Today, my Mae is 2 years old. I can’t believe it. It hurts my hearts and thrills my soul. She’s wild, but soft. She’s tiny, but fierce. She burst into our world in a hurry, and brought endless adventure with her. I thought I’d share her birth story straight from my journal two years ago. Stick with it until the end, when I wrote something so crazy. A dream. A vision. A calling that Mae brought me when she came into the world. Here goes...
From my journal on 5/6/16:
Beautiful Mae Lanier Tippett has arrived! I want to write and reflect on her amazing birth story. Last Saturday, April 30th, 2016, we woke up to a beautiful day on the island. Raines slept in a little, so when she woke up we decided to go to The Market for breakfast. I told Jordan I wanted to walk (about a mile each way). He wanted to drive in case I went in to labor, but I wanted to walk to try and get labor started! We had an awesome walk and breakfast. Raines was in a great mood and Jordan and I talked about our dreams and visions for the future. We rested in the afternoon and cleaned the house. I was feeling a little uncomfortable from being so active, so I started thinking that just maybe our baby girl was on the way. I showered and then suggested Jordan shower. He said he might mow the grass, but I asked him to go ahead and shower. Around 2pm we were feeling a little stir crazy so we decided to go get Moo Cow ice cream. Raines fell asleep on the way, so Jordan just got our ice cream and we ate it in the car on the way back home. I really wasn’t feeling well when we got back, so I laid down on the couch while Jordan played with Raines. Around 3pm I started having contractions! They started fairly mild but got closer together pretty quickly. At 4pm I told Jordan that I was contracting, but I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet. I wanted to go lie down and see if the contractions kept up at a regular pace. Well, after about 10 minutes in bed, I got up and told Jordan I wanted to go to the hospital to get checked.
We called my parents so they could get things in order to be on their way, just in case this was it. Then I called Aunt Tracy to come and keep Raines. We scrambled around to get bags finalized, Raines fed and changed, and the car loaded for the hospital. We stood by the door to leave and I scooped Raines up for one last big hug and kiss as my only baby. It’s like she knew something big was happening. She hugged me as if to say, “We got this, Mama. It will be hard, but I love you and we will be fine.” I cried a little in the car for Raines losing her place as our one and only love, but I know baby sister will be a blessing to her long after Jordan and I are gone.
As we drove to the hospital I had 3 contractions, getting stronger each time. We arrived at the hospital at 6pm and I was 4cm dilated and contracting regularly. They had me walk for 30 minutes to see if I could move things along a little before admitting me. After the walk I was still 4cm, but contractions were stronger. They admitted me around 8pm. At 8:30, I had an epidural and was checked again. I was 6cm. Things moved very fast from there. My epidural did not work on my right side, so that was excellent. At 9pm my water broke and I was 8cm. Baby was coming fast!
At 9:30pm I was 9cm and throwing up. By 9:45, I was 10cm and ready to push. 9:55 the baby nurses came in and I started pushing. I pushed through three contractions and at 10:02pm our precious baby girl entered our world. I could see her tiny feet and legs as the doctor suctioned her and clamped the cord. Jordan cut the cord, and the nurse put our beautiful girl in my arms for the first time. Jordan was my hero through everything. Supporting me. Encouraging me. Loving me. We are so blessed to have one another.
Now we needed to name her. We studied her while I held her and quickly decided her first name: Mae. Classic but different. Sweet but spunky. She was definitely Mae. We narrowed her middle name to either Louise or Lanier. We liked how Louise sounded, but also liked Lanier. We loved the idea of naming her for the poet who wrote Marshes of Glynn (Sidney Lanier). This area has inspired us to live life right now and to live with peace and contentment in Christ. Our lives are richer here, just like our baby girl has made our lives richer. That’s it:
Mae Lanier Tippett
April 30th, 2016; 10:02pm
7lbs, 8oz; 21in
Our hearts are full and we are blessed, truly.
Bringing two precious lives into this world has changed my heart forever. Experiencing God knit together and bring forth new life through me and Jordan is nothing shy of a miracle. Through my children I see the miracle and value and every life, including my own. I am as fearfully and wonderfully made as they are. I am made for a purpose to do good works for the Lord. My girls are my most important work. They are my purpose. My purpose is to mother them in a Godly way, to shower them with love and exemplify Christ’s love. I want them to feel not only the unconditional love I have for them, but also to see me and strive to emulate me as a confident, present, and content woman whose heart belongs to God.
I believe God has purposed me for motherhood. I am called to lead these two beautiful souls towards their own good works. Through my motherhood calling, though, I have found another: to help women and moms know their own value.
Y’all, I literally wrote that last line 2 years ago in my journal when I documented Mae’s birth. I am simply amazed at how God works. He gave me my beautiful Mae, and planted a seed in my heart. A new purpose. A new dream. One that makes me so vulnerable. I’m so private. And so awkward. A true introvert. And yet I can write. And so I am. I am writing to women. To you. Telling my secrets and struggles and successes. My dreams and fears. My mom wins and fails. I am laughing and crying and praying here. With you. Like I would with my best friend on my couch. It’s that real to me. This writing. You are that real. Whoever you are. We are in it together. As fearfully and wonderfully made as our beautiful babies.
So Happy Birthday, Mae Mae. I love you with all my heart and down to my toes and forever and ever. I love your sweetness and your stubbornness. Your deep brown eyes and your little fairy run. I love your laugh and your hugs. Your determination and your charm. You, sweet girl, are my courage. And Mae, I’m better because you are mine.
I love this picture. That’s Baby Mae photobombing. I took this picture while I was trying to write a blog post about taking time for yourself. That’s just what I was trying to do. Take some time to write. Express. Create. For me. And little Mae Mae wasn’t having it. So she joined in on my “me time”. Any other Mamas been there? “Me time” is a kind of a joke, right? Because. They. Are. Always. There. Always there as soon as you open that new book. Or start getting out the ingredients for that recipe you’ve been wanting to try. They appear when you start the shower or try to sneak a bite of secret chocolate from your stash. How do they do it? I mean, it’s amazing really. Because they never fail. The only real way for me to get “me time” is to be at a separate location from my children. So I’ve got that much figured out: me time must not be on the same premises as my kids or it will. not. happen. But even then? You know what I usually do? Things for my kids. Shop for them. Make them a surprise treat. Or maybe just look at pictures of them. Or call Jordan or my mom or sister and talk about them. I can’t stop. They take over all my brain power. If I let them.
It takes serious self awareness and self control to quit my kids. That sounds bad. But I have to do it just sometimes. I have to quit “momming” long enough to be a wife, and daughter, and friend, and woman. Long enough to be myself. So I don’t get lost. So I remember who I am and who I want to be and who I want my kids to see.
And you know what I’ve figured out? They like seeing “not mommy”. They like seeing me and Jordan get dressed up and go to dinner, and hold hands and kiss. They like seeing our identity as husband and wife in addition to Mama and Daddy. They like hearing about my work with Mini Motions and the kids I teach to dance. They are fascinated when I have coffee with a friend. Mommy has friends?!? Is that allowed? So very intriguing.
And all those things are so key. Letting our kids see us as people in all our different roles. So they know us better. And so they know that there’s a big world out there where it’s not about them. It’s healthy. And intriguing . And good. For them and for us.
But date nights? Work? Friendships? It’s so good for our kids to see us in those roles. We just want them to see US in the roles. Not just the roles. But those roles are so defining that they can become confining. Because if we feed our roles without feeding ourselves, then we lose ourselves. And rather than being life giving, our roles begin to take. And take. Until we are just tired. And our kids are tired. And tired of us. And we are all just done.
Like a rut. I’ve been there. Checking boxes. Date night. Check. Girls night. Check. Work complete. Check. Dinner on the table, house cleaned, craft planned, story time attended, laundry done, church attended, baby gift purchased...check check check. But wait. This is not fun any more. All these things I really do want to do and be? Now I just have to do them. I’m tired. I have nothing to talk about. I am out of ideas. And I am cranky. And my kids are the same. Rut. For all of us.
But that’s life, right? We pair back the best we can, but really it’s always a hustle. I mean, it is at my house. I have 3 children under 4. A three year old who is destined to be a CEO. A 2 year old who is destined to be a lawyer. And a newborn who, you know...newborn. Our house IS. A. ZOO. The coming. The going. The tantrums. The squealing. The diapers. The accidents. The messes. The boo boos. The wild fun. The mega fits. It’s life. Beautiful and crazy.
And with the hustle eventually comes the rut. But how to break the rut? Or avoid it all together. How to feel lovey dovey on my date nights instead of talking summer camps and bills? How to talk matters of the heart with my girlfriends instead of sleep schedules and husbands? How to lighten the load of the errands and chores and to do’s...enjoy them even? It’s a little more specific than self care. A little more intentional than alone time.
What we have to do. What we must do. Is create.
Oh no. Lost some people there. But don’t go. Stay with me. You need to know this. It’s for your relationships. Your work. Your family. It’s for your life.
We must create. In fact, we are Created to create. Made in the image of a Creative and Imaginative God. Our souls crave creation. It’s how we connect with ourselves. Our world. Our God. When we create, we transcend. We grow. We learn. We become.
And guess what? We are all creative. Creativity is not reserved for artists and makers. It’s not that we are or are not creative. It’s a gift we all are given. We just have to learn how to tap into our own unique brand of creativity. Maybe you throw the most kick*** birthday parties. Creative. Maybe you’re the office problem solver. Creative. Maybe you’re a baby whisperer. Creative. It’s all creativity. And we all have it. But how do we use it, really? Why should we hone our creative skills?
Creativity is a connection point. A way to find ourselves. A way to find God. And a way to break the rut.
So think of how you can be creative YOUR way - in a spread sheet, in party planning, in writing or problem solving or art. Have you ever been so in to something that you lose track of time? Just in the zone. Like you’re just so absorbed and everything clicks and you have this feeling like you’ve tapped into something so “you” and at the same time so “bigger than you”? Inspired. Transcendent. CREATIVE.
That feeling? It’s called flow.
Wikipedia defines flow as:
In positive psychology, flow, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one's sense of space and time.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you experienced it?
Well, I’m not a psychologist or any kind of expert. But I can speak from my own experience. For me, experiencing flow is life giving. It’s the only way I can figure myself out. It’s a prayer. A confession. It’s forgiveness. And clarity. It’s me. It’s God.
Personally? I believe that flow is a direct line to God. Like a personalized route to deep prayer. Where we listen. And we hear.
So confession. When I say my night time prayers like I was taught as a child. I fall asleep a lot of times. I feel like I’m missing God. I don’t know what to say. My mind wanders to my to dos. I feel like we are strangers. Like He doesn’t get me. But when I experience flow? I can draw nearer. The world melts away. And the eternal comes into focus. I see my heart and I reveal it to God. The world is quiet and I can listen. And hear.
It’s really not the activity that is so important. You don’t have to write or paint or do yoga to find flow. You could find it in the kitchen or in party planning or in a spreadsheet. The activity is just the road. The state of being, the connection, is the destination. And once you arrive, you are open to hear and to receive and learn and grow.
When I write, I can find flow. Not always. But I know I can find it in my writing. And even experiencing that flow for a short time can open my heart and feed my spirit for days. It’s not necessarily while I’m writing that I find myself and experience God. Maybe during. But also afterwards. Flow brings clarity. Ideas. Peace. Connection. Openness. After I’ve experienced flow I’m ready to let down my guard. To be vulnerable. To break the rut. To love my life. These are my residual effects of creative flow.
So if you’re in a rut. Or if you’ve been there. Quit your kids for a minute. And all your roles. Try to find flow through creativity. You ARE creative. If you are human, you are creative. Experiment. Push yourself. Try something you loved as a child. Get in the zone. CREATE. I promise you it’s like a magic key. It will open you up to yourself. To God. It will better your relationships. Lighten you. Allow you to be bigger than your roles. It will show the people around you, including your kids, YOU. It’s just such a beautiful thing. To be really seen. And we all deserve that.