Category Archives: Inner Sessions

Interviews and input from other moms.

Waiting For SuperMom…

I’ve been waiting for the time to be right, hoping that I would know with unequivocal clarity.  Hoping that I would make it,  to be the best mom ever for my babes.  To be the Supermom that they deserve.   At the end of each day I sit, hoping that the next one will be better.  I  mistakes constantly. I pray that my children are strong enough not to be scarred by me, since I know that there is no way around them being hurt.  I’m just not perfect.
I fold laundry at 2am, I do dished a 4am ever so quietly, hoping not to wake the locals.   Then I sleep till 10am because I pushed too hard  and my body isn’t what it used to be.  So I feed them whatever I can get my hands on, and don’t make dinner until the last minute so the kitchen is a mess. Because I have to make everything from scratch. We have  various food allergies and housing upheaval. I have fibromyalgia, a herniated disk, a para-esophageal hernia that is going to require major surgery in a few weeks… A whole pot of crazy going on.

I spend my days trying to school them.  I love these days, but they don’t feel like enough for them, around my health and other needs. Each and every day I wonder if school would be better.   Not that I feel like a failure, but the thought is just always there. I am very aware that there are ways that school would NOT be successful, but then I worry about my inability to hold to structure and how it is affecting them.
My children are brilliant, and inspiring! Says-every-mom-ever. And I mean it!  They amaze me even more than they concern me. We are in a season of complete upheaval with construction on our home, changing our family budget, and getting health stuff taken care of.
One big change for our family happened about a month ago when we did send one of the babes back to school.  Over December we thought and prayed a lot about it.  It basically came down to this. Lucas needs clear structure and routine.  I am not very successful at either.  Lucas needs a full evaluation for insurance to pay for his therapy needs for Asperger Syndrome.  Insurance does not cover the evaluation which is anywhere between $2500 and $5000.  In public school he can be evaluated for free and provided the structure and support he needs.  Sounds like the perfect answer!!
It was still hard. So, so hard.  Lucas is the one I always keep with me. Mostly because he’s so much for other people to handle.  So dropping him off for others to care was overwhelming.  The school staff spent several hours over  2 weeks with us, in preparation for bringing Lucas in. They were wonderful.  We went over his need for support in the bathroom, and talked about his Sensory Processing Disorder. Because of his SPD, he is likely to be in pullups until he is 10-12.  The created a special plan and routine for him, based on what we suggested, with supervised bathroom visits and help with accidents. Their attention to detail for his needs was such a relief.  In his 504 plan for special needs, they also allowed him to have his chew necklace, wiggle seat and fidget toys.
Lucas has been there for a month now, and he is thriving. For the first time!  I can say he is thriving!! We still pick him up every Tuesday and take him to his OT appointments and he is in the middle of the evaluation process. In spite of my fears, it was absolutely what he needed.
Things come up with each of our children where we have to re-evaluate what we do.   We have to look at their needs. We put them above ours, and even above our ideals. We shift those ideals, as each process with our children changes the shape of our parenting; changes the priorities we thought we knew were “utmost” ten years ago.

I absolutely, despise the question “How do you do it all?”  Actually, even more than I despise the movie. The question is lame. No one really wants an answer. What they really mean is that you just have too much, way more than they would ever want. And it implies that they really have a clear preference for their own life.  Well, touche.  I prefer mine.
The truth is that NONE of  us do it all.  We choose in the moment, we grow with their needs. We stretch the muscle of our heart, the tissues of our brains… and they both ache and quake through the process.  We don’t do it all. Ever.  No one does.  Wed on’t have to.  We just have to do today.

I caught myself waiting again.  Waiting for something that will never happen. Something that doesn’t exist.  There is no Supermom.  I will never be her, and neither will you.  We have no cape and no need for one.  Who we are is who we are meant to be, and it is what our children need.   I mean, Edna said it and I agree.

Join me in putting the cape envy away.  Let’s put down our list of expectation. Of what we would look like if we were Supermoms.

The next few months look like climbing Mount Everest to me, and I don’t know how to do it. I just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this sweet family of mine will make it to the other side… regardless of my lack of cape.


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Retreat, Before You Move Forward

retreat- {ree treet}
vb 1. to treat  again
 2. to withdraw or retire in the face of or from action with an enemy, either due to defeat or in order to adopt a more favourable position.
3. an asylum, as for the insane.
4. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.

Many of us seek retreat.  An escape, an out, a pause or intermission on the regular ticking of the clock as our days march on ahead, dragging us with them.  Whether it’s a women’s retreat, a couple’s retreat, a solo retreat.    Looking on these are a few of  the definitions offered for the word retreat, and in my 3 days away from my family and home, I found all of them to be true.

Most of the responses to my plans for a retreat seemed based on an assumption of the first definition. That I owed it to myself and needed the escape.  It’s true that we need to keep balance, and we have to care for ourselves to care for others. But let us get something straight.
We don’t deserve time off.
Never in history were mothers promised  a break. Nowhere is it written  that mothers we are entitled to a full nights sleep . It’s not that we can’t have them and that they can’t be needed or wonderful.  But we are not owed them and we can endure the cadence of our days without them.   It’s the mindset that we deserve them and are owed anything that is damaging, not the taking them when the opportunity arises.

But yes, I was being treated, for my birthday to 3 very quiet days away.  Which is so not me. Completely unheard of… ((as half my readers snicker at the idea of ME being silent for more than 5 minutes…)
It started a few years ago, in a fit of tears and exhaustion.  With a 5, 3 and 1 year old and suffering from 24/7 nausea with my 4th, one day I told my husband I needed a break.  My birthday was a few months away and he valiantly offered that I should get a few friends and go have a girls weekend like other moms seem to do.  The offer threw me off guard.  I’m not the kind of woman that goes to girls night out on the town, not to mention weekends away. I’d never done anything like that!!   It sounded like the perfect answer, logically… except that I couldn’t do it.  So then I shocked my poor husband right back.  My immediate response was No! That isn’t it at all!  I knew there was something deeper that I needed. I longed for seclusion, silence and peace; time alone to reconnect with the beauty in life, and my Maker.  I know… it surprised me, too.

I decided that I wanted to go on a silent retreat. I googled and found the nearest options to Atlanta, but knew that it wasn’t time. Leaving my babes was too much work. So for the past 3+ years I have been lying in wait until the time was right for me to fall back.  Last year I tried. I knew that there was a women’s silent retreat right around my birthday and hoped to go. As the time grew closer I knew it wouldn’t work.  Eden wasn’t sleeping through the night (yes, almost 2 years old then) and was still nursing.   She just wasn’t ready for 3 nights away from me not to mention that Lucas was still not fully potty trained.  I would have spent the whole time nerve wracked over giving my dear husband such a long coldhearted dose of my reality.
This year when the new retreat calendar went up, the December retreat actually started ON my birthday. I knew it was my time. So I reserved my spot and blocked off my calendar.  I was going to be alone and silent.

It was a wickedly crazy day, full of ironic twists of fate that made it the most un-birthday-like day possible.  All four of my children behaved like rotten, wild hyenas.   They trashed my house and I didn’t even get time for breakfast, which is traditionally served to me in bed on my birthday but somehow was forgotten.   They wailed and moaned all morning as the poor heating and air guys tried to work around the drama to install the new HVAC.  We locked my keys in the house and I missed my own birthday lunch with my mom.   It went on and on, baffling me at every step. Craziest. Day. Ever.
When I finally arrived at the retreat house I was shaking from low blood sugar and traumatized by the 1+ hour in suburbian traffic that my  intown sensibilities were completely unaccustomed to. This is where definition #3 above comes in.  I was really feeling ready to be admitted for observation…sedation even sounded nice.

But I knew the truth.  I knew that I was facing an attack on my time and my spirit.  When I looked back over my day I was amazed that I even made it there. And I knew that definition #2 was a reality and very much played out in my life that day.  There I sat, with a glass of wine in my hand trying to relax; retreating from the fray, certainly ready to adopt a more favorable position.

That first night was rough. I had to really adjust and slough off some tension to be able to dig into myself and accept the peace and quiet.  I was so wired that I couldn’t sleep so I read the entire book, Letters To Malcolm by C. S. Lewis before the sun rose.

I spent the next three days in peace, slumber, beauty, reading, nature, prayer, strength, meditation, sunlight, confession, quiet, solitude ,tears, awe, dancing, pain, laughter, love, and growth…most definitely growth.  The nuns who lead the retreat were amazing and in those few days they impacted me as much as any other spiritual mentor I’ve had my entire life.  Amazing women.

So, in the end my retreat was what it should be, And that would be definition #4. It brought me back to my beginning.  A retirement.  An exercising of the spiritual muscles that atrophied from lack of use. To where He meets me;  where He waits, patiently, to give all good things.  The retreat gave me the chance to chose again. To chose my family and  my life.  My man and my children. My home and my God. All that he has for me, all of the unknown.

All photos in this post were taken by me while on retreat. Here is a slideshow with a few more.  If you are looking for a silent retreat, I absolutely recommend  Ignatius House in Atlanta.

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Happy New Year!!! Wait..Huh?

New Year? That is, like, sooooo three weeks ago!  Yes,yes. I know this. But, you see, in our home the exchanging of one year for another happens dead center of a whirlwind.  Every. Single. Year. Five of our six birthdays, several other family birthdays and celebrations, the 12 days of Christmas (because we celebrate for the long haul here)….  For the last several years the whole New-Year-lost-in-the-shuffle has frustrated me.  It’s not possible amid the throws  of  festivities and obligatory celebration for me to stop and center myself.  I’ve not been successful at even CONSIDERING resolution of anything other than survival.
So this year I decided to postpone our family’s turn over to the new, intentionally holding it off to be more purposeful in my actions.  The idea hit me in the fall and I was excited to see if I could make it work.  I wanted to see how it would affect my motivation and focus on the changes that I want for myself and my family.
It occurred to me in October that one of my main goals, one of the things most important to me, is to return to the blogosphere. And this time I want to be intentional about it.  A few years ago my blog was pretty hopping. I was writing consistently and had a good number of readers.  I got so much out of sharing, and was constantly encouraged by how others had found my vulnerability helpful in their own day.
Life changed and time became scarce after #4 was born.   I backed off of blogging and moved to Facebook, thinking that I would find the ease of short status updates to be a relief .  I’ve really regretted it ever since. So, I’m coming back home to the blog and going to be a distant visitor on Facebook.  I’ve tried to come back several times and not been able to remain consistent. This time, I’ve worked on blog posts since October and lined them up so that I won’t go silent! I’ve typed my heat out many nights and hope that you all enjoy the telling of my days.

The rest of the world is three weeks into the year and I’m sure  the newness of it has worn off. Resolutions that were exciting have turned to struggles or even feelings of failure.

I invite you to start over again with me. Make tomorrow morning your beginning.  Stop what you’re doing right now. Celebrate the end of this day and look with excitement toward the dawning of a new one.

Because life is amazing. It is beautiful. And it is new every morning.

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When God Became A Native…

At the beginning of December I went on a silent retreat. I haven’t posted about it. It was so sacred and private that I just don’t know what to share.  One day while I was there, because we were focusing on the Advent Season, one of the readings we heard was this.  It sounds a lot like all of the he begot so-and-so… but to me there was something powerful about contemplating all of the past behind this sacred birth.  I thought that I would share it here so that you can ponder it as well.  May your Christmas be full of life and love.

For December 25th 

Today, the twenty-fifth day of December, unknown ages from the time when God
created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and women in his own image.
Several thousand years after the flood, when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant.
Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah; thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of
Israel out of Egypt.
Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges; one thousand years from the anointing of
David as king; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel.
In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the
foundation of the city of Rome.
The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus; the whole world being at peace, Jesus Christ,
eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being
conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem
of Judea of the Virgin Mary.
Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

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#9 Thankful For The Stampede-Revisiting the Song Of The Zebra

I’m thankful for the stampede of children that daily tramples my nerves.  And I don’t mean that as a metaphor as much as the literal sound they make galloping up and down the hallway every. single. day.   Their love for one another and joy in being together is worth every irritating moment of it.  Because wild horses couldn’t drive me away from these children.

My daughter has an incredible talent that not many people aren’t aware of.  It started five years ago with her obsession over zebras.   Her ability at the age of four to mimic the sound of a zebra was so uncanny that I had to blog about it (HERE).   After that point her talent expanded to include an eerily realistic gallop that she developed going up and down our hallway 50+ times a day.  Her dedication to perfecting it was impressive.   As time went on she enjoyed the honor of schooling her three younger siblings in her technique and precision and I know am the proud mother of four phenomenal gallopers.  And this week it’s been even more prevalent on my daily irritation radar, bringing me lots of opportunity to practice patience.

Why?  Because this week is daylight savings  and we join with millions of parents in the USA, experiencing the dreaded morning adjustment.  This means that my husband and I are waking to the stampede at 5am instead of 6.  Repeatedly they charge up and down the hallway, through the center of our home and right outside our bedroom door.  It’s quite the honor. Really it is.

In keeping my perspective, I am processing the daily charge down the hallway with lots of contemplation on patience and loving my children where they are at.   Enjoying their love for each other and enjoyment of family companionship.

It reminded today of the blog post written so long ago along the same lines, back when it all started with a sweet little four year old.

A four year old and her Song Of The Zebra.

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#8 Is It Possible That I’m Thankful for Food Allergies?

I am thankful for many ways that having a family with food allergies has changed my life.  It’s rough. It’s a daily battle.  I am so aware of what is nourishing and sustaining their bodies. I’ve learned so much and had numerous opportunities to support and encourage other mothers who are walking through the confusion.  I am blessed to know that God trusted me to care for the needs of these four amazing little people’s bellies.

Food allergies, sensitivities, reactions… whatever you want to call them they suck. They just do.  We went through 2 years of confusion and being written off by doctors before we were fully able to figure out what our children needed. Mostly for Jacob, but have learned that our other children are affected, too.  At one point, our doctor actually told us to try to ignore his rectal bleeding like a nosebleed.  Since they couldn’t figure it out, they wanted us to ignore it (Read here. And then there’s  here. Oh, and next ).    Those were all so long ago. Once the issue was settled on food allergies, how can I not be thankful to be able to change the pain and issues in my baby’s daily life?

But it’s ok to admit that it’s overwhelming. Exhausting.  It consumes my time and energy.  I can never relax when we are anywhere in public when food is present because my youngest two are still “grabbers”, not having an understanding of connection between the food and the pain.  Sometimes 2-3 goldfish is enough to have one of them sick for three days.  It’s frustrating and agonizing.

How can I complain?  There are children out there living with debilitating pain, life long  disabilities and fatal diseases.    Over the past two years I’ve watched a dear friend go through the pain and suffering of losing her sweet baby slowly to a disease most of us don’t even have a clue exists. (READ).  How, then, can I be so self-centered as to think this small inconvenience in my life is a trial?!?  I am thankful for the perspective that it allows me.  And I humbly bow my head for the mothers out there who’s strength will always awe me as they walk in humility serving the needs of a child who suffers. They deserve our respect and prayers. Me?  I’m just fine.  There are REAL hero-moms out there…


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A Compliment For The History Books

This weekend I went shopping. Yes, that is actually noteworthy. The reason being that I’m not a shopping kinda girl. I hate spending money unless it’s a killer deal. That’s the way you have to be with a family of 6. But I wait for this one all year. It’s the Old Navy Friends and Family Weekend. My standard is to raid every clearance rack for the entire family and see what I can stock up on for the next few seasons. I also make sure to buy 2 pairs of jeans for each of my older kids. Where else can I find skinny style slim jeans WITH an elastic waistband to stay on the beanpoll? They inherited their father’s flat butt and not my bubble. Irie has the bubble, and all my sass…bless her heart… Anyway, this weekend was the sale so I went to two different Old Navy stores on Saturday and then went back on Sunday to return a few things and exchange sizes.

I typically don’t buy anything for me unless it is super clearance. But there was this swingy green and black shirt that was originally $25 on sale for $14.99. with my 30% discount it made it $10. So I grabbed it on Saturday without trying it on. I felt guilt the whole way home. I didn’t NEED it, really. Although I don’t have many nice presentable clothes, I do have clothes.
Anyway…. When I got the shirt on I felt like it was worth $100.  It was a great cut for me (which I knew it would be) and I just felt awesome in it!!!!    So today when I went back to make some returns I was drawn like Lindsay Lohan to a bottle when I noticed that they had the same shirt in black and while.  Aren’t we having a huge family photo taken at the end of this month?  Aren’t we all supposed to wear black and white?  Still, I had to struggle through my typical guilt cycle to get myself to spend another $10 on me.

And that’s where he found me.  As the man at the register was working through my enormous pile of exchanged and returns I was talking. Babbling through the shirt decision, not sure whether I was telling anyone or just talking to myself out loud.  The girls were with me and had everyone in line behind me grinning at their cute antics, so I didn’t think anyone was listening.  Selah was having a great conversation with the good looking boy mannequin and his dog behind us. Old Navy didn’t know what they were getting into, putting those in the store!  Holding the shirt up I looked at it and said, “You know what? I felt amazing in this. Nothing has looked this good on me in forever and I’m buying it!”

That’s when it happened.  “Excuse me.” said the man me behind me.  We had been talking a bit while waiting.  Everyone knew it was a big day and the lines were long.  He was a total gentleman with a Tyler Perry flare. Just saying… he was NOT flirting with me.

“Excuse me. You are a woman. And you’re the kind of woman who is all woman. The confidence and joy in your smile and your eyes are what make a woman beautiful. Any man who is a real mind will see THAT in you.  Anything beyond that about your size and shape just doesn’t matter for a woman like you.”

((THUD)) ——-That’s the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. It was one of those rare moments when a stranger says something amazing to you. Not to flirt. Not to get anything, but just to share a real compliment.  And it felt that way.  I immediately said “Thank you. That may be one of the best compliments I’ve ever had!”

And I bought the shirt. Of course.

You may wonder why I bothered to write this all out.  I actually went and wrote up what he said in my blackberry as soon as I got in the car so as not to forget.  Surely this won’t be interesting to anyone but me.  I posted on facebook about it to be silly. My husband teased that I was flirting again. Right. That’s me.  A friend caught me saying a tall “dark man”… instead of black man.  I don’t know why I do that.   It was goofy to post it.  And yes, he was black, not “dark and sinister”.   Anyway, I’m writing it out because I don’t want to forget it. I’d love to be that kind of woman and I don’t want little insecurities affect who I am.    It made me smile, so maybe when I’m not so smiley about myself in the future I can come back and read it again.

And hey, my family has clothes for the winter!  There’s my ramble for the day.

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