The Creation of the UnHusband

I find myself wrapped in thoughts tonight. Outside my window, the snow is falling, snowflakes cascading down from the heavens. The yard is blanketed in a pillowy white covering…..a welcome sight compared to the mud that it replaced from a dreadful downpour of rain this morning. The vision is a sight to behold, erasing all the muck and mire that is burrowed just beneath it’s surface. Forgotten is the sloppy, muddy dishevel that my driveway was not long ago; it’s buried. I tell you all of this because this is symbolic. Today, I stand before you a snowflake, freed from the heavens, but just a few years ago, I was the aftermath of a rain shower. I was stained, I still am, but today it just isn’t as apparent. If you were to dig your hands into my snow blanketed soul, you would lift them with soiled gloves. In order to grow, to transform, I must always remember where I came from.

If you peek out the glass window panes, if you squint through the blizzard, you will see, a man. Scotty, after a long day of working in the cold, wet snow, there he stands in the ditch, he is helping a family that has slid off the road. I am thankful that this family wound up in this yard, at this particular time, otherwise the woman and her kids probably would’ve spent hours awaiting rescue. Ever the rescuer, there he is, still dressed in his saturated work hoodie and his now soggy boots, billows of cold air coming in puffs from his lips. I know he is cold, I know he is tired, but he carries on. Doing what it takes to see that these strangers find their way home, safe and sound, so typical Scotty. I can’t help but smile to myself, at his compassion, he hides his heart well, but it is times like these, I am so proud he is the father of my children. He is a man of few words, his smile is not one you find often upon his lips, but if you take a moment, if you search a bit harder, under the harshness he exudes; you will find a softness unsurpassed by none. He does everything hard, he loves hard, he fights hard, and even in his most desperate hours, he never lets it show. He is the epitome of strength, perseverance, and a true man’s man.

I watch admirably at his endurance. He patiently shovels piles of snow from the road. Then when his attempts are unsuccessful he scrapes the ice from the four wheel drive and returns to pull them out. The metaphor is not lost on me this night, no, too easily I transcend back in time. You see, I was that car. Out in the storms of life, sliding out of control to land in a ditch. Most would have cut their journey short, or chosen a less treacherous path. Not me, I continued on that slippery slope, finding myself in a ditch, or rut, more times than I can count. I cannot remember the number of times that he pulled me from my wreckage. Every time he pulled me back onto my track, I managed to end up back where I started, and eventually, I quit accepting his help. His damsel in distress refused to allow herself to be saved.

I think back to all the times I shoved him away. I had nothing left to offer, nothing left to give. I often wonder how it must have felt to be married to the UnMother. The woman so alone in her grief that she couldn’t see past it, she couldn’t breathe, and she was incapable of emotion. She was just a suit of armor I was forced to wear, this doppleganger version of myself. She was a farce, a much needed escape, but she was robotic in her expression. Then, I am reminded of how tough that must have been to witness my transition.

Scotty had married a completely different woman……actually still a young lady. I was full of life, laughter, and love as boundless as the oceans. I was enchanted with everything about this man I loved so dearly. I always laid his clothes out for work, I made his plate for supper, and I relished in spending my time in his presence. If you saw that young version of me, you would have loved her. She was so easy going, so full of life and wonder, so eager to love, and most importantly, so very happy! Her face lit up when he came into a room. Like a moth to fire she was drawn to him. She valued his opinion above all others, and they spent nights lying awake just talking about everything under the sun. She would listen as his voice spoke to her. Sometimes she would forget to hear what he was saying, instead allowing herself to enjoy the way her name sounded upon his lips. His touch was something that she hungered for, the feel of his hand upon her’s, the way he caressed her face when she was resting her head on his shoulder, and the way he wrapped her up in his beautiful, strong arms, that was the thing that kept her world on it’s axis. She was smitten with this man who had swept her off her feet.

The day I walked down the aisle, I had one soul purpose; to love this man more than anyone in the world. I didn’t realize that I would soon grow to love someone that didn’t exist. Or how I would yearn for the presence of another, more than I ached to be held in his arms. My wedding dress was beautiful, flowy, romantic and elegant. I chose it with great care, to represent all that I hoped our marriage would be. I knew him better than he knew himself. He was drawn to me because I was what he needed, softness to smooth out his rough edges, a constant smile for the days he couldn’t find one, and light in a world that was once dark. I vowed that day to be all of those things, because I needed him just as much. I needed his strength when I was vulnerable, his wisdom when I was careless, and his guidance when I so often lost my way. We were a team……until the miscarriages.

I no longer craved his touch, or his hug; my body was too accustomed to needles and tortuous testing; one more touch would send me spiraling. I didn’t wait by the door for him to come home; I was too often at another failed doctor’s appointment. The once talkative me, now fell silent. Her voice seemingly lost forever. Conversations that lasted long into the night were replaced with short responses to only necessary questions. We spoke of nothing of importance. We had become “that” couple: the couple who merely lived together but no longer knew each other. I was no longer the girl with an easy smile; my face was one of stoic determination.

I reluctantly allow myself to look back upon that time, and conjure up the effect that my isolation caused him. Without my softness, he became harsh, closed off, and withdrawn. He too, had gone into his secret holding cell, a place void of emotions. Without my sense of humor to brighten his somber moods, his smile faded….the smile that I once sought above all things. The tiny gift of that grin could set all things right in the world, but I no longer sought it. How could I summons a smile to his face when I had lost my own? Without the light that I used to access his heart, darkness enveloped him. I wonder how he felt? I have never asked him. I am sure he felt deserted, abandoned, neglected, and lost, just like I did. If we had only leaned on each other instead of hiding in our fortresses of steel, perhaps we could have shared our pain and found our way….but the person I was during my despair was not the one locked away inside her own prison.

I can see him, the UnHusband. That is what he had become. His purpose had always been to love me, to receive my love, to embrace my weaknesses, to fix me when I was broken…..but I was unfixable, incapable of allowing love in, and too consumed with all my weaknesses to be embraced. Just as his purpose had always been to be my husband, my purpose had shifted to being a mother. He wasn’t as driven as I was for the need for a child; he wanted his wife back, and his wife wanted a baby. For the first time in our relationship, we found ourselves on opposing teams, fighting two different battles; his to save me, and mine to save my unborn children….which in the end rendered me beyond saving.

In hind sight, I see the two miserable people we had become. Our mourning, and pain were for different reasons. I lost my babies, and my identity, but in return he lost his wife. His countenance changed, he no longer attempted to hug me after a long day at work, (I had shunned his embrace too often), so he lost himself in a project in the garage. Our conversations, once light hearted, tender, and full of fun banter, now was non-existent. The only words we spoke were out of necessity, and laughter had dissipated our once happy home. I knew, even then, I should stop this madness, reach for him, kiss his lips, speak the words that he needed to hear, and close the distance that separated us by continents. But, in order for the UnMother to guard me from the pain, she had to shield me from all emotions…..even love. I could not speak the words he longed for, I could not tell him that I was okay to simply be his wife, and abandon my dream of being a mom.

So, they lived together, in the depths of their own Hells, the wounded UnHusband and the broken UnMother. Their escape was futile as each of them were driven by different desires. I remember hating him for not being a part of my need. I am sure he hated that I had morphed into this unrecognizable version of the woman he loved. Two Hells, two hearts broken, and we stood divided as our world crumbled. He found comfort in drinking and endless nights spent with his friends. I found no comfort, only one thing could set my world right….a baby. My anger was only fueled by his absence, and I lashed out at him, and he in return drifted further away. An endless cycle, a battle that could not be won, and two people who once loved each other beyond measure, became enemies. We were strangers. Forgotten were the loving words, the beauty of the sound of one another’s laughter, and when we were once each other’s world……now we were worlds apart. How our love story had become.

The UnHusband, he looked so shattered. His once dominate stature, now was one of defeat and his shoulders slumped against the weight of the burden he carried. The beautiful, rare smile, was replaced with a grimace, a scowl, a hardness from the loneliness he felt. His hazel eyes that used to light up had fallen dull, the golden flecks that used to ignite when I walked in the room had fled into the darkness that lurked behind them. His eyes were haunting, reflections of his darkened soul. As I swam out to an ocean without a shore in sight, my husband had swam out to rescue me……and I had drowned the man I loved. When we emerged on the shores, we were different people. Our old selves died in that ocean, and on the sands of a shaky seaside two new entities were born: the UnHusband and the UnMother. Only time would tell  if we could find our way back to our former selves.

I will say that the journey would be long and treacherous, and some things would forever change them. This isn’t the story of a flawless love, it is indeed that is flawed beyond measure. That part of our lives, was one that would force us to evolve or to cut our losses. I will soon share more of our love story, as tragic as it is, but right now my heart cannot allow anymore emotion in. To be continued…..

Motherhood Wisdom

Motherhood thought for the day: Remember to listen to your children and try to remind yourself that you once were a child too! Today, started out low key; me and the girls and a few cartoons….then as each day does it seemed everything started getting discombobulated and I found myself in a rush. Scrambling for outfits for the girls, getting them in the car and ready to go! It all gets to be a bit much and at times I grow impatient with the girls as one is always lagging behind and Braelyn was lagging behind, and I said “Hurry up, Braelyn! We have to go!” She had stopped by the step…I tapped my foot on the ground as I watched her squat and wait…just as I was about to yell at her I saw Hank (our old black lab) hobbling up the drive. She leaned in and kissed him whispered “Good morn’n, Hank!” I got a lump in my throat as I watched Hank nuzzle her before finding his place on the porch.
After her quest was fulfilled she said, “I coming, Mommy! I had to give Hank dem kisses and tell him morn’n!” Hank looked on as if he was grateful for the act of kindness! Just melted my heart…while I was busy hurrying along because this world teaches us to HURRY UP!!! My beautiful, sweet daughter was taking a moment to kiss an old friend on the head and let him know that he matters! I felt my eyes mist over and I strapped her in the booster before I looked in her eyes, “Brae Brae, Mommy is sorry to rush you! You never hesitate to stop and take a moment for the things that are important to you! Never forget to let a friend know that you love them!” She looked at me, and said, “Hank needs kisses so he don’t get sad!”
I looked on the porch at the now elderly Hank and wondered how many times I pass him on the step and don’t stop to pat his head!? And still he will follow me around the yard in hopes I will stop to love him! Braelyn saw it…his need for affection, appreciation, compassion in exchange for his loyalty! Lord, let me see things through my daughters’ eyes; things are much slower, kinder and more beautiful lying in their depths!

From the Mouths of Babes

Motherhood wisdom (warning long post): I am learning as I go…being a mom is a never ending process of learning! There are days, chaos consumes my house, the noise level often breaks the sound barrier, and meltdowns happen more frequently than I prefer…the truth is there are so many days I literally pray for bedtime….I count the hours until I can retreat into peace, tranquility, work on art, or like tonight I get the urge to write! This post is mostly for me but maybe it will resignate with some others. I write on here to keep a timeline of tidbits of the days, moments, so I can reflect and one day recall these days that I just cannot wait for the days to be over….I am guilty of that. Often I rush bedtime, a quick prayer, a kiss and hug before sighing and breathing a sigh of relief as I close their bedroom doors…relief that I made it through one more day. There are nights my girls refuse to go to bed and it tests my patience but usually they go to bed quietly. Tonight after placing my youngest darling to bed a half hour later she was still awake…….I went into check on her and she had redressed herself into a princess sleeper. I told her it was bedtime and mommy was tired. She is a sensitive soul and wise beyond her years…she said, “You tired, Mommy?” I nod. “You can sleep with me…” I explain I cannot fit (at least not comfortably in her bed). So she tells me she will hold me and lays my head into her lap and plays with my hair. It is such a tender moment my eyes mist over, “You sad, Mommy.” I shake my head no, she says, “when I am sad i need my mommy…do you need your mommy?” I decide to tap into this moment to connect and listen, “I always need’ my mommy.” Her eyes soften and replies, “You Mommy not here she don’t live here, I be your mommy tonight!” I linger in the moment, the feel of her tiny hands in my hair, her soft hair falling in my face as she rests her head on mine. Then she welcomes me into her world, a world of princesses, stories, a glimpse into childhood. I love hearing her stories they are filled with beautiful things. Softly she whispers, “mommy, you get your glasses at walmart?” (I wear my glasses at night instead of contacts) she says, “I can’t see walmart mommy so I need glasses like you!” I chuckle then she raises my glasses up says, “Mommy, your eyes are pretty!” I smile all the way from my heart…then she asks me to shut my eyes and asks me if I got makeup on and that she wants to wear my makeup. I respond that she is beautiful and she doesn’t need makeup to be pretty and Mommy does. She places one tiny hand on each cheek (my favorite thing ever) and looks me in my eyes before breathlessly whispering, “But Mommy YOU are SO pretty!” There was such sincerity, adoration, and truth in her voice that I let the tears fall, never fell more loved than the love from my girls! I am so grateful I took the few minutes to kneel by her bed and just be with her. Slow down, the most precious moments come in the most unexpected times, moments that can’t be rushed, that could be missed if I had rushed her off to bed. Tonight I go to sleep knowing a love that only a child and mother can share….thankful for the quiet moments where these precious beings allow me into their souls, moments of connection…….for it is those moments that make all the tough ones worthwhile! Oh, I so love my girls and their beautiful hearts!

True love

True love is giving up your last piece of bacon! My girls fight like any other siblings but when it comes down to it, their love for one another is the sweetest thing I have ever witnessed. Braelyn and Brynlee LOVE bacon (one of few things I can get them to eat) So I fixed them a plate of bacon this morning and they got down to the last 2 pieces. Brynlee took one piece, Braelyn looked at the plate, noting there was one piece left. She waited for her sister to eat her piece, (I could tell Braelyn wanted the bacon) after brynlee finished eating her piece, my sweet Brae looked at her, handing her the last piece, and says, “Here Dinky Do, you can have the last piece. You is little and you need to grow big. If you still hungry you eat it!” Brynlee said her belly was full and I told Brae that she could eat it and I could make more. Sweetest gesture ever. Just when I wonder if I am doing everything right as a parent, they do something like that and I know I am either doing something right or I just have the best kids in the world!

The Struggle

Absolutely nothing hurts worse than to see your child struggle, to see her try her very best, to see her work so hard and things that come so easily to other children…And then to see that she still can’t master the things she’s working so hard to accomplish….It makes me feel like I’m failing her, it makes me feel like I’m not enough, it however does not make me less proud of her!!! It takes true adversity, true strength, to try, try and try some more…she doesn’t give up, she doesn’t admit defeat, and that is what matters more to me than any struggle she faces. Braelyn, my beautiful girl, I know that you don’t understand all the new things you are learning but mommy promises that together we will conquer whatever needs conquered….It hurts to hear your child falls in the special needs category, it rips at the seams of my heart, but I know we must face whatever hardships you have and we will!!! I refuse to let you be categorized, or put limitations on because I know you will overcome whatever lies ahead…there is nothing you can’t do, and together you will be the very best at whatever you choose to do. I wouldn’t change a single thing about you, you are perfect, you are resilient, you are special, and you are different which is what makes you who you are!! I hate that you have to try harder, study more, try to understand things that you cannot comprehend…but God gave you courage, determination and a stubborn streak a mile long….so just know mommy will be here every step of the way and I’m so thankful that He gave you teachers that want to see you succeed, teachers who see the inner and outer beauty I see, teachers who love you…but then again, I don’t know anyone who can see your smile, hear your contagious laugh and not fall in love with you. This is a part of you, but it doesn’t define you…as tears roll down my face watching you play, I know God has a plan for you (his plan for me was to be your mommy) and I just want to say to the little girl sitting on the couch eating a popsicle I’ve NEVER been more proud of you

Forgiveness

Sometimes you should say you are sorry, even when you aren’t at fault…because love isn’t about being right, it’s about being happy….Some days when are feeling moody, when you want to lash out at those you love most; hug them instead because they aren’t the enemy they are your comfort. When you don’t feel like listening to one more person’s problems because you’ve have a list of your own; listen anyways, you may be the only one that hears them…Be a strong foundation for those you love but also accept it’s ok to lean on them now and then…You are only human and if your loved ones can’t be your soft place to land then how will you find rest? When you feel like giving up…push on, you are strong! And when everything is falling apart, and you find yourself looking down…look up instead because God is in control and He will always see you through!

Braelyn’s Eyes

Walking down the hall with my tiny Braelyn, she’s dragging her iv pole with her, smiling at everyone she meets, we pass an old man who looks disheartened and before I knew what she was doing she softly pats him on the shoulder, “I hope you won’t be sad.” The old man was sitting outside a room and I didn’t ask his story but he patted Braelyn on the head and responded, “you are a wise little one, life is too short to be sad.” He smiled a weary smile and his eyes went some place I couldn’t see…then she stopped to hand a fussy infant a toy she dropped from her stroller, she holds a door for a lady as we walk through…on the elevator a very sick elderly patient seems to struggle to stand…I look at Braelyn as she has a tendency to say whatever comes to mind which makes me nervous, then she reaches over and touches the ladies hand, it was old, fragile, wrinkled from years of which I know nothing about, her nails even in her frail state are long and manicured with a beautiful shade of red…then the words…”your hands are beautiful, you are beautiful!” The lady looks up tears rimming her already cloudy eyes, “what a sweet girl you are, and you are beautiful!” At this point I feel tears roll silently down my cheeks. As we step off the elevator I watch the lady make her way towards her empty room but before she leaves she touches Braelyn’s hair, “you made this old lady’s night!” She looked at me and I impulsively hug the lady, she hugged me back like a thirsty man drinks water. No words were exchanged between us but as I sit here watching braelyn sleep, I think of that old man who may have lost or may be facing losing a loved one, with a single gesture she comforted him, the toddler who had dropped her toy and Braelyn simply extended a helping hand, but the one that sticks out the most is the lady…mostly her hands…hands that adults would see as weathered…but my sweet girl saw beauty…those hands had undoubtedly rocked a sick baby, nursed a boo boo, cooked and cleaned after little ones much like I do now, and yet her room was empty (we walked by) everyone needs love, comfort, encouragement, and compliments…and my child is a gift, a terrific gift that sees things the way God sees us…I’m still choked up, thank you, God for Braelyn…She’s exceptional, extraordinary, special….I wouldn’t change a thing about her, but God if you get a chance could you let me see things through Braelyns eyes

The Story of Marriage

Marriage isn’t a romantic novel filled with beautiful words on every page

It isn’t a play with two lovely people kissing upon a stage

It’s not a fairytale that leaves you always smiling at the end

It’s doing the things you never thought you’d do, it’s finding a lifetime friend

Marriage is an artist’s masterpiece, a never completed work of art

It is a card drawn by the one you love with meaningful words, and little purple hearts

Marriage isn’t a dance where the dancers know what steps to take

It’s a dance where we sometimes lose our footing and cause a heart to break

It’s not a flawless diamond that rests upon your hand

It’s an unconditional love symbolized with a single golden band

It’s not a chef’s gourmet meal at a place where you could never afford to eat

It’s a simple meal that he prepared with candlelight, that sweeps you off your feet

It’s not living in a mansion with expensive things displayed all around

It’s a little blue house that I call home and a small piece of ground

It’s not an office with high-tech gadgets sitting upon my desk

It’s just a little room that he built for me, that tells me I am blessed

Marriage is not always being right but instead fixing the problem to what is wrong

Marriage is no matter what lies ahead knowing you found where you belong

It’s not a narrow road with sunny skies that are never blue

Marriage is a trying journey of love that always leads me straight to you

Reality+Kids=Humor

Who needs medication when you are my children’s mom? Current conversation…
Braelyn: (watching Frozen) Mommy, can we go to the hand shop
Me: (thinking manicures) We can, when I get better but I just did your nails
Braelyn: (looking a bit too excited) And they are going to put powers in my hands!
Me: (trying to figure out what she is wanting I glimpse Elsa on tv shooting snowflakes out of her palms, I laugh) No, we can’t go get powers at a hand shop
Braelyn: (pouting) But, WHY???
Me: Because it is make believe
Braelyn: (frightful look upon her face) It will make me bleed??????? Before I could recover from a fit of painful laughter, I hear her exclaiming to her little sister that she asked if they could go get powers in their hands but she wasn’t going, when Brynlee asked why, Braelyn exclaimed “If you go to the hand shop, Mommy said they will make you bleed!” ‪#‎killingtheirdreams‬ ‪#‎makebelievemakemebleed‬ ‪#‎nomedicineneededatthishouse‬ ‪#‎frozentragedy‬ ‪#‎traumatizedmychild‬

Love is ALWAYS Worth it!

There is a beauty in love, the raw, vulnerability you give when you give yourself over to it. It takes courage, it takes selflessness, it takes trust, it takes letting go of pride! The spiral is scary, but the leap is always worth it…even when loving hurts, the pain is worth it! When you love someone you give them the power to make you the happiest, giddiest, most fulfilled person….you also give them the control to inflict pain, so deep that it can bring you to your knees…that is the adventure of it all. I know the risks, but I choose love EVERY SINGLE TIME! Why? Because I prefer love to fear, I prefer sharing my heart than being lonesome, and I prefer loving no matter what is at stake. No matter the outcome, loving is ALWAYS worth it. And if you are lucky, really lucky, and you let go of all your inhibitions, you will feel that love come full circle. The only thing more beautiful than love is looking into the eyes of the one you love and seeing that same depth of love shining back at you! It has been a long road to me feeling happy, to me letting go of old hurt, of really trusting my heart to fully give in to the intoxication of being in love…….but I must say that falling back in love again is freeing in a way that guarding my heart has ever been! Take the plunge, love every single chance you get!