Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Gift

“Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.”
― Ben Carson
 
I love a good gift. Always have. I love the anticipation of a gift. I love the thinking behind what the gift could be. I love when I am surprised by a gift. There is nothing about a gift that I do not like.

Gifts to me used to only come in packages. They were as I described them above. And while I still love those kinds of gifts, I have come to realize that there are even better gifts out there.

The gift of love. The gift of companionship. The gift of friendship. The gift of family. The gift of a child.

So much of my life as a parent is taking care of this little person who can't really take care of herself just yet. Sometimes she rewards me with smiles and giggles and in the long run, the ability to learn how to do many of those things herself. Sometimes we are paid back with tears and tantrums. No matter what the reward, we still keep giving.

What is interesting to me is that we give and give with very little expectation of getting anything in return. Not when they are babies. Not even when they are toddlers.  And then, before you know it, your child learns out to say "thank you" and "please" and "I am so proud of you, Mama" and you know that you are doing the right thing. Your gift is giving back.

Miranda is really starting to comprehend her world around her. She loves animals and ice cream and books. She loves swimming and running and playing outside. She knows when she is "good" and likes to think that she is never "bad". The truth is, she is often both at the same time!

Within the next week, she will be transitioning to a new class at daycare. She will be in "Get Set"  which is the class that will "get her set" for preschool. She will learn to use a real cup and not a sippy cup. She will learn to use the potty. She will learn how to be more independent.

Our little "gift" is learning each day and in return, teaching us more and more each day. 

As far as I am concerned, that is the best gift of all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I'm Already Torn

"Illusion never changed
Into something real
I'm wide awake and I can see
The perfect sky is torn
You're a little late, I'm already torn"
-Natalie Imbruglia

Summer is winding down. Our week in the mountains is behind us. I think we are in the midst of our last heat wave. Soon the days will be shorter and the nights will be longer.

Last week we got a letter saying that Miranda would be moving to the next class in September. A new season is almost upon us.

This year, more than last, I find myself torn. My heart hurts for all the firsts that Allie will not get to accomplish. She is not moving up a level in school. She is not transitioning to a big girl bed. She is not about to be potty trained. She doesn't have a favorite food or a favorite Disney princess.

While I am so excited that Miranda gets to do all these things (with the exception of the potty training!), it also makes me sad. I have learned to let myself feel the sadness as it will not go away just by wishing it would. Will I always feel this sorrow?

For the most part, I really do live in the moment. I celebrate the joy that is our rainbow baby each and every day. She is talking more and really communicating now. She laughs at the silliest things and when she is not laughing, she is making us laugh. She is strong-willed and determined and smart and kind. Some of that is genetics, but I suspect some of it also is the way she is being raised. With all I do and all I am, she is easily my biggest source of pride.

Some days, I can't help but wonder what kind of child Allie would be. In my mind, she is still the infant that I held in the hospital. She is not a 4-year old girl. And that's the thing. She never will be more than the infant she was. To sound like a certain 2-year old I know, "It's not fair." It's just not.

I see butterflies everywhere. At my niece's 2nd birthday party on Sunday, all of the cousins were playing outside. Just then, a beautiful monarch flew right in front of Gary and me. I actually turned to him and said, "All the kids are here today." Most days, that is enough. Today, though, I want more. I want to be shopping for back-to-school clothes for my first daughter. I want to know what her new classroom will look like. I want to know who her teacher will be.

I am torn. So very torn.

I love both of my girls equally. There is no doubt about that. Most people see us as a family of three, but we are very much a family of four. Chances are, I will spend many a day wondering about what could have been. But in a way, that negates what is. Thus, the feeling of being torn.

I love what I had. I love what I have. I love them both so very much.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Live and Learn

Sometimes you have to live something to really understand it. For example, my friend celebrated her son's first birthday over the weekend. She spent $80 on balloons for the party. I was shocked! I told her we always go to the grocery store or the dollar store for balloons. She sighed and said she just had no idea they would be that much. Then she said, "live and learn". 

She was so right! I bet the only way I knew how to get balloons (or anything for that matter) at a good rate was to either spend too much in the first place or to have someone else spend too much. You have to live to learn.

We are slowly getting back into the swing of things after our vacation last week. Which was really a "re-location" more than a vacation. Since Miranda is now in a bed, she was able to get out of her bed (and her room!) whenever she pleased. So there was not a lot of napping on our trip. And since she did not nap much, she was a little crankier than usual (translation: hot mess) so we were all on edge a bit. Live and learn. That being said, we had a lovely week overall and laughed a whole lot. We made some great memories and had some wonderful experiences and my mom even came up for a few days and got to share in some real quality time with all of us and there is not much (aside from the napping!) that I would change.

The day my mom arrived, Miranda and mom and I were outside playing. A neighbor walked by with her dog and Miranda's face exploded with joy. We went over to pet the pup and found out his name was Allie.  My reply? Of course it was. A dog named Sam is almost common. But a dog named Allie? And a boy dog at that? I guess it was just a way of our girl letting us know she was on vacation with us. Live and learn.

While on vacation, we went out for ice cream a few times. My mom and I had happy hour every night. We had burgers and hotdogs. There may have been some cider donuts, too. I enjoyed every morsel of every bite of food. I did not enjoy the scale when I got home, though. So I put on my sneakers and went for a run. Then I did the same thing the next day. The scale looked better today. It will look even better tomorrow. Live and learn.

Everything we do is somehow connected to our past or our future. I am finally understanding that while I cannot control the past, I can at least shape how the future will turn out. I do not want to be overweight again. So I am going to take steps to make sure I am not. I can keep eating like I did last week and be back to where I was in no time at all, or I can practice what I preach to my weight loss clients (and to myself) and get back on track and feel good about how to fix my mistakes. I chose the latter.

Miranda is back in school today so she is back to her routine, too. We work well with routines around here.

How do I know that? Live and learn, of course!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vacation!

No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.
-- Jewish Proverb 

We left for our annual mountain vacation on Saturday afternoon. Filled with anticipation, excitement and curiosity.  We wondered how Miranda would do this year. Last year, although she had a blast, she resisted the pack n' play and none of us got much sleep. Still, the pros outweighed the cons and we decided to try it again.

We are in the same community as last year, but a different rental home. It's the perfect place for us - there is a lake and a pool and a kiddie pool. There are deer and bears and not that many mosquitoes! It's quaint and quiet and really peaceful.

Gary and I are very much "rule followers". Miranda has a schedule that we like to adhere to daily. It works for her and it works for us.

Except on vacation!

Miranda is so much in sensory overload that she is refusing to sleep. She crawls right out of her big girl bed and walks down the hall to our room to announce that she is up. She has stayed up HOURS past her bedtime at night, reading us stories and entertaining us. We are in a ranch house, so it's perfectly safe. That's the upside. The downside is that all three of us are exhausted.

We are doing our best to roll with it. Instead of a nap yesterday, we went out for ice cream. Instead of one today, we are going to the pool. I guess she can sleep when we get home...

Seeing the world through her eyes is such a joy for us both. In spite of our exhaustion, we are having the best time. Miranda squeals with delight when she hears an owl hoot or sees a colorful bird fly by and we can't help but smile with her.  

There are so many things we want to do with our daughter. So many adventures to have. I do not want to rush time as I so enjoy living in the moment with her, but I anxiously await the time that we can do even more. One day, she might not want to snuggle with us or hold our hands or give us kisses for no reason. So we want to enjoy these days as much as we can.

We are here for a few more days. My mom is on her way up now to spend a few days with us. I warned her to get her sleep before she came! Like us, there is nowhere else she would rather be right now.

Here's the to memories, the stories...and maybe, if we are lucky, the sleep...


Learning to Love Yourself No Matter What

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