Back to basics

header1.jpgI started this blog a few years ago because I wanted to share some of the revelations I have had during this whole parenting gig and also to share the cute and funny stuff that the boys say and do. I used to email a good friend of mine and tell him what we dubbed “CBS”, cute boy stories, and I always thought that they would make good blog fodder. Of course, that was when they were very little and more endearing than exasperating. Now what passes for cute and funny in their minds is usually based on some sort of bodily function which isn’t exactly my cup of tea. They also have a continually growing intense competition with each other that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. And then there is the physicality of boys that I never fully understood until I had them. They always seem to be wrestling or hitting or tripping or pushing or kicking…it is beyond me. I mean, I was a tomboy in my youth. I loved to be active. I did a lot of dangerous and stupid things as a kid. However, my tomboy friends and I never beat each other up for fun. So, as usual, I feel like my timing is off and instead of writing about the cute, funny stuff and how I was managing to survive the twin tornadoes and be a single, working mom in the City, I am now writing at a time when I am even less certain about raising boys than ever before and wondering how I’m going to get us all through the next 10 years and beyond. But maybe that means the timing isn’t so bad after all.

After the dog debacle, I had to take a long hard look at some things. I wasn’t thrilled with what I found. Somehow I had wandered away from my path. I had chosen to listen to my fears instead of my heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, the decision to get the dog came totally from the heart. Unfortunately, it was to fill up a spot I thought was lacking in our lives. It seemed so simple…we have a lot of love to give and we need to give it to someone. Who better than a puppy? And it will give us something to bond over! And we all get to experience unconditional love! So, yeah, my intention was good, but if I had listened a little more closely, or looked a little deeper into my heart, I would have understood that what was lacking in our lives was NOT a puppy.

And it didn’t just start then…I had been slowly drifting away from my path for a long time. I had stopped putting effort into doing things that filled me up and instead looked to other people and situations to do that for me. I started focusing on my fears- what if the boys aren’t happy, what if they become maladjusted, what if I am not being the best mom I can be, what if I am making the wrong choices, what if I never find true love or fulfillment or realize my dreams, what if I turn our world into a one-day-after-another drudgery of a cranky mom and boisterous boys who can’t get along…and eventually all those what-ifs took over in my head and fear began to turn everything into precisely what I was afraid of. And so, even though I tried to make different choices and do different things, I was stuck in a dead-end. I had taken a detour that led nowhere. Well done.

The good news is that I was able to find my way back. Once I started recognizing that I was going nowhere fast, I found that everywhere I looked I was receiving messages from God and the universe to TURN AROUND, to embrace fearlessness, to do things I thought I couldn’t do, to do things I had been afraid to do, to take risks, to let go and to move ahead. I heard stories of resilience and strength and determination. And once I opened up to those messages, I found that suddenly there were opportunities for me to take, challenges to overcome, amends to be made and new things to learn. And instead of burying my head in the sand and thinking that it was all just too hard, I kept taking the next step forward.  It took me a little longer than I would have liked and I have been glancing over my shoulder to look backwards a little too often, but I am moving on. Focusing on the next right thing that I need to do and listening to the still, quiet voice of my heart to guide me.

Now, this quiet voice hasn’t told me how I am going to figure out how to deal with C’s literal and figurative growing pains. Or how I am going to fix G’s health problems and over-sized attitude. But it has brought me to laugh at more fart jokes, spend less time stressing over the morning routine, stand firm when it comes to homework and respectful interactions with each other. It has whispered gently that I need to write more and not just a little bit more, but more every day. It reminded me that I need to finish NaNoWriMo this November, in honor of my dear friend who always encouraged me to be the best me I could be and believed that I was. It has told me that the boys need me to be happy, that they need me to show them what living a fulfilled life, a purposeful life is all about. And so I will. I have begun to be more present. I remind them to be too. We talk about how warm the sun feels on our faces and how beautiful the trees look and we play the music we like loudly in the car and sing along and dance around the house while we clean. In those moments, we are better than OK.

So, it is time for me to begin again. Getting back to what I know: how to love, how to help, how to listen, how to write, how to dream, how to work hard and how to do my very best. I have to believe that if I can just focus on those basics that everything else will take care of itself. And I know that someday, when the boys are grown and it is quiet, I am going to miss the days of chaos and noise and will be glad that I didn’t waste too much time immersed in my fears for them and their future and my fears of being a bad mom and instead, chose to focus on my hopes for them and my love and embrace this messy, lovely life we have been blessed with.



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