All you can do blog

On the daily....all you can do is what you can do. - Betsy Poos

My Right Path

Stella's Path

My internal dialogue has been in turmoil for the past month.  It has been on fire and everything has felt big.  Every action.  Every non-action.  I chugged along my “Live Simply” motto pretty well from January until about mid-September and then the wheels fell off.  My focus on my teeny family bubble was burst by worry of inequity in our schools and the crisis that became Brett Kavanaugh.  It has happened before and it will happen again.  I was heartbroken with worry and I completely stalled.

With Stella now in second grade everything feels more important.   I feel the gravity of being her parent and her first sheppard more acutely now.  I know that Jason and my choice for where to live and where to send her to school matters intensely at this age.  I know that my choice to show up as a loving parent, involved neighbor, and informed global citizen matters.  I know that if we support and uplift her opinions and her interests now, she will understand how to love and respect herself for a lifetime.  

I know it because this is the age I was when all those things became important.  I remember yearning to feel accepted and liked.  I remember struggling in second and third grade to find my way.  The years before that my memories are from pictures and stories re-told by grownups. My memories from age seven - those are imprinted in who I am today.  

Around Stella’s age I was learning about being a kid of divorced parents.  I can look back now and understand that impact.  There are plenty of shadows, but what I recall in those early years was seeing my mom as a super hero.  My dad was around, but that was different.  I knew mom carried the load.  I knew mom shielded my brother and me from just enough, but she also showed us some of the struggle.

With all the heaviness in the world right now, I took on an urgency of how to be that super hero mom. How do I shield her enough while also showing her some of the crappy, ugly stuff in our world?  How do I teach her respect for herself and others, but to also be frank that our world is not fair?  Should I be a greater activist myself to provide some of these lessons? I was scared.  

A few weeks into the turmoil I recognized it, labeled it, did some journaling, talked to some friends, and got the straight talk from Jason about it all.  And it all comes back to our families three favorite mottos: “Live Simply.”  “All you can do is all you can do.”  “I can do hard things.”  

And then I kind of retreated to my teeny bubble.  My bubble is our family, our school, our business, and our neighborhood.  But in doing that I realize that there is a heck of a lot of hard work that goes into that teeny bubble…and the bubble always, always leaks out to something bigger.

We let our girls know each and every day how much they are loved.  We do that through words and our actions.  Occasionally that feels harsh to a seven year old not wanting to do that last bit of homework, but I hope mostly our girls recognize the absolute opportunity and potential in their lives.  

I can really wind myself dizzy with worry about inequity in our school, but I’ve reminded myself to do exactly what I can to be the change I wish to see in the world (and not focus on what I can not do right now).  I’m co-leader for Stella’s 2nd grade Brownie Troop for that reason.  I will show up big and be a leader for those 15 girls so they can be leaders themselves.  

Jason is my best sounding board and he never fails to remind me that I can’t save the world, and that what I’ve chosen to do does make an impact.  He is my voice of reason and he keeps everything from stalling.  

I teach and share yoga because it makes my life better and because I know the teachings can make your life better too.  I teach yoga as unity, yoga as right action, and yoga as empowerment.  In activist laden Washington, D.C. I have to trust that all those planks and shoulder openers we practice in class give my students the strength to hold the protest sign up longer in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and shout from a full heart.  I have to trust that I’m doing enough in sharing with my students so they will share their goodness with others.  That is my connection and my activism, which absolutely shines a positive light beyond my teeny bubble.  Surely it must!

That’s not too much to ask for right?  It’s happening?  Yes or no I’m going forward from my bubble to yours with the hope that they connect. With the faith that living simply is my right path.

When I Met You in the Summer

When I rolled out of bed Monday morning I knew I'd need an extra cup of coffee not just to wake up, but to also brush aside the slight nervous anxiety I felt as what I dubbed "Stella and mommy's excellent summer staycation" began. SJP UnionMarket DanceLast Friday Jason and I proudly watched Stella and her fellow 3 year old classmates sing Ram Sam Sam in a family picnic celebration to round out their school year.  Though to say my child sang is certainly stretching the truth, but I'll give her benefit of the doubt that she was just singing very softly as she told me afterwards.

And with that our Summer was off and running.  Some months ago I decided to save a little money I'd keep my darling and precious daughter home with me this week rather than return right away to summer camp at her preschool.  But as the week approached I grew more and more anxious.  The memories of Spring Break tantrums were still quite vivid and I considered many times calling the school to say I'd really love to give you an extra $300 for this week too.  But I resisted somewhat out of mommy guilt and somewhat out of mommy pride that our summer staycation really would be excellent.

Well it's Friday at 3pm and Stella has been peacefully napping for the past hour.  It's safe to say we made it through the week happy and peaceably together, save one epic metro ride tantrum where Stella repeatedly clocked me with the toy kitty I'd bought her an hour earlier. Sorry fellow passengers.

Nobody wants to say that spending countless summer hours and days with your own flesh and blood causes tension or anxiety, but for me that had become the norm and I was pleasantly pleased to break that routine this week.

I was reminded time and again this week that every day that has come before has brought me more assurance, confidence, and wisdom to parent today.  Stella and I know each other inside and out, and it was like we had a soul promise to be strong in our own boundaries this week.  When that Thursday tantrum happened I knew I was pushing the bounds.  We both happily compensated with a quiet day at home today.  Another reminder that our time together is about just that, being together.  And this week I really was just with Stella.  I got just enough work done during her quiet times and kept my commitments to running, yoga practice, and evening activities all minimal.

Next week Stella will return to her preschool and I will return to my daily studio routines prior to my leaving at week's end for an 11 day training trip away.  This will be my first extended period away from Stella.  I'm both excited and once again anxious for the possibilities that lie in those 11 days for me, and for Stella and Jason's dedicated time together, but I'm confident with our resolve to do all that you can do it's going to be good.

Here's to the summer start where I fell in love again and again, moment after moment, with the excellent person Jason and I are blessed to raise.