Love

Rock a Bye My Baby

I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.

During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.

It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.

You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.

7585_10151333929577031_183119441_n[1]You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.

Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.

Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.

I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.

But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.

Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!

539746_4672238565578_485366123_n[1]“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
– Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running

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Life, Love

Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.

Lessons

You Wiped My Son’s Eyes

20130402-141335.jpgYesterday morning was off to a rough start. I woke up late. It was cold and the thought of bouncing from bed to shower just made me want to pull the covers over my head. I needed a gradual good morning. One that allowed sipping some hot coffee, curled up under the blanket by the fire.

I had the choice to act now and get a head start before the kids woke up. This would lead to my being present at the breakfast table with them. This would allow me to control the “I wants”, sibling bickering and a nicely prepared breakfast ending up in the trash. The nutritious breakfast taking second place to M&M yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice.

The other option would be the gradual good morning. I chose this option. Despite past experiences, I decided to roll with it but was convinced I could stay mindful. I could start the turkey bacon and sip the coffee. I could wake the kids up, have breakfast on their plates and then jump into the shower. I could let them carry on with their bickering with an occassional diversion from getting ready to mediate. I could do this. I did.

It was frustrating. There were many interruptions. I forget my eyeliner on one eye. I forget to plug in the curling iron. The nutritious breakfast took a hike for sugar laden yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice. I refused to get upset. I refused to be frustrated. I calmly put the yogurt back into the refrigerator. I put my other eye’s liner on. I plugged in the curling iron. I mediated. I took deep breaths. I referred them to brush their teeth and get their school bags.

I carried on. It was getting closer to crunch time. My oldest sounded the 8:01a.m. alarm. I knew the bus would be coming. I stopped. I had to make a choice to get them out the door. I wanted them off with smiles and hugs. I refused to not be mindful. I refused to let the chaos win. The chaos fought me hard. One went out the front door, one out into the garage, the other climbed into my car. Stop. We are not leaving yet. Come back in. They all did, eventually.

All he wanted was his snow boots. I tried to explain to him he wouldn’t need them today. He kept asking about the weather. Through the hair dryer I could hear him saying it is sunny now but a dark cloud is coming. He wondered if the cloud meant rain or snow. I had a choice to stop the hair dryer and crouch down to his level, meeting him face to face explaining he would not need the snow boots. I chose to put on his tennis shoes. I didn’t see he was frustrated. I didn’t let him explain. All he wanted to tell me was that if it was going to rain or snow and he didn’t have his boots he would have to stay on the asphalt during recess.

20130402-141259.jpgI had a choice to listen or be the parent in charge. I chose to be the parent in charge. I chose to not listen. He walked out the door with his head hanging low muttering a statement which really was asking for permission. He was going to grab his snow boots anyway. I saw his fingers grasp the boots. I removed them from his hands and put them back on the shelf. He grabbed them again. The bus was coming.

My oldest took off without a hug or a kiss. My baby was climbing into my car and then the bus stopped. I took the boots from his hand and threw them into his bag. I told him he was not listening. I chose to be upset. I kissed him off quickly and with his head down he walked down the 150 feet path of cement.

I was defeated. I let the chaos win. I did not send them off as I intended. I motioned for him to run. He never looked back. He never picked up his head. He stayed at the same defeated pace. Still yet I was upset. Upset that he didn’t listen. But really it was I who didn’t listen. I was too busy giving in to chaos. I made a choice to ease into the morning. A choice I knew would have repercussions. A choice I knew could lead to farewell defeats.

Then she grabbed a tissue as he boarded the bus. She wiped his eyes and hugged him. My heart sank. My eyes dripped with water. I wanted nothing more to run to them and get them off the bus. How could I let this happen. I was mindful of what she did. It bothered me. It stung. I felt like I failed. I made a choice.

Parenting isn’t always easy. Especially when you have multiple children and you are a working parent. It is a fine balancing act; getting yourself ready for work and children off to school. The intentions are good. The breakfast is nutritious. The lunches are packed. The schoolbags are ready. The teeth are brushed. Everything is in place. But what our little ones want most is to be heard. I know in this instance I was only acting on motherly intuition. I only wanted the absolute best for the children. But sometimes, we need to stop and just listen. Our children can provide an enormous amount of teaching. If we just choose to listen.

Lessons

Mommy’s Got Yoda Ears

Damn straight Skippy. Don’t think you’re getting away with that broken giraffe figurine lying in pieces under the ottoman. Oh and those candy wrappers neatly tucked in between the couch cushions, I got your number. How about that homework assignment from last weekend you were supposed to complete. You think crumbled in the corner of the pantry behind the paper towels and drink boxes is a conspicuous enough place that it will not be found? Oh boys, you have no clue.

I know all the tricks, all the treats and how to break all the rules. The only difference between mommy and you, boys, is that I never got caught. So wisen up or your busted!

Somebody Did It!
Somebody Did It!

My little guys turn into tornadoes the minute the shower water sputters out its first drop. It’s like a free for all for 11 minutes or so. It is amazing what damage they can do while I breathe in and breathe out as the steam invigorates my mommy senses. Little do they know I have become the woman who hears things the minute I get into the shower.

For example, just the other day while I was on my second lather up I could feel them entering the attic. Something about that muffled sound of creaking wood while the water poured to the shower floor. I was still half soaped up and ran out of the shower and sure enough, the attic door was abruptly closing. Even though they all magically appeared on the sofa singing to Little Einsteins, I knew by their shortness of breathe, they had ventured into off-limits territory.

So boys, take note. Just as your littlest brother has and fearfully admitted to me yesterday, “Mommy’s got Yoda ears.” You have a lot to learn while I’m in the shower young Jedi’s!

I'm all knowing...(Image Courtesy of Google)
I’m all knowing…
(Image Courtesy of Google)
Life

It’s Nice Not Needing To Be Somewhere, Said The Little Old Lady Who Could

Full moon. Mercury in retro something. It’s all wacked up lately. Everyones crazy. My kids won’t sleep. Things keep breaking and somebody let the dogs out.

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Geesh. Can someone please tell me when it is okay to poke my head out again. I’m afraid I might get blasted with eggs or meteorites. I am not one to believe in all that full moon, mercury in retrograde astronomy hype but I’m telling you, the crazies are out. Plus I am falling off task. I must have an undetected by the human eye rip in my mommy cape because things are just not lining up.

It was foggy as all swamps yesterday and I wasn’t sure if it was Bigfoot or my children’s school bus coming down the street. I could hear the rumble of either beast but it wasn’t until I saw it pulling away from my neighbor’s house, that I realized it was the bus and my kids were not on it.

So I had to hurry now and get all kids to school. It can’t ever be easy where I live in never, ever land. Of course they have to attend three different schools too. By the time I actually arrived at work, I was so confused as to where I had been, that I might have rather been abducted by Bigfoot. At least I would have been able to trace my steps.

So to finish up the full moon mercury rising craze, I accidentally washed a Huggies pull up with a load of laundry last night. Did I ever mention how me and beady things do not get along? If you have ever changed a highly saturated, urine logged diaper you know what I am talking about. The beady explosives are insanely hard to clean up. Even when using an entire box of Huggies Wipes and dry and wet paper towels. Those things will linger on the skin of a child for days.

So just imagine what they do to a load of laundry. Nice. I called it quits after the fourth wash last night. Then I retired. I expected to get 5-6, not years in prison, but hours of sleep. Well Mercury and the full moon met or something and little peanuts woke up at 1:00a.m., 3:00a.m. and then my pooch at 4:30a.m. I hope I shed all the beads, crazies and fog with the next moon cycle.

You have to be able to appreciate these things. How many people can say it was a full moon last night and appreciate it? –Sandy Miller

I met a friend for lunch today. Something which does not happen often. Luckily her little girl is the lead chipmunk in a play and because I live in a home with no pink, purple or fuscia, I had a brown long-sleeved shirt for her to borrow. She gets to transform her daughter into a chipmunk and I get some company for lunch. It’s a win-win for all!

As we went to go pay and rush back to our offices, the computerized cash register had to reboot. Mercury must have really pissed off Mars who then ran to the moon who threw a lassle around Uranus because the little annoyances just will not stop.

Until the little old lady who could, said, to me of all people, “She didn’t mind. She had nowhere to be. It’s nice to not need to be somewhere.” She didn’t mind that the computer was frozen and then had to reboot. She didn’t mind it was pouring rain and the cafe coffee was bitter. She was just present and content. Content to just be.

I loved her for this moment. She was in line next to me to remind me that sometimes, we have to just let it go. Perhaps the harder we resist change and fight the astronomical Gods, the worse off we are.

So many people recount that they are alive today because on September 11, 2001, they woke up late, missed their train, stayed home with their sick child or stopped to help a bystander. We can easily get wrapped up in all our daily B.S. that we forget, that every moment we are moving forward. Even when we think we are treading or taking two steps back, we are actually moving forward.

So my love goes out to the adorable little old lady today at the cafe who could. Who could appreciate the minor annoyance of a slight delay and was just glad for the moment. I thank her for sharing that moment with me. I needed her today. Somebody really was listening when I looked up into the full moon sky last night and wished I may, wished I might…

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Love

If You Blog It, They Will Come

Happy One-Year Blogging Anniversary
Happy One-Year Blogging Anniversary

One year ago today I sat down with my laptop and a cup of coffee and started a blog. thCAJ0BXJ1I titled it Turn Around and Swim. I came up with the name when earlier that week I bought a journal. As part of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012 I was going to write an entry each week. I wanted a way to keep track of my life story; The chaotic fun in raising three boys and finding a balance between working mom and business owner all while being all in for my kids, family and friend’s adventures.

But writing would only give me finger cramps and my chicken scratch would not be legible in my senior years. Further, who would hold me accountable?

Until one day when I was in the shower, my kids were banging on the glass doors for me to hurry, and then it all came to me. I am sure it was an emergency because one was about to die because he needed chocolate milk, one was about to blow up the joint and the other accidentally wrote on the walls with a Sharpie. I couldn’t see because of the lavender and chamomile shower gel that was oozing from my eyes and when I opened my mouth to patiently converse to them yell out to go play, I swallowed a giant gulp of water. I started choking and I mean like really choking.

All I could think about is how I was going to go down as the girl who drowned in a shower smelling of lavender and chamomile while her three little boys burnt down the house. That is when I knew I had to either drown or turn around and swim. So here we are 365 days later. This past year I have written and published 71 posts. I have 100+ blog followers and a quarter of that in email followers.

Some of you followed me by way of this blogosphere, some of you realized I was Swimgirl on Facebook, some were coerced by me or your co-workers and some of you did a Google search and accidentally landed here. Many of you questioned why I would put myself out there like this. Some of you didn’t understand. Yet, others loved my blog instantly. I have found that my most loved by you posts include my original photographs, when I keep it real and make you laugh.

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I have been nominated for two blog awards and I thank Multifarious Meanderings for nominating me for both. She is always there to comment on my posts and offer insight with her witty gestures and humor.blog-award[1] sunshine-award1[1]

I began following a lot of travel and photography blogs but soon got sidetracked by any blog with caffeine in it. What’s not to love about a blog with coffee in its name? I have never been Freshly Pressed and one day I may be granted this honorary mention, but until then, we celebrate.

We celebrate one year of blogging. I would make you all cupcakes but I am sure we are over all that by now. Yet, thank you to all those who voted for my little cupcake at www.celebrations.com as well. Even though I didn’t win over there, I am WINNING here because of all of you. I celebrate with you, all my loyal followers and virtual buddies. I thank you for following me, liking my posts and commenting.

So with one year anniversary celebrations, it does not go without mention, what I learned from blogging:

1) Get to know you readers. They may not like, comment or read every post but know what keeps them following you.

2) Be involved. Visit other blogs. Engage. Share. Like.

3) Treat other bloggers the way you would want to be treated. This applies on and off the blog turf. If you wouldn’t want anyone bashing your blog or post, don’t do it to others. If you want people to engage and comment, then do the same for them.

4) Just because you don’t get a gazillion followers or a million likes per post does not mean your blog is a nothing. Keep writing, keep sharing and your story will unfold. You will attract readers. Never give up. Persistency is the key.

5) Have a good About Page because people will want to know a little bit about the blog’s creator(s) and overall theme before they join in and follow you. They might like a post but not your overall blog content. Your self-disclosure is just laying the truth about your blog out there to the readers. Honesty is “typically” the best policy.

6) Many of you probably think I am a blond girl who loves to swim. I have brown hair and I am not that great of a swimmer. (I mean remember, I did almost drown in a shower). So, I think for this coming year I will include a few self-portraits of the Gravatar in front of the real person you are getting to know here. Stay tuned.

7) Visit the Freshly Pressed posts often because you can really find some awesome blogs you normally would not have ventured to read. Perhaps some day, I too will be featured on that page with all of you wonderful and creative writers.

8) Check out your Stats. You will get a good laugh as to how people find your blog via search terms. These were the top five ways people found TAS via Web searches:

a. Giant Weeble Wobble
b. Zen Moments
c. How To Swim to Atlantic Ocean
d. Suzy Fashit
e. Swimgirl Throwing Things

Now that should give you some serious insight as to what this blog is all about. Thank goodness for Google, right?

9) Have consistent content but don’t be afraid to change it up every now and then. Sometimes I am afraid to have a potty mouth or show that parenting can be similar to being in the vortex of a F-5 Tornado. Sounds pretty basic huh? It’s all in good humor!

10) This is my blog first and foremost. It is my story. I write it as it happens and unfolds. I’m keeping it real so if you get nervous sometimes than strap on your life-preserver.

Thank you, for a wonderful year! I am delighted you are all following me and if you just joined us then what in the world are you waiting for? I mean if you want to figure out How to Swim to the Atlantic Ocean with Suzy Fashit while a Swimgirl is Throwing Things at you while you bob and weave like a Giant Weeble Wobble to get to your Zen Moment, then you are in the right place. Click the follow button and come for a swim. Oh and just remember…

“You Can’t get Anywhere Doing the Backfloat, You Have To Turn Around and Swim!”TAS

Much love, humor and sometimes chaotic bull$hit,

Swimgirl

Lessons

Terrible Two’s Ain’t Got Nothing On The Tortuous Threes

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I do go to that happy place everyday fella. I ponder how we skipped the terrible twos and proceeded directly to the tortuous threes. Three is the age of potty training, learning to write your name, taking a lunch for the preschool field trip and testing mommy beyond no end. Three is the year my boys put me on a parental assessment.

I have been here now three times and in all honesty returning to that “happy place” gets sidetracked by things like Wusthof knives cutting Play-doh while mommy takes a shower, emptying the entire contents of bulk Kirkland laundry detergent on the carpeting and putting Purell into mommy’s water bottle.

What is it about this age? Is it just boys or do parents of princesses go through the same thing? Are girls this destructive? Three can be a wonderful but terrifying year all in the same. I know somewhere in history somebody came up with the “terrible twos” but I beg to differ. Can anyone relate to the fact that the age between two and four is the longest 365 days of your life as a parent?

Since the little squirt turned three I have been walking around on my tippy toes checking for pistons of poop droppings on the floor, with my shoulders crunched up into my ears while reminding myself to breathe. We should never have to remind ourselves to breathe unless we are drowning. I know I can survive though because I made it out alive with the other two. I cannot say I was not injured and I am deeply scared for life, but I am alive.

When my little Noochie was three he put some sort of solution in my contact case. It took a few minutes after insertion, and then the burn and oozing began. It burnt so bad that the other eye started burning and I couldn’t even open my eyes to remove the contact. When I asked the little man what he put in there, he smiled with his giant blue eyes and said, “Oh just some special bubbly mommy.” For the love of my eyes. He was so proud. I was so in pain. But I reminded myself that when the eyes are blind, look with the heart.

When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts. ~Robert Brault

This one time, in mommy boot camp, I woke up to the mini drill sergeant. I purposely set my alarm very early so I can gather my thoughts, contacts and sanity before the little men wake up. So, one morning around Valentine’s Day when the same little boy who burnt my eye was three, I had to survive a sugar and honey bath. I proceeded into the kitchen, in the dark, on my tip toes of course and slid into the cabinet. It was as if my feet hit sand. The sand-like mixture and ceramic tile was like a slip-n-slide without the rocks poking through and water.

My right hip hit the cabinet and my feet got stuck in sandy goo. I was so sticky and could barely make my way over to hit the light. When I did, all I saw was sugar and honey everywhere. The honey bottle was still dripping from the upper cabinet, down onto the counter and down onto the floor. As I was just about to scream, I see him, those big eyes and giant smile peering at me from across the living room. What on earth happened here?

He jumped out of his chair and ran over to me and said, “Mommy, are you glad I finally did not wake you up? Remember when you told me to never wake you up in the middle of the night again when I can’t sleep? Well, I tried to read and since, well I am only three, well that didn’t work because I can’t read. So since I am not allowed to boil water for tea, I made sugar and honey water. Aren’t you so happy I didn’t turn on the stove? Then when that didn’t work….” “Wait a minute! Stop right there! What do you mean when that didn’t work? What did you do?” I exclaimed. He replied, “I decorated our house for Valentine’s Day! Let me show you mommy, you are going to be so proud!”

I ruined this kid. When he was expecting me to be “so proud” I was crying in terror. He glued everything and I mean everything to our walls, doors, cabinets, closets, head-boards and carpeting. He broke down in tears because mommy was supposed to be so proud. It took me two weeks to clean up the mess. That was two years ago and I still have remnants of Valentine’s Day 2011 lingering throughout my house.

The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher. ~Robert Brault

Where am I?  Who am I?(Picture courtesy of Google Images)
Where am I? Who am I?
(Picture courtesy of Google Images)

So now, I have another three-year old. I do not want my boys to grow up. Yes, I want to keep them little forever. Bull$hit. But when will enough be enough? Can I survive another round of the Torturous Threes? So far it has cost me my eyesight, I will need a future hip replacement, a whole house woodwork and paint job and $75.00 in plumber fees this year. That’s right, my fresh little three-year old recently flushed a Diego screwdriver tool down the toilet. The plumber looked at him, then me, then him and was like, “huh?” Did he think that was odd? I actually thought it was a clean disaster. A little pricey but picking up the phone to let someone else deal with the mess was a lot easier than other adventures I have been on with my boys.

I love them. I do. I have no idea what I would be without them. Sometimes I wonder if Karma is real. Perhaps Uncle Karma is knock-knock knocking on my door. I know from experience and asking of my parents, I was never like this. Being a girl I just wouldn’t think of these things. I wanted to paint, color and draw, on paper. I wanted to brush my dolls hair and put my mom’s makeup on, neatly. Never did I want to cause extreme fatigue or bodily harm to my parents.

Parenthood is one crazy ride. I do love every minute of it. Especially since I am still here to talk about it. So my advice to new parents approaching that magical age of three, if you think age two was rough, hold on tight. You are in for one heck of a ride! Just remember, moms and dads, you are your child’s favorite toy!

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t. ~Barbara Kingsolver