Desperation

March 18, 2011

Sometimes, it’s the little things that reminds me of the HUGE-ness of being a mom.  The other night, during Max’s bath, him and Gabe managed to soak the ENTIRE bathroom.  Honestly, this is normal, and they always have so much fun playing in there, that we really don’t discourage it.  Gabe isn’t in the bath with Max, but he might as well be!  By the time the water is draining, Gabe’s clothes are soaked and his glasses are dripping.

That night while Chad was getting Max out of the tub, I was helping Gabe mop up the floor with his bath towel.  Then I had him put both his and Max’s towel in the laundry.  We then shuffled both of them into pj’s, got their teeth brushed and sent them off to bed.  Before I headed downstairs, I stopped by the bathroom for a potty break (thanks pregnancy for making this my #1 pass time). I looked over and noticed both of the empty hooks so I got out fresh towels for the boys.  And it hit me.  If I didn’t get a towel out for Max, he would  never get one.  If I didn’t bathe him, he would never be clean.  If I didn’t change his diaper, he would never get a new, fresh diaper.  Max’s depth of dependence on me overtook me in that moment.  Although this wasn’t the first time I had realized this truth, I was paralyzed by the bigness of this yet again.

Gabe is a slightly different story.  I honestly think that if he were left to fend for himself, he would take showers and brush his teeth.  Chad and I were just noticing the other night how Gabe has NEVER slept through his 6:30am alarm- he doesn’t even lay there for a few minutes… it goes off, he hits it, and jumps out of bed, making his way straight to the shower.  This eight year old could take care of himself.  But he is dependent on us for meals, a roof over his head, and safety… for some reason, he can’t remember to look both ways before he crosses a street without a reminder!  He is also dependent on us emotionally.  He needs to talk and he needs someone to listen and respond- Gabe doesn’t do alone time for more than an hour- and that’s only when I “make” him go read for an hour.

God blessed us with these boys- and really there are times when I just think my skin is going to pop open because of all the love in my chest.  But He also made them dependent on me- needing me- learning from me- growing because of me. How humbling.  How huge.  The magnitude of the parenting role is so much that these words I’m fumbling and bumbling around for- I have the power to make or break these kids.  What a responsibility.  Thank goodness there is a big God leading the way.  I pray I’m attentive to His leading- I pray for Christ in me.

The other day, while praying in a small group, my friend Courtney prayed “God, despite all these blessings, we are desperate for you”.  That statement has wrecked me- in a good way- this week.  Despite all these blessings, despite me being wired to be a mom, despite the joy I find in mothering, despite the gratitude and gratefulness Chad and I have for these boys– we need God.  We are nothing, and can do nothing, a part from him.


And Baby Makes Four

March 17, 2011

A friend from church passed on this article to me, and it’s a must-read for mommies!  I’m attaching it here- but I can’t find a link for it- they’re all protected.  But it’s from Mothering.com and the author is Natalia Swenson Parker– check it out below!  Anyway, it’s all about adding baby #2 to your brode, and luckily I read it after Jack was already growing or else I may have decided that Max was enough.  I read the article one morning, over my coffee, and then promptly walked into the kitchen, BAWLING like a baby, and tried to tell Chad why we couldn’t have Jack.  Being the wise one that he is, he gently explained that it was too late and could I please stop blubbering long enough to explain what was going on.

To summarize, the article is GREAT!  But it is realistic too, and the fact of the matter is that when you go from one baby to two, then hello, baby number one doesn’t really get the attention they got before.  It talks about greiving that “loss” but also you’re so excited that you have a new baby that you  just love and adore, and so then enters guilt.  (This is on top of the lovely hormones and irrational behaviors that accompany a new baby).  Oh my goodness, I just wasn’t ready for all of this.  And what about Max?

Needless to say, women have been having more then one child forEVER and as a child with two brothers, it was NOT a big deal- it was actually great- and not just was, it is.  And my mom had enough love, and time, that we all made it out alive.  Add that in to the fact that Gabe was 6 when we had Max- so for 6 years was THE center of the universe in MANY different houses, and although he has less attention since Max, they have so much darn stinkin love for each other, that he was over it in about .05 seconds.  (Gabe is smart enough to TRY and play the “I feel left out” card, but we remind him of the 3894574389 people that love him and stop their lives for him every time he has a boo boo, or a performance at school, or a soccer game, and he quickly hides that card back in his pocket, waiting for the next time that it might work….) So I’m sure the same is true of the budding Bowman clan, we’ll be fine, we’ll survive, there will be love and cuddles and bonding, despite the chaos, but could you really expect me to be reasonable and rational at a time like this?

So all you seasoned moms, who have grown multiple children in your womb, what do I need to know?  What are some tricks of the trade?  Will I ever sleep again?  How do I nurse with a 22 month old running around?  How do I make sure Max still gets attention?  And that he loves his brother?  And that he knows that I love him something crazy?  And will Jack feel left out?  Or will it just be how it is for him?  Anything you got, I want to hear it!

Thanks for suffering through that emotional breakdown with me… and I’m sure this is just one of those Parenting Builds Character things!


A Hollow Shell

February 8, 2011

Well, I thought when I blogged last week, that I was coming back from the dead- but it was a total fake out.  On Wednesday night, Max and I were awake all night– until 6:44am to be exact.  I’m not sure if it was just the sickness or his drugs too, but the baby just cried all night.  Considering that I, too, was sick, I just didn’t have the energy for a marathon night like that.  But Chad was out of town, so I had no options.  I’d get him to sleep and it would last for 5-7 minutes, before he would wake back up screaming.  I tried to be patient– but before long, I got to the end of me and just started crying right along with him.  At about 3am, I called Chad sobbing so hard, that I’m pretty sure he couldn’t understand a word I said for at least the first 5 minutes.  He offered to come home, but being that he was several hours away, that just didn’t make sense, so I had to just keep on keeping on.  I thought about putting Max in the car and driving- but I was so tired and spent that I decided we would probably end up in a ditch and that would be horrible.

So he fell asleep at 6:44am and I followed after him, give or take 30 seconds.  And by 9:30, he was up again.  Horaah.  So I held Max as he cried all day, attempted to work, and also lysoled and cloroxed everything in our house.  I washed every blanket, every towel, all the sheets and sprayed the couch and pillows.  I wanted these germs out of my house.

By Thursday night, I was anxious for Chad to get home and the best news of all was that my mom was flying into town.  The following day was baby day, finding out if we had a little man or a little princess.  My mom was coming for the appointment and then we had plans to do baby things and nursery things, depending on the results.  Unfortunately, by the time she landed, I was dying all over again.  I was not healed, I was definitely still sick.

Thursday night, no sleep– but this can’t be blamed on Max– oh no, I just stayed awake ALL night coughing.  And seeing that I’m pregnant, I can take NOTHING– all I could do was suffer.  I repeated this same fun on Friday, although Chad was back home, so I stayed awake all night on the couch this time.  By Saturday and Sunday nights, I was back in my bed, Chad was kicked out to another room, though.  I’d just doze off, then go into a raging coughing fit that included a hot flash and a trip to the bathroom.  Then I’d have to blow my nose, apply lotion on the poor thing (by this point, I was on my 5th box of tissues) and once again, build my pillow castle that would properly elevate me for sleeping, despite the congestion and cough.  Again, I’d just start to doze off, and I’d circle back through the fun- over and over and over.  I watched each hour on the clock tick by for 5 nights in a row. FIVE.  And then I began to lose my mind.  I found myself dreading the sun setting, taking that long walk to my room and praying praying praying that God would show me a way to sleep– but instead I wrestled and coughed and went mad!

Instead of a fun weekend with my mom, she had to take care of me and watch me sulk on the couch and try to shield herself from my germs.  She cooked us food- lots and lots of food- which was a good thing considering how many days it had been since I’d gone to the grocery store– or even eaten for that matter.  And seeing that Max was sick too, he was SUPER high maintenance and needy, so Granny Annie to the rescue!  She held him, coddled him, changed him, rocked him, and fed him.  And I sat.

Then yesterday, after we dropped Annie at the airport, I attempted to take Max by the office for one little thing the required the copy machine and could not be done at home.  But he was not done being sick.  Oh no!  He cried and acted a fool and caused a ruckus until I was so embarrassed that I wasn’t sure how I could get my keys out of my office and get him to the car fast enough. Early evening, I had a horrendous fight with my husband and ended the night with a trip to Wal-mart at midnight, as I finally decided that drugs would be better for the baby then a mom that went crazy.  Despite the doctor’s orders and google, I went and stood in front  of the cold and flu medicine aisle and just prayed that God would give me wisdom about what to purchase– I picked a cough syrup that didn’t have alcohol in it and just prayed for peace of mind.  I’m not a medicine taker anyway, even when I’m not pregnant, but enough was enough.  I needed sleep, I needed relieve, and I needed rest.

The medicine worked- I slept for about 6 hours before waking up to puke my guts out– I think my body didn’t like the meds after all- but they did allow me to sleep before rejecting it, so I think it was worth it– throwing up and all.

If you’re wondering what this long rant is all about- it’s really not just to complain. And obviously, I don’t need to document the horrible flu as I don’t ever want to remember that this happened- but I think there’s something to be said about reaching the end of yourself- about looking in a mirror and seeing a hollow shell of a person- about realizing that there is absolutely nothing left.  I think it points to my depravity.  It reminds me that life is fleeting.  It reminds me that I’m not made for this world or the germs in it. It reminds me that all I need it God.


A Heavy Heart

October 13, 2010

Do you ever just get overwhelmed with sadness?  I’m just heavy right now.  And none of the stories are mine- and none of them are touching me directly- but somehow, they all seem to affect my soul.

Leslie Evans:  A young lady my age, married a man with 3 children, 2 years after his wife/ their mother had died from Breast cancer.  Shortly after getting married, they discovered they were pregnant, WITH twins.  They were elated.  But then she went into labor early, and the twins were born at about 21 weeks, and did not live.  Shortly after giving birth, Leslie went into cardiac arrest.  She was down for 17 minutes before they could revive.  Leslie passed away October 7, 2010.

I have been following her blog, reading her story, watching videos of her life, and I cannot put into words the hurt in my chest.  I’ve been praying for this family I don’t know, and asking God to bring them peace.  I don’t understand why He allowed this man to lose 2 wives, and these children to lose 2 mom’s.  I don’t understand why her body couldn’t carry the babies full term, and why the water had to break early.  I don’t understand why these parents lost their daughter, and a brother lost his sister.  And that’s not even touching on the friends that lost, too.  Honestly, I just can’t make any sense of it.  And I don’t know her.

(A blog about her:  http://lesliejoyevans.blogspot.com/)  (Very worth starting at the beginning)

Lila:  My co-worker, Cherie, has a 3 year old niece who went to the doctor on Monday for a cough, and was sent straight to Children’s Healthcare for Leukemia.  This little girl will start chemo tomorrow that will last for the next 2 years.  And Lila’s mom, who lost her own mother to cancer, has to watch her baby, lay in a bed, while chemicals fill her body in order to fight this nasty disease.  Meanwhile, Lila’s father also has a type of inoperable brain cancer, that will eventually take his life, although he doesn’t have any effects/ problems with it now.

I’ve got to say, I just don’t understand this either.  As a mom, my insides scream upon hearing this story.  When Cherie told me about this yesterday, I cried, and as I type about it today, I still cry.  When it comes to Leukemia, she has the “good kind” but parents take their kids to the doctor for strep- not leukemia.  And I can not imagine how powerless and helpless it must feel, to be a parent, watching something like this.  Again, I don’t understand.

Kate McRae:  I have been following this little girl’s story for over a year.  Right before she was supposed to start kindergarden, Kate was diagnosed with brain cancer. They were able to remove a portion of the tumor, but due to location, couldn’t get all of it.  This little girl has been going through new treatments to try to beat this malignant cancer.  Her parent’s faith and prayers are edifying and real.  You can hear hurt in her mother’s typing, yet total reliance on God.  Again, parents with no control, nothing they can do to change the situation, and at this point, they just wait to see if the treatment worked.  They go back periodically for MRI’s and other tests hoping to hear that the tumor hasn’t grown, but expecting/ dreading the worst.  All they can do is wait.

Her prayer blog:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate

** These are by no means all the stories about stuff like this, I totally understand that– these are just the ones on my heart and mind right now.

Stuff like this makes me just want to put my people in a bubble to protect them.  It makes me want to use my time to write them love notes, and kiss them all over.  I mean what if?

But chances are, this won’t happen to us.  And I’m pretty sure that trying to explain to God that I was too crippled by what might’ve happened to actually discipline my kids or train them, or too worried about what could’ve happened to love my neighbors and serve my husband, and too consumed with fear to spread the Good News, wouldn’t be a good conversation to have with the Creator of the Universe, and a God that willingly gave his perfect son’s life for my sin, so that I could spend eternity with Him.

I am not one to question God, and this is not to say that understand everything.  I do NOT.  But that is because He is God and I am not- and I don’t have to understand everything- I just have to trust him.  But if I’m honest, that’s not always easy.  I know He’s BIG and I know He’s LOVE and I know He’s FORGIVING.  So tonight, I just pray that have the courage to be the wife, mom, friend, co-worker, daughter, sister, etc that God has called me to be, and that I’ll surrender control to the only ONE who deserves, God. Tonight I am casting other people’s burdens on Him- to God be the glory, forever, amen!


A Pick Me Up

July 29, 2010

I’ve listened to this song a MILLION times today and I just thought I’d share:


A Bounty of “Great” Ideas

June 14, 2010

It took a lot of effort but I did get to read a book while at the beach.  The book I read is called “Rattled” by Christine Coppa- as in Cop + pa, not like Copacabana, the song.  She made a point of making that clear in the book 🙂  Anyway, it was her real story about getting pregnant before she was married, her boyfriend bails, and she decides to keep the baby.  It was really good- and I enjoyed it- especially because I was pregnant semi-recently and thought some of her explanations of “the phenomenal things” that happen to the pregnant body were really funny.  And I like her because she’s tough, and she’s a fighter, and she took responsibility for her actions.

But have you ever noticed how books can be a bad influence on you?  I use the word “bad” loosely.

After reading this book, I had a streak of “I am Woman, Hear me Roar”.  It was our last day at the beach, and Chad had gone to play golf.  It was also National Donut Day- which considering my LOVE/ ADORATION/ OBSESSION with donuts, this day make the top 3 on my list of holidays– only after Christmas and my Birthday.  I celebrate my birthday all month long- I have a birth month- and I eat donuts as often as necessary throughout my month.  And Christmas is the celebration of the birth of my Savior– and donuts just really can’t compare to that.  So, it’s my 3rd favorite holiday.

So back to National Donut Day… with Chad gone, and I was “roaring”, I got Gabe dressed, loaded Max in his stroller, put on a long, cotton maxi-dress, and we began walking to Dandee Donuts to celebrate.

The problem: it was 1.9 miles away- one way- including a walk over the inter-coastal waterway, in the direct sun, with temps already reaching 90 degrees.  We got about a 4th of the way there and Gabe’s legs started hurting… it was “no fair” that Max got to ride in the stroller… sweat beads started dripped from my leg pits, and all of a sudden, my floor length BLACK dress, although sleeveless, didn’t seem like a great idea.  I tried to talk Gabe into McDonald’s instead, but I’ve trained him well and he would NOT settle for anything but donuts.  So I kept being “Woman” and roaring (and sweating)… and dragging my poor innocent sons with me, and we made it- eventually.  Unfortunately, we had to traipse back, after breakfast.  That was really awful!  I had to bribe Gabe with an after breakfast popsicle if he made it to our Condo.  All because of a book?!

And this is NOT the first time this has happened!  I’ve mentioned my broken engagement a couple times and one particularly good example of a book being a bad influence surrounds that story…. a couple months after calling it quits, I remember stumbling upon a book, “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge, that we had been reading for marriage counseling. “He” had read it first then passed it to me- I hadn’t even started when we called it quits, so it just found a home on my bookshelves.  I eventually started to pick it up again, late one night, and found scribbles down the sides, from him, of all the deficits I had as a woman, and that my Dad had instilled in me.

My blood started boiling as I remembered conversations with “him” trying to turn me against my Dad, and now I was holding his ammo in my hands.  What a creep!  SO I skimmed through the rest of the book, finding all of his snide comments and it was obvious what I needed to do.  I had a battle to fight (if you’re read the book, then you know what I’m talking about) and I needed to make it right.  I pulled on some clothes, and hopped in my car.

My plan?  Well I still had a key to his house, so I could drive over, walk in his apartment, walk in his room, and get in at least 2 good punches to his face before he woke up enough to defend himself.  I was certain that it would work flawlessly.  And by all means, make me feel better.  (I had never been the violent type, but this seemed like the ideal time to become one.) Praise the Lord for his Spirit that lives inside of me and reminded me that it probably wasn’t a good idea for me, a staff person at our Church, working with students, to end up in jail for beating up an ex.  And now, several years later, I realize I wouldn’t really want to explain that to my kids on day either.  But I was one heck of a warrior in my head!

After reading Karen Kingsbury books, I’m always super emotional and SO in love.  After reading girlie love books, I look for extra “romance” from Chad.  If you know Chad, then you know this is funny, because he doesn’t do romance and somehow manages to make every potential romantic situation into a comedy.  He can actually make any situation into a comedy- but that’s neither here nor there. The list goes on, but my point is that books- most of which aren’t even real, give me these “great ideas”- like throwing a HUGE party, bashing someone’s face in, being romantic, accomplishing some great un-accomplishable task, being mother of the year, etc….

Does this ever happen to you?  Am I the only psychopathic freakazoid out there? (self-diagnosed)


A Sinful Nature

April 21, 2010

If you’ve ever questioned whether we, as people, really have a sinful nature, then my guess is that you haven’t spent much time with children.  Max in his measly first 8 months of life has already shown his strong will and selfishness. Several times.  I like to call it other things- you know, cute things or shrug it off as him being a baby, but the truth is that before long we will be working to teach him right from wrong, shape his heart, and even disciplining him 😦

According to the Bible, the fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. But my sweet, adorable, precious baby, in all his infinite 35 weeks of life’s wisdom, struggles with some of those already.

Let me say that patience is something I struggle with and managed to pass along to my son rather quickly.  Max already likes to demonstrate that it’s his way or the highway and you will HEAR about it if he doesn’t get his way.  (His Dad keeps saying “We need to nip this in the bud right now”- and I agree… except that I think we’ll be “working” on this one for the next 18 years or so…. give or take.) And although he isn’t quite old enough for play dates at this point, his interaction with other babies/ toddlers is quite entertaining as he has decided that sharing isn’t something he wants to be associated with.

Yes, Max does have a big brother, but for a good portion of the time, while Gabe is at his mom’s house, Max is an only child and also has many of the characteristics of “first child syndrome”.  I, too, have that syndrome- and can honestly say that in Max, I have met my match!  I love it and hate it all at the same time, but I look forward to me and him learning to be more like Jesus together, so that we both can possess the characteristics of Christ.

On Monday, my friend Jill‘s sister was having her 4th baby, so Hudson, Jill’s son came to our house to hang out for a while. Max loves watching older kids, and really enjoyed following Hudson around with his eyes and watching his every move.  (I was hoping that this would encourage Max to crawl, so he could keep up, but no such luck.) Hudson is 21 months old and a smart kid. He also loves being outside, so I got the key and opened the back door to our fenced in yard so that he could come and go while Max and I followed him around.  Hudson did some chores before coming back inside:

Once outside time was over, I locked the door and took the key out.  Immediately Hudson wanted the key, so I handed it to him.  He carried it around, and even held it while he ate his yogurt. (The key is in the big glop of yogurt on his tray.)

He played lock the door for a while before coming over to peek on Max.  He really liked “Beebe Makt” and would bring him things to play with.

Hudson, being the sweet boy that he is, then decided to climb up in the chair with Max.  And then the chaos ensued.  See for yourself:

Hudson: "Hey Max, check out this key"

Max: "Oh cool, can I snatch it out of your hand?"

Hudson: "No thanks, I'd like to keep playing with it- there's still some yogurt that needs to be licked off."

(INSERT HUGE TEMPER TANTRUM HERE)

Max continued to lose his mind, and almost threw himself off the couch and onto the floor.  I tried to distract him with every means possible- but I didn’t give him the key.  Everything finally calmed down, for a time, and then Max was diverted to nap time.

I look at these pictures and laugh.  Which is the main reason I’m sharing this.  I even laughed yesterday as it was happening. Watching the meltdown was humorous for sure. But in the back of my mind, I’m well aware of what’s lurking for me right around the corner…. a decisive and determined toddler which only leads to the invincible teenager.  And I tell you what, I’m gonna need me a big huge dose of Jesus, if we both want to come out alive. Unfortunately, sin is something that we will face for the rest of our time here on earth- and the flesh is weak.  But fortunately, Jesus conquered it all, already.  So now, it’s up to me to abide in Him and model that for my beautiful blue-eyed punkin head. I mean let’s be honest- God already took sin, Satan, and temptation and squished it like a bug.  Now, in the words of UNK, let’s walk it out.

I have no idea where that came from- but I think certain unedited portions of the blog are necessary for you to fully understand my brain (and sympathize with my husband).

NOTE:

** Without getting into a theological discussion I want to point out that I believe the Bible makes it very clear that each individual person has to choose to accept Jesus as their Savior, and believe in the Truth of the Gospel, and that it isn’t until that point that we receive the Holy Spirit, through which we gain access to fruits of the Spirit. With that being true, Max obviously is not capable of receiving Christ and submitting to His Lordship, and therefore does not have access to the fruits of the Spirit. He IS a baby for crying out loud. But he does indeed already have a sinful nature about him, and he is mess for sure!)