Friday, February 25, 2011

Well: I am getting there


For years, I lied to myself
believing that acting well enough was
surely as good as being well.
But acting is not good enough.
Now, being well is better; necessary.
Much like a well, I have
gone deep to find the good
that was always within me; unfulfilled.
That change has come about with
sacrifice, heartache; for me, for us.
When I am with you, love,
my heart is a bottomless well
of passion, of gratitude, of abandon.
Because of in spite of me,
with you, I'm better than well.
With you, I can be me; authentically.


Are you well?  Want to tell how?  Visit Melissa at Making Things Up and join in Six Words Fridays!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Novel

There are days I catch myself

wondering if there are enough words,

enough thoughts, enough determination and discipline.

There are days when I wonder

if there is a novel lurking

deep within my mind and heart;

if I have enough courage, talent

to actually sit down, write it.

My thoughts get too far off.

I am brought back to reality

by the melodious, mischievous, boyish laughter

of my three works in progress,

and I stand in awe that

I have co-authored these first chapters

of what is sure to be

the three amazing life stories of

my three, most beloved, inspiring sons.

Want to share?  Catch Melissa at Making Things Up and the Six Word Friday challenge!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cupid's got a sense of humor...

Valentine's Day is for single people. How do I know?

People who go out to dinner, buy and wrap gifts, fill out cards and plan evening lingerie have the luxury of time. They have illusions. They do not have children.

People with children plan Valentine's dinner...at home. They do their shopping ahead of time, because the thought of taking your children shopping for food on Valentine's Day can send you to an early grave.

People with children scribble their Valentine's Day card to their significant others 5 minutes before they give it to them. They buy their practical Valentine's Day gifts along with the week's supply of toilet paper and milk.

They don't bother with lingerie for the evening, fully knowing that the only action that will happen is if the three year old has a nightmare and comes to the bed of his comatose parents.

I tried pre-planning. I tried celebrating ahead of time. But my kids tennis coach decided that she would cancel LAST week's classes versus this week's. Ever tried making a "nice" dinner when the crew is eating in shifts and you are picking up and dropping off children in cycles?

My plans went to hell in a hand basket. I forgot the orzo. I had to go to the store, twice, with my children.  I nearly got run over by a three hundred pound woman who had a fierce look on her face as she was barreling down the incredibly narrow aisles in the gourmet market. Enough said.

I overcooked my green peppers and onions. My husband said my dinner was "pretty good" as he picked out the kalamata olives from the orzo.

My class brought me my own weight in chocolate today as gifts.

I threw out my back two days ago.

I am so tired I want to cry.

Cupid's a lying hound...but he did bring pretty flowers, yesterday.

And I managed to fight a couple of women in the bakery department for the last two cannoli.

Hubby did pour the good wine while I whined about my afternoon.

And I got the most beautiful Valentine, ever...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Seconds...


It seems I live my life

in a series of moments that

are reluctantly, inevitably, "seconds from..." something.

The next catastrophe, or great accomplishment.

The next moment of infinite joy.

The passing of debilitating self insecurities.

The mothering moments in which I

could very easily lose my mind.

But the happiest hours I spend

are always with all my boys.

Regardless of how endless it seems

these hours seem to be disguised.

They unavoidably pass as fleeting seconds

within my ever watchful, timekeeping heart...

Got a second?  Want seconds?  Visit Melissa at Making Things Up for this week's Six Word Friday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I needed most...


Image by Christopher David Ryan

Today was a regular day. Not too much going on. But for some reason, as the day wore on, my own insecurities, anxieties, and other emotional dredge threatened to take me under.

I stood under the hot water for a long time tonight. I wondered when I would ever get my painful childhood out from under me. I wondered how much of that childhood taints my children's every day.

I wondered where the time has gone. Matthew, in spite of being so big, still was incredibly emotional about something seemingly meaningless this afternoon. My big boy, who often scurries from me when I try to hug him, let me hold him today when he cried. I wonder how often he needs my arms for comfort, and I don't offer them, because he scurries, because he is so big.

Because our timing is off. When I offer, he doesn't need. When he needs, I don't offer.

I know he is asleep now. My ever growing boy, who will too soon be too big for his bed. He is already too big for me to fold into my arms and hold him completely. The pages of his childhood are flying rapidly...Am I missing it?

I put on my pajamas and shuffled out of my bedroom to a final kiss goodnight sweep for three beautiful boys. I was welcomed with the sight on Andrew, asleep on the couch. When I gently rustled him ( I cannot even begin to think of carrying him anymore) he made a face that took me back to when he was a infant, sleeping in my arms. I walked him back to his room, tucked him in, gave him another kiss goodnight.

Joshua started talking in his sleep. Exclamations that only my little Buzz Lightyear would utter. Drunk in his sleep, he smiled. I walked over to my littlest boy. His small little hand found the crook of my neck and pulled me closer to him.

"I love you so much," he said, words slurred with sleep.

"I love you too," I whispered. "Have good dreams," I said.

"I wish I could fly," he sighed, eyelids so heavy.

Oh, little one. I wish you could.

I wish you could fly to me when my arms miss you the most. When I am with other peoples' children. When I should be with you, holding you close. Trying to hold on to you as you are right now.

I wish you could fly to me, as you did tonight, with your sweet voice, your inviting little arms, to save me from myself.

"I always miss you," he said. His sleep, breaking down whatever restrictions a three year old could have; his heart speaking the truth within it.

My heart broke. I always wonder if I am doing the right thing; working outside the home. In the lowest moments, I fantasize about how clean and organized my house would be. What the wondrously nutritious and inviting meals I would make for my family. That fantasy ends rather quickly during the summer months, when I am home, having fun, being lazy with my boys.

Nonetheless, I wonder how badly I am messing up when I hear things like this.

In the same breathe, I hear, "I love you so much Mommy," sleepily sighed. He is already far into the dreamland he is creating behind closed eyes.

It is exactly what I needed tonight. A reminder that in spite of all the bad, I have these three shining rays of light, that are surely guiding me out of darkness.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What a difference a year makes...


On this date, last year, I stepped out on a proverbial limb. After much consideration and internal debate, I wrote my first blog post.

Over the last 365 days and 184 posts, I have shared some major accomplishments, daily heartbreaks, the in's and out's of my family's core. I have found encouraging words, gentle reminders. I have found myself silently nodding when your comments have shown that what I have written really strikes a chord.

I am grateful for being able to chronicle these experiences that shape us as mothers. Through our experiences, our playing field becomes a little more level. We are all out on the creek without paddles, sometimes. At least we can blog about it.

As I was going through the past year's posts, I found myself reliving the moments that made it out into cyberspace. The moments that brought me to my knees, those that made my heart melt, the ones that made me proud to be who I am, the progress I am making each and every day.

Through the blogging community, I have written about things that I am only now finding the courage to talk about. I have voiced my own disappointments in my failures as a mother, of my children's nuances that drive me insane, yet I find completely endearing. I've challenged myself to write Five for Ten, find my Intentional Happiness. I have even limited myself (or tried to, anyway) to Six Words on Fridays.

But mostly, it has been a long love letter to the four most important guys in my life.

From time to time, I see my older boys reading over my shoulder as I try to type a few words while dinner is simmering on the stove. I will find them scrolling down a blog post, smiling as they silently mouth the words I have carefully crafted together. The words that tell about them, their adventures in dealing with veteran mom and amateur writer.

Hopefully, some of you have found a kindred spirit out here. I can't pretend that I am some expert in parenting. Most days, I am holding on for dear life, carefully counting to ten, breathing in and out and racking my brain to make sense of this life that requires so much of me on a daily basis. I only know what is in my heart: a desire to be a loving mother, one that can inspire her children to be more than what they dare dream, one who is constantly pushing her own boundaries so that her children will not let fear hold them back. Some days, there might be some small, measurable amount of success. Other days, I am enveloped in failure.

On those days, this blog is my lifeline. I know that I am not alone.

For those of who have been around since the beginning, thank you for coming back to see what's been going on. For those of you joining us now, welcome. Pull up a chair. You are home.

Thank you for sharing my journey into the dark forest of Motherhood. It's nice to know I have company. I hope one of you brought a flashlight and a map. I am pretty sure we are going to need them.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Summing it up...

Surely, the greatest joy of motherhood,
And the one that I can't ever
seem to get quite enough of.
Whenever I hear my boys laugh,
I'm reminded I needed to hear
that music that makes life complete.
And often wonder how they know
That's exactly what I was thinking...

Want to find out what Six Word Fridays are all about? Melissa at Making Things Up sums it up!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crossing the finish line...

My first half marathon medal!  I DID IT!

Six months of training. Six months of fundraising. Six months of pushing myself in ways I never dreamed possible.

Countless good wishes, cards and a music mix for good measure, to encourage me, to propel me to cross that line.

Sunday was race day. The ninth annual ING Miami Marathon.

I was nervous. I was excited. I was missing some pretty important people.

My mother in law was scheduled for her second to last chemotherapy Monday morning. My father in law was trying to figure out a way to get down the hours it would take to see me cross the finish line. I put my foot down.

My sister was going to bring my nieces at the crack of dawn, in that multitude of people, to see me cross the finish line. I put my foot down.

My brother and sister in law, so far away in distance, so close in my heart. Their card a few days before moved me to tears. Such powerful words written on such an innocent looking card.

I carried them all in my heart instead.

The night before, as my family and I sat amid over 200 other Team In Training runners, I looked over to my husband. The face that has mirrored my own happiness and sorrow for the last twenty years had eyes filled with tears, bottom lip trembling. When I whispered to him, asking him if he was okay, he held me close. His voice breaking with emotion, he said, "I am so proud of you."

I looked over to my sons as they sat with us. The faces reflected back my own excitement. Their smiles, lighting my way.

It was a restless night. Motherhood does not take a day off just because of a 13.1 mile race. I tossed and turned, worrying I would oversleep and miss the gun. But I would only oversleep if ever got to sleep, though.

In the still darkness of Sunday morning, my alarm went off. I rose, weary. I glanced at the sleeping men in my life, and knew that I could do it.

As I got ready at 4:00 am, I wrote my family an email. In part, it read:

Standing front of the mirror this morning, I do not recognize the woman staring back at me. She is dressed like an athlete. She is ready to undertake the most physically challenging event she could dream of. Yet there she is, and looking back at the last 6 months or so, I know that I could not have done this without any of you.

I did not recognize the face I saw. The face was confident, strong, athletically determined. The face showed none of the fear I felt within my own heart. The face showed preparation, an air of calm, and anticipation that I dared not feel.

Yet, it was my own face. My own eyes that would see the glorious sun come up on the MacArthur Causeway at 7:00 am. It was my face glistening in the heat of this beautiful morning, as my legs carried me, fueled by months of training, adrenaline, joy.

It was me.

During the race, my neighbor and I ran side by side. Much like the past six months, we were able to motivate and carry each other for 13.1 miles.

Throughout the race, there were hundreds of spectators, armed with beach chairs and homemade signs, cheering the brave souls that ran, walked, or hobbled by them. Countless, smiling faces, urging you to go, to run, to do better.
Seeing the kids at mile 11...
At mile 11, I saw my boys. John had gotten on the People Mover, and decided that he would be able to meet there and still have enough time to make it back to the finish line. How to describe the feeling when I saw my boys? When I saw my greatest cheerleader? I was afraid the emotions of the day would bubble to the surface, bringing me to my knees with over two miles to go...

The end came slowly. It seemed that every turn would bring the finish line. The split where the full marathoners came. For an instant, I thought of what that would be like. To complete 26.2 miles. I stayed on my own half marathon track.  I am not ready.  YET.

Racing towards the end...
The drum lines kept urging me on, with each beat pushing me a step or two closer to the finish.

I felt strong. I felt invincible.

And then, the cloud of orange and blue balloons, intertwined to create the arch I would run under. With a sudden rush, I felt myself run faster, harder, than I ever had in my life. I was there. I CROSSED THAT finish line RUNNING!

View of the finish line from our hotel room...
All the emotions I thought I was going  to feel never materialized. Instead, I felt like vomiting. I don't know if it was the strenuous exercise that I had just put my body through, the surprising heat that made its appearance halfway through the run or the fact that I REALLY needed fluids, but the tears I was sure I would have weren't there.

I received my medal. As I gazed at it, I thought of the past six months. I thought of the past 37 years. Of keeping myself within these self imposed boundaries. Of wanting more, of being afraid of trying things that scared me. And I thought to myself, from now on, that finish line means the beginning of being a tad bit fearless.

I called John to let him know I had finished. He told me the boys had seen my whiz by at the end.  We made plans to meet up. I called my neighbor, Sande who was just behind me, waited for her. We hugged each other, knowing we had done it together.

I searched for my family. When I finally found myself in my husband's arms, I felt the tears come. Tears of joy, of relief, of disbelief. Had I really done this? Was I really standing here, among all these people, celebrating this accomplishment?

Yes, I was.

And they were here with me, sharing every incredible second.

Even the ones I carried within my heart to cross the finish line...

There is no turning back.  I am changed in ways that I cannot put into words.  I am grateful to have been able to something for others, that helped me do something for myself.