Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Suddenly I See

"Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl

And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me
Suddenly I see (suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me"
-KT Tunstall

This song came on Pandora this morning while I was in the shower. I have heard it hundreds of times, but when trapped with a head full of conditioner, I actually listened to the words. I liked what I heard.

I feel like this past year has been so eye-opening for me. I feel like I came into my own. I heard that turning 40 makes you more about you and less about how others perceive you. I heard the same about becoming a mother. Well, it took me a little bit longer I suppose, but in my 41st year, I got there.

That is not to say I am where I want to be. I am not sure I will ever be exactly where I want to be as what I want is constantly changing. I think that is good...or at least it's good for me.

I like to go to the movies by myself. I do not like to share my food when I am out to eat as I always worry I will not get enough. I hate my hair in a ponytail. I wish my toes were longer. I think I have man shaped hands. I dislike the bump on my nose. I like Lifetime movies as much as I like Showtime dramas. I like house wine as much as fancy wine. I like to eat with chopsticks but I look so silly doing it that I always worry someone will take them away from me. I wish I felt better about the way I looked in leggings. I started going gray at 19. I always wanted to be a famous actress. I love singing but am pretty awful at it. I worry about failure every. single. day.

It's invigorating to be free and say what I feel!  Here in my safe space, it feels empowering.

Next month, I turn 42. I am starting a new job. I am part of a running team that is aiming to run 2,016 miles in 2016. Once Spring comes, I am sure I will sign up for more races. I want to keep challenging myself and keep striving for more. I want to lose the weight I gained over the past month (no one is immune from egg nog and holiday cookies, folks) and get back to being me.

Can't wait to see "why the hell it means so much to me."

Thanks for taking this journey with me.  See you all next year!







Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Everything you want's a dream away"

This is a lyric from a new Coldplay song and I just can't get enough of it. 

Can we really dream about what we want and then get it?

I feel like I am living in a dream these days. A crazy, exhausting, exhilarating dream.

I just finished watching the second season of "The Affair" on Showtime. If you have never seen it, I urge you to start now. As in right this second. It's the only show I have ever watched that is like reading a good book. It's a narrative told by four different people. Each person has their own perspective and insight and never do the stories ever match up. It's an interesting story telling device and it always makes me think long after the episode airs.

What would my story be like from the eyes of Gary? What about through the eyes of Miranda? What did my childhood look like through the eyes of my mom? Or my brothers? You know how you have a memory and you are so sure of it and then you compare that memory with someone else and they remember it so completely differently? That's what this show is like. That's what my life is like!

My memories tend to me more positive than negative. When I think of Allie, I think of telling our friends and family that I was pregnant. I think of my baby shower. I think of the tour we took of the maternity ward. I think of the trip to Babies R Us to register and how scared I was because I did not know what to do with any of the items in that store! I think of the kicks she gave me and how she used to move more when I ate fruit or listened to Pink. I remember the 3D ultrasound when we learned she was indeed a she. I do think of the hospital and her delivery and the aftermath of her absence, but not as much anymore. I am not sure if that is because we are approaching five years or if it is how my brain works to protect my heart.

Now what if we told Allie's story from Gary's point of view? What would be the focus? He did not have the physical connection to her, but he certainly had the emotional one. How did the world look through his eyes for those 37 weeks? Would his memories match up with mine?

Three years ago, we were knee deep in adoption paperwork. Literally. Background checks and fingerprinting and reference letters and tax returns. It was cumbersome and time consuming and we do not regret one moment of it. All of it led us to Miranda, our rainbow, our dream.

We wanted her so badly. We knew she was ours before the agency called to say we were placed. She never replaced Allie - that was not her role. She did, however, mend our broken hearts and allowed us to focus on the here and now. She still does that every day.

What will her story be? What perspective will she have? I guess only time will tell. One thing is for sure - she is her own author, director and actor and no matter how her story goes, we will be so happy to watch it unfold. After all, everything she wants is a dream away.

Happy holidays from our family to yours. No matter where they all are or how they came to be a part of your family!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Flux

Flux is defined as, "continuous change, passage, or movement". I believe that it applies mainly to physics or chemistry, but it can also be used to describe a state of mind. And wow, do I feel like I am in a state of flux right now.

In general, things are good. REALLY good. We just celebrated Hanukkah with so much joy and fervor that if the holiday was any more than eight days, we would have had to throw in the towel. There were candles and gifts and smiles and happiness and parties and fun! Miranda loved it so much and we loved seeing her discover the holiday. We got to spend some good time with family and it was a great time of year. Christmas is next with Gary's side of the family and I am looking forward to more memories and more laughter.

I ran a few races over the past few weeks and am "retired" from any runs until 2016. They really do not hold any races around here in the winter due to the weather and I am ok with that. I have spent a lot in entrance fees and pictures of myself crossing the finish lines and it feels good to take a break. This morning I went on a run by myself and my time did not matter to anyone but me and it was nice. I was actually faster than I have been in a few weeks!

There are not a lot of freelance jobs out there this time of year, but I am optimistic that will change when we flip the calendars in a few weeks. In the meantime, I am working when I can and enjoying this bit of time to just be me. I feel that everyone should get the chance to do that every once and a while.

I have been reflecting a lot about this past year. 2015 was good for us. I worked hard. I played hard. I smiled more than I frowned. I laughed more than I cried.

Yet, I still feel a heaviness weighing on me. I still feel a cloud of doubt follows me from place to place. I think 2016 will be a year of self-discovery and more self-awareness. A year where I do not worry about losing weight, but keeping it off. A year where I do not worry about every parenting decision but more how to enjoy parenting. Ha! If only.

So much of who I am is a mom. And I want to be the best mom I can be.

I took Miranda to the local zoo yesterday. It was in the 60's and we walked around with coats or anything! We saw the turtles and the snakes and the red pandas. When we walked near the bison, we waved hello. She declared, "Hi bison! I'm Miranda Koellhoffer!" Then she pointed to me and said, "This is Mama Sam!". I almost lost it right then and there. She is hilarious, this kid of ours. We had such a lovely day and I think it is one we will both remember for some time.

I guess when it comes to being in flux, I just need to go with in and see where it leads. I have been viewing it as a negative since I can't quite figure out how or why I feel this way and yet maybe it's a positive thing? Time will tell, I suppose. Time will tell.

 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know how funny it seems. In the middle of Hanukkah, I chose a Christmas song to title my blog today. But it's true - this is the "most wonderful time of the year"!

I love the lights and the festivities and the fun and the frolic that surround December. Most of it is for a holiday that I do not even celebrate, and yet I still love it. People seem nicer. Sales seem bigger. Smiles seem wider.

This is the first year that Miranda almost sorta kinda understands the holiday season. She can say "Hanukkah" and she can say "menorah" and she has been able to say "presents" for as long as I can remember! Seeing the holiday through her eyes makes it that much more special.

We live in a happy bubble in our house. We read the news and pay attention to the outside world, but for the most part, we really just focus on us. One day the time will come when we will have to teach about tragedy and sorrow and pain, but we are not there yet. And I am not rushing it.

Internally, I have my own battles. Don't we all? Who am I now that I am not really working that much? Am I a stay at home mom? Am I a housewife? Am I still a writer?

Who do I want to be? What can I be?

I feel a mid-life crisis coming on. This past year I got a new tattoo and another piercing in my ear. I am not sure I want to do much else. But I feel this yearning for more.

I always want more. I am always looking ahead. I write about being mindful because I really want to be. And yet my mind races forward.

I feel this need to define myself and yet why? Why do I need a label? Why can't I just be who I am? Why do I make things so much harder for myself?

I can't answer those questions right now. I can be aware of them, though. Acknowledging them means they are real and then I can start to focus on them.

It doesn't matter how old we are - we are always changing and learning and growing.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Hanukkah 2015

1st Night

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Past / Present / Future

This time of year stirs up a lot of emotions for many people. There are lots of family functions and celebrations and times to think about the people who used to be there, the people who should be here and the people that just plain simply are not here.

It's far healthier to focus on the people that are here. I am working on that.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with an old family member. It was great to reminisce about the good times in our past as well as talk about the not-so-good-times. I left with a feeling of gratitude. I was thankful that we were able to share our memories and become stronger because of them. I was proud of the adults we have become and that we took our past and made it as positive as we could.

That same day, Miranda got an itch to play in our basement. It's unfinished and therefore she needs more supervision than normal! A lot of her old toys are there and so every once and a while, we give in and head down.

While she was climbing on her rocking horse, I decided to go through some of my dad's stuff. We packed up his belongings long before he died, when we were moving him into a facility that could take care of him. I have boxes and bins and albums of pictures that he savored. So I started there.

Wow. So many memories. Pictures of my mom and brothers and me in a time that was all but forgotten. Smiles that were practically bursting off the pages. Fashion choices and hair cuts that made me cringe. My dad in his element with classic cars and vacations and surrounded by people. He loved the be the center of attention and often was.

I have so many emotions swirling around in my head. My childhood was not ideal. There was so much suffering. However, did that suffering make me into who I am now? Would I be the same person if my past was different?  

As a parent now, I see things so differently. I would do anything to protect my child, as my mother did for me. My dad did not have the same instincts, but how much can I continue to blame him for that? I am not even sure he did the best he could. He did what was best for him. Does that make him bad? Not at all. Does that make him a a bad dad? Well, uh, yeah.

How much does our past determine our present? And how much does the here and now determine what is yet to come? I think a lot of it. 

If I never started working at my old company, I would have never met Gary. If I never met Gary, there would be no Allie and no Miranda. I would not be an aunt to 2 fantastic nephews and 1 amazing niece. I probably would not live in my house or drive my exact car. Who knows where I would be personally or professionally. My whole existence would be different.

My past led me to my present which is going to funnel into my future. I guess all I can do is be mindful and aware of the emotions that come up along the way and sit back and enjoy the ride. That is the right thing to do. The healthy thing to do. And after all, it is quite a ride!

Learning to Love Yourself No Matter What

One of the problems with being a writer is that I use words as therapy. By writing my thoughts and feelings, I can often make sense of the w...