Where is My Village?

January was a difficult month, there are whole parts of it I don’t remember and I swear it was the 16th just yesterday. You may have been wondering where I was or if I had stopped writing altogether. Never fear, I was only sick and I have no plans to stop writing.

January was a month of learning lessons and feeling isolated. Mid January I got sick, really sick. Some kind of virus set up shop in my body and played havoc with my digestive system and brain. No joke, I swear I heard it laughing inside me. Erie.

It came on fast, and it stayed too long. It drained my body of fluids, and my brain of the ability to think or make good decisions. It pushed me farther than I thought I could go and forced me to make choices I shouldn’t have been making. Seriously, it was a giant slap in the face.

What I realized, while considering my demise, was that those around me are more capable than I gave them credit for, and I am seriously deficient in the number of those around me.  In other words, my 2 and 4 year old children were better at accepting my illness and inability to help them than I thought they would be. They managed to go potty alone and find their own snacks. They played alone in their rooms for significantly more time when I was unable to watch them properly. They never complained. They were tiny rock stars. My husband stepped up and actually went to the grocery store. Sure it took him 4 trips to get everything but he went, he did it well, and he even found some new gluten free things I didn’t know about. Plus, he managed two trips to the urgent care and one trip to the emergency room without succumbing to his germ-aphobic paranoia. Heck, he even managed to enter the same room I was in without holding his breath, and I swear one time he even rubbed my back for a half a second. :)

Bottom line was we needed help, seriously, we needed someone to watch our kids, make sure I was getting rest and fluids, and allow my husband to go to work daily. We didn’t have it. So I learned we can manage, though it was ugly, but we should try to open our village up to new folks so maybe we won’t have to do it alone next time.

Friends and resources are important for so many reasons. We should have had an emergency plan in place and a sitter who had already been to our home and knew the lay of the land. We should find people with similar interests and children the same age as our boys just in case we need last minute support that only more people can provide. Sometimes it does take a village. Not a dysfunctional mess of a village full of idiots, but purposefully selected and competent villagers who care and are kind.

I’m not great at making friends and I’m worse now that I have children. I honestly don’t like many other moms and the way they treat their children is appalling (though I’m sure many of them feel the same about me). Plus, I have significantly reduced my inner circle by removing people who were damaging to me and by having others walk out of my life for no reason I can discern (I guess maybe I was damaging to them?). So I guess I need to make new friends a priority. I guess I need to stuff my superior feelings and just learn to accept others flaws and all and just be glad when those flaws don’t include being hurtful.  While I think people can hurt your happiness, and even intentionally prevent one from attaining true happiness, I now see that the right people can be instrumental in helping you achieve and maintain happiness.

So here is to a future of friends, or at least resources in place to make our next emergency less traumatic. And a big thanks to my family for supporting me in my moment of utter despair. I’m grateful I have such selfless people in my life. I am thankful I have such wonderful, confident, and empathetic children who did their best to help mommy. Kind of a tall order for those under 4, but those two managed that and then some.

I’m not back to full strength; it could be a few more weeks before that happens. But in the mean time I’m just going to take it easy, smile more often, be thankful for great insurance, and rest.

Crossroads and Time Machines

I say all the time that you can’t go back. There is no good living in the past and wondering what if or wishing things were still the same. Frankly, in my life, I am glad I do not live back there in those moments. Sure I had some great one, but overall I am glad to be in this moment, with this man and this family. So I don’t struggle much with looking back and wondering what if. This past week however I have been hit with strange emotion evoking things from my past, and what I learned was sometimes you need to get that “good old days feeling” when you are facing a crossroads in life.

Sometimes that feeling of invincibility or strength we all seem to have in our 20s might just be useful in our later years if we could only figure out how to harness its power. If I could go back in time, if I had a DeLorean and 1.21 gigawatts of power, I wouldn’t go  back to change anything, I would go back to harness and capture the energy and belief in everything being possible that only a 22  year old Wendy could feel. Okay, maybe 17-25 maybe those years held the strongest belief in myself and life. Those years I welcomed the crossroads, even created many, because I truly believed with enough motivation and strength I could do anything.

Of course I’ve learned that’s all a giant lie. No offense to you still living in wonderland thinking it can all come true (I hope it does for you), but not everything is possible. I made a lot come true in my life. I’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve made many of them happen. I’m not saying things aren’t possible, I’m just saying not all things are possible. In the end though, what I want to get from that me from yesterday is not her flawed but delightful thinking, it is her “can do” spirit and the ability for just the right movie to make me think, yep, I can do this, it is all going to be alright. The world is my oyster, so to speak.  That girl could get so charged up by a movie or a song that she really did do some amazing things with the inspiration.

I am now at a new crossroads. Not one I created, but one just happening to me. I find these to be the worst kind. It isn’t like I have a plan or even wanted to make a deal with a crossroads demon so to be standing at an unexpected crossroads is daunting and exhausting. In the beginning of this I thought “Crap, not one more thing”, then I caught a glimpse of While you were sleeping on TV and I was instantly transported back to my sophomore year in college to a dingy Durango theater all alone. It wasn’t the movie so much as just that moment in my life. I can remember my thoughts and feelings as I watched the movie. My life is just beginning, I can do anything. Maybe I felt this way because the lead character in the film did not, I’m not sure. So while my life is no longer just beginning I felt that same sense of inspiration when I saw the movie again. Like my brain knew I needed to draw upon the Wendy of yore and use her emotions as a catalyst to get past the crossroads and on my way in life. I am both grateful and envious of Wendy watching this movie for the first time, 20 years old, not knowing what lay ahead and not being afraid either. She was pretty cool.

So here I am at my crossroads. Now I am thinking, is this the opportunity to make more money, find a job a love, commit to old projects? Perhaps. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. But what I do know is drawing on the power of who I used to be and allowing myself an indulgent day of “reliving’ my past through movies and music, I might just find an answer, or at least be better prepared for the bumpy road ahead. I am excited and terrified. Intrigued and exhausted. It’s funny, I really do wish I had a time machine, not because I would change anything, but just so I could get that feeling of endless possibilities anytime I wanted. I guess moves, music and food will just have to suffice until I figure out that flux capacitor and butterfly effect.

This week I am trying something new. I recommend you all do the same. When my kids go to bed, instead of zoning out in front of the tv with my husband while we both obsessively check our smart phones. We are turning it all off for at least an hour and playing cards. We are sitting close, looking into each others eyes, playing cards, laughing, talking, thinking. We just started yesterday, and I won’t lie, so far it’s awesome. Before kids and smart phones we played games all the time. Now I remember why we loved that. My goal this week is to do this everyday. I miss him.

What I am reading: Six Years by Harlan Coben, it isn’t my usual fair, but it was on sale, so score!

What I am listening to: The A Team by Ed Sheeran

Inspirations from the ether: I’m super smitten with John Green right now and I can’t believe I never stumbled across his awesomeness before. Seriously, I can’t get enough of him. Lucky for me he has a blog, a tumblr (which I still don’t really understand what that is), a youtube channel where he and his brother Hank (Hank isn’t so bad either :))exchange interesting videos read to each other but are really for everyone, and several books. I figure it isn’t really stalking if you are happily married and too tired from raising toddlers that you can’t even figure out where he gets his coffee much less his real street address. If you haven’t heard of him, you should check him out. I am more in awe everyday. Genius, entertaining, funny, smart and witty. Besides anyone who makes up a word like “dooblydoo” (and it is very fitting)  is aces in my book.

Hank:I love a good rant.


Now moment of the week: Having my husband teach me how to play rummy, and more or less kicking his ass, but we weren’t keeping score because I was still learning. Poor Jay. :)

 

The Best of 2013

I’m not going to lie, 2013 kicked my proverbial ass in many ways. In other ways it was one of the most eye opening and life defining years of my life. Entering into motherhood three years prior had left me feeling like I’d lost myself. Losing my sister three years ago left me feeling broken.  I continued moving forward because that is what life is about, that is how you get unstuck from the muck and that is how you create the life you want, but in many ways it was just me going through the motions as opposed to me really living life. On the outside it looked like I was getting stuff done, sticking to a plan, on the inside it was like watching a movie and wishing it was over so I could sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, I love my husband, I love my life, but sometimes life knocks you down and makes other plans and you can stop and wallow in that shit or you can give it the middle finger and keep on moving even if you are injured (see that old intentional living I have been going on about for months).

2013 gave me a sick baby and doctors and hospitals and people I wish I had never had the need to meet, but am so grateful I did. It had my family discovering that Celiac Disease is actually a positive thing (when I consider the other potential options). It had me falling in love with my husband all over again by being lucky enough to watch him embrace his life as a responsible adult (something I think men struggle with). 2013 had me reach my pre baby weight but not my pre baby body (I still hope to shock and amaze you with before and after photos one day, maybe a 4 pack at 40 kind of thing by June??) but I learned my ability to be a dude is far more important than a flat stomach.  2013 saw my mother move to our property, my oldest learning how to be a good big brother, and my youngest potty training himself. 2013 let me reconnect with old friends, find my soul sister, and create laughter. But 2013 also brought me something else, this blog.

To some of you that may not even be note worthy. To me it has been a journey, and at times, an eye opening experience as I peruse all things in life looking for a better life, a happier life, a good way to live. By writing about my thoughts, by conveying what I have learned and all I have read I have not only learned much about me, I’ve learned so much about that better life. I am now able to turn off my mind when it tries to harm me with thoughts about my past or future, thoughts I cannot change and events I cannot alter. I have learned how to find happiness in this moment, how to let go of pain, how to manage my finances, how to talk to my husband, how to confront constructively, and how to love more completely. I have far more patience than I did when I started this journey and I can actually see the me I used to be before kids, before loss. There she is, looking at me in that mirror. There she is lounging surrounded by pups. There she is playing games with her kids. She didn’t disappear, she just got a little lost.

I spent a lot of time this year feeling defeated, scared, beaten down, broken, just utterly lost. I was frustrated that life wasn’t what I had been sold, that things could go horribly askew without my consent, and that so many people all over the place, every where I looked, were suffering. Then one day I sat down and I Googled happiness. I Googled, happy life. I Googled Zen. And it changed everything. Something so silly and ridiculous changed everything. So while we are better off financially than we were, our son thankfully does NOT have cancer, and our family life is full of laughter and peace, I know, I know in my heart and my head that I got to this place thru the journey of intentional decisions. Of choosing to shape my future so it would not be defined by my past. Of choosing the identity I wanted instead of the one I had fallen into.

While I think there is value in many of the posts from 2013 (I am bias after all), here are the most popular posts and those YOU found value in. May 2014 be a year where we all continue to make our own destinies and give the middle finger to anything that tries to stop us.

Things Dads Do- Apparently you all love videos, especially if it is a video of my husband doing questionable things with his children.

How to get laid more- Apparently you all love having sex too. I’m shocked by this one. :)

I help you all pick a deodorant- or at least I make you feel less alone picking a deodorant.

3 Songs- I got a lot of feedback on this one that it reminded people to remember what they love about their significant other. It went a way I didn’t expect when I wrote it, I’m glad you all took it another way. I was instantly more grateful.

You and Your Finances- This one made you all feel a little less alone. I know it made me feel less alone and it was the first step, a coming out if you will, that allowed us to get on the road to fixing our finances.

How to Kick Ass at the Gym- Speaks for itself.

and my favorite, not just because it is about me, but because writing it and really considering it,  opened my eyes and reminded me of who I am and why I like that person. About Wendy