It includes unique prompts that make you stop and reflect about your day. This way it’s not a rote listing of the same things over and over. The only one I struggle with is “Favorite people I saw today.” The answer is always the same: Full Speed, T.Puzzle, and Mad Dog…it’s the pandemic y’all (I always add that in so if future generations look back at it they won’t be sad that I had no friends).
6. Get outdoors until I remember I live in Texas and it is currently a thousand degrees and I retreat indoors before my face melts off.
7. Question why I live in Texas.
8. Eat chocolate.
9. Eat more chocolate.
10. Allow for bad days, offer myself some kindness, and hug my boys (T.Puzzle LOVES this!).
11. Cardio kickbox my way through some aggression.
12. And last but not least, remind myself that there are awesome people like you in the world.
We are more adaptable than we realize. We have settled into new routines and found sparks of hope in unexpected places. T.Puzzle’s new mantra is “less school, more video games!” Silver linings are there for the taking.
Everyone has unique strengths during times of stress. While my strength lies in cultivating family bonds, I may also freak out a little more than the rest of my clan. Thankfully, I am married to a man who never freaks out. It actually kind of freaks me out that he is so calm ALL THE TIME. At this point, I am not going to change who I am, but I am forever grateful I feel safe enough to fully be myself and know without doubt, I am loved just as I am.
When this whole pandemic began to impact our lives, to help preserve my sanity, I took a major pause from social media. I simply cannot hold that many stories in my head and function well. It may appear that I am less connected to what matters, but I have found the opposite to be true. I am remembering the beauty of my own backyard.
My imagination runs wild so I have to be mindful of the T.V. shows I watch. Otherwise my sleep will be disrupted and general mind mayhem will ensue. This leaves me with limited options. I have been reduced to watching lots of reality T.V. This is fine in small doses, but recently I have noticed my propensity to want to walk around in thong bikinis, toss martinis about and speak incoherently in a British accent. Weirdly, Mad Dog has little to no objections concerning my altered behaviors. I am in no danger of being voted off the island.
In these strange, lock-down days, I have been attempting to engage my boys in meaningful dinner conversations.
It hasn’t been a good run lately.
T.Puzzle is the worst offender. You could ask him about it, but I promise you, he won’t answer you. And if he did, you wouldn’t gain any new information.
I have even tried to speak to them as adults.
This was my attempt last night:
“Please take this question seriously. I am genuinely curious as to what your answers are. What are your thoughts about what you may want to do as an occupation? I want you to dream big.”
Full Speed said, “Contact tracer.”
I just gave him that look. You know, the mom one where you telepathically communicate your inner most thoughts of frustration and/or annoyance.
“How are you going to be a contact tracer? By the time you are graduated from college, I don’t think it will be viable option. At least I hope not.”
“I could do it over the summer. They pay $25 an hour,” he said.
“But you are only fifteen!”
“Once they got to know me, they would make an exception. I’m that good.”
As you can see, my first attempt at realness failed.
I turned to T.Puzzle. After a few moments of him looking completely bewildered and/or uninterested, he said he wanted to work for Space Force.
He wasn’t being serious either. They were both chuckling and finding themselves to be utterly amusing.
This wasn’t an isolated incident. I had reached my limit.
I lifted my right arm, pointed to the stairs and ordered them to go to their room.
Protests abounded but I kept my composure and sent them on their way.
Here’s a little trick that I am happy to share with you. In these situations, never give them a time limit. Send them on their way but leave their return time open and ambiguous. This can make thirty minutes feel like thirty years. Also, in the name of brotherly unity, I thought it was good to send them together so they could bond over how impossible I was being. There is nothing that solidifies a sibling connection more than having a shared common ‘enemy’.
Mad Dog and I proceeded to clean the kitchen post-dinner at our leisure. We then went on a walk and spent some time hanging out on our back porch.
I was in no hurry to set the jailbirds free.
I asked Mad Dog if I was attempting the impossible by prompting the boys into thoughtful discussions. Am I only hurting myself? But, they are the people I encounter the most so maybe I should keep going?
He said it’s good for them so keep trying. It wouldn’t hurt to lower my expectations either.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Princess Kate, and Abby Wambach are a few examples. These are the women that inspire me and help me to dream bigger dreams for myself.
My current ‘best friend’ is Melinda Gates. While it is mildly possible the Gates Foundation has slightly more monetary resources than the giving fund Mad Dog and I started, Melinda’s philanthropic sensibilities are the paragon I hope to follow. She grew up in Texas and, when the world was accessible, I would drive by the high school she attended on my way to workout. This makes our ‘friendship’ seem all the more real. I live near where she grew up. I live near where she learned how to code. I live near where she became the person she is today.
See? Anything is possible.
Mad Dog recently sent me an article about books Melinda recommended. Since she is one of my very best friends, I immediately bought them. One in particular, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, has daily entries to help open your mind and heart to a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. It is awesome, but honestly, my best friend wouldn’t recommend anything subpar I can promise you that.
Since I am deep in the self-quarantining phase of life, I have several books that I am reading simultaneously (I kind of roll like that anyway in regular life, too), and found myself with this glorious recommended book in serious need of a bookmark (as all others were in use). Ever the problem solver, I marched back to the game room and announced the boys needed to make me one. Yes, there was some serious pause and a healthy dash of attitude thrown my way, but I persevered.
“I gave you life. Because of me you have life. Make. Me. A. Bookmark. Now.”
It took them a few minutes, but they did it. I also made it clear, please, take it seriously. Write something thoughtful and inspiring on it as I will be reading this book every day.
First up, I read Full Speed’s side:
He did not let me down.
Next up, T.Puzzle:
It’s super emotional so if you are the sensitive-type, gather up your courage before you look at it:
For some reason, Mad Dog is always in a hurry. I’m not sure why exactly. Is someone chasing him? Is he carrying top secret information and must never be caught?
Date night strolls often wind up with him ten paces ahead and me jogging to keep up. Yeah, it’s as romantic as it sounds.
Even when we are home, his pace is quick. It is best to steer clear as his rushes through his to-do list. In all of this heightened speed, he relies on repetition and memory to navigate the space around him. If something is an inch or two ‘off’, he inevitably runs into it. And not in a delicate way, but in a full-on injury-inducing way.
Does this slow him down?
Does it make him scan his surroundings before attacking his day?
Of course not!
He does enjoy deflecting the cause of his injuries. He jokingly (and sometimes not-so-jokingly) blames me. He wants to know why I keep moving things(!). He ‘moves with precision’ (exact quote thank you very much) and if I move something even a tiny bit, he is bound to run into it.
Okay, okay, I’ll give you the drying rack over the laundry room door (I mean, it’s kind of awesome that he even goes in there let alone actually does laundry, so kudos for that). It is possible someone in our house inadvertently shifted it and therefore when Mad Dog nearly punctured a lung on it, I could understand I might be to blame. And, then there was my yoga mat. I had moved it to the side in our bedroom, but knowing Mad Dog in the way I do, I should have moved it about three more miles out of the way to ensure his safety.
He claims I move furniture. Not ottoman type things, but anchor pieces like couches, beds, and cabinets. Yes, cabinets! I absolutely take down cabinets and move them one inch over just to mess with him. Honestly, I should have my own show on HGTV.
And I’m certain my three times a week of Jazzercise, I mean I use 8 lbs. weights after all, in addition to my at-home yoga practice, certainly has afforded me the necessary upper body strength to move giant pieces of furniture all by myself. Maybe bodybuilding has been my long lost calling?
So many dreams to consider.
These will have to wait until I finish moving Mad Dog’s office desk.
Trust me, I always remember to lift with my knees and not my back.