pausing in the tender spots

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I am chasing my two-year-old around the park as she tearfully chases another little girl with hair the color of the sun, proclaiming that she needs her stick. Of course I try to show her all of the other desirable and lovely sticks on the ground. But she’s not having it. She is in full on tantrum mode.

The mother of the stick holder looks on, not with a frown per say, but not with a smile either. I look to her for comfort, praying that she will say, “Kooky kids, don’t you hate when they act like little asses?” But she says nothing of the sort and I am left to soothe myself. Let me be honest, I don’t looove playgrounds or the majority of interactions I have on them. So I wrangle my little lovey muffin hellcat into her car seat as she arches her back and I feel mean and like I am at a rodeo wrestling a wild boar. Are there wild boars at rodeos? Clearly, I have never been to one.

I am also working on a website, rewriting an article, watching a video of my sweet brother being traumatized as he is sung to by a drag queen dressed as Bea Arthur on his birthday and dealing with a menacing zit on my chin that looks like a mini boob. So it’s no surprise when my son asked if he could go to floor hockey tonight, that my answer was, “If the angels are conspiring.” I’m in no mood to drive anywhere or think about dinner. Baseball is outside and relatively quiet which my sensitive soul can handle but floor hockey is in a gym with loud buzzers. Not good for a gal like me. And Mercury is in retrograde (I think), and I am menstruating (that is the proper term because I learned this in a 5th grade sex ed video where the young lasses from yesteryear had to use pretty powder blue belts to hold up their feminine napkins).

On Tuesday during yoga (which feels like it was 10 months ago) I smiled deeply when I heard Charlotte tell us to pause in the tender spots. Of course this is easier to do when I am on a floor in a dimly lit room with sweet smells instead of diaper aromas wafting in the air. But I have paused a few times today and let whatever was happening tenderize me. And it helps. Pause. Breathe. Welcoming all. Feeling what is sacred. Breath again.

As for my sanity, I plopped my little noodle on the couch and put the T.V. on so I could write. And it was fine. I give thanks to the powers that be for surviving another day mostly intact and the angels that are conspiring and helping me take my son to hockey.

 

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Rasta Cowboy Unicorn

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When I was home for the holidays, I found a letter I had written to my mom. I was 15 and at an overnight retreat with a group of kids from different high schools in the area. The letter was an apol0gy for an argument I don’t remember having. Seems I was a pain in the ass and then felt really bad about it. Not uncommon in those years. (And regretfully, maybe something that happens on occasion now).  But the sentence that stood out most for me was this one, “It is so nice to be here with people who have open hearts and minds and walk around with their masks off.”

I read it out loud to my husband and we both laughed at how it sounded like something I very well could have written in my journal five minutes ago.

Seems as if I have been craving this my whole life.

And it made me think about what I can do or be to keep this yearning alive. How can I bring openness and realness into my life and my relationships with others?

When we were out to dinner for my husbands birthday the day before New Year’s Eve, we were discussing our word for the new year. We also committed to doing one little practice every day for one month. Something the author Lois Hay writes about and Dr. Christiane Northrup talks to Oprah about and that is looking at the mirror every day and saying I love you. It may sound funny but once you do it, it impacts the way you treat yourself and others.

Because when you look at yourself in the mirror with your tired eyes and messy hair and imperfect skin and increasing wrinkles and all the mistakes you’ve made and you love yourself anyway, it helps you to love everyone else out there in the world with all of their imperfections too. Maybe you don’t see their pain in the assness as much. Maybe you see their souls peeking through more.

And more importantly than a word, resolution or goal, what is the energy you want to emit? What is it that you craved as a child that still stands true for you today? How can you bring more of this energy out into our world?

With the help of my son who is really interested in Reggae and Rastafarianism at the moment, to my daughter who declared that 2017 was to be the year of the cowboy, to a game on Facebook that my friend Jules shared, I have decided the energy I choose to bring forth this year is that of the one loving, ass kicking, rainbow making, magical, mystical, Rasta Cowboy Unicorn. Yee Haw and One Love amigos!

The good old days

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“Cabbage Patch Kids growing in the garden, Cabbage Patch Kids growing in the sun, and the most amazing thing about a Cabbage Patch Kid is that each one grows to be a special one.” – from an elementary school play I desperately wanted to be in…about…you guessed it…Cabbage Patch Kids.

My children are not into my Cabbage Patch Kid. Not even in the least. I had a few; Melva, Angie (she was special with her long, dark, cornsilk hair) and Brandon. I’m not trying to brag but I was also fortunate enough to own a Koosas. What’s that you say? A Koosas! You know the cabbage patch kid/animal combo. My Koosasas name was Douglas and he wore blue corduroy shorts, rainbow suspenders and a collar with a tag around his neck. He was pretty cute I guess. Odd but cute. Well maybe more odd than cute. I’ve always had a thing for the underdog. And Douglas was definitely that. I had to fight for his honor a lot.

However, the one in question on this particular day was Brandon. My kids were curious about the signature on his bottom. They were also not crazy about the hole in his mouth where a pacifier used to stick out. Without the pacifier, he just kind of looks like he missed out on regular dental cleanings. And they didn’t exactly buy the story that he was birthed from the canal of a cabbage either.

I remember as a kid finding their very lifelike bottoms intriguing. But then the front side was just a crotch. A little disappointing. Not sure if dolls really need vaginas and penises but it is troubling when everything else is intact and then the front is just some mysterious flat anatomically confusing nether region. This was always perplexing and slightly unnerving to me as a child. Why did Barbie have those enormous boobs and then the bottom half was just kind of…missing?

Some days when I am waxing poetic about my youth while getting irritated with my kids tap tap tapping away on their various electronic devices, I think back to the good old days. Spumoni clothing (sweatshirts and tee shirts with puffy animals engaging in extra curricular activities like skating, surfing, hangin’ out on valentine hearts, etc.), Cabbage Patch Kids’ dimpled Xavier Roberts signed bottoms, a rad sunburn all over my face, and maybe a trip to the mall for an Orange Julius or a stroll around Claire’s, I can’t help but think to myself, Man my kids don’t know what they are missing.

 

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landscape-1445612820-hanson-brothers-1998One summer in college, I went with a friend to get my nose pierced while she got a tattoo of a tree on her back. I worked at a locally owned health food store that summer where I sold a lot of vitamins and St. John’s Wort. Between the glistening stud in my nose, my shortish hair cut, and my fondness for L.L Bean (what was up with wearing tee shirts two sizes too big?), I suppose I wasn’t a vision of sophistication or femininity. But when a middle aged woman with a kind face told me I resembled one of the Hansen brothers while scanning her groceries, I thought I might pass out from humiliation. I don’t like to give advice because it’s annoying. BUT I think we should all make a pact and try and refrain from telling women in college that they look like prepubescent boys.

stick and smile

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“She looks like she is trying to smile in a sticky situation”, says my daughter when she sees this photo of her baby sister from breakfast yesterday. Between the enormous flower perched on her head and the pureed pears and raspberries glued to her little knuckles and wrists, it is definitely sticky.

I laugh to myself thinking that this would be an apropos name for a book…Smiling in a sticky situation; A memoir.  I mean last night when out to eat with some girlfriends, the waitress said there was flan for dessert. I commented that while I like flan, it reminds me a bit of nasal secretions. Oops I did it again. The encounter got awkward fast since she did not find this amusing. What else was I to do but smile and order the damn flan? So I did and it was good. And sticky.

stars

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When I think of stars, I think of the ones from my childhood in Arizona. Brilliant desert stars not only flickering and winking at you from above but all around you too – even to the sides of you so if you stretched your arms out wide, you could touch them with your fingertips. I also think of my grandmother, Nana reminding us to look up and admire their magnificence after a dinner out at the Quilted Bear or Mother Tucker’s.

I think of last summer when I woke my son up at midnight so he could see a shooting star for the first time. From a deck outside of a house on Nantucket, we watched with awe filled silence as the stars fell from the sky like magic pixie dust.

I think of the stars on Lake George in the Adirondacks. The ones that laid smiling on the lake. The ones that laughed with us while my friends and I paddled around in our canoe yelling, “BEAR” in the middle of the night, warning the other campers. We believed the water to be our only safe haven after a visit from a not very big black bear around our campfire.

I imagine the other campers sleeping soundly in their toasty sleeping bags nestled in their tents cursing at us and our melodrama.

But I had never seen a bear before! When I first spotted him uncomfortably close to one of my friends, I thought someone was playing a prank and dressed like a bear to scare the crap out of us. As if that was a normal occurrence. But I was petrified of this man eating beast! And when we fled to the water to paddle for our lives, my glasses fell off in the process. And I can’t see very well without them.

But the stars were so brilliant you didn’t need glasses.

After paddling back to our site, hightailing it to my friend’s little red Chevrolet Cavalier in the parking lot and spending the night there, we went back the next morning finding my glasses at the water’s edge. I plucked them out and thanked the powers that be.

I also thank the bear. If he hadn’t paid us a visit that night, we never would have gotten out on the lake. And we would have missed all of that beauty…all of those twinkly stars guiding us home.

 

 

 

 

 

closed doors

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I don’t like structure. Rules, boundaries, routine, yuck. No, I’m more of a free bird, fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. I don’t need nap times or sleep training or bottles. I just need my boobs and a car seat. This baby can sleep anywhere. And I can nurse her while climbing up the side of a mountain, no problem. It will be fun, we can see the world. “The Hills are alive…” Bali, Italy, where should we go?

But this isn’t really me. Not anymore. Or not right now any way.

And I am becoming more and more okay with that. I know this sounds boring. But sometimes I like boring.

Before I had my son, sitting around a wooden table strewn with presents wrapped in blue, my wonderful co-workers at Hospice took turns sharing tidbits about parenting. One in particular really took me by surprise and has stayed with me ever since.

He said something to the effect of and I am paraphrasing here, “When your kids walk around the house opening up doors, they really want the doors to be locked.”

Say what? No, not my kids. They’ll want freedom and fresh air and open doors just like their free spirited mama. (This sounds better if you read this last sentence with dramatic flair…think of the Drama teacher from High School Musical with owl like glasses and scarf around her neck, there is always a scarf).

But I get this now in a way I didn’t then. I think what he was trying to say (and if anyone reading this has further insight into the matter, please share) is that children really do thrive with boundaries. And structure. And to an extent, we all do.

They want the doors to be closed because this enables them to feel secure. They might yell and scream when you tell them no but no really means, I care so much  for you that I cannot let you eat 110 carcinogen covered candy chocolates. 

Sometimes we just have to say no. And yes to creating boundaries and closed doors.

And in the structure, in this framework of security and comfort, we can relax a bit and find great freedom to roam and be. The closed doors might just enable us to feel comfortable enough to explore, dream, and eventually test the boundaries. Without them, it may just be, sometimes anyway, too much.

So last night we started sleep training our baby aka letting her cry herself to sleep. We, I mean I, have resisted it for a long time. It felt mean and I didn’t want to be tied to a schedule or a routine. Remember, I don’t like rules!

But she slept better than she has in a long time. We all did. And while I love the idea of traveling, I also love a good night of sleep.