And, now this!

Hello.  My name is Kat.  I used to write in this blog on a semi-regular basis.  I’m back to try to keep my writing mind sharp and relay my observations on life.

What is my life these days?  So many things have changed even since my last post (over a year ago!).    As I write, I’m sitting at work on my lunch. I am tired.  My two year old has recently begun climbing out of things – his bed, his gated bedroom, down the stairs in the middle of the night, and into our bed or the playroom where his Super Wings reside…  He’s an early riser.  By early, I mean this morning he work up at 3:40 AM for the day. So, life has me feeling sleepy.

But, I’m a mom.  I persevere.

I have been in and out of doctor’s offices over the last two weeks.  My thyroid is out of whack – or something is. I blame the thyroid because it has been underactive since I was a teenager.  But that hasn’t stopped me from living an active life…until lately.  I am tired, achy, can’t lose weight, foggy brained, cold.  I got a “great” recommendation from my last endocrinlogist – get a gastric band, he said.  Those are really effective!  So, here we have come in life to the moment when I’m told after a lifetime of being pretty high energy (3 marathons, 6 half marathons (one at 20 weeks pregnant), I climbed Katahdin 5 months pregnant, I’ve biked from Montana to Seattle.  I’m not a slug!)  the only solution to my myriad health issues is a gastric band.  No tests.  No referral to a nutritionist.  No acknowledgement of my previous eating disorder that at one point had me well below 100 lbs.  Just, a gastric band recommendation.

Then, enter the text from the ex.

Yeah, you know.  Just a text from my ex boyfriend with whom I haven’t spoken in about 6 years.  He’s in town.  Let’s clear up the past.

Ha! Righto.  Of course, universe.  Let’s just let all these things coelesce right now to see if I can be driven off a cliff.   I mean, why?  I have this all processed and tucked neatly in a box in the corner of my brain and we have to go open that up now?   Does this seem like a good idea?  Not really.

I just wonder sometimes.  When all the weirdities of the world line up to confront you at one time, it seems to be a reminder to get back on track.  So, I have been nurturing myself a bit.  Sleeping more, stepping aside to breathe, giving my body what it asks for.  Because I feel like the universe has something up its sleeve and I want to be ready for whatever’s coming.

 

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Nobody asks you

Nobody really asks you how the transition to two kids is after a few months.  It’s as if the early stage, where – let’s be honest – you’re entirely sleep deprived and likely very hormonal, is reflective on the reality of life with two kids.  But, I’m telling you that the pure exhaustion of having two small children hits you later.  It’s the sustained, relentlessness of it all.  The 3.5 year old who screams just for fun, and the teething, and the constant toys and rough housing and cleaning and feeding and changing diapers.  It’s a never-ending thing.  The baths, the wiping buns, the making of and cutting up of every meal, the vigilance, the arranging for, the sniffing, and asking probing questions, and trying to recall how to respond appropriately when one kid chucks a truck at the head of the other with no remorse. I spend 8 hours + each day at the office – where I have had the hardest year to date professionally – and it is like a sanctuary of peace and tranquility because I don’t have to pick up spilled food, wonder why my couch is making horrendous noises, decipher what the sticky mess on the floor might be, or clean and dress wounds.  I am just. so. tired.

 

The end.

 

Cherry tree

Every spring in mid-April, our cherry tree erupts into a pinkish-magenta lattice-work of flowers that covers our front yard with a beautiful, fleeting, serenity and lusciousness.  It is a welcome to spring that brightens our street and blows dust off the cobwebs of winter in my soul.

Each April, I reflect on the first time I viewed that tree.  I biked over to Rick’s house, early in our dating.  As I turned off of 13th onto his street and approached his house I remember seeing this tree and the beautiful, warm terra-cotta look of the house.  Immediately, this guy who I met at a race wearing an old hoodie and smoking a cigarette appeared to be very different from what I’d assumed him to be.  His beautiful old house with the flowering Cherry tree told me something else about Rick – about his care, his conscientiousness, and about who he is deep down – someone who buys a house in his twenties and in his thirties is debt free.  “This guy is no slouch”, I recall thinking.  His home gave me the sense of his eye for design, his diligence and care for the things that are his, and for the things he wanted to have in his life – me, I’d hoped.

Each spring when the cherry tree erupts into bloom I remember falling slowly and steadily in love with Rick, winding the road that took us across continents and oceans and eventually right back to where we started. And I smile now to see our two little boys and sweet dog  playing beneath the tree.

 

Why Don’t You Have a Daddy? …and other mortifying things your kid said.

I’ve toiled over the idea of writing a mom-blog.  So much of my life is anecdotes about my kids.  It only seems right for me to put paper to pen (so to speak) and document these moments.  Sadly, the thing about the years when you have littles at home to write about, is that you have no time.  Ever.  Full stop.

But, lately there have been some gems spouting from the mouths of babes.  Like the subject line, spoken to a friend at school just as his single mom walked in to hear it.    In these moments, I just cringe because I’m certain it will get worse before it gets better.

But, also spouting from the mouths of babes these days? Well, from Will mostly a “mama” or “dada”  as he tri-pod crawls around the house and stuffs avocados into his mouth.  But, from Cody I get my full compliments for the day – usually by 7 AM.  Lately he’s been brimming with, “Mama, you’re so beautiful” or, “Mama, you smell so nice!” or, “Mama, you’re a great ‘nuggler.”  And in these moments, every other bit of threenager angst that radiates off him falls away and I am sure, without a doubt, that he is an angel sent to Earth for the benefit of my  ego.

I constantly read mom blogs and lamentations about how hard it is to be a working mom, and hell it’s all true.  I’m exhausted.  I’m fatter than ever.  I feel like I’m not committed enough to anything. I’m never without bags under my eyes.   Half the time I’d struggle to recall the last time I shaved my legs and I used to be a daily shaver. But, each night I spend playing with and taking care of these little people who I made with my favorite person.   It’s a freaking miracle and it’s like riding a tsunami crest–constantly wondering when it will all come crashing down in disaster.  But, I love it.  I really do.

 

 

Bliss. Surfing, and bliss.

As it always does, the beach scene as viewed from the surf line up seems serene and remote.  Even here, amidst a cacophony of colorful umbrellas and a brass band stationed inches from the water mark of the rising tide, horns trumpeting a tinny Mexican melody.  With my feet dangling in the blue as I straddled my longboard and the subtle rise of the rollers beneath me I felt at peace.

My relationship with surfing is a bit complicated.  I love it from a distance, and then when faced with imminent  breaking waves I’m occasionally timid — unsure of my place among the throngs of people who call themselves “surfers.”  And, this Mexico trip was no different.  The day we arrived, Rick raced to the beach and rented a board.  I watched him, content to bob in the surf for hours.

But, when I did grab a longboard and head to the breaking waves the following day, I was greeted with the familiar and welcome sensation of paddling on to the breaking face of a gentle wave — the bouncing rush of momentum when the struggle to catch the wave morphs into a gleeful breakneck slide down its leading slope.

Rick and I marveled over it.  What is it that makes it so addictive? I think maybe the fleeting nature is what gets me most.  It is the ultimate flow moment when you stand up on a wave, focused on nothing but riding it to its completion.  The sun and mariachi on the shore, and bobbing heads in the tide all morph into background static as you angle your board to the breaking wave and attempt to trace the line between racing down the face and hanging near the lip.  It is one of the those meditative activities that, through no effort on your part, immediately brings your mind into a profound state of concentration– and bliss.

So, yeah.  That was Mexico.  Bliss. Surfing, and bliss.

 

 

Resolutions and Reflections

The intervening time between my blogs about New Year reflections seems increasingly short.  Time slips away as life with two little people in it gets busier and more wild by the day.

Today, January 3rd, Will is seven months old.  The little sprite truly is a ray of light.  His facial expressions are an everlasting source of enjoyment as he vacillates between focus, confusion, interest, and joy.  When he looks your way and breaks into a smile, his whole face lights up.  Even Cody is at times overcome by his cuteness.  Just  yesterday, Rick told me about how he was driving my car and the boys were in the back and Cody burst out saying “Dad, Will is just SO cute!!”  He is a  loving soul.  We all revel in his cherubic warmth and sweetness.

And on the subject of birthdays, tomorrow Cody turns 3.  Somehow to me, this birthday is truly a milestone bringing Cody into childhood in a more full sense.  He isn’t a toddler or a baby now.  His world is real and changing and the experiences he has each day feel to me like they are making him into the person he will be.  Cody is a bright, inquisitive, and creative person who makes observations on life that astound me.  His grasp of language impresses me each day, and he soaks in the information around him and is able to spit it back out in new and different contexts.  I love hearing how he makes sense of the world.  Just yesterday, he told me that he was taking a car to bed to “nuggle” with it, and that would leave another one with me as long as I “was the scarecrow” and would not let Will put it in his mouth.  Scarecrow, huh?  Sure, bud.  I can be the scarecrow for you.  He is a caring older brother, keeping me posted on whether Will is hungry, fussy, tired or in need of a diaper change.  He loves his little brother and wants to help me care for him – even in a sometimes nagging way.  For his third birthday, Cody has requested a sprinkle party.  I don’t know exactly what that will be, but it’s planned for next Sunday and I have fun fetti cake and sprinkles in bulk at the ready.

For me, trying to write about the year almost has to be a sampling of vignettes.  I don’t have the time or energy to lay them out more fully.  So here are some moments that captured 2016 in all it’s intensity and glory:

  • Rick, Cody, me and my baby belly hosted about 30 people at our house the morning of the Women’s March last January.  Our teeming lot gathered, readied ourselves, and rolled out and on to downtown with donuts, coffee, and protest signs in hand.  It was a moment of empowerment and joy in a year of challenge.
  • I presented to the Denver Transportation Symposium on the Federal Boulevard outreach program we led, focusing on the School Ambassadors program that won a an APA Colorado Award.  It was exciting to present on our work, and hilarious to watch folks try to focus on me despite my giant pregnant belly.
  • I unsuccessfully tried for a VBAC for Will’s birth. I didn’t get the birth experience I wanted, but got 85% of the way there and can say with certainty that I had a real and valid shot at a vaginal delivery.  I learned that barring some miracle, that’s just not in the cards for me – whether due to the previous scar tissue or just an oddity of my pelvic dimensions.  I’m still trying to understand what that means for me and for our future.
  • I took 5 months of leave to be with my family.  Part of that came before the birth, but most of it came after.  It was a huge blessing to have that time and I will never regret the special moments that I was able to share with my kids and the time I was able to spend focusing on them without the distractions of work in the back of my mind.
  • Work presented me with a new path – I shifted away from Strategic Communications and back to environmental planning.  The shift was a long time in the making, but sadly, was precipitated by a lot of weird stuff that felt bad in the moment, feels bad in retrospect, and which I am still trying to understand in full.  I learned some hard lessons about myself, what I want in my coworkers and peers,  and my priorities and values in the workplace and beyond.  I am happy with my new role and excited about the future.  I’m happy I’ve been able to build strong connections in my company that allowed me to smoothly shift out of Strategic Communications when the time came to get out.
  • We finished remodeling our house!  Our new kitchen, laundry room, and upstairs bathroom are awesome.  Many months of dust, drafts, challenging contractor dynamics, and old house challenges finally got us the kitchen of our dreams.
  • I’ve truly had a wonderful year with Rick.  On a regular basis I look over at him and marvel out loud about the fact that I’m amazed I still like him with all the crap this year has brought us.  Still, and more so than ever, he makes me laugh, feel cared for and respected, he listens to me, and he is my partner in this wild ride called parenthood.  I can’t say enough about how lucky I am.  Plus, I think he’s so handsome.  🙂

 

 

 

Just for a moment, let’s be still.

Soft lights under the cabinets illuminated a mother dancing with her infant son in her arms in a nearly dark kitchen. The breeze of a cooling September night, drifted in and cascaded around the two.  The quiet of the evening was broken by the soft, lilting chorus from the nearby speakers, “Just for a moment, just for a moment, let’s be still…”  The baby laid its head on his mother’s shoulder as she swayed.

Perfection.