Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 1209: I Forgot To Mention The Joy

I was so intent on figuring out my troubling feelings last week, I failed to share with you all of the great things that have been going on.

Sweet P, Little M, and Baby B did not fly back home with us last Monday.  Instead, they rode with HH's family to stay with his parents for the rest of the week.  While I missed them quite a bit--even more than I anticipated, it was such a great time for us.

From a strictly practical stand point, it was really nice to only have half of the unpacking and laundry to take care of.  It gave me quite a bit more free time to begin getting caught up on life again after being gone for 2 1/2 weeks.

But, more than that, it was such a nice week for HH and I.  An unexpected extended celebration of our 10th Anniversary.  We enjoyed having uninterrupted dinner conversations (as long as we kept Darling A well fed, of course.  Other wise she is quite loud about making her needs known).  Our evenings were so relaxed with no lessons, practices, or children refusing to go to/stay in bed.  We went for a bike ride one night and a run another morning.  We went out to dinner and got some needed shopping done. And mostly, we just talked.  And talked and talked.  And laughed.

One thing I really love about our relationship is how much fun we have together.  No matter what we're doing.  Even re-staining the deck was made enjoyable by the mere fact that we did the work together.

Then HH drove about 7 hours to meet his dad to pick up the kids on Sunday.  And then I think another 7 or 8 back home.  And as he crawled into bed a little after midnight he said, "I'd do that every week, in order to have the great week we had last week."

I married an amazing man.  And, perhaps, the most amazing thing is that he loves me that much.

How did I ever manage to win the heart of this incredible man?  Because, believe me, he could have had any girl he wanted.  Except this one girl, Jessica.  But, that's a whole different story.  And something must have been seriously wrong with her to think she should pick his roommate over him... 

Did I mention how much HH loves me?

It's probably because I do things like that.  :)

Anyway, it's been good to have the kids home the past two days.  I was expecting things to go a lot worse.  But, they haven't been nearly as grumpy and ornery as I'd have expected from three young children returning home after 3 weeks of partying, playing, and staying up late.  I mean, there have been some issues, but for the most part, they've been pretty good.

Tonight we went miniature golfing to try and soak up as much fun during these last couple weeks of summer as we can.

We didn't get any good photos.  But, I love Sweet P's stance in this one.

They definitely inherited my athletic skills.

Anyway, it was chaotic with all of them there.  We only lost one ball in the water.  And it might have been my fault.  Fortunately, it was Darling A's ball.  Baby B wandered all over and pretty much did his own thing.  Sweet P did a lot more sliding and scooting with the ball than actually hitting it.  And Little M definitely got in the most strokes, not even waiting for the ball to stop rolling before smacking it again with all of his might.

HH and I laughed.  A lot.

That's what we do.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 1208: A Perfect Brightness of Hope

First off, I just want to say that I hope I didn't offend anyone with my last post.  I am well aware that I have been infinitely blessed four times over.  I don't want to come across as ungrateful for the four beautiful children I have and the gift of being able to bear and raise them.  I don't want to seem insensitive to those that have not had that opportunity at all.  I know that I am truly blessed and I am grateful.

That being said, I've been thinking a lot about all of this and trying to figure out just what exactly I'm so sad about.  And I think what it mainly comes down to is just that I don't feel I had much of a choice in the matter.  While I do feel that HH and I would both be happy to welcome more children into our family, I don't necessarily feel that our family is incomplete.  Meaning, I'm not sure we would have more children of our own even if we could.

But, I would go about coming to that conclusion in an entirely different way than the way we did.

The truth of the matter is, however, that the decision has been made and it is time to stop mourning it and to move forward.

Yesterday morning in my scripture study I cam across this verse in The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31: 20, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life."

And I knew that I was meant to read that scripture at that moment.  It is time for me to "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope..."  Because hope is the natural result of faith.  And I have faith that I am following God's will for me.  And I know that He is leading me down the path of happiness.  So, I resolved yesterday morning to press on with faith and with hope... as best as I could.

Sometimes the sadness would creep up and I could remind it that I was moving on.  Other times, it overwhelmed me and I cried.  But, I think that is the way it goes when grieving over a loss.

This morning I was up early to attend Boot Camp--painful after a three week hiatus.  But, it woke me up and cleared my head.  So, when I returned home I was able to have a more focused scripture study and at the end I came across this quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Twelve Apostles,

"Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better... My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need.  There is help.  There is happiness.... Don't you quit.  You keep walking.  You keep trying.... It will be all right in the end.  Trust God and believe in good things to come.... Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ they come."

I love Elder Holland.  And that message was precisely the one I needed today.  Amazing how that all works out.  It felt like he was talking directly to me, to my troubled heart, at this moment.

I'm pretty sure this is one of those things that won't come until heaven.  But, you know what?  That's okay.  Because I have so many blessings right here and now.  I have a beautiful life and it is more than enough.  So, I'm choosing to let go of my grief so I can embrace the joy before me and be fully present for the children I am blessed with right now.

So, I wrote myself a letter, as suggested by my therapist.  Addressed to My Sad Self.  A little bit silly, but I couldn't think who else to address it to.  I wrote to myself of all the little things I will miss--mainly about newborn babies.  And acknowledged the sadness and the loss.  But, then I told myself the things I've written here.  That it is time to move forward with faith and with hope.  To be happy in the here and now.  And to look forward with hope as well, for the time when my loss will be made whole.

Because I know that it will be.

And today, finally, that is enough.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 1207: Baby Blues

Hi.  My name is Cheryl.  I used to be a really faithful blogger.  Then I sort of lost focus and pretty much fell off the wagon.

And I'm not here to make any promises of future consistency.

So, if you're still a reader, thanks.  If not, I really don't blame you.

This post is definitely more for me than anything else.

Long before Darling A was conceived, we knew she would be our last.  Being pregnant just involves too high of a risk for my mental state.  And the rest of the family suffers as a result, as well.  Initially, I found great peace and comfort in this knowledge.  Getting pregnant every 2-3 years has definitely made it challenging for me to find any sort of stability because the hormones have such an intense detrimental effect.  And hormones during breast feeding are only minimally better.

So, the prospect of being able to just kind of normalize all of that was a happy one.  HH and I both knew it was the right decision and had a lot of peace.

Not to mention optimism.  I can tell that I do better as a mom of older children than small.  Not being constantly sleep-deprived and worn out will remove one of my main triggers for depression.  I can really getting into my training and participate in more races, which is something I find a lot of joy in.  There are a lot of freedoms lost during pregnancy and then with a small infant that I can regain.

And so, we took steps to make sure that we don't have to worry about me getting pregnant ever again.  Birth control messes with my hormones and emotional state as well, so that was not an option.

And then one morning when Darling A was maybe two months old I woke up and thought about how amazing it is to create a life and then to watch that life grow and develop and my heart hurt so bad at the realization that I will not ever have that.

I poured my heart out in prayer and was immediately reminded of the peace I had felt when we made our decision and why it was really a good thing and that I had initially been relieved and even a little bit excited to be ending this chapter of my life.  And then I was assured that all things will be made right.  And that any loss I perceive in this life will be made whole in the life to come.  And I knew in that moment, and I still do, that we had done the right thing.  That this really is what is best.  And that I will be happier as a result.  Along with the rest of my family.

I still felt some loss and sadness, but I felt that that was normal and I was okay with it.  It mostly stayed in the background and I was certain it would fade.

But, it didn't.  About three months before Darling A's first birthday, it began growing and growing.  Until it turned into a dark cloud constantly hanging over me.  When anyone mentioned how big she was getting or her approaching birthday, I got a little snappy and had to really check myself.  No one meant any offense by this.  Even though it is so sweet and special and fun to watch her grow, I have been sad with every milestone achieved.  And I truly feel that my heart is broken.

I love being a mom.  I love being pregnant (besides that it really brings out my crazy and makes me and everyone else miserable--a strange but true paradox).  And I love love love my babies.  I question whether or not I could handle any more children.  But, I do know that I would love them.

This was the topic at today's therapy session.  I just kept telling him how sad I am about it all.  And I cried.  For the first time.  We have discussed some truly horrible things in there, but this is what finally broke me.  I am so sad about it all.

But at the same time, I just want to be rid of the grief.  I know we made the right decision.  I know I will be a better and happier person for it.  I know it will benefit my family.  I know that so much good will come from it.  And I'm a little annoyed with myself for hanging on.

But, I'm just having a really hard time letting go.  My therapist suggested that maybe a part of me is afraid of letting go of the sadness.  I think maybe he is right.  But, I know I need to because it is dragging me down.  Away from what is otherwise a pretty incredible life.

I just wish I could snap my fingers and make it disappear.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 1206: Too Many Posts

Today really deserves to be divided into at least three posts.  Maybe even four.

But, I'm tired and it's late and I'm just waiting for a load of laundry to finish.

I know it's been a while since I posted.  We are on vacation and I was busy busy busy getting everything ready for this trip.  It's sort of epic.  My oldest three kids will be gone a little over three weeks total when all is said and done.

Thankfully, I'll be home before that.

Right now, it's me and the four kids.  No HH.

Which is more than a little rough.

We're visiting my family and I love it.  The kids are in heaven and my parents are spoiling all of us.  And helping out a ton.

But, I underestimated just how little sleep I'd be getting with Darling A being quite restless at night.

And I severely underestimated how challenging Baby B would be.  My house is Baby B proofed.  And I don't go many places with him, but without HH.

It has been so stressful because every time he wanders off (every 3 minutes), I have to jump up and hunt him down to make sure he wasn't getting into/breaking/destroying anything.  I only partially succeeded.  This happens on occasion at our home, but it's a lot worse at someone else's.  He broke the screen on a door at my aunt's house.  He broke my parents' ladder ball set.

And who knows what else that we haven't discovered yet?

And that's with me keeping close tabs on him!


This wasn't even supposed to be part of today's post.

I'm just struggling.  I knew I would some.  But, I thought/hoped I'd be doing better than this.

I just need my HH.

Today was our 10th Anniversary.  Nothing like being apart to drive home just how much I love and need him.  And he was so sweet and had flowers delivered to me here.  They are beautiful.  And even from the same florist who did our wedding flowers.  I'm sure he did that intentionally... :)

We spent the first half of our day with my mom in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I wanted the kids to see so many buildings and sites that are significant to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There were a lot of good moments.

And a lot of really bad.  I got mad.  And upset.  And how I treat my children is always one of the surest indicators of my emotional state.  So, I feel bad.  And I'm worried, because this vacation isn't even halfway through!

Fortunately, we all survived and I'm hopeful that there was enough good in the outing that it will be a positive memory for them.

We got home and I hurried to get ready to go sailing with my dad.  He bought a boat a couple of years ago, but it has never worked for me to go sailing with him, for one reason or another.  We finally made it happen and I am so glad!  Sailing with him was really fun and it's so peaceful and serene on the water.

But, the best part of it all was getting to talk to my dad.  Just me and my dad for several hours (a HUGE thanks to my mom for watching my tired and cranky kiddos!).  We covered quite the variety of topics.  He had me in tears with laughter at one point, and almost in tears again with a heart-to-heart.  I love my dad so much and my time with him today will go down as one of my favorites with him.  Of that I am certain.

And then we came home and things were okay for a bit, but then there were some challenges getting the kids to bed.  I needed to take care of them, a way-overtired Sweet P, two loads of laundry (the kids keep coming to me because they are out of clothes already!), a shower, and finally (hopefully) dinner.  Those are the moments when I really don't do well.  When I'm needed at so many tasks.  All urgent.  And all keeping me from getting to bed which is what I really need.

Although, I could also feel that I needed to get some thoughts down in writing, so having to stay up isn't an all bad thing.

I just hate that I'm struggling.  I don't get to see my family very often and I want to just be happy and relaxed.  And I don't want to be a total wreck when HH flies out and I finally get to see him again.  Or, when we're with his family next week.

And I'm just kind of disappointed because I thought I'd last longer than three days before the struggle hit.

Today was such a long day.  Filled with some major highs and some major lows.  Hopefully, I'll get some sleep tonight and tomorrow can be a little more consistent on the highs.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 1205: Here Fishy, Fishy

I don't understand this.

That's a worm in her hand.

I think there may have been a day when I did understand that.  But, I'm a little bit taller now.  And much more easily grossed out.

I might have screamed about a spider crawling on the door yesterday, totally freaking HH out because he thought I was screaming about something actually scream-worthy.

HH took the kids fishing tonight.

I mean, technically, we all went.  It was Family Home Evening, after all.

But, HH did all the nasty work.  De-tangling fishing lines, tying endless knots and hooks, baiting hooks, and casting.  Over and over again.  And with three kids who really don't know what they are doing, it was a never ending and thankless job.

He is such a great dad.

Have I mentioned that I love him?

Prior to all the yuck, I had a pretty good day, too.  There was a brief moment this morning when I thought I was going to slip all the way down into oblivion, but I was able to regroup and carry on.  I got adjusted and worked on by my new chiropractor.  I brought all four kids with me this time and they did so unbelievably great.  For a full 30 minutes.  It was amazing.

And I felt a ton better after.  I didn't really stretch well after my race on Saturday, so I was pretty stiff and sore and he helped work a lot of that out, thankfully.  Plus, he gave me a couple more exercises to do to help strengthen the weak areas where I keep getting injured.

And then by some miracle, Baby B and Darling A actually took a nap at the same time this afternoon.  That hasn't happened much since our schedule has been all out of whack all summer.  And it's pretty much impossible to make things happen and keep up with life when they don't both sleep at the same time.

My house is not clutter-free, but it is a heck of a lot closer to it than it was this morning.  I am thrilled.  And I even mopped my kitchen floor.

And I'm caught up on this blog.

Amazing what an hour and a half without my cute youngest two can help achieve.