Monday, February 27, 2012

Working (slowly) toward the power of positive thinking

What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner!" - Colette

I usually give up chocolate, or pop. One time, I think, I tried to give up coffee. But not this year.

I'm talking about Lent, of course. Lent, for me,  is a season of reflection, of spiritual housecleaning. I give up a little something, or try to add something meaningful to my life.

I'm not always successful - and in the past, my changes haven't mattered much. So this year, I'm trying something a little different. I'm trying to give up negative thinking.

It's easier said than done, believe me. It seems negativity is everywhere - or maybe I just attract it like a fly to honey. But I'm doing my best to push it away.  I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which is enlightening, and I'm hanging out with my kids ... they seem to have the right attitude.

It's an uphill battle - my old habits die hard. And I get impatient quickly. But I'll go slowly, see what I can do in 40 days. Every bit of change, I would think, is a good thing

Hey .... that's a positive thought right there, isn't it?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tae kwon do brings out mom's overprotective side

My little princess broke two wooden boards the other night - one with a palm strike, the other with a sidekick. The first board broke on the initial try. With the second board, it took her two kicks to break it.

It was part of her tae kwon do graduation to a higher belt. I sat in the audience, holding my breath. I wasn't feeling well, coming down with a cold or flu - likely whatever was being passed around at the local elementary - and I felt cranky and out of sorts.

I was afraid she'd break her hand, break her foot. I was wondering how smart I'd been, signing her up for this whole sport. I thought about when she was little, all the cute little dance outfits I'd bought her, the ones she refused to wear. I sighed.

Then the sparring part of the graduation began, where the students practice fight moves with others at their level. One girl got kicked in the mouth; a boy bent over double after a hit to the ribs. I could feel my anxiety rising. The hits were accidents, of course, but they happened nevertheless.

A particularly large student, one of the advanced ones, seemed very rough. "Would you let you daughter spar with him?" I hissed to my husband. "He looks like Goliath. No way is she ever sparring with him."

He shrugged. "If she was ready," he answered mildly.

After the graduation, my daughter was jubilant. She showed me her boards, re-enacted where her hand and foot landed on each one, told me how nervous she was beforehand and how she calmed herself down by counting.

"I'm saving these," she said, gloating over the broken wood. "I'm putting them in my room."

I looked at her, and my heart swelled with pride. I wondered then, about my earlier thoughts. Was I being sensible, or simply overprotective?  Only time will tell. It's a bridge I'm not looking forward to crossing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vanity, thy name is Control-Top High-Top Tights

The dress was pretty - it was black and simple, with a flowing little skirt. It seemed I'd gotten lucky - I'd actually found a last-minute selection for a church Valentine's dance my husband and I were going to that night.

But looking critically into the dressing room mirror, I realized there was an ... issue. Yep, right there in the middle. Was that a little bit of, um, tummy? Well, that wouldn't do at all. But surely, there were ways to camouflage a little figure flaw, right?

Oh, are there ever. I had no idea what torturous controlling undergarments await those who have been avoiding the gym. Spanx, Assets, Control-Top High-Top Tights - frankly, I was lost. I had no idea what to choose.  Fingering a couple of the garments, I was doubtful. They were all expensive. And they didn't look terribly comfortable. They looked like they could be used to stop a speeding bullet, or protect against shark attacks.

After much deliberation - and much muttering at price tags - I  went with the Control-Top High-Top tights. Putting them on was crazy - I'm surprised I didn't dislocate a hip. And they went up, up, up - I'm glad the dress didn't have a plunging neckline.  I was supposed to dance in this? I felt like I was encased in rubber cement. And I was pretty certain they were on for the duration.

But in the name of vanity, I persevered. They did their job, and I did mine. I danced, I sat, stood and even ate dinner. And when I returned home, I took a deep, grateful breath and made a silent commitment to visit the gym just a little more often.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When dad leaves, the house just isn't the same

My husband left on a business trip last week - out of pocket, out of reach, out of the country.

I didn't think it would be that big of a deal; I'm a big girl, after all. I know how to take care of myself. I didn't realize, however, that taking care of everything and everyone would be so overwhelming.

The kids. The shopping. The homework. The house. Work. Cat. Dog. Everything. Everything due and overdue, pending and marking time. I tried. I managed. I delegated. I had one meltdown that left my children in tears. By the end of the week, I was exhausted.

I think when you live with a person, day after day, see them nearly every hour, it's easy to take them for granted. You forget all they do, how much they mean to you, how empty the house seems when they're gone.

My husband is back now, and there's a semblance of normalcy returning. But I'll think twice before so casually waving him out the door again.