It’s Sunday night and it’s getting late. I am laying in bed and planning my day for tomorrow in my mind. Some friends of mine are planning a women’s retreat and I’ve been invited to their planning meeting tomorrow. Last week, I was asked if I would give a little presentation on self care and essential oils at this wellness retreat. Of course, I said I would. So I have been thinking about that and what I am going to say. It’s taken me a lot of hard work and several years to learn to love myself and figure out the importance of self care. As I was just laying here, I remembered the exact moment when things turned for me. When Kevin and I started our family, we didn’t have a plan. We had a baby. A boy named Ian. Oh, I loved him so. Then we had a girl named Emily and she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. We had another boy named Asa...the kindest most gentle soul in existence. He was my side kick for years until Max was born and then Asa had to learn how to share. We had one more...Samuel...who is soon to graduate from high school....in just a few months...which makes me think I need to order graduation announcements soon. Yeah. We didn’t have a plan. We had kids. Kids are a lot of work. They come first, right? I cooked for them and cleaned for them and gained weight for them and loved every minute of caring for my children ....well, and my husband too...but he required very little but when he needed my help I was there to help him too....but really......everything was about the kids and I never gave that a second thought. It’s what moms do, right?? My job became a stack of laundry and grocery shopping and dish washing and reading children’s books and watching Sesame Street and Barney and singing children’s songs....then when I felt overwhelmed, I found relief in a church where there was no work...only hope. Growing up I had never been an athlete but boy my kids liked to play so we went to practices and games and I cheered for them and it was fun. My identity became whatever my kids were doing and what they needed...and I was totally ok with it. At the time I didn’t notice that I had totally given so much of myself that there was really nothing left of myself. Even the times when I could catch a break, I would sit on the couch eating something horrible and watch TV for hours on end......totally zoning out on life. I may interject here that there is a 17 year age difference between Ian and Sam....so I have mothering for a long time. I always thought I should receive a 25 year award from the school music department since I sat through all their music programs consecutively for 25 years in a row but it never came. I’m not gonna lie, I wasn't disappointed when Sam dropped out of the music program a few years ago. Anyway....I remember once when Ian got his first job and since he uses a wheelchair and doesn’t drive, I drove him to work. I would go to his house in Lawrence every morning and pick him up, and drive him to work in his van.....to Topeka...about a 30 minute drive. He always wanted to listen to music. One morning we were driving and he was listening to Tom Petty. I grew up loving music. It was always a big part of my life but I hadn’t listened to anything that I actually chose and liked in years...I don’t remember what filled that void....maybe I was just too tired to pick a song. It’s not like there was no music in the house or car.....it was always just music the kids liked or their dad liked.....just not MY choices if that makes sense. Any way, on that morning drive, I remember thinking “I REALLY LIKE THIS CD!!” And I cranked it up and it felt good and made me feel like a kid again....young and free and full of life. I LOVED that feeling which I had lost. Ian and I listened toTom Petty every day for awhile...then we started listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers....we drove down the highway with the music blaring and sang song after song.....expanding our repertoire of genuine badass tunes to add to our playlist. I started really looking forward to those car rides.....and I bought some cds to listen to in my own car...then I bought an iPod and a speaker and started playing the music at home and filling the house with the music that I wanted to hear and it made me very happy....so happy I started dancing in the kitchen! It was a little thing that I had control over and realized that it made me feel good....and I realized it was ok for me to be me and still be a good mom. I started listening and hearing the lyrics and contemplating deeper thoughts rather than what kind of sauce I would add to the pasta that night and wondering how many people I would be feeding. My first act of self care was choosing songs that I loved....I mean I still listened to songs the kids picked like the one by SHAGGY and the bangin on the bathroom floor song (which I might add Always made me feel uncomfortable listening to while driving preteens to the skating rink) but you know? He ain’t no Tom Petty! Once I reharnessed that small inkling of myself...that feeling of who I am....which I had lost for a very long time....I started doing other things that gave me that feeling ...like spending time with my cousin and going out occasionally to a concert and drinking a beer or two. It was so nice to talk to an adult about other things than school events. I started saying no to things I really didnt’ want to do and I started writing this blog and the rest is history......I mastered the concept of raisin a ruckus in self love and care by discovering who I am...through Tom Petty. The album that we listened to that changed my life was Highway Companion. It was released in 2006....13 years ago.....that was when I turned this car around.....man! That CD kicked ass! It definitely me made me a better person.....it was a life changer!
peace and love to YOU!
ps.....I remember one time sitting in subway with Emily and some song came on the radio and i heard a line that said something about shaving your cha-cha. I asked Emily, “did they just say shave your cha-cha” and she was like “WHAT??” And I was “Did they? What’s that even mean?” And she said, “Mom. Everyone shaves their cha-cha. Everyone knows that” and I was like...”what? Why? “ I was so confused but I also think that is so funny. Whoever wrote that song isn’t Tom Petty either. I’m also thinking about how hysterically Emily laughed at me one time when I told her “i love everything feat snoop dog” how was i supposed to know feat meant “featuring” nobody was feat in the 70’s. ......well nobody that I know of but then again I never have been all that observant. WTH. We actually still laugh about that....and I love a good laugh.....especially with my kids. It’s a good thing.