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30 Day Writing Challenge-First Kiss and First Love

Even though it’s only day three of the challenge, this day had me a little miffed on how I would write about it.

Writing about my  first kiss, is easy. I was thirteen, he had blonde hair and blue eyes, and it was unremarkable, unemotional, and nothing special. I only remembered it because it was the first one of my young life.

Writing about my first love is more complicated, but nobody said this writing challenge would be easy. I mentioned in my post yesterday about my first memory and how my journey began alone and unknown. In hindsight, it seems that those early beginnings galvanized me and while I fell into infatuation in my younger years, romantic love didn’t come easily or openly to me.

But this is about first loves and I’ve had many.

I can remember falling in love with books at a young age. I remember reading the simple ones, then moving on to comic books and then the more difficult reads as I grew older. I read every Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, and VC Andrews book that I could get my hands on. I read anything and everything that captured my young heart and mind. Reading was bliss and nothing in the world made me happier than a good book. My mom used to say that the house could fall down around me while I was reading, and that I would never know. She wasn’t wrong. I read in the car, on vacation, on the bus, and in bed when I was supposed to be asleep. I had a book in my hand everywhere I went and the library was my refuge. 

God was also one of my first loves, teaching me selflessness and dedication. For many years in my early life, I clung to my spirituality, committed to it like one is to committed to their first romantic relationship. I was so in love that I even went to a Christian College, and contemplated a life of service, but certain events in my life steered  me in a completely different direction. 

Only as an adult did I discover my first opportunity for romantic love. But as it happens in life,  I didn’t realize it until it was too late.  By the time I did, too much had shifted and settled, and I realized that  it came down to most things in life; timing. Our timing was always off so we were left with only memories.

Years later, I met my husband, my first great love. Through hell and back, ups and downs, I’ve learned what it means to love, honor, and cherish, until death do us part. The vows weren’t “only when it’s perfect,” and while there have been plenty of opportunities for both of us to give it all up, in spite of it all we love each other. We love and fiercely protect the family we’ve made and the bonds we’ve created, for ourselves and our children. We’ve laughed and cried, walked away from and ran toward one another. But so far, we haven’t given up, on ourselves or on each other, which is what we promised in the beginning.

Lastly, my boys have been the first people I’ve loved in this life, without condition. They’ve taught me what it’s like to love from a perfect heart and I’ve become a better, stronger, and kinder person because of their love. I see myself through their eyes, even when it’s not good, and I know now what true love is. It’s accepting every apology, righting every wrong, and loving someone until you feel that your heart will explode out of your chest. It’s doing what you don’t want to because you know it’s the right thing to do, for them. It’s doing everything in your power to protect their hearts and preserve their minds from anger, hatred, and imperfection so that they can stay little boys for just a little while longer.

Loving my children had been a willing exercise in humility and sacrifice, that makes me want to do my best every day.

As I thought about this post, I knew that I would need to be thoughtful about it because love of any kind is personal and emotional. I’m fortunate that I’ve loved a great deal and had so much love in my life. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. 

The Most Interesting People I Know…

I’ve met a lot of interesting people in my life. Heroes, criminals, writers, college dropouts, and self-made millionaires. But by far, the most interesting people I know actually live in my house, and are under the age of ten.

I was adopted, so for all of my life, there was nobody that looked like me, sounded like me, or resembled me in any way. That is… until my two precocious little boys came a long. Suddenly, I was surrounded by two little people who mirrored my husband and I, both in appearance, personality, and behavior. It was uncanny and miraculous, and I was instantly in love.

What has truly been amazing about this journey of motherhood, has been how interesting I find them. Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist or a child psychologist stalking my little experiments, watching them change and grow. Seeing them develop from tiny dependent babies to funny and intelligent little boys has been all-consuming, so much more than I ever imagined.

My oldest son, Jack, is like my husband in many ways. And because I understand him, my depth of understanding has also grown for my husband. The “baby”, Charlie, is most like me so I understand how infuriating my stubbornness can be. The beautiful pattern of our family is woven by common threads, as well our own dynamic personalities. I am often mesmerized by how truly amazing it all is.

I could listen to my children talk all day. And right now, they love to talk to me. They can’t wait to share things and tell me what is on their minds. They share every idea, hope and thought with me and I can’t get enough of it! I truly love watching their minds work, thoughts formulate, and theories about life develop.

I love how much they rely on my husband and I to help create their core beliefs. But it’s always fun to watch how they take what they’ve learned and run with it. Whether it’s the answers to the big questions or the little ones, it feels like a privilege to witness them evolve and grow.

Jack recently realized that he has the ability to “choose” the big things in his life. Up until then, he believed that his course was set by us. It never occurred to him that he could do something different than what his Dad and I decided. This revelation that he could actually decide, didn’t change much for him. But his mind opened up just a little bit more on that day. With his newfound epiphany he edged slightly away from my little boy, to a wiser one.

I read somewhere that if you listen to your children when they are small, they will come to you when they are bigger. I’ve become a better listener, and what I’ve found is that I’m actually very interested. Whether it is their plan for their world in Minecraft, or what they are doing in school, or which wrestler is making his return debut-I hang onto their every word. And I listen. Always.

They are so interesting. Their passion, reflection, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. They are a gift wrapped up in a beautiful little package borne of innocence, goodness, and discovery. All of which are gone way too quickly. I don’t remember thinking and imagining so sweetly. Those days are long gone for me, but when I see them in my children I find so much joy and happiness.

Charlie still believes in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, even though Jack has spilled the beans on countless occasions. But Jack still thinks that his dad and I are the best people in the world, and they both still love to cuddle with us every chance they get.

I am anxious to see what they will become. I can’t wait to watch and listen to them grow, though I am not in a hurry for them to do so. And I can’t believe that I made such beautiful children and that they can mesmerize me so completely.

I hope that as a mother, this complete interest in them early in their lives will open the door to more important moments when they are older. The conversations that will be needed when they are struggling with life and with themselves.

I don’t see myself ever losing interest in them, but I’m a realist and I know that there will be times-maybe even years when it will have to be from afar. But I hope they will always know that they will remain the most interesting people in my life.

And I hope against hope, that they will feel just a smidgen of that for me. ❤

The More That Things Change…

I’m a romantic at heart.

I love fairy tales and happily ever after. My favorite movies, stories, and books are about love and fluff and magic. It’s strange, but I don’t write those stories, yet I love to indulge in them.

Even though those types of stories appeal to me greatly, I can’t ever seem to find myself in them. I tend to see myself more in the characters that are flawed and lost, which is also what I tend to write about the most. I’ve tried to transform myself over the years yet I remain the same. As much as I would like to change, and adapt, and grow into a softer person; I find that I actually fight the darkness more over time.

It’s not that there isn’t kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness within me. It’s just that I tend to gravitate more in the other direction. I joke about fighting the demons, but I mean it when I say that I do. Somewhere deep inside of me, there is someone that only three people in my life have ever been able to completely crack. My grandma, and my sons. I find a dormant different side of myself with my sons, as I did with my grandma when she was alive. 

I don’t know if it is because I was adopted, or because I was abandoned, or just a result of life. I’m not sure if it’s because of an early struggle for survival. But I do know that I tend to be in constant survival mode; waiting, and watching, wrought with anticipation. When I was younger, I do think that I was softer. I know that in my youth, I was more free. But as I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is who I have always been. Even as a little girl, I didn’t have the same hopes or expectations as other little girls. I just saw life in a different way.

I do adore the happily ever after and it’s doubtful that will ever change. In many ways, I’m living the happily ever after. I am surrounded by the people I love the most, living a life that I am very fortunate to have. But it is also the struggle with the darkness, that makes me who I am. I have learned to embrace it, with the knowledge that I am who I am, and that it will probably never change.

Because the more that things change, they also stay the same, because I am the same. 

2014!

My children measure time, regularly.

They often remark on how fast the weekend has gone or how slow time goes when they are bored. They are more aware of time than I was at their age. Teaching them to “live in the moment” or “to be patient” have been every day lessons in our home, but ones worth repeating.

As 2013 is now finished, it’s the first time in many years that I can look back and feel peaceful conclusion. The year is over and with it is comes some much needed closure.

Writing two books and finishing them was a huge accomplishment and a lifelong ambition in 2013. I gained a sister-in-law, because closer to my family, and learned how to prioritize the important things in my life. I’ve watched my children grow another year older and seen my niece go another year cancer-free. I’ve grown emotionally and intellectually into a person that I finally feel proud of.

Another New Year means that I’ll be another year older also. I struggle against it like most people my age do. I want my twenty one year old body with the experienced mind that I have now. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to have wasted all of my beautiful youth on such stupidity, though I realize it was just meant to be that way. I realize that I have no choice but to accept it and age gracefully.

I’ve never been one to make NY resolutions. But this year, I am going to resolve to be healthier. It’s selfish really. I want to look better, feel better, and live longer. And while none of that guarantees that I won’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, I can just do my best.

2013 wasn’t the worst year that I’ve ever had, and it wasn’t the best. But there were a lot of beautiful moments that I’ll always treasure.

I know that I have a lot to look forward to, which is a beautiful thing. I am going into the year with a new perspective and excitement that I haven’t been able to muster for a while. Most importantly, I am counting every beautiful thing and person that I have in my life. I certainly haven’t done anything to deserve them, yet they are there.

I hope that anyone reading this has a wonderful 2014. And if life hasn’t been great, I hope that you find promise. Hope is sometimes all you need to pull you into a life that is worthwhile. Believe me, I know.

Much Love and Happy New Year!

Life is…

Life is…
Loving, learning, hoping, hurting, wanting, dreaming…
Failing,
Reinventing,
Regrouping,
Redeeming,
Reflecting.
Life is…
Full of joy, sadness, sorrow, pain…
The quickening of the pulse,
The beating of the heart,
It’s the glory in the rise,
and the humiliation of the fall.
Life is…
asking for forgiveness,
Begging for truth,
Finding beauty in the pain.
It’s looking in the mirror,
and not liking what you see.
Life is…
about change,
about growth,
about loving who you are.
And knowing that you will
never be the same again.
Life is…
erasing Anger,
Letting go of Hatred,
Finding your compassion,
Finding yourself.
And Life is…
Beauty, sorrow, incredible, amazing, unimaginable happiness, and undeniable grief.
But through it all,
Life is a gift,
And Life is… Good.