Well, I’ve been gone a while. I survived two December birthdays, four Christmas celebrations, 16 hours in the car traveling with an infant, a new bag design, a fun little party with friends, back-to-school for the boys and back to teaching for me.

Whew! I’m pooped!

Actually, today was the first day of me back in the classroom, and for the first time in a long time, I feel on top of things! I so enjoy meeting new students on the first day. Two truths and a lie never seems to get old on introduction day.

Now, on to other things, namely a few words on the Reverb10 project.

I enjoyed the prompts for the first 17 or so days. They really stimulated some great thinking on my part which lead to some good blogging (I think). Toward the end of the month though, the prompts seemed to cover the same ground for me. This was the case for my Reverb10 partners, Katie and Sara as well.

For me, having a baby late December of 09 really was transformational. This is not something that I expected quite to the degree that it happened because she was the second, not the first.

Maybe it was the drama that followed my girl into the world.

Maybe it was the fact that she arrived a long 9 years after my first baby.

Maybe it was that my circumstances were so drastically different this time around (married, at home versus single, working full-time and in grad school).

Whatever the reasons, once I covered certain ground, the prompts just seemed to cover territory I already covered.

It was really fun to read the prompt in the morning and mull over it throughout the day.

It was really fun to write.

It was really fun to read what others had written.

So here’s to more writing and more reading in 2011!

 

 

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Lesson Learned

This is day 17 of the Reverb10 project.

Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

How fitting that this is the prompt for today…the day Mila was born.

Ten years ago when I had Jack, I was single mother who worked full-time. I didn’t have a choice to stay home, but had the universe presented different circumstances, I would have preferred to work part-time 25-30 hours per week. I probably would have spent five extra hours with my son a week because I was in grad school too and could have used an extra 5-10 hours a week for homework. This would have led to much more than the 5 or 6 hours of sleep I survived on during this time.

I honestly don’t know how I did it. But, I didn’t know any different, so it was normal to me.

Hard? Yes. But, normal too.

This time, a rather unfortunate set of circumstances created an opportunity for me to be home with Mila full-time except for the one or two classes I teach in the Spring at the community college.

I was worried about this prospect.

In fact, I have stated since well before Jack was born that I wasn’t built in the way that some people are. The way that leads some people to feel like they are doing exactly what they should be doing when they are home caring for their children.

That isn’t me.

Don’t get me wrong. I take great pleasure (and exhaustion) from cooking and baking for my family. I did that while I was working every single night though because I feel it is incredibly important to feed them food that isn’t highly processed.

But, I didn’t take great pleasure caring for my baby and my school-age son.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my children. I just don’t happen to believe that I need to (nor do I want to) spend nearly all my time with them to raise them right.

I took great pleasure in the fact that my son knew I was there in the morning before school and that I would be there after school.

I took great pleasure that Mila’s routine was the same everyday and that she knew exactly what to expect.

But the monotony.  Good grief, the monotony.

It could have been the baby…boob, sleep, poop, boob, sleep, poop.

But this book changed my whole perspective.

I read it in June because I was planning a Blessing Ceremony for Mila with a Unitarian Minister. Knowing Robert Fulghum was a Unitarian Minister, a dear friend recommended I see if he’d written anything relevant.

At my local library, sitting on the shelf, looking all dusty were these books. This one was written specifically for me at this moment in my life.

It was a moment that the monotony was overtaking the meaning.

And, it spoke to me.

It said specifically that the things we do the same EVERY SINGLE DAY, hundreds or thousands of times, in our lives are the rituals of our life. Yes, there are the blessings, the funerals, the milestones along the way.

But, to the baby

lying on its back

10 or 12 times a day

for a diaper change,

THESE are meaningful rituals of his or her life. Looking up and seeing a familiar face while the diaper is changed is what that baby knows and feels.

I kid you NOT. It said that.

And, suddenly, meaning began overtaking the monotony.


Friendship

This is day 16 in the Reverb10 Project.

Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

She said to me slightly more than a year ago while I was walking in my kitchen talking to her on the phone:

“I don’t understand it.

But, if it’s important to you,

then I support you in it.”

It nearly brought me to tears that day.

It nearly brings me to tears to think about it now.

It has reverberated over and over for me through 2010 in more ways that I would have imagined.

The love.

 


5 Minutes

This is day 13 15 in the Reverb10 Project.

5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Just thinking about this brings tears to my eyes.

I’m going to spend those 5 minutes backing up my pictures to my external hard drive.


Gratitude

This is day 12 14 of the Reverb10 Project.

Appreciate:  What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it.

Without a doubt, the one thing I have come to appreciate this year is time.

Time for mornings to get one kid off to school and to be there when he returns.

Time for a sleepy girl to snuggle while she wakes up after a nap.

Time to sit on the floor with the little girl and a snack and teach the little girl how to keep the snack in her bowl, not on the floor.

Time to make cinnamon rolls from scratch, then freeze them individually for Sunday mornings.

Time to volunteer at the older kid’s running club during lunch recess.

Time to teach how and see a baby roll over, crawl, toddle and walk.

Time to make over a room for a birthday present.

Time to strap a needy girl into the baby carrier for early evening crabby time while I make dinner.

A rare moment in time to take a quiet shower.

I had to spend my time differently the first time around. I’m grateful I get to spend the time now.

Even though I don’t spend much time working outside my home, I feel like I have less time now than I did when I was spending most of my days away working.



Action

This is day 13 of Reverb10 project.

Action:  When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

Sew and list in my etsy shop.

Design, sew and list in my etsy shop.

It is long overdue.


Body Integration

This is day 12 of the Reverb10 Project.

Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

So many of my answers to daily prompts thus far have involved my children, or more specifically, my nearly one year old daughter. Pregnancy and the first year following birth are such a transformational experience for everyone in the family that it is difficult to not have it heavily influence the reflections as I look back.

This question is no different.

When I reflect on what my body has done in the last twelve months, I am amazed.

It nurtured a healthy 7 lb, 9 oz baby. (The pneumonia was a result of the laboring process.)

It recovered from another c-section without complications.

My feet swelled to two sizes larger than normal, then returned, eventually.

My breasts swelled to provide the perfect food for my hungry baby, and continue to do so.

My body has lost all 30 pounds of baby weight.

A nine-month pregnant, taught stomach is now smaller and certainly less taught. Yet it is remarkable to think of the changes 12 months have put it through.

Cohesive YOU, alive and present

In September, I started WeightWatchers.

By late October or early November, I started to really feel back to normal.

My jeans were fitting like they used to fit. I was more comfortable in my shirts.

I felt a lot better about my appearance and about me.

I’d tried WeightWatchers in the late spring, but the milk machine stopped producing. I had to stop.

I was nervous when I started in September.

But, the milk machine kept plugging away.

My body was doing all I was asking of it.

Like a cohesive unit.