Pa’smosis

Seven years ago, on Thanksgiving Monday, I drove home after holding my father’s hand. He took his last body-shaking breath, and just like that, he left his earthly body. 

Grief is an unpredictable thing. It’s a bit like the ogre analogy from Shrek, the one about the onion? It seems the sadness can be healed, but underneath each layer is another with a story that’s been waiting for its turn to appear. Just when I think that I’ve got it mastered, osmosis kicks in and I’ll find myself with oniony tears stinging my eyes. 

I spent this past Thanksgiving with my in-laws and most of that time with my father-in-law. It felt comforting to have conversation with people who are more grown up than I, and to be honest, I hadn’t given a lot of energy to this (un)anniversary, until I leaned in and hugged Pa (the name that has lovingly been given to my children’s grandfather) goodbye, catching a whiff of that Old Spicey scent.

Smells are like the powerhouse of memories…the times, all of the times my dad kissed me on the cheek and scrubbed my face with his whiskery beard…they all found me. Though, it’s a bit of a relief knowing that something as simple as a sniff can dig up some of the oldest memories because then I know he’s not entirely gone. 

Seasonal Thanks,

HayMama

Running From The Bear

Running From The Bear

Sometimes I feel like I’m running from a bear… the ominous term my partner and I use to refer to the burden of stress.

We are all familiar with the bear; maybe it visits you in the thumping of your heart, or the cyclical thoughts that keep you awake at night. However it visits, the bear encompasses our fear of failure, of not being enough, of not doing enough, of not being respected.

The bear is anxiety and sadness and unhealed trauma. It keeps us from caring for ourselves and of course, from providing helpful care for each other. It’s very difficult to love someone else properly, while our own cup is empty. It’s the reason we can find ourselves leaching our needed energy from the people we love, draining them of their resources. It’s the reason we over-eat, drink, and drown our sorrows in Netflix and 2X4 screens only to turn around and see that the bear has doubled in size and strength. It’s a culture-wide issue.

Here is what I have learned…I can only minimize the bear, with self care.

For me, that typically follows a levelling up system that looks something like this….(Mamaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?)

Basic physical care…. showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, eating healthy food, adequate rest…

Once I’ve cared for my physical body, I can add in…

 Daily spiritual needs… a few minutes to myself, something interesting to read or learn, a few minutes of intentional movement, fresh air

And then I can work on more detail and routine…

 30 minutes of exercise, a course to expand my knowledge, meditation, an artistic project…Once I hit this level, I start to feel like I’m making progress. 

Most importantly, completing steps on my personal self-care checklist as though they are tasks to be ticked will give me the same sort of emptiness that comes from a household chore to-do list unless I complete them with  the right intention….that I, too, deserve to be cared for, and that these few moments will help me step into the real me. Before I know it, the bear is just large enough to drive me, but small enough for me to know peace. 

Take care,

Mother of Hays

Blue Shag Carpets and Sweet Memories

DSCN9718My childhood memories are simple. I can remember, before the age of five, being happy. I remember how in the 80s, we had a shaggy, royal blue carpet that was always clean. My mother cleaned our house endlessly, and my most vivid memory is spending the day along side her while the tv hummed in the background. I can remember the afternoon sun streaming in our westward windows and the shapes it left across our kitchen floor. I can remember feeling warm and safe; I knew I was loved. I knew what came next. I knew that later, there would be dinner at the coffee table together, just the two of us. I was 4.

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Today, I am the mother to a 4 year old of my own. She is everything I wish I could be. She runs barefoot in the summer sun, collecting all things beautiful and interesting. She asks her own questions, and she gives me wise answers. She is so much cooler than I could ever be. She inspires me to be wild and free. She inspires me to let go of all that has ever held me back. She challenges me everyday to become more understanding, more patient, more open, more loving.

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And then I remember that little girl sitting on the blue shag carpet, and I can’t help but think about my own mother, and how history has a notorious tendency of repeating itself; maybe not in every detail, but certainly in the grande scheme of things kinda way. Did I help her the way my WildFlower helps me? Did I challenge her the way I am challenged? Did she grow the way I am growing everyday?

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 And my young daughter, will her memories be sweet and simple? Will she remember how she delighted in the small things? Will she someday wonder while looking at her own child, if she is doing all that she can? I can only hope that she will know the kind of love I know.

G’Night,

HayMama