Week 22 – Birthday Blessings

There was something else in our last conversation that lingered with me. She emphasized that she was coming the day before my birthday like that was intentional. She’s never really done much for my birthday since I was 16, especially not since I’ve been older. As I let this thought resonate a bit more, I realized that I had not planned anything for my birthday. Not that I normally would, but the kids like to celebrate it. I was planning on making cupcakes with them and calling it good. The last six of my birthdays have been a blur with the craziness of having kids and all the other Birthday’s to make special. My husband has done a good job at getting me some awesome gifts along the way too, but all in all the day has been more of a check off the to do list than an actual celebration.

When my mom got back, she asked what I was doing for my birthday. When I told her my simple plans, she sounded disappointed. She emphasized that my birthday wasn’t about just me. Ha! No kidding. That’s my mom the “Rooster” in the Chinese Zodiac. She always liked a grand celebration. I don’t know if she heard the defeat in my voice or what, but yeah. I was tired, bloody and bruised from my month long Murphy experience and I just wanted to go outside and soak up the sun. Seriously, it’s never been this warm and sunny in February in Michigan and I was due for a major recharge. I didn’t feel like doing anything but center.

She asked me what kind of cake I liked. I told her not to make a fuss and reminded her that I didn’t eat much cake and that I was going to make cupcakes with the kids, even though I really didn’t feel like making cupcakes at all. She again sounded disappointed. Here she was, trying to make an effort and I was stuck in don’t bother for me mode. Why wouldn’t I let her help or be involved?

She was right. Our birthdays were not always about us; and this time it was about her. It was about her making an effort and showing that she cared. It was about her getting the kids involved in making my birthday a celebration that ended up being so much more for me. It was about her giving the kids an experience and setting the example of how to celebrate the ones we love.

She took the kids the morning of my birthday. I still hadn’t made those cupcakes, but eh whatever, by this time, I could sense her determination and decided to let her do her thing. I enjoyed the day to myself, but also admit that I missed the kids 20 minutes after they were gone. I did everything I had wanted to get done in the shed and even got out and set up a hammock where I laid in the sun for a while. My husband, who was abnormally bummed he couldn’t come to my mom’s house, had left to go get Zack, who was at his Mother’s. It was now time for me to go pick up the kids and see what they and my mom had come up with.

When I got there, I knew something was up with the amount of cars in the driveway. I was greeted at the door with smiles and excitement from my sister and my kids. I rounded the corner and walked into the kitchen to find my Grand Parents, Aunt, Dad and Step-Mom all there to celebrate my birthday. Lily picked out a big cake with purple and pink frosting flowers at the store and matching plates, while Jackson chose what the cake would say. “Happy Birthday Kajean” “Because that’s Mommy’s real name,” chimed in Lily.

Gratitude filled my heart as I was beyond touched at the display of love and kindness in the room; especially from my mom. She really did make my day special by giving me that little party. It restored so much with in me and it made my heart sing to see how excited the kids were to participate in it all. They do love a good party. It was like a dream or an old childhood memory relived in present time, and everything I would have hoped my adult life to be as a child. I felt important, accepted and loved by everyone and realize that that love has always been there. All this time it was I that was stuck in a rut. Thanks mom for helping me to remember the importance to celebrate life and that we are always teaching as well as learning. 16683866_10208278838550312_6481152868043942604_n

I have so much to write about and be thankful for as my life bursts into abundance from all directions. I’m so very thankful for the tools I have learned through out this course. Now I have planted my seed and watching it grow. I’ve always had a green thumb… 😉

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Week 21 – The Saga Continues…

For the record, I really don’t like Valentine’s Day. It’s just never been a great day for me. It reminds me of disappointments, loneliness and overall some really bad memories. My not so favorite Valentine’s Day ended up in me breaking my leg in two places, requiring three surgeries and would inevitably lay me up for over six months while I was attending college and about to get my Associate’s Degree. It wasn’t THAT bad, after all, I did make it out of the hospital in time to spend my 21st birthday on the couch passed out while my friends played the Star Wars Monopoly game they bought me. Believe it or not, this was not the worst Valentine’s Day I have had either; just saying.

I’ve learned not to set any special expectation for the day and to treat it like any other. I don’t really buy into the commercialism of it anyway. Now that I am a Mom, however, I am finding it hard to escape this. My kids are in grade school and Valentine’s Day has become 2nd to Halloween in treats and treasures. The last few years, I’ve been that mom that skims by, that didn’t get really into it. This year, I thought I would embrace it a bit more and use it as an opportunity to give gratitude to the kids and their teachers. So, we went to the Dollar Store and picked out some Sixlets, suckers and small toys to put in little gift bags for their friends. I then brought in supplies and helped the class decorate their mailboxes.

The next day we smelled and picked out flowers at the grocery store for their teachers and arranged them each in their own red or pink vase. We were ready for the big festivities the following day. Everything was going so smoothly… Wait, where’s Murphy? I haven’t seen her since last week. Shit. I mean, what am I pretending not to know? Despite my well-fought victory at The Great Wolf Lodge, I knew the war with myself was not over yet. That was just one head of many on a beast that only legends speak of.

Ok, now for the big V-day. I’ve got the kids’ treat bags ready to go. Let me just point out here that I am never doing that one again! Ever try to get a 4yr old to write their name 20 times. Next year I am scanning in their name and printing it out on stickers. I’ve got all heart clothing washed, special treats for breakfast. I go to wake Zack up…. and he’s still not feeling better. Not only that,  he is now complaining of popping in his ears. Really? Today? Come on Murphy, I am tired, bloodied and bruised from our last encounter. Do we have to do this all over again? Do you know how much I have going on today? I have 2 parties to go to then have to go visit my grand parents and now I have to try to get Zack into the doctor, which is an hour travel time round trip. I am only one person.

All right Murphy; I got this. You’ve got more to show me huh? Here we go again.

Game on. I called the doctor’s office as soon as they opened and got Zack an appointment before both of the school parties, though I would be cutting it close. We went to the appointment and confirmed my suspicions of an ear infection, then were on our way. I decided to take the back way home in hopes of less traffic, but found myself stuck behind several cars going a less than desired speed. I felt myself getting anxious as the tasked grew in my head and I felt the clock counting down to Jackson’s school time. Did I remember everything? I asked myself as the last slow car in the line finally turned. I kept checking off all the items in my head until a good song came on the radio and I turned it up a bit. Finally, this is nice. My head cleared and my spirit started to soar as did my speed. I let my angst out in the form of a poorly sung 80’s rock balled (I can normally sing pretty well, but my throat hurts now a little too). If felt so good to be in the moment and let go of all that was holding me back… I lingered in this moment of purity until I realized that I was going too fast. “Whoa Kajean back to earth,” I tell myself as I let off the gas and start to slow down. I come over a small hill to see a cop sitting in an empty drive. I think to myself, “Crap! Please don’t pull me over. Please don’t pull me over. It’s Valentine’s Day; that’s a good reason not to pull me… Ok, we’re getting pulled over”. “F bomb! Sorry kids. Don’t say that word.”

I quickly realize my charm would get me nowhere as the officer walked up to my car with his radar gun in hand, which seemed to be shining my clocked speed like a big scarlet letter A for the world to see. His whole stance and demeanor said that he meant business; he was Murphy in the flesh. He asked for my license, barely giving me a chance to explain myself after mentioning my speed as the primary factor in why he pulled me over. So many emotions were boiling up as Murphy, or now more like Agent Smith, stood just outside my window telling me that he was still giving me a ticket, but that he was really giving me a break and only writing me up for 5 mph over.

As he spoke, I flashed back to every other time I have heard those words. Apparently I have been pulled over enough in my lifetime to notice a pattern in their speech according to how far over the speed limit you are and what kind of mood they are in. I knew I was out of luck; all I could do was accept this ticket as a thank you for not making it worse. He sent me on my way and we rode home in complete silence as I fought back emotions beyond expression. I was about to break. I seriously felt like I was just dealt a bad hand and that cop was in bad form for picking on a stressed out mom in a mini van. Aren’t we supposed to have a free pass? It’s Valentine’s Day! I deserve a medal, not an infraction. “He was just a jerk,” I would tell myself as I had to make a very conscious effort not to speed again. I felt like I was reaching for the finish line and in my mind this cop was symbolic of the institution that keeps holding me back, of my old blue print that keeps trying to foil my greatness. Why are they trying to stop me from flying? The real question is why am I stopping myself? It’s all of that cement, that old blue print rearing it’s old ways in my face saying, see what happens when you stray from comfort?

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Taking a step back to be the observer, I feel like there are so many lessons here, besides the obvious, slow down. This simple and obvious conclusion comes in more than one form.  Yes, slow down your speed and live in the moment. Duality. Be warned though to remember balance. I let myself get swept up in a feeling; good, bad or even fleeting, it was so extreme that it affected the physical world by breaking a law and thus resulting in a consequence. This principal can be applied to all manners of life in that if we focus our attention and thoughts too much on any one thing, we will lose balance and spin out of control. Though, I have to admit that I am a lead foot and tickets have never really been a good deterrent for me. I could/should have been a race car driver. I love an open country road. I have to try very hard to follow the rules so I choose to look at the ticket as my coin in the swear jar. Simply a price I have to pay to think and do things the way I want, even if the blue print isn’t quite ready yet. I’ll also note that the speeding in itself could be seen as a bad habit that has yet to be replaced by a good one or could be a way for my subconscious get a thrill that it seems to so desperately seek.

Another is that duality is everywhere; there are two sides to every story and opinion just as plainly as there is to every coin. The officer could have a very different experience and feeling about the interaction and represent the polar opposite in all of us. I can choose to be upset about it or choose to turn it into a learning experience with payment beyond measure. It’s easy to get consumed by a situation or an idea, but it’s being able to balance that keeps us steady on our course.

All and all my day wasn’t all that bad. I made it to the parties, had fun with the kids and was surprised with flowers from the husband. Not really, I told him to pick some up as an example for the kids. Not that he wouldn’t, but he knows how I feel about this day. I am grateful for all that I have, even that ticket. How’s that for a change in perspective?

Week 20 – The Ultimate Test

We were on our way to a spontaneous surprise mini vacation with the kids to Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, MI, which was in part a thoughtful gift from my parents. We stayed up late one night to book the date and noticed the clause about a fee when canceling or rescheduling less than a week before the arrival date. I told Dave that was kind of hard to predict in the wintertime because of illness and allergies. I felt a knot at the pit of my stomach as I said it. Have I just jinxed the whole thing? Good ol’ Murphy is going to have a field day with this.

 

When traveling with small children, it’s been my experience that if something can go wrong…it will. Our family vacations are often filled with a series of unfortunate events, mishaps and miserable circumstances that leave us, (maybe more me) never wanting the leave the house again. Each one is unique in it’s ability to test what I am made of and feels more like some type of mom warrior dash or basic training than making fun memories to me. Zack doesn’t even remember half the cool stuff I did for him. Do you remember that time when we had an under the sea themed birthday? Nope.

Despite this feeling I had, this time was going to be different. The kids were a little older now and I was in a better mental state.

A week before the vacation… Lily got sick with a head cold. This doesn’t sound like a big deal. I have time right? No. This sucks on multiple levels because Miss Lily has bad indoor and outdoor allergies and is currently on allergy shots. If she is sick, she can’t get her shot, which was about to expire. Not only that, but because of those allergies, a cold often times would send her into a sinus infection. And it doesn’t stop there… A cold isn’t just a cold; it’s a Trojan horse that takes out the whole family for a month. Sure enough, a couple of days after Lily got sick, Jackson, who also has those pesky allergies, started showing symptoms too. Great two down, two to go and less than a week to Vacation day. This is going according to Murphy’s plan indeed.

With only three days left, my husband comes to me with a problem. He has had a cyst on his tailbone for some time. He was told by a doctor to leave it alone unless it really started bothering him. One look at this thing and I could tell it was infected. As if this mom gig wasn’t hard enough; now I have become the local Practicing Physician, Nurse and now wife to the most stubborn man I have ever met.

 

So, I told him my recommendation to go to the doctor ASAP, which he immediately dismissed like expected. I gave him supporting facts for my case, he still said no. Finally, with only 3 days left until Vacation, I called the doctor myself. I really hate it when it comes to this, but I’ve already saved the man from blood poisoning once. This doesn’t inspire much confidence that he will take care of himself and I’d like to keep him around for a bit; preferably in good condition. After talking to the nurse, she tells me that it has been over three years since he has been seen and that he had to go through as a new patient again. Great, now our only option is urgent care.

After pleading my case one last time, he still dismissed me yet again. He left me no choice. I just stood there looking at him with my hands on my hips and a glare that only a mother can reproduce. He turned around in his office chair and met my mom gaze head on. In that moment, he knew what he had to do. It was the only way out with out it with out me losing my shit. He quietly went to Urgent Care where they lanced and drained the cyst, then gave him a prescription for some antibiotics and sent him painfully on his way.

For the record, I can see why he wanted to wait until after the trip, but the risk of the infection spreading was too great. I didn’t tell him to get it lanced; he let them do that on his own. I can only imagine how much that hurt. Here we are, two days out from a vacation at a water park and he can’t go in the water. Touché Murphy. Touché. I didn’t expect that one.

You see, I actually detest water parks. I think they are gross. Think about how many kids and people are in the same little bit of water. Gross. My husband feels the same way, but we are doing this for the kids and I was going to make him go in the water, citing my very sensitive skin to chlorine as the reason. I also don’t like to wear a bathing suit. I am very proud of my weight loss, but losing 210lbs and having 2 kids does a toll on one’s body and thinking about it triggers memories of being body shamed publicly. However, instead of looking at this like a tragedy that would affect my entire trip, I decided to be the observer and see the opportunities for growth and understanding. I’m through letting myself get in the way of enjoying that which is already mine.

The day before the trip, I see Zack in the morning as he leaves for school and I can tell in an instant that he now has the beginning signs of the head cold. Great. No surprise here, I already knew it was coming. Bring it on Murphy! Let’s see what you got.

Four hours later, Dave finally gets up with the same cold and a very sore rear end. Awesome. It’s working out just how I expected. Well, mines the whole sore rear end. That one was new, I must admit. I can only let out a laugh at the sheer comedic tragedy unfolding before me. Luckily being as the observer has given me a different perspective. For aren’t I lucky that I get to live a family comedy?

Despite the illnesses, we trudged on… Not because we wanted to infect other people. No, the chlorine takes care of that. Because there was a charge if we had to reschedule and you know what? Something like this would have happened no matter what. If it wasn’t illnesses and cysts, it would have just been something else. There are important lessons and experiences to be observed here and when life throws you a challenge you embrace what it has to offer as a mean of personal growth and well, to simply know that you are truly alive and can overcome any obstacle.

Once we finally reached our destination, we headed straight for the water park. I sent Dave ahead with the kids while took a moment to get my swim suit on. It was time to bite the bullet. I had brought 2 different suits just in case I felt horrible in one. The first one I tried on actually fit pretty good. Now there was the problem of my legs. That is where I carry my excess skin and weight. I stepped out of my emotions to become the observer again. From there, I decided there was nothing I could do about my skin so my only real option was to accept and embrace it. This is my body. It is all I have. Might as well walk with pride and go join my kids’ right. Besides, it wasn’t THAT bad. I had suspected that perhaps I had been magnifying my fears and even reliving the trauma every time I thought about putting the bathing suit on. I searched deep inside for what it was that really bothered me and then I told myself the likely hood of getting public ridicule again would be low, especially in a family setting.

I could feel my leg skin swaying and jiggling as I walked down the hallway to the water park. Even though I was covered by a thigh length sweater, I felt naked as I entered the bustling main lobby where guests checked in and out. I made it to the elevators and down to the park, I was in. I found my family and now was the moment of truth. I had to take the sweater off. Lily squealed with excitement when she saw my bathing suit. She said, “Mommy, are you are wearing a dress in the pool?” I explained that it was just a type of bathing suit and she smiled back in approval. Meanwhile Jackson has waddled up and hugged me around my thighs, then kissed my skin. He loves my excess skin and plays with it when ever he gets a chance. Bless their hearts, it’s like they somehow knew that I needed a little reinforcement. I went on to have fun going down slides and playing in water. No one said a thing. I even noticed an approving glance from my husband.

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This trip would indeed be a test of my courage, strength and perseverance and I’m proud that I embraced it head on. It’s amazing how powerful the mind can be. It’s up to us what we plant in our head. This is why positive and mindful thinking is so important.

I might not have embraced if this crazy set of circumstances didn’t happen. Thanks Murphy; maybe all this time you’ve been trying to show me something instead of ruining my life. I never thought about it from that perspective. As the observer, I was able to detach from some of the emotion of it and embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow. I know this was long. Thanks for reading.

Week 19 – Are You Going To Shot Me?

Because this is such a great little story…

I sat in the waiting area of the allergist’s office with my six year old daughter, Lily and four year old son, Jackson, waiting to get Lily’s first round of weekly allergy shots. Given Lily’s dramatic and fierce personality, I thought it best to wait until the last moment to let her know what was happening that day. She knew she was going to get allergy shots, just not that day.

Her name was called over the intercom to go to station number one. We rounded the corner where a nurse stood in white scrubs, greeting us with a smile. Immediately Lily knew something was up and with a concerned look on her face she asked the nice nurse, “Are you going to shot me?!”

The nurse chuckled and said, “Yes, but it’s just a little one.”

Once presented with this answer, she did the only logical thing any sane person would do and made a run for it. She zipped through the maze of winding cubicles, hallways and staff members like an agile cat. It wasn’t until she came across a dead end full of lab techs that I was able to catch up with her.

She struggled and exclaimed, “I don’t want to get shot” as we managed our way back to station number one. The staff members looked at us with knowing smiles on their faces and encouraged her it would be ok along the way. Something tells me she was not their first runner.

We made it back to station one. She screamed, I mean bloody murder screamed as I held her and the nurse gave her the shot. It broke my heart to see her so distraught. After it was done and with tears streaming down her face she whimpered, “That WAS a little shot. It didn’t hurt very bad, but I like my allergies.”

We met up with Jackson, age four, in the waiting room, who had been waiting with another nurse and had a very concerned look on his face. He immediately inspected Lily’s pink band-aid in detail as I thanked the nurse for staying with him while I chased her down. He then held her hand and leaned in for a side hug. It wasn’t long before they were drawing at the kids table like nothing had happened.

Miss Lily has been back about 6 times now. She doesn’t run away anymore, but still doesn’t like the process and would keep her allergies instead of getting the shots if she had her choice. As a parent and given our experience with all of this, I have to say that I’m not sure if it’s worth it yet. We are staying the course for now.

Not only is this story one that will stick with me as both a testament to my daughter’s personality and a hard experience I’ve had to face as a parent; more importantly, it shows how fear and emotion can override our rational thought even as adults. Your sub-conscious mind is like a child where emotions rule over practicality. I think that sometimes we forget that and don’t give our mind the full spectrum of nurturing and reassurance that it needs.

Week 18 – The Fog Has Cleared

Listening to Mark Sunday describe the Greatest Salesman in the World being the moment you make the sale, the moment someone changes their mind, purchases your product and thanks you for helping them.

Another epiphany rolled over me; It’s so simple and so complex. I have achieved this many times in my life and I love that feeling!

You mean all of this time I already was what I want to be?!

The power was with in all along just like you said? The fog has finally cleared and I can now see that the path was right in front of me the whole time. I merely didn’t recognize it.

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So what do I do next? What would the person I intend to become do next?

Reach.

I would keep reaching out side my comfort zone and continue to grow. I would reach for connection to share my ideas with positive, like-minded people. Wait…you mean mastermind?

And from these efforts and hard work, opportunity will come. Thought plus emotion equals manifestation!

Am I ready? The real question is, is the world ready for me? For I’ve done this before. I can do it again.

Looking back now, I wonder how I got so lost. How did I lose sight of the greatness inside me? When did I start telling myself I wasn’t worth it? When did I lose that mindfulness of thought?

I think this video does a good job explaining it.

Thank you for reading!