How Sadler Got Her Groove Back (And, Her Name)

Sometimes, parenting is really hard. Sometimes, it’s like looking in the mirror at our selves. Tonight offered one of those nights and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the memory.

Sadler (my 6 1/2 year old daughter) is very sensitive. It doesn’t take much for her to cry, and it can come on quickly. Ask her to please move over and share the sink space with her sister while brushing her teeth, she may cry. Ask her not to fuss at her sister for taking a snack she had her eyes set on, she may cry. Tell her she has to go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, she WILL cry. Ask her to give back a toy that she took from her sister, she may cry.

All of the above happened today alone.

After the dentist and before the chiropractor, we had an hour or so to spare, so I took the girls to my office so that I could get some work done. It’s times like that when having 2 cell phones with You Tube Kids is something I actually appreciate, and a giant white board with lots of fun colored dry erase markers for drawing and practicing Eureka math comes in handy. They were content for a little over an hour and it was quite nice if I am being honest; I was able to get a good bit done. But toward the end of the hour, I turned and looked behind me and noticed something Sadler had written on the white board.

“I am sad and want sum won to macke me happy so I won’t be sad.” She had even taken it an extra step and drawn a perfectly shaped broken heart under these words. Alas, in black marker.

In that moment, I tickled her, asked her why she was sad and she was cheered up in no time it seemed. But flash forward to bath time a few hours later when she cried for being asked to give her sister back the toy, and I may have overreacted.

“Sadler, you seem to be sad an awful lot lately and cry for no good reason.
You’re using a whole lot of good energy and wasting tears. Why are you so sad?”

I brought up the note she wrote on the white board earlier in the day and told her that people don’t “make us sad”. That we have a choice to be sad or to be happy and that sometimes (or a lot of the time), our feelings can trick us into going to a place in our minds that we shouldn’t go. I told her that while it’s okay to feel sad or to feel mad or to feel embarrassed, we shouldn’t build a house there — we can’t stay sad or mad or embarrassed forever.

Fast forward to bedtime. Tonight’s books chosen to read: On the Night You Were Born and Where Ever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. (Side note: I am beyond grateful that when our family hosted a beautiful baby shower for us before Sadler was born, they requested guests to bring a signed book rather than a card. Oh, the book collection we started before this child was even born! And a shout-out to my dear friends Melissa and Nicole for gifting us those 2 precious books – xoxo)

As we were reading On The Night You Were Born, after I read the words “You are a miracle…” she said, “Hey Mommy, what’s a miracle?”
“A miracle is something that happens that you thought never would. Something that only God knows how and why it happened. And you’re MY miracle.”
She furrowed her brow.
“Mommy’s doctor told her once that my body wasn’t working like it should and I would never be able to have my own kids.”
Her eyes lit up.
“Well, that sounds like a pretty silly doctor. And that’s pretty cool. My friend Miracle has the same name as a miracle,just like my name means that I’m sad.”

I may have stopped breathing for a second. Or maybe my heart stopped beating for just a tiny bit. I don’t know. But I knew I had to stop reading to straighten up a few things for her. My spirit was crushed that my little girl had taken her name and labeled herself as sad, and I was crushed to think that she actually believed it.

“Sadler, has Mommy ever told you where your name came from?”
Grins. “No. But tell me.”
“When Mommy got pregnant with you and found out you would be a girl, I asked GaGa what her Mommy’s name was. And her name was Cecilia Sadler. The moment I heard it, I knew that would be your first name. And my Mama Dot’s name was Dorothy Mae, so that’s how you became Sadler Mae Terrell.”

She smiled, a big smile. And then she wanted to know how her sister got her name. I told her that I had a friend in college who named her daughter Everly and I just loved the name, but that Everly’s middle name (Jean) came from Great Granny Betty (Betty Jean), GaGa (Debra Jean), my aunt Linda Jean who lives in heaven and Ga Ga’s daddy (Gene) who also lives in heaven.

“Mommy, Everly and me are SO LUCKY.”

“You sure are, my sweet girl.”

That moment will be one I never forget for as long as I live.
The joy I saw in her eyes as she listened attentively to her namesake was precious in every way. And the realization that she’d never have to identify herself as “sad Sadler” ever again, for now she knew the truth about how she came to be Sadler Mae.

We talked about how she could respond if someone made fun of her name and called her “Sad” — and boy is she ready! She repeated back to me (almost verbatim) what I told her, and even remembered that a “silly doctor told Mommy that her body was broken and she couldn’t have a baby, but she did.”

What a miracle you are, Sadler Mae.
What a blessing you are to your Daddy and I.
What an incredible big sister you are to Everly Jean.
What a gigantic heart you have.

You think you’re lucky. You have no idea how lucky I feel that God chose me to be your mama.

And as I tucked the girls in and we said our prayers, I asked her what she wanted to pray for:
“For Daddy to get home safely tonight and not to have mud on his shoes.
For me to never have to eat mushrooms again because I don’t like them.
And for God to give me a brother or a sister.”

Oh, dear.

309 Days

Do you know what the word epiphany means? Lots of us have heard it. Used it. But do you r e a l l y know? It’s an experience of sudden and striking realization. When you figure something out, almost always out of thin air, and the thought comes to you that allows you to finally piece together the puzzle.

Was the cup half full? Or was it half empty?

It doesn’t really matter, because the cup was refillable…

It had been 309 days. That’s how long I lasted as a stay-at-home-Mom.

I started this post on December 5th and it hasn’t been touched since then. I started writing it the night before I went back to work as I laid in bed. I fell asleep without finishing it. Since then, I’ve often thought about what I would write when I picked it back up again.

And in my mind, I honestly didn’t have a strong pull for what direction this post should even go next. Should I write about how incredible my new job is? How it was the first job posting I read on that cold Sunday November afternoon (just days after deciding to go back to work) and when I read through the job description, I felt deep in my bones that it was meant for me? And how I got so excited about getting called for an interview, that I took my kids for ice cream before dinner?

Or should I write about the guilt part? The part about feeling invisible on many of my days as a SAHM, or the part about feeling guilty for feeling like I need to be seen in the first place?

The reason why I was hung up on finishing this blog post was because the part I was meant to tell in this story hadn’t happened yet…

As I rocked Everly to sleep tonight, in our favorite spot in the house, I started to cry. I could hear her tiny snore and closed my eyes as I rested my lips on the top of her head. The smell of her fresh bath, the limp weight of her sleeping body against my chest. I didn’t want to put her down.

It was tonight that I became overwhelmed with gratitude for the days I had with her. For all the afternoons we had together as we walked to school to pick up Sadler from Kindergarten.

For all the musical story times in the park we got to attend with Mr. Pete, and for all the fun Costco trips, eating samples and smiling at strangers.

It was tonight that I realized how much more engaged I’ve felt with my girls since I went back to work. I felt it the very first night; I remember that first night vividly. I couldn’t stop smiling. I remember noticing that I looked more at the details of their faces.

It was tonight that I recalled the moment I had my epiphany, and how I’d come to realize that my time home with my girls gave them more quantity time with me, but certainly not more quality time. I had allowed myself to become a martyr to my home, my chores, my expectations as a wife, my role as a mother. I wasn’t happy, and I was in denial about it.

It was tonight that I realized how grateful I am for every experience I had last year. For every bit of perspective that was gained. For every book that was read. For every new person that I met. For every old friend that I reconnected with, and for every (sometimes) long winded phone conversation. For e v e r y s i n g l e minute I shared with my children. For every essential oil class I taught. For MOPS. For it all –I am, and will forever be grateful.

It was tonight that I smiled when I thought to myself, “I love my new job.” I am grateful for the wonderful people I work with and for the deep level of engagement each of my co-workers pours into in their roles. I love the energy in our office and that everyone has a good sense of humor. I love that I’m connected again with my property management family, and that I’ve met so many kind people on our site teams and in our corporate office. And although its been less than sixty days, I feel like I’ve worked there for months.

It was tonight that I acknowledged the rhythm that my husband and I seem to have found. The parenting balance that seems to feel a little gentler, a little more predictable, a little more whole.

It was tonight that I acknowledged never to take another day for granted, and that something as simple as a lunch break with adults five days a week can make you feel like a real human again.

There really is so much I could say about this new chapter in my story, and how the pages even turned to this point in the first place. If you had told me a mere season ago that I’d be back at work by year end, I would have probably rolled my eyes, and maybe even debated with you.

I will forever remember 2017 as the year I “woke up”. The year I grew closer to God and slowed down. The year I deepened in spirit and the veil was lifted. The year that I came alive to the awareness of what it means to truly be in your life path and followed my spiritual GPS. The year I gained wisdom of the power of the spoken word, learned the critical importance of gratitude, meditation, and how to better take care of my body.

And, most importantly, it was the year I had the privilege of being at home with my children. To be a Mama. To be a part of their every day, from start to finish. Every good day, every bad day. Every new experience, every memory, every adventure. We had an incredible year together and it’s one I will remember for the rest of my life.

My heart is full tonight.

I’ve got all the feels.

I chose joy then, and there isn’t a doubt I still do. Every day.

Balance.

Day four of Kindergarten is in the books. Sadler couldn’t be happier right now in these moments of her life.

 I’ve had all the feels this week about this whole starting school thing.

Filling out the form, using only 5 words to describe my only 5-year-old…my baby. I had never truly thought of words to describe her before. Just last week as we rode in the car, Reid and I gave our input on who we saw our daughter to be; I was filling in her name, and her strengths and weaknesses, and her “hot buttons”. It was heartwarming to come up with the best five words that we thought described our girl, together: STRONG-WILLED, KIND, TENDERHEARTED, LEADER, INTELLIGENT.

As I wrote the words in the paper, I began to cry. Who were we talking about here? Sadler, or me?

It’s so hard as a parent (at least for me at this place in my journey) when you see things in your children, qualities about them, similarities in their behavior, predictability in how they’ll answer questions…and you feel like you’re looking in the mirror.

I’ve coming to learn and accept that I am my own best teacher, but this little girl runs a real tight second. She teaches me things about myself, and I try to teach her things about herself because I just know how she sees life. Sometimes it’s as if we share the same eyes.

She speaks my language. She gets me and I get her. I feel so incredibly lucky that she is mine. 

But I want her to find her way in her way. I don’t ever want to be a tug of influence, but rather a beam of guidance that just leads her there, on her own.

She’s a 1. I’m a 1, too. 

So I know for her, it can seem like we are the only ones with the only way. Our hearts are protected yet open, and our ideas are bigger than us it seems. Yet we know we can always push harder. 

It’s been a struggle this week. Finding balance between being a good stay-at-home-mom and a servant leader/CEO to my newly-blossoming essential oil business. Can’t I do both?

Time-blocking. When I have (let’s be real, when I make) the time to actually block the time. It happens sometimes. We’ll call it 50 percent.

Meditating (actually just discovered Light Sourcing by Rebecca Campbell in her INCREDIBLE BOOK, “Light is the New Black”). My mornings have become my favorite time of the day for more reasons than this one. 

Hot yoga when I have someone to watch the girls (aka – when Reid gets home from work or really early on Saturday mornings). I’d go every single day if it were possible. It’s my sanctuary. 

  Lots of oils. I love and find comfort in knowing than whenever things get heavy, I can count on my oils for safety and solace. They usually change the game for me so profoundly that I’m moved to tell someone or make a Facebook live video about my experience. 

Affirmations. Written on a whiteboard, to be repeated each morning. Out loud. Because I know the power of the spoken word. 

Lots of deep personal development through books. Mindset transformations about money and budgeting.  Journaling.

I’m doing so many of the things. I’ve created so many positive habits. Yet, I still find myself feeling out of balance. 

Unsteady. Ungrounded. 

Flailing. 

I’m learning to soften into who I am. We all need to. 

I’m so worried about getting it all done that I can’t lose sight of what I’m doing it all for. 

I’ve prayed for answers for quite some time now. Shortly after (and sometimes during), I look up to see a squirrel balancing along the power line right in front of me. It’s like he comes out of thin air. I see that as God telling me to keep my footing, just one in front of the other. Slow and steady. 

Because as the old Chinese proverb goes, “Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.”

Why Yoga is Life

Today was hard. This week has been hard. This month has been hard.

Life has seemed hard.

I will be the first to admit, unabashedly so, that being a stay-at-home mom is HARD.

It is everything more than I ever imagined it could be, and nothing like I imagined it would be.

I’m waking up earlier today than I ever have before — intentionally. And it feels like Christmas  morning, every day. I cherish my time, my space, my quiet, my stillness. I need that time.

I’ve been going to Revolution Hot Yoga since the last day of my maternity leave with Everly. I’ve never stayed so consistently loyal to a place like this, and have felt comfortable in my own skin inside those walls since my very first visit.

Anytime life gets really hard, I want to practice hot yoga. I crave it.

I’ve become addicted to the heat and the sweat and the release. It’s an hour of space amidst the chaos of life where I truly let go, something I don’t do in real life much at all it seems.

My body has become supple. It has become strong. I feel beautiful.

Tonight’s class was the best, most intimate and sacred class I have ever had. Hands down, in all of the yoga practice I’ve had in all of my years, tonight was bigger.

Rebecca felt us. Not just me, she felt us.

She felt all the junk we were carrying, and the loads we beared, as we all walked through the doors with smiles on our faces and all pretended to be okay.

She brought an awareness to the room of all the color, and talked us through releasing energy and letting go. She talked real talk, but in the most beautifully woven song of words that forced us not to force, but to really let go.

For the first time ever in my practice, sweat came out of my eyeballs. It felt peaceful, and literally washed away some of the weight I brought in with me.

“Find your tribe, lightly. Follow your heart, lightly. Let your voice be heard, lightly.”

Eyes closed. Music soft. The room was still as she guided us.

Deep breaths in…deep breaths out.

Yoga is breathing.

Breathing is life.

Yoga is life.

photo credit: scullyfit.com
I’m so thankful that yoga has led me to meditation. (I read somewhere recently that meditation may truly be more effective than medication. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.)

I truly believe, that our mind and body and spirit, they are all ONE. They are all connected, and they are affected by each other, and they move through one other.

We impose limitations on ourselves in life based on our past experiences, fears, self-doubt and judgments of others. These limitations keep us from being our best. They keep us in boxes, under the bed. They dim our lights, and feed our ego.

Yoga is my way of releasing those limitations, even if for just sixty minutes; but for those sixty minutes, I feel myself being gentle with myself. And I trust my body. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about how I look in my pose or how deep my stretch is.

I go inward. 

As the within, so the without, right? What lies inside is what lives outside. The answers aren’t out in the material world; for the best teacher we have is our self. Look in the mirror, you’ll see.

I’m no master, but self-discovery is tasty. Life’s color is brighter when you take a little time to be still. I know I have so many more layers to peel.

I turn 36 in January and have decided that I want to go on a yoga retreat for my birthday. A long weekend of peace, tranquility, stillness and lots of yoga is just what I want most as I enter a new year of life.

I am open to suggestions of places to visit, do you have a favorite?

 

Did I Really Just Cry Over Netflix?

If the television is on in our house, you can almost bet its never for anything I voted to watch. There are plenty of reasons I say this, but it’s true.

Since we cancelled cable, we rely on Netflix and Amazon Prime and have really gotten some good use out of our Apple TV and Fire Stick. Normally if the TV is on, it’s Moana or Pee Wee Herman as of late; soon it will be football (foreshadowing to a great post, I’m sure <insert eye roll emoji> ), and lots of times it’s golf or Wheel of Fortune (always gets my vote). And I can’t fail to mention that we are big Big Brother fans, so Reid and I do make an effort to watch that together when we can. Thanks to our nifty wireless antenna, we can pick up a couple dozen local channels and haven’t missed cable a bit.

I could say what most would say – “I don’t have time to watch TV…” but the reality is I choose not to watch TV. I’ve enjoyed getting lost in books and writing posts like this, planning out the finishing touches on projects I’ve been meaning to finish for weeks/months/years, spending time outside or working on my business.

The way I see it, we have little chunks of space in our day, and we get the privilege of choosing what we do inside those spaces. The choices we make will create our life, over time. We control our time, our time shouldn’t control us, and watching TV always seems to take the reins of control when I give in to it. Much like scrolling through social media, I’ve learned to appreciate and actually crave the disconnect from screen time. It’s too easy to get sucked into a vortex of comparison and judgement when we compare our lives to someone’s best when we are potentially at our worst. But, I digress…

It came as somewhat of a surprise last Monday night when Reid suggested that we start a new show on Netflix together. He delivered a beautifully pitched invitation for us to “spend some time together after the kids go to bed”, which I saw appealing and agreed to, truthfully without even knowing what show I had just committed myself to watch.

Ozarks. Jason Bateman. Fair enough, I thought. And about 10 minutes in, I was hooked to the story line, or I suppose I should say, what I assumed the story line would develop to be.

We snuggled up on our over-sized couch with a warm blanket and watched quietly as the first episode of this Netflix original series played in front of us. I was into it.

And then, when the episode ended and I got up to use the bathroom, I noticed Sadler sleeping on the steps. Again (roll eyes, again). So, I carried her back to her bed and proceeded with somewhat of a bedtime routine to get her back to sleep.

Meanwhile, downstairs…guess who starts to watch episode number 2? Without me????!

I walked into the bedroom, and when I noticed what was happening, I saw red. I was so mad. Here I had been, duped into a TV show I didn’t really even want to watch in the first place, and was sold on the fact that “we can do it together”. And he is watching it without me.

I shared my frustration aloud with him, which seemed stupid to him. And then I realized how stupid it really was…I’m crying, over Netflix???

I woke up the next morning to think about what had happened, and it hit me.  A blog post I had recently read said something like this:

Our Expectations, minus our Observations, equal FRUSTRATION.

Having expectations is a tricky one. We can and should have expectations in life, right? I have expectations of myself. Typically, too harsh ones. When I managed a team of people, I had expectations of them, too. And when they actually did or didn’t do a task that seemed to correlate with my expectation, that’s what I was left to observe. And then I was frustrated.

I have expectations of my children, and how they should behave and what they should eat and how often they should try to pee throughout the day.

Clearly, I expected the Netflix thing to turn out differently. Never did I think I’d come back downstairs and see him watching without me. But, it was even more clear that I was so bent out of shape about it.

Will it matter in ten years?…doubtful. But the fact that I expected the situation to turn out a certain way, and then it just didn’t go down that way, I was left feeling…frustrated. Which led to sadness, which led to saying things I regretted the next morning.

This incident compelled me to decide that it was time for Reid and I to declare a few expectations, ones that we could hold each other accountable for. We decided to declare the pillars of our family, and what would be important foundations to raise our girls upon. You may be thinking: shouldn’t you have done that BEFORE you had kids? Maybe. And maybe we thought about it. But this time, we’re doing it.

Letting go of my expectations in order to make room for a clear plan is exciting to me.  A plan that will hopefully craft a life of purpose, with healthy sprinklings of Netflix time here and there…except, next time there will only be tears shed if we are watching Beaches.