Tag Archives: time

Throw Back Thursday. . . Remembering the “IT” Moments

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There’s this app called Timehop.  Have you used it?  You install it on your device, then authorize it to cull through your photos, Tweets, status updates, Instagrams, etc.

While staying mindfully present in the present usually helps me stay sane, sometimes it is a fun diversion to take a trip back in time.  We live in an era where we capture every good meal, each wacky moment, and any new make up trick or hair-do on digital devices, so there is no shortage of memories at our finger tips.  My Timehops take me back over the past six or so years I’ve been on social media, and treat me to photos and status updates regarding my children and family–  usually the highs and lows of parenting, but sometimes the perfectly mundane.

This morning, Emily and I are hanging out at home, waiting to leave for her well-child physical which for reasons I can’t recall, I scheduled in the middle of the morning on a work/school day.  Whatever.  It is nice to be able to take a few moments off from “life” to cuddle and play with my bubbly three year old doll.

My phone prompted me to check out my Timehop, and so I did, while Em watched Curious George operate a subway train.

Modern technology treated me to two of my all time favorite family photos and memories this morning, and they were of a couple of those perfectly mundane moments that are the exact stuff a good life is made of.

They were both “selfies”.  The first was one of my children, my husband, and me from a snow day last year.  We were all rolling around and playing on the floor, and I happened to hold up my phone at just the right moment.  I captured us all looking a bit wild and messy, smiling so hard we were all almost squinting at the camera.  It was just a perfect moment.  We were all so happy, cooped up in the house on a stormy day, but at that exact moment, getting along with one another.

For what it’s worth, life as a working mom in our society is far from perfect or ideal.  We do our best, but there are still so many moments of struggle, confusion, and a deep sense of inadequacy.  I never feel like I am doing anything right or “good enough,” or like my kids are growing up happy or well-adjusted.  I’m not around enough for them, and when I am, I am usually exhausted, overwhelmed, and frazzled.  But this. . .  this was such a sweet moment I caught with my stupid, distracting phone.

It only lasted a couple moments, and was most likely chased by moments of frustration with the children fighting, and me losing my cool.  Yeah, that happens often enough that I could break the internet if I posted about every single one of those moments.  I’m so glad I captured this moment because it was just pure love.  And in the end, that is the important stuff.

The other Timehop offering that delighted me this morning, was a picture from three years ago today that I snapped of me and Emily.  We had found a cozy moment after nursing and were taking a nap together.  I happened to hold up my phone and got a photo of our profiles, nuzzled together in repose.  It is actually a photo I keep on my desk at work, so I see it every day, but it never fails to make me smile and sigh.  It was one of the most peaceful and lovely moments of my life with my darling little daughter, snuggled safely in my arms, her tiny tummy warm and full with mama milk.

In the end, Timehop is really “the highlight reel.”  You know, the photos that reflect all of the great stuff and make our Facebook timelines look like we all have our shit together?  I have a weird resentment for highlight reels that tend to taunt us into thinking everyone else’s life is going so much better than ours, like everyone else is eating better sushi, enjoying bigger cocktails, getting better presents, and riding in nicer cars.  It is interesting to me how we chose to present ourselves on social media, and how we measure ourselves by the presentations of others. . .  but according to Timehop, I do it too.

And my highlights are pretty freaking sweet.

So, it kind of makes me feel like, hmmm, I guess I have it pretty good and should be happy with what I have, rather than envying the good stuff of others.  In a weird way, it brings me back to the present, and helps me to feel grounded and thankful with where I am.

It also makes me realize, shit, this time goes FAST!

I’m sure our obsession with our phones and snapping photos every two seconds will come back to bite us all on the ass.  I have a lot of photos that I wish I hadn’t taken because I wish I had just been more present in that moment, and actually LIVED it as opposed to merely RECORDING it.  You know what I mean?

But these two moments are ones I am glad I got physical proof of.

Do you use Timehop?  How do you feel it affects your sense of your life, and being mindful in the present?  

Stupid, bad, idiot Mama

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This morning I woke early, before the baby and my alarm.  I had a few moments to put on coffee, brush my teeth, and use my netti pot.  Then I climbed back into bed, lulled by the sound of our cat purring in between my husband and me, and the baby’s soft snoring.

It was actually kind of blissful, although the clock was still ticking.  Even ten minutes in the morning can seem like an eternity, and I run a pretty tight ship around here.

Looking at the clock, realizing it was almost 7:00, I made a conscious choice to relax and not stress if I am a little late for work.  Being with my family on this peaceful morning was well worth it, right?

Eventually, Emily woke, nursed, cuddled, and I got up to get in the shower.  The kids ate and dressed.  I put on make up, dried my hair and went out to make lunches.  Everything was going so well (!) until Jack came out of his room sans socks.  I told him if he put on socks and shoes, he would have time to watch a show before catching the school bus, but he was going to have to show a little hustle because we were all running a little late this morning.

“Oh!  Why do I have to get my own socks?” he whined.

“Because it is your responsibility,” I replied, stuffing a banana in Emily’s ladybug lunchbox.

“But I was just in there, and you didn’t tell me I needed socks!” he shouted.  Like he isn’t told he needs frigging socks every frigging morning?  He eventually did turn around to get the socks, but tripped over the baby gate.  He was totally unscathed, however not all actors are in Hollywood, my friend.  He took this moment to make his Oscar bid, wailing and flailing to beat the band.

My head whirrled.  Do I ignore him?  Offer him an ice pack?  Go get the damn socks for him?  

Ultimately, I kept doing what I was doing, packing the lunches.  I took a moment to fill Jack’s water bottle and heard my husband come out of the bathroom to help Jack.  Whew.  I sighed.  Crisis averted.  It was being handled by my sergeant at arms.  I came around the corner to see my husband, still disheveled in his pajamas.  Five minutes before go time.

“You haven’t showered yet?” I quipped.

“No, I haven’t showered yet.” he nipped.  I heaved a huge, heavy breath and placid morning turned to prickly morning.  I looked at Jack bawling on the floor, still tantruming over his stupid socks.  Empathy paled as I embarked on my own Oscar bid.  The following words came out of my mouth:

“Great!  Now I’m going to be late for work.  Thanks guys.  I’ll probably be fired and we will have to live in a box on the street!”

As soon as the words were out, I felt awful, reactive, and narcissistic.  And as soon as the words were out, they dialed up the intensity on Jack’s meltdown.

“Mama you are stupid!  You are the worst, stupid, idiot Mama in the world!  I hate you!”  he screamed at me.  I tried to redirect him by reminding him he is working on earning a yellow stripe in karate for being responsible and calm, and he screeched, “SHUT UP!” at me.  Then he kicked me.

In retrospect, I see his point.  It was kind of hypocritical of me trying to bribe him to get control of himself when I was not modeling very proper self control of myself.

Some mornings it is really hard to find the joy when we are all bustling to get to places to which none of us really want to go.  Sometimes I say and do really stupid shit.  Sometimes I feel like Jack was put here on earth to call me on some of that shit, but man, I really would like to catch a break here and there.

I drove to work feeling guilty, ashamed, and angry I had been robbed of my peaceful morning.  Correction:  that I had robbed myself of my peaceful morning.  I totally made things worse by losing my own composure, by stressing over time.  In the end, I wasn’t even late for work, so it was all for naught.

I also felt pretty crappy because Jack has been doing so much better lately with his behavior.  Karate seems to be helping him with his self control.  His break through anger is much more infrequent and usually shorter lived.  So, exacerbating his distress this morning really did make me feel like a stupid, bad, idiot  mama.

At the end of the day, I entered the house saying silent little prayers that everything was going okay and there wouldn’t be any tantrums.  My husband kissed me at the door when I cam in.  Jack and Emily were already in their pajamas.  They were both thrilled to see me and wanted lots of cuddles.  We had all moved on, and the day ended peacefully.  The way it had started.

Do other parents have these vain and crazy moments where they say and do things that are senseless and regrettable?  I’ve heard tell of it.  But I feel like everyone presents such a pretty picture and would never do or say the crap that I do.  Especially because of my job, I think I should hold myself to a higher standard.

But I guess I’m human, so by design I screw stuff up.

Alright.  Time to get back on the horse and do better next time.

Thanks for listening.  Momaste.

Hooray For Oatmeal! Trundling Towards Middle Age

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Before and after. . .

Before and after. . .

Three things happened recently that have me convinced I am nose-diving into middle age.

Well, four things actually, the first of which being I turned 39 this past summer.  I have seven months left in my 30s, and then I will be. . .  well, you can do the math.  All things being equal, if I live to be 80, this is the middle point in my life.

I think of Marilyn Monroe as Sugar in Some Like It Hot, telling Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (who were in drag), “I’ll be 25.  That’s a quarter of a century.  Makes a girl think!”

For me, turning 39 was my 25.  Made this girl think.

"I love how taupe it is!"

“I love how taupe it is!”

The second event occurred in front of my bathroom mirror one morning.  I was applying make-up (generously because I LOVE make-up, but not so much that I look like Tony and Jack in Some Like It Hot),and I caught myself sighing over my eyeshadow with a goofy little smile while thinking, “I love how taupe it is.”

WTF people!!!???  I love how taupe it is?!  You might not know me that well, so let me explain that this is a sentiment that could only have been implanted by aliens while I was abducted.  And since I don’t believe in all that alien abduction hooey, I can only rationalize this though was brought to me courtesy of my aging brain.

The third crazy-old-lady thing I did was to put orthotic inserts in my Toms shoes.  You know Toms?  They are those super-cute little canvas booties that when you buy a pair, they give a pair to some kid in a third world country that doesn’t have shoes.  But they lack any kind of arch support, and my heels kill after wearing them for only an hour.

Oh yes I did.

Oh yes I did.

So yeah, I’m a dork, but I’m a dork who is walking on a cloud.  The inserts help a bit, but I still only wear the shoes a couple times a week, while spending the rest of my time in big, clunky, comfy clogs that make me feel like Frankenstein when I walk.  Awkwardness aside, I’ll be a clumsy Frankenstein any day of the week over the throbbing heel nonsense.

Finally, this morning, I had another- shall we say- moment while eating my instant oatmeal.  I found myself devouring my porridge, thinking how awesome it was that it was cold enough to eat oatmeal again.  I felt a bit embarrassed as I caught myself having this thought.  Granted, it was really yummy triple berry oatmeal with flax and chia seeds from Trader Joe’s, but still, who gets excited about oatmeal?

Apparently, this girl gets excited about eating oatmeal.

Yay!

Yay!

My life has changed a lot in the last decade, especially since having children.   I’ve experienced massive transformation physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Most of the time these changes have been for the better.  Most of the time, I don’t even notice I’ve walked straight past the aisles of “cute and sexy” shoes in favor of a pair of sensible orthopedics, or that big, smokey cat eyes are gone in favor of a more conservative shade of taupe eyeshadow (but at least a taupe with a shimmer, let’s not get too conservative here).  I let go of a lot of superficial things that in my 20s or early 30s would have been really important to me.

These days I am just fine with staying in my yoga pants for the day, or putting my unwashed locks up in a ponytail to go to Target.  If someone else has a problem with it, then that is their deal.

One of the biggest changes is a lot more amorphous than breakfast or shoes, though.  It is how much faster time is.  Since I had children, time has sped up exponentially.  My days pass like a runaway train, and there is no stopping it.  This is one reason mindfulness has become so important to me.

I started writing this post with the idea it would simply be about my goofy quirks, but as I wrote, I got to thinking about the whole aging process and what it means to me.

I don’t have a neat answer, or a conclusion yet.

But I’ll let you know if I come across one, because I’m sure it will be on my mind.  After all, I’m almost 40.  That might be half my life.  Makes a girl think.

Past Life Progression

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Rebirth is all around

Rebirth is all around

In a past life, I was a nice 15-year-old girl with a boyfriend named Alex. He stood near me at my locker.  I caught him watch me bend to pick up a book. He brought me flowers while I studied at the library. He kissed me tentatively on the beach in April as our impulsively bare feet grew numb in the sand. He dreamed with me about marriage and babies and mini vans. Then we broke up.

In a past life I did ballet and wore my hair in a bun. My instructor told me my breasts were too large to be a “real” dancer, so I flattened them down with duct tape.

In a past life I believed “there is a time and place for everything, and it is called college.” I danced, got drunk, and dated drummers.

In a past life I went topless to a NOW rally in Washington, DC and met Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly and thought life could never get any better than that sunny day.

In a past life I held degrees in dance and creative writing, but couldn’t find a job so I worked for a Bishop.

In a past life the Marine I dated broke my finger on Valentine’s day, got me pregnant, and beat me down until I leaked life out of my wrists and crotch.

In a past life unhappily married men held me as their patron saint.

In a past life I did yoga on an ashram, lingered lazily in a moon-lodge while pasting magazine pictures onto the walls. I wore lilac oil, tye-dyed skirts, and pierced my navel.

In a past life I followed the Grateful Dead. I was one of those hippie chicks who spun and spun, my skirt flaring out like a hibiscus.

In a past life, a little dog went everywhere with me.  I fancied her my spirit guide until she died.

In a past life, I went to graduate school to get a degree in social work because I thought I would be good at making understanding faces at people in pain.

In a past life I dreamed of travel but never got much father than my own continent.

In a past life, a nice guy made me a mixed tape. Little did I know we would part ways only to find our way back to each other seven years later in another life.

All these lives, these moments, these slippery stepping stones that seemd to take me so far from my self, actually brought me back around to the very time and place of birth into this life.  All of these lives separate and distinct, yet part of a whole like the petals of a flower.

In this life, I walked up to a cafe to find the nice guy who made the mixed tape waiting for me. In this life I chose to leave the veils of drama far behind, because any more bullshit would have cost me this life.

In this life I got married and had two babies.

In this life I am someone’s wife, someone’s mom.

In this seamless, endless life.