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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Getting Lost on Hope Road

So I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. A school counsellor! With a side of yoga teacher with a side of stay at home mom with a side of writer/poet and a teensy dessert of gardener.

The GRE I have been studying for all summer is next Saturday. On Friday, I found out I may need my teaching certification before I can go into the masters program. #Stymied. #Shouldn’tlifebeeasier. 

I’m still waiting to clarify things but for now, I’m in a holding pattern again. 

Meantime I’ve applied to volunteer or substitute teach for this school year. Either way it’s clear I need to spend some time in schools to make sure this is a path I will be happy with long term. 

It’s like the other day when I took a wrong turn and the GPS had me on some funky back roads and I was feeling stressed and confused and then I looked up and I saw it had brought me to ‘Hope road’, and I had to laugh. If you have to be lost, it’s nice to see a road out called hope.

I know I want to spend one more year at home. There are two reasons for this. Ellie. Benji.

Alright seriously, there are two reasons for this. One is this is Ellie’s last year before she goes to Kindergarten full time. And oh yes, I did NOT sign her up for pre-kindergarten. I am choosing not to stress over her falling behind academically when she’s four years old. She’s going to be fine. We’re going to spend one last year together and then she’s in school for the next hundred years. This time is precious to me.

Benji is going to end up getting the ‘that’s-rough-kid’ end of the stick because this will probably be my last year with him too, at least full-time devoted to them. He’ll be almost three when I go back to school next fall. Or work. Or maybe the time will come and I’ll say; ‘Maybe one more year?’

I don’t know. I hope not. The benefits of staying home for him are too numerous to count. Up to a point. Then his little brain slows down it’s crazy growth and he will need some social exposure as well as learning to be independent from me. Hopefully when that times comes I will bite the bullet and just do it. Some days I don’t know how I’m going to make it another year and stay sane. Some days I can’t believe how fast the time is flying and I just want to hug them and hold them and keep them babies forever.

And that’s life right? The bitter and the sweet side by side. Every decision we make holds consequences that are lovely and right, are terrible and unexpected, and everything in between.

For now I’m gathering more information, including how I feel about school vs work and I’m putting one foot in front of the other. And when I get lost, I'm looking for hope and it usually finds me.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hugs, High Fevers, and Holy Octopus Batman!

I’m eating ice cream right now. Lots of ice cream.

Benji has had three high fevers since May. He just kicked a dosey, but right before he did his temperature soared to 105 at midnight Wednesday night. I try not to let it seep out but the panic was there in my chest, like an Octopus on crack. When he got better he broke out in a rash. Now he’s stuffy again. Is he getting a cold? Another one?

The doctor asked us to get a CBC on Thursday and right away let me say that the counts came back normal. But the nurse was awful. Clearly her first time? 

I was sitting on the cot, Benji straddling me so I could wrap both arms around him and hold him steady. She had that needle in and couldn’t ‘get the vein’ and keep pulling it in and out and in and out and finally called for help while he screamed. And I tried to stay calm and not panic the girl with the needle in my baby’s arm. 

After it was done and he was taped up I realized Ellie had climbed up onto the cot with me and had her arms and legs wrapped around us both. That made me cry right there. A small circle of love braced against the pain the smallest of us was feeling right then. There is no end or beginning to the love I feel for those two.

Needless to say, we had ice cream that day too. Bigger than their heads ice cream that ended up melted all over their faces, chins, shirts, and car seats. Ask me how much I cared about that.

As anyone who knows me knows, that’s how my Leukemia-drama began. A high fever that wouldn’t come down. One CBC later and I was admitted to the hospital and although I didn’t know it then, I was at the height of the roller coaster called ‘kid w cancer’. 

So you can imagine the actual terror I felt. Am still feeling honestly. Stupid Octopus on crack there in my chest ready to start flailing around again at any second.

There are a lot of different ways people cope with pain. Food, alcohol, exercise, prayer, music, meditation, talking it out, not talking it out. Everyone has their own unique way of dealing with spikes of anxiety, fear, and pain. Everyone has had to figure out how to self-soothe.

I know I preach a lot about meditation and yoga and prayer but beyond clearly healthy and not healthy ways of coping I don’t think there’s any right way. Everyone needs to find it for themselves, and not judge anyone else how they find their own peace.

That’s all for today folks. Go hug your kids okay? And if they’re healthy, take a second to soak up that awesomeness. If not, pull them close because hugs are to pain like water is to oil. It’s hard to feel one when you’re overwhelmed by the other.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Following My Bliss or, Don't Eat the Sand, Eh?

So I am in the ocean at Galveston yesterday and Bill had to run to the facilities for a minute leaving me alone with both kids. 

The water was warm. The sand was soft and sucking on our toes as the water pushed and retreated. There were birds wheeling overhead or diving into the surf to catch a snack. 

Benji was toddling around and pointing to the ocean and saying ‘Pooo!’ which means, pool. Because everything is a pool. Creeks, rivers, lakes, puddles. Everything is a pool. At least, I hope so. Poo also means, well, poo.

In any case, Ellie was laughing and throwing mud into the ocean. I don’t know why. But try it. It is kind of fun. Just don't get any in your mouth. Yuck.

And then something crazy happened. I looked around, lots of people around but no one is paying attention to us because they have their own crazy kids to watch carefully.

I dropped in the shallow water and did a Vinyasa flow. I started in Cobra which is backwards but who cares. Pushed back into Down Dog. Benji laughed at me, my head upside down and he bent down and put his head in the wet sand. A toddler down dog. He has never done that before. I think he sensed my joy, my playful heart.

Then I shifted to mountain, scooping my arms up and wide, my heart open to the sun and the surf and the sand. Then down to touch my toes, half bend, then back down to plank and cobra, (spit out sand) finish up in Up-Dog. 

Then I did a few of my favorite poses, Wild Thing, sitting back bend and then I came up and just sat in Rock Pose, watching my kids. I know what you’re thinking. But people might be WATCHING you. And JUDGING you. Maybe they think you’re a crazy yoga lady!

And I have to say, yeah, maybe. But in that moment there was such profound contentment and peace that I’d rather have that, then the good opinion of people I will never see again and to whom I may not like even if I did meet them again.

I’ve been reading ‘Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield about how to be successful and how to figure out how to make money doing things you love to do. I think the theory is, you were made with a purpose and each time your heart leaps with joy, or bliss, that’s because that’s the way you were made. And you were made to follow that wherever it goes. And trust that because that’s how you were made, that’s how you are going to be taken care of. Somehow, in some form, you will find success.

Wow, right? 

So, I am going to trust that God put these desires in my heart; to write, to uplift my heart and steady my body in a yoga flow, to teach that joy to others, to fill my heart with everything that makes me happy. Loving on my kids, tending to my garden, and to follow every spark and event that arouses my curiosity. 

I am going to trust that I am who I am for a reason, and that alignment will happen at some time frame that is not my own.

I don’t know if I will ever be a full time yoga teacher, or make any money from my writing or if loving to grow things could be lucrative. No one is paying me to love every kid I come across whether I spend three minutes with them or a few years.

But I have to trust that in following these desires I will find both a way to make a living and a way to stay in my ‘happy’ place. Maybe I will find my place as an admin assistant in a yoga studio, or as an editor instead of a writer, or a school counselor or a million other ways and jobs I won’t even know exist until I start following those paths.

I will follow bliss, I will let go, and I will be grateful for what I have right now. My totally chaotic and imperfect life is filled with millions of small, perfect moments and I won't stop searching for more. Life's too short, eh?

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.” 
--Joseph Campbell

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Do They Still Make Straitjackets? And Other Things I'd Like to Order From Amazon

Do you ever wonder if your kids are trying to make you go crazy?

Example One. This morning. 7:03am:

Ellie: I want Rice Krispies with milk and honey and blueberries.

Me: (No caffeine yet, hobbling around like Grammie O, wondering what mornings will feel like twenty years from now) Okay. Rice Krispies, milk, and honey.

Ellie: AND blueberries!

Me: You want blueberries? Okay.

Meanwhile Benji wants his juice, but he says it now so it’s super cute even when I’m half dead, I mean, awake. (Juuusss?)

Ellie crawls into her old highchair (this started two weeks ago I’m not sure why) and waits. Patiently. No TV yet. No demands for TV. So far so good.

I wash the blueberries, pour the cereal and place the blueberries gently into the Rice Krispies so it doesn’t drop and make Krispies fly everywhere. I dribble some honey. Then I add the milk. 

Then I frown because you can’t see the honey anymore. Do I normally pour the honey after I pour the milk? Yes. Okay. Re-dribble the honey. Find her spoon. Peel Benji, screaming, off the gate across the stairs. 

Me: No stairs before breakfast!

Benji: WAHHHHHHHHHHH No NO NO NO NOooooo, Mommieeeee, nooooo.

Ellie: Where’s my CEREAL?? (Voice rising ten octaves on ceREAL!?)

Me: Here, here it is. Benji cut it out.

Ellie: (Wailing) I didn’t WANT blueberries!!!!

Honestly for a minute I’m like…am I going crazy? Did I make that up? WHAT IS REALITY!? OMG I’ve totally lost my mind.

And this is a pretty normal, better than average, morning with me and the kids. Where I’m wondering if I’m totally nuts and both kids are crying for no apparent reason.

Should I try getting them coffee? No, no that’s probably counter-productive.

Maybe I get up before Benji’s first morning ‘Mommmmieeeee!’? and have my tea then? So, 5:30am? You know what’s worse than hobbling around like Grammie O and wondering if I’m losing my mind? Being awake before the sun comes up. No, no, no. No. It’s unnatural. I struggle on…

Example B: WHERE: Girls Bathroom of Freebirds Burrito Restaurant 
When: Lunch time today

Ellie: (Points to the painting of Jimi Hendrix on the wall) WHO’S THAT?
Me: Jimi Hendrix. Famous singer. He died a long time ago.
Ellie: I think he’s in Heaven. Do you think he’s in Heaven?
Me: I hope so. I think he had a rough life.
Ellie: Yeah he’s in heaven because it’s for me, it’s purple and God knows that’s my favorite color.
Me: (Holding her steady on potty) Ellie I don’t always follow what you’re talking about but it’s always beautiful.
Ellie: Yeah, I think so too.

Her big thing lately is, ‘Did God make that?’ As in, “Did God make that scary black bird with bad eyes?” (Crows).
“Yes. Everything has a purpose, even the things we think are kind of scary. God made them too.”
“Did God make this dress?”
“No, man made that.”
“Did God make Benji?”
“Did God make Toby?”
“Did God make…the trampoline?”
“NO!” Wiping a massive poop form a squirming, flailing, screaming 20 month old while your 4 year old is trying out philosophy is really, really, really HARD TO DO.

Enter guilt. 

Hear me sigh, from the bottom of my toes as I finally tape shut his diaper and let him go. (No. Clothes are for overachievers. He’s got a diaper on he’s fine).

“Ok Ellie, basically it’s like this. Everything alive, everything beautiful or scary or awesome, God made. Everything else, everything not alive, we did.”
Silence from Ellie then squeals of laughter as I catch Benji mid-jump on Toby’s back.
“So, did God make this blanket?”

Cue me, knocking my head against the nearest wall and wondering how strong to mix my dinner time ‘Mommy-juice.”
Strong. Really strong.