Monday, March 30, 2015

Letter To Me

Dear Self:

I can guess what just happened: you're having a day (either far better or much worse than usual) and you were struck by the sudden thought, "What was I doing this time last year?" (Or the year before, or two years before... it might take you awhile to forget and remember this letter. It's okay. Things return when the time is right.) So you're looking up today's date in the archives.

I know what you're really wondering, too, the thing you always wonder when you read old posts, the thing that's sometimes hard to discern behind chatty descriptions of workdays and weather and latest projects. Were you happy? And on this point, I want to be clear: you are happy. Really happy. In fact, sometimes you're so completely happy that you wonder if you were really ever happy before, the way that couples who have been married for fifty years look back and wonder if they were truly in love when they first met. You're busy and sometimes overloaded and you have little time to spare, and your heart is full, and you are tremendously, totally happy.

You've also stepped outside of your comfort zone in a big way. Most of the time, you're operating right on the edge of where you feel comfortable, teetering along, always in danger of falling over. Just as you start to get your footing, you get a glimpse of how much more there is to learn and you're right back on the edge again. Everyone is smarter than me (that's what it feels like). I'm so proud of you for doing things that scare you. You've learned this year that it's okay to be in over your head if you got there honestly. It's okay to say "I don't know, but I'll find out." It's okay to be overwhelmed, and it's okay to be afraid (remember, fear is a superpower!).

But also, please by gentle with yourself. You don't expect your kids to get everything right on the first go - it's one of your strengths as a teacher, knowing how to break down complicated things and turn them into simple baby steps, and being comfortable knowing that sometimes, for no real reason, people get hung up at one of the points for a bit. You tell the kids when they're stuck, "You may think you're never going to get this, but someday you will, and then it will be your strength." So cut yourself some slack. Give yourself some time. Don't cheat yourself out of the growth process.

Think about what the universe has rewarded you for. Asking why. Saying "Explain that to me." Going with your gut. Being honest (the kind of honest that feels a little vulnerable). Investing in people (even when you didn't think you'd get a return on that investment).

Speaking of which - you have been so incredibly, incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who have given generously of their time and knowledge, and gone above and beyond to give you a hand. They've made a huge investment in making the world a better place; don't you dare let them down.
And don't ever forget the breath-taking, dizzying relief of discovering that they exist, that there are people who still care about kind and doing the right thing and are trustworthy. We all desperately need those people - we need each other to be those people - so be that person for someone else!

I have absolutely no idea where you are in life as you're reading this. I know I have hopes and wishes for your future, but I also know that life sweeps us off our feet and carries us in directions we could never have imagined, and that's beautiful and okay. It seems apropos to say, swim for it. Enjoy the current while it lasts. Tread water when it doesn't. Float when you need a break. Don't ever forget how much you love the water on your skin, the sun in your face, the wind in your hair. Don't forget how much you've loved being you!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Bucket List

It's Spring. I guess. It's kind of hard to tell since it's so cold outside. And dreary. We've had maybe three days where it actually felt like spring might be coming through, but we've also had (what feels like) more than our fair share of gleck, drizzles, clouds, and frankly, I'm over it. I'm ready for warmth, sunshine, and flip-flops!

Maybe posting a bucket list will help? :)

1. Buy fresh flowers. Just 'cuz. :)
2. Spring clean (specifically, wash the windows and ceiling.)
3. Start seeds (I swore I wouldn't, but who am I kidding.)
4. Clean out closet and pack away winter clothes
5. Buy new flipflops
6. Take the new nanny out
7. Go on a picnic
8. Take Abigail on a Sweet Frog date
9. Go dancing
10. Go moongazing
11. Throw a baby shower
12. Write thank-you notes to my coaches before they leave for the summer
13. Install new solar lights
14. Leave a message
15. Get a pedi
16. Go on a roadtrip
17. Take the triplets to the beach
18. Go eat oysters at Solomon's (when it's warm enough to sit outside!)
19. Sleep with the windows open
20. Start repainting
21. Make a new "Happy" CD

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Things #2

- Swim started up again last night. I have never been so happy in my entire life. ;) The kids must have been practicing over break because I promoted half a dozen up to the next level! And tonight was a repeat; lots of skills getting mastered. I'm in heaven. (I just realized we're supposed to take another week long break at the end of April. Nooooooo...)

- Speaking of swim, I had a half-day off work today so I was able to take an extra long swim - no watching the clock (since I didn't have to be at job #2), no goals on number of laps, just the pure pleasure of moving through the water. I think this is what flying must feel like to a bird.

- The triplets are all speaking in sentences now - "Give me that," "I want a snack," "Where is the truck?" And, apparently, I have a new title: "My Sarah." As in, I walk in the door to a chorus of "My Sarah! My Sarah!" Or I reach down to pick up a tot only to have them snuggle into my shoulder and whisper, "My Sarah." My heart is full.

- I just have to write this down before I forget it: Miles was having a rough day and got his schedule interrupted, and he woke up in the middle of nap and had to be soothed back to sleep, and when it was his normal time to wake, he was barely conscious. I walked into his room to see if he was awake yet, and he stood up, his eyes still shut, and told me sleepily, "I need kisses." I picked him up and he told me again, "I need kisses. Need kisses." I was happy to oblige. :)

- I made the most amazing lunch today of steamed shrimp and green beans with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of Parmesan. And I loaded up the crockpot with a batch of tandoori chicken, carrots, and peas for dinner tonight (it turned out not nearly so well as my mother's, but hey.).

- It's probably time to post a spring bucket list. The calendar says it's spring, but it's hard to tell when it's so glecky and grey outside. And cold. I dearly long for sunshine and warmth. And sailing - I'm going to die if I don't get out on the water soon!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


- No swim this week: spring break for my coaches. I'm dying here, people. All week I've felt unmoored. Ungrounded. Restless, like I was constantly forgetting something or leaving something behind. I've been at the triplet's house every day this week, and it's been a transitional week of getting the new nanny settled in, and being supportive of her and Mom-boss and kids (and the kids have been crazy-off-the-wall with all the changes!). By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go coach. Apparently, this is what makes me happy in life now (who knew?!).

- Speaking of Mom-boss (and stress relief): she rearranged my schedule so I have an extra hour now between job #1 and job #2 and I can go to the pool and swim laps before starting job #2. #bestbossever

- No, actually, make that #bestbossesever. I ran into a friend today at Starbucks who's having to leave her job - a job she loved, was good at, and has done passionately for the last 17 years - because her boss has decided it's cheaper to constantly turn over brand new college graduates than pay one experienced employee what she's worth. I can't imagine getting screwed over by any of the folks I work for. They've all gone above and beyond for me at different times, they all say "thank you" regularly, (and bless me with lots of tangible thanks, as well), and I can trust them all to do the right thing. It hasn't always been this way - I've worked for bosses before who never said "thank you," who you knew would throw you under the bus at a moment's notice to save face, and I thank God every single day for the amazing people I work for now. It's a good feeling.

- Last week I got a haircut, and I hate it. It's honestly the first cut I've ever gotten that I truly hate. (No fault of my stylist, who did exactly what I asked, by the way.) I liked it the first night, and then I woke up the next morning and have hated it ever since. I'm not sure what I dislike about it, except that I think, honestly, I just wasn't ready for change yet. I should have waited - someday I'll learn to listen to myself! - but in the meantime I've been using my curling wand like an addict (that's the only way I sort of like it styled right now) and praying for a lot of growth.

- I've been really reluctant to do this ever since I moved out into my own place, because I remember being a bit jumpy the first time I watched it, but I started rewatching Lost  last week. If you didn't see this show when it came out, for crying out loud go see it because it's awesome. I thought maybe I wouldn't like it as much the second time around because I would already know the answers to all the mysteries, but nope - the character development and interaction is just as good, if not better, the second time around. Also, it's still creepy. And I've only made it through season one,which is arguably the least creepy of the seasons, because nothing truly weird has happened yet - just polar bears and the as-yet-unseen island monster. And the whispers. ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Goggles

I had the best pair of orange ones. I treated then with a shmear of hair conditioner after every swim so they never fogged, and they fit perfectly because they had a band with an opening in the middle to go around my ponytail. I took them out of my swim bag to go to Florida, I put them in a safe place, and for the life of me I can't remember where that was. So this week I caved and went and bought another pair.
They're not as nice as my orange ones. But the color makes me smile. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sunsets And Changing Light

The last few weeks, the sun was always just setting when I got off of swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I would come over the hill and park, watch the sun sink across the little harbor, the sky a million shades of red and orange and fuschia, and I would be totally overwhelmed, completely overcome, by the intense beauty. More often than not, I found myself crying, and I drove home feeling emptied of myself, as though this glimpse of glory had scattered pieces of my soul in the wind, and I had to struggle to reassemble it.

Daylight Savings Time wrecked my little ritual - the sun is still high on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Mondays and Wednesdays I have Maggie and Ruth with me - and I've been missing it.

I don't have a good sunset view from my place. My parents' house blocks the way, and most of my windows face the meadow opposite the sunset. The past few days have been warm(er),  my windows have opened, and I've come home from work and watched the light change across the field. The grasses change from hues of brown-green, to grey with the palest tint of lavender. The shadows in the forest just beyond darken and stretch. The leaves rustle as the night winds begin their caress. By the time the darkness has married ground and sky, I am left feeling quiet, at rest, emptied of everything but the essential essence of myself, everything blown away but my solid, unmoveable core.

I have come to realize that I need both - the sunsets and the changing light. The thing that scatters me in all directions and makes me question who I am, and the thing that grounds me like an anchor. The overwhelmingly new, the comforting old. All of it. I am made and unmade. Born and reborn. And in each iteration I find another face of God, some nuance I had missed in the last dim mirror.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Things

- My boss brought me a Starbucks card on Monday. Not sure what prompted this - I've been dropping the ball left and right lately, lol - but it made my day!

- Also on Monday: I taught a perfect flipturn. I'd never taught one "from scratch" before, and it had terrified me, but I can now officially say I know how, and I have the kids to prove it (I taught it again to another kid on Wednesday, proving to myself that Monday's student wasn't just a one-off). It was pretty beautiful. :)

- The triplet's new nanny arrived this week from Britain, and their grandma told me I should see the makeover that Mom-Boss had given her room, so after I got everyone down for naps, I peeked in. Not only were there new linens, baskets, decor, etc, but there were picture frames filled with pictures of the nanny's family, friends, and home, some blank ones to be filled in by her, and a custom photo mug of her and her best friends. It totally warmed my heart! I've been the recipient of a lot of love from MB and DB, and I know the new nanny is going to feel that, too. Excited for them. :)

- I rediscovered a song this week that's I've been humming ever since - "Young At Heart" by Michael Buble. "Fairy tales can come true / It can happen to you / When you're young at heart..." It's a good song. It's a safe song. It's a "Everything will be alright in the end, so if it's not alright, it's not the end" kind of song.

- It's been warm(er) lately, and I've been driving with the windows down. Don't ask me why - this is my therapy. Wind in my face, sunglasses on, music up a bit too loud. (I may have needed to run the heater on my feet a lil bit to make this happen, but that's okay!)

- I wasted an entire day this week reading a novel that I didn't expect to like, and, surprisingly, did, and I had a to-do list and nothing got done at all because I moved from bed to couch to kitchen table and read until I finished the book cover to cover. (For the record, it was Gone Girl, and yes, it deserves an "R" rating, and yes, it was brilliantly written, and yes, I hated the ending a lot.) It's been a long time since a book has sucked me in so thoroughly (I think the last one was Book Thief?) and it was a lovely - albeit poorly timed, lol - escape.

- I found out this week that my boss was once involved in a plan to convert a dumpster into a pool, attach it to a trailer, and tow it to low-income neighborhoods to teach swim lessons to at-risk youth. Everything about this sentence is why I love my job. :)

- I dragged Ruth down to watch the swim meet at the college today, and after she survived an hour and a half, I took pity on her and we went exploring instead. We ended up at the Confederate Cemetery (which I'd seen, but never been to) and spent half an hour or so wandering around the adjacent memorial, barefoot (since the entire thing was under several inches of water), reading the journal entries of the prisoners who were kept there. All in all, not a bad way to spend a drippy day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Things I Love

- Seeing everyday things from a new point of view. I've been looking at pictures from when I first bought my trailer (pre-remodel) and somehow it's helping me see this tiny space in a new light. Not sure what I want to do yet. But I feel inspiration coming.

- Flashbacks. To happy times, that remind you what life is all about. To sad times, that remind you how much better life's gotten.

- Driving. With music. Good for the soul.

- The act of cooking, of preparing nourishment. Especially for someone you love.

- Lazy Sunday mornings.

- The way the light streams in through the windows in the early morning. And when you're actually awake enough to appreciate it. ;)

- Ruth asking if she can come to swim class four times a week. No. But I love that you want to! :)