brimerpartyof5

every family is a miracle story. here's how we're becoming the brimerpartyof5

Power Up February 10, 2016

Filed under: parenting,self care — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 3:16 am
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I just wanted to be alone.

Just for a few minutes just me with my own thoughts.

Sometimes things are so jumbled. There is so much in my head and heart; so much data to process.  Its like a backlog.  When I feel that I’m close to capacity, I need to be alone and give myself permission for a short while to just Be and not DO.  Much like my phone warning me that being too full of photos will compromise the efficiency until I deal with the full memory.

There is a phrase in the Bible that says, “take every thought into captivity.”  I visualize blogging as a way to take thoughts into captivity.  It is a very powerful tool for me since I find that once I have expressed a thought it loses much of its anxiety-causing power in my life. This is very important because when I allow my anxiety to build up, my perspective is compromised and I don’t trust my own judgement.  My perceived problem may or may not be real at all or may not be as big as it feels.  When I don’t take the time to capture it and take a look at it outside of my head, I don’t really know how big or small it is and it just adds to the anxiety monster growing inside me.

I find that even taking a few minutes to hide in my room and do a quick voice memo where I allow myself to talk out how I feel and let my phone record it to text can be a powerful use of technology.  In this way I have literally captured my thoughts just as I am thinking them, unfiltered.  Then when I read them I can help myself without needing to scare anyone else!  Even your spouse or your sister doesn’t need to hear ALL the crazy, right?  I do not recommend hitting send to anyone with the exception of back in a loop to your own email, perhaps.  (please note: I’m all about going to therapy and talking things out with trusted, safe, discrete friends.  The voice memo to yourself is a great way to talk yourself off a ledge and reconnect to your heart and takes no $ or prep work.)

It is very important to look inside your own head and inside your own heart so that you don’t deceive yourself and don’t lose yourself.  Don’t deceive yourself into staying the same when it is damaging you to do so.  Don’t deceive yourself into resenting what may be a stage of life that you will miss later and that others are jealous of you for now.  Don’t lose touch with your true heart, the essential you.  I mean, You, yourself, who you were before your significant other or any of your children came into your life.

Who is that person?  She has of course changed significantly over recent years.  Engaging in new relationships and taking on new roles adds depth and beauty to her character.  The same girl is still in there.  That same girl who played with dollies and imagined being a mommy so many years ago.  The same girl who walked into her seventh grade English class so aware of every one of her faults wondering if anyone would ever think she was good enough. The same girl who came to believe in beauty as currency and is still trying so hard to unlearn that.  The same girl who made the choices that got her to be you. That girl still needs to be nurtured as you would love your own child.  In your heart, you know it is true.  She is the one begging for a time out to capture some thoughts.

Something that we as women forget to do is be our own caretaker. We happily, or at least diligently, take on the role of caring for our significant other and our children and perhaps pets, friends and extended family members.  We know that they need care and to feel loved and empowered.  Ironically, we often look with disdain at the role of self care giver as a selfish and wasteful use of our precious resources when absolutely nothing –absolutely nothing!- could be further from the actual truth.  I myself was certainly not receptive to the idea of self care.  It seemed very selfish to me. (Quick Note: I am NOT talking about causing more stress by going into debt with retail therapy.  I am talking about getting at what is really in your heart and treating yourself as a priority.)

Most of the time you must be tough and you must be content and you must be thankful because we all really do have so much to be thankful for and we are all are so strong for our families every day.  There are times -just sometimes- you cannot. You simply cannot. Not for one more minute can you keep it together until you feel loved and appreciated the way you need to feel loved and appreciated.  Here’s the deal: You are the only one who knows what you really need to feel loved and appreciated.  Well, you and that girl inside you who reminds you of who you have always been. So listen to your heart and find ways to give yourself what you need.  (BTW: your heart does not need to eat a full family sized container of your favorite snack so you can feel sick and ashamed of yourself later.  That is self sabotage not self care.)

So when I can feel my peace level is dipping to a significant enough degree that I might do something that I regret, then I do find that it is important to take a few minutes for myself.  It must be done with intention.  Life will not advertise to you, “hey this is a great time for some self care.” Your days are full of other things.  You actually do have to do something parallel to lessen planning to take those moments for yourself. Self time with children who don’t nap when they can sit quietly (ok maybe not too quietly) alone is very elusive but it can be done.  (reading books on their beds works for me and play dough does too!) Cultivate quiet time for your sanity and their safety (kidding. not kidding.)

Perhaps other thrive in chaos.  I doubt that.  Perhaps I’m more fragile than most.  I doubt that too.  I have no interest in comparing myself to any of you reading this.  What I know is that I need time to sit quietly and think by myself.  I hereby give you permission to do the same. It is not a luxury.  It is not a treat.  It is a necessity.  I am too important to all the people who depend on me.  Whatever I need to do to make self maintenance and sanity happen, I will do it.  I love myself and my family enough to make sure that it happens on a regular basis.

 

One Beautiful Thing About Grieving With A Baby November 6, 2015

Filed under: death and heaven — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 8:05 pm
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My daughter Ellie lost her Grandpa (Grom-pah as she calls him) 2 weeks ago.  He left on a trip on a big airplane to fly far far away and he didn’t come back.  When she asks about him, she is told he’s not ever coming back.  He can’t come back.  He’s not sick anymore but he won’t come back here.  These statements are met with her disbelief.  Our answers don’t make sense so she keeps pushing back against them.

He IS coming back.  He’s getting all better. He wants to kiss his girlie.  He likes to give me a high five.

Ellie "reading: sympathy card

Ellie “reading: sympathy card

So many cards keep coming in the mail.  She likes to looks at the pretty pictures on each one and wants me to read them to her.  What does this one say Mommy?  So I paraphrase something simple like, “It says that Ellie misses her Grom-pah and he’s not coming back and our friends are sorry that we are sad about that.”  So now she “reads” the cards independently when they come.

Grom-pah is never coming back to Ellie’s house.  He’s not coming back again.  Ellie misses Grom-pah.

She reads them so matter-of-fact-ly.  When I hear her speaking the truth aloud, it makes me believe it.  It also gives me the chance to express my grief to her and to the boys.  I’ve been making a point of telling them all. “Mommy’s feeling sad about Grandpa right now.”  This gives them the space to say how they’re feeling too and come share a healing hug.

Ellie likes to watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  There is an episode where they sing a comforting little phrase over and over again, “Grown Ups come back to you. Grown Ups come back.”  Auntie Sarah and I have been singing this to her for reassurance.  She’s not as sure as she was.  Usually they do but not this time, not Grandpa.  I’m so sad for my 3 beautiful children and their 6 precious cousins who now know without a doubt, if they didn’t already, that this is not always true.  Grown-Ups don’t always come back.

Babies are so incredible, I highly recommend them in general.  But grieving with a baby is so amazing that I can see babies being loaned out like the empathy cats and dogs who comfort people in hospitals and convalescent homes.  They could easily be a huge part of the healing of families’ hearts during and after times of loss.  Maybe this is common knowledge among parents but this is new territory for me.  They express their feelings and represent the feelings everyone is having about the loss of an important family member.

You’ve heard that therapists say “feel your feelings”? Well that’s is what babies do. They don’t even need to go to therapy to learn it.  Adults think too much.  We have various ways to block out feelings etc.  Babies do not.  They process everything as it happens.  This is one reason that they cry a lot.  Life is too much to process everything in the moment.  They don’t know that yet nor do they have any tools to really suppress feelings or think things through.

It sounds strange to admit it but Ellie is teaching me how to let myself feel and grieve.  She misses her Grandpa and so she gets grumpy and overwhelmed.  Some days she screams and wails and throws scary fits.  Daddy was gone for a week so she sobbed every night because she missed him and she wasn’t sure when and IF he was coming home.  So many times in these last few terrible weeks I knew she was tuning in to my emotional state.  She and I have rocked and cried and comforted each other in a few hard, beautiful, terrible, wet faced moments.  As awful as they were, those moments allowed me to release the emotions that I was feeling.  As I was allowing space for her to fall apart, I realized that I could do the same.

Last Friday Auntie Sarah left after being here for 2 tough, emotionally charged weeks.  Today Auntie Heather left after a week and tomorrow early morning Uncle Andy is heading out after 2 weeks here.  He said his goodbyes tonight right before bed and she.went.nuts.

There’s just too much leaving.  Too much of it.  She has had quite enough.

I tried to prep her and her brothers that in a few minutes Uncle Andy would be coming over to say his last goodbye for now and that he was leaving to go back to his home.  She was devastated.  Inconsolable.  Totally unreasonable.  Uninhibited with her demonstration of anger.  It was the last straw.  Tonight when I spoke those words out loud I realized that it was hitting me hard too.  My heart was realizing that it is just us now.  Just those of us who live here.  Those who are left behind.  No more support people in the house to distract from that fact that there’s someone missing.  No one to fill in the empty space that he left.  Tomorrow when we sit down to dinner, there will only be 6.

Tomorrow starts a new chapter.  Tomorrow will be a tough day.  I know that my two year old will remind me that I can cry when I need to and that a kiss and a snuggle can go a long way.

 

full of songs October 18, 2014

Filed under: big brothers,emotions,kidisms,miracles — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 5:56 pm
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I IMG_20141013_163619023heard a song this week that contained this phrase,
“If I should die tomorrow at least my life was full of songs”
It grabbed my attention.

Music is important to me. More than that I love to make music myself. My life partner, teammate and all around amazing human being of a husband and I met in a choir and have very literally been making music together ever since. It is what we do and how we live.

In the past we have imagined and performed some original music, played in church bands, sung solos and duets, lead worship times whose effects stayed with us for days, dreamed of music as a career and let that dream drown in the contentment of singing our children to sleep.

Our daughter’s name means, “God has answered with a song.” What surprising music He has given.

Right now she can’t speak but she has adored music all along. She “sings” along to songs that she knows and grins and claps approvingly when she hears a song she likes.

Lately we have been singing a lot of songs like, “6 little ducks” and “Mary had a little Lamb.” “Hush little baby don’t say a word” “All I really need is a song in my heart, food in my belly and Love in my family” are Ellie’s lullabies.

Today riding to the last soccer game of the season, Ellie was getting upset. I asked her brothers to sing her a song. I was thinking maybe something from the list above. Garak starts right in with, “God Gave Rock N Roll to You” by Petra. Parenting WIN!! Hayden piped right up and they calmed their 14 month old baby sister down with some classic rock!

Yesterday Garak was helping me stir the spinach while I whisked the fresh eggs that we collect 4 per day from our Rhode Island Red tick munchers and he started singing, “Every heart beats true for the red white and blue.” I joined in, “where there’s never a boast or brag but should aulde acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on the grange olde flag!” He was as surprised that I knew the words as I was that he did. The boys are learning it for a Veterans Day assembly their school is hosting next month.

They are thriving in kindergarten. They have had almost all positive feedback from their teachers. Any not so great behaviors they exhibited last year seem to have been left in preschool. The first month the school focused on kindness and the entire kindergarten IMG_20141011_162948246sang a song called, “I am kind to the Earth.” At the assembly Garak sang and did the motions enthusiastically while Hayden stood in the back without participating and looking like he was pretending it wasn’t really happening. They are SO DIFFERENT!! Hayden loves having space at school without Garak in his classroom. He often acts mortified if Garak says or does anything silly, which is almost constantly.

This month the focus at school is on Respect. Garak has been singing an unintelligible string of letters that I deciphered is supposed to spell Respect followed by the phrase “I give it to you. You give it to me.” for the last several days.

The biggies started Awana clubs 2 weeks ago and seem to love it. They are memorizing verses from the Bible from a companion CD that came with their “Iguana” (Awana) books. I asked if they sang any songs. They remembered one they referred to as “the fox song.” Something about the Devil is a sly old fox…

Our sweet little family took a walk on the trail behind our house last week after raking leaves and jumping in the pile.
That song made by the leaves crunching and 3 miracle babies giggling was the music of my heart.

 

Real life is messy but still beautiful May 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 6:00 am

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Lunch date May 7, 2014

Filed under: new baby — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 8:28 am

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Whatever you thought about your life and how you would want to have fancy lunch dates and be important at important- people restaurants, nothing comes even close to the lunch date you’ll have with your baby as she learns to feed herself and look at you with a messy silly crazy face with food all over it. That’s when you’ll know that you are important and this is the most important lunch date you’ll ever be invited to.

 

Good morning! May 5, 2014

Filed under: post on the run — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 3:29 am

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the long night of winter… April 17, 2014

Filed under: miracles — brimerpartyof5 mom @ 4:55 am

it is a just a season I am going through right now…

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bye bye winter

we’ve have all heard and probably used the analogy

the fact that life has “seasons” in helpful because it reminds us that this season is finite

bear in mind that finite is not the same as short or easy

knowing that “this, too, shall pass” has a level of comfort.

like getting strapped into a roller coaster seat and knowing that what is coming will only last a few moments.

while there is comfort in knowing that truth it doesn’t nullify the effect that the ride is about to have on you.

we still have ice on the deck and a bit of snow between the trees.

we have been isolated from fall to spring like the families of the 7 brides for 7 brothers waiting for the pass to open.

my spirit is ready to gaze in wonder at the simple miracles of daffodils breaking through the recently frozen ground.

here comes the sun!

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so ready for my first Spring!

the squeals and roars of 2 strong, healthy, happy 5 year olds zooming on bikes and “hitting home runs”

any time they can be heard enjoying life, the unmistakable sounds of hope and restoration fill my heart.

their playtime adventures echoing in the cool spring air will no doubt renew this mommas heart .

introducing Ellie to her first Spring will surely reintroduce some much-needed “everyday wonder” as well.

Come Spring!  My daffodil heart is ready.