Friday, July 24, 2015

What to do when your life becomes small

My life used to be big. I used to travel to places like Brazil, Jamaica, NYC. I moved to the Florida panhandle for a year just because I felt like it. I threw and attended parties. I had significant others. I rarely knew what the next day had in store for me, let alone the next month or year.

Now, everything is so predictable. My job, my breakfast, the charges on my credit card (definitely not small). And very little of it can be compared to my 5-years-ago self. Before you start thinking I am throwing myself a pity party, let me make it clear that I am okay with this (to a certain extent). When I said "my life used to be big", I didn't mean it was anymore "full" than it is now. In fact, it may have been even less full than it is now in some ways.  But it was, without question, bigger.

Most of my days are now spent within a 5-mile radius of my home. A few times a month I venture out 50 miles or so. Rarely further. What reason is there to? I can't afford a vacation, although taking one would probably do wonderful things for my mental health. I am heading to the great plains of Oklahoma next month for my best friends's wedding. Of course, that trip is more about her than me. Yes, my life is small now, and I have chosen to accept that (as if I have a choice). My kids are young (5 & 3). I want them to grow up to have big, adventurous lives someday. But right now, they need their grandma and grandpa, their cousins, their friends, their toys and blankies, their teachers and therapists. They need schedules and consistency and a home. I have provided them all of those things. And we have found a community we love. So we are here to stay for at least another 10-15 years.  

I don't miss my "big" life, although I am glad I had it. I can't say I really missed out on much. I have no resentments toward my current life (although I'm still kinda pissed no one told me how hard this parenting thing was). There is a simplicity that comes with having a small life; something I never had in my 20s. I still find myself creating new ways to complicate things (i.e., going back to school, attempting to date, etc.). Then other days, I wake up at 6 a.m., sit in my sunroom drinking hot tea and appreciate the smallness. My life may be big again someday, but rather than waiting on that to happen, I'm going to appreciate it being small...and full.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's cuter to be kind

What will happen when my child with special needs isn't seen as cute? <---- I shared this post awhile back when it was first written, but I thought I'd share it again. It's a touchy subject for sure because no one wants to admit to thinking this way, but in all honesty, we do. If we're lucky, we learn to talk ourselves out of those negative thoughts, somewhere between the ages of 20-30 usually. For the saints among us, maybe sooner.

I will be honest here, I think my kids are adorable, both physically and their personalities. And I'm sure they might even grow up to be "cute". (Just for the record: if not, I'm totally okay with that). But what I find myself thinking more and more lately the older my daughter gets is "what if she talks the way she talks when she's 10? 15? 20?" She walks around repeating these cute little random phrases, probably from some tv show or movie and we all laugh and smile because she's 5 and it is cute. But will it be cute when she's 10? 15? 20? Probably not so much. And how will people respond to her if she walks around talking like that? Will they still give her a chance? Maybe so, maybe not. It's a hard thing for a parent to come to terms with. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it for the time being, because the future is so unknown for all of us. And after all, she is only 5. She may grow out of it. If not, I will still love her just as much as I do now. It's the rest of the world I worry about. So please world, be kind...even if you don't think it's "cute".

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When you realize all of your family pics are selfies...

I've always loved taking pictures. Mostly pictures of my kids, as anyone that is friends with me on social media can attest. For my daughter's first year of life I probably posted 10 pictures a day of her. Same outfit, same setting, but maybe a slight turn of the head or a new smirk on her face. Now I might post one picture every day or two of my kids. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

I rarely have time to sift through the thousands (yes, thousands) of pictures I've taken of them over the last 3-5 years. But sometimes I take a peek. What I realized today was that the large majority of our family pictures are selfies. Most of the time I captured one or both of my kids from behind the camera. But I decided way early on that I would be damned if I was going to be left out of our memories. So occasionally, I turned the camera (phone) around and snapped a pic of the three of us. Of course it didn't surprise me to come to the realization that most of our family pics were selfies. I was there, I remember each and every one of those special moments my kids and I shared. What did surprise me was the sheer volume of family selfies we've amassed. And also that I'm still doing it. Over 5 years later. I never thought the "family selfie" would stick around that long. I thought maybe someday there would be someone to stand behind the camera besides me for once. Granted, we now live closer to family so we've gotten more non-selfie pics of our family than ever over the past 2 years. But when we're hanging out at home, a selfie or a mom-left-out pic is the only option. And I prefer to not be left out.

This isn't a pity post. I can't even imagine being in a relationship anymore. I'm at peace with that part of my life for now. This post is more about taking a step back and looking at your life and what it's become and how different it is than you ever dreamed. For better or for worse. All of it. Together. One big selfie.