Humble & Kind

I have always been a big fan of music and the way that the right song can seem to meet you at just the right moment and the words seem as if they were written with you in mind.

The songs that lift your heart, the ones that make you cry, the ones that take you back to a specific time or a certain person, and the ones that say what you only wish you could have put into words.

Nacogdoches photographer image with her two girls, Pumpkin & Peanut

Now that I have my girls, there have been a few songs that seem to hit my heart right away. I got teary-eyed I don’t know how many times listening to Kip Moore’s Hey Pretty Girl while I was pregnant with Peanut (thanks in large part to hormones, but it does still move my heart when I hear it now).

There are songs that instantly make me think of my mom, and I then tend to wonder if my girls will have songs that will instantly make them think of me, and if so, what those songs will be.

Lately, I have really loved songs that speak to the many things that I want to teach them. One of those songs is Tim McGraw’s Humble & Kind.

 

Here are a few of my favorite lyrics from the song as they truly are things that I hope to teach my girls:

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

So go out there this week and work hard for those dreams you’re dreamin’, and let’s all stay humble & kind.

Dear Pumpkin – 1 week

Sweet girl,

You’re just over one week old, and we are all already just so in love with you! When you kept us all waiting (and waiting some more) for you to arrive, I’ll be honest – I was a little nervous that you were going to be the kind of baby to make sure we know who’s boss and would be making us work. But little one, you’ve just been a dream!

When your due date passed, and the days kept passing with no sign of you being in any rush to join us on the outside, we ended up setting up an appointment for me to be induced. But you and God had other plans in mind, and the day before our 4am appointment, you decided to show up. As of 5:09pm that day, we had an 8lb 11oz addition, officially making us a family of four. You honestly made it pretty easy on your mama (thank you!), and you’ve been a great baby all 8 days since then.

I learned with your sister just how quickly these sweet newborn days pass, and I just can’t keep myself from snapping photos of you on my phone throughout the day – I just don’t want to forget any of your sweet tiny details. The way you love to have your hands up by your face (like in your ultrasound photos), your rosy complexion, the feeling of you in the crook of my arm or laying on my chest, your adorable mid-sleep smiles, and those tiny little pouty lips of yours.

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Pumpkin, not only have you made me a mama again, you’ve given me the incredible gift of seeing Peanut become a big sister. She is so, so, so in love with you! She is always wanting to “pet” your head, hug you, kiss you, and rock you in your sleeper. She tells me almost everyday that you’re her little sister, and she says it with the most pride, little one.

I’ve never known what it’s like to have a sister (although I’m thankful to get to be a sister to your Uncle CJ), but with your arrival, I get to watch that dynamic between the two of you, and I just can’t wait. I know there will be rough moments and fights, but my hope for you two is that you come through those days with a deeper connection and love for each other.

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Sweet girl, you’re a great sleeper (so far at least) & a happy baby. You hiccup all the time and make the most adorable little newborn squeaks. Your little eyes seem to be darker than your sister’s were, and I’m curious to see what color they end up being – bright blue like your daddy and sister, or if they’ll be more hazel like mine.

There are so many things I can’t wait to see as you grow up – what your personality is, what your voice sounds like saying “mama”, what your interests and hobbies are, what you want to be when you grow up… but for now, Pumpkin, I’m doing my best to just enjoy you as you are in this moment. To simply breathe in your newborn sweetness and soak up these moments that will be gone so quickly.

Welcome to the family, Little One. I love you!!

Ultimate Parenting

It’s interesting the references and relational cues you hear about God being our heavenly father. There are many biblical references to us being called his children. It is a way of trying to explain or quantify his deep, abiding, unconditional love for us. It’s the fierce and un-ending love that a parent has for their children.

I am thankful that God’s parental skills are far beyond the limits of my human mind and heart. Of course I love Peanut unconditionally, and I already can feel the depths of my love for our unborn second child too. But I am human. I am weak. I am impatient, stubborn, vulnerable and imperfect. No matter the depths of my love, I succumb to earthly pressures and situations and allow them to affect the way I act.

I’ve been fighting off (or at least trying to fight off) some weird mix of sickness right smack dab in the middle of my craziest few weeks at work. Symptoms keep shifting slightly, and I am limited on what I can take to help get rid of whatever this is. It’s frustrating and exhausting and has left me feeling emptier than normal.

Two days ago, the lovely symptom of an almost migraine-like headache decided to join the party. All day at work I pushed through, but what I really wanted was quiet, darkness, and sleep to help me escape from the pain. I finally left to try to lay down for about an hour before picking up Peanut from school, and all I could do was lay there with work things bouncing around in my head, dancing just below the line where my skull felt like it was about to split wide open.

Giving up on a nap, I threw on my sunglasses to try to block out the sunshine and headed to pick up Peanut. She was her normal talkative self on the way home, and I tried to respond, but also kept encouraging her to whisper whatever it was she needed to say (and secretly wishing she’d just stop talking).

We got home, and she wanted to play. We set up camp in her room – her on the floor with all kinds of toys scattered about, and me curled up in the fetal position in the rocking chair. Plenty of toys that normally hold her attention – and all she wanted was for me to read book after book. I could barely keep my eyes open against the light of the one small lamp that was on, and I told her repeatedly “Mommy can’t read books right now. Pick another toy to play with.” Fail #1. She burst into tears that turned into a full out fit, and all I could do was put her in her crib, shut her door, sit in the hallway and try to block the sound out of my ears in the hopes of keeping my head from exploding.

A few (very loud) meltdowns later, Max got home and entertained her for a bit. I was back on duty for dinner time and Fail #2 came roaring in. Patience was just about out at this point, and when my sweet little Peanut let her independent/defiant side out, I lost it. I couldn’t keep repeating the same direction over and over and over again – “keep your hands out of your hair while you eat – do not put your dirty hands in your hair – hands out of your hair.” I couldn’t take the look on her face – challenging me, questioning what happens when she doesn’t follow “no”.

My human error came sweeping through – letting my headache and exhaustion overrun my attempt at patience. I snapped her up out of the high chair and declared it time for bed – no more dinner if she was going to keep acting that way. Like reasoning with an almost 2-year-old was going to work in the first place. Like dirty hands in her hair was worth snapping about.

Once again, Max came in to help, and I stepped away to cool down and let the throbbing in my head subside. In a feeble attempt to not feel like a total parental failure, I yelled in to him that he should try to get her to eat a little more before putting her down, and as they made their way to the high chair, I made my way into bed. Wrapped up in semi-darkness, blankets and guilt.

How quickly had I let my own situation affect my demeanor with my child? Sure, this may not qualify me for worst parent of the year, but I did feel bad about it. I am so thankful that God is so much more than I could ever hope to be. His patience with us is unending. How often do we let Him down and disobey His commandments? How often do we keep repeating the same things that go against His wishes? We fail Him daily, and yet He never has to step away. He doesn’t have to take a second to calm Himself down. He doesn’t let anything affect His love and devotion and patience with us.

What a beautiful gift that is. Unconditional love – layered with unconditional patience. He truly is the divine Father, and is the epitome of what we should strive to be as parents. I am learning more and more that I need to rely on His Grace more fully – as mine will never suffice. I can’t do it on my own, and His Grace is perfect. The more I can channel His Grace into my life and my relationships – especially with my children – the better off we will be.

Nacogdoches photographer black and white image of a silver cross figurine

And speaking about His Grace – it’s amazing how He reminds of us of that gift, and His timing is perfect. Yesterday, it shined through the face of my little girl..

As I lay in bed wrapped in blankets and guilt, trying to calm my head and my heart, trying to forgive myself of my failures and fight off the feelings of being a bad parent, Peanut and her daddy came in to say goodnight. That sweet baby dove right onto the bed and climbed up to share my pillow with me.

She smiled, hugged, and talked to me like nothing had happened. She’d already forgotten our struggles of the evening, and was ready to say she loved me to the moon and back. His Grace poured right out of her eyes, mouth and little hands as she wished me goodnight and waved over her daddy’s shoulder as they walked down the hall to her room.

You hear about having faith like a child, but I think there’s just as much value in having love like a child too.

On days like that where I get caught in failure, I am so thankful to have a Heavenly Father who sends His Grace and patience my way, and how He sends reminders of pure and true love in the shape of my little girl.

To all you mommies (or daddies) out there on the breaking point – especially if that breaking point is something small you feel shouldn’t push you as hard as it is – hang in there. Hold on to His promise and His Grace. Step away if you need to, but remember that He isn’t stepping away from you, and He’s right there to fill in the gaps you think are empty.