Grownups come back

Looking through my “draft posts” for this blog I found another one that I started but stopped and did not finish.  Here is what I found.


OK, here goes nothing.  I am blogging about an episode of Daniel Tigers Neighborhood.  Yep, here it goes.

For those unaware, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood is a “remake” of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Aaron loves the show and for 99.9% of the time I love it as well.


I stopped mid paragraph and closed out the post and moved on with my day.  Why?

Let me tell you why.

Because I was about to explain a Daniel Tiger show where they talk about “Grownups always come back.”  In the episode it is talking about being left at school or daycare and how your parents will always come back to get you so not to be afraid.  I love the idea.  I am sure it has helped a lot of parents and children in the scary moments of separation.

But I remember watching that show initially and Aaron was enthralled.  He was right there loving the music, the characters the WHOLE bit.  And I sat there knowing that it wasn’t necessarily true.  I write that and I think to myself, Alyssa do NOT bash Daniel Tigers Neighborhood.  Please know that is not my intention but my perspective was that this fact was not always true and it broke my heart.

Early on after I saw this, I would drop Aaron off at daycare I would head to work and while in the car  driving to work I got my BEST thinking done.  I also got out a lot of anger I did not want people to see or hear.  I remember one morning after watching this show, Aaron in good hands at daycare, I screamed the whole way to work that it wasn’t always true.  It was true for most but not all.  Not my son.  And that made me angry.  So angry.

In hindsight and with a TON more perspective I sit here and can say it calmly.  Not accusing anyone of not seeing our side on this topic but hoping to help people understand how it impacted me.

This is not the only show that impacted me this way.

My blog is not meant to change people’s minds on anything.  I have said from the beginning my hope is to understand and be understood.  That is my wish.

Defy Gravity

So, as I sat here trying to figure out what to write about a song played on my iTunes.  It was “Defying Gravity.”  I have the version from the show Glee on my laptop.  As I sat and listened to it, I laughed and said to myself “You ask, you shall receive.”

This song was my anthem early in my grief journey.  If I was feeling down about something, I would try to listen to this song.  Listening to it literally lifted my spirit.  It was in that moment that I would look for one thing, not 10 things but just one thing to help lift me up in that moment.

You see, I was trying to defy the gravity of my grief.  Defy the gravity of the emotion that was taking me down.  The song reminded me that I could do it.  I had done it before, this day was not any different.  It was my positive trigger that reminded me to get back up.

What is your positive trigger to get you back up and moving?

How do you defy the gravity of “life”?

The fear of routine

NOTE: Another blog that was written in or before May 2018, now finally getting published.  Ironically at the time in our lives where routine is crucial to not losing our minds.  School is back in session…and ready or not…we are back into a routine.


Having a routine for the most part a good thing to have.   Going to bed at about the same time each night and waking up around the same each morning  allows the right amount of sleep you need as well as provides good time to get ready for the day and come down after a long day.

The other day while sitting and sorting through my life.  Making myself aware of what I was doing with my life, I realized that Aaron and I don’t have a repeatable routine.  At first this didn’t really bother me, being flexible and not rigid is a good thing I thought.  And what I found is I am 50% right and 50% wrong with that thought.

My reason for not following a repeatable routine is where I have trouble now that I think about it.  You see, I had a routine the morning of May 9th, 2012.  At noon that day, everything changed.  Somewhere in getting the phone call and leaving the ER later that day with a completely broken heart and life I decided I no longer needed a routine.  I mean, why have a routine that could be changed so drastically.  My fear of having a routine and it changing without my consent was my reason not to have one.  If I don’t have a routine, no one and nothing can  mess it up.

I didn’t see it as a coping mechanism at the time but as I reflect now I can see it clearly.  I don’t see my decision as a mistake.  But what I do know is that it is time for a routine.  A routine that takes care of everyone in our little family.  I can adapt to change and it isn’t really easy to admit something so silly that was clearly a way of me coping with massive change but here it is.

It is time…

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog in May of 2018.  It is now August of 2018.  I didn’t hit publish.  If you are reading this now…I hit publish.


It is time…to stop fighting it.  I stopped blogging.  I stopped writing it.  To be clear it wasn’t easy to stop writing and in many other formats I still continued but here, I stopped.  A new chapter started in my life and in Aaron’s.  I guess I thought to some degree no one would want to read what I had to write.  And then tonight, through a tough time my amazing husband said to me…”stop fighting it.”  Now he was referencing me not feeling 100% and my feeling and need to be a super woman of sorts and not listen to my body when it says “stop already.”  Part of that was true but what I realized is although I am terrible at giving myself and my body the time it needs to rest, him telling me stop fighting brought on tears I haven’t had in a pretty long time.  I stopped fighting it and I cried.  Ugly cried.  He thought I was fighting giving myself a break…but instead I was actually GIVING myself a break.  The boys left the house and I continued to sit on the floor in full ugly cry mode.  The more I cried, the better my stomach felt.  The more I cried, the faster the headache I had went away.

So the benefit of having so many notebooks I have bought over the years is that when I am not within reach of my phone or a computer you can ultimately find a notebook and pen and begin to write.  Through my tears, I started to write.  The more I wrote the better I felt.  Stomach almost back to normal…headache almost gone the writing continued.  And damn it felt good.   Like REAL good.

Early on after Jay died I cried every day.  Most days it was just once a day but more times then I would like to admit it was more like 2 or 3 times a day.  I look back now and I use the analogy of a sinking ship taking on water.  It will sink if the water overflows so it is key to get the water out.  Such are tears in our bodies.  If we keep them in for too long, we sink.  Nobody wants to be on a sinking ship let alone BE a sinking ship.

So…it is time to write again.  It is time…to figure it all out and hopefully in the process help others.

It. Is. Time.

Sometimes a trigger is this

Let me set the scene:
I am taking a relaxing bath. Epsom salt and essential oils and warm water are always good for my soul.  The boys are downstairs doing their thing so I can relax.
Are you relaxed?  Because I was.  Until…
About 20 minutes in (a pretty long bath…don’t judge me lol) I hear Aaron yell. He specifically asking for me. I first start to get angry because I am relaxing and we all know this so why is he not asking his dad. Then he has this tone about him yells my name again and says “Something is wrong mommy! Come down!”
 
Side note: if you ever want to get me out of bed, shower, bath or any other place that is relaxing to me…do what he just did…it works.
 
I jump out of the bath, towel around my body I run down the stairs because in my mind there is panic. He is yelling for me…he isn’t asking for dad and he says something is wrong.
 
In my mind, I INSTANTLY went to a place where Kelby has been hurt…I thought maybe he had collapsed…where is my phone….what is the phone number again to call…this isn’t happening…WTH happened!?! It had to be something BAD.
 
I get down to the first floor and I look at him like “What! What is wrong!?!?!”
 
Aaron: Mommy…the washer is flashing 44…there is something wrong!!!!
 
I fix the clothes washer and my energy changes. I am no longer relaxed, in fact I can see everything I SHOULD be doing instead of relaxing in the tub. Like EVERYTHING. Laundry…dishes…picking up toys.
 
My fear turns to anxiety and then straight to anger. No detour taking the long way around or even a gingerly stroll to anger…I drove there…FAST. As I come down from the anger I see my husband wondering what the hell just happened and a little boy who is glad the washer isn’t flashing 44 anymore and wants to watch his tv.
 
We find the remote, turn off the tv and I sit Aaron down. I explain that unless someone is hurt, the house is on fire or someone is trying to take him to not yell that like. I explain that I thought daddy or he was hurt and that scared me beyond words.  We come to an understanding and then I sit there. In my towel and it hits me.
 
Tears start to roll out of my eyes. And I hear myself say in my head, “I cannot lose them.” Damn.
 
I didn’t realize until after but Kelby was standing by listening to my whole conversation and afterwards I was actually glad.
 
Why? Because my behavior in that moment was embarrassing. And to explain out loud what I felt twice probably wouldn’t have happened. And so I walked up to him.  He put his arms around me and I cried.  
Triggers are not easy.  They stink actually.  They sometimes come out of nowhere.
And then sometimes there are triggers like this that are hard, break me and then they make me a better version of myself.

We should learn everyday

Today I started to think about how people work to change others viewpoint on any particular topic.   The more I thought about it, the more scared I got.

Way back when,you know like a short 14 or so years ago before the age of social media, when someone disagreed with the way you saw something you did one of three things.

1) You had it out.  Face to face let the other person know your view point.  If neither talked about it to anyone else and no one else was around, no one knew you argued.

2) You decided to let it go and maybe vented to another person about it for a day or two and either held it against the person never seeing them again or you let it go.  Again…unless someone was there to witness it, other than the person you vented too, no one was wiser.

3) It was clear there would never be a middle ground and you let it go.

Now days it is so much different and with that in mind, I fear what my little boy and his generation are being left with as tools of persuasion and education to others viewpoint.

I am always amazed at people who come up to me and say “did you SEE what *insert name here* posted on Facebook the other day? ” or “did you SEE the picture they posted on snapchat or ‘the gram’?”  In these situations it is usually about a particular topic that is being heavily debated or is highly controversial.

These are the conversations our children will inevitably begin to have with their friends.  And the next scene of this situation is what really scares me.

You see once someone has made their view point made, people either jump on the bandwagon or try to pull people off.  And when they try to get people’s attention who are on the bandwagon it isn’t just a simple gesture of “come with me, please” or “I have a different idea, would you like to hear it?”  No, now days we post furiously about how ridiculous the other viewpoint is.  How could anyone be SO STUPID.   We not only trash the other idea, we trash the person  in the process.  And in watching someone jump on the bandwagon or an idea different than yours, imagine being yelled at and having things thrown at you as to encourage you to get off the bandwagon.   It would make anyone hold on tighter.

People post things that go “viral” with millions of views calling people out and making a point to belittle them to feel only an inch tall.  All this with some thought, even if it is a long shot, to get the other side to change their mind.

I don’t know about you, but when someone is belittling me, I tend to shut down.  Not because I don’t like the person or want to hear them, I just do.  I think many people do.  But then we start up again and we start to fight for ourselves.  Unsure as to why we have to but we do.  This is how the world is now days.

It is rare to sit and be asked questions about how you feel so the other person can atleast hear your side and why you feel the way you do but then to think of asking questions yourself to learn about the other side for you…it just does not happen.

The other day, while talking to a co-worker, I mentioned how we learned something new the other day about a system we work with.  And I said “You learn something new every day, right?”  And her response was perfect.  She said, “If you are lucky.”

I sat at my desk and thought to myself she is right.  We are lucky if we get to learn something new every day.  It is sad to think that many do not.  Not because they can’t but because they refuse too.

When I looked at Aaron today, I wanted to apologize to him.  The world we are leaving him with baffles me.  It isn’t about providing more valuable information to your viewpoint, it is slamming the other side.  And as the society continues this way, I know one little boy who will do different.  He will ask questions to understand.  Provide data to back up his viewpoint and then in the end THANK the person who heard him and taught him something new for the day.

Parenting is difficult

When I drive, I do my best thinking.  I concentrate on the road and I think.  Today I was driving somewhere and I started to think about how I have parented Aaron up to this point.  Adding Kelby permanently to our life added another person to help with guidance and parenting.  I am fortunate that Kelby and I are often on the same page when it comes to parenting.

Aaron is completing his Kindergarten year in the next month.  It has felt for the last few weeks he is growing and changing rapidly.  I say that in a very good way but in this comes a time where we as parents have to grow and change as well.  Hence my driving and thinking this morning.

I’m not sure if everyone has this but I kind of feel like my Kindergartener soon turned 1st grader is acting like a teenager.  Maybe that is just me and maybe that is just karma from when I was a kid but it is how I feel.  And I have always felt a huge responsibility in raising a healthy, kind and grateful human being but I didn’t realize in this day and age how difficult and ever changing it would be.

I find myself thinking about how my parents raised me and my brother and what the parental strategies parents used were then and not only are some of them outdated but some you can get in serious trouble for now a days.  So in my mind I think, “I can’t be too hard on my child.”  But then I look at some more current generations  and the parental strategies many used and  I think some of those have been described as not strict enough.  So then I think, “Don’t let him walk over you, set rules.”

Honestly once I got through all of that, my head hurt.  And then I decided we need to navigate the middle.  But where is the middle?  Not a black and white answer…that is gray.  Some liked the 50 shades of Gray movies, and today the gray tank top I have on is super cute but gray in the realm of parenting just scares me.

I look at the different strategies and then I dive deeper realizing every kid in the world has a different home dynamic.   When I added that to my equation I started to build excuses and the second that started I stopped.  I don’t believe in excuses, reasons yes but excuses no.

So back to thinking about parenting Aaron.  What do we keep, what do we put aside for future use and what do we get rid of?  As a life coach I think about asking him the questions I would a client and knowing the answers are all within him, I just have to get them out of him.  But at the age of 6 is that realistic?  Probably not.

I know parenting can be done.  I have been blessed with parents who somehow helped me grow into the person I am today and have watched many friends of mine parent their children into not only full functioning human beings but loving, caring and remarkable human beings.  It can be done.  But for right now I am sticking with although not impossible…parenting is difficult.

 

You are not there

I was listening to Pandora, innocently.  And then the song “You’re not there” by Lukas Graham started to play.  And before I knew it, tears were falling from my eyes.

I looked into Lukas Graham after hearing this song for unbelievably the first time, or atleast hearing the lyrics for the first time and he lost his dad in September 2012.

I then decided to listen to the song on youtube, like a dozen more times.  While listening to the music, I would close my eyes.  The only thing I could see clearly is Aaron and then one of the last photos he has with his daddy Jay.

Recently, Aaron has been asking more about daddy Jay.  I have to take a deep breath and explain again that daddy Jay’s heart broke and the doctor’s could not fix it.  He has started to ask questions like “Did daddy Kelby know daddy Jay?”, “Do you miss daddy Jay?” and “So, daddy Jay is in heaven, right?”  The answers are “no”, “everyday” and “yes”.  The hard part is not knowing what the next question will be or when it will come.

I have been going through more of Jay’s stuff lately.  That stuff  early on I just threw into plastic tubs in hopes I would never go through them again.  Somehow magically, all the emotions would go away but the memories would stay.  Atleast that was my hope.

As I go through box after box, I realize some of the memories cannot be remembered without emotion.  I realize, I not only have to talk about Jay to Aaron like I have since May 9th, 2012 but I also have to share so much of his dad he does not know at all.  I am the one who knew him best.  I have to share his love for Monopoly and tell him I only played Monopoly with his dad once.  Yes, ONCE.  He loved Monopoly and was terrible to play with.  ABSOLUTELY terrible.  HA!  He was obsessed with geocaching.  It was a great way to get out of the house and explore.  He even made a point of geocaching on our honeymoon.  And I let it be part of the plans because I was promised the second half of the honeymoon was strictly pool and beach. 🙂 I get to tell Aaron he can blame his dad for his larger than normal feet.  And he can compare his feet with the one pair of his dad’s shoes I kept.  I am going through the stuff again because I have some time to do it and when Aaron goes through it some day, I want him to know what he has is what symbolizes his father best.

There are days I am thankful Aaron was so young when Jay passed.  I could focus more on my grief and not break more each day by Aaron’s grief as well.  And then there are days I wish he had more memories with his dad so I did not feel the heartbreak now when I tell Aaron more about his daddy Jay.  What I do know is the last 6 months of Jay’s life were his best.  I do not remember a time in the 10 years I knew Jay where his smile was as big as it was as when he held Aaron.  I can only hope Aaron can see and feel that about his daddy Jay.

Until the next question and the next answer I have to give, all Aaron knows is his daddy Jay is not here.

 

The Brain Train

Early in my career, a boss of mine described our brain as a train.  It is an analogy that has stuck with me even 15 years later.

Just for a second, think of a train.  It runs on coal.  When the coal runs out, the train stops.  There is only so much that fits on each bin on the train.  If there is too much on the train and it leans one way, it will can derail.  A single train can hold all different types of freight.

Now as you sit reading this, imagine a train going round and round in your head.  As it goes past your eyes, you see things on the train.  Oh hey…there is your grocery list…and a few cars down is that one thing you have no control over but cannot help but spend time worrying about.  Oh and look…there is that one thing you keep forgetting to do for work, your spouse or child and you beg the train to speed up so you don’t have to look at that too long and feel bad about forgetting it.

Without the “coal” needed to keep your brain running smoothly, you can derail and lose all of those important things you have on it.  Whatever your “coal” is, make sure you get enough of it, OK?  My “coal” is time for reflection.  During this time, I let the train go round the track once.  During this time, I put to paper those things I keep forgetting to do and then guess what I do…I TAKE CARE OF THEM.  I also take the time to look at those things I have no control over and those things that do not really matter.  I tag those items as  things that can get off at the next train stop.  If a certain car feels loop sided, I take the time to rearrange it a little bit better.

Our brains are a VERY important part of our makeup.   We make decisions DAILY on how we are going to live our lives.  It is where we keep everything we have learned.  If this is not operating efficiently, how can we expect it to keep learning and making decision that will direct us where we really want to be.

Be good to your brain train, you will not regret it.

Picture

Tonight I was going through my Google Drive.  I am about to max out on space and I know I need to start moving some of the pictures I have on there to an external drive.

It was fun at first because it was videos of Aaron from a couple years ago.  If you do not take video of your child, start.  I took some time to listen to a few of the videos and I am SO glad I have them.  To hear his laugh and how much that has not changed, warmed my heart.   Despite everything, his laugh is still the same.

I knew there were pictures that would make me sad, or cause me to reflect more then I want right now.

I found pictures of my baby shower.  I looked at the picture of my mom and me and the first thought that came to my mind may surprise you.  It wasn’t…”Wow…that is me pregnant” or “My mom and I look so nice.”  No the first thing that crossed my mind was “Boy have I changed since then.”  I am no longer pregnant but that  is not what I meant.

The woman in that picture and the one typing today are two completely different people.  The things that scared me on that day, no longer scare me.  The woman in the picture would never have spoken to a group of people about such a personal tragedy in her life.  That woman in the picture would tell you she didn’t understand why organ donation was important or that she didn’t understand the fuss and urgency of getting life insurance.  She would also tell  you she was lucky to find love once in life because there is no way you can find it twice.  She would tell you there is no way she would survive losing her husband with a baby at the age of 6 months.  The woman in the picture would tell you that her life in that moment was perfect.

I have many more to go through before Google stops screaming at me but for tonight I am done and for tonight I reflect on that picture.