i have the power.

Last night, after a day-long battle of the wills and wits, one in which we’re still not sure who came out victorious- us or her, Andy and I bundled Madeline up in her puffy winter coat, forced her into the too-snug straps of her stroller, tucked a blanket down her sides and over her lap, popped in her paci and walked out the front door.

Sunset over Fort Bragg barracks

Heading out as the sun began to set, I was quiet at first, those initial breaths of air almost stopping me in my tracks, as a chill shivered straight to my toes. But the more of the crisp air I sucked in, the clearer my head became. And as the sun sank below the barracks to the west and dusk set in, I started talking.

I told Andy of my fears- that these last few weeks have hardened my heart, whittled away at my patience and cut my fuse in half. That I haven’t been a good mother. That I feel stressed and run down, and my physical and mental health is suffering. That I don’t have the time or the knowledge or the resources to accompany my blog into the direction it’s been dragging me for the last two months. I talked and he listened, until it was dark and we were coming to the end of our two mile loop.

Then he said a few things that brought tears to my eyes and peace to my heart.

He said that in a resiliency training seminar, he was taught that you have the power to make a deliberate choice to pull yourself out of a negative thought trap and to force yourself to look for the positive. He gently reminded me to look for the good behind my sources of stress. Instead of wallowing in the fact that Maddie is a whirlwind of wallops, kicks and tantrums, who pushes me to the end of my rope every other minute of the day, I can think about how amazing it is that our daughter is healthy, growing and learning how to be a person and that we have the privilege of teaching her. Instead of dreading packing for our trip to New York Tuesday morning and freaking out about the travel alone with Maddie, I can think about how lucky I am to have parents who love me so much that they bought Madeline and I two plane tickets so that we can spend my Dad’s birthday and the holiday with our whole family, instead of being by ourselves while Andy sits on staff duty on Thanksgiving day.

He said that the things he was most afraid of and didn’t do are some of the biggest regrets that he has. He doesn’t want me to have regrets. He sees the passion I have for this blog and how happy it makes me. No matter how worried I am about it, he’ll be there to push and support me, as I move it forward. He wants me to give it everything I’ve got.

“Why are you being so nice to me?!” I demanded, as we walked up our block.

He said that he loves me and wants me to be happy.

I’m thankful for my husband.

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