Love the Life

http://bluelinelife.blogspot.com/2014/04/leow-life-is-journey.html?m=1

A good read for those of us who live the life, love the life (most of the time) or who are just curious about what the life looks (and feels) like. Check it out!

 

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The thing about being careful…

Ah, snow. Welcome back my old friend. With this formidable foe comes the inevitable slippery roads, slide offs and preventable accidents of the first glimpse of a winter wonderland. Accidents like the two today that injured three of my husband’s fellow Troopers. All off which were avoidable. All of which could have been prevented by 1) slowing down and 2) paying attention. Generally speaking these are applicable rules in all weather but especially so in the midst of a west Michigan winter storm.

Thankfully, all three of these brothers in blue are fine (beat up and sore, but otherwise fine). But still… Every time I learn of an injured officer, whether within the department or not, it sends a shiver up my spine and gives me goose bumps because it is an all too real reminder that it could have been MY Trooper.

Everyday when he leaves for work I say this to him: “Be SAFE.” Not “Be Careful” because being careful is the antithesis of his job description. Being careful, by definition, would mean running away from threats, avoiding dangerous situations and staying far behind the front line. No, his job is not to be careful but rather to face the threats, to diffuse the dangerous situations and to cover the front line so the rest of the herd might remain safe. The thing about being careful is that it embodies all things to the contrary of a good police officer. No, careful is reserved for other professions, but not his. My prayer is that he be safe.

Tonight I am thankful for the safety of his friends and coworkers. And also, at least a little bit, that he was off-duty for this first winter storm of the season.

Blinders

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:9

Where does one start? How do you put into words the gut wrenching feeling you get when it happens? That moment when you are all at once alone in a world that wants to destroy what you love most and yet silently and permanently bonded to all those who share the same pain.

To put it simply, my heart is broken. It is broken over the thought that this is the kind of world we live in. It is broken at the thought that this is the reality for my family and every other law enforcement family, an everyday possibility we live with. I am sad beyond words for those who personally knew the man behind the badge. And to be perfectly honest, I am afraid. I am afraid all over again, like the first time I sent my husband away for a shift of ‘serving and protecting’… I am afraid of the world that would see him murdered in cold blood simply because of his uniform.

Over time we learn to put blinders on when our loved one walks out the door for ‘another day at the office’. Not because we want to forget but because it’s the only way we can let them put themselves in harm’s way day after day and not lose our minds with worry. We learn to never take the little things for granted, we learn to always kiss them goodbye and tell them we love them no matter what. Just in case. Because we know, in the deepest corner of our mind, that it very well could be the last time. That when he hugs your children and walks out the door, he may never get the opportunity to walk back in. We know this all too well from the heartbreak endured by the loved ones of those who’ve gone before. But we learn, above all else, to buffer the worry and the fear with a smile and prayer to be safe.

But when it happens, it knocks the blinders clean off and we remember, all over again, the fear and trepidation. We know they’ll go back out after it happens. We don’t want them to, God knows, we want to keep them home with us. But they go back out. Even as their own hearts are breaking for the loss of one of their own, they go back out. Not because they want to. But because it is their duty and they are called to it. And there is work to be done. So as they suit up and head back out, we stand by their side and smile and pray. And we put the blinders back up so we can make it through another shift.

The no good, terrible, very bad day….

Yesterday was one of those days that I warned myself about when I decided to give this whole ‘stay at home mom’ thing a go… Hubby worked the night before and went back in at 2pm so he was mostly unavailable for the day. After getting the boy dressed, fed, ready for school and out the door to the bus I retreived the crying baby from her crib.

She cut her first tooth last week and is working on some more and is utterly miserable (translate: so am I). I fed her, she spit the food all over me while she cried. No big deal – I haven’t gotten dressed yet.

In desperation I pour myself a cup of coffee. Before I can take a sip, my middle child dumps her yogurt milk on the table. While cleaning it up it gets all over my shirt. No big deal – I haven’t gotten dressed yet. I give both girls a bath and dress them – so cute and clean. I return to my now cold and abandoned cup of coffee and find that the cat has been drinking from it. (I knew I shouldn’t have put so much creamer in it).

As I dump it out, it splashes all over the floor and my pants. No big deal – I’m STILL not dressed yet. I should add that all the while the baby has been crying because all attempts to soothe her have failed. I clean up the kitchen, unload, reload and run the dishwasher, throw in a couple loads of laundry and take care of the already folded piles of clothes.

By now the previously mentioned middle child is complaining that she’s hungry for lunch (afterall, she didn’t even get to drink all her yogurt milk). I feed a second meal to her before ever getting a first for myself and also pull out everything I can find that might possibly make the baby stop crying for 30 seconds.

Eventually, the baby falls asleep in the high chair with fists full of cheerios and smashed bananas. I scoot Aubrie off to naptime and carry the baby to her crib to (delicately) clean her up and lay her down to (please, dear God) continue sleeping. In the process, I get bananas in my hair. No big deal – you already know where I was going with that…

By 2pm I FINALLY got to hop in the shower, put on clean clothes and brush my teeth. I ran out and made another pot of coffee in hopes of enjoying my beloved cuppa joe before the inevitable end of naptime and silently remind myself that I knew there would be days like this. I knew it. I knew it so well that I even wrote myself a Post-It my last week at work saying:

Dear Future Stay at Home Mom Self:

There will come a day soon enough where you question why on earth you ever wanted this. You will wonder why you ever gave up your desk and your paycheck and your 40-hour week away from home. When this day arrives, know it is but ONE day. (Okay, possibly more than one but in the grand scheme of things it’s LIKE one day).

This too shall pass and in the end the benefits of such days far outweigh the costs. Keep calm and carry on, future self.

Love,

Past Self

Plans?? I have no plans.

I take that back. I DO have a plan – it’s to sit in the sunshine and play in the garden and hang out with my kids and go camping this summer and maybe, just maybe, even get to see my husband for more than three minutes in passing when he lodges a suspect at my department’s jail.

This is it – my last week of work. My command staff and coworkers took me out for lunch today to celebrate not having to work with me mark my last few days with the department. It’s bittersweet. I’ve been asked more than once what my plans are for the future and oddly enough I don’t really have a solid answer (see vague, optimistic ideas listed above). But, and this is TOTALLY out of character for me, I’m OK with that. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating to take this leap of faith and have the only plan in place to be not having a plan.

 

Season of Change (Hold onto your hats, we’re about to get all philosophical and junk…)

I love spring. I mean, I love autumn more for the sheer beauty and color and the hooded sweatshirt and jeans weather but spring does have a special way of breathing new life back into everything after a long, cold winter. Spring is most definitely a season of change. A season of fresh starts and new beginnings, of endless possibilities and boundless opportunities for the sunshine-filled days, weeks and months yet to come.

 I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching the last couple months – giving great consideration to what I want to do, what I perhaps should do, what I’m not currently doing and how it all plays out and works together in the grand scheme of this crazy thing called life. And the culmination of all that deep-thinking and careful consideration is this – I’m unbalanced. Not like, hormonally or anything – but in life.

 For the last four years I’ve spent countless hours seeding, feeding, raking, hoeing, weeding and watering the garden of my life (the gardener in me LOVES this analogy) but I’ve barely taken even a moment to enjoy the fruits of those labors. I have not, as the old saying goes, “stopped to smell the roses” because I’ve been so busy with all the prep work. With three kids planted and growing like weeds I find I have less and less time to enjoy them and more chores and responsibilities by the day. And really, what’s the point in putting in all the back-breaking labor if you’re not even getting to reap the rewards of what you’ve sown?

 And so a decision has been made to take some time off from my current work situation and put my lofty professional ambitions on hold (temporarily) to enjoy my little seedlings while I still can. They won’t always be small and need me the way they do now and someday sooner than I’d like to admit they will be ‘all grown up’. When the time is right, I’ll welcome the opportunity to pick up the (metaphoric) garden tools and get back to work. But until then, I’ll be spending some much-needed time in the garden just enjoying the flowers.

 A wise friend recently gave me this advice: “If you can lay your head down at night without having to run through a mile-long list of to-dos then you’re doing it right.” I’m hoping this leap of faith and new adventure will accomplish just that. Honestly, I’m more than a little terrified of NOT working (really, it’s all I’ve ever considered) but I’m looking forward to this adventure and what lies ahead.

Plenty of time for turkey…

My husband is doing phase 1 FTO right now with one of the new ‘cubs’ that just graduated recruit school. I made a big roast turkey w/ all the fixings so they stopped by to grab a bite to eat. After reassuring the poor guy that, yes, he really was allowed to eat dinner with us and, no, he didn’t have to wait in the car he was all “Thank you Mrs. Davis” and I was all “Whoa – Mrs. Davis is my mother-in-law. Call me Lexi.” It was funny but also made me feel old. Equally funny was that he’s still stuck in the ‘eat-your-food-in-five-minutes-or-go-hungry’ mode from the academy. As I recall that one takes a while to get over. 🙂