Before the Crazy Starts

Happy Thanksgiving Y’All!

I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was full of joy and relaxation. I am so thankful for the blessings of a somewhat normal year thus far (or at least what I imagine a normal year to be) that I’m actually a bit overwhelmed by it all and having a really hard time expressing myself adequately. So I’ll just get into it then. Ok? Good, here we go.

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Below are five thoughts that I’ve had over and over since this school year began. Nothing novel, but they have been so important to me this year that I thought I would start by listing them before the busy holiday season really gets going. I hope you find them as comforting as I have, just little reminders (to myself) of the top five most important things to remember for a smoother homeschool life.

  1. EAT! Food is delicious. Your children are fun to be around when they are well fed and their table conversations are hilarious! So don’t forget or minimize just how important meal times are. They form the backbone of our rhythm. Our whole day runs the most smoothly when it is scheduled around food breaks. These monkeys will actually keep still long enough to listen if there is food in front of them, and it is the one time of day when I don’t feel like ripping my hair out. Also, mealtimes around here happen as often as a Hobbits! Every two hours food is involved whether I am ready for it or not…so to be easier on me, just be ready for it. Oh yeah and don’t ignore the alarm on your phone that reminds you that a mealtime is coming up. Using the Snooze button also gives the kids an instant five minute warning, use it as a transition more often.
  2. PUT THE PHONE DOWN! My phone is my best friend and worst enemy…we are frenimes. On great days my phone is our booklist, audiobook player, random question answerer, or library. My phone is also my camera, and darn it these kids are just too cute, but seriously that quick photo can easily turn into my biggest distraction. On most days it distracts me from my greatest work and I know it. I am too easily swayed by those pesky red notifications. I am far too sensitive and my mood is instantly killed by the confrontational nature of so many social media responses or bad news. Each quick look can feel like a romp with lotus eaters. I miss too much, I get agitated too easily, and I waste too much time. Let the phone die at night. Leave it upstairs charging during the mornings. Out of sight out of mind works, remember…that’s why you own three glue guns!
  3. LET IT GO! No not the Frozen song…stop singing it- ugh, now I’ll have that song stuck in my head all day. I’m my own worst enemy. Back to the point- Relationships are stronger than any curriculum. Usually when things aren’t going well or when emotions are running high and everyone is feeling overwhelmed it is because the focus has somehow returned to a to do list mentality. Stop that. Just stop with the to do lists that you write down, forget about, find and then get angry about not finishing. Squirrels happen. When I am trying to check things off and I feel like we have somehow fallen behind I get crabby and a crabby mom ends up with crabby kids and nothing gets learned. Doesn’t matter if assignments are read or work is completed, there is no comprehension and anything we may have learned will be forgotten by tomorrow. When I try to buckle down and push through things get worse. But if I let go we naturally find our way back. This isn’t some magic spell, it is just the result of years worth of habit training. When we let go and just let loose we tend to gravitate towards learning activities, just not the ones we had planned and thats where the magic does happen. When I stop trying to force them into my plan I see the forrest instead of just trees. The learning is there, it is always happening I just have to remind myself how to see it and then I have to focus on what is not working and fix that.
  4. EDUCATION IS A DISCIPLINE. I don’t do discipline well but I am learning just how important that is for me. Especially self discipline, but also helping the kids build their own stamina and confidence. Gifted doesn’t mean easy and hard doesn’t mean impossible. My dad used to always say “hard work beats talent” and now I find myself telling my children this as well. For the first time in his five years of schooling your little boy is actually being challenged. Do you know what this means…let me remind you… it means a cycle of crying followed by silence when asked why, because things are hard and he doesn’t know how to break down hard. He doesn’t know how to work hard and it is kicking his rear! He is fully capable of doing the work. He gets crazy excited once it actually clicks but for the first time in his life he cannot just skim the reading and tell me what it is about. He is learning how to do close readings. He is learning how to look up word definitions. He hates it, and I hate seeing him feel like that but I know that feeling. Don’t you remember feeling that in college…just before changing majors because “I’m just not good at it”. Remember, he is not being lazy. He is building discipline. Just don’t make him do it for too long at any one interval, endurance is built over time.
  5. JOURNAL! Don’t forget. Make it a priority. Keeping Track of our days is worth the effort. Journalling what we do everyday (I use a bullet journal) really helps keep us on track, so just do it! Whether I am trying to accomplish something specific or it is a break week, knowing that I am writing everything down helps me to be intentional with our time. Whether that means doing a little something on Saturday because we needed a full stop on Tuesday or just remembering which books we actually read at the library, having every thing written down daily will help down the line. Don’t forget.

So there you have it. Five thoughts that remind me of the things that help to make life easier before this season runs off with my brain.

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What are your personal thoughts? You don’t have to write them here, although I am always curious about what other mamas do to keep the peace. I just know that reminding myself in writing helps me to act so I want to also challenge you to take a moment to jot down your top five as well. As the holiday season approaches I hope that you can find the time to remember to find grace, peace and quiet as often as it is needed because hidden blessings are everywhere.

-Tabitha

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Broken Glass

Today I took a nap. A real nap.

I put on a CLEAN semi trendy outfit and thought that I looked cute in my leggings, skirt and tee combo paired with boots and matching purse.

I liked my outfit. I didn’t have to worry about practicality and I didn’t need to walk half naked from room to room handling other peoples clothing emergencies, “this sock feels weird” or “where’s my left shoe” were nowhere to be heard! I chose an outfit that I liked and then I got dressed.

I had time to curl my hair and apply what passes as make up for me…basically BB cream, lipstick and eyeliner. I didn’t have to take my lipstick out of my four year olds hands and I didn’t have to explain to my daughter why I like to put eyeliner on my eyes.

After much pomp and circumstance (and several rounds of hugs and pouty faces) I left my house without children.

I went to a Starbucks not attached to a Target, alone.

I walked up to the Starbucks counter (not the drive thru) and ordered a Grande Iced Carmel Macchiato  (for the first time) without the chaos of multiple voices trying to order their own drinks in rapid succession.

I was early for my moms night out and unapologetically jammed to top 40 music, complete with expletives.

It was GLORIOUS!

Dinner with female adult conversation and Baltimore’s third year of Listen to Your Mother was, to say the least, a blessing.

I love my children and truly enjoy being with them, but friendship and nights out are a gift, a rare and well appreciated gift.

On my way home, just to maximize my time out, I walked through a bookstore until closing… by myself! I looked at the adult fiction section, I picked up some merchandise from a clearance table and I reveled in the calming smell of paper and coffee.

I know, I’m living the dream…or at least the suburban mom dream.

The children were ecstatic to see me when I finally returned. Daddy let them stay up until I came home, letting them binge watch Phineas and Ferb. They loved it. It was just as much of a treat for them as it was for me.

Then the TV turned off. Bedtime was announced. They shuffled their feet. They tried to give another three kisses before heading up the stairs. We heard shouting. We heard running feet… and then we heard breaking glass.

A beautiful day, filled with calm and refreshing quiet, ended with the shattering of glass.

Because, of course, something had to happen.

But…

It didn’t annoy me. The sound of shattering glass didn’t fill me with dread or anger. I was still calm. I was able to respond to the emotional needs of the children who had accidentally hit the glass while trying to brush their teeth. I was able to respond and not react.

For the first time ever the sound of broken glass made me smile.

It reminded me that life is unpredictable. It reminded me that life is fragile. It reminded me that life is transparent and beautiful exactly the way it is.

Because that shattering, fragile glass reminded me that Glass, like life, is made beautiful in its imperfections.brokenglassblogpost

 

Quitter

I am a quitter.

 

I am a quitter, and that’s a good thing.

I have been Jonah for far too long. I have run away from that which I know in the depth of my heart to be absolutely right for me.

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I have transformed over the past few years. My desires and ambitions have been strong and I am finally letting them go.

I will not be a working mom anytime soon. I have grieved this realization for too long, holding on to any tiny glimmer of hope that may have presented itself to me along the way. I have quit this before, but for some reason just when I think I have quit for good, I relapse and begin the process of guilt and denial once more. I quit. I quit trying to chase down dreams of something that just isn’t going to work out for me right now. Children eventually grow up and I am a young mother, I still have plenty of time to chase ambitions once my work here is done. I am a quitter.

I am not ready to be a full time novelist. I am not ready to give myself the kinds of time that I need to get an idea out of my head and into my hard drive. Time is precious. I can set apart some time because I need it as a part of my self care regimen, but I recognize now that I have other uses of my time which I value more. I will eventually finish my novels and I will continue to write down the ideas that flow from my mind but I will do so in my own time, not because I want to meet an arbitrary deadline. So, I quit. I quit feeling guilty about how I order my time. I am a quitter.

I am tired of feeling like I need to conform to some imaginary ideal. I don’t fit the mold that I keep trying to fit into. I am creative and artsy but I hate crafting. I like big ideas and in depth conversations, not small talk or superficial relationships. I am deeply empathetic, socially moderate but also religiously conservative. I am an introvert who enjoys social interactions in small quantities. I don’t fit, I never have and I am tired of trying to help people understand me. So, I quit. Yes, my hair is now blue and green and purple and grey and I love it so back off. I am a quitter.

My children are important to me. They are my everything, but the world does not revolve around them and I am still a separate person from them. I need to practice self-care. I will not sacrifice my health or mental well being in an effort to be a self-sacrificing mother. I am not selfish, I am recognizing that I am just as important as them. It does them no good to have a mother who can barely function, or a mother who can’t concentrate because of pain and depression. I suffer from several chronic pain conditions and I require a certain amount of self awareness to keep my whole family moving. Hospitalizations should not be my check engine light. I need to be aware before I break down. So, I quit. I quit trying to convince myself that its selfish to get a day alone or to take a nap when I need it. I am a quitter.

My children desire challenges. They thrive off of new information but they also have some areas where they really struggle. I am done trying to politely explain this to pediatricians and outsiders. Those who have met my children never doubt it. I will continue to focus on what challenges them and I will continue to challenge them to think deeply about the things that they love but I am not worried about whether or not they are “on track” with ridiculous things. The schools standards are not my priority and so I will not explain why my child can tell you fun facts about dark matter and chemical compounds but not name the state capitals. I quit. I will continue to teach them big ideas with little interest regarding your checklists or “what a third grader needs to know”… blah, blah, blah. I am a quitter.

The great thing about philosophies are that they are fluid. Methodologies don’t change but philosophies do. Right now my educational philosophy is in the midst of a metamorphoses. At the core, what I believe is the same, but in practice some philosophies have switched places. I’m beginning to lean a bit more CM than I have in the past and a whole lot less Unschooling. Not because I don’t believe in the message but rather because I’m finding that the structure of CM fits better with my focus challenged offspring and the others enjoy the flow. I’ve been making this transition over the past several months and I admit that I’ve been grieving the loss of our unschooling nature. I thrive in that natural learning environment, but I am not the one who needs to be thriving and coming to terms with that realization has been a slow transition.

As a form of early childhood education, that philosophy has been wonderful for our family but now a new style is fitting better and so I must say goodby to my favorite shoes that just don’t fit and break in a new pair. I hate breaking in new shoes. I am not ready to quit, but I must because I am a quitter. I quit when things just don’t work and I move on, I move forward. This past year has been so full of change and so full of quitting that its almost as if I am growing. Why else would I need so much newness? Or maybe, like Jonah I am just tired of running away and ready to face my calling, even if it is one I swore I would never do.

I quit. I quit trying to be someone I am not meant to be. I quit trying to create the life of my dreams and instead I want to dream of the life that I live. I am proud to be a quitter, how about you?

 

Present but Absent

Over the last few months my online presence has diminished greatly.  There is a reason for that.  I have been present but absent.

Absent minded.

Absent of motivation.

Absent of emotion.

Absent and barely hanging on.

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My family reached a point of normality, we embraced our weirdness and in the midst of that I have been hiding my dirty little secret. I struggle with depression regularly and have been falling as of late.

 Part of this is because I have Fibromyalgia combined with a body has a hard time hanging on to Vitamin D. Supplements make me throw up and don’t really work too well for the long term. Basically, I need the sun to live happily and well, so when the sun starts disappearing at 4 pm or it is cloudy for weeks on end I begin to loose myself. Depression medicine makes me feel distant to myself as if I am watching myself live from behind a transparent shell and the side effects are more than I care to deal with.

Each time I fall into a state of depression it is different. I have struggled with existential depression and Post- partum depression several times in the past but this time around was, or is, different.

This time around it’s as if I am completely lost to the world, wandering around inside my own head. I want to hibernate but I can’t sleep, at all. I want to run away from being a mom … not from my kids but from the responsibilities that come with raising children. I feel nothing, I am neither happy, sad, frustrated, excited…it is a constant state of blah whateverness. I am never hungry, I have to force myself to eat and yet I am loosing no weight.

If my state of mind were a color it would be beige. An absence of color without the purity of white.

I have been lucky this time around, the depression is not deep, it hasn’t reached the stage where I’m drowning or where just being alive hurts… I’ve been there so many times that I’ve learned to catch it before that point.

This is like a paper cut depression. Painful but thin, near the surface and quick to heal.

I am not the only one who goes through this and so I am writing this, trying my best explain what is going on with the hope that others may read it and understand that depression is not something that we need to be silent about. It is not shameful and it does not make you weak. Medicine does not always help and what works for one person may not work for another.

Depression is more like a virus than a cold. It’s not something you can just will away. It doesn’t mean that your sad. It takes on a new form each time it visits and sometimes it is barely visible but owning it makes a difference because you can at least play defense. Knowing that this is depression and naming it as such helps me to be able to make baby steps towards consciously fighting it with a myriad of options that I have found work with my body. It gives my family the patience to deal with me lovingly and allows all of us to reach out for help.

It is a lonely fight that cannot be won alone. I need my support systems in order to pull out of it.

If I were to use imagery to explain it would go something like this.

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Falling into depression is as easy as walking off of a cliff blindfolded. The fall takes you by surprise, the landing hurts and sometimes scars and the only way out is when someone else throws down a rope. It is up to you to take the rope. The person who threw down the rope is holding it with all of their strength, trying their best to help pull you out but if you don’t move your legs and climb the side of the cliff nothing will happen. It is hard work that requires perseverance and inner strength. The more support you have at the top, the easier it is to climb out.

Right now I am near the top of that climb. This time around it was more like a deep ditch and because this happens so often to me, my hand was caught as I was falling.

For now,

I am still here,

I am present physically but absent emotionally and mentally.

Insanely, Intensely, Normal

Right now I am existing to create, write, and read.

I have been lost in the creation of a new world for about 6 months but I am not purely writing at all times. I have been pulled into reading fiction of all sorts as I try to figure out how the images and concepts that are taking over my mind can be organized and laid out. I draw people and landscapes whenever I have down time, even if they are rough and unfinished.

It is an obsession that I can not rid myself of nor can I control. I have no interest, drive or sense of responsibility when it comes to the mundane parts of life… like going to the bathroom, washing dishes, doing laundry, or cooking.

My internal clock is shot to hell. I go through bouts of insomnia where I live for weeks at a time off of 2-3 hours of sleep and do not feel tired followed by weeks of time where I want to sleep all day and live off of caffeine and chocolate. I can not sleep between 8 pm and 2 am and when I do sleep my dreams are live action movies that drive this make believe world that flows from my fingertips.

It is intense and insane. I sometimes feel like I am loosing my mind but I am not ready to give this up. The last time I was so driven was 9 years ago, when I was juggling Grad School, teaching full time at a middle school, and enjoying life overseas. Some of my best memories come from the time I spent on that island so I know that it is good to be like this.

The hardest part of this is the balancing act.

Balancing my intensity with the needs of the people who rely on me. Its not a big deal if I forget to eat but it is a problem if I forget to feed my kids, not that they would ever let me forget but doing it before meltdown stage is a HUGE deal! I can easily lose myself in my work which would be great if my children were in school all day giving me time to focus, but they are not. I am responsible for their education and even if we unschool that doesn’t mean that I can’t be uninvolved… actually it means I need to be more involved. I can’t let them just laze about all day long. I have to grasp at teachable moments, join in conversations, offer up activities, and guide them towards their goals.

I wrote before about balancing and finding happy mediums but this is a different kind of balance. This is not balancing my responsibilities so much as balancing my own intensities and controlling how far I let my obsessions carry me. I do not recognize my need for control or balance on my own. I don’t realize the lack of balance until it’s too late. I mess up often and space out. I get lost in a book or manga and my husband has to remind me that they are still there too. I start writing and I forget about reality, until a crying child comes to tell me that they are hungry. I don’t do this on purpose, most times I don’t even realize that I do this at all. I become absent minded. I become disheveled and unorganized.

This year I forgot to decorate my house for fall. I didn’t realize that It had not been done until the Monday before Thanksgiving. That is a huge part of our family tradition. It is something we do every September! It may not seem like a big deal but it was a shock to me when I realized it.

I remembered my daughters birthday and my nephews birthday but forgot my own. My mom reminded me. I am not the kind of person who hates celebrating my birthday, I LOVE IT! I never forget and often I get excited about it a month before. Not this year.

I forgot to go shopping for Halloween candy. My husband picked up candy the day of and I made costumes the day of… I forgot about Halloween.

I forgot that I needed a ball gown for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball… I’ve been married to a Marine for 8 years, dated him a year before that and was a babysitter during ball season every year before that since I was 12! Ball season has been a part of my life every November for as long as I can remember and I forgot about the Ball until the three days before, when my mother asked if she was babysitting our children.

Balance schmalence!

I do not have this balance thing down. I cannot control my intensities. I can’t stop this obsession. I need more. I’m addicted to the written word. I am an absent minded writer. Or at least I have become one. The further into the story I have written the worse it has become.

I am no less dedicated to homeschooling.

I love my children no less.

I am not giving up on anything that truly holds importance for me, but to say that I have it all under control is a lie. I can’t keep up the fun superficial stuff when I’m in this kind of go mode. I have to work my tail off just trying to force myself to control my obsession while my children are awake so that I can let loose after bedtime. When my husband is home we share responsibilities and he understands that even though I’m sitting in the midst of everyone, I am sometimes not really there. He is ok with that. I am not ignoring him, or them and he knows that. This was how he met me, this is the side of me he fell in love with… in a way it’s like I am finally back to normal.

My normal.

My house won’t grace the cover of Home and Gardens magazine. I may not be called out as Parent of the year. I may not look like a “typical” stay at home, homeschooling mom, or military wife… I don’t need it to be. I’m not typical. I break through stereotypes. I’m different. I’m weird. I’m unbalanced.

WooHoo for me and my Normal!

My kids are just like me and they have their moments of insanity too. They also get wrapped up in things and forget to pee. They also get lost in a game and can’t hear outside conversations… or directions. We all get sidetracked easily. It may seem insane. It may be intense. However, for us, this is completely Normal.

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Behold the Power of Subtitles!

I am a geek.

I am a nerd.

I am a borderline otaku.

I love to escape reality and I love to challenge ideas and conceptions via fantastic scenarios. I love building worlds, I love realistic romance, I love watching/ reading characters develop slowly.

I raise my children in this manner as well, because it’s Awesome!

My seven year old son loves RPG video games. My five year old daughter could spend all her time with Legos or Minecraft. My four year old daughters favorite movie character is Darth Vader. My two year old daughter is in love with Dr. Who and recognizes the TARDIS instantly. … All because we, their parents love it too. My husband is an avid Gamer, manga reader, and computer tinkerer. I will watch a sci fi action packed cult classic over a trendy romantic comedy any day of the week and I often spend entire weekend evenings binge watching Anime in Japanese with English Subtitles.

It’s how we roll.

We don’t speak Japanese and I’ve never tried watching a show that wasn’t subtitled so Imagine my surprise, when visiting Washington DC last week, at my sudden understanding of a language that I have never tried to learn.

I have been actively trying to learn Spanish for almost 20 years. I think I have a mental block based on a combination of perfectionism and heritage. I’ve often been told (by native speakers) that I should be able to speak Spanish and that I have no excuse not to, which in turn makes speaking it badly socially unacceptable. I also tried to actively learn Latin and Ancient Greek in college. I was pretty decent with Latin but forgot most of it as soon as I stopped using it regularly. Ancient Greek… Let’s just say I never could remember that alphabet and u was lucky to scrape by with a D! This background made me think that I was just linguisticly challenged.

I thought that I would never be one of those people who could pick up another language. I also thought that the only way to learn a language was with a book and grammar lessons. However, my ideas are changing. I am beginning to realize that there are stages to learning a language.

1. You have to be able to recognize the language when it’s spoken. Even if you don’t understand what’s being said, the first step is to recognize what language your hearing. I can now sit in a room and pick out the differences between Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian. I can not fully understand what’s being said in those last three but I can tell which language is which.

2. Grasping the gist. The second phase of learning a new language is just being able to roughly understand a conversation. To understand the main idea even if you don’t know the meaning of every single word. I sometimes am at this level even when others are speaking English from another region or with a thick accent and I can do this with Japanese.

3. Understanding the spoken word. This is where I am with Spanish. You are able to roughly translate, understand complex conversations in a variety of dialects or accents and you feel comfortable with your comprehension.

4. Speaking in another language. At this point you are learning how to string together the words you have learned and put together coherent conversation (this can be as simple as my “name is” or as complex as describing how a refrigerator works). For some people 3 & 4 are interchangeable or happen at the same time. To each their own.

5. Writing. Once you have gotten comfortable to understand and speak casually then comes the task of learning actual grammar, rules, and proper constructs. I think this is why I’ve always had such a hard time with language classes. The writing and grammar portion is being taught alongside the introductions but there is no actual foundation in the language itself.

Unlike a child learning a first language (who spends a year just listening!) we expect a new learner to go from never having heard the language to speaking reading and writing simultaneously within three months. We do not look at breaking down the language, we do not try to introduce it, and we rarely hear other languages actually spoken.

That is why I felt like a failure when learning foreign languages. Yet here I am, eavesdropping on a family from Japan as they encourage and guide their children through a hands on craft project at a Museum in Washington DC. Sitting here, understanding the main gist of their conversation even though I have never taken a class or read a book with the intention of learning Japanese.

I lived in Japan for one year, I watch Anime in Japanese with English subtitles, and without realizing it, I have been learning Japanese, just like I learned Spanish and English as a kid.

I am in no way saying that lessons, software, or books are unnecessary. I believe that they are absolutely necessary for certain learners who want to be completely fluent eventually but they are not required to begin learning and they are not required for all learners. I would even go so far as to say they are not the most important thing you need to start learning a language.

I am not the first to say this either. Immersion language learning is well known as the most effective way to learn a new language but for some reason I never considered watching something with subtitles as a part of the immersion process. I never once considered that my fun, mindless activity would be my gateway to something as awesome as learning a new language and I certainly never believed that I could learn so much. I want to encourage others out there who may have believed the lie that they too couldn’t learn other languages because they couldn’t afford the classes or because they were not good at studying. Sometimes we just have to have fun and allow learning to happen naturally!

So before you spend hundreds of dollars on a language system, get on YouTube or Google and get used to hearing the language you want to learn. Then find movies or tv shows with subtitles in that language (they really exist in most languages!) and have fun. Listen to the music, watch a play and do things that get you comfortable with regularly hearing… Then start the formal work. After you can pick it out of a crowd.

Maybe this is just my unschooling philosophy at play but the truth is that it works. That is why we watch movies that we have memorized in Spanish as a family…even my non-readers know what words come next and then begin to associate Spanish words for the words they already know. This is why we list to Spanish music in the house. It is my fault that my children are not already fluent in Spanish but I plan on remedying that problem. I want them to speak the language of our heritage proudly and so my children are learning more and more all the time. Then one day, once they get comfortable with the two languages, we will add a third and they too will start watching Anime with subtitles.

Why?

Because subtitles can be totally awesome!beholdthepowerofsubtitiles.jpg

Growing Up

She was in her mid twenties. She stood before a class of thirty 15 & 16 year olds, visibly pregnant. I don’t remember her name. I don’t remember what she looked like or how she dressed. I don’t even remember the topic or how the subject came up in our Honors World History class. Nevertheless she asked the class.
“If any of you are brave enough, would you share your deepest fear?”

I raised my hand.
I answered.

It wasn’t your typical teenage fear. Classmates looked at me differently. She was visibly taken aback before responding. “That’s a double edge sword.”

She’s right. It was.

My biggest fear at 16 was that when I grew up I would forget what it feels like to be young. Part of me was afraid of growing up, I’m still afraid of growing up. I am still afraid that I haven’t actually grown up, maybe I’m just a teen trapped in an adults body and with adult responsibility. That is until I’m near teens, than I just feel old. However, this fear goes even deeper than the normal fear of growing up.

It is a fear of forgetting the feel of youth. The way it feels when your awkwardly trying to talk to a crush. The silly giggles that are exchanged between girls. The pain of your break up even though it only lasted two weeks. The agony of homework. The annoyance of being talked down to just because your a kid. The fun of playing outside. The absolute joy of a day off.

I was afraid that I would turn into that adult that minimized and trivialized my children’s emotions because of their age and immaturity. I hated when grow ups would say “aww puppy love”, what made it puppy love?  Looking back now, I can see how important all of those early relationships were. They taught me to give, to communicate, to love unconditionally… they taught me so much.

I used to think, a lot, and dwell on my thoughts…I still do. In some ways I’m still growing up. In fact, I am still growing up. I’m still learning from relationships. I’m still afraid of forgetting how now feels. Although, unlike my earlier assumptions, growing up isn’t something that you achieve. We claim that kids have “grown up” but the truth is that they have just grown further and they will continue to grow.

Growing up isn’t a destination. There is no magical age that you hit and suddenly feel grown up. The same goes for the memories and feelings. You never know whats going to stand out in your memory or what feelings you will never forget until your looking backwards. That’s why it’s a double edged sword.

It can be wonderful to remember all of those feelings when in comes to your interactions with younger people, but if you let your fear take over then you begin to dwell on the past, making the present less memorable.

We never stop growing up but we can stop moving forward… and thats another fear for another post.

I’m no longer afraid of forgetting how being young feels.

I don’t need to feel afraid because I can look back and remember.

I do remember how it feels to be 6, or 11, or 15, or 22 but I also get to enjoy how it feels to be now.

I’m still just growing up.

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