To My Best Friend Who Just Had A Baby

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You, my best friend, had a baby on Friday! She’s tiny, gorgeous, and perfectly healthy. A new life born to do good, bad and everything in between. You are one more in a string of friends that have recently had babies. Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by adorable pictures of adorable kids doing adorable things.

Outside I coo and I make cute noises and I could just eat up every single one of them. I snuggle the few I’m allowed to see. They are each beautiful in their own unique ways.

Inside I cry, I rage, and I beat the hell out of myself for not doing this thing that is the epitome of womanhood. I can already feel you drifting away from me. It started with you telling me not to come see you at the hospital and then not to visit until you are “ready.”

I get it. You want some private time with the new love of your life. You want grandmom and grand-pop to come and snuggle her up and make her laugh. You want close family to come and adore this life you created and celebrate with you and your husband. The same husband who STILL did not build the crib for her (I seriously want to hit him for that). She’s been alive barely two days and already you are so in love you can’t imagine life without her. I get it. I really do.

But I miss you. I miss our long talks, and our laughter, and our friendship. I miss being able to call you up and get and give comfort. I miss our passion and our absolute faith in God. Did you know I’m struggling right now to know if what I believe is true? How could you? We barely see each other as both of us settled into our careers, me a Social Worker, and you one of the best damn middle school History teachers out there.

I miss all of my friends that have joined the Sisterhood of Motherhood. It is a club I am excluded from. And I am so happy you got in because you wanted this for so long. But I wish I was there too. I wish we could have our kids grow up together and marvel at all the small miracles like when they first roll over, or crawl, or walk, or say that first precious word. But the door has been firmly shut in my face by friend, after friend, after friend and even a few family members. It’s not that you shut the door unkindly. It is just a space I don’t belong and can’t understand because I am not a mother.

So congratulations my dear friend. I am so thrilled about the journey you and your husband are now on. I will miss you but should you need me, I will come running. After all, that is what best friends are for.

 

toes

Sometimes It’s All Too Much

Sometimes I feel like the world is going a little too fast for me. I like being able to Google almost any and everything. I like cell phones and texting, You Tube, Facebook, etc.

But sometimes I miss hanging out with a friend in person. I miss family gatherings where none of that existed and you had to gasp talk to people. Kids could watch TV or read a book. Now sometimes when I go on visits to families even the parents can’t tear themselves away from some sort of electronic device.

There is always so much pinging, dinging, and ringing that I literally hear it in my sleep. I have woken up certain I missed a call only to find it was all in my dreams (nightmares…whatever).

I wish there was a national unplug day. Where all the WiFi and the internet would go down, and we would be forced to interact with one another. Just for 24 hours. I know as far as national security that’s probably not a great idea, but you get my point. People today are so wrapped up in themselves that they forget there are other people around them that are going through things too and could use an actual hug and not just an emoji or GIF of a hug.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. However you feel about the holiday I challenge you to reach out to someone in person and let them know they are loved. Even if it’s a friend, a parent, a grandparent, or your local barista. Because everyone in this world needs to know they matter and that can’t always be accomplished with an emoji.

Morning Mindfulness

I’ve been told that to manage my anxiety I should try to practice more mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically trying to be fully aware of what is going on around you and being present in the moment.

So on my drive to work this morning instead of thinking about my busy day and how I was going to get everything done, I focused on the cold air blowing inside my car from my open windows while the heater blew hot air on my feet (I’m weird,  I know). I focused on the sun, blue sky, and puffy white clouds. I enjoyed passing the small farm and seeing the morning fog hover over the fields like a ghost. I was actually fully aware of the other cars on the road instead of only half aware since normally I would be stuck in my head. And I fully enjoyed the music blasting from my car’s stereo because who doesn’t love Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot or The Impression That I Get by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at 8AM? Okay maybe that’s just me, but you can substitute some of your favorite songs for mine.

By the time I got to work I was relaxed, I was happy, and I felt like I was ready to take on the day. Now will I be calm in about an hour from now? Maybe, maybe not. But if I can at least start my day on the right foot, that’s got to count for something right?!

What are some ways that you manage your anxiety when things are stressful? Have you ever tried mindfulness before? What was your experience with it?

 

 

Sunday Family Dinner

For the last two weeks my husband and I have not had to go to family dinner. This dinner usually involves myself and my husband, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my niece and nephew who are 3 and 5 respectively. Everyone was sick so nobody felt like doing anything so we all just chilled at home with soup and Netflix.

Yesterday was the first such dinner for the new year. I am seriously considering being permanently sick on Sundays. Truthfully the only thing that makes Sundays bearable is seeing my niece and nephew and snuggling up with them.

My sister in law is perfect. Not in actual reality but in the eyes of my mother in law, her needs are the most important, most horrible, needs the most attention, and needs the most support. My mother in law will agree with anything she says and of course she is never ever wrong. My husband and I are always second fiddle to her and her issues. She could have a hangnail and my mother in law would come rushing over to help her even if our house was on fire.

So we got together and ate one of my least favorite dinners. And my niece and nephew were complaining after dessert that they were still hungry. My sister in law told them they could not have any more dessert and that they weren’t really hungry at which they insisted that they were. This understandably made me a little hot under the collar. But they are her kids so I let it go. For the record I was still very hungry as dinner was not very filling to begin with.

Then my sister in law and my mother in law decided that they and myself and my husband needed to talk about eating healthier and changing our diets because of course that’s the perfect after dinner conversation.

I consider myself a fairly open minded person and usually I can pretty much talk about anything and everything with someone even if I disagree. But my eating habits, my weight, and my health are very sensitive topics for me and I tend to get a little growly and lash out when people try to tell me what to do in this area.

So I hung in there and listened and nodded like a good girl. I agreed to try new ways to add vegetables. But both of them kept pushing. So I decided to push back a little and share my struggles and how this feels impossible. I don’t have a set schedule for work so I never REALLY know when I’m getting home because somehow when I plan to get home at a reasonable hour and cook a decent dinner, there is invariably a crisis that requires me to stay late. And no, I do NOT wish to spend all freaking day Sunday cooking for the whole damn week.

Are these all excuses? Maybe. But I hate this month because everywhere I look I’m told to feel bad about myself because I’m fat. I don’t have money for a Peleton bike or the monthly subscription to go with it and let’s face it, Peleton bikes and other equipment were made for skinny people because I haven’t seen one overweight person in all their commercials. Weight Watcher I’ve tried a million times and it didn’t work. I can’t afford a monthly food thing like NutriSystem and besides when you stop buying their food, you gain everything back anyway. Can someone hook me up to a machine that works out my body for me while I sleep because that seems to be the only free time I have available.

So in response to the attack on my eating, I made my husband drive me to McDonald’s and buy me a cheeseburger as revenge against my in-laws. Except the only person it hurt was in fact me. Stomach cramps, feeling really shitty today, etc. And now I am depressed because I feel very judged at dinner and don’t want to go and I also feel really shitty about my body.

Has anyone ever made you feel bad about your body or your weight? Have people offered you unsolicited advice about your diet or nutrition? How did you respond or cope?

 

2020 The Year Of Creativity

So I think I am finally starting to get better after two weeks of alternating between the flu and strep throat so I wanted to share some things that have happened in the first week of this new year/decade. Some of it may sound weird or crazy, but I am weird AND crazy so it all makes sense to me.

On January 1st I took a Yoga class that I have been taking for the last 4 years. It is two hours of complete bliss. You meditate, then you do wonderfully twisty, bendy, stretchy Yoga, and you finish with a 45 minute Yoga Nidra which is restorative Yoga for your mind. Every year the teacher, Jill (whom I simply adore!!) encourages us to pick a word for the year. During the initial meditation she guides you deep into your heart to pick something from deep inside yourself that you want to cultivate that year. It is not a mental decision but a heart decision.

2019 kicked my ass hard. I lost my Aunt Marie (my favorite aunt), my Pop-Pop, and my father in law as well as my friend Royal. I got very lost, very depressed, and seriously contemplated suicide multiple times as well as quitting my job. So to say I was looking for a very hopeful word for 2020 was an understatement.

As we were meditating, I felt myself entering what felt like a secret room in my heart. It was full of light and sparkles and a sense of joy and wonder overcame me. I saw a little girl with brown curly hair dressed in a white communion type dress and somehow I knew this was my younger self. My much happier innocent self. So I asked her what she wanted for the year and she began jumping, and bouncing around this secret room saying “Joy, Laughter, Happiness,” as she giggled in that way that kids do. “But how can I do this? Life is so hard right now,” I replied. “Just…be…CREATIVE!” she shouted as she giggled loudly.

And so I am happy to announce that my word for the year is Creative and I want to embody that word this year. I want to write more because writing is where I find my joy and I know it is my gift. I want to be creative in my work and in encouraging others. I want to creatively problem solve with the families I work with. I want to find that little girl inside and let her come out to play because I miss her.

I feel like this year is going to be different somehow. That things are going to come together and I will finally make a change for the better. Here’s hoping!

A Poem For January

You are who you are
No matter the scale
So if it’s not where you want
Please don’t start to wail
 
You are so much more than a number
So much more than your inches
So tell Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig
To stop being such grinches
 
Stop bragging about Keto
And how many pounds you lost
I really don’t care I’ll tell you
As I eat my pasta and sauce

I did some Yoga today
You ran 15 miles
All that matters at the end of the day
Is we both feel good and smile

 
For we all die someday
The fat, skinny, short, and tall
So let’s learn to love our bodies
Let’s learn to love them all ❤

Merry Sickmas Everybody!

My husband has been sick since Thanksgiving. We both had sinus infections. Now we both have the flu. Fun times in the Hansen Household. We are calling ourselves the Contaminated Coughing Catastrophes.

I am sick of tissues with snot. I am tired of coughing. I am physically exhausted by the simplest things because I can barely get off the couch. Today was the first day neither of us woke up with a major fever. We decided to be brave and go get some groceries. Our short drive to and from the store and buying groceries took the same amount of effort I expect it takes mountain climbers to scale Everest. We were absolutely exhausted to say the least. My husband and I have rival teams for American Football (Me Philadelphia Eagles, Him New York Giants) and usually we watch separately so nobody has to be annoyed or frustrated with the other. We watched the game together because we were too tired to walk upstairs. Very pathetic I know. But my team did clinch the NFC East Championship so YAY!

We had Christmas with my brothers at my house on December 20th because my one brother was in from Michigan for my grandfather’s funeral. It was a quiet affair and I feel like I let everyone down because I was so stressed from work and trying to get stuff done as well as being depressed in general after losing my grandfather. Next year I will try to do a better job and be a better host.

Then my last day of work December 24th. Everyone else got to leave work at 2pm. I stayed until 5:30pm and then I was forced to leave so I could get to Christmas Eve dinner at my husband’s mother’s house. We had a nice but exhausting evening with everyone and then Christmas with his family was done.

Wake up on Christmas Day and my husband is running a 103 degree fever. Lovely. We opened our few gifts to each other and then spent the day watching movies and sleeping until we had to go to Christmas dinner at his mother’s house. We ate, we snuggled with my niece and nephew. We ignored the fact that their father wasn’t there because oh yeah there’s a pending divorce.

I know it’s probably because I’m sick and exhausted and depressed but I feel like the sun will never shine again in my life. That 2020 will just be another year of the same old same old. I know I sound bitter and resentful and ridiculous, but right now I’m not in a good head space. I missed going to an even I had been looking forward to since October because I was sick. We missed going to see the new Star Wars movie because we were both sick and had to return the tickets. This vacation was supposed to be fun and relaxing and instead it has been snotty and miserable.

I know technically laying around because I’m sick is considered “relaxing” but we all know sick relaxing and real relaxing are two totally different things.

I promise to try to make my next post a little more cheerful. Maybe…