Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lemon Squeezer

It had already been a rough day. We all seemed to start the day off on the wrong foot. No one slept well. The attitude of my 7 going-on-14 year old was too much. My 20 month old was a cranky mess. I was irritated and wanted my space. If the day was a car -- it was a lemon.

It came for Samantha's nap. Eliana went into her room to play legos and I put down Samantha for her nap. When Sammy finally fell into a deep sleep I went to lay down on my bed. I was tired. exhausted. Mentally and Physically. I could use this time to relax. Maybe watch some Netflix. Maybe take a nap---

My thoughts are interrupted by hearing Eliana humming and playing in the room adjacent.

Le sigh.

I should get up and spend some time with her. Good time, mind you. All day has been huffs and puffs from both of us and we weren't really connecting. We needed to do something to connect. Something with our hands, something physical. Something more than me lying down on the ground on her floor while following her command on "how to play exactly how I think this should go". Against every part of me that wanted to lie down and take some "me time" I forced myself to get up.

"You want to help me make blackberry lemonade?" I ask her.

"No. I'll just be your taste tester."

I hide my disappointment. "You sure?"

"Yeah." She goes back to playing without missing a beat. And just like that she is in her own world.

So instead of chalking up my idea as a fail and retreating to my previous plan of lying down and resting, I go downstairs and start getting everything ready to make the lemonade. I figured I could make the simple syrup now and put it in the fridge to cool so that by the time the lemons were all squeezed it would be ready. After everything was all set I went back up to Eliana. I wouldn't let up that easily. We needed to connect.

"I could really use your help" I say to her.

"Really?!" She throws down everything she is doing and follows me.

We made blackberry lemonade together. She dubbed herself the "Lemon Squeezer" and I was the "Lemon Cutter." I cut the lemons in half and she squeezed every. single. one.

And you know what? During that time we chatted and chatted. Laughed and giggled. Talked about so many different things I can't even remember. 

We connected.

After a long day of butting heads we connected. I could have left Eliana to play in her own world. We probably would have been fine the rest of the day after I took a nap and was rejuvenated. We probably would have connected at some point that day. But that isn't the point here. Sometimes you have to make effort to make meaningful connections -- even when it is against every fiber in your tired exhausted being.

And in those moments I pray she remembers those moments. Those moments where we build something together. Those moments where we are laughing and giggling about the silliest things. Not the moments where we get on each other's nerves. 

Life will always be full of both moments. God knows I'm not perfect. I lose my temper, I get impatient. I am quick to yell.  She isn't perfect either. She gets cranky, mischievous and wants to defy rules. 

In fact; no one is perfect

If we only remember each other by our bad moments, then we aren't really looking at the whole picture. If I only remember Eliana as the sum of the days where she bugged me and got on my last nerve, it would be very difficult to see her as the beautiful, intelligent, silly, and amazing young girl that she is. I pray she remembers those moments where we connect in a positive way. I also pray that I don't forget the importance of making these meaningful moments with my Lemon Squeezer.

♥ Michelle

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hugs are Important too

In the midst of changing a diaper of a squirmy, octopus-like, non stop moving, kicking me from the chest to the crotch, almost 20 month old, she suddenly stopped still and looked up at me.


"Mommy, hug?"

I looked down at her and I started to say "OK mama, but I need to finish changing your diaper..."

My mind is racing through all the reasons why I just need to finish changing your diaper. Memories of past incidences rush to my mental foreground and it only seems logical to finish changing your diaper and then give you a hug. I shouldn't leave you diaperless. In a second you could possibly have an accident, which I will have to clean up (more importantly which I don't want to clean up), or you could start running and fall on your bare bottom and then hurt yourself. So yes I should finish changing your diaper first. That would be the logical order of operations. It will only takes a few seconds as I wrestle you still, my sometimes tame gorilla (seriously how can you possibly be that strong).

But I stop. My logical order is not the right order in this moment. I don't need to finish first. Your diaper will get changed regardless.  A few minutes from now will come and you will be running from my grasp and playing and jumping and throwing toys on the floor. Right now you are asking for me to stop and listen. Hugs are important too.

So I stop and lean down and hug you as you lie still and whisper "Hug mamas"

I stand up she put her arms back out. "Mommy, hug"
I leaned in again and give her a big hug.

Then as I was standing up again she grabbed my face, pulled me down and said "Kiss?"

I give her a big kiss.

And then I finished changing her diaper.

Sometimes I can feel tapped out, and just want to finish, streamline my process so I can get it , whatever it is, done. But love isn't a process to finish. I want to be able to stop everything I am doing and be there for her when she needs it. I need to let go of part of myself there. It isn't easy to remind myself to stop and listen to what my kids need me. Especially when sometimes all day it seems to be a constant flow of "needs". 

Thank you mama for reminding me to stop and listen. Hugs are important too.

♥ Michelle

Friday, August 14, 2015

It's been a while

It's been a while. Since I've been here.

When I created this virtual space I saw it as a place to voice my thoughts, or things I want to say or process. But things happen, life gets busy, and I and haven't been using it. 

I mentioned when I was younger that I always dreamed of being an author, a writer. I always have so many lines of thought that I want to write down and now that Samantha is older and I feel I have more time I'm finally committing myself to actually doing it. Finding therapeutic, de-stressing activities are very important to me -- and writing may very well become another addition to my personal health! 

Confession: I have over ten posts that I have drafted and never finished and/or published them. 

A new leaf can come whenever it may right? Well. Here is to turning over a new leaf. I will be starting my blog up again. I hope to finish up and publish those drafts soon! :)

♥ Michelle