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

 

 

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Gotta catch them all!

The moments.

The little moments when a kiddo leans against me. Or asks for 5 more minutes of snuggles. Or follows me around the house while I’m trying to get work done. Or lingers at the dinner table. Or holds the door open for me. Or doesn’t let go of a hug.

As an out-loud reminder to myself, and also to trio, I comment that I enjoy these times as they come up. It grounds me. It is a concrete acknowledgement that their time of being small(er) is temporary and they won’t always find as much comfort in my presence, and they won’t always be present around me. It keeps me in-the-moment and centered in gratitude.

The natural progression is that they will gradually not need me around them so much. In fact, part of my job as a mum is to help them figure out how to derive comfort from their own inner core. This reminder helps shift me away from feeling tired, or overwhelmed, or irritated (yes, when I have a huge pile of things to do, it can feel irritating when I need to make room for their needs too). Most of the time, the mindshift works and I drop instantly into the present. But other times I just don’t have enough resources inside me to make that space for them.

By saying it out loud to them, I think that conveys my love to them, and that they’re important.* I hope it also lets them know that it’s ok when they start to drift away from me and into their own lives, because I understand that there is a nucleus shift away from me as-the-center and into their own center.

When I take a step back from the day-to-day, I see the bigger picture of how our lives will diverge and I want them to have as many skills, tools, and a bucket as full as I can make it – and teach them how to fill their own bucket.

It’s as though we are all on a path and many times I’m the only one walking, and they are hanging off me and holding my hand. But as we walk, they begin to have a path of their own: a path that veers away from our family path and then rejoins, and then separates again. It’s the steps when we’re walking together that I treasure. Those are the moments I strive to see with a grateful heart. The times when we walk together will become less and less frequent, and I can celebrate that I’ve taught them as much as I can on how to walk with strength – alone and apart from me and the family path.

As a solo parent, it becomes evident that it will be just me on the path (eventually). I want to be able to celebrate that I’ve learned, and taught myself, as much as possible on how to walk alone. With strength and confidence. Just like them.

xo
Mto3

*I hope it doesn’t make them feel guilty that their needs are trumping whatever is happening in the moment. Or that it’s a chore for me to give them some time…

A Flibbertigibbet! A will o’ the wisp! A clown!

They could have been singing about my daughter. She often puts a song in my heart, and sometimes it’s this one.

 

…except once I began to understand her, and tried to get inside her head on how it works in there, she was no longer a ‘problem’ and a will o’ the wisp seemed more magical than flighty.

Now when this song plays in my heart around her, I just swoop and pick her up and we dance together.

(Thank you Rodgers and Hammerstein)

It’s om-ly Thursday (yay!)

year of the monkey
My year of the monkey (it’s not so cute irl)

It’s been a tough week.

Ok. It’s been a tough year. 2016 has been chasing me and shaking it’s arms at me and trying to find ways to make me lose my cool.

I won’t even bore you with the litany of things I’m feeling overwhelmed about – because I definitely understand that there are gradations of challenges. (Oldest reminded me tonight, while I was whinging about the cold sore on my lip, that I’m lucky to have lips. Go into Gratitude is what I heard, and I appreciated his effort.)

My mind likes meditation and yoga – I will not say I’m particularly great at either practice, but I aim to take something from my experiences. I *adore* the possibility of personal development and mind quiet.

It is helpful in this period of growth opportunity (aka sucky-hard, hate-to-be-an-adult time) to Go into Gratitude during the very challenging moments, and strive for a quieter mind when I have a bit of quieter time. And when I say “helpful” it just means that I can find my breath again rather quickly after an explosive SHOUT and put things into perspective.

It’s also helpful to be mindful of where I am in space and time: the ground beneath my feet; the way the air feels in my lungs. While I walked pup around the bloc, I took some moments of reflection (he greedily sniffed the grass: no trouble being in the moment for him!) … Looking at the stars, realizing they’ve been here since the beginning, and are so huge and amazing… I can find a gift in that.

trifecta of peace
Peace Trifecta

So that trifecta creates and shapes my mornings and sets me up on this Thursday. I’m not racing for the weekend – although I will enjoy it when that moment comes (I assure you!) – I will enjoy today.

I will find the om in this moment.

 

Hope you are finding yours.

xoMto3

 

Reblogged: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

This is an amazing post – the discussion (and metaphor! It’s a metaphor!) about what sometimes happens in a marriage and why they go south. Great piece with an opportunity to do a little self-reflection and digging.

(And my Humanist side feels that it’s not just always he who leaves the dishes… sometimes it is she. But again- metaphor.)

Source: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

Thanks Matt!

 

(ps. if you can wade through the comments, please do so: you might find there is some hilarity, some gems, and some ridiculousness)

 

xo

A moment in which to luxuriate

Empty plates? Cold veg in the serving dish? Salt on the table cloth and warm milk in the bottom of the plastic cups.

image

…and with all that, a corner has been turned.

Trio and I will chat, and laugh, and discuss the coming week, ask questions, and connect in the aftermath of dinner. The cooling plates cozied between our elbows on the table. The crispy bits of the roast being picked at between comments. The napkins being folded, and unfolded, then folded again while we consider interesting points of views. We bang our feet against each others’ under the table, or tickle ankles with our toes, or touch the shoulder of the person sitting beside us this meal.

It certainly doesn’t feel very long ago that meals were nearly untenable marathons of repositioning bums, picking up forks, feeding babies then toddlers then babies again, getting drinks of milk (no! Not that cup!), and ketchup (always ketchup).
I had a love-hate with my self imposed insistence that we sit at the table and enjoy dinner together. It certainly wasn’t in deference to my cream love seat and all that ketchup.

Being outnumbered as a single parent means, for me, that our connection to each other as a set of four is paramount. There are many ways to connect one-on-one. But in a group, there aren’t many experiences as binding as preparing food, eating together, and then cleaning up together. It is different than any other activity we do as a group. At a deeper level, we seem to understand we are nourishing each other – that we are giving and creating something more than playing a board game or shoveling the driveway (important family stuff, abso!!).

To just be together in those after moments: we’re choosing to stay together, even though we’ve finished eating, to maintain this closeness, this full feeling. It’s an unexpected gift as a parent.

Keeping it real: we fought throughout the whole KP duty. I felt trio knew enough about what cleaning meant to handle it while I took Pup-po out for his business  (biting cold and an uncooperative dog grumped me up by the time I finally got back in the house and saw trio had done very little KP) … so there *might* have been some nattering and griping and grumpiness during the clean up.

… and then reconnection again at bedtime when we all piled into my bed to look at pictures and snuggle a bit…