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The Stretch Marks of Life

Thoughts on growing through difficult times.

I’m writing this post befittingly on Mother’s Day. I feel it’s pretty safe to assume that if you gave birth to a child, then you have a stretch mark. Heck, even if you didn’t give birth to them, I guarantee they still found a way to give you a stretch mark. And wrinkles. And anxiety. And hemorrhoids. And are the sole reason you can no longer jump up and down on a trampoline or in a mosh pit without peeing yourself a little bit. I know, TMI. But my homegirls know what’s up.

I wasn’t a good pregnant person. With my daughter, who was my first, I was so sick I couldn’t sit up for almost six months. I lost 30 pounds during that pregnancy. With my son, I had thyroid issues, and ice cream issues, and gained over 100 pounds. Once my weight hit 200, I wouldn’t even get on the scale at the doctor’s office facing the numbers. I would step up backward and say, “Don’t even tell me.”

So imagine my surprise when my son, who showed up weeks early after my water broke at a lame TGIF’s restaurant, I’m ashamed to admit, ended up getting “stuck”. Now, this is my second child mind you. The first birth was easy breezy and out she came with no problems and I was enjoying a sandwich only a couple of hours later. Not with this guy. He only weighed 6 pounds but come to find out 5 pounds of that was his head. Or that’s my theory at least. I should have known then he was going to be brilliant because of that big brain, and he is.

Being a mom is no easy task. I thought once they grew up and moved away the worry would stop. Nope. Not even a little bit. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty certain it’s increased to a degree because it feels so out of my control.

The funny thing is, with all the crap that comes with being a parent, you don’t think about that stuff. Why? Because it’s all just worth it. I don’t look at my stretch marks and then run downstairs and kick my teenager in his big head yelling, “LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME?” No, I run downstairs because even though he’s 18 now, I can’t wait to see him. I can’t wait to talk to him.

My daughter is in Chicago now and we text non-stop literally all day every day. Each time I get a text from her, I notice I will drop whatever I’m doing to respond once I see it. It makes me astonishingly happy.

The struggle of parenthood made my life better than I could ever have imagined. I call them “my heart,” because that’s what they are. I don’t think about the bad stuff or the struggle. I just think about how grateful I am for having the opportunity to go through the bad stuff and the struggle.

The world is so wonky right now. And I have to admit that last night I had a little meltdown. The mayor in my city just extended the lock-down for another five weeks even though we haven’t had many cases in our area. I don’t want to incite any political ideology here so I’m just sharing how I felt about it. I think it sucks. I’m a very goal-oriented person. You give me a target and a goal and I can move mountains to get to it. The problem is if you keep moving that goal post, it freaks me out, and then it depresses me.

When my guy called to wish me a good night, all I could do was cry by that point, which you know how much men love. Poor guy.

Being my rock, however, he calms me down and says, the best things in life are born out of struggle. And how great things don’t come from us sitting cozily in our comfort zone.

ZING! That’s it, I thought. I didn’t even go stress eat after that awesome comment.

It’s true. When things are easy and we are in our comfort zone then there’s no call to greatness. We get in our little daily ruts and tend to not push ourselves like we do when we are facing major changes and difficulties. When your whole world is rocked, that’s when you rise to your best.

And when things feel completely out of our control, that’s when we let go of all we can’t control and focus only on what we can.

That’s where we are right now. We are all facing major changes and being forced to step so far out of our comfort zones that it’s shocking, well, uncomfortable. We know we have to be brave and find ways to be creative and to do it quickly. From the ashes, great things will happen. It’s the law of the land and how it has always been throughout history.

I didn’t think I could be a mom. Then, I didn’t think I could be a single mom. I rose to both of those occasions. Not without a lot of bumps in the road and a LOT of hard lessons to learn. Somehow I did it and I came out so much better on the other side. Oh sure, maybe with a few stretch marks here and there. But, dang. I earned every one of them and I’m so happy they are there.



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