Category Archives: Bethany

Morning Whispers

It’s 5am and my alarm blares in short bursts of sound next to my ear. My sleep-addled brain comes to terms with the fact that it has to wake up now, and my hand clumsily fumbles for the button in the darkness of my bedroom. With the silencing of the alarm, I hear the soft snores coming from my husband next to me. I have no clue how he manages to sleep through that obnoxious noise, and yet here we are. I let out an exhausted groan and reach for my thermometer, taking my temperature for my cycle tracking app. Another “red day” it reads. Awesome.

As I push past the desire to go back to sleep, I sit up and try to focus my bleary eyes on the doorway. I put one foot in front of the other and grab my pre-planned outfit hanging on my dresser drawer knob.  I leave the comfort of my bedroom and head downstairs, tip-toeing so as not to wake my sleeping daughters on the way down.

I’ve never been a morning person in the conventional sense. As an introvert, it’s difficult to handle exchanges with other human beings for at least an hour upon waking. I have to warm up to the idea of human interaction as a feasible suggestion of reality. But in another sense, a much more internal sense, I am at the peak of my alertness and creativity. While my body struggles to fumble over the simplest of routine tasks, my imagination and creativity somehow run at optimum levels despite the outward suggestion otherwise. I can have an entire deep conversation with myself in my head while simultaneously knocking my glass off the kitchen counter and tripping over the living room rug.

I know that the outpouring of my thoughts stems from the sanctity of the quietness around me. Nobody NEEDS anything from me at that moment. It’s like the constant push and pull of schedules, demands, requests, phone calls, social media, and endless parade of to-do lists pushes my creative ideas to a back corner of my mind where they wait for the opportunity to break free. So when my alarm goes off, an internal alarm also goes off, signaling the unleashing of the sound and fury. Light flashes and resonates in a jumble of words and pictures, all competing to be heard. Yes, that was a dramatic interpretation of what happens in my head. And yes, I felt referencing Shakespeare was necessary to get my point across.

As a mom, and a working mom at that (enter mom guilt soliloquy here), my own thoughts and feelings usually take a backseat to the needs of everyone else. Not always, and it’s not even a bad thing really, it’s just a THING. It’s a stage of life. We poor (mom) players on the stage know our roles, and we play them to the best of our ability. Honestly, I find it just as important for my own growth and development as that of my family members. Learning to navigate my thought processes and rearrange and put others before myself is a good and necessary skill to have, and it runs deeply within my belief system. I let my light shine, but not too brightly. It’s all a balancing act before an audience of deep conviction.

But when do I get to let it out? When is the right time to have my own thoughts and emotions run freely? Well, in the morning apparently. When my body is at its weakest, and my household is at its quietest. When my mind is fresh from sleep, and I am the most malleable and vulnerable. It’s in that quiet space that I am weak and receptive. It’s in that silence that my strength is renewed. It’s where I hear the whisper of Truth. It’s where my prayers are lifted up. It’s where my creativity can thrive. It’s where my inner light shines.

Where I miss the mark is that I don’t write my ideas down. Hence the blog I never (or rarely) post to. Hence the feelings of guilt over never seeming to do enough or be enough. Hence the lack of goals because I just cannot seem to nail down what I find most important. They say you should find your ‘why’ in order to set goals and follow your dreams. Well it seems I have too many ‘whys’ and too many dreams. The headspace alone that is required to capture it all is both the question and the answer to that dilemma.

So I’ve got to start somewhere, I reason. Small steps. Just do ONE thing. Write ONE thing down. See where it goes. Shine your light into the world, even if only for a minute.

I’ve finished getting myself ready. I’ve packed my daughter’s lunch for school. I slip back upstairs slowly and wake my husband to kiss him goodbye and to remind him of the day’s scheduled events. He whispers that he loves me and gives me a gentle kiss before settling back down under the covers. I wish I could crawl back in bed next to him and my heart pangs, but I stifle the feeling down as I shuffle out of the room and shut the door behind me.

I creep quietly through the door of my girls’ room, and gaze at their sleeping faces, glowing in the faint light of the night light. They look like little angels, slumbering without a care in the world. Safe, secure, and well loved by their parents. I know when they wake up they will inevitably pepper my husband with countless requests and questions, whilst not eating their breakfast and arguing over outfit choices. These things are a normal part of life with little girls, after all (and some boys I’m sure, but really I only have girls as an example of kids in the morning.)

I know in equal measure, I will have the afternoon, evening, and bedtime bouts of child raising, but for now they are but an image of tranquil beauty, grace, and peace to add color to the emotional dialog in my head. I kiss them softly, once again feeling the pangs of emotion and longing to stay by their sides. To mother them, hug them, and even break up their inevitable sibling fights.

I push all the pangs of emotion down as I grab my personal effects and slip out the door into the early morning light. The faint glimpse of sunrise on the horizon acts as a final salute of splendor to my jumbling of thoughts and emotions. As the dawn breaks, so does my concentration of inward resolve towards introversion and feeling, and to write those feelings down. Then inevitably as I start to interact with people, my thoughts slip into silence, one by one, until I am just a robot of outward motion, and a vessel of muted inward emotion. I let out a sigh. Out, out brief candle, I think. Although you’ve signified more than nothing, for now, it has only been to me.

Sisterly Love: The Adventures of Kickee and the Boo

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, Kickee (nickname of course), I had this nightmare where I was Kickee, running through an empty field, lost under a thunderous skyline. I distinctly remember feeling the fear and shortness of breath as I ran, desperate to find my older sister Boo (also a nickname). I felt the panic rise in my chest as my head darted left and right, trying to find her. I could hear her giggle, but as I cried out to her, I realized she had abandoned me. I stopped as tears rolled down my cheeks, falling bitterly to the hard, soil covered earth below. I was all alone, and Boo was not coming for me.

The most distinct memories I have as a kid are shared memories. I was not alone unless I really tried to be. (And by alone I mean hulled up in my top bunk with my makeshift shelf of books and possibly a Blow Pop or stick of gum.) There is a special kind of tug of war that plays out in the hearts of those of us lucky enough to have siblings to grow up with.

My sister and I are no exception. On any given day we could be found fighting over a toy one minute, and then giggling hysterically over a private joke the next. We made up silly games that only we could understand the rules to. We cheered each other up, and put each other down. We played together, we shared stories and toys, and we snuck off with each other’s Halloween candy (or worked together to raid my Mom’s lingerie drawer chocolate stash).

You get my point. Siblings are a special kind of friendship. You can’t escape each other, so you love each other no matter what. There’s no walking away from that relationship (at least as a kid) and no one else in the world will simply “get you” the way a sibling can.

I pretty much had my dream figured out, at least to some extent by the time I woke up from it.

I distinctly remember a handful of times when I was approaching my teenage years when my next door neighbor friend of ours, Jennifer (there’s always a Jennifer, isn’t there?) and I thought it was cool to try to ditch my sister while playing in the parking lot between our apartment buildings. It wasn’t that we didn’t like her, or that there was anything wrong with her. It was just that she was 2 years younger, and we were on our quest for independence.

But I’m sure to my sister, it felt like a betrayal.

Even though my sister and I have a great relationship, we have each other’s backs in everything, and we are generally very close, the memory still haunts me, because I am the Big Sister. I should have been there for her. I am the Rule Follower, and Path Finder and Way Maker. I had a responsibility to her, and I let her down. It was like a huge black smear across my Sister Record.

I feared for Kickee because of that. I feared for her relationship with Boo.

I feared for Boo, too. She is so like me in so many ways, and I don’t want to see her fail. She hates to fail. It crushes her when she does. What parent wants to see that?

Flash forward to yesterday. Kickee and Boo were riding bikes and trikes in the parking lot near our apartment buildings with our neighbor’s kid, Anderson. Anderson is a great kid…but he’s 4. And 4 is as 4 does sometimes, right? Haha. Anyway, I was walking up the driveway when I heard Boo whimpering.

“No, no! My Sissy!” She cried.

I looked over to where she was riding in time to see my her jump off her little training wheel bedazzled bike with pink sparkly streamers, and pry the pink bike helmet off of her curly little head, eyes flashing with concern and…anger?

My eyes followed the path of her gaze to the lawn where I saw Kickee standing with Anderson. Anderson was trying to take away her little wooden trike, and Boo was looking ready to throw down over it! Anderson saw Boo, and immediately backed away from a bewildered and mildly confused Kickee, who then toddled off with her trike in tow, unaware that she had possibly narrowly missed witnessing a great fight waged in her honor.

A fierce feeling of warmth and pride filled my heart as the tears started to brim in my eyes.

The fiery and unmatched sisterly love my little 4 year old Boo Bear had just displayed in the face of adversity toward her baby sister left me floored. Every fear I had left residually stashed in the corner of my heart from my Kickee nightmare vanished in an instant.

After checking on Kickee, I walked over to Boo, who was back on her bike, enjoying the afternoon sun. I told her how proud I was of her. I told her how important it was to always look out for your sister, and how she was such a good girl. I explained to her that no other relationship in the world will ever be the same as the one she has with Kickee.

I told her to always do what she had just done: Stand up for her sister no matter what. Because that’s what sisters are for.