My skin fit like a glove today and I wore it with confidence.
Do you know what I mean? There are those days when clothes don't fit quite right or I'm feeling less than attractive, bloated, whatever and I'm tugging on my shirt and picking on my choice of clothes because I'm just not comfortable in my own body.
I have THOUGHTS to share on body image, but that isn't to say tomorrow I won't be a little bit upset about the stomach pouch I have leftover from pregnancy or SOMETHING.
But you guys, that pouch was inflated to the size of a beach ball. I have a little pouch (and some stretch marks) leftover as a reminder of an amazing thing I did. I can deal with that.
I can. Because here's the thing: our bodies are mostly vehicles for us to LIVE life. It took me a long time to get this; sometimes I still forget it.
I've been learning to appreciate my imperfect but kind of amazing body. I've been showing it some respect by fueling it with the stuff it needs to function well. I've gone back to yoga (just this week!) to help me out with some back issues.
All of that means more living and less sidelines. I've spent quite a chunk of my life pursuing lesser things (like numbers) at the expense of greater things . I've spent too much time taking the too many negative or useless comments I've received about my body to heart, like somehow they reflect on who I really am and whether or not I'm "okay."
"Skinny" shouldn't be a compliment and "fat" shouldn't be an insult. They are statements. Neither takes away or adds to the value of a life. Neither makes a person more or less beautiful.
The most beautiful women I know are so beautiful in spirit that it's hard to tell if it's their physical appearance I think is beautiful or if it's the inner beauty that's shining through. I don't try to hard to make the distinction.
Tonight, Nolan went on his first kiddie ride by himself- the tamest one available.
He nodded in agreement when I asked if he wanted to go by himself. I'm not sure he knew what I was asking.
The ride started, my mother and I both a bundle of nerves. He yelled for me, his face turned red, and he just cried. My mom immediately asked that the ride be stopped (which it was).
It took me longer to recover than it did Nolan.
Being his mother feels like having my heart kneaded on a regular basis.
Nolan is adventurous and messy and wants to figure out how everything works. He tests his boundaries, gives out radiant smiles and the best belly laughs. He loves to work in the garden with Daddy, run-run-run!, sing, play with any kind of ball, and read. He will say he isn't hungry so he can stay outside longer. He. is. FULL of energy.
I kind of like it when I am asked how I keep up with him. It's validating.
(My answer: I played a lot with my diet. I eat a green smoothie almost every day and eat a lot of plant-based whole foods. I am baffled by moms who subsist on processed foods. WHERE do they get their energy?!)
He is my little joy.
Have I said this a hundred times? I would not be surprised.
I do pursue my own passions. I do know I am "not just a mom." All of that.
But, oh, if that boy wants to go to the park, I am out the door.
Recently, I'd had a "touch" of baby fever. We're not ready yet, but that longing was there. When I came back from a recent trip to visit my sister, I felt more...content. Calmer. A little more grown up.
Some of the people I love don't always love to be around each other.
I'm not quite sure where life is headed at the moment and if we'll EVER be ready for another child.
I can live in the tension. And I can do it with peace and joy.
There is so much good in my life.
There are so many honest, thoughtful, LOVING conversations to be had.
There is so much to explore and enjoy with my two best boys.
It's time to celebrate that a little bit more.
Tonight I celebrated my life with a (vegan!) sweet potato cupcake. I might write a list before I go to bed (which should be soon). Simple stuff.
I'm not sure I should even publish this. I mean, there's no neatly tied bow at the end. No measurable goals. But publish it, I will.
Good night to you.
I'd love to hear a bit of your story if you want to share (preferably in person, but if you can't, do share here!)
I got the phone call I needed tonight. Come over. We're all hanging out in the back yard.
And then this happened.
An hour before bedtime, Nolan was already losing his marbles and I knew we weren't going anywhere.
So instead, we laughed. We laughed and invented silly games and then laughed some more.
(When life gives us lemons, we're trying to use them these days.)
I've been stalling tonight.
I've been rifling through pictures and updates while my mind isn't really on them.
You know, it's hard to come here and write because there is so much I don't even know how to say?
But I feel like there is so much potential in my life right now. I really can't exactly see where I am going, but writing helps me hash it all out.
Typing is faster than words.
Feedback is (sometimes) helpful.
So, here I am.
Writing quickly (all that stalling means I should be in bed by now), feeling pulled to document a few of these moments.
Nolan is in bed, and I miss him. He slept through much of the morning before I went to work. I wasn't ready to leave when the time came, and I didn't get home until close to his bedtime.
I really, really like my job. I want to stay there as long as I can.
But I do miss my son sometimes. I wave and say, "bye, Baby, I'll see you later." He gives me his biggest smile and waves. He's happy to be with his grandparents or his dad.
It's just me. It's me whose heart feels like a rock sitting on the bottom.
That's how love feels to me sometimes.
I don't know how to describe how that's not a bad thing.
It's just not.
It feels like what beauty might feel like.
Or something like that.
Right now, I know I need sleep. I worked out this morning, hustled my butt at work, wrangled a cranky kiddo, and he'll be up around 6 tomorrow morning.
And I'm going.
It's just that, I often find myself wanting time to myself but then I miss my favorites when I get it. I end up stalling and not really paying attention to what I have right now.
I'm getting a bit more time lately.
That's why I'm here.
The world just keeps spinning, doesn't it?
Sometimes it seems to spin so wildly that I'm nearly sure it's going to fly off its axis.
But here I am, still standing, still alive, even loving life, all the while spinning, spinning, spinning.
Today was "one of those days" that made chopping lots of veggies and a glass of wine feel so necessary. Somehow, despite the lack of seasonings I would normally deem necessary, dinner ended up being pretty tasty. We shared it with the kind of friends whose presence I sink into like a well-worn and overstuffed couch.
I'm convinced that no matter what happens in life, the more meals we share together, the better.
We are trying to force our way into Spring, my little sunshine baby and I. (I might call him my baby forever, if you're wondering.)
Every winter, I feel a little or a lot less alive. I feel less myself. The gray skies weigh down, and I just can't wait to break through to bright blue skies and cotton candy clouds.
But wait I must.
Everything else is less alive, too. Animals and plants are hibernating, the grass is hardly green, we stay inside to escape the sharp bite of the cold.
When the sun shines but it's too cold, like today, Sunshine Baby begs to go outside.
Today I said it's too cold one too many times for my own liking, and then we bundled up and enjoyed as much as we could. I took his lead, knowing he'd head in when he was truly uncomfortable with the temperature.
The sun made all the difference.
We didn't go out again (it really was so cold), but we opened up the curtains and let the sun pour in. I curled up in it like a cat while Nolan climbed on and around me and bent over to give me kisses like I was going to sleep. We read books in it and Nolan made a game out of tearing apart a package of diapers but stopped for cuddles, smiles, and kisses.
We just...soaked it all up without any knowledge of the time or if anyone was trying to get in touch with us.
It is the sun that makes really simple, uninteresting things beautiful. We thrive in it, my little Sunshine Baby and I.
I'll tell you what. I hate (hate, hate, hate!) Winter. But there is a beauty in life that comes from seeds hibernating in the ground and people hibernating in houses.
I'm more than ready for Spring, but I'm willing to acknowledge that the dark seasons are necessary for the sunny ones.
Happy First Official Day of Spring to you.
Sometimes I think maybe we'll stop with the one kiddo we have.
I'm loving the balance of friends, family, and work I have going on right now. (I'm still working on not spending too much time on the internet before bed, but that's another story.) Why upset that, right?
The dream of chaos and multiple kids still lives somewhere. It pops at times I have 3 adorable little boys on my lap, all clamoring for attentions and wanting to read, play, giggle...but there are usually other adults around at the time, so I'm not solely responsible for every child at all.
But then there are times like last night.
We mistakenly gave Nolan too many oranges. After several doctor's visits and too many prescriptions, we discovered that one very good way to keep his recurrent and painful diaper rashes to a minimum is to cut down on the acidic foods he was eating.
Yesterday was too many oranges (He loves them) and screaming when he needed his diaper changed. The kind of screaming that breaks a mama's heart, the kind that makes me want to do anything to make better.
I held him tight and I didn't want to stop, even though he just wanted to read books with Daddy and then go to bed.
That kid really irritated me that night with his scratching and clawing and biting. But then that face and those cries.
I am going to try my best to explain what is happening in my heart because I think it is (slowly) changing the way it needs to to get to being a foster/adoptive mom.
Because sometimes Nolan makes me mad (with the scratching, clawing, biting), so I turn away until I gather my composure. I bite my lip. I'm not perfect, but I don't hit him. I don't physically retaliate. I want the best for him, and that includes teaching him ways to cope other than physically hurting another living being.
As he cried and I tried to make it better, even though his butt hurt so much and I couldn't immediately make it better, I really couldn't help of thinking of all those stories we hear about kids being purposely hurt, the moms who don't turn away, who retaliate way too much. And all the stories we don't hear.
I know I have "a bit" of a savior complex and that's not entirely good, and I know I can't change everything for everyone, but I also know I need to be the mama of just one of those kids. I need to whisper in just one of their ears that they're safe with me, that I love them so, so much, no matter what, always.
It's inevitable (I think).
Sometimes I don't know how to start writing.
So I address it and kind of give maybe too long of an intro and then finally get to what I wanted to say. Sometimes I delete the unnecessary intro and sometimes I don't.
I think today I won't.
It's Sunday morning, and my men are sleeping upstairs. I have my feet propped up and a glass of water and two mugs of coffee nearby- one black and one flavored with coconut-based french vanilla creamer.
I want to write a card to my Uncle Dave, whom I wish I could just pop in to see and listen to him sing and what he's been thinking about.
I am planning a few shared meals, there is an article I want to finish reading, emails I want to send, a shower I need to take.
Sometimes I just need (or particularly want) to come here and capture where I am right this very minute.
Because life is rich and good, but it moves fast.
If I'm not careful, I'll forget where I was. I'll forget what it was like to think and feel the way I do when I've moved on. I'll forget how to relate and where to get my gratitude from.
My husband and I attended The Justice Conference last weekend. My parents generously paid to send us on a trip in honor of our 6th anniversary while Nolan stayed with them for a couple of days, and that is what we chose. Maybe strange, but it is us, and I like that.
I get a kick out of noting how Tim and I are sort of changing together, feeding off of each other's passions for justice and beauty, challenging each other. Sometimes I can't believe we thought it was a good idea to get married before we even graduated college, but here we are, best friends that fight and love and encourage each other.
Now we have this son who amazes me every day. His presence in my life presents its challenges, of course- he is into everything these days, can't talk yet, isn't always into sleeping, and I can never just stop being a mother. But he is my little joy incarnate. He loves exploring and waving to people and making his mama laugh. I can no longer imagine my best life without him, and I am just so grateful that I get to be his mama.
Tim and I went to a foster-to-adopt orientation a few weeks ago (maybe more than that? I can't remember). We fully intend to adopt our second child, but I'll admit I'm dragging. Things are so good right now that I'm nervous to rock the boat. I'm scared about the (necessary) difficult parts. I do hope and believe that my heart will continue to change in the way that is needed to be the mama to a child to whom I did not give birth, but I think the process will be slower than I originally planned.
One of the Justice Conference lessons I am chewing on is a lifestyle of justice is a lot of tedious, boring work (and a little glamour). If I'm in, I need to be in it for the long haul. For our family, I think this includes (and extends beyond) fostering-to-adopt. I'm just...not ready to intentionally dive into the unknown (again) yet.
Nolan's been sleeping well every other night and reminding us what it was like when he was a newborn on the nights in between.
Last night was a particularly bad night for sleep. It made for a difficult transition to today even though I've repeated variations of "we're going to have a good day today, Nolan" (mostly for myself).
Oh, sleep. I keep telling him that we need it to give our brains and our whole bodies rest so we can enjoy our days, but I know he doesn't get it yet. I know what it's like to wake up and want to get up right now because there's so much life to be had.
I've been less patient than I wanted to be today, less active. My attempts at napping while he naps have failed and I'm not sure my words are stringing together properly.
I haven't trusted myself to drive us anywhere just yet (I am that tired), so we've done a lot of creating in the kitchen. It helps me feel more myself and Nolan LOVES to be a part of the cooking (and making messes) process.
I was leaning against a counter when he climbed up on a chair behind me (he LOVES to climb on chairs these days) and started patting my back like I do when he cries hard. I wasn't crying or, as far as I can tell, visibly upset, but he gave me a big grin that stayed stuck and then gave me hug after hug...after hug. Unsolicited. Looking completely pleased with himself.
Oh, that boy. He is full of surprises.
I am just getting weirder and weirder.
I don't mean that as an insult; I actually like myself (most days). I love my life (most days). I just mean, well...if 18-year-old Me would meet Today Me, I'm not even sure what she'd (I'd) think.
I am practicing to be a vegan. (I'm not one, but I'd like to be.)
I don't go to a conventional church; instead I share a meal with a few other families and meet in our homes on a rotating basis.
I don't work out regularly; instead, exercise seems to come in phases when I feel like I need it most.
I write a blog about compensating farmers and workers family for the food I eat. (I didn't give this kind of thing ONE. LITTLE. THOUGHT ten years ago.)
I just accepted a job that on the surface, looks like I'll be working for a grocery store (but is a company I LOVE and whose values are right up my alley).
Tim and I are probably done having biological children, but I'm still going to get the mish-mosh family of my dreams through fostering and adoption.
I'm pretty much committed to not buying any new clothes this year and instead getting them from secondhand stores.
I'm big on making regular face-to-face connections these days, but I met one of my close friends on the internet (and still have yet to meet her in person!).
There you have it; most of what I'm up to in the world these days. Now maybe future posts will make more sense:-).