EOD Thoughts: 03.23.2021

When we were kids, my uncle would take all of us out to the garage to watch a big storm roll by. We just so happened to live south of what seemed to always be the path of the storms. So we would get our lawn chairs and flip cell phones out and have a fun night.

Times were so much more simple back then. We would laugh from the adrenaline running through our bodies – being so close to a storm yet so far away, you never know what could happen. We would gather around the weather radio and listen to where the rotation of a tornado was spotted. The garage was facing the right direction to see the storm go by and not have rain blowing in on you. There were no true worries back then. Those were the nights we were the closest. Those were the nights we came together. I wish I could get those childhood memories back. Now we’ve all grown up, split apart, and started our own families.

Tonight my own little fam sat in the garage and listened to the radio forecasts and watched the storm roll in. It was nothing too serious, but it did make me feel happy to share memories like this with the family I made. It connected me to my roots, and I’m thankful.

“I wish somebody would tell you you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them.”

30 Miles

Tonight I want to get vulnerable with myself. I want to examine reality and determine what parts of it aren’t real. 

And since it’s part of my story, I think it’s important to share it all with you. I consider myself a writer. It’s something that I feel proud of myself as. But I’m not just a writer. I am a sharer. I am a personal, stretch-the-limits kind of writer. I share the deepest, scariest, and most exposing feelings of my life and I think it’s why I always receive messages from people saying that my story helped them, or inspired them, or intrigued them. 

So I won’t stop. 

I can’t stop.

I have a story to tell and it’s important for me to share so that people like me know they aren’t alone. 

Growing up, I lived about 30 miles from my mom. Just a short 25 minute cruise away. It wasn’t necessarily hard for me to search for her if I wanted to, and I think that made our separation feel deceiving. We weren’t really that far away from one another, yet we were living in completely different worlds.

In high school and even a short time in college, success was hard for me to feel appreciation for. I’d hit one milestone, feel the warmth of victory, but then put my nose right back down and focus on what was coming next. What was the next life trophy I can knock off the list? 

The thing that made success the hardest for me was that every time I hit a moment of pride, I knew my name would be in the paper, or on the news, or on the radio. 

And my mom was only 30 miles away.

Surely, she saw what I did? 

Surely, she is proud of me?

With these wonderings, I quietly held onto the hope that only being 30 miles away gives you… 

She probably knows where I’m playing basketball this week because she watched the news last night.

She might be at the next game. 

Maybe.

OR

She probably read my name in the newspaper for my good grades last week.

I bet she was proud when she saw my name.

30 miles. I mean, how is that all that separates my mom and me?

30 measly miles?

It was enraging and sanity-deteriorating because I drove myself crazy looking for her every time I left my house. I’d walk into Wal-Mart and stare at the backs of any blonde-haired woman, daring it to be her when she turned around. I’d run across the river for gas and look at every pump. 

I scanned the bleachers of every game of every sport I ever played. 

Because she was only 30 miles away.

It was damaging in so many ways because I didn’t know how to release the pressure that built up in me and I didn’t know how to live a life where I felt like I always had to search for her. But then I got old enough to roam the world when and how I wanted to, and suddenly the clouds parted, and I was no longer searching. 

I was suddenly only 30 miles away if I wanted to be.

And that had nothing to do with where I lived.

I accepted what was and quit being infatuated with any short, blonde woman that had her back to me. I knew that if I ever did find myself in a room with her, I was finally in a place to remain in control of my emotions. And that was something I never felt throughout all my high school years.

30 miles apart and I had no idea if she was following my growth or completely oblivious to the person I had become. Earlier, I stated that success was hard to appreciate, but it was still something that I was dedicated to and worked very hard at. 

I wanted her to feel bad about missing out on supporting me while I followed my dreams.

I didn’t want to give her the easy way back in because I was doing just fine without her. 

I became educated.

I got stronger.

I chose to serve my country. 

I grew independent and caring and gentle.

I rose above every situation that was designed to set me back.

I made it to the other side.

All while missing my mom

From 30 miles away

Exposed

A whole bottle of wine

More drinks to follow

Still don’t know how to feel

The bottle is empty and so am I

Eventually someone will be as obsessed with me

As much as I am obsessed with my own insecurities

Music plays on the stereo

And here I sit

Hoping for silence

Hoping for acceptance

Hoping for a newfound spark of love and appreciation

The empty bottles help

But only in the sense of feeling alone

Because they are here and you are not

They’ve never let me down

But you have

A Friendly Reminder

Here’s a little reminder to end your week on:

You are fucking awesome.

There is no one else out there like you. Your thoughts, movements, attitude, passions, and interests are exclusive to only you.

Everyone might not love you, but the right people do. Do not overlook those that struggle to express it to you. Sometimes showing compassion is harder than expected.

Never stop searching for your individual purpose. Life changes constantly, so it’s okay if you change along with it.

Loneliness does not last forever.

Use your desire as fuel to accomplish your goals.

Be kind to everyone.

Beauty is more than a skinny waist or perfect hair.

You have survived 100% of your worst days.

I’m at drill soakin up the rest of my weekend. I know I haven’t kept up-to-date on here, but I always want to do better! Stay safe out there friends! Always feel free to drop me some love 👇🏻💋💞

The Power of 1 Year

One year passes fast.

One year with a child? Way faster.

We never know what to expect when we start the journey of motherhood. For me, it felt like I’d never be ready to take on the responsibility of caring for another life besides my own.

The unknown is scary, but to me, the fear of failing was much greater.

I had nieces and nephews and had seen the graceful care that my sisters had given their children. I knew that changing diapers would get old really quick and I knew that formula was expensive. I knew that skin to skin contact was helpful in comforting a newborn and I knew that being a mom would be really hard, but rewarding nonetheless.

But I still didn’t know if I would be cut out for the job.

I’ve always struggled when it comes to showing others the softer, more gentle side of my personality. I’m sarcastic and rough around the edges. I grew up with a lot of anger and resentment towards my own mother that I wondered if I could ever be the mother that I wished I would have had when I was young. I teeter tottered with anxiety and fear the entire nine months that I was pregnant.

But now I have made it ONE ENTIRE YEAR as a mom, and there is just something about that milestone that pushed me to write this post.

One year ago I was sitting in a hospital with a six inch incision in my abdomen, holding a life that I had just brought into this big, scary world. My pain meds had me in and out of consciousness, but I was trying my best to stay awake to stare at this precious child that was just inside of my body just a few short hours prior.

I looked at her cheeks and grasped her little fingers and wondered why I ever worried about becoming a mom in the first place.

We were in the hospital for five days, and then we took our little Della Rae home.

I sit here now thinking about the person I was one year ago compared to the person that I am now.

Strength and confidence now fill the spaces that were once laden with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.

Others will swear by your beauty, but until you see your smile resembled from the lips of your child, you may never believe that you were ever beautiful at all. I promise you, it was always there. And your child will convince you of it every day.

I now know that my heart knows no bounds. Every time I look at her I feel as if there is no possible way I could love her any more than I do in that moment, and then the next day comes and I’m surprising myself with even more love and joy in my heart that I am afraid it may just explode right out of my chest.

I went to work two months after I had her. I’ve learned a different meaning of working for everything you want. I’m a provider. I’m a learner.

And I’m still just trying to find the right balance.

Motherhood is hard, but in ONE YEAR I’ve become a woman that FEELS powerful, strong, and worthy. I FEEL proud, gentle, and fierce when needed. I feel an immense amount of love, support, and gratitude.

The power that one year can have is something you won’t understand until the year has passed and all you have are the memories of who your baby once was.

Gallstones SUCK!

I had surgery to get my gallbladder taken out yesterday!

I’ve been dealing with terrible stomach pain off and on for the last few months. I went to the ER a few months back and they told me that there was “a 70% chance that it’s your gallbladder, but it’s up to you if you wanna see if taking it out works.” So I was like ummm no, I don’t want a surgery if you aren’t sure that it’s going to help…

The worst night I ever experienced with these “stomach pains” I went to the kitchen and sat on the floor screaming onto a towel so that I wouldn’t wake my sleeping eight month-old baby. I’m tellin ya, that pain was worse than my c-section recovery!

As it turns out, gallstones SUCK! I was in the ER from 11am yesterday to about 11:45am today. When I went into surgery yesterday it was exactly 17:00 (5pm). When I got out of surgery, it was 18:15 (6:15pm). I’m finally home and really sore!

How has everyone else’s week been? (I feel like I was in another world the past two days!)

The Beginning of The End

I lift her head up into my hands. My fingers line the jaw of her crying face.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

She turns her head quickly and I put my hands back in my lap. There are no words that I can say that will bring her any comfort.

Oh, how I love this sweet, sweet woman. Her voice is gentle and melodic, and her hair falls down past the middle of her back. She may not be a man’s first choice at the bar, but she stole my heart the second I saw her. She was wearing a green dress with brown boots and danced around the bar like she wasn’t bothered one bit that all eyes were on her. I know this because I specifically remember telling my buddy Joe that I was going to marry the dancing girl in the green dress someday. 

Now look where we are.

“It’s been three days. C’mon-“

She stretches out on the couch and lays facing the wall, her back to me.

I feel a hint of anger well up inside of me.When is this going to end? We can’t keep going like this… “Okay, well I’m going to go out to the garage and work on the car. I’ll be in to check on you in a bit.” I pause for a second before stepping away, hoping she will move or say something. Anything.

But she doesn’t move and she doesn’t make a sound.

There was a time in my life when this kind of empty silence would fill me with rage, but that was the old me. After the death of my father when I was twenty-one, I came to understand that there are some pains that can only be expressed by shutting down. I watched both my sister and mother go through the same thing. The thing is, it makes the people around you so unsure of what they can do to help you. I know there really isn’t anything anyone can do to stop the pain, but I can’t handle being shut out when my purpose as a husband is to be my wife’s crying shoulder.

I keep one of our wedding pictures hanging above my desk out in the garage. I reach out and touch where our hands meet in the photo.

The best day of my life.

With the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.

 

What on earth am I going to do to fix this?

The Label I Carry

The whole reason I decided to start therapy was because a coworker told me she was going to start going again. She gave me the name of her therapist and told me to go to her website and check her out. So I did. I immediately requested more info and before the day was over, I was set up for an appointment.

When I was talking about what I wanted out of therapy, I explained to my coworker that I wanted to find out who I was aside from being a MOM. As mothers, we lean so heavily on our label as “mom” and base a lot of our vision of our success on how well we feel like we are providing for our children.

Let me tell you why I think that SUCKS.

In today’s world, it is DAMN HARD to feel an absence of insecurity in what we are doing for our kids. There are so many conflicting ideologies on “what is best” for a child. When we feel the amount of success that we have accomplished is based upon whether or not people agree with our parenting choices, it’s sooo easy to feel like we haven’t accomplished much. As mothers, we can’t please everyone, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we sure do try. 

We are proud to be moms. We love our babies more than anything – it’s why we bend over backwards and dedicate our lives to making sure our children have everything. But that same dedication to our kids can result in a lack of dedication to ourselves. I struggle with this on a daily basis. My entire day is almost solely devoted to providing for my child; so much that I feel like there just isn’t enough hours in the day to focus on myself. I know it feels that way for a lot of moms too, so I think it is important that we are making not only our children and their health a priority, but also our mental and physical health a priority too. You can’t possibly be a good mom if you aren’t feeding your own flame every once in awhile. I think the issue here is that it’s so easy to fall complacent with only being a mom. And for some, that is all they want to be! Which is also totally fine!

But I want to be so much MORE. I want to be someone that is so much more than a mom. I want to love myself aside from the role my child plays in my life (Even though that role is huge!)

I want to indulge in all of life – not just the parts where I am providing for someone else. I want to provide for me, too.  

A Letter to A Soon-To-Be Mom

Today I write in honor of a beautiful friend of mine that will welcome her first baby into the world in just three short days. I remember how short the days felt leading up to my induction date. Ever since I was a child, my biggest fear was always childbirth. It sounds almost silly now that I have experienced childbirth, but before you experience it yourself, there is no amount of comfort or ease anyone can offer. I do not write this to promise any sense of comfort, because I know it is a scary road that lies before you. I felt the same way and there was no amount of advice any mother could offer that made me feel any more assured.

So instead, I want to write about the amazing, incredible things that you will learn about who you are as a result of creating a life and welcoming it to the world.

 

Becoming a mother will bring out strength you didn’t even know you had.  There will be days that make you feel defeated, tired, stressed. But there is no day that will ever be stronger than you. Even when you think you’ve reached your limit, your motherly instincts and passion will overcome any obstacle. Every. Single. Time. You are far stronger than you think, even though you may not feel like it.

You were never truly complete until you met your child. You will look back on the days before you became a mom and think, ‘How did I ever feel scared to be a mom? This is exactly who I am supposed to be.’ Your confidence will go up, even though you may feel like you have no clue what you are doing. You will finally feel like all is right in the world and all the extra bullshit just doesn’t matter anymore.

The human body is incredible! Yeah, we may not always love what we see in the mirror, but the one thing that I have tried to embrace is just how amazing the human body is. One single egg grew into a human life and grew for nine months inside of you. Your organs rearranged themselves to make room for that beautiful baby. Your body stretched, squeezed, and grew. And it will continue to change in the coming months. Watch and enjoy it – You are spectating science from the front row. Try to embrace all the things that your body can do!!

 

I am not going to tell you it will be easy. It won’t be. You will be tested… But you will not fail. You will be tired… But you will not consider quitting. You will have doubts… But you will be very sure in what needs to be done. 

 

Maddi,

I remember the first time you walked into our house. A timid, beautiful high school girl with curly brown hair that laid on your shoulders. You walked with shoulders forward because I wasn’t very nice when we first met. But I grew to know you and realized I was wrong about the high school girl that was coming to my house. You were so full of knowledge, wonder, and confidence. You were not shy about what you expected out of those around you. You had a laugh that would everyone in the room smile. I never would have guessed that I would one day consider you my best friend, let alone be so excited to meet the life that you would one day create. I am so proud to call you my friend and so excited to see you become a mother. I know you are scared and I know you have been overwhelmed, but I have no doubt in my mind that you will be everything and more for our little Indie girl. After all, you will have all the love, support, and advice spewing from my heart. 

I cannot wait to meet this beautiful babe and I cannot wait to hear you rave about the joys of motherhood.

Love,

Chrissy