Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Very Special Treat

Park on the very top, Mommy.  Go up!  Go Up!  

The maze of loops.  I am lost and dizzy.  I still haven't found my perfect parking spot here.  I wonder if I will ever find it.  It feels distant.  

We find the top.  He is happy.  I am less confused.  

Sunlight and rain.  

I press the automatic door button as to avoid touching the handle and the microbials waiting to infect us.  We enter.  

Holiday music is playing.  Lights.  A frenzy of shoppers.  

We walk past the store with the woman's butt hanging out of her underwear.  It seems so provocative, so inappropriate with a three year old.  I remember when I shopped there...when I could spend fifty dollars on a bra.  Sigh.  I don't even remember the last time I bought underwear.  The sacrifices.  

picture source
when, actually, it looks like this.  
Let's go on the moving stairs, Mommy.

picture source
I'm sure, in his head, it looks like this...

We wander over to the escalator, one of the two reasons he comes here, and I hold my breath as we step on.  Flashes of his shoe getting stuck, him being swallowed by the machine, always haunt me as we ride the few seconds up or down.  It's the time of his life, standing tall and proud, he's a big boy.  I try and breathe, and not fall as we step off. 

We walk past the shops, window browse...look at the clothes, the decorations, the people.

The relief is evident, for both of us, as we merely wave to Santa.  No tortured screaming pictures today.  Santa waves back with a smile.  I wonder when he'll begin to ask why Santa is in the mall, when he should be making toys.  Not today, thank goodness.

We walk past the store with the shutters.  It's so dark in there.  I wonder how it is they can get it to smell so strong of their cologne.  Do they pump it through their air filters?  My eyes water.  

I see my destination, and he sees his.  The negotiation.  If we go to his first, I might have more time...he'll be content.  If we go to mine first, he might be impatient, but I'll have a bit more leverage.  

Mommy!  The cookie place!  

picture source
His excitement is uncontrollable, the second of the two reasons he comes here, he is drooling and pointing to his favorite. I ask the cookie lady for the grab bag of cookies.  Two M&M, one chocolate chip, one cinnamon and sugar.  The cookies are small, the size of a quarter, but with his little hands and big eyes, it's a perfect fit.  

A very special treat.  

We ride the escalator again.  It doesn't seem as thrilling this time, he's distracted with his cookie.  Face already covered in chocolate, the ring of it around his little lips.  

The local toy shop we both love, we wave hello to the manager and her husband.  Surprisingly, he doesn't want to go in today, he's distracted by his second cookie.  Sweetly, he asks for it.  

We stroll past the kiosk selling spa products...the one trying to swipe and resell my gold...the one with Angry Birds.  We stop and point.  He reminds me he loves the one that goes caw and spins back like a boomerang.  Laughter.    

Finally.  My destination.  Clearance racks.  My favorite store.  Let's see if I can wrangle the little guy, his cookies, and find any more fifty-five dollar dresses for seven bucks.  

A very special treat. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Used to Want a Car for Christmas...Like in those Commercials

We've all seen them.  Those commercials.  With the romantic surprise and the big red bow.

It's snowing.  There is romantic classical music playing.  Under the frosty finish, people smile, longingly at one another.  You feel all warm and fuzzy, caught mesmerized, longing for your moment to come.  You feel you need it.  The surprise.  The car.  The diamonds.  The big red bow.  The warm and fuzzy acknowledgment that someone loves you.

Remember this one?  I wonder if this one started it all, or if this was just the start of my believing it.  

That notorious Folger's coffee commercial that made so many women cry in the 80's...

This is the one that has makes me cry every time I see it.  I cry for the soldiers.  I cry for the traditions.  I cry for my own family...those moments already passing us and the ones we've missed altogether.  

These commercials, they aren't only selling their products, they're selling the moments...of love...of joy...of holiday spirit.

I used to want a car for Christmas.  Told myself if my husband loved me enough, he'd surprise me like in those commercials.


It is such a blessing that I can live more honestly now. It's not that I don't want the bow or the warm fuzzy moment, I really do.  But I don't want the consumption, or the lie that some external thing means I am loved.

This Christmas, is the first one, that my husband and I aren't buying anything for one another.  But you have to give each other something!   We are.  We are not buying anything for one another, but we are giving each other a lot.

We are giving the gift of time.
Time.  For the family to have a vacation.
Time.  To listen.  To share.  To not be in a rush.
Time.  To bake cookies.
Time.  To sing Jingle Bells (new words created daily...involving the word poop--thanks to our little guy!)
Time.  To visit with family and friends.
Time.  To embrace the love we share in our lives.
Time.  For those surprise moments that don't need a bow (or a hefty price tag).

You see, those moments we spend wishing we had what those commercials are offering, are the same moments we are not present to embracing the gifts we do have.  Give your loved ones the gift of you.  Give them the gift of time, of staying present to each moment.   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Healing of My Soul

WriteOnEdge writing prompt got me thinking this week.  Here is my response to the request to "take us into the moment your favorite photograph of yourself was taken, to show us who you were then and what the photograph means–in 300 words."

Moment of Creation  
(picture source)
(This photo is meant to depict the moment of creation of a soul  and a body.)

This is my favorite photo because it captures the moment my soul chose this body; acting as a mindful reminder that I have the power to choose my life, my experiences.  I chose my parents, the life I would have, the joy I would know.  I am here for my soul’s yearning to heal, meant to have the experiences I do, for some larger spiritual purpose…some larger spiritual purpose that I will not always understand, but often humbly explore, searching for meaning, enlightenment and peace. 

This is my favorite photo because it captures the idea that my son chose us as parents.  That any future children we may have will also choose us, the journey here, the healing of their souls.  I embrace the idea that my son is an old soul, full of grace, dignity, and power, he lives life to its fullest, and reminds my guarded soul to love, to feel, to explore. 

This is my favorite photo because I can find such meaning in Embracing This Moment, this moment of creation, these moments of perfection and imperfection, experienced parallel to one another.  This moment of vulnerability, the one we are both allowing right now, allowing our hearts to open, for peace to be known, I see it in this photo.  This moment. 

This is my favorite photo because I can know that my soul has healed, that the death of loved ones, the struggles and suffering, the joy and happiness, all encompass the soul, the human being that I am today.  That I am only simply a moment, at any given moment, it's all our existence allows.  That we are our purest and most authentic, in integrity and truth, in each moment…demonstrated in this photo, in the moment of my creation, when my soul choose my body. 

Won't you join me in reading some other "Photograph of Yourself" blog entries and check out Write On Edge? Enjoy...and thanks for reading and sharing.  

Getting Tested

I sat there, waiting for the doctor to come in.  Wondering why it takes so long, so long to hurry up and wait.  Move from waiting in the waiting room to waiting in the sterile white fluorescent lighted box.  Half naked, waiting to be poked, prodded, and examined, I was more nervous this time.

Lost in thought, I am startled when there's a knock at the door.

Yes, please come in. I say.

Her smile.  Always warm and generous.  Her time with me is always focused, genuine, sweet.

We are going to start trying to have children.  I say.

I want to get all the precautionary tests done in advance.  I say.

I want to have an HIV test too.  I say.

The moment.  It's there.  I said it.

Her response, unabated, unflinching, nonchalantly she replies, Sure, it is all really simple.  Blood test.  Discrete.  Private.

I can feel my arm pits sweating through the paper gown.  Anticipation.  Nervousness.

It's AIDS.  It's HIV.

I had unprotected sex in monogamous relationships.

You never know.

I don't want to find out when I give birth to a child that has HIV.  It's worth the anxiety.  It's worth the worry.  It's worth knowing, for sure.


The test was negative.

picture source
"1 in 5 people living with HIV are unaware of their infection." Elizabeth McSpiritt, MD, PhD, "World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero"

Get informed.  Get tested.
Let's get to zero--zero new infections, zero deaths, and zero discrimination.

"The beginning of the end of AIDS starts with you."

For more information about HIV and AIDS, or where to get tested, please go to www.cdc.gov/hiv.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

One of the Few, the Proud...

Me:  He really said that to you?

My Husband:  Yeah.  He asked me if I had ever killed anyone.  

Me:  What did you do?

My Husband:  I just shook my head.  Told him it was a screwed up thing to do.

It's just not what you talk about.  It's just not what you say.  Why didn't this guy get it?  This guy has romanticized being a Marine.  One of the few.  One of the proud.  He wishes he were one.  That's why he'd say something that stupid, that thoughtless, that  foolish.  

A Marine.  

My husband is a Marine.  Proud.  Tall.  One of the few.  Stood guard on the Panama Canal.  Veteran of the first Gulf War.  Fought.  Protected.  Saved.  

He and his Marine buddies get together every few years.  Share news on Facebook.  Rejoice.  Reflect.  Recalling the memories.  It's difficult to keep pace with the conversations.  The jargon. The nicknames.  The camaraderie. It's unspoken and almost impenetrable.  You can tell they survived together, risked together, grew into men together.  It's an honor to be in their company.  To know that dedication.  That bravery.  That truth.  

I'm so proud of my husband.  His honor.  His courage.  He risked his life for our country, our freedoms, our virtues.  

Just don't ever, ever, ever asked if he has killed anyone.  It's a really screwed up thing to do.  

Happy Marine Corps birthday!  (yesterday)

And, Happy Veteran's Day!  

Today, more than ever, I honor you...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude--Building a Thanksgiving Tree

the empty gratitude tree branches

Start with a branch.

I guess you can say that life can always be that simple.  To simply start with a branch.  But that's really all you need.
A gratitude tree.
A Thanksgiving Tree.
A mindset.  A tradition.  A memory.

It is important to me to build family traditions.  I didn't have many growing up, (unless you count family dysfunction as one?) so I always knew it would be a priority of mine around the holidays.  It is such a festive time of year, and well, I'm crafty, so it gets more of those creative energies going.

When I stumbled upon this idea a few years ago, I knew it would be one of our traditions.  With our relocation, this is the first year we are attempting it, and I am very excited and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to share it here.

The idea is simple.  A way to practice gratitude.  To honor Thanksgiving.

Build a gratitude tree.

bare tree (tree branch, construction paper/felt cut out, lighted twigs)
leaves (artificial garland leaves, construction paper/felt cut out)
adhesive (glue gun, super glue, tape, wire, etc)
sharpie pen
other decorator pieces (optional)

Over the month of November, take a moment to write down, on the leaves, at least one thing that you are grateful for each day.   
Attach the leaves onto the tree.

By the Thanksgiving holiday, you have a tree full of gratitude leaves.  Memories to look back on, to remember, to cherish.  A different mindset as you approach the busy holiday season.

So, here is our beginning...

Our chosen decor and accent pieces:

Our gratitude leaves:

The base of the tree branch is anchored with this Angel, and the decor.

 And, this, is the true beginnings of our Gratitude Thanksgiving Tree:  

All we have to do now is be grateful...to attach our leaves...and to enjoy.

Won't you all join us and build your own Gratitude Thanksgiving Trees?  Be sure to share your pictures on Embracing This Moment's facebook page.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nervous Laughter--Halloween @ The Firehouse

He's ominous.
Wearing a long black cloak.
I'm nervous.
My mom and my uncle keep laughing.
That excited nervous laughter.
My head turns, searching.
I hear him.
Peaking over my shoulder,
He's right behind me.
There's blood.
I try to run but my feet won't move.
I try to scream but only whispering squeals come out.
It's death, and he's right here.
Staring at me.

The line is long.  We've been waiting for an hour already.  Screams.  Nervous laughter.  Excitement. The Firehouse.  We go here every year for Halloween.  To be scared.  By the firemen.  Firemen don't hurt you, right?

The lights go out.
Gasps can be heard from the warehouse room.
What's going to happen?
My knees are weak.
I clutch my mom's arm.
A death grip.
Search lights swirl the room...
More growling.
He's up near the roof awnings.
He's volatile.
He's aggressive.
Grabbing a rope, he swings down into the crowd.
The floor.

It's finally our turn.
My mom and my uncle laugh.
That excited nervous laugh.
My palms are clammy.
My heart is racing.
The eager and enchanting fireman pulls the rope.
The sliding door opens, begging for us to enter.
We step inside, not knowing the screams and torture that await.
And the door slams shut.
With us inside.
Like the blades of a guillotine.
We are trapped in the maze of Halloween horror.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Come Out of the Hallway, Little Girl

In case you missed it, you might want to read The Hallway...this post is in response to it.  

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will run.  You will love, you will live, you will be.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will know your own beauty, potential and grace.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will find god's love, care and virtues.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will realize your Grandma's love for you, despite her problems, her addictions, her pain.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will come to know depression, sadness and escape; come to know it is not your fault.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will see god's love, the belief that you are perfect as you are, in this moment, simply because you exist, perfect, in god's love.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will find safety, security, in your own power, your own decisions, your own life.

Out of the hallway, little girl,
You will know tenderness, hugs, arms outstretched.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
It's not about you.
It's never been about you.
You couldn't have been or done more.
You were already perfect, loving, good.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
You are safe.
You are loved.
You are enough.

Come, out of the hallway, little girl.
Your life is waiting.

Me, as a little girl...

This post is in response to The Hallway, written about growing up, in my Grandma's house, and even, I dare say, getting stuck in that same mental state as an adult, as a parent, or as a lost little girl.  I was making dinner this evening, still lost and a bit unnerved about The Hallway post, when it occurred to me I could write what I wanted to hear, wanted to feel, wanted to say, to that little girl in me now, to that little girl then.  This post is unedited, unscripted, from that creative place of healing.  Inspired by Just Write.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Hallway

The hallway.  
The space in between.  
The transition from one place to another.  

In the hallway.  
I hide.  I cry.  
I hesitate.
I can hear her cursing.  She never curses.  The music has been loud for hours.  The singing.  The distance.  I should have known when we got home and she was watering the lawn.  Watering the lawn.  And the sunglasses.  She is hiding.  She has secrets.  It was going to be one of those weekends.   

In the hallway.  
I hide.  I cry.  
I hesitate. 
I can hear her sobbing.  She's gagging.  She's vomiting.  She's screaming.  She's vomiting again.  I am 8.  I am 11.  I am 17.  I am paralyzed and never know what to do.    

In the hallway.  
I wait.  I listen.  
I hide.  
I want to go and reassure her.  Tell her it's alright.  Tell her there are people that love her.  That I will make it better.  Be better.  Love her more.  I want to go and make it okay.   Comfort her.  Stop her.  Rescue us.  Feel some security.  Some safety.   

In the hallway.  
I wait.  I listen.  
I hide.  
I was rescued often.  By my uncle.  He scolded me for getting involved.  For waiting there.  Pulled me into his room.  His world of books.  My white flowery blanket with ruffles, we sat and read.  Books of goblins and fairies.  Good and evil.  We were safe, in his books, in his world.  

In the hallway.  
The space in between.  
The transition from one place to another.  

In the hallway.  
I hesitate.

The movie.  The Sixth Sense.  The little boy is using the bathroom.  It's cold.  The music jumps.  The angry spirit of the woman in the pink robe swirls by...I am always scared like that in the hallway.  Always run like something is after me.  Like I won't come back.  Like I'll be stuck there forever.  Like I have no where else to go.  Always in transition.  Always waiting...listening...hiding.  From my life.  Waiting to be perfect.  Perfect enough to come out of the hallway.  Worthy enough for her not to vomit.  Not to drink.  Not to scare me.  

In the hallway.  
I hide.
picture source

This post is linked to my response..."Come Out of the Hallway, Little Girl"...I encourage you to read it too!  :)

(Repetitive writing style inspired by Heather's post "Do You Know What I Mean?"  at The Extraordinary Ordinary.) 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Can Tell By His Shoes...

I am 5 minutes late for my blind date.  Some last minute primping, lip gloss, earrings check, I am finally good to go.  A chinese food place I drive past every day...it will be dinner for the night...and, well, hopefully fun, free and tasty.

I drive around the building, and give a smile and wave to my waiting date.  He's tall, dark and handsome.  He looks interested, which makes me smirk with delight.  I park around the corner and make my entrance.  Hair long and swaying in the wind, I feel like a model standing in front of a fan, ready for the glam shot...until...screeching halt.

What.  Is.  This!?  Hi-Techs.  Oh shit.

This is bad.  This is really bad.  Do I escape now?  I am already here.


Maybe he will be a nice guy.  We can just be friends...because I cannot date a guy with those shoes.


When I was dating, I would rate a guy two ways--by his rhythm and his shoes.  Ask any of my life long friends and they will tell you, we had it down to a science.  My girlfriends and I would go dancing almost every weekend.  We did it to survive college.  It would provide the much needed stress relief, distraction from the monotony of studying, and the laughs to carry us to the next Friday night adventure.  With all that experience, a girl could perfect her assessment of a guy, and that's just what I did....or what I told myself.

Let me give you a few examples:

The Swinger
This guy will know how to dance...likely have slacks with a collared shirt and sleeves rolled up.  He will sweat a lot, but it will be worth it.  He will lead, you will spin and twirl and feel like a girl.  He will buy you drinks--martinis, and he will be the perfect gentleman.  His attraction to you will be slightly more than you have for him, but you will have a blast, which will leave you wondering if there could be more.

The My So Called Life, Jordan Catalano
This guy is probably short--he's wearing a heel!  He will have baggy jeans, college or rock t-shirt.  He may know how to dance, but probably the same dance style over and over again, with little to no variation in his movements.  He will want to present himself better than he really is but he will be a hard worker, diligent, and maybe if you are lucky, thoughtful.  He will likely offer to buy you a beer or a shot, and he might even have I know how to run my fingers through my hair just right along with the seductive head nod...enough to leave you wondering about his real personality.

The I Got In With The Fake ID Guy
This guy is a kid or worse, still wants to be one.  He is probably best at hip hop or breaker styles, but will have rhythm through all dance forms.  He isn't old enough to buy anything,  so go buy your own drink here.  He will be sweet, but out of his league.  His buddies will all talk about it the rest of the night, either to make fun of him or because they are jealous.  He will wear a t-shirt, his pants will sag and show off his underwear of choice, and he will use all the correct and current lingo.  You might find him attractive, but in that, I'm old enough to be your mom way.  Insert gag here.  

The Slacker

 This guy is the ultimate free loader.  The surfer.  The snowboarder.  The beach guy.  He is laid back and will do or say anything.  He is very low key, but knows how to have fun.  Unfortunately, he will likely have no sense of rhythm, waving his hands in the air to every song, and in the moments he really gets into it, he will bite his lip.  He will want to get you drunk, but expect you to pay.  He will drool on you, slop his beer on you, and although you might find him attractive, you realize it will never be worth the hangover, ever.  And, when you look down at his feet, to avoid having to see more obnoxious dance moves, you notice he has nasty toe nails.  Ugh.  Major, major buzz kill.  Walk away now.

Mister Hi-Techs
And then, here we are, back at the Hi-Techs.  This guy doesn't care much about fashion.  He will be ready for an adventure, spontaneous, smart and willing to get a little dirty.  He will be strong, and quiet.  He won't really know how to dance, but he will be willing to try just about anything.  This guy likes to be comfortable, and he starts with his shoes, a level of practicality and logic, clarity and focus.  This guy makes sense.  Just not to the fashion or dance world.


So, what happened on the date, you wonder?  Did my I'm so perfect at determining the personality of a guy by his shoes philosophy work?

It was like our soul's were old friends.  Conversation was easy, fun, and without pretenses.  We shared  stories.  Sad stories.  Funny stories.  Laughed.  The food was terrible, but the time with Mister Hi-Techs made it all worth it.  I couldn't have been more surprised.  And you would have never guessed...

I married Mister Hi-Techs.  

The comfort, practicality, and logic has taken me to beautiful and exciting places, places I would have never expected.  I am grateful for him every day.  The Hi-Techs "got lost" when we moved in together shortly after our engagement, but a part of me wishes I would have saved them.  It wasn't the type of shoe I was looking for, but definitely the man of my dreams.  

I guess you can look at this silly, but sometimes true, shoe assessment of a man and know it might give you some sense of security about dating, and it might also be total shit.  If I had met Mister Hi-Techs out dancing, I would have never given him the time of day, simply based on his shoes, and that seems absolutely absurd to me now.  Well...not so absurd that it isn't a requirement that we always go shoe shopping together...those things are not coming back...we all need some fashion sense!

I guess, to make my point, we all sell ourselves short sometimes...creating stories we think will protect ourselves from getting hurt...but it also prevents us from living life...I'm just so grateful I didn't miss Mister Hi-Techs...

A special thanks to my dancing friends, without you, I wouldn't have a crazy post to write...those adventures were the best.  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Can Hear the Rain

I am lying on the bed.  Drowsy with sleep.  My eyes opening and closing.  


It's raining outside.  The first rain of the season, early, but welcomed.  The trickling of the water, cleansing, nourishing.  I needed it.  To feel it.  To hear it.  Rolling down the roof, into the overflowing gutters, drip, drip, hitting the plastic toy bucket below.  I like the melody it plays.  It reminds me of our drumming classes.  



Pitter-Patter, Pitter-Patter, I can hear the rain.  
Pitter-Patter, Pitter-Patter, I can hear the rain.  

His little fingers tip toe along the surface of the drum.  Feeling the stretched leather, and whispering, he continues to mouth the words. 
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, I can hear the wind.  
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, I can hear the wind.

Caressing the surface with the tips of his fingers in a dizzying whirlwind motion, round and round, round and round.  It really sounds like the wind, the beginnings of a rumbling of something bigger.  I see the excitement in his eyes as the song progresses, sure that he is filled with the anticipation of what's to come, waiting and ready.

Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom. I can hear the storm.  
Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom.  I can hear the storm.  

His arms are flailing now as he bangs the drum in full force.  There is no inhibition, no hesitation, not even any rhythm, but I love it anyway, hearing and seeing the storm come to its fruition, the anticipation of its final arrival only seconds before, the excitement, the banging, the freedoms.  


He rolls over.  I wonder if he'll wake, or if we can both get a few more moments to this wonderful, lazy, rain-filled afternoon.  I drift into and out of sleep again.  My eyes heavy and closing with each fall of another rain drop.  

Miss Percy will be muddy now, I think.    

I didn't plant my seedlings in the garden yet, I think.  

I refuse to go there.  I am not going to allow my mind to race, to think of all the things still left undone, of all the things I need to finish.  I am enjoying lying here, listening to this pitter-patter rain, breathing in this moment.  

Sleepy afternoon.  Where is the storm?

(Drumming moment and photo, courtesy of Mz. Marianne's drumming classes at Adventures in Rhythm.  Thank you, Mz. Marianne!) 

Inspired by Just Write.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Can See It In Your Eyes

"You are getting sick.  I can see it in your eyes."  I remember my grandma always telling me these words.  I could never see what she meant, until now.

I can see it in his eyes.  Glassy.  Watery.  Not full of life the way they usually are.  His eyelids are puffy.  He looks tired.  

I should have known, I think.  He was coughing in his sleep last night.  He didn't sleep well.  He was restless.  We were both restless.  I was annoyed that he wouldn't go to bed.  Now it all makes sense.  I feel terrible I got so upset.  He must be miserable.      

He clings to me.  He wants me to hold him.  He has a fever.  

We don't get sick very often.  Hand washing.  Eating at home.  Germ diligence.  I'm thankful for Sid the Science Kid's recent episode about germs...Sid always explains science better to my kid than I can...ironic, considering I was a science teacher.  Maybe my son will want to be more patient washing his hands...I'm hopeful...even just for a moment.

The fever.  It's higher than usual.  I rub his back.  I feel his head.  He cuddles in under my arm, silent and still.  Definitely not his usual self.  

He asks to watch a cartoon.  Shaun the Sheep is our new favorite, and we will both laugh.  

Season two on Netflix.  Each episode provides relief...from his watery eyes, sore throat, fatigue...from my worries for him...my helplessness in making him feel any better.

We trudge through the day.  Bouts of energy lead to trains and track strewn across the living room floor.  Optimism that perhaps it might be a one day thing, soon leads to worry.  The fever is still high.  He is more lethargic than before.  When should I take him to the doctor?  What if this is really a bad one?  I rest assured knowing that when we need to go, I'll know...I hope.  

A second dose of medicine leaves him sleeping, on his tummy, one arm hanging off the side of the couch, the other arm crumpled under his body.  He is snoring and drooling.  He seems content, finally.  We leave him resting here until we go into bed for the night.  

In the middle of the night, he wakes, coughing, trying to catch his breath.  I pick him up quickly.  Holding him, I tell him to breathe.  I worry.  His fever is still high.  His arms fall limp against my chest.  He wimpers, trying to fall back asleep, trying to stay awake.  He obviously doesn't feel good, what can I do?  

I hold him.  

I rock him back and forth.  

I hug him.  

I reassure him that he will feel a little better tomorrow.  

I tell him I love him.  

In that moment, I realize, how grateful I am, to be his mommy.  And, despite my growing fever and sore throat, I know this love, this moment, is making us both feel just a little bit better.  

making it a little better for both of us
(picture from 3 years ago)  


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just Do It

I remember the moment clearly, sitting in my therapist's office, the sun glistening off her hair, her eyes staring intently at the words coming from my mouth.  We are discussing my refusal to exercise.  She asks me, "Why not just do it?  Just get up and run.  Just get up and move?"  I have no answer.  I am indignant.  I am baffled.

I ran (and fell) on the treadmill.  It's not that I am afraid.  It's not that I think I can't.  I just don't want to...I don't care.  I am angry.  I am rejecting reality.

Just Do It...like the Nike commercial....Just Do It.  I wonder what it feels like...the practicality of just doing it.  Why not just do it, then?  I want the body movement.  I want the time for myself.  I want the healthy lifestyle.  I want to lose excess weight.  

It's always black or white with me.  Always the right way, the wrong way.  Always all or nothing.  The insistence to do it all with great attention and meticulous detail.  There is no shade of grey.  No, just do it.  


There has to be a list, a method, structure and rules to follow.  There has to be rigidity.  Rigidity that shows how hard I am working, how much I am worth it.  

If I could go to a gym, get a trainer, go to classes, they will all tell me what to do, tell me how to be healthy, tell me what is right, what is good.  If I could get the right answer, then I would do it right, then I would get the success I longed for, be the perfect person I am trying so hard to be.  They will tell me I am worth it, worth all the sweating, the breathing, the work.  They will help me get to that place...that place where I am worth something.      

Oh, I know...how I sabotage?!  When I do one little thing wrong, when one little thing doesn't go as expected, doesn't go right, I'm done.  That's it.  It's over.  I'm flawed.  I'm not perfect.  It's hopeless.  And, I stop.  I prove that I can't just do it.  

Trainer or not.  Gym or not.  Classes or not.  I am rejecting my own power.  My own potential.  My own authority.

Every part of me wants to embrace exercise.  The perfectionist in me, the it-will-be-better-when-I-get-there part of me wants to control it all.  It's why I can't even call it exercise.  It's why I create a pattern that says I can't just do it.  

How do I get anywhere?  How do I get to this place where I can, authentically and honestly, just do it?

That pretentious ass-wipes gym was everything we wanted it to be.  The play space for my son.  The number of classes for me.  The joy in body movement.  The healthy lifestyle.  The living.  The cost, unfortunately, is out of our price range right now.  I know we will have that one day...well, I hope we will.  I did embrace how much I want that lifestyle...the joy in moving...

Through all of this...writing, reflection, heartfelt desire for a better, healthier me...I realize that I am not living in my power.  I cannot give "healthy" over to a gym.  I cannot give "exercise" over to a trainer.  I know me.  I know my body.  I know healthy.  I even know exercise.  I believe I am beginning to understand just do it.  

So, I call on all of you, that struggle with  changing that part of your life, that part that you want more from, that part you know isn't at its fullest potential, its maximum joy...I challenge you to embrace it...to find your own ways of just doing it...

Instead of telling ourselves we aren't there, that we will never get there, that we don't deserve there...
Let's believe: I am enough.
Let's stand in our own power.
Trusting that we know what's right.
Let's be gentle with ourselves.
Know that we are doing our best.
We are living in the moment.

I am going to begin by simply embracing body movement how-ever and when-ever possible.  I am going to be happy moving...dancing...running...laughing...hugging...keeping my body moving...and just doing it...any way possible.  I will run (and NOT fall) on the treadmill.  I will dance with my son and my husband...to "Moves Like Jagger" or any other fun dance song.  I will take long hikes and short runs with Miss Percy.  I will practice pull-ups and push-ups with my little guy at the park.  I will ride my bike to the library.  I will do Yoga whenever possible.  I will practice mindfulness toward my body, my breathing, my living.  I will be grateful for all that my body does for me, for all the times I've taken it for granted, overlooked it's strengths, it's power to heal.

I encourage all of you to embrace it too.  To know your power is within...it is yours...and it is there waiting for you...to JUST DO IT.

This is the final, in a three part series that discusses my return to body movement, my relationship with exercise, and well, even a treadmill or two.  Be sure to check back to Hitting the Gym and The Tread-ed Truth for the full story.  Again, I thank all of you for taking the time to read these words on the page.  I hope you enjoy them, and if you haven't done so already, be sure to sign up to receive blog posts by email...you won't miss a thing!  Thanks, and enjoy embracing this moment!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Tread-ed Truth

I'm running.  I'm in the groove.  I can feel it.  Five miles per hour.  Breathing is steady, deep.  Song is playing on the discman.  I'm dance running.  

The sweat clings to my body, ready for the next step, to fall into a puddle, to be absorbed into my tank top.  I cover the timer with my towel so I don't obsess about the time, about the calories, about the blinking red lights.  

I really do love running to this song.  My arms are moving.  I am feeling the funk.  

My hand hits the earphones cord.  The discman plummets off the viewing tray and travels down the running belt...seeming to go way faster than five miles per hour.  I stumble.  I think, for a second, that I might have recovered.  I look back to see the discman break into several pieces.  My ear phones still stuck in my ears.  

I realize, in the biggest oh shit moment ever, that in all the commotion, I am losing momentum.  My body is not moving as fast as it was, and the treadmill is still moving, really freaking fast.  I try to balance.  Wobble.  Grab.  Reach for the buttons, the handles.  It's not working.  I'm not going to make it.  Oh shit.  This is gonna hurt.  I am. Going. Down. 

My feet stop moving all together.  I am horizontal in the air.  Like those cartoon images...waiting for the drop.  

My chin hits first...the tread...scraping the first layer of skin.  I am forcably shot three feet backward off the treadmill.  My body hits.  I lose a of moment of consciousness. 

I am in pieces.  On the floor.  Right next to my discman.  And, the disc is still freaking spinning.  

I lift my head.  Try to gain my composure.  Try to focus my eyes.


I see it.  I taste it.  I see it!

The treadmill is still running...at five miles per hour...my brain is moving just as fast now...just as fast...trying to put together the pieces of what just happened.  The blood.  Scared.  Panicked.  

I push myself up and off the floor.  Leaning over to keep the blood from getting on my clothes.  (Who does that?)  I grab my broken discman and head downstairs to my apartment.  My roommate is home.  The look of horror on her face confirms that I am in a state of shock.  I don't see the horror she sees.  I am still running on the treadmill.  I can still hear the machine.  My feet pounding the belt as I land.  The music.  I was dancing.  I was looking at the glimmering swimming pool.  I was fine.  

My bottom lip is bleeding.  Bleeding terribly.  She grabs me a washcloth.  I dab.  I insist I am fine.  I see the inter-workings of my lip that no one should really ever see.  My knees start to feel weak.  My hands start to tremble.  

I anxiously try to examine the rest of my body.  Did I hurt anything else?  Am I bleeding anywhere else?  No, but my lip is still gushing full force.  My knees are still making it a challenge to stay standing.  I feel nauseous.  I want to laugh.  Did I really just fall off a treadmill?  Did anyone hear it?      

I tilt my head back to see the point of impact.  From one side of my jaw bone to the other I have what looks like dirt.  It's not dirt.  It is a bruise, already forming.  My chin is black and blue.  

My roommate insists we go to the emergency room.  I don't have the strength to tell her no any longer.  I give up.  I am ready to pass out.  She drives me to the hospital.  

Lesbian domestic violence.  

I am sure that's what the nurse is thinking.  He asks if there is anything else I need to tell him.  If I need some privacy.  If I need my roommate to step out of the room.  I insist she stays with me.  I am semi-conscious.  I am in shock.  She makes me feel safe.  Makes my hands stop shaking so much.    

I tell him the story.  I tell him about running.  About the discman.  About the falling.  

He laughs.

Yes.  He laughs.  

The ER doctor comes in.  She's eating a sandwich.  She looks at my lip.  She tells me I need stitches.  


My roommate gets to help her.  Gets to hold the tray.  The tray that holds all the items the sandwich-eating doctor will use to close my lip.  

She places a place mat over my head.  There is a hole where my mouth is exposed.  I can still see everything she is doing.  I wonder if this was for panic prevention or for her breadcrumbs.  

I watch her stitch each of the stitches.  I try to not think about the consequences of this...to my smile...to my kisses...to my beautiful face.  I try not to cry.  Try not to laugh.  Try not to shake.  

We leave the hospital.  My lip is huge.  It's late.  I have to work tomorrow.  I have to work tomorrow!  I am a high school teacher, and this is going to be hell.  How do I do this?  I am going to get so much shit from my students.  

I call my department lead.  She can't understand me.  I can't speak correctly with my lip this puffy.  Hard consonants don't come out right.  "I pell obb the treadmill and my liiiib is puwwy" I say.  It's no use.  My roommate gets on the phone.  She tells the story..."She fell off the treadmill and her lip is puffy."  I am so very grateful.  I still decide to go to work tomorrow...to set the lesson plan...to pretend like everything is okay...like I didn't just get 15 stitches...like I didn't just do all of this...feel all of this.  

The denial is thick.  My tummy is growling.  I can't eat.  This is going to take a while.  A really long while to recover.           

It was over 10 years ago that I was launched off the treadmill.  My lip, although still scar ridden, has healed well.  The laughter with my family and friends carried me through those weeks of recovery.  Everyone I know loves to tell this story, to know someone that did this, to know that this really does happen to people.  It's not just a funny youtube video.  Although, I do wonder how much money I could have made if there were a video.  Millions, I tell you.  Millions.

Bottom line...it's okay to laugh...everyone does...even me...even now.     

Surprisingly, I still really love the treadmill.  It's been a while since I gave it some love, and perhaps my true intention of writing this homage to this whole experience now.  I yearn for that time.  For that space.  For that fun.  For me.  For the privacy.  For the body movement.      

If you use it, you've got to play it safe.  Here are the safety guidelines, and some sarcasm as an added bonus:  
1.  Obviously, wear the damn safety belt.  It really does make the world of difference.  Ask my lip.
2.  Keep a clear space behind and around the treadmill.  If you fall off, you have room to land, and not be sliced like a piece of meat.
3.  Buy an arm band to hold the ipod/phone...then you don't knock it off the viewing tray.  (Discman...I know...I'm old...what can I say?)  
4.  Run dance.  Dance run.  Whichever.  It's the best!  

This is the second in a series the discusses my return to body movement and exercise.  Be sure to read my first posting Hitting the Gym.  

Have you ever experienced anything like this or know anyone that fell off the treadmill?    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hitting the Gym

Her boobs are perky.  Her hair glimmers in the light...highlights, long, newly brushed.  She smiles, a little too eagerly.  She wants too much from me.  I am immediately uncomfortable.

As we stand here, in the lobby, with so many people coming and going, I search for something, anything to keep me from bolting to the door.  Then, in a--I am, like, in, like, the 7th grade--obnoxious high pitched voice, perky boobs says, "Um, so, like, what are your goals here?"

What are my goals here?!  Did she really just say this?

"I am here to exercise, to check out your classes, and get an opportunity to have some much needed time for myself."  I say, quietly, and somewhat sternly, in that only-a-mommy-teacher-can-say-it kind of way.  I am trying to be polite, as I desperately try to remember what it felt like to have perky boobs, time to brush my hair and exude that much positive energy.  My mind wanders...searching...

Obnoxious squeak again..."No, um, I mean, uh, your weight loss goals...you know, cuz, like, we are here to help you achieve anything you want."

Hmmm...does that mean you can make you go away?  Wow.  Do people just come into this gym and discuss these private things with perky boobs here in the lobby?  Am I really that old and that much of a prude already?

With any kind of dignity I can manage to scrape off the bottom of her perfect athletic shoes, I say, "Frankly, my weight loss is not something that we will be discussing here, right now.  Thank you."  

Oh, did I see a little less inflate in that chest?  Pop.  I snicker...well, in my head, at least.

We tour the gym.  Her boobs were the only good part.  And even that was over done.

My husband and I converse in the car, while our little man whines for a snack.  A snack I forgot to bring.  I scavenge for anything...oh...a granola bar...doesn't matter how long this is in the car...it's always good.  I toss it back to him, and he is grateful.  You'd think I starve him or something.  Poor guy.    

As I digress into, how could I forget a snack, I am a terrible Mommy mantra, my husband wants to know the next place.  I tell him it's the one we will want but we cannot afford.  

We pull in the parking spot.  I am nervous.  Sigh.  My husband, looks endearingly, says, "Sweetie, I am just looking at them as a bunch of pretentious ass-wipes, let's just go in and check it out.  It will be okay."  He forgets that we were once those ass-wipes...those ass-wipes that could afford a place like this...could justify a place like this...could buy into a place like this.  I am even more anxious. 

From the back seat, we hear, between crunches, "Daddy, what's an ass-wipe?"  I secretly hide my laugh.  It's the only reason I have the courage to check out gym number two.  

This is the first posting in a three post series that exposes enlightens my journey to find a place for body movement and time for myself...a series that will make you laugh, wish you never knew about, and embrace, wholeheartedly, with me.  I hope you enjoy.  I am laughing, even now, even after all of it...so check in again tomorrow...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mommy, It's Wake Up Time...

I start with the oranges.  Perhaps it's the smell, or that it doesn't require much brain power, but by the third small orange placed in the container, I am ready for more.  My brain starts engaging, I can begin to open my sleep filled eyes.  The smell of the coffee brewing.  The trickles of the caffeine rush I am about to enjoy, drips into the carafe.    

I move on to the salads, the sliced fruit, all placed into his large lunch box, he'll have plenty of options for his day.  The sandwich is always the last step.  By this point, I can manage more than one thing at a time, and juggling the lettuce, cheese, meat, and bread, I invent a new taste concoction for the day.  I wonder how it is that he can eat the same lunch every day and like it...then I think of my coffee...still the same deliciousness...maybe that's how he feels...maybe he feels my love...in each bite of his sandwich.  

Breakfast burrito or egg sandwich in the microwave, to eat on his way to work, and I am moments away from freedom, from my time, to write, to read, to socialize, to disengage.

Kisses, longing looks of, oh I wish we coulda coulda last night, and my husband is out the door.  He's ready for his 12 hour day, for the driving, for the sales, for the fixing...he's off...and I miss him already.   

I grab my coffee and I'm in.  Networked.  Reading.  The words on the screen fill my mind, inspire me to do, to be, to think.  I savor each moment.  The laugh.  The status update.  The thought provoking post that requires further analysis during my day.  The friends I miss.  This time is all mine, and I am loving it, embracing it.  


Was that....?  The denial.  I'm not finished, I have a few more articles to read, another blog post to edit.  No. I didn't hear him...maybe it was the dog.


The disappointment sinks in as I race to the bedroom.  I'm  not done.  I didn't get as far as I'd hoped.  I wanted more.  More time to reflect, to focus, to be.  I really wanted to finish this or that, or both.  I am not ready to entertain, to change pull ups, to play "ram mommy with the tractor truck."  Just...not yet...

Then, I arrive at my son.  His covers kicked off.  His cold feet.  His open arms.  His half-asleep cry for me to hold him, to help him wake up, to help him embrace the day.  I pick him up.  Feel the weight of his body.  The feeling of his arms around my neck, his head resting on my shoulder.  A huge hug.  

I hold him tight...until I let go of my disappointment, until I let the love in, until I arrive in the moment.  He's already in it, already bellowing sleepy words at me to go do this, to get that...and I just wait.  Wait for the gratitude.  Wait for the tenderness.  Some days are easier than others.  Sometimes the hug is short because we are both raring and ready to go, and sometimes the hug is long because one of us really needs it, needs the connection, needs the grounding.  We talk about his dreams.  About how much I missed him while he was sleeping.  About what we are going to do for the day.  When the hug ends, connection established, the morning routine begins, the day is in full motion.  

On the occasional weary tired morning, I will try and coax him back into bed.  Under the covers between his mommy and daddy.  Snuggles.  Sleep.  He'll often try and go with it, feeling loved, warm.  Those moments in and out of sleep, dream land and reality...it will all end with one of two things happening--one--he jumps and lands knee in my ear, giggle laugh, and repeats; or--the more prefered--two--in the sweetest of voices, he looks up at me, big brown eyes, hair disheveled, and says, "Mommy, it's wake up time."  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Escaping the Present Moment...in Two Lines

Another test.  Will there be two lines?

Two lines.

Calling my husband.  Telling him there were two lines.  A moment I will never, ever forget.  The joy.  The excitement.  The immediate expectations.

I don't know what it is about those few seconds you wait until your urine travels up the stick to read a positive or negative pregnancy result.  It feels like years.  Watching.  Waiting.  The anticipation.  Hope.  Excitement.  Will there be two lines this time?  

I am finding that the most common way for me to escape my present moment is to think I might be pregnant.  The symptoms haunt me, and I wonder.  Wonder if that could be the missing link...put the seal on the "have another baby" stamp in my perfection passport...and then I could feel safe...feel like I have it all...feel happy.  The anticipation of wondering if we will have another, forget if we actually want another child, I bolt from my current reality and obsess...about what it might look like...what it might feel like...what I might be like...nothing like the current me...I would be content, fulfilled, loved. 

So here I wait,  impatiently yearning for two lines, over and over again, sure that it's positive this time.  

The pregnancy symptoms are there, but always explained by something else.  It is my thought pattern of escaping the present moment that sets me up for disappointment when the test again reads negative.  Am I creating a way to punish myself?  I don't want this.  I do want this.  I suppose the question I need to be asking myself, the awareness I need to stay present to, is the moment I start to bolt from reality.  What am I thinking?  What am I feeling, in my mind, and in my body?  Why do I feel the need to escape?  

I would love to have more children.  I don't, however, want the expectations of more children carried in my body.  When someone asks, "When are you going to have another one?"  Never thinking there might be problems.  Never thinking you have wanted another one all along.  Never thinking it is none of their business.  I carry the anticipation of that moment, the defensiveness, the anxiety, the stress of it, in my body, waiting, ready.  Ready to shame myself.  Ready to explain, justify, defend, something I have no control over, something that is no one else's business.  I don't want to carry that reaction in my body any longer, but I don't like staying present in that moment either.  It's not a nice one to feel, to realize, to know.     So, I suppose that's the true reality I am escaping.  

I also know that I would value me more if I were pregnant.  Like it gives me time and reason to take care of myself, as if, in and of myself, I am not worth it, but pregnant, sure, take a nap, put your feet up, eat good meals, and pay attention to me, all guilt free...because the baby deserves it, not me.  

It's really no way to live, no way to treat myself.  I know it.  I just want the escape.  The escape from the pressure I feel to be perfect, to do it all, to be happy.  The distance I sometimes feel from happiness, and the ease with which I tell myself I could have it if I were pregnant.  It is all a false pretense, the worst of false realities...not to mention, the immense expectation the child would have, even while still developing in my body.  I don't ever want to give a child the burden of my own self validation--the burden of telling me my body is healed, my body is resilient, my body works.  And yet, it is exactly what I am imagining.  

I don't know the real truth yet.  Right now, my pattern is to simply sit here, and wait for the urine to travel up the stick.  To wait for that moment when there will be two lines.  When will I realize I don't need the test?  When will I trust living in my own body?  I look forward to that moment...