I want to start this post with a list of really awesome things that I’ve been #blessed to experience in the last week or two. The media trains our brains to think the worst in people. Not today, folks, not today. Today, you get to make some room for a few *nice* stories in that little brain of yours. And THEN we’ll get to today’s actual post.
- Last Saturday, two older gentlemen struck up a conversation with our party of 5 + a baby as we waited to be seated for brunch. When the hostess called our name, we said “it was nice to meet with you,” and went on to enjoy 6,000 calories per person. Let’s just say we did not hold back when ordering. At the end of the meal, our waitress told us that our bill had been paid “anonymously.” The men had already left the restaurant, but we knew it was them. Amazing, right??
- Someone paid for my drink in the Starbucks line last week, too! Paying for people behind me in drive thrus is honestly one of my favorite things to do, because I still get all the good feels whenever someone does it for me!
- We had seven friends drive in from 3-5 hours away to celebrate Anders’s early birthday party last week (not to mention our amazing local friends). Friends who put in that kind of time and money and love are still out there folks. Go make them. Go thank them.
- Two women in Starbucks saw me struggling to arrange Anders’s high chair cover as I also dropped a bunch of things out of my diaper bag. They came over, helped me get him all set up, and we ended up in a super sweet conversation because each of them has 2+ young children themselves. Moms unite!
- When we were traveling cross-country with our 10-month-old two weeks ago, he had some rather *loud* moments on the airplane. I was terrified of getting dirty looks or worse- mean comments. To my surprise, on almost every flight of the 4 legs to/from San Diego, at least 2-3 people said “You’re doing a great job. Hang in there!” as we were getting off the flight. Most people are patient. Most people are kind. Most people have empathy.
So why am I writing about these random, some small, some big acts of kindness? Because they matter.
How many times do we hear “you never know what someone is going through!”, but fail to remember that phrase whenever we’re feeling alone? Or when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. Or impatient with someone.
I fail all the time. Just yesterday I snapped at one of my best friends for something she said that I took as a personal attack, even though I knew she was having a rough day. So clearly even when I know someone is going through something, I still don’t always give them grace.
Or take self-comparison. Most of the time, we point to social media when it comes to the root of silly comparisons– but I rarely take social media at face value. I don’t struggle with comparing myself to people on those platforms because, honestly, I can spot a fake a mile away. PUT THE AIRBRUSH DOWN.
Anyway, I do compare myself to people in real-life though, whether it’s weight, career, motherhood, money management, eyebrows, or toe hair. Some people truly seem to have it all together. For instance, when I see moms who clearly used a curling iron that morning, I think to myself, “How many people have looked at me and thought, danngggg she let herself go”? But I’ve also never curled my hair…now all of a sudden I feel like I should? Comparison at its finest, folks. Meanwhile, I have no idea what that mom with curled hair is going through beneath the surface.
I’m saying allllllllll of this because I’ve really trained myself to be excited about the small, wonderful acts in the world around me (see bullets 1-5), otherwise I’d be focused on the negative things. On my uncurled hair. On my husband being gone for three months. On painful news we were given last week.
I try to share the hard parts of my life on this blog, because I never want to be one of those people others compare themselves to without knowing the whole story. As with most people, my life is curated on social media to encompass happy moments– and I am so blessed to have many, many happy moments. That said, you never know what someone is going through.
I also want to say that writing is my therapy. And sharing my writing is my therapy. Knowing that the difficult, sometimes awkward, sometimes ugly, parts of my life could potentially help someone else allows me to find purpose in everything. Sometimes I get scared to write with honesty because I think some people in my life might call it unbecoming, or feel second-hand embarrassment. But this is what I need. And I can only hope it’s what my readers need, too.
A few weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. (Two days before we flew across the country for Anders to meet my mom’s mom, actually. What timing.) I’ve had so many girlfriends who’ve experienced this that I can’t say I was shocked. I’d only known I was pregnant for one week before I had to go to the ER. I knew what was happening. I was extremely sad…but I’m okay.
I thought I’d be devastated. We want another baby, after all. Plus, the majority of my friends who’ve lost a pregnancy– even early on like I did– were torn apart when it happened. I’ve been waiting to feel that way, but I don’t. Obviously, this makes me feel very, very guilty. Am I heartless? Am I an ice queen? Am I a bad parent to that undeveloped soul?
However, I think there’s another side to my very-sad-but-not-emotionally-scarred reaction. And that is that ever since my mother died, I’ve learned to trust God on an extremely deep level. This is not to say that if something happened to Aaron or Anders that I’d be okay–because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive. But when I face challenges in life, for the most part, I’m okay. I’m definitely stronger than I was before my mom died. I know that good can come from the hardest of ordeals, and that first-hand knowledge helps me handle painful experiences.
This “strength” (weird word) didn’t happen over night. Oh no no no. Ask any of my friends about my break up in 2014, and they’ll tell you that trusting God was not my M.O. But this deep level of trust is something I’ve worked on every day in the last 4-5 years, and Aaron and I pray for surrender every.single.night. We pray God keeps Anders safe and healthy, but that his will be done. Whew that last part is the hardest prayer of all time. Yet praying those words night after night works to constantly remind me that God’s will is greater than mine, no matter what.
So as far as my reaction to losing this pregnancy, I like to think that God has been working to prepare my heart to be surrendered in the face of painful, challenging, or confusing circumstances.
I’m also grateful on a daily basis for this life of mine. I’m in a loving marriage. I have a healthy, beautiful son. So many of my friends have lost their marriages, or remain in difficult ones. So many people have lost their children, never been able to conceive, or face a life full of stress and fear for a sickly child. I know a woman who was just told that her normal 6 month old won’t live to be 2, because they discovered a rare brain disease at his 6 month check up. I think about her every single day. I cry for her. I go into deep places of empathy. And then I look at my healthy boy smiling at me from his crib. How could I NOT be grateful for what I have? Every second, every moment, every day.
Since I spend hours a day thanking God for my family and my life, it makes it easier when difficult things happen in my life. Because I’m still just so darn grateful for what I DO have.
This isn’t to say that other people aren’t grateful or don’t trust God. Like I said…if something happened to Aaron or Anders, I’d be off my rocker. I don’t know what that trust looks like. I beg that God doesn’t ever ask me to face that challenge. However, I do think that losing my mom has allowed me to develop coping mechanisms that really, truly work, because they’re not band aides. Trusting God and feeling thankful are true, real, deep paths to peace.
I would have loved that little baby so much, and will always wonder who he or she would’ve been. But I also know that soul that was formed is with my mother and with his/her creator in Heaven. I am grateful God took him/her before I had longer to get attached. I am grateful that my body likely knew that there was a chromosomal issue and took care of it at an early stage, before that soul could feel pain or wonder. I trust God will help our family grow if it’s meant to grow. I trust He’s given me this incredible life for a reason, and I’m not to be debilitated by the hard parts, but instead be motivated by the good parts.
So if today’s little post leaves you with anything, let it challenge you to intentionally trust God and actively practice gratitude. I can’t think of a better time than now…it’s Thanksgiving week, after all!
And as always, just remember: God is good. All the time.