Birthday Reflections

Well we've been here almost a year. This week marks my birthday and Father's Day.  Usually I go for a long run on my birthday, but not this year.  While I'm still running, thank goodness, Yoga is becoming more in my life. So rather than a long run, I honored my birthday with 42 sun salutations. 

Friday night I had the privilege to get my birthday celebration off early with dinner with my dear friend Dorinda and she pretty much summed my thoughts on the past year when she said, "It sounds like everything turned out better than you expected and you like everything more." 
Some highlights...

Anna Cate finished the 6th grade with a health flare up, but before that, she had the healthiest year she has had in years! She has made some really nice friends and for that, we've been grateful. 

In the Fall, she ran cross country (because I made her); in the winter, she played Junior Pro basketball and in the spring, she was the baseball manager. She set her sights on making the volleyball team (mostly so she would have a great excuse not to run cross country), and made it. She also got a phone. She also won 4H speech contest for the county, and placed at the regional level. I loved watching her work hard on the facts and organization of the speech and listening to her say it over and over to refine the delivery. It was good. 
Mr. Mayberry, Anna Cate's 6th grade Math teacher . . .and mine.

Next year, I will teach 7th grade and as much as I would love to bring her to school with me, she said, "Mom, I've been the new kid this year -- I don't want to do it again."Just recently I've joined a friend via an online community to support raising healthy girls, and was encouraged to ask her what she thinks makes her strong and she said, "Accomplishing my goals."

Molly spent 2nd grade learning all about using the word "fixin to," some lessons about friendships and the importance of inner peace at recess.  played soccer, basketball and softball.  In my uncoordinated experience with sports, I hold the very biased opinion that she is quite athletic. 

She's also quite a little sage.  I listened to a podcast with Brene Brown on her research about the relationship between "belonging and fitting in." Brene Brown explains, "In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all."

 I said I totally believe this Molly -- what do you think? She said, "yes, I don't fit in at my school because I don't say "fixin to" but I know I belong there."  Yes, that. 

For our family, we of course enjoyed living near and socializing with my family. In fact, I hope all would agree that the transition has been easy. I actually love not having to visit them, but living near them. BJ did an amazing job setting up our little homestead, being a stay-at-home Dad and all-round supportive husband. We are on our second round of chickens. In January, the girls saw two goats born. 
His landscaping and gardening abilities are note-worthy and his affection for art is growing. He reached out to a group of artists for an idea to create a mural on a side of the garage, which turned into Mimosa Mondays with a group of artists who have shared their talent to add some color and funk to Park Place.

This summer, the girls have joined a swim team in a neighboring town, and we've enjoyed that as a family. They have made friends. 

So about my year and reflections. . . .

I worked too much but finding such joy in where and what I was teaching helped me with the transition. I also have a beautiful drive to work, enjoyed a lot of lectures and podcasts so the 40 minute drive wasn't so bad. 

I  have promised myself I won't work as many hours away from home next year. When we first moved here, I think I really needed the distance.

As we approach the year mark, I have so much peace and feel like I live here.  In December, we got a Peloton bike and I found a yoga studio I loved in Nashville, and both inspired me to start teaching yoga here in Centerville, and it has been nice for me and I hope for others.  In creating niches that are new to me, I've tried to balance comfort with the chance to re-invent myself in the journey.  

 Moving home and raising daughters has reminded me what a feminist I am. It is part of the reason I'm teaching yoga for girls this summer, and helping me conquer some demons of body image for myself and hopefully with my family and community.   Love your body, move it and take care of yourself! 

In some ways it feels like so much changed while I was  keeping my head down trying to keep my marbles. I looked up and the girls got older at the same time BJ became a stay-at-home Dad, and I feel like I became less of a Mom.  
But one of my favorite Peloton instructors last week said, "Mamas, your kids are watching you." I hope my girls have watched me trying to land on my feet, work hard, take care of and love my body so I am there in the long haul for them, while I know their Daddy is taking care of the tasks at home.  

From me, they will learn to take care of themselves and from BJ, they will learn to take care of others. 

(Molly is trying to do pull ups on a gate while I do a workout) 

So, my thoughts this birthday mirror my path with yoga -- live in the present; be aware, but not attached to my thoughts and fears. I can't help but think about this time I last year when I did sort of lose my marbles, and so many emotions attached with our move here at the time. Yet, I can't let myself think too much about the future, what this nasty disease of Parkinson's will do to our life. The past is there -- the future is, too, but my focus is on the present. . .and all the beauty in my back yard, literally and metaphorically. 

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
 -Albert Camus