My mom loves me

A few years ago, my mom gave me a stack of journals that she had written from 1978 to 1990.  Originally, I think she had written some of these in Finnish, her native tongue, and she transferred these to a new journal and translated into English so I could read her words. The journals are about me and the life around me, sometimes recorded daily, especially in the time before my sister was born.

After receiving the journals, I glanced through a few pages, tucked them into a fire-proof safe in the basement, and forgot about them for a while.

I suppose I wasn’t ready yet.

So tonight, as I was digging through the safe to find my social security card that is constantly missing, I pulled out the 1979 book and started reading.

My mom’s handwriting, exactly the same as it looks now, felt alive and real.  It put me into a trance and I was completely drawn into her words.  I *really was* this little baby who was seeing the world for the first time.  My mom *really was* that young mother–younger than I am now.  She was once like me, and I was once like my own babies.

And as always happens when nostalgia hits, tears rained down my cheeks.

When I was seven months old, my mom watched and noticed everything I did.  She had, and still has, an incredible attention to detail. She paid attention to the weather, which foods we ate, which people she visited with, how many hours I slept, the words I said, how my little body looked.

I was her “sunshine”.  She thought I was smart and incredible and cute.  She loved my round blue eyes, my silky white hair, how I looked like my dad. She loved how I laughed and smiled, how I loved to eat all kinds of food, how I “purred like a baby bear” and squirmed around while I drifted off to sleep.

And suddenly I get it.

I once was that perfect little baby who was loved more than anything in the entire world.  There never has been and never will be another baby exactly like me. That baby didn’t have to do anything to deserve love; she was perfect and loved just the way she was.

For the first time that I can remember, I think it might be possible that I am the same person as that baby.  I think it’s possible that I deserve love, that someone loves me just the way I am, that I am perfect just how I am.  It might be possible that I should love myself and that baby I once was.

So thank you, Ma-a, for writing those journals and most of all, for loving me.

The Art of the Apology

I think the ability to offer a sincere apology is one of the simplest and most powerful art forms.  I have yet to master this art form (even though I probably apologize more often than necessary due to my inflated sense of guilt), and I would love for everyone else in my life to master it, too (for completely selfish reasons, of course.) Just swallow your pride and do it, people!  If you have hurt someone or otherwise behaved badly, even if it has a good excuse, you owe an apology.  Here’s how to do it:

How to give an apology, from Oprah.com:

“1. Full acknowledgment of the offense. Start by describing exactly what you did wrong, without avoiding the worst truths. Once the facts are out, acknowledge that your behavior violated a moral code. It doesn’t matter whether you and the person you’ve hurt shares the same ethics: If you’ve broken your own rules, you’re in the wrong. Accept responsibility.

2. An explanation. A truthful explanation is your best shot at rebuilding a strong, peaceful relationship. The core-deep explanation for your behavior is your key to changing for the better. Explanations help you and your victim understand why you misbehaved and assure both of you that the offense won’t recur. Excuses merely deflect responsibility. Leave them out of your apology.

3. Genuine expression of remorse. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the comment “I’m sorry you feel that way” knows the difference between sincere regret and an attempt to avoid responsibility for bad behavior. Few things are less likely to evoke forgiveness than apology without remorse.

4. Reparations for damage. An apology includes real repair work: not just saying “I’m sorry.” Often there will be nothing tangible to repair; hearts and relationships are broken more often than physical objects. In such cases, your efforts should focus on restoring the other person’s dignity. The question “What else do you want me to do?” can start this process. If you ask it sincerely, really listen to the answer and act on the other party’s suggestions, you’ll be honoring their feelings, perspective and experience. The knowledge that one is heard and valued has incredible healing power; it can mend even seemingly irreparable wounds.”

Cesspool of carcinogens for sale

I am horrified.

Sometime within the past year, in a haze of sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, and overwhelmingness-with-life, I decided we needed a King-sized mattress.

I wanted this so I could get some sleep.  So I could have room in the bed that now contained a squirmy, growing baby.  So I wouldn’t have to sleep on that stupid crack in the middle of our Sleep Number bed.

So we bought this.

After this thing came in the mail (yes, it came in the mail–in the form of a humongous, 100lb roll), we opened it up in our bedroom to let it expand, expecting to sleep on it within a day or two.

Instead, we were cold-cocked with the most awful chemical odor we’ve ever smelled.  I was instantly nauseated and could hardly breathe.  We had to cover the vents in the room, open the windows, and seal off the door while this thing off-gassed.

FOR THREE MONTHS.

After three months, I still could not go into the room, but Alan seemed to think it was “sleepable”. So he slept on it first.

After a COUPLE MORE MONTHS, Mia, Anna and I ventured onto the mattress, and while it still smelled, we were able to fall asleep.

So finally last night, probably no less than a year later, I thought “Hmmmm…I wonder what that mattress is made of?”

And I looked it up.

I am sure you can guess what I found.  I am sleeping on the most toxic mattress available in the world.  That’s right, folks! It contains chemicals banned by the European Union for use in consumer products–chemicals known to cause neurological damage, autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, cancer.  The list goes on.

So we have a memory foam mattress for sale.  $500 or best offer.

Fall cabin camping

This was our third cabin camping trip at Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement this year.  In some ways, it was our favorite one so far.  Although I love all the seasons in their glory, fall really does take the prize for the most beautiful scenery, and on weekends like this, it also has the best weather.

On our other trips I have devoted considerable amounts of time and effort to capture our trip on camera, and though this has been fun and satisfying for me, it’s kept me from really engaging in the adventure.  So this time I just shot a few pics and didn’t carry my camera around.  I missed some camera-worthy moments, but am reminding myself that memories last a lifetime, even without a bunch of pictures.

I love that we have a new tradition that we all can love together, and one that we can afford to keep up for many years to come.

 

I love love.

Today I am grateful for the simple gift of having love in my heart.

Having children has taught me a lot of things, but most importantly it has taught me the meaning of unconditional love.  I love them.  And I love them no matter what.  I will always love them, no matter what.  I will never abandon them, physically nor emotionally.  I love their daddy, although it has taken me many years to choose to give him unconditional love.  Loving unconditionally makes a person vulnerable.  I am okay with being vulnerable now.

I am working on healing my wounded inner child by giving that inner child my unconditional love–the same love I have for my own children.  I got some exercises from my therapist, Ivonne, who is a gift in my life.  I love her.  The exercises are working wonders and I have been doing them every day and moving past some old emotional traumas.  Finally, I am starting to feel a little lighter.

I love my midwife, Jeanne (scroll down on the link to see her).  She has cancer.  I brought her a chicken pot pie yesterday, and it made me really happy.  It made her happy, too. I loved seeing her, giving her a big hug, having her in my heart forever.  I am very sad that she going to suffer and go through chemo.  I want her to do the Gerson therapy instead, but I am not sure whether I should tell her about it or not.  I want to respect her boundaries.  So I am listening to my intuition and waiting to get a sense for whether I should send her the DVD  about Gerson therapy, The Beautiful Truth, or not…

I love my friends.  You are what make my life feel whole. Before I had you, I was lonely.

I love the sunshine today, and I love that my 6-year-old can play out in it all day long with her friend, Adam, who is 4.  I love that they like playing together, even though they are two years apart and different genders.  I love that Mia doesn’t care about things like that.  I love how she likes to play and have fun and be a real kid.

I love that Anna is a little stinker.  I love the words she is learning to say and I love when she likes to run around naked.  I love her chunky little body and I want to bite her.

The end.

in the last couple of days…

my littlest girl has scribbled...

...my biggest girl has made five mailboxes, placed strategically throughout the house...

...and had a filling put into her front tooth (without fuss or tears)...

...and my littlest girl discovered another place to put her scribbles...

...love...

...we ate a special breakfast at home...

...and a ate a special bedtime snack, to celebrate Mia's successful dentist visit, complete with staying up late, watching Mary Poppins, and snuggling on the couch while baby sis was in bed.

Bliss.