The holiday season has begun and yet again this year I find myself struggling to find where I fit in. My mom got sick when I was 12 and I have such a short window of ever remembering a good Christmas. I remember the ones that were sad, lonely, and devoid of much joy. My mom was sick or we did not have money for food and bills so gifts, Christmas, and Santa were not top on the list.
Somehow my dad loved Christmas and yet what I saw of that was the love of decorating, the ambience that made it seem that all was well when really it was not. I am torn by my ghost of Christmas past, and how I really have never gotten into the Christmas spirit since I was 12. It has always felt forced and fake to me. I have been at other Christmas’ as an adult where the kids involved ripped their gifts open and only asked for more. It rubbed me the wrong way and I vowed to never breed that in my family. I either do not want to celebrate it the way the rest of the world does, or I want to create a different story. Chris agrees.
Added to my ghost of Christmas past — is that Nico’s birthday is on Christmas. Due to my past I would rather spend the day celebrating him and his birthday than Christmas. Yet, how do we do that when others in our life might not understand where we are coming from? I have long had the opinion (and have shared in other blogs) that I do not want to lie to Nico about Santa. I think there is a way to keep the world magical and real and not lie to our children. How do we ever expect them to trust us if we lie to them? Magic can happen with honesty. Did we all just get sucked into the story of Christmas? The one that circles back to Black Friday, retail, and consumerism? Or is it about spending time together, shared experiences, and giving to others? How many of us actually do that during the holiday season?
Gratefully, Nico will not know the difference this year, but next year will be different. This year (whether his birthday, or if we decide to do an actual Christmas) he is delighted to just have us open a box from Amazon Prime — even if the box contains batteries. Even better when it has a toy truck or school bus.
Call me extreme, but this momma is torn on what to do and how to bring the true spirit of Christmas into Nico’s life.
We all just want to be loved. I think of it often — when I feel I am acting out, when I see a colleague lose it, a friend struggle, or loved one unhappy. At the heart of everything love is the core of why we do so many things. We want it. We want it all the time. This idea from Mark Nepo in “The Book of Awakening” says it all for me:
“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.
When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.
It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”
I was thinking about it in relation to Thanksgiving Day. Think about how loved you are and share that with others this week. Even if you might not feel loved – you are. Someone said in a meeting recently “You get what you give.” I love that. It is so true. As we go into a day of gratitude and thanks, remember to take off your gloves and get rid of your layer of protection. Be the raw and real you.
Make sure the doorknob feels cold, and the car handle feels wet, and maybe you will get more kisses goodbye, or maybe you should give them more often.
Life has ebbed and flowed over the past year. I have missed the space in my life that allows for pondering, writing, and sharing via my blog. Authenticity is very important to me and I have not felt that I could give of myself in the way I wanted to write and share in this past year. And since I bring myself to everything wholeheartedly I shut this blog life part of my life away in a closet. What I want — and have every intention to try — is to share (at random of course) blogs as I can. Hopefully it will not be another year until my next one.
I have been fascinated lately with how I will hear an idea that will resonate so strongly with me and then it shows up in varying ways. Recently I ran across this Daily Om called “Focus on the Good.” It brings up the idea of vibrations – and it is one of those ideas that has been popping out at me in articles, books, and conversations. Everything you do at every moment is watched and seen by others. What you do and say is like throwing a rock in the pond, the impact of the action reverberates out to those that surround you. Vibrations can have an expansive, spreadable impact — whether positive or negative.
Every moment of every day you have a choice — what comes out of your mouth, the language your body expresses — is absorbed by all around you and makes up the vibration you share as part of who you are and how you show up to others.
I have been thinking a lot about the “vibe” I bring in a meeting when I react to good or bad news, how I handle Nico when he might have a tantrum, the cashier at the store, when I am grumpy, what ripple do I leave? We talk a lot at work about the “vibe” we want to leave. Your vibe is really the vibration you leave behind.
It has been a while since I have put my fingers to the keyboard in a way that was not a means to the end. There is not enough time in the day to allow my mind to slow down and ponder life, to let the mantra in my head release and allow the clickity clack of the keys bring forth the words in my mind to share with you. There have been many days when I have written a blog in my head and when the few free moments at the end of the day graced me, my eyes melded shut while the now comfortable whoosh whoosh sound of the pump surrounds me as I drain the last milk of the day out of my boobs. That or I am finishing the necessary work to prep for my next day, because when I get home at the end of the day I want to spend every moment with my growing little boy. Did I mention that I am back in the office?
I will tell you I have missed you. I have missed my daily rants and release of ideas that I come across in the day in hopes that it brings a smile to your face, pause to your day, or a WTF moment. Last week a colleague shared an article that just got my wheels turning and I had to share. This article is about the saltbox. A bit random I know but the author just hit at so many ideas that resonate with me. Her story of the Saltbox titled: “Lessons according to salt.”
“The saltbox itself as an object is unremarkable. Alone, it communicates nothing. Says nothing about its role. Its intention. Its history as a gift born out of a romance between my maternal grandparents. Says nothing of its possibilities.
But add people, and it becomes a central iterative device. The license to change, to iterate, to test, to add, to make, to make over, to create (clearly, with food). It gives license and latitude to stray from what has been written (recipes) for those too shy to do. Therefore, it gives strength. It gives iterative powers to those not comfortable with version control. With its subtlety comes comfort in change. One might say the saltbox, and access to it, is magic.”
Later the author says:
“What separates a leader from a manager is the quality of an editor. The role of a good editor is not to be seen, in fact, but to make an author’s words come forward. A good editor dissolves into the background. It’s not unlike typography. Focus too much on the type, and you’ve lost the story. Whether as editor, director, or head of department, my role is not to be seen, but to create a space to make the stories of those I work with come forward.”
I manage a team of ten amazing souls that make it worth coming to work each day. Is it always fun? No. Is it always easy? No. But damn we have fun trying. I hope that I keep focusing on the story and that I create a space to make the stories come forward.
Maybe it resonates with me because I write, or maybe it is because I am a new mom and I think that, much like leading a team, as a momma I really am here to love the crap out of this little bugger, but also to create the space for his stories to come to life. My role is to let him shine and be seen. Momma, manager, editor.
I encourage you to read Liz’s full article on the saltbox. Maybe it will inspire you too.
Dada. Similar to Jimmy Fallon, Chris has decided that he wants Nico to call him Dada. As most of you that are parents know your life and world is turned upside down when you have a kid. I now call Chris Dada when he is in another part of the house and I need him. We both hope Nico will say Dada or momma first. Of course I think I carried the kid, and feed him every three hours, I should come first right? Alas, it probably will not work that way.
I have it good. I have the most amazing, smiley, giggling little boy who is happy all the time, squeals in the afternoon because he wants to go outside, and NEVER stops moving. He is just like his momma, my brain never stops, and I am always moving. This kid is going to be hard to keep up with for sure.
I have no idea how people adopt or raise children alone. It would be almost impossible to me. Chris keeps me sane, fed, encourages me to relax, and is so damn patient with me and Nico. He will be the perfect parent to oversee the potty training because he will sit on the side of the bathtub for as long as he has to (whereas I would eventually lose my mind waiting), he already cooks while holding Nico, and I see a budding chef in the making. As I go back to work, they will be spending some father/son time together this summer, and while I am wildly jealous I cannot be with them, I am so grateful and excited for this time they will have together.
I could not do it without you. Happy First Dada’s Day, Chris.