I Want to be Just Like My Daughter When I Grow Up

When I was a kid, a common mantra in my home was, “But what will other people think?” It was something my mother said often, reminding me that I shouldn’t stray too far out of society’s norms, because, after all, being liked was way more important than being yourself. She didn’t tell me this to be cruel; in fact, quite the opposite — I think she did it as a way to keep me from standing out and becoming a potential target in a sometimes harsh world. Blend in, don’t draw attention to yourself. Make sure that you’re friendly and likeable and above all else — be nice, no matter what!

The childhood training I received worked well. A little too well, in fact. At 40 years old I still sometimes struggle with being myself and err on the side of blending in. I still feel an awful initial pang when I realize that someone doesn’t really like me all that much. I am sometimes nice when I really don’t need to be – or possibly even shouldn’t be. I hear my mother’s voice asking me, “But what will people think?” when it comes to things like second weddings and orange wedding dresses. I wrestle with that voice more often than I would like. Thankfully with the support of certain people *cough* CBG *cough* I am victorious more often than not these days.

But honestly I just wish that dang voice would go away completely.

I do my best with my own girls to encourage them to be exactly who and what they are. Obviously, at 9 and 11 they’re still very much figuring that out, but at every step along the way I make sure I tell them certain things. Like they are wonderful and amazing just the way they are. That there’s nothing wrong with standing out and that standing up for yourself is a good thing. That “being nice” isn’t the same as being a good person and that sometimes NOT being nice is the best course of action in a situation.

Last week my youngest daughter, Lil’ Mo got the haircut that she’s been talking about for months now. A while back she got the idea that she wanted to have the left side of her hair shaved. At first I said that would be a great hairstyle for her when she was a little older, but it kept nagging at me, particularly since she kept talking about it (in the whole, “this will be so awesome when I’m old enough to get it done” way). I started noticing lots of people around with similar hairstyles and reminded myself than in a few years, it might not be a popular style anymore.

And then I remembered something else important – it’s just hair. I realized that my hesitation regarding Lil’ Mo’s hair had more to do with my dear old mom’s mantra than anything else. What does it really matter how her hair is styled?  She’s nine years old. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. So we marched ourselves into that hair salon and she got the hairstyle that she’s been dreaming about for months now, showing the world that she’s the kind of person that does what she wants. Sure, it was just a haircut, a relatively small thing in the grand scheme of things, but for me, the smile on her face once it was all said and done reminded me how important it is to be true to yourself — always. Because nothing can replace the happiness and satisfaction that you feel when you do.

I’m 40 years old and I’m still growing and learning. And my nine year old daughter is one of my heroes. Some day I hope to grow up and be just like her.

 

Lil' Mo, totally rockin' her new bad-ass hairstyle and proving that she is definitely someone I need to look up to.

Lil’ Mo, totally rockin’ her new bad-ass hairstyle and proving that she is definitely someone I need to look up to.

 

 

 

The Spaces Between

When I used to think about marriage I often thought about the big moments in life in a shared life together. The happy moments — raising children, buying a home, family vacations, anniversary milestones. I also thought about the less-than-happy moments — dealing with loss or tragedy, struggling with finances, managing any number of big life disappointments. I figured that it was the big happy moments that got couples through those big less-than-happy moments.

Though CBG and I have only been married a little over a year now, I am realizing that a marriage is so much more about all those little spaces in between those big events. Those are the things that get two people through the big, bad, ugly moments of life. Tiny little moments that, for the most part, aren’t often even given a second thought. The flicker of forgiveness in your partner’s eyes after a misunderstanding. Stolen kisses in the middle of the night. Laughing until your sides ache at mutual silliness. Hearing the slow, steady pace of your partner’s breathing in the dark. Silently offering the last cookie. Giving a hug after a rotten day.

It is these small, seemingly insignificant moments that are the glue that holds a marriage together. They cement those big moments, giving them context and meaning. Sure, we may remember the big moments first, or even the most, but it is the wordless glances of understanding, the scent of your partner on the pillow in the morning, or the random reach for your hand in the park that allow those big moments to happen at all.

Without those tiny shared moments, the big moments mean nothing at all. And when you have a marriage rich with those miniscule twinkling demonstrations of love, commitment, respect, passion and friendship, you know that you don’t really need to ask for anything more.

Happy Birthday (week) CBG!

Birthdays have always been my thing.

I love throwing parties and celebrations for people. It started back in high school when my two best friends and I would come up with fun and creative ways to celebrate each other’s birthdays. There were birthday parties, camping trips, decorated cars, even elaborate birthday videos. We went all out.

As I got older, I always made sure to use birthdays as an opportunity to show people how much I care about them. I mean…everyone deserves to feel special on their birthday, right?

After I had my girls, my inner birthday party planner was really inspired. I’ve done all kinds of themed parties over the years…pirate parties, castle themed, Monster High and One Direction…it’s been a ton of work and stress but also a ton of fun, too.

I have to admit, though, that when it’s come to CBG’s birthdays, I haven’t always done my best. I mean, one year I had a small surprise party for him, and other years I’ve made home made, thoughtful gifts, but I’ve never really felt satisfied with my efforts. It just never seemed like enough to show CBG just how much he means to me. He, on the other hand, has always put a lot of thought into my birthday gifts, and then he went and did the ultimate thing this year, earning some MAJOR husband points by throwing me an awesome Ryan-Gosling themed surprise thirty-tenth birthday party.

So you, know, the usual, “here’s a gift and we’ll go out for dinner” just wouldn’t suffice for him in return. I owe him.

I know, I know, it’s not a competition about who is the most awesome spouse of all, but if it were, I’d be WAY behind. And well, I just can’t let that happen, now can I?

So this year, CBG doesn’t just get an ordinary birthday celebration. He gets a birthday week. A week full of special treatment, gifts and surprises, to hopefully show him just how much he means to me (and my girls).

Yes, that’s right, kids. He gets a birthday week. And me? Well, *I* get major spouse points.

Which is what it’s really about, amiright, people?

Let the birthday week begin!

Things The Internet Taught Me This Week

It’s been quite the week online for me this week, kids. It’s been…shall we say…educational.

In no particular order, here are some things that the Internet taught me this week. Maybe it’s stuff you all already knew, but dang,  this was news to this gal. And if you’re learning something new today, too: you’re welcome.

1. Brad Pitt is FIFTY YEARS OLD.

So you’ve probably heard by now that apparently Brangelina finally made it legal over the weekend. He (eventually) decided he liked it and so he put a ring on it. Or something. The one article I read about this (because really, I don’t care whether they’re married or not) is that Brad Pitt is fifty. Fifty.

Let’s stop for a minute to think about this long and hard, shall we?

50? Seriously? How did this happen?

50? Seriously? How did this happen?

Now, if I’d been stopped on the street and asked to guess his age, and I thought long and hard about it, I’m sure I would have come up with a number pretty close to that. But dang. FIFTY. How is that even possible? In my 40 year old brain, this is where Brad Pitt is forever frozen:

Brad PittSigh.
2. Hello Kitty is NOT a cat.

File this one under “I don’t really care.” But I do find it pretty entertaining how up in arms the Internets are about this one. Seems like the Internet needs to rage about something. Why not this?

kittyNOT a cat? Really? If I actually cared, my mind just *might* be blown. You fooled us all, Sanrio. Good on you, I guess?

 

3. Tony Soprano didn’t die in the finale. Or wait. Maybe he did. We still don’t know for sure.

7 years later and people are still talking about this. Now that's good TV, people.

7 years later and people are still talking about this. Now that’s good TV, people.

I loved The Sopranos when it originally aired. When the series finale aired, I was riveted. The ending seemed clear to me — Tony got whacked.

But then early this week the headlines were screaming, “Tony Soprano didn’t die in the series finale!!” But then later the show’s creator kind of took it back again. The official word went back to the original explanation: Tony living or dying wasn’t really the point.

*cough* Bullshit *cough*

Spoiler alert: Tony Soprano is dead. There. Conversation over. You’re welcome.

 

4. There is a Facebook page dedicated to Jon Hamm’s penis.

Say what?

Say what?

I know, I know…..2007 called, welcoming me to the party. I just started watching Mad Men this week. I was home alone, looking for something to watch, and decided to give it a try. I’m not yet finished the first season and I am loving it.

And then this week I found out that Jon Hamm is rumored to have some…um…special assets. Or rather, one special asset in particular. So special in fact, it has its very own Facebook page. And now, I’ll be the first to admit that a big Bavarian Beefstick doesn’t really impress this gal. But….you know…natural human curiosity and all, and I’m finding myself face to face with Mr. Hamm’s Pantswombat.

I may be a little late to this party, but the important part is that I'm here now.

I may be a little late to this party, but the important part is that I’m here now.

I think I’ll keep watching Mad Men. Thanks.

 

Oh, Internet. How I love you sometimes.

100 Happy Days (Of a Different Kind)

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A few months back I made the decision to go on a running streak. I decided that I would run at least 2 km every single day. At the time I made the decision, I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to keep up the streak, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that maybe 30-ish days or so would be good.

When I hit the 30 day mark, I somehow didn’t feel “finished”. So I continued the streak, thinking that perhaps 40 would be good. Particularly symbolic since I turned 40 on my birthday this year.

Still, when 40 hit, it didn’t seem like enough. So I kept going, without any real end point in sight. All I knew was that it had to be an even number (because my obsessive-compulsive side wouldn’t allow me to stop on day 57 or 61 or some such nonsense.

Yesterday I hit Day 100.

100 solid days of running. During that time I ran anywhere from two to thirty kilometres. Most days I did something in the 5-10 km mark. I have a few random thoughts about my 100 day running streak.

- Damn 100 days goes by quickly. TOO quickly. Dear Life: you can slow down anytime, mmkay?

- I’m a pretty healthy person! Not once in 100 days was I sick and couldn’t run.

- I really do love running. Yes, yes, I knew this before, before the past 100 days really reminded me of that. I.love.it. Love. Truly.

- I never regret seeing a sunrise. I’ve seen a lot of them over the past 100 days. Each one is different and beautiful in its own way. I’ve come into my morning-person-ness

- My body is happiest when I am running regularly. I deal with a lot of aches and pains. Part of it is getting older, yes, but I have a lot of neck/upper back problems thanks to a car accident in my 20s. Even though I’ve been pushing my body these past 100 days, it feels better than it has in a long time. I’m more relaxed, I’m stronger. My muscles are singing from all the blood pumping through them daily.

- It feels good to challenge myself. There were some days that it was damn tough to drag myself out for an early morning run. But whenever I thought about just staying snuggled under the blankets, I reminded myself that I didn’t want to break this running streak because of laziness. No, when I decide that the streak has ended, I want it to be a purposeful decision.

- In the past, I allowed laziness to hold me back too often. Running is very much a mental game as much as it is a physical one, and more often than not, in the past, I allowed my brain to get in the way of me getting out for a run. Once staying home was no longer an option, I didn’t have that mental block there to stand in my way.

- The most rewarding runs are often on the days when it was toughest to get out the door. Nothing like that sense of accomplishment after pushing through those feelings of “BUT I DON’T WANNA!!!”

- On the tough days, the toughest part is usually just getting out the door. I would bargain with myself that all I needed to do was 2 km in order to fulfill my goal. There were actually very few days (less than 5) when I only did the 2 km…most of the time, once I got out there and my blood started pumping, I wanted to go further, and so I did.

- Not having the time is a shitty excuse for not exercising. Many mornings this summer I was up at 4:45-5:00. A little bit later on the weekends and during vacation week, but because I had made running a priority, I never had the “but I don’t have time” excuse for not getting out there. Especially since my minimum was 2 km…less than 15 minutes! Who doesn’t have time for at least a 15 minute workout?

So yeah. It’s been an interesting 100 days. I’m not sure where all of this is going, but I will mention this: This morning, Day 101 I got up and ran 10 km.

Staying home this morning hadn’t even crossed my mind.

It Could Have Been Me

Every now and again the death of a celebrity really gets to me. Robin Williams is one of them. It was a shock when I read last night that he had passed; I was even more shocked when I saw that the cause of death appears to be suicide.

The first thing I thought about was the fact that not that long ago, I too, struggled with depression. To the point where I began entertaining thoughts that maybe the world would be better off without me. I’d like to say that this was long before I ever had children, that was I young and foolish, and didn’t have anything to live for.

Except that it wasn’t.

My daughters were 3 and 5 years old. They very much needed me in their lives, but my thinking was far too clouded by Depression to realize this. Life was hard — so hard. And I was exhausted. I felt like I didn’t have any fight left in me. It was becoming increasingly clear to me (in my depression-muddled brain) that there was no one I could count on for help.

And that’s when the thoughts began. Thoughts that they would be so much better off without them in their lives. That I was only doing more harm than good. That there was nothing left in life worth fighting for. That no one wanted me around anyhow.

Depression is a liar. A very convincing one.

One Year

In the blink of an eye a whole year has passed since CBG and I said “I do”.

365 days. It almost doesn’t seem possible. Life is speeding by, at a pace much faster than I would like. I’m doing my best to slow down and enjoy each moment as it comes, but that seems to be easier said than done.

The past year hasn’t been perfect. There have been arguments, ugly moments, festering wounds, tears, weakness.

There has also been love, romance, laughter, silliness, adventure, joy.

This year has also seen hugs, forgiveness, growth, learning. Compassion. Understanding. Compromise.

We are more a team today than we were one year ago, as we have faced challenges, learned, grown, loved and laughed. I believe more than ever that it is through the challenges in life that we grow and improve. And as a couple, CBG and I face life’s challenges and become better for it. Through our imperfect moments we have learned what unconditional love really means.

I don’t know what the future holds in store for us. But if the past year is any indication, I have a feeling that we’re just going to keep getting better.

I love you, CBG, more today than yesterday. And more today than I did 365 days ago. I feel so grateful for all that we have — imperfections and all.

lefurgey-132

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