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.

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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To my darling daughter on departure day

“…you are my rainbow to keep. My eyes will always be watching you; never will I lose sight of you.” ~Vesna Bailey

Yesterday is the day they found the Boston Marathon bomber guilty of all 30 counts.  Yesterday was also the day that another African American man was shot and killed by an on duty police officer.  And today is the day I brought my tiny, newborn daughter home from the hospital.  While these events don’t seem connected in any way they most certainly are because I am bringing a new life into a world where people bomb other people or simply hurt other people on purpose…and that scares the ever living daylights out of me.

I used to joke, after repeatedly watching the movie Baby Boom (I just KNOW Diane Keaton and I could be BFF), that all I wanted to do is buy a giant house in the country, homeschool my kids, and become a blueberry farmer.  And with each passing day this urge continues to grow and get stronger and stronger. Because all I want to do is keep my kids safe, and whole, and seemingly pure and these days  it feels like an exceedingly daunting and impossible task.  But as I sit here and lament over the fact I can’t keep them safe from everyone else in the world, I know that what I can do is TEACH them and be the most positive role model I can be.

So, to my darling daughter, on the day I bring you home from the hospital, and into the “big, bad world” what I want to tell you is this:

The world is scary, I’m not going to lie.  There are people in it who live just to hurt others.  Some of them do it physically.  Some mentally.  Some in other ways.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will encounter someone like these people at one point or another.  It may be in the mean girl who pushes you off the monkey bars when you’re four.  Or in the boy that starts a rumor about you in high school.  Or in the friend that constantly puts you down to make herself feel better.  There are times you will get hurt for no reason at all, simply because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But listen closely, dear one, for this is important.  None of these instances are who you are.  None of theses people will define your character.  You are better than that.  I’ve only know you for two days (or 10 months and 2 days) and I already know how smart, amazing, sweet, loving, and happy you are.  And I hope you never let anyone make you feel less than that.

I hope that in our time together I am able to teach you not only how to stand up for others, but also how to stand up for yourself. That you never DESERVE to be treated with anything other than dignity and respect from anyone.  I hope I am able to instill in you an idealism that no matter how small, you are still able to change the world and I hope you are able to hold on to that idealism even on the worst days.  I hope I am able to teach you to see and appreciate the tiny joys in life: a ladybug, a sunny day, a favorite book, a tender moment.  I hope that even though the world can be dark and scary, you can learn to see the light and joy in some aspect of it every day.

And no matter what, I hope you know that things may get bad and things may get dark, but there will always be one person in this world who loves you more than anything else, more than anyone else and sometimes that’s really all you need to keep going.

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