Un-scheduling

It’s possible in the summer to become less scheduled – there is way more time to do and be and find your own pace. No school. Less work (for me). More friends with free time. Pools. Beaches. Parks. Visiting. Vacationing.

Vacations. This is the second year that trio have gone to their Dad’s for a portion of the summer. Last year it was 2 weeks. This year it is three. Three weeks. They have a ton of fun things planned to do, as well as some free time to do yoga, berry pick, and play in the backyard with their step-dog. Being somewhere else for them definitely means vacation and fun.

But what does it mean for me? I’m at home with our same mess and our same clothes and our same space. It’s the same grocery stores and parks and the same weather.

The fridge doesn’t need to be stocked with snacks. Laundry will be done in small batches and it’s solely my socks to match up. My shoes are the only ones at the front door. Bedtime is whenever and so is wake up. I can have tuna from the can for dinner.

And what else does it mean? My sense of time is all mixed up without having people to care for: to feed and tuck in at night and wake up in the morning. That also means no one to redirect and hug and encourage and clean. No one here to giggle with or feel frustrated with or hang out with. No arguments to mediate. No achievements to celebrate. No one to help with cleaning or feeding the pets or mowing the lawn. No one to tell what to do.

But amid all the lack, clarity emerges.  I have uncovered that, within myself, I am a Mother first and foremost. A mum and then me as a person, as a woman, as a sister or friend. Without the label of “mum” to help shape my days and hours, I’m not sure what to do with my time or what I even *want* to do with my time. I didn’t realize that my mix of my own-self and my mother-self wasn’t as balanced as I thought. During their absence of the last week, and knowing I have another 2 more weeks, I feel at odds: I have to acknowledge I’m not as in-touch with me-as-a-person.

Good to know.

For the next two weeks, I’m giving myself permission to choose my own adventure and to unschedule myself. Maybe I do want to declutter the basement, but if I don’t, that’s ok. Maybe I want to go kayaking for an afternoon. Maybe sit around Indigo and browse books. Maybe do work. Maybe clean the house. But I will find my own pace.

Allow me to encourage you to do the same this summer. Find opportunities to tune into yourself, for yourself. Maybe you have only one afternoon, but take it for only you.

Summer means freer days and less scheduling. Make this summer extra for you as well as others in your care.

xo
Mto3

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Smack Dab in the middle

How did we get into the middle of this frosty November?

Ok, well, I *know* that we got here, but wow! Days are just slipping past. When trio were small, people told me that the days are long, but the years are short. As they get older, I feel as though the years and days are short: they rush past, full of school and work and activities and dinners and moments.

I try to catch the moments with trio, treasuring and realizing each time they ask for a hug, or to tuck them in, or we all sit together for dinner, there is one less opportunity for a connection. They grow up. They need me less. They begin to branch out. Their interests evolve outside the house. And, also – I continue to grow. My interests shift outside of their needs. I begin to understand myself more.

My oldest is now a High School-er. I’m striving to let him make mistakes and uncover his own path, but still be present for support and guidance. I’m grateful that he’s able to articulate his needs (needing more space, sometimes, and other times needing defined boundaries) so we can try to remain connected through this new and dramatic phase of growth.

The most glaring shift on the horizon for us is his involvement in an afterschool club. Three times a week, he needs to be at the school for 6 hours (or more) for an astounding total of 18+ hours per week outside of a typical school schedule. He is poised for growth – guidance from other adults, peer relationships, technical skill development, autonomy, personal awareness… I’m so excited for him! Our house routine and systems will shift and change in concert with his needs. On evenings when he’s home, his homework will take precedence over housework/chores and his personal downtime. The other two will need to step up and support him and the house in new ways which will lead to growth and development in them.

It’s going to be amazing!

And it’s going to be hard!

There will be tears, and frustration, and uncertainty.

Change is tough. Growth is necessarily uncomfortable.

As the mama, I have an opportunity to model and practice patience, humour, and mindfulness. No doubt I will also be practicing humility, and forgiveness; and seeking forgiveness from trio as I stumble and strive to figure this all out.

My sense, as I go forward, is to be present. Plan and aim to make tomorrow and next week smooth, but stay in the moments as they come up. I can’t help but be empathetic when I’m present. And I imagine we’ll need LOTS of empathy in the coming weeks!

xo
Mto3

 

 

First Day of Gratitude – connectedness

The magic of the season isn’t found in whether or not I baked my own cinnamon buns from scratch (I didn’t this year 😮) or if my house has smelled of pine for the last 3 weeks (it hasn’t!). 

The magic is in connecting with others. Being with friends and family, buying coffee for the person behind you, sharing smiles with strangers, and coming together in community. 

We’re all trying to figure things out. It’s messy and confusing and even when we think we’ve got it, we find new corners to grow and discover. That’s amazing! 

Uncovering areas where we can stretch our compassion for ourselves and others, seeing that we can offer a hand to hold without losing ourselves (or losing ourselves and then finding more of ourselves), and feeling our way alone, and with others – even if it doesn’t feel like forward movement. 

I’m grateful for my community. There are people around me who don’t even know that I think of them, but they’re in my heart and thoughts. I’m sure that there are people who think of me that I’m not aware of too. There are connections to be had, fleeting sometimes – sure. But seek them out. Having people around us helps us grow, helps us find our own stability, and maybe provides something to a next group of people that we don’t even know about. 

Warmest wishes during this time, and always. 

xo Mto3 

(We’re connected now too- that’s amazing!)

Second Day of Gratitude – Joy & laughter 

There is so much information about all the great things that happen inside us when we laugh. It’s amazing to realize that days will go by without me having a great laugh. I’ll laugh,  almost every day – but I’m talking about those crazy belly laughs. 

Reliably, the good, contagious, oh-great-now-everything-is-funny laughs are with my sisters. It’s a very neat mix of deep comfort, shared memories, understanding of each others’ funny bone, and the desire to make the others laugh that leads us to giggle and snicker so much when we’re together. It’s that magical combination that keeps happy tears ruining our make up. 

To try and retell the hilarity never works. There really is a bit of magic in the moment.

I hesitated to write laughter as what I’m grateful for today. But that’s what keeps coming up for me as I reflect on today. The night ended with my sister and I laughing for at least an hour, after having frequent bursts of giggles and funnies throughout the evening. 

I’m so grateful that there’s such joy in people. And that we can reveal it to each other when we connect. 

xo Mto3 

Third Day of Gratitude – mentors

There are people whose path dovetails and runs parallel to yours. We meet them all the time, and sometimes the paths split and reconnect several times, other times never to meet again. We carry these people in our spirit and they help ‘create the fabric of our character’ as we walk alongside each other in our respective paths. 

I can think of several people who have helped shaped me but our paths no longer seem to run together, and a few who still have their path close to mine. 

Today I am grateful to my mentor (my label choice) for her ability to articulate and offer a deeper way of looking at a situation. She speaks with authenticity, openness, curiosity, and is respectful and direct. We can discuss and explore big ideas and deep feelings, and shed light into the corners of ourselves that we may be reluctant to plumb. Haha – this is balanced by our ability to also chat about what belongs in recycling vs compost. 

I’m so grateful that our paths crossed and have continued to run close to each other. No matter how our paths might diverge, I forever carry her in my heart knowing that I have been shaped and am a more wholehearted person for having known her. 

xo Mto3 

Fourth Day of Gratitude – Solstice

It’s the first day of Winter, and yet all I can think of is that it’s the beginning of lengthening days and a return to summer and sunshine. Even though nature is still hibernating, quietly in the background nature is beginning to cycle back into growth and renewal. 

Some of that energy seeps into my spirit and refreshes me. There’s something bigger than me that has its own pulse, and it’s amazing to be aware of that and to feel it.

Tonight I’m grateful that I was part of a community that came together to acknowledge and celebrate that bigger thing we’re all in. 

Fifth Day of Gratitude – 

Writing these days of gratitude, I’m aware of things I’m grateful for *all day.*

My daughter’s spunky personality. The warm hug my oldest gave me. The forgiveness from my neighbour when I forgot to pick up her son from school. My book club for reminding me that it’s ok to make mistakes (uhm… who forgets a child at school??). The chatty connection  with at young staff member at the toy store. The waiter at the restaurant. Strangers who share an emotional moment. Making my sisters laugh.

I forgot how much we notice when we shift our awareness – when we seek positives, we see positives. There’s always time to raise our eyes and look at the good which surrounds us, especially when we aren’t feeling so ‘good’ inside. 

It’s only been two days, and yet my heart is lifting. I also realized that *this* is christmas spirit. It’s not baking cookies, or finding a great gift, or even spending time with people. It’s carrying lovingkindness and finding lovingkindness in everyday moments. 

There’s no one “thing” for which I’m grateful today. I’m grateful that there are SO many amazing things out there to be seen: to generate a shift into a more open and macro view, and to spread the amazing things around to others. 

xo Mto3