The Gift of an Ordinary Life

Do you know what it feels like to regret something with every fiber of your being, but still be incredibly grateful for the lessons you learned from that shameful experience?

I do.

My heart silently aches while it pours out happiness like sunshine.
My stomach churns with equal parts sorrow and joy.
My mind struggles to forget what happened but delights in the place I am today.

I can’t believe that I’m here today. This life that I have now is beyond my wildest dreams. On the outside, there’s nothing extraordinary about it. I’m a stay-at-home mom who takes care of a busy toddler and keeps house for a loving husband. It’s a life that many women live every day.

What’s extraordinary is that it so easily could be different.

I made serious mistakes. The kind of mistakes that change your life. When it came time for the consequences, I had choices. The first choice I considered was ending my life. I thought I couldn’t live with myself, knowing the pain I’d caused my loved ones. A selfish desire to see my son grow up saved me from those thoughts when I was at my lowest.

Once I decided I was going to live, I had another choice. I had to choose how I was going to live that life. Would I continue to live as I had been, ruled by addiction and compulsive behavior? Or would I choose the path of healing? Staying the same would be easier, but I would lose my family. Choosing to heal would involve a lot of pain and no guarantee that I would keep my family.

I chose the path of pain and possibility.

A year later, there is still some painful healing to do, but I’ve come a long, long way and changed drastically as a person. I’ve become someone I can live with, someone I can love and respect. I take responsibility for my actions and I find it easier to choose the next right thing.

And the possibility? It became a reality. My family is intact and healthy. Every night, I get to kiss my boy good night and cuddle him to sleep. I marvel at how easily I could have lost that. Every morning, I get to hug my husband and ask him how he slept. That, too, could have been lost.

My actions almost ended life as I know it, but choosing to turn away from the person I used to be brought me rewards beyond my wildest dreams. I’m not really a Christian, but this Bible passage resonates with my journey:

Ephesians 4:22-24 (New International Version)
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

With time, the happiness will overpower the ache; the joy will defeat the sorrow. My mind won’t struggle to forget because forgiveness will have vanquished the shame.

But for today, I will simply enjoy this beautiful gift of an ordinary life.

A post about nothing

So, I have been both unable and unwilling to write for quite some time.

I could blame it on circumstances. I have been busy, after all. We moved into a new apartment. We received our household goods out of storage. We’ve been downsizing our stuff in an attempt to fit a 2-bedroom townhouse into a 1-bedroom apartment (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really happen). Our family has been doing fun stuff in the evenings and weekends, which was practically unheard of at my husband’s last base. I’ve been trying to find my housewife/SAHM routine so that the house stays (somewhat) organized, healthy food is on the table, the toddler is clothed, fed and entertained and I get my fill of The Sims 3 (don’t be so jelly of my glamorous life). We had a failed attempt at potty training. Oh and I started working out again, too (Thank Jeebus, so tired of feeling like a lardass). So yeah, there’s a lot going on.

But normally, I’d write about all that stuff. So what’s my deal now? I don’t know, it just seems like every time I think about writing, my brain goes, “Hey! SQUIRREL!” and I wander off, distracted by something random. Even now as I write this, I start daydreaming about my Sim’s career or when I should start dinner and kind of have to force myself to finish sentences.

I think I’m getting in my own way. I need this blog for my outlet, but sometimes I get intimidated. I’m part of an amazing group of bloggers who share information and support each other. Some are newbies like me, and some make money and go to blogging conferences. I guess I feel like I need to be up to that caliber. I don’t know if I’ll ever be up there; it takes a lot of time and energy to build a blog like that. I just don’t think I have the desire, but somehow think I have to do it anyway…

Hmm, I’m trying to force myself to strive for something I don’t really want because I think I “have to” for some reason? Hello compulsive behaviors, I wondered where you’d pop up next. I used to do a lot of things compulsively – things I didn’t really want to do or knew were bad, but felt that I “had to” because “someone” thought I should. I’ve weeded out my most harmful compulsive behaviors. However, the compulsive, addictive part of me is going to always be looking out for something to latch on to. Right now it’s writing. Sometimes I get so caught up in whether I’m writing the “right” stuff or if this post will go viral or get published on a bigger blog, that I forget why I write: for me. I don’t write to please people; I write to keep myself sane. Maybe I should get that tattooed on me somewhere.

Or better yet, just get the word THINK tattooed somewhere to remind me to be on the lookout for that sneaky bastard compulsive thinking.

Well, I managed a lot of words about how I can’t write words lately. That’s pretty good. I have some ideas for theme days on the blog, to help me focus my thoughts better. We’ll see how that goes. This blog, like my life, is a perpetual work-in-progress.

Driving from Oregon to Texas

Driving from Oregon to Texas

Hello! I’m baaaa-aaaack!!

We just finished the highly anticipated road trip from Portland, OR to Abilene, TX. It actually went much smoother than I imagined! But I don’t want to do it again anytime soon. 🙂

Two adults, one toddler, and two cars stuffed with crap we thought we needed. It took us 4 days to drive 1,846 miles. I learned something new each day of the drive.

RoadTripYouareagoodmamadotcom

Day One

Eastern Oregon is gorgeous. I got to test my wicked good rain-driving skills one last time, before leaving the land of the rain (Oregon) for the land of the sun (Texas). I rocked it.

Oh, and there are alligators in Idaho. WTF??

Day Two

Tell your husband you need to pee BEFORE it moves from annoying to urgent. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing an awkward hop/run to a Wendy’s bathroom in Moab while silently begging your childbirth-weakened pelvic floor muscles to keep the tiny dribble from becoming a full pants-soaking.

The gorgeous view couldn't distract me long enough
The gorgeous view couldn’t distract me long enough

Toddler repeatedly asks for toy you can’t reach while driving. Your response:
Hour One: “I’m sorry sweetpea, it’s not safe for me to get your dinosaur right now but when we stop for lunch I’ll get it for you!.”
Hour Nine: “NO!” *turns up radio to drown out whining and doesn’t feel guilty

Electronic devices are a godsend. Until your toddler decides that the only thing that will make him happy is to watch DVDs on the portable DVD player with a dead battery. You will feel his wrath (literally) when he chucks said DVD player at the back of your head.

This didn't happen nearly enough
This didn’t happen nearly enough

I picked the wrong time to give up caffeine.

After a long day of driving, you will smile as your freshly bathed toddler jumps on the bed while gleefully shouting “It’s a naked baby!!” It might be a slightly crazed and/or resigned smile, but hey at least you’re smiling and everyone is still alive.

Day Three

Driving the car without the toddler is much more relaxing than driving the car with the toddler.

My daydreams now consist of shooting rattlesnakes and finding the perfect pair of cowboy boots. I think my inner country girl is starting to emerge!

Day Four

New Mexico is flat and unappealing to me. It rained overnight and our cars were filthy afterward.

So boring
The never-ending road

Texas is F’ing hot! Holy boob sweat, Batman. Thank heavens for AC.

Not even the hottest it's been
Not even the hottest it’s been

It still hasn’t really hit me that we are here to stay for awhile (God and Air Force willing). Maybe it will become more real when we move into our apartment next week (temporary fix while we search for our family home to buy). I’m looking forward to seeing all the crap that I thought I needed back in February when the movers packed us out. Most of all, I’m just so glad to be done driving. Welcome to Texas!