Category Archives: relationships

Where you lead…

Near the beginning of my maternity leave, I decided to pick a pretty long winded series to watch. Something with lots of seasons to make it really easy for me to settle into those long nursing sessions and “time off” that translates into “trapped at home because it is WAY TOO HOT to do anything outside.” Netflix was the answer, my friends.

I decided to try out Gilmore Girls. I was never a regular for this show although I’ve seen bits and pieces over the years – but never enough of it to know what to expect or how it would end. It had 7 seasons so I knew it was a good fit for 12 weeks of leave.

I finished the last episode recently and find myself feeling a little sad now. It’s over. I had become pretty tight with my Stars Hollow friends. I felt comfortable yelling at the characters when I knew they were making the wrong decisions. I depended on Sookie to make me delicious sounding treats whenever I was having a rough day. Now it’s over and there are many questions I still have. Fortunately, they are coming out with 4 extended episodes this year so I don’t have to wait nearly as long as those who were on the bandwagon while the series was airing originally.

il_340x270-769818447_b79zBut there is something bigger than all this hiding between the lines and I didn’t realize it until about half way through watching this series. While I was home with our first child, Daxton, during maternity leave – the song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley would always be playing in some form when I needed it most. It was a reminder when I needed it most “don’t worry….every little thing’s gonna be alright.” The universe knew what I needed to hear and it  became a personal mantra for me. I even have a piece of art hanging in my bedroom now with those lyrics to remind me.

I have always been a writer at heart. It started with lyrics when I was younger – the first thing I wanted to do when I bought a new CD as a kid was to get to the jacket and read the song lyrics before I even listened to the first note of music. I wrote poetry, short stories – my minor in college was creative writing. It’s a passion  I don’t get much time for now. But I’m always listening, trying to catch the muse (and the 20 minutes to capture my thoughts before they drift to the abyss).

So with Daykin here, I wondered what our song would be. How would I find it? I haven’t been  listening to much music with her like I did Daxton – probably because my 3 year old son demands Jake the Pirate to be playing on the TV as soon as he gets home so there isn’t a lot of time for background music this time around.

13620294_645261903623_4738712822116736659_nBut about half way through this Gilmore Girls binge, I realized I had been singing the theme song to Daykin every single time. I found myself humming the tune at night time as I was trying to get her to bed. I listened to the full lyrics and realized they could be applied to the wonderful relationship between a mother and a daughter – after all, it was the theme song to Gilmore Girls which is 7 seasons of watching the relationship between a mother and daughter. Of course. This is our song, it was under my nose the whole time!

It’s funny how life happens this way. You ask yourself a question and if you throw into the universe, sometimes you find the answer was in front of your face the whole time.

I’m glad to have a special song that applies to each of my kids. It seems like the type of thing I hope they might appreciate later in life. When they hear that song playing – they will know that it was the song I kept close to my heart for each of them.

Lyrics to “Where You Lead” (original lyrics, obviously some were modified for theme song!) by Carol King

Wanting you the way I do
I only want to be with you
And I would go to the ends of the earth
‘Cause, darling, to me that’s what you’re worth

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

If you’re out on the road
Feeling lonely and so cold
All you have to do is call my name
And I’ll be there on the next train

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

I always wanted a real home with flowers on the window sill
But if you want to live in New York City, honey, you know I will
I never thought I could get satisfaction from just one man
But, if anyone could keep me happy, you’re the one who can

And where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

Leave a comment

Filed under being a mom, family, Life, relationships, writing

The Real Guilt Trip

I thought I’d felt guilt before in my life. And then I became a mom – and it felt like any previous guilty feeling I’d had was a drop in the bucket.

13226883_639655244413_2863169226318176423_n

Love at first sight

Then I became a mom of 2 tiny human beings and my world has flipped upside down. I think I have cried more due to guilty feelings than anything else during this first month at home with our newborn and my 3 year old.

No one, and I mean no one, is as good at giving you a guilt trip than an innocent little 3 year old. This morning, I overhear him telling daddy in the next room, “I miss mommy a really lot.” Meanwhile, I’m trying to sleep because I’ve been up multiple times to nurse and soothe baby sister. Guilty as charged.

Now that I’m starting to feel more human again after the debacle of my c-section recovery, I’ve been able to do bath time with Daxton and a few times – I’ve even had enough time to put him to bed as well in between Daykin’s frequent evening nursing sessions. Each time I’ve put Daxton to bed  – the guilt trip starts again. I’m reading him a book, tucking him him and he’ll whisper, “Mommy, will you hold my hand? I miss you.”

I miss you, too, bud. I do.

13260275_10153794077618305_2644004793032093691_n

Our family time on the couch

This whole 2 kid thing is challenging for my body and my heart. Physically – I’m just not able to handle Daxton 100% yet – he’s knocking at 40 pounds door and he is super fast. So I can’t lift him yet and I certainly am not feeling up to running after him. So our time together is watching a tv show or movie while I’m nursing sister. When she’s napping in the evening and he is home – I do my best to be the one to fix him dinner. I ask him to sit next to me so we can snuggle. I remind him who my favorite boy is (it’s him).

But still – that little sweet voice is in my head everyday about how much he misses me and while it’s incredibly sweet – it breaks my already swollen heart. It pulls at my already over plucked heart strings.

Because he’s right – I’m not around as much. I am not the mom to him I was just a few weeks ago and he’s not old enough to really understand the rationale behind that. I am so thankful he hasn’t placed his resentment on his baby sister. We are lucky in that way – things could be so much more difficult. He’s acting out and showing us his independence a lot lately by demonstrating he doesn’t have to do what we say. I hate that the time we do spend together seems to always include him being “in trouble.” I guess that’s why they say we have “threenagers.”

The  biggest challenge so far has just been trying to really “be there” for both my kids in a

13344806_10153842194458305_1550339599846236481_n

Daddy trying to calm Daykin as she demands immediate feeding!

meaningful way. I am the only food source for Daykin, so I have some pretty tight timelines and limitations on what I can do outside of being with her day and night. I know that’s a choice I’m making, but I still stand behind it. And Daxton understands that a little bit – but in the end, when it’s bedtime and he’s holding my hand and she is screaming downstairs with her “feed me NOW” cry – I’m torn into 2 pieces. I want to be in both places, but know I can’t. And then the guilt comes when I have to choose.

I know it will get easier. We’ll find a routine. Eventually Daxton will want nothing to do with me for bedtime – he won’t ask if he can wake me up in the morning time to come and cuddle with me and sister. There will be a day when he’ll be sitting across the table from me and won’t engage in conversation because I’m not cool enough. So I want to be there for him now, I want him to know how much I love him and I never want him to feel like he is second string. It’s a strange phenomenon when you have 2 kids – how you can love them both so incredibly much and there is no first or second – they both own your heart equally.

So I’m working on figuring it out…but I’m nowhere close yet. And this is the part that makes all this really hard despite all the joy both my children bring to me. I keep telling myself this moment in time is just a blip and what he’ll remember is who I am to him consistently over time. He won’t remember this part of his life when mommy can’t be there for him everytime he needs me. Oh, but I will. The mommy guilt is thick.

Well, that’s where I am right now with this whole mother of 2 thing. Caught between grateful and guilt ridden.  

Leave a comment

Filed under being a mom, family, Life, relationships

Remembering the “Me” in Mother

I am not sure what the magic number is, but I was just far enough away from vivid memories of a newborn and those daily struggles as a new mother to be open to the possibility of trying for baby #2. I’d see others having babies and it made me miss those tiny fingers and toes. I wanted to smell that new baby smell and relive that bond that only a mom and baby can experience.

We were fortunate to get pregnant again within a reasonable time frame…and here I am, 29 weeks later feeling a bit terrified of this tiny life growing inside me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to meet our baby girl in May. It is what I wanted. But as the final trimester is now in play…things are starting to feel a lot more real. Unlike my first pregnancy where I spent my time imagining what was in store for me – now, I don’t have to imagine. I know. I think that is why I am pretty much terrified of what’s next. I think back to the first few months with Daxton and I remember it was hard. It was beautiful and perfect and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. How in the world will I survive that same experience on top of having a 3 year old?

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about my ability to be the type of mom I want to be to both my kids. I think about being the type of wife I want to be when I have 2 kids. And I think about the type of daughter, sister, aunt and friend I want to be when my life takes this new twist in just a few months. Man, it feels overwhelming.

Then I reflect for a moment. I take a few deep breaths and I realize I forgot to think about someone pretty important in all this thinking. Me. How will I be good and kind to myself when I have 2 kids? I forgot to ask myself this really important question in the midst of preparing for meeting my first child. And I’ve spent the last 3 years not figuring it out totally, and that makes me sad. It makes my husband sad.

So i’m going to try to be mindful this time. I’m going to be nicer to myself. I’m going to be more willing to ask for help and believe it’s not a sign of weakness on my side. I’m not going to torture myself if breastfeeding doesn’t work out like I want it to. I am going to make time for myself to do things I enjoy and love – like seeing my friends and making plans even if it’s a little inconvenient or hard to get ready for with 2 kids. I’m going to rely on my husband to take care of things when I can’t and trust that someone else can be in charge of washing the bottles correctly or pairing the tiny socks and finding the right drawers to put away the laundry correctly.

3f4ffe4ac23adcc5f25a322df290998dI realize the hardest part of being a mom for me is tangled up in my need to love my family fiercely and my inability to extend that same type of love and compassion to myself. And that makes everything harder. Self created hardship, I know.  So my goal is to keep loving fiercely and add myself to the list of people I want to be thoughtful of during this next season of my life.

Being a mom is about being willing to put someone else before your own needs. I don’t expect anything different this time around, I know my life, my hopes, my dreams will all be wrapped around a tiny little finger.  I know my daughter will be the next love of my life and my heart may burst. But I must make more room, my heart has to grow even bigger this time – because I have to find room for me again despite how hard it will be.

Sometimes we forget that there is a “me” in mother. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I choose to believe it is because we need that reminder. Because I’m not “the best me” when I’m not extending the same kindess and love to myself that I am offering everyone else. To be a better mother (and all of those other things I want to do be good at), I’m not overlooking me this time.

I have to believe my kids will thank me one day. My kids will always come first, I think that is in the DNA of being a mother…but I have decided I deserve a place on the list, too. This new chapter of my life is going to be really hard. I’m going to be really tired. But it will be full of love, and it’s not just going to be about loving my children but remembering to love me, too.

3 Comments

Filed under being a mom, family, goals, Life, motivation, relationships

Beyond the Thank You

First off, I have to admit that finding time and creative energy to blog weekly has been a challenge for me. I guess that is part of the intention though, to push myself. So here I am…week 3. Thank you to those who have reached out to tell me you are glad I’m blogging again…blogging can sometimes feel like talking to an empty room. So, thank you for making me feel heard. It makes a big difference to me!

Okay, that actually segways into my intended topic nicely today. On with it, as they say…

When is the last time you thanked someone? Not just a quick, “Hey, thanks!” or the generic thank you note we end up writing after we recieve gifts (unless you are the rare amazing gift thank you card writer, I know maybe 1 person in this category!).  I’m talking about a real sincere and specific thank you.

It’s been awhile for me too, so don’t feel bad if this has you thinking and coming up short.

Let me back up for a minute. I had the fun experience this past week to go back in time to my last job and participate as an employer at a student career fair alongside a few of my colleagues. It felt strange to be on the “other side” – but I fell into step with my old colleagues right away, laughing and joking and catching up with things happening. They are family like that – you don’t have to talk everyday to feel connected.

Anyway, after a long day of standing and chatting up students and alumni about my company, I was so ready to sit down (p.s. cute shoes + pregnancy isn’t a match)! As I was finishing up my meal, a young lady with a familiar face tapped me on the shoulder.

“Dre? I’m not sure you’d remember me, but I’m (insert name here) and I was one of your ACAD babies.” (read: she took a freshman 101 course that I taught).

Me: “Oh wow! Your face was familiar but I wasn’t sure since you were here as an employer how I might know you! How are you?”

Her: “I’m great! Actually, that is why I wanted to come and talk to you. I never had a chance to thank you. The whole reason I’m here today recruiting for my company is because of you.”

She went on to tell me that as a result of her being in my freshman 101 course, she came to see me later in her college life to help with a resume. Then I helped her with a resume to get an internship. The internship turned into a full time job where she is happily employed now that she has graduated.

Of course, all of this was so great to hear. There is nothing that makes a career development professional more pleased than to hear  someone is happily pursuing a career they love because you helped in some way. But during her story she said something that really stood out to me:

“I figured that you might not always get to hear the success stories of the people you help, and I’m so appreciative of the time you spent with me. It really helped me get to where I am today. Thank you.”

She’s right. It’s so rare in life to get the end of any story. We play a minor role in a lot of peoples lives, and often we are in a different place by the time the story of that person plays out. We don’t know the impact we have on someone through our actions, our words, our referrals, by just offering a friendly smile on a crap day.

But that’s why it’s so important we take this whole “thank you” thing more seriously. My heart grew about 3 sizes when she shared her success with me. It made me feel so good that I had a positive impact on someones career, even if it was just helping her get on track with a resume and internship.

downloadHow hard would it be for us all to take time to reach out to someone who made a difference in our life? Did you ever tell someone  what they said made a difference? Maybe it wasn’t a life altering thing, but maybe someone’s well timed joke or delivery of baked goods was just what you needed when you felt like giving up.

I am going to take time to be more sincere with my thank you’s. I won’t overlook the power of good manners, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to sincerely appreciate someone when they have made a difference in my day, and even more so – if they’ve made a difference in my life.

I challenge you to do the same.

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenge, goals, Life, motivation, relationships, Uncategorized

Three is a Charm

Laughing during our Rose Ceremony

Sadly, I’m away at a work conference this week, so since I’m not around to deliver an anniversary card to my husband, I figured him being the internet loving fool that he is might appreciate a blard (blog card) – yup I just made that up.

*****

Three years ago, I cried happy tears down an aisle toward my fiance. We were getting married!

The older we get, the faster time seems to fly. Maybe it’s because we have so much going on in our lives as we get older, there just isn’t as much downtime as there used to be. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was standing on the church balcony steps with my bridesmaids and my little nieces and nephew waiting for the service to begin. I remember waiting with my dad for the music to start playing to signal us to walk down the aisle, and it took forever. For longer than an awkward minute – we waited and I wondered if I was going to have to walk down the aisle with no music playing and it seemed like the worst thing ever at the time. Finally the music started and off we went.

Three years ago, I officially promised to love and honor my husband for always. I don’t remember all the words that were exchanged, but I do remember my husband jumping the gun when the minister was about to ask the “I do” question and everyone laughed. It felt beautiful to be loved by someone you loved back.

Years before I met RJ, I remember being at this holiday party at my old place of work and a co-worker introduced me to his significant other for the first time. He was SO excited. I remember him specifically saying, “This is MY (insert her name).” And that moment has always stuck with me. It hit me then and there that I needed to be with someone who felt that way about me. Not just someone who was okay with you being around, but someone who got excited about the prospect of you being there. Someone who couldn’t wait to introduce you to their friends. It was about that time in my life where I knew the relationship I was in wasn’t good for me…and seeing someone elses healthy relationship helped me re-evaluate what I wanted.

RJ & I at a friends wedding

It would be a few years before RJ and I found each other – but as soon as we met, I knew the way he treated me was different in a good way and that I was onto something good. A good friend of mine once told me we should all be with someone who adores us, and that I should never settle for anything less. At the time, I thought she was crazy because I wasn’t in a situation where I felt like that and it seemed so impossible and out of reach. Three years later, a lot of life has happened but I know that RJ adores me. He doesn’t have to say it, it’s the way he treats me. He doesn’t need to bring me flowers every day – but he brings them often enough that they are a pleasant surprise. It’s the way he remembers exactly what kind of beer I like (and don’t like) because I can never keep it straight. My constant question: “Will I like that one?” and he is usually right. He knows me.

It’s the way he works his butt off to provide for our family, and how much he stresses out about us being “happy” when he really doesn’t need to. We are already happy, but it’s nice to have someone work so hard for you even when you don’t ask them to.

It’s the way that he knows when I’m upset, the best way to talk to me is not in person, but via Google Chat, because he knows I’m way better at explaining myself and opening up if I can write it out instead. And he let’s me do that, even if it’s not his preference. He lets me be me, even if it’s totally lame about how I need to communicate sometimes.

It’s also the way that every meal we have is sort of like eating at a restaurant (except healthier and cheaper) because I grew up eating out all the time and this was his way of helping me learn how to eat at home. Even if we are just eating dinner on a Tuesday downstairs in front of the TV, he still focuses on professional presentation on the plate, even when I forget to say anything about it. He goes out of his way to make me feel special.

This last year has been the most challenging as we added a new person to our family, but if anything, it’s given me more reasons to feel good about marrying this man. Seeing RJ be a father has been both magical and frightening! haha Frightening only because he had never held a baby until Daxton was literally handed to him in the operating room at the hospital despite RJ’s protests and seemingly valid excuse, “But, I’ve never held a baby before!” to which our doctor said “Well, now’s the time, son!”

But it’s been mostly magical watching this guy who has a hard time leaving a party, who always (ALWAYS) talks too loudly, and who still acts mostly like a kid when a bike is involved fall completely & totally in love with our son. I am so glad to say that my husband is ALSO a wonderful father. The way that he loves our son makes me love him even more.

In our third year of marriage, we are a family of three. And while I know the years ahead will be full of good and hard times as we figure out this parenting stuff and as we continue to “grow up” – I know I’ve got just the right guy to get me though it.

To MY RJ – Happy Anniversary (I adore you, too).

Our family picture on Mother’s Day

2 Comments

Filed under family, Life, relationships

Pursuing the Christmas Spirit

Happy Holidays, Friends!

We usually do a cute holiday card and send it out to friends and family – but somehow the holiday sneaked up on me and we just didn’t do one this year. As I continue to come home to a mailbox full of holiday cards, I feel both guilty for not sending ours out this year and overwhelmed by how much I love my friends and family. As I’ve gotten older and the days of seeing all my best friends and family in the same place at the same time happens almost never (i.e. college and childhood is long over!), I so appreciate getting photo cards and little updates in the mail this time of year.

Since I’m a total slacker on the holiday greeting thing this year, I thought I’d do the next best thing and write a blog to express my holiday cheer to all the people who may stumble across this (which hopefully will include some of my friends and family who bother to visit me here on this blog!). So here we go:

Every year brings with it new challenges and struggles, and this year was no different. In reflecting on the last year – so much has happened in our lives and I can’t help but to dream about next years holiday season and wonder how much my life will have changed in just a few short months. If there is one lesson I’ve learned it’s this: Life happens SO fast.

I have gone through phases in my life where I spent a lot of time thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, and others where I was so riddled with my own personal brand of angst that I couldn’t see pull off the whole “be merry” spirit of things. I have had years where it was all about buying the perfect gift to give to someone in my life, or wondering what someone would get for me. And times of joy in just watching the children in our family enjoy the holiday so much that you can’t help but join in. I have had Christmas day’s where all I could think of was who wasn’t there anymore, and others when I wondered if I would ever find someone to create my own holiday traditions with.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for, including a wonderful husband who has answered my prayer regarding someone to start my own traditions with – and I have family both near and far whom I cherish so much. I have friends starting right next door and extending all the way across the globe who have been a part of my life for quite some time now. I’m so thankful for both these new and continued relationships in my life.

It’s easy to get caught up in the spending of money and picking out the perfect gift part of the holiday season. It’s easy to get bogged down by the last few days of work before a little bit of a vacation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with trying to prepare your house, or pack your bags to travel during the holiday season. And it’s easy to get frustrated by family members schedules and food preferences and all your relatives’ crazy antics that will be in full force over the next week or two.

But what it’s REALLY easy to do is to forget what Christmas and the “holiday season” is all about. Even if you aren’t religious and Christmas season isn’t about celebrating the birth of Christ and being thankful to God for sending His son to us – I hope you can still appreciate that the Spirit of Christmas is about love, kindness and peace for all mankind. And not just appreciating it – but really actively pursuing that spirit by being kind to others, by forgiving people in your life who perhaps you’ve been mad at for too long. By doing something completely nice for a total stranger because it’s the right thing to do (all year round by the way, not just Christmas time!). It’s about not assuming people in your life know you care about them – and reminding them with your words AND your actions of how you feel. The Spirit of Christmas really boils down to relationships and the appreciation we should have for one another even if we haven’t met yet.

I hope that no matter what has been going on for you this past year – you can spend the next few weeks pursuing the Christmas Spirit – and I think you’ll find just by thinking about how to enhance the relationships in your life (to friends, family and strangers) you may find yourself overwhelmed by how good it feels to be kind to one another. And who knows, it might just catch on.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends – near and far. Be safe, be kind, and remember to pursue the Christmas spirit this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenge, family, just for fun, Life, relationships, thankful thursday

Half Way There

So – life has been busy lately. Somehow 20 weeks have passed and I’m sitting at the half way mark of this pregnancy. How did that happen so quickly? It terrifies me that in another 20 weeks, my whole life is going to be turned upside down.

20 Weeks! (and sorry! I am not giving anyone the bird, it's extremely hard to hold my phone and take a bump photo - WOOPS!)

20 Weeks! (and sorry! I am not giving anyone the bird, it’s extremely hard to hold my phone and take a bump photo – WOOPS!)

It makes me think about training for my first athletic races and how nervous I was….how much I was scared to even say out loud that I wanted to consider training for my first 5K, and then my first triathlon. Saying it out loud made it so real. And that meant that I had to actually start preparing my body for the upcoming race. Preparing myself for something that I had never done before and something I wasn’t 100% sure I could do.

Being pregnant is sort of like that (but on a much more epic scale). I knew I wanted to start a family, and that once we decided to actually do something about that idea, it was really throwing all control up into the wind. And when we were blessed to become parents – it’s been this really exhilarating and frightening experience – one that feels much like a race. Of course, it’s important to mention the races I’ve participated in have never been about beating anyone – it’s only been a personal challenge for myself. Being able to answer the question, “Can I do this?” with a resounding YES!

And so here I am, at the half way mark of this crazy adventure and I’ve had some major ups and downs, there have been tears, enormous physical obstacles to overcome (and more to come), there has been joy and fear. So much – and yet, I am still moving forward with my eye on the prize. I can do this. I am “training” for motherhood at this point.

Making tough decisions about work, my personal life, my health, my home, my finances – and mentally and physically preparing myself for what happens when I cross this finish line. Today definitely marks a special day in this adventure – where time seems very real to me and I can sort of see the outline of the finish line ahead. I can see the calendar months flashing by, taking me quickly to the point where I must be ready for what’s next. Or, at the very least, open to learning what I need to learn to move forward.

It’s definitely the most important challenge I’ve ever accepted in my life. It’s bigger than any other item on my bucket list and it’s a game changer. Every other decision in my life will be impacted by this one decision I made with my husband months ago – that we would try and start a family. And now – this little life is taking form inside of me – becoming it’s own little person. And somehow – at the end of another 20 weeks, I’ll be able to call myself a mom. That is pretty amazing.

4 Comments

Filed under Challenge, family, goals, health, Life, pregnant and healthy, relationships