Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An Anniversary Post: You must do the thing you think you cannot do

Today marks the fourth year of this blog. Four years. The first time I started writing, Little Miss wasn’t even one and she could barely toddle, moving from furniture to furniture, letting go long enough only to quickly grasp the next thing that would help steady her short, uncertain legs. 

And now she’s turning five in two weeks, swinging from one end of the monkey bars to the other without help, without trepidation. 

In these four years, we’ve also moved once, had another baby girl, quit our nine-to-five jobs so My Guy could be his own boss and I could stay home with the girls a little more, traveled as much as our finances would allow us, moved on to a bigger vehicle and added another, had to put our 12-year-old dog down, and almost lost our family.

Oh and I’ve also become a runner. Imagine that. Yes, a lot has happened. And didn’t happen, like losing my family. Thankfully, we worked it out, and now, we’re in a really good place. Really good.

But with each new event we experience, major or minor, good or bad, we learn so much, and to celebrate my fourth year here, I’d like to talk about the FOUR important things that I have learned and continue to work on every day:

1. Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” This is what drives My Guy, and I admire him immensely for that. It can get unnerving sometimes when the dust never seems to settle, that we can’t just sit back and enjoy the moment, because he’s constantly working towards a goal, challenging himself and us. However, I also learned that it’s not a bad thing. His passion fuels my own, and when we are working towards the same goals together, it makes the rough days worth it and the good days “really fucking amazing,” in his words. 2. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all parenting. Just because the girls share the same quirks (like insisting on a tissue on their pillow every night at bedtime when they turned two) doesn’t mean they are anything alike. In fact, what I’ve learned about parenting from Little Miss doesn’t always apply to Pickle, who is easier in some ways, and harder in others.

Right now, we are at a loss as to how to keep Pickle, at 29 months, in her big girl bed as she walks around her room, collecting an army of toys to keep her entertained at bedtime, whereas Little Miss, who asked to be in a big girl bed at 19 months, never once left the bed. She would twirl her hair for as long as it took to fall asleep, and when she woke in the morning, she’d patiently wait and sing to herself in bed until one of us entered her bedroom. Not once did her feet touch the ground even when there was nothing preventing her from it.

Not so much with Pickle, who decided that bedtime is a sport. And because we were spoiled with Little Miss Sleeps Like An Angel, we are losing the bedtime battle with her sister.
3. We have to talk. We are all talkers in this house. Both girls started speaking in full sentences early, My Guy talks for a living, and I don’t like to, but I can and sometimes, I do. Which is why it’s surprising that the biggest breakdown that happened between My Guy and I had to do with our lack of communication -- our inability to voice exactly what it was that troubled us about one another. But once we recognized that and started working on it, there’s no going back. We now talk to connect. Talk to articulate our emotions. Talk about our goals. Talk to laugh. Talk to feel good.

The thing is, we don’t always have the luxury of time to sit on the couch to speak at length about our day, and we’re okay with that too. Sometimes a night of back-to-back episodes of “The Walking Dead” with the occasional “holy shit, I can’t believe that just happened” thrown in between is the best way to connect after a long day. It’s knowing that the other is always open and available when we feel the need to talk is enough.
4. True friendships aren’t complicated. I have met some incredible people this past four years. Many of them are bloggers I met virtually but our friendships are no less real. Those of you who have followed my blog know how much these virtual friendships have helped me through a really hard time when I thought I was losing my family. Then there’s my best friend in real life whom I hardly see because we’re separated by many, many miles yet when we’re together, it’s like no time had passed, and no matter what happens, she never judges, and she’s always on my side. And that is true of a handful of friends in my life as well, and I'm ever so grateful for them.

But not everyone is like that. I’ve learned that too. There are people who are friends only in name as they can never be happy for me when I am happy, who will always begrudge me any good fortune that comes my way, and who always feel the need to be in competition. I've learned that that is more a reflection of them than it is of me. These are the people I have learned to quickly weed out from my life because really, who needs all that drama? No matter how old you get, high school always seems to want to catch up to you. I just refuse to let it. I’ve learned to stop being hard on myself and wondering what I did, accepting that friendship, too, isn’t a one-size-fits-all.

Just like My Guy, I, too, must do the things I think I cannot do. Like letting go of the things that are out of my control. Like accepting that I will never be that ever-patient, never-yelling, never-scolding mom. Like being okay with others’ perception of me, right or wrong, and not trying to convince them otherwise.

So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering. Just simple rules to live by for the next four years. If I’m still blogging then, I may have more to add to this, but for now, these are the things that are keeping it real for me.
Thank you for being here, reading these words. I’ve said this before in my first anniversary post, and I will say it again now: thank you for your support in my journey, whether you’ve been with me all four years, just this year, this month, or this day -- I will always be grateful and honored that you are with me
here, where I have landed.