The sun will rise again

Anyone else’s kiddos go full bore when both parents are home? Memorial Day weekend was a recipe for exhaustion with both of us home with the kids for three days. Throw in a gardening project, a birthday party, and lots of playing outside and we’ve got some tired toddlers on our hands.

In the midst of the meltdowns I’m reminding myself to soak in these joyful moments like we do the sun.

May we drink in the light and use it to fuel us through the darkness. May we remember all darkness is temporary. May we find comfort in knowing the sun will always rise again.

The tears won’t last forever but the memories made in between will. Hang on, parents of the tiny humans. Don’t stress if they sob. Scoop ‘em up, squeeze ‘em tight, and remember, sunshine isn’t far away.

Moms come in many forms

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Moms come in many forms. You don’t have to grow a baby in your womb or nurse one at your breast to be a mom. If you’ve loved a child, supported a child, taught a child, coached a child, believed in a child, mentored a child, picked one up when they were down, wiped tears, wrapped band-aids around tiny fingers, lost sleep at night over their well-being, found yourself in tears because it has seemed impossible to be everything they need—and still managed to get it done, you’re a mom. If you’ve shown compassion, put your needs second to another’s, and loved unconditionally you’re a mom.

We step into many roles in our lives and the thing that makes “Mom” the easiest is also what makes it the hardest: there is nothing that matters more than your kids.

The greatest mark one can make is in the impact on another life. Our own laughter and tears are temporary but those shared with the next generations become stories that are told and retold, memories that defy time. It is through mothering, parenting, grandparenting, coaching, loving, caring, mentoring, and shaping the life of another, that our own presence becomes eternal.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who has loved a child.

Change and Control

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I wrote this the other day as part of a passage about growth in stillness and reason in waiting but this idea that there are many things we can change and few we can control has turned and turned in my head.

 

We have all made decisions that have led us to where we are in this exact moment. And while we have made choices to get here, we can’t always control the circumstances.

 

Since November 2017 Levi and I have had a second child, finished old jobs and contracts, listed our house, sold our house, went under contract for one house, bought a different house, moved 3.5 hours away to a brand-new town, our two-year-old and one-year-old both had surgeries, we started new jobs and contracts, and essentially started life over. Finding where the grocery stores are, our way around town, new doctors, new friends, new routines.

 

And it has all just felt like A. LOT.

 

We couldn’t control the kids’ health situations, when houses hit the market, whether or not a seller is willing to remediate black mold, or work projects.

 

Those are all circumstances we had no power over.

 

But we could decide what we could change in each of those situations. We could get the kids the help needed to improve their health, we could walk away from a house and buy a different one, we could say yes to great opportunities and take a leap.

 

And while the past year has been challenging, there has been growth in that too. All of the challenges seem a little more manageable if I can sort out what’s out of my hands and what’s in them. If I recognize I have no control over something, it’s easier to let go of it and ask, what can I change?

There is a lot we can’t control. But there is even more that we can change.

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choosing to embrace the mess and Valentine-making memories.

Tiny Toes

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You toddle over to me and reach your arms up. You don’t want anything in particular. Just to be held by me. To be near me.

I pick you up and plop you on my lap and when I look down I see your little feet resting against my legs.

Dimpled toes, arches still forming, ten extra-long digits just like my own. 

I trace my fingers through your wisps of baby hair and wonder where these feet will take you one day. What will you see and who will you meet? What thresholds will you cross, mountains will you climb, dreams will you chase? 

One day I will send you off into the world and you will stand on your own two feet. But, today? Today, I get to hold these tiny toes in my lap. 

Yoga makes me a better parent

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For the past seven or so years when I’ve had an opportunity to work out I’ve gone for a run. Aside from the solid exercise and post-run high, running has been a great metaphor for life.

That “push-through-the-pain, show-up-and-get-it-done” mentality can be applied to just about any situation.

Except parenthood.

In parenthood you show up (everyday), but that doesn’t mean anything is going to get done. With toddlers and infants there is no pushing through the pain. You actively sit in the pain. There is lots of smiling through gritted teeth and swearing in your mind while you enthusiastically encourage them (for 30-minutes) to eat a cup of yogurt on their own…. and then watch as they wipe their yogurt-covered hands on the table, through their hair, and across the bottoms of their feet in one fluid motion.

Small children cry for inexplicable reasons. They love certain foods one day and act like they’re tainted with poison the next. When you don’t let them go outside on a 20-degree day or make them wear shoes on a splintery boardwalk you might as well be throwing their security blanket through a wood chipper in front of them.

I know, I know they’re growing at lightspeed and getting teeth and trying to make sense of the world around them and the emotions they’re feeling. But that knowledge doesn’t always make it easier at 9 p.m. when they refuse to go to sleep after getting up at 5:30 a.m.

Parenthood is a high-rep exercise in patience.

For so many years showing up and gutting-it-out worked well in whatever I did. Even if I absolutely dreaded the thought of doing something, the job would get done. There was a goal, a finish line.

In parenthood, sometimes the job doesn’t get done. And sometimes it gets done and you have to redo it. Twenty times. In a single day.

Parenthood has no finish line. It’s from the moment those two lines show up until, what I can make of it, all eternity.

And this is why I’ve found such an outlet in Power Yoga.

Power Yoga is based in Ashtanga but it moves more quickly. You lift and hold your entire body’s weight constantly, making it a great strength training exercise, but there are also poses you hold that are extremely difficult, whether due to a balance element or strength element, and breathing through some of these intense poses is what it’s like to remain calm and composed and breathe through inexplicable toddler tantrums, or 11 p.m., 1, 3, and 5 a.m. nighttime infant feedings.

And did I mention the room is heated to 90 degrees? Which to some sounds awful, but I Live. For. The. Heat.

Being able to step out of the house, by myself, and get in a solid workout, mentally and physically, makes me feel better and gives me a perspective shift when I need it most.

Running is an exercise but yoga is a practice. You start every class with an intention and carry that through. Usually at least once during class I will side step, or even fall, while trying a new pose but I hop back in the pose and keep going.

In running success is measured by completion. You finish the run, you get a PR.

In yoga—and parenthood—success isn’t measured in outcomes, it’s measured by how you handle the situation.