Sunday, September 13, 2015

Kindergarten eve...

I had every intention of writing a "twas the night before kindergarten" post... But as the day lingered on, I knew that my emotions and anxiety just couldn't go there.  The tears at back to school night were a warning, this isn't for the weak!  I will settle for a letter...
Dear Teacher,
As you prepare for your "first day of school" and know that your students are doing the same; there are a few things I want to say.  I know you will never see this but I just need to get it off my heart and into the universe!  This is my baby...I prayed for him, begged for him and have nurtured him day in and day out.  I am THAT mom but I swear I am not really THAT mom.  I have made the choice as to when and where he was away from me but now the only choice is where... Kindergarten is a must and the time has come.  Every child goes to kindergarten and I would never deny my child that.  However, I place him in your care with expectations that are greater than I can explain.  He is watching you, eager to learn, ready to be molded and filled with opportunity.  To him, this is the big league and to me this is where time really soars. I know without a doubt that he is ready and I know that you are too.  He is here because I trust you and I am relying on you to make my baby see all of the glory, wonder, and potential that I, his mommy, see in him daily.  But the truth is that your opinion will probably matter more...he barely knows you yet he already admires you.  He looks at you in awe.  You know it all in his eyes and I will just be validating your knowledge on a daily basis.  Read that again...I will be validating your knowledge on a daily basis.  I am on your side, you see.  I want him to love you and to love school.  I want him to crave knowledge and seek information.  I want your influence to register and spark his enthusiasm for life and for all that is available to him.  I am your biggest fan but it is my God given responsibility to be his advocate.  Please know that when I ask you a thousand questions, know that when I shed tears as I leave him with you tomorrow, know that after the 5th email, the 10th email and even after I've questioned your opinions and your philosophy.  It's me, not you, I swear!  But I am new at this, on one hand I am naive to the lack of control and on the other I am ripe and ready for direction and momentum.  
In my eyes, my heart, and my memory, he is still just crawling around...everything I never knew but prayed that I wanted and needed right there in a worn sleeper from miles logged crawling laps around our kitchen... But in reality he is running drills at football, perfecting his putt on the golf course, showering alone and off to kindergarten.  I'm not ready...can you tell?  Please acknowledge his character, his compassion and HIM...unique, passionate, sensitive and eager HIM!!  He doesn't need more or less of you...he just needs you!  He's not special or entitled.  He's a kid...never "just a kid" because our kids are our future and this is where it starts.  But he is my kid, my world, and my heart, sitting in your classroom looking at you the way I wish he looked at me.  I know you'll rise to the occasssion...and so will he!  Thank you for your selfless desire to be there for him ever day.  I promise, I notice...I notice that your job is not easy or glamorous.  You are underpaid, overworked and underappreciated.  I know, I notice, and I am so incredibly grateful.  Please know that I appreciate you and most importantly my son thinks you are the most important person in his life.  He can't pay you, he can't advocate for you and he can't grant you notoriety.  But I guarantee he will never forget you...and neither will I!  What he remembers is in your hands...and I trust you!!!
That little blonde boys mommy

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth...

I have had a bunch of emails and requests for more blogs…thank you thank you thank you…but I hesitate to write…my hesitation is only in the fact that "who really cares what I have to say?"  I am no expert by any stretch nor do I want to be.  I'm just a girl with something to say…aren't we all???  I'm going to say what I think and that's where I pause…because it's what I think…just little old me!  But…I'll humor my fans today (thanks mom and Leif) and post again!  This is one of those judgement free posts and by that I mean, if you plan to judge me just go ahead and click on that little "x" in the corner of your tab and go about your day…seriously!!!  Go on!!!
I use this blog as a journal…a journal of words, pictures, and memories…it's not meant to show off when I create a pinterest worthy birthday party, blame someone when I am mad and I'm certainly not looking for compliments, or kudos, or pity…I'm just telling you a few stories…maybe you'll walk away saying "someone else feels like I do"  maybe you'll say "gosh, I never thought of that" or maybe you'll beg for your 10 minutes back!  Bottom line is that I am in no way soliciting a compliment or attention…trust me, I have 2 little boys who give me AMPLE attention on a daily basis…especially when I enter the bathroom or get on the phone!  These are just words…proceed at your own choosing!

When I was in the 4th grade I remember being the only girl that could climb the rope to the top.  Most girls were afraid, incapable, or just too cute to try.  I bet they could have but being athletic wasn't "cool"!  Now, at the age of…ok ya'll know how old I am,or at least close to it so, now, at my age (wink wink) I am still climbing to the top of the rope….literally and figuratively!  Some ropes are longer than others.  However, I am no longer the only girl.  I am one of the girls and not even one of the few girls!  I am joined by so many amazing, strong, determined and down right bad ass women at the top of the ropes and still climbing!  At the gym this morning every girl made it to the top and that was just the 9 am'ers…the day was young and I have no doubt that many more got there…and those that didn't?  Well, they'll get there because they are in it to win it….in it to be better, do better and feel better!  They are making that choice day in and day out.  Reaching for the top isn't just something that I am experiencing in the gym but something I experience in my business and just recently in my friendships as well!  This isn't a literal blog about ropes, and the 4th grade and girl power, although who doesn't love girl power?  But let's get serious for a moment and dissect girl power, confidence and everything in between. Let's talk about the struggles, the insecurity, and where that comes from.  More importantly let's talk about those ladies that are fighting every single day to be the best they can be at the top of their best self and those who face the uncontrollable negativities on the way.   Power and confidence isn't reserved for just the girls.  It's for everyone, but I am speaking from my perspective.  Let me give it to you ladies (and gents) straight.  I lack confidence…big time!  I am incredibly insecure, super sensitive, and so tough on myself.  There's a part of me that wonders what happened to the 4th grader that didn't care what was cool as I climbed the rope or did back flips at recess.  I have my excuses but back then I was fine with being me…now?  Not so much!
You know that old saying "you have to love yourself for others to love you"…I say "bump" that!  I say maybe the problem is others…other people holding us back.  We all have our perspective on things but that's where it falls…other's words are making it hard for us to love ourselves and to be honest, it's not only other girls and here's an example of why I say that…I am muscular…always have been and I hope that I always will be!  God gave me a capable body and I use it every single day.  I am not skinny, thin, or "small"…yes, I have a petite frame but I surely make up for it in muscle mass.  Early on in the summer I had a male companion make a comment about my size…something to the effect of "damn muscle man…wouldn't want to meet you in a dark alley". "Did he just call me a man???"  In fairness my mom made a similar comment about me being muscular although she didn't call me a man.  That single comment ruined my summer.  I avoided this person, avoided the pool, and to be honest I avoided people!  I felt HUGE!!!!  I looked in the mirror and all I could see was my "broadness".  The meanie in me wanted to comeback with something that wasn't so nice about having a "gut" or needing to put down the beer and pick up some weights, but I didn't!  I let that mean voice talk to me for the WHOLE ENTIRE SUMMER. Yes, seriously…I let that tear me up!  My fault, I know.  Fast forward to a very recent comment made to me, again by a man, but this time by someone that I work out with, around or near at the gym.  His comment was something to the effect of…"you've been working really hard and you look really fit, you go girl"…not creeper status...just genuine perspective (thankfully an athletic perspective)!  Completely in passing…almost like a verbal high five!  That comment has stuck with me…not because I think it was true or not true, not because I need validation from anyone, and certainly not that I am looking for a man to find me attractive.  It stuck with me because it was kind.  It stuck with me because that person had a choice to make, he noticed the positive and decided to share, this person made up for another a-hole's rude and completely unsolicited comment solely for the purpose of…I am not even sure the purpose in telling a female she is manly!  I feel like this world is spending so much time tearing us (especially women) apart.  You have a college education why aren't you using it?, you have money why do you work?, you're already fit why do you work out?, your business isn't legitimate, you feed your kids that?, I can't believe you spent that much on a purse, ew gross how can you eat your meat like that, I can't believe your kids still has a pacifier, you let your kids sleep with you?, you rock them to sleep, you homeschool, you private school, is that real leather, fur, organic, gmo, non gmo, HMO, PPO…GOOD GOD MAKE IT STOP….  People blame the media, or other girls, or magazines but I really wonder where it comes from.  Why do other people feel so compelled to tell me…about me?  Why did this man…a husband, a father, someone with a daughter, a mother and a wife, feel that it was OK to even say anything.  I doubt he is up to date on the latest issue of cosmo or what vogue thinks is attractive.  Was it a joke?  Maybe…but how is that even remotely funny?  I know that the bigger question many are asking is "Why do you care?".  Sorry, folks, I am not superwoman with a metal heart and an ego of steel!  I am a women who struggles daily…seriously, daily with what I see in the mirror.  I cry…often, I obsess about things, and I consistently feel inferior.  I care because…because I care!  I care what you say to me, I care about my feelings, and I care about what you choose to say to my face!  I just do!  That will not change and maybe that is where I am wrong.
However, I know that I am not the only one who feels this way.  I know plenty of moms who wonder why their daughters are saying the word fat!  Sure, girls can hear their moms say it, but many of these moms are fit, confident, and badass women.  Where does this negativity come from?  It's not even just about body image…Aiden picked a flower for me while waiting for his turn in the never ending football line the other night.  He told me later that a kid knocked it out of his hand and told him that picking flowers was for girls…"excuse me little bobby???  You're right…he was picking it for me you little chump and guess what????  I am a girl.  In 20 years you'll be taking a lesson out of his book when you can't get a girl to talk to you.  Lay off my kid or I'll put you into the ground just like you did that flower"…ok, sorry!  I digress!  There I go being all manly and violent!  But seriously…where does all of this "my opinion is fact" come from…your opinion is just that….an opinion!  If a woman in a bikini who feels the need to suck in until her ribs show is what you find attractive then GREAT!  But that is your opinion only…not a fact, not the law, and certainly not my problem!  How about we teach our kids to be kind.  I get that "kids will be kids" but really???  They don't have to agree, they don't have to support and they certainly don't have to open their mouths.  Tolerance doesn't mean you agree and yes, I realize that there is freedom of speech.  But why would you want to express that right just for the sake of hurting another person because telling me I look like a man certainly isn't out of concern.  As adults we are all guilty…me included!  Yet, we aren't immune to that awful and hurtful emotion that is invoked on negative opinions.  Our kids are watching and you better believe that they are emulating!  I see it daily with the words that my 6 year old uses with my 2 year old.  He emulates the way I parent…talk about a reality check!!! Tone of voice noted!  I hear it from my friends whose daughters think they are fat, or those kids who tell adults that decision "x" is a bad one and that they shouldn't do certain things.  I hear it with other children who are teasing or excluding kids because they are (insert any naive, silly and completely rediculous reasoning here?!!!!  I have heard Aiden tell his brother he can't do something….my new response is "unless you are encouraging him to be strong and capable, please leave the parenting to me".
It is everywhere… what happened to kindness?  What happened to tact?  What happened to respect?  Why is everything we say negative?  I seriously love this comment/quote/graphic that I see everywhere….(2 versions)

So as we climb that rope…the rope of life in the pursuit of dreams come true... the fourth grader in me still climbs it like a monkey but hell, I'm climbing…I see no end, I see no red line, there is no tap out…but along the way there are a ton of choices.  I am trying my hardest to choose the rope of kindness.  The one of tolerance, acceptance, and of less judgement!  The one that makes YOU, yes YOU, feel good about yourself!  I know that I will slide down, get splinters, and probably have to start over…but I promise that I am trying my best to be better, do better and perpetuate better!  I hope you will too!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I still do….

"Love is not about how much you say "I love you" but how much you prove that it's true".  I love those words for many reasons!  Leif and I have been saying "I love you" for over 15 years.  We said "I love you" at the ripe old age of 17 and now here we are after 10 years of marriage still saying the same thing.  But I know for a fact that our love then and our love now look completely different!  When I said "I love you" at 17 I probably meant that "I think you are awesome".  HA!  You're a cool guy and you make me feel like I am a pretty cool girl.  Our problems are minimal and our responsibilities concur!  We are just 2 high schoolers who find the other intriguing so why not just see what happens.  Sure, I loved him in a way that only a 17 year old knows how.  We could say "I love you" until the cows came home and that was that!  Did I know then the depths of love?  Do I even know now?  Probably not.  Love is constant.  It's a journey and certainly not a destination.  It's the everyday.  Loving for us doesn't mean that I love every single thing about him and he loves every single thing about me.  It's means that despite our differing views and personalities, we excel together, empower each other, grow together rather than apart and carry on even when giving up looks compelling!  Neither of us are 17 any more…our life looks so different now than it did back then and to be honest our life now is so different than it was just 5 years ago.  What is the same is that we continue to show up.  Show up, you ask?  Yes, we show up for the job of marriage every single day.  The fairy tale only exists  in the midst of daily work, daily struggle, and daily commitment!  On one hand I feel like I blinked and arrived here, and on the other I know that we have worked very, very, very hard to get here.  We beat the odds.  No, we aren't 50 years in but so many people said we couldn't.  They said it for many different reasons…2 kids from very different families, 2 kids with opposite socioeconomic upbringings, distance during college, pressure from family to take breaks, "most Navy marriages don't survive", most marriages end during deployment….the list goes on.  We have had so many opportunities to give up, say it's not worth it, throw in the towel, decide that one persons needs are more important than the other!  His career, by nature, requires our lives be different and our decisions aren't ours.  We live around a schedule that isn't up for negotiation or discussion and it certainly isn't an option.  But we figure it out and stay the course.  Our private conversations, his private struggles and my private insecurities are just that…they are private!  Although I don't think they are unique to our marriage!  We fight for each other when the other just can't!  He picks me up when I can't stand and I pull it all together when he can't be here.  Our relationship is not equal…it never will be!  That's the nature of our lifestyle.  But…I am his biggest fan and he is the sole reason that I am confident of my work behind the scenes and motivated enough to build my own business on my terms.  This isn't him vs. me.  This is me and him, him and I, this is US….together WE have built a beautiful life.  Maybe you are wondering how we (or anyone else) does it.  Why does their marriage look a certain way?…trust me…we work at it every single day!  Sometimes that work is really ugly!  Sometimes there are tears, the silent treatment, and everything in between.  As with anything in life, put in the work.  Pick him/her up when they are down.  Don't just SAY "I love you" .  LIVE "I love you" every single day…even on the days when you can't even say it….still LIVE IT!!!

Leif,  After 10 years of marriage, I am so thankful that we are both still in it.  Still committed to greatness.  Committed to building each other up, building a life for our kids and designing a successful marriage on our terms.  I am so grateful that you love me when I am at my worst.  I may not always be happy about our lack of control in planning but I am surely always always proud of you!  You are a model to so many of what being a man is…faithful, dedicated, hardworking, gentle, encouraging and sensitive!  The boys and I have a front row view of what is right in this world…not always fair (for you for me or for them)but certainly always right!  You do work that matters and we are so proud of you!  The accolades are few and far between but we know and believe in all that you are accomplishing quietly!  I promised you 10 years ago that I would always ride this ride with you….that hasn't changed!  The ups, the downs, and the maintenance in between…I'm on board…Still!!!! Thank you for being my soulmate, my sounding board, my best friends, my rock and everything I have ever wanted and needed in a partner!   Happy 10 year Anniversary!!!  I love You!