Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Greetings from our bubble

It is becoming clear to me that I/we live in a bubble. It is a safe, happy bubble and I like it that way.
How is this all of a sudden becoming clear to me? Oh I don't know... the internet? The Renaissance Festival.
It's so true. Last October we went camping. I think I posted pre-camping and never posted post camping, but it was awesome. Can't wait to do it again. And by camping, we were in San Diego, about a mile away from a Ralph's and we had a pop-up trailer. And bathrooms. And showers. And that my friends was as camping as this girl will get. But while we were there I had two separate occasions where a stranger came up to me and complimented me on my parenting/loving/caring for of Lily. It was sweet. One lady was crying. So maybe a little awkward too, but it was sweet to hear the comments from these strangers. But weird too. At home, or shall I say in our bubble, no one sees what we do for Lily as different. Because we are in their bubble too. We are all friends. We share schools and church and grocery stores and we all live together doing good things and just keeping our bubble a bubble. Yes my dear friends say words of encouragement to me all the time, but we aren't some anomaly, we are the Nothdurft's. So that was weird to me to be pointed out and showed me how out of touch I am in this world.
I will read blogs that are written by special needs parents, like one a couple weeks ago for instance was about the things not to say to a special needs parent and I think, do people really ask those questions? Like it's been years since I heard the "what's wrong with her?" question, and by the way don't ask that. But other than the stares we get, that some days I do not have the patience for, we really don't seem to be a reason for unnecessary questioning. Occasionally someone will ask me questions, but they always end up being a therapist, or Dr, or someone who knows someone with a similar disorder OR just genuinely concerned and asking questions. And I love to talk about Lily, so I want those questions. I am eager to talk about our sweet girl. So I wonder, this must just be us living in our safe bubble again, I guess. Because I don't get asked those questions and I don't find the need to write a post all about how people are idiots for asking them. And I guess then my posts will never make it to the Huffington Post either, but that's totally fine. My bubble survives without the notoriety. It's cool like that.
Also recently I saw on Facebook I saw on my news feed posted by a local news station that someone wrote in the sky "forgive your enemies". Awesome, right?! Like super awesome, positive thing to say to the valley of the sun that perfect 80 degree March day. But then you read the comment section. And then you realize you don't understand people beyond your bubble. Because from this awesome post the comment section says things like racist remarks, justifying hating and people saying they would never forgive and I think wow. My bubble would say it is awesome. Because forgiveness is an awesome thing. When given and when accepted. Awesome thing.
For Andi's birthday last week we went to Blue 32 for dinner, her choice (yes our 9 year old daughter loves the local sports bar so what) and we ordered a lot of food. We laughed and had a really nice dinner. I was giving Andrew a hard time about how much the bill was going to be in front of our server (because he orders an obscene amount of food) and she says, "Oh your bill was already paid for" we were shocked and said "What? Who?" and she says "they already left, all they said to say was you are a good mom". Yes that happened in our bubble. Tears stung my eyes and I sat in shock and awe at what had just happened. I recounted the evening, thinking about how I was at dinner, what in the world did I do that made such a difference in these strangers eyes that made them cover our dinner. And I mean it was over $100. We were beyond blessed and shocked and amazed and realized that this bubble we are in, couldn't be a softer, safer place.
So I sit and think about things. Things I see and hear others do and say. And I think I am so glad I found this new place in my life. I have friends that go on missions, foster children, friends who rebuild a home in a tough neighborhood to turn from what was a crack house to a safe house providing community support. We volunteer together, we pray with each other and support each other, laugh with each other, we eat together, have community with each other. It is a safe and very happy, very comfortable place.
And I love our bubble.
I adore our bubble.
And I know our bubble exists because we all have faith in God. We do for others as they would have done for us. We love each other and care for each other because it is the right thing to do. It gives our lives meaning to not live self absorbed lives. And I couldn't have been placed anywhere else better.
Our lives aren't without stress or complications or heart break in our bubble, but we have a community to rebuild our strength from. Our bubble brings meals, sends gifts, prays.
But then I worry, is it all too safe? Too comfortable? Too easy? I know life isn't easy, but it sure is easier when supported by a great community. I can't imagine living our life not supported. Not having shoulders to cry on when things get too tough. I can't imagine not having a safe place to worship and pray and I can't imagine not having the freedom to believe what I believe. It's hard to be happy for yourself when you know others aren't as safe, aren't supported. And I sit and wonder what else can I do? And I don't know the answer. Volunteer more? Buy more shirts from Sevenly.org? I don't know. I don't even know what the purpose of this post is, honestly. I just realized we are so very fortunate and while I sit and think about how blessed, fortunate, what ever word you want to use, I know so many others aren't. And that sucks. And I want others to live knowing the world doesn't have to be a bad place. It doesn't have to be a place where you never forgive and you take any opportunity you can to find reasons to spew negativity. And I know I am preaching from a safe bubble. I haven't witnessed anyone being shot. I don't have parents who do drugs. I wasn't given up or abandoned. I am a girl who has lived a pretty safe life offering sympathy from a far away bubble and I realize that really isn't all that comforting.
Sigh. It's good to be comfortable and happy. But it is also good to have your eyes wide open to the realities of this world.
I want you all in my bubble.

Monday, March 3, 2014


This is for all you mama's out there who have withered the storms and changed who we are for people who stole our hearts from the moment they were growing in us, handed to us, or fostered by us, however they came to us, they are ours and we live for them and that changes you.
We've changed, how could we not? But it is for the better. Absolutely the better. You all inspire me.

It was Christmas 2001, and Andrew and I were so excited to share the news that we were pregnant. I was 23 and in my family, not young at all to be a mom, Andrew on the other hand was 20 and just about right. We had only been married since August and met just the New Year Eve before so to say we were on a fast track of life would put things lightly. But this baby was very wanted. We were thrilled! Our family was thrilled. Yes we were young, lived in a tiny apartment and had really nothing to our name, but everyone was happy, because it was a baby! Everyone hugged us and said "yea!", well everyone except my 11 year old niece Ariel who stomped loudly upstairs looking very upset. Mind boggled, but not giving her too much mind (she did have a flair for the dramatics) we continued to celebrate and talk the typical baby talk. Awhile later I overheard Ariel talking on the phone to her cousin and we realized she was upset that I was pregnant. She was upset that I was no longer going to be fun. Up until that Christmas morning my life was my nieces and nephew. I was the cool, fun aunt who took them places and loved being with them on weekends and during school breaks and all Ariel saw was that lady was gone. Now my world will be sleepless nights, frustrations and doting on this new little person that was ours and cool aunt Kim will fade into a sweet little place in their memory. I laughed and said I will always be the same person. And I didn't mean to lie. I really, honestly thought I would continue to be the Kim I always had been.

The whole story has become a family joke. We all laugh about it. Ariel, my now beautiful, educated, witty 23 year old niece will say what a little jerk she was and we all giggle at how she responded to what most people thought was happy news. But I never put much more thought to the whole story until recently when I read a book called What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. One of the best books I have devoured in a long time. And I know it was great writing that captured me, the wit and charm the author brought to her characters, but it was also the content. It was about a 39 year old woman who hit her head in spin class and when she came to she thought she was 29 and pregnant with her 1st child. She had lost 10 years of memory and nothing was as it was. It was as if she were living a strangers life. I won't share more about the book as I want to hear all your feet shuffling to go get one for yourself. Here I even linked it for you What Alice Forgot. But this book really had me evaluating my life and who I was at 23 years old and pregnant with my first child and who I am now at 35 and have 3 kids, all gone beyond that baby stage. I am a totally different person.

Just a few weeks ago at one of our life group dinners we sat and talked about the Love Languages and what we all were and the funny thing was us women were all acts of service. But one of my friends said, I didn't used to be, it's just now that I am a mom it is more important and I thought holy crap, so true. Believe me, the old me could have cared less who took the trash out, because it sure as heck wasn't me, did I even know where the trash went? So acts of service isn't really my love language, it is my "if you and I want to survive this season" language. What did I used to like? Gifts. Yes gifts. Lots of them. As long as I don't have to know where the money came from. Because then I don't want a gift. I know how much those thing cost and know we can't afford it so thanks for the thought, but let's take it back and buy groceries. So gifts are no longer important to me, but you taking out the trash sure is.

That's who I am right now. And heck yes that sweet, excited, young mother to be would have no clue who this lady is tapping at these keys on a Saturday night 12 years later and she certainly wouldn't be all that thrilled to know she was her. She'd think, no. I'm still the fun aunt. I'm still young. I don't let things like chores and bills rule my world... do I?

I'd look at the dark circles under my eyes and wonder why I don't sleep.
I'd see the wheelchair ramp and think, does my brother live with us now? Never ever imagining the wheelchair was our daughters.
I'd see the marriage I have with Andrew as refreshing, seeing we are still in love, probably more so than we were back then. But I would have had no idea what something awful we had to survive to find that happiness.
I would see the bikes, the scooters, the backpacks and think, whoa true living big kids are ours. We are in charge of them and find an excitement and freak out at the same time at the grown-up"ness" of it all.
I'd see who my friends are and I'd be happy to know my same friends are still my friends and I managed to get some awesome new ones as well. And wonder how I did that.
I'd see my clothes and think, oh Kim... you lost your sense of style?
I'd probably be surprised my hair looks the same as it did in the 9th grade. That may be the only thing that hasn't changed much.

I'd love who I had become and hate her a little bit as well. I would understand that Ariel had the truest my honest response that day. She grieved the loss of that old cool aunt she knew she lost the minute that baby started to form in my womb.

My life changed, I have changed. My evolution didn't happen over night, it has slowly happened for more than a decade. Each step along the way has changed me into who I am today, and that person is better in so many ways, but also so very different and maybe a little worse too, I do know she sure would be a stranger to that unsuspecting 23 year old I once was.

Life is a crazy always changing, often challenging ride. This season might be the most character changing because as little as 12 years ago I had no one depend on me and now I have 3 people who do. One who we care for in ways I never imagined having to do so. But all of us, my sisters out there, we're just racing through it from practice to games, to school to friends, to play dates and doctor appointments, it is all flashing by us and it is all going so fast. And I know we will all survive these years and we will look back on these years and miss these days, but I also hope we are able to settle well into our next season and I pray to look at that lady who I become with some awe and wonder at how she survived and managed to do it all so gracefully. And how did she get the money to travel to Hawaii every year?..... Hey it's my future. Make your own.

I'm just so very thankful for a life that ever changes and challenges me and continues to push me to make better choices and better who I am.

And maybe be someone who vacations each year in Hawaii.

Before Motherhood - Fit Pregnancy Mag 2002

Family of 5 - San Diego 2013

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