Friday, September 30, 2016

It's Been Four Years

I am at a writing conference today on MSU conference.  I have been motivated to write again.  "Go home and be writers again," the facilitator said:
In college I was a creative writing minor, and I absolutely loved my writing professor, Dr. Sodowsky.  We had deadlines and would workshop one another's writing each week.  I loved it. I felt like a good writer.  I read a story at the Moon City Readings and I got published in the campus magazine.  But since then without having a deadline, I don't feel like a writer anymore.  I have blogged and journaled (mostly about my kids), but I don't finish pieces like I used to.  Knowing I had a deadline and audience totally shaped my desire / ability to feel successful as a writer.  I feel that if I took another class and had something to work toward I could and would write again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

5 Long Months

It's been a long time since I've written last, and a lot has happened since then.

Change is always hard, but this change has been especially hard for me.  You would think it would be easier coming home, but in a way, it feels more difficult. Partly because of expectations I put on myself, I am finding it hard to settle in to this new / old place.  I think maybe I thought I would ease back into who I was when I lived here before.  But I've become someone different, someone better.  And the new me doesn't want to fit into that old mold. 

I remember feeling sad when I moved to Columbia seven years ago, and I remember missing home.  And then I had to make Columbia my home, so it became important to me in a way that no other place has.  I'm probably romanticizing it and being sentimental, but I really grew into myself as an adult and as an educator during my years there.  I learned things about myself and who I want to be.  So perhaps this is why the city is so special to me now.  It's where I found my husband, where I gave birth to my child, and where I met some of the most important friends I'm conviced I will ever have. 

When I start to miss it, though, I never let myself ask if I made the right decision in moving.  Because I know we did.  Here we are closer to family, which is so important to us.  We have help with Miles' daily care.  We are on the verge of building a home we will live in and love for a long, long time.  These things are worth moving for. 

Something else I'm discovering firsthand is that change is hard for a reason.  It helps us grow and become better people -- so just like I became a better version of myself when I moved to Columbia, I'm certain the same will be said down the road of this move.  Maybe here I will be a better wife, a better daughter and sister, and a better mom. 

It's my mission now to celebrate the new version of me I am becoming.  I will still let myself miss my old home, but I won't let myself wish I had it easier.  Instead I will "celebrate myself and sing myself" as Walt Whitman did. 

I will embrace this change and look forward to the new me to come. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Time Flies

This morning Miles cried when I left, which was a first. 

I wasn't ready to do the right thing by being strong.  I caved and held him again and kissed his fat little cheeks and let him cling to my neck for a few more moments. 

Brittany and I were able to get him calmed down with a binky and Super Why (his favorite show).  But it was kind of sweet in a weird way - not that I want him to cry or be sad. But it was nice knowing that he would miss me today as much I would miss him. 

Tomorrow my baby turns 11 months old, and it's got me thinking about how quickly this year has gone by.  He's so big now! Walking and getting into everything.  This morning he put a weeble toy in the toilet.  It's like he's obsessed with all the things he shouldn't want to play with!  (trash can, toilet, toilet wand, etc.)  He's also obsessed with chasing the cat around the h.ouse, exclaiming  "Ga! Ga!" 

Sadie is not amused.

But this age is so much fun.  I am finally getting why people have like four or five of these! Not that I want to...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Apple of My Eye

A funny little story - on Friday I was at Panera with my mom, sister and Miles.  All during our lunch I was giving Miles chunks of honeydew melon and canteloupe, which he loved.  A few minutes later he grabbed the apple off my sister's tray and started gnawing on it, sinking his little teeth into the fruit.  It must have felt good on his little gums.
Mom and I grabbed our phones and snapped a few pictures.  We were laughing at how adorable he looked holding this apple. It was so cute!
Until a few minutes later when he choked for a second on a piece of skin.  He gagged a little - then yakked up formula and honeydew all over himself and the table and carpet. 
One beat of silence - then my sister and I burst into laughter.  As soon as I realized he was fine, I couldn't help cracking up.  It was so out of the blue, and it reminded me how life with a kid can turn on a dime. 
One second you're reveling in the beauty of your child, and the next you're on the floor of Panera cleaning up puke. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Playing Chase

Last night after Robert got home, he and Miles played chase.  That's their favorite game. 
It's always starts out really cute, because Miles has the most delighted laugh.  Adorable, melt your heart, belly laughter.  But I usually wind up standing in the kitchen, anxious, because I know what I'm about to hear: Miles crying  after he's fallen and hurt himself somehow. 

It seems like ever since he started walking, he's been falling.  It's so hard not to rush to him and comfort, soothe and hold him.  This is what I struggle with daily.  Because I don't want him to be a whiner or a kid who thinks he is hurt when he isn't.  So I attempt to hang back and be cool, waiting to see if he really needs me.

Over the weekend he fell, and I rushed to him, while Robert said, "Don't pick him up.  He's okay."  But mamas know the difference between a cry that means "I'm hurt" and a cry that means "I'm mad that I fell."  And this was an "I'm hurt" kind of cry. 

And he was.  Poor little dude cut his lip on one of those four crazy baby teeth he has.  There was a little blood. 

I surprised myself by being calmer than I would've thought - especially since I was about to walk out the door.  We put a teething ring on his lip, which made it better.  And I held him on my lap for several minutes, which made me feel better. 

And it struck me that this is what motherhood is all about -  knowing how to find that elusive balance between being there too much and not being there enough. 

Sometimes I lie in bed, freaking myself out because he is ALL the way downstairs (where he has been sleeping since he was three months old!), worried that he might need me but somehow be unable to cry out for me.  And then I remind myself that he is turning into a little boy; he is a person who needs his own bed, his own space. 

I know that I will always have to work on that sense of balance when it comes to my baby.   Has any mom ever achieved it successfully? Probably not.  But I guess being a mama means you have to try.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Am a Runner

Even typing that title gives me anxiety.  Never in a million years would I have thought I could EVER describe myself as a runner.  It is hard.  It is exhausting.  And it makes me feel so, so strong.

Usually I run about three times a week.  I am up to running a little over two miles without stopping, but my goal is three; this is because I'll be running a 5K in two weeks.  It's only my second time to run the 5K - the first time was two years ago, and I cried running across the finish line.  I literally could not believe I had done it.  I just never saw myself as a "runner" because runners are thin, athletic, and their jeans always fit.  They don't drink beer or crave Andy's frozen custard on a daily basis.

Yesterday Miles and I went to the MKT together.  He sucked on a frozen piece of honeydew melon for most of the run while also babbling at the trees and birds and other trail goers.  I ran two miles without stop, and the last half mile was a killer.  Pushing an extra twenty-some pounds really takes it out of your energy level!

When I run in my neighborhood, I have a mile course I've plotted out for myself that I run at least twice.  There are some slight hills that I feel lend a sense of reality of what the 5K course will be like.  I usually run around 7:15 in the evening, after helping get Miles ready for bed.  I throw on my jogging bra, lace up my pink Nikes, and head out the door, turning right out the driveway. 

I only walk for thirty seconds or so before getting started.  There are very distinct smells at every section of my course - downwind of Sonic it smells like a carnival, greasy fried food and dust.  Later on there's a spot that usually smells like spray paint, and about six houses down from ours the air smells like Ramen noodles every single time.  My favorite smells are when someone is cutting their lawn, and when I wipe the sweat off my face around mile one, my hands smell like Johnson & Johnson lavendar baby lotion. This make me think of Miles and always brings a smile to my face.

But what I love best about running is that it's not for anyone else but me.  Unlike everything else in my life, no one else depends on my success.  It feels strange to be committed to this new addiction of mine.  And really good to do something both healthy and completely selfish. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Green (and Gold) Day

Sometimes when I imagine what it'll be like to leave Rock Bridge / Columbia, I imagine Green Day singing "Time of Your Life" as a montage of clips scroll by - me with my students and friends living it up in Columbia, my home of the last seven years. 

Sometimes, like today, the sadness squeezes so tight that I don't think I can hold back the tears for one more minute. 

I have been slowly cleaning out desk drawers, folders and file cabinets - recycling, giving away and packing all the crap I've inexpicably held onto for the past several years.  There are papers from kids who are gone - dead or graduated, and papers from kids I had forgetten all about.  Old lesson plan books, conference notes and handouts all serve as reminders of who I was and am as a teacher, what a huge part of my life has been all about. 

It's making me sentimental, and I'm trying not to romanticize it all, but taking this step is huge and scary. 
I'm sad.
Leaving is going to be really, really hard. 
I got choked up today, reading a story from a book about Vietnam called The Things They Carried that has never made me emotional before.  I realized it's because this may be the last time I'll teach this story, this book, this unit.  It's about saying good-bye.  Not just to the kids or my classroom of the last seven years, or even this school.  But to everyone I know here, my town, my second home.