Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The monkey on my back...

As far back as I can recall, I remember the intensity of my emotions. The was a time when my emotions would be so overwhelming that I would ask God to take it away. Over the years, the way it presents itself has been different, but it always has to be cared for... its the monkey on my back.

I am not a sad person, just someone with very deep feelings. Depression is physiological... I am hard wired to perceive my world differently. There was a time when a very damaged person had the choice between bearing his own burden and sharing it with me. He chose to pass along his pain to another generation and triggered my first battle. Thankfully, I had parents who recognized that the monkey had grown and could see me struggling with life. Over the years, I have learned to harness my unique perception. Motherhood has made me rethink every component of life I once held to be true. Whether it is due to the experience of motherhood, the hormonal changes or complete overhaul to my value structure, life is good not a challenge. My monkey may be smaller, but its still there. Pulling my hair, begging for attention that I will not entertain. She affects my ability to deal with stress, so, I try to slow down and make sure I find the beauty in every minute.

This blog was a way for me to do just that... express my thoughts and and perhaps let my words create something bigger, better perhaps like a raindrop that becomes a rainbow. The challenges of pregnancy, a tough semester at work and my challenges coping with stress made me have to slow down. I have 2 of the most amazing little women who look to me for how to view this world. I need to show them the beauty of this world not my monkey, so, I have to make sure I see it. I had to drop a ball or two so, I didn't have to struggle with the most precious ones that remained. I worked so hard to build this space so, its hard to watch the tumbleweeds roll... hell, even some of my friendships have faded away with misguided perceptions.

I love who I am and do not look to others for validation. I have learned to embrace my capacity to feel and accept that I will always have to work on maintaining balance. It is not about strength. I have held my monkey high and through all types of terrain even in the darkest of moments, I will strive for light. I have come to decide that pretending the monkey doesn't exist is like being ashamed of a part of myself & I am not. I'd like you to meet my monkey... I think I'll name her, Rose. :-)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The end of a trimester...the greener dawn

I am officially out of the first trimester today! Hooray! I am finally starting to feel, once again, like my non-reproducing self. The pregnancy still seems so surreal. Pregnant for months, struggling with symptoms that were my only proof I was pregnant. Knowing that soon I will feel the baby move and be able to cherish our time together. Then, giggle because soon after the discomfort of the next trimester will soon arrive.

The heightened emotions made me think a lot about finances and life. At the same time, we discover that my husband has high blood pressure. In an effort to control that, he has to eat more fruits and vegetable.My husband is quite particular about what he eats. He'll tell you he just expects it to be fresh, but the supermarket is never fresh enough. We found this site online Suburban Organics that delivers farm fresh organic produce to your door for a reasonable price. I know I sound like an advertisement, but it just fit our needs. It really does make me feel good. If my family is eating more fruits and vegetables, its nice to not have to worry about the pesticides and how it can affect us. Strangely enough, or food bill went down. Not dramatically, but  without the chips and prepared foods, the food bill lowered even with the expense of organic fruits and veggies.


Do you see the chain reaction? My husband needs to improve his health (Hell, we all do!), so, we start eating organic fruits and veggies. This got me thinking of what other changes I would like to make that I haven't done before... I started cutting up old towels for rags and using my dish towels more. I have a dishwasher, so, I should use the dishes more frequently. Cutting down on paper plates and paper towels has to lower our spending. Then, it dawned on me. Cloth diapers. Can it really be that hard? I know myself and this is up my alley. I have always wanted to use them, but I didn't know where to begin and it seemed to fit to a personality that was not me. Today was my first day. I went well. It was almost exciting... if the intrigue doesn't wear off,  baby#3 will only know cloth.

Somehow when I listen to a description of myself, I did not think THAT woman would ever be me. Yet, here I am: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, recycling, organic-eating, cloth diapering, pregnant mother of 2 going on 3. Not quite the dedicated environmental person I envisioned with Birkenstocks and hemp skirt with a carbon footprint of zero, but a Mom just trying to do what she thinks is best for her family and hoping in the end, it was worth it. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Irony of Pregnancy

Is it just me or is there  a certain irony to being pregnant? Pregnancy is this beautiful and precious thing that is to be cherished and loved. I am bringing a child into this world. Depending on what you believe, this child may seen as the ultimate in divine gifts. I am special for being able to do this three times and my biggest worry is for the pregnancy to not be perfect. There are so many who are unable to feel the amazement of her own biological child grow in their womb. Feeling and experiencing pregnancy makes you privileged. Pregnancy is awe inspiring and magical.

Is it just me or does it feel quite the opposite sometimes? I was just about to write "women," but the truth is some women have great pregnancies. Some are almost unaffected by the overall process. This woman is thoroughly affected. I do not do well overtired and I'm tired all the time. I have spent weeks on end feeling nauseated and struggling to just get through a day, better yet, just get through a meal. (This has gotten much better) My hormones are in full gear. I can almost feel them wash over me at times. If I wasn't pregnant, I would be begging for Prozac, but since I am, I remind myself that its the hormones that have grasped my sense of reality. My 4 year old has just entered the stage of crying over everything just to see if she can get her way. It has never worked before so, it actually feels like she is testing my boundaries to see how hard she can push and if she can reach a new level, perhaps the level where I will cave. My 2 year old has begun the, "I love you Mama" stage where she cannot spend a minute without me and it breaks my heart that I won't be able to dote on her the same way in 6mths. The class I teach had doubled in size from last semester and the level of reading/grading has done the same just as my attention span has had decreased and my ability to concentrate.

I want this baby more than anything and I am so blessed to have this opportunity, but sometimes I think why is something so wonderful sometimes be so horrible? Then, I knock on wood and feel guilty for the thought. Next, I pray for the second trimester when the pregnancy is a little less ironic.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Channeling Supermom... please come-in Supermom... Supermom where are you?

Ok, so, seriously, how do other moms get it done and appear so effortless? I have been struggling through my days with constant indigestion and nausea. I am tired and trying to balance part-time work with full-time mothering. My part-time work requires so much mental energy. Most work does. We all know that deep thought while taking care of kids is almost impossible. Let alone truly provide for the amount of time actually necessary to complete the tasks. Yes, I am pregnant, but I am not the first woman to be pregnant while raising two kids and balancing work and well, more work. Just getting over a stomach virus looking at how far behind I am... wondering... almost desperately...

I can't be the only one that feels like I'm always two steps behind. I once compared being the mother of two to running up two separate moving stair cases at the same time and feeling the momentum. Its just fast enough that I am only on the tips of my toes, deciding which stairs I can miss without falling on my face. Other moms have clean homes, kempt children, plan meals in advance, know how to coupon and budget, all the while working, working out and may even write in a Blog on a regular basis. I know Supermom does not exist, but it seems like she's everywhere I'm not. I am an overweight, not very eco-friendly (but would like to be), over-extended momma who is trying to figure out how to get out of my habit of shopping at box stores (double carts fit 2 kids) out of convenience and begin my learning to strategize our food since the new family member will tighten an already tight budget. I know I can do it. I have faith I can, but am I scared that I may not be able to keep it afloat? I used to cringe when I heard "its the economy," yet, since my husband works in the service industry and every price has gone up while money has gone down, it IS the damn economy. I soon get scared since we are adding to out family. Yes, I said it. Fear pulses through my body every so often on a stray thought not just about the health of my child in my body, but of my ability to provide, mentally, physically and monetarily for my child. It is soon swatted away by the pure confidence that my family is not yet complete and life is better when shared and lived thoroughly. We can get through anything as a team.

So if there is a way to channel a spirit or conjure her energy, I need to be Supermom or at least be her student if only for a little while. I want to excel in everything I do or at least learn how to appear like I am.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stream of consciousness...

It only stands to reason that each experience adds to the richness of your world view. So as we get older, we have a more comprehensive understanding of life and everything in it. Since it is limited by our experiences, the path you walk, the things you interact with all shape your truth. Even your physical capability to engage affects your reality. Its as simple as a color blind person not being able to see the color difference between a leaf on a tree and a bright red shirt, but also that fact that you cannot absob everything in a room or in an moment at one time. You almost triage the room. You determine what is important in understanding the room. Cause that's what its all about, right? Understanding. So you can feel comfortable and safe and have some sort of ability to predict and quite possibly control you environment, your next moment, the future. Its probably, in part, because we are animals who have an instinctual drive to survive. It is also in part because the only true control we have is over ourselves and that is pretty scary. Well, we control our behavior, but not our health or death and that is even scarier if you thought about it we rarely do... it just drives our understanding. Through understanding we make connections with others and if you suspend your own reality for just a moment, you can see throught the eyes of another. Not competely, but we could empathize and take on the emotions of another with our own personal twist. That's why we're so strategic with what we encounter because they forever become apart of us. Not just a shared path but part of the essence of us. Cause that's what we are. We are the unique combination of energies from everything we have ever encountered that is us. That's the energy that transcends death. The image we leave with those who took with them part of us.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The ever-changing journey....

Finally, after 2 years, I have adjusted to being a mostly stay at home mom of two girls. It was quite a change for me to transition from one child to two. When it was just my oldest and I, there were moments of peace and privacy. Not as much as before kids, but all the same I had moments. However, having an infant and a two year old, those moments disappeared. They never seemed to sleep at the same time, complicated by post-partum hormones and a lack of sleep. I knew it would be a challenge, but the knowledge did not ease the transition. Going back to work for the first time presented new hurdles that I overcame and now, are almost routine. I have finally found the balance and it seems so far away how overwhelmed I once was. Seems like the right time to change things up, doesn't it? That might explain the positive pregnancy test... here we go again!

So, I begin my metamorphosis into "Mommy of 3." I am consumed with excitement, fear and wonder. I am ever so grateful for this opportunity, yet scared of what the future holds. The one good thing is I know I will do amazing. It will be challenging and the transition will be hard, but I can do this. I can't wait to meet her/him. I am going to cherish every moment on this journey even the hard ones because one day I will miss these moments. As I continue on this journey, it evolves and so do I. Here's to a healthy pregnancy, to meeting the final piece of my heart and to the woman I will become.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mommiversary

My First Born, now Four Yrs Old
Recently, I celebrated my 4th mommiversary. Every woman hears how fast children grow before becoming a mother, yet she is surprised by just how fast time really does fly. No matter how many years have passed, every mother I encounter says it was just yesterday when each of her children entered this world. I still feel like such a novice in the role of mother, but when I reflect on my journey, I realize that I have changed so much. My mind cannot even imagine the woman I will become as I continue to evolve as Mother.

The moment I saw two lines appear on the pregnancy stick, I was in sheer euphoria with the dreams of the life that was to come. Pregnancy is so surreal. More than likely, you have done "the act" a million times of no consequence yet, this once, a miracle occurs. Right after euphoria, follows the very different feeling of fear. Will the pregnancy make it? Will the child be healthy? Will I be a good mother? The existence of contradictory emotions in the same moment is your first introduction into the complexities of being Mother.

There was a time when I thought I was a horrible mother, not because I truly was, but because thoeretically, I knew what a mother was "supposed" to be and I failed to meet my expectation. That's the fun of "supposed to's" you can imagine just about anything even if it is impossible to actually exist. Each day that passed and every mother I met, reinforced that I was the perfect mother for my daughter. Nobody else cared as deeply or knew her as well as I. I learned that every mother has insecurities in her ability since our love is so deep and we are scared to ruin this precious life we have created. I used to look towards others for validation that I was doing ok, but soon I realized there are a million ways to mother and I should look towards my daughter's happiness as an indicator.

These past four years has taught me that I am stronger than I ever perceived myself to be, a better mother than I gave myself credit for and that motherhood is a blessing. Not only do I have two amazing daughters who fill my life with pride and joy, but also this path has taught me more about myself than any previous journey. I have emerged a more beautiful person than I could have imagined and cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings! So, today, I celebrate my mommiversary.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vacation?

Disney World is a magical place where dreams come true and pockets empty. LOL. Just as my parents did, my husband and I honeymooned in Magic Kingdom. Since the number seven is of great significance to my husband and I, we wanted to return for our seventh anniversary with our girls. You only live once, right?

I am very blessed with generally well behaved children. My youngest's favorite word is "no" and she even yells it at strangers, but she and her sister are easy to manage. I didn't realize the perfect storm that was about to happen. The stimulations of new environment, coupled with the excitement of their fantasies manifesting in front of their very eyes, lack of sleep and routine, all melded together to create two of the most amazingly challenging children I have ever dealt with in my life. I swear there were moments that my daughters grew horns and tails and cackled at their mother's inability to understand. Thankfully, there was always an adult beverage to help me keep things in perspective. Tantrums, screaming, running, oh my!

Although there were moments of sheer frustration, there were many more moments that brought tears to my eyes. When each of my daughters met their favorite princess or the moment I learned my youngest prefers Donald Duck to any other character or when Aladdin gave my girls a flower, I could feel the happiness well in my eyes. I would not have wanted to be anywhere else, but in that exact moment sharing that experience with them. Having my husband by my side for an entire week as a united team returned the magic to full force.

It is a week since I came back from vacation and I am still exhausted. I thought vacation meant relaxation. What happened?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Story

My aunt lived up the block, yet I never saw him. During high school, I had friends that lived on the same block as his, but we frequented the same location at different times. While he went to school, I worked nearby and watched with my friend the good looking men that came and went from his building. He could have been one of them, but he was just part of the scenery at that time. Insignificant... at least, not yet significant.

Our lives seem entwined since the moment we were conceived. We had the same due date. I showed up a little early. He arrived just 20 days later. Our paths seem parallel; similar experiences shaping similar people creating similar understandings about the world around us. Far from the same, we take different roads to get to the same place, but we seem to want to be in the same place. We are both left-handed and we can't purse our lips to whistle, only a smile will do. Just mere coincidence, yet, uniquely shared.

"A diamond in the rough," was what he called me when our paths finally crossed. I had to laugh... silly line, but he was not chasing me. He just took notice and went along his way. Did he know I wished to meet a guy like him one day in the future so, I could spend the rest of my life with him? I knew that it was you that I wanted, but I had no idea it was YOU. The gravitational spin just kept throwing us back together until shortly when it never let us part. We had both come out of long relationships with those who were not for us. He told me he just wanted to be friends... I agreed, but we have not spent a night apart since that moment.

My grandmother, before she passed, had told me that I would know "the one" when I met him. Little did she know what a skeptic I was. In hindsight, I know she brought us together. We met in Palisades Park, the town with the same name as  the amusement park where my grandmother first met my grandfather at all those years ago. Our first apartment was a short block from the town she lived in when she met her love. The day we were approved for a home loan, my uncle/her son changed the locks on a house for sale for the same amount (no houses were going that low at that time). Our future home. Shortly after, we found out that my grandmother's life started in the same town and she had gone to school at the school where her great-grandchildren will go. Actually, no one knew until her sister heard where I lived and shared their story.

Stories of soul mates and love at first sight always seemed ridiculous to me, but yet, I have now seen the wellspring of these fanciful tales. Who knows if its happily ever after or just happily right now. What does it matter? With him, I want today to last forever.

Happy Birthday my love. Thank you for being exactly you. You make this journey more than I ever thought could be. You took my tear drop and showed me the rainbow inside, you are my soul's prism.