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.
Someone on my team told me yesterday about how “Cards Against Humanity (CAH),” the brilliant card game gone wild, released a Black Friday stunt of sorts to “experience nothing for $5.” The company made $71,145 in sales on Black Friday. That is an average of 14,229 people who decided to give up $5 for nothing — if all donations were at $5. Their site indicates that some individuals gave more. This link shares a list of what CAH did with the cash. My favorites:
Alex: 760 pounds of cat litter: $500 — how many years will it take to use that?
Amy: 1.5% of my student loan debt: $2381 — the comment to that list item says “$100,000 for a BA, $60,000 for a MFA and now I design dick jokes for a living.”
Jon: Dinner for 2 at Alinea in Chicago: $840 — Jon I am with you. I know all about the talents of chef Grant Achatz and that is definitely an experience I would have on my list.
Kevin: Not sure what you need 11 boxes of Tylenol PM for, can we talk? ($60)
Nick: Taking CAH team to mini golf, batting cages, and ice cream ($500) — I am a kid at heart and I love that you are thinking about your team.
I loved seeing (whether by request or design) that most of the lists had one or more listings for charities of their choice, and most lists were balanced. My curiosity is, for those that donated was their $5+ tax-deductible? Was it worth it? What was the reasoning for giving $5 for absolutely nothing? Would you do it?
Whether or not the $71,145 should have gone entirely to charity, it was great marketing. If you had not heard of Cards Against Humanity before their stunt you may know about them now. Whether you can appreciate the game for its crassness or vulgarity, everyone has to play at least once in life. I mean we have to make sure Amy truly uses her education to its fullest.
We are a culture of success. We want everything to be perfect, dialed, and done right the first time.
My father ingrained it into us as kids “do it right the first time.” I do not know if that was ingrained in him as a kid or if it was after being in the military, but he was hard-core and would often yell if we did things (mostly chores) and our results were not up to his standard. Imagine over time knowing that if it was not perfect the first time — you would receive his anger and frustration. Yet, it meant that we only learned to fail with negative consequences.
When I heard about Pema Chodron’s book: “Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown” I knew I had to read it. It is the transcription of her 2014 commencement address at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her granddaughter is in the graduating class. It is a quick read (a book with text on only the right side pages, and small, so it can be read in less than an hour), but a powerful message.
I love this idea she shares:
“‘Fail better’ means you being to have the ability to hold what I called in the talk ‘the rawness of vulnerability’ in your heart, and see it as your connection with other human beings and as part of humanness. Failing better means when these things happen in your life, they become a source of growth, a source of forward, a source of, as I say in the talk, ‘out of that place of rawness you can really communicate genuinely with other people’.” Page 115
To think about failing and being vulnerable — that is where we learn. There is so much I can take from this in work and home life, and especially with this ‘lil man that is going to soon join us. I vow to let my son learn in his own way, fail, and be vulnerable. Hopefully it means he will not have the message that has haunted me for years — that I always had to do it right the first time.
I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday over lunch. She was lit up. Yes, shining bright. Our conversation ebbed and flowed over what was happening in our worlds. Eventually my friend shared that she had been smacked into reality by a mentor, someone who she had not spoken to in a while and at the right moment in time the words she shared with my friend were just the ones she needed to hear. The right words at the right moment. It resonated with me.
I am a blunt person. I tell friends what I think. I hope sharing from my experience or intuition could potentially help them. I do not mean that in a cocky way, I mean it in a genuine way. If I feel that I have something to share, I will. Especially if the friend has asked for my opinion. Having said all that, there are times when I know I hold back. Maybe at that moment in time it did not feeI right to be so blunt. Or, maybe I felt that this was a situation that they had to wade through on their own. While I might be by their side, they had to make these decisions from their own heart.
Even knowing that, our conversation yesterday made me think about how many times I have not been blunt and maybe should have. My friend sharing her conversation reminded me of how much we sometimes need another to open our eyes. How often we might need someone to pull us from our fog and wake us up and remind us of who we are and who we have always been. I want another to do that for me, but am I doing that for someone else? Do we get so caught up in our own little worlds that we forget how to pull someone out of their own potential deep water?
It is always harder to truly be in someone else’s shoes. It is hard to know what another individual needs. But — we usually know when someone is off… when they are not themselves. Those are the times when we must walk out to the edge of the diving board and bring them back to safety. We do it because we care. We do it because we love them. We do it because it is at the core of who we are.
It is amazing how you can be walking through a store, look up, and have a flashback of multiple experiences before your eyes. Almost when you accidentally click the button on an email that allows you to open all attachments at once. It is fast movement where window after window opens before you. A miasma of different experiences that cascade across the screen.
Mine happened with Alfred Dunner.
Who is that you might wonder? If you have ever gone shopping with your grandma you might have heard of the brand. From what I can remember it was one of the better “granny” clothing brands. My extensive (yes I can say that because they were often) shopping trips with my grandma spanned L.S. Ayres (now owned by Macy’s), JCPenney’s, and occasionally Sears. The main department stores in my small town, with the additional at-home shopping of Appleseeds, and a few other catalogs she would purchase from (such a big deal to her) but most of the time sent things back.
Granny Smith had great taste in clothes (well at least for a someone in her 80’s/90’s). If she found something, purchased it, and wore it that was a huge win. It meant a successful shopping trip. She was picky (maybe I get my pickiness from her). She knew what brands were crap, and what looked good on her. She did not ever want to look frumpy. Even if she was going to the grocery, she would make sure she looked nice, and church meant dressing even nicer. I have to agree on the frumpiness, although I am as frumpy as I want at home!
I am not a fan of shopping and would rather a stork showed up at my door with clothes that were perfect for me in the right fabrics, colors, and sizes. Yet, growing up in a small town meant there was not that much to do. So many Sundays after church my grandma and I would go to the mall, get a nice meal (her terms) and walk around the mall. It was a way to spend time and connect with her. It was something she felt comfortable doing, and it sure beat watching golf (her Sunday afternoon activity). Additionally, it also just might have meant a new item for me (not always but sometimes). What was not to like about that?
Alfred Dunner, I have never met you, but you gave me a heart moment to remember Granny Smith.