Tagged with "children"
18 Sep
2015
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Lessons from “The Nightingale”

colorful sunset

I read the words, “I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.” I slowly inhaled and gently closed the book. To be known, for someone to clearly and completely understand who you are, and love you anyway, this is what I want.

I found the words for my feelings on the fourth page of Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” The story is lovely and sad, but honestly, I was waylaid early in the book by those words and later by another phrase. Each time I opened the book to delve into the lives of two French women during World War II, I found myself thinking about being known.

Reading is how I decompress at night and attempt to shake the cares from the day away. Few authors write something that grabs my heart and compels me to remember those words. My thanks to Kristin Hannah. I read “The Nightingale” this summer and two phrases are now embedded in my daily life.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve reminded my children to “be you, not them.” That phrase is currently written on a chalkboard in our kitchen. I have a child in junior high. I desperately want him to be brave enough to stand on his own, despite pressures to be untrue to himself. It’s what I want for each of my children and all those young ones they sit next to in class. Be true to yourself and be known. Who you are is wonderfully, perfectly enough.

It’s always been hard for me to have confidence in what I think, feel and know. I struggle with being enough. At times, the worry of other people’s judgement has stopped me from sharing who I am. The closer I get to 40 the easier this is for me to overcome. The older I become, the more I just don’t care what others think or believe about me (for the most part). I want people to know me, for better or worse. It’s not about liking me or even loving me, although I want that too. I want to be known.

In “The Nightingale,” a mother is using the above sentences in connection with her son and wishing she would have allowed him to know her as a person not just as his mother. The people who live in my home, who call me mom and wife, know me. Heaven knows I’ve overshared at times with the people that call me mom. The kids learn a little more each year as they age. I’m trying to open those doors more to other people. I learn so much from others. Other people help to refine my own ideas and beliefs. I long for the honest exchange of thoughts and personalities. I like to KNOW other people as much as I want them to KNOW me.

Later in “The Nightingale,” Hannah hit me with this gem, “Someone told her she couldn’t do something, she did it. Every barrier she turned into a gate.” How often have I looked at an obstacle as something I need to go around, under or over? Countless times I’ve attempted to work with the barriers keeping me in or out. Heck no! I’m building gates.

It’s the people-pleaser in me that attempts to stay within the parameters I’m given. That sentence opened a new way of thinking for me. If you’re standing in a fenced yard, you get out through the gate. It seems so simple, but thinking about problems and difficulties with the idea that I need a way through instead of over or under has revolutionized my problem-solving. Don’t be surprised when you hear my children murmuring about needing to find a gate. They’ll be hearing that phrase quite often at home.


 
Our Girl Turns 6
By     |    Sep 15, 2015
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Our Girl Turns 6

When we found out I was pregnant with our fourth child, I knew it was a boy. I thought I was destined to be a mother of men and liked the idea of a house full of boys.  At my 20-week ultrasound appointment, my doctor told us our baby had a hamburger, not a hot dog. We were adding a girl to the family. I left in disbelief. Not because I didn’t want a daughter, I thought we only made... [Read More]

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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack
By     |    Sep 2, 2015
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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack

Today marked the start of my 8th year with kids in the public school system. More importantly, it was the first time I left school at drop-off with no children. I’d like to say it was no big deal, but it was infinitely worse than I imagined. None of this has to do with the children. The children were fine, excited even. Today was selfishly about me. The kids, even our freshly-minted kindergartner, are pros at this school thing. They... [Read More]

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Not Celebrating the Start of School
By     |    Aug 27, 2015
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Not Celebrating the Start of School

I don’t share the same sentiments as some of my mama friends as the new school year begins. I won’t be celebrating my children heading back to school. I’ll be wondering where the last three months have gone and cursing the quick passage of time. Our youngest heads to kindergarten this year. Next week marks the first time in nearly 13 years that I’ve been without an extra shadow. There are no more little hands to hold as I run... [Read More]

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Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park
By     |    Aug 22, 2015
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Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park

Stand at any number of overlooks in Bryce Canyon National Park gazing at the colorful landscape of hoodoos and you’ll understand the definition of breathtaking. The shades of red, orange, white and gray layered on each other seem unreal. We stood at Sunset Point watching shadows shift and change among the hoodoos as the sun neared the horizon and knew we had to be down in the canyon. Our first hike in the park was down the switchbacks of Wall Street. You... [Read More]

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The Great Bedroom Swap
By     |    Aug 7, 2015
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The Great Bedroom Swap

I stood in Menards looking down a long aisle of shelving possibilities wondering why I was even at a home improvement store. The day started with the sole intention of moving one bed from the spare bedroom to the tween’s room. I was looking for shelving while the basement at home was filled with multiple dismantled bed frames and a dresser stood smack-dab in the middle of the upstairs hallway waiting to make the journey downstairs. This is exactly why... [Read More]

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Partaking in Risky Behavior
By     |    Aug 2, 2015
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Partaking in Risky Behavior

Apparently, I’m a risk-taker. Each summer, for seven years, we’ve welcomed a visiting Challenger Sports soccer coach in town for a British soccer camp. The coaches we’ve hosted are young men between the ages of 18-23. They need a place to call home for seven days. This week during camp, a mother I don’t know wanted to talk about hosting. More precisely, she wanted to talk about how negligent I was being. I was asked if I thought I was... [Read More]

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Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom
By     |    Jul 24, 2015
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Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom

I didn’t think the humidity could get much worse than we had endured until the morning we walked into Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The sky was void of color, replaced with gray haze. I stepped off the bus and my glasses instantly fogged while dew collected on every service, including us. I feared the humidity would lead to a rough day in Animal Kingdom, but the kids were impervious to the weather once we were immersed in the... [Read More]

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Walt Disney World: Star Wars Weekend
By     |    Jul 23, 2015
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Walt Disney World: Star Wars Weekend

A few years back, it came to my attention that Walt Disney World holds Star Wars Weekends annually in May and June. Our boys were obsessed with Star Wars at the time. I took Jedis to the grocery store with me and forced Stormtroopers to remove their helmets for lunch. Their book choices and LEGO sets revolved around Star Wars. I watched YouTube videos from Star Wars Weekends and knew if we were ever to visit Walt Disney World, it... [Read More]

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Planning for Walt Disney World
By     |    Jul 8, 2015
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Planning for Walt Disney World

I have two words for potential visitors to Walt Disney World: be prepared. Seriously, don’t arrive in Orlando thinking everything will be magical without planning beforehand. There is a lot happening at Walt Disney World. It’s important to know your options and fit those with your family. Everyone’s trip to Disney World looks a little different, much like a fingerprint. Our visit was fast and furious. We’ve visited Disneyland in California twice and felt our experiences there would be helpful.... [Read More]

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Beaches vs. Mountains
By     |    Jun 29, 2015
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Beaches vs. Mountains

I’ve always lived within an hour drive of mountains with their curvy roads and sweeping vista overlooks. Our outdoor adventures tend to include elevation climbs, trails through woods, rock outcroppings  and running water flowing over rounded stones. When we have the opportunity to travel to a beach I look forward to spending an evening in the sand believing we’ll be satisfied with a quick dip in the ocean. I become salt-water drunk after those first few minutes on the shore.... [Read More]

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Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park
By     |    Jun 27, 2015
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Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Years ago I read about Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas and was intrigued by the idea of digging through 37 ½ acres of plowed dirt in the hopes of finding treasure. I tucked the idea away not thinking we’d ever find ourselves in Arkansas. Eventually the traveling bug bit us, and we decided to start taking long road trips, young kids and all. Fast forward to planning for this summer’s epic road trip. We planned our route, in... [Read More]

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