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Window Shopping for Purpose and Passion

May 26, 2011 7 comments

I have been a little MIA here lately.  I have written many posts… in my head.  Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning.  So what have I been doing instead of blogging?  Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am? 

I have been shopping.  Well, window shopping actually.

I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.

I am a happy person.  I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it.  I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…

…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.

…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.

…I feel like my happy life could be happier.

I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”.  Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount.  But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?  

Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.  I have a career, but does it speak to who I am?  I am not sure.  Does it capitalize on my strengths?  Not all of them.  The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?

In search of quieting the questions in my head,  I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers.  I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one.  I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.

Then something great happened, a chance conversation.  A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig.  He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different.  It sounded like he might dabble in several things.

As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places.  I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life.  I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams.  Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time.  And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).

The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture.  No, I didn’t write that backwards.  I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life.  I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:

The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.  She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:

“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”

I sometimes often forget to stop and show up.  I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists.  So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.

The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead.  My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.

Do you feel like you know your purpose?  Do you experience life?  Do you show up?

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Thank You to My Parenting Village

April 8, 2011 13 comments

When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”.  I whole-heartedly believe this is true.  As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen.  Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.

But not just working parents need the village.  Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too.  They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state.  Bottom line, all parents need a village.

What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child.  The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up.  In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride.  They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of.  My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there.  They made sure he was accounted for.

Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing.  My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents.  We celebrate as a village too.  Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children.  The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.

Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.

What do you want to thank your village for?

My Son Has Hallmark Beat

March 31, 2011 11 comments

Yesterday was my birthday.  When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:

It read:

Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself.  You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”

“Happy Birthday MOM!”

“MOM you are a star.”

I love everything about this card, especially:

  • The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion.  He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
  • The fact that he values loving yourself.  If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
  • At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
  • The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him.  I tell him this after I have to discipline him.  It warms my heart that he heard me.

My son loves to write.  He writes stories and illustrates them on his own.  I love that he has a passion for writing. 

I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him.  Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.

What’s the best birthday present you have received?

Losing Sleep to a Leprechaun

March 17, 2011 7 comments

St. Patrick’s Day “eve” was crazy.  I worked all day and then went to book club last night.  As we are chatting about everything except the book, we start talking about Leprechaun traps and pranks…

Oh shit!  We didn’t build my son’s Leprechaun Trap!  He has been talking about it for weeks.  My husband is out-of-town, the kids are with a babysitter – I am hosed!

You know that feeling that you would rather chew glass than disappoint your kids?  The guilt of forgetting one of those special moments that only happens in childhood…

My son is 6, he could stop believing at anytime, especially if his mommy screws it up! 

As I sat in book club I asked friends for advice.  I even texted the babysitter to see if my son was still awake so I could give him a plan, an alternative, an excuse, something to keep him from being disappointed. 

Unfortunately, he was asleep.

But the luck of the Irish was with me.  And by luck, I mean my son has growing pains.  (Yes, it’s a loose definition of luck – go with it)  My son woke up with growing pains and my brilliant babysitter explained that leprechauns don’t always come first thing in the morning.  My son was delighted, he asked her to tell me that he would like to go to the store tomorrow to buy materials for a trap.

When I got home at 10:45, I did not go to bed, tired from a long week of having no husband, a stressful work day and a rebellious three-year old daughter.  Instead, I was up searching websites for ideas, concocting a story on why the leprechaun came late and formulating a plan for executing his trickery.  And hell yes, I am taking him to the store for supplies!

Because that’s what we do as moms (and dads):  We perform small miracles and amazing feats of sleep deprivation to make special moments happen.  We stay up late on Christmas Eve to ensure the details of Santa’s visit and then wake up too early to unwrap presents we finished wrapping a few hours before.   We risk certain heart attack and broken hands when trying to exchange lost teeth for money.  We scour the internet to find discontinued Lego toys.   We face our crafting demons to create potato leprechauns.  As parents, we push to ensure that our children can believe in Leprechauns, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, fairies and all of the wonderful parts of being young. 

Because in the blink of an eye, the magic stops; our kids grow up, the joy of fantasies fade.  I, for one, am fighting to preserve  my children’s magical fantasies, their joy and my joy as a witness. 

So last night, I gladly accepted losing sleep to a leprechaun, because the joy it brings to my kids is pure gold.

Tribute to My Corkscrew

February 2, 2011 16 comments
You were a wonderful gift on the day of our wedding.
I opened you and knew where this relationship was heading.
 
A Screwpull Elegance Lever Model design
Made of metal and smarter than that dumb guy Einstein.
 
There wasn’t a bottle of wine or cork that you feared
You had great reviews and were truly revered.
 
We hit it off instantly, due to your skillful ways
I could work you bottle after bottle, without issue, for days.
 
You would never falter, I knew you wouldn’t fail
From Cakebread to Margaux to Merryvale.
 
You impressed the wine snobs and the corkscrew challenged
A replacement was never needed or scavenged.
 
You came with us each time that we moved homes
We brought you on vacation, never left you alone.
 
You were more than a tool, you were a close friend.
I thought are affair would never come to an end.
 
And then one day you stuck and required more force.
As I watched your demise, I become distraught of course.
 
I thought no one could ever fill your utilitarian shoes
I instantly started singing the dying corkscrew blues.
 
I knew not how long our partnership would last
Our days were numbered with every glass.
 
Then came the Syrah that broke you apart
When you jammed for good, it broke my heart.
 
Our substitute opener could not measure up
The time had come for me to act like a grownup-
 
To give up drinking wine, ha, you must be on glue
I jumped on the internet to find one just like you.
 
What? What? This could not be true.
You’re no longer made, well who can I sue?
 
But alas, I found a place that knows you are hailed
If I paid through the nose, your replacement will be mailed.
 
I did what I must, I paid the ransom they required
And in return I will get the Screwpull I desired.
 
It won’t be the same as what you and I had
But it will open the wine that I need so bad.
 
So the next glass we’ll toast you and your skill
I’ll never forget you, um… I probably will.
 
 

I Beat Murphy’s Law… For Now

January 14, 2011 21 comments

Do you ever feel like:

  • Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) is a big mean guy swinging a heavy bat – usually at your face or gut?
  • The moment you get off the rollercoaster of life, you step onto a merry-go-round?
  • Just when you get on a good healthy eating and fitness kick, you get sick, injured or somebody sends you a box of chocolates?
  • You can have a quiet work week and then everything hits on Friday?
  • Nobody drops by unannounced when your home is immaculate and you are put together, but your new neighbor drops by the day you forego getting dressed to re-organize and deep clean your house.
  • The simplest of mistakes can have the biggest impact?
  • You forget the one thing at the grocery store that has no substitute?
  • Your kids only sleep in when you’re already awake?
  • The movie you’ve been dying to see was on TV the previous night?
  • The 50% off Border coupon expired yesterday?

I had a week like this.  But you know what?  That Murphy guy is nothing but a bully.  I turned on him, stole his bat and beat his ironic ass – we say bottom in this house- into the ground.  I have been in pajamas (figuratively and literally) all week, just trying to survive.  But now, the sun is shining, I have taken a full shower (with a razor and everything) and am re-claiming my happy life!

They say that what goes up must come down.  But what comes down and breaks, can be fixed with superglue and a martini!

What are your brushes with Murphy’s Law?  How do you bounce back?

Escalator Gymnastics Saved My Son’s Life

January 7, 2011 26 comments

I have consumed the obligatory glasses of wine to recover from the adrenaline rushes of yesterday.  But I did promise to share the story of my escalator gymnastics…

When my son was three years old and my daughter was three months old, we planned a trip to Disneyworld with another family.  As we headed towards security, my husband went into frequent flier mode.  You put my  best friend and better half in an airport and he’s all business, even on a trip for pleasure.  We had decided he would be in charge of my son and I would take the baby (who was strapped to my chest) and the diaper back pack.  To reach security in our airport, you must go up an escalator.  My husband was two car lengths ahead of me as we approached the escalators.  With potentially crippling fear, I realized that while my husband was stepping onto the escalator, my son, wearing a toy-filled backpack, was about 6 steps behind him.  I screamed to my husband to take our son’s hand, but it was too late.  My sweet boy, in an attempt to keep up with daddy, tried to step onto the escalator, by himself, for the first time. 

I could see him hesitate and waver.  All of my internal alarms went off and time slowed to a crawl.  My husband looked like a statue and I knew he was merely a false sense of help at that moment.  As the steps started to ascend, I could see that my sweet pumpkin’s feet were on the very edge of a step and he was teetering.  All that went through my head was that he was going backwards and his head was going to smack the metal grates.

I sprinted. I dove.  I think God may have picked me up and carried me, it was all a blur.  I threw myself forward with my right hand extended and caught my son’s head two inches above the grates.  But it’s not over yet, remember my baby strapped to my chest?

I knew that my forward momentum would send her face first into the same predicament.  While maintaining the hold on my son’s precious head, I kicked my legs out from under me and threw myself backwards.  I put up my left arm to block my daughter’s head as I slammed against the side of the STILL MOVING ESCALATOR.  As I fell backwards the diaper backpack kept my head from a similar fate that I had just avoided for my son.  My girlfriend rushed up behind me and held my head up as I rode up the escalator on my back, legs in the air, baby strapped to my chest, holding my son’s head above menacing metal spikes.

I am staring at my statue, I mean my husband, and see a flash out of the corner of my eye.  A man behind my girlfriend dropped his bag, sprinted the stairs, ran down the escalator, pushed past my frozen husband and pulled my children and I up. 

The next few seconds are a blur but it seems airport personnel were there in an instant.  They had stopped the escalator (a little late fellas) and had summoned the paramedics.  (Taking a breath because after three years I still choke up when I say or write paramedics.) 

They responded quickly to check me and my children out.  I told them my son was fine, I had caught him, but my daughter was crying and had a small bruise on her forehead.  Although my arm took most of her impact, she did hit the glass.  “Ma’am, we’re going to check you all out, but we have an ambulance waiting downstairs.”  At this point, I am wondering if I did the right thing.  I didn’t see what other choice I had at that moment.  I told the paramedics, “We’re on a way to Disneyworld, but if you have the slightest hesitation, we are getting in that ambulance”.

Fortunately, everyone checked out fine.  My daughter had stopped crying and showed no signs of trauma and my son and I had escaped even a scratch.  We were cleared to fly.  As we walked through the terminal, people were pointing at me and whispering. 

I was whispering too, “Thank you God”.