anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Poems of Motherhood | June

June was a heavy month for me. We moved. My baby was approaching 6 months. So of course, there was a lot of poetry.

I love the way your hands come together
clasped like prayer

I'm sure you know
I'm sure you understand

You probably pray better than the prophets
I will be the one to teach you how to say
dear Heavenly Father


sometimes the details
crash and break over me like waves
the curl of your hands
the tint of your hair
the exact weight of your small body
in my arms
like waves
the details change
you fit differently, yet secure
your mouth forms different sounds
clothes are boxed away
like waves
sometimes I drown in the depth of them
come out soaked to the marrow of my bones
salt water streaming down my face
like waves
the details slip and slide off of me
no matter how I try to catch them
ending up with droplets
when I tried to capture the ocean
just like waves
I'll never get tired of watching you
drowning and drinking you in
even when the salt scratches my throat
leaves me wishing for more water
I'm happy with the whatever
the waves leave me with

because in the end
those snatches of you
the scraps of memory
small and scattered as the sand
are beautiful
clinging to my skin
until they are a part of me
no amount of waves
can wash them away

last night I watched the sky blush its way to the horizon and thought about motherhood
the way that only a few months ago
we were tied together
by blood and tissue
belly to belly
leaving an indelible mark
a scar that just looks like skin
we're tied together in an entirely different way
heart to heart
a string that has grown into a rope
feelings twined around each other
keeping me always aware
almost exhaustingly so
of the distance between our hearts
or miles

I saw you watching me

on me

so I put aside my blogging project
read you the poems I'd shared
they'd brought tears to your grandmother's eyes
but the words had never met the air

you watched me

I watched your eyes slide closed
then jump open
like you didn't want to miss a word

but sleep claimed you anyway

there are moments
lots of moments
when I remember what it was like
to not count the minutes
since I last nursed
or pumped
when my breast pads didn't show through my clothes
because I didn't wear any
I didn't calculate how simple 
or difficult 
it would be to feed my baby based on what I was wearing

then there are moments
like this
where you fall asleep at my breast
and I lay you back in your crib
your fingers curl into a fist
fall slowly to the mattress
your hair damp and wavy with sweat
where you rested against my arm

and I wish that these moments
would last forever
where I would wear lumpy pads
eat endless lactation cookies
and plan my outings in three-hour increments


We were in church
you were sleeping
then the organ played

even before you opened your eyes
your mouth was open
singing with us
making a joyful noise


Today was one of those moments
where everything clicks into a kind of bliss
Brian came home from work for lunch
bearing tacos and fries
we ate them while you babbled and sang
in your rock n play
in that moment
full of good food and family
I felt full and enough and perfectly content
a good moment
one that ties me down to the happily ever
after I have anchored in my heart
moments like that
I can tell you what it looks like
what it tastes like
today it looked like a family of three in a tiny apartment
today it tasted like beef and turkey tacos with crinkle fries


someone told me once
in your mind
pregnancy hasn't ended yet
you're still so wrapped up in me
skin, muscles, and bones still
wrapped around you
so when I'm gone.
it's like you're missing too

if that isn't the most accurate description of motherhood
then I don't know what is.


Tonight is our last night
the last night you sleep in the home you came home to
the last night to watch the light fade over the mountains

to remember the first night we spent here
a place of our own

to bathe you in the sink where you had your first bath
were we cried and loved and struggled

if these walls could talk...
witness to our lives
to your songs
to the many moments where we walked 
out the door

one last time
we're close our eyes knowing these walls
that have known us

then we'll walk out the door
one last time


so many memories
layered into the walls
thicker than paint
sealed in with the new coat that they will paint when we leave
if you could peel it back
like rings in the trees
what would be trapped there 
between those
paint pages
pressed like seals in hot wax

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Managing Expectations in Marriage

Brian and I have been married over 1000 days. We realized just yesterday that our 1000 day mark had passed (on July 31...) and I got to thinking about how our marriage has gone so differently than I expected. 

I don't know about you guys, but when I was a teenager I was encouraged to make a list of things that I wanted in my future husband. It was fun to daydream about what my future husband might be like. I put things on the list like: 

  • Over 6 feet tall
  • Handsome
  • Good sense of humor
  • Returned Missionary
  • Marry in the temple
  • Kind
  • Brown Hair
  • Blue Eyes
None of this seemed very unreasonable to me. Through the years the list got longer and more detailed in my head. I nicknamed my future husband Jeremy Manhandsome. He would be everything that I ever needed. He would take care of me and have virtually no flaws while being patient with my own flaws. Of course, he would be rich and I'd never have to work again. We'd live in a beautiful house at the top of some seaside cliff where we would spend our days together and take our little family traveling around the world. I'd be married by 23 and everything would settle right into place.

Logically I knew that it was a fantasy, but that didn't stop my little heart from hooking right into that dream. 

As the years went by my fantasy shifted a bit to accommodate the fact that I wasn't married by 23. Instead, I would move to California, instantly learn to surf perfectly and catch the eye of some handsome surfer *who may or may not have looked like Jeremy Sumpter*. I'd be the girl that all the boys wanted, but couldn't have, until my Jeremy came along and we'd settle down together on our seaside cliff beach house...

So when my fairytale started out with me living at home with my new husband who I met when we were 16, but who wasn't 6 feet tall, and wasn't a surfer, I thought that I had reasonably adjusted my expectations. I knew that we wouldn't be living in a beachside house (at least not any time soon) and I knew that babies would be coming later than I expected, and I knew that we'd probably have fewer babies than I had planned on. What I didn't expect was that I also had sneaky little expectations that I hadn't really even thought about. Things like eating breakfast together. 

I knew going in that Brian wasn't big on mornings. I knew that and yet I somehow thought that my winning smile would be enough to turn that around. I think it was a full two months of waking him up every 30 minutes starting at 8 AM that I realized that just because we were married and he loved me, it wasn't going to turn him into a morning person. 

At first, I was very sad. I had to let go of that part of my expectations. I had to let go of the idea of spending those early mornings together, and I had to let go of the idea that Brian would bring me breakfast in bed. That was probably the hardest part of early marriage for me, expecting things to go a certain way and to have them go a different way. It wasn't until I was standing in the shower one day, thinking about a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley about how the key to a long and happy marriage is to lower your expectations. I thought that if someone had to lower their expectations to have a happy marriage to a prophet (and arguably an amazing man), then I should probably put a few of my expectations aside and I could do it without settling in any way.

Once I realized this, it allowed me to see Brian for who he really was and all that he was actually doing. When I stopped expecting him to wake up early with me I learned to enjoy the time to study my scriptures and get "me time" things done. When I stopped expecting him to bring me breakfast in bed, I realized that he often made me dinner without complaint, that he brought me flowers on random occasions. I got all these little bonus things I never even thought to put on my "expectations" list, but were things that made my life so much more beautiful and wonderful. 

That said, here are a few tips for managing your expectations:
  • Voice reasonable expectations (communication is key!)
  • Make a list of all that your spouse IS, things that you love, not what you wish they would be
  • Be forgiving, nothing is going to go the way you expected all of the time, or even most of the time
I don't think it's good to let go of all expectations, I don't think it's healthy and I'm really not sure that it's even possible, which is why I think it's so important to manage expectations.

Don't let what you expected, keep you from seeing what you have.

What was the hardest part of early marriage for you? How do YOU manage your expectations in marriage?

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