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I picked up the pen and began to write.

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After taking a break for the last two years, I have decided to return to my blog (among other related projects on the horizon). Why did I stop? Well, life. Specifically my children’s lives.

The last two years offered up many challenges. The details are not my stories to share. I was in the trenches with them, barely able to come up for air. I am grateful for an amazing life partner, and friends that showed up offering their hearts, time and relief from the chaos.

Trauma is a peculiar thing, it manifests in people differently. Trauma is contagious. Whether it’s second hand trauma, or it awakens buried trauma from the past, one does not live with someone(s) with PTSD without experiencing it.

What have I learned in the last 2 years? I have learned that there is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do for my children. I have learned that no matter what they do, how empty my cup is, my love for them still grows. Sometimes slowly, but it’s always moving forward with them.

After gaining weight, eating bad, and generally not taking care of myself, I learned self care is not just important, but critical, and required of caregivers. Compassion fatigue is real.

Mostly though, I have learned all about the brain. I have devoured anything trauma related. I went back to school  and earned a certificate in holistic mental health. I spent 32 hours in trauma-focused parenting classes.

At one point our family was in therapy 14 hours a week. This does not include alternative therapies that we were involved in. But, the truth in that, is that we were getting help. When other Moms were shuffling their kids between dance and karate, I was shuffling between IEP meetings, therapy and  trauma-focused classes.

I joined facebook groups looking for support and answers. I learned what resources were hard to come by, and which resources were non-existent for parents.

We made big changes, this included tightening our circle of friends. Letting go of relationships that no longer served our family. We created new habits, and let go of old.

Our lives are calmer now. Healing will do that.  Looking forward, we still have a lot of work to do. This isn’t a quick-fix, and this is a life long journey. We still don’t have all the answers, but we uncovered enough to find a little peace, and let go of the chaos.

Welcome to the next chapter on our journey.

Turn! Turn! Turn!
The Byrds, Words-adapted from The Bible, book of Ecclesiastes
Music-Pete Seeger

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too lat

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Please Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

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Every time a plane takes off  the flight attendants remind us of this: Please put your oxygen mask on first. I think I need to record this and play  it back throughout the day. I have not been doing a very good job with “self care”. My hair is at least a month overdue for a clip and dip, and my running has been sporadic. Any traces of mindfulness: yoga or meditation have been non-existent. I have done OK with eating, because of course this involves taking care of my family.

Self-care is not selfish! Self-care is not selfish (in case you didn’t hear me the first time). In order to be the best me, and practice patience and mindfulness with my children, and have the energy and endurance to run and play with them, I must put myself first. It’s easier said than done, and even those words are difficult to say sometimes.

I notice that my patience begins to run thin, and my calm voice is replaced with bouts of yelling. This is a cue that I need to take inventory of me.  I don’t want to be a yeller, I grew up in a yeller-home.

Once a month I gather with a group of women, this is my circle. We are a group of eight moms, we share experiences, reflecting on one word or one idea. We come together to hold each other up. My circle time is sacred, but even with that said, there are times I have had to miss it, due to something going on with the family. In the early days of baby-girls arrival, I would take her to circle with me, anything not to miss this special time.

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Recently I bought a subscription to Birchbox. This has become a pleasure for me. Every month I receive a pretty little box in the mail. Inside are several samples of body care items wrapped in pretty pink tissue. I use these new products all month, and just as they start to run out, my new box arrives…yea!  Since it has been over a year since I have stepped foot inside my favorite store, AVEDA, this suffices for now.

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Anyone that takes care of others needs to think about what nurtures them, and make sure that they are scheduling their own care.  How can you take care of others, when you are laid out flat, frazzled beyond function or just plain burnt?

…and breathe…