I realized last night as Nora was reading a chapter book in front of me that she is old enough now to read my words here. Words that I have faithfully written since before she was a reality. I have been writing on this blog for 7 years and wrote in an online journal for 2 years prior. I have chronicled our lives for a very long time; through good and bad, ups and downs, heartache, joy, pain, suffering, sadness, loss, trial, triumph. I have written about life, death, loss, gains, my faith, my views, my friendships and love. I have written delicately and intimately about the lives of my children and the day to day activities that unfolded in our crazy home. I have noted here every detail of Mabel's journey. I did all of that with an authenticity that I thought would be important for my children to better understand their mother one day. Here, I have written some of my deepest thoughts, some of my wildest dreams. I am so thankful that I took the time to do that because my memory doesn't serve me well in the past couple of years and without this place, I would easily forget so many sweet and important parts of not only their lives but also of me.
Of who I am.
With all that I have written here and with all the changes that have occurred in our lives, I see that I, too, have changed.
I no longer think the same way about many things. I no longer find value in the things that I once did. I no longer feel the need to describe and articulate or even defend my every idea of every little thing. Over the past 20 months I took a step back and have only written here the things that I find most important. I write when I have time; I no longer necessarily carve out the time in my day to do so. It has freed me up in so many ways, emotionally and literally.
I am a writer, absolutely, at the core of who I am. But still, with everything I have and will continue to write there are just a few things that I hope my children can clearly see when reading my words one day.
I hope that they see hope.
Not a hope rooted in self, others, or this world but a hope that goes so far beyond any of that; so far that we can't even begin to understand it, and we aren't meant to. A hope that is plentiful, rich, and satisfying. A hope that after this place we will meet a Maker who is just, fair and righteous. One who promises to take the very ugly and painful things of this life and redeem them with beautiful, majestic things in another if we only believe in Him.
That hope, above all else, is who I am.
It makes me.
I hope that they see strength.
Strength also rooted in a belief that I don't have to be strong, there is a God who will be that for me. He empowers me. He raises me up. He lifts me and supplies me with all that I need in order to endure this life. That kind of strength is one that this world doesn't quite understand. They question and ponder and wonder but it is really quite simple. That strength is purposed in all of us. I have chosen to tap into it, and live in it.
I hope that when my children come here to read the words of their mother that they see beauty.
Beauty in everything.
In the summer sun and winter sparkle, in coffee and kittens paws. Pumpkins and crackling leaves, van dances and sisters singing. Colored tights and high heels, red lipstick and a favorite book. Beauty in giving, in nurturing, in contemplating and questioning. Beauty in heartache and beauty in contentment. Beauty in clean sheets and drool soaked shoulders. Beauty in wheelchairs and glasses, long hair or short. Beauty in long walks, stroller rides and little scooters on a side street with new friends. Beauty in uncle's hugs and puppy kisses. Beauty in nanny's house and poopaw's truck, in Uncle Mike's garden and neighbor's porches. Beauty on cold days and warm nights, in tank tops or snowsuits. Beauty in glowing trees and flying butterflies, nature and all things colorful. I hope they see beauty in big white houses or quaint little ones. I hope they see beauty in elderly faces, or the touch of a hand, in buttons, in afghans, in alleyways, big cities and everywhere in between.
Because I do.
I see beauty everywhere in everything.
And that's important.
I hope that they see laughter.
I hope the see raw, true emotion.
I hope they see determination.
I hope they see ambition and sadness, and depth and humility.
I hope they see that friends are sometimes your family.
They show up on Saturday mornings unexpectedly with breakfast and Dr. Pepper only to find you trembling and shaking on the kitchen floor. They wrap you tightly in their arms and wipe your tears. They swaddle your babies and file your children out the door. They love you unconditionally through the muck and the chaos. I hope that my children see the value of these friendships and the meaning of it all because that matters, almost more than anything else.
Kids, when you read this, please know that one of the things I value the most about my life are the people in it. They have walked with me through the hardest, darkest, most unimaginable days and I'm positive we haven't seen the worst yet. They have been committed to me. They filled our home when it was very empty and because of them, I have never felt alone. If ever I am not here with you for any reason, or if you feel alone, please turn to one of these women, my village, and know that they are the closest thing to me. Wrap yourselves in their arms and let them hug you. Let it feel like me. Their hearts match my heart. Their love for you is intentional. They will not leave you.
I hope when my children read my words that they see independence.
Character. Depth. Truth.
Because here's the thing-changing how you feel about something, or someone; having different views and ideas than you once did, learning from your mistakes and starting over...
none of that makes you someone dishonest and it definitely doesn't make you less genuine. It just makes you human. It means you are evolving.
Kids, I am not the same woman that I was when I married your dad. I am not the same woman I was 5 years ago. And I am definitely not the same woman I was 20 months ago.
I have changed and that is ok. It is part of my life, part of my story and part of me.
The core of who I am remains the same but the rest of it is very much different.
Life and it's circumstances constantly mold us and hopefully help us in becoming a better version of ourselves. So far, I feel like life has done that for me which is why I am so grateful for every path I've been on. It's been directed by God and it's landed me here.
I'm so thankful.
I hope that when my kids read here that they can see love.
I used to have an idea about love that was unrealistic. It made sense in my head but it was limited by words and definitions and it definitely had boundaries. I look back at my idea of love and I'm ashamed of it in many ways. It was so very limited, whether by my spiritual views, my ethical ideas, my age, my life experience or probably by all of those things. Regardless it was incredibly naïve and immature and ultimately very sad.
it was no less love.
The love that I felt at any given time in my life toward any person or any thing was so deeply true that I didn't question or think about it. It was simply love.
The Bible says God is Love. Because my relationship with God has evolved over time, so have my ideas surrounding love. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that when I was giving love or receiving love, that's all I was doing. I was just loving. And that's all we are really called to do. We aren't supposed to question it, define it, box it in, give it limitations, expect perfection. We are simply supposed to give it. And receive it. And be thankful for the ability to do both.
I hope that when coming here my kids will see family.
They will be bombarded with memories of our family as it once was. A time when their mommy and daddy were married and happy. Or a time when I was happy, because after all I am the author here and I can and should only speak for myself. They will read of experiences we had together, of their birth stories, all of their first big holidays and birthdays. They will read about our family as it once was and I am so grateful. Because all of that happened. It was true and real and for a very long time it was oh so good.
But, kids, as you are reading here you may grow confused by my writing. There will inevitably be a gap between a time when we were a happy family to a time when your dad no longer lived with us and everything was very different. I took a break from writing during that time because I needed to focus only on being your mommy. I needed time to dive deeply through a lot of emotions and I needed to come out of it all ok. In doing so, I learned a lot about love and I learned a lot about family.
The two things that are most important for you to read here today are this-
You can always love again.
Family is what you make it.
We have both.
We have love and we have an amazing family.
We have love and we have an amazing family.
Nora and Braden,
When you do start to read my words here I hope more than anything you see my devotion and love for you. You are my entire life, my reason for living. I was created to be your mom. It is hard, and it is so much work but it is incredibly worth it. You are both the light of my life. I am so proud of you. Your hearts, your love, your hope, your faith, your minds, your interests, your passions. I am incredibly grateful to be your mommy and I hope that you will always know how very much you're loved. How every decision in this life was made with you in mind. How every move I make is with the heart in my chest beating wildly for you.
And please, Nora, read this to your sister. She may not understand but she sure can hear. She would love this story, I just know it.