August 2015 archive

5

I began writing Abraham a letter…one for each month of his life until he turned one and then a subsequent letter for each year. They’re all in the archives, and someday I hope to bind them all together and hand them to him on his 18th birthday.

Dear Abraham,

Today, you are 5 years and 2 days old. I wanted to write this letter on your actual birthday, but we were so busy. ūüôā

When I ask people about you, like teachers and family members and friends, they have answers. You’re a PERSON¬†who people know now. It’s not just, “He’s so cute,” or, “What a sweet kid.” You have grown into a little boy with personality traits people associate with you! Do you know how cool that is?
To name a few:
1. You’re a total ham. You love to entertain the people you love with songs, dancing, and jokes! Your laughter is infectious, if not sometimes manufactured to encourage other people to laugh. I think you’re like me, in that way.
2. You talk. So much. But you ask questions and you remember the answers. Your vocabulary is incredibly. You only have to hear a word and its meaning once before it becomes a part of your lexicon.¬†You might consider learning how to¬†listen sometime this year, but for now we’re all very proud of how well you communicate!
3. You’re smart. And you love to share or apply what you know. Whether it’s telling us about a new bird you read about in school at the dinner table (loudly) or showing me different letters around town and on signs, there’s no place that doesn’t contain knowledge you want me to know that you know!

Beyond what other people know about you, I know that you are resilient. Your dad and I divorcing was the worst thing I ever went through. This past year, you rebuilt our life with me. You seemed to intentionally bond with me, you strengthened me, and I am very grateful for that. But this year and all the other years of you life, it’s so important to me that you know you are not in charge of mommy being happy. I will always take care of YOU, and you will always be massively loved by your dad and me.
I know that you never forget anything, including where they used to keep the Fruit Buddies in the grocery store and where they keep them now.
I know that you are NOT afraid to misuse or downright butcher the English language. I am humbled by your brave attempts, and how detached¬†you are from your failures. It’s inspiring.
I know that you adore other people, kids, and animals. If you could always be in the middle of 20 people or more, you would. You did not get that from me.
I know that sometimes your discovery of a new experience is magical to watch. Your eyes get so big and shiny, your face so soft. One of my favorite things to watch is you seeing or hearing something for the first time.

Every night that you are at my house, I watch you sleep. (Not in a creepy way, but¬†honestly it’s just sometimes the only way I can really look at you when you’re not talking.) I kiss you and I whisper to you how much I love you, and I often whisper apologies for my failures as a mom that day. I will probably do that until the day you grow up and move away.
Every morning that you wake me up at 7am, I am grateful that you improve upon your techniques from the morning before by adding a kiss or a “how was your sleep” or a smile in my face before you begin rattling off breakfast requests. And I love that you know mommy needs coffee before she can help you.

I vividly remember someone telling me when you were about two months old that life returned somewhat to normal when her son turned 5…I remember thinking that was so far away. But here we are, and I can promise that our life is anything but normal. I adore the glorious being you are, I am honored that God chose me to be your mom, and I cannot remember what life was like without you.
I love you more than all the words in all the books in all the world.
Love,
Mommy

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UNCLE

Probably the worst part of parenting my son right now is how quickly he changes his mind. I can’t tell from moment to moment what he’s going to like and what he’s going to want. For his birthday, I suggested we get a Lego cake from the bakery. Abe scoffed. “A LEGO CAKE? No way.”
He plays with legos all day, every day.
“Well, let’s look at pictures of the types of cakes they make at this bakery, ok?”
We opened up the computer and flipped through pictures.
“Oh, minions, Abe! You love the minions!”
“No, I don’t!”
“You did yesterday…”
“No I didn’t.”
“Ok, how about The Avengers?”
“Nah.”
“Monster trucks? Trains? Cars?”
“How abooooout…Batman.”
“Batman is what you want on your birthday cake? You have never seen batman before…”
“BATMAN!”
“Alright. Batman it is.”

He always loves ice cream. For now...

He always loves ice cream. For now…

Several weeks ago the plumbing went wacky in our house. I told Abe he would have to shower instead of take a bath because I couldn’t plug the tub. This was, unbeknownst to me, the worst thing ever to happen in his life. I didn’t realize it, but he HATED the shower. How could I know he hated the shower?! Last week he loved sugar snap peas and this week they’re akin to rotted liver. It was a terrible struggle, but he showered through his tears and…survived.
He showered a few nights in a row at my house, even after the plumbing was fixed because…well…I wanted him to get more used to showering. Eventually, it wasn’t a struggle anymore and he was showering nightly.
Abe even showered at his dad’s house the next week after I shared that he’d been showering with me. It seemed we were out of the “bathtime” phase!
So, last night, I decided to give Abe a special treat. I drew him a bath with bubbles and toys. I tiptoes into his room and whispered, “Gueeeess what?!”
“What?!”
“I have a surprise for you!”
“WHAT IS IT?!!?!”
“Commere!” I led him into the bathroom and showed him the bath. TAAAADAAAA!
And thus began a forty minute-long wailing tantrum because, “I DON’T LIKE BATHS. I LIKE SHOWERS.” He literally cried himself to sleep, repeating, “Next <sniff> time, I want to <sniff> take a <sniff> shower..”

His taste in lunches, shoes, pens, and water bottles changes all the time. It’s like he’s recently realized he has options in the world, the ability to like and dislike things, and somewhere the wires in his brain frayed and went crazy and all of the options must change at least once a day in order to maintain stasis. I am not sure if this is a 5-year-old phase or just a fun little gift from God special for me. Either way though…Uncle.

I yell uncle.

“What’s for Breakfast?”

My son has a habit of walking into our bedroom in the morning and talking. Just walking in and starting conversations at 6:30 in the morning…
“Hey mom, remember that time when we were at Lucy’s house and we got to play with her PlayMobile house and she had this one piece of it that came off and looked like grapes?”
Coffee. Where. Coffee.
So we made a new rule in our house that Abraham is not allowed to come into our bedroom in the morning without first saying, “Good morning.” Now it’s much better. More like this:
“Good morning, Mom and Ryan. Remember that time when we were at Lucy’s house and we got to play with her PlayMobile house and she had this one piece of it that came off and looked like grapes?”

This morning, though, my son made his bed, let the dogs out, and then came in and said good morning. I was SO incredibly pleased that this child was now 30 years old, I immediately got up and made coffee and asked…
“Abe? What would you like for breakfast?”
“Oh. Um. I’d like cereal. And bacon. And bananas. And cottage cheese. And eggs. Please.”
“Ok, new rule. You may have three things for breakfast. So please pick three.”
“Ok. Bacon. Eggs. Cottage cheese. And bananas.”
“That’s four.”
“What?”
“That’s four. The new rule is you choose three.”
“Oh. Ok. Bacon. Eggs. And cottage cheese. With salt. Wait…that’s four.”
“No, baby. Salt doesn’t count as a breakfast item.”
“It doesn’t? Ok. Bacon. Eggs. Bananas. And salt.”
“Wait. Bananas or cottage cheese?”
“Both.”
“No. Ugh. Abe, you said bacon, eggs, and cottage cheese with salt. Are those the three you want?”
“Yes.”
“Ok.”

Our mornings generally consist of me bringing Bear some coffee (because the man works two jobs and deserves coffee in bed), making Abe breakfast, packing Abe’s lunch, and then drinking my coffee while eating steal cut oats.
IMG_2966I am obsessed with steal cut oats right now. I literally fill little mini-mason jars with almond milk and steal cut oats, put them in the fridge, and then open them in the morning and toss them in the microwave for one minute! Top with hemp and chia seeds, blueberries, and whatever else floats my boat. SO much easier than simmering them for freaking forty-five minutes everyday. And I know people put them in the croc pot over night but eww. They get mushy. I don’t like mushy.
Usually in the morning, I’m also thinking about dinner. And I don’t know about all of you, but dinner is one of the most difficult times of day for us…because 5-year-old. Growing up, we ate dinner at our formal dining room table every night. No TVs, no radios, no nothing. Just family and eating and chatting. After my dad passed away, my mom got a little more lax with dinner. We ate at the kitchen bar in front of a little, tiny TV most nights. But we were still together. We still talked.
Abraham is 5. He eats slower than molasses. He talks over everyone. He asks a million questions. He drops his fork. He complains that he doesn’t like “the green part.”
And we, in turn, are miserable.
How do other people eat dinner with a 5-year-old at the table?! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. Is it possible for you? Are you able to eat at the dinner with your children like normal people?!

Anyway, I plated up Abe’s eggs, bacon, and cottage cheese this morning (with salt) and set it in front of him at the table. I walked back to the kitchen and grabbed my coffee and my oats. I sat down on a stool and began the few moments I have to myself each morning. It was glorious.

Until…

“MOOOOM?! YOU FORGOT MY BANANAS!!!”

Apparently I’m Lost

For my awesome son’s 5th birthday, my awesome best friend of 20+ years offered to take us all to Disney World. (I should mention that my best friend of 20+ years is not Bill Gates but rather a Disney Employee who gets Guest Passes.)

This is not a heartwarming tale of my gorgeous son and incredible almost-step-son eating their hearts out over the amazing time they both had at Disney with people who love us all like family.

See? FUN!

See? FUN! Not even there yet and FUN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, this is the story of me, finally, once and for all, admitting that I possess 0.0 navigational skills.
For years, I felt as though I was very good at reading a map. Living in Los Angeles for almost 5 years, and before smart phones, I used maps a LOT. It only took me once or twice to memorize a route and then begin to find alternate routes, which was a necessary skill in LA because at least twice a week there was an insignificant wreck that caused a major road to be closed for 400 HOURS and you really needed to be able to drive back through a neighborhood in order to get around said wreck and still make it home by midnight.

But as it turns out, I think I was actually just lost all the time. While I had a map. That I was looking at…
In hindsight, I was pretty much lost for our whole trip to Disney World, too.

During my short drive from Jacksonville to Orlando, I only took one wrong turn. And it only required a single u-turn. So I felt really good about that.
Then I had to meet Bear and his son about 20 minutes from where Abe and I were staying (we drove separately so Bear could participate in a cornhole tournament while the kids and I went to Disney). I made it there without any issues at ALL. Then I turned the wrong way to go home and drove ten minutes in the wrong direction.
Then I stopped at the grocery store to get the kids some lunch and I got lost. In the parking lot. A few times.
Then we went to Disney. After a few hours, my BFF wanted to take her VERY sleepy son home, so she left me in the park.
I stayed for another two hours.
I was lost for the entirety of that two hours inside the Disney parks. I literally just pretended like I knew where I was going and when I found a ride or attraction that looked vaguely familiar, I stopped and announced we’d “arrived”. I had a physical map in my hands and I still asked three people how to get out of the park. OUT. Like EXIT.
I then got lost in the parking lot trying to find our car.
I got lost trying to drive out of the parking lot.
And I got lost again going back to where we were staying because I took a wrong turn out of the parking lot.
I got lost the next day trying to find I-4, and again when trying to get back ON I-4 after we pulled over to a gas station to let the boys use the restroom.
In hindsight, I probably spent 4 hours this past weekend reading or attempting to read a map while I was lost.

I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t Bear just drive you? Well, Bear drove his own truck on account of the tournament he wanted to play there in Orlando. But I can ASSURE you. It would not have helped us at all. You see, Bear doesn’t read the map when he’s driving. He either already knows where he’s going or he asks me to read it for him so he can focus on driving. And this is usually what I end up saying out loud while staring at my iPhone map: “The blue dot isn’t on the blue line anymore.”
Can I help him find his way back to the blue line? Not usually…

It’s strange to be 34 years old (well, 34 in a week) and just now realize that I can’t read maps. It makes me wonder what else I can’t do?! At 35 will I find out that I’m a terrible cook? IS NO ONE TELLING ME I’M A TERRIBLE COOK? If you know of something I suck at but I¬†think I’m really good at it, tell me now so I’m not 40 and finding out I’m the worst at organizing cabinets in the world…

Music Makes Me My Mother

Music-Blog-List-LogoI heard a song on the way home last night. I was so offended, so ANGRY with the words in this song that I didn’t change the channel just so I could make mental notes about what I hated about every single line of it.

I tuned in during the first round of the chorus and I responded (sometimes out loud) as follows:

Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else
(Hey)
Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else
(I love me)
Oh. Oh ok, you don’t need anybody else? You need NO ONE ELSE? That’s a great message for children.
Can’t help myself, no, I don’t need anybody else
Anytime that I like
(I love me)
Yep. This is what’s wrong with these upcoming generations. Everything is “I love me” and “I need no one”. Let me tell you, that’s gonna work for you in the REAL WORLD.
I’ll take it nice and slow
Feeling good on my own without you, yeah
You’ll take it slow doing what? That doesn’t even make sense.
Got me speaking in tongues
I don’t think you know what that means…
The beautiful, it comes without you, yeah
I’m glad you think you’re so pretty, but sometimes other people bring out beautiful parts of you and you should INVITE those people into your LIFE.
I’m gonna put my body first
And love me so hard ’til it hurts
You’re gonna what? Love yourself so hard it hurts?? I don’t…
I know how to scream out the words
Scream the words
(I love me)
You’re going to scream that you love yourself…awesome. No wonder you don’t want anyone else…they’ve all run away.
Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else
(I love me)
Can’t help myself, no, I don’t need anybody else
Anytime, day or night
(I love me)
If I ever have a daughter I hope she doesn’t hear this song. It’s great to love yourself and all but when you deny the love and help of others, you deny yourself a COMMUNITY of people that can hold you up when you are low!!
Ah, la la la, la la la la la…
Anytime that I like
(I love)
I know how to scream my own name
Scream my name.
Wait.
Wait wait wait wait…
This song is about¬†masturbation, isn’t it?

The entire song, on PLAIN OLD REGULAR RADIO, was about a chick who’s proud that she’s masturbating. Well, you’d better believe when I finally figured out what I was listening to, I had a whole NEW rant…
HOW AM I GOING TO EXPLAIN THIS TO MY CHILDREN?
I can’t. I simply can’t. And who are you, young person, that you are so desperate for attention that you write a SONG and RECORD IT and SELL IT TO RADIO STATIONS about MASTURBATING??!!!!! Like I once heard someone¬†say, “I don’t say everything I know or show everything I’ve got.” WHAT HAPPENED TO MYSTERY?! What happened to young women taking pride in themselves? Having character?!
OH I got so much more mad than I was when I first started listening.
Also, I am offended and disgusted by songs on the radio. I’m surprised when a man curses in front of a woman. I am disappointed when young people don’t take their hats off in church.
And, of course, at that¬†point I realized that I’m now my mother.

 

Anxiety Bob

I have this thing called anxiety. It’s worst in the morning. Also, it’s hilarious.
Anxiety it the most ludicrous, hilarious disease ever.

Here are some things I’ve thought first thing in the morning this week:
1. What if I’m late today? For everything? (I work from home, btw.)
2. What if I can’t find anyone to take care of my dogs for our weekend trip in 3 weeks? (There are dog hotels and all they do is host dogs while their owners are out of town. IT’S THEIR ONLY PURPOSE.)
3. What if I can’t afford to pay for my cell phone this month? (I’ve literally never not been able to pay for my cell phone. Ever. Not once.)
4. What if I forget to wash the sheets on the couch and the house starts to smell like dog and we can never afford a new couch? (What?)
5. What if we forget to mow the lawn before we leave this weekend and the grass grows so tall that the lawn mower can’t get through it? (I….WHAT?!)

chickeninsomnia2Are you seeing the connection between anxiety and What-If Monsters? They’re close friends. Super-buddies. But they’re not the same. Because for some people (me.), the fear of¬†running out of yogurt is actually a hugely life-damaging concern during the moments that anxiety is in charge. It’s not just worry. It’s REAL LIFE in the moments that anxiety takes hold. It convinces this entire¬†section of my¬†brain that yogurt, I¬†will not get the probiotics I¬†need and I’ll never have the digestive system I¬†want…aaaaand stomach cancer.
You see how ridiculous?
Now, once my morning is over and I’ve had coffee, breakfast, and I’m on my way to the gym, I typically don’t have anxiety anymore. So in a very “that’s awful” kind of a way, I’m blessed. At least I don’t have to deal with it all day long most of the time.

What’s even FUNNIER about anxiety is that it’s SO unreasonable, it sometimes¬†dims the¬†rest of your brain that¬†should be SUPER FREAKED OUT during normal “You should probably be freaking out right now” situations. Like when my son burned his hand on the stove a few weeks ago? No anxiety. None. Of course, I was worried and got panicked for a split second. But I wasn’t paralyzed with fear or with What-Ifs. I was calm and took action. I responded appropriately to a stressful situation.

But I woke up the next morning losing my mind that I MIGHT forget to order Abe’s birthday cake…in three weeks.

I spent years doing yoga, meditation, all kinds of interesting spiritual practices, medications, essential oils, diets rich in [iron, vitamin d, magnesium, everything else], and even just screaming crying in an attempt to diminish¬†my anxiety. Literally nothing I’ve tried has had a long-term effect.
And this isn’t the part¬†of the blog¬†I enter in my miracle, anxiety cure-all I’ve just discovered. I still haven’t found one.
So now, I’m just like this person that walks around worried about whether or not the sound my car made yesterday MIGHT be a sign my front axel is about to fall off. And I accept that. I now hear the little anxiety voice in my head. I recognize it like I would the guy in the cubicle next to mine. And usually I can just wave good morning, put my head down, and finish my TPS reports. I do. I just kind of chat with him.
Bob.
Anxiety Bob.
“Good morning, Anxiety Bob!”
“You think so? You don’t know that. You may have forgotten to pay a bill and you’re ABOUT TO FIND OUT WHEN YOU GO TO THE MAILBOX RIGHT NOW.”
“Allllrighty, Bob. Thanks a bunch! I ACCEPT YOU!”
But even more, my partner¬†accepts me and Bob. Bear¬†calls me his, “Beautiful mess” some days, which to a lot of people I realize would be highly offensive but when you KNOW you’re as big of a mess as me, it’s lovely to be referred to as “beautiful” first.

So I just want to offer this: if you suffer from clinical anxiety (or depression or anything else), you should name it. Something really casual, like Perry. Or Carl. Or Dante. Give it a name so you can remind yourself that your anxiety is not YOU. It’s a weird little element living in your brain that’s a total poser and always wanted to be you in 9th grade. And if you REALLY want to try being as crazy as I am, talk to it. Call it by name and tell it good morning. Offer it a snack. Like a roommate that won’t move out, it’s better to just be friendly.
Say “Goodnight!” Anxiety Bob.
“Goodnight, Anxiety Bob.”
(He’s got a real dry sense of humor.)

 

Walking the (ow, ow) Walk

Today was one of those days I woke up and could not for the LIFE of me figure out how the laundry basket started overflowing during the night while I was asleep. BECAUSE IT WAS NOT OVERFLOWING BEFORE I WENT TO SLEEP. I immediately hobbled on aching legs with the full laundry basket and instead of separating and carefully choosing washer settings, I threw it all in BECAUSE IT WAS NOT THIS FULL LAST NIGHT WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM.

I really wanted to go to the gym because Tuesdays are “light cardio” days and that seemed¬†almost doable based on the unconventional way I got out of bed to go to the bathroom this morning. I decided I’d do a little work first, though, because I’m a writer. And writing only requires sitting.

While I was writing a piece for a client about other people’s perceptions, I started daydreaming about yoga this past weekend. You see, on Saturday I held my first ever yoga class. I led¬†a small group of women from my prayer group through a simple yoga series on the beach at 9:30 in the morning. I’d agonized over what I was going to teach the night before. And as I agonized, I remembered chanting in kundalini yoga. I love chanting in yoga. It’s primal. It’s often based in Sikhism¬†and spoken in Hindu.¬†It’s a beautiful recognition of God in a way I understand.

Just one problem. This was a CHRISTIAN prayer group.

Now, I knew that I was not trying to lead these women away from Christianity by introducing chanting into our yoga practice. So I figured it would be ok, especially if one of them questioned it because I would simply explain that what the chanting meant to me. And they’d be fine with that because I’m very trustworthy.
And modest.
But right before I went to sleep the night before my yoga group, I texted my girlfriend.
“Hey. So. Do you think it would be ok if I included Hindu or Buddhist chanting in my Christian yoga group?”
She didn’t answer right away, so I took it as a sign and decided I’d include the chanting. Then I went to sleep.

I woke up to a text from her that basically said, “You do what’s in your heart, but remember that what you do as a leader will affect your participants, your followers, the ones learning from you; so if you aren’t clear with your intentions or it’s remotely possible that someone will take it the wrong way, consider that. But trust what’s on your heart.”

This was literally the first time in my life someone explained to me that it didn’t matter what my intention was: if I wanted to be a leader, to be heard, to TEACH, I would have to consider the way my actions, EVEN the ones with the best intentions, would land on the hearts of my yogis. It made far more sense now than ever. Except.

Shit. 
Now I don’t have a yoga series planned anymore.

11896079_10207474976982498_1457476227728095454_nI ended up completely winging the yoga class, and it was probably better than anything I could have planned that included chants. And, of course, it got me thinking about all the other times I just expected the people in my life to be fine with my actions because I knew what my intentions were. I wonder how often¬†they¬†didn’t understand my intentions and therefore misjudged my actions? And who’s choice was that? And other deep thoughts, etc., etc.

Anyway, I got through the laundry and made it through cardio because I knew I had to¬†check in with my Facebook Fitness Group today. Even if my intention was to go easy on myself because I’m so sore, I knew that if I am to lead that group towards a healthy lifestyle, I was going to have to go and walk the walk, no pun intended. I’m sure they would have¬†understood if I chose to stay home…but then¬†they might have stayed on their couches.

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Also. My laundry basket was empty for almost 11 minutes today.

 

“1, 2, mm, 4…”

About a month ago I graduated from physical therapy after my accident last year and subsequent surgeries. My physical therapist suggested I hold off on my beloved yoga and, instead, choose some weight training at a gym to begin rebuilding my body. I signed up at a HUGE local gym and was immediately offered a free personal training session. For a few weeks I tried doing it myself, but…

Today was my free personal training session.

His name is Barry and I’m not even going to give him a fake name because no other name would do him justice.
Barry.
Barry from New York.
He’s retired, in amazing shape, and completely unprepared for a 9am personal training session.
“Hey. Hi, how are ya? I’m Barry. Come on over.” He was tall, salty-haired, and rather chiseled for a dude who I’d imagine is in his 60s. “Alright, so first I just gotta get some…uh…I gotta get your…hang on.” He flipped through papers at his desk, took a sip of his newly purchased Starbucks iced coffee, and eventually turned around. “You got any clean intake forms?”
The young woman at the desk behind him nodded as if this wasn’t the first time she was handing him clean intake forms. “Here,” she said without expression.
“Thanks, thanks. Alright. Great, now we’re in business. Now you’re name is Erin…and your last name is…spell your last name again for me?” This is code for “I don’t know your last name.”
“Salem.”
“Ok, got it. So, let’s get some basic information…” He proceeded to ask me a few questions, weigh me, and use this little hand-held device to get my body fat percentage.

I. Was. Shocked.

I realize those body fat devices aren’t 100% accurate, but I was in the “Acceptable or Fair” range. I’ve slowly gained so much weight in the past year that I am no longer “Athletic.” I am not even on the “Good” scale. My bodyweight is “Fair”, and “Fair” means “You’re almost fat.” I choked back tears when…
“Ok, so basically we want to drop you a few body fat percentage points and the way we’re going to do that is strength training, or weight lifting…I’ve got this book here that um…where’s my book…”
“It’s over there, Barry,” the expressionless girl said.
“Oh. Yep. Yep. There it is. I got it. Ok so here you are on this scale and what we’re gonna do is…”
He went on to explain a whole bunch of health information that apparently most of the country doesn’t know. Stuff like don’t eat sugar and don’t over-cardio yourself and blah blah blah. I listened because his accent was so intriguing to me. Finally…
“So. You ready for a workout?”
“Yeah! Let’s do it!”
Barry grabbed his Starbucks and walked me to the rowing machine. He was very tall and I could tell he’s always been someone who has been in shape. He talked about his knee problems and the businesses he sold a few years ago as he walked in front of me and so I didn’t really hear any of it.
“…so then when I got down to Florida…hey, you know how to use the rowing machine, right?”
His luck, I do know how.
“Good, great, jump on. So anyway, I got down here and I was thinking about going back to school again because I’m retired and I was bored and trying to find something I’d really enjoy and…”
He talked for about 10 minutes, sipping his Starbucks. I rowed.
“Alright, that’s good. Come on over here and let’s do some squats.”
No, I thought.
“So¬†we’re going to do some squats against this ball on the wall here…” he explained it to death and then he demonstrated.
While holding his Starbucks.
I started doing the squats and apparently I was soo good at them that in the middle of my 15th or 16th squat, Barry set his Starbucks down to pick up weights and hand them to me.
I couldn’t believe it. I was doing squats, real squats for the first time in a year. “1, 2, mm, 4…” The “mm” was his sip of Starbucks. But I was feeling awesome. Doing SQUATS! I was on FIRE!
“Let’s do some burpees, yeah? You know how to do burpees?”
Rot in hell. “Yes. Yes, I do.”
“Great! Let’s do 20.”
I did my 20 burpees (which, if you don’t know, looks like this), but the jumping part…it was unbelievable. I couldn’t JUMP. I guess I haven’t really jumped much since the accident. I couldn’t just…jump in the air. I had to do this weird bend down thing, throw my hands up over my head, and hope I detached from gravity thing. “Is this a problem with my leg?!”
“Oh yeah. Oh yeah, Erin, you’ll have to rebuild muscles. I mean you’ll have to FIND those muscles even, so yeah. Anyway, let’s do walking lunges.”
Walking lunges. I killed squats, but I couldn’t jump, and now…walking lunges.
Y’all. I’m not even kidding. I fell down.
I FELL. DOWN.
My left leg wobbled, then I couldn’t feel it, then I fell down. Luckily, Barry caught me.
“Alright yeah good girl!”
Um. WHAT?!
“You look good here. That’s great. Let’s get up and try again here. I’ll…may I?” He reached his hand out to help me up. I got up, unwillingly, back to my feet. “We’re not stopping here. Let’s go.” Suddenly, it felt like it was Barry and me against my leg. We created a team. No matter what my leg did, he was going to get me all the way across the gym doing walking lunges. It was half humiliating and half like being a FREAKIN’ warrior! Barry’s arms under my armpits, one of his arms strung through my left arm for good measure, he did every squat with me.
And I did it. Wobbly. Leaning on Barry. The whole way.

Bella snuggled my aching legs tonight, which I greatly appreciated...

Bella snuggled my aching legs tonight, which I greatly appreciated…

By the end of my training session, I could barely walk. My twig-like left leg wobbled like CRAZY. My leg was WAY weaker than I ever would have thought, and the whole time Barry tried to sell me a personal training package, I was thinking about the fact that I couldn’t even do walking lunges anymore. But that this dude, this 60-something year old New Yorker who worked at a fitness gyn after retiring, held me up to prove (with help) I could do it.
“So, I think this package here…”
“Yeah, thanks Barry. I’m not buying a package today. Thank you for holding me up.”
“Alright girl,” he immediately responded. I knew he didn’t want to sell me anyway.¬†“Proud of you today.”
Yeah. Me, too. Proud and shocked and ready to do this. The next 6 months, I’m dedicated to finding my strength again, both inside and out. Y’all ready?

 

I’M A GIRL WITH FEELINGS

I took Abraham to see Inside Out, the movie, today. It is a DARLING flick¬†about the feelings inside of everyone’s heads and how they interact. There was a moment during the movie when Joy and Bing Bong fell into the pit of forgotten memories (which is the weirdest thing¬†I’ve ever written) and Abe got scared. He jumped into my lap and I held him through the “scary” part. In a last-ditch effort to get out of the pit, Bing Bong sacrificed himself so Joy could get back to headquarters and save the day.
Do you hear me? Bing Bong SACRAFICED HIMSELF.
Abe sat in my lap watching intently while I held him, weeping quietly to myself. My tears literally dripped down Abe’s arms.¬†Bing Bong¬†thanked her for letting him be IMPORTANT one last time!!!!¬†
I was a mess for the rest of the movie.

Abe did not stop clinging to me the rest of the day, asking for me to play or asking for a snack or asking for the cup that was already in his hand. By late afternoon, I felt like I was going to lose it. I went into my room and laid down on my bed for a minute before Abe came climbing in with me. Jumping ensued.
“Mo-o-o-om?” he asked as he jumped.
“Yes?”
“Let’s go get ice cream!”
“Adding sugar to this seems like a terrible idea.”¬†He continued jumping in silence until I asked him, “Do you want to go to the library?”
“Sure! There’s a playground next to the library!!!”
Fine. Whatever.

We arrived at the library and all Abe wanted to do was play with the multi-colored blocks they had in the kids’s area. I decided not to care and, instead, read my own book for a few minutes. He played almost-quietly before he walked to my left ear. “Mom?” he whispered as he¬†climbed into my lap.
“Yes?”
“I really want to get a book but I don’t want to read it.”
I was so annoyed. “Why do you want to get a book, then?”
“Maybe to read it later. I want to go to the playground.”
“Ok, can you play a few more minutes so mommy can finish this chapter?”
“No.”
Argh.¬†“Wait. No?”
“Well, I can’t because I’m done playing with those blocks and now I’m ready to choose a book and go to the playground.”
This is one of those mom-moments that probably should have looked like me telling him I was in charge of the schedule and I would decide when we were done and blah-blah-blah but instead I said, “Ok, fine.”

The playground was no better. He was not satisfied unless I was attempting to go down the slide, swing on the swings, or climb the train climby-aparatus. He asked insistently that I participate in every activity. It’s not that I physically couldn’t. It’s that I just didn’t WANNA. I wanted to sit and read my book and relax for a minute while my son played contentedly by himself.
And then…off in the distance…a train!
The train tracks are directly on the other side of the chain link fence at the playground behind the library. This meant that Abe would be standing at the fence watching the train for 5…maybe even 10 minutes if it was slow-moving!!!
“ABE!!! TRAIN!!!!”
He turned towards the sound and darted for the fence. We were both SO excited!!
Until.
The locomotive came rushing down the tracks and…

<HOOOOOOONK. HOOOOOOOOOOOONK.>

Abe immediately changed the direction of his legs, put his hands over his ears, and made a b-line straight for my…
You guessed it.
My lap.
We would now be watching the train together while talking about it for all 10 minutes (it was a slow-moving one).
“Did that horn scare you, bud?”
“Yeeeeah. A little bit, mom. I just wanna watch it with you.”

IMG_2842 (1)But suddenly as he said it, I realized that he’d been reaching for me all day. The scary part of the movie. The “done” part of the library. The super-loud train horn. Despite my being tired and moody and annoyed and crying all over him at a movie, he still ran for me. He chose me for comfort every time. He turned to make eye contact with me every time he needed back up, from opening a water bottle to getting out of the car because the car door handle was “too hot”. He requested my attention when he realized how funny the yoga mat in TJ Maxx was and when he saw¬†our dog Bella was trying to chase her non-existent tail. All day, he turned to me.
And that kind of made me want to cry.
Again.
Being a mom is NOT for the faint of heart. I think I may have spent a long time pretending like I could handle it all. And really? I can. But not without getting very near the end of a long and frayed rope before suddenly realizing that I am so lucky to have a boy that chooses me everyday.
To all the moms and dads out there watching their kids choose them, take note. You can get aggravated/frustrated/annoyed again in a minute. Just notice for right now.
We are so, so lucky.

 

HeyMomHeyMomHeyMomHeyMom

My son talks.
He talks all day long.
Today, in particular, I had to request that he please WATCH TV just so I could think for 15 uninterrupted minutes.
This morning my mom texted me, “Ready for school to start?”
“YES.”

I thought you all would enjoy knowing¬†some of our exchanges today…

“Hey, Mom. I can’t eat this granola bar because it broke.”
“You break it when you bite it, anyway.”
“Yeah, but with my TEETH. This broke with my HANDS so¬†I can’t eat it.”

“Hey, Mom? Why are we driving to this restaurant?”
“We’re not. We’re going to a store next to it.”
“A store next to it?”
“Yes.”
“What is the name of the store?”
“Target.”
“We’re going to a store called Target?”
“Yes.”
“Why are we going to a store named Target?”
“To buy something.”
“To buy something?”
<Mom’s brain falls out.>

“Hey Mom can I have a snack?”
“You just ate.”
“But I’m sooooooo hungry I’ll diiiiiie.”

“I know that, mom. I know everything.”
“You don’t know everything, Abe.”
“Yes I do. I know when a chocolate bar is good. I know water towers have water in them. I know how to be awake. I know trees like rain…”

“Hey Mom, when you have another baby, we’ll need a bigger car.”
“If I have another baby that’s true, but I’m not having another baby.”
“But if you eat broccoli and cooked carrots and crunchy carrots and chips and scrambled eggs with ketchup, your stomach will get so big that a baby will pop out.”
“Yes. That’s¬†how it works.”

Sometimes he quiet. Like when he’s actively drinking something through a straw.

“Hey Mom, do you wanna play Goose with me?”
“Is that like Duck-Duck-Goose?”
“No. We just sit down and pretend to be geese. We just sit down.”
“Fun.”

“I can’t go in my room to clean up, mom.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m scared of fire.”
“There’s no fire in your room, Abe.”
“But what if there was?! WE DON’T HAVE A FIRE TRUCK.”

(I’m going to bed veeeeeery early tonight. In complete silence.)

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