Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What I'm Reading Tuesday...

So, I have been reading a lot, as usual. I have also had the girls the past two weekends, so I have watched a ton of Christmas movies, decorated my house for Christmas, and generally enjoyed my life, including getting to visit with my sister and her family. Anyway, some recommendations:

The Legacy by Katherine Webb

April discovered Katherine Webb somehow and told me that it was similar to Kate Morton. I love Kate Morton, but I have not loved the last two books that she put out. I feel like she is using way to much coincidence to tie the stories together anymore. That said, The Forgotten Garden and The Distant Hours are among my top twenty books ever of all time.

The Legacy reminds me very much of those two books, with the story dashing wildly apart and then merging together. I especially loved the ending, and I rarely ever like endings, much less feel like gushing over them, so I greatly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading more of Webb in the near future.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The premise is that two couples attend a barbeque at the home of another couple and something happens and everything unravels. It's funny at times, and profound at times, and mostly it talks about how we have these friendships that occurred when we were children and continue into adulthood on tender hooks of familiarity and offense and love and hate.

A Labyrinth Walk Under a Full Moon

Lisa Whelchel has been my friend for a very long time. Practically as long as I can remember, if we go back to her days as Blair on The Facts of Life. Her books have always reached me at just the right time in my life, dealing with motherhood and parenting and adult friendships. Somehow Lisa's life is always just a few steps ahead of my own. I have been anxious to see what she creates from her divorce and subsequent path forward for somewhat obvious reasons. She is at work on a book, but in the meantime she blogged about her travels as she walked a 500-mile pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago. It is an excellent blog series (her life veered off on a path that she was completely not expecting) but this particular blog post that she wrote clear at the beginning of her journey struck me to my core.

"I felt the Lord saying to me, “I know you want me to seal this courage and feeling in your heart so that you will never lose it and will always trust me in faith but that’s not the way life works. The journey will always be more like two steps forward, one step back. Life is a mystery and it is not controllable. Trust the flow of it."

Yes, I need that. I need to know that no matter how much I manage to feel that I am moving forward, healing this damaged heart, it is okay that I am going to have moments where I have to step back, to feel something that I do not want to feel. To allow this grief it's life within me and know that it is serving some kind of purpose.

The Fine Feather

And lastly, there is a blog that I cannot say enough wonderful things about. January went to high school with me and we became friends on Facebook and Instagram sometime ago, as you do, and I discovered that she lives in Prague and takes beautiful pictures and has a little girl and is an amazing writer. And she has begun a blog, The Fine Feather. It is gorgeous. It is profound. Her life and my life could not be more different-she is happily married and living on the other side of the world, while I live in the house just beside the house I grew up in, divorced and somewhat badly broken. But her words sink deep within my soul. The internet has brought much negativity into my life, so much so that I purposefully have begun really monitoring my time and attention to it, but it has also brought connections to people that I now treasure and cannot imagine my life without.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to be an adult (at 37)...

When I began this blog post, well on a month ago, I wrote that I fear that I worship at the altar of busy. I was busy most of the time. I felt like the girls and I barely ever had a night at home anymore. We had soccer, cheer, and dance going on, which equaled out to practice or a game pretty much every single night and on Sundays. Plus I have a never ending list of meetings that I attend, more often than not in the role of the secretary and half the time as a part of my job (meaning I can't back out of it).

I wrote, "Busy is a good thing most of the time. Busy keeps us moving, keeps us from dwelling on the life that we used to live. Busy keeps us focused on the future."

Busy kept me so busy that this blog post never did get properly written.

Life has slowed down in the past few weeks-soccer ended, cheer ended. Meetings and dance still exist, but everything is at a much more manageable pace. As the days grow darker, it is my instinct to draw inward, to allow our lives to get quieter, less hectic. I am an introvert at heart, and while I have learned that I don't necessarily have to be a hermit, I enjoy spending time at home, and the girls enjoy it too.

This weekend was not my weekend. Meaning that I had 3 days to do something that I wanted to do. Or needed to do. Or felt like doing. That's the crazy thing about shared parenting-for 10 years you just sort of take for granted that you do everything together. And then suddenly you don't. I don't have anyone anymore to spell me while I take a shower. I don't have anyone to help one kid with homework while I help the other. I don't have anyone at the end of a long day to talk to, to watch tv with, to even just sit beside while we read books.

What I have instead is every other weekend entirely to myself. To do whatever I choose. It's daunting. I know what that sounds like-you probably want to say to me, I could think of a hundred things that I could do with an entire weekend to myself. I am not complaining, I promise. But it's not busy-it's not the constant drone that all the other days in my week are, even with our lessened schedule. It's hour upon hour of deciding what I want to do-which is usually reading and sleeping and watching old movies.

Someday I will look back at this time in my life and envy myself, I think. All of this time to marinate in things that I enjoy, in books and movies and yoga and writing. It's a constant battle inside my head-enjoy this time, I keep telling myself, even as I physically ache for my kids. I sometimes can't believe how much I can miss someone. To the very marrow of my bones.

My children need time with their dad. They need time away from me. They need to spread their wings, even if just a little bit. My life-this year of transition-is about learning to really, truly be a grown up for the first time in my life. I am responsible for all of my decisions. I don't have anyone to fall back on, to swoop in and save me from disastrous choices. That is not to say that my parents haven't been helpful-they have helped me so much, I could never, ever repay them. But for the first time in my life, I have to figure out who I want to be. At 37, that is just strange. I have defined myself as a wife and a mother for so long, it is difficult to know who I am outside of those parameters. Much less to like that person and feel like I am at all useful outside of those roles.

It's all most challenging, in ways that I never would have anticipated. But I look back at who I was a year ago and I am so proud of how far I've come. I have screwed up and made mistakes, but I have swallowed my lessons, learned from my faults, and have been met with grace again and again. And yes, I am scared, and unsure, and quite certain that I don't know at all what I am doing. And that, for now, is exactly as it should be.