Let’s Celebrate

It is quite popular today, at least in the mommy blog-o-sphere, to write articles highlighting that life isn’t merely the beautiful highlight reels we display on our social media; to admit to the fact that life is hard, that it takes strength and courage to walk the path of motherhood and marriage and friendship.

I am totally in with that crowd because raising two little boys is hard.  Raising independent, loud, demanding children is a hike through the wilderness that is all it’s own.  And it does take strength, courage, grace and a lot of coffee to walk it every day.

I want to take a moment, however, to do the opposite.  I want to suggest that we all take a moment and call out those times that are beautiful and awesome.  Let’s celebrate and commend ourselves when things are going well and we are groovin’ through life to the beat of our favorite song.

Life has been awesome for me lately. Not every moment is full of sunshine and rainbows (we’ve been watching a lot of Pixar’s Trolls lately, if you get the reference) but in general, we are in an upswing. I’ve been rocking nap times and mealtimes.  I’ve been connecting with my children- laughing with them and enjoying such sweet moments of play and conversation; watching them begin to play together and care for each other.  My husband and I have been talking about the issues that matter and taking on things as a team.  We’re getting projects done that have been put off and balancing the care’s of our daily lives in a way that is comfortable for both of us.

Maybe it’s the beautiful weather.  Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve been getting enough sleep.  Maybe it’s just ok to say that life is awesome right now and leave it at that.

It’s so helpful to reach out when things are hard, and it is equally comforting to be able to speak up when things are going swell.  Life has a balance, a rhythm and the only thing that we can be certain of is change.  Things aren’t going to be rainbows and unicorns all the time. The upswing will eventually give way to a downswing before it heads back up again.  So let’s do more of showing up for each other when things get dark, when our friends and neighbors need a hand held out to them.  And let’s do more celebrating when things are awesome.  Let’s cultivate joy for ourselves and for each other when life hands out opportunity and success and be grateful for all the sweet beautiful moments.

I sure am grateful for all the sweet beautiful moments I’ve been experiencing lately.

 

hydrostatic equilibrium

The point of orbit

for this shining star

resides within.

The heart center

stokes the fire

kindling this tiny

everlasting flame.

I seek you,

blindly-

reaching out

squinting the depths

of this vast plane.

Your hand arrives,

steadying me

just in time,

leading me gently

back to truth

back to my self.

My reflection resides

in the depths

of cornflower blue.

How gently

grace whispers.

How gently

my sweet darlings

part their lips

in moments

of slumbered surrender

fanning the tiny flame

into a heart wrenching

blinding blaze.

The stellar center

holds true.

 

 

 

 

 

The Center Must Hold

I realized recently that I am the center of this family.  The point around which each person orbits; the axis around which this family unit revolves.  To my boys I am like the sun that lights their way during the day and the north star that leads them through dream land at night.  I am their home base- the place they run to when they are hurt, tired, scared, sad, excited, curious, bored.  I am the kisser of boo-boo’s, the righter of wrongs, their teacher, play pal and confidant all rolled into one incredibly tired and sometimes completely overwhelmed package.

When I wake irritable and cross with the world, the boys around me echo my sentiments (except sweet Cameron who is still young enough to wake each morning with a smile, happy simply to be awake again, glad just to see me and excited to begin exploring the world). The rest of them- their cranky footsteps, pouting faces and silent stares remind me that in order to teach kindness, I must be kind.  If I want a calm and happy home, then I must lead them there by managing my own anger, acting in ways that convey empathy, understanding and interest and displaying a loving and accepting self even, no especially, in those times when I would rather scream and shout and slam a door.

I am the center and the center must hold.

My husband is like a small island in the middle of this great big, often torrential sea, providing me with a place to land when I am in need of rest and a reminder of what is true.  Sometimes I lose sight of the island and become weary that we will not make landfall this day, afraid that I will be left to drift off alone in this vast expanse.  But then the tide recedes and there he is.  He is a great source of truth for me, reminding me of what is real, gently helping me to steer when I feel off course, always seeming to know what to say to reel me back to myself.  He sees me in a way that no one else does and he chooses to continue loving and supporting me day after day. There are few words in the english language which express the gratitude and comfort that I get from this.

My boys are the waves of our great ocean- coming at me full steam most days, forcing me to strengthen my strokes and take deep breaths before diving in.  But they are also the warm sand on which I rest, the sunshine that brightens my days and the heart-center of our foursome.  They give me strength even as they wear me out and fill me with joy and light even on the hard days, even when I wake irritable and cross and yell because wining doesn’t make pancakes cook faster and because one drop of chocolate milk spilled on our shirt dictates a huge laundry emergency despite the shoulders that are stiff with wiped off snot.  :::sigh:::

Choose what is most important in every moment
Listening to the voices in your head
And learn to hear your truth
Learn what feels good and what is right for you
Find ways to love those parts of yourself that have been undervalued

I see the echos of myself in my boys, in my husband and sometimes I don’t like what I see.  As the boys get older, especially Casey, it becomes increasingly evident and important to model good behavior, appropriate ways to deal with big feelings, right actions and deep empathy.  I don’t always manage to live up to my own ideal but I am learning.

I’m learning that it’s ok. It’s ok to not feel the way I think I should feel. It’s ok to feel the way I do. It’s ok to get mad, to be annoyed, to let them cry a bit, to not give in, to give in, to take alone time, to step away, to want to always come back, to want to hold on a little longer, and to grieve for the loss of a moment that just passed. It’s ok to want to just go inside, to just want to curl up and want quiet for a few moments. It’s ok to some days prefer one boy more then the other, to prefer on game over another, to get tired of playing with toys, to not get to the to-do lists. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to laugh and to feel everything in between, sometimes at the same time and it’s ok to not know what to do with that. It’s ok to realize that I am not perfect, that I want to be perfect, that I can’t live up to this, that neither are they perfect. It’s ok to apologize sometimes and it’s also ok not to.  

I am the center and the center must hold.

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5 am

I thought about getting up, fixing the TV so I could watch the early morning news, making coffee, using the bathroom.  Instead, I lay there, relishing the 8.5 pound bundle sleeping on my chest.  I leaned in for the thousandth time just to smell the top of his head.  I closed my eyes and rested my hands on him, one on his back, the other cradling his bottom, and I just felt him breathe.  That natural rhythm of breath that comes so simply to babies, to children, before they are burdened.. before they forget to breathe.

I lay on the couch with him on my chest and stared at the ceiling, feeling the parts of me that ached with exhaustion and the relentless reframing that happens from constantly accommodating the needs of an infant and a toddler.  There’s the nursing, the burping, the constant carrying (of both kids), playing on the floor, playing outside, pushing a stroller, getting up and down and up and down again and again, during the day, during playtime, bath time, dinner, at night.  My body aches.  Hips, knees, ankles, the back of my skull, my jaw; aches that only the passing of time and hours of yoga will heal.

Meanwhile, my husband gets less of me for now.  A smile as he walks out of his office during the day, tales of our adventures during dinner, the offer of a cup of coffee in the morning and the last bit of my energy to engage in conversation at night before I cannot keep my eyes open any longer, a passing touch, just the fluttering of my fingers against his arm or his chest as I drift off to sleep.  Then of course the muttering at night or in the early hours of morning as I pace the floor and manage the needs of a cranky toddler before I have my first cup of coffee.  One day he will get me back, one day soon we will laugh about these days and miss them and get to watch our shows at night again.

But for now, I’m going to continue to try to appreciate every moment of this sleep deprived time, remind myself that it won’t last forever and will be over too soon.  Try to breathe more simply, more deeply, in an attempt to call upon that hidden reserve of patience I know must exist within me somewhere.  And mornings like this, I will lay here and study the ceiling and linger as long as I can in chest time with this new baby boy; smell his head and feel his heart beat, match his breath and pat his back and ignore all else until day breaks and I am required to drag my weary body once more into the light.

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Our First Year.

Sinnott,Amelia-3667When I started this blog, a little over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what it would become or if I would even keep it up.  I thought it would be a way to keep those close to me updated on the health and status of my growing family and the progress and changes of my baby boy.  It has become so much more that than for me.  It has given me a creative outlet, a way to express myself and explain, through written word, who I am.  I feel compelled to write these days because I like the sound of my voice on paper.  For many years, I’ve felt the tremendous pressure of words, dammed up somewhere within me, and had no way to release them.  I needed a muse and, so, was presented with one in the most basic form.  I grew one.

Through writing about being pregnant and chronicling my journey into parenthood, I have found my voice.  Being presented everyday with the delights and pleasures of parenting, as well as the tremendous challenges of raising an already rambunctious little boy, I have found within me the release I needed.  Words pour out of me, if not on this blog or my other one, then in my journal that I keep daily.  It isn’t always easy to put the words into an order that sounds right or articulates the exact nature of my feelings and view points, but I’m working on that.  Keeping this blog has helped me to practice the craft of writing and to experiment with different ways to convey, through words, the visions and feelings that are inside of me.  If nothing else, it gives me something meaningful to do while Casey naps.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude.  Tomorrow, will be Alex and my first wedding anniversary.  I feel grateful that I have him by my side, grateful that we now have a specific date to commemorate our promises to each other, our “I Do’s.”  At the same time, we have been together for so much longer than a year that it feels a bit absurd to celebrate a single year of our relationship.  But what a year it’s been!

The past year has felt like the toughest and the easiest year that we have had together.  Not only did we become husband and wife but we became parents and through these labels our relationship shifted.  We are still best friends, still the light in each other’s eyes and best of all we now get to share our love and light with this beautiful, crazy little boy that we created.  Over the past year, I feel we have acquired a settledness about us.  We have become grounded and I feel a calm surety that wasn’t there before.  As we celebrate a single year of marriage after 7 years of dating, I feel a deep gratitude that I have found such a sweet soulmate to share my time on earth with.   Thank you, Alex, for sharing your life with me; for being a steady source of strength when I needed it and for never backing down or giving up when there were signs of trouble.  I love you now more than I did yesterday and I will love you even more tomorrow.

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On our wedding day last year. I look pretty damn good for being 8 months pregnant!

One of my favorite pictures from that day.  Look how sunny and beautiful the Seattle sky line is behind us!  So different from the white, winter wonderland outside our window this year!

One of my favorite pictures from that day. Look how sunny and beautiful the Seattle sky line is behind us! So different from the white, winter wonderland outside our window this year!

How lucky I am to have these two make up my family of three.

How lucky I am to have these two make up my family of three.

“I Do”

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Wednesday, February 5th, as 700,000 people filled the streets of Seattle to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks, I stood high above them all next to a corner window on the 11th floor of Seattle’s Municipal courthouse and married my best friend.  I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  Everything else disappeared as the setting sun illuminated the Seattle skyline behind us.  We looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands as we exchanged our vows and became man and wife.

The ceremony was short but sweet, attended only by our friend Loayza who acted as witness and photographer (and schlepper of all my shit).   Although it was a courthouse wedding, we didn’t have to get married in the courtroom.  Instead, we stood in front of the southwest facing corner window of the “Jury Assembly” room, radiant, as the setting sun made its slow descent into the western horizon.   It was a beautiful day, chilly but sunny with clear, blue skies.  To the South,  Mt. Rainer was visible in the distance past the sports stadiums and to the west, out across Seattle’s gorgeous skyline, the waters of the Puget Sound sparkled.   It was magical and altogether too swift.

It’s always like that though isn’t it?  We spend so much time and energy looking forward to and preparing for the big moments of our lives, only to have the moment pass in the blink of an eye. That’s how our wedding felt.  There was the briefest pause during the short ceremony, as if time stood still and for just that instant nothing else mattered except the handsome man who stood in front of me- this man who I have known and loved for so long now, who knows my secrets, my fears, my quirks and my dreams, who I trust more than anyone, my favorite person in the world who can make me laugh harder and longer than I ever thought possible.  All that mattered for that moment was this man who was about to become my husband.

As it always does, the moment ended and we were forced back into reality, the ceremony over.  We collected our belongings, took a few more pictures and were on our way.  We  had entered the courthouse fiancees, full of excitement, not knowing what to expect.  Now, our rings snuggly on our fingers, our vows and kiss(es) exchanged, we were walking out husband and wife.

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