The Beautiful Chaos of 39

Its June 16th. I just turned 39. I am embarking in what will be the last year of my 30s.

I also happened to have celebrated with 1-2 glasses of wine. So as relaxed as I am, I decided to compose a blog post.

I have had 3 different blogs buzzing in my mind for several weeks. But I've been horrendously busy and unable to sit down and work through them with the keys on my computer. So while I have been seeming silent in the world of blogging, I am hoping my schedule will allow me to complete my blog posts this summer. One can hope anyway.
Ya'll....can this be an honest post?  Not a tell-all for all the details of my life, but one where I can be honest about what life is like as I begin my 39th year?

At 39, I am in some ways so satisfied with my life. I LOVE my kids. They drive me crazy and I complain incessantly about frustrating behaviors, but I love them deeper than I ever thought I could love another human being. I am the mother of two very different boys. And to a degree, high maintenance boys for different reasons. They are wonderful and complex and exhausting all at the same time.

Recently, I told someone who has not become a parent yet, that becoming a parent fills spaces in your heart and life you never knew existed. And you would never want to empty those spaces after children have filled them. No matter how hard and exhausting or challenging parenting can be. Because in the end, your kids are your life's best work. The masterpieces you shape for years and years and get to stand back and marvel at one day.

I love my kids. I also love my home. I used to watch HGTV and wish (while apartment renting), that I could live in a space I found an oasis to be in. When we decided to rent a house vs an apartment, my wishes came true. We live in a lovely home in a nice area of town. I have no complaints. Just thankfulness for the opportunity to live here.

I have a great job and work with wonderful people. They really are a work family. Its nice to feel confident and competent in a job I enjoy.

I also have the amazing opportunity/ blessing/ luck of whatever adjective you want to use to be married to the love of my life. He has been giving, patient, loving, forgiving  and encouraging when I have needed it the most. Likewise, I have been those things to him when he needed it the most. Our marriage isn't a fairy tale of dreams come true. It's a strong partnership forged under hardship, heartbreak, trials and tragedies of life. When our marriage hit its lowest points, he fought for us as much as I did. Sweat, tears, therapy, and lots of hard work are part of the fabric that has made our marriage strong.

At 39 I also am also walking through life's journey with some heavy loads. A little over a year ago my son almost died. While I am thankful and grateful that in God's mercy, his life was spared, I am forever changed. For months I was wracked with guilt for not having prevented an accident I could not have foreseen and was unable to stop. It wasn't my fault, but I lived under the burden and guilt of "if onlys'.. "if only I never bought those bunk beds."  "if only I reached him sooner."  "if only I dismantled those beds weeks before."  The if onlys haunted and tortured my hurting heart for many months. Thankfully, I am no longer wracked with guilt.

But .. the guilt was replaced with deep seated fears. At first they were fears for my son's life span. Now in some twisted  way, I fear for my own life. What if I get sick and can't care for them? What if I get cancer? What if I died suddenly like my Dad? What if hereditary congenital heart disease limit my life and abilities? These What ifs echo through the chambers of my heart in waves of anxiety I wish I was freed from. I'm sure its part if this thing called PTSD.  Every time I think I am moving on and better, my PTSD is triggered and the big heavy hand of anxiety and fear drag me back down.

Before Alvaro's accident, after having fallen sick with pernicious anemia and other hormone related problems, my doctor's placed me on a Ketogenic diet. I lost over 35 lbs! I was ecstatic. I felt confident and bought a much needed wardrobe of Size 10  clothes. I was 5 lbs away from my all time goal weight. Then the accident. Then the PTSD. I gained 50 lbs in one calendar year. I have since then struggled much with my weight gain. I struggle with my inability to work harder to get it off. I try and fail. And try and fail. And try and fail. My heart has become despondent with the viscous cycle of failure connected to my desired weight loss. And while others say, "Don't worry about it... " I do.  I worry about it a lot. Diabetes and heart disease are strong in my family. And I am at risk. This extra weight and not great eating feels like borrowed time before my body is challenged with more issues than it can handle. You would think it'd be enough to propel me into action. But PTSD is a nasty beast and I have fallen prey to coping with food time and time again to manage my anxiety. (Even with anti-depressant medication).  It's not where I feel I "should be", but it is honestly where I am at.

When Alvaro was born, I rejected the term "special needs." I did not feel like I had a "special needs" baby. I wasn't sure what a "Special Needs" parent felt like. And I was frustrated being labeled so. I had a typical child before Alvaro and Alvaro was in most respects just like his brother Joel, if not easier. But the older he gets, the bigger the gaps in development become apparent. Don't get me wrong, Alvaro is a rock star. But there is something about hearing 2 years old articulate a vocabulary that he cannot at 5 that can be a little heartbreaking. Not because he doesn't speak more. But because I know he has all that in that wonderful mind of his, but the low muscle tone in his cheeks are making him work his butt off to verbalize a fraction of what younger kids can say with ease. I would not change one bit of Alvaro. I would not remove his extra chromosome or wish it away. But I am sad that he has to work SO HARD to accomplish things we don't think twice about. The older my kids get, the MORE they seem to need us, not less. Despite their desired independence, they still need us a lot. And while we are happy to give them everything we've got, we're also bone weary tired with the level of hands on help and care they both require.

Entering my 39th year, I also recognize that I try to aim for a perfection that doesn't exist and isn't possible. Somehow through the years, I've felt that the expectation for me as woman who is mother and a Christian and an American include:  Working full time, spending precious quality meaningful time with my kids, enjoying all aspects of motherhood because before I know it they will be gone and I will "miss this time," find ways in the middle of working full time and creating these quality time moments to also be active and volunteer in church or civic activities,  eat healthy, take time for self care, work out 3 to 5 times a week, cook/ clean/ keep house, read and be well versed in world events and the news around us, be a good neighbor, feed my family healthy nutritious meals on a regular basis, as a woman of Faith be faithful in reading and studying of the scriptures and give myself to prayer in a meaningful way. Let's not forget nurturing my marriage relationship, fostering my existing connections with my parents, siblings and friends, finding ways to do "what makes me passionate," and saving for retirement while simultaneously paying for sports and extra curricular activities for my kids that are beyond my means.   Excuse my language friends, but what. the. hell? How am I possibly supposed to do all that? Its too much to ask. Really it is.

The toughest part is some of ya'll are really good at either showing us you got this down or pretending that you do. Which, for women like me who feel like I can't manage 1/2 of that and remain sane, somehow we start thinking and feeling like there is something wrong with us or the Superwoman capes that are threatening to choke the life out of us.

These are the musings of this newly turned 39 year old. Life is beautiful. And its hard. Its lovely and messy. It life giving and soul sucking. Its confusing and heartbreaking and exciting and far from over.

May this 39th year be the best and loveliest and freeing yet. My hope is to take this heavy cape of perceived expectations off, fold it and put it away neatly or burn it in a bonfire, and just do what I can do. What I can't do shall be left in the hands of my maker. Hopefully this will be the year where I can embrace the beautiful chaos of life without apology.


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