The Guilt of Motherhood

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It all starts with one word.

Mama.

Long before it is even spoken by those little lips, already while being knit together, whether in womb or heart.

A piece of you. A part of you. Growing. Shaping to roam and change the world.

Without you.

First comes the joy and excitement, which if we’re honest, is followed by extreme terror and doubt.

You become responsible for this being that prances around with your heart like it’ll never stop beating and can endure all things.

When in reality, after week one, it starts dragging never to fully catch up again.

Sleep is but a vague memory. Clean floors. Dirty dishes. Laundry piles. Dusting – who still does that anyway? It never ends.

Yet, very few of us hold only the prestigious mama title. One that really is enough to consume every ounce of sanity and energy one human is capable of producing.

So we push through day after day as a full-time mama, in a full-time career, as a full-time cleaner, as a never ending cook and a 24-7 first responder…. I haven’t even touched on comparisons and the dos and don’ts that attempt to choke us at every turn.

These little people are everywhere and they need us every minute of the day, even after they start pretending they don’t.

Mamas we will never be done. We are in this forever. All of us.

Feeling alone? Exhausted? Like you’re the only one that just fed their kids Kraft Dinner three days in a row? Like it’s only your child that throws a tantrum in the check out line every. single. time. And the famous words I HATE YOU…. you must be the only parent to have ever heard that.

Because all the other mamas feed their children only organic food with 80% vegetables, 10% protein and 10% carbs. All the other mamas know how to hold their temper, even behind closed doors. They get promotions at work and their homes are spotless. Their children are in ballet, gymnastics, soccer and well every fricking thing under the sun. Oh and their husbands? Well, they are clearly living happily ever after.

Insanity right? How do we keep it together?

We don’t. Each of us marching to the beat of a different drum in the same band. Alone.

Mamas we need each other. We need to do this together.

We need to be able to extend and share our bruised, dragging hearts in all aspects of motherhood. On the street, in the market, at the park and in our homes.

Together with so much grace, love and respect for each other that all those moments of guilt, fear and doubt are replaced and filled with assurance, support and love. Oh so much love.

Because despite all of it, at the end of the day, we love our little beings so much, that we wouldn’t change it for anything.

And there is only one way we can remain sane on this crazy adventure of motherhood…..

Together. Hand in hand. Heart to heart.

You with me mama?

 

Until next time,
Eva

 

 

Photo credit – DanaWall Photography

Plenty of Tea and Hands To Hold

DAPPER ESSENTIALS

It’s a bit like turning the heat up on a pot of frogs. Which, come to think of it, is a silly idea really.

You can be in that state of mind only for so long. Push you way past any limits you ever dared to think you had and then some.

In time the water will get so hot, that even though you have trained your mind to a mental state of resistance, your body will eventually tap out.

When that tap out happens, may the strength of your mind be enough to land you in the shade with plenty of tea and hands to hold.

We like to think it’s smooth sailing after the landing, if only that were the case.

The reality of the situation will only come to be as the breeze blows over you and your wounds get attended to.

Not just some quick miracle healing. No, that would shell shock the system and dismiss the beauty in forming and shaping of each scar individually.

As your hands get held and your wounds begin to seal, the taste of the tea becomes sweet, and you begin to acknowledge the shade not just as a dark cloud keeping you from the sun, but as a protection from more heat.

In that place, people may come and people may go, some bringing salve and others tearing the band-aid off carelessly. Revealing those never ending scars.

In time, that will matter less.

As the feelings start to return, so will your strength. Emotional, mental and physical.

Enough so, that you may come to a place of recognizing that many of those scars won’t be going anywhere for years to come. But you are able to look at them no longer as to what happened in that pot, but as to what happened under that tree.

And oh the beauty of you sitting under that tree, grasping the hands of so many hot pot frogs to follow.

There you will let your ever faded scars shine bright on the ever gaping wounds of those in your presence.

How sweet the tea will be!

Until next time,
Eva

The Voices

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I remember a time when there was only one. It was peaceful.

Then there were two and a constant battle.

The one dreams big and believes in all things, the other slowly chews it up and spits it out. Scattered everywhere. As if to say, try that again and see what I will make of it.

People used to tell me about it and I lacked even the slightest bit of sympathy. You just block it out, pray it out, knock it out. Whatever you need to do, deal with it.

I actually probably never believed it to be real. Because, the world was my oyster and no one could stop me.

Maybe because it was absent for so long, it now feels the need to work over time, make up for lost time you know.

It took me awhile to recognize it when it first came around. It sort of just sneaks in all sly like, as if it’s always been there. It becomes apparent only after it dominates every decision you make and you actually no longer hear the other.

It thrives as the unknown, the unnamed.

We’ve met now though. Face to face. The way I like to be with everything occupying space in my presence. On a first name basis.

I call it the voice of lies.

I greet it, acknowledge it, sit with it for a bit, then I go full blown battle on it.

With the voice of truth.

Because the voice of truth enables us to be bold and beautiful. Even a little bit crazy. It comes in joy, sincerity, peace and hope.

Hope in big dreams, hope in beautiful growth. Hope to be one hundred percent you!

Because being our beautiful whole self is the most courageous thing we’ll ever do, and it really only has room for one voice.

The voice of truth.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

The day my daughter said the F word

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We were hanging out on the living room floor, pretty chill I thought. She was trying to put a toy together and apparently it wasn’t going well.

Bleep.

Said those little soft lips.

I perked up a bit, but to be honest I wasn’t really surprised to hear her say it. I had said it in front of her, well, once or twice or more….

She looked at me and waited for a reaction.

And like any good Christian parent, I said, ‘Please don’t ever say that at school.’ Yup! The worst, I know.

She was still eyeing me, not sure what else to expect.

I sat there for a solid minute or two in silence, wondering what other genius things I could come up with. Recognizing that I was 100% to blame for that bleep.

But too, realizing that I personally wasn’t really scarred by that word or the fact that it came out of the mouth of my 5 year old. Clearly feeling the pressure of having raised a heathen, who God only knows, has the softest heart and loves Him so much.

At that moment though, I concluded that yes, we have other words in our vocabulary that almost always get our point across, but there was something bigger here.

I have never heard her little lips talk bad about someone. Ever.

My heart. The day that happens.

She loves people. Sees the best in everyone.

So instead of giving her the general, ‘don’t swear because it’s a sin and you’ll go to hell’ talk (hey, that’s all I was ever told); I dug a little deeper and said, ‘more important than not using that word at school, is that you don’t ever use it towards someone or against someone. When we speak to or about someone we use only gentle and kind words.’

To which I got a, ‘ya, cuz saying bad things about someone makes them feel sad.’

She gets it.

More important than waving a red flag when we hear someone bleep, is to raise a million red flags when we hear someone being torn down or talked about.

It goes beyond the ‘did you hear stories.’

We tend to write other people’s stories. We stretch them and shape them far from what they actually really are. Lame sauce. We should really just live our own stories to their fullest potential.

I may be off my rocker, but to be honest with you, I’m a lot more passionate about raising a generation that occasionally bleeps and cares deeply for each other, than raising a generation that never bleeps and tears each other down.

If all else fails, we could always teach them to live by this simple rule, ‘if you can’t say it to their face, don’t say it behind their back.’

Perhaps, seeing how children model after us in our behaviour (and apparently word usage), we could live, leading by example.

New Years resolution 2017 maybe?!

Until next time, always with love!
Eva

 

P.S. Yes, ideally they would neither bleep or tear each other down, but lets just start somewhere and work towards perfection?! 😉

Living From the Heart

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Remember when I wrote that blog about going on this trip and taking my anxiety with me? I had thought the trip was going to be a great idea and then the first couple of days I didn’t know if I would survive? Yeah, I that one!

Well, it really was the best thing EVER! Not as in the best holiday I have ever had, but the best thing for my heart.

My sidekick and I spent some time in Buenos Aires and then made our way into the cold windy plains of El Calafate. This is where the magic happened!

When we got to our cabin in El Calafate, I immediately asked for the Wi-Fi password because let’s be honest, the necessity of wifi is right up there with food. I was greeted with a ‘no hay wifi.’ Mmmm, come again?! I had booked to stay at a place for 7 days with no Wi-Fi??? Oh dear me.

The thing here is I’m not OCD about having Wi-Fi all the time (ok maybe I am), but especially when I’m away from home and don’t have a good international phone plan.

Ever since our family tragedy in 2009, which happened when I was in Israel, I panic at the thought of my people back home not being able to contact me.

So yes I went straight into, ‘Eva what the heck mode,’ meanwhile smiling and assuring my host that it was totally fine… When in life do we learn to feel one thing and say the other?!

But you guys, after I processed my panic, shock and fear it ended up being okay. Actually, it was the best thing that could have happened on that trip.

The next 7 days Alayna and I saw the most beautiful scenery ever, but better than that was my Wi-Fi free time.

I kept Alayna on her routine of going to bed at 7pm, which meant I now had hours to myself with NO INTERNET. At first I would literally just find myself sitting by the window staring into space for hours.

I would go to a place of peace in my heart that felt so good, I couldn’t move.

In that peace my heart would begin bubbling over with inexpressible hope and joy. I had not felt the extent of that in years, if ever! It was so good I wanted to hold onto it. So my staring turned into writing which turned into listening which turned into dreaming BIG!

It’s amazing what the heart holds when we stop long enough to dig way down.

The challenge here is holding onto that which we discover in those heart moments, especially once you get back to every day life.

I’ve tried to pause long enough every day since being back, to get a glimpse into those moments again.

Because even a breath in that space is enough to keep me dreaming big and believing big. And when we start dreaming and believing big, we start living from the heart.

And living from the heart really is the only way you guys.

 

Until next time,

Eva

 

Photo: Our no Wi-Fi cabin where magic happens 😉

Why I will Always Stand with the Immigrant

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My parents had been living on rice and beans for months with 8 children under the age of 10. Then, their only means of income was taken away from dad because of outstanding debt. They had no place to turn…..

until a friend extended an invitation to take them to Canada.

My dad and the kids came in as second generation Canadians born abroad. My mom had nothing. She came in as an immigrant.

Almost 2 years later, I was born here. In Canada.

You see, even if Canada hadn’t given them an avenue to come in and immigrate her legally, they would have had to do something. I can imagine many scenarios of what that could have looked like.

Even though she was the only one that immigrated and I was actually born here, I always felt like I didn’t belong.

“Hey you fucking M&M’s, go back to where you belong!!” We heard that so many times.

To have someone pull up and yell that out the window when you’re walking down the street minding your own, really does a number. You only need to hear that once to get the message.

Every time after that is just a nail in the coffin.

I would get so angry and want to run after them, mom would just laugh and brush it off.

My heart aches for her and every other person who has ever felt like they didn’t belong because of race, gender, culture, religion or whatever else it may be.

I was traveling when a huge statement was made just across the border from us.

Not once did I bring up the topic, but everyone that recognized us as foreigners asked me about it.

The pain in the heart and eyes of the Jewish woman sitting beside me on plane was real you guys. The Brazilian American standing in the airport line behind me said it wasn’t the same coming ‘home’ this time. Then added ‘maybe this never was home.’

You could feel the tension of South Americans serving us North Americans because they should stay or go back where they came from, but we’ll go wherever we want and they should be there to serve us. No you guys, it wasn’t just me and in my head.

It was real.

Some say it was all media and won’t be what it was portrayed to be. Well, I can tell you this, whether it was platform or media, what I felt all those years ago and what those people are feeling right now is real!

SO gosh darn REAL you guys.

We CANNOT sit back and let history repeat itself. We need to STAND UP and STAND WITH them. Loud and bold!

Because we all belong you guys. We all belong. Together.

Lets be intentionally and do life together. Regardless of race, gender, religion or culture. Next time you’re out and about, hold out your hand, whether literally or in action to say, I AM WITH YOU.

WE ARE WITH YOU! Always will be.

Until next time,

Eva

 

 

 

 

 

How to handle anxiety… Or not!

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So what’s the best thing to do when anxiety is gnawing away at your being? You book a flight to a place you’ve never been, a place where you don’t know a single soul.

Initially it’ll seem like a really good idea….. It’ll be an adventure!

That is, until you get to Houston and they ask you for the visa you never got.

First comes denial. This is no big deal, you’ll handle this. It’s only a 24 hour delay. Why the heck is the attendant staring at you?! Oh shit, reality. You’re not handling this. You’re crying! Like a freaking ugly cry is about to go down.

But wait, not only did you take your anxiety on this trip, you decided it would be so much better if you brought the kid too! Who is now, full blown ugly crying right beside you.

Thank you gate E20!

But like really, you push through it. Because you’re going on this adventure and it’s going to be great! It’s actually going to make the world right again.

Then you get to the city of 3 million people, where you decided to get an apartment right in heart of downtown. Because getting a hotel like a normal tourist would have been too easy.

Once you finally get into your apartment, (after frantically searching for the intercom for 30 minutes, that was right in front of your face), you’ll realize that although you are exhausted from flying, there are a few things you need right away. Simple things like, to charge your cell…. but the outlets are different and you need an adapter, which you of course, don’t have.

Okay, things to get…. Adapter, food. Oh, but you haven’t gotten any local currency yet and the little shops downtown don’t take American dollars (not even without Trump’s face on it).

You read online, that to get the best rate for your dollar, you need to go to a guy on the street to exchange it. Going to an official exchange vendor, would again, be too easy. So you walk the streets until you hear a guy yell, “dollas, dollas, I help you, dollas.” Good, he will help and you can be on your way! But wait, you’re supposed to follow him somewhere… Into a dark building and then into a metal rod elevator.

You realize this would make a great movie scene and that your holding onto your kid’s hand as if you’re about to die.

Then you remember you took a 90 minute self defence class a couple weeks ago and you do a re-run of the eye poke move in your head. It gives you enough confidence, that you keep following this guy. Who in the end, really does just exchange your money and not kill you or your kid. (Phew!)

By the time you get the money, food and adapter and crash in your middle-of-who-knows-where apartment, you will literally feel like a super hero! Because you did it, not only did you do all that, but you did it while reminding yourself to breath every second of the day, and carrying the weight of the entire world on your shoulders.

You even managed to take a picture and post it on Instagram to make it look like you were actually surviving.

All this will remind you of what you’re really made of. It’ll remind you to never stop fighting for what is right for your heart. It’ll remind you to keep dreaming and making those dreams come true!

It’ll give you hope to keep pushing through life with everything you got, because dammit, through you big things will come to be!!

Until next time,
Eva

P.S If you are struggling with anxiety and you didn’t make it off the couch today, that is okay too. Trust me, I too have days like that. It’s important though to not let those days turn into weeks, to not let them define us. Because anxiety is not who we are,  it’s a battle we are fighting and win we will!

P.P.S If you have never had anxiety and you’re thinking, she just needs to pray more or she doesn’t need to carry all that around. That’s not how it works, you really won’t know until you’ve been there. And if you’re thinking, oh gosh, she needs professional help, you are right. I am working with a team of professionals, its just a long, freaking hard process.

Shedding

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You guys, I’m shedding. Like a mad dog over here and it’s kind of terrifying but also SO freeing.

In the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize the extent of layers and layers of crap like expectations I was carrying around. It’s no wonder I could hardly breathe!

This started to happen when I felt that I had officially disappointed every single soul on this planet in what they expected of me. I couldn’t even pretend that I was living up to who I was supposed to be anymore.

What I should do. What I shouldn’t do. Who I should be. Who I shouldn’t be.

Some of this goes as far back as my mom and pops and some of it is definitely from the last decade. It was like these crazies had made a permanent home and were choking out any and all new growth.

I found myself on my bathroom floor in a deep pit and I needed out. I needed out NOW. I was suffocating. Eva who?!

I begged God for something. Okay, I yelled at him to give me something and to do it NOW. Reminding him (or myself) of his promise to never leave me or forsake me, and that now would be a good time to show up.

He gave me something very simple. Me…. and Him….. Just like that. That’s all it is.

I sat there exhausted in that silent, dark pit. Really?! But…. But…. Expectations… I can’t….. All those people…

I had lugged my heart on that road for so long, I couldn’t imagine anything else. It was comfortable in a weird twisted way. Without all those extra layers I would need to start feeling me. I would have to get to know me, find out what gives me life.

That’s freaking scary stuff.

I was at the bottom of the pit though. Couldn’t go any lower so I had to choose another way. So frightening! But as the layers started loosening, freedom started shining through.

It was the start of something new. Something good.

Expectations can be deceiving. Did other people really put them on my or did I just think they did? Maybe I put them on myself and it really has nothing to do with the people around me.

Perhaps it’s a game my mind and heart have been playing with each other and the rest of us were never invited.

Either way, it’s coming off.

It’s a slow and messy process but I’m blowing off my coat, even if those around me aren’t sure what to do with it.

It needed to happen. It’s good you guys!

Each one of us is so unique. To live a life in chains of what we feel others want and need from us is a death sentence. I’m not talking about being self-centered and disregarding others.

There is something very different about serving those around us, and living for those around us.

One is life-giving. The other is death-defying.

Have a few coats weighing you down? Shed my friend, shed!

 

Until next time,

Eva

The Hard Truth

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I have been thinking for a while now about how I would tell you this. It’s long over due but I have no idea how to do this. This is the most exposed I have EVER felt.

Over the months of thinking and discerning through whether I should or shouldn’t write about this, in the end it was Glennon and her post that made me realize I could and should.

This is big, hard news you guys.

 

 

Gary and I are separated. Have been for a year now………

 

 

If you feel sick, disappointed or angry right now. I get it. It’s ok.

For those of you that know and believed in us, I am sorry. So sorry! My heart breaks for you in your disappointment.

So why haven’t I said anything sooner? To be honest, we were encouraged to keep it quiet…. Out of love for us I’m sure. But I’m at a point where I just can’t anymore.

You are probably wondering, what the heck happened? The story is not just mine and it’s big and so, so complicated you guys. I wish I could explain it to you in one sentence, but for you to really be able to wrap your mind around it, I’d need to sit with you for days.

To the world it may look like I’ve given up and I’m choosing an easier route. You guys, I have never actually met someone in a similar situation who just decided to give up. It comes after a long hard, hard battle.

This last year has by far, been the hardest year of my life. I know, I say that every year. Seriously though, this last year doesn’t compare to anything I have lived through.

The pain of death does not come close to the pain I have felt in this.

In all of the other tragedies, although I felt deep pain, I didn’t need to carry it. I had a large community carrying it for me. In this, the pain has been far, far greater and besides a few close friends, it has been on us.

I’m not casting blame because many of you had no idea, and for those of you that did and didn’t know what to do, I get that too.

So how did we get to where we are today? I ask myself that every. damn. day.

Some things are not okay and cannot be denied. Even in missions, illness and community expectations.

With respect to Gary I can tell you this, I was at a place emotionally and mentally that if we hadn’t made this change, I don’t know that I would be here today, functioning. Because of what day-to-day life was like.

It was a slow process with a few BIG episodes where I knew something had to be done. I found myself in a place where I no longer knew who I was. I was completely numb and felt nothing to love or harm. My thought patterns and actions were so foreign to me.

I had become a puppet to fear, shame, self-doubt, harm and pain.

Over time I became smaller and quieter. I had no idea where to turn. No idea what to do.

When I finally started talking, very few heard me. But a few sweet souls not only heard me but they heard us. They held my hand. They held Gary’s hand. They loved us right in our mess. That brought the brave out in me again.

I believe more than anything that pain is not meant to be carried alone. It’s meant to be shared. Only then, can it reach it’s fullest potential.

Opening up about a broken marriage is taboo and I don’t like it. Is it any wonder marriages are struggling all around us? The enemy devours what we keep in the dark. We need to change that.

So what about Alayna? It is actually because of her that I knew we needed to do something. I believe in leading by example and yes, if Alayna were ever to be in this situation, I would want her to make changes to heal and become whole, however that may look.

I understand that many of us feel very strongly about what this looks like to God. I can tell you that this does not separate us from God’s love. This does not surprise him at all. He has walked with us every minute of our hard and he will continue to do so.

I am not asking for your opinions, suggestions or advice. And I most certainly do not need you to try and fix us. I imagine this to be a great “did you hear” story, but I have been called to be open and vulnerable with you, what you do with that is not on me.

My hope is that it will encourage others to care for their soul in all situations and circumstances.

To always be ready to choose love over judgment.

I will keep my head high and continue to speak up when I feel lead, to make a difference where I can. Always.

Now I’m going to go throw up as I hit publish.

Until next time,

Eva

 

P.S. Gary and I are trying to continue to do ‘family’ together the best that we can. My hope is that we both be treated with love and grace. Please know that there are details in this that I can’t share with the world out of respect for Gary, Alayna and myself.

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Dear Dad

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Since this year is my year of feeling, I would of course, be feeling your birthday extra deep today.

I don’t know a lot about what life was like for you growing up, but I imagine it was a whole lot of good for nothing kinda lovin.

As a parent myself now, I know you tried. You did however, screw up a million times over, and never really broke the parenting cycle you grew up with. I won’t deny the truth in that. I’ve felt it and paid for it two million times over, as I try and break those cycles.

Hard as heck. I get it now.

I’ll have you know though, I don’t really ever think about that.

More than the hard days, I remember you knocking on my door come Saturday morning, asking if I wanted to go to the cattle auction with you. Then riding beside you in your truck, not really ever saying anything, but feeling in my heart like everything was being said.

One of a kind feeling. Miss it so bad.

The way you would sit next to me on those auction seats, completely focused on your next purchase, but then allowing me to make one of my own every once in a while.

Remember that darn goat Lucky?! Yeah sorry, that wasn’t a good choice.

Come noon though, you’d hand over a 20 and know I’d come back with our regular – 2 cheeseburgers, 2 bags of potato chips and 2 cokes.

Thinking of that makes me smile, because you’re probably to blame for my addiction to burgers!

But those were our moments. Miss them so bad.

I miss knowing that when things got tough, you’d be there. In your own way, but there none-the-less.

If you were here now, you’d probably have a thing or two to say and I would probably disagree. But at the end of the day, the father-daughter bond that is there regardless of circumstances or situations, would out weigh our bull.

Today as I sit here and wish with every fiber of my being, that I could celebrate you being 66, I want to thank you.

Thank you for trying. Thank you for raising me to be who I am today. You never let me take the easy way out. You pushed me beyond my desires. You raised me to never give up. I wouldn’t be surviving today if you hadn’t. Thank you!

Dad, I love you. And I miss you so gosh darn much!

Happy 66th

 

Always,

Your Baby