Coming up Roses

As I mentioned in my recent Toolbelt blog post, Julietta Skoog brings a great voice for positive parenting. In her free weekly parenting tips email this week, she mentioned a ritual to create a meaningful moment with your toddlers and children. It’s a rift on the highs and lows sharing tool called rose/thorn and stem. The rose is the highlight, the thorn is the lowlight, and the stem is the learning or growing challenge/opportunity. When I look out over my life these days it’s all coming up roses. It helps that with the newest family member Lady Kitty, she’s all rosy roses, and very few thorns. So while others are lamenting the pandemic quarantine and/or disruption to our maternity leave plans, I’ve been actually quite content and happy. It helps having a great team for sure! Missing the kids’ grandparents is the hardest part for me personally. Allow me to take an inventory of my blessings, I bet I can easily come up with a dozen roses on the spot!

1. Upon hearing I was sidelined with excruciating bilateral foot pain, our incredibly kind and generous and thoughtful neighbor loaned us her stationary bicycle through the end of May. She’s a real inspiration, and she had her husband and father drag it up and down stairs and down the sidewalk to our front door, so I’m determined to use it! On this stationary bicycle I can work up a real sweat! And read. And baby wear!

2. My friend Miranda was up for a bicycle ride along the Burke Gilman Trail earlier this week. We rode for 2.5 hours, all the way out to Kenmore! Who would have guessed that was going to happen? I had never gone for a walk-and-talk style bicycle ride before. I ususally think of the traditional walk-and-talk around Greenlake. But with the COVID-19 social distancing notwithoutstanding, my feet have made it impossible to walk, so I’ve been taking a rest to heal them and it’s been effective. I was starting to miss getting outside to exercise though. Turns out the bicycle date actually works phenomenally. The stationary bicycle is great for exercise but bicycling outside is exhilarating with the wind in your face and the relative speed. It’s a rush and always so special to have an open talk about life with a friend.

3. We matched with our new au pair for fall! That’s not only a relief for what can feel like a stressful process, but it went super easily this time, and we feel like we really lucked out! More about Madeline soon!

4. Lady Kitty had her two month visit with our pediatrician Dr. Abigail Grant, whom I’ve already gushed about. She’s always a treat to see and talk to, and it was great to confirm Lady Kitty is growing strong, over 12 pounds and 24 inches (94th percentile for height!). All is well with our healthy beautiful baby!

5. I’m taking the opportunity to clean out the bathroom cupboard and… finding a whole sheaf of pre-packaged face masks, I’m enjoying a glowing face!

6. Sending my nephew a birthday package that includes the dry ingredients for a cake. All he has to do is all oil and water and bake, and then he and Lake can FaceTime and eat birthday cake “together”

7. Riding my bicycle to the post office to mail the package! Again the thrill of being out about town with the wind and sunlight on my face.

8. Michael bought me a present to honor that he’ll be gone most of the parenting hours for the next 8 days as he dives in to his back-to-back “4 10’s”… doing an 80 hour two-week work week straight through. And the thoughtful present was: a dozen delicious GF vegan chocolate chip cookies from Flying Apron! Yum. They really help ease out the rough moments. Of course, I have to eat them in secret or I’ll be forced into sharing them with Lake and end up with a sugared-up toddler on my hands. Then things would quickly spiral from tough to tougher.

9. Yoga and meditation Sunday mornings at 9am via Zoom with Jodi Boone via Zoom Link. (Feel free to join! Suggested donation $10). She is so beautiful with a lovely presence and “arrives” right directly in my living room. Need I say more?

10. Having friends over for dinner at the weekend. It’s so valuable to find a few friends to Stay Home Stay Healthy with. Its lucky to find friends who have already had COVID-19, or if you both agree you’ve been effectively quarantined and are not currently infected/contagious, or if you’re young and willing to take the risk of being exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to build up herd immunity, it can be mentally and emotionally enriching to expand your quarantine family.

11. I found a neighbor to bring accountability and some editing help for working on my memoir! It’s never to late or too early to start your magnum opus, right?

12. Championing effective communication together during a meaningful relationship talk with my husband. Congratulating ourselves on our maturity, for real. Being willing to sit with the discomfort (or imagined discomfort) to talk bravely and honestly brings intimacy even if other gains are not made (though often we might be surprised at how receptive our partners are when we are being truly vulnerable). This 5:31 video clip shared with me by my friend Bobby helped me expand my limitations of compassion.

Yup, a dozen roses… Life is coming up roses! Not that there are no thorns, (foot pain, missing friends and grandparents, and …), it’s just that with such a bouquet of roses it’s easy to focus on the beautiful blooms and they kind of hide the roughness of the thorns. A perfect day… I’m glad I spent it with you!

P.S. Be well, my dear reader. Feel free to share . What are your roses/thorns/stems? or simply feel inspired by me sharing my post-partum quarentine joy and gratitude.

P.P.S At bedtime Lake says, “ I love you the most. You’re right here in my heart. Is that why I think about you all the time? And you’re in my dreams?” That’s a whole dozen roses right there!

And to hear him giggle with delight…

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