Substance: Birthdays After Babies
I am OLDER! If you follow along on Instagram, you know I celebrated a birthday this week. Reflecting on the week I had, day by day, I realized there were so many great things oozing out.
I cringe when I hit, "send, " on these sorts of philosophical, mumbo-jumbo posts, but you know what, I'm doing it. Here it is. In fact, I am adding more substance to this blog, and hope to do more reflections like these. Find them under a new Category, "Substance, " in the upper-left corner. If not for you, for me! Haha!
I felt happier, most days, a lot of each day actually. I felt calmer. I felt more centered and focused than I have ever been. None of it intentional, or was it? Lately my husband and I have had arguments. While that's not the great goo I am talking about, it led me to make some very methodical and intentional choices this week. What do you do when you're married to a chronic complainer? More over, what to do when the one bitching is YOU?! What can I do when my outward communication is not matching my internal feelings. I feel content and happy, so why doesn't the face or tone of voice match?
My husband watched my girls, fed them, cleaned up their dishes and put away the leftovers, and I am mad at a little mud on their shoes? I commented on how he really, "Lets them just go," when he watches them and I called out toys on the floor? Comments, complaints, questions, nagging, "sarcaticism," (as he calls it), bitching? What is the difference? IS there a difference? Why do we do it? Why do I do it? Why, how and when DID I get so comfortable doing it?
I have to dig myself out. I NEED to be aware. How I speak to my husband affects how he speaks to me and how we interact and communicate to each other and NEVER has it mattered more than when we had babies.
So, birthdays after babies magnify a lot of things. Not the fact that you have to get a sitter and carve out time to see a movie, which we DID do during husband's spring break and it was AMAZING! We had not seen a movie in the theater since I was pregnant with Arlo! We MADE time to be TOGETHER, he and I, have brunch, an adult brunch, with HOT coffee, at a restaurant, and then saw a movie. It's not that. What is magnified is BIGGER things.
This week I relished my girls. I feel like I always do. I THINK I am cherishing and savoring moments. Kissing their thighs enough, smelling their hair, memorizing their freckles, dimples... Am I? Maybe I DO have too much time on my hands! Ha! But, this week I pampered myself. I spent time with my husband. I was NICE to my husband. I cooked with a glad heart. I kissed him when he came home and really kissed HIM (two kisses I can remember in particular). The kind I remember doing when I WAS happy and anxious for him to walk in the door. That feeling was back.
I sat in the grass yesterday afternoon for 15 minutes while the girls napped. I sat in the sunshine, ate a bowl of yogurt and granola that I had bought as a treat, and I opened up a magazine I got in the mail, rather than adding it to the dusty stack under my nightstand that haven't been touched, and I sat for 15 minutes, and looked at the sky and listened. I did this because I had to. The other day after I packed the kids in the car, I was using the potty, and it is near the garage, and I could still hear chitter chatter banter from them through a closed car...and I wondered, will it ever be quiet? Still? Do I want it to be quiet? Do I need it to be quiet? Well, I have quiet when they're napping... and then there's when they go to sleep... but don't we equate happiness to children's laughter in poems and metaphors? SO isn't their babble to be cherished, preserved, celebrated? Am I being selfish? Is it terrible to want quiet? So then I listened again, and I strained my ears to hear them and what they might be babbling about and I loved it. I hurried and washed my hands and we went on with our day.
This is all a load of babble right now.
What I am getting at is that birthdays before babies meant planning a THING. A dinner, drinks with friends, an outfit. Now, for me, I question how many more I will be so lucky and very blessed to share with my loves. This is not meant to sound dismal or down... No, NO! On the contrary! I celebrated my birthday more than I ever have in the past! A celebration of life, a birthday, the day of your birth, their birth...a time to reflect on what's important. How we choose to live our days. The thoughts that enter our minds, how we process emotions. Growing up. I'm still growing up.
Husband is one of the best mirrors I could ever wish for. He reminds me of all the growing up I still have to do. When I am complaining too much and his cup is about to runneth over from my negativity, when my "black heart," is just too shocking to let go by without bringing attention to. I have a lot of self working to do. Birthdays after babies make me want to be a better version of someone I want to be. For them. For him. For our family.
What's that phrase? "Happy wife, happy life."
Of course I can't end it by saying I am the only one who has to do all the fixing and changing and growing around here... but I know where I can improve. I have always been a firm believer in the notion that, all we have is ourself to count on, and if that is true, I know that I have the power to adjust myself and from that, the change can impact and affect those around me and this whole wheel.
I am so happy and blessed, and I HOPE to really have the presentation of myself reflect that. When the inside and outside got so mixed up and out of alignment I am not sure, and why I have to WORK at unfurling my brows and turning my lips up into a smile on my face when I feel a HUGE GRIN glowing on the inside is beyond me, but I know I can just do it. Remy has actually caught me. On a couple of occasions during a potty assistance I believe, or bedtime routine, she has stopped me, grabbed my face, looked me in the eye and asked if I was mad. The times I remember her asking me, I was most definitely NOT mad at all, but my facial expressions were emoting that I was, to a two and a half year old. How basic they perceive things. How accurately they relay information and signals. I quickly snapped to attention and smiled saying, "No! No sweetie! Not at all!" Then she said as she literally grabbed my face, "Then turn your eyebrows up like this!"
I smile a LOT almost everyday. How can you NOT with these faces?! But the stressful moments, the long days, tiring days, who we have listening to us, closest to us, hearing us matters. What they see and hear matters. Not taking out stress on our partners and children.
Here are a few photos from the zoo yesterday with a little friend who so generously brings us along!