The Harding Icefield Trail: A Surprising Metaphor for Marriage

The trip I would have never wanted to take. The destination: too unknown and too far away. The travel time: my furthest distance ever traveled on a plane.  Not to mention the childcare arrangements for ten days and the anxiety of what may not go to plan in those days back at home.  The activities, car pooling, all those meals, baths that would probably never happen and the sibling rivalry and chaos about to be gifted to our poor unsuspecting families. (Well they do know our kids, they must have suspected something!)

I live in an alternate reality the days leading up to whenever Ice and I travel. The urge to stress and worry is never far away. Yet the older I get and the more successful journeys we have taken, this coping method proves to be futile. Simply put it was amazing and far more than I ever imagined.

Ice has been laser-focused for years on visiting Alaska. He pretty much knew whether I was in or not, he was going for his next milestone birthday. There was a pull that was very strong and he needed to discover it.  Conveniently too, every milestone birthday he celebrates we also celebrate one in our marriage. How could I not adventure ahead?

After tossing around using the services of a travel agent, he decided he would plan the itinerary himself.  Flawlessly I might add.  After studying maps and books, guides and magazines, he more than had a handle on what we might want to do and where.

I did my very best to rise to the occasion once being told I could only take a backpack! A back pack you say? Does this man not know I travel with everything but the kitchen sink?! Huge character flaw but I own it. I like to be ready for anything from migraines to surprise dressier occasions to a last minute entry into a 5k or a spontaneous do-it-yourself pedicure. It happens!  We went so far as to do a “practice pack” two weeks before just to be sure I could fit all my necessities in my pack. Happy to say it went well and I felt pretty confident I would rock this.

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This was it for 10 days!

Our journey started off in Juneau at 11 pm on a Thursday night. Walking off the plane in the light of day at that hour was surreal, but so very cool. And I will never forget the intense smell of the trees as we walked outside the airport.  It was intoxicating.

We packed so much into those 10 days.  The Alaska Railroad, Denali National Park, a Kenai Fjords boat tour for glacier viewing and whale watching, a two-mile sled dog ride with Iditarod-winning dogs and on and on.

But the highlight for me was an eight-hour hike we completed in the Kenai Fjords National Park on the Harding Icefield Trail. It was predicted to rain that day. Not the news I wanted to hear. But we had come prepared with all the gear and all this long way so we were definitely forging ahead.

We had been told the first one-third or so of the trail to be on the lookout for bears. I had become all too familiar with the trepidation of hiking with this knowledge when we were in Denali National Park. But it was still very unsettling and something to try and get used to.

As we set out it was very clear this trail was no joke. In many portions of the trail one misplaced step could have been disastrous. It was exhilarating and sobering all at the same time. Hiking up and up for hours on end.

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Hiking up and up

The more we climbed thoughts just started coming into my head about how this hike was such a metaphor for marriage.  There were things to look out for that could have compromised our safety, like the bear danger (of which yes a Mama black bear and her cub were on the trail with us we were told by several hikers but we just missed seeing them in the bushes) – much like the commitment of marriage and the pitfalls so many encounter within their years together.

I truly loved the climb upward. The anticipation of the view at the top kept me going.  The climb down would be harder. Harder slowing down the steep momentum in some places and just kind of “been there done that, I want this to be over” feeling took over. Of course Ice was the reverse. He was spurred on by the fact that the climb down would be so much shorter.  And in fact once we arrived at our destination and started to head back he encouraged us to run down the mountain together. Run! We ran past many hikers and people asking us “how much longer to the Icefield?” The trail certainly flew by running down the mountain!  It took us half the amount of time that first part than it had in the ascent.

In marriage, once you have experienced something and develop your strategy for moving over it, the descent does become quicker as time goes on. It may not be easier, as in my case, but the familiar feeling of a challenge and how to get past it does.

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Where is the rest of the trail?

It was right about here that we got lost. We searched for about 30 minutes to pick up the trail. I was getting impatient and wanted to call it. We had gone in several different directions and the trail markings were not leading us where we wanted to go. At times the clouds were nipping at our heels and it felt a little unsettling being up there and losing sight of where we had come from.  After encountering some Italian hikers who had spent the night up near the Icefield, they helped direct our way.

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The trail as it looked behind us as the clouds rolled in

“It takes a village” as the saying goes.  Many times we need help staying on track. Thankfully my husband and I have our faith and have relied heavily on that.  But sometimes others who have gone farther ahead on the journey prove to be great support and sources of wisdom.

And pacing is important. When we were starting off I was leading the way. As things progressed, Ice moved into the pole position. And at times we were separated on that mountain. I stopped frequently to take photographs. His long legs propelled him further at a pace faster than I.  We tackled the climb but at a different pace.

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Wait for me!

But the most standout part of the climb was the beauty, the views and the perspective.  We saw so many breathtaking sights. The extreme effort, the uncertainty, the faith in the worth of what lie ahead (the Harding Icefield!)…it all came together as we kept venturing further up that mountain.  Who knew Alaska would capture my heart as it did?  I would have never accomplished this climb alone. And I was so honored to be asked to do it with this guy.

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A kiss with a view and twenty years’ perspective

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Most Powerful Word in the English Language

For the last several years I have selected a word or phrase of intention for the year. Kind of like a theme.  A beacon to guide my handling of life and to give some perspective.  I can’t recall exactly when I was introduced to this idea. But it was an author whose books were popular among friends of mine several years ago. I thought “Why not? What could it hurt?”

Some of my past examples?

Faith.

Let it go.

Hope.

This year’s catalyst for my word? Another book found its way into my hands at just the perfect time.
Forgiveness.  

And it has made all the difference.

Forgiveness is hard. Perhaps that is why it is underrated. You and I find forgiveness hard because we are stubborn. Rather than stepping out to healing, we often prefer to sit and feed off our wounds because they are familiar and comfortable.  It is easier to do nothing. Maybe we struggle with forgiveness because we are lazy or because we are afraid.  But understand this: Forgiveness will transform you and your relationships once you release its power into your life. You will find a new and higher level of living and of relationships. Forgiveness is the most powerful word in the English language.

~Allen R. Hunt Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody

Whoa.

We can all think of someone -be it a neighbor, co-worker, friend or family member- who is a grudge holder. I know I can. I have some grudge holding in my genetic makeup.

Sadly, there are some past hurts that just won’t be set free in my extended family. And the ripple effect of these decisions far outweighs the original intent in my mind. Hurt begets hurt begets hurt.  Enough.

Forgiveness has more clearly set my relationships right with Ice and my children. With my family and my friends. With co-workers and with the kid at the drive-thru window who didn’t greet me before announcing my total with a grunt and just his hand out.  As I type these words I can think of an example where this mantra this year has served its intended purpose. And I am so grateful for it.

Speaking of the drive thru…

Recently Ice shared one of his experiences. He pulled into a fast food place at the back of their parking lot. The cars were already lined up. The angle he was accessing the line made it so he had to wait for the last car to pull up a little for his vehicle to file in. But it was clear to anyone watching that he was “next” in line inching in behind the last car.

As luck would have it a pick-up truck pulled in through the drive thru circle and made sure he left no room for Ice to inch his way in. Even though it was clear Ice had been there waiting first.  The driver of the truck made sure to signal with some choice gestures and set the tone.

So this is how it’s gonna be. You know you’ve been there. Whatever it was that caused that feeling of indignation, anger or dare I say, revenge.

There are several ways this could have gone. It was just the degree to which the situation could have escalated that I was concerned about as he was sharing this with me. But I did not see this coming…

He approached the loud-speaker to place his order. After placing the order he asked the employee if he could pay for the driver of the truck’s order! And watching ahead at the driver, he could tell there was some kind of exchange going on between the driver and the employee.  Over the loud-speaker the employee hesitated in their response to Ice’s request.  As I am hearing this I am thinking, what is the hesitation? The driver wouldn’t let him pay?? No, not that at all. Would you believe the driver had already paid for Ice’s order?! Yep, did not see that coming.

This is just one amazing example that the power of forgiveness has to heal and repair.  The fact that both men were willing to extend this gift was awesome. And the beauty of it is, when given to others it really helps us free ourselves. Hanging on to hurts and wrongs against us gets heavy and burdensome. Why be bogged down with such baggage?

As I have been exercising my forgiveness muscles this year, it finally dawned on me, what about the forgiveness we deny ourselves?  What burdens do we hang on to that add to the load we carry?

I can’t lose the weight.

I don’t measure up.

I failed to reach the goal.

I’m not enough.

It brought to mind a situation I found myself in several years back.  Long story made short a misunderstanding occurred that created a very awkward situation for some friends. I found myself in the middle and made a couple of choices I now regret.  Feelings were hurt. Apologies were made repeatedly. Attempts to explain what had transpired were offered. But in the end, the choice to accept these attempts was denied and I have held the burden ever since.

Over time when I encounter the individual most offended it’s uncomfortable and awkward all over again.  But after time and space it’s clear to me I didn’t believe I could just choose to let go. Forgive myself.  I didn’t realize the problem wasn’t with her.  It was with me.  What else can I do? I made every effort to set it right. The sad part is she still holds her burden and the key to set it down and move on.

I so want my children to be able to adopt this way of living as they grow older. It will make their journey through life so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.  And kids always have a wonderful way of demonstrating forgiveness. One minute could be a huge teenage drama and the next it’s I’m sorry and on to what’s for dinner? I love that.

There is almost no greater gift we can give ourselves than to forgive. It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. It paves the way for more good stuff to get in and also be given out. It clears the clouds and allows the sun to shine.

Forgive.

Sunrise

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curve Ahead

Mama! Curve Ahead!

All summer long this was shouted to me from the back seat by Little Bee.  She found a game on her tablet that featured some road signs and every time we were in the car at least three or four times per car trip I would hear the most animated shout from the back seat as she noticed such signs out and about.

Curve ahead! We’re curving! she would shout.

image-2-11Now that it’s been over seven months since my last post (holy crap have I missed writing!), she couldn’t have been more right and I just missed the signs.

Things were just meant to fall into place this Summer. The kids were on Summer break.  Little Bee was set to start 4K in the Fall and Techno  was moving up to high school. Gulp! I was hot on the trail after a victorious finish in my first (and only!) Half-Ironman Triathlon in July. Things were pretty hunky dory.

Then good ole life shook me up a little bit, left some minor bruises and like usual changed me for the better.

Late May standing on the playground to pick up my pre-schooler news broke of my company closing its doors effective July 31st. In disbelief, standing with my daughter’s sweet and sympathetic teacher right there by the tire swings this news launched me into a bumpy ride.

My half Ironman journey ended without closure in July. Storms and torrential rain canceled the swim altogether, delayed the race for over three hours and downgraded the bike portion.  At the end of the day, my friends and I put in one helluva training day but nowhere near what we had trained for the previous six months.

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The month rounded out with the loss of my former job, the decision to start a new business and attendance at their annual convention. After being forced out of my comfort zone on a daily basis for the better part of a year anyway, it wasn’t so bad being the new kid again. Resiliency was building and the seeming discomfort was starting to feel more normal.  And another Triathlon was booked. Things had to get back on track.

Late August brought attempt # 2, this time in Minnesota. More rain, more turbulent waves, a course sorely lacking in safety support and in mere minutes it was over.  I was devastated.  While the race was still in progress, Ice and Little Bee and I drove home. It was a very long and emotionally uncomfortable ride.  I was so unsettled and I didn’t know what to do with it.

Still reeling from the curves on my journey I scrambled to sort out my thoughts, plan my next move and try to get a read on how much more of my crazy training, early bed times, 4 am wake-up calls and laundry pile-ups Ice could stomach.

I quietly signed up for my third attempt in Missouri in September. Marketed as one of the most scenic and picturesque triathlons in the country with a bike and run course containing “rolling hills” (Ha! sizable understatement) I put all my hopes on this being my race.  If it wasn’t three times a charm…well I just couldn’t go there.  It had to be.

Almost 12 months ago, I started this long and intense journey. As I sit and type I still marvel at what the power of one’s mind can do.  Twelve months ago I could not swim freestyle more than 75 yards in a pool. And yet my target was over 2100 yards.

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Twelve months ago I had ridden on a road bike exactly three times. And yet my goal was to cover 56 miles upright and intact.

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Yet, twelve months ago I had the support of my husband, the encouragement of friends and training partners and the mindset that with a lot of guidance and help I would try to figure it out as I went along. There was a reason the training lasted for six months, right?

Well…my training spanned nine months. I finally got “the baby”  on a gorgeous and hot Saturday in September with my sweet husband and my littlest camped out under a tent in Missouri waiting for me to emerge and get on with my life.  The goal that consumed me for so long had been reached. The box was finally, irrevocably checked.

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I am now happily missing work outs, consuming way too many Christmas cookies, sleeping in (6:30 is now sleeping in!) and yet looking forward to that first ride when the final snow thaws.

I am forever changed by the curves and challenges of 2016.   The perseverance I truly did not know I had emerged from some mysterious place and served me well. The motivation to do things then that now simply make me cringe (never again Lake Michigan, you can keep your 56 degrees!) But I know it happened. I know it lives somewhere inside of me and I will lean on it when I need to in years to come.

Keep curving!

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bananas and Spray & Wash

Life is a series of fleeting moments. Whether it’s a sunrise, an unexpected interaction with your teenager, a quiet moment with your significant other or your last conversation on this earth with someone you love most.  The trick: sometimes you just don’t know when you’re going to miss something until it’s not there anymore.  Like, the last time I was able to physically carry Techno to bed. He now stands taller than I in a size 12 men’s shoe in 8th grade. I don’t remember the last time I was able to pick him up off the couch after he’d dozed and carry him to bed. But it’s been years. And I miss it.

I am now knee-deep in these fleeting moments, my dear Reader. Instead of being able to chronicle them in this blog as I have so enjoyed these last three + years, I have been too full of living them. And enjoying almost every moment.

If you want something done, ask a busy person. ~Benjamin Franklin

I am not sure I fully understood this quote until recently.  Ten weeks out from a triathlon on my bucket list for  5 years has kept me incredibly busy. Just the thought of it makes my heart beat a little faster. Time management has been of the essence these last four months. Honestly, it has become a part-time job.  And it seems the more I have to accomplish in a day, the more I just want to rise to the occasion and get it all done -or curl up in a ball and nap for an entire weekend.  Just depends which day you ask me.  With it all comes doubts, anxiety and worries – they all creep in from time to time.

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Recently, I found myself doing laundry after some training while simultaneously consuming  a banana. In the moment it struck me, “You chose this?!”  I can’t even sit to get a decent breakfast to nourish my body anymore. I must do it on the fly and while doing chores no less.  The next item up was preparing  my three-and-a-half-year-old for pre-school, seriously, a Herculean task some days.

And while this random date (of the triathlon) in my universe almost glows with significance on my calendar, it is nothing compared to the reality that there are Moms everywhere who work full-time out of dire necessity and do so many of these things that keep me running and spinning and exhausted.

I have friends and family who are single Moms, who are cancer survivors,  whose children are sick or have died, whose spouses have battled illness or whose parents have struggled with disease all while working, raising a family and fighting to make ends meet.

My selfish and deeply individual goal pales in comparison. Yet, every time I am out on the road or swimming in the pool I challenge myself to push through the doubts and fear and to believe with every cell in my body that “I have got this.” It has been humbling to make the parallels of what I am facing now with how it stacks up to the stuff life throws at you. It parallels motherhood on so many levels. The ups, the downs. The endurance through challenges and the will to see it through.  The difference being, if I am blessed enough to reach my goal and put it in my rear view mirror come July, I am done. The endurance race of Motherhood never truly ends.  Truth be told, eating breakfast over the washing machine probably won’t stop anytime soon either.

My hope is that my children can see their Mom giving her all to a goal and accomplishing it.  But even more important to me is that they see their Mom as always committed to each of them and always there for them.  Hopefully this is not something that is fleeting. Hopefully it is something that stays with them their whole lives.

And by this time next year, I hope I will look back on this goal, this time in my life and say,

Remember the time I did that? I miss that.

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Ride On

The Fall was busy. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I’ve been able to get some thoughts down for my blog. After awhile I started to think, will anybody come back to read it anymore? Then a voice said, does it really matter?  This blog is as much a love letter to my kids and something to leave them with as it is a way to ensure my sanity.

And I’m due for some sanity-seeking.

The Fall brought some unique situations. Like finding myself army crawling on my back for a pre-school rescue of Little Bee from a public restroom stall. How lucky for me that my sweet mother was able to capture it real-time for posterity.

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Or finally pulling the trigger on a bucket list item of mine – the Half-Ironman – only to find myself in Physical Therapy for what appears to be a torn rotator cuff and a bum tendon in my leg. Swimming, biking, running? I am able to accomplish one of those three activities right now and training starts next week. Should be a nail biter!

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Observing my middle daughter, Twinkle in a tough, minor medical situation ( See No Bubble Wrap Here ) since August has been a life lesson for both of us. She has had to visit the Doctor numerous times since August for a pesky skin condition. Treatments are way uncomfortable and cause her much anxiety and dread. I have watched her face it with new courage and strength. We’ve had scores of pep talks and pump-up sessions and many visits to the coffee shop or favorite fast-food restaurant du jour for post-treatment rewards.

When the tables turned last week and I needed to have something removed from my face and subsequent stitches, she was right there to be my cheerleader with the empathy and compassion of a much older girl. One proud Mama here.

Christmas brought Techno his first cell phone. We have leaped off the ledge into the cyber abyss.  Ice and I are not quite ready for the whole digital world to be at his fingertips. But it’s the first time he has had a bona fide and recurring financial goal to work towards. He’s got the phone plan from us, but he’s now the proud owner of his first “Bill”. Welcome to a taste of adulthood, my son!

The tides have turned a little with Techno and Twinkle. Twinkle is knee-deep in middle school and high school is nearly on the horizon for Techno. The importance of friends in their lives has become paramount. And the memories of that shift in my own life have come flooding back.

I see changes in their language, clothing and interests. Every week they plot which days are best to include activities with friends and plot their course towards maximum fun. What Ice and I have realized is how quickly the hourglass is emptying. The time for all 5 of us under this one roof is fleeting. The maximum fun in each week must include family time and we’re doing our best to make that happen whether they like it or not! It has sure helped that we have all been home together for a holiday break since Christmas Eve.

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2016 is sure to bring many surprises and ups and downs. Time waits for no one. How blessed are we that we have this moment?

Celebrate well.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Trip, Tattoos and Triumph from Cancer

Suck it Cancer.  These were the words that were hash-tagged and Facebook posted for the better part of a year while my friend, Lisa squared off with breast cancer. Social Media proved to be a silver lining for her I think. A place to get it out and get love back in return. I have never walked in these shoes but I can only imagine it would be helpful to have so many people pulling for you every day as you’re chronicling your struggles online. Most importantly, helping you feel some control over your diagnosis and sharing your story.

With such a stretch of rocky road behind her, Lisa beat cancer and is on the easier side of the mountain now.  So what does she do? Something only Lisa can get away with.  She wraps up this whole grueling, exhausting, heartbreaking journey in a pink bow with eight girlfriends, a plane ride, a limousine, champagne, hysterical laughter and two brand-new tattoos.

The most surprising part of this story? The tattoos are her brand new nipples. Who knew?

It had just never occurred to me when a woman undergoes a double mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery that she may still be missing her nipples – created or spared. In fact, most women have both breast and nipple removed and are left with a scar and an area where the nipple once was.  The better part of a year ago Lisa informed me of this – in Pilates class.

“And oh by the way, I am going to see this guy who is world-renowned for his work on 3-D nipple tattoos for breast cancer survivors. He sees patients in New Orleans or Baltimore. Anyone want to make the trip with me?”

Four of us on the spot – in Pilates class – we were all in. What an incredible adventure.

Maryland was the destination. (The world-renowned tattoo artist was booked in to next year in New Orleans.) All of us donned pink in some fashion or another to catch the flight to our vacation rental row house in Baltimore’s Little Italy. A 3 o’clock appointment was the mission. A limo had been scheduled to pick up the guest of honor and her support entourage complete with champagne for style points.  Lisa knows how to throw a party.

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Lisa in the center

We pulled up to this unassuming tattoo parlor in Finksburg, Maryland. Ever heard of it? Me either.  But who would know that inside this small, out-of-the-way strip mall such deeply personal, life-changing stuff takes place? This is not your average rose or black thorn tattoo.  Vinnie Meyers has been working on his tattoo artistry since 2001 and with this most rarest of skills has worked on over 8,000 breast cancer survivors to date he shared with us.

“I look forward to this type of tattooing as it gives me great satisfaction helping these women get the most professional/effective finishing touch in their battle against breast cancer.” ~from his website http://www.vinniemeyers.com

Being in that tattoo parlor, exactly one year from the date of her last surgery was a bit of a surreal experience for Lisa.  The ultimate triumph. Staring cancer in the face and refusing to let it beat, or change, her spirit.

Half of the entourage filed in to provide emotional support for the first half of the procedure. And the other half when it was almost complete.  What we witnessed was truly incredible.

Vinnie’s artistry helped give our friend some much-needed closure. The final step in a journey that started over 18 months ago. It was symbolic of putting the scattered pieces back together of a life so harshly interrupted. And what Lisa gave to us was another look at the incredible spirit that she exudes and the courage and grace with which she handled every hideous and unpleasant circumstance that was thrown at her.

Anyone thrust into a cancer diagnosis is in a sea of confusion and there is no right way to handle it.  Everyone’s situation is uniquely their own to navigate.  A nipple tattoo certainly is not a consideration for every breast cancer warrior. A unique approach for sure.  But it was perfectly suited to Lisa.  And when all was said and done, she made a grand and sassy exit with a smile.  Buh-Bye, Cancer!

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Don’t you just love happy endings?

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How Pumpkin Spice Latte Made Me a Better Mom

This time of year, it is insane with the elevation of Pumpkin Spice this and Pumpkin spice that.  I do not know who the genius is that developed this crazy marketing ploy, but they were definitely onto something. Because apparently even Jimmy Fallon knows it’s not Fall until Pumpkin Spice lattes are being crafted in the coffee shops.  I had a good laugh recently when I heard of a hardware store posting on their marquis that they had “Pumpkin Spice” tools!  Hurry! Rush into the hardware store before they sell out!

It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some an extra ingredient that could be added to Motherhood at this crazy time of year when schedules shift, kids start back with the petri dish of germs, the events, practices, homework, team pictures, dances, parent volunteer hours and the holidays all converging at the same time? Some magical additive to make it all more manageable?

Recently Ice and I attended pre-school orientation for Little Bee. We squirmed in our seats through all the Do’s, Don’ts and Be Sures. We had been handed her very first homework assignment of her academic career that is just a seedling right now.  We were off to Do Good and get her started on the path to sharing with classmates and the proper use of a glue stick.

Standing in line at pre-school for Little Bee on her second day I heard the Mom behind me tell her son they forgot to dress him like the color of the day and bring a coordinating item for show and tell. Now by this time we had forgotten to even DO the homework Bee was assigned to bring on the first day and now on the Second day we had failed yet again!

I laughed, turned around and blurted out

“We forgot to wear red today too!  We’re just gonna roll with it!”

She replied

“This is my third child, I’m not really worried about it!”

“Mine too!” I said.  “I think I know a few people who might let this bother them all day. Congratulations, YOU are one highly evolved Mom!”

Let it Go. That’s my extra ingredient. That is my Pumpkin Spice.

In that moment, it became so clear to me just how much I have let go of since my first two were younger. How much needless stress, worry and fear of judgment I have left in the dust.  How it’s okay to be the one who screws up. It makes all the other Moms feel less alone and sub-par. It might make someone who usually finds themselves always feeling three steps behind stand up and cheer

“It’s not my turn this time!”

And I say, good for her. I am happy to help.

Now don’t get me wrong, stress and the desire to have well-mannered, well-prepared kids and the like are still lurking out there somewhere sometimes. Like when I want to have lunch out with friends and I simply cannot subject them to one more biscuit thrown at the wait staff, one more crayon broken and eaten for good measure. But mostly for my reaction to it all!  It gets tiring.

Which brings me to my second ingredient. Sleep.

My advice – get it whenever you can.

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