Choosing to live in love
I remember when I was younger like middle school, high school times and I dreamed of this breathtaking romance that would sweep me off of my feet. A passion to send chills up my spine and leave me with a constant butterfly flutter feeling in my stomach. Even now I catch myself watching cheesy romantic comedies and Hallmark Christmas movies and feel that envy for the romance.
However, a few recent events have had me reflecting on my relationship and it has become clear to me, especially in the last few weeks, that I have something that is so much more than that, and something I only hope for young girls to dream of. I am not here to brag or to claim that my life is perfect (it's far from it, nor would I want it to be). I am just here to point out that so many of you have it to, you just maybe don't realize it yet because you're choosing to focus on all of the wrong things. I know that someone out there reading this is struggling in their relationship and could use a little light shed their way.
This picture right here, this is love, spending life with a person who does so much more for me than sweep me off of my feet and leave me with flutters, though he still does do this sometimes. What he really does, all of the little things combined, is what makes me love him more every day. He's the guy that fills my car with gas when it's low and turns it on in the morning so it's warm for me when I am ready to leave. He vacuums out my car so it's a clean drive, and he gets on the ladder to help me out with the high stuff in my classroom. He drives when we travel because he knows I don't like to. He's the guy who empties the dishwasher because he knows it's my absolute least favorite thing to do. He's the guy who changes the lightbulbs, the oil in my car, the furnace filter and the guy who empties the garbage and cleans out the trash bin when it gets nasty. He's the guy who buys the dogfood and lugs the 50+ pound bags out from the store and into our home. He is the guy who cleans up dog vomit and scoops the poop out of the yard (so glamorous). He's the guy who packs the cooler for our social outings and who always makes sure I have what I want to drink. He takes care of our pool, mows the yard, blows the leaves, cleans the gutters and he also handles our finances. He is also the guy who cooks us pizza on Sunday and makes late night runs to the store in the cold when we need something last minute. He does all of these things so that I don't have to. He takes care of me, he does the dirty work. It's uneventful, and far from exciting or glamorous but it's the epitome of real romance.
So many people don't believe in lifelong commitments and loving just one person your whole life. Some wonder how that's done. While we have only been married for 14 years and together for 20, I can't claim to know best and have all of the answers nor be a marriage guru. I do know however, that this guy who carries the groceries in from the car is my best friend. He's the one I confide in, the one I cry to, the one I can be the most vulnerable in front of. He is the one who knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He knows what I need and he's the first person who steps up to fulfill those needs and he truly just wants me to be happy.
I believe whole heartedly in lifetime love but I also believe that you have to wake up every morning and choose to love. He isn't perfect, neither of us are, we both have enough imperfections to drive each other absolutely crazy. I could pick him a part all day long and resent his imperfections, but instead I choose to love him for him and what he does for me. I choose to give him grace and love him for who he is and that's what I hope he does for me. Choosing to feel love and happiness when he walks in the door after a long day, choosing to hug him and hold his hand and rub his back even though touch is not remotely close to my love language. Choosing to embrace his butt taps and juicy kisses, choosing to live each day in love with him is what a love story really is and what every person should dream of having in life.
The cheesy romance, the heart stopping passion, yeah that's nice, but watching a man who loves you, coach your kids, fold the laundry, and clear out the driveway after a big snow, all of those little every day things are what makes a true love story.
Kind people are my kinda people
Can you believe that we live in a world that requires a day to remind us to choose kind? That's tomorrow, World Kindness Day. It's true though, we are all in need of constant reminders to give the benefit of the doubt, to put ourselves in others' shoes and to no matter what, make the kind choice. This is especially fitting now when the world is stressed. Our focus tends to be on the bad that is going on around us. Every morning we receive more bad news, every day we are faced with more challenges and more worries and we forget that we are ALL experiencing the same state of the world. It seems simple, and some would argue jejune. However, I would argue that basic and obvious are sometimes overlooked and really what we all need.
I started teaching my current group of students three years ago in Kindergarten. I began their first days of school focusing on choosing kind. Then, this was laying the ground work for that particular school year. I wanted these tiny little five and six year old kiddos to focus on always choosing kind, it was my behavior management plan, my way of simplifying crowd control. They do say, however, that everything you need to know you learn in Kindergarten. Fast forward to the present, their second grade year and this is still a focus for us in our classroom. I have adopted the "be kind" saying as our class motto, this will stay with us through to their middle school years when they leave me and I can only hope that they will choose to continue to carry it with them throughout life. Hanging on our door is a piece of homemade art work reminding all of us as we walk out of our learning space, that we have control over the choice to be kind.
It's funny to me how something that is God given and obvious and natural doesn't actually come so natural to us. We all have to make a conscious decision to choose kind in every scenario we encounter throughout each day. Sadly, many people these days aren't choosing that path and instead kindness doesn't appear to be prevailing.
It's ok to have different opinions and to disagree, that's actually what makes the world an interesting and exciting place to live. I can't imagine how boring this world would be if we all agreed and if we all felt the same way about everything. Being unique and different and YOU is important too but my point is that you can be and should be all of those things and kind at the same time!
I am not saying that I am the holy grail of kindness, in fact there are many times throughout my days when I beat myself up over not choosing the kind way, that's being human. Think about when we do choose kind though and how good it makes us feel. The fact of the matter is, that we rise when we lift others. Kindness is actually fuel for the human soul. This weekend my husband and I had to have a chat with our youngest son about the importance of holding the door open for the people behind you, a basic life skill that just isn't coming naturally to him. By the end of the weekend he was owning it and absolutely crushing his door holding skills. At one point he held the door open behind him for an older gentleman who stopped to tell him thank you and to assure Grady that he was a fine and kind young man. Grady talked about that to all of us in the car on the way home. It made him feel so good and proud of himself, it raised him up. I am grateful for that experience and for that older gentleman who took note and chose to highlight his act of kindness, that man knew what he was doing.
I know as I write this that all of this just seems so basic and obvious and that none of you reading this are learning anything new. I do however, hope that you feel challenged and maybe even encouraged to go about the rest of your day with a kind heart. I hope that tomorrow on World Kindness Day you go out of your way to be EXTRA kind, leave a note on a car or on a bathroom mirror, send a friend flowers, or smile big at a stranger. I hope that you call attention to the kindness you see in a child. You may even shed tears over the impact that you have the ability to have on someone else's day. I promise you that your choosing kind will raise you up and it will spread. I challenge you to highlight and share the good that you see and sprinkle that kindness all over, to be the one to lift others. It will change you.
It's been four months since I have written my last post. Pretty disappointing considering I set a personal goal for myself to write two posts a week. I am kind of failing myself there. Anyway, I've been thinking about why it is that I haven't been writing. I love to write so much and I have been literally avoiding it for four months. The apophony I had this morning was that the problem hasn't been me, it's been entirely situational. It's not that I love writing any less or that I am dreading doing it. I want to do it, it's just that I've encountered a writer's block so-to-speak. I have been feeling less than inspired to write.
This time, this season that we are all in right now has been a very uninspiring time. The news is sad, the world feels gloomy, depressed and angry. It's hard to feel positive or think positively. It's hard to feel inspired to write about something when you feel like what you're writing isn't going to make a difference and I don't want to share what doesn't feel authentic.
If I choose to look beyond the dark haze around me that is COVID, the upcoming election, oppression, and anger, I can see light. I really believe that when you focus on the good, the good increases. There is still so much good going on around us I just have to be looking for it to notice it. I also have to make the choice to take control over what I am engaging in and what I am allowing to take up my space. I have to train my mind to see the good in every situation and to focus on the good so the good gets better. I have made a few changes; stopped watching the news and I started following some Instagram accounts that report and promote the good that is happening in our world. While I think it's important to be educated on and aware of current issues, I also find it to be equally, if not more important right now to look for the good that is happening in our world. People are still working hard to make differences, people are still taking care of each other, people are still full of compassion and love and people are still positively impacting the world.
I think it's time for us all to be happy again, and while that might seem naïve to some, and much easier said than done to others, I believe it's a choice. I don't know about you but I like to come out a winner in all situations, in all challenges and I think that if you stay positive in a negative situation, you win.
With Father's Day here I thought I would write a post in honor of the best dad I know and reflect on the time fatherhood developed for you. So here you go, a reflection of the time our lives both changed, our relationship was challenged, our hearts were broken and then pieced together again, and in the end, we both were gifted with the greatest miracles and love imaginable.
We had been married for three years already when we decided that what we both longed for was to share our lives with a baby. We talked about it every day, we dreamed about it, we got so excited about it. Strangely though, for a long time I had always had this intuition that getting pregnant would not be easy for me. Isn't it weird how a woman's intuition is just so spot on sometimes? Unfortunately mine was, and fortunately we had the best doctor who fully trusted my instincts and wasn't willing to waste any more of our time. Six months into trying to accomplish our dream of pregnancy, she referred us to a fertility specialist, another amazing doctor. While we were so grateful for our gynecologist's quick actions and proactive thinking, this reality was terrifying to us. We cried A LOT, worried even more, and thought the worst of course. Before our first appointment with our fertility doctor, we were thinking plan b and doing research on the what ifs. Needless to say this time for us was trying and consuming.
For a good year we drove back and forth to Grand Rapids (45 minutes away) and often times at the drop of a hat. Thankfully we both had extremely supportive and compassionate employers that did whatever they could for us to be accommodating. I remember those drives being silent some days and other days we just anxiously held meaningless conversations to avoid our reality. We were both so scared. The poking and prodding was hard for you, I know this. It was very hard for you to sit back and watch them do test after test on me and all you could do was sit and hold my hand. The hardest were the painful dye tests, man those hurt and you let me squeeze your hand as hard as I needed to until it was over. Your testing time came too though, and that was so pride swallowing. Men, just aren't used to the invasive procedures that us women have to endure yearly and sometimes more often than that. This was a big learning experience for you. You took it all with great confidence though, you did what you needed to do to make our dreams come true.
We were getting quite used to the roller coaster ride, the good news, the bad news, the positive spins, the silver lining, the dread, etc. Eventually our doctor determined a plan for us and it felt good, it felt like there was a light. That path didn't come easily though, I remember the first time you tried to inject my stomach with meds at home, that was the worst! We actually laughed so hard at how bad you were as a nurse. I ended up having to give myself the shots and I think that was much easier on both of us. February 4th 2011, I remember the day so vividly like it was yesterday. This was the day of our first IUI (artificial insemination). We had done a cycle's worth of preparation just for this day. It kind of felt like all of our eggs were in one basket, literally. Talk about invasive, for both of us this time! Some of the details I will leave between you and I, but yes, invasive to say the least. I remember laying in the doctor's office, you holding my hand, as we both looked at each other, avoiding the "process" and crying. I remember tears streaming down my face and laying on the wet pillow, tears stemming from all of the emotions, good and bad. That was it, a quick procedure and then we prayed. We prayed for weeks, that's all we could do.
Our follow up appointment came with the most incredible news, WE WERE PREGNANT!! It only took once, one time and it worked! How did we get so lucky? I had to continue to have blood tests done every couple of days to assure that all systems were a go. We felt good, we felt like things were looking up for us, we could see that light at the end of the tunnel and hear a beautiful little racing heartbeat. Then the dreaded phone call. I was in the middle of teaching and our wonderful school secretary walked into my classroom and told me my doctor was on the phone and that I should take it. Thinking about that conversation with him brings me to tears now. "You'er miscarrying, your numbers are too low, it could be ectopic, your body should just take care of it and we can go from there, but we still need to keep checking your levels every few days to be sure". I was devastated. Calling you was the last thing I wanted to do. I was so worried about breaking your heart. I don't even know if I could talk at first, I was crying so hard. You pulled me together though, not even knowing how to, but you did. It took us a few days, but we pulled through. We prayed, we made our plan and we moved on.
Then came the phone call that changed our lives forever, it was actually kind of surreal and felt so much like it couldn't be possible and maybe even like a bad joke. After getting my levels checked with blood work for the next week, our fertility doctor called while I was teaching again to tell me that someone had made a mistake with calculating my counts and that I was still in fact pregnant! All of it was a mistake, as if we hadn't been through enough already. We went on to have a full, healthy and beautiful pregnancy. On November 3, 2011 we delivered the most perfect little boy and I will never for my whole life forget the look on your face when the doctor held him up for us to discover he was a boy. Rowan Nicholas Scheible, who would become a very handsome, sports loving, super smart and competitive, now eight year old. Our dream had come true.
We relished in the adoration of parenthood for nearly two years before we decided that Rowan needed a sibling and that we wanted to grow our family. This time it felt easier, less stressful just knowing that we didn't have to go through the testing and the worry and wonder. We could even plan the timing of this one! We booked an appointment right away with a new fertility specialist (our first sadly passed away after a battle with cancer). We had our consultation, told him our wish, he made our plan and we left there feeling excited and ready to go! Little did we know, we were already pregnant! God was so good to us! We found out weeks later how blessed we were and as it would go, we didn't get to plan the timing of it all, it was already planned for us. Grady Alexander Scheible was planned to be Rowan's little brother and be the one to make us laugh every single day. He would become the bright, handsome, creative, attention loving and comical six year old he is today.
We now have two amazing little boys and we couldn't be happier at the way parenthood has turned out for us. Our kiddos are happy, smart, handsome and kind babes and they bring us so much joy, also they test us, infuriate us, make us want to pull our hair out and frustrate us beyond belief some days, they're not perfect but they're ours! We know how blessed we are, we know our fortune and we pray that others seeking this dream, keep working for it. Their blessings will come, just maybe not the way they planned it. There is no way that I could have gotten through our experience without you and your strength, compassion and your positive outlook. You knew it would happen for us.
I am so happy for you, for our two boys and for them to have the dad like they do. Our story is ours, our journey was long and daunting and taught us so much, but you were meant to be a dad, it was in the plans for you and the boys and I will be forever grateful that God put us in that plan!
Happy Father's Day! We love you!
I asked for this
Back in January I published a post about sacrifice and how in 2020 I was prepared to sacrifice some "me" time and social gatherings for time with my family. I was yearning for time with them and appreciating the memories we had been making together, just the four of us. I was reflecting on how quickly the time really does go by with kiddos and how they grow up in what seems like lightning speed. Thanks to TimeHop we are reminded daily of what once was and how blinking has made them grow inches taller in no time at all. In a round about way I kind of asked for this time with them. Honestly, it's been a blessing to just be home and to not feel guilty about missing out on other things or passing up other opportunities, because we're being forced to stay home. Secretly, I kind of like it (insert gasp here).
I have often considered myself an extrovert, outgoing and overly expressive, but as I get older I am realizing that I am actually an extroverted introvert, also known as an ambivert. I am a mix of the two; I enjoy selective social gatherings but I am a home body. I love meaningful conversations but can't deal with small talk. I fear missing out on fun times with groups of people but would choose a movie or Netflix on the couch with my favorites any time.
This stay at home time has been a gift for some people, ambiverts like me. I get to spend my days (all days) with my two favorite kids. I get bonus time to make memories with this family of mine and watch my kids learn. I get to appreciate what they know and what they need to know. I see their interests come out in their home school work and I die laughing over the things that come out of their mouths every day. They've gotten closer with each other too. They spend a lot of time with each other and are really bonding over outside exploration, teaching each other games and inventing new ones together. I am getting time to teach them life skills like folding laundry, dusting and vacuuming. And for the love of God, they are becoming familiar with where the heck things go when they need to be put away!
During the "normal" school year, I often envy their teachers, that get to spend more time with them in a day than I do for five days out of the week. My time with them is spent in the car transitioning from one activity to the next, or watching them do their thing from afar. We save a few hours each weekend to snuggle and really talk, that's it. Well now they can't be in in school or do any of the things, our calendars are completely clear and free to just be together doing what we want to be doing (at home).
Do I miss my family and friends? Heck yeah! Do I miss the hugs? Beyond measure! Do I miss laughing and making memories with my other favorite people? Absolutely! BUT, I am choosing to see the silver lining in this and to appreciate the bonus time that I've been given. I love that friends and family from afar have been able to get creative together and problem solve. That we've all found new ways to be together. In a way, this distance is bringing me closer to the people I love outside of my home too.
I know that not everyone is like me, and not everyone shares my feelings and that not everyone has kids or people to be with during this time. I get you too! It's hard for so many and absolutely heartbreaking. We can easily get wrapped up in the sadness of it all and how depressing a lot of this really is. Today I am feeling good about being at home, sharing time with my main squeezes and getting to be involved in ALL of their business. Tomorrow, I could feel differently. That's the thing about this, we don't know how we're going to feel when we wake up, we don't know what each day is going to bring us. All I know is that I did kind of ask for this, maybe not in it's entirety (I certainly didn't want anyone sick, or mourning lost loved ones. I certainly didn't want anyone to lose their jobs, or their lives. I didn't ask for anyone to be experiencing stress, sadness or loneliness), I just simply whispered a yearning for more time with my kids and I've gotten it. I am choosing today to be grateful for that answered, passive prayer and to see the silver lining in this mess. When it all does go back to normal (because it will, eventually), I am going to look at my time with others differently and cherish this bonus time I had when our calendars were clear and free and empty. I am going to miss this when we get wrapped back up in the chaos of every day life. I am going to yearn again for time with my family and will look forward once again to weekends with no plans. So today, I am documenting my grateful heart and feeling blessed with time.
I am a teacher
For teachers, this is the best week of the whole year! It's Teacher Appreciation Week! It's the week we are celebrated for our hard work, dedication and passion. I personally love this week the most because it is the week of Mother's Day too, BONUS!
I woke up this morning feeling so super sad though while I reflected on not being able to enjoy what this week is really supposed to be. A week of extra hugs and extra loves from my kiddos (and by my kiddos I mean my students) and extra acknowledgment and appreciation from those around me who recognize my hard work. This is the week I celebrate and reflect on the job I signed up for. Reality is, being a teacher isn't all peachy, it's tough stuff. Some days I dream of winning the lottery and just walking away (hard truth). Some days I question why I ever chose to do a job so stressful, or a job with so much accountability and so many different hats to wear. I definitely didn't do it for the pay or the time off (though the time off is a bonus). I did it because I LOVE kids and I care about the kids I was given. Those hats teachers wear, are hats worn by choice. I choose to be the one to fix their sad hearts, or their scraped knees, I choose to be the one to help them problem solve and council them through tough situations. I choose to be the one to love them and support them and care about them. Right now that choice isn't mine and that flat out stinks. Spending my days with kids can be exhausting and there are days I feel like I am the mean grump just groaning and moaning and nagging kids to behave or do what I've asked them to, that's reality. BUT it's the small moments with kids that keeps me coming back. The moments that bring me to tears because all of my hard work with them has paid off, or their successes have them feeling so proud and in turn it makes my heart burst with pride for them. The moments of pure kindness and joy and love from a kid aren't even comparable to a day in an office. Kids are innocent and truthful and they mean everything they say (good or bad). They keep life simple every single day and I have never appreciated that more than I do now.
The truth is, while I love the extra time I am getting at home with my own kids, I am having a very hard time not squeezing the little faces of the 26 other kiddos I love. I want to so badly tell them to their face in the flesh how proud I am of them. I want them to know that they are conquering something pretty darn awesome right now and they are true rock stars for being so flexible. I want them to see it in my body and hear it in my voice and feel it in my squeeze so that they REALLY know how I feel. I want them to feel how much I love them and miss them. I miss those connections with them and being able to see in their faces how they are really doing. Videos, and Zoom meetings, and voice recordings are just not what I signed up for. It is not the way I want to be connecting to my kids. It is not the way I want them to be sharing exciting things with me. It is not the way I want to learn their news or their happenings. This is not my why. The why in my job is away from me and I get the reason, this is just my platform to whine about it not being fair.
This week when you are thinking about your child's teacher or the teachers you know, understand that we are all in mourning, we are sad and we are frustrated, and we are missing OUR KIDS, feeling less than whole without them. We wanted more than anything to be celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with the kids we share every day with. We want to be celebrating each other and celebrating the best dang job there is. It's not easy or glamorous or desirable but it sure is impactful and full of so much joy and has made my life rich with adoration and love. I am grateful to God every day that he called me to teach, to be able to spread a love for learning and to be a part of the lives and memories of so many little people. Despite so much, when it all comes down to it, I can't imagine being anything other than a teacher.
My Quarrels with Quarantine
As much as I try to stay positive through this unique situation and look for the silver lining in things, that simply isn't all reality for me. Things are just not always perfectly shaped and brightly colored rainbows on my end, which doesn't sit well with my OCD. There are a few issues I am battling, and if I don't address them, I might me missing the chance to relate to some of you, maybe some of you are grappling with the same things and we can problem solve together.
The first, is weight gain or the willpower to stay the heck out of the fridge. I find myself starting each day just like that, a new and fresh start. I begin with my coffee and my lean and light breakfast. I work hard, balance a lot of different juggling balls and quite frankly, I feel like I have conquered the world with homeschooling and home teaching all before lunch. Then I head to the kitchen to make my kids their lunch and I begin to nibble. A little piece of cheese here and there and then I just dive right on in to a salami sandwich. It's just so much easier to eat what I am making for them then to make multiple meals. Then comes the afternoon snacking, what's quick while I am chest deep in emails, online lessons, and checklists for three? A box of Cheez Its, that's quick and damn tasty too! I don't eat the whole box, but let's be honest, even a handful of Cheez Its can cause some damage. Once dinner rolls around, I am filled with good intentions and some nights are good, and then a few nights a week we want to support our community and order take out. Healthy and light options just don't ever sound good or they're not available. I have gained three pounds since the beginning of quarantine and while that might not sound like a lot, it really ticks me off! I know how hard it is to lose three pounds! Ugh! I know that through this we all need to offer ourselves grace and understanding that this situation is unique, however, I just know when we come out of this, I am going to have to work my butt off, literally to lose the salami and Cheez Its.
My next and very real struggle is with sleep. I have been a complete roller coaster with the quality and amount of sleep I have been able to get. The first three to four weeks were awful; I couldn't fall asleep until beyond midnight and then found it very difficult to wake up at a productive hour. I don't know what it was then, worry, stress, the feeling of it just being Spring Break, I don't know. Well then suddenly once my online curriculum was in place, I knew all of my students were good, there was some direction from the Governor and my kids were into a good routine, my sleep got better. I was falling asleep at a decent hour and waking up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. The last few nights have been back to awful for me and probably the worst so far out of the last six (plus) weeks. I am falling asleep at a decent time but now have this witching hour(s) from 3:15-6:15 am. I am out of bed and watching Netflix on the couch just to keep myself from having a complete panic attack about not being able to fall back to sleep. What the heck?! I have no explanation other than the obvious, but for the roller coaster to be happening is just beyond frustrating! Just when I think I have it figured out, boom, I am forced to function as a sleepless zombie and function well.
The other struggle worth mentioning here (trust me, there are more than three for me) is the lack of human connection. I am getting all the snuggles from my kids and husband and for that I am grateful. This time with them sure has been a blessing and has brought us all closer together. We needed this time together, really. I am getting virtual human connection, through apps and online opportunities both written and visual. I am still able to laugh until my cheeks hurt with my friends, and I am having more phone call conversations than I actually would typically prefer. I really feel like these experiences have brought many of us closer together. Our connections have been made stronger because we are relying on each other to talk things out, to check in and to connect more often. However, my friends are going to laugh reading this, but I miss the touch! I need to hug gosh darn it! It's so hard to not reach out and squeeze everyone you know when you see them drive by or walk by, or sit six feet away. Honestly, one of the first things I want to do when we get out of this, is visit all of my friends and family just to hug. It's going to be hard to let go truthfully. Isn't that funny? My friends know (pre quarantine me) was not a hugger. Well post quarantine me will be a hugger! I might even be the squeeze tight and for a little too long, it's getting awkward kind of hugger. I regret all of the times I didn't hug and I fully plan (take note) to make up for those times.
I know all of us are struggling in some way through this and whether your can relate to me and my quarrels with quarantine or you have grapples of your own, it's important to know that you're not alone. I think this time has taught us a lot about ourselves and our needs and we have so much to take away from what we are going through now. The struggles are real.
The Need for community
This crisis that we are all enduring is global, it is effecting everyone on this planet in some way or another. "We're in this together" has been a term used and seen everywhere over the last month. What's been interesting about all of it, is that our battles, our worries, our stresses, although they all stem from the COVID crisis, they are all different. Each one of our scenarios is different. Some of us are working at home while taking care of our families and teaching our children. Some of us can't sleep at night worrying about EVERYTHING our minds lead us to. Some of us are out of a job or have had to close or cut hours for our small business, are going without pay or had our earnings drastically cut and some of us are living each day terrified as we head into work, putting, ourselves and our families at risk.
Through all of this our need for community has been stronger than ever, no matter what community you live in. Our need to take care of our neighbors and be there for each other is extremely necessary. Whether that's a drive by car parade to brighten someone's day, or a phone call to check in on how someone is doing, or a Zoom meeting to lighten the mood and share laughs with friends. We need each other, we need the people around us (6 feet away and beyond).
Anyone who knows Nick and I, are aware that we take a lot of pride in our little town. We love raising our children here and we love all of the little treasures this town has to offer. We are both involved in this community and are passionate about giving back to it in any way that we can, we are loyal to those people near and dear to our family and we have a deep respect for what this community does for each other. Although our day to day has changed and we are working hard to navigate our new routines, schedules and reality, we feel extremely blessed to still be getting paid through all of this. We understand the blessings in this and we understand and appreciate that it is our responsibility to do what we can to help our community get through this.
Many people wonder or feel like there has to be a way that they can be helping through this crisis. We're not on the front lines but just at home doing nothing and although that is helping tremendously, we feel helpless. In our home, we strongly believe that our obligation in helping in this crisis is to support our local businesses any way that we can. We are doing our best to order to go food from our local and loved restaurants, we are donating money to local food banks serving others, we are making purchases and orders at small local shops, we are ordering items online that we might not need now but know that we will need eventually. We are purchasing gift cards for future use and we are doing our best to support those who are coming up with out of the box ways to earn a profit. We feel very strongly that we have an obligation to do what we can to support those around us.
These are small acts that we can only hope will have a positive impact on a community we love so much. We do our best to share opportunities to help with others and hope that our children are learning the importance of taking care of others when you are in a position to do so. Although we certainly don't feel like we are doing enough, we aren't saving lives or putting ourselves at risk every day, we do feel like we are putting in a valiant effort to do our part and we hope that if you're in a position to do so right now, you will too.
We're in this together!
oh the guilt
Let me start off with, I am OK. I am not writing this seeking sympathy or hoping for messages of reassurance. I write for therapy, it's what makes me feel better, it's what I do. I choose to share what I write in hopes of justifying the feelings of others who are experiencing the same things. Today, what I am writing about makes me vulnerable for sure, but let me assure you, I am OK, just having a little self doubt and feeling the guilt. Moving on...
It's been a month since I've last written a blog post. March is the craziest, busiest month at school. I put Lucky in Leopard on the back burner because sometimes that's just what you have to do. Little did we know that March at school was going to be cut in half suddenly and we were going to end up at home with all of this extra time on our hands to do all of the things we've been neglecting. I honestly wish that was the case, truthfully though, once school in the classroom ended, I gained two more full time jobs.
I have found my days to be filled with creating and following up on online academics for my students (all of which doesn't count toward instructional time) while making myself available to all of them throughout the day for assistance and questions. I am helping my own children stay on top of their own academics, while keeping them fed, active and entertained and I am staying on top of house management. My husband is considered an essential so he continues to go into work each day to carry out his routine. Our normal (just like most) is that we both go to work, we pass the responsibility of our children off to their teachers and we join together at the end of each day and carry the home and family responsibilities out as a team. Well now I am home, and I am finding that I am putting these responsibilities onto myself, because I am home all day, there is no reason for it to all not get done. This is the pressure that I have been putting on myself for the last two weeks, all while maintaining a stress and worry free persona just to keep things calm for my kids. Today I reached my breaking point, I succumbed to the guilt of not successfully and perfectly fulfilling ALL of my jobs and duties.
Naturally, I had to write it all down. I began make a list of all of the things that were making me feel guilty. I know many of the things seem ridiculous but this is what we women do. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the go to, to get the jobs done, to be the point person and when we fail we beat ourselves up. I am the one who has deemed myself responsible for all of these things, this is my fault, I did this to myself. I forgot to give myself permission to just let some things be and to accept the things that I don't have control over. Writing these things down today gave me the permission to let go and to share the responsibilities. I am still working, I am working even more. Yes, I get to work in my pajamas but working is working. If the dishwasher hasn't been emptied by the time my husband gets home, that's OK. If a parent email goes unanswered, I'll answer it tomorrow. If the kids don't get every task done on their school checklist, they'll do it another day. If we don't get outside today then fine, we'll spend more time outside on a day that the sun is actually shining.
I am well aware that my problems of guilt are minuscule in comparison to problems happening in the world today and in the lives of others. I understand fully that there are people actually going into work each day risking theirs and the lives of their families. I am well aware that people are losing family members and friends that they love. I pray to God every day for these reasons. However, I am not going to make myself feel guilty for losing my sh*t today and letting my emotions overwhelm me, even if the reasons seem petty. If there has ever been a time to give myself permission to let some things just go, that time is now. It's time to take of the guilt and not carry it with me anymore. #outofstyleaccessory
It all takes SACRIFICE
I stumbled upon an article the other day on Facebook or somewhere I was scrolling that said "friendship takes sacrifice". I thought about that for a minute and considered the season in life I am in and I kind of got annoyed. Here I am all worried about missing out on time with my kids and now there's this article making me feel guilty for not sacrificing for my friendships (insert dramatic eye roll).
A few weeks ago I wrote a post addressing my goals for the new year and this next decade. A major priority for me is time with my kids. I have committed to that and made that promise to myself. This time with them just goes too fast and soon they won't want to be with me all of the time and I won't have control over that. I don't want to see them grow up and move on and wish that I had spent more quality time with them. This will take sacrifice, it already has. This means, less time working out, less time with friends, less time being social, less time doing adult only things and less time on my work. I am 100% okay with that because time for all of those things will come. We all have to choose to balance in life and sometimes that balancing happens throughout the day and sometimes that balancing happens according to what is happening in our life right now. I have had plenty of great times being social and making memories having adult time with my friends and being the absolute best teacher I can be and now it's time to have quality time and make memories with my kids and be the absolute best mom I can be.
I had a conversation with someone recently about how social media can be a toxic place in ways that cause us FOMO or guilt or wishing for more or different when we don't even actually want that. It's always interesting to me because I have been that person who wishes she had accepted an invitation to be social or even invited in the first place. However, every time I am, I am wishing I was home with my kids. Honestly, my favorite times are when I am snuggling on the couch watching Disney Plus or playing a board game and snacking with the boys, there is absolutely no place else I'd rather be. Those are the times that they will remember too. When they are older and reminiscing, it will be the little traditions and the quality time we shared together that they will remember.
I think it's important to remind ourselves that sacrifice is essential but that sacrifice needs to be right for right now. Sometimes, we allow ourselves to be guilted into sacrificing for what's not important at this time in our lives. In order to balance what is important we have to sacrifice in all other areas. There is no way that we can give 100% to everything in our life, we can try as hard as we want to but it's just not possible and we beat ourselves up for failing to do so.
I agree that friendship takes sacrifice, but so does everything else! I am choosing to take that pressure off of myself and be ok with sacrificing it all for what matters to me the most right now. Sometimes we just have to be confident in acknowledging what we need and what brings us happiness and give ourselves the permission to be the one who controls that.
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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