Summer is SO busy. How is it busier than the kids being in school? How is my house such a disaster when we are gone so much? How am I such a hot mess when all there is to do is enjoy life and go on adventures?!
I don't even know, ya'll. I don't even know.
So if you're looking for a blog post with tips and tricks on how to survive summer, travel alone with kids, or healthy summer schedules, you're in the wrong place.
I have actually attempted all of these, by the way, but, I wouldn't consider myself an expert on any but surviving. I'm still here so I suppose I deserve some credit there.
I will however share a hilarious story about the joys of parenting, and a mysterious defecating animal. If nothing else, it may make you feel grateful for your own challenges or parenting skills.
You. Are. Welcome.
So for a few months now my husband kept coming across some poop on the lawn, just off the stone pathway at the base of our back deck.
At first he would tell me in exaggerated annoyance that "my" cats (we have 2) were "shitting" on the lawn. I, of course, argued that cats burry their crap and it had to be his dogs (we have 7).
The argument continued for weeks, escalating to the two of us standing over a steamy pile of poop arguing about what kind of feces it actually was.
Too big for cat poop. Too fresh for dog poop, since they were kenneled. Always in the same spot. What on earth was doing this?
On and on it went: YOUR cats. YOUR dogs.
Then we removed some of our lawn to create a little patio next to the stone pathway. The issue seemed to have resolved itself for several days.
Then one day while I was gone and my husband was watching the kids, his friend came over to check out our new patio.
And there she was: our 4 year old daughter, who has relapsed from potty-training since preschool ended, standing on the edge of the grass near a steamy little pile of poop. Poop that was too big for a cat, poop that was too fresh for a kenneled dog.
She quickly told this friend that the dog pooped on the grass but her guilty face was telling a completely different story.
My husband then entered the scene and in complete shock questioned our daughter:
"Dog Shit." she replied.
Somehow the guilt grew in her features.
She stuck to her story for a long time, creating a string of blaming excuses before she admitted that she had gone potty on the grass and needed some help wiping.
My husband high fived her for not pooping her pants while mom was gone, explained to her that we need to go in the toilet from now on and had a great laugh with his friend.
That night we rolled in laughter as we realized that all this time we had been arguing about who's animal it was and all along it was OUR little animal.
We thought we were past it, but we had to endure a few more sneaky incidents, our four year old's attempted assurances that it was "dog shit," some talks about lying, and some tears.
Thankfully after a locked back door, a lot of patience and love, getting to the bottom of a fear of a toilet, a failed attempt to explain how toilets work and where poop goes when we flush which only caused more fear, and now constant potty-going support, we are finally getting somewhere.
So, I guess my advice is: parenting is a shitty business sometimes, but we will all survive this. Right?
And if all else fails: laugh and blame the dog.
Today is my 30th birthday.
I have been thinking of writing this post for a long time now. I've seen other people's posts and wondered what I would say about my own growth and life. What 30 things could I share with the world. What wisdom I could pass along. What bucket list items I've checked off and which I'm more determined to get to.
But as I sit here in my hammock swing on my porch, breathing in the smell of lilacs (the only thing I have been able to keep alive in my yard), listening to my chickens peck and scratch, all I feel is a deep sense of gratitude.
Gratitude for being an adult. Yes, yes, adulting is hard. And turning 30 should be hard. But ya'll, all I can think is: I made it.
Not to age 30, necessarily. But into who I am right now.
Because I'm sitting here on this swing, completely ignoring the stacks of dishes needing to be washed, letting go of the cluttered rooms where we just keep shutting the door so we don't have to look at the mess, and remembering when our yard didn't even have grass let alone a lonely lilac bush.
I'm recalling the shame I let grow inside me for over twenty years. I'm recalling the piles of fears I carried with me. I'm recalling the messy flawed parts of myself that I would just keep shutting the door on. And I'm recalling the emptiness when I didn't even have self-love let alone gratitude.
I've got this image in my mind, of me in a white dress. I've carried it with me for as long as I can remember and I've always thought that once I had "arrived" I would be wearing this white dress. The image was usually at the beach, me smiling while the wind whipped my hair and my toes sank into the sand. I would be holding a baby on my hip and children would be swirling me searching for treasure.
It's just how I imagined myself when I was "older." It's the image of who I wished to be.
Well, this year we had a fancy dinner to attend and I bought myself a white dress. The funny thing is, I'd never even thought of buying a white dress before. (Not since my wedding day.) It was something that was just going to happen- not something I would do.
It wasn't the flowing white cotton dress in my mind, but it didn't matter, I knew. It was the white dress.
I have arrived. I am older now. I am who I whished to be.
Not because I have a white dress, but because I went out and bought one.
I haven't been to the ocean in 10 years, but I'm smiling.
I don't have my dream home, but home is a dream.
I weigh more than I ever have, but I finally love myself.
I haven't traveled the world, but my words can.
I'm not the perfect mom, but I know how to look for treasures.
And most importantly, I know how to be grateful for lilac bushes when I always thought I'd have a garden.
So Happy 30th Birthday to me.
Happy birthday to the woman who loves herself and the woman who swings open doors and deals with messes (not the house ones-those can wait).
Happy birthday to the woman who crosses things off her bucket list well before they've been accomplished, to the woman who knows what really matters and doesn't let shame make the calls.
Happy birthday to the woman who bought her own white dress.
I see you.
I see your hurt. Your frustration. The overwhelming feeling of being stuck. The lack of progression. The fear that your life, as you know it, will always be the same entwined with the fear that it will change.
I've been there.
I know what it feels like to see all the unfairness. It flares blue and pink like a baby flame.
Then a burning. A smoldering. It doesn't take much for it to turn into a fiery blaze you can't control. Flames on top of flames. Spitting and licking and burning up all the blessings you know you should be grateful for.
I know what it feels like to be hurt, and to have those who hurt you never even consider apologizing. Listen to them lecture you about being offended, about letting go. To watch them do the same ignorant and hurtful things over and over and over again. For years.
I know what it feels like to be so alone in your grief. The grief of disappointed hopes. The grief of losing the people you thought they were. The grief of witnessing your children's confusion and tears. The grief in trying to explain the inexplicable. The grief in finally seeing the truth: That we are all just human.
It hurts. Deeply. And no, it isn't fair. Yes, it's scary.
But we are strong, sister.
I still fall into the flames. The hurt, the grief. The frustration. But now I try to float above the smoke. Let the air swallow it all before I inhale it. Before I let it smolder and burn.
I hope someday you can join me. Up here above the smoke. I hope you can join me in believing that you are enough. I hope you can understand that you are the change you're searching for. I hope you can free yourself from the need of their love, the need to explain, the need of equality, and watch as the unfairness and hurt and frustration turn to ash. And all that is left to see is the love.
I hope someday the fire dies out and we can settle our feet back down in the soil together. Watch as the tender green blades of love push their way up. And with relief, feel the solid earthy assurance that we are all just human.
Maybe we will be able to rejoice in that truth rather than grieve for how it could have been. And maybe, just maybe, we can let the love we see swallow up the rest, smother the hurt filled flames.
I see you and I know. So when your words burn and are unfair and lack understanding, I'll forgive you, sister.
I'll let your words die out in the black smoke beneath me. Right where hateful words belong. And I'll wait for you.
Hi! I'm Amy
I am a Christian wife and mother, a writer, and a recovering perfectionist who is tired of chasing happiness in all the wrong ways. I am now on a journey to find a deeper state of being. Join me on My Peace Project and we'll learn how to survive the chaos together!