Thursday, July 13, 2017

that impossible step.

A few months back we took a family trip to Newport Beach, California. 

It was the first vacation we had taken as a family of four. The trip was planned as a getaway just for our little family. There was no one else coming along, no one else meeting us there. It was our trip, just to be with each other. 

We went to Disneyland, stayed in an Airbnb right by the ocean, rode bikes down Newport Beach, took the ferry over to Balboa Island, ate delicious food, slept in, and woke up to the sounds of the waves and ocean breeze.

It was the best and happiest I have been in a long long time. 

As I reminisce back on that week, I always start to cry. Not so much out of sadness, because the memories are really the most beautiful ones and I will cherish them for all my life, but more out of longing. Longing to feel that joy again. 

Since having Bronson six months ago, life has been the most intense and overwhelming roller coaster of emotion. My husband made a sudden job change, we lost a sweet (great) grandmother, my parents sold my childhood home and are leaving the small town we grew up in. We've had tragedy and drama within our families--that both took an emotional toll on me personally. Mila turned three and has the attitude and energy to prove it. I've been dealing with a handful of health problems, plus the normal and expected exhaustion that comes with having a small baby and a toddler. I haven't had a lot of family around, and I struggle asking for help, because I know that all my friends have their own hectic busy lives, and are dealing with their own set of problems--many worse than my own. I feel foolish thinking that my problems are worth anyone else's attention. They are so small compared to other trials. 

Sometimes, I stop mid-track as I'm putting laundry away or picking up toys, and just wonder if I can make it one more step. It seems so that one step might be just one step too many. One step that I cannot reach. I pause and seriously doubt my abilities--maybe even shed a tear--but then I hear Mila scream at me for a sippy cup or Bronson waking up from his nap. And I have no choice. So I smile and with all the energy I have left, take that step. The one I thought might be impossible...but never actually is. 

And as I step forward--emotionally wincing--I go to my happy place. On that beach in California, with my babies and my husband. Smiling, watching Mila make sand castles, eating sandwiches, and feeling the sun on my pale legs. Everyone was so happy. That kind of happiness is magical. What is it about the west coast and happiness? Somehow I left behind my stressed-out reality before my toes even touched that sand...left behind the stresses of everyday life. Left behind my feelings of inadequacy as a mother. I left behind my anxiety and fears....

...or maybe the ocean just took them away from me for that brief period of time? Taking on my burden so that I could enjoy that week of heaven on earth. 

I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but I was free. Free of it all, free of the prison of my own making and free to just be me and to love my people. 

We returned home--and quickly jumped back into the norm. Play dates, work, grocery pick-up, library trips, church callings, family gatherings, 3am feedings, business trips, and doctors appointments. We're now in the middle of another big change for our family--another change that came unexpectedly and while exciting, has added some stress and anxiety to our lives. 

But I guess that's what reality is all about. Reality can't be a work-free, stress-free, magical beach vacation all the time. And if that is your reality, please let me in on your ways! 🙌

I think God gives us those moments because they are something for us to hold on to when those dark moments take over. And while I know He wants us to be in the moment, living and breathing in whatever that day brings, there are those times when the next step seems impossible and we need to escape... 

...and that's okay.

Newport, we'll be back.