Losing You Was My Becoming

Last night I struggled.

I was triggered during the day by something my mother said in passing and by bedtime I was unwound. I was face down in my husband’s lap balling. It did not stop there. I cried when we went to bed. I woke up an hour after going to bed and cried some more. My husband held me and talked me through it as best he could.

This morning he let me sleep. He got up with little bubby and handled the morning routine. Two hours later I came out to a quiet house. Little bubby was taking his first nap, my husband was sitting on the couch watching the news on low volume. I was greeted by his smile and by the wagging tail of my excited Lucy.

I pat Lucy’s head and crawled into my husband’s lap.

I have been holding in all the pain and grief. I have been trying so hard to remain functional. The lid is off.

I asked to feel my pain and The Universe obliged. I am in pain.

I have decided to attempt to talk honestly with my parents one last time about our dysfunction and working towards healing as a family. If this message falls on deaf ears, as my previous attempts have, that is it for me. I will not subject any of my babies (internal or little bubby) to this swamp.

I am raw and reeling and trying desperately to keep my head above water. AND there is a deep sense of peace rising from my power center because this is the decision that has been waiting to be made and finally I am here.

I never wanted to be here AND somehow I have known I was coming.

Right now I do not feel big. I do not feel much like a hero. I am though and even if I don’t feel it, I know it is true.

Because here I am, going through it, not running. I am doing hard things. It is so hard.

I am scooping everyone into my lap and I am walking out of this place we do not belong…

And I am not afraid.

losing you was my becoming

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Intentional Disconnection

The concept of intentional disconnection emerged for me within the last week as I have been marveling at all the ways in which little bubby is becoming BIG.

It seems like sleep training was a turning point.

It is like he woke up one morning after putting himself to sleep the night before, and he decided, Okay I am big now, time to start acting like it.

So much happened in one week! He started sitting in the baby swing at the park more confidently and interacting with the children next to him as he swings, he started sitting in the cart at the grocery store, his personality has majorly bloomed – he is much more vocal and expressive, but the biggest news is that little bubby took his first steps (assisted of course).

I did not expect him to be taking steps for a few months yet, he has shown zero interest. I guess he just decided he was ready.

All of this growth he experienced in a short period of time made me reevaluate my attitude towards sleep training once again. Clearly little bubby was ready for some intentional disconnection from mommy and daddy.

I am also realizing there is more disconnection coming our way. He just weened from being breastfed so that is one area, we are also getting ready to upgrade his stroller to a forward facing stroller so he will no longer be looking at us on walks. Not to mention now that he is showing us that he is ready to get moving it is only a short matter of time before he will be independently mobile and relying on us less and less to get around.

I am glad that I have been present and connected to the experience of mothering because it does go quickly, like people say, and you don’t get any of it back. Once little bubby experiences a shift he cannot go back to the smaller version of himself, and I would not want him to. AND there are parts of me that mourn the loss of the smaller version of him because I have loved him at every stage and each stage has been special in its own unique way. That is for me to sit with though and that is where the intentional disconnection comes in.

I recognize that little bubby is experiencing so much growth in such a short amount of time and it is my job to make sure I am making room for him to be big, not doing things to keep him small. When he shows me he is ready to walk, then he is ready to walk whether I am ready for it or not. When he shows me that he is getting to big for the stroller, it is time for the big boy stroller even if I will miss looking at him during our walks.

Our connection is there AND he has to be able to connect with things outside of mommy as well, like himself, and nature, and other children, and food etc.. So I am making room for all of it and being intentional when the next aspect of disconnection from me in order to connect to other things happens.

We are figuring this out as we go. It is funny, connection is one of our family values, I never thought that we would be making room for intentional disconnection as a way to experience connection as a family. Little bubby is teaching us a lot.

Everyday I am grateful in new ways for this little soul. I am grateful he chose us. I am grateful we called him in to be with us and help our love grow.

I am amazed sometimes by the things I never knew I never knew. I am grateful to be learning. He is a wonderful teacher.

nana wisdom

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp

Getting Creative: Creative Communication

Another space where my husband and I have been embracing the creative energy coursing through our home since the birth of little bubby is in how we communicate.

First we introduced the conversation cup. The conversation cup is our vessel for holding conversations we need to circle back to in order to honor what needs to be addressed with the appropriate space and time. Sometimes we use the conversation cup because we are in the middle of a conversation that is going south and we need to step back and gain perspective in order to continue towards connection. Sometimes we use the conversation cup to hold a topic we know needs more time than the thirty minutes we have together in the morning, it lets us jot down our key points and come back to it when there is enough time to honor everything that needs to be expressed.

The conversation cup holds hurt feelings, misunderstandings, truths not yet spoken, dreams, ideas, love.. Above all the conversation cup is about connection because our communication is about connection. We strive to always stay on each other’s team, when it starts to feel like we are not on the same team we know it is time for a break, to call in the conversation cup, and come back to whatever it is when we know we are both in a better place to hold whatever it is together.

This is us getting creative in our communication and for us it works.

Another area where we have recently gotten creative in how we communicate is related to expressions of gratitude.

We were already practicing gratitude with one another but not regularly enough to consistently keep scarcity at bay. We were experiencing scarcity in different ways; I was experiencing scarcity related to support with little bubby and my husband was experiencing scarcity related to time.

Here’s the thing, scarcity is a liar. It is an illusion. That is my truth at least. Scarcity shows up to tell tales of not-enough and it is important when I hear those whispers creeping up from dark places that I remember my truth: Who I am is enough. What I have is enough. What I do is enough. I am grateful. I am love.

What we have started doing to enhance our connection even further and really lean into the abundance of our love is writing down our daily gratitude for one another.

We have a dry erase board on the refrigerator that we mainly use to jot down items we need at the grocery and track little bubby’s feeding/napping schedule; last week I drew a heart on the board and underneath it I wrote folding your blanket and putting it away. 

In our home everyone has their own snuggle blanket for movies etc and my husband sometimes forgets to fold his and put it away. That day he didn’t and I appreciated it. I was afraid I would forget to tell him by the end of the day so I left him the note on the board. What started as a way for me to make sure my Mom-Brain remembered to thank my husband for a small thing I appreciated him doing has turned into a daily practice now.

My husband and I both have hearts on the board in different colors; he writes my notes in purple, I write his in green, and everyday we express our love and gratitude for what the other person is doing.

It helps us both feel seen, appreciated, connected to our intention as a family and in our marriage. There is no room for scarcity when love and gratitude occupy such a large space in our home.

We are both doing things we have never done in any previous relationship, romantic or otherwise. We are allowing our love for one another and our intuition guide us and amazing things are taking place.

My husband and I are not small. We are big, we have wings. Our babies will know how to fly, they will know how to love, they will know they are lovable – we are showing them.

I am grateful for this man whom I get to call my partner. I am grateful for the little soul who chose us and breathed new life into a love that already felt big. I am grateful to have found my wings, I am grateful to be using them. I was never meant to stay small on an unstable branch, I was always meant to fly.

conversation cup

In the Way of Beauty

Little bubby and I take a walk everyday, weather permitting. It allows a few things to happen at once; exercise for momma, outdoor time for both of us, quiet time for both of us, and connection.

I was thinking of my husband today as we walked; when we walk we take the long way – the super long way. My husband would say our route is the most circuitous and would think it completely impractical, he would not be wrong.

Cheryl Strayed talks about putting yourself in the way of beauty in her book Wild. That is what our walk is all about. The beauty of being in my body and feeling good, the beauty of being outside together, the beauty of the quiet, the beauty of connection. Knowing this, my question is, why rush it?

We walk one block too far on the way home on purpose because this is where the yellow house is with the hanging orchids and wind chimes. We love the sweet tinkle of bells and to see which bloom has popped, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn one block too soon because that is where the bare oak lives with the little bird’s nest. We hope one day to see little babies resting secure inside, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We don’t turn right and instead go down another block because on that same street is the sage house with the coral door. We love to feel the peace radiating from this home’s foundation, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

We turn left at the next block so we can walk by the old house with no fence surrounding the backyard. We love to gaze in at the millions of azaleas bursting off the bushes, so we put ourselves in the way of beauty.

Then we arrive at the park next to our home. Sometimes our walks run over and it is time for the next thing on our schedule, be it bath, or baby food, or story time. Somethings cannot be rushed though; like the sun setting on the pond, or watching squirrels eat their dinner in the grass, or listening to the mockingbird sing his song. The grass calls to us, invites to sit and stay a while, and we do, so we can put ourselves in the way of beauty.

in the way of beauty

Getting to the Other Side

I have been struggling with the knowledge that my father lied to my mother about stopping by to see me and little bubby the other day.

He and I have had a limited relationship outside of my mother and now that my mother and I are severely on the outs I am starting to see behind the curtain of their relationship a bit to see how dysfucntional it is.

Why does he feel he has to lie about being with me? Is it because he is afraid of getting in trouble, like a child? Is it because he is trying to save her feelings? Both? How am I supposed to feel about this? Apparently his love for me, his daughter, is not greater than his fear of my mother. At least that is the story I am telling myself because my family refuses to communicate openly leaving room for painful (hopefully untrue) assumptions to be made.

I love my father. This hurts. I worry that I will lose him because I know my truth, I am not willing to participate in this. Either love me in the open or admit the fact that you don’t love me that much at all.

My husband and I watched a show once where a kid got himself in too deep when lying and his sister’s advice to him was, keep lying until you get to the other side.

I feel like this is what my family has been doing my entire life only our lies are dressed up as denial, avoidance, and minimization.

Part of my untangling is an unwillingness to take part in the lying. I will tell the truth. I am going to keep telling the truth until I get to the other side, until I am healed, until I am seen – even if it is not by my family.

I do not know what the other side of this pain looks like, I don’t know who will be there, or how it will feel. I do know that is where I belong though.

My Dad is trying to peace-keep right now, he is trying to smooth over, this is his role in our family –  he sacrifices self for “the good of the whole”. It is not for the good of whole though, and it is absolutely manipulation. Well-meaning, Yes, but manipulation none the less. I will not participate.

I love you daddy. This is breaking my heart. I won’t stay small for you though, please don’t ask me to do this – I don’t want to leave you, but I will in order to get to the place I am meant to be. I will put you down to pick myself up if I have to.

unraveling

 

Finding My Way Home

After my devastating tumble with the truth about my mother I spent the rest of the day and that evening in my pain. I cried, processed with my husband, and we cuddled. That night I had another dream about water. Water is my symbol for motherhood/my mother which is why it keeps coming up in my dreams.

In the dream I am with little bubby and my parents in a car. My father is driving and little bubby is not strapped in, he is in my lap, we are in the backseat. Suddenly my Dad lets go of the wheel, just totally abandons ship and the car starts to veer off the road towards a swampy lake. I yell at my Mom to hit the brakes, she can’t/won’t stop it. As the car enters the dark water I jump out with little bubby in my arms and wade back to shore. In the dream my phone goes down with the car and is consumed by the darkness, I cannot call for help. I find a landline at a nearby business but I still cannot call my husband. I try over and over but the call will not connect. No one is coming to save us and I am stuck with little bubby in my parent’s swamp. My parents are sitting casually on a dock making no effort to correct or even address the situation, it is as if they do not even see the swamp. They are minimizing everything, not even acknowledging that their car was just eaten by the mud. I am arguing, I am furious they endangered us – they are denying, lying to themselves and me. I am done. I leave. I start walking with little bubby. I don’t know where I am going , it is a road I have never traveled on but I am going. I am walking away.

The symbolism here is clear – being in the car with little bubby not strapped in while my parents are not in control of the vehicle is a metaphor for how unsafe it is to expose little bubby to my family’s dysfunction because my parents still do not have a handle on things. The trauma is still happening and as the dream illustrates, they are still in denial and minimizing. If I continue to expose little bubby to their sickness I become the unstable branch and little bubby will never trust me because I did not keep him safe. This will not be out story. This ends now.

I will not be the unstable branch. I will keep both little bubby and myself safe, I will protect us both from my family’s chaos. This is my job, I am momma and my family of origin is mine to walk away from. My husband keeps showing up absent in these dreams because he cannot save me, not matter how much I want him to. I am not small, I am the hero of this story, and it is time to go.

I don’t know where I am going but I am not lost. I will never be lost again because I will not play small and abandon myself, I will not try to belong where I do not and abandon myself, I am ready to feel my pain and love myself well – I will never abandon myself again.

I may not know where this path leads but I do know I am meant to be on it, it is mine. I cannot walk other people’s paths home, the only way to find myself is through myself.

I am my hero