Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If the moon is a coin...

I threw our stroller in the dumpster yesterday.  The stroller that was given to us 8 years ago when I was pregnant with Zoe.  The stroller I pushed around Brooklyn, for countless hours on countless days, while my first born napped.  The stroller I pushed while chatting on the phone with my mom and sisters, soaking up every possible motherhood nugget before I had any of my own to offer.  The stroller I pushed while walking the streets of Park Slope with my first mommy friend for life. The stroller I pushed a baby and preschooler in.  The stroller they later pushed their own baby dolls in.

I briefly considered giving it to someone else but after all the miles it worked, keeping my little lovies safe and comfy all these years, it was showing it's age and exhaustion.  Wobbly and rough around the edges, it wasn't fit to pass along.  So, out it went.

I realize I'm being sappy  but I'm not sad about it.  Just contemplative.  I will carry a touch of melancholy for a long time, knowing there will be no more babies for me but the wonder of witnessing my children growing is overshadowing that more and more.  I couldn't be more grateful.

Tonight, Zoe had her first official go at 1st grade homework.  They are to observe the moon all month and write in a "moon journal" every night before bed.  The kids and I went out after dinner and soaked up the spring-like evening air while pointing out constellations and discussing the magic that is the night sky.

After quietly completing her first entry, she shared her observations:

"If the moon is a coin hung in the sky to pay the old dream maker whenever he goes by."

She didn't write that last bit.  Her class learned it in school but looking at the moon tonight made her wonder whether or not it could be true.  

I'm so thankful to be able to have these conversations with her now, Owen listening in and contributing in his 4 year old way.  To hear something I've never heard coming from her and be able to ask her about it.  To learn from her and watch her grow.  I think about how much has changed and how it's just the beginning...

...I find the strength to heave that old stroller in the dumpster, take a walk with my big kids and discover together what this world has to offer us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slow and steady...

Some of you may remember a few years ago, I found myself in a pretty dark place.  Thankfully at the time, I was writing a lot so spilled my guts on this blog and got the help I needed.  Support came in the form of emails, comments, phone calls and in person conversations all of which started me down the healing journey I'm still on today..the one I will always be on.  

The most important thing I learned was I wasn't alone in my deepest fears.  Not the ones I openly discussed but the ones I was afraid to utter lest I be heavily medicated against my will.  Little did I know how many of us think our deepest fears are too disturbing to be expressed aloud.  I know now keeping lines of communication open is crucial.  Sometimes the difference between surrendering to fear and conquering it is realizing you're not the only one living with it. 

The past few years of my journey have been about crushing my demons.  I've accepted they will never disappear completely.  Passive remnants of them will stick around my whole life but with vigilance, you can be damn sure those suckers will remain mere dust, trapped under the solid foundation that is my renewed spirit. 

I've worked hard to get to this point.  I've set lofty goals and pursued them with my heart and soul.  Some challenges were surmounted, some met and some abandoned but whatever the outcome, it's been important for me to keep piling them on.

Lately though, that tide has changed a bit.  I've realized while I don't regret setting any of them, some of my lofty goals caused me to burn out.  Two of the most notable were:

1) My marathon accomplishment.  A million dollars would  not tempt me to erase this from my life experience but it caused a loss of focus in my running.  My motivation had always come from the desire to run farther.  No part of me will ever want to run that far again so I've spent a lot of time and energy trying to find another source of motivation.

2)  My determination to write a book.  This kicked my writing ass, wiping out any and all confidence in my talent.  I have felt embarrassed to write anything since the attempt because everything sounds like crap to me. 

So, I decided to take a few steps back.  To look at these things from a different angle and see what happens.  I needed these years of lofty goal crushing effort but think it's time to have faith in the work and settle into something more slow and steady.  I committed myself to a modest running challenge I feel confident will keep me focused all year and I will be back here more often, silencing my inner critic and saying whatever I feel like saying even if it's not perfect.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The other side of the coin

My favorite tree has forever been the maple--hands down.  I grew up in Vermont and am 100% emotionally attached to my home state.  As a matter of fact, the East Coast as a whole lives so deep in my bones that as soon as we entered Pennsylvania on our big road trip this summer, I felt a layer of tension I didn't even realize was there release.  The deep, dense forest and endless green replenishing my soul, the word "home" whispering just under conscious thought.  I experience this every time I go east and know I always will.  Once while driving north from Boston to Vermont, I unrolled my window and became so overwhelmed by the smell of hydrandeas I could feel my heart break knowing how many times since moving west I'd missed out on this explosion of springtime life.  No doubt about it, the East Coast nourishes and comforts me from the inside out.

When we first moved to Colorado 5 years ago, the dry air and resulting brown grass were like a punch to the gut.  I was speechless, but for reasons I hadn't expected.  Afraid I couldn't appreciate the striking Rocky Mountains as much as I'd anticipated, I got to work recalibrating my expectations.  It didn't happen right away but over these past 5 years I've grown to love what this part of the country has to offer.  Loving the mountains is easy, but feeling connected to the foothills took this green mountain girl a lot longer.  It wasn't until this bonus year of ours here in Boulder that I realized I not only appreciate it, but cherish it.  As the abundance of life back east quenches, the absence of it here clarifies.  Now grateful for the stripped landscape each winter, I can get lost in thought tracing silhouettes of bare serpentine cottonwood branches, now my 2nd favorite tree, against the never ending sky.

These 2 lives used to make me feel torn and incomplete.  Now I know without them, there would always be something missing.  We will move on to a new place sometime soon.  I will mourn the loss but can't wait to see what part of me I discover when we get there.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tea Time

Life these days is moving so fast I can't seem to hold onto a single thought that interests or inspires me.  Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a head-detatched-from-my-body kind of way...which still sounds bad...but...ugh, this is exactly why I haven't written a single word here in 3 months...

Our family is still stuck in limbo, but I'm handling it a hell of a lot better than last year.  The uncertainty of our future brought about depression and anxiety this time a year ago, but after our unexpected opportunity to stay in Boulder another year materialized I was able to let go of all of that.  I was relieved, and still am, but the release of that junk didn't exactly result in a magical transformation. Yes, I'm much more positive now we will ultimately make it through on top.  The depression and anxiety were replaced by random, tiny bursts of gratitude and a deeper understanding of what it means to be mindful.  Progress for sure, but this new "one moment at a time" way of life I've adopted doesn't have any patience for rumination...

...but I miss it.  I've been teasing my brain, seeing if I can find any corners to sit in a while and think...and write..and share...but I can't seem to take the time to cozy up just yet.  I hope to soon...

...in the meantime I wanted to share this photo of one of my favorite things.  For the last 20 minutes of each day this week, these two rapidly growing and changing miracles in my life have been sitting in a dimly lit kitchen with their ol' mother, sharing a cup of tea and a chat.  These snapshots of our life together are what feed my soul right now...witnessing spontaneous giggle fits when one of them "accidentally" says something naughty, the laughter gaining hysterical momentum as they catch each others "Mommy's totally letting us laugh at that!!" thrill saturated eyes.  I can't wait to finally give these kids a picture of our future but am grateful to be fully here with them now.