Summer has passed so quickly; usually the hot summer season seems to drag on and on as I anxiously await October’s arrival.
I took an early morning walk the other day with Everett and Clifford. The air was so cool that the baby was bundled up in his blanket and I wore a sweatshirt and baseball cap, covering my wet but drying hair. I felt so cozy and relaxed. And for some reason as we strolled along, I kept singing:
Wasted away again in Margaritaville,
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt.
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame,
But I know, it’s my own damn fault.
*(I promise that song will be relevant later in this entry).
Everett has been a fire pistol lately. He’s still a good little boy but my oh my is he stubborn, “just like his mother,” as Chris likes to comment.
He waives hi and bye now, and will look at me saying, “ma ma,” in a soft, sweet voice. It’s so adorable. I just want to bottle him up and carry him around this size forever.
In the mornings when I do my little “get ready routine,” he’s been standing at his bedroom gate and whining for my attention. So now I just shut my bathroom door so he can’t see me from down the hall and soon after, he’ll stop his crying protest. Later I’ll find him sitting content on his bum reading The Hungry Caterpillar, having completely forgotten about the tantrum he threw minutes before.
I used to feel guilty closing the bathroom door for fifteen minutes, like who am I to hide from my child? But what mother doesn’t sometimes hide from her children? I remember you doing it all the time, in your bathroom, too. When Tatum was little, she’d hang onto the door handle and scream and you’d keep talking on the phone and doing whatever it was you did in there, ignoring her charades for attention.
As a witnessing teenager, I’d think, Mom is so mean. Now as an experiencing mother, I think, Mom was so smart.
And the reality is, Everett is of course fine in his bedroom. I can see him. I’m not shutting him out and saying, “See ya later dude.” He is fine and taken care of and I’m certainly not the mean mother I was always so convinced you were.
I just need moments away. I’m a priority, even as a mom.
For some reason, this has continually been a hard concept to grasp. I love my child so much that it’s easy to put him before me, all the time and without exception. Whether it’s making his lunch before I’ve had mine or not taking a shower because he’ll cry in his room, Everett always comes first.
I wipe every booger. I change every diaper. I provide every snack and meal and sippy cup and bottle. I clean all the crumbs. I guide him down the steps. I take him in and out of the car seat, in and out of the high chair, in and out of the crib, in and out of the stroller. I do it all for him, all day.
And I would never, ever want to change that. I love taking care of him and getting to play and watch him grow during our lazy afternoons together at home. I’d never want someone else always wiping his bum or making his grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s just easy to get swept away into the little world of Everett and forget about mine.
I know a lot of mothers who work office jobs would give anything to be with their children all day. So a part of me feels super spoiled and entitled to complain about such a thing, but learning that I can come first without falling under the “abandoning mother category” has not always been easy.
Sitting alone and breathing has been my go-to “me” activity. Meditating is one of those things that’s so easy, it’s hard to make a habit of, but doing it brings clarity and calm and the chance to filter through my thoughts.
The same day after our chilly morning walk, I sat on my bed by myself while Everett napped and closed my eyes. I got comfortable and slowed down my breath, counting up to five then down from five. Once I found a steady breathing rhythm, my mind wandered and eventually without thinking I said in my head, today I’ll find a sign that mom is here with me.
And I’ve learned through many trials ending in error, that I can’t wait for a sign and believe deep down it won’t come. So this time, I expected one, not caring when or how it would appear.
We were going out to Nana’s that afternoon, but on the drive there, got stuck in terrible traffic. My cell phone was being replaced, so unable to play my music, I had the radio on. The talk show host repeated to stay off the parkway at all costs, but I was already right smack in the middle of standstill chaos, cars crowded together because of an accident ahead.
I tried my best not to get mad or frustrated. Instead I thought of how glad I was that I decided to pee before leaving the house. Or that Everett and I had our cups of water. Or that it was a nice breezy day outside, one where having the windows wound open was totally appropriate.
When I would think, how long is this going to take…I can’t even call Nana to say I’ll be late without my phone…I’d pull myself back into the moment and simply try to be where I was. Worrying or being mad wouldn’t create wings to fly me out of the traffic, so what was the point of feeling miserable?
Then the song Margaritaville came on the radio and I instantly got chills, knowing it was the sign I had asked for. I don’t know why I had been singing it during our walk that morning because I can’t remember the last time I even heard it. But there it was, playing on my never turned on radio.
The sign reminded me that mom is still here, she can still hear you, you are in the right place right now, even stuck in this traffic. I know it sounds weird, like how could that song be a sign? But I know it was because of the way it made me feel. It was like this instant sparking moment of connection.
The whole situation got me thinking about this great law of attraction example, written by the stellar author, Jen Sincero:
“You need to raise the frequency to match the vibration of the one you want to tune into. It’s like trying to listen to a certain radio station but tuning it to the wrong frequency. If you have a hot and sexy date and want to listen to 105.9FM Slow Jamz, but set the dial to 89.9FM National Public Radio, you’re not only going to be Slow Jamless, but you’re more likely to attract a discussion about immigration laws instead of attracting a relaxed and candlelit body that’s in the mood for love.”
The same is true for my emotions. If I want to feel happy, if I want to do something really big, I can’t be thinking about an impossibility or how sad my life feels because of x y and z and then receive good results. I can’t say or think, I’ll never publish a book. I don’t know the process and I’m not a good enough writer, and then expect myself to accomplish my goal.
I have to get myself in the feeling place of being an author and thinking of titles and book covers and a seven city book tour with my best friend (listening to sexy Slow Jamz), not mope about where I’ll find the means to publish this journal or tell myself I can’t do such a thing (National Public Radio).
In simple words, it’s impossible to be happy or accomplish what you really want if you’re stuck in a sucky vibrational standpoint. Both ends of the receiver must match.
I have been reading about this sort of magic, as I like to call it, since the spring before you died. The first book I read was called A New Earth and it completely changed my perspective about everything.
Here is my absolute favorite part, still underlined and circled in pink pen:
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.”
I wrote that in your eulogy, and those words truly pivoted how I viewed my world, especially when you were sick. I understood, and still understand them to mean that I can’t control what happens in my life, but I can control how I respond to situations and trust that life lives me.
“You don’t paddle against the current, you paddle with it. And if you get good at it, you throw away the oars.”
All I have to do is go with the natural flow of life and be satisfied with the now conditions. And when I take that time to sit and breathe in my room alone, I’m allowing myself to be in the now moment, when everything and anything is always fine.
Even if the whole world around me was crumbling to pieces, I could find peace in each inhale and exhale because they are the now moment. The past and future only exist when I think about them in the now, so they’re not even really real. Does that make sense?
Why drag about the past or worry about the future when all that productively does is take away the peace to be found in the present? I know that sentence is super wordy, but think about it for a second.
It’s a lot to understand and I’m still trying to grasp it all. But I’m finally trying to bring the things these books have taught me into real life. Like journaling my appreciation lists. Or sitting for five minutes with my eyes closed while Everett naps. Or allowing myself to be in one moment at a time, not worrying about when I’ll arrive at Nana’s because traffic changed my timely plans.
Yoga has been my guide in showing me just how powerful the now moment is and I am grateful to have found something so beneficial for my mind and body.
When you were diagnosed, without effort, I read those books and joined my girlfriends for a first yoga class, instantly becoming hooked to my local studio. It was like I was literally placed on the path to understanding what was happening in my flipped around world, all with perfect timing.
Allison and I recently went to a class together and I felt incredible during the entirety of it (that doesn’t always happen by the way). And every time I’d fold forward and tuck my little torso up and under to touch my legs, I would enjoy the sensation, hoping soon for a baby belly to be in the way.
In final relaxation, I spaced out, catching myself getting lazy in my breath and worrying about the yoga workshop I’m teaching at the end of September. I wondered how many people would come, what kind of essential oils I’d use…all worries that didn’t exist until I brought them into the now, ruining the present chance for peace.
When I realized I had drifted off, I started my deep breath again and within seconds, was back in that clear, non-physical and now place. I was so relaxed, I wasn’t even aware of my body.
Without thinking, I started saying in my head, “I am strong. I am beautiful. I love my body. I love my (still peeling) lips. I love my hair.” Saying these positive affirmations lit something up inside of me and I felt like I was in a pool of liquid love. I literally don’t know how else to explain it. I can’t make this stuff up.
I started to cry because it was so beautifully overwhelming. I felt like you were hugging me, like you were all through me and all I was thinking was, oh my god mom is here this is mom she is holding me. And the moment I started thinking, this is stupid this isn’t real you’re imagining all this, it would stop.
Because the second you stop believing, you pop the bubble and stop attracting the magic in your life. True words right there, from another favorite book I’m currently re-reading.
I think I was able to hit such an incredible state of euphoria in class because of the last entry I wrote to you. Honestly. When I first told you about the way I used to treat my body, I kept it hidden away in my computer files, telling myself the entry would only be for my book. I refused to post the entry online for friends and family to read.
And then I thought, why hide this? I’m not ashamed anymore. I have forgiven myself. What anyone thinks of my past hardships with food is their business, not mine.
Once I put my admission into the open, it wasn’t my dirty little secret anymore. It wasn’t mine to keep and I finally released every bit of hidden shame that was buried deep down within me.
Acknowledging my past allowed me to let go of the guilt and resentment and embarrassment. When I laid on my back in that yoga class and mentally spurted out those affirmations in my head, they came out easily, without thinking and made me feel capable. It was like I finally freed myself.
Because remember, my past cannot define me now because it is no longer real. I am not that old eating disorder. I am not that once failed relationship. I am not that lost girl without her mother. Those are all my past stories, what only once defined me, and I have the power to change my story over and over again.
Hearing Margaritaville under such “coincidental” circumstances reminded me that no certain music can change the way I want to dance. If life really is the dancer, when a song comes on that doesn’t jive, all I have to do is change the music to match how I want to feel. That way I can truly allow my life to dance as big and beautiful and proudly as she wants, wildly twirling and spinning around to the natural flows we all call life.
The now moment continually gives me the permission and freedom to be the brave person I dream to be…
Mom, I think I am becoming fearless.