What if I have to eat lunch alone?

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Day two.  The calm, quiet of a mostly empty (my teen son won’t get out of bed for a while still) house soothes my tired mama soul.  Two kids back, one to go. The week leading up to the new school year worked me over a bit.  I’m restoring energy to prepare for the next first day.

Why is it that no one tells you that once you’re a parent, your children’s anxieties flutter even more frantically in your own gut, even as you comfort and feign confidence that all will be well? What if I can’t make any friends?  What if I’m not smart enough for third grade math?  Will my teacher be nice?  What if I’m the slowest running the mile in my P.E. class?  What should I do if my old friends no longer speak to me?  What if I say something stupid in class?  And for the grand finale of worries from out of the blue, Mom, what if you die before I learn how to drive?

It will all work out.  You will have friends.  You might be the slowest, but that would be okay.  You jam on the guitar. Remember?  If your old friends vanish, new ones will fill their places.  You are strong, and always becoming stronger.  You are smart.  You are beautiful, inside and out.  You will succeed. You are loved and supported.  I will eat my greens and exercise regularly.  And, I will drive carefully.

We shape teen brows.  We buy fun shoes.  We draw, we walk and talk, and we make up outrageous responses to hypothetical jerky remarks and questions. We cry. We sing silly songs, and blurt out private part names while in the car. Hilarity ensues. We hope and we worry.  We talk about practicing yoga together and meditating.

And I haven’t even started with my rising high school junior, switching schools for the first time since kindergarten.

How I wish I could install like software the wisdom I have gathered after surviving the downfall of friendships, falling down a flight of stairs as the cool kids sat on the sides laughing, the heartbreaks, being shoved into the lily pond, the mistakes.  It all passes.  It hurts for a bit, and fades away, leaving us more resilient, better able to discern who and what to make important in our lives.  To focus on each beautiful moment and let the ugly ones teach us and then, wash away.

We parents must be warriors of love.  Ready to face the ugliest, scariest, saddest scenes, and administer warm, soft, gushy love that will fill in the cracks left by worry, fear, and hurt.  We must remember to refill our own supply by loving ourselves just as ferociously.  Making space for quiet connection, dancing away the anxieties, running off the frustration, walking in nature, and dosing ourselves with whatever it is that provides the most joy.

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Perhaps, watching us plug into our own ever-flowing source of wellness will inspire our littles to do the same.  Eating lunch alone is actually not so bad.

A Puppy, Some Firefighters, and my Bolster

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It’s been a day. Made challenging by a self-imposed situation. As if in a reckless, drunken college student decision-making moment, I recently needed to adopt a puppy. Really. Needed. A rescue puppy. He would so nicely accompany my two teens, first-grader, 10 year old yellow lab, baby business, and husband. Plus, look at him.

Huxley on the way home

Huxley on the way home

That was Saturday. Yes, I know puppies are a handful. Yes, I know mothering infants on their schedules was not so good for my bubbly personality. But, I made it though those years, and it was fine. Uh huh. After 3 nights of waking up every 3 hours, walking dogs downstairs to the yard for a potty party and trying to fall back to sleep within, say, 30 minutes of our return, I could easily be cast as an extra in The Walking Dead. Seriously. It’s truly unfortunate I have to leave my house in this condition. Not pretty. My mommy memory is refreshed.

Last night, I backed my tank of a car into my half-closed garage door until it bowed out nicely toward the street. A ladder truck with three strapping fire fighters came to my aid, kindly beating upon the door until it was flat enough to close. I’ve upped my status as the amusing neighbor on my very quiet street where a bike whizzes by and everyone takes note.

Thankfully, my car was rescued from the garage so that it could be at the shop for servicing this morning. I had successfully disregarded the groaning it made during acceleration over the past week until the CHECK ENGINE light flashed yesterday. As I explained the symptoms to the mechanic this morning, he started my car and the roar of the semi engine seemed not to faze him one little bit. Silly woman.

Please don’t think I’ve neglected my mom duties. I’ve studied genetics with my teen daughter, helped my youngest distinguish e_e words from u_e words, hired a car to drive my son to hockey practice while my car awaited release from my battered garage, and provided nourishment, fashion advice, alarm clocking, cattle prodding, and cheerleading. And laundered a room full of clothes. In an hour, I’m going to give a PowerPoint presentation to a 5th grade class about cyber safety. I hear what you’re thinking. So what’s new? Welcome to motherhood, lady. We all have days like this, more often than we’d care to consider.

Here’s what’s new. I have committed to recognizing that the sucky, soul and energy-vacuum type of days happen. What needs to happen alongside them is some self care, because there is a risk that tomorrow will be a re-run of today. There can be no delay in the refueling. This may necessitate Max and Ruby babysitting my youngest, but at least I know my teens will be hidden away quietly in their cave/rooms.

Before dinner tonight, I will lock myself in my room for at least 30 minutes. I will light my candles, sit on my yoga bolster, close my eyes, and if it feels right, have soft music playing. I will make myself a green smoothie, packed with nourishing vegetables, fruit, cacao, ginger, and super foods. I will call out several facets of my life and appreciate each one. Deeply. In all, this will take about 45 minutes. And it will make all the difference between discreetly muttered f-bombs behind my kids’ backs and truly participating in this amazing life I have, crazy days and all.