Archive for January, 2015

The Freedom to Be

I read a lot of “Mommy Blogs”, “Mommy Websites”, and other parenting articles out there on the internet.  I tend to read just about anything reccomended to me – be it liberal or conservative or crunchy or super-not-crunchy.  I’m a pretty eclectic mother, I think.  In some ways I’m all about natural things (I breastfeed on demand, never give a pacifier, babywear, co-sleep), in other ways I’m super non-crunchy (except Gardasil – my kids get ALL vaccines, I’m all about modern medicine, I believe preschool at an early age is an advantage and a good thing).  In all the varying styles of parenting, though, I have seen one overarching theme: parents who want the best for their children – and they want their children to live happy, pain-free lives.

I challenge that.

Some of my most memorable moments were the ones where I was filled with sadness and loss.  The times I grew the most were times of great joy and times of great pain.  They made me who I am.

How can I ask for less for my children?

There is a song, “I Lived” by One Republic – written by Ryan Tedder for his four-year-old son.  If there was ever a song that summed up my feelings about my children – this is it.  This is the letter, written, printed out, and given to each of them (even the ones who cannot yet read, or the one who is not yet in my arms).

Dearest Caterpillar,

I have two wishes for you – one is that you find Jesus and follow Him with your whole heart.  Not following a church, or a movement, but following the God that came to earth to save you – and told us to Love Our Neighbor and Live Life More Abundantly.  Love.  Love with your whole being.  Live.  Live with everything you have.

Hope when you take that jump
You don’t fear the fall

You will fall.  You will.  It’s inevitable.  It’s not the falling, it’s the refusal to get back up.  It’s the not packing a parachute before you jump.  Prepare.  Then go for it.  Failing isn’t the end, it’s a learning stop along the way.

Hope when the water rises
You build a wall

It’s going to get tough.  Life does.  You can run, or you can work damn hard to stop the bad things from controlling your life.  Build the wall, channel the water, make it work for you.  You’re strong and smart enough to do that.

Hope when the crowd screams out
They’re screaming your name

Be the leader.  You don’t have to be famous.  Just be the one that people know is trustworthy enough to look to for guidance and advice.

Hope if everybody runs
You choose to stay

It’s easy to run.  Easy to let others take the blame or the pain.  It’s so hard to be the kind of person who makes the decision to stay.  Protect the weak who can’t run.  Be bold.  Love the ones who do run, because maybe they are doing the best they can, too.

Hope that you fall in love
And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know
Is give it all you have

Truth.  Love isn’t easy.  Love hurts.  You’ll never find the “perfect person”, just as you aren’t a perfect person – and you will hurt others.  So think carefully, make a wise choice, then stick it out.  Falling in love hurts, staying in love is worth it.  Give it everything.

And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain

Anyone who tells you life is easy is lying.  Pain will come and go – suffering is a mindset.  Take the pain and work with it.  Let it motivate you.  Let it make you stronger.  Don’t give up.  Never give up.

Hope when the moment comes
You’ll say…
I, I did it all

Do it all.  If you come to me and say “I want to go to Africa for a year and help,” know I will support you.  When you come to me and say “I’ve prayed over it – and this is the person I’m suppose to marry,” know that it doesn’t matter what I think, I will support you.  Know that if you come to me and decide during your last year of college that you hate your degree, I would rather you stop and change paths now, rather than be stuck in a frustrating career for the rest of your life.  Don’t be afraid to step out and take those chances.  That’s what makes life.

I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give

You’re not promised anything or any time.  I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that you’ll never get sick, there will never be an accident, and that you’ll live to be 100.  I can’t.  So don’t waste the moments you have.  Not even the ones you have right now – don’t wait to own this time and make the most of it.

I saw so many places
The things that I did

What do you want?  What do you want right now?  Build towards it – you can go anywhere and do anything.  There isn’t a thing restricted from you, if you plan and go for it.

Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

You’ll get hurt.  Remember?  And that’s okay.  Just don’t let it stop you.  It’s only “safe” when you never leave the safe place.

Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up

You get the same 24 hours that everyone else gets.  Make the most of them.  Spend them – because, you can’t save them.  There is no bank of time in this life.

And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup

Surround yourself with friends and family.  Sometimes, you’ll need to be alone.  But more often than not, allow your family and friends to celebrate your joy and mourn your sadness and live life with you.

I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain

If I could follow you around and be there in person for your entire life, I would – but I can’t.  We each have our own paths to walk down.  What I can promise you is a listening ear, a praying heart, and a thoughtful word whenever you need it.

But until my moment comes
I’ll say…
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

I’m not going to live forever.  My greatest hope is that in my life – you see Jesus and how to love your neighbor.  And you see a mother who hurt and cried and had pain, but took that and lived a life of joy.  That you see a sense of adventure, a sense of purpose, a sense of humor.  That you see that it’s never too late to live your dreams.  And it’s never too late to change your dreams.  I hope you see that while I’m not perfect, you are loved and cherished and I did the best I could to give you all you needed.

I can’t protect you from the world.  I can give you the freedom to be.  Be who you are suppose to be.  Not who you think someone else wants you to be.

I love you.  Forever.  No matter what.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

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Fun and Failure

I put the “Fun” first, because the “Failure” is relative.

Some of my friends know that there was a special trip for my older Caterpillars over the holidays.  Their Trail Life Troop, along with the AHG Troop that I am the Coordinator for, took an overnight hike to Len Foote Hike Inn.  To get there, you have to backpack in for five miles.  The overnight stay is at a beautiful Inn, with family-style dinner and breakfast provided.  Clean bathrooms with HOT water to shower with.  And comfortable bunk beds (private rooms – one set of beds per room).  B10 and CW wanted to go very badly, and I was looking forward to joining them.

I talked with my doctors (twice), and the other leader going was an EMT/Firefighter, so my safety as a pregnant woman was secure.  I loaded my backpack and with the boys set out at 11am.

I made it two miles.  Frankly, that was pretty darn good.  The weather started out sprinkling, and by the 1.5 mile marker was pretty much pouring.  And the temperature was in the high 40s, low 50s.  When you add the backpack and the contractions – I knew when I started throwing up, this wasn’t going to work for me.  Honestly, if it had been warmer and wet.  Or colder and dry, I think I could have been fine.  The uphill portions were not easy, but the hike overall was not difficult.  I would absolutely take GO during the summer months (when it is dry).  I was making steady time of about a 35-40 min/mile pace.

CW on the trail, hiking up (this was lunch on day one).

CW on the trail, hiking up (this was lunch on day one).

However, at that point, I knew I had to turn back.  We had already talked over this and had a contingency plan.  The other leaders took the group on (with the boys) and I turned around and hiked the two miles out by myself.  (Yes – technically, I needed to have a buddy, but this trail was well-populated with other hikers and had great cell phone reception.  With the weather, it was better and safer for the other adults to get the kids to the Inn, and keep in contact with me by phone.)

I got back to the vehicle, and feeling much like the Virgin Mary, drove up the hill to the Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge – in the hopes there was “room at the inn” for a pregnant lady.  Luckily, there was!  Within 30 mins of getting off the trail (and texting/calling the other adults), I was in a warm bath trying to “unchill” myself.  I talked with my mum (who was with the Littles: GO and Went) and with Otto, and everyone knew I was safe and beginning to feel better.  It took almost 45 mins for the contractions to ease off, and for feeling to return to my fingers and toes.

Lunch (alone), but I'm warm and dry!

Lunch (alone), but I’m warm and dry!

The view from my window (without the fog - and in summer/fall - it's so much prettier than even this!)

The view from my window (without the fog – and in summer/fall – it’s so much prettier than even this!)

The Tree in the Lodge - so beautiful!  It had stuffed woodland creatures all over it!

The Tree in the Lodge – so beautiful! It had stuffed woodland creatures all over it!

In all the changes, Mum had a wonderful idea.  We talked about it with Otto, and he came home an hour early – so she could leave with GO and come up to spend the night with me!  My “failure” turned into a surprise “Girl Adventure”.  When they arrived, we went to The Maple Restaurant (inside the Lodge) where GO dined on Grilled Cheese and Fresh Fruit (with cake for dessert), and Mum and I had spinach salads.  Afterwards, it was bathtime – and GO had a “no-technology” night with a Dinosaur Lacing Kit that Cookie brought, along with a stack of books that were mine and BooSheep’s favorites when we were little girls.  (Plus, we reviewed her sight words for Kindergarten!)

Me and my Girly going to dinner (she asked for lip gloss!)

Me and my Girly going to dinner (she asked for lip gloss!)

GO and Cookie at Dinner

GO and Cookie at Dinner

My hat that is awesome.  Or would be my hat if I had bought it.  I didn't buy the hat.  It would have been my fancy hat.  My Sunday hat.

My hat that is awesome. Or would be my hat if I had bought it. I didn’t buy the hat. It would have been my fancy hat. My Sunday hat.

Afterwards, it was bathtime – and GO had a “no-technology” night with a Dinosaur Lacing Kit that Cookie brought, along with a stack of books that were mine and BooSheep’s favorites when we were little girls.  (Plus, we reviewed her sight words for Kindergarten!)  She snuggled up in bed next to me, giving me hugs and telling me it was the best night she had in a long time.

Her Dinosaur "Scene"

Her Dinosaur “Scene”

My Dinosaur Necklace

My Dinosaur Necklace

Lacing practice (after this was sight word practice and reading books)

Lacing practice (after this was sight word practice and reading books)

Early in the morning, we had a breakfast buffet at The Maple Restaurant, before Cookie and GO headed home (Otto was taking GO and Went to the Home Depot workshop, since it was the first weekend of the month).  I packed up, took a quick nap, then got a phone call from B10 saying they were almost down the mountain.

A picture of the Older Caterpillars in the game room of the Hike Inn.

A picture of the Older Caterpillars in the game room of the Hike Inn.

Wet and Cold B10 - but ready to do it all over again!

Wet and Cold B10 – but ready to do it all over again!

Wet and Cold CW - but a smile on his face!

Wet and Cold CW – but a smile on his face!

I picked up my wet (and cold) Caterpillars – who were tired from their five mile hike out – and soaking wet from the POURING rains that were going on – and we headed home.  I did grab them a quick cheeseburger for lunch, but the drive wasn’t bad at all, and we walked in the door before 2pm.  Both boys asked to not only go again next year, but for us to try to do this as a family.  (They LOVED the food and B10 couldn’t stop talking about the warm showers and the GREAT customer service.)

Overall – I highly recommend the trip for all my outdoorsy friends out there!  I can’t wait to get to make the entire hike, myself!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(