Life can get really hard sometimes. No amount of American lifestyle privilege can hide you from death. It’s what connects us all as human beings.
Love, grief, sorrow, and excitement happens to every one.
No matter what country you live in, gender you love, or your socioeconomic status. You will at some point feel all these things. That’s called humanity.
You are welcome for that life lesson.
Okay so now you know that we are ALL on the same level, I can continue.
When I was 19 years old I took a Human Growth and Development class in college. I specifically remember the teacher talking about a Mother’s very animalistic need to look for danger. Therefore, once you have kids, the whole world becomes this huge scary place to you.
You lose your feeling of invincibility that comes with youth.
It is swiped right out from under you.
You don’t even REALIZE it’s happening!
You don’t even get the chance to say goodbye!
Anyways, this teacher’s example was that when she was in college she went to Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Her and her friends used to walk home from bars at 2 AM, through the streets of Worcester. She continued on,“Now that I’m a forty two year old mother of two I see the world differently. If I leave campus at night and see all you girls parading around mini skirts, it makes me want to wrap a coat around you and give you a ride to wherever you want to go. I want to wait around and give you a ride home just in case your boyfriend is talking to some other girl and you want to leave that frat party and stomp home alone. It’s just the evolution of growing up.”
That always stayed with me.
The idea that when you get older you just become a new version of your old self.
So now I’m a Mom. I live to protect. I feel myself changing.
The last couple weeks were filled with emotion for me. Two different great human beings that I had the privilege of knowing passed away last week. You know the drill, Billy Joel says.. Only the good die young.
No truer words may have ever been spoken.
But due to the recent tragedies , there has been a lot of talk in my life about death and grief. It stirs things inside me. Being a Mom has made me look at death in a whole new way.
It was awful before. Now it’s terrifying.
To be fair, I would say I experienced an abnormally large amount of death in my childhood. I don’t know if there is a correct amount of death, who knows. The following people were alive when I was born and passed away by the time I was 16. Both my Mom’s Parents. Two of my Mom’s sisters. My Dad’s Mother. My Mom&Dad’s godson (Muscular dystrophy. He was 10. At least I think 10 is correct? Those years are blurry now. Can’t remember which year was which but I can still picture his smile.). My Dad’s cousin/best friend. Someone my friend loved in high school and the list goes on.
Children are some what protected with innocence from the real bad stuff. But you always carry the people you loved no matter what age they left you.
All I learned growing up was that after all the appropriate grieving type human behaviors occur, I then have to get happy.
What? Is that what you really just said? People die and your talking about getting happy??
BUT…. I have to. You have to do it for them. Would they want you to spend the rest of your life crying and hunched over like a bump on a log? Unable to love or live?
The answer is no every time.
I just picture if I ever ran into my Aunt Mary in heaven. I’d be like “Hey Aunt Mary! Guess what? After you left, I just pouted for 20 years. I never smiled again.” and she would be like, “What the hell is wrong with you? You didn’t have any fun? You are being ridiculous.”
I mean com’on. She was my favorite Aunt! When the twins were born I was 3. I was fully potty trained. But I started pissing my bed for attention. Kids are GREAT. But hey, I went from being the baby, to them bringing home TWO babies. I needed to take back the power. Anyways, My Mom would send me to my room for acting like a jack ass and my Aunt Mary would come in and lay with me. My Mom would be yelling at her from the kitchen. “Stop coddling her!” So I’m SURE that same lady who would give my Mom the middle finger while snuggling me would be okay with me finding some peace with her absence. She knows I won’t ever forget her.
So how to get happy again? Well I guess I could make a list of adult “strategies.” This great special needs school I know uses the term “strategies” with the kids. Basically your coping skills. You are escalated, so therefore…. what can you do to calm your self down? Basic life skills 101. “I am identifying that I am pissed off, or I am sad, or mad.” So pull out my list of strategies and it says:
- Go for a walk
- Listen to music
- Hang out with a fun peer
- Take 20 deep breaths.
You get the picture. So simple. Yet so brilliant. But the beauty of it is that is can be applied to every one. It’s a basic lesson in self awareness. You identify that you are upset and you decide what things can calm you down. The situation will always have a better outcome if your calm down before you deal with it.
I am Sad…. Therefore…
WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s how you react to what happens to you. I mean HELLO. Susan G Komen for the cure was started out of a sister’s grief. I’d like to think I’d be that level of sad if one of my sisters died. No more Court and Ab? I’m so fucking sad, I have to go change the world. Help millions of people. Court and Abby would love it. They would be there for the whole thing tho cause I’m 99% sure they would haunt me as ghosts.
I have to figure out how to get happy again and get life rolling along. Grieving 101 says you have to get back to some kind of “normal” routine. It doesn’t mean your not sad. It doesn’t mean you don’t miss them. It just means you have to keep moving forward.
So I made a happy list! A list of my own strategies. Once I completed the list, I figured I’d share it on here in case any one else needs some good ideas to de-funk the funk.
Print out pictures.
When Zuckerberg(one of the founders of Facebook) that dick, just shuts it all down one day. You will be sad. Then you will be like, UGH Britt called this one. Just 3,000 pictures from your 20s that don’t exist anywhere else, gone! “Oh that will never happen you say.” What? How could you ever know that? PLUS have you ever sat cross legged and looked at a box of old pictures instead of cleaning out your closet? It’s really fun. It’s not something I would want to do all the time. But when the mood strikes, you will know.
Websites like Snapfish do 30 free prints a month for a year if you download there app. Then the package gets placed directly on your door step. You don’t even have to go to WALMART photo anymore. Thank god. WALMART is where dreams go to die. So you really are out of excuses of why you haven’t done this yet!
To piggy back on the that, the next task you will complete is:
Print your Instagram into a photo book. I like to take each picture from my Instagram and the caption I wrote and plop it in a photo book on Snapfish or Shutterfly. Put about 4 pictures to a page. If your picture of a tree in your yard is so great that you feel the need to share it with all your closest friends and co-workers. Then you probably need a nice hard copy of your fancy photo work.Very cool to have a running documentation of your life. It is very easy and fun. Photo books are the jam. I make them for everything. I even made a book for the boys. On each page of the photo book I put a picture of a family member of ours. Under the picture it says in big bold letters “Nana” “Uncle Adam” “Aunt Luke” and so on and so forth. So now it’s a fun game that we point to the page and say the name of the person. It has helped Ben practice so many names of family members. He can say “Abby, Nana, Papa, Ran Rad, Mom, Dad, Adam.” He has not yet worked his way up to “Courtney.” Those are harsh letter sounds for the fresh prince. I even write the boys a little message in the front of the book:
Dear Ben and Jack,
Can you name all these faces?
I bet you can!
Ready, Set, Go!
If the idea of making photo books makes you do a deep Mom sigh and say something along the lines of, “Must be nice. I just don’t have the time.”
There are websites you can have them make a board book for you. You just fill out a info sheet of names and you upload the matching pics. Pretty easy. Your baby human will love it.
Create some fun memories.
You never had a house warming party when you and husband dear bought the barn house. Maybe it was due to the fact that you had Jack two weeks after you moved in. That may have been why. So I think we should have a little cookout. Something casual with burgers, beer and lots of small children playing in your yard. Just how you like it. But the catch is that everyone you have come over will have homework to bring. BECAUSE I’m making a sweet TIME CAPSULE! Everyone who comes over can bring pictures, kid drawings, A note to your future self. A note to your kid in 10 years. We are going to put it all in my GIANT BOX that Josh doesn’t know yet that I’m forcing him to make for me! Since Josh is tearing up our entire back yard anyways….. We can bury it! We will just have to make sure it isn’t next to the goat buried in my yard! (That’s a story for another day.) Then we will all open it in 10 years. Laugh. Cry. Hug. Smile. Get angry. Who knows what will happen. But that’s the best part of life.
In 10 years we will all reconvene and have the kids dig it up. I’m thinking a treasure map will have to be involved. Mostly because pirates are awesome.
Lose some postpartum weight.
I had made a deal with myself. I wasn’t going to get crazy about losing the weight immediately. I would try and live a healthy lifestyle. But not actually do anything crazy. No calorie counting. No excessive exercise instead of hanging with my babes. Just ENJOY every moment with tweedle dee and tweedle dum. I knew when we made the choice to roll the dice and have our kids be close in age that it would be a lot of work. I was not naive to this fact. So I decided I needed to be realistic with myself so that my head wouldn’t fall off. Exercise when you have the opportunity. Eat good foods. But eat a lot of ice cream too. Enjoy your babies because babies don’t keep, says every Mother of older children you’ve ever spoken to.
I did just that. It was awesome. I was nice to myself. I cut myself some slack. But now has come the time. You must do something. Not for your husband or for your Instagram selfie game, or even for the judge Judy’s of the world. Just for me. Just so that after I get out of the car. My next move isn’t always… Hike up my pants. I actually wore pregnancy jeans to work the other day. I’m not going to lie. They were comfy as hell. It’s like secret sweatpants. Not the full panel you jerks. Just the little stretchy top. No zipper. But I suppose this is where I have to draw the line. I mean, Smudge master flex is going to be 8 months next week. I’m about 50/50 on what I should do with the maternity pants. I already gave all my good ones to some beautiful girl I work with who is pregnant. The rest must leave as well. Purge time. Change time. I know I should donate them because that’s what I like to do with all my clothes, but I also kinda want to have a couple glasses of wine and throw them in the bon fire out back. Hmm.. to be continued on that inner turmoil.
In the end.You have to pick yourself up. Dust yourself off and get back to it. You know what it’s like to be in really good shape. How good it feels to run in the rain. How much you love your body after Bikram. How much clearer your mind works after you run on the beach. So do it just for you. You will feel much better. Being comfortable in your body is a really good feeling. I mean, this jolly body I currently rock must be very comfortable to snuggle with. But I think it’s time to shape things up.
GET VITAMIN D.
Go outside, go outside, and more going outside.
It’s science. Vitamin D, looking at nature, exercise = happiness. Oh you don’t feel like being happy today? Alright then. My bad.
Reunite with old friends.
You are now at the age in your life that just because you don’t hang out with someone anymore doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Adult life is busy. People move. Jobs can be demanding. Kids get sick. But this is a good time to make plans with some people who make you laugh. Make you not act appropriate for your age. And love you even when you didn’t make the best decision. Just forgive you and love you anyways.