Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving On

Sometimes the past holds you down.

It grabs you tight and won't let go. I feel such a weight on my shoulders, hands wrapped around my neck, pulling me down, crushing me.

I found a letter today. I don't know why I saved it.

The infamous "You are a bitch" letter from high school.

I've never been one to let go. I still hold grudges from events years a go. I don't mean to, I want to let go, oh how I want to let go, I just don't. Or can't. Or won't. Or whatever.

So this weighs on me some more. Hurts my heart and crushes my soul.

I had such lofty ambitions for myself. All I wanted to do was go to Harvard and become a doctor.

Then life happened. Life happened hard. And it hurt, it wasn't easy, and I froze. I was literally stuck where I was and could not move forward.

So I never did what I wanted to do. I just existed, trying to figure out my next step, another path, leaving behind every friendship I had made. I couldn't be a friend because I was so stuck inside myself.

I feel like I've moved on from that time of my life in some ways, and not at all in others. I'm happy again. I'm in a good place in my relationships, and growing my friendships again. I still am rusty, but I'm working on it.

I am just still so disappointed in myself. I feel like I let myself down.

I let other people tell me that is the case.

I ran into a kid I went to high school with a few years back, and he was disgusted with me. How I looked, how I had changed majors, how I hadn't stuck with my plans. It shook me to my core.

I let go again. I felt worthless and broken and lost.

Had it not been for my fiance-turned-husband, I'm not sure what I would have done. He believed in me above all else.

Because of that, I moved on. We got married, started a family, and now have three beautiful, amazing children. I no longer feel like a failure.

I may not have chosen the path that was laid out before me, or the path I had boasted was the right one for me, but I forged my way. I found a path that excites me and thrills me and fits me perfectly.

So now I'm a college student again, and though I still struggle sometimes with feeling like I've failed, it's an easier bounce back to reality than it used to be.

Harvard would have been nice, but there are plenty of good schools out there. I don't WANT to be a doctor. It's not in my heart anymore.

The time has come to allow myself to embrace the path I've taken, the path that picked me, that fits me and completes me like nothing ever has. I know what I'm doing and where I'm going, and for once, finally, that is enough.

Though I may always struggle with the letting go, I feel like I'm moving forward. Slowly but surely. Learning from the past, knowing and acknowledging in myself that a change in paths does not constitute a failure in life, and understanding that others' opinions of me do not make or break me.

I know me, I love me, and I am embracing me and my potential and my gifts and what I can offer to the world. For the first time in a really long time, I am glad to be me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

I don't often forget to be thankful for what I have, but this year, especially this year, I'm more grateful than ever.

It's been a big year.

I'm so thankful that we were able to stay in one place. We have moved pretty regularly over the last seven years. I know we aren't done moving yet, we have at least one more move in our future, but for this moment, we are here. 

Being here feels good.

We are finally home. 

Because of that, my sweet Tee was able to stay in the school two years in a row. That seems like such a simple thing. We just went to her school conferences, and though we are always met with good reports on her academics, there are often worries over her behavior. And beyond that, she hadn't been happy.

This year, though? She was blessed with the most amazing teacher who accepts her just the way she is. Allows her to be chatty and social, and teaches her to use those traits in a positive way. That's all it took, an accepting teacher who could see the real her. And she is SO happy. She has friends who she loves, she's not the "new" kid, she feels like she belongs. I am SO thankful.

I am so thankful that my sweet Bam has blossomed. His speech has improved, his vision has been helped tremendously by his glasses, and for the first time in his life he has started to sing! This is HUGE. For years, he would cry and cover his ears anytime I tried to sing him a nursery rhyme, we weren't able to listen to the radio in the car because he couldn't handle the sound. But now? He sings along! Actually sings. He dances. He smiles. He still will have moments when he is frustrated and sounds bother him, and he still can't handle it being too loud, but for the most part, we have turned a huge corner. I am SO thankful.

Then there is my darling Gray. I am so thankful she is here and she is healthy and oh so happy! She is a constant joy in our lives. I had no idea we were missing anything until I looked into her eyes. She's just such a wonderful, happy baby. She was the baby I had been praying for. Had things happened the way I had intended, she would be three years old now. I don't know why it took so long for her to come into our lives, but I can promise you that she is beyond worth the wait. I am SO thankful.

I am thankful that I have a husband who works so hard to provide for us so that I can stay home and care for our kids the way I want to, and so that I can continue on in my college education. He's so supportive, coming home from a long work day to take the baby so I can pour over my books, most of the time coming home to a messy kitchen and a cold dinner. He has been my rock and my shoulder to lean on in my breastfeeding journey with Gray. I have not had the mound of support I had anticipated or had envisioned when it came to nursing her from other areas of my life, but he was in my corner all the way. 

He's always been in my corner, backing me all the way with every crazy idea or dream I've had. He truly is my partner and soul mate. I am SO thankful.

I'm thankful that my mother has remained in my life, no matter what. I'm thankful for each of my three brothers, near and far, they are always close to my heart. I'm thankful for my extended family, my grandmothers, my cousins, aunts and uncles, all of my dear friends, my husband's entire family.

We are blessed to be loved by so many wonderful people.

I'm just thankful. For it all. Every second of it. The good and the bad. The ups and the downs of this past year were extreme, but through all of it, through God, we are here and standing.

For that, I am SO thankful.

Love each other this holiday season. Be the good. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Change the World ~ Freecycle

I've been working hard to find ways to involve my kids in helping others. It seems like we spend a lot of time in the car, racing here and there, school, activities, coming and going. Our free time is rushed to get homework done, finish laundry, get everybody showered and in bed.

Rush, rush, rush.

I want them to understand how lucky we are.

Admittedly, we aren't in the best of places, but there are people even more worse off than us.

And we have so much STUFF. People are kind and wonderful and we have been blessed by gifts from so many. I want my kids to be able to pass on to others.

So then there is freecycle. You've heard of it, right? Where you pass on your belongings to others?

There's no guarantee that you are passing on to somebody less fortunate, and that's not really the point. It's passing on and fulfilling a need. And sometimes you really get a chance to connect.

I know a lot of people who sell their belongings, and that's wonderful! It just isn't what's in my heart right now.

So we freecycle. Today we passed on some boys clothing to a single mom who was struggling to get winter clothes for her little boy. We also passed on some girls clothing to a family of little girls who are growing like weeds.

A few weeks a go, I cleaned out Bam's room and he helped me pick out some toys he no longer plays with. I put them on freecycle, and got a response from a very sweet woman. Her daughter had called her in a panic earlier that day because she was having trouble getting the money together for her son's third birthday that weekend. Her email spoke to me. It wasn't that long a go when we found ourselves in a similar position and I had felt like the worst mother in the world.

I told Bam how his toys were going to go to a little boy who wasn't getting much for his birthday, and my sweet little boy's heart was broken for this other child. He ran off to his room and collected a few more toys and a brand new coloring book for this other boy.

I knew in that moment that I am doing something right!

So we put the large bag of goodies on the porch. A few hours later, I hear a knock on the door. It was the grandma picking up the toys. She wanted to show me a picture of her sweet grandson and thank me personally. She was very sweet, and even volunteered to help us in the yard in the spring if we needed help. I love meeting kind hearted people!

A few weeks prior to that, I read a post from a woman in search of baby items. Her daughter's friend had given birth, and subsequently been kicked out of her home. This poor girl was in a desperate situation, and this kind woman had opened her doors and taken the two of them in. They had nothing for a baby, and she was asking solely for the basics, some clothes, diapers, anything at all. I searched my heart and knew I was ready to pass on some of our bigger baby items.

So I responded and collected for her a swing, a bouncer, and all the little boy clothes I could find.

A very sweet teenage girl showed up to pick it up and gave me the biggest hug and thanked me for helping her friend. I told her what an amazing person she was and her family was for helping this girl and her brand new baby.

I don't always make these types of connections on freecycle, but sometimes I do.

It's simple. One small act of kindness. Giving of something to somebody who needs it. That's it. I didn't spend any money, I didn't go out of my way, my schedule for the day did not have to be rearranged. Just one little bag on my front porch could change the day for one other person.

One small act can change the world. Maybe not the entire world, but one person's world. And that's enough.


Check out the website! www.freecycle.org

I love their tagline... changing the world one gift at a time.

THAT, my friends, is my point. One small thing. You can do it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Calm

Between the all-night-long nursing sessions and the sick kids and the dirty diapers and the vacuuming and the laundry and the homework and the this and the that...

...there's something.

Just a moment of calmness, of peace, of sitting still and being and existing in this place.

"This place" is so much right now.

The house we live in. The house we want to live in. The kids in their own worlds, different ages and stages and how they connect and how they conflict. The husband, how we are, how we aren't. The goals. The dreams.

All of it.

It's all in this place, this tricky maze of confusion and excitement, possibility and fear. All bottled up with the day-to-day and the week-to-week.

How do you possibly begin to make sense of it all? How can you peel back the layers and find that moment of calmness where it all makes sense?

I feel it, with every sense of my being, I feel it. Within grasp, right in front of me, I just have to get up and get it.

That simple.

I can have it, if I want it.

Oh, how I want it.

I don't even need to keep it. Just hold on to it for a little while. Just a little moment of clarity and being able to breathe easy would be all I would need, then I can pass that moment on to another mama.

Because I can't be alone in all of this. I know I'm not. I know there are a host of other Super Mama's out there doing and being and feeling and wanting it all.

To embrace that sisterhood is my next step.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Serious Talks

So, the election is over.

Don't worry, this is not a political post. Don't run screaming for the hills just yet!

The interesting thing about this election is that we have a kid old enough to get that something is happening. She hears the commercials and the news reports, her friends talk about things, and they were studying elections in school. Very simple stuff.

She comes home from school one day, all bubbly and talkative as usual, her mouth running a mile a minute.

"Hey, Mom? Who are you voting for?"

Simple question. Not really a simple answer.

You see, my thoughts and opinions have changed over the last few years, especially now that I'm a mom. I worry more about issues that never crossed my mind ten years a go. I see more in gray, not just black and white.

Pretty much that means I hadn't decided yet. Which was not a good enough answer for my inquisitive seven year old.

"Well, you see, there are more than two candidates..."

"But, MOM. What if you HAD to pick one of the two?"

There's no explaining to her that there are more than two parties, that you can vote whichever way you please.

And again, I had no answer.

My bright idea?

"Hey, let's ask Daddy when he gets home from work!"

SCORE. Conversation tabled for later.

The crazy thing about this kid is that she never forgets anything. EVER. I promised her a trip to California when she was two years old. She still asks when we're going, because, you know, I promised.

I guess I better start planning that trip.

So there was no chance that she'd forget our conversation.

Sure enough, as soon as Daddy walked in the door, and before he had a chance to take his coat off, she's all over him.

"Hey, Dad! Who are you voting for in the election?"

Dad was in the same boat as Mom.

He was honest with her. "I still have some research to do."

With that big bright smile, she exclaims, "I can help! I know ALL about the candidates!"

We chuckle. Then I think, wait, how does she know? She really IS smarter than me.

Well, what the heck, right? If she could just tell us, then I wouldn't have to do the work myself. Bonus!

"Ok, tell us about them!"

"Mitt Romney likes meatloaf! And President Obama likes chili!"

YES. There you have it. All you need to know!

I should have posted this pre-election, it may have helped all the other undecided voters make their choice!

She also knew their wives names, how many kids they had, and their favorite color.

You know, all the really important, juicy stuff!

I thought we were about to have this deep conversation with our kid about the state of the world, what we believed, how she could formulate her own opinion. I forget sometimes that her version of the world is still innocent.

Thankfully so.

I know that deep conversation will come one day, along with several other deep, scary conversations. It's not that far off. I'm anxious about those talks. I want to make sure I tell her the important things she needs to know. I want to be sure I foster in her the ability to formulate her own opinion.

Raising a person is scary stuff.

In the meantime, I embrace the innocence. I love on her and hope that she will gain the confidence she needs to go forth in the world and do good.

That's all you can hope for.

That, and some seriously good meatloaf.

With chili.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fresh Start - Just Write

So the facelift didn't quite go as planned, time-wise or look-wise, but I'm happy.

I just needed a change. Something fresh and new. Different than the old, but still the same.

Like a fresh coat of paint. The room still looks the same, the walls are still the same, the furniture is all still there, but the color changes everything. The vibe, the feeling, the emotion.

That's what I was looking for. I needed a fresh start.

I needed to paint the walls and begin again.

I feel that way about so many aspects of my life. If I could just take that brush and add a fresh coat of paint to this and to that...

It would change things. I could start anew. Fresh. Ready to face the difficult head on.

So I'm taking that brush today and I'm painting.

I'm painting relationships.

I'm painting my job and my school.

I'm painting all the avenues that I'm dying to travel down. Getting rid of the roadblocks with a swift stroke.

It's all the same, but fresh and new and I can handle it.

Linking up with Just Write (go check it out and link up!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012