Thursday, June 27, 2013

on vulnerability...more thoughts (jumbled though they may be)

I always have more thoughts shortly after writing a post, usually after reading comments!

- I certainly don't always feel like "going deep" and being vulnerable.  Sometimes I'm just tired or simply don't feel like sharing with the person who is asking.  Sometimes I need to think things through in my own mind before even knowing how I feel or what I think.  And that's ok!  I've found it especially tough since becoming a mom.  I am often so busy or tired that I go days without thinking past "what do I need to do next?"  That can be a cue to slow down (if I recognize it), but when someone asks me how I'm REALLY doing or what God is teaching me on those days/weeks/seasons, it is just frustrating because I feel like I'm just on auto-pilot with little time to be vulnerable with myself, never mind with anyone else! :)

- maybe being vulnerable with ourselves is just as important as being vulnerable with others.  I think part of my fear of becoming an adult (back when I was in high school) was that I would simply stop feeling and thinking and being honest with myself.  I know (now) that adults think and feel (of course, who doesn't?) but when I was a teenager, it seemed that adults just had it all together or refused to admit otherwise.  And I found that annoying so obviously I didn't want to slip into that myself.  I didn't want to lose myself.  My ability to think and feel and be real.  And I don't think I've lost that in entering adulthood.  But I think some people do.  And that, to me, is the saddest thing.  Some people share more with others, and some people share less and that's fine.  But if we're not vulnerable and honest with ourselves first, I think we might be very lonely people before too long.

- I also value having an "inner circle" of people with whom I'm truly vulnerable.  In high school, it's not like I was sharing heart-to-heart with my entire class!  There was a group of people with whom I could talk and share deeply.  And it was good.  I guess my point is that it's so much harder to find that inner circle as we get older.  Perhaps it's because we rarely see the same people every day for any length of time (unless we work outside the home) so we have fewer opportunities to share life intimately.  Perhaps it's because we feel like we don't need close friends as much because we're adults.  Who knows.  It just doesn't seem to happen as easily now and those years between either finding a new "inner circle" or being able to see past friends is sometimes just plain lonely!

- vulnerability begets vulnerability.  Absolutely!  When I shared on my blog about our infertility and other things that were happening in our life (2008?), it was hard to press "publish" sometimes but I felt God telling me that it was ok and good and, though some wondered at my/our decision to share so openly on a public blog, it was the right decision at the time.  I met wonderful people through that time who supported us and prayed for us and shared their own struggles more deeply than they would have if I hadn't shared first. Of course, sometimes I would share with people through that time and get hurtful, judgmental comments like "you should never question God's goodness" and "wow, we just had to look at each other and were pregnant" and "two years isn't a long time to try for a baby."  Not helpful. Those comments made me want to lock my heart away forever.  But the support I received most of the time when I shared made up for the hurtful/thoughtless comments.  I just learned a bit more about discernment through that time in my life.  And perhaps there are seasons...a time for sharing openly and a time for keeping things close.  As long as we don't get stuck in one place longer than is healthy...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

on vulnerability...

When I was in high school, I feared getting older.  Specifically, I feared that I might one day reach the point of being like all the rest of the "adults" I'd experienced who seemed to have shut themselves off and refused to be real with the world and people around them. Adults, in my mind, were people who refused to think about how they actually felt and, if they did think about it, they certainly didn't share it with anyone.  Adults were people who kept up a nice, tidy wall around their true selves and talked about the weather or the kids or anything, really, as long as it didn't involve giving a piece of their heart to the other person.  As long as it didn't involve being vulnerable.

As a youth, my friendships were solid and, what I would call, deep.  When we talked, when we got together for coffee, we talked more with our hearts than with our mouths.  We didn't measure our words before they came out.  We shared deeply with each other, risking everything.  And it was good. I felt known.  I felt loved and accepted.  I felt like I was living in the definition of community.

And then I entered the "real" world.  The adult world.  I would describe my entrance to this world as rather abrupt.  I went from high school, to Bible college, to marriage, to working at Bible camp for the summer, to being a youth pastor's wife at 19.  One week I was talking to people my age as peers and the next I was expected to talk to their parents as peers.  There was no transition time whatsoever.  And I had no idea how to be an adult and how to talk to adults as though they were peers.  I'd never had to do it before!

I'd say it as a clumsy transition into adulthood for me.  In high school and college, I was a relatively confident, relatively social person.  As I fumbled my way through the first few years of adulthood, I found myself testing the waters of how much vulnerability is acceptable in adulthood. And the answer I found was quite simple. Through many awkward moments when I felt I'd shared "too much," (still just a fraction of the sharing that happened with my friends in high school) I learned that it was safer to just keep my true thoughts and emotions to myself.  Adults don't know what to do with vulnerability.  It scares them.

And through the past 8 years of being an "adult," I find that I've slipped into the adult way of thinking and being. And now vulnerability scares me too. Talking about the weather is much more comfortable than asking someone how they're doing (REALLY doing!).  My 18 year old self is kicking my 27 year old self for becoming "one of them" and yet...what other path is there?

I find myself asking if it's actually possible to be truly vulnerable as an adult?  How are you supposed to be vulnerable when the people you're talking to just stare blankly at you when you open up just a little bit more than "usual" or fidget uncomfortably, obviously wishing that you'd just thrown out a "fine" so they could move on with their day. How are you supposed to be vulnerable when you're met with misunderstanding and indifference and hurtful comments thoughtlessly spoken in response to your heart?

Yes, I understand that there need to be boundaries.  Yes, I understand that you need to pick the people you are vulnerable with and other people need to just be the "weather" people.  But where is that line?  And how do you test the waters without being hurt into tucking your heart back behind the wall of safety?  Vulnerability, by definition, involves risk.  If you are vulnerable, you will be hurt sometimes, and you will be misunderstood sometimes, and you will be embarrassed sometimes.  *sigh*  I was really hoping it would be easier than that.

Brene Brown puts it well when she says, on the first page of her book Daring Greatly:
          "I hate uncertainty.  I hate not knowing. I can't stand opening myself up to getting hurt or being disappointed.  It's excruciating. Vulnerability is complicated.  And it's excruciating...(it feels) like I'm coming out of my skin.  Like I need to fix whatever's happening and make it better." And when she can't fix it, she says, "(I) clean the house.  Eat peanut butter. Blame people. Make everything around me perfect.  Control whatever I can - whatever's not nailed down."

Yup, that about sums it up for me.  How about you?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


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I now know this about myself:

I do not like to be told what to do.

I don't even like to be asked to do something.

Whew.  I'm glad I got that off my chest.  It appears to be a fairly large chunk of who I am.  Haha.  And apparently I'm stubborn about it too.

This all came up last night as I was watching tv with Nathan and noticed kids hanging their hands down into the cattle chute walkway where the hockey players were entering the ice.  They were all so badly wanting a high-five from the players.  And I was annoyed.  I asked Nathan if he would be the type of player to give them a high-five as he went onto the ice and he shrugged, saying that he probably would (what a nice guy!).  He knew how much it would mean to them and it's such a small action on his part, so why not?

Ugh!  Why not?!  I may be admitting to being a horrible person here, but I would have to fight every instinct in me to raise my hand and give them any recognition at all.  It's not that I don't want to make a kid's day.  I really do think I'm nicer than that. I LOVE to make people happy by giving them what they dream of.  But if you really want something from me, please don't dangle your hand in my face begging for it. Drop hints, be subtle, and hope that I'll catch on before too long. ;)

Nathan and I have different love languages.  It's fairly clear to both of us that we speak different languages and we both know what the other's language is, though that certainly doesn't make it easy to speak all the time.  (ie. I know that the language Dora speaks is Spanish but that doesn't necessarily help me communicate effectively with her. Ok, there are alot of reasons why I don't communicate effectively with Dora, one being the LOCK feature on our tv, but I digress...)  Just because I know the name of the language Nathan is speaking, doesn't mean that I can speak that language effectively, or understand him when he is trying to speak that language to me.  And the same goes for him speaking/understanding my language.  So one way to try to make the other feel loved is to give suggestions...a vocab list of sorts.  "If you do _______, I will hear loud and clear that you love me, whether or not you speak with an accent or even know exactly what you're saying."  This is all fine and dandy in theory.  But I go back to the point of this post.  I hate to be told what to do.  And I hate being asked to do things that I haven't thought of first.  So when Nathan asks me to do something that will make him feel loved, even as simple as a back rub, I get annoyed.  I CHAFE, people!  I have to fight my gut reaction tooth and nail to pour any kind of sincere love into that action, simply because I've been asked to do it.  I'd so much rather be told that back rubs make him feel loved and then be left to initiate a back rub later, on my own terms.

Of course there are many areas in life where this comes into play.  Pastor's wives are going to make pizza for an event and you're a pastor's wife so show up at 3pm to start cooking...chafing.  Your brother would really like to go hang out with you and your friends tonight so you'll be taking him along...chafing.  You should really buy a gift for this person because it would mean alot to them...chafing.

All of those things are good, but wouldn't they mean more if they came from the heart?  Wouldn't it mean more if your favourite hockey player went out of his way to acknowledge you rather than swatting your hand out from in front of his face? (yeah, you're right, you probably won't get acknowledged by your favourite team player if you aren't annoying)  Wouldn't it mean more if, without being asked, your spouse did the dishes to make you feel loved, just because they knew it would mean alot to you?  Wouldn't it mean more if you received a gift from someone, knowing that nobody told them to give it to you?

This is a tricky one for me because I know that alot of those things are good things to do and I know that I don't always think of them myself. But agh...the fight inside when I am asked to do something that I wish I'd thought of myself!  *sigh* It gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Are you like me or more like Nathan?  Would you rather think of doing things yourself, on your own time?  Or do you not mind making someone's day by responding to their blatant request?  Thoughts?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Four Months Old

Kayden will be four months old in a couple days but we will be in Manitoba (her first trip out of province!) so I figured I'd take some pictures and write this post today.  What's four days, right?
Kayden is a lightweight in that she is only around 13 1/2 lbs now. You'd never guess that from her cheeks and general "chub" though!  I guess we make roly-poly babies.  I certainly don't mind :) And that is more than double her 6lb7oz birth weight so I'd say we're right on track.  She is mostly in 3-6 month clothes, heading quickly for exclusively 6 month size.
Kayden is smiling more than ever but is still more on the serious side, taking everything in and looking, looking, looking.  I mentioned to my dad at one point early in her life that when we carry her, she is often trying to see where we're going instead of just being content to "see" whatever is in her line of vision (the ceiling or whatever is behind us).  She's been like this since she was probably only a month old.  Always curious.
We are also starting to get a few more chuckles out of her.  And when you get the first few chuckles out of your baby, as any parent knows, you will do whatever it was that made them laugh over and over and over again, trying desperately to keep them laughing.  Late for a meeting?  Well, my baby was laughing...I couldn't stop saying "SOOOO big!" as long as she was laughing about it!
Kayden is always sucking on something, usually her fists or fingers.  We've tried giving her toys and she enjoys sucking on those too but has yet to actually hold any, never mind grab them and bring them to her mouth on her own.  In time I'm sure it will come!  The drool is picking up these days...not sure if we're teething already or if it's just a product of all the sucking.  She's mostly happy so I'm thinking it can't be teething yet.
Kayden's hair hasn't grown at all since birth, I don't think.  She lost the hair on the top of her head in the first few weeks and developed cradle cap almost right away.  Same pattern as her brother.  As of yesterday, I've gotten rid of the cradle cap. (YAY!!! her head is so shiny now!) I seemed to remember Levi's hair coming in quite a bit faster once the cradle cap was gone so here's hoping this girl starts filling in her bald patches soon.  Speaking of bald patches, I mentioned last month that Kayden's bald spot on the back of her head was hardly bigger than a loonie.  Well...I shouldn't have said anything because in the couple days after writing that, it grew to about three times that size!  Oh well.  What can you do? :)
Kayden is still very loved by her brother who often asks to hold her.  His loving hasn't produced as many tears this month which has been SO nice!  I'm not sure if he's being more gentle or if she's just better able to handle the rough play now that she's a bit older.  Levi loves to put his fingers in her mouth for her to "chew" on.  It grosses me out but hey, she'll have a good immune system.  He calls her "Miss Kayden" and "Sweetie" and says that she is "soooo cuuuute!" on a regular basis.  He desperately wants to share his room with her but with her still being up in the night, I'm not sure I want to make the switch.  She sleeps soundly in our room and doesn't cry at all when she's up for a feed.  I'm a little nervous to move her in case I don't hear her right away and let her get worked up.  Then again, if I didn't hear her right away, she might just put herself back to sleep and sleep through the night...hmm.  It could go either way!  She's only up once or twice a night for a quick feed and diaper change though, so I can't complain about that.  She's usually up between 2-4am and then again between 5:30-7:30.  Sometimes she skips the second feed which is always nice.  She wakes up for the day around 8-8:30.  Kayden takes three naps each day: a 30-45 minute nap morning and evening and then a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon.  She goes to bed fairly well between 8-9pm. 
Kayden's eyes are still blue with no hint of any other colour coming in.  I always said that I'd be shocked if I had a blue-eyed baby which is why I keep mentioning that her eyes are STILL blue!  Levi's were long brown by this age.  I think they're just beautiful but am learning what it means to dress a blue-eyed baby and take pictures of a blue-eyed baby.  It's all just a little different!

Kayden remains a very content and easy-going baby.  She cries when she's really really hungry, when she's dirty (and we don't notice and change her right away), and especially when she's tired (this is a new one...she used to just let herself fall asleep when she was tired).  She doesn't love the Jolly Jumper, exersaucer, nor Bumbo.  She holds her head up pretty well but isn't too steady yet without decent support.  She gets tired really easily in those upright toys/seats.  She fell off the couch for the first time this month.  She napped in her crib (not playpen) for the first time this month.  She was babysat for the first time this month by my parents when Nathan and I went out for supper for our anniversary (managed to squeeze in a date between feeds!).  She went to her first garage sale this month (and many more since).  She has been "talking" alot more this month.  She's still on the quieter side, but when she gets excited or when you're talking to her, she'll start making some pretty happy noises :)

These have been some wonderful months and we're enjoying and loving you immensely, Kayden Grace.  We're looking forward to your fifth month and all it brings!