Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Blues

Tis' the season.

A stroll down the street greets you with busy shoppers consumed by lists and gift ideas. 
Driving in your car opens you to a land of Christmas songs, beaten to their near death by Christmas spirit. 
Hydro meters spin from 1000's of tiny lights that create beautiful magic against the snow. 
Somewhere a granny is baking her favorite treats to fatten her family and keep them warm for the winter.
Grocery stores become a hellish nightmare, the express lane the only chance for freedom when grabbing a simple bag of milk. 
Malls are lined up with last minute shoppers buying "original & unique" gifts that the 3 shoppers before already purchased.  
Wrapping stations. Ribbons & bows. Excess & waste. Mail, cards, extra postage. 
Stomping through forests to find the perfect tree. Trimming and creating. Lights & stars. Reds & greens. 
Turkey dinner fills the air. Casseroles become competitive. 
Traveling. Planning. Preparing. 
And then when night falls on the 25th disappointment overwhelms because it's all done for another year. 

All of our stress and worry and debt for what?

Dinner that was burnt? Ungrateful gift recipients?  A pile of wrapping paper that will end up in the fire? Family disputes? Broken down cars on the side of the road? The dread of the credit card bills next month? Returns? The clean up?

This year has been jammed full of craziness for our family. 
New jobs, pregnancy, family stress, heart surgery, financial stress, exhaustion, overwhelmed sensations and pure survival. 
2011 will be memorable but not for the reasons I had hoped. 

Christmas. I love it. It is my favorite time of year. The energy and the excitement, the surprises and parties. 
Unfortunately this year my love has vanished. 

Life has me beaten down. I wanted to forget about this season all together. No gifts, no decorations, no gatherings. I wanted to be left alone and forgotten . 

I still kind of do.

Every other year I become consumed by joy. I get enveloped by the spirit of the season, stringing lights, making my spaces representative of the season.  For weeks Christmas carols dance on my ears, I dress in festive colors, I plan, I wrap, I make my own bows. I throw parties, I bake seasonal desserts and festive cookies. I buy thought filled gifts and create surprises for my family. I wish people on the street a Merry Christmas, I donate money and toys. I sit in church and drink in the songs and the stories. 

Not this year.

Previous years I was probably obnoxious with my celebration. I flaunted Christmas in the faces of people, who like me this year just don't care. I didn't do it because I was stressed and anxious or because I wanted to put on a show. I've never felt that way about Christmas before this year. I embraced the season because of its purity, the hope. I became a kid again excited about being with the ones I love, serving them with my creations, seeing their faces when they open the gifts that I labored over the whole year before. Christmas always had a freshness to it. Although our celebrations usually mirror each other every year, not one gathering was the same. We celebrated every year something new. 

Not this year.  

My heart is sad. I want to make Christmas exciting. I want to love it like I have in the past, but I can't. My gifts are bland. Thoughtless. That brings me to tears. This is my chance to show my friends, my family, my love and how I feel for them. Instead my gifts show them how I feel about life right now. 

This season, although not what I pictured last Christmas that it would be, has been a learning experience. I'm on the other side of the fence and I'm understanding the sad faces on the street. I am learning why some go into hiding during the season. Why some state their claim of hatred toward the whole spectacle. It all makes sense this year. 

Amidst all my doom and gloom their have been magical moments that remind me of my love of Christmas. Receiving cards from family and friends, reading about their life and how they have been blessed this year. Having friends give warm hugs and wishes of a Merry Christmas. Receiving unexpected gifts that bring tears to a grateful heart. Seeing the excitement in my sons eyes when he saw the Christmas tree for the first time. 

There is hope. 

My reason for loving Christmas isn't gone, it's tainted, but I am thankful that I have caught the eye of the reason why I fell in love with Christmas in the first place. 

But when the purity of Christmas is removed the season becomes all those things I listed before. It's excessive, it's pointless. We pile responsibility on ourselves that is unnecessary and unattainable. We stress, we get anxious, we overextend our means. We create hardship for ourselves to be able to say we have met the standard of the holiday. We become fake to try to make people happy.

This year I feel fake. I am not in my celebratory skin but my feelings are very real. Instead of going forward to make others happy I'm staying true to my heart. I refuse to pile more anxiety and stress on my life.

I can't wait to take the tree down. I can't wait until this Christmas is but a hand full of memories and the rest forgotten. I pray my hurt does not taint my sons excitement. I pray he finds his own joy in this holiday. I pray that at the end of it all I can say "I'm glad I celebrated."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Precious Sounds in My Ear Shot

It's 3:45am. I have been awake for almost 2 hours now. This doesn't please me. I was hoping that tonight I would sleep soundly and wake refreshed and renewed. That isn't happening. I will probably wake (assuming I fall asleep again) agitated, with a coffee cup in my hand. On days like the one I am about to face I like to call it survival juice.

In my 2 hours of being awake I have laid very stil trying to fall back to sleep, facebook has been thoroughly snooped. I've been the creepy spouse watching my husband sleep. Ive made multiple bathroom runs, caught up on some email responses and googled current events. I've tried to plan the week ahead of me, thought I was in labour, cried a little, thought of witty comebacks to fictitious comments and scenarios. I have picked out my clothes for work today, thought through my options for lunch, tried to figure out how 1 waffle will feed 4 people (thank God for fractions) and adjusted my pillow multiple times.

Now I'm blogging.

While I've been trying to take my mind off of the reality that keeps me awake I hear something breaking through this dark, peaceful time of our day that most of us miss because we are asleep. From down the hall I hear noises. There are sounds of laughter, some chatting, banging of the crib by little chubby feet.

Magical noises.

My 2 1/2 year old is asleep in his room and I am experiencing his night time adventure just by laying here. Things I never even thought of before because I
was too tired, too busy, too selfish I am hearing, maybe not for the first time but I am appreciating it at this crazy hour.

He's so precious. As I listen to him sleeping he isn't just this minature person who cant use a toilet and tags along every where we go, he's human. He dreams st night like we do and laughs about them. He chats in his sleep just like his daddy. He wakes up and feels safe enough to roll over and go back to sleep. He's growing up and maturing.

I remember lots of nights hearing him wake and feeling nauseous because I knew I was going to be awake for the next 2-3 hours, trying to make my creative juices flow so I could comfort, soothe and lull my unsettled, insecure baby back to sleep.

Now I am laying here, partly of my own will taking in his sounds. Finding pleasure in his night time babble. Part of me wants to go down the hall and watch him because I have fallen in love with this boy again. As I lay here I can picture how adorable he must look in his little Elmo pj's all snuggly in his bed. While I feel all warm and fuzzy about my sweet boy the other part of me wants to slap that idea out of my head and maybe hit hard enough to put me back to sleep.

Im having a proud mom moment. Something good has come out of my inability to sleep tonight. I have listened to my son in peace. His relaxed noises have let me know he feels safe and finds comfort in our home. He enjoys his sleep and has little to no fear of his surroundings. I had a part in that. All those nights of rocking and singing to him, rubbing his back, talking to him, holding him and walking the floor has paid off. Those hours of love poured out while sleep was lost created something beautiful. My precious little man feels secure.

That's a proud 4:09am mom moment.


L

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby Days

I'm pregnant. Actually I have been for 37 weeks.

I remember the day I realized I was pregnant with baby #2. There was not an ounce of excitement in me, the news hit hard. I had just started a job that I really felt allowed me to use my gifts and made me feel knowledgable, my almost two year old had started to settle into a routine I could handle and I felt that after almost 3 years of sacrificing my life I was allowed to step into my old shoes and take some pride in me again.

Wrong.

The morning sickness began, although I cant complain too much except once again I was living on someone else's schedule having to accept the responsibility for their demands. Reality check, this is my life.

Some how I remained naive believing that the next 9 months would be the slowest of my life.

I have 3 weeks left. My home is in shambles. I am still working. I have a 2 1/2 year old that occupies a large percentage of my life. Hormones are in full swing, and with every step I take I can feel parts of my body bend and stretch in ways I had no idea were possible.

3 weeks.

The nursery is still a dream. My sanctuary (bedroom) is torn apart, clothes baskets create a challenge course throughout my home and my son desperately wants to watch "mightning aqueen" again for the 100th time today.

As for me I lay here in bed, sore and grumpy. I don't know how 5 o'clock got here
already today. I feel as though I have accomplished nothing and therefore I have let down my husband, my son and my unborn.

I am not ready to have another little being call me mommy. In my heart I can't wait to see her little face, count her little toes and tell her I love her for the first time face to face but I feel like I need 9 more months to get ready. I'm afraid to bring her home because I don't know where to put her. No where in my home is there a place for her except for in my arms.

I'm tired. I'm weary. I'm scared. Over the next 3 weeks please pray for me. This little girl who rules my body will soon dramatically alter my families life forever. Never again will we be 3, just like when my son was born we were no longer 2. From the moment she lets out her first cry, this chapter ends and we move forward into this new stage.

I'm still scared. Please pray.

L

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ramble Ramble Ramble...

Almost every time I see my sister-in-law Sandra she mentions to me that I haven't written since, fill in date here. It makes me chuckle but it also makes me feel good knowing that someone reads and enjoys this little blog that in my head is lost out in the blackness of the internet.

Life's been busy lately. I don't think that is a valid excuse but it is mine so I will grasp it with both hands and wont let go. I don't know where my life is going but it is passing and every day presents its challenges and victories.

A quick up-date on the Forde family.

We got a new dog named Alice, which means we are having another baby. Our joke is that we are not getting another dog after our Alice because we don't want another kid. I guess those are two things go hand in hand in our life.

PS. This time they are both girls. Last time they were both boys.

Jim has found out more about his heart health. We know what he has and how to move forward. We are at peace with it.

I have a new place of employment. By new I mean I have been working at Joy Bible Camp for 5 months.

Life is happening.

The boy is two. He is getting bigger, smarter, funnier, crazier! I'm so in love with him and still manage to have moments when I want to tether him to the dog and set them free on our 369 acre farm. I guess that logic is called motherhood.

I am still madly in love with my husband even though I feel like life doesn't allow us to be. We are both so busy and when we do come together we are so exhausted we make small chit chat and go to sleep. It's a season. Besides there is no one else I would rather make small chit chat with and go to sleep next to than him. I'm just happy we are together.

Sometimes I can't handle my life. There's too much "stuff" happening and it hurts and is complicated but when I can focus on my little family and loving them things are pretty great! It's tempting to get off the life grid and be able to live in the middle of the bush with my family and enjoy my friends but that's not reality that only happens on Little House on the Prairie.

I have some great blog ideas I must write down. I must make this part of my routine and my time with God again. It's a shame we live in the black hole of Bell Canada where the sunshine of internet isn't able to shine.

Until my next post. If you think of it pray for us. Life is happening and when life happens things can be wonderful and things can not be wonderful and regardless of how wonderful everyone needs a little prayer said for them every once and a while.

LJ

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

I love Christmas.

When the holiday season roles around I feel like a child again. The anticipation of gathering with friends and family. Consuming amazing, delicious, gigantic amounts of creamed cheese and candied vegetables. The trays and trays of chocolate squares and Christmas cake. The lights, the sparkle, the tree. All the pretty decorations. Beautifully wrapped presents, with perfect bows and the right amount of ribbon. Just thinking about it makes my heart skip a beat.

This Christmas was different. My heart rarely skipped a beat with joy but my blood pressure did rise and I felt much anxiety, so a similar occurrence I guess. It was our first Christmas with an almost 2 year old. In anticipation we expected that our son would be excited and really into the spirit of ripping open presents and playing with his new toys. I guess we jumped the gun a little. He didn't care. He liked the trees (yes in our house tree is plural) and was mesmerized by the glowing lights but the presents, the paper, the people were not exciting for him.

Christmas was almost a let down. He screamed most of the time, wanted to be hid away in a room by himself, wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, and did I mention he cried a lot?

This almost ruined Christmas for me. My negative attitude surfaced on many occasions, desperately making me want to announce to the world that this child, my child officially ruined Christmas this year. Wow, that should be my acceptance speech at the "Worst Mother of the Year" award banquet. I was quick to get flustered, felt embarrassed and no matter how many condolences and words of encouragement I still felt like I wanted to drop through that imaginary trap door that you see in cartoons that is always perfectly placed for maximum comic relief. Unfortunately that didn't happen for me. The floor never opened and swallowed me whole. I was left to face the reality that my child couldn't handle Christmas.

Probably for most people reading this, I appear slightly disturbed. Who knows maybe I am. What bothered me the most about my son not getting into Christmas like I was told by other parents or I secretly anticipated myself was that I missed out on the joy I experience every year. Now that I am a mother a part of my childhood fantasy world that I still exist in sometimes had to die. Sure this is extreme, he's not even two yet but I had big plans for this Christmas. I wanted those cute snap shots of him loving every minute with his toys so excited that there were more presents under the tree for him. I spent time thinking and planning what I would get him and none of that really seemed to matter.

Kid's can break your spirit.

What I learned from this is a simple concept but one I will have to keep in check, my son is an individual. I can't impress on him my ideas or my way of living because that may or may not be the healthy growth hormone for his authentic being.

Again he's not even two yet but it's probably better that I realize this now, and struggle now with the fact that he didn't want to rip the wrapping paper or wasn't as jazzed about his lightening McQueen slippers as I was when I found them then waiting until he is 18 and fighting with him over something probably really stupid but to both of us earth shattering and potentially relationship breaking.

Motherhood's hard. It's not just pushing a baby out and making sure that they are fed and clean. That stuff is easy. Sometimes I feel like I would rather wipe poopy butts all day then have to even acknowledge the fact that my little man is his own person, an individual, a completely uniquely constructed being who has an emotional heart, a soul and someday will be able to think and act on his own right.

I guess the point of me even typing these words is that this isn't new. My parents had to realize this and thank God they always let me be "Leah" and never forced me to be what their idea of "Leah" should be. Unfortunately for them that involved a lot of annoying concerts, original songs, public displays of talent or no talent at all (viewer's digression), a child with very little fear, quick off the top of the head decision making, outrageous statements, unwanted opinions and lots of notepad and journal purchasing. But if they had of tried to quell the songs, stop the show or silence the opinions I wouldn't be the person I am today. They had the choice to kill a creative mind or to nurture and grow a creative intelligence. I bet when the doctor declared "it's a girl" he didn't brief them on developing the heart and soul of another human being.

My mom said to me one day, "James is busy, he's tiring, but if you can get past that and focus on that sweet spirit and help it grow you wont have a problem." So now when he screams, or wants to hide I try not to let the sounds he makes or the actions irritate me. I try to focus on his sweet spirit. If I can focus on James Wesley Forde, the 25 year old man and who I desire him to be and believe God created him to be then I think I can get past him not liking Christmas. Maybe I examine things too closely, I have been told I dwell on topics too much but what I want for my son is the best life possible. I want him to be a confident, God loving person who is caring, genuine, has self control and is selfless. I'm sure I'll loose many hairs and the ones that stay will turn grey because of him but I hope that someday Christmas 2010 is a funny memory and I can look into the eyes of my son and feel proud that I helped shape this person.

So I guess I have to get over it. Christmas didn't tick by the way I imagined and I did get some cute snap shots of James. Now that everyone is gone he is enjoying his toys, wearing his clothes and using his toiletries. The fact is my son isn't me. He doesn't enjoy the pageantry of present opening (yet), sitting in dark rooms starring at Christmas lights, standing in awe of the all hailed Christmas tree. But who am I to say he wont be someday.

Who knows.

I just have to focus on that sweet sweet spirit.

L

Test... test...

It's been so long and too many broken promises later that I had to see if this thing still works.

Test... test...

Time to get back at it.

Inspiration come, I'm ready to blog again.

L