Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School: Learning How To Be Alone

The feeling is odd. Being alone. I'm learning how to be alone again. I've spent the last nine years with a little one by my side for the majority of my days and now I find myself with longer stretches of alone time. I've already caught myself on the escape with hikes, coffee, and lunch out with friends.

But today I've forced myself to stay home, well after a hike. 

The dishwasher is running and I've created a to do list. I feel anxious to find the balance of this new time to myself without running away from what I have. With nothing but good intentions, I am focusing on being present. I didn't realize this wouldn't come so naturally to me. Time to do the work, embrace this next phase, and understand the emptiness I feel will allow me to be more present when my side kicks are back home.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Mother Of The Year Trophy In NEON PINK!

The tears were rolling down her face in the moment she had gotten hurt, which was definitely out of character for my tough girl. A ball bent her pinky back in a game of dodgeball. I got some ice for her and we set off for lunch. There wasn't much swelling when we got home and I didn't even offer her an ibuprofen. I went through a laundry list of questions I thought would help me indicate if there was really something wrong with her finger, which I anticipated was sprained. The pain wasn't bad, she could bend it, but 6 hours later it did look swollen. When she flipped her palm up, I could see bruising on her finger. I decided to call the nurse line and she felt like Sj should be checked out within 24 hours.

I immediately gave her ibuprofen and sent Josh off with Sj to get an Xray at Urgent Care, rather than wait for our Pediatrician in the morning. The text I received shortly there after, fractured pinky. My girl came home cheery as usual with a silver splint on her finger and we made a follow up appointment with an Orthopedic Doctor. That's when the cast appeared.

The cast is a neon pink reminder to me, to not drag my feet. A BRIGHT REMINDER, that my girl has a high threshold for pain, which isn't necessarily a good thing when coupled with me being all casual with my armchair Dr diagnosis. Most importantly the cast is to protect her, so her finger can heal quickly especially with school starting, I'm not as worried about her bumping it into everything. The cast has proved cumbersome only when bathing, I've been wrapping it in a towel with two plastic bags on it. On the up side, she was the cute new girl in fourth grade with a cool pink cast. We'll never forget the start of school this year, especially me with my girl carrying around the neon pink mother of the year trophy. Please tell me people don't save stinky neon casts as mementos...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is Switching Schools A Good Thing? A Fourth Grade Story.

Today was a first, something happened I never would've anticipated just a few short years ago. My daughter started at a new school, leaving behind a school we had become very comfortable with the last three years. Sj bounced around to different preschools every year through Kindergarten and when we received a first grade spot in our former school, I always imagined she would stay there through fifth grade. That was it for me, finally we had our spot, and we were happy there!

Now I have to confess, switching schools makes me uncomfortable, it makes me worrisome. I'm a product of never having to switch schools, my parents still live in the house I grew up in. Maybe I credit my success in life to consistency. I truly don't think there's a right way, but one could easily misconstrue being consistent with also being stagnant, which I am really not a fan of. Anyway, I threw all my hesitations into the wind and decided to place the girls into a new school this year. While the decision was fairly easy, ultimately Josh and I took a very thorough look into all the pros and cons of switching or staying put. All four of us sat around the dinner table and had a very open and candid conversation about making a school change, and like that we had consensus, four thumbs up for the school switch!

As we've come to learn, talking about something like switching schools is much easier than actually switching schools. Leaving behind a community of great friends, a building that we knew like the back of our hand, a playground where the girls have spent countless hours, faces of the teachers we once hoped we'd be fortunate enough to educate our girls. All a distant memory. Fast forward to today, the first day of fourth grade for Sj at her new school. She couldn't sleep last night, the anticipation was rising, she was full of energy, and so excited for the big day! As we waited to get into the building we watched kids hug and catch up with friends they hadn't seen all summer. I spent time focusing on Sj, telling her how wonderfully she was going to do, knowing she was feeling the divide and lack of connection. During the course of our wait her enthusiasm was shrinking, at some point she was letting negative thoughts in, and it almost looked as if she was on the verge of tears.

When I walked out of her classroom, the look of devastation on her face was all I could focus on. Regret began to creep in. By the time I hit the front door, I felt as if I had ruined my daughter's life. I questioned why I thought it would be good for her. The school day dragged beyond belief. When we finally reunited that afternoon, I patiently waited to see her face in the crowd coming down the hall. Sj's face reads to me beyond what any of her words will tell. A simple look on her face would be the indicator if the decision was a good one or not.

Sj was all smiles, rambling at 1,000 words per minute about her fabulous day. I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her. All is good in the world, all is good. Finally at the end of my day, I was able to exhale the biggest and happiest sigh of relief.

The world has once again confirmed, change is good.

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More shall come about our new school and ultimately why we decided to move on, stay tuned! It's a good story! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

it's been FIVE YEARS and it's better with you here

Over the course of the past five years at Eat Play Love, thousands of words have told my stories, some significant to the bigger context of my life and some rather simple and lighthearted. Sometimes the words just spilled out serendipitously onto the page providing space from my thoughts and other times my intentions were wrought with countless edits. While idyllic notions and noble attempts have waxed and waned over the years, Eat Play Love has remained my constant. My tiny corner of the web, the place where I've allowed myself the approval to be simply who I am. There's never been an act or a show, nor fabrication to create something more than which rings true.

Five years of authenticity and I know myself better. You know me better. Thanks for tagging along on this journey through life, it's better with you here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Train Ride Along The Hudson River

Steps after entering the train car, I quickly observed a seat that would allow me the most pleasurable ride to my final stop, Penn Station. Heading south along the Hudson River, I knew I had to sit along the right side of the train, intentionally placed in a row between a few business men defaulting to more time for work. I wasn't interested in conversation or even overhearing small talk, I just wanted to take the time to enjoy some peace and quiet I was in search of. I didn't even have my my music playing or my book open on my iPad, when the train started to rhythmically clank and then gently hum over the tracks.

My eyes gazed out over the water, passing through wooded areas, small towns, the occasional stone castle perched upon a hillside starkly contrasting abandoned buildings full of teenage boy's graffiti. I seized the moment many times to take photos to remind me of the journey, little mementos of a feeling that is hard to achieve in the desert of Colorado. The contrast of the Hudson River Valley is apparent, green and lush, the edges of the river bank gently flirting with the appearance of water swelling up too high on the banks. A few times my mind wandered into bizarre thoughts about how I would escape the train if it simply left the tracks and hit the water. I wonder why I need to go to such places when I am just sitting back and relaxing. Peace of mind is not as easy to find, even in the most perfect situation.

Train conductor calls over the speaker, "Next stop Yahn-kas." (that's heavy accent speak for Yonkers)


The view of the river turned into to commuter rail stations, then into buildings, and rows upon rows of railroad tracks which lead my eyes to walls of bricks and endless concrete. In all the times I've ridden this train, I've never missed a surprising soccer court nestled within the concrete jungle, shirtless men happily grabbing a pickup game before dinner time. Within moments of passing them, I knew shortly I'd be arriving in Manhattan.  

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Life Still Has Firsts

Remarkably for one of the first times in my life, I walked away. I can't quite grasp if I was so incredibly exposed, fragile, and vulnerable so I put up walls greater than the Chinese or that I just couldn't handle the emotional state I was experiencing. I've always believed that engaging in conversation that typically escalates to something more than conversation is the best way to go. Get it out, let the words that need to be spoken go, and be done with it. I have a hard time holding things in. I don't stew well. I don't always run with initial emotions, but within a day or two, I typically need resolve.

But not this time, this time I walked. It's good to know I can be grounded in moments that encapsulate for the first time in my life. It seems like I've been craving those more and more these days.