My birthday was last week. I don’t place a ton of emphasis on celebrating my own birthday, though maybe I should, it is after all a day to celebrate my existence. I know some people have a tendency to view their birthday as a gloomy reminder that youth fades quickly. I prefer to think about the years as making you not older, but more experienced. I guess I just see it as an opportunity to find adventure in my journey around the sun, not a race to the finish line. Birthdays were always a big deal when I was a kid. My mom would let me choose the menu for dinner and she would make whatever kind of cake I wanted (usually meatloaf and rainbow sprinkled angel food cake). Hearing the words “happy birthday” made me feel special, as if for that one day I was important enough for the world (or least what I viewed as the world) around me to stop and celebrate the fact that I was a part of it.
When I was a kid I spent a vast amount of time exercising my imagination. My earliest memories include huge adventures in faraway places such as the basement laundry room and the space under my grandmother’s coffee table. I could turn any spot I found myself playing into a fantasy land filled with colorful characters, amazing landscapes, and endless opportunities for exploration. I don’t play pretend with my kids as much as I probably should, but they all share that same love of adventure in imagination. There is something purely magical about watching them create a scene and have an entire world come to life just by picking up a random everyday object. The imagination muscle is probably the most important one to prioritize in life.
I have this couch that I really love. I’m not one of those people who picks a color palette and then carefully arranges furniture and decorations to fit with a specific design trend. But, this particular piece of furniture was purchased just for how it looks. I’m pretty sure my mom thinks my couch is somewhat hideous, which means that it is exactly my style. She prefers a more refined look whereas I’m all for anything retro, mid-century, or eclectic; and if it’s a shade of yellow or green all the better. A few years back my husband and I were moving into a rented upper duplex that was built sometime in the 1920’s. After packing up all of our possessions and traveling across state lines we were tired and a little frustrated by the fact that our puffy leather sofa and love seat physically couldn’t fit up the old, narrow stairwell to be placed in our new living room. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new furniture, so we went to a local thrift store. The place was huge and filled with all sorts of awesome things waiting to become someone’s new treasure. We walked amongst the many cushioned seats in the large room of furniture and there it was. It called to us in all of its 1960’s gold and olive striped glory. It must have sat in some little old lady’s home covered in protective vinyl for how pristine it looked. The fact that it was especially comfortable to sit on was just an added bonus. Continue reading
For some reason, breastfeeding just seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me when I became a mom. That’s certainly not true for everyone. It is a deeply personal choice to breastfeed or bottle feed and it’s unfortunate that anyone should ever feel ashamed for how they choose to feed their child. Breastfeeding is a journey, or at least it was for me with my girls. Not the friend or daughter kind of girls. I’m talking about Sweater Stretchers, The Twins, Milk Duds, in a word: boobs.
Do you ever feel like your life is flying by at Mach 2 and you can’t find the brakes? The next thing you know the little angel and devil on your shoulders turn into Maverick and Goose and you hear: “I feel the need…” “…the need for speed!” Sometimes life moves so fast you can only see a blur around you. In times like that I think your only choices are to either hit the runway or have a little fun with the moment and buzz the tower. As I get older and feel the weight of my responsibilities more, I find it easier to just put the wheels down. I gravitate toward the easy option as if stuck on a default setting. But lately, I’ve been trying to step away from that autopilot response. I started thinking that maybe the easy way doesn’t lead to the destination I want.
Do you remember that song “Return to Innocence” by Enigma? I love that song. I have no idea why that particular song conjures images of my childhood bedroom, but it does. I can vividly see myself sitting on the floor next to the shelf where I kept my little boom box radio. Blank cassette at the ready in the tape slot that had a record button, I’d sit tuned in to the radio, waiting for whatever the newest favorite hit song was at the moment to be played so I could add it to a growing collection of mix tape recordings. Most of the time I’d have one of my sisters or my best friend at my side and we’d listen intently while debating the value of recording the other songs being played in our wait for that one we desperately wanted to hear. It seems like such a drastically different existence than the couple of mouse clicks away (or voice request to our always handy cell phones) we are in today’s world for hearing our favorite songs. Still, it was a fun time in my life and those hours of mix tape creation weren’t a bad way of making childhood memories. Continue reading