Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Constantly Learning...

Justin has been gone for 3 weeks now, long enough, I feel, to do some reflecting on our experience thus far. I have learned a whole heckuva lot in these three weeks! About myself, my children, my faith, my marriage... The number one lesson I've come away with, so far, is that Ainsley and I are a lot more resilient than I gave us credit for! I wasn't really sure how I would deal with this, but I haven't been the puddle I was worried I'd become (other than at the airport. And our last phone call. But that's to be expected!). Instead, I have made the decision to be 1000% the best mom I can possibly be to my girls in this stage of our life I've come to know as my "single mom" stage. Not that I would ever want to be anything less than the best I can be, but I'm trying to be more conscious and intentional about it. In doing so, so far I have discovered this:
1) Just being here, holding hands and snuggling and playing with my children, pretty much makes me the best mom. :) So I can cut myself a little slack when I find myself overwhelmed, tired, and cranky. 
2) Everyday, I feel like I meet my children for the first time all over again. They are both at such amazing ages right now, with developing personalities and temperaments. There's something new and different about them everyday! It's a strange juxtaposition: I know these girls, deeply. (One of the lines from Friends that I will never forget, that still resounds deeply every time I watch that episode: When Rachel and Ross are having their baby, and Rachel finally delivers; the doctor hands her the baby and Rachel says to her, "I know you." Exactly how I have felt the first time holding both of my girls.) Yet I am getting to know them right along with the rest of the world. One of my favorite parts of motherhood. :) 
Ainsley is becoming an awesome little girl with a personality to match her name. I've always said she marches to the beat of her own drum. She is silly, sweet, stubborn, a little spacey, smarter than I can believe. She loves to tease, dance and sing. Reading books and coloring soothes her. She enjoys play dates, but over all prefers alone time, my little introvert. She will eat almost anything, but chocolate is king. She is a seamless blend of Justin and I in personality, and she amazes me daily. 
At just 3 months, Emma's personality is starting to show too. She is much more laid back than her big sister. She loves people, and being held and cuddled. She hates being left alone, even for a minute, and I really should just stay within her line of vision at all times! She is becoming very generous with smiles and coos. She is a mama's girl, and I have no complaints about it! She loves her big sister, and keeps an eye on her always. 
3) My faith is nowhere near where it has been in the past, or where it should be. I have sorely neglected spending time in the Word and in prayer, and I have realized that I want my girls to become women of strong faith, and I need to be an example to them, even at their young ages, of what that looks like. So I am reacquainting myself with The Lord. Thank God for grace!
4) I have never doubted the strength of my marriage, and I never doubted we would survive these months apart.  But I am discovering just how strong we are. We have gone from talking to each other all day about everything, to sharing little snippets of our totally separate lives through a couple letters a week. Yet there is no feeling of disconnect. Actually, I feel closer to Justin now than I have in a very long time. Interesting how stressful times can do that in a marriage. Looking back on the last 6 years, I can see that our strongest times were when we were faced with a crisis or great stress. I think that says a lot about a marriage. Go us!

We still have a long way to go on this adventure. But we've survived 3 weeks, so I think we'll be just fine. :)

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