I guess I’ll see you next lifetime…

Moving back to a place you’ve lived before comes with a lot of peculiar experiences. One of which is running in to people you’ve known before. Today, I ran in to someone I knew in my early 20’s, when we were both different people.

She was someone I crushed on so hard. I went to the coffee shop she worked at every day, just so I could see and talk to her. I was so young, and in such a strange time of my life. I didn’t understand the world the way I do now. After several months of coffee shop talk, she invited me to a party and I went. I was introduced to a world I’d never known, and while I was trying to make small talk (hell for an introvert) I was trying so hard to fight the urge to run.

I didn’t make any new friends, or get folded in to the social scene, but after the party I decided to ask her out. She said yes and we hung out a few times but nothing ever came of it. I met my ex wife, and moved away. A few years later I ran in to her again at a club. I was dancing, and was really excited to see her. When I said her name, she immediately corrected me and gave me a new name, new pronoun, and a huge hug. I was also given an apology for the weird/abrupt way our dating had gone. In that moment, I understood. He looked so happy, and I was happy for him.

Today, I went out to breakfast with my family. Sitting in a small (amazing!!) bakery across from my husband with my daughter on my lap and my son outside with the puppy and his best friend I saw him again. He came in with what I can only presume is his wife (rings, matching tattoos, public displays of affection) and they were both smiling. I looked at him, and looked at my husband, and realized how my life has changed. It also brought me back to a conversation I recently had on social media.

I live a hetero normative life, yet I do not identify as heterosexual. Outside looking in, I am presumed straight. I have to fight for acknowledgment as a member of the LGBT+ community instead of being relegated to “ally”. My sexuality is fluid and I haven’t identified as straight since I graduated high school. I have had girlfriends, boyfriends, a wife, and now a husband. I am attracted to men, women, and trans-gendered individuals.

As I sat in that bakery this morning, so much was clear to me. One thing was that I am incredibly happy in the relationship I am in right now. I love my husband, and am incredibly loved by him. I love our children, and what we have worked so hard to build. I love how far we’ve come, and while we’ve not always had it easy, it has been worth it.

As I looked at the man who I’d once known I realized that we’d both lived entire lifetimes since we knew each other. I could have said hi, and said “I knew you when”, but really…while a moment of connection would have been nice, it was great just to see the light in his eyes when he looked at the woman he was with. The strength and confidence he carried himself with. Which lead me to wonder, do people see that in me? Do they see the love I receive when I move through the world, and if not, what do I need to do to make sure it shows?

I kissed my daughter and looked at my husband as the boys and puppy appeared near the door. I felt calm. There is so much chaos in our world, and I embraced that years ago. I thrive in chaos, and show up as my best self when I feel useful. I am learning to allow the peace to permeate my soul. I am growing.

 

I am not failing *insert surprise face here*

There is a strange space for introverted, creative people when we are so deep in our process that we over-think EVERYTHING. Those who know me well know that I exist in this space often. I’ve been told that I could talk myself out of the best decision of my life, and do it so well that I’d feel justified on both sides. Truth.

Deylan is in middle school, and it is really difficult for both of us navigating this new territory. The hormones, man…oh…em…gee. I have high standards for my children (and really, all children) but I say all that time that I am as strict as I love. The depth of my love for my children is something I cannot articulate, and I take my responsibility as a parent and caregiver extremely seriously. It is my job to put people in the world who are conscious, contributing, compassionate, and curious. I can change the world by putting good people in to it.

I write all of this because my passion is working with children and their families, and the last year of parenting a pre-teen through transition has shaken my confidence to the core. I have so many friends who come to me for help with their children, yet there were days I was ending my day in tears over parenting my own. I have felt like a failure and a fraud. I’ve been unable to progress with my book and my coaching. And then…I chaperoned a middle school field trip.

Today, my son ran up to his sister, scooped her up in his arms, and took her to his desk. He parted the crowds of kids so she could see the fish, and he did so without one single moment of embarrassment. My pre-teen hugged me, and he proudly answered “Yes, that’s my mom” when the other kids asked. We walked to the beach for a clean up, and he held his sister the entire walk there. He stopped to help her zip up her jacket, and he made sure she could be a part of the process. When the other kids weren’t behaving, he told them to stop, or gave me space as the authority figure to correct them. And when we were standing on the beach? He leaned on me, and tucked his head under my chin.

Several of the kids in that class were good kids. Respectful, engaging, intelligent. Then there were the ones that made me want to yank him out and home school him, like…the moment we got back to the school. I was appalled by their behaviour. And there was my son, walking with me, chatting about normal stuff. In those moments, suddenly I knew I wasn’t failing. All of the self doubt and feeling like a fraud melted away as I walked with my son. I started to believe, truly, that maybe I *can* write my book, and I *can* start working with families on a more in-depth basis.

My son is amazing. He is kind, open, articulate, curious, intelligent, and much more. Yes, we struggle some times, and it an be quite a doozy when we do. We are both strong individuals, and oooooh weeee are we both stubborn. But we both love, oh we love so deeply. Every day I say, “I love you more than my heart can beat!” and it’s true because the only way I would stop is if I were dead. He is such a profound teacher sometimes. Today was a great lesson.

Oh Hai there…

Soooooo…about the unannounced hiatus I took. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall off the face of the blogosphere. I didn’t realize anyone was really reading my blog yet, and I went in to full shut down mode to get through our move. I even took Instagram off of my phone a couple of times. (I know, right?!)

I took some time, focused on the constant chaos that is moving, and started working intensively with a new coach. Our move is complete, and we are working on getting immersed in our new community. The boys have started school, and I am home-schooling Elianah for preschool. I have to back track a little…

We were scheduled to move mid-June, which became end of June. Even with all the time we had, moving was *EPIC*. I hadn’t realized exactly how rooted we’d gotten in the Willow Glen house. I will always love that house, and still wish we’d had a chance to buy it. I also respect that San Jose is not ever where I wanted to stay, and owning a home there would have cemented me there indefinitely.

Moving with young children is always an undertaking. I moved with my ex several times when D was young, but this was my first move with TWO kids and TWO dogs. Right before our move, Einstein started peeing blood and Emma got a demodex diagnosis. When it rains, eh? After a TON (read:expensive) of medical tests and two vet opinions, Einstein’s official diagnosis is cancer. He has a mass in his bladder. It is in an “ok” area for surgery but due to his age we are opting not to remove it. Right now, he is happy and not in obvious pain, so we want to keep him in that space. His new vet (I absolutely LOVE her, Dr Tammy Abraham at Harbor Vet in Santa Cruz) changed his medication to an NSAID that has shown possible tumor reduction in many patients. So, we’re trying it. Emma’s hair is growing back in the spaces where she had the demodex, and she is growing exponentially.

Now for the two legged kids.

Deylan went back and forth between excitement and fear before we moved. He had spent a long time in that house, and wasn’t sure about moving. He was also really excited to live closer to the beach and make new friends since some of his close friends were going to different schools anyway. He was with my ex when we did the major move, and then he came home and set up his room. Now every day, and every day since we got here, I hear, “Can we go to the beach?” I’m telling you, this kid would live at the beach if he could. As a tween, he wants to be DOING all the time. Skate park, surfing, go, go, go.

Elianah had a bit more trouble adjusting. She only knew the Willow Glen house, and for the first two weeks kept asking to “Go Home”. Even now, two months later, she asks, “What is this place?” and “Why are we in this house now?” She is fully potty trained and asks me every day to go to school. I had to wean her before we left San Jose, I had some issues with nursing that lead to force-weaning (yes, I tried. I tried *everything*). I wasn’t ready, she wasn’t ready, and it will definitely go down in my regrets folder. She still likes to cuddle for comfort and to sleep, which is fine with me, as this time is so short.

My husband and I have weathered our first move together, which was hard. We have very different styles of organization. Let’s be honest, we have different styles of a lot of things. Our work ethics are both strong, so we had that in our corner. As couples do, we learned a lot about each other during the time between my resignation and now. My numbness and strong emotions for the first several months had a big impact on us, and the stress of the move was intense for us both. Through a lot of grace and laughter, we have emerged victorious, and I thank God for my husband daily.

During my time away, I did a lot of self-reflection and work. I’ve been working with life coaches since I resigned, and have come a long way. My first coach, David Gibson, is a great motivator who is awesome at inspiring people. He helped me do the work to get through the numbness.At the end of my time with David, I was offered a free call with another coach, who I instantly connected with. Her name is Paula Jenkins and she has helped me move through some major blocks. I cannot recommend working with a coach highly enough. I have my “why” and am moving forward in to the “how” thanks to both of them, especially Paula as she has helped me really unpack some deep emotional stuff.

Once we got mostly unpacked, I researched new churches/temples/places of worship, and have one we’ll be visiting this weekend that I hope will be a good fit. Something I don’t talk about much in public is my faith and spirituality, which are central to who and how I navigate the world. While I tend to be anti-organized religion because of the drama that comes when people get together in the name of God/Goddess/Allah/*insert preferred name here*, I also really need some community. My belief in God is deep and strong, and I need to find somewhere to nurture and grow it. I tend to stick out in religious communities as I blindly follow nothing. Here’s to hoping I can find a place that I fit enough to feel good, but that still challenges me to grow.

OH! Lest I forget, I also received an offer to be an affiliate while I was on hiatus, which…completely blew me away. I missed the chance, so I won’t mention the company, but I felt good about the offer and look forward to entertaining more in the future.

Well, there you go. The digest version of my summer. What did you do? How was your summer? Leave a comment and tell me about it!!!

Up soon: a cheap way to impress your friends when you have them over for coffee!