Hello all. It's been a little while since I have been here. It's nice to be back. As you know I am basically couch surfing with my three kiddos while my husband fixes our house. For a few days I am back in Pittsburgh, and it is so overwhelming to be here. Visiting my husband, but not really having him as my husband, sucks. I could be more poetic, but I think this more clearly expresses my thoughts. Seeing everybody, that is also hard. I want time with each person, but time is my most valuable commodity right now. Everyone asks me how it's going, and it's all I can do to not cry and fall apart. I am tired. Spread thin. Ungrounded. Overwhelmed. My children, even more so. And I'm supposed to be the one to hold it together for them. They need some stability, and right now I'm the only constant in their lives.
Of course, when I share this I get mixed results. "Oh hon, I'm so sorry." "Are you sure this is what you really want to do?" "Well, you knew it would be hard." Labor is hard, but no one ever says to the pushing mama, well, you knew it would be hard. Because in that moment she just needs support. "You're almost there!" "You're doing great!" "Soon you will have your child (dream) and it will all be worth it!" "You are so brave." These are the things that feel supportive to me. Also, my wonderful aunt, with whom I'm currently staying, just brought me a steaming plate of rice and lentil loaf with steamed veggies. That's about as supportive as they come!
I've spent more time in the car these past weeks, than I have in a really long time. Turns out me and the kids are pretty good travelers together. Once we get where we're going things tend to fall apart. But on the road things flow. On the last long drive we listened to a book on CD called something like "The Twenty Nine days of Giving." It's a beautiful memoir by a woman who, two months after her wedding, was diagnosed with MS at the young age of 32. Her life quickly unraveled and her health plummeted. When things were particularly bad, she called one of her spiritual healer friends and was given advice to give 29 gifts in 29 days. Sometimes it was money, but more often than not, it was a tissue to a crying friend, a flower to a stranger on the street. A phone call to someone who needed it. By learning to give consciously, she opened her heart to the vast abundance in her life, lived in gratitude, and received more than she could imagine.
Very moving. And inspiring. I wanted to take on the 29 day giving challenge. There is a whole website dedicated to it now. Because right now in my life I feel I am living in a place of scarcity. No money, no stability, no time, no energy. I want to live in abundance. But I wasn't quite sure how I could start giving gifts, when I haven't had much contact with people. Especially if I bite the bullet and move to the farm with the kids. No husband, no friends, and really nobody, because I don't plan on going anywhere besides the supermarket.
Then I gave my first conscious gift. I stayed at my Mother-in-laws last week and was giving my kids a bath. Absentmindedly I began tickling my sons back with my fingertips. "Ooh mama, that feels good." He loves having his back tickled or scratched. I stop and say to myself, 'This is my gift to him.' And suddenly I am not just a mom doing what a mom is supposed to do. I am someone who is giving. I am a giver. And all the anger that had accumulated between us that day starts to dissolve. Because you can't consciously give to someone while you are mad at them. I love him a little more now, not from what he could do for me, but for what I could do for him. And in all my depletion, I still have something to give. I feel gratitude.
Life is constantly giving me opportunities to give. I just need to open my eyes and give from my heart. Give without grudge. Without resentment. Without expectation. It always bothered me that in my family, there was this code about giving. It was: If I give to you, I want to be acknowledged. And if you don't then I don't want to give to you in the future. If there was no thank you card, there were bad feelings. And though I see nothing wrong with a thank card or call, I do resent the expectation. It means that I can't thank with my heart. It takes away my chance to give.
So this is my new task, to begin consciously giving. As a mother I am giving all the time. But doing it with an open heart, without expectation, without duty or resentment, brings so much more joy to the task. Perhaps, when I know I will have 29 days of internet service, I will sign up for the giving challenge. But, for now, you will all be my witnesses as I look for opportunities to give.
By the way, Shabbos is my 30th birthday. Yep, I have a few more hours to proclaim loudly that I AM STILL IN MY TWENTIES DAMMIT! And even though life is almost unbearable, not to mention scary, full of unknowns and completely deprived of a good night's rest, I have a lot to be grateful for. Before I turned thirty I have met and married my husband, birthed and raised three unbelievable children, withstood and made it through enormous challenges, found a dream, went for it. Not bad, eh?
I saw this quote and loved it:
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy Shit...What a ride!"
1. An hours break to write this
2. Shabbos is almost here
3. I'm going to see my hubby
4. The support of family and friends
5. Lentil and rice loaf