In 6 minutes

In 6 minutes you can:

Answer 5 emails, depending on the content of the emails,

Listen to two songs,

Unload the dishwasher and reload it halfway,

Fold your basket of clean laundry, provided you didn’t procrastinate for a week and now it’s two loads of laundry,

And apparently, in 6 minutes you can push out a baby.

I don’t remember much except two bright lights on the ceiling and begging the doctor for drugs, but I do know that in 6 minutes my life changed more than I could ever imagine. My Spotify has more baby Mozart than G-eazy these days, showers are no longer an every day luxury, the smell of baby lotion is permanently stuck up my nose, $6 Starbucks drinks come few and far between, my nipples feel like someone attached two clothes pins and pulled as hard as they could, and I no longer think about myself first.

Looking at myself now, holding a sweet 8 lb mini me in my arms, I’m ashamed of the person I was two years ago. I regret the late nights, throwing myself at any guy who would give me the time of day. I regret the friendships I threw out because of differing opinions or childish drama. I regret the lies I told and the people I hurt with my words. I wish I’d thought about the role model I would become for a sweet baby girl. I’d struggled with such regrets throughout the entire pregnancy, mostly blaming the random tears on hormones, but it seems I have to find a way to actually deal with them and put them to rest once and for all.

I can think about a lot in 6 minutes. The time(s) I got busted trespassing on NORAD, both times with people I no longer speak with anymore (Don’t ask, I just wanted to know about the Aliens). The mornings I woke up in my car, cold and sore, and drove to the barn to muck stalls and exercise horses while my breath froze in the air, only to return to the same car to sleep that night because I was too stubborn to follow my parents rules. The glasses of wine I shared with my best friend, someone currently 2000 miles away from me. The first and last ribbons I won competing for the Colorado Hunter/Jumper Association. So many bittersweet memories I want to someday share with the precious baby I brought into this world.

But how does one overcome the regret and look back on these days with joy instead of pain? How does one heal the mental wounds caused by the people in the memories without forgetting the events that caused such joy? How can I look back and not see the guy who cheated on me but still remember the late night races through Garden of the Gods? At what point can I reminisce about late night drives to Denver in an Audi named Lana owned by a former best friend without thinking about how we tried to slander each others names a few months later? Is it even possible?

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future

~Fulton Oursler

The healing process is slow, and it requires time to grieve; Time which is far and few between when raising a newborn. But it can be done. I can finally look back at some pictures without the pit of sadness opening in my stomach. I can’t quite stalk Facebook pages yet, it still hurts to see some people from my past doing so well- getting engaged, starting families, graduating college… but one thing I’ve taught myself in the past week is to remember that I am also doing those things. I am trying to fix a struggling relationship, I brought a baby into this world in only 4 pushes, I have a job I love, I have goals for my future in order to better provide for my daughter, and none of these things would be happening had I not made those crazy wild mistakes in the past.

Each and every move we make sets us up for our future, good or bad.

The bad moves teach us invaluable lessons we could never learn from a textbook or our parents, and someday I’m going to have to watch my child make these mistakes and sit back and breathe and say “I can’t help her, she’ll learn this on her own. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday she’ll look back and realize it happened for a reason.”

The good moves teach us that we can do what we put our minds to, that we’re not a lost cause, that we can make decisions that benefit our happiness and mental health.

Regret for the things we did can be tempted by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.

~Sydney Harris

It’s a slow, seemingly endless process, and I’m coming to the conclusion that it is also a lifelong one. We must overcome each setback and mistake eventually. If not for ourselves and our own mental well being, but for our children, so we can be the understanding shoulder to cry on when inevitably they also make mistakes.

6 minutes is a long time, when you fill it with regrets, but blissfully too short when you fill it with joy.

May she be better than me

I was not an easy child. I pushed boundaries, broke rules, disrespected my parents, started drama with my friends. I was hyper, talkative, always received a “Talks Excessively” on each report card. I climbed trees to hide from getting vaccines, I ran away when my parents punished me, I lied, lied , and lied.

Every line I could step over, I did. Every hurtful word I could scream, I screamed. Like I said, I was not an easy child. Some women have told me that karma will come back and haunt me with Amelia, that she’ll be horrible because I was. I’d politely like to disagree. We’re not there yet, I know, but I already see her intellect and humor shining through. I know she will be sassy, I know at some point she will tell me she hates me, I know we will butt heads and argue, but I also know in the end, she will be stronger, smarter, more beautiful, more loving than I ever could hope to be.

She will be raised to know animals, and nature. To respect her environment, to take care of the beautiful, yet dying, planet she’s inherited. I pray she is capable in self defense and to stand up to bullies- but also emotionally sound and aware of her feelings.

I want her to scream sometimes, slam doors, sulk in her room for hours, cry. I want her to laugh so loud her sides hurt, dance like no one is watching, go for quiet walks in the park with the dogs, and hug me.

I can’t wait to feel her tiny arms wrap around me, but I also don’t ever want her to get any bigger than this size where I can so perfectly hold and protect her.

When you become a mother there are thousands and thousands of things you want for your child. To have a good life, to find a good man or woman to share that life with, to be healthy and active, to take care of you when you’re old. But I’ve realized all of those things she will have if only she is sweet, strong willed, adventurous, and brilliant.

Dear mom, I get it now.

I know why you disciplined me, I know why you listened to me, I know why you sacrificed and slaved over my health and mental well being. I know why sometimes I thought you were mean, too strict, too clingy. I wish I knew then how much I’d appreciate your parenting . If I am ever half the mother you were, I will be content.

Now I just pray she will be even better than me

Ignorance is Bliss

Her eyes dart around, taking in this big new world. Big, blue orbs reflecting back the colors and textures of everything a few inches in front of her. She doesn’t know about tragedy – the only thing that makes her cry is not having my breast shoved in her face instantly when she needs food.  She doesn’t know why I look down at her and drop tears on her sweet, chunky cheeks.

They were just kids. 

I used to tell my friends in high school that I didn’t want to have kids because I couldn’t stand the world I would be leaving them in. It didn’t seem responsible, I would say, pretending for a moment I actually knew true responsibility.

They were trying to learn.

Her ears don’t yet fear hearing gunshots as she prepares to leave school for the day. Her heart doesn’t race at the thought that her life might end while trying to get an education. The only pain she knows is from her tiny, perfect fingernails catching on her smooth, baby skin.

Their mothers couldn’t protect them.

No one could.

The moment I saw her face, all squished and covered in blood and God knows what else, I knew I would lay down my life for hers. I had numerous conversations with another mother, who had her baby just one week after I had mine, about how we looked at their perfect innocent faces and felt nothing but sadness that such a beautiful thing could exist in such an ugly world. These conversations took place last week. A week before a 19 year old opened fire on his former classmates, killing 17. The worst part was, students and teachers stated they “weren’t surprised” it was him.

I brought a beautiful daughter into a world where people aren’t surprised a classmate would kill 17 students and staff. Where 18 school shootings have happened since the start of this year (it’s February 16th as I write this). A world where veterans of the wars in the Middle East say they felt safer on the front lines than in public places in the United States.

Most parents wonder if their kids will grow up to be President, or an astronaut, or cure cancer. Is it normal to now wonder if your child will even make it that far? If you’re raising a future school shooter, or victim of one? Apparently it is.

She doesn’t know that yet. All she knows is blissful dreams and when she wants food. She recognizes my face and features but not the glaring problem stating the rest of us dead in the eyes.

She’s allowed to be ignorant- it’s just been two weeks since her dramatic entrance into the universe. She’s allowed to be blissful even in wake of such devastation. People with a bit more voice than her should be speaking up right now. We should all be outraged and hurt, “up in arms,” so to speak, that something so terrifying was allowed to happen…again.

I don’t exactly carry a glock in my diaper bag, but I am starting to wonder if I should. As quickly as I would jump in front of a bullet to save her, I’d rather it not come to that. Even after numerous trips to the mountains for target practice, I don’t consider myself a very good shot. The urge to protect her is so great that it’s devastating to think I wouldn’t be able to. Arming the good guys sounds just as good on Fox news as gun control sounds on CNN. Where’s the happy medium? I’ve wanted to turn away from social media since the 14th, because the political debates have turned into all out fights. No one wants to get along, but EVERYONE agrees something needs to be done.

Sweeping things under the carpet seems to also be commonplace in the media, a week from now some scandal will take over the news and supposedly we’ll all just forget the 17 who never came home on Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s day. But mothers won’t forget. Our anxiety might diminish, but will not fade. Our babies, however old, are our pride and joy, our reason for living.

No, of course we can’t stop them from getting their hearts broken, their knees scraped, or their feelings hurt. And now we can’t stop them from being attacked while trying to learn. However, Not all hope is lost! We can do something. We can raise our babies to be compassionate,yet strong. To be kind, and stand up for others. To be respectful, yet passionately outspoken. To be joyful, most of all, and ambitious.

We must raise a generation not known for eating tide pods and killing eachother, but for breaking barriers in mental health studies and ending bullying. A generation who values life, respects individuality, and celebrates art and nature. As moms we have a responsibility to raise these beautiful children to be the best they can be. It feels hopeless, knowing I can’t make an immediate difference, but I hold on to the knowledge that a difference can be made.

As depressing as it is, realizing this is the world we live in, onward we must go- in the words of my OB after I told him I couldn’t push the baby out, “hah!!I t’s too late now, you don’t have a choice.”

Hug your babies tight tonight. Count all those perfect fingers and toes, be proud of your creation, and for God’s sake tell them how much you love them. After all, kids that are held and shown love are more grounded as adults, just ask your doctor or therapist if you don’t believe me. And yes, your teen may squirm and wiggle out of your embrace, but someday they’ll wish you held on just a little bit tighter.

(For those who aren’t yet parents, or never were, smile when you can, speak your mind, show kindness to those around you, and don’t live your life in panic. Also, don’t forget to vote!!!)