The Ring Around My Neck

Labor Day Weekend 2012

I’m smiling so I must be happy right?  Well, not exactly.  Let me start at the beginning…

This past November I was 5 months pregnant and turning 30.  I’d experienced major swelling from the very beginning, but in the midst of certain discomforts I was grateful that a few normalcies were in tact.  One such joy came from still being able to wear my wedding ring.    Now I knew that this could change at any moment, but maybe, just maybe, I’d be one of the lucky ones.  My birthday is November 14th and at the time it was still sitting pretty on my finger.  Thanksgiving was 10 days later, and sadly, no more ring. I don’t remember exactly when it happened but I distinctly recall the tight, clinching, pinching feeling I experienced on the morning my ring suffocated my finger. I didn’t want to end up in the emergency room and watch a doctor or nurse cut it off my hand, so siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.  It was time to take it off. 

Days and weeks passed, and my once little hand felt bare.  A few people noticed the absence and suggested I try wearing it on my right side, because for whatever reason it worked for them.  No success.  Then there was the idea of putting it on a chain around my neck, but I was teaching P.E. and paranoia set in as I thought about the outdoor spaces, movement, equipment, and hundreds of students I was interacting with throughout the week.  So after consulting with my hubby the decision was made.  I’d go ringless until after the baby arrived.  I wasn’t particularly self-conscious about it when I was out in public (shame on anyone who would think it was their business to make certain assumptions), but deep down I missed it.  I knew it would only be a matter of time, and then voilà! It was March at last and my sweet daughter was born.

Upon her arrival, I was determined to be as realistic as possible when it came to shedding my baby weight.  I never had a crazy image of an insta-flat tummy or my ring miraculously fitting as I laid in the recovery room after delivery.  I’d give it some time and surely my goal would be attained in a matter of months.  The truth is it hasn’t quite happened this way.

Although some days are better than others, I’m generally pleased when I look in the mirror.  I lost much of my water weight with ease, and nursing has made a big difference in burning calories.  I walk often, and generally lead an active lifestyle, but the one change I longed to see most has yet to come to fruition.  It was Labor Day weekend and after several devastating disappointing attempts to at least get my band past my knuckle without throbbing, I decided to temporarily throw in the towel and start wearing it as a necklace.  I was happy to have it close to my heart, but deep down I felt a sense of defeat.

Trust me when I say that I’m not writing this to throw a pity party.  I know I’m beautiful at whatever shape or size I’m at, and that my goal will be reached.  The bottom line is that I’m not there yet, and this doesn’t make me happy.  I don’t want to continue wearing my ring around my neck, because for me, it’s not where it belongs.  I don’t want to get it re-sized either because, well, I JUST DON’T.  I want to work harder, make some changes and see where it leads me. If I need to do some re-evaluating at some point I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

Alexandra turned 6 months old on Wednesday, and that morning I began an insane new work-out (more on this later).  The countdown to “Patricia Wears Her Ring” is on, and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.  Feel free to check in on me and make everyday count!!

God Bless!!

What are your some of your goals?  How do you stay motivated?  Do you encourage others along the way?

My Unspeakable Joy

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21 (NKJV)

My Darling Alexandra Simone,

3 months have passed since my last letter, and I’m in utter shock and disbelief that you’re 6 months old today!!  Baby girl, I can’t believe how much you’ve grown! It seems like only yesterday that your daddy and I would get excited at every chance we had to see your eyes open, and now we can hardly get you to close them because you don’t want to miss a thing!! My inquisitive little dear, it’s no wonder that you’ve mastered the roll and the scoot, and grabbing any and everything is your new favorite hobby.  You view everything with fresh eyes and being around you helps me to do the same.

In the original “plan” I would’ve been a month into a new school year at work.  However, God gave us peace in making the decision to have me stay home with you, and I couldn’t be happier.  Each day I awake wondering what new adventures are in store for us, and I feel blessed to be the one by your side as you discover the world around you.

When you laugh out loud you crack me up!!  How are you so funny?!  I never thought anything could match your gummy smile, but now that there’s a tooth in there it’s the perfect complement to your beautiful cheesy grin. You’ve become one with your booster seat and spoon, and your zeal for food is eerily familiar… 🙂 You love a cool breeze on your face, and when the toys on your jumper move just as you intended you light up brighter than the Christmas tree at Union Square.

Ahhh my sweet, sweet child, I have tears of joy thinking back on this time we’ve spent, but there’s some reservation too.  As much as I look forward to seeing you hit your next milestone, a part of me wants you to stay my baby forever.  You find comfort in me, you know I’m present and that I’m not going anywhere. I never want that to change. But wait a minute.  That’s the beauty of our relationship isn’t it?  No matter the age, no matter the distance, regardless of who may come and go, you will ALWAYS be my baby and I will ALWAYS be proud to be your mom.

I love you more than you’ll ever know.  Happy Half-Birthday to you!!!

Love, love, love you,

Mommy

Spiritual Food: God Wants to See Us Grow!

1 Peter 2: 2-3(NLT)

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

I recently introduced rice cereal into my baby’s diet.  My initial goal was to follow the recommended guideline of nursing exclusively for the first 6 months (she’s only a couple of weeks shy), but Alexandra was showing all the signs that she was ready for more.  It’s a relatively minor change, and one that’s gradual, but already it’s made a world of difference! She is happy and satisfied with a full belly, and as her mom I want to do all that I can to ensure she is a healthy and strong little girl. 

Photo Credit: homemadeginger.com

This very thought had me reflecting on God’s desire to see us grow.  We begin as babies in our spiritual walk, but He wants to see a steady progression of our knowledge and understanding as we mature in Him.  This progression means that we can’t remain a baby in the Lord forever, and through every phase we need more nourishment to sustain our appetite.  That nourishment is directly found in Jesus Christ and the Word of God:

Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

He knows when we’re not getting enough spiritual food, and you know what, we know it too.  We feel deprived, on edge and out of tune with our Spirit Man. You can’t put a price on Godly wisdom, and we should never be at a point of thinking we’ve “arrived”.

I simply wrote this post to encourage us all to do some self-evaluating.  Are you studying the Bible on a consistent basis?  Do you feel stagnant in your walk?  What adjustments will help you get back on track?  Are you getting the nourishment you need? 

Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com

I want us all to be encouraged today, as we set our minds on Christ.  As I leave you with these words from the Apostle Paul, never underestimate the power of growth!

Colossians 1:9-10(NLT)

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

Be Blessed!!