Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Eggs

Dear Eggs,

You were our highlight of today, and we were happy to be able to enjoy you in more ways than one!

Everyone in our family loves eggs, including extended family--from aunts and uncles to cousins and grandparents.  We like them any way: scrambled, fried, poached, or hard-boiled (and sometimes even green!).  If I weren't the acting nutritionist in our family, we would all probably eat way too many eggs for our own good!  When Dear Son was a toddler and was allergic to eggs, we though, "uh-oh."  But he readily redeemed himself and his placement on our family tree as he outgrew this allergy and now loves his eggs just like the rest of us.

This year, I decided to try dyeing eggs with natural dyes instead of artificial food coloring just to see how they'd turn out.  I looked at a few DIY websites, but I didn't take the time to use any of the recipes (I was too lazy to boil onion skins, cabbage, or carrots).  It was quite ironic that while normally I do my darnedest to keep everything from being stained by food products, for this I was actually searching for those that stain the best.  I tried using ingredients I had that I thought would work well, such as strawberries, red wine, coffee, chili powder, curry powder, and red and green bell pepper.  It turns out that juices from strawberries and bell peppers don't stain at all.  But that's okay, since I got a nice purple out of red wine, a beautiful brown out of coffee, a speckled orange from chili powder, and a faint yellow from curry powder.  It was fun, and they came out very pretty, if I say so myself.

Now onto little plastic eggies.  

When Dear Daughter was little, we would take her to park district egg hunts.  I soon learned that they were always a free-for-all stampede, with many grownups acting even more immature than children when it came to grabbing hunting for eggs.  So I decided that we would have egg hunts in the comfort of our own home--with a nice little twist: I would make treasure egg hunts for the kiddos.  This year was a little different because for the first time, we have two readers.  So I mixed it up a little bit.  I put the clues inside of the eggs along with treats, and the kiddos had to put their clues together to figure the location of the next set of eggs (DD immediately taught DS how to see the order of the two clues by distinguishing the periods and the commas).  And then there we were--a family of four on a wild goose chase: the two kiddos in the front running around the house, Dear Husband running after them with the camcorder, and I, the caboose, with my camera. 

The chase went something like this:

You may see them when you shower.
They’re Mama’s beautiful, prized flowers. (My orchids)

You put these on before your shoes, 
They are sometimes easy to lose. (Sock drawer)

Like a bookshelf but for bottles, 
They hold reds, whites, and bubbles. (Wine rack)
You open this every day, 
To practice music while you play. (Violin cases)

It’s a must and it’s a rule, 
You take this every day to school. (Backpacks)

In the room and by the wall, 
It’s the only place you’d find golf balls. (Daddy's reading lamp base) 

When you’re hungry for a snack, 
This is where you first attack. (The pantry)
From 1 to 4 we advance, 
This is where you play Just Dance. (Wii console)

You have one but even still, 
You don’t visit your Jack-and-Jill. (The never-used kiddos' bathroom)

In the room where Daddy works, 
Find your last prizes and perks. (The guest room/Daddy's workroom)

When all the plastic eggs had been opened, the clues paired, and the final prizes found (duct tape for DD's crafting and coloring pages for DS' newly found hobby), it was time to have some real eggs for our tummies.  DD took a brown egg, DS took an orange egg, and DH and I both took purple eggs.  I think next year I better use grape juice instead, since the red wine dyed through the shell and made faint spots on the egg white, and I actually taste a trace of red wine!  Eeek!  So you bet that DH and I will be the ones to consume all four purple eggs.  

So, Dear Eggs, what an eggscellent day we had with you.  Whether plastic or real, you will still stay around for a few more days with us.  But you'll remain one of our favorite edible foods--whether on your own or as a part of a recipe--throughout the rest of the year.

I hope you and your family had a blessed and wonderful Easter!  Now, back to school (from spring break), and back to Reality...


Linking with Live and Love Out Loud's Nurture Photography Challenge!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dear Family Calendar

Dear Family Calendar,

Since you came into our lives from the suggestion of a friend (thanks, Laura, for your awesome comment) from my shameless post on not-having-it-all-together, Order is found among Chaos, household gears are well-oiled, and this mama is With-It once again!

We had often talked about getting a large dry erase board to keep notes on household things, such as a grocery list and upcoming events.  However, we don't have a wall in the kitchen where we can nail in a board and/or still preserve the seemingly nice appearance of a family dining area.  But when the suggestion arrived in my blog post comment area, I looked into a dry erase calendar board, yet again.

I looked around our kitchen, and it suddenly dawned on me that there is an entire blank surface on the side of the kitchen island facing the dining table--a highly visible area that is low enough for kiddos to access--perfect for such a family calendar.  However, we were still opposed to nailing something in it.  From my search, I found a few stick-on/removable dry erase calendars, which seemed to be perfect for my needs.  However, they were small.  I wanted big.  I also went to our local Michaels to see how I'd like the size, but the store did not carry any, and the salesperson looked at me as if I was asking about Martian calendars.  So in my desperation, I scrounged up materials to make my own calendar.

Because I don't know the meanings of "patience" and "virtue."  I wanted a working calendar and I wanted it now.

I grabbed a poster board, a roll of contact paper, and a pack of colorful dry erase pens.  I was freakin' gonna make my own calendar light enough to tape onto the side of the island.  I measured rows and columns and drew boxes with a Sharpie pen.  I left space on top for Month and side for Notes.  I then spent a longer-than-appropriate amount of time adhering the contact paper to the poster board.  (I had sudden flashbacks of screen-protector placement nightmares because I am the Screen-Protector Placer of all touchscreen devices in our family--oh the woes of stickiness.)  I later realized that I had forgotten to write the days of the week at the top, but I guess I can always make a better one down the line.  When the Sticky Fairy pays me a visit and bestows The Gift of Perfect Sticky Placement on me.  

And voila.  I have a Family Calendar.  With color-coded events filled in for the month.  Blue for Events, orange for Due Dates/things to turn in to school, magenta for my Sub Jobs, green for After School Activities, and purple for Others.  In the mornings, we look at the calendar and we know immediately what is due at school that day or important events for the week.  We haven't missed turning anything in since.  Hallelujah. 

We then also began a Chores List on the right side of the calendar.  Up until now, I didn't have set chores for the kiddos.  I would ask them to help me out as needed at appropriate times, because 1) I needed help, 2) I want to teach them the value of helping out around the house because they live in it, but 3) I didn't want them to feel burdened with chores the way I felt when I was growing up.  My memories of helping around the house ranged from full-time babysitting to being the Beckon-Call Daughter.  Things to do were never-ending for me--from having to make coffee for someone else to having to slice ginger while I was in the middle of doing my homework.  But when I suggested a Chore List to the kiddos, they were very excited about it.

We wrote down a few simple chores that both kiddos had been doing already, and gave them each a symbol to be included on the calendar.  They happily decided on the days of the week for each chore.  Granted, we are not following the Chores List as obediently as we are the Due Dates List, but it gives them a sense of responsibility, ownership, and time management.  There are days when Dear Son asks if he can swiffer the floor "tomorrow" and Dear Daughter asks if she can put away the clean dishes "later," and I'm okay with that since I know all too well the stress of having to clean the house on a schedule.  So we are also learning benefits of being flexible as well.  Because really, anything they do accomplish is one less thing I have to do, and I am grateful.  It is definitely a win-win for all of us.

There are a few tiny caveats I need to mention, however.  The markers don't erase very well on contact paper, but since we have a bottle of dry erase white board cleaner, it's not been a problem at all.  Also, a calendar only works if everything, and I mean everything, gets put on it.  So I have made it a point to write on the calendar as soon as a paper comes home with a date on it.  Cannot. Be. Lazy. 

Sure, I still have my alarms on my phone to remind me of Due Dates and Events.  But having a large piece of paper reflecting the same information for everyone to see has been so incredibly helpful.  I have been able to let go of the old-school thought that Martyr Mama holds sole responsibility to running a household, and is somehow "graded" on how well it's done (and I was barely passing on my own merit).  I knew this calendar was the way to go when a few days ago DS came to me and told me that it was the last day of his 10-day antibiotics course.  They pay attention to that calendar way more than I give them credit for.

So, Dear Family Calendar, you are the most welcomed addition to our household this year, even more so than any gifts or want-items.  Now that March is almost over, I am ready to make you anew for April.  And there are lots of things to put on you already.  Thank you for your kind service--we now simply cannot do without you. 

(Do you have a family calendar, and does it work well for you?)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dear Big-Kid-Hood

Dear Big-Kid-Hood,

Just like that, you've snatched my baby and placed him among his new peers on your Playground.  I think he'll like his new promotion, though it might take me a little while to get used it. 

My little guy just turned six.  The little one, our Family Caboose, my Baby.  This one felt hard for me.  Five is still little, still wide-eyed with trace amounts of baby fat left on parts of a growing body.  But six?  Six is brimming on the the verge of Big-Kid-Hood.  Six is the beginning of spending more time in school than at home.  Six is when Independence becomes the majority of support beams of Oneself.

Six is the end of Little.

Goody bag assembly
This past weekend seemed like a huge blur to me.  They always do when there's an event that takes lots of planning and work on top of other regularly scheduled ones.  Since much of the party details had begun over the last week, I wanted to be able to relax and do our Friday Thang: movie and a drink--and it was a beer kind of Friday for me.  That I had most of a beer and stayed up for the entire movie was as miraculous as spring actually arriving on time in my part of the world (zzzzzzzzzzzz).  Then, Saturday began with Dear Daughter performing a violin concert at a local hospital grand opening, followed by my trips to the store and library for my Chinese School lesson the next day.  Cake making began at 5 PM (since Dear Son's trip to the ER from his peanut allergy, I'm taking no more chances, especially on his birthday).  By the time all the cupcakes and cake were made and frosted, the food prepped and packaged, the birthday banner made and rolled, the party bags stuffed and labeled, the partyware gathered and packed, and surprise door streamers hung and smiling, it was 1:30 Sunday morning.

And just like that, my baby turned six.

Surprise birthday streamers
There used to be a time when I could not understand why when I kindly said hello to some children, they would ignore me, not respond, and just look away.  I never had issues saying hello back to grownups when I was a kid, so I had a hard time relating to these kids and wished that they would just accept my greeting as my reaching out to make a connection.  Until Dear Husband gently reminded me that DS responds to people greeting him the exact same way.  I had just never made that connection because he's my child.  (Talk about my own child teaching me the meaning of empathy).  Consequently, we have been talking about this with DS, and that it is polite to answer back when people we know (not strangers) say hello.  DH and I worried about DS being taken the wrong way.  He's really not like that, we'd say to ourselves quietly.  He's a great kid with a kind heart, we'd plug for him under our breaths.  So the day before his party, DH reminded him that when people tell him "happy birthday" or say hello to him, he really should respond to show that he's glad that his friends came to celebrate with him.  And as we watched him from afar on that day, he really tried.  DS waved, smiled, and said, "thank you."  Quietly, timidly, and obligingly.

And just like that, my baby turned six. 

Mmmmm, frosting
And along with the process of growing up, children begin to gain more awareness of self and their surroundings.  DS is still working on leaving behind some Little Kid behaviors, and we know it's tough, since he's the youngest in the family.  Birth order can certainly make a difference in one's personality, and we as parents try to help minimize the undesirable characteristics as well as hope to take advantage of the strengths of a youngest child.  There are times when DD gets the short end of the stick just because she is older (but we explain to her that these are due to age-related developmental stages that DS is going through), and there are times when DS must understand that he doesn't get his way just because he is younger (and we discuss equality and what is fair).  At home, he is still quick to show displeasure during transitions, especially when he's not ready to move on.  With lots of reminding and explaining and reasoning and conversing, we are directing DS to think, use his words, and be more aware of his impulsive reactions and their appropriateness, or lack thereof.  Today, he asked me proudly, "Mama, is my behavior better today than yesterday?" full well knowing the answer, because he genuinely heard my words and tried to improve. 

And just like that, my baby turned six.

My Personal Report Card
During Parent-Teacher Conference this week, DS' teacher showed me his "Personal Report Card," where students gave themselves an evaluation in different areas.  I had done this before when I taught first and second graders, and the purpose of this is for students to think introspectively about their work and effort--and one can tell a lot about a child from his or her evaluation of self.  Out of six questions (in the areas of Reading, Math, Writing, Follow Directions, Homework, Do Best Work), DS only chose the best category for three of them, leaving the other three for the "okay" category.  While both his teacher and I thought he could have chosen the "great" category for all the questions, he didn't.  And our interpretation of this Personal Report Card is that DS is very hard on himself.  Other points raised in the conference indicated to me that he may over-think things, which could be both beneficial and disadvantageous.  This can allow him to be a critical and analytical thinker, but can also potentially bog him down with various troubling thoughts.  Part of me wishes that he had just circled the "best" category for all the questions because he deserved every bit of that credit, but part of me is proud (in a sort of heavyhearted way) that he wants to push himself even more.

And just like that, my baby turned six.

During many a Motherhood Moments did I wish that the nightfeedings would be over, the potty-training phase be done, the separation anxiety cease, the constant neediness stop, and the perfectionist tears halt.  Now they mostly have, but this fickle mom looks back and feels strangely nostalgic yet deliriously happy that we've come this far.  (So happy that I've almost forgotten what it's like to be sleep-deprived, thus taking many a days to recover from my two late-nights-in-a-row this past weekend; I've found new meaning to the words, "can't hang.") 

So, Dear Big-Kid-Hood, I look forward to seeing DS explore and have fun on your Playground, where he will continue to grow and walk in the halls of elementary school and in the second half of his First Decade.  There is so much to discover ahead, and he's plowing straight into the thick of it all.

And just like that, my baby turned six.

As I pull the zoom lens on my camera back from the birthday party to normal view, I see that it is still just another day in our full and ordinary life.  And I am thankful for the blessing of every second of it. 

Happy Sixth Birthday to my Baby.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Dear Bent

"We're not broken, just bent, and we can learn to love sleep again."

Dear Bent,

You describe me perfectly during certain difficult parenting moments--namely when my kiddos are ill or injured.  More accurately, I become "totally bent-out-of-shape" or "almost completely undone."

Yes, children get sick and hurt.  It is a fact of life.  No precautions on anyone's part can totally prevent them, and we just hope that in the process of these unwelcome events that either we build immunity to ward off future illnesses or learn from our mistakes to not get hurt the same way again.  Except This Mama seems unable to "learn."

Dear Son became sick again--for the fourth time this winter--earlier this week.  Suffice it to say, when body temperature reaches 103 to 104 degrees and the doctor's office is closed, I naturally begin to panic.  You see, I have unknowingly inherited the Worry Gene in its dominant and homozygous form.  I worry and I know it.

Not only do I panic, but I start to hear voices inside my head bickering with one another.  And the battle between Logical Me and Crazy Me can be quite vigorous:

CM: How on earth am I going to be able to sleep tonight when DS has a fever this high?  I'm going to be up half the night making sure he hasn't had a febrile seizure in his sleep.  Wait, can one have a seizure in one's sleep?

LM: Don't be silly.  He will be fine.  He took ibuprofen and his temperature will come down in a little while.  It always does.

CM: It's been twenty minutes and he's still 103.8.  OMG, his brain is going to fry.  This is way too high.  Is he going to be all right?

LM: He's had temps this high before.  Don't you remember?  It will come down; just give it some time.  He's sleeping fine, so just take him to the pediatrician in the morning.

CM: He has?  Really?  I don't remember.  104 is really high.  Is he going to be okay?  How am I ever going to sleep at all?  Well, I just won't.  Damn this fever.  I am so worried.
Amidst this frantic conversation, I slowly begin to realize that I'm talking out loud and not just inside my head.  Wait a second, Crazy Me is talking out loud.  And Logical Me is responding out loud, too.  Oh, I realize I've really lost it, because I have been having a conversation with Dear Husband all this time.  He's the one with all the logical thoughts.  Hmmm.  (And he's really not understanding how I can not remember when just weeks ago DS had a temperature of 104 and this exact same conversation took place then as well.)

(For the record, I don't understand it either.)

I really lose it when my kids get sick.  Panic sets in and my brain becomes worthy of comparison to gelatin.  Part of the problem is that I lose all recollection to the kiddos' prior illnesses, their symptoms, order of events, and the days it took to get better.  The other part of the problem is that in the peak of my panic, I can no longer think logically, so I begin to think the only other way: illogically and in the worse case scenario way.  My mind goes wherever it shouldn't go.  All the what-ifs rise from the dead in a dark, spooky, and chilly cemetery to haunt me.  I look at each one of them in the eyes for a split second before realizing how ridiculous I am to even consider the possibility of any of them.  But sometimes a few just seems almost plausible that it scares the bejeezus out of me.  The mind works in crazy ways. 

Really.  All I really want is for my child to get well.  And I'd give anything for that to happen. 

My only way out of Panic Mode is seeing improvement.  When the fever finally breaks, I can then exhale all that stale, worried air in my lungs.  Or when we see the doctor, get a diagnosis, and get the meds.  Then I can sleep again. 

DS is all better now (it was an ear infection, something he's only ever had once when he was one).  He'll be on amoxicillin for ten days, and is bouncing off the walls already.  And I'm taking mental notes on this one so that DH won't accuse me of not ever believing what he says next time a kiddo gets sick.

Except I know that I still won't believe him anyway when that time comes.

So, Dear Bent, I am straightening out from this sick episode, but still in amazement as to how worried parents I can get.  They certainly forgot to include that tidbit in the Parenting Manual.  I know that most of us would trade places with our sick or injured children in a heartbeat, no questions asked.  But since Life is not interested in people switching bodies, we have to deal.  I just have to keep telling myself that they're "not broken, just bent," and tonight, I will sleep again.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Dear Capturing Memories

Dear Capturing Memories,

You are the reason why we own things such as cameras, camcorders, journals, and--whaddaya know--blogs.  But the simple act of possessing these things is not enough.  And that's where I sometimes need a little nudge.

We've all seen it.  Children's performances on stage bring forth a myriad of recording devices: cameras, phones, camcorders, and even tripods and iPads.  The camera flashes, the shutter clicks, and out-of-range hums of countless digital screens--all working simultaneously to capture a Moment in Time. 

Outside of stage performances, there are also lots of reasons to have the recording devices on and ready to go.  These captured memories could be as mundane as a clip of an outdoor sand and water table play or a weekly gymnastics lesson--to something more momentous such as baby's first bite of solid food or a birthday party celebration.  Whatever the occasion, get the footage on video; snap the photos on film memory card; or record the events down in writing.  They will become priceless memories.

But I must give full credit to Dear Husband who is always the one to make sure the camera and camcorder batteries are charged for every child-related event or performance.  He is the one who packs them into our bags so that they are ready to capture the violin recitals or school holiday shows.  Around here, DH is known as the Picture Tyrant: he'll stick a camera in your face and snap and flash as he pleases.  He'll take the disgruntled complaints now, and wait for the thank-yous later.  Because eventually, we all thank him. 

It seems like a chore, interrupting the ongoings of an event to click buttons--at least to me it does, and that's why I'm not on top of it--but a few short years down the line, we reap the rewards.  During the process of transferring old family video footage from film to DVD, we had the opportunity to watch what happened in our daily lives when the kiddos were much younger.  Because they find it interesting to see their younger selves, the kiddos always gathered around the TV to see what comes up on the screen.  The span of emotions ranged from self-conscious embarrassment (Dear Daughter turns red when she sees herself in anything princess-y) to outright denial (Dear Son not owning up to his baby chubby cheeks) to massive maternal gushing (my endless "awwwws" and "oh-my-goodness-will-you-look-at-my-babies!" in a high-pitched squeaky voice).  All the while, DH would sit back, arms behind his head, smiling smugly, knowing that he kept these memories alive.

Thanks, honey.  You done good. 

But his accomplishment does not just end there.  You see, footage we see on screen are much more meaningful if there were exciting and memorable experiences attached to them--meaning, effort made to do something or go somewhere special.  Well, I'm one of those peeps who is perfectly content sitting on the couch with a laptop, a good book, or something mindless to watch on TV.  I self-proclaim the ability to "grow roots" on my very own couch.  Suffice it to say--not very fun for the kiddos.  So DH has to somehow get me off my lazy bum to go do something fun--for the kiddos.  Which is not an easy feat.

DH suggested that we go sledding this past weekend.  Which, in my book, is about one tiny notch more favorable than cleaning the house.  To bundle up and go into the cold and slide high speed down a hill, is, well, just not as enticing as my warm home, comfy couch, and a nice cup of tea.  But I knew the kiddos were pining to go, so we geared up in our snow wear and off we went.

And just like the time DH hauled my ass convinced me to go hiking on a nature trail, or the time he drove us to a beautiful beach on a road trip last summer, I had the time of my life--sledding.  You see, I wasn't keen on going hiking because I thought the kiddos would protest walking a long distance in the woods; I was wrong.  They did not complain once during the 1.7 mile-long hike, and I had a chance to snap an awesome collection of nature photos.  Likewise, I thought I would despise the sand-and-sunscreen combination and the overpowering sun on the beach; I was wrong again.  I thoroughly enjoyed the warm sun, the gentle breeze, refreshing water, and <gasp> the gritty sand, because we were on vacation.

So we have done some baby-sledding in our backyard where there's a decent incline, but this time, we went to a park district preserve with a number of slopes designated for sledding in the winter.  Because DH was in charge of his electronic devices, I was the chosen DS-co-pilot.  And it turned out to be one exhilarating experience for me--I think I screamed down the entire way every. single. time.  I kept thinking that my old bones are too stiff for this activity, but it never did stop me.  The adrenaline-rush sliding down, fast, was outta this world.   And DH?  You can almost see it (in the first picture above): he's down the hill with a camera in one hand and a camcorder in the other, doing his job capturing these memories, cuz that's how he rolls, yo.

That night, we decided that it probably would be be worthwhile--for our memories' sake and to take advantage of the precious seasonal changes of the year--that we make it a point to always do the following at least once: go to the beach in the summer (definitely more than once), go hiking in the spring and fall (a manageable goal), and go sledding in the winter (hopefully more than once).  Our Seasonal Musts.  Declared.

And a gentle word of advice for those of us who are always sometimes camera-shy: be in pictures and videos.  It's for the kids.  Years down the line, they will be able to revive fond memories of family footage or photos, and not just their own.  Truly, they won't see the bad-hair-day or I-look-fat side of you.  Instead, they will see family.

So, Dear Capturing Memories, thanks to DH, we accomplish your task periodically and with enthusiasm.  Sure, it takes a little more effort than growing roots, but the rewards are priceless.  Especially when captured and replayed back to view years down the line.  Because we bank our memories inside our mind vault named Nostalgia, we must make regular deposits in the form of visual images and relatable sentiments.  So onward we trudge with our cameras and camcorders and this blog.  I might not be good with all the technical devices, but I will keep writing my words here. 

How do you walk down memory lane?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Bloodletting

Dear Bloodletting,

I had my annual rendezvous with you yesterday.  You arrived almost like clockwork, except I hadn't seen you coming.  Yesterday.

And except instead of bloodletting, it was more like tearletting.  The kind where hot gushes of tears just surge and flow, like the eminent calm-but-steady spill of an overfilled sink, because the conversation on the phone tapped a deep, dark hurt--one that I have been trying to bury and get past for much too long.

It always surfaces--The Past.  No matter how much you try to put it behind you.  Because it is simply a part of you.  Unless you acquire amnesia.

Sometimes I wish I had amnesia.

When you're so emotionally overwrought, you don't think straight, and you don't make much sense when you're trying to make a point.  Between bouts of deep breathing, eyes drying, and nose wiping (my damn nose just has to join my eyes for some slobbery fun), words that come out of my mouth vacillate somewhere between carefully-calculated, going-through-the-motions, and strangely deranged.  That all-too-familiar feeling of teetering on the rope between Sanity and Crazy suffocates me, and the moment suddenly arrives where either I dive or walk away.  I dive.  I crash.  I shut down.  And just when you think you're good, and all the tearletting is over, one split-second thought of some Past Memory instantly takes you right back to the mental stabbing pain and it starts all over again.

And the wet tissue papers mound in a pile. 

And my eyes burns with the crappy feeling that I've felt every time this tearletting happens.  They swell, hurt, sting, and scream, like they have for the last thirty years.  My head is stuffed full with sadness and pain, at levels that feel always more than the last time.  Each time this happens. 

When it's all over--last words uttered, off button pressed, and period placed after the final sentence--I feel the plug pulled from under me.  That one that prevents the overflowing sink from incurring more damage.  I feel everything drain from underneath me.  All my energy, essence, my me, and the integrity with which I uphold my being.  Simply, I empty.  I void. I deflate.

I spend the rest of the day swimming upstream in River Anxiety, trying to get back to my own reality.  I lose momentum and direction when I replay the conversation in my mind, brewing over the absurdities of it all.  Wanting a do-over, but not really. 

Then I feel a hug.  Then some more hugs.  And then I see smiles that rescue me.  They guide me back to the clearing.

Finally, I carefully put it back into its Box, dig a deep hole, and bury it again.  I want to stand tall above it and keep it down for as along as I can, because I am happiest as my Standing Self.  I know it will find its way back out again, and come another year or so, all this will replay itself, again, just like it has, since Forever Ago.

The Past will always find me.  It is always a part of me. 

Everyone has such a box. Don't think for one second that even the happiest of people are without one.  Perhaps they are better at keeping theirs buried; perhaps they are able to dig deeper; or perhaps they have yet to surface.  But they're there.  And the next time you recognize someone's crouch, digging tools, and Box, you just might pull out your tools and crouch beside that person.  Because compassion goes a long way.

So Dear Bloodletting, some people think that you are an outlet for pent-up emotions and therefore a beneficial process.  But not I.  When you finally realize--like I have--that the only thing keeping you from being Happy is The Past, you'd also want to move on.  But we all know that Life is not a bed of roses, and that you will continue to take place, again and again.

Because my Past is a part of me.  There's no escape from it.  And that Past will inevitably be a part of my Future, too.

But not today. I'm Standing Tall today.