Thursday, March 31, 2011

baby, baby, baby noo...

edited: okay, it's been over a week since i started this post. it's taking me forever to sit down and finish it. i wonder if i'm still telling the same story i intended to share...

Sweet Holly, The Marathon Bird, wrote a post that spoke to me yesterday (no, it was not a post about running a marathon. true, i'm "enjoying" running right now. but i am not enjoying running enough to be talking marathons here).

this is a cleverly written, poignent, made-my-heart-hurt muse about adoptive mothering. i wrote, what i thought to be, a clever, poignent, make-your-heart-hurt comment in response. however, my iPhone ate it.

a-hem. so i was trying to rewrite the comment, and it sort of become it's own blog post. but mine is not a post about adoption, or a yearning to have another child.

my post is about the fact that i don't.

i don't want another child.

it's hard for me to tell you that, because it's taken me a while to feel like that's "okay." but i spent an hour with a newborn on my shoulder the other night, and after those sixty minutes, i can tell you, without a doubt, i'm all good.

for most of my life, i've assumed that i would have a "large" family, or at least a family with multiple siblings, such as the one in which i grew up (four girls). my cousins and close friends came from families with multiple children. it was, for me, the "norm." and sometimes, you don't question the norm. you just assume it will be.

i married when i was thirty, and remember more than one person asking me, at our wedding reception, when we were going to "start a family." i won't lie, at the tender age of thirty, i felt some pressure to "start that family" right away. and so, we did.

jack was born when i was thirty-one, within our first year of marriage. it was an unexpected expected pregnancy. we weren't trying to make a baby. but we were newlyweds. (wink, wink). it was exhilarating and terrifying to confirm our pregnancy. it was even a bit embarrassing to begin telling my friends and family. (oh my God, they're going to know we had s.e.x.) i looked forward to ultrasounds and registered for baby things at Target. i ate saltines and took my vitamins. i bought "first" outfits. i played the piano for him and shared his first baby kicks with a hundred hands of friends.

i did not glow. i did not nest. i had migraines and back pain. i squeezed doctors visits into my work schedule. i began to hate the smell of chicken. i decorated a nursery in my mind, but never really got past picking out a crib. and when jack came rushing into this world a month early, i... i took it in stride.

i had maternity leave, but i didn't have a "babymoon." i was in a lot of pain (my back). i spent a lot of time "on the go" with jack. i didn't like to stay home, so jack and i went out for strolls. small town living meant we could stroll. a lot. we visited shop owners, we had lunches with my sisters. we were a one car family at the time, so we often drove mat back and forth to work. i got involved with the local community theatre, and we started a catering business.

my maternity leave was 6 weeks long. on day 43, the hotel called to ask when they could put me back on the schedule. within a year, i was the assistant general manager. it meant putting jack in day care, but it was a great move for me. and? the day care totally took care of the potty training!

and so it has gone, year after year, working and volunteering and playing through days, including jack every step of the way. i never thought, "if we had another child now, jack would be x years old." i never thought, "if we want to have more children, we need to start now." i never thought, "something's missing."

my sisters had babies - sweet little nieces and nephews. every time a new pregnancy was announced, someone asked, "don't you want to have another one?" i would laugh it off. "oh, no... we'll see..."

and inside i was thinking, "i'm glad it's not me."

i don't have it. i don't have a longing for another child. i honestly cannot imagine living through the two hour sleep cycles, the diapers, the car seats and strollers, the breastfeeding, the bottle feeding, the incessent schlepping of "stuff." i can't imagine deciphering cries and moans and outbursts. i can't imagine scheduling life around nap time.

i love my ten year old. i love his budding independence. i love the free(er) time that affords me. it is not "the norm."

it is "MY norm."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

spt 03.29.2011


i've been working my ass off. quite literally.

*almost* every day since January 2nd, i have risen WELL before my alarm clock, laced up my sneakers, and made a conscious effort to move my body. i've had help. jillian michaels and bob harper and multiple, MULTIPLE Twitter friends who've shared their workouts with me.

getting up early has never been a struggle for me, but getting up with the intention of doing jumping jacks? or planks? that's an entirely different story. but i do it. almost every day.

for one, because i'm loving the results i'm seeing.
also, because if i don't do it at the crack of dawn, it won't get done.

i know this from experience. my work/family/extra curricular lifestyle is such that at the end of the day, the first thing to "go" when i need a break is the workout. i cannot consistently come home from a long day and will myself into my sneakers. somedays, it's all i can do to get dinner made and homework checked before i fade into my sofa for some mindless TV watching. bottom line: if i *plan* to workout at night, i *plan* to fail at it. it's just that simple.

so, i get up reaaaalllly early. i squeeze into a sports bra and tie my shoes, and pull my bedhead hair away from my face. then i lift weights, and do push ups, and struggle through jumping jacks. i curse at the smiling trainer's faces on my DVDs and i lie on the ground and cry after tricep dips.

it ain't pretty, folks. but i'm not about to stop.

Friday, March 25, 2011

five minute friday


there's reggae music playing somewhere in the hotel. it's winding it's way under the door that separates my office from the laundry area. all morning it has buoyed my spirits, and i wonder: is summer so far away?

my desk faces a window, from which i have a view. not a great view (part of a parking lot, part of the road, a glimpse of the Italian restaurant across the way). i can see the Quiznos that struggles for business due to a poorly designed intersection. i see the Bojangles that is under construction next to it, and i wonder: will drivers find the temptation to eat Cajun inspired fast food to be greater than the temptation to eat toasted subs?

it's sunny, but breezy and cooler than it's been this week. the smell of wildfires burning well to the north of us is heavy in the air, and i wonder: do other people find the smell of woodsmoke to be as comforting as i do?

Spring, and it's pollen, are heavy in the air. daffodils and azaleas polka dot the landscape. i'm looking forward to the first soccer practice tonight, fun weekend movies with my boys, my next run...

and i wonder: can it really be this simple?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

spt 03.22.2011

spring sun
nautical stripes
choppy bangs

a confidence i haven't felt in years.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

identity crisis


as i try (really try) to get back into my blogging habit, i've been struggling with that age old question: who am i?

i think the better question is, in this age of quasi-anonymous digital social communications, who do i want you to think i am?

because, honestly, can you know the difference? unless you are my family, or the person i spent my summers with at music camp, or my best college bud, do you really know me? the answer is, of course, no. and, really, those people don't know me.

they think that i'm a fun mom.
they think that i have decent taste in music.
they think that i have faith.
they think that i'm comfortable financially.
they think that i'm happily married.
they think that i'm an inspirational boss.
they think that i'm fit and active.
they think that i'm creative, that i make things with my hands.

they think i've got it together.

and i do. i am! i am all of these things. some of the time.

but most of the time? most of the time i am trying so hard to keep it positive. most of the time i am upset with myself for being short tempered. most of the time i am worried about how to plan and pay for a much-needed vacation. most of the time i am obsessing about the number on the scale.

most of the time, i think you are prettier than me.
that you have more money than i do.
that your family is happier.
that exercising and eating well come naturally to you.
that your kids don't struggle with ADHD and general obnoxiousness.
that you love your spouse unconditionally.

most of the time, i think you are doing a better job than i am.

and my blog posts have reflected that over the past few years. when i do something fun and creative, i blog the heck out of it! i share pictures and smiles and links that rival the smiling faces and handmade goodness that draw me to your blogs.

but lately (can we consider the past 2 and a half years "lately?"), i haven't had as much of that to share. or maybe i have, but i haven't been inclined to blog about it. amuse-bouche is in transition. because i am in transition.

i'm rereading my 100 list today. and maybe working on another one. it's been four years since i took time to jot down those incredibly important 100 things about me. (the sarcasm is real, folks!) i wonder what will make the cut this time. i wonder if i can even rally 100 things?

who am i? i hope you'll stick around while i try to figure this all out. and i'm not just talking about the blog...

Friday, March 18, 2011

five minute friday


i don't like to wait. i don't like to wait for people, for holidays, for deliveries from the UPS truck. i don't like to pace the front porch waiting for the mail delivery. i don't like to view the long march of days until the BIG DAY (whatever that day may be.)

i am the one who is in the car waiting when i told the family we had to leave ten minutes ago. i am the one who is awake an hour before the alarm sounds. i am the one who refreshes the website that shows the number of page views on my blog.

i get antsy.
and peevish.
and, quite frankly, not so fun to be around.

i used to tolerate waiting more. i savored it, actually. i reveled in the march of black Xs along a row of days on the calendar. but now, like so many of my generation, i am "instant gratification girl." i don't want to think about it. i don't want to plan it. i want it and i want it now...

please don't make me wait.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

spt 03.15.2011


kinda how i feel after spending all day in the car coming home from a business trip:


Friday, March 11, 2011

five minute friday


how do i know when i am loved?

i feel loved when all is calm and quiet.
i feel loved in the moments of peace that seem so hard to come by.
but those are easy answers.

you know when i don't feel loved?
i don't feel loved when i have to do laundry.
i don't feel loved when i come home from work and the house is dirtier than when i left it.
i don't feel loved when i have to take care of someone who is sick.
i don't feel loved when my scheduled gets changed at the last minute.
i don't feel loved when there's not enough money left over after bills for pedicures and cute new clothes.
i don't feel loved when harsh words are said.
i don't feel love when i say harsh words.

it's hard for me to feel loved (or to give love) in the daily grind of days. it's hard for me to feel loved when i want to feel bitter.

but the daily grind must go on, and i must continue to love, and be loved.

so i find love in notes and letters.
in blog posts and tweets.

in song lyrics.

laundry be damned.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

i'm going to say a bad word

this one time? at band camp?

seriously, i was at music camp and sitting in my assigned seat at Steve's table. Steve was an alpha male counselor who was in charge of the waterfront. in my mind's eye, he sort of resembled Don Johnson(not a compliment)(at least i don't mean it to be). at any rate, he bugged me with his smug self-assuredness.

one day at lunch, i got mad at him. i have no idea why. what could have possibly been so frustrating about lunch? about him? i don't know. but i was mad, that flushed cheeks frustration that's a good combination of anger and (probably) embarrasment.

and sitting there, twisting a paper napkin in my lap, staring at my empty plate as the bread basket passed by, i said, quite clearly (and quite softly), "fuck you."

i swear, i barely moved my lips. but he heard it. boy, he was pissed! and i was... mortified. but a little bit relieved.

i'm not gonna lie... it felt sorta good, my whispered rebellion. for a moment, i felt powerful and important, and, dare i say, just a teeny bit bad! however, i was immediately awash in guilt and angst. that sort of language was certainly not tolerated in my house. but i was away at summer camp, hundreds of miles away from my parents. they would never know! sitting here, typing these words 27 years later, i still feel like a 14 year old who got away with something.

and sitting here, 27 years later, i want to say it again. because you know what? i am angry and frustrated. and a little bit embarrassed. i want to yell "FUCK YOU" and find some relief.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

spt 03.08.2011

this morning's photo brought to you by the girl who cannot remember to pick up a new hair drier - a silly little convenience, but one that i really miss when i don't have access to it.

(GAH! do NOT let me run into my stylist today!)

this "life-without-a-hair-drier" dilemma is so superficial, so NON life-threatening, so First World... it makes me pause and think about the things i should be really grateful for. things like:

a roof over my head
a healthy family
a job with longevity
electricity and cable and WiFi
two cars
food in the pantry
running water

i think i can put up with a few bad hair days.

will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

spt 03.01.2011

last year, on a whim, i participated in my very first trail run. you can read about it here. i'll wait...

so, Run for Ray came around again, and i approached it with some intention this year. since undertaking my Shredding adventure with Jillian Michaels last month, I've actually taken up the "running" "habit" again. (oh, yes, i'm totally using both of those words loosely.)

i'm running on Saturdays and Sundays. it started off with a test run, if you will. about a week into the Shred routine, i knew i was getting stronger. all it took was one experimental jog to know that something was very different this time around. i used those first few runs to ease back into the feeling of running. i didn't get out the training program. i didn't wear my watch. i didn't stick to any run/walk routine. (i did load up a great new playlist, though!)

and, quite accidentally, one day i ran 3.1 miles. without stopping. without walking. and with that, with the knowledge that i *could* do it, i began to do it over and over again. every Saturday. every Sunday. every weekend until race day.

(my race number was my birth date. how cool is that?!?)

as i pinned on my bib, i had but two goals: 1)to run every single step, and 2)to beat my time from last year. it might seem like those two goals go hand in hand. but i am a slow runner. and i often feel like maybe i WALK faster than i RUN. so i felt that there was every chance that RUNNING every step would actually slow me down. plus, i run on the street (kind of a no brainer). running a trail requires much more intention with every step. i had my work cut out for me.

and so i ran. with no watch. with no playlist. i ran, alone in the woods (most of the time.) i ran and i ran. i did not walk. i really had no idea how close i was to the finish until i could actually see the FINISH. and, sweaty and red faced, with another stitch in my side (what is *that* all about?!?), i "ran" through the finish corral with no clue as to how i'd done!!

you're dying to know, aren't you? did i beat my time?

i am a very different runner this time around. i am a very different person. i feel more clear and focused than i have in a long time.

i am happier.
i am stronger.

i am faster.
7:16 minutes faster.

will you take a self portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!