Saturday, May 19, 2012

16 and 26

Ok, I know, I'm turning 27 in June, but the title was so fitting for what I'm feeling now. Life right now is so hard for me to grasp because I feel like I was 16 yesterday. That I just got my driver's license, that college and freedom where right around the corner. I was going to leave Powder Springs, even Georgia and NEVER LOOK BACK. It was only yesterday that I knew I was never going to have children, that my mom was just going to have to get used to the fact that Jennifer was going to be the daughter to do that. That I wasn't going to get married until I was 30 and I was going to run my own business! I even think it was at sixteen that I thought I was still going to be a cheerleader in college as well... My dreams changed so much in four years of highschool I truly can't remember where my heart was at, at 16. It was only yesterday that my parents surprised me with a Sweet 16 birthday party after me and mom spent a weekend in Ormond Beach. It was only yesterday I knew I had never met my future husband (whereas most of my friends already had...) and didn't know WHEN that was going to happen. (Funny to think it was only four short years ahead). I can just close my eyes and I am right there! In highschool, future wide open, options...well, not limitless, but definitely lots of them:).

And I open my eyes, and I'm right here in my sun room. Typing to you so quickly while my 7 mo old sleeps. I did go to college in GA, I didn't necessarily leave GA behind and NEVER LOOK BACK like I promised my teenage angst self that I would. I did get my degree and use it. Until it was time to come home to be a stay at home wife, then mother. I never did own my own business, which is such a good thing, cause I would have run it into the ground! I did give my mother a grandchild, one of many. (Maybe...) I got married at 22. A very farrrrrrrrrrrr cry from the independent, world-traveling 30 year old I had planned to be. And yet, I still close my eyes and feel my options are... well, there are still lots of them. It's probably because God Graced me with an amazing husband who never says "no" to my dreams. He mostly just shrugs his shoulders and says, "If that's what you want to do, I'm for it." Literally, there has never been a curve ball I haven't thrown at him that's he hasn't done that to. I love that crazy man.

But do you know what else feels so good? So, natural? That my life that it is right now, feels so right. Like when I sit at church in service and Tim's arm is around me and I'm snuggled up right under him, listening to our pastor together, and thinking about my little girl how she is probably having so much fun in the nursery. This is right where I'm supposed to be. Or when I'm at the grocery store and the twenty-something check-out boy is talking about college and what he wants to do and how he wants to own a home by 25. And I just look at him and I truly hope for the best for him when I say "good luck!" It feels right. It feels right that I spend my days cleaning the house, taking care of Karis, and trying to live my life as an example for our little girl. Obviously, my life looks so much different than I had imagined it. But I only choke when I listen to Satan's negative words over my life. Because truly, I feel right about where I sit at this moment.

I am a dichotomy. Do I love to dance to music, have girl spend-the-night parties, watch romantic comedies, go to weddings, by expensive dresses and shoes to go on a night out on the town, sing at the top of my lungs? Absolutely. I am still all of those fun girl things still.

Do I love going to bed early, cuddled up against Tim, walking hand in hand pushing Karis around a park, changing dirty diapers, wondering about Karis while I'm in church, seeing her smile at people in the grocery store, cleaning the house and having others over? Absolutely, and more. I love being an old woman in 26 year-old skin as well.

I hope the dichotomy never dies. I hope when I'm 88 (which, by the way, is the year I'm supposed to die, according to a website I filled out for a sociology class I took) I can close my eyes and feel 16 all over again.

I hope you have much life to live yourself,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy (Early) Mother's Day

I'm so excited. I've been patiently waiting for this since we booked the plane tickets. It's not any great special trip around the world. It's mother's day. But it's not just any mother's day. I get to fly up to GA and spend my first (second, I did count last year when I was pregnant with Karis...) Mother's day and I get to sit in church next to the two most awesome mothers I know. My mom and my sister. And if, by chance, the church asks the mothers to stand to be recognized, I get to stand next to my mom and my sister... I'm going to let that sink in for just a couple of seconds.

I'm seriously tearing up right now... Shocker, I know...

I think most people here know how much I esteem my mother and my sister. I don't know how many people know the long road that we have all had with each other. Last year I posted on how I love my mother so much because she never gave up trying to understand and communicate with me. I think it literally took her twenty years, but once I was about married we started getting into the groove with things. It only took twenty years or so:).

But as much as I love my older sister, we've had to come to changes as well. She's five years older than me, which is not forever, but its old enough that she has always been in a different life stage than me, and that might be that way all of our life. When I was in middle school, she was in college, and we were close then, but it was more in the way that she volunteered to be a mentor in the middle school so she was always in my life and dramas (probably a spy for momma as well;)). But we were never able to have the sister moment where you come to each other's room and dish on the boys that you like and what's going on. I did steal her cloths and we would fight over that, but it just wasn't meant for us to be close in a social aspect. I know my sister has always thought of herself as a more mentor/motherly figure to me, and I know she wanted to be more of a sister, and I know she knows how appreciative I am of her that she did mother/mentor me at time, but I still do want to be a sister with her. It's been a different road and hard for both of us at times. What's even more is that we don't back down. Just ask our husbands. So, when we get into fights with each other (which is so rare, trust me) It's kind of like a nuclear bomb. Seriously and unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. I'm sure our strong-willed/stubbornness make makes mom proud and exasperated at the same time:).

But here's the thing. I have ALWAYS admired my sister. I feel she has always made right and wise decisions. (Is she hasn't, she can be the one to tell you, not me:)). And as a younger sister that is amazing and challenging at the same time. Big shoes to fill and a big shadow to walk in are good and hard things at the same time. But here's the thing (again). She is an amazing mother. If you don't believe me, read her blog. She loves her children and they are becoming and amazing, Godly children who love the Lord and talk to Him.

Old LaurieAnn used to be afraid, mad, scared of such a high bar. Jennifer made perfect grades in school, all the time. She was the smart one. But it wasn't until I realized really who I was in Christ, and what kind of standards I made for myself, that I could be that way. I'm a mom now. And Jennifer has amazing children. I have a choice to make. And it's a super, super, super important choice, mainly because it affects Karis and the rest of my children to come.

I can either throw up my hands in exasperation and give up because there is absolutely now way I can do this a good as Jennifer. Or, I can reach out for help, and I can ask for prayer, for wisdom. I can look at the standard and instead of shrink back, I can advance. And I KNOW, that that is what my sister wants me to do. Never once in her high-achieving life had she wanted me to be intimidated by how well she did.

I am so grateful to God I have such an amazing group of women that I can stand in their ranks. If you don't believe me. Just come to my house when My Mema, mom, Both of my Aunts, All my cousins, and me and Jenn. You would be hard pressed to find a room full of strong, talented, and Oh so VERY opinionated women who love Jesus with all of their hearts. Yes, we are a bunch of Steal Magnolias. That does sound a little cliche as I read it, but I can't think of a better term!

And now, I get the honor of standing with them as Mothers. Can you feel my excitement. I mean, we already know my mom did an amazing job! I mean, just look at me and Jenn... and my brothers too...;)... That is kind of sarcastic, but so true. And now my sister and her two awesome kids. And I have a baby. And I want Karis to be an awesome kid like her cousins and then grow up to be a Christ-lover like her Aunt and I. I couldn't be in any better company this coming Mother's Day.

And I am SO Grateful. I can add that to my list.

So yes, this is another love letter to my mother, and maybe a first long over-due one to my sister. You can't begin to understand how excited I am, and how I'll probably never be able to express it outside the perimeters of this blog.

But I love you.