“Leggo my Ego!”

I had a surprise pity party thrown for me tonight! My old friends Sorrow and Suffering snuck in and surprised me with a bundle of ridiculous thoughts and a bottle of bitterness. They even invited Pride over, who of course, commanded all the attention and thought it was all about him.

But it was for ME. And I sulked around like I deserved something in this world, felt angry about circumstances I cannot change and let myself be miserable for awhile. I dwelled on all the past and current injustices in my life and fretted a bit over the uncertain future.

You know…if I just weren’t so darn witty, beautiful, talented and outstanding…then maybe I wouldn’t feel so let down when I don’t get everything handed to me just the way I think it should be. I mean, it’s real shame I am such an exceptional girl and yet so overlooked sometimes!

Vrrriipp! Wait a minute! Ok…so maybe I am the only self deprecating soul that would actually reveal the pathetic inner workings of such nonsense. But it happens, doesn’t it? To even the best of us. I’m talking about pity parties. These ridiculous little windows of our lives where we just let ourselves go to that stupid place.

These moments where pride whispers in our ear that we deserve something that we somehow believe we should have. When things are out of perspective, wounds are reopened and lonely creeps in to hold our hand. Problems are magnified to impassable mountains and you can’t see or think straight.

Being a single working mother of two girls is an incredibly hard thing. Having too many places to be and not enough time to accomplish it all wears me out. Trying to give my big girl the undivided attention she needs to help her with her homework, while making dinner and attending to my 2 year old who is very busy doing stuff that 2 years olds do…is enough to wear me thin, but doing it night after night after night…

I constantly feel like I am giving…giving…giving myself away and at the end of the day…it is still not enough. I am always busy, but yet still never accomplish half of the things I wish I could. I am worn out and exhausted most of the time and yet need to put on a happy face for the world so I don’t bum them out.

Sometimes I am still just a little girl needing a hug…needing someone to just recognize I have been through a lot…but never getting that. Sometimes I just want someone to acknowledge that I am freaking amazing and it is even more amazing that I am THIS amazing because of all the things I have experienced. I need a little sympathy. And they will tell me all kinds of wonderful things about me and how they love me just for who I am and…blah blah blah. Yes…a pity party built for not just one, but two or more. Can you imagine? Pretty Pathetic.

But what if I actually got my wish? Would I even believe a word they were saying? Do I really want to hear those things at all? What would I even do? Who do I think I am anyway?!

So…suddenly at my very own self pity party…some party crashers come in and MESS everything up! Clarity and Peace show up and put the smack down on the whole thing! They start by running off Pride – which isn’t really hard to do because he is rather cowardice beneath his charming smile.

Then they show Sorrow and Suffering to the door and give them a swift kick in the booty. They remove all the bottles of bitterness and replace it with the spirit of comfort and grace. They start cleaning stuff up, giving me a different perspective and helping me see that things are not really quite as impossible as I momentarily thought.

The truth is this. Yes. Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes it is very, very hard and unfair. Sometimes you have to give way more than you receive…in fact…you should on a regular basis. If you are the one receiving all the time, you are probably very lonely and miserable and should seriously start thinking about how to change that…because we all have the power to change.

Here is the bottom line. Crap happens. Some days are harder than others. Deal with it, and then move on. Just like my last post “Right around the corner” you have to keep moving. Just like Dory said in the movie Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.

If you need to cry or be angry then cry or be angry (preferably not on anyone else) – but don’t dwell on it. Give your emotions the moment they deserve, but don’t indulge them to the point of gluttony.

And if you are lonely it is probably because you are not allowing people to be close to you. Make some adjustments there. And also realize that people are busy! Everyone else is just as self absorbed as you are and people don’t mean to ignore you when you need them the most…they are just busy living their own lives too. It’s not personal. And they can’t read your mind. Get your pride out of the way and wave a white flag when you need help now and then.

The problem with people is that we are driven by our egos. Remember that Eggo waffle commercial back in the…what…I am dating myself here…70’s or 80’s? “Leggo of my Eggo!” Well, I have to remind myself sometimes to chill out and “let go of my ego”.

Ego sneaks up in the weirdest of places and disguises itself as all kinds of emotions. It fills our heads with ridiculous thoughts. Ego and Pride…a match made in misery.

Well. I gotta get to bed. I am exhausted after all this partying and crashing and what not. Glad you decided to drop by and read my mini train wreck and recovery though. Cheers to you and your pity parties and revelations of past, present and future. And remember to chill out, not take yourself so seriously and “Leggo your ego” whenever you start feeling a little self righteous.

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Right around the corner…

Life is a lot like cycling…you have to keep moving to stay balanced. ~ Albert Einstein

My little girls are the greatest. They are neat little people. Today we went sledding and I watched them shoot down the hill and crash land at the bottom into the snow embankment that is supposed to prevent them from catapulting right into the parking lot. Well…let’s just say that MOST of the time it worked.

After THAT craziness we drove around the metro park and saw that the hiking trails were open. I am a nature nut and I am doing my best to warp my children into tree hugging whackos too, minus the patchouli. So far it is working. Some of our best memories have been made hiking, camping, exploring, and playing in the mud and water.

But I was admittedly surprised that today, after sledding and climbing up a hill a billion times for a mere 3 seconds of bumpy airborne bliss, that they would even consider hiking. I was a bit leery…I didn’t know if the trail would be plowed or if it would be rough the whole way, but we were right there and I figured what the heck.

I was relieved to see that the rangers had at least drove over the path, so you could walk in the tire tracks fairly easily. So, in their 5 layers of clothing and snow pants that went “schwip schwip” with every step, my two lovies went hiking like troopers onto a great white path unknown.

We were all happy. I was thankful to be back in my favorite element, and they were thinking about how much untouched white snow they could consume all along the way. My oldest role plays that she is a snow dog and my little one walks so bravely ahead blazing the trail, stopping only to reload her mittens full of snow to munch along the way.

This is where I have learned to listen to the wise parents of the past and merely instruct her to not eat yellow snow. Honestly, I cringe at the thought of how many pollutants she is consuming with the whole acid rain and whatnot, but she is a kid. Kids love to eat snow. It comes down to picking the battle on this one…and yellow or dirty snow is where I draw the line (Thank you wise forefathers).

I had no idea how long they would last. They were both working on overtime. My big girl had a sleep(less) over the night before and it was right around little one’s nap time. I was thankful no complaining or major drama had ensued yet and had mentally prepared myself that it could happen at any given moment.

I didn’t want to overdo it, but I did want to at least get far enough from the parking lot area to feel like we were really in the woods. I love that feeling…and we achieved it! We actually got probably a quarter of a mile into the trail. How beautiful it was.

It had just snowed about 6 inches a few days before. The snow clung to every horizontal and diagonal surface, outlining every branch. The further we went along, the underbrush became thicker with smaller trees and shrubs with millions of tiny branches pointing every direction – a tangled mass of confusion. The snow outlining every one of the otherwise mess of ordinary branches transformed them into something surreal to behold.

This is my favorite contrast in life…beautiful chaos.

It was our own little Narnia. It was magical. The crazy thing was that it was like all this beauty was totally hidden until you rounded a corner – and suddenly this unbelievable landscape just appeared. To add to it, the sun shone through and made the ice and snow clinging on the branches sparkle like diamonds and gems. It was just so wonderful…and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we had nixed the idea from the get go or turned back any sooner.

I took a few pictures and knew that we had to turn back soon – it was that internal mommy sensory perception power. I felt fulfilled enough and knew that they wouldn’t last much longer. It was a good compromise point.

On the way back to the car it struck me, how plain and ordinary the trail became as we got closer to the parking lot. Even my eight year old noticed and asked why. I said that it was because there was less underbrush and smaller twigs for the snow to rest on. Near the parking lot the park service had cleared the underbrush and there were just larger vertical tree trunks.

Then I asked, “Wasn’t that cool? How the further along we went into the woods, the more beautiful it got? Now…how do you think that this lesson might apply to life?” She looked right at me and said with a matter of fact smile, “You have to keep going”.

She knew what I was getting at. This idea and theme is not new to her. It was just a new way of seeing the same concept through. Unfortunately we have had to talk about some of the harder things in life already…about how sometimes in life you just have to keep going. Love never gives up.

This is because just two years ago I was a devastated shell of a person that wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going. After discovering that the man I thought was the love of my life had been having an affair and that everything I thought I knew was just a lie…it unraveled me. I was pulled apart at the seams.

I spent the next six months to a year trying to retrace steps, re-live conversations, trying to put the puzzle together and figure out how I could have been so blind and naive. I tried to figure out how I could have done things better, blaming myself, pleading for second chances, broken hearted, and depressed.

While on the other hand I would have crazy swings of anger, lashing out and blaming him and her for being capable of such a devious scheme. So many sleepless nights spent obsessing over things I couldn’t change. I was an honest to goodness mess…and anyone could see it, including my girls.

As hard as I tried to put on my strong face for them, they could still see my pain. But at some point, I realized I had to stop. I had to let it go. I forced myself to grab hold of some shred of self esteem, and most importantly, I had to accept things just as they were.

I had to do for myself what I would hope my girls would do when loves break their hearts too. I realized I had to show them what it looks like to pick yourself up…and with that I had to start moving on…moving forward…I had to keep going.

I still had a life to live…it was just going to be a little different than I had planned.

My girls saved me. Unfortunately they had seen what devastation looked like. I needed for them to know what restoration looked like too. I needed them to see that even when people mess up and fail, that love doesn’t give up. At this time, I didn’t even know what love was. I just knew I wanted to know. Honestly…I am still learning.

I didn’t know what was around the corner. And for the first time in my life I realized…I don’t always HAVE to know what is around the corner. In fact…I don’t even WANT to know. For the first time I can remember, I am enjoying the present. Those ever fleeting little moments of the here and now that make up my very chaotic beautiful life – just like that tangled mass of branches.

The real surprise that I am finding is that the further I go along my new path…the more beautiful it becomes. And I can honestly say I have hit that “corner” or turning point where all of a sudden…the view is more beautiful than possibly ever. But it is merely a perspective – and can change at any given moment or angle. That is why it is so important to keep moving.

So…my very wise eight-year old and Einstein said it best. “You just have to keep going – gotta keep moving”. Isn’t that interesting…that Einstein and my eight year old had similar revelations?

Yep. She nailed it. When you are tired, and when it seems like life is gray and dull and you are headed nowhere…you still have to keep going. When it seems like your heart has been thrashed into a million pieces and you have nothing left inside…you have to keep going. When nothing makes sense and you have no idea why you are even still alive…you have to keep going.

Why? Because if you hesitate, or live life without taking any risks, or give up too easily when things get rough…you may miss out. Because you just never know what kind of beauty awaits…right around the corner.

From the Mouths of Babes

It’s really true – kids say the darnedest things…some really funny things. Mine are no different. Here are some of the funnier things that I can remember my oldest saying so far.

• One of the earliest “talking” memories I have is when she was just learning to talk. At the time her SP sound came out as F, her O sounded like a short U and her T sound came out as K. Her favorite cartoon for a small window of time was SPOT. Well…take the time to figure out what four letter word that turns out to be. The most horrifying time was when I had a sitter coming over and I used Spot to distract her while I was leaving. She quickly figured out my tactic and she started screaming at the top of her lungs…SPOT OFF, over and over. Only it didn’t sound like Spot. It was a Jerry Springer or Dr. Drew moment for sure.

• We were walking around at Krogers one day. She was about 5 at the time and wanted to carry the little hand basket around herself. It was pretty big and awkward for her, but she was determined. So I gave her a helpful tip to bend her elbow and make her arm like a “hook”. Near the end of our shopping experience after she had gotten the hang of it, she proudly declares in front of a busy line of shoppers, “Look mommy, I’m a hooker!”.

• In preschool one day the kids had bananas and some of the kids were pretending they were phones and had them up to their ears. The teacher said that my daughter was not participating and she asked her why and Autumn said, “No thank you…my mommy told me to never put fruit in my ear.” Now I cannot recall ever saying that to her, or ever having a reason to say it. Who knows what she was thinking, but it was silly I tell you.

• We were talking one day and for some reason I said to her, “Always follow your heart”. A few days later she got real serious all of a sudden and came close to whisper a secret in my ear and said, “Mommy, remember…always SWAllow your heart”. The ironic thing is I’m not sure whose advice is actually better.

• One night I was rocking her before bed time and the rocking chair is old and falling apart and it makes noise. She was probably 3ish at the time. She gave out a loud sigh of exasperation and said, “Ugh! I gotta get you a new chair”.

• She was grasping the concept that we have bones inside and it happen to be around Halloween time. So one night she was knocking on her chest bone and asked if there was a “Bone guy” inside of her. I said no, there was not a bone guy, but there are bones inside of her. She said, “I know that, but that bone guy is kind of scary”. And she made her hands into pretend spiders to accentuate the scariness.

• While she was in her Winn the Pooh stage whenever she saw a Robin outside, she say “there’s a Christopher Robin!!”

• “Christmas is right around the middle”

• “Deck the halls with Bob and Holly, Fa la la la la…”

• I poured her a glass of egg nog to taste and she said, “MMmm…I love hedgehog!”

• “I can hear my heart beeping!”

• I was taking a vitamin one day and I said “This is a mommy sized vitamin…a horse pill”. She looked thoughtfully at her own vitamin and said, “I have foal vitamins”.

• We were driving one evening and she noticed that that the light in the “M” at our local McDonalds had burned out. Later that night during her prayers she said, “Dear God, thank you for our wonderful day, for food, and please help the people to be able to fix that M sign. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

• I was reading her a bed time story and suddenly she says “Mommy, I see dead people”. No…I am not kidding, those were her exact words. I am trying not to react and luckily she pointed out quickly that she was referring to the skull and bones in the illustration of the Jungle Book that we were reading.

Even my little one is chiming in with some funny stuff now. The other day my big girl was trying to teach the little one some manners. She says to Evie…”Now, say the magic words”. Evie says, “Magic Woods”. Just as she was instructed to, but it ended up more like a Laurel and Hardy skit before it was all said and done.

She will say something like “I lub this book” and then I will say that I love it too. She then says I lub it three. Again…it is like a Laurel and Hardy skit, but yet, profound at the same time. She is intuitively picking up on the concept of counting, but it comes out kind of funny.

Oh…so much silliness. As my big girl grows, these funny mix ups and misunderstandings sadly start fading away. It was fun to go back and review some of these things. She is such a big girl now. I’m so glad I have journaled these moments, otherwise I would have forgotten them completely. There are so many other moments that I have failed to write down or remember.

Though my oldest still comes up with some funny stuff still, I look forward to my 2 year old providing us some comedy relief for the next few years.

The other thing that struck me from the journal was the profound statements too, but I’ll save that for a different blog. I want to keep it light tonight.

I’ll end with one of the phrases she learned to say with hand motions and all when she was about 4. “Peace out”

My Class 6 Rapids life

I love adventures. I love white water rafting, kayaking, skiing, hiking and biking and all kinds of things. But I don’t like it when my life is moving at some class 6 rapids pace where I feel like I am just doing my best to hang on and stay in or near the freaking raft.

It has been a whole week. This is the longest I have ever gone without posting a blog since I started this thing back in August. Sorry blog…haven’t meant to neglect you. Life has been a little nuts lately. I also believe that if you don’t have anything to say – don’t force it or make something up just for the sake of blogging “something”.

So I am going to post a blog talking about those moments in life when the noise and chaos in your head is so loud that you literally cannot think straight. Some would call it a writer’s, mental or artist block – or a blank out moment. But that is not what I am experiencing…what I have going on is something more like a cerebral clog.

There are literally TOO many thoughts, plans, hopes, wonders, ideas, issues and potential “could be’s” in my life right now. I have too many things I could blog about and honestly I can’t seem to flush out any one of those ideas enough to make a complete thought.

I feel like I am in a rushing river – a white water canyon – just rushing past ever curve and over every rock and eddy…simply reacting and taking a mental note to think about for later. Right now there is so much being thrown at me it is a bit overwhelming, but not defeating. I am keeping my head above the water and my feet out ahead of me…knowing (optimistically hoping) that this is not going to kill me and it won’t last forever.

The most frustrating part for me during times like these is that I can easily feel like I am in a daze – going through the motions – rushing from task to task, place to place, checking off my to do list, always looking and thinking ahead to see the next rapids to tackle around the next corner. If I’m not careful I can become so preoccupied that I actually disconnect from the people that are right in front of my face at any given moment.

Don’t you hate that mindless “Yes dear” response from a spouse or parent when you are telling them something. I know I have been guilty of doing that to my girls and friends this past week. As I mull over a billion options that I am facing at this particular moment and all the places I have to try to be…I am kind of not really “there” even though I may be physically sitting right across the table. That bugs me.

I am so distracted that I am almost numb. I am rattling off information, commands, and instructions at a break neck pace it seems. I know several times this week I hit the “send” button on a few e-mails that had potential life changing consequences with the mind frame – well…there it goes…ready or not. But at least it is off my “to do list”…now on to the next thing…

At these times I have to really focus on “being present” so I don’t miss out. I don’t want to miss those small moments. I am all about that – especially with my girls. They are growing up right on cliché standard time – quicker than I can comprehend. These little stages don’t last.

Today I got to take the girls to a swim party. I intentionally cached my cerebral clog to a different storage file space in my busy brain just so I could free up some space to “be there”. I am so glad I did. My little fearless one took me on a watery circuit of exploration, surprises and delight as she jabbered to me about all kinds of things. She would occasionally break out in spontaneous song with her ABC’s as loud as her little water logged lips could allow her.

The best part of all was when she motioned for me to come near and she just placed her little hand on my cheek and looked in my eyes and said, “I lub you so much”. She did this several times in those 2 hours. That is out of the norm for her. This was 2 hours well spent.

I kept tabs on my big girl, but she was off playing with her friends most of this time. But we got to have some great discussions and cuddle time afterwards. She is so interesting to talk to. She asks such great questions. I love it when I don’t have an answer. I love it when she asks such great creative questions that challenge what I even think or know or believe.

Today she asked, “I wonder if Jesus still has scars on his hands?” Hmm…that is a very interesting question. Whether you believe in Jesus or not – it is a great contemplative question…and I just don’t know the answer. In the bible when he rose from the tomb, he showed Thomas his scars…so he had them then. But what about NOW?

Oh yes indeed…too many things to wonder about.

The great thing in life is that I don’t have to have all the answers. In this cerebral clog of mine…I don’t have to know how it is all going to work out. I can only do one thing at a time and be one place at a time. This very busy season will come to an end and I will have time to regroup, and think…and put away laundry (hey – at least it’s clean!!).

If you are there – if you are in that crazy season of too much going on…I hope you too can have small moments of connecting. In your white water rafting adventure of life I hope you have conscience and intentional moments of presence and awareness that all these little crazy crashing moments make up the journey in the end. No matter how crazy…it is a beautiful ride.