Bittersweet Moments and Sneezes


Loveys, Lincoln turned five yesterday. There was pizza and games and cake and a big mouse wandering around (Chuck E Cheese). It was just a family affair this time around, with us and Sara and Nemo and it was a really great day. I love our family so much. Linc went to Kidz Jam at church for the first time now that he's in kindergarten. And now that little handsome boy is five years old. He's big and little at the same time, and I'll hold on to this moment for a while longer.

In fact, it was a big weekend in general for the Bruce family.

Friday night Ashtyn cried and told me she wanted to pierce her ears. I really thought she wasn't ready, and it would be too scary. I'm telling you, my kids will scream if they even think there is a speck of blood on them. But she felt so strongly about it that I told her we'd go to Claire's Saturday and check it all out, and if she still wanted to do it, then we would. The next morning she took twenty dollars out of her piggy bank to help pay for the ear-piercing (if she did it). And before we left, Lincoln came running up to me and gave me a nickel and two pennies and told me that he wanted to help Ashtyn pay for her ears to get pierced. (And I tried not to cry at that moment and just thanked God for my kids.) So we packed up the whole family and went to Claire's, they showed her those little white gun-things that shoot the earrings in your ears and she still wanted to do it.

I learned something about Ashtyn. She's decisive. She makes a decision and she goes with it, and I love that about her. And we needed to let her make the decision this time around. I was so proud of how brave she was. (I made sure they could do both earrings at once--let's not drag out the trauma.) She took the hit and cried just a few tears and then a huge smile filled her face and for the past two days she keeps saying, I can't believe my ears are pierced!

And it's bittersweet because she'll never again be that little girl without her ears pierced, still a little scared of it. Now it's done and she's a step closer in the big-girl direction. And there was this moment when I saw her trust herself, and it's a beautiful thing.

I know the truth. That she'll be learning how to do that for the rest of her life.

That trusting ourselves isn't always so easy. That making decisions can be hard. That things happen that make us question who we are and the life we live and the people around us and the choices we made. Things happen that can hurt us and take us to ground zero and we have to rebuild. There are forks in the road and we're unsure, but we have to choose. And in those moments ... you just have to trust yourself and do what you can. Sometimes things turn out great, sometimes you realized you probably should have done things differently.

She'll learn that there are times when we choose our own self-respect and we need to. And there are times we'll sacrifice everything, even our self-respect.

It's hard to be a girl. Our identity and self-esteem are wrapped up in so many things...husbands, boyfriends, parents, friends, children, jobs. We sometimes think they're not, but they are. And it takes so much work to find our worth apart from everything but us and God. I've found it comes down to just those two factors, but I have to remind myself of it daily. Minute by minute. It's not what Jeff thinks of me (though I love him and care what he thinks more than anything). It's not what my children think (though they are a really good mirror and it's important). It's certainly not what other women think. It's me and God. If I believe that God sees me as worthy and beautiful and capable--that spills over into all these places in my life and I can walk with confidence. I'm telling you, lovey. It's minute by minute. We can be having a great day, and I pass by a store window and catch my reflection, and suddenly feel unattractive and sad and lonely and discouraged. Just. Like. That.

That's my perception, but not God's. So in that moment, I must trust God over me. His truth over mine. That I am enough for the task in front of me. I can love when it's hard. And I get a little stronger with every step. A little more self-confident. Sometimes it doesn't come from around us--only from inside us. This way is harder, but I think it lasts longer.

I watched Ashtyn sit in that chair on Saturday (even as I kept asking Are you sure?), and I'm just so glad that she's mine. Lincoln was worried for her and told all of us that he was glad boys don't get their ears pierced. (Then Ash told him, Well, they do if they're rock stars. But only rock stars. I'm glad they understand this important fact.) I'm thinking about Ashtyn right now--so excited to show all of her friends her new pink-heart earrings. I know she feels beautiful and special and excited--and that makes me so happy. She's all those things to me.

So, a weekend of milestones for both kids. (Plus, I sneezed on Sunday and Lily said, "bess you." Melt my heart.) I've also just finished the edits for my book coming out next summer. As I scrolled through it last night, I have to tell you that I love it so much. I need to read through it once more to make sure it's totally ready, but for the most part, this story has been written and I can't wait for people to read it. (Next June feels like so far away!)

Loveys, it's Monday and I feel it. Lily emptied all the lower kitchen cabinets, which is not awesome. My kitchen looks crazy. I need to do probably ten things and I don't want to do any of them. I'm hungry for dinner and we just had lunch. Sometimes, it takes a little time to get into our groove for the week. I have a feeling this is one of those weeks. And today is definitely a two-cups of coffee kind of day. It's cloudy and I feel chilled. Lily's second tooth is coming in and she's crying A LOT. Poor baby is hurting. It's one of those days. I'm thinking Tylenol and a Pioneer Woman marathon are in order. And reinforcements in the way of my mother-in-law are coming soon. Thank goodness. Family life--you can adore your kids and still want to cry if another person asks you for more snack.

Happy Monday, loveys. We can do this.





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