clench and survive

I spent today with my shoulders jammed up into my ears and my jaw clenched.

Now that the sun has set and the two little bodies are tucked warm and safe in their beds I’m realizing just how sore I am from being tied up in a knot all day.

The last few minutes of sunlight were spent locked in the car in my garage on the phone with her, thankfully she was locked in her bedroom at the exact same moment so she completely understood what I meant when I told her where I was.

Today parenting got the best of me and turned me to my worst.

Today my house was not a home, it was a place of survival and laying down the law.

We talked about how we both feel so much better when people we admire admit to struggling on occasion with this parenting gig. We both agreed there’s a middle ground between constant complaining and putting on a face of false joy for the world.

All my parts are tired, but thankful for a fresh start come morning.

it's my 30th birthday. (april 28th)

On Babble: Not Better, Not Worse.

curves, love, strength and beauty.

For my birthday Cody and I spent the night at a swanky hotel where we didn’t have to worry about stepping on Legos on our way to the bathroom or shiny trails of baby snot being slimed down our pants.

We had a grownup dinner in a grownup restaurant, we even sat in the bar because that’s where grownups sit even if they only order water with a lemon and Coke. We ate grownup food at our own pace and we didn’t have to cut anyone else’s food into manageable pieces or worry about smashed peas being spit launched into our faces. We stayed up late, went to bed when we wanted to and woke up when we were both ready. No one came into the bathroom while I was showering demanding a snack and I spent 19 hours not having to deal with anyone’s crap, literally.

All in all, it was a wonderful night.

We went out to breakfast where we both ate embarrassing amounts of delicious food that we didn’t have to share and when we came home? We launched right back into real life, which included lots of balloons and a little less snot.

We talked about grownup things. About how 6 years ago today we first came to Indianapolis from Pittsburgh to look at law schools. About how 8 years ago today I found out I was pregnant with Addie. About how we’ve lived in Indiana for half of our married life and how we can’t believe we’ve been here for so long. I honestly couldn’t tell you if it was cold or not today because I spent so much of it next to Cody who puts out a warmth that calms me to my core. My favorite place in the world is right next to him.

Being this in love with someone is both exhilarating and dangerous, I am wholly confident in who I am because of him but at the same time the thought of ever having to be without him causes an ache deep within my chest. He’s loved me since I was 18, through my 20′s and right into 30. I’ve spent so much of my life hating myself. Hating my big nose, hating my thighs, knees and hips, I’ve hated my brain for not working right and I’ve hated myself for not doing more, whatever more is.

This morning I looked and the mirror and realized this body has been with me for 30 years. It’s gained and lost weight, carried two healthy babies and has hugged the people I love through really horrible times. It as danced for me, cooked for me, wrapped itself around my husband and loved him from the moment he became mine.

I came to peace with it.

I apologized for hating it so much and told it that it was doing a pretty bangin’ job of doing what a body is supposed to do.

I read a book once that said women’s’ bodies are like sand dunes. That they are supposed to curve and bend and that over the years they become more and more sculpted by life thus making every dip and arch more beautiful.

As I stared at myself in the mirror today I was finally able to admit out loud I am lovely, and that I have Cody to thank for taking such good care of me through everything.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu

aaaand…i’m thirty.

It's my 30th Birthday. (April 28th)

After a marvelous evening filled with friends, cupcakes and dancing…I feel more like myself and less like a slug.

I’m looking forward to thirty even though I still feel like I’m only 22.

It’s tradition around here that you wonderful people come out of hiding and make me a comment cake, telling me about the wonderful things going on in your life. Even if it’s just a nap or a really good sandwich last week. But if I may be a little selfish this year, since it’s kind of a big year, tell me something good, and then if you’ve been around for awhile (or just a little while), could you also tell me what your favorite post or photo of mine is?

I mean, I know what I like…but I’ve always been curious what you like, I’ve just been too bashful to ask.

I look forward to reading your lovely, it’s been a highlight of my birthday for the last five years.

xo

(big babble) impressive parts of horses I don’t especially like much.

addie

 

uncharted with postage stamp maps.

I’m in uncharted territory here.

I have so many obligations yet I have so much hanging heavy on my heart.

I’m having to put my head down and plow through all of my responsibilities, one by one, feeling the slightest bit of reprieve with every ‘to-do’ that is checked off of my list.

Many of you have asked what happened, if I know what triggered this latest struggle and I’m sorry to say that I don’t. I think I was doing most everything right, taking my medication, sleeping well, loving fiercely and enjoying the sunshine when all of a sudden I was thumped upside the head with a lump in my throat and a tingling in my hands. Cody has stepped in where I fell off and has picked up all the pieces I left behind on my way to curl up and cry on the couch. To all of you who have thanked me for my honesty and truth, I ask you to please thank Cody. He’s the one that fights on the front lines, loves me fiercely and carries me until I’m me again.

I’m having to write through this little slump like I’ve never had to write before. I have other people depending on my words and unfortunately I can’t turn in a dozen articles about how I had to leave the dinner table twice last night so Addie didn’t see me cry or about how I spent the afternoon crying in a parking lot yesterday because a bakery went out of business (there was more to the story than that, but the stupid bakery started it.)

Friends have stepped in. Friends from high school, friends from law school and friends from every odd little corner of life have bubbled up to give me words of support, confident that if anyone can beat whatever this is, it’s me.

Marta left me my new favorite comment:

“You are so great. Exactly as you are. You don’t need to keep a 100 plates in the air, or even 50. You can let them down, or they can even fall and shatter, and either way you will make magic of what you have left. Keep fighting, keep going. Breathe. Rest. Fight again.”

That’s exactly what I’m doing. Breathe, rest, fight again.

I wrote her back and told her I now had an insatiable desire to photograph shattered plates, even if they are metaphorical.

**************

I have two very dear friends out there in the world who have no idea what’s coming. Very soon they will be showered with love, praise, affection, adoration and support by those who know them best (and perhaps some who know them hardly at all.) There is something magical about going to your mailbox, pulling out a hand written card and knowing that at some point in the last few days someone was focused only on you. From the moment they picked out the card, the time they spent writing in it, the time they spent addressing it down to the stamp they picked as well as the walk to the mailbox, you were in their heart and on their mind.

Emily pulled off the most grand baby shower I could have ever imagined. For weeks, cards and notes poured in from friends near, dear, far, and away. The organization that went into makes my head spin and the thought behind so many people being so willing to play along, my heart, it swells. Three years ago as I sat around a giant conference table in Kansas City at Hallmark, a service was discussed where a bunch of people from all over the world could all get in on one giant ‘GOOD WISHES!’ for a friend. I’d like to say it was me who came up with the suggestion and therefore take all the credit, but it probably wasn’t.

Hallmark now offers a free Card Shower service which is currently making the world a happier place, one postage stamp at a time. I’ve already participated in two and there’s more to come (surprises!) You can email an invitation to your friends and then they have the option to either put a card in the mail themselves or go online to Hallmark.com and purchase a card to be mailed for them with their own personal message. You can pick the date for the cards to arrive as well as where the cards should go (to you? to the recipient?) It’s a simple little way to get people rallied around each other in a way that is more personal than email and more proactive than a facebook message.

Writing out a card today for my friend and walking it to the mailbox set alight a tiny little spark inside me. In a few days she’s going to open a card from me. One I picked out with her in mind. She’s going to know that I thought about her and for a moment she’s going to smile. I did that for her. It’s a good feeling. One that lifts me above all my own miseries, even if only for a moment.

**********

I’m so grateful to partner with Hallmark in 2012 on their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign again and I thank them tremendously for their patience with me, supporting me in all that I do and for sponsoring this post.

(baby babble) terriers, tipsy, tears and terrors.

harley and vivi

the sixteeth seven days

flying baby!

kissing the baby.

SQUIRREL!

handsome wink

baby paul

vivi's cloth bum

percy the pirate

freshly napped vivi

bunny hug

through the window

through the window

Now that Vivi’s mobile and opinionated you’re going to be seeing a lot more of the back of her head.

************************
the fifteenth seven days

the fourteenth seven days

the thirteenth seven days

the twelfth seven days

the eleventh seven days

(let’s just accept that the eight, ninth, and tenth may never happen)

the seventh seven days

the sixth seven days

the fifth seven says

the fourth seven days

the third seven days.

the second seven days.

the first seven days.

simon says keep fighting

It’s like juggling. (I mean, not really because I can’t juggle.)

Maybe it’s like that Simon game, did you ever play that?

Simon

It had four different colored lights and sounds and it would give you a pattern, you’d have to follow the pattern back and every time you successfully did it would add a new light and sound to the pattern. You’d have it in your head, the little rhythm, the sounds, the lights. Beep beep boop beep bop boom boom beep!

But then something would happen, the phone would ring, someone would knock at the door, or you’d hear a big ‘thud’ from upstairs.

You’d miss the newest light – so you’d guess.

Beep beep boop beep bop boom boom beep – - boop?

You’d get it right! Phew. Game saved.

But then something else would happen, but not only would you miss the next light, you lost the pattern

Beep beep boop beep bop – - – boom? Boop?  Beep?

Panic sets in.

Suddenly you don’t even remember how the pattern started, what color comes after green or if boop goes with red or yellow.

…..

Either you get the answer wrong or you take to long to answer and you hear a grating “BRRRRRG” sound.

…..

Game over.

You were so close to finishing, getting your highest score ever, and now you’re back to where you started with nothing to show for it but frazzled nerves and sweaty palms.

Something distracted me. The weather? Too many responsibilities? Looming deadlines? Unreachable goals? Inevitable failure? Chemical imbalance? Intimidation? Self esteem?

I’ve forgotten what comes next.

It’s sitting like a lump in my throat. It’s evident in my sweaty and shaky hands. It’s impossible to ignore my heavy pulse.

I’m not gone yet.

I’m teetering.

I’m employing every emergency tactic I can think of and I’m desperately trying to remember what comes next before it all times out.