Saturday, March 29, 2014

Greetings from inside the princess tent!

Well, I may be crappy at keeping up my blog these days, but as you can see I have been doing some really important things.

I am always on a day-to-day basis with myself, but I have to say - I love my life.

Motherhood is such a trip. I haven't had this much personal growth since I switched high schools my sophomore year, or perhaps when I went away to college. In each experience I have learned more and more how to release the need to be in control; to surrender to the experience and let myself be molded.

I fight it hard. I think that's natural. You spend years building what you think is your identity, and when it suddenly feels that a new way of life is threatening to disrupt the old - regardless of how dissatisfying the old life is - the natural instinct is to defend and preserve.

The best, most inspiring and satisfying growth I have ever experienced has been when I do surrender.

So, parenthood, I have surrendered to you. I have slowly done so each day over the past few years. I gave my physical and emotional self over to pregnancy in 2011. Watching my body morph and stretch provided me with such a continuous reminder that God is the ultimate owner of my physical self. I make choices that can impact how well my physical self functions, and I should want to make good choices (and fall short, naturally). But ultimately, I am a conscious soul who has a body on loan from the Most High. Thank you, God, for using pregnancy to make me more aware. I have resisted but ultimately surrendered to my role in my physical well-being. I am currently honoring this awareness by taking the best care of my physical self possible, allowing myself a little room to forgive myself for being incredibly human and making mistakes at times.

Perhaps more poignantly, I have done the same with my mental health. I have become more and more aware of where I begin and end mentally. I know I have to be very conscious about my emotions because otherwise they can lead me down some rather uncomfortable paths. I am more cognitively aware than I have ever been. This has been an ongoing process over my life, but becoming a mother, experiencing severe postpartum issues, clawing my way out of a mental hole, working through the daily highs and lows of being a parent, working to preserve relationships and even allowing some to go or change, trying to pursue my own career passions as new opportunities have been presented...the whole process frightens and inspires me at once.

I was not meant to remain afraid for long periods of time. None of us are.

I was meant to flourish and grow. I was meant to learn and respect the process. I have to recalibrate constantly. It's a daily job. I have to identify feelings as just that - outside impacting inside, or inside chemical fluctuations that are always going to ebb and flow beyond my control my whole life.

I can't be afraid for long. I have a life that's going to go on whether or not I'm there to appreciate it.

So, here's my decision: I give up the need to control it all because in return I know I get my reward. The present.

I will strive to remain aware of the simple things around me. To appreciate the tiny gifts. To resist inflating my fears and to respect the process. To take the path wherever it leads me - into new adventures, new children, new relationships, new career paths. Or maybe just a pink princess tent.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Throwing rocks in the water

I had a surprisingly special day yesterday. It was shaping up to be pretty standard, despite the fact that it was finally nice enough out to go outside - a welcome break from this seemingly relentless winter.

Jason had a teaching gig last night so Hannah and I were paired up to take on the evening. I picked her up from school and we headed straight up to a nearby park.

We played on park things for a bit. Did some swinging. Crawled through some tunnels. Explored and slid. Ate a piece or two of gravel when she thought I wasn't looking.

Then we decided to check out the ducks at the nearby pond. We walked over and sat on the gravel path surrounding the water. We saw some orange and white koi fish stirring so I thought that I could get them to come closer by tossing tiny rocks into the water, leading them to believe it was food. Perhaps that's mean but I have a toddler to entertain!

But after I threw a single stone into the pond, Hannah erupted into such laughter and joy that I realized we had discovered a new nature toy. She fetched tiny rocks from the grass and we threw them in the water. Each time she counted to three as we prepared to toss them, then squealed with joy, cheering with delight.

We sat on the gravel path for a long time, throwing rocks, talking about ducks and fish and clouds. As the ripples in the water drew near to us after we threw a rock, she would warn me that the water was coming. When the ducks would quack, she would ask, "Did you hear that?" in her sweet, tiny and curious little voice.

I hugged her and kissed her and helped her throw rocks. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.