motherhood

A Kitchen Story

Having survived a four-month long master bathroom renovation at the beginning of 2019, I was dragging my feet when it came time to dismantle our kitchen.  While it looked nice enough, it struggled to keep up with our family.  The appliances appeared to enjoy malfunctioning, the cabinets and drawers were worn and uneven and the overall look did not reflect our style.  Yet, it was hard to give the green-light because I knew ‘4 weeks’ in contractor-speak really meant ‘4-ever’.  I attempted at first, to add to my renovation denial thinking we could reface the cabinets we already had.

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Mad Dog had other ideas.

He wanted a full tear-out.  I agreed that a tear-out was certain but it would only consist of all my hair.

He kept pushing.

He researched and found a highly-lauded cabinet designer.  Within a few short weeks the date of doom was set.  Goodbye old kitchen and hello weeks of construction chaos.

Within that first week our ‘4-week’ project quickly went off the rails.  Underneath our sink, pipes had been leaking causing rotted wood.  The pony wall connecting to this area was rotted out as well and the surrounding flooring needed to be tore-up, reinforced and replaced.

It was an ugly time for all.

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As the weeks dragged on and the hiccups continued, I started to see this process as a life metaphor.  If we hadn’t taken the time to deconstruct the entirety of the kitchen, we never would have known the rotted wood existed.  Sometimes in life we have to go deep beyond the surface to clear away what no longer serves us.  This is harder than a simple resurface, but it opens us up to living more aligned with our truth and our values.

As the finish line drew near, I had another paradigm-shifting insight thanks to our kitchen counters. My design choice is unique to say the least. In a world of white subway tile and trending white countertops, my bold, sea-glass themed recycled glass-tops are unexpected to put it mildly.  It took courage and a ton of encouragement from Mad Dog, but I went with what my heart wanted.

At the end of the day I know it will not be loved by all, but it most likely will inspire a reaction.  Isn’t that kind of the point of innovative design?  To make you feel something? And isn’t it kind of the point to follow your heart even if what you love defies the norms of larger society.

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But for me, the ultimate kicker is that Mad Dog championed my choice a thousand percent from start to finish.  He could care less what anyone else thinks because all that matters to him is what I think.

Every time I sit at my turquoise-speckled counter enjoying a cup of my favorite tea, I not only immerse myself in ocean-minded daydreams, I am reminded how loved I am.

These are the most beautiful countertops in the whole world.

children, family, motherhood

Reset

Unfortunately, as our children grow towards adulthood, life starts handing them more complex challenges.  Gone are the days of kindergarten-fixes which were mostly comprised of a few snuggles and a chocolate chip cookie.

It isn’t all bad.

The best part is watching our children’s personalities solidify into more of who-they-are.  They get to start defining more what matters to them.

Weirdly, that doesn’t always align with what mom and dad deem important.

As I continue to let my boys go off into the world to discover what is most true for them, I must go and do the same for myself.

Mothers and caregivers tend to take a giant pause in their life when it comes to raising a family.  This pause becomes so second-nature, we often don’t realize when it’s time to hit the reset button.

We are not meant to figure everything out in one day.

In fact, I believe we never figure everything out completely.

Life moves forward for a reason.  Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way it’s moving.

We can either join in or sit back.  Maybe both?

Even if we don’t make every right turn, the fact that we are on the journey is bound to lead us somewhere wonderful.

Especially if where we’ve been has already shown us such great love.

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humor, motherhood, parenting

Your People

Family vacations are stressful.  Why is that?  Maybe because you plan weeks or months in advance and there are expectations that everyone will be cheerful and have fun doing extraordinary and often expensive activities.  So, the pressure is ON.  Have fun OR ELSE!  You throw in an aversion for crowds and noise, put me on a cruise ship full of screaming kids and there isn’t anyone or anything that can save me or whoever ends up in my path.

We were standing by the balcony overlooking the main floor of the ship when T.Puzzle accidentally stepped on my foot.

I snapped.

My temper shorted out and I yelled at him to ‘Quit it!’ or ‘Cut it out!’ or ‘For the love of all that is good and decent in the world, STOP STEPPING ON MY FEET!’

To an outside observer it would seem that it was an innocent mistake by a distracted nine year old boy.  They wouldn’t know the back story of how this said boy steps on my feet religiously.  If he could bottle his accuracy of squashing my toes, this kid would give a trained sniper a run for his money.

The squashed toes were the icing.  The pressure of FUN was getting to me.  I looked at Mad Dog in despair.

He said, “I know with our family we are going to have highs and lows.  While the highs are tremendous, there are days when you are so frustrated that you want to give our children up for adoption (I’m politely paraphrasing this last part).  You have to accept the good with the bad.”

This made me pause.  He was right, of course, but why am I always so ready to fly off the handle with the people I love the most in the world?  I wouldn’t snap at a friend if she stepped on my toes.  I would laugh it off and be on my merry way.

The difference is the amount of shared history.  When you live life with people day in and day out, your truth seeps out whether you like it or not.  You let the ugly flow because on some level you know that these are YOUR PEOPLE.  They love you unconditionally.

If you can be your truest self around someone, and that includes all the stuff you hide from 99.9% of the rest of the population, then you know you feel safe with them.

Every one of us is complicated.  Most of us strive to be our best.

If we are really lucky, we can be our worst, too…

3 times over.

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