My 8 year old couldn’t settle in to sleep in her own room last night so I let her snuggle with me in my bed while I did some late night work by the light of the lamp on my nightstand.
“Hey Mom,” she said with her head cuddled into my shoulder and arms wrapped around mine as she watched me type away on my laptop.
“Can you explain your work to me?”
I was surprised by her question. We had talked about my work several times (because it’s a question she asks a lot) but I figured there was a reason she was asking again. I decided to show her a little differently, and I pulled up my author page on Her View From Home.
“These are all articles – or stories – that Mommy has written,” and I scrolled down the dozens of pieces I’ve been blessed to have featured on the site.
One caught her eye — a piece titled “To My Rule Following Child… I See You.”
“Is that about me?” she asked.
“It is, honey. And I’d love to read it to you if that’s ok with you.”
This post is sponsored by Lumaze Lights – but as always, friends, the thoughts/ opinions/ perspectives are my own. Head to my disclosures page HERE to learn more about The Thinking Branch partnerships.
It feels different this holiday season.
Inside of my heart and my soul and even physically in my body.
There is a welcomed calm within me that has been almost nonexistent since the first holiday that I’ve had kids. In SO. MANY. Christmas seasons in the past I succumbed to the pressure of making things perfect. I felt the pressure of having the perfect thing for family members to unwrap. I was upset for days if my favorite holiday tradition (tree selecting and decorating) went awry because someone in the family was in a bad mood. I got mad if things didn’t go the way I envisioned.
But in my 8th year as a mom, I’ve finally learned that the joy of the holidays lies in none of those things; it lies in the moments… ESPECIALLY if you choose to be in those moments with the spirit, wonder and joy of a child.
Last weekend, we were hosted by Lumaze Pittsburgh to take in their indoor wonderland experience. We wandered as a family through a holiday fairytale of light gardens, lit-up globes, an icicle forest, a holiday train and more… all underneath the twinkle of a million lights.
On the drive down (especially as my youngest had a meltdown in the back seat) I made a commitment to myself to let the kids – and the experience – lead. To not get stressed if one of them melted down when we got in there. To not make them do what I wanted to do, but instead to input myself into their experience.
YES I wanted to do it for them – knowing that there are many days where they hear me rushing them out the door, or telling them to hold on a minute or seeing me stressed out. But I also wanted to do it for me – because who doesn’t want to shut off their adult switch sometimes and just tap into their inner kid?!
So that’s what I did. And boy was it fun to just let go and leave the stress outside of the Lumaze walls.
I jumped on the light-up dots with kids as we pretended the floor around us was hot lava. I danced and twirled with my daughter to the band playing holiday music in front of a couple dozen people eating their dinner. I jumped up and down when I saw Santa. I let them play on the bouncy reindeer for 20 minutes even though my fast-moving adult pace wanted to move them on to the next thing. I put my arms out, turned my head up and spun underneath a lit up snow globe with my son.
FOR THREE HOURS, FRIENDS! (With a break in the middle to head to the amazing selection of food trucks for some fuel!)
It just felt GOOD.
And as I felt my own kid-like joy, I watched my kids move throughout the Lumaze experience with theirs, too.
It reminded me how special this stage with them is, and also how fleeting. The stage when when the magic of the season is more exciting than getting the coolest smart phone… when the anticipation of spotting Santa Claus is at the forefront of their mind and not what they’re going to buy their boyfriend or girlfriend for the holiday… when the family party is what they look forward to and not what they try to leave early from to go out with their friends.
And I don’t want to miss any of it.
Thank you to Lumaze Pittsburgh for not only letting us get lost in the lights, but also get lost in the moment with our family. If you are in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area and thinking about heading to Lumaze for yourself, check out some info below.
DID YOU KNOW….
— Pittsburgh is one of only TWO U.S. cities with a Lumaze event? (Seattle is the other!) Kinda cool, right?!
— The experience is happening here in the Burgh through January 4, 2019 and you can go HERE to learn more about Lumaze’s features and get your tickets for one of the remaining available dates to experience it with your kids, your partner, your extended family (we were so lucky to have the kids’ Mimi with us!) and your friends.
So much of Lumaze was about the memories, but here are some extras I wanted to share for those thinking about going:
- Lumaze is stroller- (and wheelchair-) friendly and they have a parent/baby area for those who need it!
- There are designated Lumaze event parking areas that are $10-$20.
- There is a marketplace at the end of Lumaze with some local vendors for shopping for holiday gifts
- There is picnic-table-style seating in the entrance/food area, but there are also benches located within the “lighted” space itself if you have someone in your group who might need to sit down/rest!
- Soak it in. Enjoy the moment. Let the wonder in. 🙂 Learn More
Confession: I hate my body.
There, I said it.
I said the thing that I know I’m not supposed to say that I know I’m not supposed to think that I know is something on which I’m supposed to have perspective because I find perspective in everything.
But, friends, that number looking up at me from the scale right now is one that I’ve never locked eyes with unless there was a tiny human growing in my belly. As a lifelong athlete, that’s just a hard pill to swallow.
I know you want to talk me out of it.
“But that body brought three humans into the world. That’s a beautiful thing.”
Yes, I know it did, and yes it is.
“The scale number doesn’t define you.”
Yes, I understand that too.
“You have your health, that’s what important.”
Yes, you’re right. You’re VERY right.
But right now, I can’t accept any of the perspective.
I dread putting clothes on in the morning. I REALLY dread going to work or social functions knowing that nothing in my closet fits me the way it did before. And I EXTRA dread walking into said work/social functions knowing that my insecurity is going to get in the way of me doing my best work or connecting with the people in the room.
But there’s nothing I dread more than losing my self love and my self confidence… not just for my own sake …but because I’ve got two little girls looking up to me to teach them how to have theirs.
In the last two months, my 8-year-old daughter has added a new set of glasses to her pretty little face and will go through nine months of expanders and braces — things that will alter her appearance, and things I wondered if she’d struggle with.
“I love myself, Mom!” is what I constantly hear from her.
AND I TAUGHT HER THAT, you guys.
I taught her how to love her reflection by talking about what I love about mine. I taught her that by showing her how to say positive affirmations to herself in the mirror. I taught her that by letting her dress herself and wear her hair the way that feels good to her. I taught her that by using language in store fitting rooms that included talking about how we “felt” in clothes and not about how we looked.
Yet here I am.
I feel ashamed I feel this way.
Because the truth is, saying these words about myself feels more repulsive than I’ve told myself that my reflection looks. I don’t deserve this kind of self-hate.
I know this isn’t the real me. The real me doesn’t obsess about weight and doesn’t push away perspective and doesn’t speak negatively to herself in the mirror.
When I get like this, I know it has nothing to do with my weight, and everything to do with everything else.
A stressful couple of months when I rarely practiced self care.
A busy calendar that has left no room for friendship and family time.
Career dreams from which I allow my doubting inner voice to keep me.
A nearly complete abandonment from anything that brings me joy.
A refusal to give in to those thoughts that are screaming, “Something has to change.”
I do love myself.
And I APPRECIATE my body.
I appreciate the way it has allowed me to use it to the sports that I love. The way it has stood under me on a stage while I’ve used my voice to make an impact. The way it has played a part in me becoming a mom. The way it lets me move in my happy place on a dance floor. The way it allows me to take in my husband’s comforting bear hugs.
But I want to get back to loving it — loving it with movement and exercise and healthy foods and a self care routine that allow it to feel strong.
Loving it by ultimately putting more work into loving the girl it belongs to.