motherhood

From Here on Out

The worst part about having teenagers isn’t the unpredictable moods (mainly my own), its the damaged self-esteem having become the shortest member of my household.

I hate being the shortest.

However, this was what I prepared for, this moment in time when I could no longer intimidate them by being bigger.  I did all I could to earn their respect.  I carved rules into stone and quashed revolt to the best of my ability.  It’s all led to this…I genuinely enjoy them as humans.  

This has pushed me into a new precipice of parenting. While I am still a quiet, constant support in their lives, what they do with them is no longer up to me. I will serve them best if I keep my opinions to myself.  I’ve had my shot at being a teenager. I gave it my all and it’s not up to my boys to fulfill any of my unlived dreams.  And, anyway, I feel like I’m just getting started. 

I plan to appreciate wherever my one, wild, and precious life takes me.

The point of all this, and yes, there is actually a point, is that I want to declare that my boys are in charge of their destiny from here on out.

I want Full Speed to choose his college (if college suits him) and career path based on his own criteria.

No limits.

From what I can see, he is thoughtful in his musings about his future. I trust him and I trust life to take him wherever he needs to go. As long as he is following his curiosity, the answers will come.

As for T. Puzzle, who at this stage remains committed to verbalizing the least amount of words possible on any given day, I support this endeavor. Who I am I to know what he needs? Maybe my penchant for feeling-based talks aren’t the answer to everyone’s problems. What works for me may not work for him. I did recently ask him to at least alter the inflection when he says “good” or “ok” just to give me some auditory variance.  If he decides not to, that’s fine by me, too.

The greatest superpower a parent has is their ability to witness the incredible, pure essence of what makes each of their children awesome. This will help see you through the conflict particular to raising teenagers.  

And remember, the best way to get them to listen to you is to say as little as possible.

I think T. Puzzle is really on to something there.

motherhood

Little Miracles (2020 Year in Review)

As the year draws to its conclusion, this is the time to reflect on the adventures we have embodied and to highlight the triumphs and glory that made our hearts sing. For our family, we had these moments. Mad Dog’s new job, moving to the beach, Full Speed’s coaching dreams pursued, T. Puzzle’s spelling bee victory, but they somehow pale in comparison to the one simple fact, …

we survived.

So did you.

If no one has told you lately, let me remind you what a marvel you are. You didn’t give up, even on the darkest mornings and the bleakest days. You kept rising to the challenges that erupted like land mines across all your expectations.

I am dedicating this post to you.

What an honor you continue to be a part of our family’s journey. Thank you for all the ways big and small you have shown up for us, for your loved ones and I pray above all else, for yourself.

Now that we have the scars of survival etched in our hearts, this is our roadmap to the turnaround. This is where the lessons learned, the gratitude gleaned, and the hope harvested move us beyond our collective healing.

This is where our survival becomes a revival.

We can’t prevent disaster but now we know whatever happens, we will get through it. 2020 tried everything in its power to stop us. It knocked us down more times than it lifted us, but we kept righting ourselves back to the life in front of us. To all those tiny, precious details we never had time to notice, until 2020 halted our motion and busyness and these little miracles were all we could see.

What beauty to know our strength is infinite and that together or apart, we are one.

Thank you for reading. May the year ahead provide us with all that is needed to grow our courage, cherish what matters, and cultivate love for ourselves and for one another.

marriage, motherhood

This Is The Way (of a Courageous Heart)

December 6, 2003

Within each family are the stories of shared memory. For example, ask T.Puzzle how the boys earned a day of ‘Unlimited Video Games But with Limits’ and you will hear a little bit about what makes our family tick. It’s a whole lot of teasing and humor with a generous dose of love.

Another such story that lives on as family legend is how Mad Dog broke up with me not once, but twice.

Twice.

I can find the humor in it now, but living through it at the time was anything but funny.

Not surprisingly, my boys find this fact to be hilarious.

As today marks the anniversary of our 17th year of marriage, I realized something. Following one’s heart is not without fear, but following it at all is enough to sustain you through life’s uncertainty.

While we were dating, Mad Dog was always honest with me that forever may not be in the cards for us. Through the course of our relationship I learned I was worthy of commitment and decided I would not settle for less.

Mad Dog clearly disagreed.

Not once. But twice.

Twice.

Then at some point, he had a change of heart and I was faced with a dilemma. Do I follow my heart or do I let this guy go once and for all?

I followed my heart.

My heart knew better than all the naysayers and it knew better when my head spouted fear and worry. I chose to live from the heart because I figured if it all blew up in my face, at least I wouldn’t have regrets.

I would never have to wonder ‘what if?’.

This is a life lesson I have carried with me. It has helped me leap forward when my head is adamant I stay still. It helped me know it was time to return to Florida. Moving during a pandemic in the middle of a school year is not the circumstance one dreams of when contemplating major life decisions. While all signs pointed to stay, my heart knew without question it was time to go.

This knowing, one might assume, would make life immune to hardship as if our gut instincts will shield us from adversity. Yet it has been quite the opposite. I can’t even begin to describe the stress and challenges we have faced in these past few months. We have fought, I have cried, there were quiet moments of genuine despair, and yet, we have not broken. We seem to weather each day as it comes, storms and all, and keep going. It’s as if these hurdles when woven together bind us closer as a family.

Through every up and down I continue to listen to the knowing within. Whatever happens, my hope is to never let a ‘what if’ define me or my life.

I would marry Mad Dog all over again.

No regrets.

Our anniversary sunrise. Worth every bit of the journey.

dogs, family, motherhood

In the Name of Love

I once read in a novel the amount of nicknames you give someone is equal to the amount of your affection for them. If this is true, Max is one of the most loved beings I know.

Here’s a list of some of his many names:

  • Maximus
  • Maximillian
  • M.Diddy
  • McGoogs
  • McGoogle
  • Maxaroni
  • Rage Monster
  • Buddy
  • Bud
  • Maxy
  • Maxseamus
  • Moodle Doodle
  • Best Friend
  • Maxwell Snugalugs
  • Mr.Snugs
  • Sad Kitty
  • Max Damon
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan
  • Baby Boy
  • Old Man
  • Mr. Max
  • Little Old Baby
  • Mr. McGoo

Like many of you, I am not quite sure how to make the world better right now. My heart has been a bit frozen from fear and general overwhelm. I often think, “What can I do?” Is there anything I can reasonably contribute that might help?

I have this blog so I intend to start writing more. Maybe I can channel some love into the world through this keyboard and maybe that’s something. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s all I have to offer you.

All each of us can do is start where we are and love as much as we are able.

Moodle Doodle wholeheartedly agrees.

motherhood

The Legacy of Beauty

In my dermatologist’s waiting area, there are a few areas of distinction.  The muted color scheme is lovely and soothing.  Then, there is this cascading water feature in constant flow adding to the serenity.  It all makes for a pleasant experience as you wait to be called in for your appointment.  That is, until you start watching their video feed.

In this feed, it shows you the additional services they offer besides skin care.  While I appreciate the ads for sunscreen, everything else I could do without.  According to this video feed, I could use help with my furrowed brow, crow’s feet, sagging cheeks, skinny lips, back fat, and let’s not forget, my droopy caboose. It was hard to sit there and watch as each successive product or service offered was like taking a bullet to my self-esteem.  I texted a friend during this ordeal for validation and support.  No sooner than I hit send, I looked up to see I also could use a “chin assessment”.  Apparently, the angle of mine is ‘wrong’.

As women, we are expected to uphold a ridiculous standard of beauty.  No one really talks about how insane it all is, but I imagine, most of us could rattle off ten to twenty things about our appearance that we don’t like.  If we had unlimited resources, I suppose each of us could spend our time fixing these ‘flaws’, but when would it stop?  Most of the options available are temporary at best.  Who has that kind of time for all that upkeep?

When I think about real beauty, the kind that is sustainable through years and transcends aging, I always think of my Mom.

To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

She kept her hair short, rarely wore make-up except for the occasional swipe of red lipstick, and preferred jeans and t-shirts as her wardrobe staples.  What made her beautiful wasn’t her adherence to unrealistic cultural beauty standards.  Instead, it was the sparkle in her clear-blue eyes, the playful laughter that would rise from within, and a smile that lit joy into whatever room she entered.

That’s the kind of beauty I want in my life. The best part of this kind of beauty is that it isn’t earned.  It’s uncovered.  It shows its way through the cracks of our facade by living life.  It emanates from a soul that has weathered loss, but still finds the ray of sunshine peeking through the rubble.

It is intangible and perfect.

It does require upkeep, but not by spending hours and dollars at a doctor’s office. It shows up when we follow our hearts, love without limits, and let the stars of heaven shine through us.

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