I just returned from El Salvador, the first vacation I’ve taken since your dad and I went on our honeymoon back in 2012—and the first vacation I’ve taken to a foreign land alone since I’ve been 22. Wow, it’s been awhile.
And no, I didn’t buy you two gifts—well, not in the traditional societal concept of “gift”— I barely even looked for such souvenirs to take back to you. The gifts you’ll receive when I return are ones you won’t even be cognizant of, but ones that are far more impactful.
The best gifts I can give you is for me to prioritize my own health, heart and soul, which means taking the time I need to re-nourish and heal, whether from the daily grind or a huge life transition, like the one we’re currently in.
I want to live, love, and parent wholeheartedly. I want to be fully awake, aware, and conscious in my own life to be able to experience life and the pure joy of you fully—I want you to know that I am with you always, and when we’re together, you have all of me—my full attention, my whole heart.
Sometimes life gets so busy. In this modern world, it’s a constant juggling act esp. in periods of transition—I haven’t always been able to take the time to just sit with you, enjoy all of who you are and these years that are already flying by way too fast for this mama to process. It breaks my heart every time I go back in your room for one last cuddle and you’re already sleeping—I just wanted that one last moment before I too crawl into bed.
As a society, we focus so much on the superficial, the things that truly won’t matter when this short life is said and done. We look so hard for external validation and not internal that we forget to live. We stop feeding our own souls and listening to our own hearts and our intuition (“inner-voice”). With this lack of internal centering, we lose faith in ourselves, face insecurity and the urge to control, and stop treating ourselves and others with the love, compassion, patience, and care that we all deserve.
At least it feels that way to me. Previously plagued by perfectionism + insecurity, leaving absolutely no time in my jam-packed schedule for self-care. I was lost, exhausted, unfulfilled, and hustling constantly and unnecessarily.
Since I’ve started my own personal growth work—and IT IS WORK (on-going, bring-you-to-your-knees hard work, but work that leads to healing + joy), I’ve been hell-bent on raising you differently. If I can raise two self-aware, self-loving, emotionally-centered, compassionate, empathetic, kind, confident, secure, shame-resilient, badass human beings—I will consider myself successful beyond my wildest imagination.
People often call me “old-soul” which I now realize doesn’t mean “old” in any numerical age type of way– just that I see the world differently. I’ve experienced enough trauma to have my heart broken open to let all the light in, enough pain to fully embrace joy, enough loss to know the simple moments are the most important, enough falls to learn how to pick myself up, enough unmet needs to learn how to ask for help, enough emotional neglect to be very selective of who I keep in my life, enough hardship to know I need to live a little, enough insincerity to appreciate sincerity, enough humanity and humility to embrace my own– but enough love to feel grateful beyond words.
In my proactive choice to love myself wholeheartedly, I’m now compassionate and patient with myself; permit myself to feel and heal without trying to perfect/ run-away/ medicate/ blame/ scape-goat my discomfort away. I laugh, exercise, eat-well and love my body not for what it isn’t but for what it is. I allow myself to experience joy, travel, and partake in the activities and relationships that nourish my own soul.
I’ve learned that I cannot pour from an empty cup, and when I’m getting low, I need to set firm boundaries, say “no” to things, and turn inward and reconnect with myself. We are all human first.
I hope you learn from a young age that self-love and self-care are neither optional or selfish. They are necessary for your health and happiness—and for the ones you love.
Knowing I can take the time for me and that you two are confident in my love for you, even while I’m away, is my greatest blessing. My co-parenting relationship with your dad is something I am proud of and proud to be a part of and what I hoped would blossom one-day.
Today, we will be moving into “Mommy’s house.” This is the third home you’ve lived in (well Charley, Teddy, this will be your second), but the first one I have purchased on my own—it is not big or glamorous, but smaller and cozier, manageable for a single mom, and chosen because of the town, great school, and proximity to my new work headquarters so I can spend less time commuting & more time with you.
Things are different now, I know that, but I am blessed, you are blessed—and life is so good my sweet babes. This is the start of our new beginning. Group “huggies”—let’s do this my forever loves.