Life is a number game

numbers1Numbers

What are these little things we see everywhere?

Numbers

They create a sense of accomplishment,

A sense of self

A sense of self worth.

Value

Place

Location

numbers8Numbers define our lives more than we realize.

Our income

Our debt

Our giving

numbers2They define our self

Our weight

Our height

Our clothing size

They define our home

How much

What area

How many rooms

numbers4They define our accomplishments

What place

What grade point average

How many followers we have

How many likes we get.

But why do we give numbers so much worth in our lives?

numbers0

Because we learn to from the moment we are born. As a mother, I can remember the first questions I would be asked about my pregnancies. What is your due date? How far along? How many weeks? How long until you know the gender? How many are there? How many will you have? All of these questions require a value, a number.

Then, once you have your child, the first things people want to know about a baby are their height and weight. (Numbers)

Then time and date (numbers)

Then weeks/months/years (numbers)

How many words? (Numbers)

We are measured by numbers from the very beginning. We learn that these numbers hold value. They define who we are. People see us as the skinny or fat baby, the tall or short child, the rich or poor person based on numbers.

numbers6

We try so hard to change these numbers. To make them different. To make them better. Being better or best means having the highest or the lowest number (depending on what you are talking about). Being better or the best means comparing yourself to others. We should always caution ourselves from being too quick to compare ourselves to others. When we do that to our children we can create a world of hurt.

As a mom, I often find myself saying that the first or the second or the third child did x, y, or z at such and such an age. Then, I find myself saying this to another parent when we compare our children. It is like a three ring circus of “well, my child was walking at 10 months old. How about yours?” And “Oh! Well, my child could read at the age of 2.” Followed quickly by an occasional, “Well, my child was playing Mozart at three.” And so on. It really makes me sad to think I have done that about and to my children. I Am trying not to do that anymore. I try to use names and their character to describe them, but sometimes that is hard in a society of numbers.

numbers7

Motherhood and life are filled with so many numbers. At one point in my own life running seemed like a good idea. How hard could it be, right? So, I signed up for a 5K. I never practiced, never warmed up, and just showed up to run. I came in last place. It took me 47 minutes to run that 5K and it was the most grueling 47 minutes of my life.

Why? Because I let that get to me. I let those numbers give me value. I have learned that those numbers only hold value in that they pushed me to run faster and farther, and to understand that it takes practice to improve my running numbers.

numbers3As parents we wanted to choose a sport for our boys that would help them find their values: hard work, dedication, teamwork, good sportsmanship, etc.. The sport we chose for them is all about the numbers : track and field.

numbers11Talk about numbers, this sport is about how fast, what place, and how far. We chose it because the one thing I did learn from that race was that I could better myself from that time. Track & Field is a sport that doesn’t compare you to someone else. Well, it doesn’t if you do it right. As coaches and parents we are constantly telling our runners to do THEIR best. Not to worry about the other runner’s best, but to focus on what they can do to beat themselves. We push them in practice to stretch, run, jump and throw better every time. This dedication has lead to personal bests for many of our runners, and even a showing at the Junior Olympics.

The numbers here show our runners that they have grown. That their hard work is paying off. That dedication and focus will lead to great rewards. This lesson is not just for running or jumping or throwing, but it will play out in life.

If they focus on the task at hand, do what they have learned to do and dedicate themselves to it, they will find that they are capable of growing at any task.

Numbers. They mean so much, but also, so little.

A number can never compare to the worth a person feels inside. The sense of accomplishment and wonder someone feels as they rise above a challenge and grow from it. No number can ever replace that feeling.

numbers5So I challenge you. Move forward with fewer numbers. Credit yourself for what you can do, and find your non-number worth. What makes you fully you? How do you find your non-number worth? For me, it is how happy my children are, what they believe they can do, the joy in my marriage, and what I know I am capable of. Numbers do not need to define any of that!

be free to love yourself for you
be free to love yourself for you

Leave a comment and help others find ways to find their worth as well!

Becoming Mama

the note the boys principal had at school on the 10th anniversary weekend...
the note the boys principal had at school on the 10th anniversary weekend…

September 11…

For me it is a sad time of remembrance.

I remember the planes, The buildings, Howard Stern on the radio as I made the very long drive into work for a “telemarketing” company. I drove down a long stretch of 2 lane highway. Open highway with grass in the middle. I remember driving, but not driving. All of my fellow commuters listening in absolute astonishing disbelief. I remember all of us looking towards the sky of our cars as a single military plane flew over the highway. I sat in the parking lot of my work, they still wanted us to go and knock on doors. I realized what had happened, and I quit. I drove home. My grandparents were visiting from Oklahoma. They were supposed to fly home that day. September 11, 2001. They stayed an extra week.

October 13th, 2001, Steve proposed. The events of that day made him realize how short life is. they made him want more. They caused him to propose to me. I didn’t know this then. I do now.

November 16th, 2003, we were married. It was beautiful, and a bit tragic. My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Steve’s Aunt suffered a seizure. My Aunt could not come because of weather? or my uncle’s health? Or her health? Truthfully,  the reason escapes me, but her presence was missed. Happiness wrapped in sadness.

September 11, 2003…

I was in labor. My doctor didn’t believe it, but I was. We headed home. I ate Burger King, and watched Friends, and the contractions started. Long, and hard, and too far apart. I walked around my dining room for the whole night. In the morning, I went to the hospital, and after much fanfare, my oldest child was born. 12:47 PM September 12, 2003. He weighed 8 pounds and 4 ounces.

I became Mama…

His journey has not been easy. He can be quirky, he doesn’t always fit in. He is loved. His teachers rave of his skills at school. His friends think he is funny, and I feel blessed to be his mom.

I was so adamant that he not be born on September 11. It was too fresh. Too real. I did not want him to share a birthday with a national “holiday” I wanted him to be special. Unique.

My oldest and my father preparing the playground at my school. Seeing him learn lessons from my dad is priceless.
My oldest and my father preparing the playground at my school. Seeing him learn lessons from my dad is priceless.

I got my wish. He is special and unique, and I couldn’t be prouder of his hard work and dedication to his school work. It is not easy for him. He fights for his grades, has trouble with organization, and sometimes is distracted. He is compassionate, loving, and eager to please. I am proud to be his mom, and I am proud he shares an “almost birthday” with such a special day.

On this day of remembrance, I remember so much, and I am so grateful. I wish I could have seen then what I see now, because September 11th would have been a great birthday. yet as he turns 12 on the 12th, I am grateful for every moment. Being mama. It all started 12 years ago…

Something Isn’t Right

Anxiety.

It boils over in a moment. It happens when you least expect it. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to the hospital with an anxiety attack. I manage my anxiety with planning. I probably should manage my anxiety with medication. but I just am not there.

Change.

Change is the catalyst for an attack. A new schedule, a new teacher, a detour on the road. All of these can lead to anxiety. How do you manage? How do you crawl  out of the hole that you dig for yourself when you see the change coming? For me, I meet change with more change. New clothes, shoes, bags. I drive the detour long after the road is repaired. I spend a Sunday cleaning bedrooms and downloading college syllabi because I know I cant avoid the change.

My son, he doesn’t know that the anger that boils out of him during a time of change is anxiety. He doesn’t know that mama prepping him with what is going to happen weeks before is mama’s way of avoiding the boiling over. He doesn’t know that mama understands the boil over  way too well. She feels it every time an outfit doesn’t fit. She feels it every time she cannot find her car keys in her purse. She feels it every time the tag on her dress scratches her neck. She knows the boil over all too well. She wishes he didn’t have to.

He doesn’t know that tonight I told his teacher that change in routine makes him anxious. He doesn’t know that mama spends her days putting out fires before they are set so that he doesn’t get set off. If only he could.

Someday he will know. Someday I will teach him to manage change. How it makes him feel. How it makes his blood boil over. How he needs to control that feeling. but for now, I try to prevent that feeling for him.

Change is scary no matter who you are. anxiety, or not. Change in and of itself is the root of the anxiety and anger I feel on an almost daily basis.

Many around you may be suffering with anxiety. Help them. Be consistent, be considerate, be present. For me, knowing that when I finally work through my boiling over my family is there for me makes the boiling over easier to deal with.

Taking Care of Mama

realizing how important image is to me.
realizing how important image is to me.

This week I have had a few transformations that have been important to me. One is, after years of teeth that were stained from medication, I had my front teeth bonded. This experience was intense, but totally worth it as I have a smile now that I am not afraid to show and it did not break the bank to get it done. Feeling free to smile after years of hiding it back is amazing, and I am still getting used to it!

heather business card

The other transformation is my hair. This is not a new experience. My hair stylist Heather is awesome. She is honest, knows the seasons and her clients well, and is always willing to do the best for her clients hair care. I try to cut my hair every 3 months or so. I know it is time to see her when I need a ponytail holder for my hair every day! A few years ago I started adding color (a combination of low lights and high lights, and always a little trim. When I first started visiting her it was for haircuts to donate. Now I maintain a style. A little color, a trim a wash, and a blow dry can make you feel like a model for days!

seriously so excited!
seriously so excited!

For me this feeling is important as I am trying to feel better about myself in everything. I am running eating healthy and dressing nicer. I want to be beautiful for my husband (even if he thinks I am, I want to feel it). We work at our marriage every day, and every day it is work. We have had our moments, every marriage does. I believe there aren’t many exceptions. Right now we are preparing for a trip to a place we went to a few years ago, this trip will be a much different experience. We are in a better place now, but it wasn’t easy, however, that is a story for another day. Right now it is important for my family to have time together, but also, for me to spend time with my husband.

After almost 13 years of marriage things can sometimes get monotonous. You eat the same food, you watch the same shows, and you talk about the same things. The daily “grind” can make it hard to see the person you married sitting across from you. Sometimes you see instead a checklist of things that need to be done. When you are never home because of activities for the kids, work, friends, church, and family commitments, you need a moment to stop. It is nice to get away from the “real” world and spend time together. We planned this trip a while ago, and we are excited to be spending a week at the beach.

One of the things we have been doing to get ready is to take better care of ourselves. We do this not just for ourselves, but for each other as well. We have changed the way we eat, the way we sleep, and the way we communicate. Going on vacation will be a fun and exciting way to reward our hard work. Don’t worry, we have packed our running gear and our protein shakes and a plan for sharing the workout load. We also, have plans to spend time together as well.

I most look forward to sitting on the beach or on the deck of our room, looking out at the water and just being there together. I also look forward to running in a new place. Feeling the sand in my toes, searching for coral, and being with my boys. steve and me

I am finding that I need certain things to prepare myself for a vacation. A list for packing. A family for loving. Something to keep us busy. A way for me to feel beautiful as I head to the ocean for fun! I am most grateful that I get this opportunity with my love.