Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Present

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. 
That's why it's called the present." 

What if where I am is exactly where I am supposed to be? Seems easy until you think about it. Is all this suffering and anguish for nothing?

I am just a cog in the wheel of a much larger picture. A vital cog, but a cog nonetheless.

I had the privilege of watching my second cousin get married this past weekend. I got to spend some time with many family members that I do not interact with regularly. It was so amazing. The bride was breathtaking and I was so happy for her that my heart felt like it was going to burst. I could not stop smiling and clapping.

There were stories and laughter and joking and I was a part of it all just by being me. I am a piece of that puzzle whether I was aware of it or not. If you look at our extended family tree, there will always be a place for me. And a place for the family that I have created, too.

Being a part of something so big and so much outside of the realm of what I am used to was really good for me. It got me outside of my head and into the moment. I was able to enjoy the event and the family and not get hung up on the day to day things that tend to weigh me down. 

I want to start practicing mindfulness. I want to learn how to dismiss the negative thoughts as they enter and to stop judging myself. The harder I am on myself, the harder I expect others to be and it's a vicious cycle. I am also subconsciously teaching my daughter that this type of behavior is ok and it is not.

How many of us live like today is a gift? Like today is a present that should be appreciated and cherished? Too often we are looking at the last thing or the next thing and do not value the now. I am very guilty of looking forward and back and not at what is in front of me.

I learned that one of my extended family members left Poland via Kindertransport in May of 1939. Kindertransport was the informal name of a series of rescue efforts which brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940. I had no idea. My mom knew. That generation all knew, of course. The stories had not all made it down to me and I could not get enough. There are people that have known me my whole life who have these amazing narratives to tell. If you asked this particular cousin if he lived in the past or the present or the future, I am willing to bet that he lives in the now. He has to see that today is indeed a present. A gift. I could be wrong and it's not fair of me to speak for him, but through my eyes, this is what I see.

What if where I am is exactly where I am supposed to be after all?

ay's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. Bil Keane
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. Bil Keane
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bilkeane121860.html

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be Okay

"I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay
I just want to be okay today
I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay
I just want to be okay today"-Ingrid Michaelson 

I stream Pandora when I am in the shower. I love to get my groove on when I am waiting for my conditioner to work its magic. It makes me happy.

This song came on yesterday. It's upbeat and positive and it snapped some sense into me that I desperately needed.

I just want to be okay.

Lately I have not been okay. Overall, I am good. Family? Good. Home? Good. Physical health? Good. Mental Health? Uhhhh....

I am my harshest critic. I know that. I am mean to myself. Mean in a way that I would never dare be to anyone else. Why is that and why do I think that is okay?

I need to let myself off the hook. For crying out loud, I am 42 years old. I have buried a child and I have buried my father. I have survived more than some and yet, I am sure, far less than others. I need to hold myself accountable for what and who I am and be happy with the choices I make no matter what.

I have gained back much of the weight I lost last year. It's no secret. I am working on getting it back off and keeping it off this time. I am embarrassed and ashamed. But why? I am human just like anyone else. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself! I have a team of people that I have assembled to help me but they can't help unless I totally let them in and listen to what they have to say. That is Step One.

I need to always monitor what I eat and why I eat it. I do not need to always be on a diet, but I need to always be aware. I need to get it through my head that that is just the way it is for me! That is Step Two.

And Step Three? Give myself a break! (I am still working on that one.)

There are so many things that are out of my control. It's time to control what I can and make sure that I am around for the long haul.

Miranda fell at school yesterday. When Gary picked her up and saw the band-aid on her knee, she proudly said that she fell down but she got back up again! She was so proud of herself.

It's time for me to live like my daughter in some ways. Not to care what others think. Walk to the beat of my own drummer. Pick myself up when I fall.

As for the tantrums and potty training, she can keep those!

I just want to be okay. 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Beach

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." John F. Kennedy

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul." Robert Wyland

"Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone." Unknown Author 

I grew up going to the beach. I love everything about it. The sights, the sounds, the smells, you name it. And now I can proudly say that my daughter loves it, too. I can also say that I am not at all surprised.

We spent seven glorious days with our feet in the sand, our bodies slathered in suntan lotion, the sea breeze in our hair. We spent seven glorious nights riding rides, eating popcorn, devouring ice cream and taking in all the sights and sounds of the boardwalk. We learned to dodge the tram car and we quickly figured out what stores had the best deals. When our friends and family came down to stay, we tried to make sure their experience was as positive as ours. And it was.

Today is Father's Day. My dad loved the beach. He had a place right on the water for years and he loved to entertain there. I can't help but think how happy he would have been to see my daughter and me building sand castles while our laughter got lost in the sound of the tide. It is sad to me that he is not here to experience such things and yet I know that even when he was here, he did not have the capacity to enjoy much outside of himself. I like to think his granddaughters would have changed that, but I think it's mostly wishful thinking.

I picked a man to be my husband that is pretty different from my dad. He puts the needs of his family first and his children never question his love for them. Although we do not get to raise Allie, we speak of her and talk about her and share our love for her the best way we can. As for Miranda, I am not sure a kid was ever as loved by her daddy as she is by hers!

I am so lucky that I got to spend that week down the shore. I told my dear friend and my sister-in-law when they came down one day that I am so worried that I take it all for granted. They both assured me that I do not. I appreciate every single moment that I get that brings a smile to my soul.

Bringing a sassy three-year old to the beach for a week is no small task. I am more exhausted now than I was before I left. But I do not care and I would do it again. And I will.

I love the way my daughter smiles when she experiences something new. I love the way she lights up when we embark on new adventures. I love the way she is a mirror of me. I never in a million years thought that I could ever be so lucky.

To the beach...to the secrets it holds, the joy it brings and the laughter and happiness it brought us all this past week.



 


 


 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Memories

"Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were...

...So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were."
-Barbara Streisand

At the end of the day, all we really have are our memories. Of people and places and things that have impacted us the most. There are positive memories and negative memories. There are memories that make you spontaneously burst into laughter and ones that can instantly bring you to tears. 

I am not sure of the science behind memories, but I doubt that a 3-year old has a very long term memory. Meaning that the things we do now may not be with her always. But that's not why we do what we do. We act and behave in a way that causes a foundation of happiness and security and love that future memories can build upon. And some memories may just stick around.

On Saturday, we are headed to the beach for a week. I can't wait. I grew up going to the beach and can't wait to share the sights and sounds with my daughter. I want her to feel the sand in her toes and hear the crash of the waves and walk on the boardwalk. I want her to feel the sun on her face and feel the ice cream drip down her fingers while she tries to eat a cone. I want her to laugh and be free and I know she will be.

I have lots of memories of the shore. All of them are good. I hope to pass that on.

The other day, after a particularly long and trying day, I yelled at Miranda. I mean really yelled. I had to walk away from her because I scared myself so much. I am not a yeller. I did not come from a long line of yellers. It surprised me that I had it in me. Sometimes I just want everything to be so perfect for my daughter that I get carried away. I need to work on that. I do not want her to have that kind of memory! Surely she will remember that I got frustrated and maybe even sad, but I do not want her to ever think she is the source of me being mad. That is simply me projecting on to her.

It's not easy to be a parent. It's not for the weak or for those who have no patience. Every day, and I mean EVERY DAY, I learn something about myself from my child. Some of it is good. Some of it (like the yelling) is not so good. But I take it all in and try to learn from it.

I know next week at the beach may be challenging. But in the end, I expect it will be so worth it, too. Worth it to build memories for all of us.

Nothing like family!

Making memories with cousins

More memories

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Try

"You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing" 
- "Try" by Colbie Caillat

"Ever worry that it might be ruined
And does it make you wanna cry
When you're out there doing what you're doing
Are you just getting by
Tell me are you just getting by, by, by..." 
- "Try" by Pink

"To make an effort to do something: to attempt to accomplish or complete something" -  Definition from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

“There is no try. There is only do.” - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I try. I really do. I try to do so many things. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.

Being a parent, all I ask is for my daughter to try. Try to put her shoes on herself. Try this vegetable or that piece of fruit. Try to do something alone but know to ask for help if needed. All I want is for her to try.

To try takes courage. To try means to often push down our fears. I watch my daughter try and I know that we as adults could certainly try a lot harder sometimes.

I can try to make better choices for myself. I can try to be more accepting of my flaws. I can try to accept myself as I am. I can but I often don't. Why?

When did it become ok to stop trying? And how can I learn how to train myself to try again?

It's easy to just go through the motions of our every day and not dwell too hard on the factors or elements that limit us. But I was never one to take the easy way out, though. I want to start looking at my fears and facing them head on and then try to break them down and try to get over them.

I can (and am) trying to eat healthier. Not diet, just be healthy. I can (and am) trying to exercise harder. Not faster, not more, but more effective and better. I can (and am still working on) try to be more patient with others. I can (and have a long way to go) try to be more patient with myself.

I do not want to look back on my life and wish I had done more. I do not want to look back on Miranda's life and think she could have done more if only I was not to scared to try something new. So I won't. I made a promise to her the day she was born and I intend to keep that promise. We will do it all. Or at least we will try!   

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...