The following post is from a precious member of my tribe, who tragically lost her brother recently. She was brave enough to share the following:
I wrote this social media post in March 2017 after finally acknowledging that I was in a process of grief about the death of my younger brother. I say “a process”, but really it is MY process. Because mine is different from yours, or anyone else’s. Just like every life and every fingerprint, loss is as individual as the person grieving.
Since I wrote this, I have had countless blessings. And my moments of happiness stretch further and further each week. I am still sad, but empowering myself enough to acknowledge it, has given me the room and time to find joy again too.
“Please forgive the length of this post. I have been feeling a tug inside of me to share these words, so perhaps there is someone else who needs to read them. Or perhaps I just need to let them out.
Sometimes it feels like grief for the loss of my brother Daniel is an unwelcome guest in my heart. It is very polite & doesn’t make too much of a mess most days. But I would still prefer for this grief to move on.
February 2nd was the first day since January 17, 2017 that I felt joy for a moment. And then moments free from grief and sadness began stretching out a little bit each day. But sometimes, grief will pop up and spin my head around so hard it hurts.
I know that so many before me have traveled this path after losing their own brothers, sisters, parents, children, spouses and dear friends. And I know that as broken as my heart is right now, God is slowly putting it back together the same way he has put together all of the others before mine. God is granting me the strength, blessings and peace to journey on to the point where Dan’s life becomes more bright in my mind than his death.
So my strength right now is only borrowed.
Because when I arrive at the fork at the end of this path, and when the grief in my heart has eased into something more bearable, I will look at this journey I have taken and see His footprints behind me.
So I am going to stay in my sadness for awhile longer. But through His Grace, and with the support of the amazing people I am blessed to call family and friends, this grief inside my heart is slowly being healed.
I have so much gratitude for the love, messages, prayers and laughter everyone has sent my way. Thank you!”
Silence is not golden…I repeat….Silence is not golden!!!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from an old friend of mine. It came during a difficult time in my marriage, and was in response to the question: Do I continue in a relationship where my needs are not being met and my words fall on deaf ears time & time again? It proved helpful and has guided me in relationships ever since.
“In any relationship (professional or personal), you must tell the other person what you need, want, expect, and deserve. If they rise to meet those expectations and make an effort to give you what you need, then you’ll have your answer.
So..I did just that.
It saved my marriage.
In my work with couples and families, people often say to me…”I bet nothing surprises you anymore”. Actually, what surprises me most about humans is how little they communicate.
I’m talking NO COMMUNICATION…At all…Nothing…Zero…Nada!
Listen up people….life is messy. Relationships are messy. Humans are a lot of things, but they are NOT MIND READERS! You may be waiting for the right words or the right time to have a difficult conversation. Guess what? There is no right time, and you may never have the right words Stop waiting and start talking.
Do not expect others to give you what you need, want and/or expect, if you are not willing to tell them what that is! If they make an effort to give you what you need/want and expect, they are keepers. If they don’t, won’t or can’t, at least you can walk away knowing you did everything within your power to salvage the …(marriage, friendship, business partnership), etc…You get the idea…now get to talking.
It is more than a little ironic that Yoga is the activity I turn to on a daily basis to cope with the ups and downs of being a parent. The more I think about it, the more I realize YOGA is the perfect metaphor for parenting.
I can almost hear each reader’s audible ugh as I type this post. YOGA….
Ya either love it, hate it, OR BOTH. Some of you haven’t tried it yet. Some of you never will. Kind of sums up having children does it?
I can’t recall exactly when my love affair with yoga began, but let me assure you; it definitely was NOT love at first sight. Truth be told, my first date with yoga TOTALLY sucked.
First of all, before the date even started, Yoga wanted me to be quiet-STRIKE 1- I like to talk. Correction: I LOOOVE talking. Besides, how are we going to know if we like each other if we don’t talk?
Our love connection was off to a very rocky start.
Next, YOGA proceeded to tell me to “be still”. Seriously? Who the hell does this YOGA think he is? Doesn’t he realize I’m a mom & dishes don’t wash themselves? I’ve got things to do. Furthermore, when I am still…I start thinking. I think too much…waay toooo much. Strike 2.
The final strike came when Yoga wanted me to set an intention. An intention for what? Staying alive? Fine. My intention was pretty much to try super hard not to throw up or pass out OR die a heaping hot sweaty mess in the middle of all of these toned and tan & oddly serene strangers.
Ok…you win YOGA. I intend to survive this class.
As it turns out, I not only survived the first date; I came back for more.
YOGA and I proceeded to “date” on and off for the next few years. We even broke up a few times (my decision), before I realized that I really missed it..and loved it….and NEEEEEEEEEEEDED IT.
So now we are back together…at least for the time being.
Anyway, I digress. My point was to tell you how lessons learned in YOGA mirror that of my experience in parenting.
YOGA ASKS THAT WE:
- Show up. Most days, making it onto your mat is the hardest part.
- Set an intention to guide your practice. Intentions are unique and change on a daily basis depending on your child’s sugar intake & the amount of caffeine you have ingested.
Today, I want my children to be responsible, compassionate, passionate about learning, and kind. Tomorrow I intend to not screw them up too much. By Wednesday, my intention is usually not to throw up, pass out or die trying.
- Focus inward…. How does the vision I have of myself, others and the world shape my choices as a parent. How am I reacting to their successes & failures? What parts of my own childhood am I replicating or running from and why?
- Rest. It is a sign of strength. I repeat..RESTING IS ALWAYS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, never a sign of weakness.
- Be flexible. The more rigid you are, the more it’s gonna hurt.
- Focus on small daily progress. The practice doesn’t change. You do.
- Don’t look around. When you do, you give your energy away. This is not a competition & comparisons are a not helpful.
- Be present. Looking behind or ahead only distracts you from making the most each moment.
BREATHE…You Only Gott A Breathe…When you feel like giving up (& you will want to), you only gotta breathe. As long as you are breathing and staying present, you are doing it right.
Other lessons from “Yoga”…
- You will never do it perfectly no matter how hard you try. In fact, you will often fall. You will look super weird and awkward…crazy even. The good news is, so does everybody else!
- It sometimes feels like it will never end.
- It’s crowded & sweaty….Everyone else is working hard too.
- Everyone has an opinion about how to do it & people are really quick to point out that you are doing it wrong. Tell them to shut the * up and get back on their own mat.
- You mostly go it alone-unless you count the other awkward, hot sweaty messes around you.
- You may or may not have a teacher. If you do, you are lucky. But keep in mind, he or she is just a guide. …She/He doesn’t have all the answers either.
Namaste…the sweaty hot mess in me honors the sweaty hot mess in you.
There a few things I would like to do with my carpool line sign.
None of which are appropriate for publishing on this blog. Those of you who have read my previous posts know how much I adore waiting in the sweltering hot sun (sans my cell phone) to pick up my little cherub.
If you feel the way I do about carpool line, you might be planning to use your sign as kindling for a summer bonfire or for the environmentally conscious reader, recycle it....but don't do that just yet.
I have an idea that beats recycling it….but first, let’s talk about the one part of carpool I actually do enjoy: greeting my sweet little man after a long day at school.
Typically I ask the same standard question as he climbs into the back seat: “How Was Your Day?” Only to hear him mumble back the even more standard answer: “Good.”
You know the drill… I continue to hopelessly probe with questions that usually end in “YES or NO”….and if your child is anything like mine, the token answer for “What did you learn at school today?” is “Nothing”.
NOTHING?? What??? REALLY??? I know for a fact that you learned A LOT today and I know that your teacher is amazing… So this answer is just not gonna fly with me today.
After pondering the uber frustrating carpool phenomenon of “I did nothing today!”, I decided to change my approach for next year. I have found a few more specific questions that I plan to have conveniently pasted on the back of the car pool sign, so I can get the real scoop about his day. Yes..some of the questions are gross…BUT you might actually learn A LOT by asking them.. Maybe even more than you bargained for.
If you aren’t crafty, (or don’t own a laminator), I have another suggestion that has helped me a time or two….
PITS AND PEAKS!!!
When your kiddo climbs into the back seat, ask him/her to tell you about their PIT (the absolute worst thing that happened during the day) and their PEAK (the absolute best thing that happened).
You will be amazed by how much information this simple question yields. It is at least a great way to get a conversation started. Happy last day of school!
The official summer countdown has begun & at my house, no one is more ready for some summer fun than me! I am definitely a kid at heart when it comes to those sacred sunscreened days between June 4 and August 14th.
So you better believe that when June 4th rolls around, this mama is going to be ready with an arsenal of summer boredom busters. This year in anticipation of summer break, I made Emmie & Will HELLO SUMMER baskets.
Mother May I…just get through this month!
Those of you who are as old as I am probably played the game Mother May I at least once in your life. The basic gist of the game (for you hot young mamas) is that two teams stand in separate lines and ask for permission to do a certain action…i.e. Mother may I take 4 steps forward?
The “mother ” on the opposing team can grant or deny this request and/or add a modification to the request to suite her liking. Any player who forgets to ask for “Mother’s permission” before taking action has to go back to the starting line.
The irony of this post is that it is officially May (ugh) and as a mother I really want to ask for permission to take 10 steps back, fall into bed,pull the covers over my head and wake up on July 1st!
If you are a mom-you know MAY!! It is that short month squashed between April and June that is chocked full of field trips, award ceremonies, bug spray, field days, and mom “daze.”
May is the reason they invented blood pressure medicine, Xanax and booze.
May means more than a calendar that is over sharpied. It’s an ending….
And endings are hard for me.
Endings make me feel nostalgic..
So this May, “Mother May I” remember to…
- Allow my kids to know what it feels like to be “bored”
- Savor every last drop of that melting popsicle
- Kiss the red kool-aid mustache on my son’s face
- Build a sandcastle or bury my body and my worries in the sand
- Kitchen dance in bare feet to Brown Eyed Girl
- Soak in the sun on my skin
- Sloooooowwwww down & sleep LATE
- Breath deeply…and just BE. .
- Mother May I be mindful that there are only so many summers left before my babies are out on their own!
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”- Steve Maraboli
Twas the 3 months before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring-namely my spouse. The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care & the tree was still boxed, in the attic somewhere. My cherubs were nestled all snug in their beds, while holiday panic danced in my head…..(Doesn’t anyone realize that this whole house has to get decorated ASAP and in accordance with this year’s holiday theme???)
I relay this Christmas rhyme (in May), not to demonstrate that I have lost my marbles, but to confess to you (and to myself) that I struggle with CONTROL ISSUES!!! I wish I could say that my control issues are “seasonal” or even “Christmas tree related”…they aren’t.
Turns out, my desire for control is a 365 day dilemma.
There….my secret is out. I am acknowledging my struggle…and acknowledgement is the first step toward change.
My second step led me to seek a solution. After all, I am in the business of solutions (sort of) & I can’t expect my clients to commit to meaningful life change, if I am not willing to walk that path myself.
So I started walking and walking toward change.. Walking is hard. Walking is really hard , and tiring, & it feels like I am walking in circles. Frankly, this path is crap & needs paving! .
Detours were ambiguously marked by anger, frustration, or anxiety. Dead ends signs screamed TURN BACK NOW!!! THIS IS beyond YOUR control.
So I set myself on cruise control & instead of wandering in circles, I found THE CIRCLE. I have explained it below in hopes it will pave the way for you too.
As you chart your course fellow control freaks…please be kind yourself. The journey is long & you are are not lost; You are “Under Construction”-Remember to conserve fuel by focusing only on what you have control over. You’ll need more than your fair share of fuel for the twists & turns ahead.
Have this day with your children again.
Tomorrow they will be a little older than they are today.
This day is a gift.
So breathe, notice, study their faces and sweet little (or big) feet.
Pay attention to their details.
Relish the charms of the present.
ENJOY today. It will be over before you know it.
I had planned a great big loooooong amazing mom post for Mother’s Day (no pressure)…and then my life happened. There were legos to build, juice boxes to buy, smooches to give and movies to see.
Fellow mom, Happy Day! You are loved.
Thank you Mom & Mom Glancy for being the best role models a girl could ask for! Love you both.
Happy Mother’s Day 2017! Angie
You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you will return. You came here to learn personal love.
Universal love. Messy Love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken Love. Whole love.
Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of….messing up. Often.
You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that YOU SHOW UP. And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s plenty.