Starting Here

Returning to this practice, this place of emptying, spilling my day onto the screen for others to view and me to remember. It is getting to the point in motherhood where my life before a child is fading and my present is expanding into a forever future of being a mom. To a baby now a toddler, to a teenager to a young adult...the cycle of life will play out before my eyes as my own life continues onward. It is absolutely gorgeous and stunning to witness the transformation of your child, while at the same time the expansion of your heart in a way that you never knew it could stretch. Such deep welling of emotion that shocks me at moments, regular moments, with its intensity. Sam is love, utter love.

I am such a different person than almost two years ago. Crazy to think that around this time in 2012 Jamie and I flippantly decided I should go off birth control and see what happens. Our life would begin to change only a couple of months later, although deep denial kept us holding on to our independent lifestyles for as long as possible. I wasn't as brave then. Although courage is something that will always be a continuous struggle, I recognize that with the emergence of Sam in my life I try a little bit harder to be the person I want to be. At the same time, to like the person that I am. I have written about this often, about how Sam has changed my life for the better, but I am amazed daily at the impact that his little but humongous being has on my life. Again, Sam is love.

He puts himself to bed now after nursing. Eager to get in his crib with his Norman and blankie, to see the soothing lights from his turtle nightlight. Talking and laughing himself to sleep, happy till the very end (most nights anyway). So many lessons from this little one....I love you Sam.

10.5 Months!

I write these things and then don't post them! See the below from a couple of weeks ago... How did this semi-toddler replace the little dark-haired, wobbly-headed infant who slept in my arms? Now Sam hugs me and squirms away to explore the world on his hands and knees, finding the dogs toys and the tiniest bits of fluff on the wood floor. His vocabulary grows, his ability to feed himself develops, and his crawl picks up speed daily. I cut his hair this morning, just the front pieces that hung in front of his eyes like an indie rocker, and instantly he looked months older. What a fun age this is, his curious eyes eagerly eating up everything around him, his adventuresome nature peppered with the desire to still be close to mom, dad or grandparent. His laughter, his frantic turning of book pages, his excitement with the shower and his blossoming love of avocados. The personality of my little son becomes stronger everyday. And clearer, as if more of the puzzle is fit together to form the whole picture...the puzzle that never ends until we leave this body. I love that he is his own little person, that he was created by Jamie and I, but that his soul is completely and utterly his own.

Roller coaster

I feel like I am on one often and, not being a huge fan of carnival rides, I would really like to get off and walk on my own two feet, upon the earth. I recognize that I have a choice in this, whether to partake in the ride or resist the ups and downs.... I wrote the above last week and have since then been working hard to remember that I have a choice in every moment. I can stop my own meltdown by breathing and then moving Sam and myself on to our next activity. This is a period of great transformation, for both him and I, I am discovering. He is in the grips of the 8 month growing spurt when suddenly teeth are erupting and the frustration of not being able to move himself around is hitting him hard. He is more aware to the world, his brain capacity growing rapidly, and his little personality opening up like a blossoming flower. A flower that screams sometimes, especially when he is tired or does not get to stand with parental support. I am attempting (although not always successfully) to just be here in the now with him, to take his good days and his bad with as even a demeanor as possible, breathing through it all with the awareness that this too will pass. And before I know it I will have a toddler, a tween, a teenager. An exercise in savoring the multitude of moments that are Sam, whether he is smiling or frowning.

I have been meditating daily with Oprah and Deepak Chopra on their 21-day Meditation Challenge, invited by my mom to participate. I think that it is changing my life or at least making me think a little deeper than before. The quiet practice that occurs during Sam's morning nap is a delectable treat, Deepak's soothing voice like honey in my ears. There are so many important points to take in that I wish that the challenge could just repeat and repeat and repeat in hopes that the lessons would become engrained in my memory. If only practice and meditating worked like that. It actually takes a great deal of work to think about how others spirits are mirrors of your own, that energy is real and can be influenced by your mood and behavior, even that gratitude needs to be extended to everyone that you meet. I have realized how quick I am to swear in the car as someone cuts me off or how easily I judge someone by their mannerisms, whether I realize I am doing it or not. But I am recognizing these patterns and, with Sam as my catalyst, am working to change these behaviors that do not serve me or this planet.

There is so much more to write, but I promised myself tonight that I would get to the blog and just get something out. Tomorrow can be another topic that has been on my mind. Take is one post at a time...and stay off the roller coaster:)

Carving a Piece for Me

I got to a yoga class and out for a delicious run with Olive this weekend, making the space to be alone and to do activities that fuel my body and mind. It is such valuable and important time for Jamie and Sam too. I love coming home and finding them both laughing at one another or strolling around the house, the little prince kicking and squirming in Dad's arms. My time away from the house and from Sam feels so precious, and I struggle with the lack of independence that I once felt while at the same time relishing the moments that I get to spend in Sam's company. It is such a back and forth, a tug-of-war, this juxtaposition between me time and momhood. How they are both needed in order to strengthen the other. How there isn't one right way to be a mother, despite what society or the media tells you. There is only the right way for you. But figuring that out can be sort of tricky. How do I want to mother? How do I find some semblance of balance between breathing space and alone time and being a mom? How do you stop the little voices in your head that compare you to other mothers, worrying whether you have the right stuff or are doing the correct methods at the appropriate time, etc, etc, etc. The awful little voices that leave you with a turned stomach and a bad taste in your mouth. This is a constant wave that I am riding.

I am embarking on a project that will begin in the fall (more details to come as I get braver and more vocal about it) and already just the planning of it, the writing of a grant to see if I can acquire funding, feels heavenly. A surge of energy coursing through me, an inkling of a former self that feels creative, efficient, organized and brave. All clues that this is something I am supposed to do. And I think that having Sam in my life is making me take the leap and put myself out there. I really do. His smiling little face is so full of courage and complete vulnerability and his little being makes me want to be the best mama that I can. And that includes taking risks and maybe even failing.