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Lessons from the Carseat… Life is Full of Red Lights

It was a typical afternoon in the life my 10 week old baby.  That third nap was NECESSARY but always met with MUCH RESISTANCE on his part.  I finally learned that a little car ride was the best solution, so every day around 3:00, we’d head out and cruise the outskirts of town.   When he finally gave up, I’d pull into Sonic and treat myself to a Cherry Coke and some quiet moments. (I’ll admit-on several occasions I’d lean my own seat back and close my tired mommy eyes for a couple of minutes.) 

I don’t know about your newborn, but mine had an innate hatred of red lights. God bless if you stop the car. Sure enough, we met up with what seemed like the LONGEST RED LIGHT IN ALL OF AMERICA and my little cherub was screaming his head off.   In my not-so-patient-new mommy voice I cried:

“Greyson, life is FULL OF RED LIGHTS buddy, just deal with it.”

And OUCH My own words were like a punch in the gut.  I considered these “red lights” of my life and saw myself pretty much handling them the same way Greyson did.  Kicking and screaming.  I’ve handled heartbreak with much self-centeredness.  I’ve waited like an impatient child to get engaged. I’ve harbored resentment for moving from a town that I loved for my husband’s job.  In fact, in that very season, we were experiencing a “red light”.  Just three weeks after Greyson was born, we had a terrible house fire that resulted in a total gut job and a seven month remodel.   The darling nursery I had labored over (pardon the pun!) for nine months was destroyed. We spent a few nights with neighbors we barely knew, a month in a hotel with a newborn, and then a furnished apartment while our home was being rebuilt.

My friend told me that I was “cheated” of the newborn stage.  I knew what she meant; she really was just sad that we had to deal with this during a time of such joy (and exhaustion).  But nevertheless, I did carry around this attitude of “being cheated”.  And the day I declared that blinding truth to my newborn, I realized I needed to change my perception regarding the “red lights” in my life.

Here are some TIPS that helped me:

Invest in others and build healthy relationships: Joining a new moms’ group at my church helped me turn my focus outward.  The first time we met, every single one of us could hardly introduce ourselves (and our newborns) without SOBBING. No lie.  It seemed like everyone was sitting at their own “red light”. One was struggling with the baby blues.  One faced the reality of putting her baby through heart surgery. Another was having a horribly painful time with breastfeeding.  Another’s husband worked nights, so when she was most tired, she was without help.  Amidst all of our “stuff”, we became each other’s safety net.  We shared, we listened, we strolled, we laughed, we cried, we prayed, we texted during 3:00 a.m. feedings.  The presence of these girls in my life quite literally carried me through this season. 

No one’s struggles are the same, but the point is that that EVERYONE goes through hardship, ranging from “light and momentary” to earth shattering.  And more than often, the timing seems horrible.  The best thing we can do for each other during tough times is offer our support, encouragement, and comfort. 

Thankfulness: Once I changed my perspective, I was able to focus on all things I had to be thankful for. I had a healthy baby.  None of us were hurt in the fire. My husband was a pillar of strength amidst all the chaos. God had given me strength when I tearfully told Him I didn’t have an ounce left.  Of course, being “displaced” complicated things, but in spite of it, I wasn’t really missing out on anything. I loved every toothless smile.  Celebrated every milestone.  Cherished those five little fingers wrapped around mine. And overflowed with joy at the sound of Greyson’s little giggles.  No home or perfect little nursery could take that gratitude away from me. 

Remembering (and literally writing down) what you have to be thankful for will truly change your perspective.

Look for the good in the Detour: We are human; change is perceived as loss and when the unexpected happens, we get a little derailed.  It’s okay! But looking for the good… even the LITTLE things… can help you appreciate the detour.

For example, being in that small apartment with Greyson’s room beside us (as opposed to upstairs in our own home) made sleep training and midnight nursing SO easy.  There was no yard to keep up.  It was in another area of town, so we found some new favorite places. It was also right across the street from an amazing nature trail that was perfect for me and my fellow mommies to stroll the little ones. (We owned that place for a few months.) And there was a POOL! By the time it warmed up, I loved taking Lil G to splash his feet in the water and soak up the sunshine.

I know these sound small, but this led me to look back at a lot of situations in my life. And I could see countless blessings woven into what I thought were complete “roadblocks”. 

No one’s struggles are the same, but the point is that that EVERYONE goes through hardship, ranging from “light and momentary” to earth shattering.  And more than often, the timing seems horrible.  The best thing we can do for each other during tough times is offer our support, encouragement, and comfort. 

Green, Red, and YELLOW

When you think about it, life really is like a traffic light.

Sometimes, the light is a green, saying….”GO! It’s the perfect timing! The coast is clear!”  

Sometimes it’s red telling us…”STOP. You WILL NOT move from this spot until traffic clears.” 

And other times (and perhaps the WORST)YELLOW: “Proceed with caution. Take a gamble and you might get lucky OR be cautious and know the results.”

We will encounter them all.  Please understand that I’m NOT saying it’s wrong to be sad or angry about life’s twists and turns.  But we can see the “roadwork” in our lives as a positive thing.  And instead of just waiting to get through it, handle the stops with grace.

Contributing Sister Site and Author

katieccmb
About {Katie}

Katie resides in Plano and is a Stay-at-Home mommy who rarely “stays at home”! Katie and her husband are both Mississippi natives and alumni of Mississippi State University. (Insert cowbell ringing.) They started out with a four-legged child, Manny, and five years later decided they were ready for the “real thing”. Greyson was born in October 2014 and has proved to be “a little Texas Tornado.” Her favorites include ANYTHING chocolate, SEC football, Netflix binge-watching, small town festivals, shopping the clearance aisle at Marshall’s, and throwing theme parties. You can read about her adventures, victories, failures, and everything in between on her blog, Two For One Wells. **Headshot Photo courtesy of Aissa Tendorf Photography**

Katie is a contributor for Collin County Moms Blog, one of our Sister Sites.

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