With a super cool heart...

An avid blog reader and internet user who figured...it can't be that hard. Famous first and sometimes last words.

Friday, October 3, 2014

from there to here

"Its different here, not the same as there." The opening line of a children's book and already it resonates.Writing on the major cross-country move that found us in Charlotte seemed inevitable, what seemed impossible was summing it up without glamorizing what I had left behind for the sake of nostalgia or diminishing what I have now for the sake of... well... nostalgia.

So here I am in bed with Sawyer reading a book that tells the story of a little girl who has moved from Northern Saskatchewan to Toronto. The differences between “there” and “here” begin very neutral and grow to a bit more negative. What is amazing though is how one connection changes her feelings, suddenly it becomes “It’s different there. Not the same as here.”

Nothing is the same here! Truly, for my friends in Redlands who read this... I miss walking Olive St. like a pain in my soul. There is no summing it up but the truth is I no longer live this life for fulfilling what is most comfortable, it is venturing into the unknown and showing these babies everything possible with all the grace I can ever muster. So I do that, everyday! We go on new and familiar adventures everyday! Meet people, become regulars, and collect our memories because truth be told- something amazing is happening in Charlotte, NC and it may not be enough to keep us here but I will be proud someday to look back on these memories and know we were present for a city's transformation. 

And just like that book, my blog text may be spare but in this post let honestly share the truth- the emotions at times are one of loss, displacement, and tads of loneliness. The story of anyone who has ever moved is similar... its a new kind of something... it changes...a new friend can part the stormy skies and change your perspective from there to here. I have met people that have become dear friends, I will cry over them if and when the time to leave Charlotte comes.

So I know you want some nitty gritty details, here they are-
As a born and raised California girl these are more UN-censored thoughts and feelings on Charlotte to date-

JESUS!? Do I really have to drive 20 minutes to get to a Trader Joes that requires accessing a parking garage and an elevator!? Bullshit!

REALLY!? I can't walk to a park or a coffee shop from really anywhere in the damn city? Not my house, my sister in laws house, or even that uber cool childrens library! Must we live out our days in a car.

WHY?! Why does everyone drive so f-in terribly!? Seriously, I know you think your "traffic" is horrible but really- ITS NOT! So lets GO!

ACCENTS!? Think about them when you name your children! Just like in Spanish, people in the south have a distinct sound that comes with the letter A. Sawyer sounds like saaawya to someone with a thick southern accent. Like waataa towa...thats water tower in a southern sense.

FOOD!? Holy hell! This requires its own, dedicated post. There is so very little good ethnic food in this city it feels almost sinister. I want a delicious burrito, wrapped in foil, that isn't covered in cheese and red sauce! I shouldn't have to use utensils on a burritto! Indian food...Jamaican food...I want the basic comfort of living in Southern California... good food!

The RAIN! Simply...so much rain falls from the sky here! It creates super creatures that threaten to fly away with your youngest child.

THE BUGS! Ok, I may have already mentioned that but holy hell there are SO many flying, buzzing, biting creatures here. Everyday it feels like a fight...they are winning.

But thank you to the Queen City for truly caring for the development of your youngest citizens through library, parks, and endless engaging events for kids! I am experiencing moments in the backdrop of this city that I will cherish when I am old and lacking more than just memories.

Today is my best friends birthday and I miss her like mad! This is the first birthday we have ever spent apart in a decade of friendship. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIM TAYLOR!  That truth sucks! But no matter the miles, I love this girl!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Come on child...

If I am going to get back at this the way I intend, I have to begin with honesty. I will never have the words right, which is what has kept me for this long. Although my posts were few and trying to find my voice, I was present. What derailed things was finding out that my Mom, who had only been missing at that point, was no longer missing but instead found.

We all want to be found! Find our true self...our passion....

But some people don't. They want to be lost. They want to be forgotten. This is lost on me. I have a desire for appreciation- both to be appreciated and to truly appreciate all the elements of the human condition. I want to soak in the details, the conversation in the booth across the way, the texture of his sweater when you hug him... my passion for grasping those details will prevail even on my death bed.

So to find that my Mom had willingly put herself in a position I never could, giving her life to the earth in the form of water, all to be found nearly a year later...

it was beyond me...bigger than me and smaller, all at the same time.

She always had control of her life...every bad relationship or shit job, the woman showed me how to never let anything become you. So this threw me! My Mom committed suicide.

I have no objections to choosing your own exit. Me and her talked about the topic just a few weeks before she decided to turn her back on the world and I respected her ideas as someone separate from me, but not as the mom I desperately wanted to know and love. But I overwhelmingly supported her for who she had always been... her own person! Not my Mom, your neighbor, their employee, or anyone else but Lenora Brown! her own person, by a burn or the fire you would know her for who she was and nothing else.

This is why I can't believe she didn't walk through the fire. She was not born to disappear.

But life is for the living so lets get on with it.

I miss her like mad but I realized that it has been a year and my voice should not be contained on account of loss.

So while the sky rains and storms the way it can in Charlotte, NC., I say, let it welcome something new even if it is only this post.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

take care of the living first

...or why my house isn't always clean

My grandma was a Native American with a unreliable mind. She was eccentric and strange to some, never kept a clean house and loved the order of things stacked one on top of another. On more than one occasion I remember her telling me to "always take care of the living first" and that is how I remember her. Watering her plants, feeding the cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs, and dogs, and doing what she could to keep my belly full.This responsibility to the living creatures she surrounded herself with was was her burden and purpose. While my grandpa got up in the morning to drink coffee and do busy errands that amounted to nothing, my grandma stayed home, milled around and cared for the living.

By many standards my grandma was what you would call crazy. I always knew she was a bit different but never realized the depth of it until I was an adult. But I love her madness to this day and those words are a simple phrase I live my life by.  Being in a career that involves both paper and people work, I always keep in mind to care for the living first. At home I will walk right by a sink full of dishes to feed a meowing cat without an ounce of guilt. I want to live this life simply, surrounded by happy animals and being present for the living and ever-changing details.

Although I have room for improvement, I am proud of this life so far. Don't get me wrong, some days I wish I was a compulsive cleaner that cared about the details that make for an always-clean-house, but its not me and it never will be.I go for the things that make for happy memories, even if that means a mess will be made. My childhood lacked a lot of things, including an overly common word children hear so much of- NO! In every situation Sawyer finds her wild little self in these days, I step back and think to myself- is she going to hurt herself doing this? If the answer is no then I allow her to carry on. There is no consideration to the mess it will make or how many little things I will have to pick up because of it- I want to let her explore, fulfill her curiosity, and not constantly be told NO! So have I let her play in the dogs water dish? Yes! She loves it! Did I lay a towel down to avoid a slippery disaster- yes! When Aaron looked at me like I was crazy, did it phase me? Nope! I come from a long line of crazy and my only hope is that I channel it well.

So cheers to the living! I will care for, cherish, feed, love-on, and adore all the heart beats (big & small) in my space until they don't beat any more.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Heart-felt fear

The boss lady herself!
I got my dream job 10 months ago tomorrow and in a little over 4 months I am getting a promotion!

Last night I was overwhelmed by how much I love that job, my "boss" and how good I wanted to be for her at that job,  yet how ill equipped as a person I am for the responsibility. One of my biggest insecurities in life is my ability to truly be a good mom. Through psychology classes and personal sessions I sorted through those feelings. The fear that you can only be what you have seen terrified me. I didn't want to be my mom because simply, that meant not being there and if I know anything about being a good mom, it starts by showing up and sticking around.

I feel like as a kid I read an article about working at NASA, it read perfectly, glamorous if you will, grew up, got that dream job, and was sent to work with no training and that old, inspiring, article folded up in my pocket. I have so little experience to go off of but all the work ethic in the world!  

There are a load of things I know I can do right as a mom. Tie up a pair of skates just-right tight, kiss any size ouchie, do picture day hair, ignore any mess because they are having so much fun, encourage adventure, make it to the county final with a science project... you get the picture. But the other things...I worry. I want more than anything to be The Giving Tree, to keep on loving even when it makes no sense. Yet I worry...

So I cried.While Aaron fed the dogs during a break in the Kings game, I cried. I let that all too familiar fear rise all the way up and out. I remembered the young 17 year old Sara that went off to Boston to be nanny, all to test a fear. Over three years I "tried-on" motherhood by being a nanny to three kids and I left feeling whole and confident. I had a giving tree within me that I would nurture until it was my time. Yet the fear still overwhelms me in the quiet moments.Simply, I just want to be a good mom!

Today is Aaron's Mom & Dads 38th wedding anniversary. Though stories of them may be slim on this blog, they are two of my favorite people. I adore them. One of the sweetest compliments I have ever got was from them saying how much Aaron and I remind them of their young love. I use them as a model for what I want for my family, Aaron's mom as a role model for motherhood, and the comfort of being part of something complete in this world- a family.

Wish me luck in this journey because besides hope, its all I- by myself, have got.


And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Mike and Katie Fredericks! I do just adore you both and the love you have for each other is inspiring to say the least!  Here's to many more anniversaries together!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The wait for weight

A women's weight is a heavy topic. No pun intended. 

I remember in the first few months I was pregnant with Sawyer gaining weight at an amazing rate. Going from 105lbs, give or take, to almost 130lbs in 4 months was an experience. The day that we took the dogs on a walk and I felt poured into my favorite pair of jeans was the turning point into maternity clothes and an interesting revelation into how my weight is directly tied to my sense of health and beauty.  Gaining weight and not working out go together naturally but it felt like defeat. At the same time, I did not want to work out, I kept saying "I don't want to shake this baby up at all- she is here to stay." I was scared to loose that baby so if it took weight and laziness to keep her, then that is what I was going to do. Throughout the pregnancy I would gain a total of 55 lbs, and no matter how many times my mid-wife or the Dr. told me it was necessary and I was "too skinny" to begin with, each pound still felt like an unwelcome guest.

So here I am making baby #2. I should interject now to include the fact that this post is spontaneous and rooted in a perfect storm of personal feelings and parent comments. Last night before bed I asked Aaron if he thought my belly was too small for how far along I am, wanting him to somehow recall what my 19 week Sawyer belly looked liked. We could have easily looked up the pictures from our weekly belly shots with Sawyer but I was eager to go to sleep, so I brushed it off and away I went. Or so I thought. It had stuck with me, surfaced in my dreams and in those brief moments of waking through the night. My belly is small, does that mean my little boy isn't healthy? And every variation of that thought paced my sleepy head. Then this morning I had a mom at school say that I was looking skinny... you've lost weight...you look good...all of this before I could tell her that I was pregnant. When I did she replied "Are you sure? You don't look like it." And there I stood wishing my pants didn't fit.

I returned to my office, filled with moms and delicious food to celebrate Mother's Day in Mexico. Even though I had a bagel for breakfast I  welcomed the huge plate of food the moms had made for me. I filled my belly up with celebration for motherhood, all the worry and joy that comes with it, and let go of my belly sizing angst.

At 19 weeks today, I am one week from the 1/2 way point! That is almost unbelievable to me. This belly will surely grow twice as fast in the second half of this pregnancy and I will be reassured that each baby belly is as different as the baby that grows within it.

Forgive the bathroom shots and rainy day clothes- this was the best I could do for such a spontaneous post.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Here's to the small things...

The thought struck me last night- Sawyer is 9 months old and we have not dropped her! Now this must read as such a simple and small measure of "good" parenting but it strangely felt really good. I highly doubt that every child by the age of 9 months has been dropped accidentally, rolled off of something, or just plain had a unexpected tumble- but I was really proud that ours hadn't.

I remember when Sawyer was just a tiny babe and I watched Aaron walk away from her while she was on the changing table, so he could go get her a change of clothes. With informative care I told him what you have to worry about when you walk away from them in a place they could roll off of. "You would feel horrible if something happened and she fell." Here we are, 9 months of sky high throws, turning our back on the changing table, and "just sit here for a minute" moments and Sawyer has never had a tumble. I am proud!

When I was a nanny, on one of many trips with all the kids to the beach, I packed 9 month old Jackson into the stroller to walk with the girls to the concession stand for ice cream. Well I hadn't buckled Jackson in, he was going through a wiggly phase, and he came out the front of the stroller and I rolled right over him with the stroller. I FELT HORRIBLE! He thought it was funny! Olivia, 6 at the time, says- "That's why you are supposed to buckle him in." I picked him up, covered in sand and away we went to the concession stand- leaving the stroller in that spot until the walk back. That moment was strangely formative. On the ride home the girls asked me,  "Are you going to tell Mom about Jackson's fall this morning?" And for a moment I actually thought about it. Of course with  6 and 7 year old witnesses she was going to know one way or another but naturally I was going to tell her. She laughed it off and said something along the lines of- if that is the worst mistake you ever make then you will earn a place in the Nanny record books. But I took a different kind of caution for the details after that.

Here I am now, a mother to my own child realizing, I can't say for certain I carried that into being a parent to Sawyer. I am relaxed, not afraid of germs, think perfection is for the birds, know that accidents happen and act cautiously but not overly.

So I celebrate that at 9 months we have not dropped Sawyer! YAY US! And maybe that is something we all need to do, seek out and celebrate the small accomplishments rather than acknowledge our own self-criticisms.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Masa y manteca

My lunch made me realize I was looking for comfort. Two tamales, rice, beans and watermelon water, although it sounds much better in spanish- aqua de sandia.

A mexican girls comfort food, all piled up on a stryofoam plate.

Kids, parents, board members, teachers, and still... ringing phones. Today was a rare day that I didn't leave my personal life at the door, it somehow had arrived in my office before me, unpacked and settled in- waiting patiently for my arrival. Your grandfather is dying, why did you pass up that interview, have you talked to the Detective, the nanny, you don't have a Masters degree...
but I had work to do, professional Sara needed everything to wait until the end of the day or at least till lunch time.

I was present for it all but completely in my head and somehow in the heads of everyone else- the interactions, the beauty, the love, the insanity and emptiness we all feel and how trivial it can be at times. My head was chaotic but my lipstick was perfect and it all felt strangely calm. That overwhelming sense of being part of something great(er). This is part of everything. The human experience was showing it self in a fit of commotion  and I was overwhelmed by it various shades and their ability to all exist at the same time.

So once the hunger and a quiet moment came, I went to find comfort and think. The mexican bakery on the block was perfect. The smell of sweet bread and tortillas was exactly what I needed. I smeared my lipstick and sorted my thoughts while the masa and manteca filled my belly and souls emptiness. I walked back into my office knowing- We are all trying to move forward, to find our truth, to be better, to share... to share something (ANYTHING!) helpful, meaningful, or at the very least, honest.

A tall man of God who got complicated with age.
My grandfathers time has come, this job isn't forever- but that one wasn't for you, Natalia is wonderfully amazing, I may never see my mom again, you CAN get your Masters with 2 children...and many more.

Call your Grandfather and get to work!

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