“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”
Hello my friends. I have not written in quite a while. I apologize for that. I have been SO busy. We actually just got back from visiting Josie. We were in Maryland for almost two weeks again and although it was wonderful it was also hard saying goodbye once again. I took a short break from my “lifebeyondmommy blog” but probably not for the right reasons. I am not very proud to admit this, but I stopped blogging because I have received a lot of scrutiny and judgment regarding my one post “I miss my daughter.” It was uploaded to a site called Stumbleupon and it has been viewed almost 2300 times. I am glad it is receiving views, because I am sure there are other people going through what I am going through, but by the same token, it has been quite a large pill to swallow. I have received a couple nasty comments and a few nasty emails from people who don’t agree with my decisions and think I am “a terrible mother.” At first I tried to just delete the nasty comments and move on about my day. But then the emails came so now I am writing this post. I have never shared the reason WHY I had to move away from Josie. I never felt it was truly necessary. I mean most of you have been amazing friends and supportive and just wonderful. Most of you didn’t need to know WHY I had to leave all you needed to know was that I was hurting and that was enough for you to show me compassion and support. This post it not directed towards you. This post is for those of you who have judged me. The ones who need to know the WHOLE story, the ones who think no reason in this world is a good reason to move away from your child. I am sure my reason will still not be a good enough one in your eyes but for my sanity I just want to share my reason with everyone. Perhaps I should have shared it earlier? It is not easy sharing your stories with the world. I started blogging for personal growth and in the hopes that my struggles would help others. I wanted to inspire other women, and for the most part I think I have done that. I want to continue my blogging journey. I want to keep searching for a “life beyond mommy,” and in order for me to move on I just need to get this out. Bare with me guys.
I love my husband and my kids more than anything in this world. Let me clarify something, I would have NEVER left Josie if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. NEVER. My husband is in the MILITARY. He serves our country everyday. He is an amazing father and a wonderful husband. Yes, I knew he was in the military when I married him, but I also knew that he was my soulmate. He was the one I had been waiting for and I couldn’t live this life with any other being knowing they were not him. We married so fast because we loved each other so much. We never planned on getting pregnant right away. In fact, I was on birth control when it happened. Soon enough we found ourselves married with a newborn and Military orders for another state. My husband, who serves our country was being transferred to another unit, and no there was NOTHING any of us could do about it.
I had to make a decision. The hardest decision I have ever had to make. Yes, I could have stayed in Maryland by myself with our newborn while my husband moved away in order to continue seeing Josie on the regular. But what sense did that make? Who was I to keep my newborn away from her father and vice versa? Yes, I could have fought Josie’s father and drug them both through the court system so maybe I could take Josie with us. But who was I to keep Josie away from her father and vice versa? Josie has so many people in Maryland who love her. Her father and his family, and my family as well. It was not my place to take her away from everything she knew and everyone who loved her so dearly. Josies’ father is a GREAT father. He loves her more than anything, and he would do anything to ensure her health and happiness. Knowing this, I could never even attempt to rip her away from him. I feel so blessed to be able to say that my daughter is in wonderful hands. Most of you have absolutely no idea how hard this situation was and still is for me and my family. I have worried many times about whether or not Josie will be well adjusted. I have worried constantly about whether or not she will blame me for not being there or if later in life she will not understand why I had to leave. All I can do is try to make her understand as much as possible why things are the way they are. Josie knows that if as she gets older she wants to come live with us she can. Her father and I both want to make sure she is old enough to make that decision before she makes it. As of now though, she has never questioned anything. She has never demanded to live with us. She is happy in MD. She is happy surrounded by family and friends who love her. I am sure there will be times where she questions things, but her dad is there to answer any concerns she has, and we are only a phone call or skype call away. We ALL love Josie. All of us. Not just me, not just her dad. Her life is not trypical. It has never been typical. Her father and I have had joint custody since she was 2 weeks old. Joint custody is all she has ever known.
It is important to note that we have tried and continue to try to get stationed as close as possible to Maryland. We travel there as much as physically possible to see her and she comes her as much as possible as well. I know this is not the ideal situation, but it is OUR situation so we have to handle it as gracefully as possible. I have tried to make the best of this for everyone even though it literally kills me inside everyday. In my heart I believe that the decisions I have made for Josie have been the best decisions for her. Do I want to see her everyday? YES. Do I wish we lived in Maryland? EVERYDAY. Do I miss her? Do I cry for her? ALL OF THE TIME. Just because some decisions seem like they may be the best for ME, that doesn’t mean they are the best decisions for her. I had to do what was best for her even if it killed me. Trust me when I say ripping her away from her father, her friends, and her family that loves her so she could move to another state with her new stepdad and I would NOT have been best for her. I pray everyday, and I have faith that she does and will always understand why her situation is the way that it is.
I know that I do not owe anyone an explanation for why my life is the way that it is. I know I do not have to explain to the world WHY I have made the decisions I have made. I am a person and I do have feelings. There are many things that I struggle with on a daily basis and being away from Josie is one of them. I knew when I wrote that post that there would be many people who judged me. Perhaps I should have prepared myself better mentally for the negativity. I have missed blogging and I don’t want something as small as this to effect me or keep me from doing something I love to do. I guess I needed to write this post in order to move forward. Thanks for reading!
This will be a short post. Turns out I have strep throat. Go me. My house is literally falling apart as I write this. My kids are running around like wild children. One of them doesn’t even have pants on. You should see the dishes piled high in the sink. My house looks like I have not done one thing all week, when in fact it has only been one day! Ugh. Say a prayer for me. Hopefully I will be back tomorrow.
Yesterday, I began telling you a remarkable story about some of the miracles that have happened in my daughters’ life. Lily will be six on Monday, and as her birthday nears, I can’t help but think about how blessed we are to have her here with us. Her life has been saved 3 times. That is how I know, miracles DO happen. If you haven’t had a chance to read the beginning of this story, you should read it here. Now it is time to share two more miracles with you.
When Lily was 4.5 months old, we moved to Texas for my husbands’ job. We had been there for a month and I had finally met another young mother like myself. The two of us really seemed to connect on a “friend” level. My husband would sometimes need to be gone a couple of nights at a time for work, so needless to say, I was pretty lonely. To top it off, we only had one car at the time and he needed to use it, so I was confined to the house more than I wanted to be. You can imagine how excited I was when my new friend J invited me over for a girls’ day! She also had a baby, he was a month or so younger than Lily at the time. J even offered to pick us up and bring us back home. We picked up some fast food and headed to her house. We clicked immediately. We talked and the babies played. After a while, Lily started to fuss and I knew it was her nap time.
J set up a pack n play in her room so I could lay Lily down. It looked more like a bassinet but I wasn’t worried because it was lowered enough that there was no way Lily could fall if she decided to sit up. It was pushed up against a window. There was a baby monitor plugged into an outlet below sitting on the window sill. I sat my daughter into the pack n play, and returned to the living room for some much needed interaction with someone other than my husband. As soon as I left the room, Lily began to cry. I figured it would probably take her a few minutes to fall asleep because she was in a new place. Ten minutes later, she was still crying. I shook it off and tried to engage in some “me” time. Much to my dismay, the next cry she let out sounded “different.” My motherly instincts kicked in and told me something was wrong. I could hear it in her cry that something was not right. I rushed into the room, and what I saw still haunts me to this day.
There was Lily, sitting straight up. The baby monitor chord was wrapped numerous times around her tiny neck. It was so tight, she was struggling to breathe, and she had started turning blue. I screamed for J, “Help! I need Help!” I tried to untangle the chord, but it was so tight, it wouldn’t budge. I desperately tried to get my fingers in between the chord and her neck so she could breathe, but it was impossible. J came running. “Get some scissors!” I screamed. I was watching my baby being strangled and there was literally nothing I could do. After what seemed like forever, J had returned with a pair of scissors. She cut the chord and I held onto Lily as tight as I could. The three of us were crying. The chord had been wrapped so tight that it left bruising and redness around my babys’ entire neck. We dialed 911. I needed to hear from a professional that my baby was going to be ok. The paramedics came and they assured me that Lily was fine, and she was also very lucky. They insisted on checking my vitals as well. I was hyperventilating so badly that I almost passed out. Medically, I may have been fine, but emotionally I was scarred for life. All I can say is, “Thank you God for granting me motherly instincts strong enough to know the difference between a normal baby cry and one that means distress.”
Fast forward a couple of years. Lily is three now. We are still in Texas and our family has grown. About a month ago, we welcomed baby Chloe into the world. Just recently we moved to an apartment complex across the street from a beautiful park with a pond. Since we had a newborn, it had been a while since we had gotten out of the house. We reached out to some friends of ours and invited them to join us at the park for a cookout. We packed up the kids, the food, and the grill. Then we made our way across the street to the park. Our friends were on their way and all was well.
We picked a spot for our picnic away from the playground, and about 20 ft away from the pond. My gut told me we were a little too close to the pond for comfort, but I tried not to worry. Lily knew the dangers of the water (because she couldn’t swim), and I NEVER took my eyes off of my children. D and V arrived with their kids, and the fun began. Their son T, was Lily’s age, and the two of them always had a blast together. They had both decided to “try” us by getting very close to the water. We yelled at them, and we made sure to let them know, if they went near the pond again, we would end our picnic and go home. I thought it was probably best if I walked them over to the playground while lunch was getting ready. First, I would need to feed and change Chloe. I kept my eyes on Lily and T the entire feeding. When it came time to change he baby, I shouted over to my husband and V (who were grilling) to watch the kids. I only had my head down for 15 seconds or so, but that was all it took.
When I looked up, Lily was gone. She was nowhere in sight. “Where is Lily?” I yelled. My husband wasn’t sure. My eyes immediately went to the playground. She was not there. Panic set in. I turned to the pond. It was still. There was no Lily anywhere. Just then, V ran passed me as fast as he could. He jumped into the pond. The water hit his stomach. He dove under and pulled Lily out. I was frozen. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She coughed up quite a bit of water but she was ok. V had saved my daughters’ life. He had been looking at just the right moment. He had seen a splash and knew she had fallen in. He knew exactly where she fell, and he was able to find her under the murky water right away. I took Lily into my arms. We were all in shock. I was crying. Lily was crying. I threw my arms around V. I held him tightly and cried on his shoulder. This man saved my child from drowning. Had it not been for him, Lily would not be here today. I walked Lily home to get her into some dry clothes. As we approached our apartment, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, Mr. V is a real super hero.” To which I responded, “Yes my love, he is.”
There are no words to describe the sheer fear I felt in each of these moments. I think about them all of the time, and I often can’t find sleep because I see them in my dreams. God has had his hands on Lily since the very beginning. My faith in him grows every time I think about how he has blessed my family. As parents, nothing can prepare you for these moments of dread. We are parents, but we are only human. No matter how much of an over-protective parent you think you may be, accidents can still happen. We can not control everything in this life. I have faith that there is a higher power protecting us and watching over our families. I have seen it first hand.
SELF-REFLECTION: DAY 2
SETTING GOALS AND PLANNING TO ACHIEVE THEM
Since it is the beginning of a new year and I am on a mission to find a new me, it only seems fitting that I set some goals for myself. I am going to stay positive and say that as I achieve each goal of mine, or as I attempt to achieve them, I will write all about it here. I’ll keep everyone posted.
GOAL #1: LOSE 20 POUNDS IN 6 MONTHS AND EXERCISE EVERYDAY
PLAN: There is something about me you should know. A secret. About three years ago, I posted a video to YouTube. It went a little viral. Waaayyy more viral than I ever expected. Ever since this video was posted, I have been publicly ridiculed about my weight, my looks, and even my voice. Needless to say, this has been very hard for me to handle emotionally and mentally. The thing is, the people who view this video don’t know me. They don’t know that just one month prior I gave birth to my third daughter. They don’t know that the clothes I am wearing hardly fit because NOTHING in my closet fits. I am still losing the baby weight gained during pregnancy, and my bra doesn’t fit because my newborn is breastfeeding and her lunch is ten minutes overdue. They obviously don’t know that I am a person with feelings. I never thought the world would see this video and focus so much on my weight and appearance. Shame on them. The mean comments have left me with a very distorted body image. They have affected me in many ways. There used to be days I would just cry because my feelings were so hurt. Every time someone leaves a comment on my video, it is emailed to me. I try not to read them, but it is just so tempting. Seriously, usually the comments make me want to run straight into oncoming traffic. But don’t worry, I won’t. That video is not me, it is not who I am now. It was one day out of my entire life. Even though I am 45 pounds lighter now, I still have weight I want and need to lose. My sister is getting married in the fall, and when I stand with the other bridesmaids I really don’t want to feel like a meatball. I have had four kids and I know that. I just want to feel better about myself and I want to be more comfortable with my body. Being happy with the skin I am in starts with my weight. I plan on losing 20 pounds by July 10, 2016.
It’s complicated. I have a diagnosed heart condition called SVT. I have had four cardiac ablations in attempt to fix it, and I have difficulty exercising. Mainly because my heart rate gets up extremely high and causes me to faint. It is pretty awful, but that is a story for another day.
ANYWAY, I plan on starting out small with exercising. I found a used treadmill and a used WII fit (with Zumba) online. For the next month, I am going to use these and exercise atleast 30 min a day. In the beginning I will most likely need to wait for my husband to be home in case I have problems. After a month if I am doing fine and can exercise 30 min without having any issues, I will bump it up to an hour a day. I’ll continue exercising an hour a day for the remaining 5 months.
I am sorry if I rambled a bit today, I really want you guys to get to know me. This blog is meant to be personal. My story reflects my life.
If you want to see my YouTube video, you can watch it here:
DISCLAIMER: It does have a curse word in it at the very beginning. I was way too excited and got a little carried away….
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
The Merriam-Webster definition of self discovery is as follows: “the act or process of gaining knowledge or understanding of your abilities, character and feeling.”
If you are anything like me, you probably ask yourself often: “Who am I beyond raising children, making meals, and cleaning the house?” Surely I am not the only mother who has had this thought? If you wonder who you are, where “you” went or where your life is going now is the time to begin your search and I’m going to tell you why.
THE EFFECTS OF SELF-DISCOVERY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
I am confident that if we find the things we are passionate about as individuals and pursue them we will be much happier people in general. If we are happier women, we will in turn become better wives and better mothers. We need to be the best “me” we can. Essentially as mothers we are the glue that binds our family. Who we are is reflected onto our children. They watch us everyday, they grow everyday and they learn new things everyday.
I have four children ages 10, 5, 2 (almost 3) and 1. They are only getting older and so am I. I want to make sure that from here on out when they look at me they see a person who is happy, confident and content.
WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO LIVE THEIR LIVES TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL
The other day my five year old said to me “mommy when I grow up I want to be a stay at home mom like you.” This struck a chord with me. Please understand, there is nothing wrong with US being stay at home moms. However, I have four daughters and I do not want that to be their life goal. We all want the best for our kids. We want to raise doctors, teachers, pilots, poets, artists, nurses and dentists. If our children have the opportunity to stay at home AFTER they establish themselves somewhat in life then that is great.
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want my girls to look at me and think I am living the dream. I’m not. I don’t even know what my dreams are. To me, that is a problem. We should have dreams, and our children should watch us pursue them. They need to know there is more to “mom” than motherhood. We are setting an example, let’s make it awesome and unforgettable. Let’s teach them things they can carry into their own lives.
KNOWING WHO WE REALLY ARE WILL HELP US LEAD MORE FULFILLING, MEANINGFUL LIVES
Once we begin peeling back our layers, we can learn things about ourselves we never knew. We can establish new values, and they will reflect in our parenting and even our marriage. Once we have some idea of what we want from life and how to start getting it, we can meet new people with similar interests. We may even form lifelong friendships. We will have more fun because we will be more free. Free to be OURSELVES.
I often feel disconnected from myself because I don’t know who I am or what I want beyond the mommy character I portray on a daily basis. I want to find these things out now because I am not getting any younger. This life we live is a short one and before we know it our babies will have babies. Then what? Who are you without them? I want to improve myself now. I want to love myself so I can be the best wife and mother I can be. My family deserves the best me and I intend on giving it now and not later.
Let’s face it, there will come a day when there are no more diapers to change, no more baths to give, and no more sippy cups to wash. Then what? What’s next? Hopefully on this adventure we will figure that out. This is a a journey to self discovery that I sincerely hope you will follow. I want you to follow this story not for the fame or the recognition. Only for the simple fact that I know there are others just like me. I am reaching out to you. Maybe we can find ourselves together. We are searching for the same thing. Who are we under this mask that we wear in order to get us through the constant struggles of being human. I want you to follow this journey in the hopes that one day you may gain some motivation or inspiration from my hardships. I am sure this adventure will not be an easy one. I choose to share my story with the world because I believe my vulnerability will help pave the path I must take to find myself beyond motherhood. Also, even if just one person gains some insight from the mistakes I have made and the lessons I have learned, my life will feel a little more complete. Perhaps that sense of completeness is all I need to find me.
Call it cliche, but for all extensive purposes I have found an outline on wikihow.com that acts as an aid in finding yourself. Perfect right? You can view it for yourself here: m.wikihow.com/Find-Yourself. I intend on using this as a guideline. Will it work? We shall see. If it doesn’t and I still have no idea who I am or where I am going, we will move one. Every single person that reads this blog is important to me. Every story, every comment and every ounce of feedback is appreciated and is encouraged. This is not only a safe place for me, but for all of you as well. I will never judge as I hope you will not judge me. From this moment on, my life is an open book. Ask me questions and I will always answer them as genuinely as I possibly can. You can leave comments here, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s take this journey together.