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Thursday Thoughts

I don’t do this nearly enough to call it a segment (I think weekly segments are done weekly, no?), but that’s only because I have a really hard time remembering what day of the week it is most days.

Terrible twos, before first birthday – Is this a thing? I know most people are hopeful that their kids will be advanced in other ways, like walking or talking or solving geometric equations (is that a thing?), but I guess mine is diving into challenging behavioral changes early so, yay? He’s taking nearly an hour to get to sleep each night, and when he decides to sleep before midnight (1:15 was the time on the clock by the time I untangled myself from him last night), he wakes up after an hour ready to rumble as if we’re having a big party without him. I know some people swear by sleep training and go on and on about how it’s actually beneficial for the kid to learn to soothe themselves (can I even do that, though, like, let’s be real) but I don’t buy it. I mean, it’s cool if you do, but it just doesn’t fit with my parenting style, so I’ll pass. But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain about the boobie barnacle’s bad late-night habits.

I’m leaving the baby for the first time in a few weeks – Is it crazy that I made it 11 months without ever going anywhere without this kid? What will that feel like? Am I going to randomly cry, or will I enjoy myself? I’ll be attending a doula workshop in Riyadh for 3 days and hubby will take charge of the monkey during the day for those days, so that should be really interesting. As with all things related to his dad, though, I’m sure he will be just a peach and make me look like a total drama queen for being at my wit’s end most days.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m looking for ways to revamp the blog (or vamp, because it will be the first time), and working on some fun new content for you guys, mainly about mom stuff (shocking, I know), but I also want to explore some fashion topics and see what happens.

Happy weekend – or almost-weekend if you’re on another side of the world.

 

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If We Were Having Coffee…

In an effort to finish what I started – even if it’s a bit late – I wrote a little something for the last prompt on the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words, which was: if we were having coffee. 

It’s no secret that I love and need coffee, but what you may not know is that every time I drink a cup, I think of my grandfather, my Papa. I was blessed to be close with my grandparents, and am even more blessed to still be close with them. They’ve had such a profound influence on my life, and have a special place in my heart.

This one’s for you, Papa. I’ve had coffee all around the world, but nothing compares to coffee with you.


If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your day.

You’d mention how much pain you’re in, and how you wish that I could stay.

I’d start to say something like, “I’m sorry,” but stop myself, knowing how lame it sounds, I’d search for the words, and fall short, and come up with nothing profound.

Because what I mean to say is so much more than words could convey; I wish you could move and dance freely, joke and laugh, and that life wouldn’t take me away.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you what’s up with me.

We’d catch up on baby, on life, and I’d share with you all that I wish to be.

You were always the best listener, someone in whom I could always confide, and I never felt any pressure to be someone other than me, I never felt like I had to hide.

Even when you didn’t agree, you always stayed with me, because you knew who I was and never saw me as who you wished I would be.

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for breaking your heart.

I know when I put all the miles between us, it tore our family apart. You never stopped me, or begged me not to go, and it hurts me to be so far away from you, too, I hope that’s something you always know.

If we were having coffee, I’d sit as close to you as I could, because I know these moments are precious and fleeting, and rarely do we get to spend time in the presence of someone so pure, so kind, so good.

When I’m having coffee, I think of you a lot; we could always count on you to have a freshly brewed pot. But it wasn’t the coffee, or even the flavored creamer that kept us coming back, it was you, Papa, the love you showed us, the comfort you gave, and we will always smile at that.

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Guest Post – Feelin’ All the Feels

So, I’m a day late on the Word Tribe’s Festival of Words (what’s new, really?) but I’m not letting it discourage me from posting because this, this, is a really special one.

While I haven’t delved much into my family life outside of hubby and baby, I do in fact have the whole shebang, including parents and siblings – one badass brother whose current pursuits include a degree in Criminal Justice and powerlifting, and the sweetest, most artistic sister who’s about to make you feel allllllll the feels.

Today’s prompt was to have a guest post or interview, and – as always – my sis was the first one to pop into my mind. She’s been tirelessly working on an ebook of poetry that’s set to release on Amazon later this month and it. is. beautiful.

I chose only one piece to include here, though you can see another sneak peak on my Instagram. Get in touch and let me know what you think; and I will keep you posted on release date and details.

Into the moonlight

Lightning, thunder and rain.

The one that brings you pain.

The two that bring you blues.

The three together are just beauty into the moonlight as the rain fills your shoes.

-KNA

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Dear son

So, today is the 5th day of the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words and the 3rd time I’m writing. Even if you’re horrible at math you know that doesn’t add up. In the spirit of full transparency, aside from dealing with daily tasks and a cranky baby (are there teeth coming in at 11 months? Is he just upset to be another year older like the rest of us? I can’t tell where the grouchiness comes from anymore…), I’ve been dealing with a bit of mental fog that just won’t let me get motivated for anything, even things that I enjoy doing. So it seems like forcing myself to sit down and write instead of watching another episode of “The Good Wife” on Netflix (seriously, have you seen that show? I know I’m 10 years behind but the chemistry between Will and Alicia is off the charts!) is the only way to go.

Today’s topic is simple: write a letter.

And, as a new mom staring my son’s first birthday in the face, the choice of whom to write the letter to was simple, too. Although, a letter to hubby did cross my mind, I imagine the contents to this letter will be more… publishable. So, without further ado…

Dear son,

I know every mom makes a point to say this, but bringing you into this world was not an easy task. Aside from the usual pain that comes with pushing a tiny-but-still-not-that-tiny human out of my body, the aftermath of your birth hit me hard, and the first few weeks home with you I wasn’t sure I would survive. But, somehow, we did. You and me, we helped each other make it through.

You’ve always had a strong personality, something they don’t tell you about babies – that you can see a glimpse of your future teenager from day one. You don’t take shit from anyone; if you like something, you love it, and if you dislike something, everyone knows it. I wouldn’t say that you’ve been a serious baby, but your laughter doesn’t come easily, which makes it all the more precious to hear. I hope that this one day will translate itself into someone who thinks before he speaks, and weighs his options carefully (but not too carefully); someone who understands that while logic should rule our decisions, our heart should guide our logic, and someone who knows that best thing to do is not always the easy thing, or the most accepted thing, but the right thing.

There are a million things left to say and – lucky you! – I’m sure you’ll hear it all over the years from your dad and me. But the most important thing to remember is this: most things in life are shades of grey, but a mother’s love and support is not. The love I have for you, son, will never fade, diminish, or age. I will support you in all things, even if my support doesn’t always look like acceptance. I will listen to you, even to the things I may not want to hear, and I will always keep in mind that you are your own person, and that’s who I will raise you to be. If there ever comes a day where you don’t feel the comfort of my love and encouragement surrounding you, then I have failed, and if I fail at being a good mom, no other accomplishment could ever make up for it.

My prayer for you is and will always be that you are kind, gentle but strong, intelligent, and surrounded by love, light, and happiness (and that you will sleep through the night by next month). You were a part of me once – and as long as I remember the heartburn and backaches, so will you! – and so it won’t be easy letting you go into the world, but I will do it because I know at the end of the day I don’t own you, I’ve only been charged with raising you, and although we’re only a year in, what an amazing privilege it has been.

I know we will have bumps along the way, as all parent-child relationships are fraught with disagreements and miscommunication, but I hope we come out of it stronger, as friends; you may be stuck with me as your mom, but I would like to think that one day – even if it’s 30 years down the road – you would actually choose to hang out with me.

I love you, son, and I can’t imagine my life without you.

Love,

Mama

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Time Isn’t Money. It’s Much More.

So, as promised, today’s a two-for-one day! Before I dive into the second topic, I want to say a bit about why I decided to join the challenge in the first place. It actually wasn’t a complicated decision; I saw something about it on Instagram, thought to myself ‘that would be cool’, and signed up. It was one of the simpler decisions I’ve made in the past week, and I’m glad to be a part of something that gets my creative juices flowing.

So, without further ado, the second topic of the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words is: Share about a resource/s you have or use

As your typical American Millennial from a middle-class suburb, I got lucky. I had the right opportunities at the right times with the right passport and ended up in the right places. To say I didn’t work hard for all I have in my life would be a discredit to all the elbow grease I put in over the years, but I certainly didn’t have to work as hard as others to get where I am. But the resource that I’ve come to see as my most valuable is something that everyone technically has the same of, though it seems the poor have more and the rich have less.

That resource is time.

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As a kid I had a bedtime, a time to start school, a time to be home before mom came looking for me (which you did not want). I spent time with my friends, time on the computer, time daydreaming about N*SYNC, and time with family. As I grew older I split my time between high school and a part time job, hanging out with friends, and shopping. College saw time disappear and suddenly I couldn’t consume enough iced coffee from Creekside Cafe and even the all-nighters I spent writing 10-page papers didn’t seem to be long enough. And, as if time couldn’t go any faster, I was starting out at the sea of parents and friends as I waltzed across the stage to collect my diploma. And then, well, then I’m not sure what happened, but 24 hours just didn’t seem like enough to have the kind of life I wanted.

Work. Home. Family. Friends. Bed. Repeat. I couldn’t stay out too late on weekdays, I could never wake up as early as my alarm clock implored, the weekends seemed to pass in three breaths, and somehow Decembers and Junes were speeding by. My friends were getting married, I was getting married, and then I found myself pregnant, and knew it was time to slow down.

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The funny thing about having kids is that you have the perfect idea of how to do absolutely everything. And then the baby comes and somehow all your perfect ideas turn into theories that never quite work out as planned. I was in over my head, and time seemed to stop. Feed, burp, sleep, change, play, repeat. You’d think it would fly by all too quickly, but somehow in the moment, it felt like a lifetime. I wasn’t sure the first 2 weeks were going to ever pass, let alone the 8 month mark, which is when everyone told me it got better. I spent countless hours in the room, door closed, hoping nobody wanted to hold the baby, because I couldn’t let anyone hold the baby, crying, rocking, feeding, sleeping.

Of course, if you’ve been down the dark road of Postpartum Depression, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It may not have looked the same, but it all feels the same; cold, lonely, and never ending. Instasize_0928135723.jpg

When I decided to quit my teaching job to stay at home with the baby, I knew that there would be days when my world was so small – 25 pounds and 29 inches small – but what I didn’t expect were all the moments that would take my breath away, and make me so happy to have all 24 hours to spend with my son. By quitting my job I gave myself the gift of time with this tiny human, and I haven’t missed out on a single moment. All the first babbles and movements, the crawls and the steps, the problem solving and the cat attacking; I’ve been here for it all. Sometimes when I think about the future, about Adam going off to school, I stop to hold him close just a few seconds longer, or smell his head just a few more times, because I know one day time will speed up again, and I’ll miss these moments where he and I are suspended in the giddiness of our own little world.

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Time is our most valuable resource because no matter how much money or fame we acquire, we can never get more of it. It’s something that we need to invest wisely because time well spent can mean the difference between a good life and a great life, and more time with loved ones is never guaranteed.

Check me out on Instagram @mama.fil

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Treasure yo’self

So I signed up for this awesome writing challenge, and totally got behind yesterday, as usual when hubby’s home and we fill our day with billions of things before the weekend is over. Anyway, here’s the first post, and lucky you! You’ll be getting another one in just a bit 🙂

Write Tribe Festival of Words #6, Day One: Write about a treasure you have

Treasure: noun, a very valuable object.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to shop. Online, in-store, catalogue, outlets, malls, boutiques, you name it. If there’s an establishment that sells items, I’m there. And – like most people pre-marriage and pre-kids – I’ve spent an (un)fair share of my time shopping til I drop.

Those who know me also know that I love to travel. Making up my mind to spend the weekend in Istanbul or Amsterdam on a Thursday used to be normal for me. The places I’ve been able to see, the adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve met are all memories that will last a lifetime.

Knowing these two things, many people would guess that the treasure I would write about would be a killer purse, or my favorite shoes, or the passport that’s gotten me into so many countries, While I treasure all of those things, there is something far more valuable to me than anything I could ever own. It’s something I lived a long time without, something I didn’t think existed for many people, and something I had resigned myself to not having, yet still chased relentlessly.

That something is happiness. I know, I know, how cliche. But, it cliches did become so for a reason, and that reason is usually because they stand as true.

For many years, I believed happiness to be something that was just around the corner, waiting, watching, lurking, dancing around with the word IF. If I just did something that made my dad proud, if I just turned in an awesome assignment that impressed my teacher, if I just made friends with the popular group in school, if I just played it cool and made it seem like I didn’t care too much, if I could just wait a little bit longer so the situation could get better, then I would be happy. I thought it took work, sacrifice, patience, willpower. And I thought that if I could just distract myself from the reality of now – like with shopping and traveling – I would be able to ride the wave of despair until I arrived at the shore of happiness.

Except, the shore never came. I was neck-deep in the water, drowning, looking for a way out, any tiny sliver of land that didn’t seem to exist.

I wasn’t wrong about what it took to achieve happiness, I just wasn’t applying those tools in the right context. I didn’t like my life, I didn’t like the circumstances, and I didn’t want to wait to anymore. I decided that to blow things up by choice would be better than to allow life to pass me by and be unhappy with the outcome. At least if I was making any decision – even the wrong ones – I would have the opportunity to be unhappy by choice, my choice. And so I did. And the weirdest thing happened. The unintended consequence of shaking up my world was that I became happy.

Once I couldn’t blame anyone and anything else for my situation, I had to work that much harder to live with my choices. I chose to wake up in a foreign country, teach, travel, meet new people, and make decisions that I had to live with. Once the reality was my own, something that I had created, I couldn’t escape it anymore, but I didn’t want to either.

As humans we all fall into the trap of letting be what already is; we are naturally disinclined to change, and appreciate the status quo, even when it doesn’t serve us, because it’s comfortable, and who likes to be uncomfortable? Comfort is safe and warm, and can wrap you up in its steadiness, but comfort doesn’t necessary equal happy, and if you’re not making moves to make sure that you’re living a happy life, then what are you doing? We believe ourselves to be stuck in situations because of obligations – financial, familial, career – but often times, if we really sit with ourselves and strip away the excuses, there’s no reason for us to continue down a path that makes us miserable. If you value money, accolades, material things, expensive trips, you will always be stuck in a cycle trying to maintain those things, sometimes even at the expense of your personal relationships, and almost always at the expense of your happiness.

For now happiness is something that I feel every day, even if only in glimpses. In my son’s smile, in the way the cat curls up into my lap and purrs, in my 10th cup of coffee (kiddingggggg) (kind of), in the way my husband relaxes when he walks through the door at night. And, while I don’t carry all the details in my mind of those long days without it, I will always remember what it felt like to yearn for something that seemed to be so abundant in the world, yet so absent in my life. So, with that, I treasure each moment of happiness I feel, no matter how small, and I seek to make choices that lead me down the path of finding more each day.

Do something today that will make happy even tomorrow, something that your future self will be proud of.