I know the holidays are coming up and it's to be expected, but does anyone else feel like they’ve been tossed into a blender and set on high speed lately?
Or, maybe more accurately, like you're trying to put out all these little fires but they're those trick candle kind of flames where, when you blow one out, another relights?
Our past few weeks have included a 13-hour road trip (well worth it but still exhausting with a 5 year-old), a broken washing machine, a heart attack in the family, an inaccurate & hefty bill we get to spend time disputing, and a leaky roof. (I’ll spare you the “when it rains it pours” pun, but it’s there.)
Add to that the usual stress of the holiday season...
I’m just waiting for my one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club to arrive so I feel justified in screaming “Hallelujah! Holy s**t! Where’s the Tylenol? “
The toughest by far though has been watching our boy struggle with being sick and trying to figure out why—let me tell ya, I’d take all those little stresses a thousand times over to have him feeling good again. It’s nothing major & he’ll be okay--for that I'm grateful and humbled--but, my God, is there really anything else in this world that puts life on hold or has you on your knees like worrying about your baby?
Well, maybe the waiting...
the only anxiety worse than knowing something’s wrong with your child is the waiting to find out what’s wrong.
Trying to figure all this out, watching him not act like himself, watching him struggle, having to take off work--it's mentally and emotionally consuming. And this isn't even really anything all that serious in the grand scheme of things. This little mini-storm has us so out of sorts, I can’t help thinking of the parents dealing with big storms--a chronic or more serious illness--and I just have such appreciation for how difficult it must be to keep the balls of life in the air when your baby is struggling; for how consuming it must be. It's a humbling reminder that, if your child is in good health then—all in all— life is good.
And I'll tell you what else I'm reminded of every time I go through a rough patch like this--that I'm so blessed to have a solid group of women in my life that swoop in seamlessly when stuff hits the fan. The kind of coworkers that, when you get that call, just say "GO--we've got this"; that keep reminding you when you feel guilty for being away that family comes first. The kind of mom who wakes up extra early and drives out of her way to help out so you can catch up. The kind of doctor who walks you through your anxiety and thousand questions beyond office hours (and way beyond what her patience should tolerate).
It’s these women who, when working together—without even knowing it--create this little safety net under you when you fall off track. They step in and keep the balls in the air so that you can give all you have to your little one (or big one). Yes, they do it to be supportive, but they also do it because there’s this unspoken thread running through and connecting moms—the knowing that there's no kind of stress like worried-about-your-baby stress.
That's what I love most about us as women--the way we pay it forward, backward, & sideways because we’ve all been there and know how supported you feel when another mom looks at you and says exactly what you need to hear, whether it’s “he’ll be okay” or simply just “go—we’ve got this”.
I don't know if it takes a village to raise a child anymore, but it certainly takes the support of a solid group of women--not just to raise the child, but to raise the momma up too when she needs it.
And, for mine, I'm feeling especially grateful.
Some realizations sneak up on you slowly — you look back & can’t quite pinpoint the “when” or “where”…they just happen over time. And then there are moments when awareness hits you like a bolt of lightning.
⚡️⚡️November 24, 2019 ⚡️⚡️
That’s the exact day I realized a sad, inevitable fact: I’m getting old.
It was 8:09 p.m. & I had just laid down for bed (yes, yes, I know…that should’ve been Clue #1). I turned on the American Music Awards. I saw the first presenter & wondered “hmm, who’s that?” (It was one of the “Lil” somethings…) Then he introduced an act I’d never heard of and she began “singing” in a way that seems to be the new style — a seemingly intentional off-tune whisper/slurring (“whurring”?) that really just seems more like talking.
Can we just agree it’s talking?
And the outfit…I just can’t. (Or couldn’t, I should say.)
“Who are these people and what kind of noise is this?! They call this music?! I don’t get it! What the heck is going on?!”
⚡️⚡️ And that’s when it hit me ⚡️ ⚡️
👵🏻 👵🏻 👵🏻 I’m getting old. 👵🏻 👵🏻 👵🏻
Not in the chronological age sense so much, but cool-factor wise. (Mostly evidenced by the fact that I just used the term “cool-factor”.)
Turning 40 here shortly, the fact that I’m aging hasn’t escaped me; I just always saw myself as the type that would change with the times — stay trendy & current. Not be a “Karen” or “Boomer” as the younger generation would say.
And what’s worse is that, in the same moment I realized I’m failing at being cool, trendy, & plugged-in, I also realized I have zero urge to try to do so.
“Wow”, I thought, “so this is how it happens.”
Generation after generation, we think we’ll be different than the one before us. We think our music really WAS the best and they’re all wrong. We scratch our heads trying to relate to a style of clothing that’s the complete opposite of what we grew up agreeing was cool (read: super high-waisted shorts. FACT: they are NOT flattering). And we somehow think we’ll be the generation that always evolves & is forever cool. We won’t stay stuck in our old ways like our parents did.
But the thing I’m realizing is that hanging on to the way of life you’ve always loved in favor of being in the good graces of the current trendsetters…it’s a natural thing that happens and it’s probably a good sign. Not trying so hard (or, in my case, not trying at all ) just means you’re relaxing into life.
It’s not about condemning the new as much as just letting go of trying to be something you’re not. You realize life is short, energy & time are precious, and spending it trying to keep up just feels — well — pointless, really. If you happen to authentically love the new stuff, great. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too.
Now I realize when my parents listened to Heart instead of Paula Abdul (good call by the way) and watched old Elvis movies instead of the new releases, they probably listened/watched those things for one very simple reason: it’s what they liked! Why waste time on anything else?
It also likely made them reminisce about an earlier time…a simpler time…as all generations do. I think that’s one thing all generations have in common: a yearning as we grow older for a time that was simply uncomplicated.
So, in that spirit, here are some admissions that I just need to shout from the rooftops, now that I’m owning being old & massively uncool:
*I miss having a moderate number of channels to choose from. Notice I didn’t say 3, but I also didn’t say 20,000 — somewhere in between would be great. Hashtag option overwhelm. It’s TV for cryin’ out loud — this shouldn’t be complicated.
*I miss anticipation. Waiting for a letter in the mail from someone I miss. Having to be home at a certain day/time so I don’t miss my favorite show. Disney movies in The Vault, not just hanging out all willy-nilly. Having everything at our fingertips seemed so alluring, but now it just feels like I miss having something to look forward to.
*Ok, I’m gonna say it. I HATE how “Boomer” (my parents/grandparents generation) is becoming a sort of derogatory word. Yes, those in the Baby Boomer generation may have grown out of touch on certain things as they’ve gotten older but they are no different than any other generation in that respect. And, speaking of respect, they deserve some. As do you, young Millennials & Gen Z’ers. Aren’t we all woke enough to drop the hate?
I’m sure like every generation before, those younger than me will likely read this and roll their eyes & shake their heads at my lameness. But it’s ok. I probably would have, too. That’s the one cool thing left about me — I don’t need to get you to love & respect you.
(P.S. My apologies to all the actual Karens reading this, because we all need to stop dragging your name through the mud. WE LOVE YOU, KAREN! 🤘)
Can I share a little truth about myself? I am not naturally a super happy person. My default setting, from as far back as I can remember, has always been a bit serious & somber.
Look at me here—that little face says it all, doesn’t it? Happy to have the BEST parents & most loving home life a Kindergartner could ask for, yet also busy contemplating the world’s problems & how I might solve them. This was the year my mom found me barefoot one day because I gave my shoes away to a girl who said she needed them. My naturally bleeding heart has given me empathy, but it’s made me feel everything more heavily, too.
At times, too heavily.
These last few months have been rough for my hometown of Stuart, Florida. For those that aren’t local, I’ll sum Stuart up this way: it’s a happy little seaside town (like, officially--Coastal Living ranked it #1 in 2016) that is small enough to retain its charm and character, but developed enough to have plenty to do on a Saturday night. It’s the kind of town you’re too cool to settle in at 18 but lures you back in when you’re building a family of your own and have grown to appreciate its simplicity.
We grow and develop but stay firmly connected to our history. We’re family, friends, and fishing; boat rides, beach walks, and barbeques. It’s where almost everybody knows your name (perfect!) and you’re rarely stuck in traffic (well, at least in the “off-season”).
I love my hometown, and that’s why the past few months have been so hard.
My 25 year-old self never would’ve guessed I’d say this as I approach 40 and the highest weight I’ve ever been (pregnancy excluded), but I've truly never felt more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not technically overweight, I just have the kind of not-so-perfect body you might expect a busy teacher & mom to have: a decent set of love handles, thighs that rub together a bit, underarms that wave a little when I do, and, when I look down toward my stomach while in a plank, well…
it’s just not good.
Yet that extra "me" somehow still feels lighter to carry than the mental load I lugged around back when keeping it off was my biggest priority--fixating over calories and a certain number on the scale, imposing consequences on myself if I ate "too much" or skipped a workout. I couldn't keep up with that today if I tried, and I don’t care to. These days, if my cholesterol's good, my blood pressure's in check, & I can keep up with my five year-old and share an ice cream with him, too--then we're all good.
She burst through the door for our parent-teacher conference talking loudly to a client on her Bluetooth. Her entrance aside, we were happy to see her given that she’d scheduled but not shown for the previous two conferences. Her son was struggling—not so much academically, but socially and emotionally. He was a small, quiet little thing that oozed anxiety; a loner on the playground and a worrier about seemingly every little detail of his day. We sat awkwardly as she loudly wrapped up her conversation with a client at the table.
When done, she sat back without saying a word, sunglasses unremoved, her lips tightly pursed together. As each teacher shared, she sat silently & reactionless--no longer the bold, expressive talker she was only a few minutes ago. We first shared her son’s accomplishments and then delicately eased into our concerns. Still no response. After we’d said everything we needed to say, she finally responded coolly “well, then…why don’t you help him? I mean, isn’t that your job, to take care of kids? If he’s struggling and your job is to help children, then I’d say you’re not doing your job.”
I'm Krissy & I'm so thankful you're here. Teacher-Mom life is rewarding but it's tough--we need fuel (& each other) to keep going. I hope this is a place you can go that feels like caffeine for the soul--uplifting & highly addictive ;) Check out the categories below and, if you like what you read, subscribe to make sure you always have good Sunday morning reading to go with your coffee :)