Thursday, April 30, 2015

Behavior is contagious

One of the greatest joys I have ever experienced is a particularly powerful aspect of my relationship with Kris: teamwork. Even reminiscing back to when we were first dating, I remember remarking to my best lady friends how I was always in awe at this kinship Kris and I had, this ability to hear each other out and figure it out, together. From dating, to moving and house buying and schooling, to marrying up and business building, all of it. We did it side by side. Not every conversation or step of the way was easy, but nonetheless we excelled at trouble shooting and problem solving and finding balance. Each of us assumed whichever role necessary to compliment the other, stepping forward or backward, to achieve the best outcome. A deep and lasting bond; a friendship in its truest form. Gratitude, wonder, pride, and humility, our daily blessings, were never taken for granted.

Fast forward to the present with almost six years of marriage, an almost four year old, and an eight month old, (and two old dogs...), and most days I'm not even sure we're on the same team. I could travel over the years and nitpick to find the source but I've learned the hard way--it's never necessary. Instead I'll be honest and say having our first child paired with all my own personal figurings of motherhood that came (and still comes) along with it as well as me, being me (oy) really threw a monkey wrench into our relationship. Somewhere along the way I went from asking Kris his opinion on a subject matter, as an equal, to barking orders and reprimanding him. OUCH. And somewhere along the way he picked up a few out of character habits, too. So all in all our stellar communication became stifled and lacking and infested with snide mumbles. Behavior is contagious, and when one leads with negativity it is near impossible to reverse when the other follows suit.

The beautiful part about contagious behavior is that it does not discriminate. Positive behavior is also contagious. I'm counting my blessings this week because after so much time spent merely trying to stay afloat, last weekend the clouds parted and infectious sunbeams of enlightened perspective filled our home. It was a glimpse of what we as a couple are capable of--a rekindle of teamwork, encouragement, understanding, and patience. I honestly do not know how the switch was flipped but once it happened we stood in a whole new light.

During the moments when our son was fighting vehemently with us we were able to remain level headed and in control and even steal laughs together over the ridiculousness of it all. The norm has been for one or the other to blow up at our son after enough is seriously just enough (Elliot is without a doubt the king of button pushing and limit testing...). During those stressful moments we would pattern into losing our cool with each other. This vicious cycle is so so so hard to break. But somehow through the weekend I felt the very real presence in each moment that we were dropping our old habits and naturally moving into healthier options. You know, the kind normal, well adjusted families with good coping mechanisms use.

We turned to each other for help, support, and advice over all sorts of topics. We got back the most basic and meaningful form of comminication. We even found the time to share long hugs and sweet kisses. That's major, people. Major. I am 100% gaga over Kris. Always. He makes my heart go pitter pat. Even more so than when I started dating him nine years ago. Trust me, I want nothing more than to gaze into his eyes all googly like and make out with him often. But because life has run away with itself, and because Kris and I (and our son) are redheaded, type A, firstborn beings, well, here we are. Here I am. Having revelations and epiphanies and all the conversations with myself about how to snap out of my crap and lead by example.

I am the woman of this house. I set the tone. I live and breathe positivity in general. Therefore I should be able to master this within my own home. But for crying out sideways, my perspective becomes skewed when I'm on hour 10 of perpetual debates with my preschooler about life and why we simply exist. He's got me like "Oh, not only do you want to know what happens when we die but you also want to learn how to build buildings, fix teeth, work on cars, take apart and put together human body models, and in your spare time play in-depth, hours-long games of make believe with multiple characters? Sure. Let me grab my beer." The point is, my heart is full of faith and hope after our weekend together. It was not always awesome, but what was awesome was how we, Kris and I, as a team, acted and reacted and figured it out. Together. Just like the old days. And I'm not sure who started it, but I am grateful for this aspect of contagious behavior.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eleven loves

For a few brief moments today Clara was out of my arms and sleeping. I snuck into the living room and crept up behind Elliot. He knew I was coming and turned halfway around with a smile on his face and said "Are you coming to play with me?" "You bet I am!" I answered as I reached him and started kissing and hugging and tickling him. His laugh makes my heart flutter, but what he said next nearly made my heart stop.

"Mom, you're the most beautiful girl I ever saw." 

"Ohhh, thank you, baby."

"Mom, can I have all your love?" 

"Yes! Of course! All my love is all for you."

"Thanks, mom. Mom? Can I have eleven loves?"

"Absolutely. Come here!"

And I proceeded to love up on him with more hugs and kisses in quantities of eleven.

For the first time in my life I felt time stop. When Elliot asked me if he could have all my love I felt every bit of our time together swell into that one moment. The purity of his words was profound. All the heartache, all the turmoil, all the worry and stress of raising this little genius to want to choose to be a good person was wiped away in that moment. He gave me clarity and truth and a gift ever so precious: himself. Vulnerable, honest, sincere. That's all he wanted from me in return. I gave it to him. And our hearts exploded with joy. Pure joy.

I will never forget those bliss-filled moments or his words as long as I live. And even after that, they will not be forgotten. How, after hitting rock bottom with Elliot, he was able to freeze time and help imprint our love for each other on our hearts. Forever and ever and always, as Elliot always says. Moments: it's what life is made up of; it's what NOW is; moments. I am blessed. I am loved. I am love. I give love. Elliot is blessed. He is loved. He is love. He gives love. I will make sure neither of us forget. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The little things

I've never actually had the conscious feeling of self loathing until these terribly difficult years of motherhood came upon me. It's the times when I should have been the adult but I took my way-too-effing-smart son's bait. It's the times when I should have led by example with kindness and compassion, empathy and unconditional love but instead the wild rage came out. It's the times when I should have stopped all the bullshit I pretended was important and just listened to my son. It's the times when I should have held his tearful face in my hands and cradled his weary body in my arms but instead I was too mad and upset and selfish with my feelings and rushed through condolences. It's the times when I sputtered forth all my anger and frustrations at him under the guise of his fault rather than shutting up, letting it go, and accepting that I'm in control of how I feel, act, and react. It's the times I fought fire with fire and bullied my orders on him rather than stepping away, taking a deep breath, and hitting the reset button. It's all these things that make me disgusted with myself. Who am I at these times? Is this really me? This cannot be me. I am not this person.

Except I am.

Sometimes. A lot lately.

This is not always me.

I have been intense and passionate, both positively and negatively, my entire life. The way I see the world is supremely surreal: each sunrise over the lake is more magical than the last; the vibrant vegetable clippings on the cutting board catch my breath; the deep rain-gray clouds over the bay are smiling at me. Pretty much I love everything. And have a positive outlook. But when I get myself worked up negatively life is a disaster. For myself and for my loved ones. I become trapped in my idea of how something is supposed to be and when I cannot control said outcome I am not a desirable woman to be around. This is my greatest hurdle in life. When I am level headed I believe in myself and know that one day, little by little, these greatest battles will be left behind. When I am low as a result of conflict I caused myself and my family, I loathe myself for having the capacity to behave in such a manner. Feeling all the feelings is who I am, without a doubt.

Though, the greatest of these is love. When I look at my son I am overcome with love. Despite my shameful flaws, love always wins. It's a love so deep and pure and flawless that my heart actually aches. I see my son mimic my kind gestures and love and honesty and compassion and empathy and conviction and problem solving skills and excessive use of vocabulary and passion and enthusiasm and imagination and creativity and...and...and my heart sings! My words of thanks and praise are mumbled under my breath and I am in awe. He is incredible. I soak it in. I breathe him in. I remember that so many days I do take the time to answer every. single. question. I do take the time to listen and love and be, just be.

But this needs to happen every day, not just so many days. Life will not be perfect. I understand. I'm still going to struggle. I'm still going to screw up. And so is my son. I need to weigh each situation as it arises and determine what is important and what I need to let go. Time to focus on the bigger issues and to start letting the little things go. Or... {LIGHT BULB} ...maybe I need to reevaluate my definition of "little things" and make the conscious effort to start focusing on just that: the little things. Perhaps I'd spend less time buried in those pathetic scenarios that make everyone miserable. My time would be better spent slowly taking in the now. His now. My now. Our now together. Where we focus on each other. And laughter. And smiles and hugs and tickles. And love. Our love. Unconditional. I swear it will heal me. It will heal us.

It has to.

Love wins.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

My heart's desires

Oh, blog. How I've missed you. Has it really been almost three years? As much as I'd like to think I'm good at multitasking apparently I'm not. Just couldn't keep up the gig while raising Elliot James, getting pregnant for a second time, and adding one Clara Marcella to the bunch. But alas, I need my space back. I need my own personal ramble stash. So here I go. Here I am.

Life right now is... a challenge, to say the least. Elliot James proves to be as brilliant as we anticipated so long ago and while I couldn't be more proud of him, I also couldn't be any more frustrated, tired, or at my wit's end most days. Speaking of wits, that's what it's about. That's what it comes down to: wits. His and mine and the battles within. I also couldn't love him any more if I tried, truly. My heart is so full. He brought motherhood to me and he is a great gift. But to say we do not have daily knock down drag out brawls would be a lie. In the back of my mind and soul I'm beaming because I know he will fight for what he believes in his whole life, and for that I couldn't ask for anything more admirable. It's living the right now that is difficult. Is it a season? Yes. This, too, shall pass? Yes. Except most days I know I'm making mistakes and screwing up and saying and doing the wrong things. He gives me so much grace. So much forgiveness. So much unconditional love. Just. So. Much.

It occurred to me recently, like a flashlight in the dark pointing a straight yet narrow beam, that this time, right now, raising Elliot James, is not only about rearing him and teaching him right and wrong, it's about me. Gulp. ME. It's about my strengths and weaknesses. It's about my demons and what exactly they mean, why they are there, and what the hell am I going to do about them. I am nothing if not honest. I know no other way to be. However, honesty and truth are only a few pieces of my puzzle. The pieces I cannot seem to find presently are correction and change. Oh, I search. Day and night. A seeker of truth and knowledge is an understatement. Yet with all I do know about myself, the greatest is this: I will not back down without a fight. (I don't have to look far to understand where Elliot gets his inherent deep passion.) I will put in the time and effort to continue becoming the woman I want to be. The woman I know I can be. The woman in my dreams. She is not perfect, nor should she be. But she is just a smidge more in control of her actions and reactions than I am.

So. Here I am. Still struggling. Still fighting. Still happy. Still tired. Still overflowing with love and joy in the little things. Still learning. Still growing. Still balancing it all. Just like everyone else. We're all just doing the best we can, aren't we? We are. But sometimes there is a better way out there and once we find it, we become responsible for it. May we all have open hearts to our faults. May we all be striving for betterment and peace. It's okay to just be. But it's also okay to be better.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Independence Day

I'm grateful for all I have, independence and freedom included. Making the most of life, each day, each moment, this is a small portion of how 4 July 2012 went.


A little mommy/daddy way to start the day...

Donuts? For breakfast?!

And then on the bikes and off to the beach... love with my boys...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My cowboy

Elliot is wearing his dad's cowboy boots. Need I say more? No, of course not. But that won't stop me. Kris and I each daydream about every other kind of lifestyle imaginable. Meaning we have desires to do, see, and be living many other existences. Almost every aspect of the world fascinates us, and we have each been guilty of longing to be somewhere else entirely. Naturally, tucked in there you will find cowboy/girl, rancher, or whatever other lifestyle/profession requires cowboy boots. Good job, lil partner. Makin' momma and daddy proud!
Ok. But really. Kris wore these boots when he was a kid? The cute of it all is almost too much for me to handle. XO

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Emalie Elizabeth: Year 14

My sister, my Goddaughter, my son's Godmother. A beautiful young woman, inside and out. Silly and sweet; creative and compassionate; witty and wise; filling my life with laughter and love. Watching her imagine and dream and grow and learn makes my heart sing. She brings joy to my world. My son adores her. So do I.

Blessings and love for my darling girl.