Tuesday, April 28, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 44 - I AM SO ANGRY!

"I'm mad! I'm so, so, so ANGRY!" The Impossible girl screamed as she stormed around the bathroom this evening, throwing everything that wasn't nailed down. Even things that were surprisingly heavy for her 39 pound frame.

She sat on top of the giant 48 roll pack of toilet paper on the floor that she'd pulled out and attempted to throw from the shelf. It formed almost a little throne around her crossed armed and crying form, as if that were all along its intended purpose.

I didn't go away. I sat on a stool across the room some distance away and calmly said, "Okay. I'll leave you alone. I'll sit over here. I'm here if you need me." I didn't leave and I didn't distract myself with my phone. I just held the space with her. I wasn't sure how this was going to end, but I remembered one of the best peices of advice I've ever gotten. 'Bring your calm into their storm.' So that's what I did.

After a sniffle filled moment, her shoulders sagged a little and she crumpled and said, "I'm feeling sad."

The other parenting advice that I've used came in. 'Be a Sportscaster.' Validate that you are hearing someone when they are struggling to be heard. I thought about what it would be like to be her for a moment... 

"You're feeling sad. Yeah, I hear you. You're feeling angry and mad too. I can see you crying." I paused to let the calmness stay in my voice and to give her time. If there is something we have in abundance of, that seems to be it these days. 

She sniffled, "Mhm.."

"Can you tell me why you're feeling sad?"

"'Cause, 'cause, Cuase, 'cause, 'cause, 'cause..." she continued repeating it until she was able to form the rest of the words she was searching for. "You made me say goodbye." 

There it was. As I suspected, it had NOTHING to do with the bath.

Showing off toys on a virual playdate
Earlier in the evening she had a virtual playdate with a good friend from school. She was very excited and they played pretty well together. They told jokes only 4 year olds find funny, and built legos in their seperate rooms, sometimes showing each other what they were building and sometimes not. The familiarity was there. Nearly an hour into it, it was time for bath and bed time. 

She didn't want to say goodbye. I gave her a heads up when were 10 minutes away. Then 5 minutes.. then 1... and finally when it was time. She was mad. She didn't say goodbye. She slammed the laptop shut and ran to my bedroom, angry.  I followed at a more measured pace and she was on my bed, hiding herself under the covers as she giggled and begged me to tickle her.

Yeah - I knew this was coming. The tickles were an attempt to distract herself from the feelings in the hopes that they would just go away. 

10 minutes later, they hadn't gone away, and she was lashing out about getting a bath - which is usually a fun activity.  Normally a very even tempered kid, this was the straw the broke the camel's back.

Today, this 'goodbye' was one too many.

Once she caught her breath, she started taking out rolls of toilet paper (they were all individually wrapped anyway) and throwing them, half heartedly. She tossed one to me, which I caught, and she brightened up and immediately wanted to distract herself with a game of catch. I tossed it to her, she tossed it back to me... and then I said, "Hey, why don't we empty that back of toilet paper. Let's throw them at that wall as hard as we can, and yell and scream something we're mad about every time we throw one. It's safe because we won't break these, and I think it'll feel good. I'll start."

"I'm mad because I miss going to the movies!" I threw it at the wall. It landed with a thud and tumbled to the floor, slightly misshapen from the force.

She smiled and did the same thing, repeating after me.

"I'm angry because I miss going to playgrounds!" 

She copied me again, getting more umph into that throw and seeming to get the idea that it was okay.
A few more rounds when by - after all, we had 46 rolls of toilet paper to hurl.

"Now you start. What are you mad about?"

"I'm mad because I Can't see my teachers!" 

"Good! What else makes you mad right now?"


 There were only 2 rolls left. I don't even remember what we said for those last two, because that one hit me hard.

She can repeat back to me all day long that places are closed 'because of germs making everybody sick' and 'but we're not sick' and 'we don't want to get sick', but it still, deep down in the gut feels like something supremely familiar to me - 


I know this one. I figured out how to make the lonliness and (sometimes frustrating) silence more of at traveling companion than a demon, but it took years - and a hell of a lot of validation (among other things). In fact, as an adult, I quite enjoy being alone in the quiet of the world from time to time.

Her journey with it is just begining.

 I explained (though I know no amount of talk can truly heal it - it does help to mitigate it) that it's not that her friends don't WANT to be with her. We talked about how much fun she's had with the people who have done play dates, sent letters, done videos, etc, but I know it 'feels' like that somedays.  And it's okay for her to feel like that.
Because she only has me in the flesh (don't tell Odin and Apollo, but they aren't exactly the same as siblings/friends) - and some days, it's just not enough to fill that space. And honestly, it shouldn't be! That space in her heart is there for more than 1 human! It works that way for all of us!

Virtually playing with blocks, because her friend on the other side was
 I don't take that personally - I get it on a viceral level, trust me . (If you're just tuning in, I lived alone in a hunting cottage on a lake for 3 years post divorce and it was pretty awesome.)

  But the rational mind isn't in control of the feelings. She can say, "'cause of germs", but that doesn't make it feel any less lonely

The world is changing, and while she's handled it in stride, this abiding lonliness will be the fall out, for certain.

Bedtime led to the usual fear of me leaving the room. She's fallen asleep on my arm nearly every night since this started. I have no interest in sleep training right now. She won't be doing this into her teens for certain. I'm going to physically be present as long as she needs that physical comfort right now. Once she's asleep, I slip out, and she knows she can come to my room/bed if she needs me during the night.

What. A. Night.
But a theraputic one.
Missing people is part of  healthy attachment - the hardest part
 I picked up and stacked the toilet paper after the storm was over and she was fast asleep. 

This generation will pick up the peices of friendships and relationships, and craft ways to bridge the chasims that, some days, seem so vast.

They will have to.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Even the invention of coping mechanisms.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 30+ - Define "New"

Our local Buy Nothing group has been an amazing help in raising The Impossible Girl. Between hand me downs from family and that group, we were able to clothe the kiddo practically for free for years. It's been amazing to connect, and regift the things that were so helpful for us.
  Yesterday, a neighbor on Buy Nothing was giving away some toys. The Impossible Girl has recently become a Toy Story fan. She's seen them in no particular order, but she's never had any Toy Story specific toys, aside from a 1 inch Bullseye figure from a blind bag.
  I got her a Toy Story 4 random toy for under $10 on our last grocery run. Since it was delivered directly to our trunk, which toy the shopper picked for us was a surprise to both of us. She got Rex, which she may not have been enthusiastic about for about 1 minute. Then she was excited to feed him her fries, discover that his arms and legs and head could be posed. It was quickly a favorite toy...

Which, of course, as happens with toys sometimes, was left on the floor, and a bored dog got a mouth on it...
There were no tears, though she was visably disappointed - for about 5 seconds.
  After a conversation about picking up toys and not leaving them where the dog can get them, we brain stormed places they could go instead of on the floor (the shelf, on the dresser, on her bed, in a toy bin, etc), she immediately said, "But I still play with him, right?" 
  I offered to get a fixed one for her (Rex isn't exactly an in demand character, so he is fairly easy - and cheap - to come by.). And she said, "That's okay. I still play with this one." 
  My jaw pretty much dropped inwardly and I feel like we did a good job with this one. 
So that brings me to the tale of her latest best friend. The Woody doll came from our local Buy Nothing group. After a quick clean up for possible germs, he came on the road with us. And in the car, and bed, and to breakfast. An ever present buddy at the moment -and maybe just what she needs right now. 

When we picked him up, his had was missing. He had a few scratches, and had obviously been well loved. He has a pull string, but no longer has a voice. I offered that maybe we could make Woody a hat, she said no thanks. I offered to try to fix his voice, she thought about that for a while, and then said, "Maybe,". As she looked him over, I wasn't sure if she would end up disappointed. The doll was obviously not new (which is to be expected from a free gift), and had another little girl's name written on his boot. 
  Another 5 seconds of consideration, he was her new best friend, with BIG hugs and a couple kisses. 
She doesn't waste time wishing that he was something he's not. She embraces the reality and finds something to love about it.  We have always been okay with hand me down gifts. 'New to Us' is just fine, and it makes the 'new' even more special.

Maybe it's a phase. Maybe it's the age. But I hope she always takes a few seconds to evaluate any situation, and then find the fun in it. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

When the World Paused - Day ? - A Storm, A Little Luck, and A Query

Today The Impossible Girl and I set out to be productive! We had things to do! So we did the things!

Odin wanted to get in the picture this morning.
We drove from 45 minutes south to the best little farmstand. I called ahead and put in an order for curbside delivery. They called me back within 20 minutes with the order filled and the total. I gave them my card information and away we went. We drove through a friend's awesome little coffee stand for breakfast, grabbed a school lunch to cover some grocery gaps and we were on our way, chatting it up with My Sailor en route.
It's a typical spring day here in Washington - which means a constant grey threatening sky that looks basically like it's 8am all day long... Oh, and it rains. Of course. We need the rain, so I'm not really complaining about it. As a California transplant, I decided before I moved here that I wouldn't allow rain to keep me indoors. As they say in the forest school circles - "There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing." (Though they say it a bit more nicely than Alfred Wainwright.)

The Impossible Girl doesn't exactly share my sentiments, when there are none of her teachers and Forest School playmates involved. But today that worked in our favor...

After driving and getting our produce (which they put directly into the trunk - contact free delivery - Yeah!), we drove the 45 minutes back home, but we actually went a little further...

Last week I noticed they had removed some 'no entry' signs from a local park and taken down the barriers for parking. They replaced them with these signs at the entrances.
Sign read "SOCIAL DISTANCING Please maintain 6 feet of seperation."
Yeah! We sat in the car and had a snack while rain just pelted down. Though I brought our rain jackets and boots, The Impossible Girl had zero interest in discovering puddles in the making, so we waited to see if the storm would pass (and watched Finding Nemo The Musical on my phone, thanks to the magic of youtube). It took about an hour, but it passed and she was coaxed out of the car.  (With the help of a favorite-of-the-day kitty stuffed animal.)

The place was totally empty...

"Three roads diverged in a greenish wood, and sorry I could not travel all, and be one traveler long I stood..." - Not Robert Frost

Discovering Snail friends

Climbing Small Mountains
It was remarkable to step out into this familiar local park again. Especially in spring time after a storm. There were very few buzzing creatures to annoy The Impossible Girl, and plenty of places to splash.
I even got tickets to the greatest show...(I am a close personal friend of the performer)
It was tough to get her back in the car to go home. (It involved me playing Blue - the Raptor from Jurassic World - a thing she hasn't seen, but it's come up in our exploration of dinosaurs and love of theme parks. I ended up being a friendly raptor that was tired and needed to get in my 'cage'- aka the car...) 
Anyway, it was a fun detour, but as we were leaving the park was definately starting to fill up. So... PRO SOCIAL DISTANCING WALKING HACK - Go stomp in puddles after a rain storm. Most people will stay home.
  I spent less than 2 hours cleaning, but it was two hours too long. After we ate dinner, she wanted to cuddle up in my lap with my arms around her as if she was 2 years old again. It wasn't exhaustion. It was, "Mommy, can we watch a movie together?" With me not looking at the phone and just fully paying attention with her. Fully being present. While I love these snuggle sessions, I'm learning that she needs less of a break from me and more and more connection, even without the distractions of bugs or bunnies or birds or grass or the car. She just needs me to play with her more and be present more. 

As an adoptee, I'm very aware of connection issues. Training for Foster parenting gave me lots of tools and places to ask for help while kids are managing trauma. We've video messaged with friends and family members and teachers and My Sailor - we contact someone every single day. But she is more often than not DONE being on camera. And ya know what? I don't blame her.

Because - let's face it, the scale of change and the uncertainty of the future is more than a little bit traumatic. 

So grateful we had some fun along the way today.

The only medicine I know of for Trauma is connection.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

When the World Paused - Bandaids are Okay.

So we've been living in this in-between for over a month. Days are blurring together and thank GOD for Magnolia Preschool and their web classes. It really gets us going in the morning.
I did not make this - but it sure is funny.
 Today, we slept in. All of us slept in... even the dogs weren't interested in getting out of bed until 9am. (Since, by then, the kiddo and both dogs are in my room anyway, it's not really an issue.) And to top it off, I was digitally productive, handing bill paying (Odin's life saving surgery from a year and a half ago is PAID OFF! Yeah!) and dishes, but that was sort of where the productivity ended for the day. Dishes was the one thing I crossed off the to-do list I made the night before. Instead, the kiddo just wanted to lounge, play PBS Kids games, and watch her favorite youtube families. I noticed that this came after an especially tough sadness session missing My Sailor, so I get it.
 It happens.
Sometimes we just need a bandaid to stop the bleeding so we can heal.
Sometimes those bandaids come in the form of games, dance parties, hot chocolate and nature.

 We took a drive to Shineland state park. Yes, it's closed. We didn't go in. We didn't get out of the car. We sat in the car with a cookie and a cup of tea/hot chocolate and rolled down the windows. We listened to the animals and spotted some beautiful birds, and we talked. Well, she talked. I listened. It was a good hour.  Back at home, it was back to games and tv time. She picked her favorite youtube families to watch. I don't mind. They remind her what it's like when all of us are here and life is a little more normal. (And sometimes their antics give me ideas of games to play at home with her too.)

And by midnight, I'm wrapping up my night, and she's crawling into my bed after a bad dream.

I read a lot of things about bandaids. We all have our emotional 'bandaids'.  When things feel overwhelming and we just need to recoup before dealing with it again. In this case, none of the stressors are going away any time soon.

So some days we just need bandaids to stop the bleeding - so tomorrow we can heal a bit and face the days again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

When The World Paused - Lessons in Adaptation

We've been on lock down for about a month. And in all of the strange hecticness that seems to linger in our days, I've found that I have learned a lot of valuable things.

Here are a few of them:
Lesson #1 - It doesn't have to be overly expensive to be special. (Okay, so in all fairness, I already knew this and acted on it for most of my life. But after doing a Disney Cruise for Christmas, it's hard not to 'think big' for occasions. But the truth is - simple is beautiful.

For Easter, I knew I wanted to make something special for breakfast, but I didn't know what. The Impossible Girl is kind of a picky eater, and she doesn't get hungry. She leaps from charming to hair-raising-hangry-monster in nothing flat, so a lengthy prep wasn't going to work. So what did I come up with? Rainbow colored pancakes. Just your basic pancake batter, seperated into a few bowls. A few drops of food coloring in each bowl later, and viola! From picky eater to making rainbow pancake sandwiches! She loved it. They may now be an Easter tradition.

 Her Easter dress (I asked if she wanted to dress up - I wasn't planning to, so she had the option and said yes) is reusing her flower girl dress from my Brother In Law's wedding last year. She didn't care that it wasn't 'new'. She loved it and it had good memories surrounding it.
 I bought a few dinosaur toys at Walmart with our grocery order (we do curbside pick up only these days, so my 'browsing' shopping to see her reaction is limited). I know she has a fabulous imagination and loves to tell stories with little toys, so I went in for a pack for a few dollars. But I didn't go in for eggs. I knew The Lady in Grey had some, so I asked if I could borrow a few. Ask and ye shall recieve! We picked up some cleaned up eggs, and she got to go on a small Easter Egg hunt in the front yard, finding the eggs the dinos (who didn't always fit in them) were 'gaurding'. She had to save the egg and save the dinosaur! They have quickly found a favored spot in the toy rotation.

  I remind my clients (and myself) to act on the motivation as it hits, because, let's face it, 'motivation' is kind of a shitty friend. It makes you REALLY want to do something, for maybe a week, and then it leaves you high and dry and you have to figure out if you ever REALLY wanted to do 'the thing' at all! That doesn't mean ultimate goal isn't for you. It just means you can't always rely on the swing of movitavtion to get you there.
  And something similiar is true here and now.
As a mother, I find that 'leaning into the curve' is necessary for everyone's mental health and sanity. And when the mental game is on, the rest of it kind of falls into place.
  As an example, a mom friend of mine kept encouraging me to get up earlier and embrace the day at 5:30 am and workout then, before the kid is up! Sounds like a great plan for morning people. I am not one of them. I have never been, and since I'm flying solo in the kiddo department, I need every scrap of sleep I can get - and going to bed at 8pm is not an option in this house. The kiddo has night terrors. I don't even entertain going to sleep until she's been asleep for 90 minutes and is unlikely to wake up screaming.
  I also do my best writing, programming, singing, etc at night. Always have. I'm a night owl. I did make time for me and took part of her well intended advice, but instead of pushing against my nature and trying to rebuild my clock, I embraced the fact that I LOVE the night and the quiet, so I do my studying, working out, etc after the kiddo is asleep.
Listening to her grandmother read stories
 Some days, leaning into that curve means more screen time. Some days it means making messy potions and experiments. Some days, it means sitting quietly and watching the world go by.  (Today, it meant spending about 2-3 hours in the back yard playing games of tag, swinging in the hammock, playing hide and seek, and making mud pies. We made a mess. We played and I just let her lead the way. And ya know what? It turned out okay.
Working on a Dinosaur Potion

Observing sparling things in the movement of water
A bit of reading in the sunshine, between games
 Lesson #3 - I really only eat out when I don't feel like cleaning up the kitchen.
It sounds silly, but as a fitness professional (working on a nutrition certification that will help me coach nutrition for clients) it's been interesting to SLOW DOWN and conserve my budget while still supporting my body with options that are more grown on plants than produced in buildings.
20lbs of apples for $15? Yes please! 

 Okay, so I've been more and more aware of how we use food - especially right now. There are lots of jokes about gaining weight during the lock down, and ya know what? If you gain a few pounds while trying to stay sane, that's not the end of the world. You'll be fine. I know my coping=Sugar to the max habit made a come back here and that's okay. I recognized it, decided when it was okay to indulge it, and when it made more sense to swap it out. For example, I don't drink much at all when I'm flying solo parenting - call it an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, but I'm always afraid an emergency will crop up and I won't be equipt to handle it, so I moderate things a bit to serve my parenting instincts. This doesn't make me perfect. It's just my personal choice.

I find that, when I'm ordering food for delivery or pick up, I don't ever really 'crave' what they are selling. I usually am just willing to pay for the luxury of a meal that doesn't include me cleaning it up. (Even though most of my meals are made in 1 skillet. How lazy can you be, right?!) My food choice is usually motivated by how well I know the eatery. Locally owned, created, sourced, and operated eateries are more likely to gain my dollars once a week.

Lesson #4 - If you have the option to adapt, choose it.

This has been another life lesson I've hung on to. 

For me, a bunch of emotions cropped up when I realized I was buying my 4 year old a mask, because it's likely that our new world will require them out in public. We rarely go out these days. We made a mandatory trip to the store for the first time in a month last week. (She was masked. So was I. She was in a carrier on my back with instructions not to touch anything, which she obeyed. We walked in, had a no-contact interaction with a pharmacist, and touched nothing but our bag on our way in and out of the store, keeping as much distance as we could between us and others.) In other countries though, this is a much more normal fact of life. But for us Westerners, it's just not. It feels demoralizing and one more way we are seperating ourselves from each other - now smiles are hidden. 
In the history books, this may be such a tiny blip on the map that it's barely discussed in a decade or more. For my family, it's hit too close to home for comfort. But, aside from missing her friends and playgrounds, she is handling it with so much grace. She wasn't remotely reluctant to try on her Disney cloth masks because Ariel or Elsa would "catch my cough". She doesn't fight it or act like it's weird at all. I manage my fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the coming weeks and the changes to our lives. (I like to plan things out in advance, but right now, the most I can plan is maybe a day or two.) 
But kids find different ways to process these things. So we play a lot and hold space for all the other emotions - big and small.  
  The Impossible Girl's attitude toward all of this is a humble reminder that we need to be adaptable right now. Yes, grieve! Be sad! Be angry! Be Whatever! But just Be as well. The world needs us to be adaptable.

Friday, April 10, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 20ish

(Photo Credit: Unknown) 
It's safe to say the 'honeymoon period' has warn off. Most of my 'play at home' tricks have worn off. I'm still making a full time effort, but it feels like a lot more 'effort' of late. We've had some fun though. Since the last blog, we have
Taken a walk and stroll through our own personal virtual zoo...
'hugging' the ever elusive Pacific Northwest Giant Panda

Some hikes end with Mom Transportation on the way back.
 played virtual hide and seek when the animals got 'loose' in the house.

Had lots of good lunches, breakfasts, snacks and dinners- 
and played games from Candy Land, Tag, Hide and Seek, Chutes and Ladders and more... including several hundred games I'm not sure The Impossible Girl even knew the rules to. We've sat in front of the computer and chatted with friends and loved ones.

We went for a couple drives. Though frowned upon, we didn't get out of the car, and but we were able to see some scenery and get some fresh air (and more importantly, she was able to NAP before 5pm...).
Today this little fur ball even went on an unexpected adventure... 
So far our time has been interesting. Since we went from an 'on the go' family to a 'constantly home' family, it's been a challenge for everyone (except maybe the dogs... they love it).  I am noticing on days we don't spend enough time outside the house, I end up exhausted by 5pm and ready to go to bed, so I need that fresh air to rejuvenate just as much as The Impossible Girl needs it to burn off her boundless energy. Little care packages, chats, and calls all make my day - and occasionally The Impossible Girl's day too. We still do school in the mornings, and some days she loves it. Other days she wants to do something else to distract herself from what she's missing out on. So we take it all day by day, but I'm very grateful for the structure. We often go back and play the videos her teachers made at a different time when she's more open to receiving what they are offering.
*Closed for the apocolypse*
The truth is, no matter how nice and warm and fuzzy we put a spin on all this wonderful time together - the longer all of this goes on, the more the grief changes. Instead of something to distract yourself from (because it'll end shortly), we know we're in it for the long haul. We miss friends. We miss seeing different places. The reality that the world we live in is forever changed by this settles in in a different way every day.  We've seen all too closely how it effects friends and loved ones. The only people who are unchanged are those who are not paying attention.

We get wonderful care packages from friends in the mail. But we also will be getting masks in the mail. Masks will help keep us and other safe, but they will also hide our smiles and put up a different barrier to communication. Yet, all the while it will convey a message of 'I care enough to keep you and I both safe'.

I went through Etsy to order 2 masks for the kiddo and 2 masks for me. Becuase if we have to do this, we're going to try to make it fun. We ordered some Disney printed ones.

 Now, I have never really been a 'touchy feely' person. To me, physical contact isn't a right anyone is granted. It's a privledge. So I don't so much mind not touching humans all that much, but I wonder how it will effect those kids who are living through it now. Will she run up and hug the first friend she can? Or will she be wary of that six to ten foot distance when all this is over? Will she even really remember this time period as a teenager?

All the unanswerable questions linger in the air like a fog waiting on the sunlight to burn it away...

Yes, we're okay. We're coping well. Have I picked up a new hobby with all my 'free time'? No. I just don't have that kind of 'free time'. I'm the sole playmate and human contact for a 4 year old, and I support My Sailor with the rest of the emotional energy I have. This whole situation has caused me to discover a new depth of feeling for those around me - and a new level of exhaustion.

Today - I let the Impossible Girl watch TV while eating dinner (a treat -we usually eat at the table). I made my plate of food and went to join her about 15 minutes later. There was mac n' cheese and hotdog remnant smashed into pillows and the cushions of the couch. She even had hot dog in her hair. This was new behavoir for a 4 year old. I asked her what happened and she said, "I just wanted to make you happy, mom." It dawned on me that I'd put off timing the meal so we could eat sitting next to each other. She'd asked me to stay and eat when I brought her up her plate, but I told her a few minutes, after I finished making my dinner. I didn't do anything 'wrong', but it was proof to me that there is a bit of truama we are working through.

So I asked her if I seemed unhappy lately. She nodded. I told her that she didn't make me unhappy and said a hug would really help my heart feel better. Could she give me a hug? She gave me a big hug. It helped remind me to watch how I let the stress effect me. I can't get so involved in the to-do-list that I miss this - what's ACTUALLY going on.

"Mommy, sit with me?" really means "I don't want to be alone right now."

But the constant underlying stress sometimes turns off my Universal Mom Translater.

We continue on in good spirits, constantly learning, despite the situation - but that doesn't mean the moarning process isn't still something we're all grappling with. While I have nothing profound to share or new accomplishments to praise, it's good to report that we are good. We are fed. We are clothed. We are sheltered. We are loved.

Friday, April 3, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 17ish

Super proud of her tall can tower!
Our Stay Home Stay Safe order was extended to May now, and I think most reasonable people are expecting life to look very similiar in June as well. It's been an interesting challenge. I am working on furthering some business decisions as well as time goes on, though I plan to continue to be there for my clients as things continue to shift and change. Adaptation is the name of the game.

As a parent, I am learning so much. I notice the days we play more and focus on chores less, we both end up in peaceful places. I listen to her play pretend with her dolls, and notice that often then are sick or not feeling good and they need the doctor to help them out - The Impossible Girl is working through situations through play. She's constantly asking me to play with her - and I take her up on it even if it's only for a couple minutes before bed. I realize I'm the only one here in person that can be her human connection. That's a vital role. 

Now, if you've known me through any length of time, you know I'm generally the one people want in a crisis. I'm able to compartmentalize, push through, find and act on solutions quickly. This prolonged crisis has put all of that to the test - and The Impossible Girl reminds me what it means to 'hold space' for all the different feelings. 

For example, I may think that the healthiest way to keep my kiddo connected to others is to have her draw pictures for them. Impossible Girl quirk : She NEVER wants to. Because being reminded of people she is missing hurts too bad to draw pictures for them every day.

So today, I made some time and space to 'empty my bucket', as my dad would say. 

My dad used to say that every woman carries around a bucket. Everything around her becomes a droplet in the bucket. Big and small stressors and emotions become water in the bucket. Eventually, the bucket fills up and spills over. It doesn't matter what thing overflows the bucket, but it'll just flow without ceasing if it's allowed to go all the way. So it's important to empty the bucket every once in a while to keep the flood at bay and make room for more.

There are some things about this time that I will never forget - that I pray none of us every forget.

I will never forget where I was or exactly what I was doing when news of the Twin Towers falling on September 11th, 2001. 

I will also never forget where my kid went to school when they were no longer able to go back (probably for the year). 

I will never forget the image of huge refridgerated trucks outside of hospitals in New York - because the morgue in the hospital couldn't house all the bodies anymore. Nearly all of them dying in insolation without family or friends by their bedsides. 

I will never forget the challenges all my friends in the medical front lines are facing without appropriate gear to protect themselves and their families from the dangers breathing in their faces at work every day. I worked in the medical feild for over a decade and have friends and clients who are still working there. I will always root for them.

I will never forget what it's like to have the usual cloud that lingers as military friends and I chat about this new, unseen, undiscriminating enemy on the landscape. 

Today, I took a little while to myself and poured out that bit of fear and rage and greif from the bucket, while sitting on the kitchen floor. I let my mind rage about the unsolvable problems and fully feel the fear and the helplessness.

For a little while, I poured out the bucket a bit.

Lightening the bucket makes room to better see the other things...

Like the soft fluffy fur of a sweet rescue dog who is (annoyingly) constantly trying to lick my face.

Like the basic sage advice and "When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing." No matter how small. It could be 'do the laundry' so everyone has clean underwear tomorrow. Or check in on a friend. Do the next thing that feels right. 

Like simple joys - that The Impossible Girl looks forward to snuggling on my arm as she falls asleep, because she feels safe asking you to stay awake so she can sleep. 

Like this wonderful small tribe that checks on us, brings us things as we need them, and it's a network built NOT from my husband's job, but cheifly from my work as a Trainer and a coach. 

Like the new emergency plan in place should I get sick. That gives me a measure of peace (though I still hope it's not something we'll have to ennact).

Like the joy that we are still healthy! That's a win. The kiddo has caught every virus coming down the pike her entire life. And here we are, almost a month into the lock down and she hasn't been sick yet. I'm hopeful it means we're doing things right. (Or lucky... or we have some really tiny awesome gaurdian angels batting away those germies like baseballs). 

Like the fun bits of humor floating around the world right now - 
I did not make this

or this. But my love of horror movies appreciates this.

Like the wonder and amazement of giving/receiving unexpected care packages and playing in the open air.

There are a lot of blogs out there about the financial devastation this is causing. There are a lot of blogs out there about how to make the most of this time. There are blogs about being super productive, bettering your relationship, being in the best shape ever, or how to carve a relipca of Disneyland Park out of a single bar butter.  But this blog? This is all about life.  (Okay, so that last one might have been a but of a stretch, but if you can do that, or find someone who can, point me to that blog!)

And the truth is, some days end on a super productive note where I slide into the covers with nearly all the boxes on my to do list checked! And there are days when many go unchecked because playing took priority. And there are moments where I'm a puddle on the floor with a warm wiggly brindle in my face.

And all of those moments are beautiful and powerful and meaningful. 

Even if we're not sure what day of the week it is sometimes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 15ish

The guidance has been given out that we're going to be under "Stay home;stay healthy" rule for another month (let's face it - at least). That's actually granted me some freedom. To know that I won't have plans out of the house allows me to lean into the curve a little harder.  Over the past few days, we've been our usual busy selves...
Foraging for Stinging Nettles, thanks to one of her teachers at school.

The results of Make Your Own Taco Night. I think her shells became a pirate ship?

Sometimes everyone wants a peice of you. 2 dogs and 2 people in this picture.
 It's been a LOT of ups and downs. Days that start great sometimes end in tears for the kiddo. We make it as good as we can in the end. We've been doing a lot of 'holding space', which is something I'm pretty good at for myself, but learning to help The Impossible Girl through as well.
It's been Box week at school. 

I think this was a pool.

Dinner out of her school lunch box. Familiar routines feel good sometimes.

Lunch picnics in the car - in the drive way - every day. This one came with a nature book she picked out.
 We love getting outside. I realized, with all of this isolation going on, that I liked going out with the kiddo because I have no distractions. I can focus on her. I'm not thinking about the floor that is dirty or the barking dog, or the chores that linger on forever. Right now, I know that's the best thing I have to offer.  That's the best combatant against the ever prevading loneliness.
School in the morning. 
 She is always surprising me, and I'm grateful for this little spirit in my everyday life, even when I'm completely exhausted.
planting our seedlings

You have no idea the amount of work it took to get this table cleared off and wiped down...

Post bed time kettlebell workout. 
 The world is a very complicated place right now. Our day to day lives are pretty simple. Remembering that, breathing it in, and living in it is helpful. I'm learning about the balance between discipline and grace, and caring for others and self care. As a military wife, I've become friends with the envitable dark clouds of seperation. The anxiety is a little but heightened, but I trust that they are keeping My Sailor safe. 

 And if we can't hang out, maybe we can howl at the same moon...

We got an invation for a neighborhood howl at 8pm.
It was a fun 10 seconds.