Girl crush #BehindTheBlogger

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Being an introvert isn’t a bad thing. Although I am starting to worry I sound like one of “those” introverts who uses her introversion as a crutch. I don’t. I am just okay with it. I, for the most part, very much enjoy the silence of just being by myself. I like to be home, with my kids doing things at home. In my home. I think you get the point. But sometimes, I’d REALLY like to have a friend.

We are “walkers” at school. This last year has been more driving then walking because Dexter still doesn’t get that we cannot play everyday. Especially days when his sister works. And so, in order to avoid a fit, we drive and I park by the bus stop where Drew is dropped off and Davis’ bus stops. I realize this is a bandaid to something I should just deal with but by 3:40, I’ve had enough crying for the day. So we drive. But when we walked, I liked it. Because it was a small chance at a little small talk each day. And I enjoy seeing the little people each day, most happy to be going home, telling mom or dad or whomever, about their wonderful day.

There are a hundred and two blogs out there about the beautifully made up moms. Hair done and legging that are more then my car payment. This isn’t one of those. Most of my mothers are in the same yoga pants I wear. They are often more colorful and rarely as beat up as mine, but they’re yoga pants indeed. Except this one mom. And she is my crush.

She’s beautiful. I once snapped a photo of her. Crazy stalker much. I posted it on my Instagram account like a crazy person and quickly deleted it when someone I know recognized her. I had shared with a glimmer of hope of wanting her to know how much I looked up to her. Because I do.  Her in her boyfriend jeans and wild shirts. She talks so nice to her child and has this wonderfully curly mop of hair that makes me want to touch it. She is always smiling. She is always dressed adorably and I found out today, she is a pretty successful entrepreneur. She just exudes happy, and kind and I want to know her secret. She’s my girl crush… my mommy girl crush. But I chickened out and deleted it in hope no one would share or think I was a complete nut job.

But she makes me smile. In mom world where it’s so cut throat and mean, I want to tell her every time I see her how lovely I think she is. I’m sure she’d think I was nuts or stumble across this blog post and immediately file a restraining order. But she makes me smile. Because she’s just seems to be who I want to be in my heart.

I wonder sometimes, well often, how it feels to be so comfortable in your own skin. I don’t believe everyone is happy or comfortable all the time but what’s it like to feel beautiful in a shirt with enormous chrysanthemums printed on it? What’s it like to talk to everyone with ease? Or wear big, beautiful rings of fake plastic gems? Or have unicorn colored hair. I’d gladly turn in black tee shirt for something wild if I could just get my heart and head in the same camp. Sometimes I run my fingers across the beautiful sparkly things at the mall and think, I’d like that. But I never buy it, because *I* would look weird. That’s what my head tells me. Anxiety, boy it’s a bitch. But I would like to be girl crush to someone… she’s my inspiration and I’d like to do that for someone else someday. Pay it forward, as soon as I get out of my own head.

In my younger days I had a wilder presence. I don’t really know what changed and I think about the pair of overalls I wore nearly everyday without fail. Because I didn’t care and they stayed up, unlike the jeans of today. And it’s about more than just clothes. It’s about self. Loving yourself so much that people can see your joy. I want to show people my joy too. But sometimes my thunder cloud is just too thick.

So girl crush, you make me smile. I want to buy all your things now…. and I want to learn from you how to be full of joy. Thank you for making me smile.

 


 

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Cookies or grapes

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January and February are particularly tight months for us. It’s after the holidays and a birthday and I just have never had much work in the cold season. When I was shooting it was because of the cold but now that I mostly focus on graphic work, I think the slow period comes from other people’s tight months too. I am a meal planner, a frugal shopper. I utilize both Aldi and freezer meals. I have to, I’m feeding 7 and 5 of them are boys. We do what we can to get through the lean months. All of the time I worry, all of the time we come out okay.

Yesterday I took my weekly budget to the store for the staples I can’t keep in stock. Milk, chocolate milk (yes, I know how much it costs), bread, bananas, apples, carrots and some treats for today’s school Valentine’s party. I got healthy snacks this time and pre-cut, non-brown apples are where it is at. I buy eggs at Grocery Outlet though. You can get 2.5 dozen for around 2.00. Dexter eats at least one egg a day and with baking and what not, I need eggs all the time. It’s conveniently next to Dollar Tree too. Win win.

I wandered around the store for awhile, taking note of new items and how their produce looked. I grabbed lunch meat and some frozen fast food for the days when dinner doesn’t come till 9PM and then I stood in line behind a woman who smelled lovely, like the woods but didn’t crack a smile and counted her money over and over. 26.00. I couldn’t help but count with her. She’d placed most of her items onto the belts but held onto a bag of grapes. And when it was her turn, she asked how much they were and when the checker  replied, she dropped her head and asked the checker to put them back.

I couldn’t help but notice she’d chosen two, several pound logs of cookie dough over those grapes. And I wondered, without judgement, why?

I played out several scenarios in my head. But I couldn’t help but think why I’d of chosen the cookie dough. If my kids needed a treat for school, they’d signed up for it, for a party, and I couldn’t bake, I would’ve chosen the dough too. To make sure they fit in, to make sure they have what they need. And while cookie dough doesn’t seem like a need to some of us. I might be a need to them. Did she chose her kids over herself? I couldn’t help but think those grapes might of been a want, a need for her. That she gave up to makes sure someone else was taken care of.

As a mother I always try and put my children before myself. Often at the sake of sanity. I want grapes. I want them but their need for cookie dough always comes before mine. When they need a haircut, they get it. When I do? It waits until I make sure their needs are met. It’s what parents are suppose to do, isn’t it? There is so much huff and puff these days about self care. You need time for yourself, they say but when it comes at the expense of your children, how do you choose self over the people you brought into this world and promise to take care of.

Tough being a mother.

My self care has fallen to the way side. I don’t go out much and though a tried and true introvert, I still experience the longing for connection. I just think it’s not in the same way of the masses. I am never going to go to moms night out but I would really like a mom friend at baseball. Even if we don’t talk, it would be nice to breath in the presence of her and her of me. But my going out? It’s Cub Scouts and while I cherish and value the time I get to spend with my Drew and I think Chuck, Steve and Charlie are pretty much the bomb.. .I couldn’t care less about how to build a tent and I am a TERRIBLE Pinewood Derby car creator. I’m trying to retrain my brain into taking those moments in as “self care” but I find myself thinking about what it would be like to be 17 again sitting at a table on the Pearl Street mall listening to Open Mic night at Penny Lane cafe. It was my self care. My connection to people, my  grapes.. and I am missing it. This weekend, at a Cub Scout related volunteering, I listened at the pastor taught about rest.. and I thought, I never rest. Even when I am still….

I feel fortunate in the fact I have a couple pretty stellar online friends. I chat with two every day. Both too far to visit daily but close enough that if I filled up my tank I could go see for a few days. I’ll do that some day, when there is more time for me.

The days are long but the years are short, they say. I think while I struggle with it right now, ultimately I am doing the right thing by my children and kids by giving them the very best I can. But I think I need something, even if it’s little, just to myself.

How do you self care? Or are you, like me, struggling?

 

You Make Me Smile

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Dexter has always been a feisty one. He was a tiny little chicken shaped baby with almost no hair except the little mohawk like tuff on the top of his head. His labor was miserable. All in my back and long. I remember thinking in my head, “hurry up little boy” but he took his time. It set the tone for his life to date.

He was also a wild baby. Bullheaded. Determined. He would climb things and do things that just weren’t normal of a baby his age. I will never forget the day that he managed to open our front down, navigate the front steps and go to the car… that is parked on the busy street. In a few short moments I’d lost him, because he wanted to go. Thank God for kind people who’d grabbed him as I flung my entire self out the door towards the street.

Dexter didn’t talk. At all for almost two years. Looking at all the words Dixon has at only 18 months, I feel so bad I didn’t realize how little my Dexter said. He was two before he could even say his name and even that was tough for him. He said almost nothing his entire first year in preschool and his chosen form of communication was always a fit, closely followed by head pounding. We had a rough year.

Months of speech therapy, lots of constant talking and we’ve finally met some milestones. Yesterday I listened to him speak in 5-7 words sentences. Of course he’s got a little bit of help but he’s coming along. He’s got so many new words and such a bright and nice attitude. He’s like a new child. The child I knew he was.. the child hidden by the frustration of not being able to tell people what he needed. What he wanted and what needed to be done.

We were out and about last week. He played happily with kids and tried to make simple conversations. He’s big. Well, taller, than the average three year old we’re finding and I think the expectation of him may be that of a four year old. One child who found it curious he didn’t “talk”, said he was dumb. “He doesn’t talk so good. He’s dumb.”

My boy? Dumb? Not at all. And while my heart broke into a million tiny pieces, it was quickly built back up when he looked at the child as if nothing happened and kept playing. Because he’s happy. And I don’t know if he just didn’t realize what being dumb was or if he didn’t care but either way, his bright and beautiful smile made me smile.

I think he knows in his heart how hard he’s working and what a good, sweet and fun boy he is. He’s not dumb. Not at all. And unfortunately kids can be cruel and sadly, it seems to be starting younger and younger. Hopefully, we’re providing him with enough love and kindness so that those words go in one ear and out the other… and that he just keeps smiling… and knowing that he makes me smile too.