I Feel Small

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I woke up on the right side of the bed very early today and then out of nowhere everything starting going so wrong. I started to shrink up until I felt so small. I felt so small I wanted to crawl back in that bed, make tight fists and bang on those pillows until I taught them a lesson. I felt so small I wanted to fall asleep and not wake back up. I felt so small I wanted to take my very best roundhouse kick to the side of someone’s jaw. I wanted to throw my hardest uppercut into the abdomen of everyone who has been unfair. I wanted to shrivel up and cry like a baby and move beyond feeling like a tiny dead ant on the bottom of a size 12 workboot. I feel small like pulling my car to the side of the road, ripping out every political sign and ripping them into tiny pieces. I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs so the sound of my voice makes up for how small and powerless I feel. I feel like beeping at the jerk I’m front of me in the Starbucks line who is holding everyone up. I don’t like feeling that small. It is scary and hopeless and I don’t like the dark.

I was picking up a pizza earlier and there was a little girl with curly blond hair who caught my eye. She was wearing a sparkly blue dress. I noticed there were several kids in costumes beaming from ear to ear because of the way they looked. I wanted to feel small like that again. I wanted to feel small like Cinderella or Princess Elsa. I wanted to be that power ranger and wear the cape of the little boy dressed like superman. Sometimes I want to feel small like that again. I want to feel small enough to not be responsible for everyone. I want to be too small to wear my kids pain on my heart like a gigantic, heavy wind chime. I want to be so small that I don’t wobble because the weight of the world is crushing my bones. I want to be small like a child in a Halloween costume excited all day at the thought of going trick or treating.

As I sit here, I remind myself that I can never be that small again, in either example. I am bigger than I feel. It’s feelings and emotions and expectations that make me feel small. I am so much bigger than them. I am mom and a wife and I am responsible for everyone around me. They are watching and no matter how small I feel I can never act that small, ever. I am bigger than that and this will eventually all pass. Once in awhile, I dream of that little girl who was so full of life though so very small. I remember the light in her big brown eyes. I think back to when I was surrounded by the support of friends who took the form of several stuffed animals. They would listen to me and make everything alright and at the end of the night we would be lying in that bed dreaming of how life would be when we grew up. How ironic, now the bed is small and I am big and I dream of a time I was small again. That’s just how life is, don’t you think?

What I’ve Learned

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It was two short years ago that we learned Chase had ADD. In a way it was a great relief. At least now we understood a reason. We had an answer about why he struggled so hard with school and why he couldn’t seem to finish his work in class. We had a better understanding about why his work was missing and incomplete and why he often walked out of the house forgetting his shoes. The light was dim but at least we could barely see it. It was there and we were going to let it guide us to a better place.

Now he is in 7th grade. He hardly brings any work home because he gets it done in class. He has all A’s and 1 B in advanced math. He still forgets his shoes from time to time but his growth has amazed me. He has learned to adapt and to allow himself more time to do what he needs so that something doesn’t get forgotten. He does not have the hyperactivity portion, so one of the challenges we have learned to get used to is how long it takes him to do the the simple daily things. Distraction is a real problem. In the morning, every morning, he loses his socks. He loses his train of thought on the way to do something else. He forgets what he is supposed to do and does something else. I used to get really frustrated but now I have grown some patience. He is who he is and I respect him for every little piece.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up at 4:00 and finally around 5:00 I came out and sat on the couch. I smiled to myself as I heard him rustle around upstairs at 5:30 and heard a faint trickle of running water. Basketball season has started and he set his own alarm and was getting ready. He has been practicing everyday after school and last night he put his contacts in for the first time in a long time because he thought they would help him shoot better. He’s come such a long way. The focus has come but it is a real challenge. I am so proud of who he is becoming. I see the hope as I watch his confidence grow enough to believe in himself and set his own goals. He is not the timid boy who sat in class unsure and frustrated or the boy who played ball that never felt like he measured up. He has found his own self worth and it is not limited to the opinion of another kid, a coach or a even a teacher. It is defined by what he thinks about himself. Did I mention how proud I am of him?

Life is full of challenges. They can destroy us until we lose all hope or they can build us up to be better than before. ADD has been a curse and a blessing at the same time. Chase is begging me to stop the medication because he believes he can do this all on his own. The thought of him failing and falling behind again terrifies me but he believes in himself so much that I believe in him too. After Christmas, we will give it a try.

Life is a journey. There are many stops along the way. There are times we will be on a road full of green lights and days the road is closed down. We learn to take the detour and move through what makes us uncomfortable. We will see sights we may never had seen if the road was not closed and it opens us up to discovering new things about ourselves we never would have known. Buckle up and take it all in. Sit back even when it’s bumpy and know that this is your path. It is the road you must drive to get you to a better place. It is a road you must take to learn the little things that will make you a better, stronger you or it is that little something that will force you to change who you believed you would always be. You have to keep moving even when it’s hard, so you might as well enjoy it and make it the best you can. Sometimes the wheel is not in your hands or the brake pedal is not an option. The only thing you have any control over is your reaction and your attitude to what you see along the way. That is the hardest lesson of all but when you start to master your own mind there is no road too steep for you to climb. And when it’s time to coast, throw your arms up in the air, put a smile on your face, and scream like you’ve never screamed before.

Take It With You when You Go

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All my life I’ve been a perfectionist. It’s been a passion of mine to do things right and the best possible way I can. My mindset was do it perfect or don’t bother to do it at all. What I didn’t realize, was that I’ve been projecting that onto everyone around me. My poor kids. Grades need to be great, swim times need to be impressive, more shots should be making it into the basket. My poor husband. The lines in the carpet are not the way I like them from the vacuum cleaner, there are smudges on the counters because they haven’t been wiped off properly. Poor teachers and coaches. Why can’t they teach to the degree that I am able? Why can’t they put in the extra time or go the extra mile to put in the amount of effort as I do at home? Why can’t they do their job as well as I would and with the same amount of passion?

You get the picture. How in the world could anyone ever measure up? Who could possibly meet my ridiculous standards? None of that mattered. All that did matter was if I expect it from myself, than like it or not, I would expect it from others.

Today, as I was struggling on my yoga mat I realized something. I know without a doubt that yoga has transformed me but I could never put a finger on exactly how. But today, I had a revelation. My body and it’s tightness accompanied by injuries makes it difficult for me to do yoga, at least to perfect it. I have learned, that for me, yoga will never be perfection. It is something that will always be physically difficult and near impossible to ever progress past a certain physical level. That’s just the way it is, there is no amount of time of effort I could put in to change that because I will never risk pushing my body past what it is capable of doing. I am already injured enough and now I know part of the spiritual and mental side of yoga is not pushing my body more than what it is able to do.

That idea of perfectionism? Yep, I had to throw that old plan right out the window and start all over. I believe, truly believe, that since I started practicing yoga I have learned to be more gentle with myself and others. I expect less and I focus more on the effort and the mental attitude than I do the physical outcome or result. I have taken this new practice off my mat and extended patience and acceptance to others more than ever before. I have a long way to go but I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned in that dark little room. The fact that I can apply them to every aspect of my life has been the root of change and one that I am so thankful for. There is always something new to learn. Embrace the lessons, make them part of you and take them with you when you go out into the world. There is always an opportunity to grow who you are and that growth will have the power to grow others if you project that out instead of conditions and expectations.

What lessons have made the biggest difference in your life? How have they transformed the people around you? I’d love to hear about it or I even challenge you to write your own blog post to explore it. And don’t forget to link it back to my site so I can read about it too.

I’m Not A jerk, Are You?

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I do not like to be a jerk, seriously, I don’t. I’ve come a long way when it comes to communicating with patience and purpose when it comes to teachers. I try my best to make it clear what I need from them and why it is important. It’s clearly written on Chases 504 but I have no problem sitting down in our team meetings and explaining things to them. I have not gotten my weekly email from teachers in a couple of weeks. 2 out of 4 teachers have been somewhat consistent when it comes to emailing me and posting the grades in a timely fashion. One has never sent me one weekly update and the other has sent a few. Is it any surprise that the two classes Chase is doing outstanding in are the classes that have the teachers who are actually on board with our plan? Why do they fight it? There is so little expected of them and yet it takes a whole month to post a grade to the online portal. If I don’t get emails and I don’t see grades and I have no idea what’s going on in school, how I ask, can that be a conducive plan for Chase at school? It’s frustrating and year after year I can only get 50 % of the team on board. After Christmas I really want to try and take Chase off the medication for ADD to see how he does on his own. How in the world can we take that risk when the communication is inconsistent or nonexistent. It’s just not fair to him and I am disappointed. If I am being honest, 50% of my kids teachers have been good ones and the other percent is questionable. I guess if I was playing red or black in roulette, those would seem like pretty good odds but when it comes to trusting the teachers who are meant to mentor and teach my kids, the odds are extremely disappointing. I feel like going in and screaming. Just do it! Follow the 504. Do what you are required by law to do. But no. Who will make them? What are the consequences? Nothing, and that’s the shameful problem. Getting a 504 is the easy part. Getting teachers to follow it is near impossible.

And We’re Off

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Starting the day off right is so important. There have been times I have just wanted to refuse to get up and sleep the hours away. The days when I feel overwhelmed before my feet ever touch the carpet of the floor. Why does that happen? What is the difference in the days I wake up positive and happy and ready to greet the world with my warmest smile? I used to wake up at the last minute and start the day rushed. That rushed, anxiety, adrenaline feeling is not conducive to a good day, at least not for me. Now, I try and get up a little bit early. I take a few minutes to be grateful for my many blessings and I try and go into the day with an attitude of gratitude. I am trying to focus on the good qualities of the ones who live in this home so that if our paths cross in the kitchen and someone is in a bad mood, it will not rob me of my good feeling. That is the toughest part. Choosing to not react to the negativity that sometimes floats around me. It is a challenge and a difficult one at that. Dropping my expectations of how people should act is helping more and more every single day. I used to get so offended when I’d drop my daughter off at school and she wouldn’t even say goodbye. I’d take it personally and I would get angry. Now, I realize maybe she is a bit anxious heading to a place she doesn’t necessarily want to be. The best part is that after I drop her off, I am headed to yoga and calm is waiting for me there. A place that offers insight, inspiration and a reminder to accept each and every moment as it comes. Leave the past in the past and let the future arrive on it’s scheduled time.

As I write this post I chuckle to myself. My daughter is getting ready for school and has already come in the room three times. Once for my flat iron, a second time for an outfit she saw me wearing that she just had to borrow, only I got a few drops of spaghetti sauce on it and it hasn’t been cleaned. And, when she asked where her fleece jacket was and I told her in the washroom she asked why I would ever wash anything fleece in her most exasperated tone. I will stay calm and continue the rest of the morning untouched by the words and actions of others. Keeping myself calm and upbeat will set the tone of the energy around me. That is where the change begins. Not in responding to the people around me but by allowing my energy to change the general feel of the room. That’s the secret to a better life, a better attitude, and at the very least, the start to a better day. It’s a work in progress around here but baby steps are the only way.

You Had Me At Hello

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I was in heaven last night. I was outside sitting in the hot tub listening to the gentle sound of rain drumming against the house. I was thinking about my day and my mind remembered all the crazy radio and tv hype over Renee Zellweger and how they couldn’t believe how different she looked. Her eyes were too open and she has lost that old squinty look that made her an icon in the movie Jerry Maguire. She had too much fat injected into her cheeks. You get the picture. It went on and on, blah, blah, blah. If I could speak to Renee I would ask her this, ” Do YOU feel beautiful?” That is what truly matters. The whole world can think she is the most beautiful woman in the world but if SHE doesn’t FEEL beautiful, none of that matters. Or, everyone can think she is homely as can be, but if SHE feels beautiful, the opinions of others will never matter. The only opinion that is really important is the one we have of ourself. People will always find fault and believe me they won’t have to look real far. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s near impossible for everyone to think we are beautiful. However, if we believe we are beautiful, that beauty will shine bright enough to catch everyone’s attention. Shine on beautiful and never let anyone dull your sparkle. We need to see the beauty beyond someone’s appearance and find the beauty in their individuality and spirit. That is the beauty that will never fade or age with time.

Why Is This Happening?

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We spend so much time searching our brains to figure out a reason why something happens to us. There are just some things we will never have an answer for no matter how many scenarios we play out in our over thinking heads. The important thing is to deal with whatever it is in front of us. The why just doesn’t matter but how we’re going to respond and what we are actively going to do makes the biggest difference in deciding the outcome. Let’s not get too caught up in the things we can’t change, and let’s focus our time, thought and energy on things we can.