Featured

Who will you be?

Dear Delilah,

You bring me so much joy, it’s unreal. It is strange to love someone you know nothing about. I can’t tell you if you’ll be a dancer, a soccer player, or an artist. I don’t know if you’ll listen to country music, screamo, or jazz. Will you be into romantic comedies like me or action movies like your dad? I have no clue, but I am so eager to learn. I promise to always encourage your individuality. I will never diminish the things that make you unique. No matter what adventures you decide to embark on, I promise I will always be there supporting your dreams. When you fall, I will be there to pick you up & remind you to never give up on yourself. There will be times you envy the talents of others. In those moments I will remind you of the skills that make you special. When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer. I tried out for the school drill team & cheer squad & made neither. The truth is the only kind of dancing I can do is “Just Dance”. However, I’ve got countless medals from singing competitions & was awarded Best Actress in my college. Those are the gifts God chose for me, what will he choose for you? As I lie in bed every night I try to picture you, but there are still so many questions unanswered. Will your hair be red like your dad’s? Will you have my brown eyes or his freckles? How is it possible to love someone so unconditionally when you’ve never even met them? I can’t quite answer all of these questions but I know one thing for certain; Delilah Rain, I can’t wait to meet you. 

Encouraging creativity. 

Dear Delilah,

There are no limits to your imagination & creativity. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, & you’re the beholder. Open your mind & explore, the world is at your fingertips. 

I am so open minded when it comes to parenting. I firmly believe that parenting is different for every child. I don’t care if you breastfeed, formula feed, or do both; as long as your child is fed. I don’t care if your baby cosleeps, sleeps in a play pen, or has slept in their room since day one; as long as they’re getting a good night’s rest. I don’t care what language, culture, or political preferences you teach your child. But please let your kid be a kid. 

Don’t constantly sit them in front of the television.

Don’t give them your iPad or cellphone every time they get hyper; they’re children. 

Don’t sit down at a restaurant & allow your kids to bury their heads in technology. 

Children have to learn to be decent human beings. They have to learn how to act in public when they don’t have electronics everywhere. I know it’s easier than actually teaching them how to behave. It’s easier than disciplining your bratty child in front of people. 

However, overloading your small children with technology doesn’t just hinder them socially. They suffer from “I’m entitled to new electronics for every holiday”. Cell phones, tablets, iPods, laptops, TVs, etc. 

The thing that bothers me the most is that we as parents are killing our children’s imagination. We’re killing their creative capacity. 

I work at a child development center where I run the performing arts classroom. All day long children from the ages of 6-12 transition in & out of a classroom full of costumes, masks, art supplies, music, & props. I would’ve LOVED something like this as a kid. I used to gather food in my backyard (leaves, dirt, grass, pebbles), put them in my big stew pot (any bucket I could find), & mix them with all my different cooking utensils (sticks). Didn’t we all do things like this? 

I really struggle to encourage creativity in my classroom.. During our Pirate themed week I allowed the kids to drawing treasure maps. I was thinking this would be a super easy & fun activity for all the kids. I gave them 3 rules: there has to be a starting point, an “X” to mark the spot, & 5 obstacles of their choice (volcano, caves, forest, rivers, lions, etc). This was ridiculously hard for the majority of my students. They literally could not make themselves think of 5 things when they had an endless amount of options. The next day was worse. I asked the kids to write a short pirate story. There simply had to be 4 characters, a problem & a solution. I think maybe 5 kids were able to write a story that literally could have been about anything in the world as long as it included a pirate. 

These kids have been raised on television & movies, video games, & music videos. They haven’t needed to pretend. They’ve never needed to think for themselves because someone else’s thoughts & visualizations are plastered on a screen for them. The kids can’t even play charades unless they have props for everything. If they were supposed to act out “driving a car” they would literally ask me, “how can I act that out? I don’t have a car.” It is honestly heart breaking. I can’t imagine a childhood without imagination but I witness it everyday. Not to mention they ask me everyday to trash my lesson plan so that they can play on tablets or play on their phones, or worse, MY phone. 

I’m not saying never let your kid watch TV or occasionally play games on a tablet. But please stop handing children electronics every time you don’t feel like parenting or spending time with them. There are so many dramatic play toys & costumes for kids of all ages. Next time your 3 year old brings you a fake phone, answer it. Next time they ask you to have a tea party or hunt dinosaurs, play with them. When they’re playing doctor & need a patient, pretend you broke your leg. Choose books over movies. We can encourage their minds to grow. We can support their creativity. Don’t kill their imagination for your convenience. 

Befriending my Body. 

Dear Delilah, 

You’re beautiful, never doubt that. 

While carrying a child for 9 months it is easy to accept the weight you’ve gained. Nobody expects you to have the “bikini body”, go to the gym, or fit in the cutest clothes. Once you have the baby it suddenly seems like your excuse is gone. I remember going in public after having you, I always wanted to be holding you so people would think “oh she just had a baby” instead of “oh, she’s fat”. It sounds silly I know, but it’s the truth. Every time I looked in the mirror all I saw was a flabby scarred stomach. I started dropping weight, weighing myself several times a day, anxious to see that prepregnancy weight of 130lbs. I never saw it. I’m stuck at 140lbs & I don’t see myself hitting 130 anytime soon. Before pregnancy my stomach was flat, at least flat enough to suck in during pictures. I had nice symmetrical breasts, about a D cup & just enough hips. I felt pretty.

I wasn’t tiny but society said I was pretty enough. 

Now I’m nearly 3 months postpartum. I wear a DDD & my breasts are rarely ever the same size (I breastfeed). My hips have expanded & found their new comfortable size, which is much larger than before. When trying on my prepregnancy clothes, most of my old shorts wouldn’t fit over my thighs. It was discouraging. Recently I looked in the mirror & told myself “you can’t keep looking for your physical beauty in how small you are.”

Beauty is not rated on a scale of how thin you are. 

 I gave birth to a 7lbs 12oz baby, of course my hips widened. My breasts are producing enough milk to allow a human being to survive on nothing else, of course my breasts grew larger. My stomach stretched to be a home for a 21.5in baby, of course I’m scarred. But everyday I get to look into your eyes & see your sweet smile & you look at me like I’m the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. 

I’m healthy & you’re healthy. I endured 29 hours of labor & lived to tell the tale. My body created you, housed you, & birthed you. What is ugly about that? I’m learning to love my plus size body, so who cares what anyone else thinks.

Coparenting isn’t part time parenting.

Dear Delilah, 

I promise that you will always be at the top of my priority list. I promise to strive to give you the time & attention that God offers us as our Heavenly father. 

There’s a problem I see more & more everyday & I’d like to address it for those who are confused. 

BEING A SINGLE PARENT DOESN’T GIVE YOU A FREE PASS TO BE LESS OF A PARENT.

Just because you are separated doesn’t mean you’re a part time parent. It doesn’t mean you are half responsible for your child.  

I have literally heard parents say things like “my babies dad/mom never gets them so I never get a break”. What even? 

Yes, ideally we could all make it work with our children’s other parent but that’s just not realistic. 

Why does it seem like the mentality of parents (sadly often the younger ones) is “I wonder is anyone wants to watch my kid this weekend so I can be free”. Free? For what? Free to go to the lake, the casino, hangout with my new girlfriend, or get drunk with my friends. 

This is so depressing to me. 

You are a parent now. I am SO sorry if that inconveniences you. You literally have a child that wants nothing more in the world than your time & attention. 

I’m not referring to an occasional spa day or date night. I’m not referring to your child wanting to stay the night at grandma’s every few weeks. There are parents who literally post about going clubbing or partying every other weekend because thank goodness the kids are going to their dad’s house so I can finally be irresponsible. 

Another thing I feel like people do not understand: coparenting does not mean with your parents. Why are grandparents who’s children are grown expected to raise your kid half the time? 

Find new hobbies that your children can take part in. Go to the park, amusement parks, fishing, skating, go on picnics, swimming, an arcade, etc. Your child is not a burden. Stop looking forward to pushing them onto other people so you can think about yourself. 

Your kids are gonna grow up & realize that under the sugar coating of “going to grandma’s” or “dad’s gonna watch you”, you’re just trying to get rid of them. 

A working mom

Dear Delilah,

I feel like my life is a wreck. The last 48 hours have nearly made me lose my mind. Your dad left yesterday morning for a work trip. Any military wife will tell you things fall apart once their husbands are away. I also started work yesterday & you went to daycare for your first time. I wish it was your last. I used to spend every waking moment with you, now you spend it with someone else. You used to wake up from your naps & smile so big when you opened your eyes & I was there. Has your smile faded with my presence? Do you miss my warmth while they’re feeding you? I miss yours.. As the day goes on my breasts become full of milk as my body screams to feed you. Someone else now has the privilege of raising you. Remember that once I did more than wake you up in the morning & put you to sleep at night. Once I was a daytime mommy too. I hope they hold you. I hope they love & cherish you. You’re only getting a fourth of the attention you used to receive. I promise you’ll always have my attention when you’re home. I was raised with a stay at home mother. I found comfort knowing she was always there. She was there when I scraped my knee or didn’t feel good. She was there for all life’s big things. Will I see you sit up for the first time? Will I see your first steps? In the blink of an eye I’ve become the busy mom. I used to spent half an hour with you every morning exchanging smiles & giggling. This morning as you cried for me I apologized for having to get ready, having to feed the dogs, pack lunch, & your diaper bag. After work I have to find time to bathe you & myself, feed us both dinner, wash dishes, wash our clothes.. I can’t breathe. Yesterday I held you as you slept. Out of nowhere you began crying & screaming in your sleep. I just held you so tightly against me and cried with you. What are your nightmares made of? I wish so badly that I could starve your fears. I hope you know that I love you more than life itself. I know you’ll soon forget spending everyday together but I’ll never forget. Thank you for loving me & thank you for giving me a new purpose for living. 

Pros & Cons of the military life. 

Dear Delilah,

You’re an army brat. 

I know this doesn’t mean much to you yet but it will. There are pros & cons to every life style. Here are a few of the pros & cons to ours. 

Pro: The military made a man out of your father. It taught him discipline & respect. In a world full of chaos, the army gave him structure. Because of this, he is able to provide structure to our home. His leadership skills allow him to be the leader in our family.

Con: The military owns him. When the army says jump, he’s required to say how high; no matter the cost. 

Pro: We get to see beautiful places. Both of us are Texas natives so the mountains & north country of New York was a beautiful place to call home for a brief period. 

Con: We may never be somewhere long enough for you to put down roots, leave your handprint in the porch cement or build a clubhouse in the yard. You won’t graduate with your pre-k friends or date the same boy all through grade school. 

Pro: We were able to cut ties with our pasts. Growing up in a small town where everybody knows everybody seems like a fairy tale. However, when everyone remembers who you were, how are you supposed to become who you’re meant to be? It seems like everyone is stuck in a rut & because of the military we were able to get out of ours. 

Con: Change is a necessity. You’ll learn quickly that I hate change. We’ll change cities, houses, schools, churches, etc. We’ll have to find new jobs & make new friends. As soon as you’re comfortable, your whole world will be turned upside down. 

Pro: Our bills are paid. We will never go without food or have our electricity cut off. We have running water & gas in our vehicles. Also, we will never have to worry that you will get sick or hurt & we won’t be able to afford it. 

Con: Distance is inevitable. The army doesn’t care about your 6th birthday party, your awards ceremony, or your talent show. Daddy won’t make it to all your soccer games or choir concerts. There will be Christmases we open presents without him & Father’s day cards we send him in the mail. 

Pro: Every minute together is precious. Arguments rarely happen because we cherish each moment. We know that each second fighting is a second wasted. We love fiercely. We laugh & have game nights & cuddle on the couch. We make coffee late at night so we can stay up & watch movies. We enjoy life together. Your dad does such a wonderful job making every minute count when he is home. There are definitely highs & lows but boy are the highs high. Everyday we are together is like a dream & just like I have, you’ll learn to hold onto that feeling until he comes home. ❤ 

Does mother know best? 

Dear Delilah, 

I wish I had all the answers. I’m here to tell you a secret; moms don’t really know everything. Don’t worry, I always thought my mom knew it all too. I wish that I always knew how to fix the problem. I wish I knew how to console you when you cry. Everyone else can say “maybe she’s hungry” or “maybe she just needs her mom” but not me. I’m supposed to know what’s wrong because I’m your mother. I’ve been asked “What’s wrong with her?” or “Why is she crying?” Baby girl, I wish I knew.. Am I holding you wrong? Did I eat something that upset you? If you’re crying then maybe I’m not feeding you enough but if you’re spitting up a lot then maybe I’m feeding you too much. Once I’ve done all I can do, I feel helpless. What’s worse is that I know it will never change. There will always be things in your life that I can’t fix. There will always be questions I can’t answer & problems I don’t have the solution to. Just know that as you’re hurting, I am too. After you finally fall asleep after crying, I sit awake & cry too. I don’t know all the answers. I won’t always be able to help you, but I promise that I will always hold you through the pain. I love you through the smiles & I love you through the tears. If nothing else, I hope you remember that I tried & I will never stop trying to be the best, for you. 

Beginning to live

Dear Delilah,

Throughout your life you will develop fears; fight through them. Fears do nothing but hold you back & limit your experiences. 

I have a ridiculous fear that I don’t admit to people often because it sounds silly to even voice it but I think I’m ready to face it head on. 

I fear being a beginner.

Yes, I know it’s ridiculous. Everyone has to go through a beginner stage. I fear that stage. Looking back it’s disappointing the amount of experiences that I’ve missed out on simply because I didn’t want to look like a fool trying something new. 

All my friends in college played soccer. They would ask me to play but there’s no way I’d jump into a pick up game with collegiate soccer players when I’d never even kicked a soccer ball. 

I always wanted to play soccer..

I went to Colorado with a couple friends of mine a few years ago & the opportunity to snowboard came up. I figured they had both been before so I was going to sit out. (Yes, I was really going to skip snowboarding because I thought 2 of my best friends were more advanced.) As soon as I found out that they had never been, I decided to go because we were beginners together. I had a blast.

I don’t know where the fear came from. Perhaps it was from Jr. High when I trained for weeks for brig auditions & was the only one on my team that didn’t make it.. Some of the girls had been dancing their whole lives. Who was I to come in there with no experience & expect to make it? 

& cheer tryouts. I cheered one year for a little league football team but that couldn’t compare to the years of competition cheer the other girls had experienced. 

I never auditioned for anything again.

Until I found theatre & choir that is. I never strayed from the stage, my comfort zone. 

If I let this fear control me then I will never experience new things in life. There are so many things that I dream of doing, things that I want to excel at but I know that I’ve got to push through the first stages. I have to get back up when I fall, & accept that I will fall. 

I’ve decided to make a list of things that I’d like to do in my lifetime.  

  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Practice yoga
  • Plant a garden
  • Go surfing
  • Workout
  • Make art, without words because that’s my comfort zone. (Paint, draw, make pottery)
  • Learn sign language
  • Take up photography
  • Play soccer
  • Cooking/baking
  • Archery
  • Aerial Silks 
  • Styling my hair

Here’s to letting go of an irrational fear & allowing myself to begin.

Delilah, I hope that you never let fear stand in the way of life. Live life to the fullest. Allow yourself to fall but never forget to pick yourself back up. I can’t wait to see the adventures you choose to take on.