We’ll all float on Ok.

I don’t seem to know who I am anymore.

Not so long ago I felt like I had it all figured out.  I’m a mom.  I’m a runner.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a friend.  Things were going well.  I had a wonderful new daughter, two amazing boys, and a fantastic support system of friends and family.  I literally had no complaints and was perfectly content any happy.

And then I broke…again.

This wasn’t like the first time I felt that I had broke, when my dad had died.  When that happened I feel apart all at once so it was almost easier to out myself back together.  The pieces were right there and easier to find, not scattered over space and time.

I wish I could say I knew the exact moment that it happened, but really it was a series of events that started small, each one separately almost microscopic in size, but together crumbled my world into a million pieces.

I cut back on my running and dropped out of the NYC marathon.

An old friend came back into my life just when I thought I was finally over our past.

I lost a person in my life who I thought was a good friend.

The separation began…and ended…and began…and changed so much that I don’t even know where we are at this point.

Most recently I’ve done things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve eaten things I probably shouldn’t have.  I’ve stopped running altogether.  With each passing day, the numbers on the scale keep inching closer to where I said I never wanted to be again.  And the worst part of it all is that I just don’t seem to care.  Not about being a bad person, or losing certain people from my life, or even losing everything I worked for.  None of it.

I feel like I’m on the roundabout on the playground spinning more and more out of control each day.  The sad part is that I know I’m the one that’s pushing it to go faster and faster.  I am in complete and utter control of this and I can’t seem to jump off and just stop. Because I know that when I do I’m going to break even more from the impact.  I know that I’m really going to have to work to find all the pieces and put myself back together again.  Not only in the “now” but in the past too.  The task seems daunting and so impossible that 99% of the time I don’t even have the desire to try.

But then, out of the blue, today happened.  The 1%.  The one glimmer of hope I had been hoping for.

We’re driving to the park and the library and all three kids are squeezed into the back seat.  Charlotte is singing along to Modest Mouse playing in the background while Oliver and Max argued about how many sheep are in an adjoining field.  The sun was shining in the blue sky as wispy clouds float by, my hand out the window rising and falling in the warm air.  I finally felt it.  What I had been longing to feel for so long lately.  A sense of peace and contentment.   A sense of placement.

This is where I was supposed to be.  Maybe not forever, but at least for right now.

And with that tiny feeling of hope, I know that pretty soon I’ll have enough courage to make the leap off the roundabout.  And maybe, just maybe, my feet will actually hit the ground and I’ll be able to pick myself up and begin to collect all the pieces.

There’s something I’m missing

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today is September 19th.  On September 7th, my littlest one turned 5 months old.  And I didn’t even blink an eye.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t even notice the milestone until today when a friend of mine, who had her baby 2 weeks after me, posted that her son was 5 months old today.  My first thought was “Oh!  How cute!”  My next thought was “Shit!  That means Charlie is already 5 months…and I missed it.”

We could blame this conundrum on the fact that she’s number three in a line of little people.  But that’s not the case at all.  It’s not a case of “these milestones don’t mean as much with #3”.  As a matter of fact, it’s the exact opposite.  I should be cherishing these milestones even more BECAUSE she’s number three, and more likely than not, the last of the littles.

But I didn’t.  Because it passed by me unnoticed.  Because once again, life got in the way.

There’s running practice.  And team meetings.  And leadership duties.  And teaching.  And lesson planning.  And mentoring.  And.  And.  And. The list never stops.

I spend more quality time with the students I teach than my own children.  Maybe that’s why this school year seems to suck so much.  I resent these little five year olds for no fault of there own.  I resent them simply because they get my time and MY little ones do not.

There are currently 50 pictures of running practice on my phone.  There are 37 pictures of my students.  There are 2 of my children.  On average I see my children awake for three hours a day.  Three.  And let’s be honest.  These are not quality hours.  During this time I am also making dinner, answering work related texts and emails, packing lunches, giving baths and showers, and trying to divide my already scattered time between 4 people who want my undivided love and attention the minute I walk through the door.

And there are times, I’m not proud to admit, that I pray for an earlier bedtime simple because I have still MORE work to do and I want to start it as soon as possible so I can go to bed before midnight.

Then, there’s the things that I need to do to keep my sanity about all this that I simply haven’t done.  I haven’t run more than once a week since school started.  I just paid for an entire month of the gym without going once.  Ritz crackers are becoming bad habit to break as I snack while I work.  I haven’t read a new book in forever.

I feel like there’s got to be a better way.  There must be something I’m doing wrong.  There HAS to be a way to do it all.

If not, I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do.

Happy 5 month, Charlie bear. Here's hoping I don't miss 6.

Happy 5 months, Charlie bear. Here’s hoping I don’t miss 6.

Tomorrow is a good day.

Some days are for living. Others are for getting through.

I had a whole post written.  I was about to hit publish.  And then I deleted it all.

This morning I woke up from a bad dream and my day got worse from there.

I stressed.  I cried.  I yelled.  I threw a fit.

I wish I could keep myself together better when I get like this.  I get so worked up when I can’t have control over every situation.  When I can’t solve problems that pop up in my life, I seem to lose it.

Today I wasn’t the best mom.  I was a bad wife.  I was a bad me.

Tomorrow I need to do better.

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Teach your children well

“So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.” ~ Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

I had a different post I was going to write about tonight.  I was going to post about the fact that today my kindergartener came home on “yellow” because he couldn’t focus at writing time.  I was going to post about how my four year old thinks no one loves him anymore (in his words) because sometimes we are busy with the new baby.  I was going to post about how  Mike had class tonight so it was just me and the three kids and with the above mentioned factors and Charlie going through a growth spurt and for the first time in three weeks I started to think that maybe I couldn’t do this…

I was going to post about all these things and how they made me feel like a failure as a parent.  Then, as I log into social media for the five minutes I have to breathe, I see the destruction that is Baltimore.  I see the peaceful protests being marred by the loiters and the rioters.  I see stores being burned to the ground and people being hauled off in ambulances.  I see a newly constructed senior center being engulfed in flames less than two blocks from the school where I teach and I wonder if MY 25 kindergarteners are all right.  All of this is hitting way too close to home and I feel the tightness in my chest start to rise.

And with that I realize that in the grand scheme of things being on “yellow” for one day is not the end of the world.  And in 10 minutes Oliver will come to me for a hug and kiss and validation and be back to his normal self.  And Charlie will finish her growth spurt and go back to my happy, adorable baby.  And that none of this is catastrophic because we are all loved, and safe and ALIVE.  All I want at this moment is to keep them home, little, and protected with me for as long as I can.  I want to teach them about these moments while shielding their eyes and hearts from them at the same time.

This is exactly what I think as I turn off Twitter, rush upstairs, and hug all my babies a little tighter.  Because right now, we are OK.

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Non-Fiction

“Outside the windows the day was bright: golden sunshine, blue sky, pleasant wind . . . I wanted to punch the happy day in the face, grab it by the hair, and beat it until it told me what the hell it was so happy about.”  ~Ilona Andrews

No fewer than ten people have said to me an amalgamation of the following terms:

  • “I can’t believe you just had a baby.”
  • “You look great for just having a baby.”
    “You have so much energy! I wish I could have been like that after giving birth.”
  • “You seem so relaxed like you are on vacation.”
  • “You make it seem so easy.”

After each one of these observances I smile, laugh a little laugh, and state that it’s just the whole “not being at work that agrees with me”.  True, I’ve been walking every day.  True, I’ve lost 20 pounds and am actually under my pre-baby weight.  True, my baby seems to do a great job for sleeping long stretches at night.

But these are the observations from the Monet point of view.  From far away it seems like my life after a newborn is a masterpiece.  Rich in color, vibrant in activity, something you can hang on a mantel and then marvel.  It seems like by kid #3 I have it figured out and “baby” motherhood, and “mom of three” motherhood is agreeing with me whole-heartedly.

But here’s the trick: go up to that painting and stand so that your nose is almost touching.  Now it’s a mess; a bunch of blurred lines, overly textured colors, haphazard in appearance and technique and that is more of a representation of my life these day.  When you look up close you’ll see that I’ve been walking everyday because I don’t always have access to a car to pick the kids up from school (luckily we live close) and also because I need running the way some people need prozac, and since I can’t run (and don’t have prozac), I walk.  I lost 20 pounds which happens to be all my baby weight and then some because during my pregnancy I was so stressed and had terrible heartburn so I never ate enough and therefor didn’t gain any weight (which, contrary to what some might think, is not a good thing).  And the reason my baby sleeps so well?  According to her doctor it’s because she’s not eating enough so her body is putting her in a hibernation mode to conserve energy.

So today, I woke my baby up after 3 hours for her 3rd feeding after which she promptly fell asleep and while I should have been cleaning the house, or doing laundry, or any of the other 100 things that needed to get done while the kids were at school, I cried.  Or if I’m being really honest I stuffed my face full of Ritz crackers and cried because I felt like a terrible mother (and then I felt terrible for eating the Ritz crackers).

So not only was I feeling terrible, but then both the other littles were having trouble with their “listening ears” and I had to yell which made me feel even more terrible.  And the icing on the cake (wait, there’s cake?) was the full on melt down I had at dinner when our rental company called and said they were showing our house tomorrow, which means I had to scrub it clean tonight.

But it’s 3 hours later now.  All the kids are in bed and asleep.  I just ate a lovely chocolate bar and a spoon full of peanut butter.  And perspective is starting to creep back in to my subconscious.  In a few short hours it will be a new day and I’ll get the chance to start over again.

Sometimes that’s really all we have to hold on to.

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The Last Supper…

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” ~Dante

As you may or may not have read here (depending on if you follow my self involved ramblings on my blog), I entered the lottery for the TCS NYC Marathon…and was accepted.  I won’t go into much detail because the whole story is listed on the link above, but I have to say that each day I float between elation and crippling fear.

It sounded like a great idea in January.  It was still 11 months away.  The chances of me getting in, especially for the first time, was slim to none.  I was safely encased in my pregnancy…a legitimate excuse not to run or really train for that matter so I wasn’t injured, or ultra tired (except for being pregnant), or broke because of race entry fees.  But now, I’m 12 days post baby and the marathon is 196 days away.  28 weeks.  Approximately 7 months. As the little one and I blog together this evening I can’t help but wonder if I wasn’t completely insane for even considering this.

Photo on 4-19-15 at 8_Fotor

Insanity, is of course, a relative term.  This is going to be tough, no doubt about it.  But I’m itching to get started again.  As of Friday I am down 20 pounds since my last pregnancy visit…that’s actually 3 pounds less than my lowest weight pre-pregnancy.  It’s definitely motivating.

But, for the past 12 days I’ve also kind of let myself go.  It’s been nice to have wine.  It’s been nice to eat more than a few bites without feeling full.  It’s been nice to not have heartburn with EVERY SINGLE FOOD that I eat.  And really…should we even mention the Easter candy that is finally gone (with much of my help).  But not anymore.  This week-end has been a “last supper” if you will.  I went a little more indulgent, a little more unhealthy, a last hoorah of bad decisions before jumping in wholeheartedly.

It’s time though.  I’ve had my share of wine, sugar and fried food.  I’m ready to get back on the wagon and really put my heart and soul into this training, eating healthier, and really moving forward with my life.  I could say that it’s all about the marathon, but really, it’s more than that.  I now have three beautiful, wonderful kids that I want to be around for for many years to come.  I’m not only training for a marathon, I’m training for life.

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Tonight I raise my glass…to me and all I’m going to accomplish this year, especially the NYC Marathon.  Even if I’m last  I’m going to kick some ass.

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This week’s training goal: 20 miles walking at a rigorous pace

A step back

“Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.” ~Simon & Garfunkel

I woke up this morning to feed the baby around 4.  Once she was finished and feel back to sleep I was awake for awhile.  I was literally itching to run.  I was calculating if I should or shouldn’t throw my running shoes on for a 4 am walk/shuffle around the block.  That way I would have tons of time to do other stuff during the day.  I know I shouldn’t be running.  I know I should be taking it easy so I can fully heal.  And here I am, making bargains in my head at 4 am about how to manage everything I wanted to accomplish on my ever growing mental list.

I didn’t think I’d get to this place.  I thought I was going to do everything differently.  Right now I’m having a tough time. Normally it’s quite hard for me to admit that.  I don’t like others to see my weaknesses and I usually feel that if you don’t admit to them, they don’t exist.  But here I am admitting this for the whole world (or the 15 people who read my blog) to see.  I am having a tough time.

Surprisingly enough, I’m not having a tough time with the whole “parenting three kids” thing.  Once you have two VERY active boys, adding a third child, especially a calm, almost always sleeping baby into the mix really doesn’t change much.  I’ve found with a little finagling I can balance most of what everyone needs, though maybe not what they all “want”.  Sure, I have a husband at home who is helping and the two oldest are in school at least part time.  But for the most part we are prattling along just as we always did, maybe just a little more tired than we were before.

What I’m having a tough time with is stepping back and simply taking time.  For the first time, I actually have time.  Time to sit back and relax.  Time to heal.  Time to think.  Time to simply enjoy the smaller and larger things in life.  And what am I doing with this time instead?  Planning.  Making lists.  Checking my work e-mail.  Replying to other emails. Organizing and cleaning.  Mentally and physically exhausting myself because I seem to think EVERYTHING needs to be done TODAY.  I feel like if I do it today, I won’t need to think about it tomorrow. I’ll have time to relax tomorrow.  I’ll have time to give more individualized attention tomorrow.  But you know what happens?  A new task or plan pops up for tomorrow and I am right back to square one, thinking that I’ll always have tomorrow to play catch up on the more important things.

Part of it is that I have no idea what to do with free time.  It’s not that I never have it.  Having “grandparents” who love my kids and take them all the time gives me loads of free time.  But that free time is usually marred by the guilt I feel.  Guilt about having a slightly messy household.  Guilt about maybe not having my lesson plans done months in advance or having some new game or activity created for my students.  Guilt about not spending every minute of the day involved with my kids.  Guilt thinking that I should always be doing “more” than I currently am, whether that be at home, work, or among friends and family.

I seem to live by my guilt.  And I’m pretty sure if I don’t do something about it I’m going to die by it as well.  I’ve got to learn to slow down.  I’ve got to learn how to enjoy the smaller things.  I’ve got to learn to let go…especially of the overly high expectations I have of myself.  Maternity leave, while it’s just begun, will be over before I know it and I don’t want to look back and regret not spending more time with the kids, or relaxing, or just being.  I don’t want to look back and realize that the work e-mails could have waited.  The laundry could have waited an hour before putting it away.  Who cares that there are 3 dirty dishes in the sink if it means I spent a little more quality time with the people in my family, or even just some quality time with myself.

I need to breathe, heal, and relax.  I need to take this time to work ON me FOR my family.

And right now, I need to shut this laptop and go play a video game with my 4 year old who is patiently waiting for some extra time with his mom.