it is hot here now. the spring flowers have turned into the lushness of summer-green. my baby is getting fat and gorgeous and my three year old is turning into a lady. i find myself down sometimes. i manage it with positive thinking and hope.
we got a record player and we are spinning vinyl non stop- folk songs from hawaii and ballads from joan baez and love songs from joni mitchell and gospel songs from elvis and classical music from mozart and show tunes from the 40's and grateful dead and spanish boleros and sexy blues and melancholy jazz.
have you ever heard rubber soul on vinyl? i highly suggest it.
music changes everything.
tonight i plead with myself for patience and gentleness, postpartum hormones kick in so quickly and swiftly sometimes that i dont know how to manage.
so i just breathe and pray it passes without moments passing me by.
its all we have, these thousands of moments that make up our lives. who knows when the reality of our lives as we know it changes irrevocably?
i try to remind myself to fall lushly in love with every exact detail of this experience- because just as soon as that is said and done, something else will come to take its place. when you are experiencing, you are alive.
i snuck out of bed with the baby to guzzle coffee and watch sunday morning. i nursed her and checked my email with one hand. the sun is shining and the sky is blue and the air is still. the little finches that live and play in the abandoned tree trunk out side of our balcony are making cute little chirping noises. the baby is sleeping in the swing now and i have a few minutes.
being a mom is an often difficult juggling act. i am constantly trying to find the balance of my own creative desires and the needs of my family. both must be in order, or both suffer. i have canvasses screaming to be painted, words stomping their feet to be written- and yet food must be cooked and errands must be run and laundry must be folded and the carpets must be vacuumed because cleanliness is important too and the baby must be nursed and i must stop to answer the questions of my three year old and my life just marches along, like it or not, painting or writing or not.
so how to find the balance? not sure yet- i am trying to just write when i can. sometimes it is literally a sentence or two.
i KNOW there are other moms out there, who are artists and strong women- how do YOU do it?
i think this blog will be a lot more interesting when i can add some photos...still figuring out how to do that.
its funny because for years people have told me to write a blog- and now that i am writing one, i believe it is just for me. as long as i can say i am writing then that is good. thats a start.
my hair is threaded through with gray, but i was blonde most of my life and have also been a redhead and a brunette. my eyes have seen wondrous things, also sorrow filled things and bad things. and lots of beauty. my lips have parted in laughter and turned down in sadness and opened for food and kissed my husband and little girls sweetly. they sing on occasion too. my arms hold babies and laundry baskets, bags of groceries and cut flowers wrapped in brown paper. my hands paint on canvasses and hold books to read in the bathtub and put earth into pots that grow herbs and flowers. they apply lipstick and button sweaters and chop potatoes. my hips allow me to squat in yoga and secure my legs which have carried me, in a long, wide stance, they are a resting place to put my hand when i am making a point. they are reminiscent of my italiangrandmother and also of being a mother-carrying two children between my hips makes them round and powerful. my legs have danced and danced and walked from town to city to beach and back again. my feet have been called beautiful and my toenails are almost always lacquered red. i have a silver toe ring on the second toe of each foot. my feet support the work my body does with very little complaint. i am learning to love my body . a friend told me yesterday, you look taller and you are glowing. and i felt that way too.
i am a HUGE worrier. i worry about everything. sometimes i feel like i cant turn my mind off.
i worry about e.coli, ebola, west nile, swine flu, nuclear war, poverty, hungry children, pesticides, toxins in plastic, paint, carpet and the air we breathe, white flour, sugar, fat, mean people, cancer, aluminum in my deodorant and in my pots and pans, my children getting hurt or worse, lead in my pipes and drinking water, not being a good mom, and so much more. i think i spend a good deal of my day stressing and worrying subconsciously and consciously.
having children is such an immense job, that i think i became even more of a worrier after i became a mother.
today i am saying no to worry and just being present in my own life. i am sipping a cup of strong italian coffee and there was a spring storm that passed through that made the leaves on the trees spin and twirl. the air is cleansing and pure and the flowers on our balcony the size of a matchbook makes it bright and pretty.
i stretched on my living room floor this morning and did some situps. they dont take nearly as long nor are they nearly as hard as i thought.
today, i let go completely of my worry-gremlins and breathe a little deeper. i feel grateful for my life and family. life is so short, a blink of an eye, really....worrying just makes me worry!
deeply inhaling the scent of my three month old baby, smooching her big cheeks and listening to her gurgle and coo. answering my three year old's questions like, "who dis god be? where he is?" and her shaking my hand and exclaiming "nice to meet ya, son!" or when she says, to her baby sister, "your sooo cute, little fella!" the soft spring rain outside my window. not knowing how all the details will work, but seeing them work out anyhow. the extremely rude man at the dmv the first time i went, and then making him laugh the second time i went, and then chatting amiably the third time i went. i made him laugh despite himself. those vegan chocolate chip cookies at trader joes. noticing the difference in my body, energy, mood and flexibility since i started working out. our new couches! (our old couch hurt- it was like kleenex wrapped around metal) the petunias, geraniums, lavender, basil, thyme, and the hummingbird feeder that we put on our teeny tiny porch. its small, but it can be beautiful. my clean and peaceful home.
i am so hard on myself. i realize that it is good to let go of my addiction to my own long lost sadness, and rejoice in the good things. my children are beautiful and healthy, i have food in my fridge, there are hot pink tulips in the hand painted mexican vase on my kitchen table and my life, tonight, is sweet and it is good. what are your good things?
doing one load of laundry is a three day process-loading it in the washer, transfering it to the dryer, and then folding and putting it away. because every time you try to get to the next step, something else that is more important needs to get done first. and on. and on.
that when one (or more if your lucky) rooms of your house is spotless there are other rooms that are sure to be in complete chaos.
that the person you are having a conversation with on the phone must also listen to you eat, discpiline your child, and pay bills at the same time.
whenever you try to sit down and write, paint, cook, clean, go to the bathroom or take a shower, your baby will wake up from her nap. ALWAYS.
you start to pick restaurants that are "child friendly" not for other people, but because you realize its easier FOR YOU.
you look down at your shirt/dress/jacket and realize no, those are not polka dots, they are a combination of boogers, snot, and spit up. a glass of wine is attitude altering.
that 7 minutes in the bathtub is bliss.
you tell the adults around you that you have to go "potty".
the sesame street/barney/calliou/big big world/dora theme songs are constantly running through your brain.
playdoh is your new therapy.
you start saying things like "im going to count to three!" and not know what you are going to do when you get to 3.
when you call your spouse your childs name.
when being exhausted from only getting 4 hours of sleep a night (and not in a row, either) becomes normal. you function. somehow. (coffee thats how!)
you become wiser, kinder, stronger, gentler, fiercer, and more yourself then you ever thought possible. that no matter how difficult it is being responsible for someone elses life, feeling those sticky-sweet arms around you neck and hearing "hey mommy i wub you because you are my best fwiend!" makes it all completely worth it.
its nice being the center of someones universe. it gives meaning and purpose and importance.
i cut this quote from a magazine, (i cant remember which magazine) years ago.
it is what i often forget but need to remember.
there is plenty of sadness
there is plenty of disappointment
celebrate celebrate celebrate
springtime in the pacific northwest is amazing to me, being a southern california girl (born and raised).
have to admit, im kind of over the rain, but the green lush flower landscape gorgeousness makes it ok.
i want to paint again and write again and practice yoga again.
i want to play the guitar again (if you know the basic chords you know everything you need to know)
i want to laugh more and sleep more.
i want to eat less sugar and more kale. (i wish i ate kale every day. whats with kale? it seems so intimidating, even when i cook it in butter and olive oil and cumin- is that because i am intimidated, in general, of all things good for me? hmm)
i want my little girls to be women who posess the things i do not and some of the things i do..
i want to not forget how miraculous, really, even the shittiest mundane things are, because if I am BREATHING, it means i am alive. being alive is a gift.
it does not mean we only experience joy.
i struggle with this.
really, i want to drink chamapagne all day and eat artisan cheeses and be skinny naturally and paint beautiful paintings and be known for my words.
i mean, whats wrong with being unconventional and crazy?
paying bills, housework, the endless and often thankless tasks of being a mom and a wife and a person and a woman make me feel depressed and defeated sometimes.
i fight it, but sometimes i want the pill that makes it all better.
i have written a thousand books in my head.
i make excuses:
but the truth is that i can choose to feel that way anways, regardless of creating, and i do.
so why not create through it all anyways?
the truth is I AM TIRED, i am freakin exhausted, nursing a baby all night will do that. shoot, having two kids under 4 will do that to you.
but there are a lot of women out there who write and paint and cook and clean and have kids and are tired too, but they do it anyway.
my goal for the week is to create through it.
my 9 week old is sitting next to me in her swing (but not swinging because she doesnt really like it) as i write this.
i know from my first daughter that the first year feels endless until its gone...pretty soon they will both be in college....
women, especially mothers, dont talk about the dark parts enough. lets release ourselves of the dark by sharing and then moving toward the light of our lives. lets do it together!
just because i am a mother and wife does not mean i have all of a sudden become wholesome.
today was special. today i exercised consciously for the first time in many months. (ok, being completely honest, its been years) and i made breakfast for my three year old and nursed my two month old twice before i even left the house. as my postpartum body jiggled and shook along with the music, i felt amazing. just USING my body that way, consciously i mean, with no child attached to it in any way was freeing and inspiring. my two little girls were home with my husband. i have been wanting to go to the gym for a loooong time. i am one of those people who would MUCH rather do almost anything else then exercise. unless its fun. so, my exercise almost always has something to do with pilates, yoga, dance. today, i took a nia class. nia is a combination of yoga, pilates, dance, and martial arts, perfect for someone like me. it is gentle, but you work up a sweat. today, our teacher led us to the ballet bars to do some stretches. she had us hold onto the bar and look into our own eyes. she told us to look into our own eyes and honor ourselves, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. i looked into my own eyes and saw myself for who i was: a 30 year old woman with two kids and a husband, with about 35 pounds to lose, with laugh lines and grey hair, and a beautiful smile. i saw myself as a child, a teenager, an artist. i saw myself body-less, suspended and floating up above myself, just a soul doing the best i can (and sometimes succeeding at that) like pretty much all other souls. i started to cry, looking at myself. because i withheld judgement, i wasnt looking at myself with a critical eye. it was a relief. i believe that when we practice kindness towards ourselves we allow others to see our vulnerabilities, which then helps others to be kinder to themselves. kindness is something that repeats and grows by default. a very special lesson for a special day.