October 30, 2014
by Tricia
2 Comments

Missing out

“Look! It looks like late Fall now.”

“What does that mean?”

I explained, all the while realizing that the distinction really didn’t matter much to her. For kids, Fall is all leaves, pumpkins, costumes, apples and those things last the whole season through, straight through to fir trees and glitter and snow. I suppose the distinction doesn’t really matter much to most people. I’ve never really paid attention to it much before now. But yesterday with its golden yellow leaves against grey skies, branches that glowed just days ago now stark and bare, even though it was a bit unseasonably warm, I could feel it. Fall is closing.

fall orange

~~~~~

I experienced, and quite strongly, the fear of missing out long before it became an acronym. Or a hashtag. In college, I used to leave my dorm room door wide open, not wanting to miss the action in the hallway. I used to settle myself in the student center or on the quad to do my work, anxious to be part of whatever was happening out there. In my twenties, I could never settle down. I accepted every party invitation, every offer to hang out, every possible opportunity, just so that I wouldn’t miss out on whatever it was life was sending my way.

Marriage settled me. Motherhood even more. Finally, I didn’t feel called to go everywhere, see everyone, do everything. I had my hands full, yes, but it was more than that. I had my heart full, maybe? I became clearer, I thought anyway, on what missing out really meant. There was a peace in my heart. I’d decline invitations and opportunities and feel completely at peace. The decisions weren’t hard. I knew which one to make every time and I never regretted a single night spent at home, cuddled on the couch. I stopped fearing what I was missing. I stopped feeling like I was missing anything at all.

~~~~~

About a month ago, I saw a blog post that was positively all pumpkin. My instagram feed was a collage of golds and yellows and reds. Beautiful amber sunsets, sweaters and tights amidst leaves and apples. And I began to panic. I’d been busy. Focused on other things. And there I was, I was missing it.

fall creeping

Missing Fall. All the autumn glory. I had not yet bought a can of pumpkin, not yet made a single Fall thing. No crafts, no desserts. We hadn’t been to the pumpkin patch or found a place to go apple picking.

Fall, I was convinced, was passing me right by. Again. Just like it does most years. Distracted by the glow of births and then birthdays, swimming through daily commutes and deadlines and doctors appointments and meetings and all the rest, I’d often end up feeling like I’d slept through Fall, despite how much I wanted to enjoy it. Savor it. And there I was again, mid-September and feeling like it was already over.

~~~~~

I blinked and she started Kindergarten. She was fully into it before I began to really grasp the bigness of the moment. How it was affecting her. And me. I rushed us on through. Other things to do, other places to be, just do this, get dressed, hurry up and into the car, we’ve got to go. But then suddenly, she can touch my shoulder. And she’s writing words, sentences, all on her own, not asking for the spellings. She’s reading and singing and adding and dancing.

kids at the park

The world has begun to expect more of her and she’s keeping up. And when I finally do sit down to watch, it is so beautiful. When I sit to watch her face, her lips moving ever so slightly as she forms letters into words, sorting through the sounds she thinks should be there and stretching them across the page. I’m biased but it is magical. It is magic happening right there in front of me. Except that most days, I miss it.

~~~~~

Of course, my fear of missing out never faded. It’s still here, just as strong as it always was. It’s just shifted. Found new objects of obsession. I don’t fear missing out on the parties or the get togethers or the opportunities. I fear missing out on the seasons. The cycles. The moments. I fear that the entirety of autumn will pass and I won’t have sat with a friend, sipping warm pumpkin spice as the sun sets. I fear that Christmas trees will replace the pumpkins at the farms and we still won’t have picked one. I fear that by the time I finally look up, every last leaf will have fallen and I’ll be missing them so badly until Spring.

And I fear that by the time I finally look up, she’ll be asking for the keys to the car so that she can spend her Friday evenings with friends, rather than begging me for dessert and cuddles on the couch with a movie.

~~~~~

So I’ve started to notice. I’ve keyed into Fall this year. I’ve watched every tree that makes up the view of the world I see every day and I’ve noticed just about every phase. The early pops of color. The slow creeping of reds and yellows and oranges. The full blown glory of nature. And, now, the falling. The increasing bareness. The starkness that tells me we are officially in late Fall. It’s closing. I’ve noticed it all and felt it all. And I’ve caught most of her new bigs. Her increasing understanding of numbers, the way she can now count to ten in French. Her burgeoning decision making process that so closely mirrors mine. The way she thinks of her friends and, also, fears missing out. That he is bigger than he was yesterday. I’m actually seeing his growth now, without the aid of old photos to make it so obvious. He asked for more cereal today, using words and not grunts and I’m not missing any of his baby steps and leaps forward in speech.

boy walking baby

My fear of missing out has not subsided. Not at all. I’m just now putting it to good use.

October 27, 2014
by Tricia
1 Comment

I’m at Scary Mommy today

“Your belly is fat right there.” she said, poking her four-year-old finger gently at my middle.

I looked down and almost defensively blurted out, “No, actually, my belly is not fat right there.” I almost responded as if I’d been attacked. In tone, if not in words, I almost revealed to her that sometimes, I still feel fat right there.

Instead, I said “Oh?” I tried to pass off her comment with an air of nonchalance, as though she may as well have said, “I played in the sandbox at school today.”

Of course, she didn’t say that. She said that I was fat.

Join me at Scary Mommy today where I’m talking about the ways that our own body image and insecurities can leave us fumbling to find the right words for our children.

 

October 24, 2014
by Tricia
3 Comments

Lovely Little Things, 34

A round up of this week’s lovely little things.

Happy Diwali

Kids, particularly kids old enough to understand more about religion and faith, sort of force you to step it up when it comes to religious holidays. Just by their presence in your life, their big eyes looking up to you and asking questions, they force you to engage. Observe. Celebrate. I’m still not clear on my own personal religion or faith or what exactly it is that I believe. But I do believe that my children should be exposed to the traditions and cultures and beliefs that are part of their family history. So this week, we celebrated Diwali. We talked about Prince Rama, his exile, and the diyas that illuminated his return. We placed lights all around our home in celebration.

diwali and halloween

The effect in some places is a little bit more Halloween spooky than good over evil but such is the way when cultures and holidays collide. I’m ok with my kids’ memories of the end of October involving a mesh of costumes and pumpkins alongside diyas and rangoli. It represents their lives, a mesh of cultures coming together and creating something truly beautiful. Something truly lovely.

Desk time
It has been such a busy family season here lately. Birthdays and field trips and school functions, not to mention doctor’s appointments and speech therapy. I remember saying, back in August, that I couldn’t wait for the normalcy of September to settle us all back into a routine. But September and October have been anything but. So when I found myself setting at my desk on Tuesday morning, the house quiet, the sun streaming softly, but pointedly, through the window, I was simultaneously excited and at peace.

desk time

Friends
It’s been a while since I’ve done this so allow me to rave a bit about the amazing people I’ve met through writing and blogging. It can be easy to think of the people who read your words every day, and whose words you read religiously, but whom you’ve never met (or only met once) as not quite real. Or not quite the same as the people who have been inside your home and shared meals with you. But they are oh so real and oh so important. I reached out to a few of mine this week for some help with my book proposal and each and every one replied so quickly and enthusiastically. These friendships are truly amazing.

Planes
We had a rare thing happen on Monday morning. No appointments or meetings or errands that had to be run. We had a morning and absolutely nowhere to be. So we went to the Air and Space museum (the plane museum, as we called it that day). He spent the hour we were there volleying between running off towards every wing and propeller he could find and leaping into my arms because despite his unending love of planes, these ones are quite big and just a bit scary for a little person. I had forgotten, somewhere along the way, that my life right now allows for mornings like these–me, my boy, and some planes. Now that I’ve remembered, we’ll have many more like it.

Favorite words

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I came across this quote while scanning the Words to Live By: Typography Art shop on Zulily today, looking for Christmas gift ideas/hand lettering inspiration. But it’s so perfect, isn’t it?

Happy weekend, all. It’s almost Halloween so definitely play up the silly.

pumpkins and candles

October 23, 2014
by Tricia
6 Comments

Happy Birthday on TV 2!

One thing I’ve learned in my two years as a mom to siblings is that conversations about the subtle differences between ‘fair’ and ‘equal’ rarely make anyone feel good. I suspect this may change as they grow older and follow different interests, needs, and wants. But, today, cookies must be exactly the same size (or, one must be a little bigger in favor of big sister), hugs must be doled out in equal amounts and times, and what one gets, the other better see coming or there will be whining. We’re working our way up to understanding that fair and equal are two very different things. But, until then, I’m on TV again with another birthday wish.

I’m in just about as much disbelief that my little guy is turning two as I was when his big sister turned five a month ago. I expect it will always be this way. Me gazing back to that Tuesday afternoon when I met him for the first time. Remembering as if it were yesterday just how tiny he was, how peaceful a newborn, how I never knew how deeply I needed a son until he arrived. I am stunned at how much life has happened since that day. Just as with his sister, I feel like it’s only been a breath since he joined us and, simultaneously, like he’s been here all along.

Happy Birthday, buddy. Love you and your sweet smile so very much.

Baby Boy Bday from Tricia Mirch on Vimeo.

October 21, 2014
by Tricia
9 Comments

Keep trying to conquer my distractions

“Mommy? Oh. I’ll show you when you are done with your phone.”

The moment she said it, my heart sank. The moment after she said it, she moved on. I’ll never know, now, what she was going to tell me. It’s gone.

girlonslide

The worst part is not that she wanted to tell me something and I missed it. It’s not that I’ll never know. The honest truth is that she has something to tell me about a hundred times a day. I miss one here and there and that is life, we can’t catch them all and we can’t beat ourselves up about every one that falls at our feet. I catch a bunch. I listen a lot.

The worst part is not that what took precedence in that moment was a completely insignificant voicemail that I could have listened to hours, even days later. I had no idea, until I listened, whether that message was left by a doctor or an editor or a potential client. That it was left by the toy store, notifying us that the craft she had made there was ready to be picked up, is just circumstantial.

The worst part is that I had promised myself that I’d keep my phone away. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t miss a moment that morning. I had promised myself that I’d be there, without distraction, wholly and completely present. I had reminded myself that what was most significant in that moment was her and the plans we had for the morning and that anything that she wanted to say or do or be should come before anything that might try to sneak through on my phone. The worst part is that, within minutes, I had already failed.

girlwalking

Earlier this year, I made a resolution to go Hands Free and grasp what really matters. I resolved to put my phone away when I’m with my family, to be distraction free. To stop rushing and multitasking and to just be with my people. I didn’t want my relationships to suffer because I needed to see the latest email to hit my inbox or read the latest response to my tweet. I didn’t want to seek Likes over Love.

But I’ve been failing.

I have a boatload of excuses, of course. I work for myself now. I need to be connected. I need to be responsive. I need to be present and here so that people will come and my work and opportunity and business will grow. And then, of course, there are his needs–speech therapists and doctors appointments and forms to fill out and activities to research. And her with school and friends, parties and playdates, activities and classes. My phone is what keeps me on top of all of these things, moving us all up and onward. Getting us there on time and with the right materials. I’ve told myself that I am doing this for us. That I need to be connected so that we achieve what we want to achieve, individually and as a family.

But that’s all just a bunch of excuses.

I’ve failed only because I’ve stopped trying. Because it is oh so easy to swipe my finger across the screen of my phone and dive into that virtual world when I think nobody is looking. I’ve stopped focusing on the people in front of me. And I’ve stopped focusing on my work. Even when I’m alone, my devices and social media and email and the latest shiny thing to call out from the periphery, pull me away from what I really need to be doing.

boyandtrain

It feels worse the longer it goes on.

I wish I could say that stops today. That as I sit here and type, I’m wholly focused on these words and this moment. That when I’m done working today, I’ll put it all away and forget it while I focus on the humans around me. But after 10 months of this, I know it just isn’t that easy. It’s a process. It’s a journey. All I can do is recommit everyday to get back to it. To recommit. To do my best. To keep trying. Keep trying to conquer my distractions.

~~~~~

Over the weekend, my friend Rachel’s Hands Free Revolution Facebook page was hacked. Some horrible people took over and posted awful things. I worried about her and I missed her. Her words and stories and encouragement keep me going and remind me what is important in this life. They remind me that the time I spend looking into three pairs of deep brown eyes today not only warm my heart today but lay the groundwork for a beautiful future of close and loving relationships.

Thankfully, goodness once again prevailed over evil and Rachel got back in control. If nothing else, that she was able to beat back the hackers and come back better than before reminds me that I can do this. I can conquer.

If you haven’t already liked her page, or if you left over the weekend because of the awful hackers, please go now and bring her inspiring words into your world.

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