Glider for Sale

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A few weeks ago, I walked past the little girls’ room and the glider caught my eye. For those not familiar, a glider is like a rocking chair, but it has cushions and “glides” back and forth, rather than rocking. Also, it’s ridiculously comfortable. Trust me, I know. I’ve spent a truly untold number of hours sitting in that chair nursing, rocking, holding and snuggling babies. On this day, I glanced over and noticed the glider sitting there, and it hit me.

It was covered in stuff. The seat was full of stuffed animals. The side pockets were full, overflowing, literally into the floor, with books. The nursing pillow was crammed into the space between the chair and the ottoman, no longer a useful tool but something that gets tossed from place to place as it gets in the way. And I can’t actually remember the last time I sat in the glider. “Ugh. I need to sell that thing. It’s just sitting there taking up space”, I thought to myself.

My steps slowed. Am I really ready to do that? Trust me, I usually have no trouble getting rid of stuff. I love it. Every time I open up a previously filled space in my home, I can breathe just a little bit easier and my life feels just a little less overwhelming. But this time, I faltered. I walked over to the chair. I moved all the lovies from the seat, put them in their rightful basket. I straightened the books sticking every which-way out of the pockets on the sides, and picked up my old nursing pillow. I sat down in the seat. I had no babies to nurse, no one to rock to sleep (for hours and hours), and no one wanted to come snuggle with me and listen to stories. Don’t get me wrong, they still want lots and lots of stories, just nobody wants to sit in the chair to listen to them. I don’t need the chair anymore.

I feel very comfortable with the size of my family. Three babies is plenty. Also, I really, really don’t want to be pregnant again. It makes me…not the most pleasant version of myself. I’m pretty sure my pelvic floor would collapse and fall out in the floor if I forced it to bear the weight of another baby. So, my family is complete. Yet, the thought of getting rid of this chair makes my breath catch in my throat, and my eyes mist over, ever so slightly.

I’m at a crossroads. A place I haven’t been in a very long time. Over ten years. For all this time, I’ve either had a baby, or plans to have another baby. Or had a child and a baby, and no plans to have another baby, and then a surprise baby. But now I’m done. My littlest baby is no longer really a baby anymore. And it’s wonderful. One of the best, most amazing parts of my life is being able to watch my children grow and change and learn. At the same time, it’s hard. You go from being completely essential, the cornerstone of their existence, to just…Mom. A fantastic, exalted title, believe me, but it’s different. So you must start to cast about for new meaning, to try to remember who you, are in addition to Mommy.

While I have no problems with purging, relieving myself and my house of things we don’t need or have room for, I’m not the best at dealing with change. According to the Buddha, once we make peace with the impermanence of all things, we can begin to free ourselves of suffering. So much easier to say things like that, and reference the Buddha and sound all smart and philosophical and stuff, than to actually do it. I have a long history of resisting change and probably won’t stop anytime soon. But, like so many things, I’m working on it. My heart hurts just a little bit at leaving this part of my life behind. I’ve learned with my children, every time they enter a truly maddening phase, it’s just not worth dwelling on because it will be over as soon as it starts. So it seems to go with the rest of life. It’s not worth dwelling too long on a certain phase, or you’ll find yourself still dwelling, and the phase will be long past and you forgot to enjoy the current phase. (Oh, God! I make myself so smart when I write!)

It’s time for me to take another look at myself. It’s time for me to start planning and looking toward my future. Time to let go of being a mother of babies, and start being a mother to three amazing, funny, maddening, delightful girls. It’s time for me to look at this new phase, to enjoy and revel in it, before it too passes and we’ve all moved on to something else.

It’s time to remember that I am enough, just as I am, at any phase in this journey, and various titles and roles in my life can’t change that.

It’s time to let go of the old, to make room for the new.

I have a yellow gingham glider for sale.

Posted in Children, My Crazy Family, Philosophisizing, You are Enough | Leave a comment

Dear Creativity, I’m Listening

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I just finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (this book is incredible. I’ve never read such a wonderful, gentle, loving perspective on how to live a beautiful, creative life, simply for the love of it. Highly recommend.). One of my biggest problems with writing is that I tend to have more ideas for posts and articles than I have time and energy to ever put down on paper. I often complain, or think to myself, “I don’t even know where to start!”. Today’s insight is that maybe I’m crazy for even thinking about complaining about such a “problem”. If I were to look at this from Liz’s way of thinking, I could consider that creativity and inspiration love me so much that they are literally throwing ideas at me. More than I can use, maybe just with the hope that I will bother to just sit down and put something, anything, on paper. So I should, right? Otherwise, I’m doing a disservice to myself and the benevolent creative force of the universe, when I should be grateful to have such fortune smile upon me and take full advantage of it.

Another thing I’ve been considering is that I often have ideas about topics to write about and want to sit down and write, and even go so far as to carve out a little time to do so. But when I actually sit down to write, I find the words don’t flow as easily and magically as I would like them to. Sometimes they do, and I know that whatever I’m trying to say or express is going to be good. It will be cathartic, it will make me feel better, it will move other people and make them feel things…But sometimes I sit down and have to actually think. When this happens, I’ve been known to just quit. I will decide I’m just not feeling it, close my computer, and walk away. Maybe that’s crazy, too. Maybe it’s just inspiration saying “Ok, I gave you the idea. Now you have to do something with it.” If I want to. If it means something to me. All this being said, I think it’s time for me to acknowledge when inspiration smiles upon me and start taking advantage of it, lest it tires of my neglect and goes off and leaves me for several years again.

I had the great privilege of attending the Mahubhuta Yoga Festival in Pensacola last weekend. This is not really the sort of thing I usually have the leisure to do, and wouldn’t have been able to this time, except the festival was held about 30 minutes from Mom and Dad’s new place, so I had free room and board, and a built-in babysitter. I attended ten different events in two days, and absolutely, completely, overdid it. But I wanted to make sure I got my money’s worth, especially since I couldn’t really afford it in the first place. I was so tired by Saturday night I cried, literally sobbed, the whole way from the festival back to my parents’. If you’ve ever been so tired you just couldn’t deal, and it exploded out in tears, you will understand, (in fairness, I was still kind of recovering from being sick on and off for over three weeks, so my body was a little run-down to start with). Sunday, after sitting in the car for four and a half hours for the drive home, I was so sore I could barely walk. Certain members of my household offered several times to take me out back and put me out of my misery. Since we don’t have any guns in my house, I guess he was just going to do me in with a shovel.

It was absolutely worth it. I will do it again as soon as possible.

I attended the festival by myself, which I admit, at times felt a little lonely. Being painfully shy, I am not really one to make new friends at every event and class I attend. It sometimes feels like I’m the only one who doesn’t know half a million people everywhere I go. On the flip side, I’m pretty comfortable doing stuff by myself. I don’t need other people with me to enjoy myself – have a damn good time, by myself – in fact. Another benefit to attending the festival by myself is that I had the freedom to be fully present to all the experiences the festival had to offer. I got to take inspiring classes from lots of talented teachers, enjoy two kirtan concerts, and, as a special bonus, the last class I took was taught by my teacher, whom I’ve not had the chance to take class with in a couple of years.

If you ever want to feel like your heart has been burst wide open, and be reminded that you are a divine expression of the beautiful creative energy of the universe, and be flooded with more inspiration than you know what to do with, take ten yoga classes in two days. See if you don’t spend the whole way home crying into your steering wheel. One of the magical things about a yoga practice is that it makes it impossible to lie to yourself. Sure, if you’re busting through a crazy-intense vinyasa practice, just looking to get super-bendy and stand on your hands, you can avoid having to look at all your shit. It’s been my experience, though, that you have to really have to want to avoid being helped by yoga to get away from the eventuality of lying in savasana with tears streaming down the sides of your face. And you may not even know why. For me, though, there was never any hope of avoiding all that, and fortunately for me, my yoga mat is like a safe little bubble where I can cry any and every time I want to because it’s my practice, damn it, and I can do whatever I want. Which is how I found myself during Akasha’s class at the festival, the last one I took, tears streaming down my face for almost the entire ninety minutes of class.

I know some of you are thinking, “Um…that sounds like the least amount of fun I could imagine.” But it’s just a step. It’s a small moment in my journey to becoming the bright, vibrant, creative, inspired person I know I am meant to be. It’s another way yoga gives me what I need every time. It’s a cathartic cleansing, spending an hour and a half in a kundalini class crying like a loon, leaving you open and ready for all the creative inspiration the universe is prepared to send your way.

 

Posted in Philosophisizing, Yoga, You are Enough | 2 Comments

What You don’t Know

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This morning, my alarm went off at 6:30 and I got out of bed. What you don’t know is I had been awake for hours because one of you was sick. You kept crying out in your sleep and I got you out of your bed and put you in mine because I didn’t want you to wake up your sister. So I put you in my bed and watched you sleep and listened to you snore for hours and hours.

I cooked breakfast for four of you. What you don’t know is I didn’t fix anything for myself, thinking, “I’ll just eat something later.” I fixed lunches, and brushed hair, and gave out medicine, and sent two of you out the door, one to work and one to school. I kept the sick one and the littlest one home with me.

I took a shower after locking and bolting the door to make sure you were safe, hurriedly, so I could call the doctor in time to get an appointment for the one of you who was sick. As I was getting dressed, I was calling the office over and over again, hoping to get past the busy signal. I made your appointment and checked on both of you. The sick one was lying on the couch, listlessly. I told you you had about fifteen minutes until you needed to get ready for your doctor’s appointment and went to sort laundry. I sorted laundry and started the first load of the day (after all, it’s laundry day, and laundry must get done), before helping the little one get dressed, use the little potty one more time, and get out the door and buckled in to the car.

We made it to our appointment with one minute to spare. What you don’t know is I never ate breakfast this morning. I sat with you, the sick one and the little one, at the doctor’s office for two hours. I held the sick one in my lap and stroked your hair. I talked to the little one and answered her questions. What you don’t know, is when they stuck the cotton swab in your throat to perform the strep test and you cried, I could feel your heart pounding because you were scared, and because I had my arms wrapped around you. What you don’t know is that my eyes filled with tears, because it hurt me that you were scared and hurting. When I held you in my lap as you got the shot I knew would make you feel better, my lips trembled because I felt your pain and sadness as if it were my own.

We stopped and got milkshakes and french fries for both of you on the way home. What you don’t know is that I worried if I could afford it. I worried if the one of you who wasn’t with us, the one at school, would feel sad and left out because she didn’t get fries and a milkshake.

We came home and I passed out your fries and shakes. I put the clothes in the dryer from the morning and got another load started. I got you both settled, the sick one and the littlest one. I stood at the kitchen counter and ate the cheeseburger I had guiltily bought myself when I got your milkshakes while I prepared the slow-cooker soup I had planned for supper.

I took my load of clothes into the living room to fold. Before I could start, one of you knocked your milkshake off the table, into the blanket and on to the floor and rug. I had to clean it up. What you don’t see is my exhaustion and my tears of frustration because I have so much to do, and can never seem to get it all done and I’m so damn tired. I finish folding the load of clothes just in time to get you both in the car and drive half and hour to get the oldest one of you, the one at school today.

You both, the sick one and the little one, fell asleep in the car. You don’t see me in the front seat, as I cry while I drive. You don’t feel my fear for you. Fear for your safety in a strange and scary world, of course. But more than that, fear that you will grow up in a world with a shortage of warmth and compassion. Fear that the things I’m trying to teach you: kindness, compassion, joy and love – will become less than hate and fear.

I walk into school and retrieve one of you. The other two remain sleeping in the van. We drive home. I feed you all ice cream. You know I wouldn’t usually give two sweet treats in one day, but today is an exception. I was right. The one of you who wasn’t with us earlier feels left out and jealous because two of you got milkshakes and she didn’t.

While you all eat your ice cream I fold laundry. What you don’t know is, as I fold, I’m wracked with chills. My head hurts like hell. Most likely, I’ve contracted the same sickness I took one of you to the doctor for earlier today. I finish folding laundry, while intermittently wiping up ice cream spills and assisting potty training attempts.

After folding laundry I wash the dishes that have been piling up in the sink since this morning and start warming up leftovers for dinner – the soup I started earlier isn’t ready yet. What you don’t know is, now I’ve been parenting alone for 10.5 hours and I’m so tired and lonely, I would give just about anything for somebody to be here, for me to talk to. Before I get dinner finished, one of you, the little one who’s not quite potty-trained yet, pees in the floor, and I take a break from cooking and mop it up.

While you eat I sit at the table with you and talk to you. I’m waiting for the soup to be done and for your daddy to be home, so we can eat together. I am hungry.

What you don’t know is a lot of stuff. And it’s ok. You don’t need to know, and you can’t, not until you’re much older, and maybe have people of your own to love and take care of. I hope you do know some things, though. I hope you know you’re loved beyond measure. I hope you know you’re the reason behind some of my tears, but you’re the reason behind almost all of my smiles. I hope you know, before you all came along, my life was pointless, without meaning. It’s been a really hard day today, and there will be a lot more hard days. But I hope you know, to me, it’s worth it.

 

Posted in You are Enough | 2 Comments