Tag Archives: perfection

Learning To Love The Unique Me

I’m sitting here by myself at a local Mediterranean Restaurant.  I’m here for a little bit of much needed “me” time.  Of all of the places to spend my time, I chose this one because the music is great, the people are friendly, it’s not too loud, but most importantly the food is amazing.  I also chose this place because no one in my family likes this type of food.  I don’t have it often, so it’s kind of a treat to myself.  As I sit here enjoying my time away, I am reminded of just how different-unique- from my family I am.

I am an only child, I was born and raised in a very urban area in the north east, I love diverse types of foods and cultures, and I love all different types of music…well except for country.  All of these things are quite a bit different from that of my husband and children.  While we never really focus on things we differ in, as I sit and ponder these things it reminds me of how wonderful being different can be.

When you think of the word different, at times it can have a negative connotation to it.  Growing up, I looked at different as being weird or strange.  In this very moment as an adult woman, I see that the word different also can mean unique.   I always looked at things that were different about me as being bad.  For example, I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember.  I have always been curvy, but after having 3 children and being almost 40 years old, I am finding that it is much more difficult to get back to the figure I once had in my 20’s.  My body is different now.  Areas that were once firm are now jiggly, and my stomach is covered in stretch marks.  All of these things are very different from what is portrayed on television, in films, magazines and social media.  But guess what?  These things are unique to me.  My body is different, and my belly has stretch marks because I am different.  I have carried 3 people inside of my body and given them life.  I’d say that’s pretty special.  So while I may never be wearing a bikini, I am very proud of what my unique body has created, and I can maintain my health even if I’m not the size I was years ago.

I also used to hate that my parents were divorced.  They separated when I was very young and divorced when I was 12.  I have always been very close to my mom for this reason but growing up my closest friends lived with both their mom and dad.  No one else that I knew had to split their holidays or spend weekends away from home.  I used to always feel that this difference was so bad.  Now looking back on it, I see how special this really was.  This allowed me to have a relationship with my mother that not many people have.  It has also showed me the value of marriage and has allowed me to be able to give advice to divorced friends who are worried about how their children are coping.  This thing that set me apart from my friends as a kid has allowed me a unique advantage as far as my perspective on marriage and parenting as an adult.

So yes, I’m different.  I’m unique.  I’m special.  I’m me, and I love me some me!  I may not have all of my I’s dotted or my T’s crossed.  I may still struggle with some insecurities and overthink how I could have done or said something better.  I’m not perfect, but I am enjoying this journey of learning to love the once different, now unique me.

 

~1spentmom~

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

You don’t have to be perfect…

Aside from being a Mom, a teacher,  and writing for this incredible page, I also host a radio show.

Once in awhile my daughter co-hosts. We have a strict recording schedule so it’s important we get to the studio on time. As it got closer to going the other morning I went to G who was on her iPad and told her time to go. She didn’t really move.

I continued to round up our stuff. G was still on her iPad. I tapped my watch “ we gotta go”

“Ok,ok…”

We got ourselves together and got to the station with time to spare as we always do.

As we were sitting down getting ready to record I said sorry to G and told her I just hate to be late.

G proceeded to tell me I reminded her of these little robot dogs from her favorite graphic novel series who are always running around.

I freak out about the littlest thing. When I don’t need to, it will be ok.

I said “I just want everything to be good and go smoothly.”

To which my beautiful old soul told me that I need to be more like her and relax. Those little things don’t matter and I don’t need to be perfect.

It’s days later and those words are sticking in my head. I am actually considering a new tattoo.

I’m kinda not kidding. You know how badly I needed to hear that? Especially from her. I have mentioned this before. I have a lot of Mommy guilt. The massive amount of guilt that I have held onto is by no means gone, but I think moving forward I won’t beat myself up so much.

I will work on taking a step back. Slow down. If I’m being honest this is all going so fast and I feel like because I worried so much about being perfect, things being perfect I missed out on things with her.

I worry about her entering her teenage years and being mad. I never thought to think I was spinning around so much tightening corners and straightening crooked pictures (my analogy for my life) that she might not be mad but just breeze by.

That to me would be much worse.

Good, bad or otherwise she is my sun, moon and stars and I was so busy building a perfect universe I forgot to enjoy it.

So every night I go sit on her bed and ask her about her day until she kicks me out of her room.

I let her pick the music in the car so we can sing along.

I found a Mother/Daughter journal so even on those days she won’t talk at least she’ll write.

But most importantly I heard her. I hear her. I listen.

I don’t have to be perfect, the most important person in my life said so.

And neither do you Mommas.

<3 Caprise

‘Trisomy 18.’ ‘Incompatible with life.’… Why would anyone want a baby like that?

“’Trisomy 18.’ ‘Incompatible with life.’ ‘Why would anyone want a baby like that?’

I think back to the day those words shook my pregnant body to the core and crushed the deepest parts of my soul. I quickly went to Google searching for hope. Instead, I found none. I closed my web browser feeling worse than when I opened it. I didn’t understand how the baby so full of life within me could be THAT sick. I didn’t understand how she was so beautiful in her ultrasounds, yet the doctors would only tell me about how ‘scary’ she would look.

At 27 weeks gestation we went in for an elective 3D ultrasound. I was so excited to see Lillian’s chubby cheeks and her sweet face, after all, this was going to be the very first time we got to see her in 3D. All of her prior ultrasounds deemed her perfectly healthy, so we had no worries, right? I remember my biggest fear being that the last ultrasound would be wrong and that we would find out she was actually a boy. I had desired a daughter since I was a little girl. I already had a perfectly healthy little boy, despite being born at 33 weeks gestation, and now I was getting my little girl. What a perfect family!

Our ultrasound technician kept looking at Lillian’s heart. I knew something was wrong. Fear fell over me like a giant black drape. My brain started getting foggy and my heart was racing. “Jeanette, what’s wrong?” I said. “Well, I’m just seeing some things. I’m going to run a diagnostic and send it over to your midwife. I see some things with the baby’s heart and stomach. I’m concerned she may have Down Syndrome.” I honestly don’t remember much after that. I was hysterical. One of my biggest fears is losing a child. We went home that day and got a call from my midwife telling me that she wanted me to go to a specialist for a level II ultrasound the next day. The urgency had me very concerned. I had been reading up on Trisomy 21, trying to learn everything I could about Lillian’s possible condition. We went to see the specialist, and after a very long ultrasound, she rattled of a bunch of things they found wrong with my baby girl. “So, you think she has Down Syndrome?” “Oh, you’ll be lucky if it’s that. I’m thinking more along the lines of Trisomy 18 or 13.” I can’t even describe the feeling that I felt. It was just an indescribable emptiness surrounded by fear. And then anger. How could God allow me to think my baby girl was healthy and then take her away? How could He do that to me? It’s hard for me to even type that, let alone think back to when those emotions and thoughts were so raw and real.

Over the next few months, I went through the waves of emotion. Denial, fear, anger, hope. My husband and I found a hospital that would be willing to treat Lillian after birth. We moved 2 hours from home to be closer to the hospital while juggling a high risk pregnancy, appointments, a lively 2 year old son, and the waves. It was hard. Life was so hard in those moments. My prayers changed as we went through the motions. “Please, let her be healthy.” “Even if she’s not healthy, let it just be a heart defect and not Trisomy 18.” “God, just let me hear her cry.” We did our best to survive those day. And then I blinked and it was delivery day! We hoped to have another all natural birth like we did with our son, but knew a c-section was very possible due to Lillian’s fragile state. My doula and husband were there supporting me through an epidural free labor. We had the lights dimmed, music, it was peaceful. I remember the nurses being amazed by the environment we had created. The day was long and the emotions were strong but I tried so hard to be happy and excited to meet my girl. I had faith that she would be born alive and do amazing things.

At 12:58 am on August 3, a baby girl was born silently into the world. She was rushed over to a stabilization area and bagged. I remember the room being so quiet that you could hear a pin needle drop. We were all waiting. And then, she cried! It was music to all of our ears! You know those movie scenes were life is almost paused, and then something happens and it just gets loud and busy again? That’s what happened that day. They swaddled my 4lb baby girl, and brought her to me. I was in awe of how beautiful she was. I remember just being totally amazed by her. Her weight on my chest melted all of the fear away and I knew she was going to live.

 

When I was pregnant with her, my view of Trisomy 18 was so different than it is now.

Now, my view of Trisomy 18 is this gorgeous TODDLER. It’s her long auburn hair. It’s her blue eyes. Her perfect little hands and her crooked pointer fingers that reach up and touch my face. It’s her button nose that scoops up on the end and has the most perfect curve to kiss. It’s the curls that fall at the end of her hair. Trisomy 18 to me is night time snuggles, telling her I love her a million times every day, making sure I give her a lifetime of kisses, and showing the world how perfect she really is.

When people think of Trisomy 18, I want them to think of this picture. I want them to think of Lillian. I want them to see how beautiful Trisomy 18 is. I want them to look past that label and see children like my daughter for who they really are—perfect.

Lillian is a sassy, strong warrior that has overcome more in 2 years than most people do in 90. She still has daily struggles, and health complications but we take life one day at a time and do our best to live it to the fullest. I spent the majority of Lillian’s first year in constant fear of her death. Around the time of her first birthday, I realized that we are all going to die. Lillian has surpassed her life expectancy 10 gold, why was I so afraid? Tragedy could strike at any moment for any of us. And in those moments, I chose to live. I chose life for Lillian, again. I chose life for my family. We still go out and have dinner or shop. It’s not every week, but it’s as often as possible. We make the most of our situation. We laugh through hospital admissions. We sing through the storm. And we love more fiercely than we ever have. All because of one extra chromosome.

**If you are interested in learning more about Trisomy 18 or following Lillian’s journey, please check out her Facebook Page herehttps://www.facebook.com/trisomy18princess

As reported first by lovewhatmatters.com

Written by: Alivia Kraft

Finding Reality Outside Of The Box

Finding Reality Outside of The Box

By Cassandra Burnham

Today I wrote a note for myself on my office whiteboard. It read simply, “Forget the Box”.

What is the box? It’s me. More precisely, my life. It’s the person everyone else wants me to be and all the crap they want me to take. It’s their opinions and judgements. The box is full of all of the expectations they throw at me and it’s tied up with the pretty bow that is the “perfect” mom, daughter, worker, parent, friend…. But it’s not who I truly am. And it’s not what I want my life to be. I’m not perfect and I don’t belong in the box. I don’t want to live the life they want for me and I’m tired of trying.

Perhaps you, too have lived “the box”. You might not have even consciously realized it or considered what it meant. But you’d know the feeling. The feeling of constant pressure and demands to fit the mold, be the perfect whatever. Feeling like you’re constantly bending to fit the image that others want to seestraight-A student, agreeable daughter, dutiful wife, flawless PTO mom or live-to-work, hard-cracking executive. It’s exhausting really, cramming all of that into one person and trying to live up to so many high expectations. Seriously, the box sucks.

For me, one day the box just got too full and I realized that I was tired of shining those ribbons and I couldn’t possibly fit anything else inside. I was done with that overstuffed piece of crap – tired of pretending and tired of it all. But I’d been in there so long, I’d forgotten how to express my own truth and live life on my own terms. I’d spent so many years trying to be the perfect student, daughter, mom, friend, worker – that I had no idea who I really was (other than spectacularlynot perfect”).

But here’s what I did know. I have tattoos, I swear and I hate doing repetitive work. I hate making decisions and I hate homework. I hate being controlled and I hate being judged. Most of all, I hate that all of the people who had put me in that box had spent years controlling and judging me – and worse I let them. And when I opened that lid, got past all of the things I’d been hiding that I thought were so shameful – all of that hatred and anger, I found a few gems. I realized that I’m kind and loving and I have a lot to give. Not only was the box full of other people’s shit, but it was also full of lies grounded in self-defeat and fear.

So here I am. Climbing out of the box, working on change. From now on, I will focus on the people who don’t constantly fill the box. Instead I will seek out people who feel my warmth and know my heart and accept me for every bad choice I make, foul word I say or action they don’t agree with. I’ll be kinder to myself in the form of time and energy devoted to me so that I can figure out what I want and need. And I’ll practice positive self-talk that doesn’t give space to the old doubts that led me to the box. I don’t know where this journey is going and it’s scary as hell. But it’s time to figure out what life is like outside of the box where aything is possible and the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.

Forget the box. It’s on my whiteboard. If you know what I’m talking about and you’re still in your bow-wrapped prison, I invite you to step out with me into the sunshine. And remember, you let people put you there – only you can pull yourself out of it.

Small Tweaks…

Perfection in life is a work in progress and really amounts to a series of small tweaks on a consistent basis—not an abundance of huge, earth shattering changes.  Sometimes we do ourselves a disservice when we try and make monumental changes all at once.  That’s a BIG job and when we fail we use it as an excuse to stay stuck and as an excuse not to change.

I’m thinking that small tweaks are really the way to go, one step at a time and when our old habits try and pull us back into the familiar patterns we just make a small tweak to get ourselves back on track.

A series of small tweaks can result in a great list of accomplishments as you keep renewing things and tweaking behaviors this way and that to get the desired results.

Within this context when you have a ‘bad day’ and your goal isn’t reached you can make some small tweaks and do better tomorrow.

The process of tweaking leaves a lot of room to improve and it supports a work in progress which is what we are.