Friday, August 31, 2012

It' A New Day

ReBoot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's the last day of August.  At the close of this weekend, the school year will start and we will be in our more structured routine.  The fall almost feels like the new year. It's my time to make a list of intentions, the things that I know will help me live a happier and more productive life.  September is my reboot month.

New school supplies and clothes means we need to go through the closets and donate all those things that my monster men have grown out of.  We'll sit down and organize our schedules, making sure that homework, dinner and chores all have a slot.  We'll become more mindful about planning for fun stuff to happen.  We'll get the doctor's appointments taken care of and of course the haircuts.  September is our fresh start. 

For me, my fresh start is going to include a renewed focus on some self-care.  With a little more exercise in my life, I'm sure the endorphins will kick in and my writing will come more easily.  If I'm having more structure and intention maybe I'll even pack a lunch and water bottle for work. With all of the focused choices I might even start sending birthday cards and thank you notes again. It's a new day, everything is possible.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Plan or Not to Plan

The only real, formal plan I had this summer was a one week reunion with my siblings.  Camping trips, a water park or two, barbecues, and house projects were just normal summer things that I assumed we would plug in before school started again.  We all know what happens when we assume. School starts in one week and none of our normal summer highlights have occurred.  I feel like an ass.

I have good excuses for how my summer derailed.  First off and most importantly, it felt cruel to go camping or to a water park when my youngest son would have to sit out with his broken leg.  Then, I had the super hot, killer temps that forced me into a fetal position, whining in front of the air conditioner, instead of painting, for big chunks of June and July. And of course there was the Olympics, that seemingly made it impossible to do anything except watch...and watch...and watch.

Missed weekend trips and lingering house projects are not the end of the world. I know this well. Some of the things that filled our summer could never have been known about even if we had sat around the dining room table intentionally plotting out a vacation adventure.  Since we had no plans (other than the fabulous week with my sibs) we were able to respond in the moment and travel to be with family when there was an unexpected death.  We spent other weekends helping my brother-in-law with a big out of state move.  Not planning -it's not a bad thing necessarily. 

Last weekend though, I had no plans except for a brief work commitment and an evening barbecue.  We got an invitation to join our friends at a lake house and I was so excited.  I'd have to move some things around but it could work.  Then a last minute update came through Facebook that my son's youth group was going to have an overnight lock-in.  I got frustrated, feeling the tug-of-war between my wants and my kids.  Just as I had my son agreeing that a lake house sounded better than staying up all night with other teenagers, I got a message from a friend who currently lives in England.  She was in town with her family and wanted to get together, you guessed it of course, during the lake house weekend. It's a great unexpected and rare opportunity to see a good friend AND it's backing out on my dearest friend who lives just miles away but who I see only occasionally. Yay! and Ugh! all in the same moment.

Do other people go through this?  Tell me it's not just me.  If I planned better would some type of firm clarity take hold?  Am I jerked around so much because I haven't pinned things down?  Or is my fluid planning allowing me to take advantage of  unexpected opportunities and the needs of people I love?  This weekend I know exactly what I'm doing and it's big.  We'll be hosting my brother-in-law as he helps us put a new roof on our garage, grilling most of our meals, and going school shopping for the boys.  Unless of course it rains...
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Lesson in Independence

English: Torker Unicycle taken by Andrew Dressel
My youngest son broke his leg this summer.  I quickly dove into a low level panic.  What would he do for three weeks, unable to unicycle, run, do gymnastics or enter his tennis camp?  What would/could I do to keep this very active, wonder boy couch bound?  I flashed on his extreme and sometimes upsetting behavior before I figured out that he just desperately needed physical activity in his life to find emotional balance. It turned out that I worried too much.  The cast came off yesterday and he weathered the sedentary lifestyle for three weeks just fine.  All of us, even his brother, walk away from these past weeks unscathed.  He in fact, did not completely lose it and start hurling verbal and physical bombs nor did he start going negative on himself.

English: Using underarm crutches. EspaƱol: Cam...
What he did do was insist that he do everything for himself the entire time he was on crutches.  Thirsty? He grabs a glass of water, sucks it up to his face and "carries" it hands free while he maneuvers the crutches around the dog and floor rug obstacles.  Hungry? He decides to slide his bum across the house and make a sandwich, doing pull ups to the counter and then balancing on one leg, practicing a complex yoga move. He carries it back to the couch in one hand while he hops on one foot to his spot in the living room.  I got so frustrated with him.  "Let me help you!!! Are you trying to break the other leg?"  He of course would just smile and reassure me, "I can do this."

He figured out that what he likes just as much as being physical is a challenge.  He likes to try new things and test himself.  He also likes to be self-reliant.  A unicycle is fun and unique.  But balancing a plate in your mouth while hopping and dodging a darting dog - that's a really noteworthy effort!  His cast is off and he still has to use the crutches for a while longer.  The past three weeks have been a great lesson for me.  My son wants to be strong and independent.  I'll still try to take care of him and help him (especially when he's carrying plates in his mouth) but I never want to be the one crippling him in any way.  He wouldn't let me even if I tried.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dropping Out

Olympics (Photo credit: ClaraDon)
In a sad and ironic turn of events, the Olympics have me in a serious couch potato slump.  I'm blaming Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas for my lethargic, zombie-like state.  Their super powers apparently include mass hypnosis.  Part of the problem is that I stay up way too late watching and then hit the snooze button way too long the next morning, routinely blowing through the "go to the gym" window. The other issue is more psychological and not very fun to admit.

I watch the events slack jawed, staring in disbelief half of the time.  These people are incredible, how inspiring!  There is another part of me that watches the elite athletes and thinks, "who have I been kidding?"  My little attempts at gym membership and activity, even on my best weeks, pales in comparison to these machines.  I am better suited for score keeping than scoring.  It is this voice of self deprecation that keeps me staring at the tv late into the night and boycotting my local YMCA during these games.  Terrible irony but true (at least partially).

In less than a week the real truth will emerge.  The Olympics will end and not come around for another four years, in part because super human acts of strength, agility, balance, and speed can not be sustained endlessly without rest and training.  The rest of us mortals will return to our routines.  I'll leave the viewing stands of my couch and hop on the spinning bike, imagining Michael and Gabby cheering me on.
Enhanced by Zemanta