This Wasn’t What I Had Planned

This Wasn't What I Had Planned | Twin Cities Moms BlogI’m a control freak.

I always have been.

I was the kid that delegated my friends their proper roles when we played “house”. I remember losing my paper planner in junior high and having a full blown panic attack because that baby was my lifeline. Not a soul was allowed to touch my laundry because nobody could fold it THE RIGHT WAY but me. 

So when it came to becoming an adult, of course I was thirsty for control.

I was going to get married, have 4-5 kids, be a marketing executive, live in a loft in the city, and I for sure would have a dog {had to get one to throw it in my parent’s face that they would never allow it!}

I quickly realized through a series of traumatic life events that man, I sure wasn’t in control. And this most certainly was not the life that I had planned.

I didn’t plan to marry my husband and have him go on a year-long deployment unexpectedly weeks later.

I didn’t plan for my first pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

I didn’t plan to face secondary infertility for several painstaking years.

Whether you’re walking through a divorce, grief, loss, sickness, betrayal, or despair, my guess is when your childhood self-dreamed up a white-picket-fence life, those things weren’t in the narrative.

When I dwell on the times that I thought I surely wouldn’t overcome, I find joy and peace in the things that life unexpectedly brought me that gave me great happiness. The GOOD things I didn’t plan for. And it humbles me when I think of all the incredible things I didn’t plan.

I didn’t plan to marry my high school sweetheart.

I didn’t plan to adopt. 

I didn’t plan to be a stay at home mom.

I didn’t plan to live in Europe for a season.

I didn’t plan to have the same best friends for nearly 15 years.

And maybe, the greatest thing that I didn’t plan for?

I didn’t plan to be the resilient person that I am.

The person that rises above.

The person that no longer is bound by anxiety.

The person that gives herself grace.

The person that has hope when things look dim.

I certainly wasn’t that person before I experienced real, true teeth-gritting pain.

Before I experienced pain in my life, I hardly knew the strength of my own self.

I’m not saying this to toot my own horn or sound self-righteous. I’m saying this because when I reflect on the pain that I have experienced in my life, I realize that it was actually the pain that allowed me to fully be grateful for the joy. And that gratefulness and thankfulness have bubbled up to make me a person that operates more out of a place of hope than a place of despair.

If you’re walking through a season you didn’t plan, friend, you aren’t alone. I’m the first one to tell you that this sucks. I wish you had the white picket fence and the perfect kids and the marriage people are envious of and millions of dollars in your bank account. I wish your kid wasn’t sick or your parents weren’t terminally ill or your pregnancy test wasn’t negative for the 23rd month. I wish you didn’t feel lonely, I wish your heart wasn’t broken, I wish your trust wasn’t forsaken. I wish your spouse or child or friend or family member was still here and your kids didn’t know so much about what death means. I just wish your current burden didn’t feel so heavy.

BUT I am here to offer you a simple suggestion. And that suggestion is to tell yourself ONE way the pain you have endured has changed you.

Maybe like me, it has made you stronger, made you more grateful, made you hug your kids tighter, made you cling to your faith. Maybe it simply has taught you that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. Sometimes recognizing that fact alone is enough.

Now I am not trying to diminish the enormity of pain. Pain is pain is pain. And it’s some tough crap to walk through, frankly.

But I am here to remind me of the enormity of your bravery.

Your courage.

Your love.

Your fierceness.

Your tenacity.

Your patience.

Your strength.

You can so do this. You can do the hard thing, girl.

And if you need someone, I am here walking alongside you, mama.

One foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

Danielle Kleiner
As the Director of Operations for Twin Cities Moms Blog, Danielle loves that she gets the opportunity to do "a little bit of everything" including team management, sales strategy, helping with our events, building our comprehensive guides, and even writes from time to time! Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with readers and sponsors. Danielle is a proud 7 on the enneagram and loves to find the FUN in everything. Her latest exciting adventure? She recently moved from the suburbs to St. Paul and her family is relishing every ounce of the city life. Her family is made up of her husband, Ethan, and their two daughters, Emersyn (2013) and Arden (2017). She is the Minnesota State Fair's number one fan, a frequent visitor to her nearest Starbucks drive thru, and she fully believes that leopard print is a neutral. After experiencing a challenging road to motherhood, Danielle has a heart specifically for supporting moms through miscarriage, secondary infertility, and adoption.

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