How tot soccer can bring adults to tears.

soccerI’ve struggled a ton since I became a parent and my children actually started walking, talking, defying, running into roads, hitting each other, hitting other kids, generally, just being little humans.
My struggle has mostly come from this voice inside that constantly questions if I’m doing it right. Or messing them up. Am I creating the need for therapy because I lost my cool in the mall parking lot last week and needed to sit in the car by myself and lamaze breathe myself to a good place?

Last week we took Addie to soccer camp. She liked it about 30% of the time. It was a new experience for all of us. I know we all laugh and think that its funny when its someone else’s child sitting in the soccer goal, but when its ours, an internal war of voices comes floating to the surface. The voice mostly jabs at my parenting ability, how discouraged I was, worrying if other parents think I’m being mean to my kid by making her stay on the field, and spends too much time looking at the things that went poorly. The failures.

Then the grace comes in, with her, and with myself. I remember that don’t I remember what its like to be 4, but I do know what it feels like to do something that feels big and new and scary. That its hard to walk into a place where you don’t know everyone and learn something new. And yes, Addie didn’t behave well the entire time at camp, but I also don’t behave well the entire time as an adult. It happens too often that I think of things I said or did and realize that I probably should not have said or done them.

It matters that we stay, try, apologize when we have to, and are willing to put ourselves in new, scary, and big situations, or whats the point? I want to teach Addie that even though soccer camp didn’t go great the whole time, she went, she put herself out there, and she tried. Those things require courage, bravery, and grit. More than being good at soccer, those are the things I want to teach my daughter. And then I think of those voices that tell me I’m not doing everything well enough, and I think that yes, I mess up all the time. So many things I do I wish I had done better, or differently, from things I say (this one comes up too much….) to new skills I try. But I want to be better, and live outside my zone of comfort. I don’t want to just do things I’m good at. I want to do things I’m bad at so I can get better.

I want to run a half marathon.

I want to take adult swim lessons so I can learn how to actually breathe while I’m doing laps. Right now I drown a little.

I want to take a cooking class.

I want to go zip lining.

I want to write more, and get better at it.

I want to do things that scare me a little, like make new friendships, and skydiving. Seriously. I want to do this someday. Maybe.

I want to try something thats so hard that I fail, and have to try it again. And again. Because  I think failure, as challenging as it can be, whether its failing to be the parent we wanted to be, the friend I hope to be, or whether I fail at something new that I’m trying, is a good thing. Failing doesn’t diminish my value as a mom or person.  I think failing shows bravery and determination. I showed up. I tried. I had a good attitude (I hope). I want to try something new and risk that my life can be even better, even if its scary. Or hard.

So, I guess soccer camp was kind of good. We went out there, and we were (all) brave. And it gave us new things to shoot for next year. Like not crying after camp. If I can teach Addie to be brave, by practicing courage myself, and letting her see my failures, and wins, then I think that will be a huge success.

vacations, addictions, and medieval imprisonment

I took the plunge today, to sign off facebook and instagram for more than a month. Like, alllll darn summer. Lamaze breathing.

I have wanted to check 28 times today (to the power of 3, if any of you remember from what, 6th grade math?) Why is the pull of mindlessly scrolling through posts manically ‘liking’ what everyone is doing hold so much appeal to me? I can attribute it to a couple things, present at different times. Sometimes its loneliness, the need to hear/see what others are up to because the day has been too long and monotonous with the kids. Not an entirely negative thing, just a little escapism, which we can debate the merits of all day long. Sometimes I log on because I want to post things so I can feel connected and like I’m connecting. Arg! This ones trickier, and a little less healthy for me. I get pretty into my bubble sometimes and start to feel like connecting online with friends is connecting enough. In the end I’m less present in relationships, feeling like I did my part because I messaged or commented or liked, and can go back and be self centered and less giving and interact in relationships with the bare minimum of output. This is a weakness of mine, one I own, but I also know something like facebook is perfectly set up to cater to. I want to be forced to call my friends to see how their kids are, instead of absentmindedly scrolling through their photos. I want to have to invite someone over for coffee to hear what is keeping them up at night, whats on their heart, instead of feeling like I got enough of what I needed to know to keep up from a post. These are my struggles. Not everyone who uses facebook also falls prey to these same things, but I do. So it was time to go cold turkey. Rip off the banddaid. Stop comparing the lows in my life to the photo highlights in everyone elses. Hopefully this will be deeply rewarding. Right now its like a weird itch.

This weekend Tony and I went away to Suncadia, the loveliest mountain retreat of active solitude I’ve experienced in…ever. I have been struggling to pull myself from the panicky feeling of not being able to go back soon enough. Could I start selling plasma to afford it?? I told Tony today that I was sad. Now I know what that pool, those slides, those drinks are like in that heavenly mountainside. I know what I’m missing. I know that there are probably other people there right now experiencing the same bliss that I did, but I’m here at home, experiencing the invariability and flatness that can be running a home. I love my kids, so much its comical, but I think that I have been missing independence lately. Would I trade it for my family? Never in a heartbeat. But to be granted it for only a weekend felt like some freedom with my husband cut short. I heard it likened to old medieval dungeons, where prisoners were put in rooms that were built so that they could not fully sit down nor stand up. They were let out once a day so they could stretch, stand up, and experience the light of day, but that made it only that much worse when they had to back to their crouching dungeon. Thats a little bit what vacation is like….with or without children, its a freedom from your responsibility, the problems and annoyances of duty and routine. Of course I would like to go to the spa and hike and sip rum punch with my husband and play instead of deal with the routine and daily rhythm, that can have some breaks but is often the same. Dealing with coming home after a lovely getaway is always, a sobering experience.

I am so deeply thankful for my family though, who love my kids so well, and ensure they have so much fun when we’re away that they completely forget about us. I just want them to forget about us for 2 extra days next time.

The Toothless Wonder, among other things.

Right now I’m mourning the loss of my son’s teeth. Last night Bryce, running towards me on our concrete patio, face-planted into the ground and knocked half of one tooth out, and damaged the other one in such a way that they will both need to be ‘extracted’ in two weeks time. That means he’ll be toothless until somewhere around, when do kids big teeth come in? 6? 7? I’m a little sad about it. It could be worse, I could be mourning the loss of an eye, a limb, or health. It’s just teeth, and he seems no worse for wear. As a dear friend said, “At least you just got his pictures done!” For real, right? I’m actually pretty glad for that.

I’m content my son has his face. And most of his chewing teeth. And his general health. I’m glad its what it is. A wise friend said to me in an email this morning that emergency room visits are part of the fine print when we have kids! Now we’ve been with both, I’m washing my hands of it! Also, I’m getting to the age where the ER docs are now YOUNGER than me. Last night I wanted to ask for this mans license. I asked him if “he was sure” after everything he said. I’m pretty sure he appreciated it.

Speaking of contentment (watch out because that was as good as my segues are going to get tonight), I’ve been s t r u g g l i n g with it. Facebook and instagram and all the lovely land of social media are usually not a big deal for me. I spend way too much time on Pinterest but I’m in love with it, so theres very little conviction there at the moment.

This week it got me! I think it poked at a tender spot, at all of these things that I feel myself wanting lately. I want to go to a beach (like, a hot, white sandy beach. If I’m going to want I’m going to go big), play with my kids in the water, or have someone watch my kids so I can go to a beach a lay by the water. I want to have saved enough to buy a house. That perfect home you can see yourself grow old in, host parties for your babies in. And this week I saw pictures of families traveling to places I want to go, buying houses with tennis courts. Tennis courts!! And I felt envious. This icky, visceral feeling that really doesn’t happen often, and I thought, I want that. That, what I’m looking at in this picture, looks easier than what I have. I don’t even have anything exciting going on right now. I’m not keeping up with any Jones’ because I am barely keeping my own head. Above. Water.

I used to think that being a christian or loving Jesus meant I wouldn’t struggle with this sort of thing, or if I did, that I would be able to more easily brush it off. But, as I’m learning to love the process of things, I am also learning that the struggle can be sort of beautiful, and a blessing too. I was talking over these icky icky feelings with someone tonight, and standing in my messy kitchen together, she told me that she had felt the same things at one time too, and God worked with her, on showing her he was giving her just what she needed. Maybe not what she wanted, but what she needed. There’s so much to want in this world, and really so little we need. We, I, have these big ideas for ourselves, to vacation, buy homes, decorate, do things, and I think there can be fun in that, but I think those things are just things.

I wish I could say that I’ve come around to a perfect contentment, but its still a little tug. What I can say is that I’m talking to God about it, and letting Him work it out. And that I’m content for the three people downstairs in my house right now who are so cute and who love me so much. And also for a glass of wine, a lock on my door, and these 20 minutes of quiet.

Hospital Stays, Jesus is my Homeboy, and Betty White

1. Don’t keep your credit card close to you. Since you can’t move around a lot and are hooked up to little machines some of the time, not being able to reach your card inhibits much of your would be online spending.

2. Bed rest exercises are hilarious. I’ve been moving my feet and arms in the shape of the alphabet and trying to figure out where to enter the calories on My Fitness Pal.

3. You can watch quite a few episodes of Hot in Cleveland while still feeling good about who you are. I’ve been saying to myself, “Well, what else are you going to do right now?” And the answer is just more of that darling Betty White, every time.

4. Take the medicine they give you to help you sleep at night. You’re not trying impress anyone here. Its a weird bed in a weird hall in a weird place. It helps to have some artificial drowsiness. In fact, if you let it, it could become one of the highlights of your day, which goes pretty much like this: 9, breakfast. 11, snack. 1, lunch. 3, snack. 6, dinner. Nighttime, Ambien.

5. Be optimistic, but with no expectations. The doctors might feel good about a test, but until they do it and know the results you don’t know whats going to happen. I’ve found that rather than thinking, “I hope I get to go home tomorrow,” that its easier to think, “Lets keep this little man in and safe as long as possible. If that involves being bored at the hospital, then so be it.” And then I can feel positive about things, but I can also be alright if I need to stay a bit longer.

6. Try not to take healthy pregnancy’s and babies for granted. It can seem like something thats so common, but its really just a miracle when everything goes easily and well. Its ok that our journey is a little bit different. It brings appreciation and perspective, and there are so many other things that could be worse. I’m thankful for such a great hospital, doctors, husband, family, and friends, US and/or People magazine, and Hot in Cleveland.

7. Reading a lot about your situation on the internet isn’t very helpful, mostly in the sense that all doctors and patients seem to have a different idea about what is best. I’ve found that I’m much more content letting go of the reigns and just asking MY doctor what would be best for the baby, rather than getting my sights set on how I think things might need to be done, or might be being done elsewhere.

8. I didn’t realize what a crazy micro manger I was until I got laid up in the clink (as I’ve been affectionately referring to it). Tony showed up in a shirt on Friday morning that I really dislike. Whenever I’m at home and he puts it on, I suggest he wear something else. Talk about an insane waste of energy. So what if Tony likes to don his ‘Jesus is my Homeboy ‘shirt from time to time. He’s still hot. It has very little affect on life as I know it, except that I might squint a little when I look at it. For that matter, its okay that he and Addie have eaten from various weird food groups while I’ve been gone, though to his credit, he has done an excellent job getting in the veggies. Its also alright that I haven’t picked out outfits, done Addie’s hair, supervised really anything about what Tony’s done or changed at the house. I didn’t realize how frustrating this probably was to him before (or how ridiculous it is that even use the word ‘supervise!) until I let go and watched him run the house, his job, our kid, all with tremendous success, doing it the way he thinks is working. It turns out I may not be an expert at everything, although I will say that tonight for my hospital visit my 2 1/2 year old daughter showed up running down the hallway in a bright green midriff shirt, I kid you not. I like to think I could have prevented that.

So, for the time being, I’m content to drink hospital decaf, laugh at canned comedy, and feel my baby kick. This life is just not that bad.


What a gas.

I got an email from a friend this week noting that I have a disproportionate amount of calamity/strange things occurring in my life. He’s a pretty perceptive guy, and I pondered this as I was walking home from the Chevron station near my house on Friday night after putting the gas nozzle in my tank and then almost immediately locking my keys, purse, and cell phone in my car. Tony was home watching Addie, and I tried to call him using a fellow gas guzzling patrons’ cell, but neither of us usually answer when a number we don’t know pops up on our cells. So, I informed the Chevron attendants of what happened, and that I would be walking home to get an extra set of keys. Feeling like I was in a fishbowl walking down 99, I thought about how I react when things go differently than I plan.

Friday was a good day. Tony had worked from home, I had some good time with girlfriends, and Tony and I decided to finish off the week with a little takeout from Tasters Wok, one of our favorite little restaurants that we very rarely get to enjoy. My plan was to get some gas, go wonder around Bartell Drugs, grab Addie some lotion and lazily wander through the aisles (I don’t know why but I can’t get enough of drug stores – I think they’re so much fun), pick up dinner, head home and watch a movie on the couch with my husband.

Instead, I promptly locked my keys in the car and got to walk home in the brisk evening down one of my least favorite roads. I had some good thinking time while I walked home. I thought about how thankful I was that we live close enough to the gas station that I could walk home (especially because I couldn’t get ahold of Tony). I thought about how I was thankful that it wasn’t raining (and I wouldn’t have said this before we experienced this ‘spring’ but I was also thankful it wasn’t snowing/hailing). I was thankful I’m not one of the people dumb enough to try and cross 99 without a crosswalk….as I surely would have died. I realized how blessed I am to have a car, and how happy I was that I didn’t have my daughter with me when I did this.

When I got home to grab the extra set of keys, Tony could have walked back and got my car for me, but I decided that I wanted to complete the experience in its entirety. I took the keys and set out once again, thinking that perhaps one of the reasons I feel like a disproportionate amount of strange things happen to me is that perhaps God thinks I have more lessons to learn, and He wants to give me more time to think about them.

When I got home from my cold walk and picking up dinner, I hugged Tony and thanked him for the break. When I left the house at the beginning of the night I told my husband I just needed a break and some time out by myself. I realize now that perhaps I should have been more specific with exactly what that break would entail.

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