When you go through trauma, you are never the same. Nor should you be.

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We remember many days and events of history and our own lives each and every year.  Many are celebrations of excitement.  Like birthdays, anniversaries, announcements of babies, and so forth.

But we, collectively as the world, also remember the other days around the world.  The ones where great sadness took place.  And they are remembered for the ages in different ways.

While the first celebrations usually include cake and balloons and banners and shouting and laughing and running and clapping, the second are usually remembered with flags, marches, speeches, wreaths, memories.

My family has lived trauma—where everyone has miraculously emerged on the other side of it.

But to say that we made it through okay would not be accurate.

We made it through.  Our son is alive.  And we get to watch him grow.

But this trauma has changed me in a million and one ways.

The first being gratefulness.  I look at my living, breathing, running, crazy happy boy and rejoice that I get to walk life with him.  And every moment he is alive, I hold him tight.  I don’t ever want to let go.

But that brings me to my second feeling.  The one that makes me cry.  Sadness.  Sorrow.  Heartbreak.

I received my baby back into my arms to live another day.  And I know that this is a gift.  A gift beyond.  Not every mother nor father gets to receive their child back into their arms.  Alive.

Sometimes those arms get to only hold their baby one last time.

And, as tightly as they hold their baby, they have to let go.

I know, one day, I will have to let go of Maxwell, but it is not the same.

At all.

Which brings me to now.  My last feeling is “It’s okay“.

That’s what I hope the mommies and daddies are telling me.  The ones that did not get their babies back.  The ones that had to let go.

That’s it’s okay to celebrate my son.  And his life.

That’s it’s okay to be happy.

That’s it’s okay to hold him tight.

And it’s okay to not want to let go.

That’s it’s okay.  Because that is what they would do had life been different for them.

I can’t even write this without sobbing.  My three year is sitting next to me constantly touching my “creers” as they are running down my cheeks, touching them lightly, somehow sensing these tears carry a heavy weight:  Sorrow and guilt entwined with personal gratefulness.

Yet, I still hope in my ears I hear the words, “It’s okay.”  Because I know for their own lives it is not okay.  And never should have been.  Yet it is for them that way just like for me it is a different way.

A way I will never understand…

The other day, my husband and I were discussing “This time of year”, and that’s when my son, Maxwell, heard us praying, “Thank you, Lord, for giving us back Maxwell.”

After we were done praying, Maxwell looked at us with wide eyes and a goofy grin, saying, “Mommy, you’re silly.”

Because, to him, he is fine.

He doesn’t know the great battle that was fought for his life.

He just knows he lives.

And I just held him.

Trauma has changed our family.

Trauma nearly broke our family.  Not just my son’s life nearly being ripped from our lives but our marriage, too.

Trauma has made us work a lot harder.  Trauma has made us think a lot more.  Trauma has opened up our hearts to a bigger world—a world of immense suffering.  Yet overcoming.

Trauma has made us more empathetic and understanding.

Trauma has taught us how to cry freely.

Trauma has caused us to put on glasses of reality.  That life will not always deal you rainbows sprinkled with sugar.

And it has made every day of our living, breathing, walking, talking lives more important.  More beautiful. More fragile.  More.

Trauma has taken judgement out of me and made me crumble.

Trauma has made me a mess and yet picked me up.

Trauma has torn a huge hole in my soul and then healed it up.

Trauma has shown me the harshness of the world and then the compassion that surrounds the world.

And trauma has taught me that I am not alone.

Trauma has changed my very core.

Maybe, just maybe, one day I will say thank you to God above for this trauma.

Until then, I’ll simply say “Thank you” to God for bringing me through it.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23. 

Here are some sites you can click on to help you understand your trauma:

1.  Healing from Trauma

2.  When Trauma Strikes

3.  Understand Trauma and PTSD:  A Christian Counselor’s Perspective

 

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My Dzien Dziecka Celebrations…

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Tomorrow, June 1st, is a very big day in Poland.  It is one day where the country stops and revolves around the children!

They are celebrated, hugged, loved, and spoiled.

And it was created to remind the world that the children need “Protection” === that the children should not have to fend for themselves—that we, as adults, should do everything in our power to protect earth’s most precious resource—its children!

That children should not be enslaved, abused, forgotten, stripped of their innocence, or abandoned.

That we, HUMANS, stand up and say, “You, child, are BEYOND precious to us!  We are here to stand up for you.”

Whether or not we all do a good enough job of that, I say—We collectively don’t.  But there are those out there that do fight the good fight to #rescuetheforgotten!  Find a charity that does that, or, please, choose to join our fight!

On top of that, this week, I am going to hug my children to let them know that THEY ARE LOVED!  That they are NOT FORGOTTEN!  That they have a mom and dad that are HERE to protect them.

I wish we all would do the same for so many more—but, as Mother Teresa so clearly puts it time and time again, the BEST way that we can begin this fight is at home!

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.”

And hopefully through our love for them, they will also go forward and LOVE so many more!

Happy Children’s Day, my most precious—-Adelyne, Maxwell, and Josephine.  Mommy and Daddy love you more than life.  Thank you for walking this world’s path with us.  May you grow to see the value in every precious soul and share the love of Jesus with each person you meet.  I hope that you have a carefree and beautiful Dzien Dziecka!

xoxo

Momma

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!

The 4 Things I have learned from my 4-yr-old!

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Maxwell says every day, “When I grow more bigger…”

Well, Maxwell, today is your “Grow More Bigger” Day!

You are here.

Four.

Happy birthday, our precious boy.

Hopefully, one day, you’ll be able to look back at this slideshow of the first 4 years of your life and say, “I MADE IT!  I grew more bigger.”

But, in the meantime, I want to share the 4 things that I have learned from you:

  1.  Live every day practically naked.  Who needs clothes when a naked bum or a good pair of underwear will do the job?
  2. Live every day simply.  You, my son, perhaps understand the value of life more than the rest of us.  Or at least most of us.  And this may be the reason why you are simply content.  Mud?  Water?  Insects?  Check.  Check.  Check!  All equals a life being well lived.
  3. Live every day as that pesky little/big brother.  Really.  You are a mess.  You are a boy.  Your dinosaur eats her dolly—you make her cry.  You are the middle now but will be the biggest one day.  You may be the pest now but will be the protector one day.  You are the grossest now but will be the humor bringer one day.  Live every day with your sisters as your best friends!
  4. Lastly, live every day eating bacon!  Okay—you probably eat a tad too much.  But you show me to savor what is given to me!  And that is you, Maxwell Loren.  A gift from God whose life was miraculously spared.  And we will never ever stop thanking God for the gift of Y-O-U!

We love you now and will forever, our boy. Sto lat,

Your Momma, Your Daddy, Your Adelyne, and Your GoGo Baby (aka Your Josephine)

Now for a classic…And, yes, Paul, we do say it is his birthday!

Happy Mother’s Day #failblog to Me!

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“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME, MOMMA!” My 3-year-old son shouted at me today.

Yes.  On Mother’s Day.

The sacred day for Mothers.

Why would a 3-year-old shout that he is not understood?

Well, for starters, his 2-year-old sister slightly colored on his Spiderman coloring picture and I told him it was going to be okay.

I even cut around the pencil scratches she made…

But, apparently, it was NOT OKAY!

I don’t understand…

And then he wanted crunchy toast for lunch.

So I made it.

Buttered bread, into the oven, voile!  Out comes crunchy toast.

But NOOOOOOOOO!

He wants the bread in the oven first to get crunchy…THEN…And, apparently, only THEN…can I butter his toast.

“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME, MOMMA!!!”

Yes, Maxwell.  This is where you are 100 million 25 billion 49 quadrillion 237 gazillion correct.  I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU!

Happy Mother’s Day to me?????

Absolutely!

Because just when all sanity was lost, a dear friend showed up delivering flowers on behalf of my husband who is 1 trillion kilometers away…

Flowers…on a day when I was LOSING.  Like BIG TIME!

Flowers…for me!

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Winds of change…This surprise uber lovely visit shuffled all children AND crying 3-year-olds outside where they began to ride, run, and play in the great outdoors.

Lunch still untouched—but, hey!  Who needs lunch????

Friends…I don’t understand my kids.

My 10-year-old…A mystery!

My 3-year-old…A puzzle!

My 2-year-old…A NO Monster!

If this was baseball, I would be STRUCK out!  Out of that Old Ball Game!

But that’s the thing about mommies.  We don’t strike out.

Well, technically, we MAY strike out…BUT WE DON’T leave home plate.  We make sure that they pitch it again and again and again…hoping for a hit!

Which sometimes we actually make.

The crack of the bat.  The connection of the ball.

We run and run and run…And round those bases so that we can bat again.

Recently I had posted a picture of my 2-year-old trying to escape out the front door to find daddy (who is a trillion miles away).  Her diaper sagging.  I called her #soggybottom.  My soggy bottom baby.  And I captioned the photo: Because sometimes we fail at parenting.

But then an angel wrote and said, “It’s not a parenting fail…It’s well hydrated!”

That’s when it hit me…

I didn’t fail.  I succeeded.  She was well hydrated.  That meant she wasn’t dehydrated.  Which meant, I could avoid taking her to the doctor for fluids.

Complete victory!

My daughter was well-watered.  Forget the soggy bottom baby trying to escape.  At least she was trying to escape hydrated!

More power for her long, long journey!

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I absolutely LOVED how that perspective changed my entire view of the situation.

And, so, I’ll leave you with the same advice my mom used to give me when I’d fall, “Hop up and get going again!  You are fine.”

Dear Moms out there…

You’re not failing.  You are hydrating your children.  Forget all of the details in between…

And, when you need it, remember the words HOP UP!  GET GOING!  YOU ARE FINE!

Because you are…

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

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A masterpiece of work in progress!

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it…” Philippians 1:6

What Real Life 40 Actually Looks Like!


Man…Today was my HILL moment!  And it just seemed far too plain and lovely.  I didn’t feel the climb at all.  So that must mean that I am in better 4-0 year old shape than I originally thought, eh?

No.  Really.  Today was the day that I was having a super hard time approaching.  I know—many are in the club.  Many say it’s the best time in life.  Many have many things to say.

But this day for me was a VERY reflective day.

My life.  It’s halfway.  I am at the marker.

Yes.  Technically with the genes that run in my family, I may live to be 100.  God willing.  But I may not.  And, so, as I approached this day, I did so with great reflection of every day—every year—and every moment that led up to this moment.  The first half of my life…

It’s a big deal to know that you have accomplished a milestone such as the First Half of Your Life.

My daughter asked me if I felt any older today.  I said, “No.  I still feel 18.”

And she laughed and said when she turned a decade  (this is how old she calls herself) she still, also, felt only 9.

That’s the thing.  I don’t feel the 4-0.  When I was pregnant just a couple years ago…I felt the 9-0—but, not pregnant, I feel rather GREAT.  And yet I still must pause and actually realize that I am at a HUGE point in my life.  A point that says, “You have completed half of  your life…Now, the question is, what are you going to do with the rest of it?”

It’s making me REALLY think hard!

Yes.  A four-door-jeep would be my mid-life crisis car…So I hope to have one of those one day.

I am not a cougar—nor do I ever want to “TRAIN” another husband.  Therefore, I’ll keep the hottie that is the better half of this blog’s title 😉  (Oh—and I believe in God’s gift of marriage—therefore, I shall stick with working it out with the one that I got 😉 😉 😉 ).

We are finally in the process of owning our very own FIRST home in our married life.  15 years in.  That is a huge woot-woot from our side of the world.

And I am tied up and not expecting any more storks to come by—so my first half of life completed any NEW life that might pop right out of me.

So where do I go from here?

My friends…up!

Looking up.

You know—although I am a bit freaked about forty (no matter how great you tell me it is), I pray with my entire heart that as I travel through each new day on my new side of the mountain, that I will always look up.

God has carried me, dragged me, and walked next to me for the first 40—and I am so thankful.  I can’t imagine the new path without my same hiking companion.

So, where do I go from here?????

Anywhere He directs me to go.

And I look forward to that adventure!

God bless your side of the mountain, no matter which side that may be.

Always,

b

Oh, yeah…Enjoy my REAL day of 40 with my messy kids and lumberjack husband that built me just the BEST 40th birthday present a girl could hope for—a tennis wall!

Breakfast and Coffee…my husband knows the way to my heart!!!

His day off is Tuesday every week.  Happy for me that my birthday fell on a Tuesday this year!  He spent the entire day making my tennis wall outside.  I love my lumberjack—he knows me so well!!!!

4-0 year old me!

Messy kids running around in underwear holding signs that say “Lordy Lordy Brookie Cookie’s 40!”

Max orchestrated the entire cake:  not owie, Barbie mermaid, yummy pink frosting, and taste testing throughout!

This is what a 3-yr-old’s Barbie cake looks like for his mommy’s birthday!

Get it?  40!

My 5-Star birthday dinner by my hubs!  Including homemade stuffed mushrooms with Brie cheese!

This love missed the entire party.  But she is so cute it doesn’t matter!

And this love insisted on taking his Daddy shopping so I could have a special robot present for my big day.  Needless to say, I have not been able to play with it much 😉

 

This is Real…

Real life in photos:

Real kids paint naked  Real dads makes baseball cupcakesReal moms get down and dirty Real miracles turn 10    Real streets get lamps   No matter where you are or what you’re doing, I pray you’ll keep it real!

XO b