No Sleep? No Sweat!

It's almost 1 a.m. and we are awake. I probably should be upset but, I'm not. The rain woke the frog princess up. Or so I thought. When I went into her room I smelled the problem before I saw it. Poop! Why must it come out while she sleeps? Yes, we have this issue often enough for me to be pissed about it. I was working on my blog after meeting with Suzy over at Global Swan and discussing some of the updates I'd like to make based on the assessment that Eli Rose Social performed on my site. I should've been asleep but, midnight was upon me and, I told myself it was a good thing I hadn't gone to sleep or I'd be mad at the frog princess waking up.

After her diaper was changed, she signed that she wanted food. I'm pretty sure this chick is going through a growth spurt because she's signing "eat" 24/7! I went to the kitchen, got a graham cracker (because I know she's not really hungry). As I suspected, she took two bites and gave it back. She sat next to me while we jiggled to Wow! Wow! Wubzy! Like her, I'm not one bit sleepy. We are now playing the drums on a box with crayons. Seriously. We take turns. I'm writing in between my turns. She will play a beat and then hand me the crayon. If I'm not doing it well, she'll hold the little box for me to help me out. She can follow my beats pretty well. Of course, sometimes she has to take the crayons from me to teach me a thing or two.

I will be exhausted in the morning! I will probably not want to get up. But you know what? I'm not going to think about it. How often will rain (or poop) wake her up and she'll want to sit next to me and play the drums, dance, call me mama and attempt to beat on my keyboard?

What Matters Most

I have had a hellacious four weeks. I won't bore you with all of the juicy details behind the statement but, suffice it to say, that with everything else that's gone on this year it's the holy grace of God that sustains me! Today was especially hard. I'm up against deadlines and then all hell broke lose on something I was working on and I hate it when that happens.  I couldn't wait to get in the car to have a good cry.  Because on top of "regular" life, I have mami moments that knock me off my feet on a pretty regular basis.  I didn't get a chance to cry on the drive (because not even my tears are following my schedule!).  I got home after spending a  little time over at dad's with the frog princess just in time to put her to bed. I wasn't happy at this total lack of QT.  More and more I am realizing how little time I have with my baby girl.  And in all honesty, it breaks my heart.

We go through our routine.  The milk, the short giggles on the bed while she attempts to run away from me.  I say our prayers, I pick her up, we say goodnight to the fairies in her room and when I set her down in her crib and go to walk out, she starts crying.  Outside of the door, the guilt washes over me.  I start to think.  My poor baby girl! How little time I spent with her today. How complicated life seems with all of the stresses of work, with all of the time away from home, with the time I spend working at home, etc. Two minutes after setting her down, when she starts calling mama as she's crying, I can't take it and I go to pick her up.

We go to my bed where I hold her and she stops crying.  Enter mami tears previously scheduled for the babyless portion of my drive. The frog princess, keenly in-tuned with me sits and looks at me.  As I cry I apologize.  For not having spent enough time with her today.  For not being able to stay home with her, for forgetting to pack the right amount of clothes to take with her to the caregiver this week, for having to put her to bed immediately after coming home.  At one point, she reaches out and pats me on the arm.  A move she started doing less than 24 hours after mami passed away.  She then reaches out to hug me and keep me close.  This act, of course, makes me cry even harder.  She grabs her burp cloth and blots my eyes and welcomes me to take it.  She gives me a DVD cover that was on the bed.  She even gives me Clifford.  All the while she is jabbering away, calmly. Obvious to me, explaining something.  With a serene look on her face that reminds me of mom.  She talks and pats and hugs me.  I imagine she's telling me the secret to happiness.  The inevitability of life.  The total stupidity behind worrying.  Because all that matters is this moment.

My daughter, normally asleep at that time, cried in her crib until I came to get her.  I went into her room fully expecting to do what I am supposed to do, what I feel I was born to do: comfort her during her time of need.  Instead, she reminded me of what matters.  And she provided me with a level of comfort no one else could.  With her simple jibberish and her powerful touch she gave me the peace that I'd been missing all day.  When she felt like I was okay, she put her head down and invited me to lie next to her as we often do. She imparted a little more wisdom on her mami then sat up and picked up her things (burp cloth and Clifford).  This is my sign that she is ready to go in her crib.  We went back through our routine. Saying goodnight to the fairies, hugs and kisses and I love you's.  I put her down in the crib and she quietly looked at me as I walked out, stopped at the door, told her I loved her one last time and wished her a good night.  I already can't wait for our quiet time in the morning.

Remembering what matters most...

Photo credit: Andree Mora (A Love of Light)

Monday Series: Your Last Day

If today was the last day of your life, what would you do? What would you expend your energy on? What would you not care about?  How differently would you treat others? How differently would you treat yourself? In the midst of an all-out stress fit, all these thoughts came to me after an exhausting evening of working followed by missing mami followed by crying.  If today was my last day on earth, I'd be pissed that I spent so much time stressing about shit that won't matter on my death bed.  This does not mean that I shouldn't care about my job, that I should give less than the 110% I'm used to giving.  I'd like to think that the change in attitude will help me be better.  A better employee, a better partner, a better mother, a better friend.

This closely relates to priorities which I wrote about in my last blog as well as the insanity that life sometimes bring with it (that I wrote about last Monday).  I'm calling it the Monday series because I think that at the beginning of the week, the stress level sometimes ramps up to the point where we forget all of the good thoughts and intentions that we had prior to starting the day.  How do we prevent that from happening?  I think that it comes with developing a habit.  A routine of actions put forth in advance so that when we get to that point where we are completely overwhelmed, we can take a step back and get a little perspective.

I write this blog more for myself than anyone else.  The last 3 days have brought with it a lot of hectic "SHIT!" moments in my life.  It has affected my health, certainly my mood and my psyche.  I am exhausted.  In every aspect of the word.  It's time to reset and when situations come up in my life, continually ask the question: if today was my last day, would my time have been well spent?

What would your answer be?

Giggles and Hugs (and a pinch of sorrow)

There are a million things to do.  A million tasks that must be completed.  But, I would be missed if I did not pause for a moment and reflect.  First of all, I must say that the tasks are all bullshit.  On my death bed, I won't think: shit! I wish I'd had time to scrub that toilet that one day of that one month of that one year so long ago! But perhaps, I might remember the giggles of my little girl as we played this morning or how ecstatic she got when we jumped in the shower (it's like a water park to her!). I am stressed.  I sat down tonight to get working on some flowcharts.  But to be honest, my mind is packed with thoughts and feelings that are not letting me concentrate on the task at hand.  I am reading a book called Focus at the moment which I hope will put me on the right track.  But, it's more than just not having focus.  You see, today is the 2 month anniversary of my mami's death.  I sit at my desk surrounded with images of her.  And I remember so much all at once.  Her smile, her greeting to me (she'd always say: hello little one).  Her spirit.  I also remember her work ethic but most of all her very clear perspective on priorities.  We were always it.  No questions asked.  No stopping to pause and wonder if that was the right answer.

One day I hope my frog princess can say the same about me.  That she was always the priority in my life.  It's making me rethink the Evo and the iPhone.  Making me wonder if I should really get that iPad2.  I want my child to remember my eye contact, not the sight of my phone or whatever other distraction I might find in the course of a day.  All I want is time with my child and time to get through this grief.

To say that I miss my mami is the understatement of the millennia.  I have so much going on and her advice was always readily available to me, no matter what.  As I walk through situations I hear mami's voice in her dismissive tone usually saying: leave it alone or let it go, but I still want her words. Her presence.  Yes, I know she is "with me". That she's in a better place.  But to be honest, that shit doesn't bring much comfort.  I mean it does but at the end of the day, it doesn't make me miss her less.  It does not, by any means of the imagination, buffer the pain.  Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that it does.

Every night, the frog princess and I pray.  And I always start thanking God for whatever it is that I am thankful for on that day.  I always thank him for my baby girl.  And some days, that's all I got.  My gratitude session is followed by prayer and petitions.  I don't wish for my mom back (Stephen King made sure of that because all I can think of is Pet Cemetery and who wants a crazy zombie mom, you know?).  I don't pray for anyone to take her place (that's all kinds of impossible).  Some days, all I can pray for is help and then a quick thanks.  Tonight, I should've prayed for a miracle on this flowchart.  I think I'll go pray for some divine intervention on this after I post.  I pray for God to ease my pain and the pain of those closest to my mami.  I pray for God to help me understand her absence and accept it.  I pray for other people afflicted by cancer.  Pray for health and all kinds of other good stuff.  It's important to me that I continue to pray for others. Some days, I just have the thought and strength to pray for God to let me make it through another day.  I cannot imagine what things would be like if I didn't have my frog princess. Can't imagine the additional hollow I might feel. I am so thankful and blessed that my mami got to meet her granddaughter.  Before she got sick we were driving one day and mami said: I always have prayed that God would let me see my grandchildren.  Though I could not have predicted what was coming, I remember thinking: why didn't you pray for more? But, that's the character of my mother.  She was content with what she was given and pleased when her prayers were answered regardless of what was to come.  Mami didn't want fancy cars, a big house, expensive things to fill it.  Mami wanted her family.  More and more I find myself thinking that that's the route I want my life to take as well (not that I have ever been a materialistic person, mind you).  My mind is filled with so much emotion right now, I can't pluck the thoughts so perhaps I will call it quits for the time being.

In the meantime, I will not regret choosing to spend time with my child today instead of tackling the task list.  Tomorrow, I may do the same.  Who can resist giggles and hugs, especially when they so efficiently ease the sorrow?