Noticing the impact of the waves…

Over the weekend, I had a chance to spend some time on the beach. I watched boats go by, and saw the wake of each one gradually make their way to shore. It got me thinking…

Now that I’m getting better, I’m noticing things…trying to notice the impact of my actions. I used to feel like I didn’t matter, didn’t have any power, and, well…you know where I’m going with this…

So to keep my insecurities at bay, I try to notice when I have an impact…so I launch a boat, and watch the wake left behind in the water. Here are a few specific examples that have stayed on my mind:

  • I bumped into a young man I’m acquainted with at the grocery store awhile back. He was buying a lot of frozen meals. I have a tendency to be a mother hen, so I say, “be careful, those dinners are loaded with salt, you should try not to eat them so often.” Well, a few months later, he has lost 12 pounds. I asked what his secret was, “cooking more often.” And while he gave me no credit, I’m quite sure I had a little something to do with it!
  • In my work with young children, my teenage son is frequently nearby, and I’m always modeling how to resolve conflicts, meet their needs, and validate their feelings. I hear him using my words, echoing my tone, and mirroring my body language…that is one strong and persistent wave!
  • When I was finally ready to share with my mom that I was in therapy, i was nervous. I didn’t know what she’d think, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised…she has been taking inspiration from my journey, yet another ripple, long lasting.
  • I started my first blog to write about child care issues for families and providers. I eventually started this blog to share my struggle with depression, and hopefully bring awareness and help to others. Now this ripple might be a reach, because I was just a passenger in the boat that someone else was driving, but a young woman in my life started a blog sharing her thoughts as she is working to make sense of her mom’s illness. Another small ripple…
  • And my dear friend that I’ve been going back and forth with, but trying to let go…from the beginning of our friendship, I tried to impart the wisdom of my years, specifically the importance of having friends. And after almost 3 years, he is finally making an effort to connect with friends for the first time since college. Guy friends, outside of work, outside of his marriage, are becoming part of his world because I drove the loudest and fastest boat I could find. That wave hit him hard again and again!

The little girl in me…

So upon the advice of my therapist, or myself, I’m listening to my little girl self. She wants a birthday party. She wants it to be just for her. She wants a special theme and activities and decorations. She wants to pick it all out and see all her friends come together to have fun.

So that’s what I’m doing! I’m throwing myself a good old fashioned birthday party!

With a winter birthday, we always went sledding. It was fun, but it wasn’t what the other kids were doing…and my mom did the best she could, but we didn’t have a lot of money for stuff like decorations or party favors when we were little…and being a twin, it was always both our friends, and I had to share the attention. Is it too much to ask for it to be about me just this once?

Now mind you, my mom always made us each our own birthday cakes: chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for me and strawberry jello cake with cool whip for my sister.

Oddly, I asked for chocolate chip that year, but also, the wrong cakes are in front of us!

We always got to choose our own friends, and it wasn’t so bad. But even at an early age, I was aching to just be celebrated independently of my sister, especially because she had a powerful personality. I was quick to be the quiet one. Well, I hear that as an infant, I was the loud one, but somewhere along the way, that changed…not sure when why or how…

Anyway, I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with friends! It’ll be unicorn themed with a piñata and musical chairs, decorations and balloons! I’ll let you know how it goes!

And on a side note, when I was 6 years old, I wanted a horse for my birthday. Our wonderful neighbor dressed up as a horse for me…my fondest birthday memory from my childhood❤️

So Much Fun!

In my quest to feel more like a woman and less like mom, wife, cook, house cleaner…I took a risk. A friend posted that a local company was looking for a fit model for someone my size. Not knowing what this was, I looked it up. You try on clothes and let designers know what you think. Sounds easy enough but I was so nervous! I didn’t even go try on wedding dresses in public, I ordered from a catalog and tried them on at home.

Lucky for me, the first fit model gig I got was at home. They sent me a giant box of pajamas and bathrobes (perfect for me on all accounts). I tried all of them on, took notes, then sent the jammies through the wash and did it all again. I sent my notes back to the company and got to keep the pjs! They appreciated my honest feedback and my next gig is in their warehouse! With people around, designers no less! I’m excited about it, but so nervous!

But this job as a fit model is definitely getting me rolling on my goal to be less mom and more me! It’s nice to be appreciated for my opinion, and also to know that I have a specific and unique value to someone, even if it’s a paid job, it matters.

Honoring Change…

I love this image…it makes me feel nostalgic for the time I was pregnant with my son…of course by this point, I was eating 2 cans of beefaroni a day and my hip kept popping out so I could hardly walk! I was 10 days overdue and had gained 20 pounds in my last 2 weeks! (And by the way, he didn’t turn till I was at 34 weeks! There was so little room for him to move, I had to lean on a tall counter and let gravity give him a little help!)

But as I write this, I’m also trying to honor a significant change in my life…here it comes:

About 9 months ago I became pregnant for the 8th time. And for the 7th time, I suffered a miscarriage. This triggered an already impending cultivation of a breakdown, unraveling, whatever you want to call it. After seeking therapy, finally, one of the pieces we focused on was seeing a doctor for my gynecological health. As a result, I am now using birth control (for a couple reasons).

This weekend would have been my due date. And though I’m almost 42 and couldn’t imagine having an infant come into my family now, I chose to get away for the weekend to face my mixed feelings.

You see, I’m facing the reality that I will never again be pregnant and never again miscarry. And though I’m sad, I’m okay. I am so lucky to have become a mom almost 14 (!) years ago. My kid is amazing, intelligent, talented, charismatic, intuitive…you get the idea! And while I wish I could’ve given him a sibling, the self proclaimed sole survivor of “the womb of doom” will be just fine.

So I choose to be grateful that I was able to bear a child (I dislike that expression so much), and nurse him and raise him to be a respectful and kind young man (yikes). I choose to remember my pregnancies as the losses they were, but also to remember what I learned about myself (and my husband) along the way. Each loss presented an obstacle but also an opportunity for growth.

So now I say goodbye to my “fertile” years and hello to my “taking care of me” years…because it’s been a long time coming…

This post is dedicated to all the moms out there who have lost babies, and to the babies I lost. I loved you all.