What Do You Have to Prove?

Why do we let what others think of our lives affect us or our happiness? What do we have to prove to someone else? If we are happy then why does it matter what someone else thinks especially if we aren’t affecting their lives?

When I was younger I had gotten the notion that I was going to be somebody and do big things… what that means I still have no idea. It just sounded really good at the time. What even made me think this way? Well…my family didn’t have much growing up and really had to stretch a penny at times. Because of my circumstances, when I was in late elementary and middle school, I was made to feel inferior because my parents were divorced, my mom, brother, sister and I lived in a two bedroom townhouse and didn’t own a house, I didn’t have the newest clothes (hello hand me downs), and I couldn’t afford to do some of the things the other kids did. I knew we didn’t have much, but that was how it went and I never felt bad about myself or let it change how I viewed myself or my happiness. It wasn’t until those formidable years when things like that somehow determined how people would treat me. It suddenly made me rethink how I viewed myself and my life.

I thought if one day I lived somewhere exciting with an exciting job that when I went back home to visit people would really think I made something of myself. I had the big fish in a little pond mentality and couldn’t wait until I would graduate high school and could move far from my home town in so many ways other than just distance.

What I never realized was that I was letting my perception of what I thought others thought of my life determine my own thoughts. How crazy does that sound? I don’t know what people think of my life, yet I put this expectation on myself to impress people who honestly probably don’t even remember who I am and that I don’t even talk to and haven’t seen in nearly 20 years! Why did I care what people thought of the outside view if I knew how good it is on the inside?

I am currently not living anywhere glamorous nor am I working in my career field, and though both these things are only temporary, I am happy. As much as I know Wisconsin is not the place we will choose as our permanent place to live, it has been a great place to start raising our family. As much as I miss working with adults and working towards my career I wouldn’t trade being so involved in my son’s life and seeing all the firsts for anything, even my dream job.

So why do I care if it isn’t what other people might view as the most exciting life? I have seen people that have these beautiful, picture perfect lives from the outside, living in exotic and glamorous places with great jobs yet they are so unhappy on the inside and dreaming of a different life.

Having realized that I was allowing these self imposed perceptions to make me question the greatness in my life, I feel like I am now able to appreciate my life and all it has offered so much more. At the end of the day I can know that despite what it looks like to others, whether they would want a similar picture or not, it doesn’t matter. How I view my happiness is all that matters. I no longer feel like I need that validation from others, especially those who detracted from my happiness to begin with.

 

Please More Ideet

As a mom there are moments that are so hard to be ready for, that no one prepares you for. I feel like one of the hardest things for me has been doing stuff I know my son is ready for, but I am not. The milk transitions have been the hardest. Going from breast to whole milk in a bottle, from the bottle to a sippy, and finally to where we are now.

I remember the last night I nursed my son. At one year old I started weaning him over the next month to just a bed time feed. On our final night nursing I rocked him in his rocking chair and told him how that would be the last time we would nurse. I let him nurse until he fell asleep and the tears gently flowed down my cheeks. To be honest, I even nudged him a couple of times to keep him up a little bit longer. I knew that it was time, and I was more than ready after a year, but it still left me with this gutted feeling. I had been such a huge life support for him. After carrying him for nine months and nursing him for nearly 13 months, him being reliant on me was going to be over. After that night I knew there was literally nothing I could do that someone else couldn’t for my son and it was difficult to accept in an unexplainable way.

The next two days I found myself crying when he cried at bed time when I had to remind him I could only give him cuddles and he had to have his milk from the bottle. It took everything to fight wanting to just cave and give us a little longer nursing, but I knew it was time. After those two nights he was content having a bottle instead. In fact, he came to love his bottles so much that at a year and a half I knew I needed to switch him to a sippy cup for his milk because he was getting a bottle dependency. It made me sad knowing I wouldn’t see him carrying around his little bottle anymore, whether carrying it in his hand, holding it between his teeth when he had too many toys or books to carry or even seeing his bottle riding in the trunk of his tricycle or trucks. I realized he was moving more and more to being a little kid than my baby, but it was time. I wasn’t prepared for that battle as I did it cold turkey with no transition period and felt awful watching my son cry, but just like with his night time feeds he was perfectly content with his sippy after a few days.

Now he is two and a half and I know it is time to give up the sippy. He only drinks milk from it, but I know it is time because his dependency has increased. The weird part about this transition is it almost feels as hard as it did when we stopped nursing. Before nap time and bed time he always has his sippy while I sit next to his toddler bed. He holds his sippy cup with one hand and holds my cheek in the other, then once he finishes his sippy he hands it to me and then holds my hand. I know how upset this is going to make him and this will be the first time he can’t drink while lounging or in bed so I can only imagine the tantrums, but I know it is time. I planned to have him off the sippy cup by three, but with that so close to his sister’s due date, I don’t want any possible negative association between the two.

As much as I know, like I have in the past, that it is time I am struggling with the idea. It feels like he has been growing up so fast lately especially with preparing for baby girl’s arrival remembering when I did the same to prepare for him. What makes it harder is this feels like one of those last little links to him being my baby (Yes, I know he is far from being a baby, but my heart feels differently). When he first started talking he would say, “I need it/this” when he was tired and wanted milk. Over time it turned to “ideet”. Even though I always called it milk and he can say milk, ideet just became his nickname for it. It makes me sad wondering how soon after he is off the sippy will I no longer hear “please, more ideet” in his sleepy little voice. The thought literally brings tears to my eyes (okay yes, I am pregnant and hormonal, but still!). I know he will long forget that he ever called milk ideet, but I know I will always remember the way he said it and how it was often in the sweetest little voice.

I know I can’t be selfish and I need to encourage him to advance in all aspects of his development, but sometimes it can be so hard when sentiment is involved. People always say how fast kids grow, and the worst part about that is it is so damn true. Seeing the little person my son is becoming and how long ago it feels that he was just my little baby seems impossible. I want to freeze certain moments, but I know time is always moving forward and I hope I can continue to do what I know is best, even when I know it will be harder on me.

I’m Watching the Sun Rise

I’m watching the sun rise

Waiting for that dusk to break

I can’t sleep again

Until I see your face

I’m watching the sun rise

My eyes are heavy

But my mind can’t sleep

The tears keep coming

The pain’s too deep

I’m watching the sun rise

Night after night

Without you next to me

It’s just not right

I’m watching the sun rise

Waiting for that dusk to break

I can’t sleep again

Until I see your face

I’m watching the sun rise

Watching that night melt away

Wondering if you see

That same break of day

Does it hurt you

Like it’s been hurting me

Does your heart find

You lost in a bad dream

Where days turn to months

And nothing’s as it seems

I’m watching the sun rise

Waiting for that dusk to break

I can’t sleep again

Until I see your face

I’m watching the sun rise

Waiting for that day

When I’ll be in your arms

And everything will be okay

I’m just watching

And I’m just waiting

For that sun to rise

I’ll never forget that moment. Watching him walk away through tear filled eyes. His face when he looked back over his shoulder one last time….

It was our first deployment. I thought I was prepared. He had done so many work ups that had been as long as a month at a time to trainings that lasted weeks. But there was no preparation for the emotions I would feel watching my best friend, my husband, my marine walk away to leave me for what I knew would be at least six months.

As I was driving across the Coronado Island bridge in San Diego the sun was rising. Through the numbness that was slowly over taking my emotions I started wondering how many sleepless nights and sunrises I would see before he was home again.

This song/poem is very near and dear to my heart. I hope you enjoyed it and the little glimpse into what inspired the words. Thank you for reading.