A salty momma, manager, editor

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.

Pamper me everyday

I know Mother’s Day was over 2 weeks ago, so I guess you could say I am a bit late with a Mother’s Day post. It is funny, when I was pregnant with Nico during Mother’s Day 2015 people sent me notes to say Happy Mother’s Day. It felt a bit odd to me, as we had not yet met this little baby boy. This year also felt a bit strange — as he is still so young.

My mom passed away when I was 16, and even then she was not really present in my life going back to the age of 12. Those four years in between were filled with doctors appointments, hospitals, nurses, at-home health equipment, food stamps, depression, and so much more. I do not remember much about middle school and the beginning of high school, but I remember the bed pans, the pain, the fear of not being there for her. What kid should go through that? I also do not remember much about how we spent our Mother’s Day each year.

So why do I sound like the scrooge of Mother’s Day? I strongly believe that we do not need these hallmark holidays. Those that know Chris and I will know that my response to someone who says, “Chris, pamper Tami on Mother’s Day.” I would say to that, “pamper me everyday.” Why not, right? We should love, cherish, and take care of each other each and every day. Why find one day out of the year to share appreciation? Why not do it every day? I feel the same way about Valentine’s Day and a plethora of other hallmark holidays.

So since I have spent more Mother’s Day without my mom than I spent with her it maybe takes a bit of the pizazz out of the day for me. Since Nico is so small, why celebrate? When he is old enough to care I would rather he decide how he would like to approach the day. Some kids get really into it. At the end of the day, though, I would rather teach and model to him that we cherish each other every day. Why not, right? Life is short.

I am in love.

I promise I will not change my blog from being about anything and everything, and entirely random, but for now my mind is on babies.

I am in love. Everyone tells you how much you will be in love and addicted to your own child. They tell you, and you hear it, but it does not really sink in until you hold that precious little baby. There is no way to bottle up that knowledge — it is something that has to be experienced. I can imagine what a lot of things would be like, but many have to be experienced and felt as they happen. I have also been told that not everyone falls in love and becomes attached to their child right away.

I will say that first hour of bonding after delivery was a bit of a blur. I could see him right in front of me but the way he was laying I could not see his face. And, I was exhausted. So utterly exhausted. So it is a blur. Sure I have pictures and a video, and I am grateful he was on me first before getting checked out and cleaned up. It is the hours and days that follow that make me a feisty momma bear. I would d0 absolutely anything for this boy.

If I were to start a business, it would be to bottle up that Nico baby smell. It feels like I go and burrow my head in his neck just to smell him. I want that smell never to go away. How is it that babies smell so good? I know that eventually he will smell like sweat, and dirt, but right now I do not want that baby smell ever to go away.

Now I have two boys that melt my heart. Chris. Nico.

The Man Who Hated Christmas

The story below showed up on my Facebook feed this week and as someone who has a similar sentiment to Mike, I felt rather than share a story for Christmas I would share his. Hard to believe that this was from 1982, especially the part that says: “overspending and the frantic running around” — I guess some things do not change. I cannot remember the last time Chris and I exchanged gifts for Christmas (maybe those first few years of marriage). Now we do something together, or decide to do something for our home, but we are done with trying to find that perfect gift, especially when there is little we need.

If we do celebrate Christmas next year with our little man (and the jury is still out on how we are going to decide to navigate the holiday with our son) there will be a white envelope on the tree. Read on to see what I’m referring to, enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

December 14, 1982 Women’s Day

“It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.”

For the Man Who Hated Christmas
By Nancy W. Gavin

Yes.

We all have things we want to change in life. It is why so many individuals decide to make New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes that means that some need to add more adventures in their lives, and others might need to cut back to make room for space in their lives.

Last week I finished reading: “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” by Shonda Rhimes. At first I did not want to read it. While I watch all of Rhimes television shows, I do not know much about her as a person, and sometimes books that come from the Hollywood bore me. I was happily surprised. Shonda Rhimes is a badass.

She talks you through her experience from no shows to having 3 shows on Thursday night at once and what it is like to be so successful, have a family, and be a black woman in Hollywood. And yet, want to hide from it all. Year of Yes is her year to start saying yes to life, yes to what comes her way, and quit hiding from the world. We could all probably use a bit of “yes” in our life. On discussing the 100 pounds she lost (from saying yes to how she approached food):

“Did I not just say it was never going to be easy? Never going to be quick, would there be anyone left out there who talked about struggling with their weight? Now, I’m betting all of these big-time programs you see advertised and recommended by your doctor work. But only if you decide that YOU are going to do the work to make the programs work. Meaning, nothing works if you don’t actually decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Page 157

The key is “decide that you are really and truly ready to do it.” Applicable to so many decisions in life. Making the choice to really be in your marriage, to be the parent you want to be, to give your job your all, to stay fit and healthy. Decide to do it. It is that easy. Yes.