What’s your reason for the season?

As I sit here, pondering my commercialized Christmas, I wonder how many other people even realize what Christmas is truly about?  If I’m completely honest with myself, I’ll admit that I love all the decorations, the cookies, the presents.  Our lives have trained us to appreciate these things.  But really, in the beginning, when Jesus was born, when all of this started, Mary and Joseph were forced to stay in a manger.  Not in a hotel, not with a family who had extra room.  Not with nice ‘plush’ surroundings (keep in mind the timeframe, their high standards are likely much lower than our lowest standards).  But Jesus, our Savior, was born in a stable.  Amongst animals.  The man who came to save us.  Sinking in yet?

His earthly parents didn’t require an immaculate, festively trimmed home to stay in.  They didn’t have a feast, not like our present day feasts anyhow.  Presents were simple.  Not a ton of overly-expensive gifts for each person.

Did they even celebrate birthdays back then?  If they did, certainly not like we do.  But was Jesus even treated on his birthday? Was he even appreciated for his birth?

Back then, no.  Not in the way he is now.  But then, too, is he really appreciated now?

When I ponder what Christmas is REALLY about, I can’t help but think of Easter too.  And I can’t help but think about how, this isn’t necessarily a joyful and jolly time like we have commercialized it to be.  It’s about a Father, who sent His son, His ONLY son, to our earth; for the sole purpose of him being murdered, because of us and all of our misgivings.

It’s one thing to say that, but to really, seriously think about it is another.

Consider your own children.  Maybe you don’t have children, but have fur babies.  Or maybe you don’t have fur babies either, but have nieces and nephews who you would give your life for, if asked.  We all have someone (whether on two legs, or 4) who we care deeply about.  Imagine that ‘someone’ was given to you, with a contingency.  That, sure you can love them and care for them, and name them, give your life to them, etc.  But, one day they were going to be taken from you, brutally murdered in front of you, for no reason other than being a good person who loves God?

That’s what God did.  For us.  He knew what He would call His son to do, even before Mary had immaculately conceived him.  And yet, He did it for us.

Our God loves us THAT much that He gave His son to us, knowing what would happen.

So, as you’re opening presents, as you’re eating the wonderful feast, as you’re spending time with family and friends in your warm home, consider why you are here.  And how valuable your life is to God.  He didn’t make a mistake in creating us, why not give back to Him this year, too?  Remember to thank Him for His sacrifice, and think about how difficult a sacrifice that would be, if it was a choice you had had to make.

Merry Christmas

❤ Erin

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Do I have a goal?

As we approach New Year’s, I consider my options of resolutions for 2015.  Though, ideally, I’d like to lose weight, I’m afraid my OB would be a little annoyed that I would try to do that while 20 weeks pregnant with our second child.  ‘Get in shape’ is another idea.  One I’d really like to pursue.  But again, my idea of getting in shape is some hardcore kickboxing, and I think my OB might frown on that one too.

Do I have goals on how this delivery will go vs how it went with A?  Well sure.  But ultimately, that too, is sort of out of my hands.

Typically, I’m not really a good goal setter.  If it’s something I am particularly inclined to do, I’ll do it.  But writing it down on paper often sets me up for failure.  Though, unfortunately, the failure part doesn’t seem to sink in for me.

But I can say I have a goal this year.

A has been evaluated by early intervention.  At this point, she has been labeled as “developmentally delayed”.  She is behind on walking and talking, and we’re now inundated with physical therapy, speech therapy and special instruction.  Weekly.  It’s a lot.  When we first developed her plan, I thought, “Hey, I’m super woman.  I can handle this.”  But the reality is, that it took 2 days for it to settle in.  When it finally hit me, I wept.  For hours, even days.  I blamed myself.  I took it out on my husband.  I’m pregnant, so I convinced myself that I wasn’t fit to be a mother to one child, let alone two.  I secluded myself for a few weeks.  I didn’t talk about it with anyone.  Close friends knew, but I kept it a secret as much as possible.

Who wants to admit that their child, their precious, beautiful, curious, perfect little girl is, well, not perfect?  

So my goal for this year is to make it better.  To accept it.  Truthfully, I still haven’t 100% accepted it.  We’re going through the motions, sure.  We had one special instruction appointment already.  And the questions she asked about what A was able to do versus what she can’t do just hit me even harder.  It further drilled in the fact that this is not just going to ‘go away’.  We need to work on it.  We need to put a conscious effort into teaching her more in depth than we would have to teach a ‘normal’ child, if there is such a thing.

As her mom, I need to accept it.  Not just accept it, but own it.  For her.  Because if I’m afraid of her delays, she will learn that she should be afraid of being different and want to hide it when around other people.  And that’s not okay with me.  I have always been the person who stands up and shouts from the mountain tops that I am unique.  I want her to do that too.  But it’s not gonna happen if I’m ashamed of her delays.  Of her.

At this point, we don’t know what has caused this.  Whether it be a medical problem, or just a fluke.  We’re looking into more testing.  We’re weighing our options of how far we should go to figure this out.  Or whether we should just accept it and move on.  I’m still struggling.  Thinking this is somehow my fault.  The pediatric nurse in me is the voice of reason, saying “You haven’t done anything wrong!”  But there’s that little devil on my other shoulder convincing me otherwise.

So my goal this year is to get past this.  If this is a lifelong thing, then I need to figure out how best to school her now and in the future (we’re homeschooling our children).  If this is short term, that would be super.  But we still need to work our butts off to resolve it.  As a mom, I need to own it, and teach her to own it, and that it’s okay to be different.  I need to stop blaming myself and questioning whether I am good enough.  I need to figure out how to deal with my own stress levels, especially through the rest of this pregnancy.  We, as her parents, need to decide what path we are going to take diagnostically, in terms of potentially finding a cause for this, if ever there was one.

I need to pray, instead of cursing God for putting us through this.  God knows what He’s doing.  And He knew long before I did that we would face this.  He knows how to get us through it too.  He’s never let me down before.  I don’t always agree with what He wants me to do, but I trust that He is guiding me the right way.  So determinedly, I will follow His lead on this, along with the help of our growing team of therapists, doctors and medical support.

❤ Erin

Christmas doesn’t need to be perfect

Christmas is a magical time.  It doesn’t matter how you look at it, there is always going to be something that sparks a memory from when you were a child.  And for most of us, we think of that time fondly.

As an adult, I’ve gotten wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Get the perfect gift for everyone? Check.  Wrap said gifts, in the perfect Martha Stewart perfection?  Check.  Pick the perfect music for Christmas dinner?  Check.  Make the perfect Christmas dinner?  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.

There’s too many ‘perfect’ boxes to be checked.

Last year, A was just a baby, just shy of 8 months.  She wasn’t crawling yet.  But she did really love to watch the Christmas tree lights turned on and off.  We definitely rocked out to some hardcore Bing Crosby Christmas carols.  I may have introduced her to the many delicious Christmas cookies that are available at the ready this time of year, too.

This year though, she is into everything.  When we first put our tree up, I actually contemplated taking it back down.  The amount of “NO!’s” being thrown from both mine and C’s mouths was staggering in the hundreds.  Daily.

But instead of the frustration of her “ruining” my perfect tree, I’m letting it go.  This is a year of discovery for her.  It’s excitement in the twinkling lights, the shiny balls, the pretty (and dainty) glass icicles.

She’s discovering, she’s learning.  She’s filled with wonder at all these pretty things.  Things that she has never seen before.  Well, she has, but she doesn’t remember.  

Our house is a war zone.  All the time.  Toys are everywhere.  Often she digs out all of my pots and pans and scatters them in a maze pattern throughout my kitchen.  There are juice stains on my couch and snot on my sleeve.  We have a toddler.  Self explanatory.

Yeah, it’s obnoxious around here most days, but really, WHO CARES?

I did.  But do my friends with toddlers care?  No.  Will any seasoned mom who comes to visit during December care?  Probably not.  The only one who cares about everything being perfect was me.

But this year, and in the coming years, Christmas needs to be what A wants it to be.  It needs to be filled with excitement and new things.  She needs to be able to look back with fond memories and when she sees something at Christmastime as an adult, I hope it sparks a memory for her.  Not a memory of a mom who wouldn’t let her explore and touch everything.  But a mom who says, “Go!  Look!  Touch!”

There might be a few broken ornaments this year.  But they’re replaceable.  These few short years of careless childhood can never be replaced.  And for that, I’m thankful God has given me this gift.  The gift of cultivating wonder in a young child who He entrusted me to raise.  And a gift of His son who was born on this holiday, solely to die for my sins.  The ones I commit on a daily basis.  The ones of trying to be ‘too perfect’ instead of teaching my daughter.

❤ Erin