List 5 Things You Like About Yourself.

Tonight I was asked (amongst a group of adults) to list 5 things that I liked about myself.

Five.

Just five.

Do you know how hard it was? I did eventually come up with 5 things I like about myself (see end of post), but I got to three and was stumped. How can it be this hard? Is it that difficult to find a handful of things I like about myself? Then we were asked as a group to identify personality traits of our kids that we liked. Do you know how easily and quickly traits were tossed out? That question was soon followed by listing some not so positive traits of our kids. That list was slower and didn’t generate as big a list (a good thing I think, haha).

Once we had identified the good and bad traits, it became clear that some of the things we had tossed out were in fact some of the traits we embody ourselves…and thus, reflected in our kids. This isn’t a new revelation, I know. But it was an excellent exercise to visually see how much easier it is to identify traits in others, and less so in ourselves. Seeing the traits listed on paper made it easier for us all to generate more things we liked about ourselves, or to identify with the ones listed. It also gave me a window into the things I needed to work on – which I was already cognizant about, but was a good reminder to keep it in check.

A few things the pastor* said today had impact:

  • Many of us hide behind a facade and that’s why we don’t get better. I try to be open and I do try to talk about it when needed because I don’t want to be 1, 3, 10 years out still hiding behind the same facade and not really have grown, not just from the hurt and sadness, but also overall, living my life as authentically and wholeheartedly as I can.
  • The childhood rhyme of ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me‘ – words have impact and long-lasting effects (again, it’s not that I didn’t know this, but just a good mental check and reminder to be present and cognizant) – many of us have had things said to us that have hurt us, and some of these words have more long-lasting effects than we realize.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy – Pastor Mike didn’t actually say this, but he pretty much may have. Comparison of a behaviour/trait your child is exuding similar to the other parent, comparison against a sibling, etc. is still comparison. I have this as an on-going motto in my head for my photography to not compare, because all it does is stunt me. This is the same¬†for anything in life.

T seemed to enjoy his first class – with which they ended with a birthday party for everyone, leaving donning party hats and enjoying a mini cupcake. He was a little sad that he didn’t get to take his new markers home (that’s my little crafter!) and that I didn’t stay the entire class with him (#momfail – I told him I would but then told him I couldn’t -sigh), but I think this will be good for him overall. More tools = more support.

So….the 5 things I liked about myself (top of my head, no huge soul-diving)?

  1. Funny (or at least a pretty decent sense of humour) – even if I mostly feel like a one-woman stand-up show
  2. Creative
  3. I like to try new things
  4. Thoughtful
  5. Resilient – I firmly believe that where there is a will, there is a way

And…I couldn’t finish this post without a crazy selfie of my T-monster and I (of which we have plenty!) and a list of Tristan’s unique qualities that make him the little guy that I love so much:

  • Funny/Humorous
  • Creative – loves to craft and build, build and craft
  • His awesome imagination
  • Thoughtful
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Empathetic
  • Stubborn
  • Compassionate
  • Soft soul with a gentle heart

We are learning to work through some frustrations, or how to deal with frustrations as they crop up. In time, I have slowly come to realize that this child is so similar to myself and Joe in personality (but still his own little person), and the areas that crop up are the areas that I find hardest to navigate within myself and in dealing with Joe. So the perpetual cycle that we go through is due to running out of tools, not completely having the best tools myself to navigate my own frustrations, and thus, in turn, ‘teaching’ my son (unknowingly – they pay so much attention!) the same way to handle his frustrations. This is not an easy thing to admit and I’d much rather hide behind that of a pretty ok mom! (Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a pretty awesome mom to my boys…but I have my #momfails).

Anyways, more tools, more self-reflection, more mindfulness, and more staying in the present are things I am working on, and will likely be a lifelong dedication.

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Now that I’ve left you my traits, do you see other traits that I embody? What top 5 traits do you like about yourself? What traits of yourself do you see in your kids?

xM

I leave you with this beautiful song by Passenger – Home.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAYZmIfHEiU&index=4&list=PLWlTX25IDqIy_HeO8BsOyt0wAhE9No3Nt

*Tristan and I are attending the Rainbows program run out of the North Pointe Community Church. There is a secular and religious stream, but the adult class is led by Pastor Mike.

rainbows

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An Honest Review.

So, my Monat samples have been staring me in the face for a good couple months – much to the chagrin of my good friend who is a Monat Rockstar.
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Before I begin, let me make a few disclaimers:

  1. All views herein are of my own unbiased opinion only. Keep in mind that there is not ONE SINGLE PRODUCT on the market today (that I know of) that suits everyone’s tastes/pocket books/lifestyle. Also keep in mind that different products work for different people. Think about diets or lifestyle changes – just because Friend A is doing/using it with success, does not equate to the same success for you (but it could).
  2. I am, by no means, living chemically free. Nope. I have a small army of friends and resources that give me the low-down on what to watch for and what to avoid. So while I would like to be chemical free – I feel it’s near impossible because chemicals are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I will die from something one day, so I believe that so long as I make the best choices I can for myself and my family in moderation, then I can live with that. If I wanted to be completely chemical free, I would have to live off the grid I suppose…and this girl doesn’t even camp, people.
  3. I am not paid, nor given free products (outside of the samples) for this review. I was just bored at home while sick, and decided this was a good go at being somewhat productive (I’m sure in hindsight it won’t be, lol).
  4. Please take my review with a grain of salt. See #1. Samples are free, so go try things, armed with what knowledge you have/seek, and form your own opinion. Ask questions. Reviews are great though, as they definitely help make or break my desire to purchase. Reviews armed with samples and/or a great return policy are even better, because who wants to spend a whole bunch of dolla dolla bills, end up hating the product(s) and walking away with hate in their heart? Not this sister.

Got all that? Ok, here we go ūüôā

This is my before photo (and these are all quick iPhone snaps). This is also me, sick for the last three days (thanks JJ) au natural….so you can do the math on when I last washed my hair. So it wasn’t at it’s prime (nor I), and was definitely dirty and kinky (um….).

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These are the three samples I am using in the shower. I had them all prepped and lined up in order so I wouldn’t forget.

**Please note that your Monat partner (distributor? stylist? I have no idea what they call their peeps) will assess you with a few questions based on hair type, etc. and recommend and arm you with the appropriate samples.

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The How-to:

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1/ Revive Shampoo – I split the shamp into two parts….which I ended up not divvying up properly. The first wash was like rubbing something into my hair that disappeared. Like I literally felt like I was pushing my wet hair around. Again, I didn’t use half the package by not properly portioning, so maybe that was it. The second half lathered and I felt like I was cleaning and getting the grease out (ok it was only greasy by my standards..which is minimal grease, but still gross). Then I went to rinse it…and it literally felt like my hair was stripped of everything. I don’t even know how to describe it. But wait, don’t fret.

*Side note: you are only supposed to shampoo your roots. So that’s what I did here with both parts.

Latha, latha…

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2/ Replenish Masque – I used the entire thing (like the asian in me was squeezing that damn package dry) and ran it throughout my hair, and within seconds I could feel my hair soaking it up and it became smooth to run my hands through. I guess that’s the purpose of this step..to replenish all the stuff that the shampoo perhaps removed. Once it was in, I had 5-7 minutes so I did all my other bathing stuff before rinsing it out. When I did, the strands did feel ‘replenished’.

3/ Revitalize Conditioner – I only used maybe 1/3 of the package – or maybe 1/2. I’m horrible at gauging this stuff. I am always iffy with buying conditioners because I have hair that NEEDS to be combed out in the shower with a good conditioner in it. But this turned my hair even silkier feeling (post-masque) in the shower and I could easily hand-comb or run a comb through it. This is how much I used – ‘scuse the hair.IMG_7766

Then shower done, ba-bam.

4/ Style – I am doing step 4 but not per their directions (oooohh rule breaker!). I typically don’t blow dry my hair – who has time for that?! So I am air drying it.

5/ Rejuvenique Oil – and now we reach the whole point of this post – trying the sample and seeing a before and after. This oil smelled yummy – lemony and went on nice and light. So here you go….the worst photos of me ever, but F it, look at my hair, dammit!! ūüėÄ

The left is air dried, before Rejuvenique was put in. The right after I ran 2-3 drops through my hair. I did like how it didn’t ‘sit’ on my hair and soaked in, and it did smooth things out.

Product Use Afterthoughts:

  • Has a pleasant smell – reminds me of sweet peas. It’s light enough not to PO the olfactory system. I think I would’ve preferred it to be more citrusy, but that’s just wishful thinking, and just the scents I typically am drawn to.
  • This is the Science behind Monat. It states no¬†harmful fragrances, but fragrance¬†is listed, so if you are on the chemical-free train, it’s something to be aware of. I didn’t look into all the ingredients to see whether it contains other ‘dirty’ ones, but they are fully listed on the back of each sample. Given this, ‘fragrance’ is pretty low on their list of ingredients and from my (lack of ) understanding of ingredient listings, the higher the content of an ingredient, the higher on the list it is. So with that said, these products do seem ‘better’ than the ones I am currently using (Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Pureology’s Hydrate Conditioner) – both of which have parfum/fragrance listed as the 4th or 5th ingredient. Ai-ya!
  • This was just ONE sample. So to really get the benefits and results that they tout, you would definitely have to give it a go for longer than a sample’s worth. Based on one sample, there really wasn’t a significant difference made for me, so I would stand neutral.

Overall, I do recommend you give it a go. A sample can’t hurt. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee…though I’m not sure how that works since I’ve also been informed that it takes about a month for people to see results…but I guess that’s something you can speak with your Monat person for!

Have you tried Monat? What was your experience and what line did you use? If you’ve found a different shampoo/conditioner/hair care system that you love, let me know!

 

 

 

 

Influence of a Good Teacher.

Thursday, June 29, 2017.

A day I thought I would be wrought with tears, and by tears, I mean ugly cry (ok, by now you are probably aware that the propensity of me reaching ugly cry is pretty high). It was my firstborn’s LAST. DAY. OF. KINDERGARTEN.

How did we get here? (Rhetorical, don’t answer). I wasn’t going to take the day off – GASP. I have limited vacation days as I used a decent chunk for my move back in February, so I’m been pinching days here and there, and trying to save it for the Christmas week when I have my boys (which….might not pan out so well, but we will see). The few weeks leading up to the last day of K, T kept making side comments on it and whether I was going to attend or not.

 

So the week leading up to, I made a decision to take the day off, because really, in hindsight, I wanted to be there. Joe took the time off as well, so it was nice to be there as his parents to celebrate the past year as well as his last day…and the journey beyond.

I’m so glad I did. I’ve always enjoyed the rare times when I took time off to volunteer in his class. I like to think (for now) there is some sort of pride and comfort for a child when their parent is in their class helping, experiencing and seeing the sorts of things they are learning. So to be there helping and participating on his last day just seemed super important…and it made a huge difference for him.

I remember that first day – the first week so vividly. His hesitation, apprehension, fear of the unknown. How he held my hand, and needed me to walk him to the Kinder line-up, to stand next to him. My heart bursting with pride (and my own apprehension) and my wings not quite ready to open up and outward. Then the growth slowly came. Within a few weeks, he was confidently walking to the line, sometimes even running around with some new friends. The kisses and hugs were quick and hurried, sometimes missed in haste. My heart expanded and cracked with each little change; my first baby was growing up, and it really was happening too fast (ok…I know he is ONLY 6, but still…where did the last 6 years go? Did I enjoy it enough? Did he? Is he happy?). It was only about a couple months into school, I made a side comment on how he was growing and missed his constant hugs and kisses before class…only to find out that it distressed him because he didn’t want to be late, and we always made it at the cusp of the bell. Touche.

Kinder

Life of a working parent. But since then, I made a point of trying to get him to school with at least a good handful of minutes to spare, so we could hang out and say our ‘goodbye’s for now’ properly…even if that meant sacrificing a little more in the work arena and running behind on my lunch ‘break’.

My other big lesson of the year was that I didn’t need to ‘one-up’ my own child. Ok….wait, that sounds worse than it is. What I meant was that he was always SO SO excited to show me or tell me about what he was learning, only to be disappointed when he found out I already knew about various topics they covered. It took me a little while to check myself and to understand that while I obviously knew about and received the same (or similar) education, he didn’t need to know that per se. He just wanted me to SHARE in the excitement, wonderment and discovery through his learning.

Parenting. Just as much learning for us as it is for them.

Anyways, so goes the year, and he learned so many amazing things. Which brings me back to the why of this post…his growth and excitement for learning, while it would exist, is impacted by who he is taught under. His Kindergarten teacher, Miss Peshev, was quite simply, amazing. The way she spoke with the class and each student, her tonality and patience (even if it was tested on more than several occasions, I’m sure), and all the wonderful activities, centres and field trips her class(es) went on.

Letter to Miss Peshev

I didn’t expect anything back, but a short week after, we received this in the mail. I read it to Tristan, and I know it made him feel so great to know that his teacher cared enough to write a thank you card to him.

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A great teacher makes ALL the difference.

Sending much love and respect out for Miss Ashley Peshev.

It’s Not About Me (but then it is).

I realized a few things today.

I feel like things are hard as things were a year ago, but in a different way. (That’s not what I realized today).

I find these truths, some ugly and some not (ok, most seem kind of ugly, or at the very least, not pleasant), to crop up with I am driving, folding laundry, or performing some other mundane task.

1/ I worry about my mental health.

I am a self-diagnosed mid-hypochondriac (i.e. not full blown, hah), and with all the mental health awareness and information so readily available in social media now (which I know is also a good thing!), I sometimes question whether I am in fact, ok.

I’ve put off counselling for a long, long time. God knows, as it was so apparent Joe and I needed help way back yonder, and neither of us made a move. For me, it was the stigma (and yes, it’s come a long way but still…), the expense, the time, and the fear that maybe, just maybe, I really wasn’t ok. Even now, I have to do a lot of self-talk to tell myself that I will come out of this ok, financially and mentally. It’s a process…and it’s hard.

Then, I needed it for our relationship (and perhaps, in doing so, it also really was for us individually, to better strengthen or repair what needed mending). Now, I need it for me.

So, yes, I started seeing a therapist, even if it is just me babbling and crying. Seriously, it’s basically what the entire hour is. My poor therapist. I’ve also made the decision to commit to see another therapist trained in the ways of Brene Brown. ¬†If you don’t know who she is, look her up.

It amazes me that no matter how often I have recounted and retold THE EVENT (yes it is THE EVENT, because it has re-shaped the course of my life, or what I had envisioned as my family’s path), I still cry. And by cry, I don’t mean random tears coming out. I mean, the faucet slowly cracks and then the flood begins. More on this below, but #1. I need to re-shape me, re-focus and find point zero again. Or maybe I’ve already been at point zero and need the fog to lift ever so slightly so I can see…

This begins by healing me inside.

2/ I feel worthless.

WAIT. Before you start shouting, ‘but you have your kids’, ‘you’re a strong woman’, ‘you’re an amazing mom’, ‘you’re creative’, etc. Know this. I feel worthless because this entire last year I have had to fight the reality that somehow, somewhere along the many years, someone had made the choice that they did not want to walk this life with me anymore, and vows, time and children and more importantly,¬†me, was not enough.

Let that sink in. No matter what the reason, it is the biggest form of rejection. But…it’s not about me, right?

The reasonable voice inside me knows I am a wonderful, thoughtful, and loving person. That I have a lot to give. That I embody characteristics (good and bad) that makes me the unique person that I am (or think I am, haha). That I have my two wonderful boys which give me worth, gives my life worth. Etc.

I know this. The path we were headed down wasn’t a good one, but I honestly thought we would work through this. We’ve weathered through so many other storms before, that I was still of the belief that as long as we shouldered things together, good and bad, that we would come out stronger in the end. In the end, I guess we did shoulder storms, but perhaps not wholeheartedly together.

Feeling not completely worthy makes one feel completely unattractive and that just makes for a gloomy outlook on life. Ugh.

I am tired of being the ‘seeker’ – the person calling everyone up to say ‘hey, what’s up?’. I am/was starting to feel unworthy of people’s time – and felt like I was the one calling everyone up to see if they wanted to hang. It’s exhausting. I know everyone has a life, and working with single parent schedules can be a nightmare (trust me…as I know all too well just trying to make a plan with other single parenting friends). I need to be ok with me, and if me, just comprises of me on my solo weeks, my boys, and hangs with my family, then so be it. I need to be ok with just that. I need to shift my energy.

I work hard at ensuring this one ‘compartment’ of my life (i.e. failed marriage) does not overflow and seep into all my other compartments of life. That this compartment, with all it’s cracks, is not a defining part of me. It’s a struggle. Daily. As you can see. Lol.

3/ I was the only one to say ‘Sorry’

I think this is the biggest kicker to why I still feel the way I do. The door, while closed, was literally slammed shut in my face. Choice A or B, select the choice, tell the person, slam the door.

Before thoughts start to form in defence of the person – I¬†get that making the decision at whichever point in time, and the turmoil leading up to it, is also not easy for the person making the decision and choice. It’s tough on both parties, and some just prefer the bandaid method, I guess.

When he told me from the couch that warm Mexican evening, I knew that that was it. But even then, I had a glimmer of hope still…that ‘time and space’ literally meant ‘time and space’ with ‘positive’ results. But when I asked for one last walk together down the beach, even if in resolute silence, and he didn’t respond, I knew it was over. I can’t even tell you how much it broke my heart. The final brokenness came when he left Mexico to return home 4 days later, and didn’t even so much as look at me. Nothing. Done.

A girlfriend told me that I should ‘fight for my marriage if I thought there was anything worth fighting for’, so I did. The first few months, maybe even the first 6 months, I sent e-mails and texts contemplating what happened, what I realized, what could’ve and should’ve changed, and what and who I missed. Sounds sad, maybe? That I tried so hard, but too little, too late? I poured my heart out. I apologized for any wrongs and specific wrongs I felt that had impact. I wished and wished.

It did nothing, and I didn’t expect it to.

I also didn’t get any sort of heartfelt apology or a deeper understanding of why. Again, I didn’t expect it (but maybe I did a little bit, if the lack of had enough impact to generate these words?), but this lack of response (whether solicited or not) fuelled a complex where I started to feel that I was the only one in the wrong, and because of me, our marriage tanked.

I know it’s not just me, but perception is everything.

4/ Forgiveness

This is probably the hardest to do. This past year, I’ve worked really hard at not living my life in ‘woes’, and understanding that it really isn’t about me, big picture. I remind myself daily about making decisions for the greater good, i.e. my boys. I’ll be damned if they come out any less than the great men that they will become, if not in stature, then in spirit and character. I now fully know that I cannot control the outcome, but my presence, character and decisions fuels the path taken.

The remnants that I am grieving only affect me. It has no impact on anyone else, unless I let that grievance affect my choices and words, and even then, outside of the effect on the receiver, it only serves to greatly detriment myself. Patching my heart can only be done by one person. Everything/everyone else (good) is just the light that makes it less heavy to work with.

Forgiving wholeheartedly will set me free.

View More: http://sarajewellphotography.pass.us/wenselView More: http://sarajewellphotography.pass.us/wenselView More: http://sarajewellphotography.pass.us/wensel

So a year and some later, I am a stronger and a slightly better version of me a year ago, but I still have work. What was it that my therapist said? That it takes roughly 1 year to heal for every 4 years of the relationship. So….15.5 years together…and you can do the math. I’m not saying it will take me this long, or that I won’t need more time, as I know we all heal in our own ways, in our own time.

And…if you’re curious of my mental health, my therapist says that I am grieving in a normal way (though it may feel abnormal at times)…so, ok for now, I suppose. ūüôā

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Why do I talk about this? I do it for me, because I need an outlet, and have always been a pen to paper girl. It helps me organize my thoughts and makes it very real. I can’t erase what I put out there, and I need the truth to resound for me, to close doors that I did not close. And I do it for those of you out there who are also going through your own life shat (whether similar or otherwise), so that you know that you are not alone. In the last year, I have had people reach out to me, whether to share a few words about what they are going through, or to issue words of support and encouragement, or to just send their love and thoughts.

For those of you who have reached out and who haven’t, know that I am here for you. Life is a rollercoaster, and we need to defy gravity to get back up sometimes. ¬†I am holding space for you, when you feel the courage to talk, to openly voice your thoughts to piece some sort of reason and organization to them. While I may not have the proper words in response (if response is needed), I promise compassion and strength in my silence with you and will open my heart and arms, and the wine poureth.

xx

**Photo cred: Sara Jewell Photography

 

Dear Me.

May 29, 2017 | 11:25 PM

The boys have both just gone to bed an hour and a half ago. I made some homemade granola bars to hopefully last the week. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, my mind started thinking. The past couple months have had tough moments because the thought of ‘why’ continually creeped in. It’s been over a year (14 months and 2 weeks roughly) and where I thought I would be a year ago, to where I am today, is nowhere in sync. Actually, I didn’t think I actually pinpointed where I thought I would be, but more had hoped the space I would be in I would be stronger and have moved past what has happened. Don’t get me wrong, the space I am in, mentally, physically and emotionally, IS stronger and I am in a different place, but my mind still wanders to ‘why’ and ‘what could’ve been’ and ‘what could’ve changed’. The realistic, more grounded version of me knows that there are no answers to those questions. What happened has happened, what led up to ‘the event’ transpired, and there is no changing the past. Yet, still I look.
An ugly truth keeps cropping up in my head, and I feel that because I haven’t been able to accept it wholeheartedly, I bury it, thinking it must be a lie. To be honest, I do love him. I loved him. I still do. I really, deep down, love him so much, which is why it probably hurts¬†just as much. Outside of what happened, how it happened,¬†and all the hurt within, I know (and have always known) that¬†I had a great guy. But I know, along the way somewhere, no matter how much I loved him, I stopped being in love with him. I don’t know what it was, when it happened, or if it was a slow chain of recurring things that eroded being in love with him. I’m sure it was a mixture of circumstance and personality. If you were to ask me now, today, if I would have kept going if he hadn’t made the decision, the answer is a yes, though possibly not as emphatic as a year ago. I don’t know why, but since day 1, I’ve always been drawn to him. Since falling in love with him those many years ago, I’ve always wanted to and feel that he and I would walk side by side until ‘forever’, or at least, until we were old and grey. He was the one I wanted to grow old with. This feeling wasn’t because I was afraid to be alone (I’m not) but that I honestly felt that he was my one. The guy I am to walk life through with, grow our love, family, etc, etc.
I never once in a million years thought that the future I envisioned was far from the truth. I know a lot of my growth will occur once I am able to finally accept things and to change my mindset. It’s a very difficult process, and much longer than I anticipated (though, really, I know I am also only a year in…so not fresh, but not so past, either).
The things I do know – that over the years, I was starting to feel less and less valued, and I didn’t feel a connection with him. We did less together, we laughed less, we loved less. I think the disconnection was the hardest part, because I wanted so badly for us to be connected, to be how we once were. I recall how in love we used to be, practically inseparable. But, you can’t make connection happen. If it’s not there, it’s not there. We didn’t act on our words when we said we wanted to make things work – neither of us made any move to get us past the point where we continually lingered. I, always having an excuse which seemed so valid at the time, but in hindsight was so foolish. For reasons that I cannot even really determine, I truly felt that we could find that love again, and be in love. But, I never acted.
I think I could feel, fearfully,¬†that our ‘end’ was possibly coming, or a very likely possibility if we didn’t work on us. I mean, looking back at random notes I would jot down, and one of them was dated January 2016 on ‘to Divorce or not…that is the question’. Looking back, it seems so foolish to toss those words around carelessly, flinging them as a weapon or threat of sorts, but not fully recognizing or understanding the impact or the state it would thrust us into. I used it because a part of me feared it, and I knew if things didn’t change, there would be nothing holding us together. Foolishly though, I was thinking 20+ years out. Looking back, it also screamed how unhappy I was, to have verbalized it enough to permanently put it to pen, and eventually, him to action. I wish with all my heart that we would have tried to work through it, because I did (and maybe through rose-colored glasses) see and feel with certainty that we could work through it. But having all this time to separate myself from the we to the me, from what happened to where I landed, and to really reflect, I fully get that I was only one-half of the equation, and that neither my belief or faith or longing for would ever translate for someone who didn’t feel the same. A part of me wants to believe that had we tried to make it through this ‘hump’, that we would be stronger together, happy again. This has also made me realize that we never really worked for our marriage, even before if became strained. I don’t know if being together for 15 years just made us so comfortable that we just eventually co-existed, that things just became the way they were.
I think I was ok overlooking the shortcomings he had (and definitely didn’t look into my shortcomings then) and that we had, and the issues we encountered time and time again, because I wanted us to work out so bad, and mostly, because I love(d) him. But this has also made me realize that while we thought we had solved our issues, we never really did, as they always crept up again. We merely just pulled out some short term solutions, glazed over it, and shoved the rest under the carpet. The rare times when we would spend time together, when we truly laughed together, were moments that I cherished in the last few years, because they made every issue and nuance we had disappear. They were fleeting moments of the ‘us’ that once was. Seeing his face light up in true laughter, his eyes crinkle up, and hearing his laugh was one of the best things about him.

It’s completely surreal to wake up one day, and realize that the person you are married to (or well, legally separated at this point), is equal parts stranger and equal parts the man you once knew (or think you know). In many ways, I don’t know him anymore. He now has different title(s), one of ‘father of our children’, and ‘your daddy.’ In some ways, I feel like I still know him, because after spending 15 years of your life with someone, you should know their fundamental being, no? At least, a decent chunk of it, I would think.

The rare times when we would actually have a conversation (whether via text, phone or in person…and again, these are rare occurrences) are the hardest for me. These are the times when just talking to him is such a huge reminder of what once was, but how far removed we are from that. It always leaves me feeling happy, but also really sad. Outside of how our relationship played out…because if you were to look only at circumstance, especially in the last couple years, you would not equate it to how I truly see and feel about him. I will never be able to articulate what our relationship meant to me, how easy it was to say ‘fuck the last 15 years ago’ out of anger and hurt, to a year later cherishing all the good, bad and in-between that was us. I am sure (or well, am told anyways), that over time, the sadness dissipates. For now, every once in awhile, here and there, a memory is triggered, re-lived and then a gentle wash of a tear or soft escape of a sigh nudges it back from where it came.
On the flip side of this, I am truly grateful that my sons have a father who wants to be in their lives¬†and more importantly, is there for them. Not all children have this. I am grateful that we are amicable, and generally, can talk about some things (mostly, our sons). At the end of the day, I need to release it all, because it really isn’t about me, and holding on to everything only serves to hinder my growth, my self-love, and only serves to keep any doors from possibly opening. It only puts myself in my own way.
In practice, it’s very easy to say and much harder to do. It takes a lot of effort, and a lot of conscious thought. But that ‘being present’ piece, is a gift in itself.

That, and giving myself the grace of time.

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xx,
Mir

There’s more than enough room.

A little over 2 years ago – TWO! (how does time fly so wickedly by??).

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Last walk with big brother.

I remember the 9 months leading up to Jade’s birth how much I worried about not having enough room to love him, or not being able to love him enough, because I was so smitten and in love with Tristan. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him already, but I was so worried that my heart wouldn’t have space, or that something would have to give to make space.

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Waiting game.

Boy, was I wrong. Everyone told me so, but it was hard to imagine. Jade announced that he was¬†ready to start embracing the world around 9:30 AM on May 14, 2015. This time, I decided to bring my ‘big girl’ camera so I could photograph him¬†when I was up to it (I’m so glad I did). After some resting and pushing and encountering difficulties (dropping heart rate), we had to go with an emergency c-section. So thankful that we did, because they discovered that the cord was wrapped around his little neck. Makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Lying on the operating table, already feverish and not completely present (I had developed some sort of reaction), I remember hearing the surgeon ask the anesthesiologist whether she could¬†start cutting and as soon as he gave her the go ahead, I felt the pressure of the initial cut across. It all happened so fast, but I was already so feverish and going in and out of consciousness. The last thing I remember is knowing they pulled my lil’ man out. As soon as I heard Jade¬†cry, the world turned dark.

I didn’t get to see or hold him until almost an hour later.

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Perfect lil’ bean with a head of hair and cute round head!

You were so adorable! It was all worth it to ensure you came home safe and sound.

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Jade’s first bath.

While the first few months rendered me to live in zombie state, you (I) had the best big brother (son) who helped me with so much – grabbing diapers, giving you kisses, making sure you were ok, showing you things even though it made you cross-eyed, to letting me catch little short snoozes while you napped.

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J. 3 weeks old.

Fast forward and we sit at today, two years later. The little boy before me is toddler going on little boy. Watching you grow, watching you learn, watching you with Tristan, and taking on your snuggles full-storm…I couldn’t imagine anything else. You bring SO much light, love and laughter into our lives. You complete us, our little family.

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J. 1 year.
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J. 1 year. That squished nose smile and laugh that follows is my favorite.
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These two <3.

Jade – experiencing your growth, watching you explore the world around you, and seeing your growing adoration and love for Tristan among other things – has been an amazing journey to be a part of. Hearing your voice (because don’t we all wonder what our babies will sound like?) was so memorable. You have this slightly deep raspy-ish voice. You have been such an easy-going baby that just rolls with the punches. You are more independent than Tristan was (maybe comes with having a big brother?), ¬†super curious, and a friendly little boy. You love to laugh!! The littlest silly things can make you laugh, and your laughter is infectious. Like your big brother, you have a big heart, and I hope that grows into one that is empathetic, compassionate, strong and brave (same as my wish for your brother). Your power ranger stances kill me. ūüėÄ So do your guttural ‘happy birthday’ singing, how you back up to sit in my lap, your crinkled nose and face when something is super funny, and how you sing in the car all the time.

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So much love.

I don’t know what I worried so much about in the beginning. Unknown to me at the time, my heart just knew how to expand around you and for you, and I have more love to give you and your brother, than I knew possible. Sometimes it feels impossible to contain, but most days, I just revel in the fact that I was blessed with you both, and my life is that much better with you in it.

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Post-boys’ BD party. May 7 2017.
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J. 2.

I leave you with this video <3.

I love you lil’ man. Happy 2nd birthday, my jollybean!!

 

xx.

I loved you first.

After enduring a lot of hiccups and rib-kicking through my last trimester, my (first) little man finally entered the world and into my arms on May 6, 2011. It was a sunny spring Friday afternoon (from what I recall), and as soon as I laid eyes on him, everything else fell away.

Today, 6 years later, my firstborn, Tristan, turns 6. SIX. It’s incredible how fast the time has flown, the amount of experiences we have shared, the moments I have been blessed to witness and be privy to, and the places¬†we have wandered.

I recall¬†our first year together, all the rough spots of being a new parent, to balancing who you are to the parent you want to be, and all the amazing times together. It was a lot of Mommy & T. It’s how I referred to us. From difficult bedtimes (that hasn’t changed, haha) to exploring, seeing and learning the world again through his eyes, through the evolution and development of his personality, to learning just how big your heart can grow (and how badass of a momma bear you can be). I recall how difficult and sad I¬†was when I had to return to work. Such a big change when this little human of mine was just starting to turn into a little person and we were really taking in our time together.

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Tristan. 1.

I remember how hard it was for me when I realized that the first few years of his life, he would have little recollection of – all our experiences together, our moments, our times, the love, laughter, and all the in-between. But then I realized that while he may not remember it, it becomes a part of his foundation, and that’s also if I continue to build on it. It’s silly what you think of, sometimes. I read ‘Me Before You’¬†about a year ago, and when I came across the chapter where the Mom was talking through her experience/perspective, it¬†just hit home, summing what I felt in a matter of sentences. It moved me to tears when I read that (I’m a pretty emotional human being – a feeler, if you will).

“It’s just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man…you see before you. You see all the other people he has ever been all rolled up into one.

I looked at [him] and I saw the baby I held in my arms, dewily besotted, unable to believe I had created another human being. I saw the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied by some other child. I saw the love, the vulnerabilities, the history.”

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Tristan. 2.
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Mommy & T
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Tristan. 3.

Tristan РI have no shortage of love and admiration for you. While we have our challenges, the not-quite-little, not-quite-big boy that stands before me has a huge heart, is compassionate, helpful, loving, strong and brave. You have a sense of wonder that I hope never ceases. You err on the side of caution Рbut I hope you remember that sometimes it is also good to take a leap of faith. May you understand that mistakes can and will happen, and I hope I have the grace and tenderness to teach, learn and sit with you. You have a wonderful way of seeing your world, of building things, of questioning things around you.

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Tristan. 4.
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Our last adventure together before lil’ bro arrives

My little T-monster. You are my sunshine, a bright spark in my day, and you take care of me more than you need to. You have grown into such an amazing young boy, with an adventurous spirit (you LOVE our ‘adventures’ together), a calm demeanour (with a little spitfire when pushed the wrong way), and you absolutely love to tell jokes and tall tales (just don’t let that get out of control) – and you gravitate towards other kids who are ‘jokesters’. You¬†like structure but you like to sing your own song.¬†You’re funny, and my heart lights up when we have moments where we laugh uncontrollably together (and we have a few of those). ¬†You love hard and are loyal.

An incredible big brother – if you put aside the fighting and bickering (all of which are inevitable with siblings), I couldn’t have asked for two sons as loving as you two are together. Watching you love each other, learn and laugh together, and push each other has made my heart expand to a capacity that I didn’t know was possible. You are the light in Jade’s life – the first person he asks for when he wakes up and the last person he asks about before bed.

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Tristan (4) and Jade (2 wks)
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Tristan (4.5) and Jade (6 months)

These two photos below are from our ‘adventure’ today, of which we try to do as many when we are together. He ran off and discovered some plastic from pop cans, and before he put it into the garbage, he said he had to make it so he could “help save the fishies and ducks.” Days and moments like this remind me to breathe, and although we have rough moments (and likely many more over the years ahead of us), that the lessons I teach do sink in.

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Tristan. 6.

Overall, you are amazing. Without your growth, your learning, and our challenges, I couldn’t grow into a better person, a better mommy. You not only learn from me, but I from you. I couldn’t be prouder of who you are becoming and who you have become so far.

Happy 6th Birthday, handsome!

I love you. I loved you first, and I’ll love you always.

xx