My Heart on the Outside

Today I realized how very much my heart is now and forever outside of my body and how very little control I seem to have over protecting it.

We woke up early this morning to drive to Children’s Mercy Hospital to take Travis to Same Day Surgery for a routine outpatient procedure. Even though this surgery is very common, he still needed to be intubated and put under general anesthesia, so it felt like a big deal.download_20160817_112303

I remained relatively calm leading up to the moment when we reached the double doors where they would take him back for the procedure and I handed him to the nurse. I watched his little curly head disappear around the corner and my eyes filled with tears I didn’t even know were coming. I felt sick. Shaken. I felt helpless. I knew in my head they were going to take great care of him and come get me when it was over, but my heart twisted in my chest as every fiber of it screamed to be with him. He is my boy and I am his Mama and it is my job to watch over him and protect him. Today that meant leaving him in the care of professionals and trusting them implicitly with his literal life. It was uncomfortably vulnerable.

Whenever I’ve ever felt vulnerable in the past, I always had a choice in how to handle it. If a friend or family member hurt me, I could forgive and choose to remain vulnerable and open while I sought reconciliation. If that friend or family member continued to wrong me or I realized a relationship was not mutually healthy, I could begin to distance myself, set up boundaries, or cut ties altogether in an effort to protect my heart from further unnecessary damage.

Having a son has completely changed the game now.

The amount of love I have for Travis is greater than I ever dreamed possible. It never runs out and never fades, no matter IMG_20160817_090952how he behaves or what he does. With that love comes an extraordinary amount of vulnerability that leaves my heart walking around on the outside with him wherever he goes. When it comes to Travis, my heart remains unprotected. If things get difficult or circumstances like today leave me feeling dangerously exposed, I cannot distance myself from my love for him or allow it to fade away in order to protect it. There are no boundaries, no limits, and no control.

When they walked my son back to the operating room, they took my heart with him. I knew God was watching over him when I couldn’t, but it was still a powerless feeling knowing that so much was hanging in that hour when I was waiting to hear that everything went well. In perspective, I felt grateful that this minor procedure was the worst we’ve had to deal with considering the countless amount of people I know who have lost their babies or had to deal with major illnesses or chronic conditions. This was a cake walk compared to most of the people who would visit that same hospital today.

I am honestly not sure where I am going with this except to say that this is my life now. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to risk my heart for the joy of loving this sweet boy of ours. I don’t plan on every single blog post to now be about motherhood, but motherhood has certainly changed my life and I love every minute.


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Pace of Life

Last week I inched 1 year closer to my mid-thirties, in a few days Chad and I will celebrate 8 years of iron sharpening iron marriage, and in about 2 weeks my son will turn ONE.

Life has begun moving at the speed of light it seems. Some of the things contributing to this increase in pace are easier to accept than others, but I am learning to lean into this season.

I love the increased pace that naturally comes with motherhood and having to care for an entire other person’s every need and want because I still remember vividly the days when I wasn’t sure if I would ever have the privilege of washing baby bottles, changing dirty diapers, rocking a little one to sleep with a book and a bottle, and all the other little things that add up to consume most of my free time. It is so worth it and I love every minute.

I don’t so much care for the other things that consume my time. Though I am enjoying school and find my classes interesting, this degree is a means to an end and I already can’t wait to not have to do homework every night. I don’t love cleaning bathrooms or helping mow the yard unless it’s a particularly nice, crisp day – but this is life. Life is full of responsibilities and things that just have to be done and maintained, so that things don’t begin to quite literally fall apart.

This doesn’t leave as much time for things I used to hold in very priority. There aren’t as many hours for unencumbered down time. I can’t as easily find time to journal or read something just for fun (reading time is strictly for homework when you’re in school!) and what I wouldn’t give for an easily arranged, spontaneous trip! Life has to be planned now, not spontaneous. I cannot just go about each day accomplishing things as they suit me. I have to manage my life and my time or the toppling Jenga tower will come crashing down.

This is very difficult for me. My personality loves down time and reflection time. I like having certain routines where I recharge and renew.

I used to wake up with a mug of coffee as I got ready for work. Now I wake up way earlier than I would prefer, jump into a quick  5 minute shower because, as you with curly hair will understand: a nighttime shower simply cannot happen if you want to look remotely decent the next day. I throw clothes on, get Travis breakfast, load the car, get Travis dressed, and run out the door. Most days Chad takes Travis to daycare and I pick him up, but some days I have to take him. I often don’t have my first cup of coffee until 3 hours after my morning has started once I am sitting at my desk at work.

After work, I used to be able to sit in my car checking the Facebook and Instagram notifications I missed during the day and trying to decide if I wanted to run to the store for groceries or maybe just grab an iced coffee and wander around Target under the ruse that I needed to buy paper towels, but instead would come home with a new candle, a cute picture frame, fancy soaps, some random little things, and – oh yeah, paper towels… and toothpaste… and a cute new eye purple shadow. Sometimes after work I would go for a walk or go swimming at the YMCA or something endorphin producing to revive from the long day at my desk.  NOW, I try my best to navigate rush hour and get to Travis’ daycare before it closes. I take him home because he’s always hungry and tired after being at ‘school’ all day and then jump into dishes, or throwing in a load of laundry, and figuring out what I can eat for dinner before I have to wash Travis up after he’s smeared dinner all over his face and high chair. Somewhere in this busyness, Chad has gotten home and skipped lunch and is wondering what is for dinner and I am wondering how I can possibly create time to teach him how to cook a decent, healthy meal in the midst of everything else. The only endorphin producing moments in my days now come throw sweet snuggles with my boy as his eyes get heavy while I read to him and hope that he grows up to love books OR if Chad rocks him to sleep, the moment my weary body lays on our AMAZING mattress (best thing we’ve ever purchased) and I close my eyes. I often tell Chad I want to sleep the sleeps of forever. It’s not as morbid as it sounds.

I say all this to highlight how different life is now verses 2 years ago… 5 years ago… 10 years ago. I don’t have as much time for myself, hobbies, friends, or even necessary tasks like chores and homework. I have to be much more vigilant with my time and what limited resources I have to offer the world. My priorities are obviously my family: Chad and Travis, as well as making sure I am taking care of myself as best as I can so that I don’t become the irritable, impatient monster that I know Chad and Travis really don’t like to live with.

But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. This pace is not forever. I will eventually be done with my Masters. I will eventually have a boy entering Kindergarten or dare I say, moving away to go to college! *sobbing!* I will eventually miss the late night snuggles, packing peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the Toy Story lunch box, wiping the runny nose that can’t wipe itself, and folding laundry that is still so small it feels somewhat silly to even fold it at all. I will miss buying school supplies and the sense of accomplishment from having a paper I worked hard on receiving not only a high grade, but being accepted to present at a conference (oh yes, this is happening!).

I won’t always be a student. I won’t always be the mother of a baby/toddler. I used to think I wouldn’t ever get the chance to do either. I am embracing the fast pace of this season. There will always be time for reading novels for hours on end, getting back into oil painting, Netflix marathons, or spontaneous Happy Hour dates with friends.

For now, I am here. I am overwhelmed for sure, but my cups runs over with gratitude and joy.

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