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Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now Baby

18 Jul

The story about how my daughter broke my heart…

Ava lost her first tooth yesterday. Yesterday morning she woke up and said her tooth was really “wobbly.” I checked…sure enough it was. I thought I had time. I thought it wouldn’t come out for a few days at least. It wasn’t that wobbly. Mike took her to swim lessons and she told him that her tooth felt really weird and that she kept trying to push it back in but it wasn’t working. Sitting on the bench, waiting to get in the pool Mike hears her say, “OH! My tooth just came out!” She hands it to him. I get this goofy, toothless picture at work and all I can think is, “My baby girl is growing up!”

I posted this picture on Facebook and immediately realize I am not prepared for the tooth fairy to visit. Apparently the tooth fairy of 2012 brings fairy dust and gold coins? I did not know this. So after the wee one goes to bed, the rumor is that the tooth fairy was hard at work trying to do more than just slip a $5 bill under Ava’s pillow. I think the tooth fairy did a fairly decent job with the limited supplies she had.

It’s a milestone losing your first tooth. I remember losing mine. I remember being so excited for the tooth fairy to come. As a parent of a child who loses their first tooth, it’s also a milestone. She lost her baby tooth…her baby tooth! She lost the tooth that kept me up at night when she was a baby. It’s these little markers of babyhood that keep falling away and reminding me that my baby girl isn’t as much baby as she is girl now.

And then there was this morning. She woke up excited to see what the tooth fairy left. We read the note and she decided she would use the money to buy herself a toy. We got ready for school. Usually when I drop her off in the morning, I walk her all the way to the classroom and give her a hug and a kiss. She hugs for a long time…she’s not a big fan of drop-off. She doesn’t like me to leave her. Until this morning.

We walked through the gate and another one of her classmates was walking in at the same time. I went to the office to sign her in and she kept walking. I stopped and said, “Ava, aren’t you going to wait for me?” She said, “No mom. I’m going to walk with my friend.” Watching her walk away I said, “Well, aren’t you going to say goodbye?” And she glanced over her right shoulder and nonchalantly said, “Bye mom!” And she kept on walking.

I stood there staring at her back. Making sure she wasn’t going to turn back around. Making sure she wasn’t going to run back for a hug. Making sure she was okay. I worried she would realize in 2o minutes that we didn’t say goodbye…at least not in our traditional way. I walked into the office a little teary-eyed with the other child’s mom and she said, “And so it begins…”And my heart was torn. On the one hand I was so proud of her independence, and on the other I thought, “There goes my baby.” Two big milestones in a 24 hour period…my heart can only take so much.

And I do feel like this is how it happens with Ava. With each milestone she reaches, she gains more confidence in being a big kid and she lets go of me a little more. And I know that this is the way it’s supposed to be. I know that my parents watched me grow and gain independence until one day I was 32 with a daughter of my own. They gave me the freedom to grow and let me know that it was okay to let go a little at a time. But how they dealt with it, well, I’m still trying to figure that one out because my heart hurts a little today.

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A Look Back

5 May

Google hosted video content is going to be removed so I received an email to make sure to pull all my videos off of there. It has been SOOOOO long since I’ve even checked to see what’s on there and when I came across this, I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s so sweet to take a look back. Have you ever seen a little girl so excited about lotion?

Why Starbucks Matters

13 Aug

We are moving tomorrow. You think I would be concerned about Ava adjusting to a new house…I’m not. What is bothering me this morning is I’m worried about our new Starbucks. You see, our first Starbucks in El Segundo there was DJ and Diane, or Di-Wan, as Ava called her. They were baristas who were very much a part of Ava’s first two years. They watched her go from being a tiny, squishy baby to being a toddler. There were the customers at that Starbucks who watched as well. There were three older ladies who were there every morning that just adored Ava and Ava adored them. We called them “The Ladies”. Holidays would roll around and The Ladies would bring in little presents for Ava and show her pictures of their grandchildren. It was a sad day in Starbucks when we moved. We missed them and they missed us.

We found a new Starbucks and it took awhile but we found a new Starbucks family. There was a wonderful barista named Cathy. She took to Ava quickly because she had a granddaughter the same age. Again, Ava made friends with regular customers and the holidays rolled around and there were gifts galore. I’m telling you…this little girl can just capture people’s hearts. So on Wednesday we went in to say bye to Cathy. On the way to Starbucks Ava started crying because she doesn’t want to say goodbye and she’s going to miss Cathy so much. Her words, not mine. And I know it seems silly. You’re probably thinking, “Just take her back to visit.” And I will, but it’s still sad. This woman has been a person she sees daily for almost 2 years…she’s really gonna miss her you guys. No joke.

Not to mention there are lots of memories there….she provided alot of material for this blog on our daily visits. There were the numerous incidents with Weeman. There was the time I had to call and reserve her blueberry muffin in order to avoid a meltdown. There was the big announcement she made there and embarrassed the hell out of me. Then the time she accused a man of going after her hiney…embarrassment again. Oh and the guy she totally tried to pick up there. Lots of funny things happened at Starbucks and it really feels like we’re starting a new school.

I’ve scoped out our new Starbucks but I’m worried. Will they love Ava as much as our other baristas do, or will she simply be another kid who comes into Starbucks with her mom? Because at our previous Starbucks, she’s achieved celebrity status…everyone knows Ava and everyone who knows her, loves her. Here’s to hoping for a smooth transition…

It’s Not You. It’s Me.

6 Aug

Dear Blog,

I love you. I really do. These next few weeks may be a little tough and you may feel a little neglected, so I just want to explain myself. You see, we bought this house…

It’s our first home and it has a yard. Yes…a yard. I know…no more concrete living for us…

And it has all of these wonderful rooms. These wonderful rooms need to be cleaned and painted…

Baseboards need to be removed and replaced. Counters need to be scrubbed…

Ava’s Room needs to be fit for a true princess…

We need a room prepared especially for guests. A room that will also house the place where I write to you and tell you all my thoughts and remind you you are loved…

Carpets must be replaced to create a playroom to send Ava off to while I’m trying to write those thoughts…

And then when that’s all done, I must create and decorate the space where I will lay my head at night…

So you see, I’m busy making my dreams come true. Making my family’s dreams come true. So if I take a few days off from you and neglect you, just think of the stories I’ll have to tell and the pictures I’ll have to show. Think about the parties I’ll host and memories I’ll make. You understand, don’t you?

Happiness is not luck…

3 Aug

I recently read the following in a book and it got me thinking. Here’s what I read:

“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

How true that is for me. I’ve always believed that being happy is a decision you make. Life is filled with problems and hardship and I believe it’s up to me to decide how to handle those things. How easy it would be to sit around and feel sorry for myself. But that’s not easy is it? It takes energy to be sad, just as it takes energy to be happy.

The thing I struggle with the most is resentment. I resent many things and I’m working hard, always, to let go of those resentments because it eats at me and fills me with anxiety and mostly anger. And it’s hard. It’s hard to let go of something in which you feel you are entitled to feel. But I’ve also come to realize, I can’t control things that have happened or that will happen. I can only control my mind…I can only control how I choose to deal with it and let it affect me.

Sometimes when I’m falling asleep at night or when I first wake up in the morning those feelings are there. They are boiling and rising to the top of my throat causing my heart to do funny things that make me question if my heart is going to jump out of my chest. And I find myself repeating over and over, “Let it go Janice. You have to let it go.”

Don’t mistake what I’m saying here…I’m not having panic attacks every morning and night. I wake up happy almost every day and I enjoy life. It’s when the moments are rough or the memories of past hurt start creeping up that I have to remind myself to let go of what I can’t control and focus on what I can. And the only thing I can control is my mind. I can’t control my feelings but I can tell myself that while it may be okay to have those feelings, I have to accept them and move on from them. I have to let them go. Otherwise it will eat away at me and that…that’s just not healthy.   

What are you holding onto that you need to let go of?

Have you ever almost been eaten by a shark?

26 Jul

So about twelve years ago I took a trip to Catalina Island. Catalina is right off the coast of California and has some great diving sites. So, my boyfriend, at the time, took me there for an anniversary. I love snorkeling, so it was assumed I would love scuba diving. I’m slightly massively afraid of being eaten by a shark. I’m convinced I’m what’s for dinner each time I get into the ocean, but since I love the water so much I face the fear often.

 So here we are at Casino Point. I’m not a certified diver…the ex was. So we find a guide to do a guided dive. I get all geared up. We get in the water, snorkel out and start to descend. I paid attention to the instructions on how to equalize your ears, but my left one didn’t cooperate and at 27 feet down, I felt a pop and a stabbing pain in my ear. I gesture to the guide to go up.

My head pops out of the water and I’m bleeding out of my left ear. This is bad…really, really bad. Because not only am I bleeding out of my ear, I’m in an ocean where there are great white sharks and I’m BLEEDING OUT OF MY EAR!!!! The only way this story could get better is if I had steaks tucked under my arms. So anyway, I hear screaming…lots of it. I look towards the shore and all of these people are screaming for us to get out of the water.

In this instant, I was convinced that Jaws was behind me and if I wanted to live I should swim like crazy to get to the stairs to get out of the water. So I did. All the while I’m crying because a) I’m in pain and b) Jaws is gaining on me and I don’t want to die!!!!

I get to the stairs of the seawall, I step up, relieved that I’ve made it out alive, only to forget I have a weight belt on. I quickly proceed to flip over backwards right back INTO THE WATER!!!! I was certain at this point I was just going to land right in the shark’s mouth…why not, right?

After we get out of the water, we find out that a diver had gone missing. He had done a solo dive (not smart) and had been under far longer than the amount of air in his tank. This story has a sad ending, I’m afraid. At the time we came up, they needed people out of the water so they could find his body. It was a very traumatic experience on all levels.

As for my left ear…well, I’ll never be able to dive again. I ruptured my eardrum that day and once you have a ruptured eardrum it’s nearly impossible to get it to equalize while diving. We spent 3 hours in the emergency room and then the rest of the day watching them try to find the missing diver. He wasn’t found until the next afternoon.

Donating Dreams…Kinda

23 Jul

In preparation for the impending move, I’ve decided it’s best to get a head start on cleaning out my closet. The top shelf of my closet is reserved for all the jeans that no longer fit but that I hope and dream will fit again. They are my pre-baby jeans. If you know me well, you know I’m a jean whore. I have close to 50 pairs of jeans in my closet. I love jeans like a fat kid loves cake. So last weekend I donated my hopes and dreams to Goodwill. I pulled all of them down, folded them up and gave up. Almost.

Before I got pregnant with Ava I was 125 lbs. Six months after I had her I was 128 lbs. Three pounds is not alot of weight by any means, but my body changed. My hips changed and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I finally have. No matter how skinny I get, my hips (that I love) will never be as narrow as they once were. These hips have birthed a child and there is no getting around that. And I’m okay. I really am. My body did an amazing thing and my hips serve as my reminder of that.

Remember that “almost” up there in that first paragraph? Well, there are one pair of jeans I couldn’t part with. They are my first pair of designer jeans. The first, but not last, time I was silly enough to drop $200 on a pair of jeans. I loved those jeans. I wore them every damn weekend for five years! The jeans have been on dates with Mike. They have been to San Francisco, Austin, Houston, San Diego, Vegas, Florida, Mexico and places in between. They have been wine tasting with friends. I have karaoke’d in them. There’s even a picture of me doing cartwheels in those jeans…really…cartwheels. I wore the jeans when Mike proposed and again at our engagement party.

After I had Ava I hung the jeans on the bedroom door to keep myself motivated to fit back into them. Thee jeans made my ass look fabulous. So no, I will not part with them. We have been through too much together for someone else to wear them…for someone else to take my memories with them. So even though I know I will never button them again, they will always stay with me. I simply can’t part with them.