How Blessed We Are

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 09/20/2015

I have recently started utilizing a new form of social media, called Periscope, that was made by Twitter. It can be a really fun way to watch people do some pretty silly stuff but there’s a lot of rich content on there too, like self development type stuff. Truthfully, one could never imagine from day to day what you might find on there. This morning though, I was blown away by the content that I found. There are a couple of people that are covering the Syrian refugee crisis and they are traveling with them as they struggle to find a way to get through the next border. I watched as they sat in a ditch between two borders last night, while policemen stood guard. They did not have any idea what their next move would be and nightfall was coming quickly. They signed off but I will assume that they spent the night in that ditch. This morning they shared another Periscope and they had made it across the border via some transportation supplied for them by the receiving country. Later, they signed on while the they were in another part of Europe, only to have Police Officers standing amongst them in what seemed to be riot gear.

When you’re a mother, all thoughts in regard to human suffering seem to take you full circle back to your own child, every time. At least that is inherently the case for myself. I looked over at my baby girl snuggled up next to me, sleeping so peacefully and I began to think about the defeat the parents must be feeling. Admittedly, I do not know enough about the turmoil in Syria, but I do know enough to know that this has been said to be the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. So, I know enough to know that these refugees are displaced, no matter their social status or income bracket. They just are. These people woke up one day in their homes and could not definitively know that it was going to be their last morning to wake up in their own beds or the last night to safely tuck their sweet babies into their beds. Our most primal instinct as a mother is to protect our children. But what do you do when you can’t? You go into survival mode and you shield them as best as you can. But that is in all senses of the word, a failure for a parent. No mother wants their children to HAVE to grow up faster than they already will.

My mind goes back to an episode of “Ellen” that I saw a week or so ago, where she was interviewing Malala Yousafzai. If you don’t know of her, I implore you to look her up. During her interview on “Ellen”, I began to piece together who she was again. I remember hearing about a young Pakistani girl, a few years ago, that was writing a blog under a pen name in an effort to share what her life was like under the rule of the Taliban while simultaneously attempting to promote education for girls. I remember hearing that she was later shot in the face by the Taliban but survived. She was only 15 at the time. On “Ellen” I learned that she is now the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to promote education for girls. I learned that she has also opened a school and is as selfless of a person than one could possibly imagine. But what brought her to mind today was that she said, “No child should be denied the basic human right of education.” Basic human right. That struck a cord. I then remember seeing something in the media in regard to the amount of Syrian refugees that are children and hearing that there is a good chance that none of them will ever have a chance at receiving a formal education again in their lifetime. Let that sink in for a minute. Never, for the rest of their life, will they have a chance at formal education again. We take so much for granted in this country. But imagine for one minute that your child, YOUR CHILD, could never get a formal education again, EVER. The chance of your child ever getting to have a real shot at a life of abundance, both of knowledge and or worldly things, is almost guaranteed to be gone. How would you feel? I can not even begin to explain how I would feel. My heart aches for these people, these parents and these children. The world is so full of injustices.

Once again, I look over at my sweet girl and brush a curl behind her tiny little ear. I thank God for allowing us to provide a safe place for her to live and food to fill her little tummy. I thank God that while she is not in school yet, He has provided me with the knowledge and education to be able to teach her the foundations for her later learnings. Learnings that I KNOW she will have the privilege of getting. I pray that the media was wrong when they said, that these displaced children have no hope of ever having a formal education again. I pray that their parents can find homes, employment and a way of life that will allow them to breathe a little easier while their children grow and flourish. I thank God for the roof over our heads and the peace I feel watching her sleep. And once again, I thank God for people like Malala and those that will follow in her footsteps, that will fight for everyone’s basic human rights.

Follow me on Periscope @amyredditt

Perfectly Imperfect

6 pm: Imperfection achieved. It’s time for my girl and I to get in the shower. The day is almost over. Nothing has been accomplished. Maybe I should try to squeeze in a few pages of her preschool workbook or some learning academy. After all, I have an hour and a half until she has to be in bed and she has to eat dinner too. Forget it. The workbook probably won’t happen today. Thankfully my husband will cook! Today was pretty much a bust! I’d like to say I feel well rested now but that wouldn’t be true. I’m still tired from being Super Mom yesterday. Not really. That was a joke. I’m still tired from not having a really good nights sleep in almost 5 years, when you include my pregnancy.

I wonder if any other mothers ever indulge in lazy days? They used to dream of white picket fences, two kids, a car and a dog. We don’t have to dream anymore. We just pull up our favorite social media sites so we can compare away! We compare ourselves to those perfect Facebook posts. Those beautiful Instagram selfies. And all the perfection of Pinterest that we were supposed to achieve by 8 am. And to think, I haven’t even entered the school years yet! Something tells me that all of my “must do’s” are going to increase ten fold.

We have our days where I think I really am Super Mom. Days like when we are out the door, showered and fed and to story time on time! The last time I had a day like that, it went as follows.  After spending about an hour reading to her and playing with her at the bookstore, we drove to the library. We spent another hour there and about half of that time, I spent reading to her. Insert imperfection here. (I was reading down her fines because I can’t ever seem to get her library books back on time.). And then it was off to lunch, followed by a couple of hours at the pool. There was no lazy time there either. I think I must’ve gone down the water slide with her at least 100 times in an hour and a half! After heading back home to shower, we were off to dinner with our family. Once we made it home, it was time to prepare for bed and read her bedtime story. Day complete. Official Super Mom! That day would be a great Facebook/Instagram posting day! World of perfection! Next day, pajamas until 6pm.

I believe, though I haven’t seen a Facebook post to validate my belief, that all of us are perfectly imperfect. Being a Mom is hard! Really, there are no breaks ever! I haven’t been away from my daughter for more than 5 hours ever. She is almost 4. I repeat. I have not been away from my daughter for more than 5 hours ever. While I am sure that at some point, I will vacation without her, I am also relatively sure that I will still be consumed, wondering what she is doing and if she’s okay. That to me doesn’t sound like a break either. I’m sure that eventually it’ll get easier but you never stop worrying when you’re a Mom. And you will always be on call 24/7. I turned 39 last week but you better believe it when I tell you that if I need my Mom, she is STILL on call!

I think NOW is a great time to start a movement and call it Perfectly Imperfect! Like I said, being a Mom is never ending hard work. It would be nice to know that there are other Mom’s out there that aren’t 100% perfect every day. Mom’s that sometimes feel just a little bit lazy. At the same rate, I want to be completely clear. I am not promoting laziness or the neglect of anyone’s children. Most days, I honestly do my best to spend quality time with my daughter, both educating and entertaining her. I also make a concerted effort to set the example for her, by having my own interests and exploring them, so that she sees and knows that it is important to have hobbies and an array of interests. And since one of my hobbies is reading; I hope she will always see reading as a positive and enjoyable thing. But that’s a whole other blog post! But as I was saying, as a woman, I feel like it would be nice to see that there are women that aren’t cookie cutter perfect every day. If you are one of these women, I’d love to see you post your perfect imperfection in the comments or elsewhere. Make sure to hashtag your post #PerfectlyImperfect so it’s searchable. I’m starting with my blogs’ cover photo. This is my dear daughter at 6pm, still in her pajamas with her hair still un-combed. To me though she will always be Perfectly Imperfect, just like me!

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 09/13/2015

The Power of Gratitude

FullSizeRenderFor as long as I can remember, I recall my husband telling kids, with whom we have worked, what a difference a simple “thank you” from them makes.  While I always understood his point and agreed with him for that matter, I don’t think I ever really understood to the extent that I did today.  You see, we are very insistent that our daughter uses her manners.  Manners that we have drilled into her, breath after breath, for the last couple of years.  She must speak when spoken to, say “please” and “thank you”, say “yes sir/ma’am”, “no sir/ma’am”, address adults as Miss or Mister before their names,  say “God Bless You” when someone sneezes and “excuse me” when she is so fervently trying to interrupt an adult conversation.  And the list goes on, but you get my drift.

Last night, I noticed my daughter was extra hyper.  I mean hyper to the point of, “I want to pull all my hair out if she doesn’t calm down”, hyper.  If you’re a parent, I’m sure you know what I mean!  It kinda comes with the territory just like not being able to go to the bathroom in private.  After asking her for the hundredth time, in a two minute span, to calm down, I pulled her into my lap and insisted that she sit still and look at me.  She did, so I asked, “Honey, what’s wrong? Is something bothering you?”.  She responded quickly, “Yes, I need you to take me somewhere, like the park!”  Basically, she had too much pent up energy and no way to expel it.  And without having realized it, I had neglected to take her outside to play for 3 to 4 days.  It was approaching bedtime and raining, so I made a promise to her that I would get her out of the house and find a place tomorrow where she could run and play. 

Daybreak and we were making plans!  We realized it was Saturday and the pool was open but it looked like it was going to rain again.  We decided to try anyway.  We jump in the pool, go underwater and as we are surfacing, we hear a loud whistle.  The lifeguards are ordering everyone out of the pool.  My girl looks like she’s going to cry.  Reluctantly, I carry her out of the pool.  As we begin our wait, I message a friend; they’re at the park directly outside the door.  We go over to the park and as the rain comes in we continue to let them play through the rain.  Her smile was one of pure joy as she ran all over the playground with her friend.  We attempted the pool again only to find that it had reopened and closed again, all within the last five minutes.  Once again, my sweet girl was disappointed.  As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot, she says, “Mommy, thank you for taking me to the park.”  And then a couple of minutes later, “Mommy, thank you for trying to take me to the pool!”  And then as we are pulling out of the drive thru, where we got her some ice cream, she says, “Thank you for my ice cream, Mommy!”.

As we were driving home, I started thinking about how proud I was of my little girl.  It was as if all of the sudden everything had clicked with her.  I’m always reminding her to say “thank you” and use her manners with other people but now she was doing it on her own with me.  Then I remembered what my husband always told the boys, that showing gratitude makes people WANT to do stuff for you.  In that moment, I wanted to giver her the world.  That is something I have always wanted to do, simply because she is my child.  This time was different, I wanted to give her the world because I knew in that moment that she would appreciate it.  I knew in that moment that as she gets older, she will appreciate the things that her father and I do for her.  She will appreciate the sacrifices that we have made over the years and will most certainly make in the future, to give her a better life.  She will be our legacy and of that I am already so proud.

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 09/07/2015

The Kid In The Middle

FullSizeRender 15My baby isn’t quite a baby anymore. I wish at times that I could keep her as my little baby but I know it’s not reality. Everyone has to grow up sometime, right? Well, she is quickly approaching four years old. On Halloween, she will be four. I guess I think if I keep saying four, it will make it more of a reality. Nonetheless, it’s approaching and quickly.

So here’s the problem. Our not so big baby still sleeps right in the middle of my husband and I, EVERY NIGHT. You see, when we had her I swore that she would never sleep a night in our bed. My husband, on the other hand told me that she would.  Boy, was I wrong! It started early, somewhere inside of the first month. I grew up in Tennessee and all of my family is still in that area. At the time we lived in the Florida panhandle, so there was no one around but my husband and I. There were no extra sets of hands and my husband was working two jobs at the time, one of them being overnight. Therefore, I was home with our newborn baby alone, almost all of the time. I hadn’t been around a baby for any extensive period of time in 27 years. Here’s what I knew. I was tired, really tired. This baby nursed non stop. I was tired. She was slightly jaundiced, so I had to nurse almost constantly, per the doctors orders.  The other part of the time, per her orders. I was tired. Every time I laid her in her crib, she would awaken and generally that was within 3-5 minutes of laying her down. Did I mention that I was tired? So, I made the decision to carry her into our bed and nurse her there and there she would sleep. One night, when my husband was finally home he noted how she cried almost instantly after nursing and being laid down. Something was not right. “We have to take her to the doctor”, he says. So, we do. We find out that she has a slight case of colic. I’m instructed to cut dairy out of my diet completely and after a couple of weeks begin to reintroduce it. I did and it worked, but the damage was already done. She was accustomed to sleeping with Mommy. So, there she remained. Daddy certainly wouldn’t put his baby girl into her crib and make her cry when he was home, so we adjusted.

Now, we are ready to make some changes but honestly I don’t think either of us are too thrilled at the thought of making her cry uncontrollably just to get her to sleep in her room. I worry about her feeling rejected or unloved. But I’m also aware that we would all probably get a better nights rest. I know it would make our happy marriage, even happier. But I also know that my husband will buckle if we try to force it and she is unhappy or her feelings are hurt. I would love to find a gentle way to make this transition for everyone involved! Until then I guess we will continue to wake up with a foot in our ear or a head in our back, freezing, with no covers!

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 09/04/2015

When Mommy Says “No” And Daddy Says “Yes”

IMG_7945When Mommy says, “No”, our child quickly learned that meant that she should run and ask Daddy.  It depends on the day of the week as to how I deal with the fact that 9 times out of 10, he will say, “Yes”.  My husband takes one look at those beautiful brown eyes and it’s over.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I get it. I do.  But, it doesn’t make it any less maddening!  When she gets in trouble and believe me when I say, she gets in trouble A LOT; she flashes her smile and starts giggling and it’s all I can do to not buckle in laughter.  She’s only 3, but she knows how to push our buttons all too well.

Still, Daddy saying, “yes” to all of her wants can be so frustrating.  It feels like so much of what I am trying to teach her is being undermined.  Last week she wanted a particular doll and the deal was that she could get it, but she would pay half and we would pay the other half.  She’s really been doing well with her chores but this would be the third doll in a month that she would be getting.  One, she bought entirely herself and the other her Daddy bought for her as his birthday gift.  He buys for us on his birthday rather than us getting him anything.  Anyway, this was to be the third doll.  So, she showed me the one she had her eye on.  It was a Lalaloopsy doll that came with three reusable diapers, which was pretty awesome because her last two dolls diapers were not reusable and sold for $6.97 for a pack of 6!  Talk about a ripoff!  So, I searched online and it seemed that everyone was out of stock for this particular baby doll but it was available through Amazon. Now, she already understands ordering online and waiting for mail, so I explained to her that we might not be able to find it in the store.  Before she left with her Daddy to go shopping, I reminded her that it might not be there.  I told her that I would order it on the computer as soon as she got home if they couldn’t find it.  I reminded her that it is important not to buy something, just to buy something, but to hold off for what she really wants because she won’t be happy otherwise.  And if she buys something else then she will have to wait all the way until her birthday (Halloween) comes to get the Lalaloopsy doll.  She said she understood and they left.  So, I’m sure you can guess what happened next.  She came home with another Baby Alive Doll that requires more diapers and was not the one she wanted.  I asked her Daddy why they got that one and all he said was that she said she changed her mind and wanted this one, so they bought it.  He has also heard about the Lalaloopsy Doll non-stop and I also told him not to buy anything else.  His answer, “well she wanted it.”.  Fast forward three hours, “Mommy!  Can we go get my Lalaloopsy Doll tomorrow?  Maybe they have it at Toys R Us!”  “Ummm no!  I told you not to buy anything else.  I told you that if you get the wrong thing, that you would have to wait until your birthday for what you really want.”  I call her Daddy and tell him that she’s asking for the baby.  “Really?!”  He can’t believe it. What?  Really?  How could he not?  The very next day he says that he will get it for her. I say no and explain my point again. He agrees with me.  She has to wait.  Last night, he tells her before bedtime, “I’m gonna take you to buy that baby tomorrow!”  She asks, “why?”.  His answer is just because he loves her.  I’m at my wits end with this.  I’ve suggested that he put the money he wants to blow on something she will forget about in a day or two into an account that will really benefit her someday.  He just says, “She’s 2!” or “She’s 3!  It won’t always be like this!  It’s $5 or $10.  She already has two savings accounts.  What’s the problem?”.  But I know that it WILL always be this way.  She will always have him wrapped around her finger.  And that $5 or $10 will increase astronomically or it won’t be about buying something but doing something that is not necessarily in her best interest.  How can I convince him that truly loving her is doing what’s best for her, not just doing what makes her happy for the moment?

All this to say, I am so happy that my daughter has a father that is so good to her and loves her so much.  But, I am frustrated because I want to teach her to make smart decisions.   I want to teach her not to impulse buy, in this case. I want to teach her patience.  And in general, I don’t want her to think its okay for her to play us against each other.  And of course, I don’t want to be the bad guy either.  I mean who does?  And currently, I just don’t want 100 million dolls all over my house that pee and have diapers that cost more than my child’s ever did!  Oh, I am also totally opposed to the fact that she has no sense of when diapers need to be changed or how much water is too much water.  Wet floors have become the norm around here!  Thank goodness I haven’t slipped and broken anything yet!  But if I did, I am grateful to have successfully taught her to be compassionate.  I have no doubt that if I were to land in the hospital with a broken leg, that she would happily drag her Daddy to the store to buy me a baby doll to keep me company until I could come home.  At which point, I could let her play with my new baby.  And if she’s feeling really kind, she might buy me one that poops charms into its’ diaper so I could have a magical charm bracelet! 

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 09/02/2015

For This Child I Have Prayed

FullSizeRender 13It’s funny how my daughter never tires of hearing me say, that I have been saying that I would have a daughter since I was 7 years old.  You see, at 7, I was bound and determined that I was going to have a sister coming home with my Mom.  I named “her” Amanda Elizabeth.  Little did I know, my Mom was bringing home a David Turner.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my brother, I do.  But, I just wasn’t going to tell him any of my 7 year old girl secrets!  Not that I really had any come to think of it, but still, I was not going to tell him!  And as an adult, this fascination with having a sister doesn’t really make a lot of sense now.  I was a total Tomboy.  You’d find me hanging upside down from the trees in the front yard right alongside my two boy cousins.  I didn’t like dolls.  I was totally uninterested in clothes or ever playing dress up.  I know I completely gave my mother the blues!  I still don’t put any of the frilly girly things in my hair and I refused to make my infant daughter wear one of those flower headbands on her head so she could look like she was sprouting from an ugly flower garden!  Nonetheless, I have always known that while God didn’t see fit for my Mom to bring home another little girl, I would have a daughter of my own.

Fast forward twenty-four years to when I got married.  I wanted that baby girl so bad that I could almost smell her sweet baby breath.  But, my husband and I agreed we would wait one full year before trying to have a baby.  The end of that year came and I was so elated.  Much to my dismay, month after month I would suffer another heartbreak.  With each passing month, no matter how many times I stood on my head, I would not get a positive test result.  Two years and five months after we married, I sought help from a doctor.  He began by sending me for a series of blood work to try to figure out the problem.  After all, my biological clock was ticking in overdrive at this point!  I had just reached the ripe old age of 34!  Two months and a series of tests later, he deemed that I was not ovulating and then he laid out my options.  I chose to take a low dosage of a fertility drug.  Two months, two doses later and still, nothing.  I officially gave up.  That was it.  Being a mother was not in the cards for me.  I tried to focus on other things.  It was February 2011, the year still held a sense of newness.  It was time to refocus. 

And I did refocus, until I got that positive test on March 13th, 2011.  I was stunned.  I had never heard of pregnancy tests giving false positives.  But they must because it said you had to wait a minimum of one minute and this test showed a positive in less than 10 seconds.  It must have been broken.  I returned home from work later that day and on the insistence of my husband, tested again.  But of course, it would not show positive!  Not that late in the day, right?  WRONG!  It was still positive!  I knew in that moment that I was going to have that girl I had been dreaming of for 27 years.  Just after my 35th birthday, I did have the girl of my dreams.  Only, she wasn’t at all what I had dreamt.  She was a million times more beautiful.  I was in love.  We were in love.  My husband has wanted a daughter as long as he could remember as well.  He got her at the ripe old age of 40.  A year or so ago, my Aunt gave me the most beautiful piece of art.  Alongside the mother holding the child, it is written, “for this child I have prayed”.  I don’t know too many material things that I can hold in my hand that tugged at my heartstrings like that piece of artwork.  But that piece definitely did.  For all of you that are having a difficult time having the child of your dreams.  All I can say is keep dreaming, praying and believing.  My prayer for you is that your dreams will also come to fruition.  And I want you to know, that you are never alone.  So many women have walked the path that you are walking.  Believe.   

Posted by ~ Amy Redditt on 08/31/2015