Calm Amongst the Chaos

Mama of 5 seeking calm in the chaos

This is for all you mama’s out there who have withered the storms and changed who we are for people who stole our hearts from the moment they were growing in us, handed to us, or fostered by us, however they came to us, they are ours and we live for them and that changes you.
We’ve changed, how could we not? But it is for the better. Absolutely the better. You all inspire me.

It was Christmas 2001, and Andrew and I were so excited to share the news that we were pregnant. I was 23 and in my family, not young at all to be a mom, Andrew on the other hand was 20 and just about right. We had only been married since August and met just the New Year Eve before so to say we were on a fast track of life would put things lightly. But this baby was very wanted. We were thrilled! Our family was thrilled. Yes we were young, lived in a tiny apartment and had really nothing to our name, but everyone was happy, because it was a baby! Everyone hugged us and said “yea!”, well everyone except my 11 year old niece Ariel who stomped loudly upstairs looking very upset. Mind boggled, but not giving her too much mind (she did have a flair for the dramatics) we continued to celebrate and talk the typical baby talk. Awhile later I overheard Ariel talking on the phone to her cousin and we realized she was upset that I was pregnant. She was upset that I was no longer going to be fun. Up until that Christmas morning my life was my nieces and nephew. I was the cool, fun aunt who took them places and loved being with them on weekends and during school breaks and all Ariel saw was that lady was gone. Now my world will be sleepless nights, frustrations and doting on this new little person that was ours and cool aunt Kim will fade into a sweet little place in their memory. I laughed and said I will always be the same person. And I didn’t mean to lie. I really, honestly thought I would continue to be the Kim I always had been.

The whole story has become a family joke. We all laugh about it. Ariel, my now beautiful, educated, witty 23 year old niece will say what a little jerk she was and we all giggle at how she responded to what most people thought was happy news. But I never put much more thought to the whole story until recently when I read a book called What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. One of the best books I have devoured in a long time. And I know it was great writing that captured me, the wit and charm the author brought to her characters, but it was also the content. It was about a 39 year old woman who hit her head in spin class and when she came to she thought she was 29 and pregnant with her 1st child. She had lost 10 years of memory and nothing was as it was. It was as if she were living a strangers life. I won’t share more about the book as I want to hear all your feet shuffling to go get one for yourself. Here I even linked it for you What Alice Forgot. But this book really had me evaluating my life and who I was at 23 years old and pregnant with my first child and who I am now at 35 and have 3 kids, all gone beyond that baby stage. I am a totally different person.

Just a few weeks ago at one of our life group dinners we sat and talked about the Love Languages and what we all were and the funny thing was us women were all acts of service. But one of my friends said, I didn’t used to be, it’s just now that I am a mom it is more important and I thought holy crap, so true. Believe me, the old me could have cared less who took the trash out, because it sure as heck wasn’t me, did I even know where the trash went? So acts of service isn’t really my love language, it is my “if you and I want to survive this season” language. What did I used to like? Gifts. Yes gifts. Lots of them. As long as I don’t have to know where the money came from. Because then I don’t want a gift. I know how much those thing cost and know we can’t afford it so thanks for the thought, but let’s take it back and buy groceries. So gifts are no longer important to me, but you taking out the trash sure is.

That’s who I am right now. And heck yes that sweet, excited, young mother to be would have no clue who this lady is tapping at these keys on a Saturday night 12 years later and she certainly wouldn’t be all that thrilled to know she was her. She’d think, no. I’m still the fun aunt. I’m still young. I don’t let things like chores and bills rule my world… do I?

I’d look at the dark circles under my eyes and wonder why I don’t sleep.
I’d see the wheelchair ramp and think, does my brother live with us now? Never ever imagining the wheelchair was our daughters.
I’d see the marriage I have with Andrew as refreshing, seeing we are still in love, probably more so than we were back then. But I would have had no idea what something awful we had to survive to find that happiness.
I would see the bikes, the scooters, the backpacks and think, whoa true living big kids are ours. We are in charge of them and find an excitement and freak out at the same time at the grown-up”ness” of it all.
I’d see who my friends are and I’d be happy to know my same friends are still my friends and I managed to get some awesome new ones as well. And wonder how I did that.
I’d see my clothes and think, oh Kim… you lost your sense of style?
I’d probably be surprised my hair looks the same as it did in the 9th grade. That may be the only thing that hasn’t changed much.

I’d love who I had become and hate her a little bit as well. I would understand that Ariel had the truest my honest response that day. She grieved the loss of that old cool aunt she knew she lost the minute that baby started to form in my womb.

My life changed, I have changed. My evolution didn’t happen over night, it has slowly happened for more than a decade. Each step along the way has changed me into who I am today, and that person is better in so many ways, but also so very different and maybe a little worse too, I do know she sure would be a stranger to that unsuspecting 23 year old I once was.

Life is a crazy always changing, often challenging ride. This season might be the most character changing because as little as 12 years ago I had no one depend on me and now I have 3 people who do. One who we care for in ways I never imagined having to do so. But all of us, my sisters out there, we’re just racing through it from practice to games, to school to friends, to play dates and doctor appointments, it is all flashing by us and it is all going so fast. And I know we will all survive these years and we will look back on these years and miss these days, but I also hope we are able to settle well into our next season and I pray to look at that lady who I become with some awe and wonder at how she survived and managed to do it all so gracefully. And how did she get the money to travel to Hawaii every year?….. Hey it’s my future. Make your own.

I’m just so very thankful for a life that ever changes and challenges me and continues to push me to make better choices and better who I am.

And maybe be someone who vacations each year in Hawaii.

Before Motherhood – Fit Pregnancy Mag 2002

Family of 5 – San Diego 2013

5 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Dawn says:

    Wow, just wow. I felt that way when I first met a group of women that also had daughters' with Rett Syndrome. It was 7 months after the diagnosis and they were all sharing stories of their girls. I practically fell out of my chair in my desperate attempt to leave as quickly as possible then found a quiet spot to gasp for air. I like how you left this entry, just honest, no need to play up the positive. 🙂

  2. Tiffany says:

    Tears, tears, tears… you are a great writer. Love you guys:)

  3. Shannon says:

    Oh Kim…I could have written that myself. Every word just rang so true. Thank you for sharing and for opening up your heart and your lives. Yours was the first blog I read after Gage's seizures started…I remember reading about your Lily and for the first time I didn't feel so alone. I felt like I had met a mom that I could finally relate to.I know that's a bit off topic but it's something I've always wanted to say to you. In a lot of ways your blog saved me. So thank you. Sending much love your way.

  4. Oh Kim. I wish I could just give you a hug. I don't know what to say and I can't say “I can imagine what you must be going through” because I don't. I don't know how this must be for you. My heart goes out to you. (((hugs))))

  5. Nicky says:

    i feel the same way. i find i definitely go towards the “flight” side of “fight or flight”.and i second shannon. before your blog, i didn't think there was anyone out there who i could relate to. thank you.

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