Tuesday, December 30, 2014

To Resolve or Not

My favorite time of year is almost here. New Year's Day. In two days a blank slate is handed over. I realize that the new year is just like any other day and I could pick any day of any week of any month to start "fresh" but for me, it's always New Year's Day. I always make resolutions. Although the past few years I've wised up and listed out my Intentions for the year instead. I've found that if you break a resolution you tend to throw your hands up in the air and move on, having failed at your resolve.  But if you set an intention for your year, you can't ever fail at that. It is something you just keep striving for. If you get off course, it's OK.  You simply get back on.  But it's a road map or blueprint for your year. And I like knowing where I'm trying to go.

I usually write out my intentions on New Year's Day.  I keep them in the notes on my phone.  I still have my lists from 2012, 2013 and last year.  They're all more or less the same.  Eat clean/stop eating out/plan meals. Exercise/walk 10,000 steps per day/do something active at least 10 minutes each day.  Have lots of sex. Save more money. Be patient in parenting. Work on communication skills. Put down the phone/be present in this moment. Don't judge others/don't gossip. Stop caring what what others think/don't compare.

I suppose these are my self-help desires that I'm constantly working on.  Some years I follow these intentions and keep them at the forefront of my mind.  But for the most part, I have so many intentions that I can't focus on any of them.  Sure I'll eat better in January and February. I'll get a good workout routine going.  I can set an automatic savings plan up with my bank.  But eventually most of my intentions end up just like failed resolutions. Forgotten.

2014 brought many changes to my life and my family. It's been a good year, but it's also been a hard year. Change is like that. It's good but hard. And sometimes I've lost sight of what is important and other times I've worried about how it's all going to work out. I've actually spent a lot of time worrying.  How are we going to make this new budget work for us? How am I going to make friends in this town where I don't know many people? What is going to happen with my job? When will we ever save enough money to renovate our kitchen? When will I finally lose all the baby weight?  When will Julian learn to sleep all night, every night?  What if I am fucking up as a parent and screwing up my kids even though I have their best intentions at heart?  How do I maintain my friendships now that I no longer live in the same town?

Come to think of it, there's been a lot of worrying over the what ifs.  And it's time to stop worrying.  As my aunt has always said, Worry if it helps.  Well, worrying about all these things doesn't help. It just causes anxiety and fear.  There are many things I can't control and only time will tell how things will unfold.

So I've decided that instead of making a list of intentions or resolutions for 2015, I'm only focusing on one thing.  This is my year of Letting Go.  I know this will be difficult for me at times, as I'm a planner and type A person in many ways, but I need to just live in the moment. I need to let go of the fears.  I need to let go of the worries.  And I need to believe that things will work out.

I'm also Letting Go of my obsession/addiction with my smartphone and social media.  I love Facebook and Instagram because I feel connected to people. I feel like I'm in the know.  But the truth is, I'm not actually maintaining any relationships via social media. I'm giving myself a false sense of friendship and connection.  Seeing what is going on in someone's life via their FB post is not the same as them calling you about it and sharing in the joy together.  I will likely keep my accounts going and continuing posting, but it will be much less frequent.

I'm Letting Go of my need to know how this is all going to work out. My friendships in Atlanta that are meant to sustain, simply will.  I will build a network of friends here in time and I'm going to stop worrying about that happening - it will.  It has already started.  My career will find the right path. My boys will be OK despite my flaws as a parent.  My marriage will withstand these hard years of small children and little sleep and this big move we've just made.  In fact, it will not only withstand, it will thrive. It too, already is.

I'm excited for 2015 and what it will bring.  If you'd have told me on January 1st, 2014 I'd end the year living in Macon and working in a new place, I'd have thought you were crazy and I certainly wouldn't have been thrilled at the idea.  But as this year closes, I am thrilled with where I'm sitting.  So bring it on 2015, I'm ready for you and my year of Letting Go.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What the Card Didn't Say

Our annual holiday letter and accompanying family photo was sent out yesterday to roughly 90 of our friends and family. As we were stuffing envelopes last night I asked the husband how many less we would send if we only sent them to people we actually still talk to. I said 85% but he thought I was being a bit dramatic. His guess was 60%. But he made the point that part of the tradition of sending Christmas cards is to stay in touch with friends who you don't otherwise stay in touch with. He has a point. And I myself love getting cards and pictures of old friends and their families this time of year. So in the mail the cards went.


Mr. Cob wrote this year's card, as he's done the past few years. I always get editorial rights and can cut or add as I see fit. I rarely have major edits, other than reigning in the obscure jokes that my husband gets but that very few other people will (myself included…).  The point, obviously, of our letter is to keep friends and family in the loop on our life – the major events of the year are hit upon (new babies, vacations, job changes, moves, etc.) – but the husband's bigger goal is making his readers laugh, so a lot of our letter is nonsense, which I appreciate (his humor is the main reason I fell in love with the man). One year, the husband penned the card in Lukas' name. And this year there's a theme from our childhood that runs throughout. We've been told on numerous occasions that people love getting our card every year, so we keep doing it.


But we've both always been cognizant of the braggery aspect of many holiday letters and we try to avoid that at all costs. But let's be honest, sending a picture of our family and letting everyone know what we're up to, is sort of bragging in and of itself.  And even if it's not outright bragging, it occurred to me this morning that the letter doesn't give the whole picture.  Yes, it includes the highlights of the year – we sold our house in Atlanta, Mr. Cob got a new job, we bought a new house and moved to Macon, the boys are growing much too fast, my job is in a state of flux, etc. etc. But there is something distinctly missing from our letter: the lowlights of the year. There's an argument to be made that your loved ones and old friends don't care to read a depressing holiday letter, but by leaving out the lows, are we artificially inflating the highs? And I'm not saying my family is alone in this, it's rare that anyone's holiday card includes the nitty gritty, or a photo that isn't picture-perfect. But in my quest for authenticity, I think a letter including the lows might be nice.


So here's what we should've included in the Christmas letter this year:


-       Julian wore a helmet to correct his plagiocephaly until early Spring. The helmet smelled bad, no matter how much washing was done.

-        I quit breastfeeding Julian at 9 months and I felt like a complete failure for not making it a year.

-        We took a two week vacation this summer and we didn't sleep one full night of the trip. We were all tired and cranky most of the time and Mr. Cob slept in the car on multiple occasions.

-        Our baby didn't start sleeping through the night on a regular basis until he was 14 months old. We've all been very tired.

-        I've been having random anxiety attacks since we closed on our house in Macon and decided it was time to start seeing a therapist again. (Although she was actually awful and wanted to talk about what I wanted to be when I was a child to figure out what career path I should've chosen and then wanted to dig into my childhood to try to figure out why I was anxious now (which really, the reason is obvious: I'm a full-time lawyer, with two small boys who has just made a bunch of huge life changes and has no friends). She also may have made the comment that I should just get over the mom-guilt because my kids are going to be in school soon enough and then what would be the point in being a stay-at-home mom then. She clearly didn't have children. So yea, I lived through that ridiculous hour and didn't come out of it with any new was to deal with the anxiety.)

-         I still have not lost all the baby weight. 17 months later. Damn 5 pounds won't go away. Nor will the 10 I wanted to lose before getting pregnant with J.

-        My parenting patience is a work in progress. Just ask my 4 year old.

-        I'm addicted to my smartphone. And Facebook.

 I could probably keep going, but you get the point.  None of that made the letter this year. But it's all my reality.  So when you open my card, or anyone's card this holiday season, don't compare my/their life to yours. Remember that you're only seeing what they've chosen to show you.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Footnotes & Elves

It's that time of year....Christmas time! And I am feeling festive!  We decorated the inside AND outside of house this weekend (thanks to my mom for the help inside and the hubby for tackling the outside lights - and candycanes!!). We even bought a few new decorations to fill out our new home (I just couldn't resist the reindeer pillow....I know).  And to top it off, our Christmas cards are printed, addressed and soon to be stamped!  

We also welcomed our elf, Book Marshmallow, this year.  I wasn't sure how I felt about having a small elf watching my every move for a month, but Lukas loves him, so I guess he's here to stay.  And Lukas named him...  On the positive side, he at least picked a name his little brother can say!

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  It was small and intimate with just the four of us and my parents.  Not traveling was wonderful. I made an apple pie from scratch and all our food was delicious!  I'm so thankful for my family, friends and this festive time of year!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the footnote tradition has continued....