Happy 2019: Hashtag Blessed AND…

Happy New Year!  May your 1-9, be beyond fine.

On the first day of 2019, I found out that some friends are expecting their third child.  I was so surprised though I already knew that when people say they are SO done, that means nothing because life.

I became immediately excited for them and also nostalgic for that expectant stage I always idealize because hey, HUMAN LIFE INSIDE ME!

I wanted to tell my friends just how joyful being a mom to three is.  Joyful AND crazy.  Blissful AND overwhelming.  “AND’s” are always allowed.

The kids are still on Winter Break, which is a new phenomenon for these newbie Californians as we are used to going back to school promptly on January 2nd, immediately after the countdown and the dduk-mandoo-gook.

After fixing the baby some eggs and the boys some Spam kimbap for breakfast, we rushed to a local Japanese Tea Garden before baby’s nap hit.  This one doesn’t do car naps so we rush home for crib naps, a totally new experience.

The garden is a gem I was delighted to bring my family to, as it was one of my favorites decades ago when I lived in L.A.

“Don’t throw the pine cones into the pond.

Make sure they only land on the grass.

Don’t creep close to the water on that stone perimeter.  Back up.  More.  Watch out for your sister.

I said, no pine cones in the pond.

Olive, let’s walk around the lady trying to get her sunbath on.”

Clearly, a different experience from visiting alone as a single 20-something.

My thoughts are all over the place as I know the baby will wake up soon and the boys might break out into a fight even though they are currently playing quietly after consuming the ramen I made them for lunch.

When people repeat how hard marriage and parenting can be, I always want to hear specifics.  When they only repeat that it is hard, my ever-curious mind wonders what *they* find hard about either, and if it is similar to what I find hard about it.

I can’t tune out sounds, for one, so I absorb every noise, kid and otherwise.  Like the leafblower on turbo right outside my window as I type this.  So when I hear the boys just BEGIN to fight, I feel triggered as I know what awaits.

As their bodies grow bigger, their fights are more intense and frequent.  And guy-ish.  I was able to stomach their toddler fights because of the adorable and innocent factor.  They are louder and meaner now, pushing each others’ buttons on purpose.

And a 20+ lb. lightweight toddler sister might get caught in the crossfires.

As the “wise” “adult,” I need to not react and spew out the reaction I am tempted to spew:  “Shut up, I can’t handle this fighting!”  And when my bucket is beyond empty, I so want to say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

I have to pause, take a deep breath, and find out what made them escalate.  And most times, I just don’t want to.  I, too, want to go sunbathe at a public park and bounce when the kids make kid noises.

For me, the psychological toll that parenting takes is what comes to mind these days, when I think about parenting being hard.  I can’t hear myself think and it will only get louder once Olive is fully verbal.

I want to behave just like them at times but I must don this adult costume and not be reactive.  And when I do fail and say wrong things, I must apologize again, forgive myself and ask friends to remind me that there is no condemnation or else the shame spiral will take me for a ride.

For Year 1-9 to be Beyond Fine, both Kevin and I have to make sure our mental health gets put on The List.  This means more alone time for each of us, not alone time to pay bills, increase our household income while baby naps, email the teachers, schedule play dates, meet more family needs but alone time to NOT take care of tasks, alone time to do what delights us, even for half an hour, which is just what I got to do now, while baby continues to nap and boys dribble a ball, harmoniously, for now.

Sure, I want this to be better writing but nope, publishing as is or else I’d never blog.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

IMG_7618IMG_7639IMG_7642IMG_7643IMG_7650

 

Advertisements

One. Five. One Five.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

That is my favorite greeting of the year. I like to belt it out through the entire month of January though I wouldn’t mind saying it through the first couple weeks of February. Of course I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I can say “Happy Thanksgiving” only for the few days leading up to it because Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) take over and “Merry Christmas” is something I can only say once I know the greetee also celebrates, lest I offend anyone.

During this holiday break, Kevin used his vacation days to spend quality time with us. I ended up hanging out with my family for 14 consecutive, activity-filled days with only about 1.5 days of down time, let alone Me Time. So by the time 1.4.15 arrived, I was actually itching to go to the gym, to hear myself think. I made it out despite the rain and Ellis holding my sneakers for hostage.

There were three TVs side-by-side-by-side before me.

First TV: NY1 coverage of Officer Liu’s funeral in Brooklyn, NY.

Second TV: CNN coverage of more bodies found in the wreckage of AirAsia.

Third TV: ESPN tribute to their very own Stuart Scott who passed today at age 49.

Life seems predictable at times in this here First World – you’re born, you’re a cute morsel, you grow up, get some education, get a job, pay them bills. But these news stories reminded me that life is only predictable if you are fortunate enough.

A newly wed 32 year-old cop eating lunch in his patrol car is shot dead, execution style. 162 people board a plane that crashes into the Java Sea. Beloved pioneer sports anchor dies of stomach cancer at the age of 49.

Even with our stressors, triggers, entanglements, failures, insecurities, repeat failures, addictions, and pain, waking up to a new day is a GIFT.

New mercies every morning.

I went to a luncheon at church today to hear more about our friends’ short term mission trip to the Philippines. I heard about how the long term missionaries in Cebu, Philippines, Rick and Jiji Harner, tutor 200+ kids four nights a week, every week, while homeschooling 15 children during the week, including their own two children. Jiji just gave birth to her third baby girl on 1.2.15 and at the time of her birth, was getting ready to host a team of 12 American volunteers(!).

I was touched and inspired by how they just poured out and gave of themselves to their community, standing in as loving, dependable parental figures to some of these children. As a reflex, I was tempted to compare myself to them and how much they do in one day, but I had to catch myself.

We are all given different gifts and strengths. And limitations.

The Harners’ dynamic and countercultural way of life, as well as the stories of the people taken too soon inspired me.

In 2015, Year One-Five, I want to Thrive because I am Alive. To wake up to another day is a big fat gift that I want to gulp down.

Here’s to the New Year!

(And here’s to writing more).

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. ” – T.S. Eliot

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ― Vita Sackville-West

blank slate