things I didn't know - 1

The first quarter of the year is quickly fading. These months have felt long and short simultaneously, as they always do. Last night, I sipped on a glass of whiskey ready to grab a fresh book from my stack, when I realized there are quite a few things about these months I wish I had known in January. Back before a baby, before the large moments and mountains of learning, these are the things I didn't know but now have discovered.

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Taking a baby to a funeral is the best gift you can give someone

In a month span, I attended and took my daughter to two funerals. The last time I went to a funeral was in 2012 but suddenly they were popping up on my calendar. Both times, I thought about leaving her home. After all, driving a few hours with a six-week-old baby doesn't scream "easy!" But then my Pa said some wise words, as always. He said there is something good about seeing a baby at a funeral, it's the reminder that life goes on. So I took her, and in their moments of need, my Mimi and Mom held her and she smiled providing more joy and comfort on a day of burial than I thought possible. 

Breastfeeding doesn't mean you won't have a period. 

Whoever started this old wives tale is on my blacklist. Because dealing with this while trying to feed your baby is about as much fun as lighting your hair on fire. To everyone who promised me this wouldn't happen- YOU ARE DIRTY LIARS.

Evening walks from a neighbors house will be the crown of the quarter

Our street is the most wonderful place. Our neighbors actually want to know each other. They frequently call the city to shut down traffic on our road so we can have block parties. It's our own Starshollow. We recently befriended a couple that lives a few houses down. When they invited us over for dinner, we were able to walk. Along the way back, in the cool of the night, when it was turning dark but not quite there yet, I realized how idyllic and beautiful this moment was. I never dreamed we would have this type of life, where we know people on our street and walk home from fun dinners, and stroll hand in hand while our baby smiles. I didn't know we could find such a heartwarming and small-town life in a large city. 

Too much is a blessing

A funny episode of The Bible Binge podcast, created by my absolute favorite podcast The Popcast, struck a chord in my heart. Knox and Jamie, the hosts, talked about Ruth and Naomi. Naomi's attitude focused on what God had taken away. Ruth focused on what they had. A simple perspective shift that made a huge difference. Naomi literally changed her name to Mara, which means bitter, because of her feelings toward God. Ruth worked hard with gratitude and was blessed. This little moment of an hour long podcast sunk into my bones. Lately, I've been complaining about having too much. Too much work, too much weight, too much driving. What a gift. The overload of work right now is because I get to raise a beautiful baby while also running two businesses. That is a miracle. The weight means my body has produced and sustains a tiny babe while keeping me healthy and strong. The thighs touching are a temporary and small price to pay for a family. The driving is from meetings, seeing family, getting lunch with friends, and reveling in the full life Jesus is building around us. Too much is a blessing. Ignorantly, I didn't know this. 

Making gift cards stretch is an awesome game

Thank you Target and Amazon, I will squeeze every last cent out of these cards while getting the maximum number of items. It's an adult math puzzle and I LOVE it. 

Being a mom means I make the decisions

A few weeks ago, we were in the midst of a messy and complicated situation. Without going into too much detail, there was a ton of pressure being placed on me to take my baby to visit someone even though I felt it was the wrong call. When I talked through my thoughts and concerns with family and friends, people would say that the good news is that my daughter wouldn't remember this. She wouldn't remember if the visit went poorly if hateful things were said. She wouldn't remember the tension, the struggle, the ugliness of it all. But I would. I would remember and have to live with the choice. My mom said something to me during this time that was incredibly freeing, "You are her mom, it is your right to decide. You get the final say" Responsibility is a part of parenting and this was the first time I felt the weight of it, the truth that ultimately, I am the one who gets to determine when and how to protect my kids. I guess I didn't realize it would come so soon, or that I (along with my husband) would make the decision instead of having other adults make it for me. 

This song would be my jam.

Good Old Days- Macklemore

also, Spirit Break Out- Kim Walker Smith

A book of poetry would break and expand my heart

I've been listening to Brown Girl Dreaming read by the author Jacqueline Woodson. It is a poetry memoir of her experiences growing up black in South Carolina and Brooklyn during the late sixties and early seventies. I don't have the adequate words yet to tell you how this book has impacted me. I'll write more about it when I review my monthly reads in a few days. But for now, let me leave you with an excerpt from my favorite poem.

it'll be scary sometimes

my great-great-grandfather on my father's side was born free in Ohio, 1832. His son was sent to Nelsonville lived with an aunt. William Woodson the only brown boy in an all-white school. you'll face this in your life someday, my mother will tell us over and over again. A moment when you walk into a room and no one there is like you. It'll be scary sometimes. But think of William Woodson and you'll be all right. 

 

Often, I look back over periods of time to see what goals I accomplished or look forward to the next chunk of growth. But rarely, do I take time to look back and realize what I learned. I'm hoping to make this a quarterly practice, to carve out time to recognize new gains in knowledge. Whether small, silly, or serious, the things we learn shape us. I'm proud of the things that through experience, I can now say I know.