Pumpkin Spice Lattes: A Poem

A picture of a coffee mug that says, "pumpkin spice everything" surrounded by pumpkins

My daughters are pumpkin spice lattes.

October-born with cloves and cinnamon, they fill autumn with change. A new birth, another year older, the anticipated benefits of age–“When I’m five years old–”

Leaves the color of nutmeg and ginger shower their heads as they play in festive canter. They laugh as they gallop around the yard, chasing their youth like squirrels stashing acorns.

Fall in New England is a caffeinated season. Eagerly awaiting frosty celebrations, they sparkle with excitement as they snuggle in warm blankets and drink from warm mugs.

The Importance of Giving Space

I just completed Day 5 of my write everyday challenge. Here is a quick overview of my experience and early thoughts.

The Exercise

For 30 minutes (a hard 30 minutes, not a moment less, not a moment more) I free-wrote. For those who are unfamiliar with the practice, freewriting gives the writer space to just write. Sometimes, the exercise involves a topic or point of inspiration, but the most important element is to write for the entire duration of the time allocated to the activity.

At first, I intended to free-write every morning. And I did. For the first morning. After that, it fell to the late evening one night and I haven’t been able to get it done in the morning since.

I choose not to share this anyone I knew personally. Not my boyfriend, not my coworkers and definitely not on Facebook. Why? Because I didn’t know if I could do it. Lately (and what I mean is the last two year), I’ve really struggled with time management. If I couldn’t allocate time to write, would I want to write at all?

While I contemplated the exercise for the last month, I decided to commit after I was selected to facilitate a workshop at a writing conference. While I do write sporadically, I did not have any sense of commitment to it. The purpose of this exercise was to provide a sense of structure without being formulaic. Thirty minutes (and I cannot stress that it was a true 30 minute session) was enough time for me to just write.

The Lesson

Freewriting is a great exercise in and of itself. It is an excellent way to get your fingers moving over the keyboard or pen across paper.

For me, the lesson was the importance of giving myself space to write. I allowed myself one- 30 minute session every day. I allocated time in my busy schedule to write.

Now, this may seem simple. Obviously, I should have seen it from the beginning, but I have become a work-as-fast-as-you-can-because-it-was-due-yesterday kind of person. When I am busy, it is easy for me to fall into the I-just-want-to-move-on-to-the-next-thing mentality.

This exercise forced me to stop and write.

I started to think about other times where I have allowed myself space to do something. Sometimes, space means letting the toddler’s bedtime ritual unfold even if it’s nearly 9:30 p.m. Sometimes, it means giving us permission to be late to an event because getting there on time is just not going to happen. Sometimes, space means that during a rainy afternoon, I am not going to fret about homework, but that I will be present as I read books to the toddler and play with blocks.

In busy lives, it is important to give ourselves space to be present in our lives.

 

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New Parent Syndrome

There is an understanding within the general public that once you have a child, every concern, worry or overreaction is excused with a simple phrase, “It’s okay. She’s a new parent.”

New Parent Syndrome: The irrational sensation that now everything becomes a hazard, every sniffle is a reason to call the doctor and no one can care for your child like you can.

I think it is a very common feeling in the world of parenthood. I recently read an article about how parents are putting more and more pressure on themselves to be the best. Every birthday party needs to be Pinterest-ready, and every toddler needs to be reading, writing and thinking bigger thoughts than what snack they want to eat.

In our struggle to be the best, we struggle to just be.

Lessons from My Daughter: The Honesty of Baby Speak

My little girl turned three months old today.

She is smiling and laughing and cooing at everything and everyone. (I was especially pleased when I brought her into the office and she smiled at my boss. Brownie Points! )

Her babbles, grunts and coos are filled with more emotion than I ever thought possible. She delights in our “conversations” as she tells me her story. And, of course her laughs are full of genuine happiness.

And just as she is discovering happiness and delight, she is also discovering frustration. Her eyes are now beginning to form tears that pool in her big blue eyes. Her mouth pouts in the most heartbreakingly comical way. Her cries, now much louder, are becoming more dynamic in tone and pitch.

Perhaps I can credit my fascination with her developing personality as a symptom of new parenthood, and I will admit that I often image the conversations we will have in the not too distant further.However, tonight I found myself amazed by the genuineness, the authenticity of her young self. She wears her emotions for all to see and she is not afraid to let anyone see her frustrations in not wanting to fall asleep or her happiness of a new smiling.

In my own life, I have often remained very guarded as I weigh the repercussions of honesty. The intimacy of anger, the fear of happiness, the awkwardness of frustration keeps me from sharing those soft personal emotions.

It is with her that I share the goofiness of love and laughter. It is because of her that I am more comfortable with those awkward emotions. Her innocence has taught me to be more honest.

Imagine if we all gave in to baby speak?