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The Story: Why it's called "My Longest Year"


His Longest Year

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    A few pictures from J.'s Longest Year...

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been there, done that!
Your honesty is what every woman should embrace. I admire you a whole heck of a lot.
Everyone needs therapy, whether they think they do or not. ;-)
I love my therapist...she's a blessing from the LORD!

o, my, I'm so glad you are feeling better, and it is wonderful that you have shared your honesty and real life adjustment here. I'm so hoping you have found some friends there in your new town- always hard with little ones in tow, but then they can make great connections too. take care, Crystal- xoC

No one ever could have prepared me adequately for how I would feel with baby #2. More accurately I never would have believed or wanted to admit that I couldn't handle it all by myself. I punished myself with guilt and regret for a couple of years. I am glad you have a better sense of yourself than I did then. My children came out of it unscathed and my marriage is intact - but there were days that I wondered if I would make it through the day. God bless you, Crystal and thank you for your honesty.

I think you know I LOVE your writings. You are about 2 years ahead of me on this path. I keep feeling like life must settle down at some point. I check in to read your posts thinking there it is on the horizon, what I get to look forward to after Army....when I have babies...when we move to a new city...As I read through your writings I realize that it doesn't get easier :-) Rather it is your ever developing grace and strength that arms you to deal with the new dilemmas life tosses your way every day. Reading the comments back from your mom and friends goes to show that this path we are on is never going to be easy but we should do everything we can to enjoy it along the way. Your strength through each of your dilemmas is truly amazing Crystal! Your girls are going to be so proud to call you mom long into the future.

It's not fat--it's fluffy!

Always good to ask for help!

P.S. Ooops! One more thing - - - All of my kids have been premature. And premature babies have to be fed every 3 to 4 hours around the clock. with most things, this "stage" passes too. Hang in there.

Everybody loves you!

Your Friend, Janice

Hi Dear Girl,
I have admired your All-American Life shown here on your site. Together with your husband you have created, and are living, and continuing to accomplish, the American Dream.

Your husband has valiantly protected us from harmful evils of the world. (You are married to a hero!)

You have stoically maintained the homefires while he was away, and you continue to do so. (One definition of "Mother".)

You both have bought a lovely home and have created a family. (This sentence alone is phenomenal.)

You nurture your family with comfort and beauty with your home sewing, crocheting, etc. (A great creative talent.)

You're educated too - your writing skills attest to this. A noted man once said that if he could only educate his sons "or" his daughters...he would educate his daughters because they in turn would educate the children. (You are that blessing to your children and your husband.)

You interact with your children. And they bring great joy. (E.'s Christmas Tree decorating with pretty colored fabric scraps is priceless.)

You take care of your children. (They are well-dressed, warm, clean, and well-fed - obviously NOT neglected.)

You document your family's lives and yours. (I've said this before - make sure you don't lose this record. Maybe a hardcopy on a CD or DVD is the answer? I don't know the technical side of electronics.)

You have a devoted husband who not only provides for his family - which allows you to care for your children and the home, but he also pitches in with the housework. (WOW! My husband is like that too. It's actually romantic that he has that care and compassion.)

There's probably much more that I cannot see.

When my first child - a premature baby boy - was still new, his Aunt Jody was at our home and as she held him she said something that I still remember to this day. (That baby is now 32 years old.) I don't remember her exact words but it was profound to me.

Aunt Jody taught me that a baby is not just a baby, but rather an ever-growing and ever-changing being. She said something to the effect that the stages of a baby are fleeting and we should bask in and appreciate them while we can. The newborn stage, the 3-month stage, 6-months, 12-months, etc. (By the way, these stages of change never stop coming!)

Did E. seem really grown up and big when you brought your newborn home? Yes, probably she did. But E. is in her own stages of growth and development as well - as are we all.

Another thing - I was raised in a family of seven children, but it never hit me what, or how, my Mom did what she did.....UNTIL "I" was in a situation similar to ones I had seen her deal with.(Hmmmm....My Mom did this. How did she do it? I should ask her.)

When I had a new baby, and all of a sudden it was "real" that I had more than one child to deal with at a time, I had a mini-freak!

How could I possibly take care of more than one child at a time!?!?!

Well, I really already knew the answer. It's that age old principle. We do what we have to do. And we look to others who have done it - like MOM. :) That first part is not as cold as it sounds. Things work out. (And Mom's ALWAYS a lifesaver!)

I guess what I'm really trying to say, now that I'm older and can look back on having been around little brothers and a little sister, and then my own children and seeing them all grow up into wonderful people - - - wonderful adults, well... we need to love and appreciate every moment and every stage. And, be ever so very thankful that we have had the opportunity and blessings of being a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a MOTHER. (And Grandmother, etc., etc., etc.)

I am in NO-WAY chastising you. I actually treasure you because you are such a strong positive influence. I'm,just hoping to help you to have the self confidence that you exude to others. And to know that there are those who are willing to talk, help, etc.

You bring joy and love and beauty to the world.

Maybe what you need is someone to fill your cup with inspiration once in awhile. You are giving so much to us - but who fills your cup with encouragement?

I suspect it is your family. Your Mother - (Hi, Crystal's Mom from another Mom. You must be proud!) - sounds just as nice as you do. What is that saying? Something like: "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree." And - Hey! Acorns grow Oak trees, right? (Stong, beautiful, tough, and long-lasting Oak Trees.)

Sorry for taking so much space. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Most of what I have written deals with appreciation and praise. But, if you need a friend to help share the load - maybe another Mom with kids similar in age to yours - try looking at your Church for someone to do things with...park visits, sewing, while the kids play, etc. Just being together may give you the boost you need. I'm not saying that you should share babysitting, but rather share time together so that as your kids and her kids entertain each other under your supervision, you too can visit and learn from your friend...another way to "fill your cup".

OK...Thanks for reading.

Take Care. Janice

If there were more people like you who brought some of these uh..."moments" ;) to light, there would be a lot less people in this world who feel like they're the only ones. Glad you took the time to get better!

Crystal, I've been reading you for a while now but I rarely comment. I have to change that today. I started reading your blog while my husband was deployed (he's active duty Air Force) and we were in the process of deciding whether or not to seperate. I've identified so much with the feelings you have shared on deployments and read your entire "deployment" section with tears and understanding. This post is no exception. I went through those exact things with my second baby. His sleeping schedule was erratic at best and it really threw me for a loop. I still have trouble forgiving myself for the way I handled it. I'm a pretty open person as well and that was the one time that I bottled it all up because I felt too guilty to share it. Thank you for sharing this and being so honest in all you post. I agree that sharing these parts of ourselves help others realize that they are not alone in all parts of motherhood, whether good or bad.

By the way, we are seperating soon (hopefully!) and I would love to "discuss" some of the transitioning over email if you have time!

I am glad you are feeling better.

Well, you already know all my tales of life after our #2 (your sister) was born, but for the benefit of the other new moms that read here, let me just say... when you need help, ask for it; when you blow it, forgive yourself and ask the Lord to strengthen you in "that" area... and as they get older and you blow it, learn to humble yourself and apologize to your child. That way they learn you don't think you're perfect or invincible, and that no matter what age we are, we all fail and need forgiving.

I know you laugh about the times I called you at school and had the office staff get you out of class, just to apologize--but I wanted you to know that you and your feelings were important enough to interrupt the grownups' day... and that I *knew* how badly I had blown it. Imagine having a mother who never apologized, never would concede failure. I failed miserably more times than I care to remember--and with age and hindsight, more times than I even knew while you were growing.

Yet... God was faithful. And as long as you continue to let Him orchestrate your lives, so He will be for Evyn and Ashlyn, too.

I'm proud of you, little mama ((hugs))


Oh how I so have been there (and as you said - many other moms too). This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Good for you for taking care of you. My first born was a 'high need' baby and nearly put me over ... but I'm here and we have another bundle of energy. After #2 was born my mom gave gave my this book: The Promise of a Mother's Prayers ( I still read it 1 1/2 later after I received it. Best wishes to you and your family. xoxo

I just want to send a long hug for YOU from the Midwest and let you know, I was worried when I kept checking your post and didn't see you there. Thank you for the courage to put yourself outthere for others and you - we all need to be mindful of "the mend". You are a great Mom for acknowledging you need to reach out and modeling that for your girls. Take care - and know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep on keeping on - baby steps

Thanks so much for sharing this part of you with us. So heartfelt. It is good to know that other moms struggle with things. Instead of pointing fingers and judging each other we should be encouraging each other like your friends did for you.

I too have a great group of girlfriends that love me the way i am and all of us mother in a different way. It is nice to know you are safe there when you share your dark struggles. And that you will even find someone to pray with you, love you and even watch the kids for you when you just can't.

Thanks again for sharing your heart.

Crystal - I think it takes alot of courage to admit that you might need help (short term, long term or anything in between). You should be proud of yourself for recognizing it. You hit on a good point that so many people, women especially put on a face that nothig is wrong, all is perfect and behind that, its not the case. I think we're all like that i some aspect. Makes you think!

Bravo to you for writing about it here and knowing you are now a better mom, wife, friend, individual!


Oh honey, I am THERE with the sleep patterns, and we're going on 2 years...! And I couldn't take it without some help, it is exhausting. Glad you got the support you needed.

And that is a darling fat bird. ;)

Keep on keeping on Mama. That's what we all have to do. I'm glad you asked for help. We all need it!

Thank you for this reminder. It's nice to know that all of us live in the real world and need to reach out for help. Love Max Lucado...looks like a great read!

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