sisterhood and siblingness

a few of you have asked how darla is transitioning to sisterhood. a few of you have estimated based on this blog that things are going well for us in that department.

i estimated they were going well right along with you.

but then i overheard her making up a song to herself the other day that went exactly like this:
“i feel my power changing.
i feel my worries coming to get me.
i need to take a one way trip and never come back until the day is over.”

and i promptly sent mike a text stating maybe she isn’t taking it as well as we thought…

ruh-roh.

 photo 14E3D3DD-4041-4BC9-BCC2-6FF08CC9638F-11904-00000304D0B6C1E7_zpsb1bd7f98.jpg

and then, as her bedtime book she picked out this ^^^  at least i can find solace in the fact that she’s being proactive about this situation but i don’t really know if it’s *normal* to be anticipating fights with your week old baby sister.

what really makes me feel bad for her is this short list of items darla has come up with to play with, and we’ve had to confiscate, in the past few days: safety glass, bricks, dead moths. and if that was not enough she took to gluing glass on bricks and glued one piece of glass onto something i can only describe as half a set of brass knuckles that she dug up from the ground out back… i’m not even joking.

“how is this happening?” you ask. well, one adult has been working 12 hour days, one adult is sequestered to the upstairs bedroom and she’s faster than the third adult in the house. so there’s that.

the truth is everyone is doing their best around here. my mom has been with us for an extra week so i don’t feel like darla is really falling short on the attention-getting department. i know that it’s just the first time she’s had to share the attention in her own home. but we’ve had a few “everyone pays attention to the baby and not me” statements flying around at times. i have to remind myself that just as we are doing our best, so is she. it’s going to take a little while to re-gel with new family dynamics.

does anyone know approximately how long that takes???

a blessing the second time around is the knowledge that all this is temporary, extremely temporary. it won’t be this way forever. soon i will be back and active. soon darla will be in SCHOOL. soon my 2 week old will be a 6 week old and life will look nothing like it currently does. soon we will get a groove going as a family of four.

until then we’ll just do our best.

ps. this pic accurately sums up their sisterhood at this point…and possibly forever.

 photo A41D7177-48AE-411C-910C-F568B5A8A9CE-20824-0000047AA4815629_zps7c61594f.jpg^^^ darla’s all like “sisters! squeee!” and daphne’s like “who is this crazy in my face?” ^^^

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random rant

i’m tired of living in a fear culture. i’m tired of living in a Danger! Caution! Warning! society. i’m tired of a system that places responsibility on not being a victim over not being a perpetrator. and I’m tired of a world that takes its control issues out on the lives of women and children.

that is all.

mothering the mother, parenting the parent.

resting

this may not look like much to you, but it was a game changer for me. that’s me putting my feet up and getting a little extra rest this past weekend.

my parents came into town and offered their love, care and support to my family. my husband and child showed me extra kindness. i benefitted from some extra back rubs, some help with chores, a couple extra pairs of hands to care for my girl. and a nap. A NAP! it has me thinking and feeling.

oh no! here I go again:

in my birth doula and postpartum doula training we studied the idea of mothering the mother and how important this is for an expecting or new mom. i feel if we get down to it, it could be applied to any mom at any stage of her motherhood and yeah, partners too. we all need a little mothering. and i’m not talking about “smothering.” i’m talking about the real work of mothering we do. the mothering that sits next to you and rubs your back while you talk about your fears. the mothering that fixes you a snack or helps you make your bed. the kind of mothering that reminds you that you can do hard things, that you are capable of great things. real mothering empowers you and reminds you that everything is going to be okay. real mothering reminds you that you are loved.

it’s a goddamned impossible world out there and this kind of mothering has always helped me face it with a little more courage.

when i receive even a small dose of this it helps me to give it away more freely. part of being a mother, in my experience, requires drawing from a bottomless emotional well to make sure the lives around you are adequately watered and flourish. it can sometimes be hard to find others that are willing to deposit back into your well, because maybe they are running low too.

i cannot stress how much kindness and caring can mean to a pregnant mother or new mom. the small things add up. a little bit of kindness goes a long way. we all know this applies to many relationships in life but my point of view right now is that of a full-time mom, giving her all away to one courageous and cute child outside the womb and giving her all physically to one growing within. even though i’ve not yet met this little person earthside, my body is still mothering this being 24/7. and that is exhausting. my 5 year-old at least gives me an 8hr break during most nights. after those two little peoples, most of my other relationships in life require some level of mothering. and i meet those demands with various levels of success depending on how much i feel i have to give away on any given day.

so, the extra “mothering” and “parenting” i received from my own parents and family this weekend has helped me hit the reset button a little bit. i’ve said it before and i know i’ll say it again: i am so lucky to have been born to parents and into a family that gets this idea of support and love as fundamental to the functioning as a family unit. i know how hard it can be for people who don’t receive that love and support from their families. i think my parents did a great job of backing off and letting me spread my wings as a young adult but then stepping back in to be by my side once i became a parent.  they did not do so in a smothering way, but in a way that tells me they will be there while i go through the hardships of middle-life. they did so in a way that tells me my life is still my own to figure out but they’ll be there to listen, to remind me i’m doing my best and that every once in a while i deserve a nap.

i hope i will remember their example when life calls me to step into the role of grandparent and tread the waters of parenting a parent. because i can feel right now how important and necessary that is during this phase of my own life. and i can feel the effects of their presence in our lives these past few months in the functioning of my own nuclear family. i can feel how we’re all seeming to pull together a little more and offer up a little more kindness. this during a time when it would be so easy to buckle under the stress of it all and lash out a little more often. but no. there’s a closeness and kindness that keeps building and makes me feel excited to bring a new life into the loving folds i feel growing here.

so, in closing, i just want to express gratitude for all the mothering of mothers that takes place out there, and all the parenting of parents. these are small things with great compounding effects on the world. at least, on my world.

— on pause —

this feels like a life in limbo. i feel rooted to the ground, unable to make movement in any direction until this new being is born. there are so many things, goals, i would like to be working towards but for some reason, i can’t.  it feels like someone is not only inhabiting my body but taking up my brain as well, giving me only enough power to get from day-to-day and remain focused on bringing this new life here.

and while i understand this is the way nature has designed and intended it to be for me as a mother, it still leaves me feeling inadequate. i want to make so much out of this life and it seems like i’m always out of reach of my goals. i need to seek the serenity that will help me be satisfied with the here and now instead of constantly longing for my life to be somehow different.

being unable to move is so terribly exhausting. i mean this both figuratively and literally. i can’t move my body in the ways i’d like anymore. i can’t move my mind with the agility i used to have. i feel that i can’t move my life in the direction i’d like it to go. i just don’t have the energy. and i don’t know when i will again.

i’m seeking some positive energy to be at peace with this life on pause. i’m seeking solace in knowing that it really is only for a short while. i’m seeking the willingness to accept my powerlessness over my life in these next few weeks. i want to invoke the magnificence of the current moment into my consciousness and forget about the future.

if only the rest of the world could join me in doing so…

invoking the goddess

goddess headband

true life story from my quirkiness files: i carry two of these headbands in my purse and one in my tote bag at all times. i have several more stashed in my room. these are my goddess headbands.

this practice started over a year ago with the life(dot)next desert directive retreat. i pull one out and put it on whenever i recognize that i’m just not keeping up with the demands of my day. and then i pull the second one out and hand it to darla because she will inevitably asks to don one once i do. this grown-up version of dress up helps me invoke the properties i’m not doing a good job of naturally possessing in any given moment.

my usual goddess go-to is demeter because she is the mother archetype. i find myself to not be a natural mother-woman. i will make a great girl scout troop leader; full of adventure, ideals and advice but it is the softer elements of motherhood that i frequently need to invoke. patience, understanding, sympathy and serenity are things i have to work on daily.

another favorite goddess of mine to invoke is hestia, the goddess of hearth and home. she helps me find joy and satisfaction in my daily chores and has been especially helpful to me during this nesty phase of my life. if i’m on the way to an interview i invoke artemis, the goddess of the hunt. she helps me feel confident in my capabilities to serve families.

i know this is silly, but i like silly. the ritual of this helps me focus my energy and get centered again. some people sit down to meditation. some people open up their spiritual texts. some light a candle. i put on a shiny headband.

to each her own.

{if you are interested in learning more about goddess archetypes i recommend Goddesses in Everywoman. it’s a book that has a permanent resting spot by my bed.}

right now, as a woman

am i right in stating that it has been pretty darn heart wrenching to be a woman lately? is anyone else feeling that?

i will try to refrain from pretentiously stating what “conversations we should be having” as a culture. i don’t see how anyone can claim to have that kind of omnipotent power or insight. but i do have some thoughts to put out there should anyone choose to digest them. and i have a right to put them out there in hopes that it will be of aid in the flow and evolution of your own thoughts.

everything from the enslavement of school girls in nigeria, the killings at UCSB and following public debates, the death of maya angelou down to the dynamics of my own home have my heart aching over the state of affairs womanhood is experiencing right now. it’s all over the map out there, friends, and my head and my heart can’t turn away from it at the present time.

the events of last week have me thinking a lot about entitlement issues. it really has me thinking about how those are playing out and working in my own life. see, i try to make some good out of these events by bringing them into my own focus and changing what i can, and that is only EVER me. i can only change me. i can confront my own entitlement issues in hopes that it may domino to the world around me. i can acknowledge that we are all dealing with entitlement in our lives, especially in this country. what my mind keeps coming back to with all of this is that this world, this life, this universe, this existence owes us nothing. not a damn thing. it takes us out the same way it brings us in. any and everything that happens in between is a blessing. i’m not guaranteed someone to love me. i’m not guaranteed a roof over my head. i’m not guaranteed a fair wage. i’m not guaranteed that my dreams will come true. i’m not guaranteed good health. i’m not even guaranteed tomorrow morning. everything in my life deserves my full gratitude and i’ve been neglectful of that in so many ways. i am not entitled for anyone, anywhere to act in a certain way towards me. i’m certainly never entitled to another person’s body. i’m even less entitled to my own body than i previously thought {thanks cosmos and my expanding knowledge of the human body biome}.  my hope is that more humans will start to see that if you have someone to love you, someone to lay with you, someone to mother you, someone to shake your hand or bag your groceries or put in stitches when you arrive at the emergency room etc. and on, that is a gift from the universe and not something we are entitled to just by showing up on this earth.

also, from my perspective, i acknowledge that i’ve experienced and witnessed male entitlement over the bodies of women and yes, i do believe those are at work in our culture in a big way.

i have had men touch my body and feel entitled to that. i have had all kinds of vile comments made about my body, as most women have. i’ve felt unsafe out at night. i’ve had a man reach around and yank on my hair out at a bar when i declined to dance with him. i’ve deflected forward advances from a married man and then had to read his status this week pertaining to the shooting that said the equivalent of “just ignore it when it happens and it will stop.”  and i had to know in my heart that it is because we ignore it that it doesn’t stop.

i acknowledge the statistical facts and information that some males feel so entitled to women’s bodies so much that they regularly and routinely result to force and violence. i am not going to argue facts. i acknowledge it and i hope that we will move towards a world that acknowledges it, too.

this week i had a man look at my body, my beautiful body growing another human, and say “god, i’m glad i’m not a woman.”  what am i supposed to say to that?  what i want to say to that in this space is BEING A WOMAN IS NOT AN AFFLICTION. maybe we’re in this mess because too few men AND women understand that.

or…

maybe we’re in this mess because men know what an asset women are. in fact, maybe women are the greatest resource this planet has ever evolved and men know it. maybe that is why some of them are willing to take us by force if necessary. maybe they know just how valuable we really are.

i don’t know. i don’t have answers, i just have thoughts and feelings and i know both my mind and spirit find being a woman to be tremendously powerful and an asset. and my heart was saddened by the loss of a woman who seemed to know this very thing as well. but in a way that was a blessing, right? it brought it back into balance. this sorrowful hatred against women transpired against the backdrop of a woman’s legacy of love and courage for her femalekind. maybe the universe knew we would need her words of strength to be in our ears as we move forward.

i know it helped me tremendously to hear them and read them this week.

i’ve enjoyed my evolving feminism over the years. it’s something i work on daily. i have a hard time seeing how a female gets through a day past her 10th birthday without confronting her womanness anymore. and i have to remind myself to be grateful for the struggles that have affirmed my strength in being a woman. it’s a gift that can’t be taken from me no matter how much i earn or what i achieve. because it doesn’t hinge on that. it comes from a place that respects you being proud of who you are and respects me being proud of who i am. i think it comes from the same place that spawned a poem as great as this one. i’ll leave off at that:

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

fellowship of hand surfers

as i’ve been driving around on this weekend, this weekend in which we’ve been blessed with exquisite weather for kicking off into summer, i’ve noticed the small sign of kindred spirits extended out car windows.

i watch for these hands fingering the breeze, twisting and turning into configurations against the wind. each one has their own style. some have a simple spread of the fingers as the current slips between digits. others cup their hand and ride the currents up and down. others are multitasking as they tap or shake a beat into the winds.  is hand surfing an acquired act or is it something that each of us born with this trait brings to organic fruition? is your hand surfing style a sort of fingerprint? maybe no one out there hand surfs in quite the same way…

and i assure you not everyone does it. not everyone is driven to extend his or her hand out into the air while on the road. we’re a select crowd. a small population that really has no chance of meeting anywhere else but on the road. occasionally i’ll pass another hand surfer. i feel confident in my feeling that there is no need for a wave, for we already have our hands out connecting in the way that seems most appropriate. sometimes i’ll pull up alongside another driver with his hand out and i’ll feel the small twinge of solidarity and know there is no need to even take the other driver in. we are already displaying the most important part of ourselves.  once, a few days ago, i was fortunate enough to be the 4th car in a line of hand surfers and i think that was the closest to free that i’ve felt in a long time.

for i know a little bit about who that person is inside by that simple extended hand. i know what they are reaching out for as they ride down the street. it’s that little bit of freedom. it’s the small, hibernating piece of our childhood that still believes that someday we’ll spread our wings and fly away. it’s a bit of rebellion that at least a part of us can be riding on the wind, even for a little while. it’s nostalgia taken human form.

as we head off into summer, i’m so thankful to see this fellowship of hand surfers out there on the roads. i realize that this is a piece of my childperson uncovered. riding down the road with my hand out of the window of the car would be my quintessential act of summertime. it sums it all up for me in a way that nothing else can: freedom, fresh air, sunshine, travel. a literal throw of caution to the wind.

and thank you to all of you kindred spirits out there for helping me usher in summer. i will look for you every memorial day weekend from now until the end of my driving days.

did you know your pregnancy comments are a body conversation?

i’ve had a lot of time to sit on some thoughts and feelings about this subject for a couple of months now… since right about the time i started getting a belly.

so, late pregnancy starts to really show you how many conversational freaks there are out there in the world. people start saying, and sometimes shouting from the other side of the street, odd comments about your growing frame. for some reason these statements have put me more on my guard than my first pregnancy. i think a good deal about the way i feel women’s bodies are treated and discussed has changed within me since my pregnancy with darla. i have a few thoughts to put out there for you to ponder, should you choose:

i think there is some kind of drive within people that makes them want to connect with pregnant mothers. we all want to connect with life. i wholeheartedly believe this drive stems from a good place, a human place, but society at large seems to be lacking in some tools for communicating with women about this life change, probably due to the aforementioned undercurrent of negativity we have going on towards women’s bodies.

the majority of comments i get from people, strangers and not, are negative. these comments are about my size, how tired i look, “you’re about to pop” or “are you sure there aren’t two in there?” and other things of various negative connotations. i think i can tell you with 100% certainty that no woman, pregnant or not, has ever been happy to hear she looks big or tired or about to pop.

and let me state two other things i know as a fact: 1. in the scheme of pregnant ladies, i’m on the smaller end. yes, i look big for my frame but i know i’m not big enough for people to assume i’m carrying twins. 2. i’m a happy pregnant lady. i am embracing this bigness. I LIKE my roundness and LOVE this body fullness. i’m clearly not shy about it since i put in on the gawddamned internet every week, so i’m imagining that if it’s hard for me to let these comments roll off then how does the mother who really doesn’t like how her body is changing in pregnancy or the extremely shy mother feel about these unwarranted remarks?

i feel most people forget that these comments are still body conversations and those should never be initiated by a person other than the body owner.

i find it so odd that people think pregnancy is an automatic open door to make negative remarks about another human’s physique. i mean, i’ve never thought of walking up to a person in a wheel chair and saying “wow, really can’t use those legs, can you?” or a person with a large nose and saying “you’re nose is SO BIG. you must be so uncomfortable!”  and then i’d absolve myself of any wrong by adding a quick “it’s not rude of me to say that, right?”

i want to offer up some tools. i talk with pregnant women, a lot. A LOT. and i am a pregnant woman. i will tell you one thing that is always acceptable to say:  you look beautiful. let’s just stick with telling pregnant women they look beautiful. ok?

and maybe you don’t feel that way. maybe you don’t feel pregnant ladies are all glowy and radiant. that is fine! you don’t have to say anything at all. you don’t! we aren’t expecting it!

or here’s another idea if you’re wanting to initiate a pregnancy related conversation with an expectant mother: ask her how she’s feeling. it’s so refreshing when i receive that depth of communication from another human. you can just ask a woman how she’s feeling and let her tell you where she’s at with her body changes. we’re circling back to that body ownership thing again. let HER be the one to tell you she’s tired. let HER be the one to tell you she’s big. Let HER be the one to tell you she fears there may be another secret human in there. i think if we treated women with this kind of respect we’d all feel much more at ease with how organic these conversations can be.

maybe i’m a little sensitive to this because this experience seems parallel to other body conversations i’ve had to fend off for the better part of my life. part of the reason that i like my big belly is that something on my body finally dwarfs my enormous breasts that people seem to think are in the free realm of conversation. since i was 15 people have been making comments to me about my boobs. i’ve navigated that in many different ways at different phases of my life and now i’ve put a finger on this similarity between pregnancy and my breasts. strangers comment, women ask for permission to touch them in bathrooms, gay men don’t even ask for permission they just do it {sorry, just my personal experience} and i’ve had all variations from hetero men as well.

and i can’t rationalize that as much as the pregnancy talks. i know the common thread here is that women’s bodies seem to be part of the public sphere and not the private. and i can’t change that. but i feel that if our bodies are going to be part of the public conversation forum then i can do a small something to change it into POSITIVE communication instead of negative.

i will tell my pregnant friends they are beautiful. i will ask pregnant strangers how they are feeling. i will let other women tell me how THEY feel about THEIR bodies and i will listen with respect.

because that is what i feel mothers and women deserve.

this can’t be that blog

i’ve been blogging now for quite some time. my voice has ebbed and flowed along the way but at the current moment i feel strong in my narratives with this blog. i spend a good deal of time looking at blogs around these interwebs and have a handful of regular reads. my interests for blogs seem to be wide-reaching but in essence they’re all the same: mom blogs. or lady blogs. there are so many blogs out there, i get excited when i stumble upon a new one that i actually like and feel a connection with.

and i get bummed when i stumble upon one that i think is gonna be great…because it looks great…pretty pics and whatevs…and then the content is severely lacking. the blogs i feel the most connected to are the ones that really tell the story of the person behind the pages. i don’t dig blogs filled with DIYs and recipes. do people really read blogs for those things? don’t get me wrong, the blogs i follow most closely include those things occasionally but the meat of it lies in the writing and the storytelling. that’s the purpose of a personal blog, right?

well, to each his/her own. i guess i have no authority to make sweeping judgements about what should and should not go into a personal blog. i am voicing my preference and where my connections lie.

and i know that even though things like DIYs and product reviews can make a blog successful, this can’t be a blog like that. this space is here for me to tell my story. maybe this space can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

but it can be my cup of tea.  i’m not ashamed to say i really love creating this blog. i feel like i’m just starting to scratch the surface of giving what i can to these words and posts. i look back at my posts from certain points over the years and wonder “who was that person? where was my voice?” and it reminds me of how lost i’ve been at times on this journey. i’m thankful to feel grounded and confident in putting myself out there at this point in time and i want to capture that. whether it be by exposing my blossoming belly or my burgeoning soul, i’m going to put ME in these posts.

and i hope that in years to come i’ll look back and be so much more proud of that than i would have entries about cheese dip.

although…i do have a great recipe for cheese dip…

{and as always, thanks for reading and allowing me to tell my story. i hope i’ve not let either of us down thus far.}