Again, a letting go

Grab the Kleenex.

When my new friend, Audrey Wilson Andrysick (Audrey Wilson Coaching) sent a few of us mom’s this poem, I started tearing up at the first 3 words.   Lin Eleoff calls this the sappy gene.

Again, for the second year, my son is off to college today.  This time it’s a little different from the first year in that I know I will be fine (the person I was most  worried about the first year, lol!), he will be fine (and he was – more than fine), and that my husband and I will continue on our path of rediscovering the depth of our own relationship – just the two of us again, after so many years of the 3 of us.  But it’s also different because he is moving into his own place with friends…off campus…rent, utility bills, grocery shopping…the next steps to really rocking his own life – adult baby steps.

For all of you who are seeing your children off to Day Care for the first time, Pre-school, Kindergarten, First Grade, High School (you get the picture), enjoy the following poem and remember to enjoy every first – it all goes by very quickly, and soon you will be wondering where the years went.

And for all of you who are seeing your kids off to adult-hood, enjoy and give thanks that you’ve done such a good (enough) job to enable this beautiful transition.

(This poem was originally written by Mary W. Abel and posted in Dear Abby)

Don’t forget the Kleenex.

“Hold fast the summer. It is the beauty of the day and all it contains.
The laughter and work and finally the sleep. The quiet.
Oh September, do not put your weight upon my mind.
For I know he will be going.
This son of mine who is now a man — he must go.
Time will lace my thoughts with joyous years.
The walls will echo his “Hello.” His caring will be around each corner.
His tears will be tucked into our memory book.
Life calls him beyond our reach — to different walls.
New faces, shiny halls, shy smiles, many places.
Greater learning — he must go.
But wait, before he leaves, be sure he knows you love him.
Hide the lump in your throat as you hug him.
He will soon be home again — but he will be different.
The little boy will have disappeared.
How I wished I could take September and shake it, for it came too soon
I must look to the beauty of each new day, and silently give thanks.”

Reluctant Lover

Technology sucks.

This is what I used to think.

For a long time, I’ve complained about technology…how complicated it can be, easier to use a paper calendar, how much it intrudes in our lives.  Really…just a crank about it.  You’d never know I was a software developer in a previous life.

Then it started to slowly change.

I resisted getting a cell phone… if people want to reach me they’ll call the house and leave a message.  But I acquiesced and found a lovely freedom by being able to communicate when I was not home without having to dig for a quarter to use the pay phone – and now pay phones barely exist.

Then it was my idea to get our son a cell phone when he was in the 4th grade.  It was the year of 9/11, and we were all a little fearful – couldn’t exactly pinpoint the fear all the time, but if we could reach each other, when running late for example, it felt better.

The ability to start my own business as a VA for non-profit organizations was only doable because of PC’s and the internet, cell phones, and knowledge of maintaining websites…and that’s what enabled me to be a work-at-home mom.

Texting?  Oh, I used to get so annoyed when my son would text a friend instead of calling…how were these kids ever going to learn to communicate as humans?  But now I’m hooked… it’s a great way for me to contact my son when the need presents itself, or to text my husband with a list when he offers to stop at the grocery store or for takeout on his way home from work – and now I just text friends to check in and say hi.  Who knew?

Classes on line, forums on the internet, webinars, Facebook, Words with Friends

…and Skype!  Skype is my absolute favorite.  I truly disliked it when I first tried it with a friend from the UK.  He wouldn’t communicate any other way, though, so I had to sign up and give it a try.  I’m delighted I did because it has meant free computer-to-computer calls to friends all over the world, coaching clients on line, and face-to-face time with our son during his first year of college.

But finally, these past 3 weeks have made it very clear to me that I’ve just been a reluctant lover – trying to resist the inevitable pull of technology’s charms.

After picking up my son up from his first year at college a few weeks ago, he was able to Skype his dad with his iPhone to show him ALL the stuff in the car (Really?  We brought all that down last September?!).  Even though my husband had an unavoidable trip to Belgium that meant he wouldn’t be with us – he could be with us!  How cool is that – driving home while listening to my son having face-time with his dad…

In these last 14 days, I’ve fallen head-over-heels.

I had to make an unexpected trip to Belgium because my husband had emergency eye surgery.  Technology and timing were critical to so many things we were able to do to help him have a more comfortable experience, even though he was a continent and an ocean away…

…from using cell phone texting to find our eye doctor in the states so he could talk to my husband before the surgery, to actually getting here and using my European cell phone to access www.translate.google.com when I don’t know how to say something in French – it’s the best.tool.ever (besides pointing) for a non-linguist like me.  It will actually ‘tell’ me how to say what I want to say.  How amazing is that – to be able to ‘communicate’ in almost any language with the help of that cell phone I resisted so much in the beginning.

And back home, using my computer, writing a blog post, posting an interview, coaching via Skype, staying in touch with friends, family, and neighbors, all at a reasonable cost.

Technology is helping to bring the human race closer, communicate better and more often, make global changes in the world (even toppling dictators), and it’s helping us realize in a concrete physical way that we really are more connected than we ever knew.

But in my own little world of loved-ones all over this globe, it just brings a long overdue smile of delight and contentment to my face, and a feeling of gratefulness in my heart to be so connected whenever the need arises.

I actually feel a little lost now (don’t tell my husband or son), when I don’t have an internet connection or a way to access it.

I’m finally, whole-heartedly, committing to this enchanting seducer I’ve been trying to spurn.

Well…almost whole-heartedy.  TV remotes?   Not so much…but anything could happen!

A Rocky Love Affair

Evolution…. 

Little girl self-love…
Wishing for boobs, stuffing bra with Kleenex before church (getting caught!)
Thinking calves too skinny, doing exercises to build them up
Sneaking on eye makeup (getting caught!)
Crushes on boys, imagining kissing
So eager to be a teenager
Comparing, despairing

Teenage self-love…
Wishing for boobs 🙂
Hating my stomach, dieting at 13
Permanently learned the calorie count for every item of food in existence
Bikinis, Mini-skirts, Hot-pants
So eager to be an adult
Comparing, despairing

Adult self-love…
Wishing I could lose 3 pounds (THREE!!!) before wedding
Stomach not flat enough
Resigned to my boobs – no – starting to actually like
Cellulite!
Watching the years pile on my body, wishing I was younger (already)
Comparing, despairing

Pregnant self-love
Boobs!
OMG – loving my stomach!
Eating for two, mindfully
Did I mention cleavage?!
In.My.Body
In awe…no compare, no despair

Wife/Mom self-love
Gain weight
Lose weight
Repeat
Love with the lights off
Wishing I was younger
Comparing, despairing

Older Woman self-love
Still a wife, still a mom
Healthy food, moderate exercise
Thankful…for my loyal body, softer, rounder…comfortably sexy
Love in daylight
Comparing to the me 10 years from now … appreciating what is
No despair

Grateful, joyous, loving, abandon

…Loved

King-sized Fear

My husband and I went to see The King’s Speech yesterday, starring Colin Firth.  It’s about King George VI becoming King of England when his brother abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.  He had a major obstacle to overcome before he could be effective…or accepted…in leading the nation and people he loved through war.  It was a fabulous movie and exactly the movie I needed to see in order to write this post.

You see, last week I decided I was going to do an interview series based on people over-coming their fears.  I’ve lined up several amazing people who are willing to talk to me about this topic and how it changed their lives…

…And I’m afraid I won’t be able to pull it off.

I love hearing about others’ lives and how they navigate them, but I don’t know how to interview!  How do I create questions beforehand?  How do I get the person to open up and really spill the beans?  How do I present it to my readers?  All these questions and fears about the process and delivery of said process…But that’s what this series is about – navigating through the fear – authentically – and it’s important.

Often, we see successful people doing successful things and our minds tell us it must have been easy for them.  But is that true?  Especially in this era of social media, we usually show our best face, put our best foot forward, hide our weakness, hide the process of growth required to be successful – as we define success.

King George the VI had a terrible stammering problem…FROZEN with fear.  How familiar is that – other words to describe it? …stuck, overwhelmed, not ready.  Yet the process King George goes through to correct this problem – has to go through to lead a nation at war – does not include the elimination of fear, but acknowledging it, revisiting it, relying on supportive people, getting wise counsel, laughing at it, getting angry at it, and, especially (and especially funny) cussing at it!

And that’s what my interview series will be about.  We are going to hear the stories of some pretty courageous people – ordinarily courageous – super-heroes in a quiet and powerful way.  They show the heart of fear and courage, the steps one takes to get to the other side of fear – learning to make fear, if not an outright friend, at least a tolerable acquaintance.  Because we all know it will visit us again and again in this lifetime.

And even though most of us are not leading nations, we are leading our lives.

Stay tuned and join me for my first interview – in whatever format it is shared – as I talk to Sarah Bamford Seidelman, Life Coach, about her journey from respected Successful Practicing Physician to major woo-woo Queen of Animal Totems, Squirrel Radio.  It’s bound to be an enlightening, admirable, courageous and normal story of a modern-day hero.

How did you get to your hero status?  What fears did you stare down?  What is it like on the other side?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below or email me here.

King-sized Fear

My husband and I went to see The King’s Speech yesterday, starring Colin Firth.  It’s about King George VI becoming King of England when his brother abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.  He had a major obstacle to overcome before he could be effective…or accepted…in leading the nation and people he loved through war.  It was a fabulous movie and exactly the movie I needed to see in order to write this post.

You see, last week I decided I was going to do an interview series based on people over-coming their fears.  I’ve lined up several amazing people who are willing to talk to me about this topic and how it changed their lives…

…And I’m afraid I won’t be able to pull it off.

I love hearing about others’ lives and how they navigate them, but I don’t know how to interview!  How do I create questions beforehand?  How do I get the person to open up and really spill the beans?  How do I present it to my readers?  All these questions and fears about the process and delivery of said process…But that’s what this series is about – navigating through the fear – authentically – and it’s important.

Often, we see successful people doing successful things and our minds tell us it must have been easy for them.  But is that true?  Especially in this era of social media, we usually show our best face, put our best foot forward, hide our weakness, hide the process of growth required to be successful – as we define success.

King George the VI had a terrible stammering problem…FROZEN with fear.  How familiar is that – other words to describe it? …stuck, overwhelmed, not ready.  Yet the process King George goes through to correct this problem – has to go through to lead a nation at war – does not include the elimination of fear, but acknowledging it, revisiting it, relying on supportive people, getting wise counsel, laughing at it, getting angry at it, and, especially (and especially funny) cussing at it!

And that’s what my interview series will be about.  We are going to hear the stories of some pretty courageous people – ordinarily courageous – super-heroes in a quiet and powerful way.  They show the heart of fear and courage, the steps one takes to get to the other side of fear – learning to make fear, if not an outright friend, at least a tolerable acquaintance.  Because we all know it will visit us again and again in this lifetime.

And even though most of us are not leading nations, we are leading our lives.

Stay tuned and join me for my first interview – in whatever format it is shared – as I talk to Sarah Bamford Seidelman, Life Coach, about her journey from respected Successful Practicing Physician to major woo-woo Queen of Animal Totems, Squirrel Radio.  It’s bound to be an enlightening, admirable, courageous and normal story of a modern-day hero.

How did you get to your hero status?  What fears did you stare down?  What is it like on the other side?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below or email me here.

Now What?

We dropped our son off at CalPoly yesterday.  Ok, let’s reword that…We did NOT drop him off – we moved him in.  Started around 9:30, left at 4…not quite a drop off!

We had read we should just drop him off, unpack, let him sort out his room.  Instead, I asked our son what he would like.  “Do you want us to help unpack?”  “Do you want me to put your clothes away?”  and “I really want to make your bed for you, is that ok?”

Once he and his roommate figured out the layout of the room, getting creative because of, yes, the lack of electrical outlets, we got busy ‘setting him up.’

The 3 of us unpacked, put things away, organized drawers, decided where lamps went, took out snacks, stored things under the bed.  His dad helped him set up the computer.

And I made the bed…made it as comfy as possible with a mattress topper (oh, those ugly navy blue vinyl mattresses), fluffy mattress pad, new cotton knit sheets, soft comforter.

Making his bed was important to me, above and beyond the rest – it had to do with his comfort, and how well he would sleep (which makes me laugh knowing he will probably be up all night and only getting very few hours of sleep…but those hours will be comfortable and warm and cozylike home!)

And as I wandered the dorm, passed other rooms, talked to other parents, watched his roommate’s mom, I noticed making the bed seemed to be an important task to every other mom on the floor.

Important to bring an intimate ‘piece’ of home for our boys, trying to replicate a bit of the place where we had read to them, sang to them, stroked their hair, cuddled them, often gently waking them up to get ready for school as they got older, and even recently, where we still had some of the best conversations at the end of the day, or the middle of the night when we got up to go to the bathroom and noticed their light still on in their rooms.


It was the best day.  Six hours went by quickly.  We were done.  It was time to go.  Our son asked us to close his dorm room door so we could have some privacy.

He hugged us both so tightly and told us how much he will miss us.  How different this will be.  How excited he was about being there.  How nice his room looked.  How comfy the bed looked :).  And how he liked being sandwiched between 2 floors of all girls 🙂 !  He said how much he loved us.  He got tears in his eyes.  We all did.

But I did not get the ugly face (I did that yesterday in the privacy of our own home, telling him how excited I was for him, how big a piece of my heart he has, and how I will miss him.)

He put drops in his eyes, and he walked us to our car for one last hug – “this feels like it happened all of a sudden,” he said.

Yes.  Suddenly after 18 years.  Then here he is, a man, on his own, excited (and maybe a teeny bit nervous.)

With much love and pride, we watched him go back across the street and up the stairs.  We looked at each other, smiled, sighed, and left the CalPoly campus.

3 hour-drive, on to the next chapter, talking with each other almost the whole way, and not at all totally about our son.  Got Chipotle takeout and came home…to a slightly emptier space.

Now what?  I’m not totally sure.

But I do, with certainty, know that we are all ok.