I sometimes forget just how new my three-year-old is to this world.
This morning she asked if she could eat a peach whole. I happily obliged and realized it was the first time she’s ever cradled one in her hands and bit into it like an apple. She’s had sliced peaches, canned peaches, but I am pretty sure this was her first one eaten whole.
She bit into it the peach leaving sweet little tiny bite marks. But after a few minutes she stomped over to me demanding a new peach.
I asked her what was wrong.
“This one has little hairs on it, Mommy! All over it!”
Oh my goodness, she was talking about peach fuzz.
To be fully present to life and all of its details!
Today I am sniffing and rubbing a peach on my cheek, a reminder from my three-year-old that all details of this life contain wonder if we let them.
(Although let’s be honest: nothing about this peach is magical to her. She came back a few minutes later demanding a peach without the red parts. You know, the part of the peach nearest to the pit. If my daughter had her way, she’d be genetically engineering fuzz-less peaches without red bits in the middle.)
Wait, did I just describe a nectarine? Yes, I think I did.
Has your young child shared an observation with their fresh little eyes that made you go wow!? Share below, and thanks for reading! ~ Sarah
It is DAY TWO of the blogging series about my healing journey – can you handle the excitement?! Do you have your coffee ready?!
I will recap yesterday’s post. The start of the journey, if you will, in one long run-on sentence:
My mom dies in 2013, I am very very sad (as one would be), a year later I try to get pregnant but can’t, I go to the acupuncturist, the energy gates open and I grieve every loss I have ever had (a lot of loss), I am on a road to healing…and BUM BUM BUM.
That takes us to part two: we pick up at the bum, bum bum!
We are still at the top of the flow chart (<–here in full). BUT now we are gonna move to that section labeled SUFFERING. Hold on to your hats folks.
It is January, precisely two years, four months after my mom died.I am still feeling a lot of grief but it is flowing through me. This is good. But also, my husband has been witnessing the grief flow through me for, oh, two and a half years. That is a hard thing to do, to witness our loved ones in pain. (Psst, this bit is some foreshadowing, wink wink.)
As you may recall I was seeing an acupuncturist in the hopes of getting pregnant. I was starting to see shifts in my body, and I was also taking Chinese herbs and such.
And then in mid-January, I noticed all the signs I had noticed when I was pregnant with my daughter. I took a pregnancy test and I was pregnant.
Everything about this pregnancy felt miraculous. It is hard to explain. It felt like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t think my body was fully ready for pregnancy so I was a bit stunned.
I did the online calculator of when I was due: It was the date my mother died, September 18th.
To the day.
Now, I know due dates are estimations, but I got goosebumps. I mean really, how does that happen?
This feeling of disbelief–but also of something not being right, of it all being too easy, and not quite real–was with me from the start.
Seven weeks into my pregnancy I had a dream. It was a beautiful dream of huge cranes flying away into the night. I can still close my eyes and feel its beauty. But I awoke with a huge amount of despair and grief. I could not figure it out. I honored the grief -I figured it was new grief surfacing about how my mom would never meet this child, or something like that. I was so very sad though. I remember taking a day off of work, that was how much I was grieving.
Two weeks later I sat in an ultrasound room and saw there was no heartbeat. I had started bleeding the day prior. I knew that I had lost the baby, but I was not really ready to face it until sitting in that room. My husband’s eyes welled with tears and I sat numb. I knew it already on some level. But I hadn’t been ready to really know it, you know?
It appeared the baby had stopped growing two weeks prior – the day of my dream, I am nearly certain.
This loss, this loss of a child that was supposed to enter our world on the date I lost my mom, it was the icing on the cake of so. much. loss. It was the tipping point. I had suffered up until this point, yes, but I was able to see light at the end, to which I was headed.
This loss was different.
Are you still with me? I now it is so sad but I will promise you, this big story ends well. It ends with love and connection. I think we need a reminder from Maria that it is going to be ok in the end:
But yes, what came next was suffering.
We have all suffered so what I will share I am sure you can relate to: I felt like I was being punished. (“Why me?”) I felt as though maybe it was true that bad things happen to bad people. (A favorite ethos of our culture. Not true however!) I felt isolated and alone in my grief, that there was NO way ANYONE could EVER relate to MY PAIN because it was SO UNIQUE. (Also not true.) I felt bitter and angry.
Remember my husband? Well, we both took it hard. And I wanted someone to blame and while it makes zero sense, I remember constantly being upset with him because he just couldn’t understand, he wasn’t being patient in my healing…and later, in therapy, I realized that really I just wanted HIM to make it better. Somehow. I didn’t realize it at the time but suffering does weird things to us doesn’t it?
So, not only was I suffering from the miscarriage, I was feeling angry and bitter in my marriage…a bit of projection, if you will. Well that just creates more stress. A sh*tstorm of stress, really.
And then it all shifted.
If you were to ask me the turning point in my healing, if I could identify one moment in time, I can tell you. It was early March. I was talking to my sister on the phone. I can even picture the corner of my couch I was sitting on when I spoke to her.
My sister is often able to connect spiritually with my mother in intense ways that I am not able to. You know what she told me as we spoke on the phone that day in March? She said mom saw my intense suffering. And she said, “Mom wants you to be happy…to be able to enjoy your husband and daughter. She doesn’t want you to suffer any more.”
That, my friends, was the turning point.
I felt those words in my heart. I felt my mother with me, and I felt her pain at seeing me in pain.
It was like a light bulb went off. I thought, I do not have to choose suffering. Yes, I didn’t ask be dealt these cards. But I can choose how I respond.
I surrendered to the pain. I didn’t blame, I didn’t fight, I simply saw that it was part of my story at this point, and that I could choose to embrace this or I could angrily fight against it. The fighting-against-it-trope was not going well for me, my husband or my family.
If you want the truth, it was my mother’s love that made me see. My mother continues to mother me from beyond the veil. Is that not incredible?
I TOLD YOU IT WOULD END WELL! But there is more…
TOMORROW – PART 3: How I chose love and connection over fear, anger, and suffering. (PLUS more gifs!)
Do your life also correspond nicely with Sound of Music animated GIFS? Then I invite you to join me on Twitter or Facebook!
Top of the morning! This post is going to be a practice in flash blogging. (Is that a thing? Like #flashfiction only blogging. I will make it a thing.) The reason? Today I see my theraaaaaaapisttttt! (That’s me saying it in my inner Oprah-voice.) And therapy day is a great and wonderful day, but it means a hastier morning routine…hence #flashblogging. Seriously I’m gonna make that a thing.
In the midst of writing this, my wonderful therapist called me. She had a logistical snafu come up and needs to delay our appointment until later. As she said, ‘Shit happens!’
Oh boy doesn’t it.
Sometimes I am amazed at how much I can process simply by sitting and unloading for an hour. (Us people who see therapists, we like to use words like “process.”) Why, just by holding space for me to speak and speak and speak and be heard I can discover so much about myself and my situation. It’s hard to do this with our loved ones. They are too wrapped up in our outcomes. Oh they are so eager to see us just be OK AND WELL! But our therapist can just chillax and let it be.
Huh. Let it be. Hold space.Interesting because now that I think about it that is what I have been struggling with lately. Perhaps this is a better way for me to think about the perceived “inaction” in my life: maybe the universe is building in a pause period for me to figure some more stuff out. To untangle the Christmas lights a little more so the lights can shine through clearer.
This sh*t right here y’all, this is why I love writing. And therapy! This is why I love therapy! These periods of pause might be challenging for me, but maybe I just needed a new perspective. The quiet pause might be viewed as an extension of what I experience in therapy: moments of being that will help me bring further clarity before taking action. (Or maybe it is simply a pregnant pause (ha! Pun intended) to savor the gifts in my life before I build another robot.)
Huh. That makes a lot of sense. This is what we call in therapy lingo, an “a-ha!” moment.
Because shit happens but then we talk about it for fifty minutes and we figure stuff out. We hold space to be so we may see.
Hallelujah, how I love therapy day.
(And seriously, may we all have someone to do this with! If I was Oprah, I’d totally make that happen…”A therapist for you! A therapist for you! Therapists for EVERYONNNNE!!!!”)
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Do I start with the yellow butterflies that appeared before my mom’s death and have visited me ever since? Always yellow, popping up and following me on walks, outside windows and even on highways as I speed by.
I am not sure how to break this to you. Like removing a band-aid, it is probably best to do this quickly. Not beat around the bush.
When your daughter turns three, she requests a Frozen-themed cake and wears a princess dress to her party.
Are you ok? Do you need to sit down? Can I get you a glass of water?
First things first: What is Frozen you ask? ONLY THE BEST DISNEY MOVIE EVER. (I should explain: most parents in the future disagree with you on that point. Just an FYI.)
No, seriously. It is a Disney movie that doesn’t entirely suck. It is a story about true love…BETWEEN SISTERS! #didn’tseethatonecoming. (Bonus: your amazing sister even makes a stunning cake featuring the movie’s protagonists. #Sistersforever.)
A photo posted by Sarah (@mourningdovemotherhood) on
I digress. Back to the princess thing.
First of all, do not fret. Your future self has not abandoned all her feminist principles. Not by a long shot.
Here is the thing: in the future, you chill out and learn to trust your child. You understand that she isn’t fragile and will not break at the site of a Disney princess.
You find balance.
Yes, your kid watches Frozen, but she also watches Bob the Builder, Curious George, and Masha and the Bear. (That last one? Oh just a quirky Russian cartoon about a girl and her anthropomorphic bear friend. You will dig it.)
Here’s the other thing: the more your get into this parenting gig, the more you learn that you can’t make every little thing about YOU. You learn to let your child be who they are. This means that sometimes you have to release your preconceived visions of how you think things should be.
Like, letting your child wear nothing but a diaper while opening Christmas presents, despite the fact that she is essentially naked in all the photos. She hates clothes (she is a toddler) and it just is not worth the battle. You learn to roll with it.
Why, you could even say you learn to Let it go! (Ha! This will be a funny joke in the future, trust me.)
Take heart. She initially wanted a dinosaur cake for her birthday. She still loves dinosaurs, too. In fact, at daycare one day, the teacher jokingly called her “princess z.” and she scowled back, “I am NOT a princess. I am a dinosaur! I am a T-REX!”
So relax. It’s all good.
Your Future Self
P.S. Girlfriend, invest in some good under-eye concealer. You’re going to need it.
Anyone want to join me in starting a gratitude practice for 2016?
(And yes I know it is January 4th. It is ok! I give us permission to start on whatever damn day we feel like. Isn’t it fun pissing off the inner perfectionist?)
Last year I started a daily(ish) walking meditation practice and I am STILL hooked. (By the way, walking meditation is just a fancy way of saying that I took a walk, breathed in and out, and paused to express gratitude.) It has become integral to my mental health. I’m more centered, calm, and I certainly yell less at my kid. Win-win-win.
I wasn’t thinking of adding an additional gratitude practice this year…but then I saw Elizabeth Gilbert with her big ol’ jar of gratitude (see below). Sweet Moses, how fun would it be to read through those at the end of the year?!
It got me thinking that there might be other neat ways to practice gratitude. Here is a round up of some simple ideas I came across. As for me? I think I’m going to do a variation of the gratitude jar. Needless to say mine will not be made of glass. (Oh, just imagine how quickly my kid would shatter that lovely jar!)
FUN GRATITUDE PRACTICE IDEAS:
1. Gratitude Garland
Wildfeatherswellness provides instruction for creating a Gratitude Garland. You write thoughts of gratitude, remembrance, inspiration or refelction onto your garland and hang it where you can see it and be reminded of it.
What a beautiful way to remember a loved one or simply make visible the moments that fill your heart.
Simply write down your thoughts in a journal as you see fit. (I like this one,this one, and the one at left from Raven + Lily, a company that helps employ over 1,500 marginalized women with the goal of alleviating poverty among women.)