Last night, I went to check on Bailey.... I do most nights when I randomly wake up at all times during the night. So at 2 AM I peeked into her bedroom. But unlike other nights, I sat next to her bed on the floor and watched her sleep for a while. During the day, she is a whirlwind. She never sits still for long, and even when she is sitting, she isn’t still.
Tonight, there was something about her face I couldn’t make myself walk away from, and it took me a few minutes to figure it out. I could see baby Bailey in her face tonight. Something about her expression and the way she was laying, she just didn’t look like her normal three-year-old self. She looked younger.
And any parent knows, your kid looking YOUNGER than they actually are is a rarity. Older, sure! But not younger.
So, I sat and I watched her. And I thought about how when she was a baby I was always so excited about the next milestone, wondering when she would crawl, walk, talk, and on and on. I thought about how it used to just be the two of us during the day, and how much time we would spend cuddling on the couch or playing peek-a-boo.
I thought about how heartbroken I was to go back to work. I remember about much I worried about leaving her...scared of even missing one moment with her....scared of leaving her period.....and I remember how much she absolutely didn't care that I left her that first day because she had Pawpaw and Mawmaw there to dote on her every move.
I realized that at some point I have stopped looking forward to milestones. I am still delighted by them when they happen... But milestones make me sad, too.
Because I know that tomorrow I will wake up and both of my babies will be a day older. I will have one day less of them being babies in my future, and one day more of their lives will be in the past.
My sweet girl has grown and changed so much in the three short years I’ve had the privilege of being her mommy. And Khristian's milestones are coming quicker than I can keep up with.
As I sat by her bed and watched her sleep so peacefully, I think about our world today. About 9/11. About Paris. About refugees and suicide bombers. About school shooting and theatre bombings. About what we as Americans are facing in our country today. She knows nothing of hatred and cruelty. She knows nothing of this world and the evil that lies beyond our front door.
I think back to a couple night ago when she runs into my bedroom claiming that there is a monster in her bedroom....In my mind, I can her wide eyes looking up at me in panic believing that I can keep her safe from anything. I scooped her up into a big hug and smoothed her hair...reassuring her that there was no such thing as monsters. I picked her up and sat her on my bed....put some cartoons on to occupy her mind and headed to her room. The monster turned out to be a spider that had crawled under her bed....and despite being completely creeped out by this tiny 8 legged demon spawn....I killed it and became the hero she believes me to be.
So last night as I sat by her bed and watched her chest rise and fall, her soft curls sweep across her forehead and her tiny hands that wrap around my neck every morning in a hug.....how do I tell this beautiful angel that monsters do exist in our world? They aren't big and scary....with razor sharp teeth. They look just like me and you....nice and put together....but what makes them a monster lies within. There is a inconceivable evil that I can't even begin to explain to her...and it terrifies me. It terrifies me for both of my children. No matter how much she looks at me as the hero....I can't protect her from the monsters of the world.
So last night, I sat by her bed and let all the sweet memories play through my head....and soaked up her innocence in that moment. And then, just before I got up off the floor, I kissed her nose, right between her eyes....and I prayed. Because in a world where I am terrified of what my children will face on a daily basis....of what our country will face on a daily basis....praying is the only thing that makes sense. Our country needs to fall on its knees and remember what it was founded on.
I stood up kissed her again and she snuggled deeper into her pillow and smiled in her sleep, and my heart melted.... So I kissed her again. She frowned and rolled away from me with a little huff…and I had to stifle a laugh, because even in her sleep she is a sassy little thing.
Before I closed her door behind me, I looked at her one last time and smiled......She had snuggled back into her pillow and was still.....I looked down the hallway into Khristans room...and he was snuggled into his pillow as well.....I was reminded to hold onto the precious moments of stillness. For in a couple of hours the sun will rise, the day will begin....and they will be a day older.
I hope your view of your Mother is that of a strong, confident woman who has stubbornly shown you how women can achieve whatever they want to. This is not a letter to you about feminism, or equality, or anything else socially or politically driven, sometimes I think those things put an added pressure on us all, men, women, adult and child alike.
Instead, this is a letter to you to tell you that although I hope to be a strong role model throughout your life, sometimes I am weak. Hopefully I keep that from you and you will grow to be confident and self assured, but also kind, and compassionate. But you should know there are some days when I am, frankly, an emotionally mess. I have worked my way from a single teenage mom, who was a waitress and begged to work every free hour she had to take care of your brother..... to working in a office environment as a Secretary for the last 8 years. I take pride in knowing that I have never been handed anything in my life...I have worked and worked hard for everything that we have.
As I sit here and type this, I find myself in a gray area again. I don't know which way my life is going. Change is in the air. I am searching for another job....and to some that seems so trivial to worry about...but for me, Its a shake up in the foundation that I have worked so hard to lay for our family for so many years. I do not have a college degree. I do not have much experience in many fields....and I do not qualify for many of the jobs available on the market. I feel like I am once again back to square 1...wondering where this wind of change will take me.
This pressure sometimes gets to me. I know what I am good at. I know what I am passionate about....but I also know that although I love these things, it will not give me the security I need to raise you and your brother and afford me with the benefits I need to take care of myself in the future.
Your dad and I are very lucky, we get to spend a lot of time with you even when we are working. I was hired at my current job because of my knowledge, experience and based on merit. My worries are based on my own insecurities. While I work my full time job, I also have a part time job. That is where my passion truly lies. In helping people....In seeing their eyes light up with absolute joy of realizing they can do the impossible. And while I am off making this dream of mine come true....your grandparents are a God send. You see, I have had so many people that have helped in this area of my life. I will never be able to repay the gratitude I feel for these family members and friends. They know who they are. I am beyond blessed that you have such a close relationships with your Grandparents and other close family members that live near by. Do I still feel guilty for the efforts your Grandparents need to make so we can thrive in our chosen work fields? Yes of course I do, I can only hope they know how appreciated it is and how much of a difference it makes. It has enabled us to get where we are and carry on providing you and your brother with a certain quality of life. Do I still feel the pressure of our heavy workload? Of course, but I count my lucky stars that we have the opportunities that we do.
So which side is the lie? Is the happy highlights a myth? Or is the self doubt, struggles and hard work the illusion? The truth is, they’re both my reality. The self doubt sometimes keeps me grounded. The precious moments I share on social media keep me motivated and the struggles remind me it’s all worth it.
The definition of a strong, confident person does not mean one that never doubts themselves, it doesn’t mean someone who never has a bad day or find their choices difficult. Strength is often found most in the hardest times. Someone who has constant success or continual highs has no need for strength. Someone who has never had bad times, has never needed to overcome them. As your Mother, I will fight to my last breath to keep you safe and give you and your brother as idyllic a childhood as I can but the truth is, as you grow up, the lows will be just as important as your highs for getting you where you need to be.
So I hope the view of your Mother is that of a strong and confident woman. I will be sure to tell you about each and every person that has helped me along...... But for you, my highlights reel will be accompanied by at least a sneak peek of the backstage pass, the parts you can learn from, the bits that could give you strength. The struggles that so many like to keep hidden. I'm sure there will be some days when you will feel weak, when you will question if you are making the right decisions, you will probably even have seasons in life where change blows in like a hurricane; in those days I want you walk the course with a understanding that you are not walking that path alone....that your mother has often felt that way in so many steps of life. But she wasn't a quitter and neither are you. So my beautiful girl, in your weakest days, remember that you are strong. In your most insecure days, remember that you are confident. Remember these things when you can’t remember why you’re doing whatever your doing, and know that through all of it, you are unquestionably, and unchangingly loved.
I am a artistic soul that loves music, art, and anything in between. Readling a good book is the best, and I always get sad when it ends... I love shoes, watermelon jolly ranchers, and the beach..I tend to speak before I think..but there is always a truth to what I say! I have a 9 year old son that brings out everything that is best and worst in me..Sometimes when I look at him its like I'm looking in a mirror..Being his mother is my greatest accomplishment... I have been married to my best friend for 6 years..He truly amazes me everyday..I am not perfect and I love learning about myself day to day..some good and some bad...but all in all..I kinda like me.. :)