There was an error in this gadget

Monday, March 29, 2010

I am NOT in control! (Thank God!!)

I recently started the "Couch to 5K" running plan. ( http://www.fromcouchto5k.com/articles/training/the-couch-to-5k-training-plan/ ) Tonight I had to walk 5 minutes, run 7 minutes, then walk another 5 minutes.  I did the same thing a few days ago and it did not bother me much!  I think I set my pace too fast tonight.  Plus, I had a rough day.  It is a testament to my new found running devotion that I was even out there, after dark, running.  I had just gotten home from a visit to our local Urgent Care clinic with my daughter.  (On the way home, stressed and discouraged, I scarfed a Dr. Pepper and some fries.)  Twice I stopped for just a second after looking at my stopwatch to see only 3 minutes and 45 seconds had gone by!  When I got to just 30 seconds left to go, I felt like I couldn't run anymore.  I dug deep and said aloud, to myself, "You can do it, Christin."  Then, I thought of something Beth Moore had said in her bible study I have been attending. (Believing God - Bible Study)  She talks about how powerful it is to speak God's word, aloud.  I began to say, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Breathlessly, I chanted this out loud. As I did, my feet began to pick up the pace and before I knew it, I was sprinting!  I finally stopped at 7min, 20 sec.  I could have gone further, though!  I only stopped because my bladder told me to!  (Many of you who have carried those big babies in your womb feel my pain on that one!!)  The Holy Spirit took over my body!!!


The first realization that came from this is: I TRULY am not in control and that is a great relief!  However, I try to be in control and that just messes things up!  Look at me, trudging through life when I could be sprinting if I would just "give up the reins."  Also, the Spirit revealed to me that if He was able to cause me to sprint after being beat down and worn out, He can also overcome my issues with food.  If I will just rely on Him and let the Holy Spirit guide my every decision.  If I will just give up the control.  I don't have to stop and get a Dr. Pepper and fattening treat when I'm having a bad day!  I can, however, throw some scripture at that temptation!


I walked my last 5 minutes with a huge grin on my face and a renewed enthusiasm for life.  As I stretched, I listened to the crickets chirp and looked up at the stars in the clear sky and the trees silhouetted against the last bits of setting sun.  I felt so peaceful and blessed!  Life is good!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Home Child Care Provider

So far today I have loaded the dishwasher 3 times and unloaded it twice.  I have swept the kitchen floor 3 times, picked up countless toys, changed over 20 diapers and wiped MANY noses.  I have rocked 5 children to sleep... at least once each.  I've done 2 loads of laundry, made three completely balanced meals (plus a snack), read several books, been called "Mamma" about a hundred times, settled several disputes over personal space and e-mailed parents about concerns with their child.  I have kept records, made bottles and cleaned up spills.  I have bleached counters and changing tables, sanitized binkies and kissed boo-boos.

Am I complaining?  Nope!  This is what I choose to do.  Because today I made a difference in the lives of children.  Every snotty hug, slobbery kiss, silly song, smile and cuddle will help mold who these little people become and I am so privileged to be a part of that!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My God of Second Chances - Follow up

     Many of you followed my 7 part, VERY abridged story of some personal things I've gone through.  I wanted to just say that obviously, Travis and I didn't get married, live happily ever after, and my life is just roses now!  LOL  My life is blessed so abundantly, but it is not without trials.  Everyone has trials, whether you see them from the outside or not.  The biggest difference from where I was to where I am at is the choice I am making to TRY to stay within God's will for my life.  It just makes things easier.
     I am by no means anywhere  close to perfect.  I mess up.  Daily!  But, I am forgiven.  So many people don't realize that this whole Christianity thing is about relationships.  It is not just a big huge book of rules that we try to live by.  Okay, so there ARE rules in the bible.  However, there are also promises, parables, advice, comfort, encouragement and LOVE!  I recently read a book called The Shack by William P. Young.  I would urge you to read it.  It could really change your outlook on your relationship with God. http://theshackbook.com/
     I still get discouraged.  I trip and fall and I sin.  But, I am learning to lean on God more and more and less on myself and the ways of this world and it is making all the difference in my life!  I spent too many years trying to do it on my own.  This life is just too hard.  While there is joy to be found here on Earth, there is so much heartache, as well.  Time is so quickly fleeting.  Remember the relationships in your life.  When it is all said and done, that is what matters most.  And the most important relationship is the one you have with your creator!  He's left the ball in your court.  Because that's how much he loves you;  He wants you to come to Him.  Keep in mind that we are just passing through here on our way home.  I hope to see you all there someday!


Love,
Christin Leigh

My God of Second Chances (Part 7)

    One day my phone rang while I was driving home.  I didn't recognize the number, but answered it anyway.  It was a guy I had gone to school with since 2nd grade.  We had seen each other out and about a couple of times in the last year, but we hadn't even been close in High School.  I remembered that our freshman year we had a class together and he flirted with me relentlessly.  I also remembered that I used to mistake him for my boyfriend on the football field sometimes and felt a little guilty for thinking he looked pretty good in a pair of football pants!  Other than that, he was just the big goofy cowboy that copied off my papers for a year in Physical Science.


     He asked me if I wanted to go out on a date.  He had gotten my number from my sister, who worked for a good friend of his.  My exact thoughts were, "Why not?  I don't have anything better to do."  So, I agreed.  And, honestly, I didn't think much about it.


     He took me to Red Lobster and was quite obviously nervous.  Through dinner, I had a lot of fun talking to him and enjoyed my time with him at the movie.  I was surprised by the fact that his favorite music was 80's rock and a little turned off by the fact that he was an avid OU fan, but was able to get past it.  By the time we got back to my house, I was thinking, "Wow.  I actually kind of like this guy!"  However, he sat there with his hands on the steering wheel.  A little baffled, I said, "Well, I had a good time."  He said the classic words:  "Yea.  We'll have to do it again sometime."  WOW.  I had just been let down easy by the big goofy cowboy who I had really enjoyed a date with.  He didn't get out and open my door, let alone walk me to the house.  He just sat there, hands glued to the steering wheel.


   I chalked it up to the joys of dating and went on.  About two weeks later I got a call from him, but like any lady would, let it go to voice mail so as not to seem too available after that 2 week lull.  Apparently his blunderous ending of our date was only the first of many dating faux-pas I would have to overlook.  It was worth it, though.  Because I soon found out there was so much more to him than what most people ever know.  Before long he was a regular fixture at my little apartment, amidst the chaos that was my life with my two kids.  He would sit patiently while I patted my five year old's back until she FINALLY went to sleep.  He usually would bring over Subway on Friday nights and we would watch a movie at the house.  Before long, I found myself unintentionally falling head over heels for him.  We found ourselves to be very kindred souls, although no one would have expected it from the outside, looking in.


     The beginning of our relationship was not without it's issues.  Any man who is taking on a woman with two children and enough emotional baggage to warrant a live-in concierge, is sure to second guess things.  And, anytime there are children involved things can get difficult.  We made it through, though.  And, he was (and is) everything I wanted.  He was all the things I didn't even know I wanted in a man.  God knows the deepest desires of our heart, though.  Even better than we do!


     I will never forget the first time he saw my stomach.  I hated every second of it.  He ran his fingers over my stretch marks, that to me, were hideous.  I never let anyone see my stomach, let alone touch it.  I rarely looked at it in the mirror, myself.  "Why does that bother you so much?" he asked.  I told him it was because it was just awful.  He told me it wasn't.  He said, "How can you say that?  You have two beautiful kids in there because of this stomach."  And, yes, I cried.  God had brought me to a place where I knew I didn't need a man in my life.  I knew God could fulfill my every need.  But, in order to fulfill a very big "want" of mine, God put this man in my life.


                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


     The church doors opened.  My father was at my side, wearing his Converse sneakers with his tux.  This time he wasn't trying to talk me out of it.  My two beautiful children were in front of me.  Most of the people I care most about were watching me, and "God Blessed the Broken Road" had just played.  We walked down the aisle and my dad gave away all three of us.  This was my second chance.  I was a different person than I had been at 19 years old, the first time I did this.  It seemed like a lifetime ago now.

     I don't know how many people knew what that moment in my life meant to me.  I had vowed to never let someone in my heart enough to hurt me ever again.  And, there I stood in front of this man who had stolen my heart without warning.  People always say love comes along when you least expect it, and in my case it was true.  I said my vows through tears of joy that I had been given an opportunity to try this again and that God had given my children and I this amazing man.  We didn't even realize that anything was missing from our little trio, but now we can't imagine life without him!  (Or the little red head that we added to the bunch a year and a half ago!)


     I'm still not sure how long it will take for all the wounds from my past to heal completely.  All I know is God can do it.  And, He will.  So many of them are just a distant memory.  I know that I sleep every night with my husbands big, strong arms around me.  And, I thank God for giving him to me.  I thank God for all the blessings He has given to me in my lifetime.  I am most thankful that no matter how many times I fail Him, He loves me the same.  He never changes.  People will let you down.  Even the people who love you the most.  I know I've done my fair share of hurting people... even if it was unintentional.  The only one who never will let you down is Jesus.


     Those of you who don't know Him, I urge you to seek Him in your life.  Those of you who do, but are trying to shut Him out, I would urge you to come back home.  Nothing you've done is too much for him to fix.  You never run out of second chances with my God!  He knew how many you would need the day you were born, and they were all nailed on the cross with Jesus years and years ago.


"Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
   so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he also binds up;
   he injures, but his hands also heal." - Job 5:17-18

Monday, March 15, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 6)


     Anyone who thinks a divorce is no big deal for a child is sorely mistaken.  My daughter has scars on her heart that will never go away.  At 9 years old, there is still residue from the situation that we deal with.  We have come a long way from her nightly, heart wrenching crying for her Daddy and her 4 year old tantrums.  She took everything out on me and, although I knew in my mind that she was just hurt and angry and it was safe to take it out on me, it still hurt my heart.  It was hard to hear my sweet little girl say she hated me and didn't want me to be her mom anymore.  It was hard to watch her hurt and not be able to fix it.  We went through counseling and "Divorce Care" (http://www.divorcecare.com/)and it helped, but I know there will be things she spends a lifetime overcoming. 


     There were doubts along the way about whether or not I did the right thing.  But, I now know I 100% did.  While the situation has still been hard for my son in some ways, he did not face the devastating heart break that my daughter did.  Divorce is hard.  And, it does not just affect the two married people.  There was a domino effect of heartache that happened when our family was torn apart.  It hurt us, our children and our families.  My ex-husband's family meant the world to me.  And, while God has since mended our relationship, there were time periods where things were so strained and the grief we all felt over losing the relationship with one another was as hard as the divorce itself was!


     Being a single parent is hard, too.  I don't care how much Hollywood glamorizes it.  I'm not saying it cannot be done and done well, I'm just saying it is a hard job.  I moved out of my parents house when my children were 4 and 16 months.  I moved in a little apartment in my home town.  I entered a vocational education program that paid a stipend every two weeks.  I got on food stamps and Temporary Aid for Needy Families.  Speaking of pride, I hated using the food stamp card.  But, it was the only way I could feed my kids.  I tried not to use it at the little hometown grocery store because I did not want anyone I knew to see me.  I did not want people to know how off course my life had gone!


     It was just me and my two kids.  It was scary sometimes, but it was also fun sometimes.  We had frozen pizza/movie night every Friday.  We all piled up in my bed every night.  (I couldn't stand them being in the other room at night.)  I tried my best to keep up with everything on my own.  I did the best I could at being both the mom and the dad day in and day out.  And, I did the best I could at keeping busy when they went to their Dad's house.  Dating was minimal.  I was trying to put God first in my life finally and I was listening close to His agenda for my life.  I truly believe he was not ready for me to be in a relationship yet.  Besides that, I could not fathom another man being in my life and around my kids.  Most of the time I felt like I would probably just stay single.  I had emerged from my marriage a very different person that when I entered it.  I had sold myself the lie that no one else would ever want me.  I had two children, I had gained 20 pounds and my 11 pound baby had left my stomach nothing less than what I considered disfigured.  But, single was okay with me...


     I learned a major lesson in life, the years I spent as a single gal.  The lesson I learned is that those nights I cried myself to sleep, wanting arms around me so badly, I should have cried out to Jesus.  Jesus was able to meet my every need.  The emotional needs I had been expecting my ex-husband to fill were needs that he could never have conquered in me.  Those longings were for God in my life.  The ever present ache in my heart was the Holy Spirit grieving for the life I was leading.  Grieving for the relationship with God I had let go of. There was a hole that could not be filled with romantic love or children or jobs or money or anything of this world!  Is it silly to ask Jesus to wrap His arms around you?  I'm here to tell you it is not!  I have had several moments in my life where the pain I felt was so real and the loneliness was overcoming.  I literally have begged my savior, "Please put your arms around me, Jesus.  Let me know you are here."  And, oh, He did!  He put a sense of peace over me that is indescribable.  It is why I love John 14:27 so much: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."  I finally realized that Jesus wants an intimate, daily, loving, close relationship with me.  He cares about the tiny details and He wants to be in every part of my life.  Once I finally figured out that piece of the puzzle, God was ready to let me move on to my next chapter in life.  I had veered from his original plan for me and I had gone away from Him.  Therefore, I had suffered a great deal of pain in my life.  Much of which I don't even mention in this story.  But, He can fix anything.  And, He did!  I echo the words of my earthly father:  "It's okay, Baby.  Everybody makes mistakes."  God feels the same way about us.  He knew before I was born every mistake I was going to make and how he was going to fix it once I finally asked him to!  And, His plans are AWESOME!  "Beautiful History" by Plumb

   One day my phone rang while I was driving home...

(To be Cont)
   

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 5)

    Time went on.  We split up, we vowed to work things out, we got back together.  It was a couple of years of turmoil and ups and downs.  Another baby came, unexpectedly.  At six months pregnant with our second child, I walked away from the marriage for good.  The details that led to my walking away are not important.


     At 26 weeks gestation I went in to labor with my son.  I didn't believe I was really having contractions, but my mom insisted we go to the hospital and, sure enough, I was starting to dilate and having regular contractions.  After 3 shots of medication the contractions would not stop, so they put me on a medication called magnesium sulfate that relaxed all the  muscles in my body, put me in an ambulance and shipped me to Tulsa, where, if he was born, he would have a better chance of surviving.

    Now, I've prayed pretty much my whole life.  But, never was there a more urgent prayer than the prayer I prayed in that ambulance.  I prayed and prayed the whole way to the hospital.  I'm quite sure my stress and anxiety was what caused the labor to come on, as they could not find any infection or any other evident cause for the onset of my labor.  I spent a couple of days in the hospital and then was sent home on bed rest with medication.  And, by home, I mean I went to my mom's and dad's house with my daughter.  Suddenly I was a single, pregnant mother, on bed rest, unable to work, and living back at my parent's house.  I was totally dependent on them.  And, I thank God, to this day, for their unconditional love and support.

     I have proof that God answers prayers.  He is a little boy that goes by, "Bubba."  He was definitely not born at 26 weeks.  I stayed on bed rest and medication until 36 weeks.  At one of my weekly OB appointments, the Doctor told me that he had actually moved back up out of the birth canal.  At 38 weeks I could barely walk and the next week they finally induced my labor and I gave birth to a big baby boy that weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs. 2 oz!

     I brought my baby boy home and it was so different from my first experience.  I did not bring him home to a house with a mom and a dad.  I brought him home to the one bedroom that we were living in at my Mom and Dad's house.  I had made up my mind that I was not going to become dependent on anyone to help me with my two children.  I knew I would eventually be out on my own and I would have to be able to take care of everything myself.  One of the first  nights after I left the hospital I was rocking my son and my 3 year old daughter was laying in bed.  Suddenly she started to sob and I said, "Sissy!  What's wrong?"  I'll never forget her sweet little voice: "Nobody won't lay with me."  My precious little angel had, in just a few months time, moved out of her house, left her Daddy, gained a little brother and lost at least half of the attention her mom had always paid her.  She had never put herself to sleep.  I had rocked her or laid in bed with her every night of her life.

     I began to sob, too.  Had I made a huge mistake?  Should I have just stayed in the situation I was in?  How could I possibly justify the hurt this little girl was feeling?  I had prayed my heart out before I left my husband.  I had asked for guidance and I thought for sure I had done everything I could to make our marriage work and that I was doing the right thing.  My mom came in to check on me and she said, "Oh, baby, what's wrong?"  What a sight we must have been.  ALL of us crying.  She told me I was going to have to let them know when I needed help.  That was not easy for me, though, with all my pride.

     One of the hardest things I ever did, regarding overcoming my pride, was dedicating my son when he was 2 weeks old.  Our church had a ceremony to dedicate all the babies that have been born in that year.  They held it 2 weeks after Bubba was born and I felt led to stand up and dedicate him.  It was not easy, though.  Because, there, in front of the entire congregation, I stood by myself.  I stood there among couples, lovingly holding their child together.  This was a large church and not that many people knew my story.  To many people I was just some young girl, who got pregnant out of wedlock.  And, I had been that girl!  But, I didn't want anyone to know.  However, I stood there, fighting the tears that were welling behind my eyes, stinging and blurring my vision.  I held that beautiful gift from God in my arms and I dedicated him back to God.  I promised to raise him in a Christian home and I knew that God would reward me for my obedience.

     And, besides, that... I had NEVER been alone.  At that moment, Jesus stood with me in front of that church.  I'm willing to bet that his only issue with pride was that he was proud of his child at that very moment.  He had been there all along.  He had been there even when I ran from him.  He had been there when I cried myself to sleep.  He promised to never leave me or forsake me, and he had not.  I had just chosen not to acknowledge him.  I decided that had not worked out well for me, though, and the changes began.  But, not without hardships along the way...

(To be Cont)

    

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 4)

    Our dating had been quick and had shown neither of us the true self of the other.  I had married a charming, funny, charismatic, outgoing and entertaining man.  That's all I really knew.  Neither of us had a job when we got engaged.  I was the only one with a vehicle.  A two door sports car with one side of the front end smashed, still on my parents' insurance.  I guess we both just assumed everything would work itself out.


     God knows what he is doing, for sure!  He put a stop to my drinking in a hurry. He knows me.  He knows me far better than I know myself.  He knew the moment I found out there was a child inside me, I would do anything for it.  I stopped drinking.  I wouldn't even drink caffeine or take Tylenol!  I knew immediately that the year I'd spent acting like some other person was over.  It was like a switch.  All of the sudden I was a Mom.  It is different for men, though.  They don't have a little person growing inside them.  It is not as real as it is for us.  So, as I instantly morphed into Mommy, the gap between my husband and I immediately started growing, as did my expectations for him to suddenly become another person as well.

     Each of us had our own expectations of what a marriage should be like, however we never discussed these expectations with each other.  We really didn't discuss much of anything.  We just assumed the other one realized our feelings and shared our expectations.  As naive and ridiculous as it sounds, I assumed everyone's marriage was pretty close to my parent's.  And, I think he assumed the same about his.  So many assumptions!

     Instead of growing closer together in the months to come, we just grew further and further apart.  I had moved away from all of my friends and felt very alone in this new, bewildering role I had found myself in.  I always knew I eventually wanted to get married and have children, but I hadn't put a lot of thought in to it.  Some girls I knew had been planning their weddings since birth and had very solid ideas about the way they wanted to keep house and dress their children, etc, etc.  I just hadn't given the details much thought.  And, now, suddenly, I was a mother-to-be and a wife.  The mother part came so very naturally to be.  The wife part just did not!  Honestly, I missed my roommates and my life back in the college town I had come from.

     A never ending cycle of hurt and resentment ensued.  I was not very good at being organized and keeping up with the house and laundry.  He was not very good at being emotionally intimate.  It was hard for him to let anyone in and be vulnerable, open or affectionate.  We didn't talk about things, and slowly, the walls came up between us.  He expected me to do things the way his mother did and I expected to be treated like I had by my father and ex-boyfriends.  Now, that I am older and wiser, I can look back and see the immaturity on both our parts.  His love language was not the same as mine.  I express my love through touch.  His love is expressed through acts of service.  Things like keeping the house clean and doing laundry.  It never occurred to either of us how we were hurting the other.  (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/)

    The  lack of communication between us meant the arguments were few, but the arguments we did have were usually monumental!  And, usually ended with me walking out.  Running back home to my Mommy and Daddy.  But, other times, we had a lot of fun!  As I said before, he is a very fun person!  And, I grew to love his family so much.  They took me in and treated me as if I had just always been a part of their family.  The good times we had were very good and enough to make us stick it out for a while.

     Our beautiful daughter was also enough.  I can't say for sure that either of us really loved the other like we should have.  Honestly, how could we?  As little as we really knew about one another before jumping in to a "lifelong" commitment.  But, we both loved her.  And, the minute she was born, I filled all my empty spaces inside my heart with her!!  There wasn't much left for him.  Looking back, I now realize it had to be hard for him to deal with the jealousy he had to have felt over my infatuation with her, and then, the guilt over being jealous of his own daughter.  But, I've come to realize that is a very common feeling for new dads.  And, I had NEVER been so in love in my life!  Instantly, I became a mom and it was everything to me.  But, as I said before, the ache remained, regardless...

(to be cont)

Friday, March 12, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 3)

    I had been right.  It was her.  There were differing stories.  All I knew for sure was that she had been life flighted and I had to get to her.  On the way, I found out she had been shot it the face, but she was going to make it.  As I walked in to the hospital, I will never forget the view as long as I live.  I was met with what seemed like half of our little town in the waiting area.  My Grandmother met me at the door with tears in her eyes.  One of my friends who I'd left in the dust of my destrucion mouthed the words, "I love you," from accross the room.  It was the beginning of my journey back to where I was supposed to be in life.


     By the grace of God, my sister was given a second chance.  And so were we.  We would have never recovered from that loss.  She spent a week in the hospital and underwent surgery and I watched my parent's sheer exhaustion from it all and wondered how on earth I could have risked putting them through such hurt and anguish myself.  And, I felt like my problems that I had been so engrossed in were not so bad.  Not so bad at all.


     So, one week later, I came back to college and realized I was "late."  My best friend made me go to Wal-Mart to get a test.  I never dreamed it would be positive.  We had been so careful!  I burst in to tears and my first words were: "My dad's never going to talk to me again!"  My friend assured me he would and that it would all be okay.  She had just been through the same thing a year ago.  I was living with her and her daughter!  You would think I would have learned a lesson from that!

                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    So, there I sat. On a chair in my parents' living room, listening to my dad lecture me about how I was going to have to focus on school or they were going to make me come home.  And, all I could think was, "How am I going to tell them this??"  I started to cry.  The crying got worse and worse until it bordered hysterics.  My mom looked at me for a minute, then interrupted my dad to ask:  "Are you pregnant?"  Do not ask me how she knew that.  But, those of you who are moms probably don't have to ask!  There are some things we just know!


     I nodded my head.  My dad switched gears in an instant.  "It's okay, Baby.  It's okay.  Everybody makes mistakes.  It's going to be okay.....  Hey!  I'm gonna' be a grandpa!"


     Then, I sat on the couch with my mom on one side and my dad on the other.  None of us saying a word, all starring at the wall....  Two months later I stood with my dad on one side, my mom in the pew beside me, all staring at the preacher, and my future husband.


(To be cont.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 2)

    I was home for college for the weekend.  I had news I had to tell my parents and it wasn't going to be fun.  A week before that I found out I was pregnant.  I was not married, by-the-way, and they had only just found out that I was dating the father.  Exactly a week before that my sister had been shot in a school shooting and spent a week in the hospital.  It was right before Christmas.  I couldn't believe that I was doing this to them.  Especially right then.

     No one expected this from me!  Everyone had fully expected me to go to college, start a super successful career, marry a handsome wealthy businessman, and then eventually have a couple of children to go with my fabulous life.  I had the same expectation for myself!  But, somewhere along the way, the expectations became too much for me.  College was a lot harder than high school.  On many levels.

     I had spent the last year in a downward spiral.  It started in November of 1998 when the love of my short life formed a drug addiction and left me to pursue it.  I had my whole world tied up in him and in an instant it fell down around me.  The next year was spent trying to erase the feelings I didn't want to feel.  And, those feelings were never validated.  When someone gets a divorce or has a loved one die, there is a great deal of ceremony and sympathy that goes with it.  When an 18 year old girl breaks up with her high school sweetheart, it gets chalked up to "part of life."  I was devastated, though.  I had given him everything.  Things I had meant to save for only one man.  We spent the next few months dating on and off, not quite able to let go.  But, I was already in self destruct mode.  No one, besides maybe those living in close contact with me at the time, knew how serious things got.

     I had discovered alcohol!  And, it was an amazing anesthetic.  The deep grief that I felt was alleviated and the strangling expectations and restraints I put on myself went away!  I was hooked.  And, at first it was fine.  But, slowly I fell deeper and deeper in to it.  I would do things, while drunk, that were completely out of my character.  I would wake up in the morning and find it hard to live with myself, thinking of how I had behaved or what I had done, and I would need to drink again to alleviate the new list of things I was trying to forget.  After a year of this, the drinking went from recreational to habitual and I was truly depressed.

     I broke things off with him for good, and two months later I found myself pregnant!  The guy I was with, I had known for years.  He was one of my best friend's ex-boyfriends, for God's sake!  Another thing I was trying to drown out.  It was convenient.  The girl he was living with was dating my cousin (and best friend).  We all hung out.  Life was one big party, with me trying to make sure I didn't feel anything at all.

   Then one day I awoke to news of a shooting in my hometown.  It was the first day of finals and I had spent the night before studying for an Algebra final.  Just me and a 6 pack.  Groggy, I tried to wrap my mind around the news on TV, talking about a girl being shot at the Middle School I had attended not so many years ago. Then, my heart sank in to my stomach.  I just knew somehow.  It was my baby sister.  Then the call came in....

(To be Cont.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My God of Second Chances (Part 1)

THIS IS SOMETHING I'VE BEEN WANTING TO WRITE FOR SOME TIME.  IT IS NOT EASY, THOUGH, TO PUT IT OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE TO READ.  MY ONLY HOPE IS THAT IT HELPS SOMEONE ELSE GET THROUGH THEIR OWN STRUGGLES.  HERE GOES:   

      I lay there in bed, next to my husband, and I felt so alone.  My body literally ached for someone's arms around it.  He was sound asleep.  He knew nothing of my tears and yet I blamed him for them.  How could he be so cold?  How could he not see the way I was hurting?  How could he never wrap his arms around me?  Never hold me?  Never hold my hand or cuddle up with me on the couch?  How in the world was I supposed to live through this aching emptiness I felt all over me?  I thought about the next day.  I would feel better in the morning.

     In the day time, I poured my every affection in to my little daughter.  She had become my world now and everything was about her.  I counted down the seconds at work so that I could go get her and take her home.  I left things around the house undone so that I could spend time playing with her and making sure that she was paid attention to at all times.  I spent enormous amounts of time giving her baths and getting her ready for bed.  I let her stay up too late so that I could be with her.  And, oh, the joy I felt in taking care of this little being!!  She was everything!

     And, yet... the ache remained.  And, that, I maintained, was his fault.  It was his fault for being so cold and distant.  It was his fault for not meeting my needs.  And, that was the mindset of one 20 year old wife and mother...

     Let's backtrack some.  In High School I was not necessarily the girl that all the guys wanted to date.  I was pretty enough.  I had a decent personality, pretty smart... I was a little on the shy side and definitely a lot on the "good" side.  I was probably more the type of girl that guys wanted to "end up with."  Later.  After they had sown the wild oats and gotten some things out of their system.  Not to say that I was an angel.  But, those things that weren't so good about me, most people knew nothing about.  I made sure of that.  And, of course, I dated.  But, I was not one to "go all the way" and I'm sure that tended to get boring for the boys that were after that.  But, I still got plenty of attention from the opposite sex.  I pretty much always had.

     I got plenty of attention from my dad, too.  (And my mom, but for the purposes of this story, we'll just discuss my father.)  He was quite doting and very affectionate.  He never believed anyone was good enough for me and could not stand to see me upset.   He would try to be mad at me, but as soon as I started to cry (not that I did it on purpose, I just cry VERY easily), he would cave and hold me and soften and tell me how everything would be alright.

     That is exactly what happened the night I told him I was pregnant....

(To be continued)


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Note to Self

Dear Self,
Next time a baby has explosive diarrhea, let's don't try to throw the diaper in to the trash can from the changing table.  A. You are not that great of a shot.  (Remember those 3 years of trying to play basketball in Middle School?)  B. Cleaning up little tiny droplets of brown "poo water" off the kitchen floor is NOT my idea of a good time at 8:00 am.  C. Cleaning up said brown droplets makes drinking my morning coffee much less enjoyable.
Thanks for your time, Self.  Talk to you soon!


Love,
ME

P.S.  You know those plastic bags I keep above the changing table?  Yea, those are for yucky diapers.  Feel free to use them all you want!