Oh Mom, Maine was so wonderful. We were gone for the perfect amount of time, just enough to make me miss home and shake me out of my same old routines.
It was so nice to not make the bed, not sweep, not do laundry, not cook dinners….I guess that’s what vacationing as a mother feels like.
We stayed about an hour and twenty minutes from Acadia National Park, so early in the mornings, we’d get up, eat, shower and leave our hotel by 7 a.m. to make the drive in our rental car. Each day we picked somewhere different to explore: Sand Beach, Hunter’s Beach and Ship Harbor were our three highlighted areas.
Every place was more beautiful than the next, with mountains and changing colored trees and sand and rocks and trails of moss and pebbles. The air is so clean and beautiful up there. While in the woods with pine trees lining our paths, it smelled like a cinnamon Christmas.
Everett was in his glory on the sand, and I marveled watching him throw and toss sticks with the Atlantic coast behind him. Seeing a vision like that manifested into reality was pretty incredible, and I felt satisfied knowing I got my son to that spot, just as I’d imagined.
He seemed the perfect age for the trip, too; just old enough to truly have fun. It was like he knew he was the center of me and Chris’ attention, smiling at each of us while out at dinner, virtually saying, you guys…this is just great!
And this trip solidified us a family. It was our first vacation together (besides camping, but that doesn’t completely count) and I loved how the three of us effortlessly floated along together. Chris and I felt like a team, and I didn’t have to ask him to put on Everett’s shoes or make the twentieth peanut butter and jelly sandwich before we walked out the door. How beautiful it is to share a partnership like that.
And when Everett would cry in the car, refusing to sleep but exhausted from exploring, Chris and I would carry on our conversation, not letting Everett’s tantrum ruin our “fun.” For the first time, we felt like tried and true parents.
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you. While packing for the trip, I had written and tucked away in my suitcase a post-it note that said: sign in Maine. Otherwise, I’d have forgotten to think about the request I asked for in my last journal entry.
And on our second vacation day, we pulled into the shops at Bar Harbor, first walking to the bathrooms. We passed a shop window that had a little wooden whittled blue jay hanging on a corner display. It’s a bird that always makes me think of you for reasons that seem too silly to even try to explain right now.
I felt like I needed to buy it, like it was “the sign,” so I did, and then shortly after while in the car I started to think, was that it? No, that was stupid. It couldn’t have been the sign. It was just a coincidence. You’re dumb Hayley.
And then Ace of Base’s song came on the radio:
I saw the sign,
and it opened up my eyes,
I saw the sign.
I smirked on the inside, thinking, okay Mom…you win. I mean, come on now.
Now that we are home, life feels settled and renewed. Fall is in season, but the temperature has still been warm. I imagine in the next few days, the cool weather Chris and I both wait for all year, will be permanently here.
Everett seems to want me just the right amount, liking to play on his own but he’ll come running if his finger gets pinched in a cupboard and needs comfort. The porch is still his favorite place to play, and I swear, come winter time, I’ll have to put him in a snow suit and boots to keep his outdoor outings a daily thing.
The other night, he was in his high chair and randomly said, “Uh oh!” real loud, with expression. Chris and I laughed, and so of course, Everett kept doing it. And he says “shoes,” now, in a real long high pitch tone like, sssshoeeeees!
When I ask, “Do you want to go nunnies (bed) he says, “YEA,” in a short quick stump of a word. He’ll nod his head in agreement and it’s just so cute watching him communicate. Just like that, my baby has said his first words. He is blooming before our eyes, a new petal opening every single day.
I have been feeling good lately. My period came while up in Maine, so now I’m in the best mental space I’ll be in all month. I’ve gotten better at controlling my well-being after ovulating, a problem that got so intense before, I turned to anti-depressants last fall.
I keep track of my cycle on my calendar, so now I’m never surprised when I start feeling a little low emotionally. I don’t know why I never kept track of it in high school or college. During the two-ish weeks of the month when my energy dips, I have been getting better at taking care of myself:
- more yoga/meditation at home
- taking time alone, even if it’s just sitting up in our room while Chris watches T.V. downstairs
- journaling my gratitude lists
- trying to breathe better and slower and mindfully, especially when I’m falling asleep
- being in one task at a time: no rushing
- and never sleeping with my phone on my nightstand
I’m not writing that list to say, ooo look at me Mom, doing it all perfect. Because I’m not doing it perfect and truth be told, the first day we were Maine, I was a compete ass crab. And I took some “medication” for two of the days because I couldn’t shake that anxious rushing feeling I get for no reason. (I write medication in quotes because I don’t feel like these particular pills are medicine; they just cover up my symptoms).
But for the first time, possibly like ever, I knew I was moody, let myself feel moody, and then tried to separate myself from the emotions. Instead of going down the rabbit hole and thinking of everything that felt sucky, I pumped myself with as much positive perspective as I could, thinking you’re in Maine, you have a nice room, the weather is nice, Everett is sleeping, etc.
Making those mental positive affirmation lists (or writing them in my journal) is my surest way to feel better. I just have to care enough to want to change my attitude and for some reason, a lot of times, I don’t. It’s almost as if I’m comfortable being moody (especially before my period) because I’m so used to the feeling. Not consciously changing my thought patterns is the “easy way out.”
The Universe loves gratitude,
so for this month make a commitment to give thanks each day.
Every day look for things to be grateful for.
Make “thank you” your catchphrase.
As you walk from one place to another, say “thank you” with every step.
Begin each day with the words “thank you,” and make your last thought at night one of giving thanks for the day.
Be grateful under all circumstances, no matter what is happening around you.
Just 30 days of saturating yourself with gratitude will change your life beyond your comprehension.
When you radiate and live gratitude you press the ON switch to the Universe and it will deliver all good to you, matching the intensity of your gratitude.
That quote has been on my fridge for months now, and even while believing in it and having felt the positive effects that appreciating has, it is still challenging to remember to be grateful. But I am getting better at it; it’s practice, just like it’s a “yoga practice” or “meditation practice.”
I hope to teach my kids about gratitude. I want to teach them how to breathe, how to be in one moment at a time when they get frustrated or overwhelmed. Because at some point in childhood, we all lose that ability. We start to worry who is better at coloring or running or kissing, start to compare and judge ourselves through the eyes of others.
When will Everett lose the ability to play with sand or kiss his “mum mum” and be only in that moment as it is? When will he judge himself? When does that voice start to turn on in our heads? You know, the one that never shuts up and always finds a problem in everything.
I’m aware I won’t be able to raise present little buddhas; that’s not my goal. But why aren’t we taught about meditation and the power of our minds and the connection we have to the infinite Universe? I feel like it’s my job to teach my children those things.
Science knows that everything is energy but we ignore the fact that our hearts beat and our blood flows and the wind blows and that our most precious resource somehow falls from the sky above.
It’s all energy.
Do I sound weird? I know I do. And I’m sure my kids will be little weirdos, too. At least we’ve got Chris to keep us grounded. He holds the strings to my 99 red floating balloons, letting me travel up to the clouds but always keeping me attached and in reality.
When we’d walk through the City Forest trails in Bangor (the town we stayed in), he looked at the map each and every time one appeared at a fork on the path. I’d say something like, let’s just wander and see where we end up, we’ll be fine…and he’d smirk, knowing there was no chance in hell he would be comfortable doing that. This is the man who turns on his GPS as soon as we get in the car. Chris always has to know exactly where he is going and is always cleverly thinking ahead.
He is perhaps the most clever person, ever; one of the reasons I fell in love with him.
But anyways, at one point, I think he let me think we were wandering and we ended up meeting a man on a mountain bike named Corky and his Aussie dog, Abby. Corky was a professor at Penn State University for thirty years, so we found some common ground and started talking. We exchanged e-mails, and later he sent us all of Acadia’s best spots, along with a dinner invitation.
That night, we ended up at his late 1800’s little Maine farmhouse for what felt like a family meal with a grandfather we hadn’t seen for awhile. It was wonderful. We ate fresh shrimp and rice and salad. Everett fell in love with green grapes (a color he’s never had before) and I drank a glass of wine, for the first time since being on this restrictive “inner gut reset” diet.
When Corky asked, would you like anything to drink? I thought, fuck it, and responded, “Sure, a glass of red if you have it, please.” (Sorry for that word. I use it in real life and am tired of always hiding it from you).
Sometimes wandering brings on the best adventures, something I never would’ve believed in before I started understanding how everything is energy and all of energy is connected. And if I’m always connected to you, no matter where I am, you are always with me…something that makes me safe and never able to be truly lost.
But for some reason, I always try to find reason to doubt that truth.
Doubt is my biggest “problem.” I doubt whether you’re still real sometimes, I doubt if I can write a book, I doubt if Chris and I will really ever have our property.
Two days before we left for Maine, I took that alone time up in my room, away from Chris who was watching T.V. downstairs, and sat on my bed. I stared at my wall, not knowing why I was feeling so blah. And then I just started crying. And kept crying, starting to whisper to myself out loud.
Is all this sign stuff bullshit? Am I pretending to know where Mom is? Is she really just gone, simply with no explanation? Is this energy stuff just a hoax to make people like me feel better? Does the law of attraction work or is it just hippy stuff? Where is Mom?
And the feeling of you being gone, away and forever cut off and separated from me hurt so incredibly bad, that I refused to wonder and cry any longer. I have done that before for too many years, searching and wondering and questioning and trying to find the map that would tell me where you went.
The difference is now, when I feel sad, I can choose to stay connected and open to you. It is always my choice. So I let my emotion out, got off the bed and moved on. Crying felt like this beautiful release instead of a terrible storm.
All this energy “stuff” has finally given me something to believe in. It always made sense to me, but I never tried hard enough to understand it or practice it. But I had to when Everett was born because being a mother completely without you was just too painful.
If I doubt the blue jays or songs on the radio–the signs that make me feel powerful, they won’t come. I know if I doubt the property, we will never get it. I know if I doubt my ability to become an author, I’ll never live up to that potential.
The law of attraction is all about like energy attracting like, as if we were magnets with the ability to anchor in what we wanted.
So in itself, if I believe in the law’s power to create, it works. If I think it’s bogus, then I’ll never receive any evidence that it’s real.
Doubt is just resistance to getting what I want, like trying to run full speed one way, but then backtracking to make sure you took the right turn.
It reminds me of one of my favorite books I read to Everett, called The Carrot Seed.
It goes like this:
A little boy planted a carrot seed.
His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
His father said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
His big brother said, “It won’t come up.”
Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water.
But nothing came up.
And nothing came up.
Everyone kept saying it wouldn’t come up.
But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water.
And then, one day…
A carrot came up, just as the little boy had known it would.
If I planted a virtual seed and said, I know this journal can be a successful book, but then days later was told my writing was terrible and lost my enthusiasm and belief and stopped watering and weeding and tending to my desire, it would not grow. I’d have to not listen to people who doubt, and not listen to the voice inside my head that doubts: the one I’m learning is not me.
So on my fridge, a place I look at often, I put a goal date to start writing a cover letter and proposal, all the beginning works of getting my work out there and into the reality of a book. I have no idea what I’m doing, no clue as to how to do any of this. All I’ve ever been told is “getting published is impossible,” and I used to let that stop me.
But I know if I believe like that little boy did, I can do it.
All in its own perfect timing, my carrot will come up, simply if I believe it will and never stop.
That’s where I keep getting stuck–I keep stopping. But I’m learning how to keep going; this journal is evidence of my continual forward journey of believing in the Universe and myself and you.