Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sharing A Smile

I love life sometimes.

The kind of love that fills your whole body with tingles. When you can't stop smiling and you don't even know why.

The last few days I've been filled with a kind of joy that is surprising. I think entering the Christmas season definitely has something to do with it but it's not all.

It also has to do with taking chances.  Taking chances on people. Opening yourself and your heart to strangers and seeing them surprise you by returning your kindness.  Seeing the good in people and the power of kindness.

I'm glad that I'm still able to do that. Even with my cynicism and sometimes jaded attitude about the world, once in a while I let my guard down and am surprised by the goodness of people and the world.

I send you a big smile and hug!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Indescribable Love

Sometimes I can't believe how much I love my kids.

It's not like any kind of love that I have known before. Nothing compares to it, not the love for my parents, siblings or husband.

And that's not an easy thing to say because I love these other people in my life dearly. But it's true.

It's a kind of love that is truly frighting because it consumes me entirely. Sometimes when they're in my arms or I look at them I wonder how this kind of feeling is possible. It's indescribable.

With this kind of attachment, however, comes a heavy burden. The burden of a parent. The worry, the suffering for their suffering, the paralyzing fear of the what-ifs, the heart wrenching ache in the core of your being when the bad times comes for them.

But there is also the joy that you feel at the smallest moments, their smile, their happiness, their success, their feeling of safety when they're in your arms.

Sometimes I think my heart can't take it, like it will erupt from the pressure of what I feel for them. But I'm also so grateful for that feeling.

It makes me feel more alive than I do at any other moment in my life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When I'm Most Happy

I've been thinking a lot about happiness the last few weeks. About what truly makes me happy. The kind of happiness that brings peace. That makes you feel calm inside. Content. Centered. Solid.

So what can bring me this kind of happiness? The question has baffled me over the years. Many times I thought I'd found it. That one thing that makes me happy and fills me up. Finding a man that loves me and I love. Yes that did and still does make me happy. Being successful. Making money. Being creatively challenged. Getting to a place where I'm happy with my body. Yes, all these make me happy (when I can achieve them from time to time) and are all wonderful in their own way.

But I still have those nagging doubts that pop up once in a while and keep me from feeling at peace with myself. Maybe that is just life. The good and the bad. The ying and the yang. Maybe I'm destined to never truly feel the kind of calm that I only see in beautiful old paintings.

Or that's what I thought until recently. I've realized that the time that I feel the most calm, self assured, fulfilled, centered is when I am being the kind of mother that I'm proud of. When I love my children, take care of them, be with them, grow with them, and sacrifice for them the way that I am proud of.

That is the time that I am most happy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Listen To Your Body!

Putting my kids to bed is always filled with some kind of drama.  Whether it's the brushing the teeth, the reading of the thousand books, the lights, or the repeated I need waters.   It's always something.

But last night, we got a little surprise drama that we didn't expect.

We had just put our four year old son in bed and were about to breath a sigh of relief when we heard that dreaded door open and those little footsteps coming towards our room.

"I can't sleep!"

"Go back to bed."  Take son to bed, put him in, kiss him goodnight.

Five minutes later.  Door, footsteps, "I can't sleep!"  Take him to bed,  kiss him goodnight.

Another five minutes, same thing. "I can't sleep!"

"This is the last time I'm telling you, go back to sleep!"  

"But I can't sleep!"

Then I thought I would try something new.

"You know what, you say you can't sleep but if you listen to your body carefully you'll hear that your body is telling you that it's tired.  Like right now, you see how you keep yawning?  That's your body telling you that you want to sleep!  You need to listen to your body.  Now, go back to bed."

He looked at me for a few minutes and thought about what I said.  Then he turned around and went back to his room.  

I'm so clever I thought to myself.  I reasoned him back to bed!  Yeah for me.

But five minutes later, we heard the familiar sounds again- door, footsteps, and then:

"Mommy, my body is telling me that I need to sleep in your bed for a little bit!"

"What?  I told you not to come out here again?"

"But you told me to listen to my body and my body is telling me that I need to sleep in your bed for a little bit!"


Then my son starts crying and saying the following repeatedly, 

"but...my...body...is...telliinnng...me...(sniff sniff) that...I.need to sleep in your bed for a little (loud crying with lots of tears for the finally!) BIT!!!"

I start laughing hysterically.  I can't stop.  I'm shaking I'm laughing so hard.  I lift him up and carry him back to his bed all the while still laughing (as he's crying and telling me about his body's need to sleep in our bed).

I kiss him goodnight.

That's the last we hear from him until morning.  

I guess his body didn't need to sleep in our bed after all!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Facebook Status Intimidation

I've recently had a really hard time coming up with witty status updates on Facebook.

I don't know why but I've developed a phobia of the status function.  I used to post stuff all the time....Anastasia is:

...going to the park with her boys.
...wonders when this rain is going to end.
...loves watching the boys on their bicycles. 
...is so excited to go on her girls night out!

and I thought these were great.  But then slowly over time I started to notice how funny and witty other people's status' were.

Those few sentences delighted, entertained or informed everyone.  They were great observations or funny commentaries on life.  Mine, not so much.  I suddenly realized how totally ordinary my status updates were.  I started posting less and less of them.  I just couldn't think of anything that could compare.  I stood on the sidelines and watched the few active status updaters gets more prolific.  One was better than the next until suddenly it was like a status update play off ever time I got on.

How could I compete with that?  

I get on and think, come on, you can do it!  Be funny, be witty, be edgy!

Anastasia is...

-out of things to say.
-doesn't give a rat's bum what anyone else is.
-wishes she could say something that was even mildly amusing.
-wonders how she could possibly join tweeter when the Facebook status is already way too intimidating.

Nahhhhh!  I don't think I'll try any of these.

Maybe I'm not intimidated.  Maybe I'm just over the whole Facebook thing.  It could happen, right?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dinner Time Laughs

"I said it's dinner time." I tell him for the millionth time.

No movement from the four-year-old on the couch.

"Come to the table now!"


"OK, I'm going to count to three - one, two..."

He comes running to his chair. Thank goodness the one-two-three thing still works. The punishment if I get to three is sitting on the stairs for four minutes. Not that painful but he still hates it and will generally comply with my demands if he things I'm serious about the "stairs."

So he's finally at the table for dinner. But he's not happy about it.

"I'm not hungry!" He declares.

"That's fine, you don't have to eat but you will have to stay at the table while mommy, daddy and B (baby brother) are finished eating!" I say authoritatively.

He starts to eat.

I'm smiling inside. I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my guns and making sure he follows the dinner rules. Then suddenly he says to himself.

"Grown ups are so boring!"

Now I'm laughing OUT LOUD.

If he thinks we're boring at four years old, what is he going to think of us when he's a teenager?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Do It Does Have A Nice Ring To It!

I never really got Nike's whole "Just Do It" slogan.

Just go running? Just exercise? Uhhhh, I don't think so. I was never into just doing any of those things and I'm still not.

So every time I saw a Nike ad or commercial with that logan, I tuned it out thinking that it was meant for other people.

But recently, I find myself saying those words over and over again. Just do it!
Just write.
Just create.
Just try something new.
Just keep at it. Don't give up. Don't be scared of failure and ridicule.
Just close your eyes and DO IT!

It seems like in life more than half the battle of doing anything is the just-doing-it part. But that's also the hardest part.

Especially as we get older, it's harder and harder to "just do it." We get set in our ways, we don't have time, we don't the will, we don't feel like it's appropriate to take such risks, we feel old, we are afraid of looking stupid, we start to lose faith in ourself and a hundred other things that keep us from just doing the things that we only dream about.

But then some of us oldies (you know who you are!!!) get a little fire in our belly and we say to hell with it, we're just going to try it. We very well might fail but who gives a damn.
At least we tried!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seeking Pockets of Silence

I've never been good at silence.

I always try to avoid it somehow, if not with the necessary parts of family life then with music or TV.  

I don't know what it says about me that I can't just be.  I can't just sit in silence and breath without desperately wanting to fill that space with something...anything!

I was recently in a situation, however, where I couldn't fill that space with anything.  No internet, no person to talk to, nothing to read, no phone, no music, no TV, nothing.  So there I was, just with my thoughts.  And even though I didn't want to be there, I found it surprisingly freeing.  

Being forced to listen to nothing but your own breathing.  To look at nothing but the trees outside.  To feel nothing but your own cloths against your skin.  

And with passing moment you feel more calm.  With each breath, you release some part of yourself that needed to do something.  

Then you start to listen to yourself.  Your center.  And you realize that it is in moments like these that you can really hear yourself.  Your pain, your joy, your regrets, your hopes, your own truth.

So even though it is not January, I would like to make a resolution for the rest of the year.  I would like to find pockets of silence in my life and instead of fearing those pockets, I would like to embrace them.  

Revel in them.  

And maybe, just maybe, even enjoy them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Word To The Wise

There is a beautiful place in the blogesphere filled with women that started a blog for the sole purpose of speaking to their children.  To children that are years away from being able to read let alone understand the words that their mom is expressing on a regular basis on the world wide web.  Some of these women started their blogs while pregnant so that they could share with their unborn child how their child’s life began in their mother’s womb.  Many of these blogs are only read by a few family members and friends but they are some of the loveliest words you will ever read.  They are heartwarming, honest, sad, strong and beautiful.  

These children will have recorded thoughts and memories from their mother waiting for them when they are ready to read them.  

The different between these blogs and traditional journals is that they are shared and living accounts.  Family and friends can be part of the mother’s journey.  They can comment on daily ups and downs and contribute to the story that will be left for the child when they are old enough to read and understand what was left for them. 

These children will have something that many of us wish we had, our mother’s voice from long ago.  How did she feel?  What did she go through?  What decisions did she make that she’s happy with now or regrets?  The she from long ago is not able to answer most of these questions now.  Time erases many of the details of our memories.  That’s why these journal blogs are so valuable for the ones you leave behind. 

No one thinks that they will be leaving this earth before they’ve had the time to pass along to their children all the life lessons they want to pass along to them but life happens and sometimes that includes death.  The women that take the time to do these blogs leave something invaluable for their family, especially their children; their story.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Book Signing? Me? No, It Couldn't Be.

I've been wanting to share this fun news with you for a while but because I write under a pseudonym to keep this blog more or less anonymous, I wasn't sure how to do it.

Then I decided that even though I couldn't give all the details, I could still share some of this lovely thing in my life with you. Especially because your support of my writing has meant so much to me and is one of the reasons that I've kept at it.

OK, here it is! Two of my posts are being published in a book which is coming out in a few weeks. And this is how it happened.

Around the time I decided to quit my regular job to pursue my working from home life, a good friend told me about an editor that was looking for stories about mothers. This editor was putting together a compilation book for a popular publisher.

I didn't really know where to start since my writing experience consisted mostly of creating business and legal documents. But I had gotten some practice writing personal stories on this blog so I thought I'd give it a try.

I wrote two stories. One about my mother and I and the other about my son and I (both stories are in the favorite posts section of my blog). I sent the stories to the editor not expecting to ever hear from her.

But low and behold, a few months later she contacted me and said she liked both stories. You have no idea how excited and surprised I was. Wow, she read them and actually liked them. Woohoo! She said that she would contact me later about the possibility of the stories going into the book.

I waited patiently...actually not patiently at all. I wanted to e-mail her every single day a hundred times asking what the hell was going on!! But by some force beyond my own understanding I held back.

Then finally a few weeks later another e-mail. She said was down the road in terms of picking the stories she liked and even though she thought my essays where a good fit, she wanted them to be combined into one story. What? It had taken all my creative juices to write two genuine stories about two separate incidents and now I had to magically make them one story? Hmmm. I didn't think I could do it. I was scared of changing what I thought were the best stories I could write into one mediocre jumbled story that would be disappointing to her. But with the encouragement of my husband, I kept the stories intact and connected them with a few transition sentences. I sent her the combined essay and held my breath.

Months went by and I didn't hear anything from her. Hello! Didn't she know that I was on pins and needles waiting for her reaction? Maybe she thought the combined story was just not good enough.

I had almost given up hope when one day I got an e-mail saying that she had recommended that my essay be included in the book but that the publisher had the last word. For peek's sake!! How long do I have to wait to know if my stories will be published?

Another few months later, the publisher e-mailed me to say congratulations and to ask that I fill out a waiver and an agreement! Yeah!!!! Finally.

It only took seven months from writing the stories to getting them in print. The book comes out at the end of this month.

The whole thing is kind of crazy but so fun. One of my friends is even having a book signing party for me...can you believe that? I laughed at the whole idea but I'm super grateful and excited to share my story and so thankful to her (and you!!!!) for supporting me all these months.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Distance Between Me and That Woman

I'm putting away the dishes. The kids are downstairs in the basement with my husband. I can hear them laughing and running around.

As I clear the table I suddenly feel this odd distance between what I know is my life and what I feel inside. I don't recognize this life. Just minutes ago, I was single. I was an attorney for a big corporation. I was alone most of the time. I was free. I took care of only one person (and I didn't even do that very well). I spent most nights watching sitcoms and going to bed with a good book. I spent my days working and trying to figure out the world around me. The journey of discovery was lonely but also invigorating.

I look around and see my life now. Mother of two boys. Wife to a good man. Responsible for the well being of a family. But I still feel like that single woman sometimes. That woman that was alone most of the time with her own thoughts. And I wonder who is this woman standing in the kitchen? It's not me.

Once the dishes are away, I start turning off the lights. That's when my husband comes up to ask if it's time to take the kids to bed. I say yes and we discuss some mundane kitchen repair issue. Then I tell him that I'm going upstairs and ask if he could please turn off the rest of the lights and then bring up the kids.

I walk into my bedroom and savor the few minutes of silence before the boys charge up the stairs. This is my life now. A few stolen moments of silence here and there.

I sit on my bed and think about that feeling of strangeness that overcame me downstairs. Do I miss the woman in my past?

"Mommy, mommy, where are you?"

"I'm here sweetie, in mommy's room."

Everything else disappears as they run into the room. The other woman is gone. This mother and wife is here waiting for her boys to crowd around her in bed so that she can read them their bedtime stories.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beyond Lovely

Beyond Lovely

You surprise me with your attention
With your thoughtful words and kind gestures
You surprise me with your smile
With your peaceful face and sweet temperament

You surprise me with your strength
With your steady hand and your strong will
But the thing that is the most surprising about you
Is that you chose me 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Singing A Lullaby Never Felt So Good

When I had my first child almost four years ago, I didn't realize that singing would be part of my mommy duties.

It wasn't a duty that I took to very naturally. To be honest, I'm not a very good singer. Everyone said that it wasn't about how well you sing but just that you connect with your child. So I gave it a try even though it felt really awkward.

I remember the first time I sung to him. He was only a few months old and when I started singing You Are My Sunshine his eyes lit up and he stared at me with such concentration. Wow, this singing stuff really works, I thought. I was completely shocked. Now I had to come up with a few more songs to add to my repertoire.

You would think it would be easy to sing songs to your child but I found it quite challenging. I couldn't find songs that I knew the words to that a child would like. I had to actually look up songs on the Internet. How lame is that? I finally settled on a few classics (Hush Little Baby, the Wheels on the Bus, etc.) and sung those over and over (mostly making up my own words for the second and third verses). After a few months of singing, I transitioned singing into reading books and my son loved the books and never went back to wanting songs.

I was relieved. I could put an end to my singing career!

For some reason, I ended up not singing anymore, even with my second son. I guess we read so many books that the reading replaced singing for all such occasions.

So when my youngest son, who is a little over two, started wanting songs a few weeks ago, I was a little surprised. Ever since he was a baby, we had just put him in his crib and said goodnight and that was enough. But now every night when I say "OK, sweetie, it's bed time" and start carrying him to his room, he says "it's song time mommy?" And I reply "Yes, sweetie, it's song time."

Even though my singing voice is not great, I've loved singing again to my little one. There is no feeling in the world like sitting in a rocking chair singing sweet lullabies to your baby as he's draped across you with his head on your shoulder and his arms around your neck.

I'm so glad that he helped me resurrect my singing career!