Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Lane Assist

I bought a Subaru Outback just over a year ago. With it, came this amazing feature “lane assist.” If you’re not familiar, this feature maps your lanes and gives you a gentle nudge if your vehicle veers out of said lanes. I'm not a girl who gets too excited about cars. In fact, I was was once on SR22 insurance due to too many accidents. However, I find this feature to be quite literally a life saver.

It’s also a reminder each day of my role as a parent.


I remember telling a co-worker just after Nora was born that I always thought parenting was about making our kids into the best versions of themselves. But, once Nora was born, I knew she was already her best self. As a baby, I could see it in her eyes. I knew, through her eyes, my job was to map the lanes for her, and gently nudge her each time she was veering out of the them.

But, my job has gotten so much harder these last few months. My dear Nora is driving on roads that are unfamiliar to both of us. Kindergarten is in full swing. For us, this means her brain is going faster than a Subaru can drive. The lanes she has grown accustomed to staying in are expanding. She is seeking more control. She is falling apart and wanting to put the pieces back together herself. For God’s sake, her teeth are falling out of her mouth! Ha!



So, each morning I look into those sweet eyes and remember that my job is the gentle nudge. The lane assist. It’s not to drive the car for her (no matter how tempting). And while lane assist doesn’t prevent accidents, it helps keep us aware of the boundaries.

In short, kindergarten is hard.

And we can do hard things.

Cheers, my friends!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

To the Woman Who Bought My Jogging Stroller...

I cried thinking about selling you this stroller. Tears of joy and a bit of sadness.

My husband and I struggled with infertility for two years before finally finding out we were expecting our daughter. In those two years, I dreamed about being the kind of mama who ran with my kiddos. I’d get stronger on those runs. Mentally and physically. I’d teach my daughter to love her body and all that it can accomplish.

I ran once with my daughter when she was eight months old. Days later, I found out I was pregnant again.



My son, who was born seventeen months after my daughter, brought with him more sleepless nights than I can count. I found solace on runs with him. I would run so he’d sleep. I’d run so I could release the tension I felt far too often with a baby and a toddler.

Today, my two little miracles are far too large to run with (and they may be faster than me). So, I pass this stroller to you! I hope you enjoy being “the mama who runs” as much I do.

Your miles with this stroller may be slower than the ones you had before it but I promise you they pass quickly.

Happy running, mama!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"Mom, I'm mad at you!"

“Mom, I’m mad at you!”

I didn’t know these words could bring me so much comfort.

You see, I’m raising a boy.

A boy who instinctively wants to tackle. Who is drawn to motors, wheels, and super heroes in a way that feels unfamiliar to me.

And, I feel a responsibility that is also unfamiliar.


I feel responsible for creating an environment that makes it safe for him to explore his natural interests. And instincts. Because while his interests include a whole bunch of things that are classically masculine by our society’s standard - that is not him in his entirety. His instincts, they include being sad when a friend is not nice. And angry with big expressions when things don’t go his way. And kind in subtle and gentle ways. 

It feels important to embrace all these facets of his little soul at the impressionable age of three.

Because, our boys. I don't think they're okay.

While the roles of women have evolved {with a long journey still ahead}, the roles our boys play in our society have been slower to evolve. I believe my son can be his full self if we create an environment that is welcoming. And, somehow, this feels at the root of where we are as a country.

So, I’m trying hard to do my part.

To tell my son to share his feelings.


All of them.

The big ones that want to erupt as punches.

And the little ones that stop a friend in the hall to tell her she looks beautiful.

Even the ones that come out in the succinct phrase of; “Mom, I’m mad at you!”

I simply thank him for telling me.

Reassuring him that we all get mad.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mistakes

I think we were finishing up brushing her teeth. A long day behind us, I’m sure. Both of us tired with a million things running through our heads, I assume.

She turned to me, and with no warning said;

“Mom, sometimes I make mistakes. Then, I think about those mistakes later, and I feel weird all over my body.”

I hugged her!

Hard.

Then, I dropped to her level, looked straight in her eyes, and with the utmost sincerity said; “me too, my girl!”

Photo by Studio K Squared
We proceeded to talk about those mistakes. We talked about how they make us better. And, how we really can’t learn without them. And, we talked about how hard they are, and how weird they make us feel.

This is a big one for my girl. For me.

Because I’m not really at peace with my daily mistakes either. In fact, if I’m being honest, I immediately wondered what mistake I’d made that would lead to her putting so much pressure on herself.

So, I asked her to report back to me about her mistakes the next day.

She returned home from school proud to report back to me about the mistakes she made. We high-fived and celebrated the fact that mistakes are gifts - lessons tied with a messy bow.

The gift she has given me is the time to reflect on my own mistakes and truly learn from them. How grateful I am for her profound bravery to put her emotions into such meaningful words.

This girl, I tell ya, keeps teaching the "teacher"!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The After

It’s been a little over a year since we discovered Weston’s coconut allergy. And, not quite a year since we eliminated dairy from his diet. To say we’ve seen vast improvements in his sleep, well-being and behavior, is an understatement.

When I share the story of Weston’s health challenges for the first two years of his life, I’m always met with the comment; “did everything get so much better after you figured it out?”

And, the answer is; “yes!”

But also; “no!”

You see, after the hundreds of up-all-nights, the thousands of questions to the doctor, husband, friends and family, after we started sleeping again, after Weston started smiling more than he coughs, and after everything didn’t seem so hard, I realized I was changed.  


The After. Thankful our little guy is happier and healthier. Photo by Studio K Squared

And change is hard.

Last year, around my birthday, I woke up after only a couple hours of sleep, and I stayed awake for almost four hours. For no reason. Just awake. In a panic about how I would feel the next day with so little sleep. I’d been there {exhausted} before. Hundreds of times. For good reason. Because I was up all night with a sick child. But this wasn’t for a good reason. I just couldn’t sleep.

Then, it happened again a few months later. And, again, a few months after that. Then, once a week for many months. And, finally, many nights in a row.

So, I began to do an inventory on my life.

I noticed an electricity in my body at the mere sound of a cough. A physical reaction to a noise that had caused myself, and my family, so much pain.

I noticed relationships I once took for granted. Cracked. Strained. Not what they once were but not something evolved either.

And I noticed myself still in overdrive. Still regimented in my activities. Trying to control the uncontrollable.

Did life get so much better after we figured out what was causing Weston so much pain, and our family such heartache?

Yes!

But also, no!

Because, I’m learning, my friends, in the after, you’re left with the remnants of the trauma you’ve experienced. These remnants, they're gifts. But, it's up to you to find their place with the new you. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Blue Camaro

It happened again the other day. Heels on. Professional attire in place. I grabbed my coat to head out for a meeting. I zipped it up, and put my hands in my pockets for warmth (because I’m never put together enough to remember gloves). And there it was. I could feel the familiar outline. I felt the curves of the metal and the curve creep across my face too. My smile was uncontrollable. 

A small blue Hot Wheel Camaro was in my pocket.

I was so thankful to hold it. To smile for a second and think of my little man who never leaves home without a vehicle in his hand. While he spends his days at school, and I spend my days at work, we are connected.

These little reminders of my daily motivation, they’re everywhere. Sometimes it's a blue Camaro and sometimes it's a purple hair bow. They're in my coat pockets, purse, and under the seats of my car. Every time I find one I can’t help but smile.

This season of parenting is hard. There's never any time and I always feel I'm stretched too thin. But these tiny reminders, they help. They are quick examples of my why. Why I wake up before the sun rises, and close down my computer long after it sets.

This car is neither blue or a Camaro. It was another car. On another day.
I already know, one day, in the not-so-distant future, I’ll stop finding these reminders everywhere I look. The Camaro and the purple bow will be missing from my pockets, and the little people they belong to won’t be so little anymore.

So, for now, I smile with gratitude. And refill my coffee.

Cheers!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Getting Holes in Our Pants

Dear Nora,

The other day your cousin and brother ran outside to play. Their hair was wild from an all-too-short night of sleep, and their little bodies were still cozy in their pajamas.  

You stood back.

In judgment.

“They will get dirty!” you said.

“I know,” I replied. Lacking concern.



I came into your room quickly the other night after a long day.

I craved your smell and a brief conversation with your wise eyes before you drifted off to sleep. But those eyes were filling up with tears. You had gotten a hole in your pants earlier in the day.

“I was playing puppy, Mom, but then I got the hole, so I sat in the corner!”

Photo by Studio K Photography
My girl, please let your wild curls stay wild. Your spirit too. Let go of the rules (and the straightener you’ll someday discover) and explore your way off the beaten path.


Those gold stars you crave, they won’t define you. The reward you seek lies in the dirt and the holes.

I want to whisper. So you’ll hear. Those disapproving looks you receive for not fitting a mold won’t define you either. That mold says you should hug and smile and be pleasant at the beck and call of our society. I say, “screw the mold!”

I want to bottle up your anger. Your frustration. Because sometimes I have to keep you safe when you know exactly what you want and can’t capture it on your own. I’ve seen that anger and frustration tear you apart over the tiny details you crave for each of your imaginative ideas.

I’d give that strong-will back to you at 25, my girl, and let you put it to good use as you find your way on a dirty path. Your wild curls blowing in the breeze. A fresh hole in your pants.
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