Through the Blur.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” 
― Debra Ginsberg

Most days I feel like I have nailed this motherhood thing. I have three strong willed, fiercely strong, mostly independent females I am raising. They all three make me proud of very different ways. They are incredibly kind, accepting and righteous when needed. They have good grades, good friends (and can spot when they need to not be friends with someone). They actually want to be around me most of the time. Sometimes, I have to make them leave me alone which I know I will likely regret when they are older, but I one of those people who needs alone time to have social time.

But if I am being honest some days I am not that good of a momma. I get crabby. I get yelly. I get selfish and I get frustrated because they don’t always think what I have to say is the best. The hardest line to walk with raising older kiddos is knowing when to keep your mouth shut and when to speak up and to make it more complicated it is different for each kiddo. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to come to the conclusion where each of those boundaries falls.

My oldest she is incredibly independent in most ways. But real life every day task…the bank…making appointments…asking a waiter to change something and she cowers in fear. But contacting a college she is interested in, dreaming about traveling abroad, reaching for the impossible, driving a car to unknown parts never even phase her.

My middle, a homebody determined to stay living at home for all of her adult life who would likely be fine if she only ever saw her puppies. She has no problem making phone calls, asking for anything or even standing up in front of the whole school for a spelling bee or to give a speech. She likes to be a contradiction to what you’d expect and that is just the way we love her.

And don’t even get me started on my youngest is literally only afraid of buzzing bugs and brushing her hair.

But their life has been fairly easy, but then it also has not. They have had moments and times often not lived out on social media that my heart breaks for them. Or worse they saw my own heart breaking and had to just sit there and watch. There are times I am ashamed of how I handled a moment. Maybe I had a curt word, or I got into my own strong willed, fiercely strong, and mostly independent mindset and butted heads with theirs.

In those moments, my biggest piece of advice is breathe and rejoice in the act of being human. There is also a lesson in that. They also need to see how to make mistakes, learn humility and being humble. Those are important parenting skills as well and I think at times I have perfected that over and over again. Thankfully, the love is unconditional and my girls appreciate my realness.

Through the blur – MR

 

 

 

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It is okay to not be enough.

I have been thinking of this sentiment a lot this summer. If you noticed I am quiet here and contemplative. I am honestly trying to remember my whys. It is not that I lost them. It is more of how can I write about them if they are shifting.

My whys have shifted drastically in the last few years. But I want to get back to this idea of not being enough. My question I would like to pose is why are we shooting for that? I don’t want to be enough. I want to be more or I want nothing at all.

IMG_8030The last few years I have seen some pretty important people walk out of my life and others walk in and honestly if I had to label each of those with where they actually belonged. It happened the way it was meant too.

Enough has a connotation of settling and I am not settling for anything and neither should you. When you look up “enough” in the dictionary words like ‘adequate’ and ‘sufficient’ are used. Those are not words that I will ever allow to describe my relationship with family or friends or the people I love.

Social media has a way of skewing that. If you don’t believe me took up fitness or teachers on instagram. In 3.2 seconds flat you will immediately feel like you are not enough. It is so incredibly easy to become lost in the shuffle of likes and perfect poses and before you know it your instagram looks like someone else’s, but it is inauthentic to who you actually are.

I want people and things in my life that see me as more than enough. Period. That includes social media. That includes in walking by me on the street. And that includes when I look at myself. If not it is probably just better that they keep on walking.

So put people around you who see you. I mean who truly see you. They see you at your worst or they see you at your best. They see your intensity, or laziness or your being dramatic or bratty and it is the same. Not just enough, but maybe even love you more because of those things.

Those are your people. And let’s just take a minute and talk about you. You are more than enough. You are imperfectly perfect. You mean the world to someone every single day. You are the reasons for someone’s smile. You are someone’s why. So when you look in the mirror remember that. Always remember that.

“Don’t make yourself small.
Not for anyone.
If someone tells you 
you’re too much…
too loud, too sensitive, 
too fierce, too caring, 
too intellectual, too optimistic, 
too realistic, too logical, too emotional…
just smile and move on, my friend.
Clearly, they aren’t enough for you.” 
― L.R. Knost

Love and Enough – MR

 

College Visits & Growing Up Kids.

“We need to be raising our children for LIFE. Life is not a small system within 4 walls. Life is vast and wild. And once our children are out of school, that’s where life really begins. Too many people are raising their children to conform to systems. And when they start life they will continue to simply conform to whatever system they find themselves inside of. And those are exactly the kinds of people who will never change the world. The only types of people who change this world, are the ones who think on their own, design their own lives, and create their own systems. Everybody else is just there for the train ride. Very few people are designing their own train tracks. Raise railway designers, stop raising commuters.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Thousands times this…yes! Raising children for me is unique. My brain honestly knows no limits. I seriously mean that. I won’t ever lie and say that my growing up was perfect. But I had a few simple keys to “success” (in quotes because we all define it differently). I had two parents who honestly did the best they could with what they had. I had a huge support network that extended far beyond my own parents which subsequently moved me beyond my own world.

But the one true thing my growing up taught me was that when the world tells you, “No.” You flip the world off and do it anyway, and no my parents didn’t tell me that. They lived it. They had their own battles and hardships, but they kept going. I am just guessing as a bystander at this point, but I bet there were even times when they didn’t want to and they did anyway.

My guy’s up bringing, albeit very different than my own, also very strong and supportive. So to say we are raising some fierce females up in here is an understatement. Sometimes I wonder why I have pushed to raise such strong fierce females when that fierceness is directed at me. But then I remember the world. It can be cruel and tough and they need a whole lotta fierceness to be themselves and then I take a deep breath.

My oldest is going to be 17 in a few weeks. First, I don’t know how we got here considering I still feel 17 myself. Second, that means college visits. I should also note she is in an early college. I consider myself a college “expert” (again define that how you will). I have been in college for too long (since my almost 17 year old was 18 months with one year off in all that time). I have mad respect for college because it gave me much more privilege and education than I could ever dream of. I teach college courses. I work at an early college. And all of that I know one thing…COLLEGE is expensive.

I have taught my girls one key fact about college. You go to college where ever you want, but….IT IS ABOUT MONEY. Do not ever let a college fool you. They want you, yes, but they want your money first. So be sure in your decisions about college that money is a part of it. THE END.

That sentiment has set up high expectations for themselves and it has made them grounded in the fact that money must be a part of the decision and they also know that my guy and I will do whatever we can to make it work for them to the extent that we can.

My # 1 baby girl has definitely set her sights on some colleges and I have tried to instill on her (and her sisters) that a campus is more than the numbers and the programs. It is a feel you get on campus. It is the people on the campus. It is the area of the campus. So when we can travel to them we do. That has definitely been ramping up for her.

First and foremost, I raised her (and her sisters) being around my own college where I was taking classes or teaching on campus, so they have been more times than any of us can count to my alma mater IPFW (Indiana University Purdue University of Fort Wayne), now known as PFW.  Back then we made so little money that the campus truly was their playground. I still have the fondest memories of them playing on campus.

Second, I have forced them to consider state schools because of cost. We have gone to Rose Hulman and Butler. I hope to take her to St. Francis, Manchester and Trine University. She got a scholarship from St. Francis for art though it is not what she wants to study. We are also really lucky because all within an hour of us are some awesome schools and we go out even to 2 or 3 hours there are even more colleges. She has also visited some with school. We have also talked about schools much further away that she wants to visit and we are just trying to narrow them down for expense sake.

Then there is my # 2 Baby girl who is going to be a freshman in high school and in an early college as well. She has no idea of what she really wants to do or if college is even her, so I have tried hard to be sure to include her in these conversations about colleges and even go on some of the visits to ensure she is also seeing if these are options for her. Her struggle is she isn’t as sure of what she wants to do with herself as a job. My older  baby girl is pretty certain she wants to study chemistry.

However, I will also say and I have said to my own students and daughters that with early college programs and dual credit/AP credits I feel like there is so much pressure on our 14-17 year olds to have some idea of where they want to be as adults that it is confusing and sometimes even dangerous. They need to also be kids and explore their interests. If we are pushing them into a pathway they don’t want or are not ready for the results could be disastrous. So I try and instill in all of them (my children and my students) that they do not have to decide and even if they do they can still change their minds.

So I guess my parting words of wisdom as I leave this post here are raise them with no limits, while also teaching them to understand boundaries and supporting them in highs and lows of their journey.

Concluding with the Mommy part of the Rhetoric – MR

Crackle in those joints: A year later.

Warning: Imma talk about my hysterectomy so if you do not want to know about it…GO! Leave now.

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Alright I promised a year later update and I didn’t think I would but then I thought there are some important aspects of talking about getting an earlier in mid-life hysterectomy that I needed to talk about so I will.

My first thought and maybe question from others is about regret. The answer is no way no how. Most of my symptoms of post tubal ligation syndrome have been eradicated. They are gone. I have one cystic ovary that will occasionally cause me some trouble and only avenues is total hysterectomy and I am not about that right now because the hormonal imbalances that immediately followed my surgery were tough.

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July 2017

For those that don’t know there are two types of hysterectomies. One puts you into menopause. One does not because you keep one or both ovaries. I still have my ovaries. It did take them a little longer to wake up and they definitely do not always function as they should but I am pretty evened out with the help of my oils. I use progessence plus to help keep them regulated. As well as, just being in tune to my body aka getting enough sleep, eating as healthy as I can and watching my weight.

I should also credit the keto diet for regulating my hormones as well. If you remember it was recommended by my doctor to help with surgery recovery and hormonal imbalance. Of course, I cannot prove that keto or the oil worked. But I also cannot prove that they did not.

I feel amazing for sure. My body is way more balanced than it was before as far as emotions, fluctuations in mood and energy levels. My acne that I struggled with and the massive amounts of pain caused by PTLS are gone. So yea no regrets.

There is a downside though. My joints aged quickly. Ortho doesn’t know if that is symptoms of surgery or just years of being overweight, highly active now and on my feet all the time. They literally crackle all the time. They did before, but now they really crackle.

I also found out I needed surgery due to floating piece of debris. I can do that whenever I want and I did not want to do it this summer like at all. If it gets terrible during the year then I will do it because recovery is not terrible. Otherwise, I just baby it (aka I don’t really get to run long distances anymore) and if it is bothering me I take it easy. I also will get steriod shots in it every six months. I was freaked out by the shot, but it really, really helped. Now I noticed my hips and shoulders are joining the crackle party. Grab tissue paper and wad it up. That sound is my joints.

My tolerance for BS is super duper low. Like I have none and I may be a tad grumpier than usual.

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June 2018

But it is all good. I always see the positive. The positive is that the pain from PTLS is gone. The positive is I am forced to pay attention to my body and give it what it needs. In my book that ain’t bad. And last and final positive is that I did not gain a ton of weight as is sometimes common with the surgery. In fact, I lost 40lbs since last year. Wahoo! Oh but I do have quite a few additional wrinkles. Oh well!

-MR

 

The Long Road and the Shadows

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“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious,and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
― Walt Disney Company

A few weeks ago I wrote about this ridiculous notion that a “healthy journey” has a beginning and ending. Add in if you are a part of the “fitness social media community” I feel like sometimes it is set up with beginnings and endings. A new program is a beginning and weight loss or inches loss hold with this a magical ending point if you let it.

IMG_3422But I would like to entice you (really myself) to think about it taking care of yourself as a privilege and something you should be doing all the time. I don’t take care of myself and show up because of all these false pretenses that I usually think I am. I do it because at one point my health was so bad that my teeth were rotting, my health was at risk and I felt terrible.

I remember a time when that shadow made me hate myself. I hated how fat it seemed. What I noticed over time is I never looked at it ever with much love, but instead complete disgust no matter the size. No matter how “thin” I got or where my shadow fell.

I looked my three daughters and my guy in the eye every day and I usually did it on an empty tank where I often felt mad at myself and resented them because I thought they took that time from me. But the truth is…I did not make time to take care of me and I used them as an excuse.

I also romanticized this ideal that I had to be super fit, super skinny, and fit in a size 0 to IMG_4268be a success. Truthfully, that is never gonna happen and not realistic and it isn’t even really what I want because it sets me up to never be happy because the end is impossible to reach as I said in the above post.

So instead I am trying to shift my perspective and thinking. There is no end goal. The end goal is being happy in my skin, taking time out for myself and treating myself with more love. They love me no matter how I look. They being all the people and things that really matter.

And that shadow looking back needs to believe just a little more that love wins. It will always win, but you have to let it. That includes loving yourself a little more and a little bit harder.

So that road…it doesn’t end. It is called self care and I am on it. – MR

 

Kasey Tuli and E Party of 5

You see around last September my heart strings started to be pulled. The pull got harder and harder. Many years ago my guy and I decided to be a 1 dog family. Our oldest had dog allergies and we were just too busy. But then back to September….and let’s talk about my heart strings again.

We have gotten our dogs from breeders. We looked and looked at breeders and it just never felt right. We have the amazing opportunity of having a rescue a mile from our house. We kinda talked that it could be an option and finally decided to fill out an application as the rescue was very selective of adoptive families. We never heard back, so I assumed we were not accepted. I kept seeing dogs moving through their rescue and my heart was sad. My girls and I watched those dogs needing rescued like hounds (lol).

But come January we saw a breed come through of sibling puppies that had been rescued and we just couldn’t let it pass by. So we got more anxious, and I contacted the rescue saying we were REALLY interested and she invited us to come meet the pups. We didn’t really think we would be coming home that day with a pup. Based on the conversation it was a meet and greet and we went in with our hearts not ready to attach.

Well we got attached. We came home that day with Tuli. She was 1 of 5 siblings (I think) who had been rescued. She was so skittish and not at all wanting to trust us. But she kinda had to to get the basics. She attached pretty quickly to myself and my oldest daughter. She loved us all, but when scared or wanting something we were her go to.

Here in is where we fell in love with our Australian Shepard chocolate Lab mix. She is a fancy breed of Aussiedors that most would pay lots of money for. Gorgeous Aussie eyes coupled with the irresistible chocolatey color. Her fur so soft she feels like a stuffed animal. She had to trust us even though she didn’t want to.

It took lots of time and persistence and just continually showing up for her. But now she is so woven into our family. I remember when we first got her she wouldn’t walk anywhere but between my guy or I’s legs. Partially because she was so afraid of the world and partially because she herds. Oh yes we have quickly learned herding dog language. They steer. She steers us all the time usually to her food.

When we got her she was super skinny and small. 4lbs at roughly 9 weeks. She had only not nursed from her momma 1 day. In the 6 months we have had her we have found out she has a super sensitive stomach and has to eat a pretty high quality diet. We think she has some allergies in general to outside and to certain foods.

But my goodness watching my girls fall in love with this rescue dog has melted my heart. It hasn’t been the easiest transition. My older pup (my best friend in the world) has struggled with the transition and I feel like we are just now getting to point where they will co-exist maybe even cuddle via a butt touch (lol). They even share food and water sometimes.

But creating trust and and realizing how needy and insecure a rescue pet is has been eye opening to me and I mean that in the most positive way because those qualities have a way of demanding you live in the moment and give them what they need. But what we get back is massive amounts of unconditional love and cuddles. But there were a few times we almost threw in the towel because it was just so time consuming and demanding and we would take two steps forward and 57 back. But the match is made in our hearts forever.

Imagine leaving a room to grab a drink and coming back and your dog fawning over your return like you were gone 10 years. Yes this happens multiple times a day. She always seems genuinely shocked we decide to return to her. Add in that you get actual hugs daily a ton of times. Yes she hugs.

She now weighs a healthy 27lbs. She loves, loves, loves her food. She cannot have dog treats (or at least we haven’t found any she can have that don’t upset her stomach). So instead of treats we make her ice cubes for good behavior and she thinks that is pretty darn amazing. She is what I have called a kitchen sitter. She loves to be in the kitchen cooking with us. Not begging…like genuinely just hanging out. The funny thing is the person running the rescue says she did the same thing there, so it must just be her personality. And finally she is a retriever so she loves water. We play in the hose and the sprinkler because she burns up a ton of her energy by doing so. Sometimes her energy seems boundless and exhausting to us…but we also love it.

The most amazing thing which I think is somewhat breed specific and somewhat rescue behavior she literally lives to please us. She just wants to make us happy and constantly looks to do that. We are so incredibly blessed and lucky to have found this sweet little nugget. It is not always perfect. But we love ‘bubbas’ as we call her.

So dear blog….I should have introduced you much sooner to my new baby girl. Meet Kasey Tuli. Kasey is now 8 months old and was rescued from Lennox’s Legacy Rescue, a volunteer rescue that runs on donations alone, so if you are a pet lover think of giving. They also advocate for all the local animals in the area to have safe homes. I am so grateful to them for connecting us with puppy girl. (Edited to fix my numerous typos…grr).

Sometimes I cry.

This one today….This one every day.

“Her goal to conquer the loneliness that comes with feeling like you are the only one to feel loneliness. If only just for a moment she hopes to make those around her know the world is a good and safe place and that with her in it the world does care even when it feels like it does not.”

I will always unapologetically be me. -MR

Mommy Rhetoric

I want to tell you the story of a woman. A woman who puts others well before she puts herself. She hasn’t quite mastered the art of selfishness. Though I am not even sure she wants to. Every morning when her eyes open she prepares her heart for the day. A heart that is kind and full of empathy.

She talks to more than 100 people a day. She always smiles and usually manages to add in a meaningful “How are you?” Not the kind where you don’t want an answer. The kind that comes with it eyes that shine a little brighter because she actually expects an answer. When she says, “I hope you have a good day” she is one of that actual rare souls who actually mean it.

But that heart, it beats mostly for her people, her selected few. She does what most mothers do. She…

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It is just life y’all.

IMG_0411I have a friend whose husband is in the thoroughs of the unbearable pain that is trigeminal neuralgia.  I have been sitting on the side trying to be as supportive as I can be. But hearing the amount of pain he is in just takes me back.

The images, the sounds, the feelings. They were all so awful and I was not even the one feeling them. One day a week or so ago, we were texting back and forth and I was quickly reminded why this is called the suicide disease. There can sometimes feel like there is no out and like no one believes the incredible amount of pain your spouse is in. It is awful.  An emotional gut punch again that had me pulling over to the side of the road. A lump in my throat and tears.

TN is the bane of my existence and just because I don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it is not there. It has moved into my home in a different way now. My guys TN is now what you could call livable. He functions in his daily life. He works full time (plus actually), he goes about life as best he can. He exercises moderately…not at all like he used to. He just cannot. He celebrates birthdays, he laughs and plays games. But he isn’t the same.

The TN pain is not gone. He lives daily with pain and takes medicine to live as normal as a life as possible. What plagues all of us now are the side effects of his daily meds IMG_6025to make his life manageable. He hasn’t been med-free except for a very short time soon after the MVD. He moves around dosages according to his pain tolerance. He adds in meds for when it is really bad (December – February). But the meds he takes….they are awful.

Look up anti-seizure meds, side effects and long term effects. You will get a distinct picture of the life we live now. It is hard to say, but he isn’t the same. We are not the same. It is not always easy or even pretty all the time. But I love this man. He did not ask for any of this. But none of that makes life easier for my girls, my guy or me.

And sometimes he gets bitter, or I get bitter or my girls get angry and thankfully we are good at reminding each other of the whys in those times. Our normal is a new normal and an okay normal because it is still so much better than where we have been or where we could be at the drop of a literal hat.

My friend. Her husband had an MVD a year after my guy. He was perfectly normal and fine. Then one day he wasn’t. That is just how quickly it can change. Remission is NOT guaranteed or promised. TN SUCKS.

We search frantically still for answers, pills, supplements, oils and look for laws to change, the right organizations to notice. He used to see his neuro in Indy once a year and we are now into twice a year. He winces his pain in his face and it makes us all nauseated or sometimes we just have to ignore it all together because it hurts him we notice his pain.

But more we live in fear of that hat dropping. That takes it toll on him more than me. The anxiety of not knowing if or when it reaches that state again. Or fear of the time his pain shifts from a daily 3-5 to a daily unbearable. To scared to hope for a time when you don’t have to rank his pain.

But I live for and with love. I cannot live in the what if. I am so miserable there and when I am miserable I make everyone around me miserable. But it is easy for me because I don’t live with the chronic pain. So I try and remain positive and try hard to not dwell on the side effects of the meds as best I can. I try and love my guy the best I can.

SAMMY KERSHAW – LOVE OF MY LIFE

As we stand together
I promise forever
‘Til the day that I die
You are the love of my life

You are the love of my life
You are the reason I’m alive

He is the love of my life… – MR

Pursuing my why.

IMG_4309Boy do I ever get tired of the games I play with myself in my head. This idea that every thing I do has a starting and ending point. Only to be shocked, sad, disappointed, frustrated, angry and mad when I have the obvious realization that no there are often not endings or beginnings in a lot of things.

Health and wellness I am putting you on blast once again because I should know better. You would think after years of pursuing it (you) that I would recognize there is no finish line. This is a battle, a journey, a process and each of those words indicate there is an ending. One I will likely never find. But here in lies the issue.

I keep pursuing it like it is there. I think sometimes it a number. I think sometimes it is a feeling. I think it is the end of a program. I think it is a certain dress. Or a certain size. Or when I don’t crave donuts or tacos.

All of which if I am honest have yet to happen. Then I get I start the whole process over. When the real issue is finding happiness within myself and whatever all those things are. It isn’t about any of that. It is about being clear in my why.

But if I am honest lately it is less about why and more a have to. A routine that supports my health and well being and I hate when I get caught up in the hoopla. The keto diet, the 21 day fix, the program that is the hottest and trendiest. But ultimately guess what happens in the pursuit of that.

I lose my why. I am doing it cause I saw it on instagram. I am doing it for my coach or herIMG_9425 coach or her coach. Or worst feeling yet doing it because I want to look that good. Yea I am embarrassed to admit that. But sometimes that is my why. To be better than someone else and that is not a good reason why.

The reality is I will always see the 215 lb me in the mirror. Her chubby legs, her double chin, her smile and her love of donuts. I will always be that girl cause she is me and sometimes I think I get so caught up in running from her as if it were a chase that I forget why this all started.

It started for me:

  • my health
  • my mental well being
  • how I felt in my skin
  • living a longer life
  • Being a better wife, mother and all other labels I call mine
  • self love

Instead of pursuing a why, instead of chasing something it is likely I will never reach why not just be who I am in this moment. Maybe it is runner, maybe is a Shaun T groupie (always have been always will be), maybe it is sit on the couch and gorge myself on Dunkin Donuts. More than anything just being okay with who I am in this moment.

Love Yourself – MR

 

Not Having Something to Say.

IMG_0501Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John Kennedy, former President, USA

Blogging has been the last thing on my mind these days. Actually, that is not true. Blogging has been on my mind more than it ever has. But having something to actually say that feels worthy of the ‘publish’ button may be the problem.

I have read a lot of books. I have done a lot of graduate school work. I have been scheming and dreaming of what a principalship would look like for me. Afraid to dream to big, but also afraid to not dream big enough.

Principal E has a nice ring to it, does it not? Assistant. Curriculum. Athletic Director. Possibilities. Or I stay Mrs. E in my classroom and teach what I love with students whom I love. Ever wanna pinch yourself and ask how this is your life? You get to do what you love every day. I do.

But this summer it is essential that recuperate, renew and refresh. I needed to find me again. Somewhere I lost my footing a bit. My confidence was shook a bit. I have been trying to contemplate why that happened or how and I am not sure I can pinpoint it. ButIMG_5710 it did.

I easily slipped back into old habits and poor self talk. You are fat. You are ugly and why would anyone want you as a (insert whatever it is). I know better and I know it is phase. I am trying to be patient with myself. I also know graduate school does this to you as well. You feel like an imposter or like you don’t deserve the seat you occupy.

But I am grateful that the program I picked is faith based. I am not Wesleyan. However, I know this calling I am answering to is a gift from God. It is important to me that my path be lead this way and I am purposeful in my walk.

So how is that for a rambly, doesn’t make much sense post? The good news is maybe the bad is out, so I can begin to work on the good.

Kindly, – MR