Sunday, November 25, 2018

Being Strong Like Tiger or, Role Modeling Healthy Habits for my Cubs

Well color me amazed slash inspired. I made it to one yoga class this week, despite Bill being off all week. It was actually a Barre class because I came way too early for the class I was supposed to go to but it’s good I did BECAUSE…hang with me I’m getting there…I met an older woman, probably late sixties who told me this was her THIRD workout class of the day.

Jaw. Dropped.

Would you like me to tell you what I’D done so far that day? I slept until 7am. Then I puttered around with the kids, than Bill and I took them to Costco for a Black Friday sale on vacuums. We bought a vacuum. Then we took the kids to the park. Benji pooped so we had to leave early.

I did a load of laundry and then, THEN showed up to class gabbing all the time we waited for class to start about how nervous I was about being able to make it through the whole class because I was so out of shape. Yoga is one thing, but what is this Barre class I’m stumbling into?

It was fine. Muscles burned. Legs shook. I slept just fine that night.

THEN today I did my morning Karma shift and met a woman doing her free birthday yoga class today. After class she casually mentioned she had already gone for a run. And I thought, well heck guys!

When it’s my birthday I demand to sleep in, then demand cupcakes and hot tea to be delivered to my bedside. Then I demand cake and ice cream and presents and balloons and I swear not to eat anything healthy the entire day.

I think all of this has inspired me to realize I may not be living my most healthy life?

I think, sometimes God has to smack me upside the head with a metaphorical two by four. BOOM. (Grammie can out-yoga, out-barre, AND out-run your pasty butt).
BOOM. (This beautiful, bubbly woman is taking care of herself and her health and making it the first thing she does, as a gift to herself.)

No more BOOMS. I get it. Trouble is you’ve got to be a little selfish in order to take care of yourself. So that’s where my trouble lies. It’s real easy- in fact- it’s almost something I’m not even aware of. If someone in my family needs me, I will be there. Twenty-four seven. Every minute. Every second. And then…

And then I get so depleted I can’t give anything good to anybody. And then I get sick and now I REALLY can’t help anyone.

I guess my real worry is that I will start to be a little selfish, and I’ll get like addicted to taking care of myself and then…and then…I don’t know, everyone will fall apart without me? The world will screech to a stop? People won’t like me as much? I’ll feel guilty? Something bad might happen if I’m not there all the time?

So. As a present to myself, I am officially announcing to the whole world (hi mom) that I am committing to working on myself twice a week. Whether it’s Yoga, swimming, a fun new dance class, whatever makes me feel good.

I predict that I will start to feel healthier; my kids will get a good role model for healthy habits and grow into healthy adults and my dog will not notice anything at all.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Teaching Myself To Make Mistakes

It’s all coming together folks. I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

Wait for it…wait for it….

A high school English teacher! Ba baaaaaa! I’m so excited. Drum roll please.

Fanfare and shrieks of excitement?
A pat on the head?

My interview is next Monday and if all goes well, I’ll be training to stand in front of a white board (do they still use blackboards?) and have paper airplanes thrown at my head. Yessssss.

It is true my first impulse was to become a school counselor. That may still be my path but it turns out you should teach a bit before you do that? And I agree. I had no idea I was going to be this excited to be a teacher. If all continues to go well I will be interning next fall at a school near YOU. Or, me, hopefully.

Also, Ellie wants everyone to know she wants to be a teacher-scientist-dog when she grows up. We do like our science. And our dogs, apparently.
I digress again.

I am nervous about, well, everything. Am I making a big mistake? Should I stay home with them a few more years? Should I apply for a part time position somewhere nearby doing administration or clerical work? Should I try to go back to work for ‘Big Oil?’

But each obstacle (child-care {guilt}, late nights, exams, extra stress on me and the kids {guilt}, paper airplanes…) will come and I will manage it. I’ll manage my mischief as well my little Harry Potter fans.

One of my favorite lines from one of my other favorite books (A Wrinkle in Time) is:
Meg: “Charles Wallace whatever she is, whatever that is, whatever all this is…I don’t like it!”
Charles Wallace: “You’ll manage.”

No matter what happens, I will manage. You will too, you know. Whatever you are facing, whether it’s going back to work like me or retiring from it. Twin babies or no babies, you’re going to manage too. I think if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not really living. Because who never makes mistakes? People that never try anything new. I don’t want to be that person. Frozen in perfection, immobile with the weight of what-ifs?

I’m thankful for all the twists and turns my life has taken, all of the surprises, some good, some not so good, and the way I’m being taught that no matter what happens, it’s all going to be okay.

That isn’t just my inner Pollyanna speaking, that’s my inner Wonder Woman too. Life is tough. Sometimes you need to lasso people with a golden rope to make them tell the truth. Sometimes you need to fend off paper airplane attacks with your bangles, or your determined sunny attitude.

“Don’t sell yourself short by being so afraid of failure that you don’t dare to make any mistakes. Make your mistakes and learn from them.” Maria Shriver.

Life, eh? It’s a mystery. All we can do is give it everything we’ve got.

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” Vincent van Gogh.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day, Perfection, and a book about Snowblowers and Secret Fans

Toby is curled up beside me. A warm fire is burning merrily in the fireplace. A Curious George Special Christmas is on the TV. 

Ellie is eating oranges and goldfish and Benji is settling down for a long afternoon nap. These are some of the things I am grateful for this Veterans Day. 

Beto lost Texas, Democrats took the house, but everyone wins because we have a system where we the people get to vote our conscience. And if it isn’t too serious for a blog mostly about my trials with diaper blow-outs and narcissistic self-help fads, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to all the veterans both in my new country, America, and in my home country, Canada. 

Thank you so much for your service. I wouldn’t be here, drinking Soy Latte’s and talking smack about politicians and questionable policies if it weren't for your sacrifice. Just, thank you and I hope we can honor you by showing up, by voting, by risking wet shoes and cold fingers to make sure you know you are appreciated and respected. Thank you all.

Speaking of being grateful to be able to ramble on about the latest self-help fads, I just read ‘The Gifts of Imperfection” By Brene Brown and ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ by Rachel Hollis.

I’ll sum them both up for you with a quote and four words:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Theologian Howard Thurman

‘GO GET ‘EM GIRL!’ Blogger, mom, and ridiculous dreamer, Angela Yeh.

These two ladies are teaching me that perfection is perception, not reality. And it never makes anyone else feel good. It smooshes our interesting 3-D selves into a flat paper drawing. I don’t know about you but I like a little texture to my friends.

So that’s those two books.

I promised my book club ladies I would actually read this next book soooo, ‘The Snowflower and the Secret Fan’ is the next one I read. It sounds amazing. Also I don’t know if it’s because I’m Canadian but spell check keeps changing Snowflower to Snowblower. I would definitely read the Snowblower and the Secret Fan.

I digress.

Thank a Veteran for me, read a book and tell me about it, and if anyone is writing a book about snowblowers and secret fans, please let me read the first draft!

"The solider above all others prays for peace, for it is the solider who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." Douglas MacArthur

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Fierce Fairytales that will Stir Your Soul

I'm awake before the sun today. Before the baby. Even the dog shook his head at me and went back to sleep. I’m not sure what woke me. There’s the final rumblings of a storm, the low growl of thunder, the occasional flash of lightening.

It isn’t often I’m awake before the babies. It’s usually Benji’s ‘Mommmmeeee! Mumu-mum-mum-MOMMMEEEE’ that rings me into wakefulness around 5:30am every morning. Or Ellie’s sweet singing, a lullaby or just a random song that includes what’s she doing right now. “It’s mooorrrnning and I’m sitting in my roooom. Toby is jumping on my beeed. What should I doooo todaaayyy….”

I love my children. They make me laugh and cry, and raise up in me a fierce protectiveness that surprises even me. I thought I was all sweetness and light but it turns out when it comes to my kids I am also claw and fang. Mama Bear Lives Here.

In any case, it is nice to have a moment alone. A hot cup of tea to myself. The utter darkness outside pressing heavy at the windows. My own thoughts clattering into order as I write this.

If I sound a little more poetic today than I usually do it’s because my attention isn’t divided between hauling Benji’s head out of Toby’s mouth (or butt), and explaining (again) to Ellie why being on electronics too much is bad for her brain. And then explaining why she’s going to have a banana or an apple right now instead of another bag of gold fish. 

Why did I take them out for Halloween again? Not to be a downer but the thrice daily negotiations over eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner BEFORE she gets into her stash as well as one, two or THREE treats this time is slowly wearing down my will to live.

I digress.

I’ve also been reading poetry again. I found a delightful book of poems that speaks to my whole soul - Nikita Gill’s ‘Fierce Fairytales - Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul.’

Consider this soul stirred. 

Ah, the deliciousness of reading poetry that skips rational and logical explanations and just sings into your heart! Zing! I love it. It’s all about women - about how strong and amazing we are.

As a woman I am just now becoming aware of all the ways our society doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate women in countless ways. From lack of prenatal care for lower income women to the meager amount of time we’re allotted for maternity-care leave. Twelve weeks? Really? Unpaid? REALLY? But I thought you said being a mom was the most important job on the planet?

These first few years of my children’s life are the most important cognitively, and emotionally. I have been so blessed to have been able to be here with them full time. To teach them myself about the wonder of the everyday world. About how numbers are fascinating and never end, about how books are the very best thing to curl up with on a rainy day. 

To communicate to Ellie how very beautiful she is, but that outer beauty is just a pretty shell on the beach. There are millions of those. Real beauty is kindness, and bravery. 

This time with them is priceless and once it’s gone you can never get it back. And I am one of about 23% of women who have been able to afford to do this. 

Even still, the gap in my working history will penalize me an average of eleven thousand dollars a year for the rest of my working life.

Being a mom is the most important job on the planet. It’s more important than making money. It’s more important than being in a position to be able to wield change that could benefit all women everywhere.

The job of nurturing and raising children is literally what our future hinges upon. I’m a little worried the power to be able to do and be that isn’t in our own very capable hands.

Her mother told her
she could grow up to be
anything she wanted to be,
so she grew up to become
the strongest of the strong,
the strangest of the strange,
the wildest of the wild,
the wolf leading the wolves.'

Nikita Gill.

The Gift Of Nowhere To Go

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