I was not at the Boston Marathon today. Lucky and I came out of family swim time at our gym to texts and check ins, and for a few panicky moments, all I could think about were my friends running today.
They are all accounted for – and thankfully okay.
I believe that we have a choice in this life to react in fear, hate, or sadness.
Today I choose to send love out into the world to counteract the hate that seems to be present in every day, on every TV station.
Thank you all for the emails and texts.
Love to you all.
I have done some form of the Meyers-Briggs personality indicator maybe 4-5 times over the past 15 years. The full one in grad school, when I was getting my MBA. Some shorter forms of it a few times since then.
But every time I’ve done it, I’ve gotten fairly consistent results. I come up as an INTJ or ENTJ, depending on how sociable I was feeling when I took the test.
(For those of you who haven’t taken the test, the four indicators are Introvert/Extravert, Sensing/Intuitive, Thinker/Feeler, and Perceiver/Judger.)
Everyone around me – including Charlie, who’s done the Meyers-Briggs himself – has expressed surprise that I was typed that way.
Which, in retrospect, probably should have been clue. Because the thing is, for an INTJ/ENTJ, accounting is actually a pretty darn good career choice. But I feel like it’s ill-fitting, right? So maybe that’s a clue: I’m not actually that personality type.
Anyway. This week, I picked up some career books from the library. The first one – Do What You Are - is based on the Meyers Briggs personality indicator.
And though I didn’t really think I was different than the results I’ve always gotten, I decided to wipe the slate clean and start fresh – that is, break free of the EXPECTATION that I was a certain way.
It’s probably not surprising to YOU, my readers, that I came up with different results on the Meyers-Briggs this time. But I was completely gobsmacked. The type that I came up with? It’s ME. It’s the REAL me, not the me I want to be. Not the Me at Work.
Which, honestly, if I think about it – makes a TON of sense.
Nearly 20 years ago when Amy died, I made a decision: I could not be the person I was anymore. Why? Because I wasn’t a Responsible Person – when a person clearly needed me. I didn’t care enough about other people to reach out and help my cousin, who was clearly suffering. Amy reached out to me twice, and I did nothing to help. NOTHING.
Now, of course, I have perspective. And I understand the reality: her death wasn’t my fault. But back then, I believed that if I were a different, BETTER person, I might have saved her.
So I changed. I became Responsible. I modeled myself after my father; became organized, made decisions, worked my ass off to achieve success. Went to business school. Got my CPA. Forced myself to be the person I SHOULD have been; someone who would have helped her suicidal cousin.
But the thing is, I’m not really an INTJ. Not naturally, anyway. And the issues with my career, and my life, and happiness right now? Likely a result of trying to BE someone I’m not. Which, really, is kind of silly.
So it SHOULDN’T have been surprising, then, that I got a different result this time. ENTP. And the profile of my personality type is ME – to a tee.
The things that I have spent the past 20 years looking at as my weaknesses – the dislike of routines and predictable, the difficulty with details, the inattention to other people’s feelings, the need to debate, the need to change things up when I master a skill (what my father calls my inability to stick with something)…
It’s my PERSONALITY.
I’ve spent the past 20 years trying to be someone I’m not. I’ve been trying to CHANGE things that are fundamentally me, and being disappointed when I can’t FIX it.
It’s just shocking to me that a test in a book has made me realize this about myself. I mean, at some level I realized that I made choices about my life after Amy died. I suppose I just didn’t realize how far-reaching those changes were.
Anyway. I am excited about this discovery. For the first time, I feel like I’m breaking free of the idea of who I SHOULD be and focusing on who I AM.
A good blogger friend of mine posted today about a terrible bout of anxiety she’s feeling about where she is right now – she’s perched on the precipice of a lot of unknowns. Which is really hard.
And this sentence got me: The more I can’t control the big issues, the more I micromanage and grab onto smaller things. When we were ttcing it was my weight and body image and running. I couldn’t get pregnant, but I could damn well make sure I got skinny and could run really fast.
That last sentence.
That’s ME right now.
I have finally gotten to the point where realize I am not in control of much of anything in my life. I have a career which is ill-fitting. My relationship with my husband is challenged by the stress of our infertility, the drudgery of our daily life, and parenting. My nearly-five-year-old still wets his pants regularly. I will likely never be pregnant again.
And all of this is uncomfortable. I LIKE having plans. Sitting with decisions, really forcing myself not to CHOOSE anything, really sitting with emotions and feelings… it’s kind of exhausting and tiring and uncomfortable. And hard.
Except there’s one thing in my life which I DO have some measure of control over: running. And food choices.
I wish I could bottle up the feeling of nailing a workout, how amazing and light and fast I feel.
Words don’t do that feeling justice either. It’s joy. Freedom. Sometimes exhaustion. Sheer will. The rush of pushing past some mental barrier and realizing that you can DO something you previously thought you weren’t capable of. I have moments where my overriding feeling is, I am MADE for this. That feeling you get when running is changeable, like catching lightning in a bottle. But always, always, always fulfilling.
After being snowed in with my family for two full days last weekend, I went out the day after the blizzard for my long run and experienced nothing more than sheer JOY. The run had it all: birdsong, the crunch of the snow under my sneakers, the quiet without any traffic, the people outside shoveling I got to greet… it was perfection.
A run is the one thing in my life right now that gives me joy, and success, and happiness. It makes up for all the ways I am failing everywhere else.
Because, you see, I DO feel as if I’m failing a lot. At work, I fail to be detail oriented; I am trying not to be crippled with self-doubt right now whenever I turn in something I’ve worked on, but it is so hard to banish the Inner Critic who tells me it’ll never be good enough.
I fail to be patient with my son, who still struggles with using the damn potty. We have been dealing with accidents for far too long, and I am nearly at my wits’ end* with it all. Our conversations when I discover that he’s wet often end up with him telling me, Stop being mad at me, Mommy. (I don’t yell, nor punish him for it, but I do lecture. I just can’t be neutral about it any more, no matter how hard I try.)
I also fail to be a good wife nowadays. Charlie is under some pretty tough work stress, and though I know he could use support and kindness, I’m having trouble not being resentful of the fact I feel like his work takes precedence over me or Lucky. I am failing at giving him the support he needs without expecting something in return.
I also have failed, utterly, to complete our family. I am mourning, already, the end of Lucky’s childhood; it’s going by so fast and I won’t ever get to experience it again. I mourn FOR him, the fact that he will have to bear the burden of taking care of Charlie and I at some point in the future on his own, that he has no one to share the burden. I mourn that his children won’t have cousins.
My body has failed. Failed me in the most fundamental way, on the deepest, most basic level possible. My body will not produce children. I have one child, yes, but that’s a product of luck. Happy luck, clearly. But luck.
It all melts away when I go out for a run, when I look down and see a pace which I never thought of as “comfortable” and I realize I am barely exerting myself. When I run a race and completely shock myself with the pace – nearly 3 minutes faster over the distance than I did in May of last year. When I go to track practice and get stronger and faster as the workout goes on, instead of giving in to my tired muscles and stopping.
Running is when I can get caught up in the sheer joy of DOING something with my body. Running frees me in a way I don’t have in other parts of my life. It gives me happiness, and a sense of control, and a deep thankfulness for my body and what I can accomplish with it.
But yeah. There’s the control thing again. This is another way for me to grasp at control over something. It’s an escape, too. I can get away from the Fail of my life for a while; escape into the run, and come home feeling stronger.
And it makes me wonder if this means I am falling back into my old patterns; where I am looking for SOMETHING I can control, since I feel so out of control with everything else. Except it’s hard now.
With running, I don’t WANT to let it go. I have accepted the fact that I can’t control EVERYTHING. But can’t I have one area of my life where I feel like I can work hard and see the benefit?
Or is that unhealthy, too?
I don’t know.
I suppose the best I can hope for is that someday, running is just something I do, and not something I need. Because I NEED it right now. Right now, I need the joy, the release, the feeling of being good at SOMETHING.
*Thanks to a comment on my blog, we just ordered Lucky a watch which can be set to vibrate every two hours. Our new strategy is to talk up the fact that the “doctor” suggests that we do this; that THIS is the way he will be able to keep his underwear dry – use the potty every time Mr. Watch tells him to. We’ve mentioned it to his teachers and they’re willing to work with us on this. We’ll see what happens.
On Friday, in the midst of the beginnings of the Great Blizzard of ’13, I got an email from the woman I work for. Apparently, the client I worked on nearly a year ago had a question about a number. Boss Lady asked me, Can you look at the number she’s referring to and tell me what happened?
So I did, in between incessant questions and requests from Lucky, since Charlie was lucky enough to be working in the attic that day.
The answer: I have no idea how that number came to be. It seemed to have a formula associated with it when everything else was hardcoded. And it clearly wasn’t right based on a quick check to the financials.
I knew, when I sent the email back saying that the number was wrong that it wasn’t the end of it.
It wasn’t. Boss Lady took the opportunity to point out three other examples over the course of the past year where I had made “stupid mistakes.” And her comment, which honestly was presented pretty nicely, was that I was great to work with and smart – that this was the only thing that I really needed to work on, because we’re consultants and we can’t be making stupid mistakes.
She’s harping on it because she’s sending me to a new client where I REALLY need to be detail oriented. And I need to work hard on slowing down and performing a good self-review BEFORE I give my work to anyone to review.
I’ve been in accounting for 10 years now.
And. I’ve heard the same damn comments for the past ten years. My great failing in accounting is that I miss things. Small, stupid mistakes. I know it. I’ve worked really hard on it for the past ten years, working longer hours, creating my process so that I have time to work on a schedule, step away, then REVIEW the schedule.
So yeah, I need to double down on my work and ensure I tie out every damn number before I present it to someone for review.
But yesterday, on my run, I couldn’t help wondering: What would it be like if I had a career which played to my strengths?
I mean, I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t make mistakes – I’m human. But what would it be like to spend my energy working hard at something in which I was really good? Instead of spending all my time fixing mistakes, or working around my weakness, I could devote my energy into my job, and come home feeling like I am actually GOOD at what I do.
I chose my career largely to prove that I could be capable at it – to both my father and then the professor who told me, astutely it seems, that I wasn’t detail oriented enough to be a good accountant.
I chose this career because it is flexible, and accounting is largely recession-proof – and I couldn’t handle the idea where I’d be out of work during an economic downturn AGAIN at some point in the future. And there are times where I enjoy what I do; when I’m creating financials, for example. I do love it when everything ties out; it’s neat and clean and just WORKS. But I will always struggle with stupid mistakes.
This career I’ve chosen is ill-fitting; it’s JUST the wrong size, and I’m constantly having to tug, adjust, and pull it to make it look okay on me.
I am far from Stuck in this career. In a couple of years we would have the flexibility for me to do something else; not work if that’s what I wanted to do (I’m not sure I want that, either, though I confess I love the idea of it right now).
And then there’s the whole Figure out what you’d WANT to do, Serenity thing going on. Over the past 10 years, whenever I’ve complained about my ill-fitting career, I’ve never had an answer to the question that is inevitably asked. What do I WANT to do?
I don’t know.
So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, I think, and hope that something presents itself to me in the coming years.
During the summer that Amy died, there was one night where she came to me in a dream.
I hugged her so hard, and I said, I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t help you.
We hid in a secret room in my grandfather’s church; the room had a couch and a fireplace. And in front of the fire, we sat all night and talked. There was no pain, no fighting, nothing but love between us.
And I vividly remember when I noticed that the fire was dim and that light was starting to dawn. I looked over at Amy and said, You have to go now, don’t you?
She said yes.
We hugged, and as the light got stronger, she was gone.
I woke up in my bed, the morning light strong on my face, and I felt at peace.
The peace didn’t last, of course. I was grieving. I was also too busy beating myself up for not doing more, for being young and stupid and unaware of the seriousness of her pain.
But for years, I held onto my belief that my cousin actually came to me in a dream. It wasn’t my subconscious, working through my feelings, trying to accept that she was gone. It was her; she was REAL.
I also held onto the idea that her death was my fault for far too long.
I admit it: I am hurt about not being invited to my uncle’s wedding. He’s my godfather. I love him and would have loved to share in his good news.
I understand, of course, why I wasn’t invited. My feelings for the family, my love for my uncle, the years I had spent wanting him and my aunt to be my parents doesn’t mean he feels the same way about me. I don’t get an automatic invite to the wedding because I am his goddaughter.
And really. I’ve been trying to hold onto the remaining tendrils of our relationship together over the years.
Last night as I was falling asleep, all I saw was my aunt, so it didn’t surprise me that she came to me in a dream, too.
It wasn’t like my dream with Amy, where we had all night to talk. I don’t know where we were, but she and my uncle were there. I was holding Lucky; we were going somewhere. I had this sense I was low on time.
But I told her how much I loved her. I thanked her for showing me unconditional love all my life, and that I didn’t realize just how important she was until I knew she was gone. And I wanted her to know just how much she meant to me.
I hugged her, and we cried.
And then Lucky and I left.
And I woke up this morning with the thought that holding onto this idea that I didn’t get to tell her how I felt is hurting me.
I need to let her go.
I am not religious. I don’t really believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe that my aunt and cousin and grandfather are all sitting on some cloud together, waiting for my time to welcome me to heaven. I don’t believe in ghosts, either.
What I know is that I love my aunt. And I loved Amy, and my grandfather. And I miss them.
And I want my uncle and cousins to be happy.
And, too: I want to be happy.
I’ve been reading a lot about suffering lately, and am starting to see that some of my suffering is a result of holding on.
Holding onto anger at Charlie, myself, Lucky, infertility, my mother.
Holding onto guilt and punishing myself for things that really aren’t, or weren’t, my fault.
Holding onto hurt of being wronged in the past.
Holding onto the past to make me feel better about myself.
Holding onto hope that we’ll have another baby – and that will make me happy.
This year? I am working on letting go. Without pain, without guilt, without hurt. My aunt is gone. The relationship I had with my cousins and uncle is also gone.
It’s time to stop holding on… and let go.
This summer, I heard from my cousin that my uncle is getting remarried.
His wedding is happening as I am writing this, actually.
I found out from my cousin’s post on Facebook that the wedding was today.
I recognize that I am still grieving the loss of my Aunt Judy, and I’m sure I’d have mixed feelings about this day no matter what. But hearing about his wedding via social media? It just put in sharp relief just how far apart our family has grown.
There was a time when I spent every DAY at my aunt and uncle’s house, when I was a child. My mom and Aunt Judy were best friends, it seemed. We had weekly meals and ALL holidays – including birthdays – at our house or their house. And in fourth grade, as an act of desperation with my academic (and emotional) struggles, my mother asked my Aunt Judy if I could spend time at their house after school, because she was my favorite and I was “happier there.”
My cousin Amy and I were best friends and worst enemies and best friends, often in the same day. She was as close to me as my own sister.
It changed so many years ago; first with my grandmother’s death, and then Amy’s death, and now Judy’s death. A slow pulling away, time and distance coming between the people who used to be my childhood lifeline.
I used to lay in bed at night, dreaming about my aunt becoming my guardian in the event that my parents died. What it would be like to be a part of their family? My aunt made me feel loved and happy and how good I felt whenever I spent time with them.
I didn’t know how much of an anchor Judy was for me until she died.
I have felt, from the moment my cousin called me to tell me she was brain dead and on life support so that my uncle could see her one last time, this strange sense: I am not part of their family.
That day? I really, really wanted to drop what I was doing to drive down and see her before she died. I wanted to cry, hug her, and tell her I love her. I even asked my cousin, under the guise of wanting to be helpful. New Haven wasn’t that far. But he didn’t want me to, and I wanted to respect their privacy, because how much loss he has suffered over the years.
And honestly. I am not part of their family. The memories I have, those feelings of being part of them, was all in my head.
And 30 years ago.
I wish my uncle and his new wife happiness with my heart and soul. My uncle, my godfather, is a good man, and he deserves to spend the rest of his life with a companion who will make him happy. From what I can glean from social media, his new wife makes him happy.
And she’s my new Facebook friend, so I suppose that’s something.
It’s just really hard to let go of the past.
I wish my words weren’t all clotted up inside me, blocking escape.
I wish I could sleep through the night, instead of waking and thinking about the children and adults who lost their lives on Friday morning.
I wish I could write about how much Newtown has affected me, how I feel a deep grief on a level I cannot fully explain.
I wish I could stop feeling guilty.
I wish I was a better wife. Mother. Friend.
I wish the holidays inspired joy inside me, instead of stress and despair.
I wish I could run away to a place that’s warm, and I’m free from the Dark Place that seems to hold me prisoner.
I wish I could bottle up the moments where Lucky asks to snuggle with me, when he throws an arm over my neck and nestles his face into my neck, just before falling asleep.
I wish the sound of a crying baby would stop being a blow to my heart.
I wish our family had more time to spend together, just the three of us, without responsibilities or other people staking claim on us.
I wish I didn’t hate myself for all my perceived weaknesses and shortcomings.
Our mornings before daycare dropoff are often full of stress and tears.
And yelling. And where I’ve been working on figuring out how to use my Calm Words, as Lucky refers to them, it’s not easy for me. And I slip, especially when I am in my Stressed Place – when I have a deadline and need to get to Boston so that I can get my work done before a review, for example.
Friday, since Charlie was home, I skipped the morning routine altogether. I left early, while Lucky was sleeping. I had the building to myself when I got to work. I couldn’t make his daycare Christmas show, but Charlie told me not to worry, Lucky said he understood that Mommy was busy at work and that we’d have the weekend to spend together.
And then I read about the Newtown school shooting. And all of a sudden, the stress of work and the holidays didn’t matter. My arms ached for my son.
I spent the rest of the day alteratively reading the news, becoming more and more emotional, and doing my work, fighting the urge to run screaming to daycare, so I could see him and hold him. I finally gave in at 3, and spent most of my commute listening to NPR, on the verge of tears.
I was so angry, at first. How can someone with a alleged personality disorder get three guns, one of which was semi-automatic, and body armor and ammunition? Why wasn’t he helped beforehand? Why don’t businesses who SELL ammunition and armor submit their lists to the government? Something like this takes planning, and foresight, and someone, SOMEONE should have known.
I had to remind myself: Compassion, Serenity. Compassion. I don’t KNOW the killer. I don’t know what happened in his mind that made him kill all those people, including his mother.
And my heart aches, deeply, for those parents and children. All those innocent children. Those poor souls.
When I got to Lucky’s classroom, he didn’t even look up from the book his teacher was reading. But I stood there, and watched him, and thanked the universe.
And when the story was over, he ran to me, yelling, Mommy! and hugged me.
I can see what’s going to happen, in the coming days: we’re going to yell at each other about gun control and mental health. Both sides are going to stay stuck in their beliefs: that guns kill people and aren’t needed, that guns don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people, that someone who would do this is an outlier and we can’t prevent it, that this has happened 33 times since Columbine, that we need to further safeguard our children from people by locking down schools, using metal detectors, and staffing with local police, that it wouldn’t have mattered because the alleged suspect was dressed head to toe in body armor and forced his way into the school.
Overnight on Friday night, I was up for many hours, grieving for those children. And trying to wrap my brain around the whole thing.
And I am seriously disturbed by the Facebook conversations I’ve seen.
People are so busy yelling at each other about whether it SHOULD be a right to carry arms that they’re missing something. Fine, own your gun, but there should be safeguards over AMMUNITION. Why aren’t there regulations over ammunition, and body armor, and stuff that a normal civilian who wants to use his gun for whatever people do with guns never buy? Why can’t we establish laws over that?
And what kind of fucked up world do we live in, when people keep defending the right of owning a piece of equipment which just killed 20 children, yet vote against something like gay marriage, which adds more love to the world?
Seriously fucked up.
And all I can think about right now is COMPASSION.
Compassion for PEOPLE – connecting to the person you see on the street, the kid who hangs back in class. Teaching our children that we are all responsible for other people, for listening, for remembering that the person on the bus next to them is part of this world, too.
I am fortunate in that my son doesn’t yet ask about current events. But that time is coming. And I think the only lesson I can take out of this is that we need to start early teaching our children how to care for one another. To reach out and connect with people, instead of sitting back, judging them, and screaming about how wrong they are. Start putting love out there and hope that it catches on.
And I am holding Newtown in my heart and grieving with them. And hugging my Lucky a little more tightly this weekend.
Thank you, all of you, for the love and comments yesterday.
That I could write that post yesterday, I knew, meant that I was finally coming out of the funk I’ve been in for the past few weeks.
The thing is, I’m getting it from everywhere. There’s my new nephew, who seems to be affecting me far more than any of the babies that have been born in the recent past. Part of it is proximity, I know. But I think some of it is also because there’s family resemblance – it’s not hard for me to see him as my own. My ghost child. It’s this weird physical need – I HAVE to hold him.
And that disconnect: he’s not mine. I have no claim over him other than being his aunty. I can help my SIL by holding him and allow her to eat, or hang out with the older kids, but I can’t NEED him. That’s not right.
There’s also work, which is really not going very well right now. The woman for whom I work is due with her baby in two weeks, and she’s pushing me to finish work this week – WITHIN a set of budget constraints. And that pressure is tough enough. But when she reviews my work, all bets are off. Documentation she passed in June without any comment – and so I figure I can do the EXACT SAME TESTING for my update work – she all of a sudden has issues with. And she wants everything done in that moment – so I’ll be working on fixing something and then fire questions at me about a different control, since you know, she’s moved on. And THEN I get the lectures about missing something: We really have to make sure that we [the opposite of whatever it is that I fucked up].
I have mentioned before I am not naturally an accountant, right? So I need to be sure of my facts before I can answer her questions. I can’t go fast, because I will miss something. And yes, I’ve told her this. Her answer is always: We just need to get these cleared right now.
These reviews make me feel incredibly stupid and lumbering. I just can’t keep up with her rapid fire questions. And I can’t handle the fucking LECTURES. No, you’re right, I DIDN’T write the test period dates in the excel spreadsheet. You’re right, I missed it. Fucking CHILL, lady.
And then there’s the stress of Christmas coming up, and trying to make it magical for, you know, the kid I DO have, and the fact that I took on handwriting all my Christmas cards this year because last year I felt like our picture cards were so IMPERSONAL. Except, you know, it takes TIME to do that shit. So with Charlie traveling and my work deadline, I don’t really have time to do it. And, oh yeah, I need to wrap the presents I DID buy, and we still have people on the list for which I haven’t bought anything, and OMFG CHRISTMAS IS IN TWO WEEKS.
And my training. Running is one of the few things that is going well right now; I felt so good, physically, last week, that I asked my coach if we could step it up a bit. Which he readily agreed to. But that means this week, physically, I’ve been sore and tired.
But I haven’t been able sleep, you see. Insomnia – likely from the stress of the above – has made me toss and turn for the past week or so.
Writing yesterday: a release.
And I have today to finish my testing, which I *THINK* might be doable, even though I’m missing Lucky’s daycare Christmas show today. (Thank goodness Charlie can go, but yeah, there’s a LOT of guilt that I’m ALREADY missing his school shows and he’s not even in school yet!)
And last night, for the first night in I don’t know how long, I slept the whole night. Without waking, or worrying about Lucky, or having a hard time falling asleep. I got into bed, fell asleep, and woke up just before my alarm. And today, I don’t feel stressed out, or anxious, or scared, or hopeless, or numb. I feel sort of wrung out, but in a good way. Like I’m going to be okay.
I am going to be okay. This is my mantra when it gets to be too much. But today I actually believe it.
I am going to be okay.
I know I say this a lot, but thank you so much for the support and comments and emails and texts.
NaBloPoMo has been really good for me, I think, until this past week. I hate writing about my sadness over and over and over.
So. I’ll stop.
And instead I’m going to gush about my Big Kid Lucky.
Who is writing WORDS now, not just putting letters together that we sound out. He can write “To” and “Love” and “Stop” and “Mom” and “Dad” (though he spells it D-O-D, which cracks me up). He can also write “Poop,” which cracks him up the ENTIRE TIME he’s writing it.
Not kidding, he has to stop between gales of giggles.
Which, of course, makes me laugh too, because his laugh is infectious.
This weekend, after we put up our Christmas tree, he wanted to draw a picture of our tree, but he didn’t know how. So he asked me for my help, and I drew one for him, with a brief instruction on how to do it. He helped me draw lights on it, and a star, and he practiced drawing his numbers (in boxes). That was his “calendar” until Santa came.
So I went into his classroom on Tuesday morning, and his teacher asked me if I had seen his drawing on the wall – every week they feature some kid artwork. I went over, and sure enough – Lucky had drawn a GREAT Christmas tree, all by himself. Not only that, but he had written: “To [his teacher's name (well, most of it - he skipped the vowels)] Love Lucky.” And his teacher told me he had helped one of his friends draw a Santa Claus that day, too.
One of his favorite things to do with me right now is to make up stories. Usually one of us will start with, Once upon a time, there was a girl/boy who…
And we switch off creating stories. Sometimes they’re hilarious – like the day we created a boy who kept running in and out of people’s houses to look at their Christmas trees and decorations. Sometimes they’re educational – like the day where we created a girl who built a submarine car boat airplane, which had wings and wheels but was airtight so that water didn’t get into it. And the wings even helped them steer underwater!
(He came up with both of these, by the way. At four, my child is more mechanically inclined than I will EVER be.)
Man, he’s growing up right in front of my eyes.
The things that still remind me of baby/toddlerhood? There are a few.
He still loves to come cuddle in my lap; he folds himself up like a pretzel and buries his face into Bear and lays back against my chest.
The word protection sounds like “Pee-tektion.”
He’s gotten better with some words, but he still largely pronounces Rs and Ls like Ws.
Even in the midst of the heartbreak and the stress of our day to day life right now, he is my silver lining.
We were, in fact, REALLY lucky when we brought him home.
He is a salve for the heartbreak just much as these milestones are bittersweet in reminding me how fleeting babyhood is.
And I love him with every fiber of my being.