lay on the floor continuously shaking.  Spit began to fill his mouth, his normally bright pink lips started losing color, and the only person I had there with me was a stranger on the other end of the line.  I have no experience with seizures, other than a very small febrile seizure Finn had almost a year prior that lasted less than 10 seconds- so I had no idea what was life-threatening and what was normal (So in other words don’t judge my level of panic).  But here I was watching my tiny son shake endlessly, with blue lips and glazed eyes.  I hovered over him, helpless, waiting desperately for the seizure to end, knowing I could do nothing.  After several long minutes his head rolled to the side, the seizing slowed, and only his left arm twitched every few seconds.  I thought at this moment, genuinely, that I was watching life leave his little body.  A panic unlike anything I’d ever felt flooded through me and everything in me silently screamed “NO!”  

And I begged God in that moment for this not to be happening.   My eyes moved to the site of blue lips and I begged for a single breath.  A million thoughts ran through my mind in a matter of seconds, and I hoped more than anything that I wouldn’t have to be the one responsible for bringing breath back into my son’s lungs.  “What if I failed?  What if I can’t do this?” my mind raced as I was so certain I was watching the process of life ending.

I laid my hand on his chest.  There was breath.  And then another, and another, and another.  Continuous and steady, there was breath.  

And after every breath, I begged anxiously for another.  And with every breath relief filled me.  Every time there was a break in his rhythm of breathing, fear welled up inside me until again I would feel a breath.  

I was unable to wake him up, but there was breath.

For over 20 minutes after the seizure I waited, alone, leaning over Finn, rubbing his hair and counting each breath, desperate and afraid.  Never had I wanted something so badly, than for my son to just breathe.

Roughly 30 minutes into the whole ordeal, a sheriff and EMTs arrived.  We got Finn to the hospital, and I was able to get ahold of my husband and other family who met us there.  

Although we are awaiting an MRI and EEG to double check everything, the doctor feels sure this was again a febrile seizure caused by a sudden spike in fever.

For over a week I have thought nonstop of this event.  When we finally got home from the hospital, Finn fell asleep on our bed and I held him around his little toddler belly and all I could do was focus on his breath.  

I realized how uncertain and terrifying those 30 minutes were, and how much I truly didn’t know from one second to the next if another breath would come. For 30 minutes I sat and begged for one thing: breath.  And here we were late into the night and I had breath still, and Finn had breath still, and we lay side by side breathing.  Alive.  Ok.

And every day since then I have watched Finn breathe.  I have become aware of my own breath and I have become thankful for the breath that gives life to all of the people that I hold so close.

There’s something so important about just noticing that you’re breathing, I’ve learned.  To me, it’s an unavoidable thankfulness, a total focus on the fact of being alive here and now.  

As with any traumatic experience, there’s usually a shift in outlook or mindset.  These events shake us and change us and depending on the outcome of these events we either tend to have a temporary change or maybe we create a new way of living under new circumstances.  I am forever thankful that nothing permanent changed this terrifying Saturday evening.  But I hope that as the raw emotions wear off and my mind slowly stops replaying the event, that I will not lose this newfound love of breath.  

I hope that months and years from now amidst the craziness of children and messes and life, that I will stop to be thankful for the breath that fills my lungs and the precious lungs of those I love.  And that I’ll let the frustrations of every-day life melt away as I focus on the gift of breath- even if for just one small  moment a day.

I wonder what could change if I lived my entire life thankful for breath?

The Big Life

The Big Life

Finn will be two in exactly a month, and if ever there was a stage I wish I could freeze in time and keep forever, it would be this one.  I think I’ve said that with almost every stage thus far, and honestly even on teething days and tantrum days I’ve only retracted that wish a couple of times; but never once did I mean it.  I seriously want to freeze him.

Let me tell you about our big life as of late.

Finn’s trucks are “big cool”, and sometimes after one too many intentional crashes, they’re “big broke”.  Even the smallest trucks are “big, big trucks”.  His eyes get all big, his sweet voice gets deep, and he drags out the “big” as long as he can.

The best part is that he even renamed Mama and Daddy to “Big Mama” and “Big Daddy”.  Fortunately he doesn’t always call us that, sometimes I’m just “Mama, hey Mama” and Daddy is “Daddy, daddy da-daddy, daddyyyyy”.

When we go on our walks, weather permitting, we rock hunt and even the tiniest pebbles are “big rocks”.  Today, he did decide to carry an actual big rock along with us, claiming he is “big strong”.  I ended up carrying it the majority of the way home.  I tried multiple times to sneak it back to the side of the road, but I guess not much gets by an almost-two-year old.  One time recently, he was eating the last leftover muffin from the previous morning, and began begging for more.  I lied to him and told him we didn’t have any more muffins, because I didn’t feel like making more muffins.  I found him 5 minutes later holding the box of uncooked muffins he’d found in the pantry- eating the cardboard!  Mom of the year.

Anyways, back to our big life.  Staying home with my toddler is everything my heart could ever want right now, but it’s about as structured of a lifestyle as a pile of noodles.  I try to take in this phase, the phase before school schedules and sports and running multiple kids to multiple places.  But, because of the lack of structure and schedule I often lay down at the end of the day and as exhausted as I may be, I feel like I accomplished nothing.

This is why I love Finn’s reminder.  You see, in his little blue eyes, from his little 3 foot vantage point, everything is so big.  And by big I think he means amazing.  I’ve learned he uses the word ‘big’ more like a term of endearment, which means even pebbles are amazing to him.  How cute is that?

So when I plop down at the end of the night tonight with my toddler squishing his cheek on mine, I’ll remind myself that this fluid life right now is anything but unaccomplished. It’s BIG.   These every day moments of crashing trucks and collecting rocks, of racing around the halls, and using our hands for airplanes- they are everything.

ISO: Edible Coffee Beans

ISO: Edible Coffee Beans

I have a newborn toddler.

He is changing day by day, and doing everything fun and funny and keeping me entertained and on my toes at all times.  But something hasn’t changed, and that’s the fact that his sleeping patterns still seem to resemble that of a newborn.  The child won’t sleep.

I know, I know, probably everyone has a “go-to” book that they’ve read and it worked miracles for their child.  I have tried a lot of things and most recently I thought I was onto something miraculous- a peanut butter sandwich immediately before bed.  He slept through the night twice with this remedy, but last night proved that this remedy is no miracle either.   

So, as of the last 3 months or so, here’s a typical night:  I put Finn to bed, and I pray hard over him that he will be safe and healthy, and really really really sleepy all night long.  Then I go to bed.  Then I wake back up usually around 1:00 in the morning to screaming blaring over my monitor.  At some point, whether it’s after hours of letting him cry, or immediately scooping him out of his crib upon his first whimper, he ends up in bed with me.   

Every time I put him in our bed, I think “Ok, now I can sleep”.  But here’s where the real issue is.  Finn refuses to sleep anywhere but on top of me, and he prefers my head.  He squirms and whines until he is laying just perfectly on my face, then sleeps like a little angel baby.  His legs straddle my neck, and my carotids are squished, and I’m certain I’m only receiving 25% of the normal blood flow to my brain.  I wonder sometimes, if I fall asleep like this (which is almost impossible), will I ever wake up?  I take my chances, and so far I keep waking up.  Over and over.  

Then somewhere around 6:30 we wake up for the day.  Finn is usually fussing, because he is exhausted from trying to sleep on my head.  I stumble zombie-like to the coffee pot, Finn screaming in my ear, and stare at the steam as it rises to the ceiling, trying to focus on the sanity it provides.  The morning diva in me always wishes the coffee brewed faster.  Mornings are not my forte.  

All of this explanation, and my point is this: I don’t need mom advice, but I do really need someone to find me some super delicious edible coffee beans. I’ll hide them under my pillow, and at the first sign of Finn’s waking I’ll eat them all.  My eyes won’t have to be open and my feet won’t have to stumble their way to the coffee pot.  

I’ll be a much better mom in the mornings.  

**Featured image: Joannarobertson.com &&& depicts nothing of real life, but I can’t photograph myself pre-caffeine.  I refuse.

 

The Bright Yellow, Mysterious Mushroom

The Bright Yellow, Mysterious Mushroom

I walked outside yesterday morning, the sky was a pastel blue and glowing with pink and orange.  A light fog filled the air, the blades of grass all wet with morning dew.  I figured I had but two minutes before my little babe woke up, so I stood and breathed in the serene of the morning.  

That’s when I noticed, in one of my potted plants on my porch, a bright yellow mushroom.  It was perfectly shaped, sprouting from the dirt, full grown and in full bloom.  

It hadn’t been there when I went to bed the previous night, so I immediately thought it was some strange and mysterious phenomenon, and sort of pretty in it’s own mushroom type of way.  I called my husband outside to look.  He responded something along the lines of “yep, a mushroom.”  

Eh.

But I stood amazed by this bright yellow mushroom.  I grabbed my camera, and took a picture.  Then grabbed my pen and notebook and wrote down:

  1. Bright yellow, mysterious mushroom.

Then the crying began, and I went to get my boy.  The day began.

But in the back of my mind the mushroom remained.  I recently began reading Ann Voskamp’s “A Thousand Gifts”, which,  in a nutshell (so far), is her journey towards living a life of real gratitude.  In it entails a never-ending search for God’s beauty and grace and gifts; and thus a list of it all.  

(*The book is much much deeper, but I won’t go into more detail for those who want to read it.)

Anyways, this book is nothing short of perfect timing, as this season of life has been full of uncertainty and sometimes fear for me.  It’s been a season where I’ve found it easier to focus on the “what ifs” rather than all of the goodness that God breathes into His world.  I’ve been living blind to beauty.

So I too, began this journey of searching.  From little toddler hands, to sunsets, to an old man smiling at a dinner table, to a yellow mushroom, I’m trying to become present- always searching for reminders of all the good.  By doing this my mind slowly moves further from negativity and closer to a live of thanksgiving and peace and joy and all that is good.  Closer to a life with God.  

So I thought about this mushroom for a whole two days.

You see, when I went to bed last night, the mushroom was already dead.  What was a bright and vibrant little thing, was now a dull, tan, dead slump of a fungus.  And I realized that had I not been intentional in looking for God’s beauty, for the little things, I may have never noticed or cared about the mushroom.  Turns out, I only had one day to notice- the mushroom was only there for one day.

My hope is simply this: that I will learn to look daily.  That I will look every day so that I don’t miss the yellow mushrooms scattered beautifully throughout this world.