For all the people I know who have suffered loss.

Grief is like a sea. It can be cold with an eerie and uneasy quiet – a heartbreaking melancholy enshrouded by a blanket of grey fog shutting out all light. Other times it can be violent and harsh – a tumultuous storm wildly tossing any unfortunate inhabitants to and fro against their will, all the while they fear they might be swallowed up in its deafening roar. Sometimes, when it is kind, grief can be peaceful – a serene space where one can wade and grieve and remember as tears of sorrow and joy and love and loss all mingle together and sail down to the glassy waters below, adding memory and heartache to their salt. Yet even so, in the peace, beneath the stillness lingers unknown and uncharted depths with the utmost assurance that someday a squall will rise again without warning or a stay of hand for those in its path.

But perhaps most closely of all, grief is like a sea because it never dies. It can of course wax and wane. The tide comes in and rolls back out again, but it never leaves. It is always there, an unending reminder of the happiness and love that has been lost and the empty ache that now remains in its stead. It is a somber bedfellow that never takes its leave from the heart in which it resides – a constant companion to the broken-hearted and to those who loved well and deeply enough in their lives to feel an ocean’s worth of pain at the loss of their departed. These who have loved and suffered loss are evermore the captive audience to a mournful serenade – the rhythmic and steady sound of grief’s waves lapping at the shore of their loved one’s memory – for where great love and joy once reigned abundant, their absence cuts all the more deeply. And their grief, like their love, is without end.

‘Grief is the price we pay for love.’

-Queen Elizabeth II, paraphrasing Dr Colin Murray Parkes


So, I commented on a friend’s Suicide Awareness post and I was supposed to post the same thing that she posted, but I have a hard time following rules sometimes, so instead I am going to write a brief post about depression and suicidal thoughts.

  1. If you are thinking about Suicide or wanting to kill yourself, chances are this is not the first time that has happened. That sucks. At the same time, you were strong enough to keep yourself from doing it the first time, which makes you pretty dang strong and I believe you can do it again. Being strong and keeping going when you want to give up is harder than giving in, but it is also one of the strongest, most revolutionary and generous things you can do.
  2. You don’t have to keep going alone. There is a suicide hotline. People are literally waiting to help you. Waiting. Hoping to be able to help someone like you on your darkest day make it to your next. They WANT to hear your story and help you through it. The number is 800-273-8255. Their website is
    The lifeline is free and available 24/7. If you feel alone at 3 am, they are there. Use it.
  3. Find a local counselor or pastor to talk to. They are trained to help people deal with their dark stuff. Don’t worry about anyone else’s judgment because everyone has their issues and if they judge you, that is one of their issues.
  4. You are not alone. You’re not the only one. You are not messed up. You are not broken. There is nothing wrong with you. You might feel like you are breaking, but that does not mean there is something inherently wrong with you. Life is just hard. Life can be unkind and cruel and push you to your breaking point. That does not mean you are weak. It means you’re human like the rest of us. Telling someone you are hurting is brave. Asking for help when you need it is courageous.
  5. Write it down if you have to. If you don’t have it in you to ask someone for help straight out, write it in a text, or on a piece of paper, or in an email, or a tweet, or a messenger message. There are so many ways you can reach out for help these days. We have so many ways to connect that leave us feeling disconnected sometimes. Use them to your advantage.
  6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – changing the pattern of your thoughts – is an incredibly effective tool against depression and anxiety. If you can’t get to a counselor to help you work through CBT, ‘Feeling Good’ by David Burns is an excellent book to explain the process and help you engage in CBT on your own. Your negative feelings are not always true and you can learn ways to evaluate your thought patterns and feelings and decide which ones get to stay and which ones need to get gone.
  7. There are physical things you can do to help yourself.
    -Speak with your doctor and talk about antidepressants.
    -Get in the sunshine for 15 minutes a day, preferably early morning. Otherwise, take a vitamin D supplement of at least 1,000 IU.
    -Go for a walk.
    -Take some probiotics. Bifidobacterium longum is a good strain for depression and anxiety.
    -Getting some resistant starch in your system either through supplements or diet might help you by increasing your Butyrate. (Cooked and cooled rice and potatoes, green bananas, beans, lentils, uncooked oatmeal – you can mix up some oatmeal and peanut butter and melted chocolate or cacao powder and bingo, you’re set.)
    -Take an Omega 3 supplement.

There are lots of other things you can research as far as supplementation for mood, but these are the things that can help anyone with no reason to avoid any of them (except people with digestive issues might want to avoid some resistant starches.)

I can’t say what will or will not change in a person’s life, but I will say that your life is worth fighting for and I believe that even the darkest depression can be helped and even the most seemingly hopeless situation can change. You are not alone. You are are not beyond help. You are not beyond hope.

The law of conservation of relational energy

Sometimes in the span of a relationship you discover that the picture in your mind of your relationship with a friend differs from the picture in theirs. Sometimes the disparity between the two is exceptionally large and even heartbreaking. Sometimes you find that the person you have been pouring time and love and energy into did not care as much about you or your relationship as you had hoped, and maybe didn’t really care all that much about you at all. This hurts. My advice is as follows.

First, cry. Now, maybe you are not a crier, so perhaps you need to find some other outlet for letting your emotions out – like punching a pillow, or painting, or dancing, or blowing something up. (If you are lucky enough to have a job where you can do that safely and legally.) I am a crier though, so this is my go to reaction for many emotions. Heartbroken – cry, overwhelmed – cry, overjoyed – cry, angry – cry…you get the picture. Crying is the way my body lets those emotions out. So, wether you have a good cry or fire a couple of rounds off at a shooting range, the point is that emotional release is helpful to the healing process.

If you are a crier, hopefully there is someone who is there to cry with you or ‘dry your tears’ as it were. Not only for emotional support, but also to remind you that even though this specific person does not value your friendship the way you had thought and hoped they would, you can be reminded that there are people who do value you. I think it is crucial during a time like this that you work quickly to remember that this person’s opinion of you is not the end all be all or even necessarily true. The way they value you and your friendship says much more about them and their perception of you than it does about you and your worth as a person or friend.

Not everyone is going to love you the way you would like them to and some people might even just flat out not like you. That’s ok. It stings and can be hard to come to terms with, but it’s ok. With all the personalities in the world, there are bound to be ones that are just not very compatible. So, reach out to a good friend you know you can lean on to be comforted and reminded that you are valued and loved and that they think you are the bee’s knees. Not only to help you remember you are valuable but also to help keep from spiraling into a ‘nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess l’ll go eat worms’ pity party.

This support will help you be able to dive into my recommended next step – praying for the person who hurt you. Now, me being me and believing what I do, I believe that prayer would be more powerful than positive thoughts and energy, but for anyone who does not pray, I do think that wishing the person well and thinking positive things toward them would be helpful. This is something I have always heard growing up, but have had a hard time manifesting in my life until lately. It definitely goes against human nature, and my desires on top of that, but it is really remarkable. It’s hard to stay mad at someone whose wellbeing you are wishing and asking for.

At first it might be a ‘fake it til you make it’ kind of situation, but the longer you do it, I have seen for myself, the more real the desire comes and the more the anger and hurt is released. And I am no saint, so please don’t think I am trying to paint myself as some Mother Theresa selflessly and calmly asking God for good things for people who have hurt me. It is often through tears, and some anger, maybe even a little resentment and having to give myself a good kick in the pants and all I can manage to muster is ‘Bless so and so’. But it is worth it. And I believe that even if I never find out how it affected the other individual, it will benefit both parties involved.

So this is all great, but comes the good part. For me, the really good part. The beautiful thing about this whole situation is the law of conservation of energy. This law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed or transferred from one form to another. The amazing thing about this situation of losing a relationship you thought was real is that all the love and energy you have inside you that you had been pouring into this individual didn’t go anywhere. It didn’t disappear when your friendship did, it is now just building up inside you, creating a stockpile of relational potential energy that is just waiting for a new target to move towards in order to become kinetic again. Your love and relational energy isn’t lost or wasted, it just needs to find itself a new conduit.

The death of this friendship could be the birth of a new one and you may get to use this time and energy and love to create a new connection with an amazing person that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. Or maybe there is a person within your circle who needs a little more care right now than you had been pouring into them before and they could benefit from the extra time and attention you are now free to give them. Maybe the money you spent on lunch or gifts in the halted relationship could be used to sponsor a child in another country, or the time used in it could be redirected to volunteering at a homeless shelter, pouring that love onto an entire new group of people.

There are literally billions of people in the world, and I would assume thousands wherever it is you call home, that you can love. The end of a relationship with one person is really an opportunity to go out and find someone else around you who will get as much benefit out of the love and care and energy you pour out on them as you do. Though rejection is likely to leave a scar and some pain in its wake, that pain can help you grow, enabling you to love the people around you even better than you did before. This way, when life happens to the people you love and they experience pain similar to that which you have experienced , you will know how best to love and support them through it. Otherwise, what is pain for? ❤️

We Remember

I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to go to Physics class.

When I found out about the attack on the twin towers I remember I was upstairs, brushing my teeth. My bathroom was at the end of a long walkway that had just a railing next to it that was open to the downstairs living room. The TV was on downstairs and I came out of the bathroom while brushing my teeth as I often did, because apparently I felt like I needed to stay connected with the rest of my household during the two minutes I brushed my teeth, and I saw on the TV either that one or both planes had crashed into the World Trade Center buildings. I can’t say much as to what else I did in between that moment and when I got to my physics class, but I remember class vividly.

My professor was awesome, the kind who didn’t make you memorize all the equations you had to use for your exams, but let you create a cheat sheet filled with all the equations you could fit on one piece of paper. I had small handwriting, so I really liked this guy. He was also a younger guy, so he was laid back and funny, a little nerdy and didn’t take himself too seriously. And best of all, he made learning fun and interesting and relevant.

No one really knew what we were ‘supposed’ to do that day. Did we just go along about our days and live our lives the way we had yesterday or earlier that morning? I think the utter shock and inability to really understand what was happening pushed us to do what we knew. I’m assuming that is why most of us showed up to class that morning, why classes weren’t cancelled until later in the day, and why our professor still came to teach us that morning.

I remember it being quiet. Somber, as I am sure much of the country, and even maybe much of the world was that day. Most of the students arrived before our professor that day, which I honestly can’t remember if that was typical or not. But when he came into the room, it was apparent he was shaken. More so than most of the rest of the people I had seen that morning who were more in a thick fog.

Our professor began teaching, or at least tried, but hadn’t made it more than a few minutes when he began to break down for the first time. It was then that he shared with the class that he had gone to college in New York City and during his time living there he could see the Twin Towers from his apartment and looked out his window at them every day. And then he broke down again.

I’m sure many of our hearts were breaking for this poor man that day, but nobody knew what to do. We were mostly a group of clueless 20 somethings already completely lost as to how to react to the tragedy that was unfolding, and completely unable to understand what this man was enduring at that moment. So we watched helplessly for the duration of that class, what I assume was an hour and a half, as he oscillated back and forth from trying to maintain his composure and teach us something of value, and being unable to contain the heartbreak and devastation that was welling up and wreaking havoc on his emotions, resulting in excusing himself to the hallway to cry and release a little more of his grief before returning to his post at the white board. Through the entire class he kept struggling and battling and pulling himself back together time and again. It was humbling to watch.

While most of us were grappling with trying to even comprehend the devastation that was occurring, this poor man seemed to feel and understand and bear the entire weight of the immense loss and devastation all too well. It was crushing him every five minutes, but he kept managing to bring himself back above the water every time it threatened to drag him under. Maybe he needed to be there. Maybe like us he didn’t know what else to do. Maybe he was hoping if he just kept doing everything he had done the same way he had done it before, this unthinkable tragedy would somehow be undone and the lives of those in New York and other loved ones all across the country could go back to the way they were the day before too.

I wish with all my heart it would have worked, but despite a whole nation’s worth of hopes and wishes, thousands of lives were forever changed, broken, robbed, and taken before their time that day. And there was nothing any of us could do but watch, and mourn. And now we remember. To try to give the loss some kind of meaning. To honor the lives of those killed and those thousands more who were bereft and broken to the core that day, to try to help them carry the burden of the grief and memory of that day so they know that they are not alone in their grieving and memory of the events of that day. To remind them that their loved ones and their incomprehensible loss will never be forgotten.


I went to the spa the other day to get a massage that my husband got me for Mother’s Day. I don’t frequent spas all that often (the last time he got me a spa gift card it took me two years to use – having kids will do that), so I felt a little of out of place. I mean, it’s all fancy with elaborate displays of beauty products and make up that I wouldn’t even begin to know how to use and here I am in my sandals, t-shirt and jeans with my ‘purse’ which is actually a backpack/bag given to me by the hospital when I gave birth to my first son. I’m not exactly classing up the joint.

I’m nervously waiting to be called back for my massage, flipping through a fashion magazine which only serves to strengthen my realization of how out of touch with fashion, trends, and anything that doesn’t have to do with interacting with a baby and a toddler all day every day I am. The massage therapist comes out and takes me to the room where I’ll get my massage and explains what exactly a ‘hot stone’ massage is – it is not what I thought it was, I actually thought it was just them putting hot rocks on your back, so I was pleasantly surprised to be incorrect in my assumption. About 3/4 of the way through the massage, which was phenomenal, I was feeling thoroughly relaxed when the gal went to massage my legs. She did the left leg first, covered it back up and then moved on to the right. Not long after uncovering my right leg she just stopped and said ‘You have stickers on your foot.’

All my misgivings about being completely out of place in such a refined environment were immediately confirmed as I lay there, unshocked, yet slightly embarrassed. I apologized and said I would get them off, but as I was laying on my stomach this would have been easier said than done and she proceeded to peel two stickers off of my dry, and presumably calloused heel. Cue more embarrassment. I apologized again at which point she kindly said that she had a 9-year-old at home, so she understood, which made me feel a little better. She then said “I thought maybe you had an injury until I saw it was a princess.”

That sums up my life at this point pretty well right now. You can take the mom out of the house, but you can’t take the ‘my life is complete chaos run by two diminutive tyrants whom I love but also wish to escape’ out of the mom…

It was a great massage, though. And it was great getting back to my sticker-laden chaos afterward as well. 😊

Mother’s Day

Today is a tricky day. There are women celebrating their mothers. There are women celebrating their mothers and being a mother. There are women celebrating being a mother while mourning their own mother. There are women celebrating their mother while lamenting their inability to become a mother, or mourning the loss of their child. And there are beautiful, precious, strong souls who are mourning the loss of both mother and child. So, in light of this I thought that for this Mother’s Day I would share a story of a Mother’s Day past that will hopefully bring a smile to the faces of those celebrating and those who are mourning.

When Steve and I were still dating, we went to brunch with my family for some occasion which now eludes me. He had either not been to many brunches prior to this one, or they were just very different from the one that we went to because as we were going down the line to get our food he was constantly having to ask me what the different foods on the buffet were. It was quite entertaining.

Some time not too much later in the year we went to another brunch with my family and family friends/second family for Mother’s Day. Before we went up to the buffet we gave Steve a little good-natured ribbing and I told him not to worry, I would be there to help him figure out what all the different foods were. He smiled wryly and, chuckling (and I believe possibly sticking his tongue out at me), said ‘I think I’ll be good this time.’

Sauntering up to the buffet line, we grabbed our plates and started our journey down the buffet. We had gotten not six inches down the line when we came to some small yellow balls resembling those of the golfing nature. Steve pointed to them and asked ‘what are those?’

‘That would be butter, Steve.’

We both broke out in laughter and Steve shook his head a bit in seeming stunned disappointment at such an early failure in his quest to successfully identify all buffet food in his path. He still hasn’t quite lived that one down yet. 😄😉❤️

Happy Sunday to everyone and to all Mothers and Children, Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones, or if they are far away, that you may be close in spirit, and if they are gone from us, that their memories will wrap you tightly and warm your hearts. ❤️

Hope in Pain

So, today is my birthday. I don’t usually ‘do’ my Birthday for many reasons. It’s a long story. A couple of long stories. I have been low key about birthdays for a while, but then a few years ago we lost our first baby on my birthday. I am not saying this to make anyone sad; time helps heal wounds and we miss him, but we have been blessed so greatly since then and I am actually happy to share my day with our little angel baby. I wrote briefly about this on Facebook a few years ago, but this year I wanted to share a little bit more of the story and what God did for us and specifically me during that time.

Soon after we found out we were pregnant, I spoke with my sister on the phone about her coming out to spend my birthday with us in Ohio. Not long after I had gotten off the phone with her, the thought popped into my head ‘I wonder if God is having Stevi come out here for my birthday so she can be here when I miscarry the baby.’ Not ‘if,’ when. I was completely surprised when I heard this in my head because the idea of losing the baby was not on my radar. My cousin had even asked me if I had a higher chance of miscarriage because of a hormonal issue I have, which I did, but I said ‘I’m not worried about that.’ So, I was not expecting to lose the baby in any way.

Now, the only other time I have heard something like this was when I saw Steve across the room in our church gym and I thought ‘I’m going to marry that guy.’ I thought ‘well, that was weird’ but I was pretty ok with it because Steve is pretty dreamy and awesome. 😊But in regards to my baby, I shook this thought off and said no, that’s ridiculous. That isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to lose the baby.

So, a few weeks later my sister came out to visit us a couple days before my birthday and sure enough, the day of my birthday rolled around and we spent it losing our sweet little guy. It was devastating and unthinkable and heartbreaking. It felt like someone stuck their hand in my chest, grabbed a hold of my heart and squeezed all the blood out of it, leaving a mangled mess in its place. But, as we were processing all of this grief, I remembered what I had heard in the car that morning. I realized that God had, in His grace, warned me that this was going to happen. He not only told me that it was going to happen, but when. And He made it happen on a day when my family and friends were going to be reaching out to me and wishing me well and telling me they loved me, helping me through one of the hardest days of my life without even knowing it.

Remembering this helped me let go of some of the guilt I had, wondering if I had done something to make us lose the baby and it quieted the ‘maybe if I had done this or that, the baby would still be alive’ thoughts, because I knew it was going to happen regardless of what I did. I could rest knowing it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t have to carry the extra weight of blaming myself. Most of all, it helped me to know and remember that God knew it was going to happen and that He was going to carry me through the pain and heartache. He was in it, and knowing that He had my baby gave me peace.

This is something I should have known anyway, but God loved me so much that He made sure that I knew. He made it so I couldn’t possibly doubt it. He took care of me before I even knew I needed to be taken care of. Through the hurt and pain, I was comforted knowing that I had a loving God who is always there, even when I don’t perceive His presence and that He cares enough to make sure I remember He is near even when He could maybe seem far away. And in your loneliest and darkest moments, that light and hope can carry you through to the other side.

What Love Looks Like

Respect breeds love.

I’m sure everyone has heard about how women need love and men need respect in regards to marriage, but really, respect shows love and creates love between two people. And I know this from experience. When I was working as the Commander’s Secretary while we were stationed at Lajes, I had to communicate regularly with a woman in the travel office to get travel itineraries approved and other various things.

I had never met this woman, but I always treated her the way I do anyone, trying to be as kind and helpful and respectful as possible. (I’m not saying I’m perfect, just that this is always my goal.) When Steve and I were getting ready to move away from Lajes, he was communicating with this woman (I so wish I remembered her name), in order to plan our travel off the island, and for whatever reason she told Steve that I was the most professional person she had ever worked with.

I am not saying this to brag about myself, I promise, because I was completely shocked when he told me that. I didn’t feel that I had ever done anything all that remarkable in my interactions with her. I just was kind and polite and did what I told her I was going to do. So, really, I felt a little sad that this was the case because I felt like everyone should have been treating her the way I had been.

I was so incredibly touched and honored by her saying this, though, that I decided to go to her office to say goodbye (and simultaneously meet her in person for the first time.) I got to her office and she was helping someone, so I asked if it was alright to come in and she said yes and I said something along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m Jillian Mackinder and I am leaving soon, so I just wanted to come and tell you what a pleasure it has been to work with you.’ And. We. Both. Started. Crying. Crying, you guys. When we had never met before a day in our lives!!

Now, I can’t fully explain why this happened because it was such an unexpected emotional experience, but I will try my best and the only explanation I have is the following. I treated her the best that I possibly could and was kind and considerate and respectful, and she appreciated it. It was as simple as that. We showed each other respect on a weekly basis for two years and all that respect grew into a very sincere love for one another and for the care we had shown to each other. It is still one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had because I was not expecting it at all, but it was just a real, raw, honest response to the relationship that two strangers had built that they both valued and appreciated and the fact that that relationship was now going to be severed.

I have no idea what this woman was like outside of work. No idea if she had family, where she lived, what kind of toppings she liked on her pizza, but she respected and appreciated me and as a result I truly love her and will never forget her or the impact she had on me with just the words she spoke to my husband and the general decency we showed each other through email interactions. We talk about love a lot in our culture today, and we should. Showing love to others through our actions is one of the most important things we can do for each other. The thing is, I think that people sometimes don’t realize that showing love to others most frequently manifests itself in giving them respect.

The Upside to Terror

I’ve been seeing a lot of tweets about the new movie ‘A Quiet Place’ and how good it is lately. This made me want to share my experience of the movie. (Don’t worry, I haven’t seen it, so everything I talk about has been in previews. Aka – no spoilers.) My husband and I went to go see Pitch Perfect 3 for his birthday. (Because even though we used to be able to go to 5 dollar movies every week before we had kids, going to the movies is now reserved for special occasions like birthdays when we are at my folks house so they can watch the kids for two hours for us to have a tiny taste of the freedom we used to enjoy. But I’m not bitter.) We went in and got our seats, but Steve decided to run to the facilities because of course he didn’t want to chance missing any of the Acca-citement by having to visit ‘the loo’ mid-movie. So I am sitting there by myself in a mostly empty theater when John Krasinski and Emily Blunt come on the screen and the following inner monologue ensues.

“Aw, they are such a cute couple. They are so fun and hilarious. I really like them. Why are they using sign language? It looks like only one of the kids is deaf. Ok, they clearly have to be quiet. Oh, Emily’s character is pregnant. I wonder if she was pregnant in real life too. Uh oh! Kid knocked over the lamp! That can’t be good. Why do they even have it sitting there in the first place? Oh crap. Why did those white lights turn red. It must be a perimeter breach alert or something. Oh crap! Something is in the attic. What the heck is that thing! Oh my gosh, how are they going to get out. Oh my gosh, even if she gets through labor without making a sound, as soon as that baby comes out they are all screwed! You can’t make a baby be quiet! Why is she by herself?!?! Holy crap, what is that hand?! Oh my gosh, does it know she’s in the tub?? Why didn’t the white light turn red?!?! Why didn’t they make a sound proof booth or something? Seriously, that baby is going to get them all killed by whatever the heck these things are!! Why are they in the woods? No, old guy, don’t do it, don’t…up, he did it. Run John!! Run for your life! Oh my goodness, this movie is terrifying. Why did Steve leave me alone in here for this?! Why didn’t I go to the bathroom too?!?! I was going to, but then I didn’t. Always listen to your instincts, Jill! Come on!!”

Thankfully after that I had a couple of hours of hilarious and amazing lady singing to calm me down and cheer me up. Needless to say, I will not be watching ‘A Quiet Place.’ Ever. Ever ever ever ever ever ever. I made the mistake of going to see ‘The Ring’ in theaters with some friends and thank goodness I was sitting next to my sister because I was IN HER LAP by the end of the movie!! So no, no thank you, ‘A Quiet Place.’ On the other hand, though, it has been really fun and sweet to see other actors being so kind and praising the movie and giving such great compliments to John and Emily for it. So, in summary, movie = horrifying stuff that my nightmares are made of, comments about terrifyingly scary movie = touching and sweet. So at least there’s that. 😊

This One’s for the Moms

Motherhood will take far more from you than you expect or desire to give. Going into it, you know there will be changes, and you assume there will be some sacrifices, but there is no earthly way to fully grasp the entirety of those sacrifices. Your life, your entire life, every moment of it, is now subject to the demands of caring for another human being.

Now, I’m not saying that you are taking care of that child every minute of every day, but I do mean that you must be ready and willing at any moment to do so. There is no day off, there are no holidays, there is no ‘go and get some sleep so you can be rested and prepared for your shift tomorrow.’ It is 24/7.

If you are sick and need a rest, but your kid is also sick and needs soup or water or for you to comfort them and clean them up after they puke, you better get in there as fast as your sickness ridden body can take you. If you get both your kids down for the night (finally!) and are resting on the couch with a good book, magazine, or TV show or heaven forbid some quality time with your spouse, and your 3 month old wakes up for the third time in two hours (or less), you get up off that couch and pray and try to do whatever you can think of to get them to sleep because they need it, and you need it. If you are in the midst of writing a post about the all-encompassing nature of the demands of motherhood and your 4 month old starts crying and your toddler simultaneously runs out of his room from the 20 minute rest you manage to sometimes get him to take in a day, you turn off your phone and go take care of your babies. There is no off button and there is no easy button.

Every aspect of your life has changed. You will not do practically anything in the same way that you used to. Simple tasks will take twice as long, sometimes longer, because you will now have that tiny human to take care of while you attempt to do those things. You will brush your teeth while coming to the living room to listen to your three year old tell you about the dinosaurs he is finding there. You will keep the door open while you go to the bathroom so you can comfort your newborn telling them ‘it’s ok, mommy is almost done, she’ll be out in just a second.’

No matter what you are doing, there will likely be another simultaneous (and in the large scale, more important) demand on your time. And the control that you once thought you had over your life has become a distant memory. In fact, your progeny will dictate so much of your day to day life that you won’t even be sure if you’re an autonomous person anymore. And really, for the most part, you aren’t. Their lives and livelihood and growth and wellbeing are so woven into the very fabric and essence of who you are that you can’t entirely separate them from you.

Even when you are away, you will wonder how they are, if they miss you and that hopefully if they do it isn’t too much, but just enough that they will be happy to see you when you get home. Because you are not a single entity anymore. You are a ‘we.’ You will answer questions about your day in the plural form. If toddler isn’t having a good day, nobody is, so ‘we are having a tough day.’ You are tangled up in a dysfunctional co-dependent relationship where you drive each other crazy and can’t stand to be apart at the same time. You will be completely blindsided how two words said in just the right way can cut you to your core, then elated beyond words how two more words said in the exact opposite tone can fill your heart to overflowing.

Motherhood will take you to your breaking point and make you pray for relief. Then, when you aren’t expecting it, your baby will roll. Just roll. Just move their body from one position to another position immediately to their right or left, opposite to the position in which they originated their movement – and you will be floored. You never in your life will have ever been so amazed at what typically would seem to be a very unimpressive physical feat. It will fill you with unbelievable pride and astonishment. Then, at some point, this baby will look at you with their sweet, beautiful, wonder-filled eyes and their whole face will light up like you are the most amazing person, or thing, in the entire world.

Then on some unfortunate day, your toddler will be puking his poor little heart out and your heart will break for him and you will feel completely helpless, wishing with all your being you could do something to help him and he will stop and make the observation that he believes the soup he ate for lunch is causing his sickness and then say with a worried look ‘Mommy ate taco soup too’ because he is concerned you will start throwing up as well. And your heart will break in a very different way. Not from sadness, but because it is filled to the brim with the love and joy that this child creates within you and it is too much for your heart to contain. So it aches. In the most beautiful way possible. And you will know that all the heartache, all the feeling of failure, all the doubt and worry and sleepless nights and loss of freedom and sanity is all worth it. You know your sacrifice is the price you pay to have this heart eternally linked with yours, with all the joy and pain and bittersweet brokenness it brings. And you are never the same, because you are now a ‘we.’