27
Jan

Ever since

Ever since the in-between, things have been different with you. It's so clear and apparent that you are really struggling with the next milestone, the next bit of independence, and you are leaning on me a lot, you are leaning pretty hard.

Nights are becoming "scary" and you want to snuggle and sleep with me. You get home and cling to me. You ask for dates and one on one time all of the time. You have stopped asking for playdates. You have stopped being excited when you know you're about to see good friends. You are falling back a little, before you run forward.

I really wasn't thinking about it much and haven't mentioned anything about it but out of the blue, a friend with older kids was telling me about her kids and how right before they took a major step forward, they first spiraled inward and heavily toward her. Without even knowing I was in the middle of this she talked about how her daughter becomes really snuggly and wants more and more of her time, how she wants to play "little kid" things and how her son did all of the same things years before.

So, we are just in this place together. This place where you want me, where you all of a sudden don't want to sleep alone, at night you have belly aches and headaches, you don't want to go anywhere unless I'm there too. A place where you are coming in late at night more and more, you are sleeping with lights on and doors open and you are worried. A place where you don't want to know about the next stages in your life, you don't want to talk about the future and how some things are going to change. You don't want to talk about the changes that are coming, like it or not. You don't want to talk about the changes some of your friends are going through.

You just want to talk about things you find silly, you want to play, you want to read, you want me to be around. You want a lot of attention and you want all the things to stay just as they are. Don't I know that feeling well...don't I live there each and every day. So I'm going to let you, there's nothing else for me to do really but let you. Once you do take that giant leap, well, at least you know how strong your base and foundation are. We're right here.

Ever since you were a blimp on the screen, I knew you would be my daughter.

Ever since you were born, I started to share you with the world.

Ever since you were little, you loved to quietly play.

Ever since you became a kid, you loved your friends.

Ever since they were introduced to you, you understood and loved our traditions, you ache for them too.

Ever since we crossed over to the in-between, you haven't been the same and neither have I.

26
Jan

Five Minute Friday - relief

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on relief.

Go.

A lot of people are asking me if I feel relief now that things are "starting to calm down". But, after three years of so much stress and one full year of, "oh my God, what is happening", my mind and body still think we are living in buildings that are on fire. I do not feel relief. I feel really worried.

Speaking to a friend that went through this career transition herself, and leaving a role that left her feeling like her nerves were sizzling, she said that it and therefore I will feel like this for a really long time. It will not be a switch and even though you are ready and you want it, your body isn't sure what is going on, so it's still in fight/flight and will stay there.

It will feel like you are still living in your own world of hell. You will feel like it's all going to come crashing down around you a lot. You will not be able to problem-solve for a while. You will continue to feel like you can't keep up. Sleep will get better, then worse, then better again. Nightmares will eventually start to come less often. There will be times you will feel like you are doing it right and there will be times you will feel like you're in trouble again and that, that right there, will be overwhelming. You will feel like you will get in trouble, like you've done something wrong and you will go into a panic, like a child getting scolded. You will panic.

There will be times you will forget this is yours now, you answer to you only. There will be times you will look around to figure out who to turn to and you will realize there isn't anyone down the hall. You will have to reach out Sabrina, you will have to ask others what they will do because you will feel stuck and unable to process.

There will be times it will feel really good and those times will become more and more of the norm, but it will take a lot of undoing to get there.

Her advice, feel it all. Feel sad and blue and worried and happy and calm and radiate your light and hunker down and go inward and put yourself out there. Eventually, it will even out. But for now, relief won't come just because the calendar tells you it's time. That's not how the body and mind work. That's not how people who have high standards for themselves and their careers work.

She reminded me I'm worried because I care. I care about what I'm leaving and I care about what I'm building. And who doesn't want a little care in the world, a little care about the work you're putting out there. A little care. So ask others, ask those in it and ask those that are not. You will get there, you can do it, you have been doing it, and eventually, your body will settle down. You will feel it melt a little. You will be less on edge, you will laugh more, you feel a little lighter. The foot will lift off of your chest, but do not be delusional...it took a lot to get you to this spot and it will take even more to get it to go away.

The good news, you like quiet so you will seek it. You like how your body feels when it's not clenched so you will find ways to get there. The good news, I have always surrounded myself by those who are smarter than I am. Relief will come, just give it time.

20
Jan

Five Minute Friday - sacrifice

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on sacrifice.

Go.

Wouldn't you know I have been thinking a lot about this word. All that we as people give up, sacrifice, all that we choose is important and all that we decide is no longer important. As mothers, women, workers, friends, parents, people, children, framily members, family members, we make sacrifices for those we love and what we love every day all day. We give up a lot for the other.

We sacrifice sleep for work, or a run, or quiet time with no one up, or the beauty of a sunrise, or sex, or a late-night talk, or worry. We sacrifice sex for sleep, or closeness, or comfort. We sacrifice our families for our jobs, our jobs for our families, our ambition for a different life. We sacrifice love for achievement and heartache for an easy route. We sacrifice our health for an easier way and we sacrifice the easy way for our health. We sacrifice our careers for family, and little, and protection and building something different.

We sacrifice our mentality for a year, we tell ourselves we can do anything for a year, and we sacrifice it all to get to some goal we created. Because we decided. We sacrifice walking away because we love and we just can't. And we know all along, we are putting something aside and making this other thing our priority.

Stop.

19
Jan

The in-between

Sitting in my office one night, nose to the grind and working away...trying to get as much done before I have to run out to take you to piano...you carefully waited.

You waited for your dad and little brother to head out the door, far from being able to hear and you asked...

hey mom? Can I ask you something?

Sure honey, what is it?

Is Santa real?

I always knew that by the time you were "old enough" and would ask me this seriously, I would answer truthfully. But, I was distracted and had a lot racing through my mind and I wasn't really listening...I wasn't paying attention. So, I mindlessly said "yeah".

But I saw my gift and Cole's gift from Santa in your Amazon orders, like you and dad bought them.

And THAT got my attention. THAT stopped me, cold. It was time, you were 10. You actually knew. I would now have to absolutely lie so instead, I looked up, locked eyes and began...

Before I could say a word, you knew I was confirming it. You folded into yourself, looking so small and so sad and you started to cry. Tears streaming down your face and you held your head as I tried to talk. Through my own tears of what was happening I said, lovey, Santa is a feeling. He is magic and love and generosity and the Christmas spirit. ALL of that is very real, so knowing that, does it matter who puts the presents under the tree? You didn't say a word, you had your arms around my neck, we were both crying and I saw you nod your head in agreement. We sat like that for what felt like forever, and I remembered hard all of the milestones we had together and I tried so so hard to say more, instead, we both just cried. As you pulled away you said, I promise not to tell Cole.

You're part of the magic now honey. You are allowed to feel so so sad, because it is sad. There is that part of your childhood that is over now. That makes me very sad. But, it's also really beautiful. You get to be that magic for Cole and all of your friends that still believe. As you continued to nod your head you asked simple questions like who ate the cookies and drank the egg nog and "wow, you guys must stay up really late for us" and then you started to put other parts of this together, so, the Easter Bunny too?

We both cried all the way to piano that night. You asked how old I was when I stopped believing and you told me how this year you were really questioning it and how some of your friends were talking about it. But, that you still thought it was true and it took seeing that it wasn't to really grasp the fact that it just wasn't true.

As always, you were fine, that night, the next morning, you moved on. I don't know how next Christmas will go for you and if you will be just as excited to watch Cole get worked up over it. Me, as always, I'm too many steps behind. I keep thinking about the Christmas you were three, how into it you were. The one when you turned four and really really got it. The unbelievable excitement you had on your face. How it lit up when you came down the stairs. Dad keeps reminding me about all of the traditions we have that make the holidays special, how it has nothing to do with Santa and we made sure of that but God, it's really done. I'm sure part of him feels almost relieved, but I'm just blue and reminiscing and going through old photo albums and I can't bring myself to watch a single home video because I can't handle it. I can't handle the smallness of it all back then.

So, I tried to pick myself up. I even have ideas of how this will all play out once you both know. Yes, I will be that mom that gives you a Santa gift until the day I die because I will continue with the magic lovies.

I know how much more emotional I am than all others about stuff like this, I get it. But, I also know that this is a really big deal. It's a huge milestone and we both see things differently now, a little more of real-life crept in. I know it was time you found out. I know we were going to have this conversation soon anyway, but sitting alone with you in the office, holding you, whispering together and crying together, that was hard and special at the same time. You waited for Cole to not be there. You knew we couldn't talk about it. You showed a level of maturity and smallness all in one.

Because that is where we live with you now, in the in-between.

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