Holidays!

I love the holidays.  Hanging with my fam, great food, movies I only feel like I can justifiably watch a few weeks out of the year… I’m all about it.  However, as a parent, there’s a little extra burden.  How do you adequately explain all that this season is to kids?  I’m stumbling through, as Nora just turned four (FOUR!!!!!!!) and has more questions than I have answers in a fashion she can comprehend.  I want her to have all the answers, all the cultural information, all the things, all at once.  Ben and I have different belief systems and neither of us want her to just default into one or the other.  We’d like her to make her own choices, become her own person, but how do you aid in that process for a four year old??  I’ll take any tips, please!

Also, one little shameless self-plug… My jewelry shop is part of Storenvy’s Biggest Small Business Sale and everything in the shop is currently 30% off.  Check out Norabear’s Lair 🙂

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Kid Furniture

I’m not talking about those cute little chairs with names embroidered on them, I’m talking about me.

I was pouting this morning about the fact that a good chunk of the time, my kids see me as a jungle gym or a couch.  Emeline likes to smush a nest into my tummy and curl up in it, then grab my arm and make my hand pat her until I get the cue and start patting on my own.  Nora does very similar things.  I was sitting there this morning, being a nest, thinking, “I am a grown woman with thoughts, ideals, goals! I’m interesting!  I’m worth something more than a piece of kid furniture!!”  Then Emeline smiled up at me, kissed my arm, and got up and toddled off… At which point I immediately, desperately wanted to be a nest again.

Being a parent is so hard and so easy all at once.

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Sleep… I Wish!

I posted this initially on facebook, but felt like posting it here as well with a little expansion.

2:31 a.m., Ben and I both wake up all frantic and confused. Realize it’s an amber alert, realize it’s in Enid, freak out a bit, realize there’s nothing we can do, go back to sleep. Approximately 10 seconds after falling asleep, enter: Nora. Apparently, “everything is messed up.” Potty, tuck in, turn on Beach Boys, discuss possibilities of her moving to a bedroom upstairs, away from us (slim to none, sorry, kid), go back to my bed, try to sleep, nearly succeed, enter: Nora. “Everything is weird and I still love you!” Awesome. Tuck her in bed with me, try to convince her not to tap the headboard or pull on my nose, steal Ben’s pillow, ask a million loud questions, etc, etc, ad infinitum, until 5:08 when she finally goes back to sleep. Enter: cat (sound cue only). Commence countdown of minutes til alarm.

Who’s been sleeping peacefully and breathing deeply enough for me to hear it clearly across the room to allay any fear of SIDS or the million other mom worries? Emeline. This may be the longest she’s ever slept straight. Well played, children.

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Emeline does not know what the big deal is. She slept til 6:30!

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Cannot seem to accurately capture the burst blood vessel in my eye.

Also, the child in the Amber Alert was located a couple hours after it was issued.

Gooooooooo parenthood!

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And now… Depression.

Well.

“How are you?” is always a loaded question.

Several years ago, a dear friend, one of the dearest people in my life, told me that what kept her alive was the thought that someone would find her body and she couldn’t wish that on even her worst enemy.  I am so glad she shared that with me, painful as I am sure it was, because it has been my mantra from time to time. 

I have a full life.  I love my husband, I adore my children, I revel in the volunteer work I do in the community, I thrive in my creative times, I am honored to be able to have the kind of relationship with my parents that I have, as well as my in-laws.  I have a wonderful life and I would not trade my life for that of anyone else in the world.  However, some days I cannot get out of bed.  Some days it is impossible to will myself to show up where I need to be and to do the things I’ve committed to do and to just be present in this world.  Anxiety and depression are real, they are ever-present, they are exacerbated by chronic pain and disease, and they are me.

I am one of the lucky ones who has been able to figure out what works for me and lead a normal life, day to day. I tried antidepressants and was not a fan, personally, though I understand the right pill for the right person in the right dose can be life changing. More days than not I can get out of bed and go to work and function, because there are bills to pay and obligations to fulfill, and I can keep everyone from the knowledge of what I struggle with day in and day out, but, you know what?  I’m not ashamed of who I am.  I’m not ashamed of my struggles, my shortfalls, my every day. 

It shouldn’t take a celebrity death to start the conversation and keep the conversation going on mental health.  It is a real issue and it is stealing people from our midst every single day, whether through suicide, accidental overdose from self-medicating, liver or other organ failure due to addiction from self-medicating… On and on. If you’ve been following my blog or we know each other outside of the blogosphere, you’ll know that I lost my brother a year ago this week.  He was a sufferer of mental illness and he was an addict and he was fighting both with all he had for once in his life and he couldn’t overcome it.  He was so smart, so hilarious, so wonderful, and in so much pain.  I have so convinced myself that if he could’ve ridden through this one more time… But I have no way of knowing.  I miss him, I love him, there’s a hole in my heart that will never heal, and I don’t want it to heal.  My broken heart is forever, and that’s okay, because the alternative is unbearable.

Having gone through what I’ve been through, the thought of taking that way out doesn’t even enter my mind anymore, not even close.  I could never cause my family that kind of pain.  My whole life’s goal is to not screw up my daughters, and I’m pretty sure that is guaranteed horror, losing a mother before her time (though I hope against hope that they will lose me before I lose them- as all parents do- but in due time when I’m ancient and frail). 

We’re told to smile, told there’s a lot of good in life, told to focus on the positive, told it’s not so bad, could definitely be much worse… I don’t know what the magic solution is, but I am pretty sure that’s not it. 

Empathy is the only answer I have.  If we can see the struggles each person we encounter faces, if we can acknowledge that pain without attempting to fix it, maybe we’ll be a step closer to where we should be.

If there was a magic internet button that said, “Share only with those who want to support, only those who need to hear this to know they aren’t alone or those who need to hear the perspective of someone who struggles to better understand those around them, but definitely those who hold a prejudice against depression and mental illnesses or who may be looking for a sign of my weakness (not that that’s hard to find!).” I’d push it. I fully acknowledge that, firstly, that would be a big button, and, secondly, whatever I put on the internet could be there forever. I think it’s worth the risk.

Posting before I lose my nerve, in 5, 4, 3, 2…

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Just a Little Story

When I was really little, the sun came down from the sky like a ball that I could really hold, and I held it in my hand! It was really cool, but it burneded my hand, so I had to have stitches to sew it up and then bandaids. It hurt really badly. Then, those bandaids weren’t enough, so the doctor gave me special bandaids and they healeded it all up and it was the best hand. Then it was bedtime, so my mom and my dad, called Stephanie and Ben, my mom and dad, took me to my crib and kissed my boo boo that wasn’t a boo boo anymore and said goodnight! Eee Thend.

Your bedtime story, by Nora Mae Ezzell (who prefers to give her full name).

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8 Years Wedded Bliss

I got married two weeks before I turned twenty to the guy I started dating when I was seventeen. I get some wide eyes on this count, and understandably so, as that would be an awful decision for a lot of people. I often hear in reference to young people getting married, “Wow, what a mess I would be in if I’d married the person I was dating in high school.” However, it’s working for us. We’re fans.

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I cried through the ceremony, cried so hard I could barely speak when my turn came. I’m a crier, so this is no huge shock, but goodness, I loved him so much that day, but I had no idea what that love meant, how it would grow and change.

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Eight years today. It feels like yesterday and feels like forever, like so many important moments in life.

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We’ve been through a lot of wonderful and a lot of horrible. The highs would shorter and the lows unbearable without him, I am absolutely sure. Here’s to eighty more. Happy anniversary to my love.

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And yes, this is also a public reminder that my birthday is in exactly two weeks. 😉

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My Kids Are Cute

Here are a bunch of pictures in no particular order with no explanation that show my kids being cute together. Their bond is the best thing ever ever ever.

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