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

Advertisements

Teaching and Learning

Over the weekend we worked with little bubby on sleep training. It was hard for all of us, AND we did it. I am the proud momma of a champion sleeper now. It took two days and lots of resolve on my part along with emotional support from my husband but we successfully made it through to the other side.

A lot came up for me as we worked with little bubby on the skill of being able to put himself to sleep.

  1. I felt major disconnection from little bubby. This was a major change for us. Prior to sleep training he would spend half his naps on me in the chair and half in his crib, he co-slept with me in the morning for about an hour, and he was still breastfeeding overnight even though the pediatrician said that was absolutely unnecessary. To go from that much physical contact to much less during naps/at bedtime and none overnight was hard.
  2. I felt major disconnection from myself. Our pediatrician was pretty direct with us about now being the time for little bubby to master this skill and that it should be accomplished using the Ferber method. I was crushed when I heard the word Ferber. I have been saying since before we got pregnant that I was strongly against the Ferber method. I discussed my concerns with the doctor and we had a very frank discussion that included a bit of a debate about development and emotional/psychological well-being. By the end of the conversation I felt better about giving Ferber a shot. It was hard though and I was holding onto so much doubt and feelings of failure as a mother as little bubby tried to figure things out.
  3. It is not my job to save little bubby from everything. This was a hard pill to swallow because there are absolutely parts of me that want to save him from negative experiences. That is not my job though. My job is to love him and provide him a sense of security/connection as well as a safe environment so he can learn and grow. I realized how triggered I was by his crying, the little parts of me who were never saved my trauma wanted me to rescue him from this experience. I had to keep telling myself, He is safe, he is loved, we have a secure connection – it is okay to give him room to learn and grow, even if it is hard. I had to be very mindful not to project my own emotional state triggered by old wounds onto the situation. That would not be fair to him and it would not be healthy for either of us.
  4. Little bubby is not small. When given a little space to learn and grow, that is what he did. After two days he was putting himself to sleep without crying in the evening. He now sleeps 10 hours uninterrupted and wakes up with big smiles for momma and daddy.
  5. Connection was happening all along. By stepping back a little bit to give little bubby room to learn and grow we also gave him the opportunity to start building up his inside connection – connection to self. Autonomy is one of our family values and I did not understand at first that this is his first chance to experience that. This experience gave him the chance to self-soothe as well as do something for himself that momma and daddy used to do for him (put him to sleep).

I realize now that if I saved him from every negative experience what I would really be doing is sending him the message over and over that I do not believe he is big enough to handle whatever it is. Of course I keep all of this in the context of his age and level of development; I am not going to expect my baby bird to fly before he knows how to use his wings. I feel like over the weekend though little bubby learned that he is not small and he can do hard things. And while he may not be ready to lift up off our branch quite yet, he now knows that he has wings. Going forward it is our job to continue to provide him with safe experiences that allow him to use those wings over and over until he is ready to take that first big leap. When he is ready it will not matter if he flies or falls because he will know some very important truths;

He is loved. He has a place of connected security in daddy and I that he can land on. He is big. He can do hard things, including getting up after a fall and trying again until he learns how to fly.

In the midst of disconnection I find a deeper sense of connection with myself, little bubby, and the values we hold close as a family.

I am grateful for this difficult experience.

I am grateful that there was no saving going on during the experience and that little bubby and I were both allowed to figure it out.

I am grateful for love and connection and this life we are creating together.

I am grateful for my sacred truths;

We are not small. We can do hard things.

I am not small. I can do hard things.

gratitud

 

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

I AM (an artist)

One of the ways I am done playing small is related to my identity as an artist. I have my husband to thank for this. As mentioned in Getting Creative: Creating Together. my husband and I are writing and illustrating a children’s book together. With this decision came an enormous invitation, courtesy of my husband who originally suggested the book idea, to fully step into the light and truth of who I am – I am an artist.

This is BIG and horrifically terrifying.

My relationship with this identity is held close to my heart, like my identity as a writer – I know that I am, but I don’t allow others to know that I am. Until now.

That all changes now because I will love all myself in the open, in the light, no more hiding.

I am starting small because unraveling takes time. One way I am practicing being seen in my identity as an artist is at home.

We have transformed our sun room into the playroom/creative space of our home. It used to be a sitting area/dining room; but let’s be real, we aren’t doing a lot of sitting these days and we next to never used the dining room. This space is much more functional and tons more fun!

As another way to physically and energetically transform the space my husband made a gallery wall of my art, as well as art that has been gifted to us from friends and family.

I love him for doing this. My art is so special to me, each piece a baby that I love dearly. Now I walk into this room and see my creations displayed and feel so much joy and love and positive energy. And right there along side my babies is art made by my sweet niece as well as a local artist who has passed on whose legacy we are now part of by displaying her work in our home. I love knowing that little bubby is surrounded by all of this creativity when he plays and one day we will hang his creations proudly on the wall as well. I don’t have words big enough to express my joy.

I am an artist and each one of those canvases looking down on me validates this truth. Art is not about how many people love what you create, it is about if you love what you create – and I do.

gallery wall

 

Invitation to be Seen

This evening as we prepared for our walk I got all my essentials; sunglasses, head scarf, mala beads, earrings..

I am about 2 months over due on a hair cut which means my normally ultra short pixie is more of a shag. I do not love the shag AND I am letting it go on purpose – a post for another day.

Because I do not love the shag I try to hide it and I overcompensate in other ways when I go out into the world – extra accessories etc.

Getting ready takes a bit longer (to be clear, longer means 15 minutes instead 3) and little bubby is over it. I know this because of the very clear message he communicated to me this evening at the end of our walk.

We got to our park, the traditional last stop on our walk before going home, and I took him out of the stroller for cuddles on the grass. I sat on the ground and he sat in the blanket of my maxi dress playing with a leaf.

After a moment he started pulling at the mala on my wrist, I took it off and let him jangle it around like a rattle. He cooed and giggled as the Tree of Life charm hit against the magnesite beads. He looked up at me with a smile and his focus shifted; he reached up and pulled on the tie of my head scarf unraveling the knot so the scarf fell into his lap. I had a momentary pang of insecurity/shame as I thought Oh know, everybody will see my awful mop of hair, then little bubby started cooing and thrashing the scarf around and my shame immediately melted away. Then he came for my sunglasses, pulling them off and chewing on the lens.

By the time he was done I was completed unmasked. All the careful time spent armoring up to go out into the world, and in a matter of moments I was completed disarmed. My son knows what he needs and wants, his momma. He needs and wants to see me, he does not want me to hide, he made that clear tonight as we sat in the grass together. So that is it, I am done. I will not hustle for my worthiness because my hair is unruly and I am in a transition. Little bubby needs to know he is loveable and worthy in his body, as is, and I show him that by loving myself fully in my body – as is.

I need to address my shame directly for a moment:

  1. We were completely alone in the park so everybody who?
  2. My hair is okay as is, all of me is.
  3. Little bubby does not see an embarrassing mop of hair, he sees his momma – I will not allow anything to keep him from seeing me.

When we were done playing and cuddling in the grass, I scooped him up and carried him across the street to our home. When I got inside I had a thought..

My healing work is very deeply connected to the feeling of not being seen most of my life. For so long I have felt shameful and small and desperate to be seen while simultaneously being terrified at the thought. This little soul chose me to be his momma and since he has come into my life the message has been clear – I want to see you. I need to see you. Please stop hiding.

I hear you baby, I see you, and I will let you see me. I will not hide. I will not let that be the example I set for you.

You are lovable, you are loved, you are worthy of being seen and heard. 

I am lovable, I am loved, I am worthy of being seen and heard.

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

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