Parenting is the Ultimate Extreme Sport

I have never made a regular hobby out of my thrill seeking tendacies. But I was never one to shy away from any oppurtunity either. I’ve enjoyed  white water rafting, rock climbing, riding motorcycles and four wheelers. I love that kind of stuff. I even looked into sky diving a few years ago but thought better of it since I didn’t want to risk potentially leaving my children orphans.

I love doing those kind of thrill seeking activities because they challenge me to get out of my comfort zone.  Those experiences made me feel alive in ways everyday life just didn’t. That was until I had children.

I have come to realize that the most extreme experience I have ever embarked on was deciding to have kids. I started young too. My first was born when I was only 22 years old, practically a baby myself.  My husband and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into but honestly no parent does.  We were in love and wanted a family so badly we didn’t even wait a hot minute. Grace was born just three weeks after our one year wedding anniversary.  I’ll never forget that day and the first year or barely sleeping, lots of walks, and lots of grocery store runs with my little bundle in tow. We made some trips with her, applauding ourselves for going any place more than 30 minutes away from home with a  newborn.

Grace wasn’t even a year old when we moved into a tiny two bedroom house near my in-laws. We were already outgrowing the place before Gracie became a big sister one month after her second birthday. I will never forget the moment our two girls met for the first time.  Now our adventure was really in full swing. We’ve moved a lot and added two more monkeys to our bunch and to make it more interesting our youngest two are only sixteen months apart. You could say I have my hands full especially during these long summer days.

I came to the realization that parenting really is the ultimate extreme sport. It’s messy with the constant diaper changes, potty training and attempting to keep the house in order every day.  It’s scary because you have to literally keep yourself and other tiny humans alive. Not to mention the terrifying moments you may experience with them. Our second born has had a few medical scares that my heart still hasn’t recovered from. I held her in my arms as she had a seizure while screaming and crying at my husband to call 911.  That memory won’t ever fade.  After that I think bungee jumping would feel like a damn picnic. Trying to take them to the park is like running a damn tough mudder. You’re racing around and often have to climb the various playground attractions to help somebody get down a slide without catapulting themselves head first into the ground.  It’s a hot mess at best.

The real reason parenting is the ultimate extreme sport though is that it challenges you every single day to be better than you were the day before. You have to give your kids you’re best everyday even when you just don’t have it in you. You have to read that story again for the 500th time or let them watch their favorite movie over and over because they just love it. You have to listen to their non stop repetitive questions that will almost make your ears bleed.  Oftentimes getting them to sit and eat their dinner feels like your herding kittens.  You’ve got to make sure they follow the rules, play nice and are happy. You have to work hard to teach them the faith and be kind to every person they meet. Longterm you don’t want them ending up in jail.

You’ve got to fight everyday to make sure you can do this with a smile on your face.  The days are long but the years are short. Before you know it they’ll be all grown up. Meanwhile you have the thrill of watching them take their first steps, say their first word, ride their bike, tie their shoes and write their name. Their excitement is your excitement and their accomplishment is your joy.

Personally, I struggle with the mundane details of the everyday.  I long for more exciting and thrilling adventures.  But those moments aren’t what I really live for. I’m learning to live for the moments where my kids are playing nicely together and I can get a glimpse of the persons I hope they will become.

I pray that I can do my best everyday for these tiny humans and that they realize I love them more than life itself. I may not ever catapult myself out of a helicopter or run a marathon but I still am wearing my yoga pants most days because I have a race to run where at the finish line the reward is more love and joy than I could ever imagine or deserve.

 

 

 

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A Call to Joy

Life can be painfully unpredictable. You can spend most of your life trying to find happiness you will never attain. Let me rephrase that, you can spend your life looking for the kind of happiness you think you need in places you think you need to look. So often what we need and what we want is right in front of us. We live in a time that forgets the simple joys of “settling down” and having a family. Nowadays we think we have to have a life first than have a spouse and child(ren). We forgot that “having it all” means having other people in our lives.

I’m going to be honest with you, I wasn’t ever sure I’d get married and have a family. My outlook on the matter was just plain and simple; “if I do great, and if I don’t that’s okay too.” As I look at my life now and see the people that our in it, I can’t imagine it any other way. I know how cliche that sounds but it’s a 100% true. I’m blessed with a husband who has put up with me for 10 years now and four kids who make me a better person (at least I try to be). In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have foreseen any of this greatness. Thankfully it’s not my dreams that come true but God’s.

I’ve spent a lot of my life missing out.  I’d like to think of myself as a “recovering perfectionist”. I wouldn’t allow myself the chance to try new things or meet new people because if it didn’t work out exactly like I thought it should operate than it wasn’t worth my time. Life has literally passed me by for most of my years on this earth.  I’ve been denying myself a lot of joys and experiences. I won’t be able to tell you what promoted this change in my life; why I suddenly decided to start writing and doing things I have only thought about doing for years.  I know it has to come down to God’s grace. It feels like I’ve been seeing the world in black and white and now all the color is flooding into my senses. Not only am I seeing but I’m feeling the landscape before me.

I’d like to think a lot of this has to do with the birth of my son last winter.  It was not easy at first.  He wasn’t “planned”.  I was in shock for two weeks following the discovery that I was expecting again. But as time went on I learned to look at this as such an amazing opportunity. We got another baby that we most certainly didn’t deserve.  Our girls got a new sibling to add so much joy and love into their lives.  We got another life for my husband and I to nurture and strengthen our marriage. That being said, the first few months of his existence  earthside we’re incredibly tough. The details are for another day and another story but I will just sum it up as I was broken.  Physically, mentally and emotionally I was drained.  It wasn’t my little man’s fault it was just a perfect storm that was waiting to hit me.  And hit me it did.  It’s taken awhile but I am getting there my family is settling into a better routine and our hearts are full of so much love. More love than I could have imagined. God broke my heart open so he could fix it back up again. He added more space, more will, more fire, more drive, more joy, more love, more hope, more peace than I could have ever imagined.  My Damian, you are not the first amazing thing that’s happened to me and I surely hope you aren’t the last. But in the short 6 months following your birth you have made me the woman I have always prayed I could be.

My son you are part of a legacy of love your father and I hope change the world even after he and I are gone.  My children are my miracles that I believe in more and more everyday.