We’re all guilty

 

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Undeserving

It’s a feeling I’ve been hanging on to for a while.

My friends and family get so upset when I tell them that I feel undeserving. Undeserving of something really good.

It’s really been the one negative emotion that I haven’t been able to shake thus far. I guess this is what people might mean when they say ‘damaged’? The extreme end of humility. Feeling undeserving is my biggest insecurity… possibly my only one left of the many that were instilled within me, so I’d say that’s a good thing.

One of my friends told me that she’d rather me end up with a fairytale life than her if she could choose between since I deserve it.

Another became upset once when I referred to ‘the situation I got myself into,’ refusing to agree with me that that’s actually what happened. It wasn’t a choice I made, she said. And that I deserve such goodness and someone special.

Tears have streamed down their faces because of my expression, so immediately I regretted sharing.

(I have some pretty amazing friends.)

In my mind and heart, I’m undeserving, but I am also okay. I do want to eventually feel deserving, of course. But I don’t know what it’s going to take. A final transition within myself probably, but how do I get there?

Put a ring on it

About how long after you had your baby did it take to fit your wedding ring back on?

I feel so naked without my wedding ring! I couldn’t wait to put it back on my finger.

Why would I have gotten a fake one just to fit when I have a real one waiting for me to put it back on?

I won’t cry, I won’t cry.

I didn’t cry. I’m used to the kick-in-the-stomach questions and conversations like these by now. It doesn’t get me as much as it used to. In fact it doesn’t get me at all.

When I moved home last year? Holden was 5 months old. One of the hardest kicks came from a lady who I just met saying, “Oh! You were the girl on the cover of the InRegister bridal issue! I just adored your wedding! It was so beautiful!” I believe this happened the week I filed for divorce. I just stood there with tears streaming down my face as I held Holden and couldn’t respond.

These words of the other moms in Holden’s Wednesday mornings Mommy & Me gymnastics class pierced through my ears as I struggled to get Holden to sit on his red floppy circle for the ‘stretch’ before class began. I have the only boy there, but he needs to go to exert some energy.

Like this:

Which is the amount of energy he has all. day. long.

During the conversation, I think about how I will respond. If I start to think about getting upset, I turn it around. These are moms who are happily married, some of which are expecting again. I’m happy for them. Hopefully, that will be a conversation I can in join one day (if not, that’s okay too), but not without taking a look at some ring fingers first.

Let the rain fall

My favorite musician, Joshua Radin, never fails to inspire. His music has gotten me through some hard times.

Stepping out of depression and choosing myself, as I explained in one of my earliest posts, my ringtone set as his song “Brand New Day” was the reminder I needed to stick to that choice.

Aside from his beautiful, angelic voice captivating anyone listening, his lyrics are so meaningful yet so simple. Sometimes it just takes a nice melody and a good choice of words to remind us what’s important.

Here is one of his newer songs that I just can’t get enough of.  No matter how hard your day is, no matter what obstacles you need to overcome, tomorrow is going to be better… and if there’s someone you can share that day with, even better.

Sometimes it's easier to hide away
when the winter comes and it's shorter days.
I know the dark clouds won't stay.
Tomorrow is gonna be better.
Sometimes it's easier to hit the road
when the world has given you a heavy load.
If you stay and face it I know
tomorrow is gonna be better.
Let the rain fall, let the rain fall
until the day is new.
And all thats left is just me and you.
The best part of us is part of me.
So with you is where I'd rather be.
But if you can't I understand, I still believe
tomorrow is gonna be better.
Let the rain fall, let the rain fall
until the day is new.
And all that's left is me and you.
I know it's just one of those days,
but you stay strong.
I'm gonna find a way to take it all,
and make it all okay.
Tomorrow is gonna be better.
Tomorrow is gonna be better.
Let the rain fall, let the rain fall
until the day is new.
And all that's left is just me and you.
Let the rain fall, let the rain fall
until the day is new.
And all that's left is just me and you.

Concern vs. control

I’m a believer in simple truths. Things that are difficult to argue against. Therefore, more agreement and positivity.

When having a late night discussion with two great friends last week, they reminded me of an idea, one of these truths, I must have forgotten about during my Dark Ages.

It goes like this.

Basic. Two circles, one bigger one and one smaller one inside. The bigger one? Your circle of concern… everything you care about.  The smaller? Your circle of control… or ‘influence’ as I believe the technical word is.

It’s overwhelming for us intricate humans when we cannot control everything we concern ourselves with.

Shift that negative emotion and energy into that circle of control. Your life will change.

It’s a hard thing to do. Lessen up on the things we care about and just recognize where we have the power to control elsewhere. It takes work.

You won’t worry as much, you won’t stress as much, and surely you will have less anxiety. No matter what you’re dealing with, who you’re dealing with, and how bad you may feel, the fact of the matter is that we will feel better if we can focus, love and appreciate those things we can control.

Thanks J & C for this reminder!

When traveling with a child

Over the past week I have had two opportunities to fly- both with and without my rambunctious toddler.

For many parents, traveling via airports can bring on much stress and anxiety. Caused by but is not limited to: airport germs, getting through security, disrupting sleep routines, ear pressure, crying on the plane, pooping on the plane, changing a diaper on the plane.

I had none of these worries traveling without my 30-lb tow-headed appendage. In fact, this was my first time flying solo since Holden was born about 20 months ago. He’s been my travel buddy numerous times since coming into this world. Luckily for me, these times have been more entertaining (for myself and many people on the same plane) than worrisome in most instances.

For example, a few days ago as Holden and I were connecting planes, he was outrageously hyper from being cooped up on our first leg. Waiting for our next plane to arrive, he decided to pour my coke all over himself and refused to eat anything but cheese puffs. Strolling into the airport gift shop with my little orange man in tow, we left with him dressed in a lime green “Somebody loves me in Memphis” t-shirt a few sizes too big. He then kicked me over and over in that t-shirt as I tried to stop him from running down all the little tunnels out to the airplanes in the entire B terminal as I heard waves of laughter coming from everyone but myself.

As I entered security last week alone laughing to myself, I started to reminisce on the time Holden was about 13 months old and how he started slapping the complete stranger sitting next to us on our flight to Chicago and laughed uncontrollably because someone taught him that hitting people was funny (thanks, mom).

Then, I got somewhat melancholy and missed him as I glanced at all the whole milk in the airport kiosks. Once we make it through the security checkpoints, I always have to stock up on his milk for our journey. I almost bought one just to hold in my purse. Purse? That’s right. No diaper bag for this mama.

As I got to enjoy a little time to myself, actually being able to order a cup of coke from the flight attendant on my flight, I couldn’t help but ponder how different it is to travel as two different people- by myself and also as a single mom.

While traveling as a solo seemed easier on the outside due to lack of worry and overall disregard for keeping another human alive and happy, I came to prefer the latter for many reasons. One being? Strangers are overall nicer towards myself as a single mom, er, a mom traveling alone with a toddler. No one really knew I was a single mom unless they glanced at my ring finger. Well, they normally do that anyway since I look sixteen.

I’ll never forget one of the first times I traveled with Holden, only a month old at the time, and being advised to bypass the security line into the line of all the traveling business people. I must have been asked five times by different people in all kinds of suits if they could help me out with anything. I must have looked desperate!

Nineteen months later and still going strong, many of our travel opportunities have embodied this notion as well. The overall degree of help towards me traveling with Holden is so much higher than when traveling solo. Waving checked bag fees, skipping security lines, less frustration exerted behind me as I try to strap my sandals back on with a baby in my arms.

The immense awkwardness of the new security scanner those with no babies have to step through. There are foot prints on the ground. Do you know how embarrassing it is for people under 5’2 having to spread our legs wide enough so that our feet can reach those footprints? I’m assuming those footprints are the average width of space between the feet of normal Americans. That’s not me. I’m surprised I didn’t get re-checked as I probably looked like a crazy person laughing all alone inside that machine while I felt 50% into the Russian splits.

Ultimately, whether traveling by myself or with Holden, some subjective truths exist in both situations. To quote one of my favorite authors, Wally Lamb, “I know this much is true”…

There are still those people whose seats are at the back of the plane who need to hurry or will miss their next plane and need to cut in front of everyone (with and without babies) so they can get there. Then, as you make your transition to your next gate you see those exact people there waiting for that connection they needed to run to, but that next flight isn’t leaving for a couple of hours.

There will always be babies on airplanes. There will always be people who react to babies on airplanes. There will always be stressed-out mommies on airplanes worried about their babies and not worried about the people who react to their babies even though the people who react to babies would prefer these mommies to alter that stress to fit their needs instead of their babies’.

Finally, there are still nice people. Nice people who lend a helpful hand to someone with or without a baby.

Someone who hands me my shoes getting through security as I travel solo. Or someone who plays peek-a-boo with Holden through the cracks between the headrest. Or even that someone whose seat ended up right next to mine, and whispered to me that she was a single mom back in her day too as she glanced down at my ring finger and winked at me. Proceeded to tell me that I’ll make it through anything before I even responded with a “hello.”

Let life begin

life_begins_at_the_end_of_your_comfort_zone_poster-r51d0c740ac704ffa883d6934385062ca_wwa_8byvr_512

Sixteen months ago I knew my life. I had my little baby in my little house in my little suburb. I had my friends, lifelong and college, had my family, had my ‘marriage.’ Knew my neighbors and had a routine. I was comfortable.

The life I knew was all I wanted. I had no yearning to meet new people, to be outgoing as I had been my whole life.

I look back to that comfort and now get uncomfortable thinking about it. I was close-minded and happy.

My life began anew. A difficult process at first. Through the pain came a new life: a scary, unexplained, ambiguous, ever-changing life. Evolving into a great life. An open-minded happy.

Routines are great. I am a routined person. Type-A to the max. Most of my daily routine is accomplished every day by 11am. I don’t think that letting go of this routine was what contributed to my happiness now, but letting go of the comfort- the life again that I thought I knew, and being open to the life that was awaiting, has proved many times to be a factor to this happiness.

These proofs exist within the people who have come into my life over the last sixteen months. People I would have never had the pleasure of knowing unless I let go of my previous life.  The inspiration, encouragement, positivity that has been instilled within me because of these particular people is unmatched. It’s nothing I learned in school, work of my previous life. But in the real world, and out of the comfort, real things like this happen-good things happen.

How grateful am I to have stepped into the unknown, letting go of any stigma or embarrassment associated with the situation I got myself into. My new life was waiting for me.

First day of “school”

Today was Holden’s first day of school… rather, first morning of Mother’s Day Out. Even though he is only going two mornings a week, it felt like I was sending him to college. I bawled like a baby from the moment I woke him up.

It was the first ‘real’ time I had to drop him off, aside from with the family of course. My little buddy reaching the real world. I had to say bye.

I am sending him to school like this at 19 months because he is extremely independent. He needs stimulation of kids around him rather than just spending his time with adults all day. There’s really only so much entertainment I can provide, which is hard to believe because I feel like I’m either dancing, singing, or wrestling 12 hours out of the day.

The school looked like a movie scene: little girls dressed perfectly with big bows in their hair, moms carrying their boxes of tissues, daddy with a video camera straped to his hand. A lot of kids were there with two parents. My heart hurt.

That was until I reached Holden’s classroom and noticed a little boy about 3 years old face down, pounding his fists on the ground having a temper tantrum. That made me laugh. Poor mama.

We reached his room where the toddlers get passed across the half door to the two teachers… there were only 3 other kids of the 14 there when we first arrived. Holden slowly walked around, cautiously checking everything out as a little girl next to him was crying for her mama. She was standing next to me, both of us around the corner. Me with tears streaming down my face. The other telling me this was her third to go and that they’ll love it next week.

I reached my car and sat there crying for a while as I focused in on the playground… the adorable swingset. The seats couldn’t have been a foot off the ground.

My little man is growing up too soon.

And for pure entertainment, thank you mom for taking this picture when we stopped by on our way to school. I mean video.

James 1:17

I’m not a huge believer in superstitions. Though, I’m a believer in signs. Events that seem too perfect- intentional? I think so.

Today in mass, there was a beautiful reading from the book of James…. “All that is good, all that is perfect, is given from above; it comes down from the Father of all light; with Him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow caused by change…”

James 1:17.

Holden’s birthday is January 17th… too perfect. Too intentional to be a coincidence.