Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking Back

I went for a walk this morning with a wonderful friend...someone whom I have known since we were young (are we still young?) We talked about college, choices we made, experiences we avoided, and the insecurities of that time period.* I surprised even myself as I remembered the play that I did not try out for because none of my friends were involved in theater. The term abroad I did not apply for because I worried that by the time I returned back to school, my friends would have moved on without me. I remembered the defining moment that I experienced when I realized enough is enough. That my insecurities could not define my choices any longer. That I had to take some risks. 

Months later, I sat in my parents' living room telling them that I was moving to Los Angeles to teach in East L.A. To live in community with, at that point, strangers. To drive my dad's old car across the country. To try something new. For me...this was beyond bold.

This early-morning, old-friend type of conversation that put into perspective for me, this stage of life in which I live today. Mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister. I exist in this space, most days, with confidence that I could not have even dreamed up those years in college. I think this is what people talk about when they say getting older is not so bad...the comfort with oneself.

*We talked about all of this due to a passing comment about Bradley Cooper and swooning. :) Bradley Cooper to Villanova to Habitat to the wisdom that comes with age. That was the order of topics, yes, Ruma?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


They start early around here, our mornings. Up by 6:30 every day...pitter patter of feet coming in to our room. I follow them out to the kitchen, in my slippers. Turning on lights, taking out crayons, giving kisses. We make oatmeal for one, toasted bagel for the other, and always, coffee for me.

They sit and make more noise than necessary at this early hour, but they are happy. My warm mug in my hands helps ease me in to the day, which will be full and loud and messy and lovely. And this moment of warmth and sitting with my family will hopefully fill me up just enough to deal with the challenges of the day with some patience and love. Mornings are new and hopeful.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Today...I prioritized myself and practiced yoga for 90 blissful, hip-opening minutes. sweet friends, adult and tot-sized, bought me a nice, strong coffee. son wrote hilariously direct thank you notes to our friends and family. He wanted to do so many "by myself."
Today...I brought my kids swimming and we laughed and cheered as we tried to beat our relay race record of 65 seconds.
Today...I surprised the kids and Pa with a frozen yogurt stop. They were all equally happy.
Today...I will make my family homemade pizza and my husband will declare it "better than  the pizza place pizza" as he does every week.
Today...I will walk to my daughter's school for a meeting, peek in her desk and leave her a silly note.
Today I know just how lucky I am.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It has been a rough transition coming home (California) from home (Ellicott City) this past week. I underestimated the effects of leaving extended family togetherness, kids getting constant attention, having little to no plans each day, no school, and so on and coming back to cleaning, unpacking, morning routine, homework, and even, for goodness sake, making my own coffee. Yes, vacation life was good. And regular life is pretty darn good, too. But being in that gnarly transition place between the two...yeah, not so good.

We have had a good bit of crankiness, a resistance to the "must-do" items of the day. However, with each extra hour of sleep, each day of routine under our belts, and let's face it, extra coffee, we are finally emerging. Today feels almost, volunteering, work, playground, homework, dinner...we are making it through relatively unscathed. A wonderful friend told me, one day in, that I would feel better soon. She was right. Thanks, K.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roller coaster

Yesterday was one of those and simplicity mixed with chaos and frustration. The inevitable ebb and flow of parenting, this I know. Yet, it somehow always takes me by surprise. Makes me second-guess my approach. Reassess my goals. Over-analyze my day and the choices that were made.

What I have to remind myself is that my children, those who take me on this roller coaster ride at times, are their own little people. With thoughts and dreams and worries and desires that are independent of my approach, my goals, my choices.

These days will happen, always. Days filled with beauty and chaos. Days with smiles and tears. We are four humans, our little family. Four humans with our own individuality...sometimes in harmony, sometimes in conflict, but always in it together.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Our sweet boy turns five tomorrow. He laughs huge guffaws. He eats oatmeal almost every day.  He knows that a trip to the coffee shop means a latte for Mommy and a cocoa for him. His excitement does not mean much to him until he shares it with his sis. He likes to be on Daddy's team when we play cards. The first five years have been sweet, my boy. Can't wait for the rest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Resting State

Over the past three days, I have been gifted with more quiet than in several months past. Children playing with cousins, host and hostess preparing meals, snowy weather outside. I have realized just how much of my day is dedicated to home and children. Without those two, really important, elements of my day carving away time, I am left with time to rest, read and think. I find my mind, as it often does at this time of year, drift off to ideas of newness. New projects at home, new recipes to try, new hobbies to explore.

I have been snuggling in bed with a sick one all day...watching her sweet face. Children's features are so much more prominent when they are sick, I think. Those dewy eyes, pink cheeks and finally, a smile, after hours of sadness. I painfully realize that my life will, soon enough, not be quite as filled up with home and children. The motivation that sweeps in with the new year, the focus on newness, is valid and necessary for growth. But, the familiarity and constant of the old is quite fulfilling as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hola, 2013!

Awakened early by a snuggly bug, an almost 5-year-old snuggly bug. Five!? After an hour of snuggles, our 6-year-old beauty joins us and we putter downstairs to my brother and sister-in-law's cozy kitchen. Coffee is made for me. Children color at the table with a much-loved cousin. Husband snoozes upstairs. Life feels a bit like a retreat right now. This is a nice start, 2013. Well done.

Last night, as I contemplated goals, resolutions, plans for the new year, I found myself a little...uninspired. There are certainly parts of my life that need tinkering. Certainly habits that could use some breaking.

However, my instinctive reaction to life is to be action-oriented. Challenging day with the kids? Read up on ideas once they go to bed, talk to trusted friends, and make a plan for tomorrow. Feeling a little off? Make a good lunch and go for a long walk the next day. I found myself wondering if my list of goals will just put more pressure on myself, when I already do that pretty damn well all on my own.

Still, I do want to get back to yoga, to learn to sew, to practice Spanish, to wash my face at night (sort of a lame resolution, but my flossing one last year was just as lame and was a game-changer.) :)

I read about a woman who comes up with a theme each year on which to focus. I appreciate the singular focus of a theme, the vagueness that allows interpretation as we, inevitably, change over the next 12 months. My theme...Growth.

I am emerging out of the phase of my life where I am knee-deep in caring for young children. This fact can make me weep if I think about it too long. However, it is an important transition back to myself.