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making time

I’m always just barely pulling my thoughts together before midnight strikes on New Year’s Eve. But this year is different, in that it’s 8:49pm and I’m in for the evening, on my own with a sleeping boy.

Also, I’ve given a lot of thought to my plans for the New Year already, especially while laying around nursing and waiting for E to fall asleep. It doesn’t exactly qualify as meditation but it does sometimes qualify as productive, albeit relaxing, thought.

The other morning, I went on a four-mile run here in Scottsdale. I put on Liz Gilbert’s (of Eat, Pray, Love) podcast about creativity “Magic Lessons” and took off toward this pretty green space that has 20 miles of trails. Simultaneously, I started my Map My Run app to record my workout.

As you may know, Map My Run (or other apps) will pop in with a voice every mile that says, “Time: 10 minutes 30 seconds. Pace: 10 minutes 30 seconds per mile.” (I actually ran faster that day but often don’t, especially on the hills of SF.) Well, I went about listening to several inspiring podcasts, and it happened not just once but TWICE that when the Map My Run lady popped in to say, “Time:” the person in the podcast was saying the word “time.” Simultaneously. Twice.

The first time, I thought- cool. Notice. Coincidences are meaningful. I was understanding something like, “It’s time.” Hmmm. And when it happened again, I was blown away. The second time, the message was, “Make time.”

I mean, come on. How can I pull my thoughts together at 8:49pm on New Year’s Eve and think I’ll have a coherent plan for a full year? Or pull together a book proposal in 30-minute sessions once every three months? Or even do significant blog posts only on the bus? How can I even know what I want, what I am yearning for, what I’m fighting for, what I’m aiming for?

Make time. It’s so clear. And- it ties in with a conversation I had with my sisters in the basement in Chicago last week, where we crammed in all significant life topics and planning and sibling business into about 45 minutes. With kids, you must take these windows of opportunity or go years without having sister time. My life summary was: I have big creative projects brewing that can’t quite be articulated, I may try to have another baby, and I need to make more money. I’ve been happily working and parenting and running home from work and blogging–yet my ideas for next projects percolate and never quite go anywhere. My sisters’ prescription: the Miracle Morning.

Now, before I start championing this idea, let me state that I haven’t read the book, nor have I even once yet put the Miracle Morning into practice. All I know is what my sisters told me: go to sleep with E at 8pm and get up at 5:30am. Meditate, do affirmations, do visualizations, exercise, read, and write- for an hour. Every day. They’re both doing it and it’s indeed been life-changing for them. (B starts with dancing.)

What seems absolutely thrillingly right on about this is that the hour or so I get per evening to myself is wasted. I am beat. I walk out of the bedroom and somehow ending up looking at facebook for an hour and I haven’t even done the dishes yet. The prospect of putting clothes away fills me with despair. I have rarely done anything creative at that hour. So it does seem logical to start fresh, in the morning, and start the day with progress already under my belt. Plus, I’m drinking coffee again (yay!) and look forward to savoring my cup with more time in the morning (and the caffeine won’t hurt either given the early hour). Plus I could put in a load of laundry before getting started…

So, this is my plan. My mind is overflowing with other ideas for New Year’s resolutions, such as decluttering (never quite finished the Konmari method in 2015), finishing my book proposal (also didn’t finish in 2015), expressing love more freely, being more kind and generous with strangers, setting up a regular time to play chamber music, running a race, moving to Paris, designing a patented nursing garment, creating a gratitude practice, learning about content strategy, and coming up with a slogan for 2016 about being fearless. However, it seems like all of this can derive from my one hour a day, because that will be my time to focus on whatever I want. HAHA! It’s like the genie gave me three wishes and my first wish was for more wishes.

And, yes- for the past many months and years since embarking on the Solo Mama Project, my creative project has been bring E into the world and making his life awesome. And, yes- I actualized him after committing myself to the journey and many failed attempts. I also actualized my affordable two-bedroom apartment in a bananas rental market. I am a powerful being! I have many gifts to share with the world! I’m so looking forward to clearing some of the fuzz from my brain and just clearing some time and space for me.

May I express my gratitude for those of you who read my blog? Thank you!!! In 2016, get ready for the book, the podcast, the movie! Who knows? I’m enjoying the not knowing and just committing the time slot. That’s it. Clarity to follow. Hopefully more writing all around.

Grateful also for wonderful, memorable, relaxing family time in Scottsdale and Chicago, and while E did have croup #3 on Christmas Day (yuck), he’s doing much better and is doing awesome things like out of the blue singing happy birthday and counting to ten in Spanish.

Happy, happy, healthy, fulfilling, peaceful, new year to you xo

path

 

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perfection

My Christmas cards came back with the colors all wrong. We had gone outside for a photo shoot with my sister and her fancy camera and my dad who brought out the baby smiles. Gorgeous photos. We did all the necessary handling of big high-res files (read: time-consuming) and I chose a template online. The photos looked “cold” to me, so I warmed them up with an app. On screen, they looked perfect. When I picked them up, they were yellow. Like a filter gone wrong.

I stared at them for full minutes in the store before speaking to the also- silent employee. They had already printed 50. What can you do? That is, if you’re pretty sure you won’t have time to make another trip and you know without a doubt you don’t want to spend more money. I said, OK. And took them home.

The first three friends I showed it to tried to talk me off the ledge, “oh they’re so cute! I see what you mean, but they’re really fine.” But were they just making me feel better? So disappointing! I’m on top of things in general, really! So why can’t I send out a card that reflects that? Cards are on the easier side of life’s challenges! Wah! Wah!

A close associate of mine who gets right to the point said, “Well, it depends on the purpose of the cards for you. Are you trying to be the perfect mom? Or send holiday greetings?”

Touché. That put it in perspective. I mean, why did I care so much anyway? Is this just another way we/I compete for perfection or Best Mom award? Or was I just trying to do justice to the cuteness? Or was I just hoping to get my money’s worth? Or did I want maximum gorgeousness on refrigerators across the nation in 2016?

Come on. Or, “Come ON!” as E says. As the perfect, flawless, correctly-colored cards flow in from friends and family, I am so bugged! It’s the truth! It’s my ego. I notice it. I practice noticing. I practice enjoying everyone’s cards. This is a perfect Christmas lesson, right?

At the SMC holiday party, I was trying to protect toddler fingers by carefully closing a door, not knowing that E was on the other side of the door, on the hinge side. When I popped my head around the corner, he was in a soundless scream. It turned out that his fingers were completely unharmed, probably mostly surprised or minorly pinched, but in that moment I didn’t know what damage I might have done. I’m still traumatized! I cried to my mom over the phone later that day- she had the perfect response: maybe I just spared him a worse door experience in the future? I felt like such a failure and really jolted that I, his protector, could be the one doing damage, however well-intentioned. And that there will be more of these occasions in the future, no question. It’s part of the deal.

Then, over the weekend I was lucky to get a little kitchen from a friend of a friend for cheap. That night, at a birthday party, the moms were talking about how the plastic ones are an eyesore. I had a plastic one.

All of these things serve to cut a mom down a few notches.

So why do we all have this refrain ready in our heads: “I’m SUCH a bad mom. I am the WORST mom.” We all hear it. It’s a thing. Can we abolish this already? There will never be an actual competition or actual awards and we all do exactly our best, right? And the kids are safe, healthy, happy.

So, let my less-than-perfect cards symbolize less-than-perfection and the reality of life: messy, sometimes painful, sometimes not what we expected. But full of so so so much love every day. We all do our best, mamas. We have a blast in the plastic kitchen. And that’s all that matters.

I hope the moms see my card and realize the jig is up!

Love to you all, and happy happy holidays. xo

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Hi

Wowzers it has been a while. Crazy month o November with work deadlines, parents’ visit, Thanksgiving, house projects… I fell off the blogging wagon.

Today, I’m back on. All we can do is start wherever we are. I am sitting on the bus in a wool coat and winter hat. It’s cold. I couldn’t bring myself to run home this week, not so much because of the cold as the dark. I’m not procrastinating and I do need the exercise, but it feels dangerous. After two days of carrying my running clothes and shoes back and forth, I’m going to try running IN to work tomorrow when the sun is up and who really cares if I never do change into work clothes- seriously, no one. So I look forward to finding out if it really is more downhill on the way in. (Probably not!)

Part of not wanting to run home is because I feel more vulnerable after recent world events, particularly after yet another mass shooting today. I feel like being more careful and mindful with this one wild and precious life of mine. It’s the least we can do for those at the wrong place at the wrong time.

After the Paris attacks, I found myself one night staying up late reading about the victims, watching videos, and sinking into a deep spiral of sadness and anxiety about the state of the world. I was in the living room when I heard E wake up and cry in a panicked way that matched my mood. I got ready for bed and snuggled in with him, nursing as usual, but neither of us fell asleep for almost an hour. I was lost in emotion, sinking, worrying, and at some point he just started wailing and saying, Mommy, Mommy, and I had to rock him to sleep. He absolutely absorbed my feelings, poor little thing.

It reminded me the importance of staying mentally healthy as a parent. There’s a fine line between being aware of news and maintaining your sanity. I know that we’re all struggling during this time when hatred is getting a lot of press. But love always wins. We’ve gotta keep hugging and loving on each other and enjoying our times together. Keep loving, dreaming. Stay safe.

Only three more weeks before the dark days get lighter.

My weeks with my parents here were wonderful. I didn’t make dinner, fold laundry, or take the trash out. My mom organized my bathroom, replaced the shower curtain. My dad installed a little row of hooks for E’s little jackets. It’s so peaceful and relaxing when they are here and I feel really blessed that E gets to really know his Mimi and Chacha. And we’ll see them again in a couple of weeks.

E is tearing through language acquisition and it’s so fun to witness. He just acquired the letter “L,” which is now extremely overemphasized with his tongue flying out of his mouth when he says, “airpLane” or “CharLie.” He knows all his moving vehicles from cars to trucks to choochoo trains to motorsickles. I say, “You got it!” And he says, “I got it!” And when he wants to nurse on the other side, he says, “Side? Side?” When he wakes up he says, “Hand?” And then tries to drag me out of bed (before long, he’ll be able to!).

Almost to CharLie’s. Lots of love to you and happy December. More soon xoxo

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