I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.
Life feels like that sometimes.
6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon. Continue reading →
Earlier this week, a friend told me that my life seemed “amazing” through Instagram, and my first instinct was to laugh. Hard.
I read her message after I had just finished cleaning a stack of dishes that had piled in the sink. Prior to that, I had picked up no less than thirty toys strewn across my living room floor, knowing full well that the room would once again be a mess just a few minutes later. My hair was unwashed, thrown up in a messy half-bun, and my eye makeup was rubbed off from crying earlier over a reason I can no longer recall. Untouched on my desk was a to-do list I’d written earlier in the day when I was feeling more motivated, when I thought I might actually accomplish something productive that afternoon.
But sure, on Instagram, everything looks different.
Whether you started decking your halls as the clock struck midnight on November 1st or you’re waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up your tree, the holiday season is officially upon us! Starbucks’ red cups have arrived, the Hallmark channel has begun its annual ‘Countdown to Christmas’ and we have visions of sugar plums, ahem, cookies dancing in our heads.
That being said, between all the festive get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and decor, November and December have a tendency to fly by and we’re fumbling through “Auld Lang Syne” before we know it. Today, we’re rounding up 8 family-friendly ways to ring in the holidays and make the most of the season!
I love writing, baking, and yoga. So much so that in my early days of blogging, I had a site called Baking In Yoga Pants, combining my love for the three. I’ve dreamt of doing each full-time. Sitting down daily to write a novel, opening a bakery, running a studio.
During my yoga teacher
training, we did an exercise where we jotted down all the things we wanted for
our future lives inside a circle, and all the things we no longer wanted
outside its perimeter. Of course, writing, baking, and yoga found their way
inside my bubble. As did my husband, kids, dogs, and a house with a fenced in
yard. The whole vision combined to create my utopia.
The family and the
home are part of my reality now. And yet, all too often, I find myself taking
for granted those things I once dreamt of having. I get caught up in the
everyday shuffle that comprises this chapter of life and am so busy looking
down at the high chair that needs to be wiped, the floors that need to be
vacuumed, the dog food bowls that need to be filled, and the laundry that needs
to be folded, that I forget to look around. At the family we’ve created, the
walls we’ve filled with memories, the traditions we’ve established, and the
house that has become our home.
Growing up in the 90s, I experienced my fair share of schoolhouse and playground “politics.”
I was bookish and introverted – often asked by my more extroverted and raucous peers, “why don’t you talk?” (Spoiler: I did talk and still do, though I usually find comfort in being the quiet observer rather than the vocal center.)
I stood back, afraid to speak up, I suppose, when classmates
tied a less-popular boy to a tree with a jump rope (no physical harm done, although
I can’t speak on any emotional toll) for their own entertainment.
It sounds like a math equation, but it was really a mind game my best friend and I used to play in high school in order to gauge the passing of time. The summer after graduation, we measured the weight of the weeks ahead, counting down until I moved into my college dorm room, away from our hometown, away from the memories that had filled every free second of that final year of childhood. “Two months forward until August,” we concluded. “But two months ago was April. Wow, that feels forever ago. We have so much time left.”
I have most of my “serious” conversations over text these days. As a mom of a 2-year-old, I only have a handful of quiet pockets of time each day, most of which are usually spent catching up on work, answering emails, doing laundry (or at least thinking about doing laundry), and some form of self-care, which typically entails lying on the couch and staring into space for as long as possible. Gone are the days when I could spend an hour (or more) on the phone with my best friends, or G-chat into oblivion during a lazy afternoon.
Getting into it over text isn’t ideal, in part because I overthink everything, particularly when I’m talking about something serious — or revealing something raw. A few months ago, I found myself in one of those ~serious~ group texts with my two best friends from college, trying to form words and sentences to articulate thoughts that had only existed, up until that point, in a foggy loop inside my brain. In typical fashion, I followed up a giant blue brick of text with a few emojis and “Sorry to unleash on you guys LOL.”
As customary for true friends, they responded immediately with “Don’t apologize” / “You have nothing to be sorry for.” And then, one of them added: “We’ll always hold space for your feelings. You can talk to us about anything.”
While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.
My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.
I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.