Mirror Mirror, Or Candace

Sometimes it takes a good friend coming all the way from Florida to fix what’s broken. Or more exact sometimes it takes someone just spending time and holding up a mirror for you to see the beauty right before your eyes.

I think I’ve always been really honest here, about my feelings and my life so that I can make a better life or maybe let others know they aren’t alone. I have always said I know my life is good. I have many things I have always wanted and my present looks much like I used to envision my future to be. I can’t complain and I think for the most part I don’t. But I am honest that something seems broken and life is harder day to day than it should be. And recently I have felt like I am detached and just plodding along doing the bare minimum to keep a family going.

But then Candace showed up. She was only here for two nights and three days; and according to my husband, he hasn’t heard me talk that much in the 7 years he has known me, I think he called me a school girl. But when Candace and I are together its like catching up on lost time with a sister. It is like there aren’t enough hours in the day to say what you haven’t said or to hear what you have been wanting to know. I don’t know why we don’t use the phone more, but nothing can replace the face to face.

I can’t really explain my bond to Candace and to relay our history would be to ignore her privacy so I won’t, but I will say the few days she spent here was like the nicest slap in the face. Because I haven’t really been appreciating what I have, I haven’t really been soaking up all the details. So watching Candace chase my boys and tickle them silly, or monitoring bath time and laughing like a goon at the mundane ordinary moments of my life it showed me that the things I take for granted, might just be the things I should appreciate the most.

While she was here I played a game with my son at least twice, I can’t remember doing that before. I drank a glass of wine while watching her make dinner, I haven’t done that since before babies. I remembered what it meant to just stop and love on a dog, just because.

Sure she asked me about my problems and we analyzed the details the way problem solvers do. I picked apart her worries and she picked apart mine. We didn’t really come to any great solutions or epiphanies, and I don’t think we needed to. It was less having her support and thoughtful ear, and more just having her. She was supportive, fun, silly, respectful, and adoring of my lot (four and two legged alike). All of it was great, and it got me thinking, all of it IS great.

Candace aside; of course I wish I could convince her to leave sunny Florida for the Colorado plains (ha! As if)but it isn’t Candace that makes life great, life just is great. It just took Candace hauling her cookies all this way to show me. To hold the mirror of my life up to my face and say “See? See all that wonderment?”

I’ve been sort of waiting and observing, sitting on the side for my moment to step back in and join this life. I can’t explain why I haven’t or why I wasn’t motivated enough to just do it. I can blame three illnesses in a row, or even a prolonged mystery illness as yet discovered, but at the end of the day none of it should have prevented me from tickling my boys till they couldn’t laugh any harder, or loving on my dogs more often, or occasionally enjoying a nice glass of wine.

I’m ready to step back in. It maybe baby steps at first, but I am ready to get this thing right. I have almost half a year left of this experiment online, and I think it is high time I use it wisely.

What I am listening to: What a difference a day makes by Tim Meyers

Now moment: My son offering his panda bear to Candace so she would have something of him to take home with her. There are no words for the shy way he brought it to her and offered it up like a gift to the gods. So selfless and thoughtful. Amazing! I thought he would be sad and regret it later, I almost didn’t let Candace take it home, but now he gets excited when she send him new pictures of what his panda is doing in sunny Florida without him. His face lights up everytime.

What I am reading: Nothing. Which is rare and random for me but somehow my mind has not been in the space for higher thinking which reading always leads to.

365 Gratitude:

The things I am grateful for

Lasik- In a word AMAZING

The Kindle

Almost potty trained two year old

Tax returns

A nice bottle of red

A friend who appreciates roasted garlic

Ridiculous tumble weeds covering the road and making me feel like a cowboy moving a herd of weeds home

Sleeping in

The phrase “Throwing people is not berry nice” shouted at full volume in a cartoon snowman’s defense (see Frozen); little boys are so sweet

Requests for “big hugs”

Long texts conversations with people who live too close not to see more often (yes, I am talking about you Dink)

A good game of Scrabble

65 degree days followed by snow

A friend who is doing by far a better job of the 365 gratitude than I am, but has kept me at least slightly honest (I love you Brit)

Orphan Black, so stinking good, Thank you Kerri

Having someone “get” me

Good blood work for little men

Gluten free varieties

Checking-in

Checking in. Checking in can mean so much more than what the common usage implies. I’ve been what some may call checked out; checked out of life more or less for lack of a better way of putting it. Sure, I get up each morning and I eat breakfast, take care of my boys, the dogs, and work, but I am just going through the motions; step one, step two, step three and so on, putting one foot in front of the other so to speak. I have been finding it difficult to truly check in, to truly engage in what is happening around me. I’m here, but I’m not here, I’m participating but I am not a participant. I’m not sure the ruse is fooling anyone, but I keep thinking if I fake it long enough that maybe I will make it, back to being checked in that is.

I got sick in December, then again in January, and while I am not a fan of making excuses or blaming circumstances, I can’t seem to pinpoint what else has me in this slump. I’m not saying being sick did it, what I am saying is it is the only I can identify that might do this. I’m just not interested, in anything. When I try to figure out what the problem is I am lost, or if I consider what might motivate me to check back in I am also lost. So maybe the problem is feeling lost.

Whatever the reason, I must check back in. I don’t want to miss this life, or these moments just phoning it in. I want to wallow in and wiggle around in the moments that make life, good or bad. So that is the trick I guess, figuring out how to check back in when it feels so damn cozy and numb remaining checked out.

If I am to stay true to my manifesto of intentional living then I must intentionally sign back up and stop the negative self-talk that binds me. If I am to truly make the choices necessary to live happily, then I need to stop worrying about how I got this way, how I am going to reverse it, but instead focus on this moment, right now, just checking in for the moment.

This feels safe; I only have to do it for a moment. Just one moment, check-in check-out, or as my son would say easy peasy lemon squeezy. I don’t need to commit to tomorrow or next week, I don’t need to piece together the puzzle of yesterday, all I really have to do is one little moment. One step, two step, three step.

So this is my step for today, my checking in, if only for a moment. I committed to this blog in July, I committed to making this blog the place where I find the better way of living. The place where I share this journey with others so that maybe they can find their best life.  We all have set backs, moments where our best selves did not show up at the party. Maybe by writing this you will realize you are not alone, I am not alone. Checking out is possibly more common place than any one of us thought; especially, when we are checked out and isolated.

Special thanks to those that checked in on me, to those who gave up moments of their life to check on mine. I hope you know how wonderful you are and how much I appreciate your attention.

What I’m reading: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

What I’m watching: Girls, that Lena Dunham is truly inspiring.

What I’m listening to: Story of My Life, Embarrassed this is by One Direction, so good despite the boy band association.

Now moment: The two and four year old having an in depth conversation like adults about their grandma. It was almost enough to make me cry

365 grateful: I am way behind on my grateful days, simply behind. Ironically, had I been doing it like I planned maybe I wouldn’t have checked out for so long. So here is the breakdown as best I can remember.

Things I am grateful for:

My husband’s smile

IV Fluids

Breath right strips

My Veronica Mars co-pilot and all around show watching friend, yes, another shout out to you Kerri

Cadbury Egg season

Las Vegas

Daiquiris by the yard

A full night’s sleep

Remembering and honoring a special mentor and friend, Rob Grogan. I will miss you always, thank you for giving me the stones to write and supporting me in loss. You are truly irreplaceable. The world lost a valuable soul. Rest in Peace, and thank you for everything. Now you’ll get the best seats in the house for all those Yankee games.

Comfort food

My iPhone for allowing me continued access to an email account Microsoft foolishly locked for 30 days

Miss Cady at Gymboree for being my boy’s first real crush, if they continue with that caliber they will be alright

Fat snowflakes

A job offer, even if I did turn it down

Clean biopsy results

Baggy jeans that no longer fit

Monster Energy drinks

On demand TV

Little boy hugs

Getaways

Cozy pants

Emails that are better late than never when it comes to reconnecting

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.