Riding the wave

It’s like a wave.

In a cold ocean. Bitterness that stings when you touch it.

I see it coming, anticipating the moments until I can feel it engulf me. Knowing I will take that last big breath of air before I go under. I’m wading in the water now, toes barely touching the sand bar below. Energetic with my arms pushing the cool water back and forth slowly, fingers spread apart. Taking in the time I have now, pleased to have my head above the water. But I know it won’t last long. Not when it arrives.

I never really know how long it will take to reach me. Sometimes minutes, sometimes months. But what I do know is that it does head my way sooner or later. That it is unavoidable.

I stand on the rocky sand bar now. Still miles from the shore. The granules slide through my toes. Quiet stillness in the ocean surrounding me, one that is usually full of life and movement. The water level has subsided below my shoulders, and I know it’s time now. I see the wave in the distance draw closer, the rough blue gleaming amidst the clouded sky and the specks of matted white as the top crashes and folds over into itself. It won’t be long now. I hear it coming. I don’t move, I just wait. Take it because I am prepared.

I close my eyes, one last deep breath. My body rises slowly but not for long. In one instant I am catapulted across distances I can’t number. Deep and far though, as the bitter cold is all around. My body holds no weight in defense. Tossing and turning. I let it overcome me, discombobulate my mind. I don’t know which way is up, which way is down. I’m jerked left and right. I feel the rush of the salt water travel through my nostrils. My body spins, jerks. The only noise I hear besides my own struggle is complete silence.

Right side up, I’m standing now. Again in the sand, but closer to shore. The warm water is now laid around my ankles. My body worn and weary. Weakness. I hear what sounds like an ocean. Subtle drifts of the aftermath of bigger waves sliding along the coast. Seagulls. Sun felt on my forehead. My skin is of dry salt, eyes burning. I glance forward and over the ocean. No more waves coming now, in this moment. My hands are being held on both sides.

Behind me is the beach, and Holden sits on a towel under and umbrella. Fiddling with some buckets, shovels and singing to himself. Untouched and innocent. Protected.

Not the first encounter, and not the last. Persevere.

But still, how tumultuous it can be sometimes. Knowing it’s coming, knowing what it’s about, and knowing how it will end up. Like a broken record. Preparation goes so far, and recovery is in place and secure. But in those few minutes I’m pulled under, it hurts just enough to throw me. Breaks me enough for a couple of tears to fall. Threatens me just enough to disrupt me for only a few minutes.

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I don’t know.

The more I learn, the more I become aware of just how much I don’t know. That’s all a part of maturing right? When you’re young, you know everything.

So, the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. The more you know you don’t know, the more you know already.

I thought I knew just enough some time ago. Enough to be happy? Thought so. Enough to get by. I didn’t need nor want to know more.

But, I know more now. And the more I’ve gotten to know, the more I’ve realized happiness, for one thing is a choice, amidst many other things. Happiness does take effort day after day to choose it. By nature, days will come and go that naturally will impose unhappiness. Fight it. Fix it. Choose happiness and be happy.

That’s more knowledge than I knew a few years ago years ago. When I turned 25 amidst a painful divorce. When I was 24 with a newborn in my arms. Or 23 and being married. Or 21 being engaged. Living in a bubble.

So here I am now…I still don’t know a lot. But I know much more. More than just knowing happiness is a choice. That’s just what seems important right now… and wanting to share it. With a three year old. A few months shy of getting married. Feeling as though I’ve aged 20 years over the past 3. And there’s so much that I don’t know still of course… because I now know more. That’s why I’m not shaken, surprised by much. Every now and then that one instance throws me, but overall it’s pretty steady. Knowing now that human behavior is full of endless possibilities… not everyone thinks the same way, acts in the same manner. People are both intentional and unintentional. But also full of goodness (a post for another day). More understanding, more empathic. More accepting, less judging. My armor is knowledge, experiences that led me here. Stability.

Happier. Smarter. Richer for knowing I don’t know much.

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Normalcy.

We are busy people. There’s so much I have to say, but so little time to say it all it seems.

The constant hustle that is wearing many hats leaves little time for leisure, i.e., my blog. Sometimes what I want to say out loud is distorted upon delivery. That’s why this outlet is exactly leisure for me, what I want to say I can say. It’s accomplishing and reinforcing that subtle words can impact the lives of others. That’s the beauty of reading and writing.

It’s a good hustle though, the business. Currently. It’s a solid routine of commitments and expectations without the constant second-guessing and rumination. Less wastes of time. It’s confidence in that my life now really is full of goodness and it’s true. It’s terribly busy but full of simplicity. It’s a steady continuum of supply and demand within the exciting chaos. Balanced and normal.

So that’s exactly it. Happy to have normalcy. Happy for the realness.

The word “normal” usually comes with it a negative connotation in pop culture. If you’re normal you’re boring. Don’t be normal, be different. Normal is an insult.

Me? I’m grateful for the normal amidst my busy life. Generally speaking… Normalcy on a daily basis. I’m grateful that the words spoken are exactly what’s thought within. Lacking ulterior motives. No skewed visions that don’t make sense nor get explained. There are no other plans other than what’s said and not said. There’s no show, no front built up to be something that doesn’t necessarily even matter. What normalcy is for me is honest, believable. And I’m thankful for that. Actually, I’m more than elated having exactly that.

And within a steady, normal life, needs do still remain.  Just less of them.

When what I want is reassurance, I get it. When I need a listening ear as the demands start to outweigh the supply, I have it. When it’s direction I’m lacking, I’m steered straight.

It’s all I really need. And what I wish for everyone else is this as well. Some taste of normalcy too.

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Engaged! (again.)

Boy meets girl.

They fall in love.

Boy marries girl, and the two live happily ever after.

It’s a pretty simple story, right? The one that’s not mine this time around. Mine would be more along these lines:

Boy meets girl.

They fall in love.

Boy meets girl’s little boy.

They fall in love, too.

Boy marries girl, and the three live happily ever after.

I wouldn’t change my story for the world. Not for a million bucks. And get married again? Absolutely. Without a hesitation in my voice.

 

It’s something I should approach with skepticism, wouldn’t you say? Be careful, Sam. You’ve been so hurt, so broken.

And now, to have Holden in the mix. Much more of a heavier weight in this than my own heart.

Trust is an area I surely thought was gone forever. Something that had been flattened, lost faith in it completely. Long gone were the days I could give 100% and be confident in the efforts. How could I become unconditionally vulnerable to someone else after that? Not so sure. Somehow I went there. And without reservation. Wholeheartedly. Dove right in. Believed in him, my special person. Trusted in that this was it for me, for Holden. Even as I questioned why, I had to accept that he trusted in me also.

I received a note from a distant friend recently. She complimented me on my ability to believe in people. A quality that probably had something to do with the mess I got myself into some time ago. And now? That quality got me here. Here: more in love than I knew was possible, happier than I can wrap my head around, and driven further than I thought my feet would ever take me.

Hope is powerful. More powerful than skepticism. And I’m choosing to be happy.

I have the kind of love that is untouchable, too precious… that is, with my two boys. Compassionate. The kind of love that you’ve heard about. The kind of love I’d only prayed would find me in time. The kind that moved mountains, and still does. Continuing to heal and restore me anew. Creating within me something better than I was before, something pushing me to be better than I thought I could all along. The kind that quite simply, only wants only goodness for the other every day. And I will cherish it every day of my life.

So begins the wedding planning, the details, and everything else I cared way too much about at my first attempt at that circus. As much as I would love for everyone to be there rejoicing in my/our happiness (and stress) as I don the most luxurious and uncomfortable gown known to man, while Holden rips off anything “gatchie” (scratchy) such as a tie, suspenders,… or anything for that matter besides “uh-panth” (underpants), and Nick feels anything but himself by having to wear a tuxedo instead of jeans and a t-shirt, while checking the clock an uber amount of time waiting for the limo to pick us up on time, worrying if all the guests like the h’orderves, all while I’d constantly need a bridesmaid to check if my deoderant is working, it just doesn’t seem like the ideal day for us. So, I have handed off the responsibility baton to my endearing fiancé, whose creativity and ideas can give anyone a run for their money, so I’m not too worried. And, I really just want him (and Holden, myself) to be the happiest we’ve ever been, the most comfortable we could be, and the most natural possible the day we begin our life together as a family of three. That’s all.

So, all that matters to me this time around is simply that that boy is there, the girl is there, and the little boy is there too.

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My Moo-mie

Unfortunately the blog has taken the back seat since graduate school began in August. Still working on balancing it all out… but I hope to get back in full swing over the holiday season as I still have lots to share!

I thought I would post this in the meantime for some entertainment. I know it’s a broken record, for all that I’ve been promoting on this site, but it sort of wraps up where Holden and I were and are now in a matter of minutes. A recent project for school that was relevant.

So without further ado, I give you my movie. Or “moo-mie” as Holden would say.

A Reason

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“And I think the biggest honor he could receive is knowing just how much of an impact he made on me… so that I too could come into somebody special’s life who had a child and be all that I could be knowing I had him as an example.”

He was referring to his own step-dad. During an impromptu speech during a big night dedicated to him, some months ago.

The parallels between our two worlds lined up so purposefully. I have the reason as to why everything happened that did happen. All the answers I longed to conquer became unnecessary in a matter of conversations. And had I not gone through what I did… something that came so close to ruining me altogether, I would not have been the person he needed too.

I just can’t quite put into words the effect he has had on our life. Holden and I’s lives. My family’s life.

I’d been meaning to write about him for some time now. To proclaim my happy ending, to share my own Cinderella story. So often I found myself questioning, “why me?” throughout our relationship. Because truly, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

But still, the timing had to be right. The promise had to be in place I had so hoped for since first realizing this was one special person. The bond between he and Holden had to be of the most natural occurrence and respect for each other. Nothing forceful, only introduced with openness and love.

It takes one incredible person to enter into somebody’s life and openly accept a life that was broken, damaged. To dust me off and find beauty in the pain. A power to heal the wounds, a power to inspire and encourage to become all that I’m capable of, something he knew before I did.

And it takes an even more extraordinary person to become and fulfill that which was missing in a little boy’s life… Holden’s very own Kick.

I couldn’t have created nor prayed for anything better than this. And I feel like our happily ever after is just beginning.

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Revelation

I was informed of something yesterday. Something I knew I would have to face in the future and had been prepared to do for quite some time. Something I may have even been looking forward to? Only, once being informed of it, it had been 2 years in the making.

Revelation.

Makes more sense now in the eyes of retrospect.

All this time I didn’t know. Feeling somewhat deceived, but in a much different way this time. Suppressing the all-too-familiar anxiety-ridden symptoms I battled with in my past. During this particular past, what I had found out about (yesterday) was in full swing ahead. Shock.

Something that started way earlier than I would have expected, but something I found out about way later than I expected.

Coping strategies are in place now for being thrown curve balls these days. This sure was one, a big one. And I’d imagine it will be for some time, being it’s been in place now for 2 years. It will continue to be in place.

An impending threat? Not really.

Just an adjustment, I guess. An openness, again, that I had been prepared to have. Only having to somehow conceptualize that it’s been taking place already. That there is and has been presence in Holden’s life that I didn’t know about.

How difficult it is for me to pull down the guard around him as a mother I work so hard to keep in place… knowing it hasn’t been present in certain situations for all this time. How vulnerable I need to be. When Holden is away from me, I have to let go of it. Let him be, let him learn, let him explore.

Until he’s back in my arms. Pull the guard right back up again.

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Lucky (twenty)Seven

I made 27 years-old last week.

That’s 3 more years until I turn thirty. That’s 3 more years I have left of this blog.

I think it’s safe to say I lead a pretty good life these days. Holden is happy and healthy. So am I. And so are the people who weigh a hefty importance in our lives.

What’s even more than my basic needs being met, my thriving needs have exploded. I really and truly have both what I need and what I want… for now. In this moment. But this time around I’m going places. I’m doing things with all that I’ve been given. That’s the biggest difference from the last time I was close to feeling this way some years ago.

All in all I consider myself pretty lucky. Yeah, I’m looking forward to 27.

Still, I try to not get myself wrapped up in a fairytale. I had done that once before and we all know how that turned out. Separating real life from the idea of my life is essential to not let that happen again. However, never have the two been more closely related until now. Seems pretty darn authentic. However, there are days where I want to pinch myself and ask is this really real life? Because I just have it so good.

“Good things happen to good people, Sam,” people told me.

“This was all in the plan for you, Sam,” a handful said.

“You deserve this, Sam,” over and over again.

Do I believe in it all? It sounds nice, but I’m not so sure. Again, hesitant to believe in the fairytale but recognizing the realness.

Just before I get too wrapped up in all that’s going right in my life, Holden is there to remind me of just how real it all is. Or, just to remind me that not everything smells like roses when you’re elbows deep in two-year-old vomit and a sink full of dirty dishes. Knowing that I have hours of reading to do for graduate school and clients expecting some emails. While the laundry hamper is overflowing and I can practically see the bacteria growing in the bathtub.

But I’m happy to know theres vomit and dirty dishes to clean up. That probably means we had enough food for Holden to (over) eat. I’m happy to do the reading for school as that means I’m supported enough to further my education. Likewise with the clients, I’m happy to have a job. The hamper? Look at all of our clothes. And that bathtub… well, I have a bath tub. That sure sounds more like a fairtytale to me now than it ever would have before.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the real-life experiences that shape our outlook on life, but because our outlook shapes those experiences. I’m not happy because I have to clean. Likewise, I’m not happy because I’m divorced. I’m happy to do these things or have done those things because my outlook has become so positive. And that’s all given what I know now. In the heat of the moment, surely I’m not smiling from ear to ear scrubbing away at pots and pans. But I go to bed at night knowing how privileged I am to get to do what I do every day. At 27.

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HB

My eyes couldn’t have opened wider. I asked myself if I was hearing him correctly. What I knew I had right was the confidence in his proclamation. He knew exactly what he was saying in response to, “What’s your name?”

Self-identity goes just far enough in the mind of a two-and-a-half-year old. Lately, Holden has been on a tell-everybody-your-name kick. He’s so proud of his name, Holden Brooks– who he is. He also recognizes his name, points out the letters and yells “me!”

The hold-up here is that his speech isn’t all there just yet, as I’ve alluded to in past posts. See Crocs. We are working on it.

Mom says his language parallels the sounds of the minions from Despicable Me. I, however, argue it’s a mix of a Boston accent and a lisp. Given his pronunciation of Ernie, “UHH-NIE” or Tigers, “TI-GAATH!”

I will not post the numerous videos of this recent development. I’d imagine it would cross that fine line of child exploitation, never my intention. But what I will do is show him these videos years from now. Years and years and years from now, when he can understand what he was saying.

Replace the E with an H in his pronunciation of Ernie. And you get my son, “HUHH-NIE BROOKS,” or… Horney Brooks.

Sometimes the D finds it’s way in there somehow, but sometimes not. If you didn’t know his name was Holden, it is definitely Horney. If you did know his name was Holden, it sort of sounds like it, but not really.

So that’s why we’re not gonna be sharing his new trick with any strangers. However, we are enjoying his pride in proclaiming his name for now.

When Papa asks him his name, “Horney Brooks!”

When he goes to put his name badge in the cup at school to check in, “Horney Brooks!”

When he sees a picture of himself, “Horney Brooks!”

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