Shine A Light :: The Aftermath

Yesterday was an exciting day. I enjoyed seeing my facebook news feed fill up with fists marked with red Xs. People were changing their profile and cover photos, joining a world-wide event to shine a light on modern day slavery.

That was yesterday. Today, profile pictures are going back to normal. All besides my seven year-old daughter who woke up with a transferred red X on her cheek, our Xs are washed away. So what was the point, you might ask? The answer is easy.

Yesterday, there was at least one person who was not aware that there are more people in slavery today than before our nation fought the Civil War. The X'd fists and many links and posts for #enditmovement took countless people to new information that opened their eyes to how 27 million people are trapped in slavery TODAY.

I know my facebook posts and profile picture didn't actually free a single person yesterday (that I'm aware of) but it did raise awareness. The more that people are aware, the more the world starts to shout and rally, and the closer we get to bringing an injustice to an end. So maybe taking a red sharpie to your flesh seems a little silly, maybe it even seems foolishly insignificant, but never underestimate the power of opened eyes. Over the past few years, huge media outlets have joined in on the coalition to make a difference. Even CNN has gotten in on the movement. With rapid speed, the EnditMovement coalition has started a conversation that been buzzing everywhere. The more people that get on board, the more powerful organizations, the more grassroots we are in spreading the word, the more power that begins to get behind what was once only a buzz. When that happens, a real-life impact can take place. It already has. People are starting to work together to bring freedom to those trapped and unable to save themselves. That's power!

Even the tiniest things, or the smallest marks, can make a difference that spreads much farther than our little hometowns and communities. The EnditMovement and our red Xs can change lives...

For my little family, sporting a red X and talking about the EnditMovement has made an impression on my children's' hearts. Yesterday, Lucy wanted to do more than just wear an X. Lucy is 7 years-old but already understands the enormous power of social media. When she read about FashionbyMayhem, a 4 year-old little girl that makes paper dresses, she had an idea. "I want to make a paper dress with red Xs, Mommy, and post it on Facebook." she said. And we did. She gets it. Even the little things make a difference. Someone out there needs to know. And most importantly, Lucy 7 years-old. How much more emphatically compassionate will her heart be in ten more years? And ten years after that?

So keep up with the tiny little things. They make an impact. They really, truly do.



Worth It

The other night, I was under attack by pregnancy hormones. Those things are wicked and relentless. They make you sound crazy, do insane things, say things you never dreamed would fly out of your mouth and, and this is the most important, suck all the joyous life right out of you.

Baths do not help against the onslaught of tears and hysteria.

Tubs of ice cream and  pools of chocolate sauce are not adequate armor.

Cheeseburgers oozing with melted cheddar and dripping with ketchup and mayo only cover the front of your borrowed maternity shirt. How are you going to explain that when you return it? I was trying to dry my tears with a warm sesame bun...?!?! Sorry?

On this night, I pulled myself out of the bathtub, the water suddenly dramatically reduced in depths. I carefully dried off, bending awkwardly to dry parts of my body that I could no longer see. Giving up mid-way though, I jerked my arms through the sleeves of my robe and waddled off to my bedroom, hot tears already stinging my eyes. I sat at the edge of the bed, shrugged off my robe and lathered cocoa butter between my hands, warming it before smearing the smell of salt water and beach sand all over my stretched tummy....

That's when I saw them: bright purple claw marks stretching across one side of my belly. My heart sunk. This is the third time my belly has been stretched to monstrous proportions, and yet, fresh stretch marks were rippling across my skin. Come on skin, I wanted to shout! You've done this before! Why are you acting like this is something new?!

And the tears burst through the tiny veil and ran unchecked down my cheeks.

I suddenly pictured the day my two daughters would catch a glimpse of my bare belly. They would have disgust in their eyes, though I am sure they would try hard to disguise it. They would silently beg God to never to let them look like THAT! They would pity me while silently resolving to do whatever it takes never to end up looking like their mom...

My husband walked in while I was crying, still picturing the horror stricken faces of my of which was (is) presently still in my womb. I waited for the disgust of my exposed skin to unfurl across his face, but it didn't. He just wrapped me in his arms and I sobbed a little. He had no idea what I was thinking. He didn't know I was also afraid he was going to be a little more than grossed out when his newest baby arrived and my belly deflated.

It isn't easy.

Being pregnant is hard.

I'm sure there are women out there that love every moment of it. More than likely, they didn't wear sea sickness bands for three months straight or discover that fiery hot Cheetos magically fight morning sickness. Maybe they never saw stars when their BP shot through the roof, or have to pump engorged breasts a month before the baby even arrived. Or maybe they did...and they're just super human and fantastic. I don't know...

But I am not super human. I don't love it (being pregnant). I'm counting on the magical moment when a flood is unleashed and my water breaks, because that means she will be born soon. I don't care if I am standing in line at the Apple store (which is always crowded) and my amniotic fluid ruins three different men's oxfords. I don't care if they turn green in the gills or squeal like little girls. I will be busy jumping and shouting, "Hallelujah! I'm nearly through!" (Also, I have no idea why, at this point in pregnancy, I'd want to be standing in line anywhere, let alone the Apple store))

 Because, mostly, this is what pregnancy is really like: