I See My Future.

Each day so many prompts, ideas, words, books, essays, poems and philosophies are running through my mind. These are the good days, because when that creative voice is talking, usually the beast is silent. But they are also frustrating days, because I barely move for the pen that has been thieved away by my little daughter and by the time I have it in hand, a piece of paper beneath the ink, I have prevented seventeen accidents, changed two diapers, forgotten to eat lunch, saved the cabin fever cat from tipping over every water glass or anything interesting that it can knock from a height. I write a word and the paper is snatched away, again by the thieving daughter. The idea is gone. All energy goes towards bolstering my waning patience.

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This morning I had a conversation with my older children in my head. They were calling me on the telephone, crazy and overtired and feeling like there was no end in sight to the messy, scattered time that can be life with little kids. In my head they asked me “Mom, did you enjoy it? Being with us when we were little? Did you ever hate it? Want to get away?”

My answer came from this glorious older version of me- calm, supportive, sure, steady. I give a little chuckle.

“Oh, honey. No! No I did not enjoy every second of it. Being home with two little babies drove me crazy! I wanted to get out and write, get out and hike, get out and just drive without the constant demand for attention and the constant needing of me. I had to remind myself over and over that though the days were long, the years were short. And I wanted to be the one you needed in that short time. I wanted to raise my babies. I just never realized the sacrifice it would take to do it.”

I see myself there on the phone, calm and wise, wild grey hair with bits of joyous color thrown in. I am wearing the clothes I always wanted to wear. I have studied the things I wanted to study. I am the owner and creator of a successful business. I have secret tattoos. A passport full of stamps. I live in a simple, functional, beautiful space, surrounded by beautiful things. John and I have lives full of purpose, and we have followed our individual dreams and woven them together. We have grandchildren! We have time. We have space. We own very little, on purpose. This older me wouldn’t regret for one second the time and energy it took to raise her children. She will look back on this time with nothing but fondness, and gleam in her eye, a knowing that the younger me does not yet have.

The older me still loves the things I love now. She never stopped writing. She has written books full of poetry, and has been able to travel and read it aloud all over the world. She found a way to integrate the things she loves into a full life. Her life is whole, not a bunch of separate parts, which is what she always imagined. She loves whales and has worked for their conservation. She loves the stars, astrology, philosophy. She has worked to bring better business practices into the world and only supports those who practice business ethically, from start to finish.

She has seen many people come and go. Loved ones have died, new life has been born. She bears her share of sadnesses and troubles, and although the beast is still with her, its voice is much quieter now. She remembers the thoughts that troubled her young mind, and with compassion, waves them away. She is now able to mentor other young people as they stumble along their own paths.

This is not a perfect person I see, but a perfectly imperfect person. A woman grounded in herself, a face full of beautiful lines from a life full of expression. A woman who has come so far, and has so far to go. Not everything has gone perfectly, but it has brought her where she needed to be.

She still believes in the theory that within every life is the blueprint for its purpose, just as within the acorn the blueprint for the mighty oak already exists. She remembers agonizing over this “purpose,” (and of course, the agonizing was an integral part of it) and she has realized over and over that she already knows the answers she sought. She has always known what she loved. She has always questioned and returned, questioned and returned. She has never ceased to be amazed by the miracle that is our existence on this earth.

My mind snaps back the the present and the only thought I am left with is the clarity that to get to that place is absolutely possible. I am doing the work. I must keep coming back, over and over, to my purpose. I must hone my focus. I must love my family. I must make the time.

Here’s to a life well-lived!

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My Routine With a 4-Month-Old and a 17-Month-Old.

*Life is changing so rapidly that I wrote this post a week or two ago and our routine is already different. So for the sake of remembering and before it is completely outdated, I’m just going to leave it here!

I am writing this post for three reasons:

  1. Because I am insane and can’t focus so I figured that writing out what my days will look like will somehow help me. (update: It did! It helped to see where it needed some improving, which became totally obvious once I wrote and re-read the post a few times).
  2. Because when other people write posts like these I generally glean something helpful from them, and if just one person can do that I’ll be happy.
  3. Because I want to remember what this is like, and if I don’t write it down, I know I will forget!

So let’s talk about what our days look like. Days when I am alone with the kids and days when John and I are both home are significantly different, so I am going to focus on the days when it is just me and give a glimpse of the four of us at the end.

 

We generally get up around 7AM…or at least the babies wake up (wake each other up) around then. I try to stay in bed for a while as long as no one is cying. Occasionally I bring Amadeo in bed with me to nurse but those days are coming to an end because he is super fidgety. This morning I was woken up to the sound of Ana yelling “DAAAAA DA” at the top of her lungs, over and over. It was cute, and not so cute…because Amadeo was still sleeping and I could have slept a little longer…

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(Sleep is the most precious commodity in our lives right now, followed by solitude and date night)

I usually go downstairs and turn on the heat and make Ana a bottle (which she is still drinking out of only because I haven’t left the house in weeks and I need to buy a couple sippy cups..). I put up a gate at the top of the stairs and we slowly begin the process of getting ready for the day. Everyone gets dressed and cleaned up, and I get the upstairs into relatively good shape (put away clothes, clean the bathroom, etc.).

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I have actually come to love this part of the day (once I get past this initial fight to open my eyes and get out of bed) and as long as no one is screaming I make a point to enjoy getting ready. Some things I do first thing that brighten my day are:

-Light a candle and pull a Tarot card. I usually have the question in mind “what will it be helpful to focus on today?” I might get a minute to write down how I feel or what thoughts the card brought to mind. I have a very particular way of going about it so it is a nice ritual to get me going!

-TIGER BALM. I hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and this stuff is a great relief. Provided I haven’t just showered I usually rub some on my neck and shoulders and not only does it wake me up, but it feels sooo good.

-Hair and Make-up: I do this for me. Even if no one will see me, even if I don’t leave the house, even if John won’t be home until 6pm. It just makes me feel more put-together to put a little effort in to my appearance.

-Make the bed: I don’t know what it is about a made bed, but I feel so much better when at least that one thing gets done in the morning. It only takes two minutes and I don’t do anything fancy, but I swear I am a happier person when the bed gets made.

Once everything is in some semblance of order upstairs (or someone gets cranky and wants breakfast) we make our way down to the kitchen. I usually put on some music and make Ana and I breakfast, she plays and eats while I clean up and make coffee and generally entertain myself and the two of them.

**The best thing about this part of the day is that when daddy is home we all dance around the kitchen to our favorite songs together…if music is on and Ana catches even the smallest dance-like motion, she drops what she is holding immediately and demands that we pick her up and dance with her. Who could say no to that?**

After breakfast I get to cleaning up the rest of the house (if I haven’t already expended all energy…depends on how much sleep I’ve gotten) and then Ana and I have some kind of playtime (usually reading books or crawling around shrieking on the (ouch, hardwood) floor for a while. Naptime usually runs from 11-1 and most days I can get them both to sleep through most of it.

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I realize that I am not mentioning Amadeo much in this overview, but rest assured that in between all the other things I am nursing him, Ana is trying to pull him on the floor to play with her, and he is with us while all of these things are going on. He still naps in the kitchen because it is warm and the oven fan provides white noise!

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Sometime while they nap I sit on the couch in a daze, other times I try and get some work done. It is really satisfying on the days when I actually get something written or posted or any number of things accomplished. It makes all the other small and repetitive things (like laundry) much more bearable!

After naps we are back in the kitchen for lunch, and then we might go out (unlikely unless someone else is with us) or tackle some kind of project or play/do laundry/work out/get dinner ready. It’s really up in the air, because while I like routine, I abhor anything too scheduled and would rather go with what the day “feels” like to me.

John is usually home around 5, and lately since we are both trying to get a half-hour work out in every day (on the days that we are not zombified), I might feed Ana and finish dinner while he works out. Eating as a family is important to us but at this stage in the game and especially on weekdays, we eat together after Ana goes to bed at 6:30 or 7 so we can have some time together. Bedtime is a family affair most nights…our favorite book recently is “I Am Not Sleepy and I Do Not Want to go to Bed!” by Lauren Child. I am particularly fond of the tigers who drink pink milk with Charlie and Lola…

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Often we spend the evenings watching a show or movie because we are too exhausted to do much else, and for me it is nice to be able to sit with Amadeo and nurse him for a long time. I actually love the end of the day when I get to sit down and eat some food, have a glass of wine, and relax a little bit. It doesn’t last too long though because I usually put Amadeo down to bed around 8:30 or 9, and get in bed right after he goes to sleep. If we are lucky, Ana will sleep through the night and Amadeo will only be up once or twice, but if we are unlucky there will be a crying child every hour. Last night was a lucky night!

On the days when we are all home together, suffice to say that my routine is pretty much demolished, and anything goes. There are cartoons, family meals, lots of playing, and the house somehow gets destroyed. I get a lot less done, but then again, we dance in the kitchen together. We try to give each other time to work or work out on these days, too, but it truly is a constant balancing act to make sure every one’s needs are met!

At Home in the Full Moon

In honor of tonight’s full moon.

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“We come from broken homes.”

The simple truth spoken crystal clear as she lay out her her fears in the dark night hour of the year’s first full moon. They come from a part so deep within her that she can mistake it for the source.

But..the light enters you at the wounded place.

So it is, in a way, her source. From here she can draw up a well of love, she can find all of her finest feelings. But from this same place is a cave of demons and howling dogs, a black hole that draws all her strength away and leaves her lifeless, questioning.

But maybe her most violent storms are necessary, because in their wake she is always still there, breathing. Peace will always find her again, she must only climb the mountain.

She is beginning to understand why these metaphors are found throughout the history of human writing-climbing the mountain, waves of emotion, storms of the mind, sands of change. Because inside we really are that tremendous. We are the reflection of the world around us, of the universe beyond us, we are connected.

We can draw upon the energy of the night sky in winter, we can bring the crisp cool air down through our vessels, filling all our space. We can breathe in that lightness of being. Let it bring us on a journey.

In a journey I took last night with a baby on my lap, I came to a field that I know very well.

I stood at the top of the lane and looked down upon a vision that is “home.” A warm house, lit by love, a beacon in the cold, dark night.

An old man came near. He was stooped over and walked with a cane- he was very old. He wore a tattered cloak with a hood. He reached into a stump on the side of the road and pulled out- of all things, a simple ball of mud.

At first I brushed this image aside, thinking that I wasn’t meditating “hard” enough or that it was too simple and meant nothing. But then as I thought and spoke about it, the message became clear.

“Go. Go and build,” he said, without ever speaking a word. “Build your home. Build your foundations. Lose the fear and build your dream.”