When Fear Becomes A Reality

I frantically scanned the room while my teeth scraped the nail polish off of my fingers. One moment Elias was sitting down with us, the next he was gone. We didn't know if he ran out the doors of the restaurant that opened into the busy street, or if he was lost in the crowd. People were everywhere. My heart was pounding. I felt like screaming, "Look for my son! He's four and he has Down syndrome!" Just as I was about to start screaming it, a sweet girl who made the pizzas walked out of the kitchen with her hands on Elias' shoulders. I could breathe again. He was only gone for two minutes, but it was just long enough for my worst nightmare to become a reality. I pressed Elias' cheek to mine, "You stay close to mama, don't leave mama." Elias didn't react to what I said, and I don't know if he understood what he had done. I think he was just interested in finding out where he could get another slice of pizza.

I've talked to other moms who have a child with special needs and they know this fear I'm talking about. The fear of them wandering away and they can't tell the nice lady who found them that their mommy has red hair and their daddy is really tall. 

Today I am thanking God that it was only two minutes. Thanking him that Elias wanted more pizza instead of a breath of fresh air by the busy street.

Grace is more real to me today. Oh how I love my boy! He keeps me on my toes.

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How Image Has Changed Me

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I've thought a lot about my image this week. I've thought how people who are overweight aren't good enough. People who are thin aren't good enough. If your house is clean, not good. Messy, not good. It doesn't matter how you spin it, people will cut you down to make themselves feel better. Comparison is a wicked thing. It will attack your heart and infect the people around you. It will destroy beauty. 

Image has become a precious part of my life since I became a mom. When Vitali was born I said goodbye to regular showering and a decent night's sleep. Something as easy as eating became complicated. It involved interruptions and bouncing a baby on my hip while I managed to shovel a few bites of nourishment into my body.

When Elias was born I looked my son in the eyes and I fell in love with an image that I was terrified of. I feared how my son would be treated by this world because of his image.

When my daughter was born, I cried at the thought of the expectations she would feel by this world. The perfect image she is supposed to have. 

I stand naked and imperfect in front of my husband. Three babies have filled my insides and stretched my skin. Parts of me are torn and broken down. I am not a perfect image.  

My heart has been rubbed raw as figure out what image is. My mind filled with a new understanding of what is important. There is more to life than outward appearance. You've heard that before, but do you live it? The words that roll off of your tongue, are they gracious? What you write about, are you infecting people around you and polluting their thoughts? I know I have, but I don't want to. I want to love what is beautiful. I want to live beyond appearance.

"If your life looks like a mess—to them—they whip out a measuring stick and feel confident of their own worthiness. If your life looks like a monument—to them—they whip out a measuring stick—and start cutting you down for their own empowerment.”—Ann Voskamp

Spring Break And Late Morning Waffles

Three days into the normal school ritual and I wish I could time travel back into spring break. It was simple. We enjoyed late morning waffles, trips to the park, play dates with cousins, and no rush to go anywhere. Vitali helped me plant a little garden of sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, and sunflowers. While we planted, Pia plucked, and Elias was in charge of the watering can. The laughter, screaming, crying, playing, and cuddling are for a short time. The wet clothes, muddy boots, and sticky popsicle hands are the things that make up the sweet moments in my life. 

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© 2014 Natalie Falls