EOD Thoughts: 01.24.2023

I find it crazy that we are already a week away from February. I think life goes by faster the older I get. That concept frightens me sometimes.

I don’t have a lot to say tonight. It’s not even 9 o’clock yet and I’m in bed. I’ve noticed that my productivity levels are up and down here lately. Some nights I find myself cleaning the entire house after I put the kids to bed, and others I am in bed before my daughter (we give her free reign to put herself to sleep as long as she is quiet in her room, this works remarkably well for our family).

The kids are seemingly better better this week. The coughs are slowly waning. I’m exhausted and in need of adult conversation that occurs outside of work. Is it embarrassing that I don’t remember the last conversation I had outside of work, or that wasn’t in passing with the cashier at the gas station?

I wonder if I will ever feel like more than a working mom. Wake up to screaming kid, get both kids up and ready, drop off kids, go to work, pick up kids, go home, cook and feed kids, bathe kids, put kids to bed. Repeat.

That’s all.

An endless cycle of monotony with no exciting plans for the future. Maybe someday I’ll have more to write about other than my sadness and exhaustion.

Perhaps not!

Tonight’s Reflection Quote:

Under the Bridge

We ran out of milk this morning so I made a solo trip to the nearest Dollar General for some more early this morning. Just my luck, the store didn’t open til 8 and I got there at 7:40. That seemed like too long of time to sit and wait in the parking lot, so I headed down to the river to pass some time and look at the water. I have always found such serenity and peace by the River.

I wasn’t there for any more than ten minutes, but after more than a week locked in with sick kids, I needed this mini-trip to town to clear my head. I guess it was a win that I showed up to the store before they opened because otherwise I would have missed out on this beautiful scene that I was able to witness this morning as the early day glow was rising on the bridge. Surprisingly, I was the only one down there so I got to soak it in all by myself, almost as if the sunlight was put there to comfort a Mom lost in motherhood much like myself.

An Ode to Myself & My Family

I just wrapped up my last assignment for my final fall semester of college. I am now one semester away from having my degree – a feat that no one in my family has accomplished. But that’s not why it’s important to me.

I have fought for every inch I’ve gained in this life. I want something, I go get it.

I am power.

I have worked through my school work all while actively serving my country (also a first in my family), working full-time, bearing and raising two children, and managing to stay (half) sane. Next spring I will have my Bachelors in Public Administration with a Minor in English to accentuate my honorable Military discharge and Associates of Arts degree.

None of this has been easy. I have progressed and succeeded without the help from any parents, but instead leaning on my husband and into the love of my children. I do it all for them. I yearn for the day where my family can see in the impact I have on our world, using the knowledge, skills, and experiences learned from my education and service to others. I want to be the good in the world that they never give up on.

Life is a challenging and messy road. Right now, so many aspects of our world feel hopeless, lost, and unnerving. I hope my family always finds stability, passion, and a strong foundation in the woman I am; for I am constantly in a state of construction, looking for ways to repair, build, and amend the pieces of me that are broken.

I hope they grow to notice and appreciate the values I try to live my life by. I hope they subliminally and intentionally adapt these values on their own, as being an honest and hardworking and appreciative person goes a long way in this world. I hope they never give up on their dreams, even if they feel unobtainable or of great lengths to reach. I started this journey in 2015 and will finally reach my goal in 2023. Many times it felt like I was on the wrong path or in the wrong place, but it has always played out in a manner that was better than I expected or anticipated. Life can feel so gloomy, but it can also bring the uplifting wonder of glorious surprise. I hope they never lose their sense of hope, for I too have been guilty of falling into the treacherous depths of depression and lack of understanding. I hope they choose not to lean against the feeling secured deep in their guts; the feeling of intuition and trust that is nearly always accurate in guiding us to the right path. Trust it. Lean into it. Let it guide you to the life you deserve.

A Good Mom

A Good Mom never believes that she is a good Mom.

Perhaps, I suggest to myself, it’s just how I stroke my broken ego after a long day of chasing children around the house.

Who knew a three year old could push my buttons so quickly? No one warned me of this!

Or, maybe they did. I just didn’t listen.

Sometimes I wonder how I’m supposed to be the adult and parent two children. I mean, I don’t even want to call to schedule my own appointments, let alone be responsible for a tiny person?!

Seems bizarre, but I seem to be doing okay at it.

When I was pregnant the first time, I remember several women telling me, ‘It’s instinct. You’ll know exactly what to do.’

Oh? That’s your idea of good advice? I have no idea what I am getting myself into and I’m supposed to just trust that I will instinctively know???

But I think I am beginning to understand that they just might have been right all along.

It is easy to love wholeheartedly and be tender loving. It’s easy to want to be everything for your child. We worry because we care so immensely that we just beat the hell out of ourselves when we forget, or worry too much, or be too bold, etc etc. The list of things we beat ourselves up over really could go on and on and on. It’s so easy to be the person your children need. You may not be perfect, but I believe the love and care comes instinctively.

But, I digress.

We were made to do this. Motherhood often feels lonely and the unknown journey can be paralyzing, but we really are just all flying by the seats of our pants. No one reaaaally knows what’s going on, and if they claim to, run… Because those are the people that are waaaayyy too comfortable relying on the comfort of a world we longer live in.

The times are changing, but you are a good Mom. You possess the tools you need to make it through anything. Mothers of the world, we got this.

To The Mothers Who Wonder if Being Present is Enough: It is.

There are days when performing the most basic tasks of motherhood is all the strength that I can muster up. Sometimes I take the “easy way out” even though I know I shouldn’t; like giving my daughter chocolate milk for bed, or letting her watch a little bit too much tv…

At the age of 7, my sister and I were removed from our home with our mother because she had substance abuse issues and an addiction to methamphetamine. I remember the mother before DCFS came in and changed what I thought I knew forever. I remember soft cuddles on the couch. And every week we would get out our TV dinner trays and sit on the floor to watch the newest episode of Fear Factor. I remember a blissful and loving childhood when I reminisce on the years I remember with my mother. I don’t remember a ton, maybe more than most (perhaps it’s made-up in my head), but I do remember that she was always there. The memories of that period of my life that I cherish the most are the ones I remember being curled up with her, tickle fights, doing crafts, spending time in the kitchen.

It was 2003. I didn’t know it then, but the day I left our home with DCFS was the closest I would ever be to my mother again.

All throughout adolescence, I had my bouts of extreme anger, pure hopelessness, and resentment towards my mom; and this was all well-masked by my focus on being a hardworking multi-sport athlete, straight-A student, and an active role model in the community. I felt put-together and distracted from the “loss” of my mother by becoming someone with the morals, work ethic, and dedication of the strong leaders, teachers, coaches, and friends that I was surrounded by. I feel very blessed for their contributions to who I am, but I would be lying if I said there could ever be anyone to replace my Mom.

As the years went by and I grew into a young adult, my mother was in and out of prison several times. We had very little communication all throughout my middle school years, until I was in high school and able to make an effort on my own accord. I scanned the stands of every game I ever played in, hoping to see her there. She never was. I wrote letters to her in prison using a friend’s home address instead of mine. I was brokenhearted and didn’t know the right ways to cope. I begged and pleaded to God, asking him what I did to make her not want me. Our relationship could never be completely restored, even if I wanted it to be. The pain of not having a mother still fills me with astounding anguish at times; it’s usually short-lived, but every day I wish I could call my mom for advice. I had my children without my mother. This fall, I will get married and she will not be there. This is a pain that I feel constantly.

I promise you, your presence in your child’s life is enough. Even if you don’t have a clean house today. Even if you let them skip brushing their teeth for one night. Even if you don’t love all of the parts of motherhood. Even if you question if you are truly a “good mom.” Stressing over these minute instances just proves that you are the best mother for your child.

I am speaking from the perspective of someone who both treasures the memories I have with a loving and kind mother, and also as someone who daily mourns a lost relationship with their mother: You, most definitely, are enough. Even if you feel like you could have been better. Even if you made a mistake and it’s eating at you. Even if you feel like the biggest failure on your bad days.

You’re human, you’re trying; but most importantly, you are present.

Every day, you wake up and commit your life to your child. Being there matters. Children may not remember everything you do together, but even when you are being hard on yourself, I hope you take comfort in the thought that they will always know that their mama was there.

Because there is one helluva hole left behind when they aren’t.

EOD Thoughts: 06.19.2022

Perhaps today isn’t the day to write what I feel

Maybe I should give a shout-out to the men in my life that are wonderful fathers

Or acknowledge the importance of the celebration of Juneteenth

But instead

Tonight I feel sad and that’s all I want to put on this page

Tomorrow will bring a new day

But I know that a new day will not result in a “parent” choosing to accept you

Or congratulate you, or hell- even wish you the best

Tonight I’m sad because I believe she very actively, possibly subconsciously (but doubtful), hopes that I fail

All while publicly loving and admiring a few of her other (favorite) children all over Facebook

Maybe it shouldn’t bother me

I guess it hurts knowing I’ll continue this world without a mother figure

She was supposed to be “the replacement”

She was supposed to fix me

But instead, she’s another woman that continues to break my heart and fails to love me the way a mother should

Or, I suppose, the way I believe a mother should love their daughter

I just imagine the future with my daughter…

And I know it involves tons of phone calls, adult cuddles and day dates, and one day… the involvement with her children should she ever have her own…

I don’t know what a relationship with a woman is regarding these important memories a mother and daughter should share

But then again… how would I know what mothers and daughters should do???

Tonight I’m sad, that’s all

Earth Day 2022

Helllooo friends & followers! Today was a busy day at our house! I still worked most of the day, but we finished some Earth Day projects nonetheless.

I’ve previously talked about gardening on Between the Lens, but folks,,, it’s getting reallll.

This is our current layout and things are really moving along! Dylan got the posts up and ready for fencing to go around the garden. There will also be a cattle panel overhanging the walkway through, hopefully to grow our peas up.

We got strawberries planted also

On Easter Day, Della & I painted flower pots. Today, we planted seeds for flowers in them.

We’ve been working long and hard on our backyard. This is the creek rock walkway we’ve completed after several weeks. We collected the creek rock ourselves locally and laid it all ourselves. Today, we finished the edging, planted some shrubs, and mulched. I’m super excited for how this is all coming together. Owning a home has proven to be exciting and fun!!

We love this earth. We’re doing what we can to be more self-sustainable while also instilling the beauty of raising your own goods. There are many benefits to working in a garden. Even being in direct contact with the earth (getting your hands dirty, walking barefoot) has benefits to your health. It makes me so happy to raise my kids with firsthand knowledge of appreciating the earth, cultivating it, respecting plants and all living things. Life is wonderful because it can be appreciated among so many different aspects. I challenge you all to take some time to “get your hands dirty” or honor this wonderful world we get to call home. 🌍

Tidal Wave

Life is full of brilliant surprises –

both wonderful and painful;

but it’s really hard to see the bad when things are good,

and even harder to see the good when things are bad

I think that’s why we have such a hard time

feeling truly alive.

One moment

we are on top of the world,

shining,

smiling,

superior.

And then the next we are

stumbling,

curled up,

broken.

Life comes and goes in tidal waves

You gotta just keep riding it out

Because one day,

I promise you

Your soul will awaken with appreciation for life,

You will notice the smile of a stranger;

or the fresh smell of the rain;

or the warm sun on your skin

and you’ll know

you are here for a reason

Our garden: Year 2

Today marked the real start of planting for our 2022 garden. You may remember, I wrote about this last year– we had to plant all of our tomatoes and jalapeños in a pot since we were renting and couldn’t till our own true garden.

2021 actually brought us a pretty decent yield considering we grew everything in containers and kept them alive through the move into our new home.

But this year, we’re excited. We are making our plans to start a real garden sown outdoors since we finally own our own land. FINALLY we own a home and can do as we please, and a big part of who we want to become is becoming more self-sustained; which will be improved with the bearings of fresh, real food harvested from a garden less than 25 yards away.

We have big plans, but also understand that we are new to this ( and any advice is highly appreciated). We have plans for tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, bush beans, snap peas, onions, strawberries, cilantro, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, asparagus, carrots, mint, basil, and possibly more that I can’t think of right now. We also have an apple tree. I’d like to get some berry bushes and a couple more fruit trees planted this spring.

Now, if we actually get all of these to harvest? Who knows. We are new to this, so our expectations are in line with some disappointment but also some great fresh produce. I’m particularly interested in growing the spices and seasonings, and also hoping we can finally get some onion to harvest. We’ve failed with onions before, but I’d really like to venture into making homemade salsa, pickles, and spaghetti sauce!

Today I started the jalapeño and tomatoes seeds so that they can germinate indoors and eventually be transplanted out in the yard in 6-8 weeks.

Dylan has started with putting some stakes in the yard so that we can fence in the garden. The other night we woke around 3am to notice eight deer roaming our backyard. We watched them for a bit, as it was fun to watch them simply roam.

More to come on the garden front – we are so excited! I will update as the garden season progresses!

Kayla

I don’t have closure with the way you left

I probably never will

I thought I’d write a poem in honor of you,

But I’m not sure the words are going to flow

You told me several times that I was a good writer

It empowered me and made me appreciate the craft

Now here I am – writing with a broken heart about something I never saw coming. Something I cannot explain. Something I’ll never understand.

I’m losing my poem format, but my thoughts are jumbled and you taught me that sometimes I need to step outside of my comfort zone

You were my manager

For nearly fours years

I know we don’t always appreciate coworkers

But I can honestly say you had a light in you

That I’ve never seen

Bubbles and sunshine in the form of a human

Many of the thoughts and interpersonal conclusions I came to about myself and then wrote about on this very blog were because you pushed me to ask the deeper questions about why I act the way I do, how I appear to others, and perhaps most importantly how important it is to ask why.

Why did you react the way you did?

What were you feeling? Why did that upset you? What was correct in your reaction, and what do you need to work on next time you encounter the same feelings?

Yes, it often had to do with work

But you shaped it to apply to my life

And I’ll never forget it

Or you

My heart hurts

Every time I’m in the office

Or on a zoom call

I think of you and miss you

It was a simple relationship, but a very impactful one. The thing about loss is, you don’t realize that impact until it’s gone. Our team is slowly moving forward, but many of our hearts are shattered.

We miss you, Kayla

Her shirt 🥲🥺 and beautiful, infectious smile