Thursday, April 19, 2012


Don't forget!

Donuts for Dad tomorrow!


The small piece of paper slipped from Lily's hand into mine. I read it and sighed. She looked at me.

"I know mama. Daddy can't be here."

Here eyes threatened tears, but her voice was steady.

"But he still loves me and wishes he could come, right?"

"Yes baby." I slip on my sunglasses to hide tears of my own.

We drove home in silence. Hers, peaceful. Mine, boiling with feelings.

Mark's job takes him away weekly. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes, like this week, for the entirety.

It is what he has always done. It is not new. And though I hate it, we get by. It is stressful and hard and I wish it could be different, but it's his job.

I am enough for my children. I can handle them alone for a week. I can do everything that needs to be done- the changing and bathtimes and feeding. I can do it all. They don't suffer any lack of care.

But Lily misses him. She cries for him. Her heart misses his heart desperately.

Lily also knows, when he comes home, he is hers. Fully and completely. If she needs him, he is there. If she wants him, he comes running. When she cries, he holds her.

He is dedicated to her. This is something she knows.

So this Donuts for Dad, this time he is missing, is merely a blip to her. It causes her sadness and a bit of envy of her other friends whose daddies can come, but it doesn't scar her.

Me, on the other hand, I am struggling.

I can feel the devil pulling at me today. I can feel his grip on my mind and my heart, reminding me over and over again of remembered pain, of remembered waiting, of remembered disappointment.

The sad truth is, you never outgrow wanting your daddy. Never.

And I want mine. And I miss him.

Right now, sitting in this chair miles from him, years from the last time I saw him, I can smell his scent. Whiskey, cigarettes, old spice. I can see his eyes, set deep into his face, surrounded by wrinkles. His hair, silver and lush. His clothes, his stature, his cane.

I can call him up as if he were here, beside me.

I can feel him.

The longing is...wrenching.

And I try so hard to tell myself- This is MY time. I have a family now. I am creating good. I am healing myself. I am the soft place to fall. I am there for my babies. My family is strong.

But I still am, inside, a small girl, sitting in the blistering Vegas sun, waiting for my daddy.

She's still there. And at times like these, she makes her presence very known.

And to see any of that longing reflected in my daughter...

It upends all of the emotions like a Pandora's box.

I have learned when my heart gives way like this, it is from God. There is no stopping the emotion or the pain. It gets a grip on me. It hurts, it burns, and it rends.

But it also teaches.

I miss my father. I miss him everyday, when I see other grandfather's with their grandkids. I miss him when I smell smoke. I miss him when I see a great sunset.

And I have a thousand what if's. And a million regrets. And alot of guilt over not reaching out, now. But what I have to say to him he will not answer.

Why didn't you save me, daddy? Why wasn't I important enough to rescue?

And that silence is more damaging than what I feel at this moment.

I am in a limbo state. Not at peace. Not at rest with him. I love him. I will always love him, but his lack of care and silence wears on me, and always has. He loved me and cared for me when it was convenient for him. This is the truth. And although I have forgiven him for that, I cannot be pulled in again, when the truth of who we are to each other is never spoken of.

I AM his child. I deserved to be taken care of. I deserved to be safe, and not abandoned. I deserved his love.

And I wasn't.

Yes, I am 35. You may be thinking I should get over it. But one thing my life has taught me is if I DO NOT remember these things, it will slip away from me. The immediacy of the pain will be lost.

And then I am at risk for doing to my babies what he did.

So keeping the pain close, keeps them safe.

This pain comes when I need it, when I am at risk of forgetting.

I know it is God given. I know he has stripped me bare as the tide pools. He is showing me my voids, my wounds, my ugliness.

And I know the tide also returns, covering these places with life and nourishment.

So now, I wait for the tide to come in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Open Letter

To all of the people who frowned at me, shook their heads, and whispered as I passed them in the mall last night:

My son is 2. He doesn't talk much yet. He doesn't have words for his frustration or his anger. He can't figure out how to get what he is feeling from his brain to his lips, so he cries. And he screams. And he hits himself with his little fists.

No, there is nothing wrong with him.

He is simply, angry. And he can't say so. And that makes him angrier. Which spirals into an epic fit.

And yes, I knew this would happen when I took him to ride the train. I knew he would scream and cry for an hour after coming off of it. I knew.

And I did it anyway.

So sue me. So You had to hear him scream. So you had to make judgements in your head, or whisper to whomever you were shopping with. So you had to give me fake sympathetic smiles.

I'm not sorry.

Because seeing that little boys face as we rode that tiny train through the mall, as he got to call out "Baaaaaaaa!!!" (bye) and "Whooooo Whoooo" as we passed people and stores and the food court was worth it.

The 5 minute ride was worth the struggle of the hour after. The hour of screaming and kicking and crying.

Why? Because he is 2. And so few things are simply joyful at 2. Bubbles, cars, swinging, and the train ride at the mall top the list.

All the rest of the day he is at my whim. He goes where I go. He doesn't choose to go to the grocery store, the gym, the post office. He doesn't choose to eat grilled cheese for lunch or to have a nap. He doesn't choose what to wear or when to leave the house.

I choose it all for him. And he has no control.

And he is 2. And behind in his verbal skills due to repeated ear infections. And he is easily frustrated. AND HE WANTED TO KEEP RIDING THE DANG TRAIN.

And I GET him. I understand his little heart and his feelings. That's why I wasn't scolding him. That's why I gave him a cookie. That's why I stopped to hug him and kiss him while he cried. That's why I got down on my knees in the middle of the mall and talked to him, again and again.

Imagine you are 2. You can't talk. You can't communicate. And something you treasure is given to you and then abruptly removed. What would you do?

So next time you want to cut your eyes at a mother with a screaming child, just remember: She is probably doing her best. She is probably trying. And your comments, your frowns, and your looks cut right to the heart of her as a mama. They make her doubt herself. They make her feel ashamed and angry.

See that little face? It is precious to me. It is precious to God. And despite his faults- temper and fierce independence, he is a joy to me. He is my baby. Not just a screaming child to be annoyed with. Somebody's baby. Beloved.

Kindness is never ever futile. Next time, try to be kind instead of judgemental.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today is an ultra special day.

This morning I stepped on the scale, and I was down 35 lbs.

My daughter weighs 35 lbs.

I am 35.

The walkway around out subdivision is 3.5 miles.

So, can you imagine what I did? That's right- I loaded my baby girl in the stroller and we took off for a 3.5 mile run.

My first run since surgery.

My first all out cardio since surgery.

(I am 7 weeks out)

And, I did it. Not only did I do 3.5 miles, I did 4.2. Mostly because Lily fell asleep and I didn't want to disturb her by stopping, but hey, I still did it!

I couldn't run the whole time. And a few months ago, that would have made me upset with myself.

Not today. Today I picked up my feet and put them down without a thought of how fast I was going, how far I was going, or of how long it would take.

I set my feet down one in front of the other today, enjoying the feeling of my body coming alive under it's own power, with the only goal being to finish.

And finish I did. Before I could even blink it was over. And I was sweaty and out of breath and completly joyful.

Starting weight 2.14.12- 229

Today's weight 4.5.12- 194