Wednesday, September 14, 2016

To the one who is growing up faster...

It's your birthday tomorrow.

Everyone in the house will make more of a fuss over you than they already do, and you'll drink in every ounce of attention more than you already do.

It's hard to believe that there was ever a time when you weren't here. Though you're still so fresh and new, it seems that you've always been here, a part of this family.

I certainly didn't think we'd ever meet, you and I. I longed for the day that I'd have one last chance to do it all over again, but there was a part of me that let go of the hope that it would ever happen.

A bigger part held on to the hope.

Even when that hope didn't make much sense, I held on anyway.

And then one day, as though according to some script hidden and secret, you arrived.

Had you been a little girl, your middle name would have been Grace.

For reasons.

So many reasons.

Instead, here you are, your middle name taken from my father's name. You and he never had the chance to meet in this life, but I have a feeling you'd have gotten on splendidly, the two of you.

There's a devilish naughtiness to your smirk, a coyness to your demeanor, an excitement at new experiences that have so often reminded me of him. Maybe you didn't need to meet him in this life. Maybe you met somewhere else in the realms of the universe that make no sense to those of us here.


I just know that I look at you and I see him far too often for it to be mere genetic coincidence.

You're in a hurry these days to grow up. Faster, stronger, bigger. You see all your siblings and you want so desperately to keep up with them all.

Until you want to crawl up in my lap and rest your little head on my chest.

Part of having done this as many times as I have is that I know what to hang on to longer with you. I know what I'm going to miss. I know that I'll read all the stories you could ever want to listen to and I'll rock you in the chair for as long as you want. I know that someday you won't wake up in the middle of the night anymore wanting me. I know. There's a bittersweetness to it all now, the older you get, the more of those nights you sleep restfully without interruption.

All the rest of the time, there are other people and other things and other needs that need me, but in the small hours of the night, it's just you and me and your little fingers wrapped around mine.

If there was a way to hit pause on life, to keep a moment just so for all of eternity, that's when I would press it.


There isn't.

I know that with absolute certainty.

Life doesn't cooperate with the time frames we would elect in any circumstance, least of all with children.

I can't keep you little no matter how hard I might try, and so I won't.

I'll embrace this new trip around the sun of yours for the journey it is, consider myself lucky for the chance to accompany you.

Never stop being amazed at the beauty in the world.
Sometime in the next few days, there will be a cake and balloons and that song your siblings so often sing to other people will be sang just to you.

It will all be for you.

They really do adore you, those brothers and sisters of yours.

You helped them, you know.

You helped them learn patience.

You helped them learn to appreciate how relentlessly time marches forward.

You helped them learn to slow down, get back on the floor, color.

You remind us all to play.

You remind us all to seek out joy, to witness the beauty in the world, to be amazed and excited about how awesome this world really is, and we get to watch you see it all for the first time.

You helped them be better people, just by being here.

You make me a better person. You challenge me. You make me laugh. You wear me out. You have helped me heal and grow as a woman, as a mother, as a person.

I can't wait to see who you become.

Thanks for completing our family, sweet boy.

I love you.

Happy birthday baby,

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Walking and the Self Loathing

I don't do change well. I've written about this topic only about a million times. Here. On Facebook. Hell, even on Instagram.

I don't.

I fight change on a cellular level, even when I know it is necessary, even when I know it will be for the better.

Even then.

I've been walking a lot more since I got this Fitbit (i.e. the electronic self loathing leash attached to my wrist, the one I'm taking off because it makes typing hard.)

I've been walking. A lot. Taking the baby and the one who is here homeschooling out for almost daily trips to the lakes or river or parks and walking. Trails, loops, all of it.

I do it because I know I need to.

I'm overwhelmed.
I'm resisting the changes that are happening everywhere else.

I had a few shower epiphanies in the last week or so. One was a refreshing one. I'd managed to watch the entire season of Stranger Things without incorporating any of it into an intrusive thought.

Maybe that means I'm finally headed out of the darkest part of the postpartum depression tunnel. Maybe.

I know better than to get my hopes up, believe that it is really gone.

I think, based on personal experience, that it might never really be gone, that it has just become a part of who I am now, much like that whole PTSD experience from hell I went through a few years ago.

That one still rears its ugly head sometimes too.

Most of the time, I'm in a better place, and it wasn't until I got through the end of that show (and started massively getting triggered by another one, Mr. Robot) that I realized it hadn't even bothered me.

Fuck Mr. Robot right now. For real. I mean, it's a phenomenal show thus far, don't get me wrong. I don't mean to insult the writers or actors or producers. It's me and my abundant issues.

I just recently became a Warrior Mom Ambassador, which is something I've been telling myself that I would do as quickly as I could after most of my postpartum fog lifted. And I did it. And I was accepted. I'm hoping to do some training for it here in the next few weeks.

Truthfully, it's just a formal designation for much of what I've been doing for over a decade now - being a safe place for mothers navigating the murky world of postpartum mental health.

Realistically, it means that I'm going to have to make sure that I take good care of myself so that I can be the person that other people might need me to be in a time of crisis. And I will.

So, the walking.

All the walking.

I need it.

I crave being near water in general, just as part of my human makeup. I gravitate towards water when I'm struggling in any way. Seriously, if I ever disappear and you can't find me, go to the nearest river or lake. I'll be there, sitting under a tree, probably with my feet in the water, contemplating the universe. Probably hysterically crying or quietly sobbing. Approach with caution.

Anyway, the walking. Which is what I'm supposed to be writing about.

It helps.

I need vitamin D. If I don't get outside, the hole gets deeper and I become more and more content to stay in it.

I need the movement. All those totally bullshit sounding things that people preach about exercise helping with mental health issues - well....they're mostly true, assuming of course that you can get over the self loathing enough to actually go outside, and sometimes that first step is a real motherfucker.

All this walking has done wonders for me in a lot of ways - mostly emotionally. I'm also one of those communes with nature kind of hippies so it helps me in a spiritual sense.

Plus it's really beautiful here, so that helps.
In all seriousness, sometime if you're ever feeling totally out of control in life, go find a field of tall grasses on a breezy day and just sit there and watch it. Go sit by a lake or the ocean as a storm moves in and watch as the water shifts in anticipation of it. Find some dead tree out on the middle of nowhere and watch the birds.

It's done tons for my cardiovascular health and metabolic health. My blood sugar levels are down. I'm in much better shape, I'm sleeping better, my resting heart rate is lower, I've cut my blood pressure meds down because I started getting dizzy all the time on the dose I was at. I can do more. I can go faster.

I'm not winning any land speed races, that's for damn sure, but I am making progress.


Except in one area.

My weight.

And this is where the self loathing comes in.

(And this is the part where I ask that no one tries to placate me with explanations - I know why I'm not losing weight. I do. It's a combination of three things. 1) I'm still nursing a toddler - and when I'm nursing a toddler, my body will cling to every single ounce of fat like my entire milk supply depends on it. 2) I have built a ton of muscle too, and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat, so I don't need that lecture either. 3) Tacos. Well, not specifically tacos are to blame for all of it, but related to number one, I eat food.)

I have a long and tumultuous relationship with the scale.

I've been overweight my entire life, regardless of what I've ever tried to lose weight.

I've struggled with an eating disorder and was still fat, so I failed in two ways. (that's a joke, put away your pitchforks)

I know that once the baby weans, it will be much easier to lose weight and restrict my food intake. I know that.

I do.

And still.

The fucking number on the scale.

I keep repeating to myself:

Being healthy is more important than being thin. 
Being healthy is more important than being thin.
Being healthy is more important than being thin.

Say it with me.

I'll keep walking. Keep doing what I need to in order to make sure that my body is healthy and strong, that my mind is as focused and clear as possible, that my emotions are regulated as much as humanly possible. I'll do it for me and for all the people in this world who will or might depend on me.

And I'll do it even if that goddamn scale tries to convince me that I'm a failure.

I can't hear you.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I did some things...

In an attempt to be hip and current and all those things I am supposed to try to be now that I am almost forty, I decided to revamp the ol' blog.

I am such a dinosaur that I was still using an original Blogger template from before they did a huge update a few years ago. The one where you have to actually select the option to use the old code.

Yep, that's me.

Voluntarily staying in the dark ages.

I had a decorative template from another website that I'd used for basically the entire 7 1/2 years I've been blogging. It was more "me" 7 years ago. I guess.

I don't know.

I've been meaning to do this for a long time but computers and html scare me.

(go ahead. laugh.)

I sucked it up and did it yesterday. I even managed to find the chunk of design code that was buried in the html for the ancient expired template and removed it.

I didn't even throw the computer or cry.

This is huge.

This newer, shinier version of me...well, it seems more "me". The header especially seems like a better fit.

I picked the photographs I did for reasons specific to each one. All of my kids are represented at least once. I'm there. My husband is there. It's gritty and imperfect on purpose.

Kinda like me.

I hope that you find the new design and layout easier to navigate. If you have any feedback for me, please share in the comments. Thanks!!!

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