Back to School

I’m about to embark on my next journey. And I wanted to take a moment to live in the moment. The feeling I have in my heart right now is heavy, but in a good way. I have a heavy feeling of gratefulness and feel as though I’ve taken a further step into healing. Just by knowing it’s around the corner.

I start graduate school on Monday. To obtain a Masters in Community Counseling at that big university down the street. A Masters, for now. Graduate school was always an idea, but never quite a goal to check off the to-do list until a few years of real-life experiences bombarded my overall well-being. Instilled within me was a want and a need to give back. To whom? I didn’t know when I applied, and I still don’t know quite yet. But to give back what has been given to me- the logical pathways, the emotional support, the strong rationales to recover from being so damaged. To instill within others the confidence that they can make lemonade out of lemons too.

I wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for the people surrounding me, that’s for sure. Let’s be real, I have help. And lots of it. It really does take a village to raise a child. And I’d say it takes a country to raise a child while mommy goes back to school.

I resisted that help for a while, but it wasn’t until the resisting stopped that I was able to truly recognize what needed to happen to better my own life, and ultimately better Holden’s as well. To be vulnerable, and to accept help.

Not only am I just grateful for those who watch over and love on Holden when I’m not there, I’m also grateful to those who have stood behind me, supporting me, pushing me, and encouraging me to further my education. Those two groups of people aren’t mutually exclusive either.

So, to my parents and family, my boyfriend and his family, Holden’s school, and my countless friends, all I’ve got to say is thank you. Really, to my own village, thank you.

And a thank you to a psychiatric nurse practitioner who planted the seed when I was at my weakest. One little hint at potential in my future. By encouraging me in saying, “the best healers come from wounded warriors” some time ago.

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Water your roots

I love kids for their honesty. In the simple mind of a child, there’s no room for lying. No convoluted, deliberate intentions to sway a word or a story one way or another. Imagination yes, but raw honesty in its best form. The way a child makes sense of something and spits it out makes for a great moment. We could all be a tad bit happier if we followed the honesty of a child, I’d argue.

Kids just say it how it is. Especially when it comes to your imperfections.

Like the one time when we were all kids, three under the age of four. (Before my youngest brother came along 8 years later!) My oldest brother told my mom that her hair roots needed watering. Why wouldn’t mom’s roots work just like a plant? And why would mom look in the mirror with three kids under the age of four?

So too does Holden display this honesty. He has always been upfront with me. Before he could even talk. I pulled him out of the crib one morning last summer. His eyes almost cross-eyed. Zeroed in on my right cheek with a confused smirk. The finger pointed. “DAAAAT!” (“Dat” meaning “that.”) He was pointing to the zit on my cheek.

Nowadays we have more vocabulary. Nowadays we have more understanding. Any blemish he finds on my face he asks, “boo-boo?” He asks this time around with empathy. Because he has three mosquito bite boo-boos on his legs. He brings me his kids anti-itch stick.

What’s funny is that Holden wouldn’t point out these types of things on anyone else. Just to people he’s comfortable with. However, like his mama, his face and body language can be read like a book. We aren’t too good at hiding things, us two.

We are still working on his speech, still going to therapy. I can’t wait to hear the things that come out of his mouth that I can tell he’s thinking about. Can’t wait to hear the words come together that make everything make sense in the mind of a two-and-a-half year old. I can take his honest facial expressions and a few syllables for now.

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Dynamics

I had just put Holden down for his nap. Closed the door behind me when I heard it. The subtle tune being sung in the room next door. I waited outside and leaned my back against the wall and slowly dropped to sit. Closed my eyes and just listened to the song. He was singing to his own baby, caressing him to sleep in Daddy’s arms. In my head I’m thinking “that is one blessed baby boy.”

Later on I watched as Mommy and Daddy went about their day, their routine. Taking turns at changing diapers. Simultaneously entertaining him and playing with him. Loving on him always.

Never once did I hear the words, “you just do it better,  so can you do it?”

This past weekend Holden and I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with some dear friends of mine. I was there to see every minute of their day, their life. The day we left another couple we knew came to visit with their new baby also. Hearing the words this new daddy described regarding watching his wife go through labor and his life since the baby has come so deeply touched my heart that tears streamed down my cheeks. As I’m trying not to wonder how much of my hair had been pulled out so far while solely manhandling my busy Holden this weekend. I wanted to thank them all for laying out right in front of me examples of what I have to look forward to in a family culture.

They seemed to have the parenting thing down, these couples. Young parents, like me. They knew their responsibilities, were in tune with the right kinds of feelings. And every minute I could witness their want to do it. No matter the task at hand, any one of these four parents was willing to put forth the effort.

I realize there are different dynamics and roles with every family, every pair of parents. Not every day or moment adjusting is a happy one. I know this too. Not every minute is there that want. Everyone experiences good and bad days. Parenting is both deeply miserable and extraordinarily rewarding all in one. And more often than not, these oxymorons of emotions can be experienced every single minute of the day.

What I left with though was refreshing. A proof that this whole parenting thing isn’t as difficult as people make it to be (as I make it to be usually). Especially when there are two parents. Two who are on the same page for the majority. Two who complement each other as partners in priorities and decision making. Two parents who have molded their own family dynamics themselves and stick to them.

And what Holden left with was a head full of static from the neighborhood playground slide.

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