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I’ve decided to make “Beauty in the Mess” (previously posted as “Beauty in the Chaos”) an every-couple-weeks-ly blog segment. I’ve renamed it…simply because I keep referring to the term “mess” in relation to “beauty” in relation to my blog’s name and mission-statement-that’s-not-really-but-kinda-sorta-a-mission-statement. And because everything has to match and be symmetrical and grammatically parallel because I’m quirky like that. This is where I look at the last few weeks…talk about the messy stuff, the frustrating stuff, the difficult stuff, the ugly stuff…and then talk about God’s blessings that have risen to the top of it all, beauty still shining forth. So welcome to the second edition.
Life has just been…well…life. Like that song by Darryl Worley “…Sounds like life to me it ain’t no fantasy / It’s just a common case of everyday reality / Man I know it’s tough but you gotta suck it up / To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy / It sounds like life to me…” Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not caught up in some huge tragedy. But we have had some long days.
Russ has been very stressed out from work. Like, beyond stressed. His anxiety (which has been greatly exacerbated from two years of combat stress) has really been rearing it’s ugly head a lot. Which means we are both back in both individual and couples therapy…Russ twice a week, me–well as often as I can get there with my busy schedule (about every two weeks). Russ has gone back on medication and we are experimenting with some new recovery therapies to help him deal with the anxiety on his own better. Having a provider that we both trust has been a huge blessing (getting ahead of myself, I know…more on that in a minute).
I have a lot on my plate. There’s a lot that I “handle” in our family because Russ is dealing with so much right now. Paying the bills and keeping track of the money, for example. Helping to entertain the baby when he comes home very stressed, or on Saturday afternoons when he needs some alone time. Being an emotional buffer between Russ and Ezra, even when they don’t realize it.
Then there is Ezra. Ever amazing…ever a handful. No, he’s two whole arms full! Each day I feel totally inadequate–to take care of him, entertain him, teach him, train him, discipline him, and love him the way that he needs. I feel like God gave me this big science experiment when He gave me charge of Ezra’s life, and I’m just up here in the lab pouring volatile and dangerous chemicals into vials hoping that I create something good and interesting. Sometimes, I make an exploding volcano instead. Most times I just laugh and clean up the mess. Other experiments-gone-wrong lead to much more tears and heartache when I realize how far from the mark I was parenting him.
Ezra is just two…and I have half-joked in conversations, but it’s pretty true: When you are two, everything is either “THE AWESOMEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN OR DONE OR HEARD OR OH OH OH LOOK LOOK AIRPLANE!!!!!!” or it’s “THE END OF THE WORLD AND LIFE AS WE KNOW IT AND WE WILL NEVER EVER EVER RECOVER FROM THIS”!!! He’s full of highs and lows, which is another area where he is a little clone of his father. He goes from running away into a busy parking lot, store, or down the street–giggling and laughing all the while…then less than an hour later he’s clinging to me, crying, panicking, saying “GET HUG? GET HUG?!?!?!”
It’s all so draining. As someone who struggles with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and severe allergies, most days I would rather stay in bed, or simply lay on the couch and watch movies. But there are bills to pay, budgets to balance, toddler projects to do, books to read, lunches to pack, dinners to fix, diapers to change…and you get the picture. On top of that, I’m still having some very slight vertigo from my failed attempt at allergy shots. While it’s not interfering with day-to-day life too much, it’s just there, hanging out, saying “Boo! I’m still here!” every once in a while. And it has left me unable to exercise. Which means that the money I’m paying for a gym membership is going to waste. I’m seeing an ENT in a few weeks to see if they can figure out what is causing it. Furthermore, I’ve been having some racing heart rate and heart palpitations. I believe that it is anxiety-related (see aforementioned stressors), but doctors are taking precautions and running some tests, including a chest ECHO, and I get to wear a lovely heart monitor for the next thirty days.
So when you have two people who are dealing with severe anxiety, post-deployment stress, and physical maladies–then put them directly responsible for a very-active two-year-old, well, I’ll leave at least some of the mess to your imagination.
Sounds like life to me…
Our therapist: She respects our convictions and beliefs, has no problem with us coming to each other’s appointments, is willing to try new things and toss things that aren’t working, is a safe place for us to vent our frustrations (with life or with each other), has taught us how to communicate better…and she even has a Keurig, Starbucks kcups, fancy relaxing herbal teas, chocolate, and snacks in her office. Oh and cozy couches and blankets. Oh, and have I mentioned that it’s FREE? (Thank you Army, Tricare, and all you lovely taxpayers out there that pay your taxes and thereby help keep your soldiers and their families sane.)
Happy flowers from my mom:
Coming home from grocery shopping (alone, because Russ was watching Ezra on a much-needed day off) to find that my little mommy break got to last a little longer. I even managed to sit down with a cup of herbal tea while the boys were out:
Nice neighbors, whose son is Ezra’s best friend, inviting us over for a cookout…oh, and hoodies while sitting in their front yard on a chilly evening having girl-talk (and phone covers that make for neat pink half-vignettes on my self-photos):
A trip to Illinois to see my parents, long hard-but-good talks with my mom, going to another pumpkin patch, seeing the Kellogg’s Gymnastics Tour, and getting leaves thrown on me by my cute son in their front yard:
Returning home to my babeh…who I missed horribly while I was gone. And coffee, premade with a sweet note from him the next morning:
Having a son who is finally old enough to help mommy put away some of the groceries:
Finding the top of my messy dresser…temporarily. I’ve since lost it again, but it was nice while it lasted:
One wonderfully productive day (hence aforementioned clean dresser)–I actually marked a few more things off of this list after I took this picture:
These exhausted boys cuddling on a Sunday morning watching Praise Baby while I got ready for church:
A refreshingly wonderful, much-needed spa day at MOPS–complete with facials, getting my hair professionally done, relaxing music, foot baths, time to paint my nails AND toes, hand and foot rubs from one of our mentor moms, herbal teas, and amazing white-chocolate-cream-cheese-filled raspberries:
My nice camera that I pull out sometimes when I actually feel like carrying around something bigger than an iPhone:
New-to-me, name-brand-but-cheap jeans (that somehow fit a LOT less comfortably than how they fit in the dressing room…things that make you go hmmmm….)–and cute shoes (that gave me callouses and made my feet sweat when I wore them like this)–that I wore on
a trip to the pharmacy with toddler in tow a super-fun outing because I wanted to look cute (but I didn’t realize how hot it was outside, so I sweat horribly, and had to change the second I got home because of how uncomfortable I was). They made me feel cute for two seconds:
A new coffee mug that I found at Goodwill for $.50…it matches one of my favorite coffee mugs (that I bought at the dollar store a few years ago). My husband thinks we have too many coffee mugs. (He just doesn’t understand the bond that can be made between a woman and her cute coffee mugs.) Backdrop is a “new” Ann Taylor skirt that I paid about $6 for:
A growing readership of this blog (thanks to some excessive Twittering, link-ups, and blog-hops), and learning how to better manage my blog through some great tutorials and websites. Like this post that taught me how to create menus on my site (hint hint check them out!) which I didn’t even realize was possible. Thank you Julie!
This cute face and breathtaking chocolate brown eyes, wide with wonder at…something…who knows…can’t remember:
Lots and lots and lots of hugs from my baby boy on a nice warm fall day when we played outside for a few hours:
These two, again…no matter how much they frustrate and fuss at each other, their bond is immeasurable:
In all of our mess there is definitely a lot of beauty…we just have to open our eyes and look for it.