The day you were born is the day that my life changed forever. Driving to the hospital, I was so nervous. Not nervous about being a mom, I knew that was what I was made for, but nervous about the surgery. I remember, when they took me into the operating room, and I was staring up at this big surgery light, and there were SO many doctors and nurses there. It was total chaos. I was throwing up (which shouldn't be a surprise, you made me throw up the whole time you were in me) and it was so scary and crazy and quick...and then I heard it, the sound of your cry. The best sound I have ever heard in my life sweet baby boy and the best sound I am sure I will ever hear. Your daddy brought you to me and held you up so I could see you. It would be about a half an hour before I could hold you, but once I did, I fell in complete and total love. Just like that, just like they say, my whole life was different. Both sets of your grandparents came to see you shortly after you were born, and my mom (busie) kept saying that she had never ever seen a mother look at her son as much as I did.
Honey, I was obsessed with you. For the first few days, I didn't want to sleep, because all I wanted to do was hold you. I remember, the first night, it was around four am and you and I watched John Paul II get beatified. You had hiccups and just sat in my lap, staring into my face. You were absolutely perfect. Perfect rosy cheeks. Perfect little lips. And because you were so HUGE, you looked like such a little man. I loved feeding you, and looking at you. I loved taking you to our little house in Redford and knowing this was the place that you would grow up. In your first few weeks as a newborn you would stare so intently at everyone and everything. Just staring, trying to discover the world. I call you inspector chi-chi because you like to inspect the world. You are my little monchichi. I call you that because when you were born, you had a hairy back/arms and the cutest little face. You reminded me of cartoon characters on a show called 'The Monchichis'. For the first year of your life, I have sung you, 'way up in the trees live the monchichis' almost every day.
This first year has been incredible. I have delighted in every single one of your firsts. Your first smile, your first bottle, your first bath, your first time eating food, rolling over for the first time, sitting up for the first time, clapping, saying dada, and walking. As I write you this letter, you are walking around our living room. You keep your arms in front of you for balance, it is pretty much the cutest thing ever. When you are sick, you snuggle so close. You do not pass a mirror without waving to yourself, but I can't get you to wave at other people yet. If I look at you, and giggle really loud, you will look at me and giggle back. You are a nutball of a baby. We call you destructo, because there is nothing within your reach that you won't destroy. I am often amazed that you know the one thing in the room that you are not allowed to have, and you go straight for that thing. You have an incredible appetite, but you don't love vegetables. I think if you could eat graham crackers every day for the rest of your life you would.
You are in.love. with your daddy. From the moment he comes into the house, you just stare at him. He is the first name you learned, the first person you find when I say, 'where is your daddy'. You get sad, in the morning, when he leaves for work. And he is SUCH a great dad. Getting to watch your daddy be a daddy has been incredible. I fall more and more in love with him each and every day because he gave me you, because he helps with you, because he tells you he loves you every day and gives you kisses and reads you stories. Sometimes your daddy sings you songs he just makes up, that is my favorite. They are funny, silly songs. It is awesome.
There were some times that were hard this year. When you were first home, you gave us a run for our money. Tummy issues made you colicky. You cried all.the.time. I used to say if you weren't so cute, I would have sent you back. But, we figured out, if you were on Soy you would be much better. Then, we went to Mass on a Tuesday night, on our way home, I didn't strap you in your stroller. At three weeks old you fell out and hit the concrete, on your head. It was the worst moment of my life, it is hard to even think about and I still get teared up when I think about those few moments, when you were screaming, a ball on the ground, so small. I could barely move, I was, I think, in shock. You got your first stay in the hospital for that one. A lil' skull fracture. Like auntie k-k says, 'I broke your skull once, I can do it again! I had to leave you when you were three months old to go to Spain, that broke.my.heart. Your daddy took such good care of you, he loved you so perfectly and enough for both of us, but it was terrible leaving you. We had a heart issue that resolved itself, and then, because you had such a big head we had to do a special ultra sound to make sure you didn't have fluid on the brain. Sometimes, it is hard being a mommy. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I sure do miss sleeping in. You don't really let us do that anymore, you will understand when you are teenager how much of a sacrifice that is! You are a stubborn lil' dude, but man, I kind of dig that about you! It hasn't been super easy, but it has always been awesome!
You are LOVED by so many people. Strangers stop us all the time to tell us how cute you are. Everyone thinks we should get you in baby modeling. You have the biggest eyes and the most squeezable cheeks. Your laugh shakes a room. Your family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, they were all so excited when you got here and they love to see you whenever they can. You are spoiled so much by busie and har-har that your aunts and uncles have begun to refer to you as 'precious'. Busie always says, 'there is something special about that boy'. Your Grammie and Papa love spending time with you. They watch you all the time and you love to laugh with them. Har Har and you have a very special relationship. He watches you while mommy is at work. You love to look at him, ride on his knee, stare at his glasses and sometimes pull his goatee.
We found out when you were 5 months old that you are going to have a baby sibling. We later found out he is a boy. A lot of first time moms worry about having to split their love with a second child. So far, I have not had that fear, I think mostly because I know you are going to be the BEST big brother. I am so excited for our lil' Joseph Michael. That we get to have another sweet baby boy, and that you get to be his brother. I can't wait to watch you guys grow up. I can't wait to watch you protect him. I can't wait to watch you play football together and, don't quote me on this (so I probably shouldn't be writing it) but I can't wait to split up your little squabbles and have you give each other hugs and kisses to make up. Our family is multiplying in love, it is such a gift!
There is so much I love about having you in my life. I love taking you to Church, I love praying with you every night. Daddy and I want to make sure you understand how much Jesus loves you. We want you to be best friends with him, even when it is hard for you. He loves you so much. He loves all of us so much, that he gave us to each other and made us a little family. Your Baptism day was one of the coolest days ever, I loved watching you become a new creation. At that point, you were colicky all.the.time. I was so afraid the day would be stressful and overwhelming. For some reason, that day, you were perfectly content. You didn't cry at all, even when we put on the long itchy dress. You stayed calm and happy, the perfect little angel. I think that you knew what a special day it was...so cool. We love taking you to Mass, even though you are sometimes a stinker. We love to pray with you and read you stories about God, the Saints and the Church. I can't wait to raise you to be a saint. Sometimes I think that I really need to work on how I act. I still use bad words all the time. I lose my temper with your daddy; I am quick to anger and slow to love. I am trying to work on all those things so that I can be the best mom for you and the best wife to your daddy. I am hoping, hoping, hoping that when you see me, you see God's light shine though. I have a LOT of work to do on that. I am sorry for the times this year that I haven't been a good example to you, please know I am working on it. I just love you so much, and I want to be the best I can be for you!
It was hard to start this letter and it is harder to end it. I think because words can NEVER do justice to what you have brought me this year. It is a beautiful thing to love someone so much that words seem cheap. You are an incredible little boy Aaron Christopher the Second. You have brought us so much joy! Being a mom is the coolest thing I have ever done and the coolest thing I will ever do. I love you more than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow. Happy First Birthday sweet baby boy. May God's love continue to shine on and through you!
...and the ugly.
One of my favorite blogs this morning said something to the effect of, in the blogging world, sometimes we present the good, but not always the real of our day to day lives. I started blogging to have a record of my family for my children primarily. Though now, it has become to much more, including a venting platform, an educational resource and, of course, a record of my family. And if you read this blog, you know I love my family! I am pretty much obsessed with my husband and my son is where my sun rises and sets. But, if you know us, you know, like many married couples, we struggle, sometimes a lot.
The lack of sleep, crazy busy schedule and sometimes chaos that comes from balancing being a mom and a wife and a youth minister has made things interesting around our house. Both the husband and I are committed to loving each other well, in a faith centered marriage, but we fail at it. A lot. An embarrassing amount of the time actually. Our fierce independence, as we mold into one, along with my pretty intense crazy two years of pregnancy/post pregnancy and pregnancy again hormones... Sometimes makes the Wilkerson household a challenging place to be.
Saturday, we had a rough day. It actually started friday night. Actually, to be honest, it started the Sunday before. Lil Aaron had run a pretty high fever for three days. Which meant sun, mon, and tues, I, at seven months pregnant, got very little sleep. Big A tries to help, but he sleeps heavier than I, and I feel bad waking him up...so the moral of the story is that I was rolling into the weekend pretty spent. We had some miscommunication about chores that needed to be done before having people over our house, which led to a pretty large fight. The type of fight where tempers are lost, horrible words are said, insults are swung and tears fall freely. The fight got out of control and mean, and it was all in front of little Aaron.
The husband and I have fought before, we have gone a day or two in silence, but this was different, maybe because we have a little person that now hears the things we say? Maybe because we haven't been on a 'just the two of us date' in a few months? Maybe because our squabbling is really becoming less and less frequent, so it was surprising how bad it got. For whatever reason, this one was bad. We made up, as we usually do, but even later that night, with our friends over, I could see in my husband's face that he looked tired, and frankly a bit beat up. Saturday was a hard hard day on our marriage. We apologized and snuggled each other and went to bed committing to a better tomorrow.
Sunday morning, the husband let me sleep in. I needed it. We had a crazy busy day, and a still sick baby, but we faced the day as a team, team Wilkerson. Still a bit weary from the day before, we were gentler with each other. Sunday night was lil a's worst sleeping night. H didn't sleep more than a half an hour, without waking up crying from his lingering cold. But this time, the husband and I tag teamed it. At 4:30 am, we laughed about how ridiculous it was. At six thirty, we couldn't believe we freely chose to have another one of these things, and by 8:30 am, with big Aaron on his way out the door, we were both smiling. We had a lunch time squabble, that we quickly resolved, and the evening was great. I went and gave a social media talk and Aaron did all the laundry! Team Wilkerson rocked it out. At about 9:30 pm, the baby woke up crying once again. I cleaned his nose with the awful nose sucker, as the husband held his arms down. The babe was quite upset after, and Aaron rocked him to sleep, as I thought to myself, "my husband is an excellent daddy". I folded the laundry and we went to bed together exchanging I love you, hugs and kisses. Despite the craziness of life, we had a really good two days.
And that, blog world is my experience of marriage. It is work. We get better at it as we learn to mold together, but some days we just really stink at it. But the core of who we are is fused into one, so with lots of love, patience, humility and forgiveness, we move forward. Living the reality of the good, the bad and the ugly. Happy Tuesday!!!
Here is one of the truest and most terrifying sentences I
have ever read (from William Law’s Serious Call): “If you will look into
your own heart in complete honesty, you must admit that there is one and only
one reason why you are not a saint: you do not wholly want to be.”
Such a true, powerful statement. I have a choice, I have influence over my
decisions, I am not a victim, I have power.
Let’s take this a step forward for the sake of this blog post……
“If you will look into your own heart in complete honesty,
you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not
wealthy/financially stable: you do not wholly want to be” See what I did there?
It’s so true for many of us.
We can blame many circumstances and incidents in our past that have
caused us to be struck down and set back.
I’m going to share a story.
Because of decisions that I made (that I later wish I could take back) I
owed the IRS and state of Michigan $4,000 in taxes. Due on April 15th, 2011. Two weeks later, the week before my 1st
child was born, our basement flooded.
The whole basement, at the same level at the carpet. There’s another $2,000. What am I missing…oh yeah. Back in January, we woke up and my wife said,
“It’s really dry in this house”. Here
comes a new humidifier, $500. Remember
that baby I mentioned, well he required surgery via C-Section to come out and
that means extra day in hospital. Also,
another hospital stay a couple weeks later because of a fall. So tack on another $2,000 - $3,000 in
hospital bills. Then, in July, brakes
needed to be fix. Another $600. All in the same year.
Guess what, we paid cash for everything! IRS/State of Michigan, I had a check for
them. Flooded basement, how about a
check. Humidifier…..check! Beaumont Hospital, I have some checks for
you as each bill comes in the mail!
Heating & Cooling, meet the checkbook. Brake job, debit card! (Forgot the
checkbook). I’m not saying all this to
brag. I’m just making the point that I
understand more than anyone that things happen.
But instead of life happening to you, how about you happening to
How did this all happen?
Back in December of 2010, I met someone named Dave Ramsey. He changed my life. If my religion allowed me to worship false
idols, he’d be it. Through him, I made
the choice with my wife to take control.
Grab our finances by the collar and take over. Like Gandolf in the Lord of the Rings, we
told our money, “You Shall Not Pass!!!”
But the funny thing is that we did it through simple methods – Make a
budget, pay mostly everything with cash.
That’s it. We broke out a budget
and it said, “Show Me the Money!!!” Dave
Ramsey was able to empower us that we can be wealthy if we choose to be. But not wealthy just for the sake of hoarding
money with a clinched fist. Creating
wealth in order to give it away and give it happily. The only person who can help someone in need
is someone who has something to give. My
wife and I just made a Wilkerson Bucket List to list things that we want to do
in our lives. I’m happy that much of
that involves giving our money away and travel and give our money away and do
But the moral of the story is that you start all this with
the idea that I CAN become wealthy, if I want to. Life happens…..waaah waaah waaah. You can happen to life. You can.
We did it. But you have to
believe. We started on January 1st
2011 with $82,000 worth of debt. At the
end of this month, we’ll be down to $50,000 worth of debt. We’ll be debt free. We will be debt free. Why?
Because we made the choice to take control and make a plan. Dave Ramsey helped us believe that it’s
possible. We’re going to be millionaires
one day. We will because we decided to
be millionaires so that we can give a lot of it away and live the way we want
to. And on our way to becoming
millionaires, we’re still going to give 10% of our income to the Church. And we all think about becoming millionaires,
let’s be serious. Remember that mega
millions jackpot a couple weeks ago?
Don’t tell me you didn’t buy a ticket or significantly consider buying
one. And then you wondered what you’d do
with that $648 millions. How much you’d
give away. Didn’t you?
Look up Dave Ramsey to learn more about him and be amazed by
Those of you that have lived on your own/been married/or had children for a long time have probably already discovered this life lesson I am about to speak of. It is miraculous that it has taken me two years to articulate it, but this morning, everything clicked together.
I was putting the top tray of lil' Aaron's high chair back on and noticed a green bean had been stuck to the bottom tray. I thought to myself, 'someone else will get it' and proceeded to start to put back on the top tray and I stopped midway through. The reason? Om lowercase g, I am now that someone!!!!!!!!!!
Being one of six kids, we kind of learned our way to get around chores. Use the last piece of toilet paper? NBD, someone else will refresh it. Drink all but the last sip of milk? NBD, someone else will go out and buy it. Start laundry, but forget to switch it to the dryer? NBD, mom would probably do it next time she was in the basement.
But, ladies and gentlemen, this morning, it finally hit me. I could put the top tray on and continue about my day. But there is a 99.9% chance that if I do that, the same green bean is going to be there when I get home from work at 9:30 pm and I will be cleaning it up anyway. I am now the wife that 'gross' chores fall upon and the mom that will be perpetually cleaning up after her kids. There is no one else to 'do it'. The buck stops here! HA! And I guess I wouldn't want it any other way. WAIT! That is lie. I would, indeed, like it some other way, but I shall accept that this is my role, and my role is fantastic....so not having 'someone else to take care of it' will be accepted with grace.
And, my friends, I guess that's what they call....Growing up!!!!
My husband thinks he is a comedian. Most nights I fall asleep before him because I get tired around 9:00 pm (pregnancy and an 11 month old will do that to you). He always 'puts me to bed' (which consists of him rubbing my back and us listening to at least 2 Dave Ramsey Podcasts before I fall asleep- om lowercase g we are such nerds). Anyway, we are both pretty big sports fans. I like the drama of the game and he likes skill.
So last night was the NCAA Basketball Championship. Because we love our Kentucky family members, we wanted UK to win. When Aaron finally came to bed around 11:45 pm, I stirred myself awake and asked him who won. He went on to tell me the story of how the score was 68-67 and that Kentucky lost with a last minute 'hail mary' throw from center court. He said Kentucky was crushed, and my heart broke for my poor brother-in-law who is a HUGE fan. I kept saying I can't believe they lost as I drifted back to sleep.
When I woke up at around 5:30 I was unable to sleep, so, naturally, I checked Facebook. Lots of my 'friends' posts were about KY winning. So ladies and gentlemen, the boy who cried wolf struck again. He made up the entire story about Kentucky losing.
The sad thing? This isn't the first time he has done it. Superbowl, Sunday night football, etc...it is becoming a habit for him to make up stories for entertainment when he comes to bed. And the sadder thing...I keep falling for it :)
I have always been quite an independent person. I love to travel. And in my travels, I have been all over the world, including five continents. While exploring new cities, I ALWAYS made sure to solo travel. Sometimes, that meant an afternoon walking around Venice by myself, a subway ride through NYC, or popping in my headphones while walking Rome watching people. Sometimes it was more extreme. Solo travel included going to Belfast by myself for two days, because no one wanted to go with me. It included walking around Jerusalem, by myself, till I got lost and started panicking in an alleyway…how would I ever get back to the hotel (the Israeli soldiers with huge guns kind of added to the intensity of that experience)? My point is, I was not someone that had much fear when it came to travel.
I have always been a person that enjoys alone time. That always surprises people because I am QUITE extroverted. However, those that know me best, know that an evening at home, by myself, with a journal and some bud light used to be one of my favorite things in the world. I have always loved an empty house and the feeling that comes with flying solo.
But all that, officially has changed and changed pretty drastically. The struggle in my head is that I actually don’t mind the change, though popular thought today might think my next reflections are reDONKulous.
I do NOT like to be without my husband and child.I am not saying this for cheesiness sake, but when big Aaron is even at work, I miss him a little. Not the aching miss, but I miss him enough that when he gets home for the day, I am genuinely excited.I sometimes wait, like a little kid, by the door for him to pull up.When I have to work late nights, the 20 minute ride home seems like an eternity.Truth be told, sometimes I call him, just to talk to him before I get home ;)Working away from lil’ Aaron is a painful experience for me, and sometimes I run to my parent’s house just to see him smile before going back to work.Being in Spain this summer, for two weeks without either of them, was a terrible experience.I cried for weeks after, just thinking about how much I missed them.
I have wanted to visit my sisters in Kentucky for several months now, but Big Aaron has not been able to go due to work, so I kept putting it off. Finally, I decided, with or without Aaron I was going to make a commitment to go. I had decided that before, but when the trip came close, I would always cancel. This time, I was bound and determined not to cancel. All week I begged Big Aaron to come, and all week he told me it just wasn’t possible. So, Friday came, and thankfully I had convinced my mom to join us for the drive. She convinced my sister Annie, so the four of us headed out to Kentucky, but I felt REALLY uneasy about going without my husband. Lots of people said how silly that was, and I felt silly for having such a silly thought, and tried to block out the fears I had.
The ride down was one of the most awful experiences of my life. At times, my rockstar mom was driving through rain, I HATE driving in rain. At one point, she drove through straight ice from a hail storm that we apparently just missed. The good news? We missed most storms and by the time we hit Kentucky, I started to relax a bit. That is when I heard my mom scream, ‘what the hell is he doing?’. I looked up to see a man walking on the highway towards our car. To describe what it is like to see a man, on the highway, walking towards your car is quite impossible, it was nothing short of terrifying. Mom had to hit the brakes, she was screaming, lil’ Aaron started crying, I started praying outloud, CERTAIN that someone was going to hit us from behind. We swerved to miss the man, and I (sitting in the back seat) tried to roll down my window to yell at him. That is when I saw him walk back into the center of the lane, and continue walking towards a truck. I, thank GOD, I had the foresight to turn around when he was about 10 ft from being hit by the truck. We were all terribly shook up, certain the man was trying to commit suicide and be hit by a car. Mom called 911 via onstar, we were all crying. The tension in the car was palpable and honestly, I thought I was close to a panic attack. It was the scariest things I have seen. I tried to text Big Aaron/my sister and they weren’t responding. For a split second I had irrational thoughts about the world ending which is why a man would be walking in the center of a highway (irrational, I know). The tension in the car was at such an all-time high that about 45 minutes later we all ended up in one of the worst screaming fights we have ever been in (more on that in a future blog). It was awful.
When we finally got to my sister’s house and things had calmed down enough to call Big Aaron, I was near the point of breaking. I could barely talk to him I was crying so hard, I kept telling him I knew I shouldn’t have gone without him and I will never go again. I told him, when my mom hit the brakes, I was CERTAIN that we were going to hit from behind and lil' Aaron would be hurt or worse. I told him I was scared to drive back- and what was I thinking doing this trip without him?
At about 11:30 pm, I fell asleep, mostly from being so spent physically and emotionally. Waking up in the morning, I was in a pretty crabby place. Aaron and I spoke briefly on the phone (sweet guy called me first thing) and we went about our day. About 8 hours later, my brother in law Matt said, ‘hey, look who it is?’ and I looked out the window. My love, the best man I have ever known, was parking in the street. The husband had changed his mind, drove all the way to Kentucky and was at my sister’s house. I held/hugged him for a long time, and a few tears fell. I couldn’t believe he had come. I was so happy I wouldn’t have to ride home alone. I felt like I was complete again.
To some, this is probably an over-dramatic story. MOST, would not understand my dependency on my husband. And I can imagine some, (the women who might describe themselves as secular feminists) might want to scream when they read this next part...
I am no longer independent AND I don’t want to be. I lived that life for most of my twenties. I know what independence is and the joy that comes with it and I am completely comfortable admitting that I am now dependent on my husband and child. That doesn’t mean I am co-dependent. I have the ability to make decisions for myself AND anybody that knows me, knows that I give my husband a run for his money when it comes to not allowing him to steer the ship solo. However, I have decided, after this weekend, I am no longer going to feel bad about being completely dependent on my spouse, my children and our family. I won’t ‘push’ myself to travel without one part of our family…because our family is a unit. ‘where we go one, we go all’. I know that life doesn’t always make that easy. My job takes me away from my family from time to time, and that is just fine. BUT, whenever I have a choice, I won’t be ‘flying solo’ without my spouse anymore and, more than that, I won’t feel bad about it.