Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas letter

I had a giggle this year while attempting to write our annual Christmas letter that goes out with our Christmas cards. It usually highlights the things that we have done, accomplished, people and places we saw, and career moves. But this years letter, we pretty much had one thing to say.

That is, our family changed beautifully and irreversibly forever. We welcomed the future, a slew of hopes and dreams, joy and exhaustion beyond comparison. This guy:

And how do you write this in a Christmas letter?
If you received one, it was amusingly short by our standards.

This kid has altered everything I know about everything. What was important is now not. What was not even on the radar a year ago takes precedence.

Anxiety has been iteresting. I think we all havea litle anxiety, and I consier myself pretty calm. However all of my past anxiety was so self centered. i.e. "will I lose baby weight". "what does my boss think of me" "how do I look" "whos going to judge the cleanliness of my house' "me me me me". And don't get me wrong, I'm pretty self-centered still. Just the meaning has altered. i.e. I want to be healthy to be able to keep up with my kid and be a good example to him.

Now much anxiety is around him. Who is he with. What is he exposed to. Is he growing fast enough compared to everyone else? Is he safe? Is he getting enough sleep, food, floor time, learning, water, milk, etc. And I almost panic when I imagine adolescent years.

He also imspires me to want to be more, to be better. I want him to have the very best people around him and that does start at home. He makes me consider very carefully what my goals and "New Years Resolutions" will be. (which will be another post hopefully)

one thing I have noticed the last 2 weeks is how much I love other people loving my baby. He's been around family so much for the holidays and he is so bright and giggly and spreads that to others. He also just has good people in his life as family. Increasing fmily involvement may be a resolution on my list. Knowing he is surrounded by so much love lowers my anxiety.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Years all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the struggle of grief

Well, I've been a bit vacant in the blog world lately. I blame sickness and holidays and other whatnot. I would like to add lack of anything to say. Not that there hasn't been anything to write about, but sometimes configuring a plethora of thoughts into a concise document can prove difficult. I am not known for being concise.

That being said, obviously there was a major event in American history that went down last week. That is, a gunman entered a grade school and killed several innocent children and teachers and finally himself. It is horrific, it is senseless and a dark dark day in human history.

And in the past week, thanks to the news and to Facebook, I have witnessed the grief of my fellow humans. It took a comment by a friend of mine to realize that some other peoples seemingly non-nonsensical political raving, is most likely their grief. Whether I like their grief or not, its how they are choosing to cope.

And not that I am an expert in coping or grief.  My own mother passed away 3 years ago and I have still not allowed myself to go through the process very well. Grief is very scary. It is very real and raw and revealing and painful. I, therefore, dissociate. No more healthy than anyone elses.

Where I struggle is when I witness or hear other s grief become belittling or condescending towards others. Be it direct or in meta-messages.

Messages I have heard- in paraphrase...

1. As a _____________ (mother, teacher, school employee, father...) I am deeply affected, and have a different understanding.

2. See, this is why we need stricter gun- control. This is what I have been saying...

3. This is what happens when we disallow prayer from schools...

I guess as I write them, some don't sound so bad. But here are the meta-messages that I hear (through my own flawed filter)

1. MY grief is worse than yours. its harder for me cause I have kids or work in a school.

2. I WAS RIGHT!!! SEE!!! So this is clearly everyone elses fault, esp the NRA

3. Atheists  are at fault. Or luke warm Christians at least. God will leave if we push him away. God let this happen, but only cause we made him.

Each of these seem ludacris to me. And here is why:

1. As humans, aren't we all grieving? Unless a sociopath, we have all been affected by this in some way. My sisters don't have kids, but you don't think they didn't imagine it was their nephew? That they haven't conceived of or experience loss or pain or fear before? The context is different, but empathy can bridge a gap.  And there are people who work in dangerous situations daily.

2. I understand wanting to initiate political change as an outcry to a tragedy. I mean look at the entire civil rights movement. Good political changes came out of people saying "enough is enough" and taking positive actions. But I am sorry, NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU OR CHANGE THEIR MINDS IF YOU SAY "na, na na boo boo" or "SEE I WAS RIGHT AND YOU WERE WRONG". Those messages usually make me want to dig in my heels all the more. Even if I am wrong.

3. And come on. There are so many places I can go with this one. But this is not the fault of someones religious belief or affiliation. I hate it when people act like God is a puppet and we get to direct him. Yes, I am a Christian. But I believe that this messed up person made a choice. God did not direct anyone. But God is with us in the midst of tragedy, even when it doesn't make sense. He was with the brave teachers, the first responders, those who have outpoured in love and caring. Whatever your view of "God" is. The God I recognize is the God of love. Not vindiction.

Putting others, their beliefs or their experiences down to validate our own in not healthy.

We are all trying desperately to make sense of this.

As we do so , may we HELP each other. Support and encourage and validate each others experiences. Grab a cup of coffee and talk about what we are thinking and fearing and dialogue. Facebook and blogs (I recognize the irony) and Twitter and the news disconnect us from each other in ways where we think it is connecting us. We were made to be in relationships. Give someone a hug. Send a letter of support to Connecticut. Say a prayer. And together move out of this darkness.

We ALL ache. We ALL grief. We ALL hope.

Wishing you all peace.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I've got the fever

ok, scratch anything I ever said about nursing or waiting or anything else ever  being boring.

Because there is nothing more boring that being sick. Nothing.

The last few days I have been struggling through some flu-like thing that has progressed into something right now that mirrors a bad head cold. And you may think "so what, everyone gets sick". But you don't understand, I don't (well I guess I can't say that anymore). And not to this extreme.

No seriously, confession; if I have ever called in sick to work before this week, most likely it has been some lie to get out of doing something I didn't want to do or to take time off when I knew it was not going to be approved.

And I hate any attention that comes with sickness. It feels like pity, though I know people are caring. I hate pity. Thats my own issue. So why, then am I writing a blog about being sick?

And I am well aware that I am ranting about the stupid flu, when there are people out there dealing with real illnesses like cancer and diabetes and depression and meningitis and on and on. I do have SOME perspective.

But the last few days have consisted of me sitting, attempting to sleep, attempting to breathe, attempting to be in a comfortable position, of wanting to snuggle my little buddy, but not wanting to risk getting him sick.

Anything I might want to do when bored, I can't, because I risk contamination. Can't do dinner. Can't fold laundry, can't bake some goodies, can't run to the store (which is probably how I got sick in the first place because some hard head like me decided they were going to go to the store or chocolate walk anyway even if they were sick or mildly sick). Can't work out for obvious reasons. Even napping is uncomfortable. And television: come on, unless you find the daytime line up of court tv, Maury or worse yet, the View, an acceptable use of time or brain cells, this will not be turned on either.

What I have been able to do is practice the art of patience and meditation and prayer and mindfulness.  Its sad then when I am always "doing doing doing" that I forget how important these are.

Particularly the first night I visualized the fever leaving my body, me pushing it out literally. I also imagined that places that make me the most calm, (for the record they are mostly pastoral scenes and trees). I am a big believer in the mind/body connection. Focusing on being sick with only stress you, and stress doesn't help you heal. I also prayed to God (which I do nightly anyway) for my own health for for my son and my family and in thankfulness and realized, this is something I should/would like to be doing WITH my son. daily. Add it to the nightly routine of reading before bed. I want this to be a part of his life and his character.

And I am also very grateful for my husband who has filled in doing what I am too contaminated to do, cook, laundry, play/snuggle with son, etc  and play nurse to his wife AND for my AWESOME babysitter  friend who took him an extra day this week so I could work on getting better.

I am still not "well" but I am better. I look forward to the day this week when I am not coughing or talking like an old man who has been smoking his entire life. Or my nose isn't running or I'm not sneezing. But I am grateful that I no longer have a fever with chills and bone aches and headaches and nausea.

And I am happy to take something out of this mess. I think there is always something good that can come from pain, sickness, tragedy, etc if you look for it or allow for it.

Trading ashes for beauty.
Trading sorrows for joy.
If we let it be so

Saturday, December 1, 2012

the art of MY run

This one was a long rough week.

I knew that this was going to be the case before it started.

But sometimes you just need to buckle up and power through.

I kind of felt that way today when I was preparing for my first run of the week. Because of the long rough week, I haven't really gotten to run, excepting the elliptical last night. I know I need to keep working on my endurance so it was going to be at least 4 miles.

The first thing I kind of have to do is set my mind. I am going to do this. I am going to run this long. I am going to do this task, this project, this problem. No matter how long it takes, its gong to get done. So I might as well make the best of it.

Sometimes what helps me get through is the music I choose I listen to. I require music to run. Say what you will, I will blame my ADD nature. Sometimes the very beat of a song dictates my next step. It forces it to move. It also helps when half of it is music I like or that is positive and meaningful. Inspiring. I need that music in my life. Repeating in my head. Assisting next steps. Music is very meditative for me. A little bit of Mumford and Sons, some Bebo, Lifehouse and don't forget a sprinkling of fun with Taylor, Boyonce, Pink.

Choosing the path is key. I am really digging this one lately with my 4-5 milers. Gives some lovely scenery, its a path I know and am comfortable with. My house down to this path. It keeps me aware of my environment, of how beautiful this world is. I need only to keep my head up and look around me to see the presence of the miraculous.

Who is beside you is also helpful. In spirit and in physcial presence. I know I need to be ready for eventual race for my sister. She runs with me in spirit. And when not running, dang can that girl make me laugh. And it helps to have the support of dh who was at home with baby. Friends who know your goals, your struggles, what path you are on, what made it a rough week. Though the journey and the run is mine.

Oh and I bought new shoes. So so comfy. I got to break them in today. Got them at a local running store who evaluates your step and needs.  Its not a good sign when I am not quite sure when I bought my last pair, but I know I have not done much running in the past year before I started training for the half. Being pregnant and running just did not work for me. I seriously have no idea how that one lady ran the marathon and then gave birth. How many restroom breaks did she take? I couldn't make it a half a mile without needing to go.

And so I finished my longest run in a while. After one of my rougher weeks in a while. And after powering through both, and with all of the above aforementioned  at the end you (I) come out thinking "that wasn't so bad". It certainly could have been worse.

And my reward?

Oh, I like rewards.
And my cute little town who supplies them.