Life’s Treasure Hunt

 

I’m on a quest to reclaim all the pieces of my life. Some have been shattered, others neglected, a few lost, a few stolen. I want zentai, which is a Japanese word for wholeness. To do that, I’m taking back my courage by doing the hardest thing ever. I didn’t just start today, I’ve been working at it for a LONG time, but today, I realized how close I am to done and how very far I’ve come. I’d like to tell all of those who told me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, that I am ENOUGH. And sooner than later, my impossible goal will be realized. Learning to reclaim life’s gems, like courage, is a treasure hunt that makes me want to wake early every morning just to see what I’ve reclaimed by day’s end. Here’s to your treasure hunt and all the success in the world.

Baby Brain Miracles

Yesterday I was honored to be present while my daughter ever-so-gracefully gave birth to my newest G-baby, Tomlyn Abree Rayne. I’m kinda squeamish, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch…you know, the actual birth part. But what an absolute wonder it was!

It took months of worry and curiosity…then it took anxiety filled days of anticipation, and an expectation that it would take hours and hours more, but in the end the whole thing happened with doctors running, nurses running, and Taylor championing through two minutes of the greatest imaginable miracle. Then she was here. Little Tomlyn blinked and looked around and found her mommy’s face and that was that. Eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart-skin-on-skin. We were all awestruck that something so tiny and new could be so wise and in charge. And so so so beautiful.

How can you NOT believe in a loving, all wise and perfect God when you’re privy to such wonder? Only four weeks into gestation, a baby’s brain is developing 250,000 neurons per minute. Billions and billions of links form between neurons and trillions of circuits weave their way right where they need to be. This is no haphazard act. This is perfection at its divinest.

Depending on how much stimulation lil’ Tomlyn can handle, her visual cortex and eyes will continue to develop. They are her introduction into this big ol’ marvel of a world. Over the next three years her brain will triple in size and develop more than 1,000 trillion neural connections. Her brain will prune itself of the connections that aren’t needed. Seriously. Prune itself. Her developing brain will hog half the calories Tomlyn consumes. Until she’s about five years old. When she starts to babble, the left side of her brain will literally “light” up. When she listens to her mommy and daddy sing to her, the right side of her brain will glow.

Tay has been using the right, or emotional side of her brain for the past months, preparing to bond with Tomlyn. If she’s been more forgetful than usual, that’s why. If she was more sensitive, that’s why. But now that the baby is here, her left or logical side is going to step it up. She’s going to recognize the baby’s facial expressions and the nuances in her cries. They’ll all sound the same to us, but not to Mama. She’ll know what Tomlyn needs. Her brain will tell her.

I could go on and on, but who wants to hear about neuroscience when there are baby toes to count? And cheeks to kiss. Check ‘em out. Tomlyn’s got cheeks for weeks. So I’m off, but I just had to pause long enough to share the great news that after all the fears, mother and baby are fine and dandy and our hearts are busting with gratitude. Hope that you’re all equally blessed.

I Bow To You

There is no calling in the world that can compare to parenthood. That includes all of you who love a child and protect and provide for that child. This is a snapshot of my daughter, Taylor, and her daughter, Adelaide. Fortunately, Mark is a wonderful husband and father to them. But that’s not how it is for nearly 14 million parents in the U.S. who are raising 22 million children. It’s been a decade since I became a single mother, so I’ve been thinking about you, the fathers and mothers out there who go it alone. This is my very feeble attempt to pay tribute to you. I hope you’ll forgive my lack of poetic talent and feel the sentiment and share it if you love someone who might benefit from a little bow.

If you have no arms

To hold your crying child but your own arms

And no legs but your own to run the stairs one more time

To fetch what was forgotten

I bow to you

If you have no vehicle

To tote your wee one but the wheels that you drive

And no one else  to worry, “Is my baby okay?”

When you have to say goodbye on the doorsteps of daycare

or on that cursed first day of school

I bow to you

If you have no skill but your own skill

To replenish an ever-emptying bank account

And no answers but your own to

Satisfy the endless whys, hows, and whens your child asks and asks again

I bow to you

If you have no tongue to tell the truth

To keep your beloved on the path without a precipice

And no wisdom to impart

Except the wisdom that you’ve acquired

I bow to you

If the second chair is empty

Across the desk from a scornful, judging authority waiting

For your child’s father to appear

And you straighten your spine where you sit

And manage to smile and say, “No one else is coming—I’m it.”

Oh, I bow to you

If your head aches when the spotlight finally shines

on your child because your hands are the only hands there to applaud

I bow to you

If your heart aches because you’ve given until everything in you is gone

And your kid declares, “It’s not enough.”

And you feel the crack of your own soul as you whisper,

“I know, baby. But it’s all mama’s got.”

Oh, how I bow to you

If they are your life while you are their nurse, tutor, maid

Bread winner and bread baker,

Coach, cheerleader and teammate…

If you bleed when your child falls down

I bow, I bow, I bow

If you’re both punisher and hugger

And your own tears are drowned out by the running of the bathroom faucet

because children can’t know that mamas hurt too

Oh, mother of mothers, I bow to you.

—Toni Sorenson



Inspiration from Single Parent Bloggers Worth Checking Out

www.singlemothersbychoice.org/blog

epicmommyadventures.com

http://www.jrrmblog.com/

http://arlsworld.net

http://www.spellyourhappiness.com

http://icitizenmag.com/articles.html

http://thesuccessfulsinglemom.blogspot.com/

Snake Man, Selfie-Stick-Guy, and Me

So there was this not-too-long-ago day in Manhattan. I was walking down the sidewalk minding my own business, mentally listing all of the fearful reasons I could not launch a blog. All of a sudden Snake Man ambushed me.

I screamed and fell back, whacking myself on some guy’s selfie stick. (This is precisely why I doubt my ability to write a blog. Re-read that sentence.)

Moving on…I explained that I suffer from a severe case of ophidiophobia. Fear of snakes.

“It’s your opportunity to overcome your fear,” Snake Man said. “Just let my pet hug you.”

“Do it, Mom,” my son, Eli urged, with a wide grin on his face and plenty of distance from the writhing reptile.

“How much?” I asked.

“Five bucks.”

“All I’ve got is a credit card,” I said, trying to untangle my purse strap from the selfie-stick.

“Here,” the tourist with the selfie-stick said, holding out a five-dollar-bill.

Moment of truth. Was I going to walk away from an opportunity to prove that I wasn’t afraid of a stupid snake?

Hell, Yes.

I walked. Fast.

But then I turned around. And well…you can see from the photo that I’m smiling. What you can’t see is the puddle forming down by my foot. Not pee. Melted fear. I did it! I held a snake. I let it hug me.

That moment was the Universe’s way of preparing me for this moment.

Blogging is terrifying. It’s risky business. It invites rejection. I think everyone should do it. That way we get to know each other and ourselves better. We tell stories that we live. We use characters that we love and settings that we know. The problem is once you’re camped in my family room, I might not be comfortable with you being there. And then there’s the greater possibility that you might not like being there. You might not like me.

Ouch.

I used to want everyone to like me. I was a kiss-A-people-pleaser. I honestly thought that was how I was supposed to be. Man, was I ever wrong!

But like Maya Angelou said, “Now I know better.” I realize that the only person I need to please is me. It’s not as selfish as it sounds. If I please me, then I don’t have to be concerned with what someone else thinks of me. My value doesn’t come from opinion. It comes from integrity.

Today’s word: INTEGRITY. Of course it means being honest and morally upright, but it means something else too…it means being complete and undivided. It originates from the Greek word “enteros” which means whole. I love that. I freakin’ LOVE that!

Here’s my confession. I’m not whole. I’m not undivided. I’m a shattered creation, someone who has been trying to put the pieces back together, shard-by-shard, all of my life. And though I believe I’ve done a pretty darn good job of it, I don’t think I’m so full of wisdom that I have to project it. What I am is a student of life who wants to share what she learns. I want to share it with YOU!

I’m working on my personal integrity, but to be honest, I’m not always honest. Sometimes I’m lazy. I have Mommy meltdown moments when I yell at the wrong kid. There are dirty dishes in my kitchen sink at this very moment. I’m always working on my weight. I have to fight my fears every single day. My fear right here, right now, is that you’ll reject me, or worse, ignore me.

Oh man, this list could go on forever, but I just want you to know what you’re getting into if you hang with me through this blogging journey. We’re gonna go places. We’ll learn new words and share stories. For sure, we’ll meet all kinds of new people that we’ll hopefully turn into friends. And we’ll face our fears together. The etymology of the word fear includes the Old Saxton word far, which means…get this…ambush.

Who wants to feel ambushed? Nobody. But it’s what Snake Man did to me, and it turned out okay.

(Deep breath here while I pause to push down the fur ball of fear rising in me.) I’m still scared, but that’s okay. I’ve been scared before. I’ll be scared again. In an hour I’m off to face another fear. I’m going to hike a mountain that has terrified me for years. I’m afraid I might not make it to the top, that I’m not physically fit enough to handle it, that my butt will look too fat in the photos. (You’ll wanna stay tuned for that one.)

That’s life. I will get ignored. I will be rejected. People out there in Etherland will pummel me. Bring it on. I can take it because no matter how many times I break, I know how to make myself whole…one piece at a time. At this stage in the game, I’m not going to be stopped by a little thing called fear or something as conquerable as a mountain.