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Fighting with time

Willows’ Birthday Week

February 21, 2018

Every night, since the day Willow was born, I have nursed her to sleep. For almost 1 year, no matter where we were, what we did, or what was going on, chest to chest, we would lay down together and willow would nurse until she fell asleep.
Tonight, Willow fell asleep without nursing. We laid in bed together, calm, tired and peaceful. Willows cheek on my chest. We looked at each other and spoke softly and touched each other’s faces and smiled for almost 30 minutes until Willow fell asleep.
These small moments of independence are incredible. In that, they are painfully difficult to experience and simultaneously exciting and wonderful and amazing to witness.
This beautiful small person is doing what all small people do; which is to grow up and change at an alarming rate.
And I am left only one option, which is to hold on to a rope which is constantly running through my hands, knowing one day I will have no choice but to let go of it.

February 22, 2018

Willow will be one on Monday. I am filled with this gut-wrenching feeling.
Although I am incredibly happy and excited, I am filled with sadness and guilt.
I look at her, and she looks exactly the same as the day I lay in a hospital bed in New Haven, and a wet naked newborn was placed on my chest. But then, I blink. And suddenly, she’s not an infant, not a baby, she’s a young girl. I see her face and the world behind her bright eyes. Her fierce spirit shines through and pierces my heart.
I feel like throwing up. I look back at pictures of her months ago and suddenly realize that she has changed so much, and so quickly.
It feels as though all these changes have happened slowly yet suddenly; somehow each time I turn my head she changes, yet most days it’s so subtle that I don’t realize it’s happening. Then one day I’m looking at my newborn baby, but she’s not really a newborn; she’s almost a toddler, and I fall to pieces wondering how time has flown past me without even realizing it.
And I cannot get time back- when it leaves me it’s gone forever. My baby is both the youngest she’ll ever be again and the oldest she’s ever been. Each moment I’m suspended in this incredible fight with time. Watching my child grow, joyfully as I am in awe of what a beautiful little person she is. And fearfully, as it is constant and fast and terrifying.

Guilt sets in as I ask myself,
Am I taking it all in? Am I really appreciating this relatively small amount of time I have with Willow? Or am I constantly rushing? Ignoring life and constantly finishing ‘tasks’. While my focus on what matters blurs and I hone in on things that sneak into my vision; drudging forward, while pushing aside small moments that may slip through my hands like water flows surely through a stream?

Thankfully, I have one thing that returns power to my shaking hands.
That is, that I know of time. I know of time, and it’s constant flow, I know of the pain it will cause if I handle it incorrectly.
And I have power. Power to change the way I look at life, change the way I prioritize everything that “matters”. I will hold my mistakes tightly- I won’t let them slip pass me, with the intention of self-love. No, I will carry them in my pockets, and pull them out when I need a reminder of who I want to be and what is truly important. And someday when they become dead weight, I may let them go.

And to my beautiful girl, for whom my heart beats,
You are the most important thing in my life. The love I feel for you is strong enough to cause my heart pain. I know that may sound silly and odd, but one day you may understand. Happy Birthday, Willow Moon.

The week before your birthday

Willows Birthday Week

February 21, 2018
Every night, since the day Willow was born, I have nursed her to sleep. For almost 1 year, no matter where we were, what we did, or what was going on, chest to chest, we would lay down together and willow would nurse until she fell asleep.
Tonight, Willow fell asleep without nursing. We laid in bed together, calm, tired and peaceful. Willows cheek on my chest. We looked at each other and spoke softly and touched each other’s faces and smiled for almost 30 minutes until Willow fell asleep.
These small moments of independence are incredible. In that, they are painfully difficult to experience and simultaneously exciting and wonderful and amazing to witness.
This beautiful small person is doing what all small people do; which is to grow up and change at an alarming rate.
And I am left only one option, which is to hold on to a rope which is constantly running through my hands, knowing one day I will have no choice but to let go of it.

February 22, 2018
Willow will be one on Monday. I am filled with this gut-wrenching feeling.
I am so happy and excited, but so incredibly sad and guilty.
I look at her, and she looks exactly the same as the day I lay in a hospital bed in New Haven, and a wet naked newborn was placed on my chest. But then, I blink. And suddenly, she’s not an infant, not a baby, she’s a young girl. I see her face and the world behind her bright eyes. Her fierce spirit shines through and pierces my heart.
I feel like throwing up. I look back at pictures of her months ago and suddenly realize that she has changed so much, and so quickly.
It feels as though all these changes have happened slowly yet suddenly; somehow each time I turn my head she changes, yet most days it’s so subtle that I don’t realize it’s happening. Then one day I’m looking at my newborn baby, but she’s not really a newborn; she’s almost a toddler, and I fall to pieces wondering how time has flown past me without even realizing it.
And I cannot get time back- when it leaves me it’s gone forever. My baby is both the youngest she’ll ever be again and the oldest she’s ever been. Each moment I’m suspended in this incredible fight with time. Watching my child grow, joyfully as I am in awe of what a beautiful little person she is. And fearfully, as it is constant and fast and terrifying.
Guilt sets in as I ask myself,
Am I taking it all in? Am I really appreciating this relatively small amount of time I have with Willow? Or am I constantly rushing? Ignoring life and constantly finishing ‘tasks’. While my focus on what matters blurs and I hone in on things that sneak into my vision; drudging forward, while pushing aside small moments that may slip through my hands like water flows surely through a stream?

Thankfully, I have one thing that returns power to my shaking hands.
That is, that I know of time. I know of time, and it’s constant flow, I know of the pain it will cause if I handle it incorrectly.
And I have power. Power to change the way I look at life, change the way I prioritize everything that “matters”. I will hold my mistakes tightly- I won’t let them slip pass me, with the intention of self-love. No, I will carry them in my pockets, and pull them out when I need a reminder of who I want to be and what is truly important. And someday when they become dead weight, I may let them go.

And to my beautiful girl, for whom my heart beats,
You are the most important thing in my life. The love I feel for you is strong enough to cause my heart pain. I know that may sound silly and odd, but one day you may understand. Happy Birthday, Willow Moon.

This Grand Stage of My Life

2017 broke me into 2,017 pieces.
My faith and my strength were both tested in ways that I could have only imagined.
I moved away from the place I called home for 22 years. I finished Semesters 2 and 3 of Graduate School. I ended an old job and started a new one. My journey continued to unfold.

I struggled with my mental illnesses each and every day.

My 2017 started in a horrific mental state. I was lost and broken from 2016. My days were spent mourning the disintegration of my parents marriage, and with that, the disintegration of our family of four. I could feel the anger welling up in my soul. Anger was pouring out of me in ways that I am not proud to own up to. I was angry at my parents for the decision they made to split. I was angry at my grandparents for not wanting to listen when I wanted to vent about my parents.  I was angry at my sister for being so lax about her decisions.
But mostly, I was angry at myself because I had misplaced guilt. I felt like all of these life-changing events were my fault. Maybe if I’d been a better student, or a better daughter, my parents wouldn’t be so angry with each other all the time. Maybe if I’d been a better sister, Sophia and I wouldn’t have argued so much and in turn, my parents wouldn’t have argued so much.

My parents separation was the best thing that could have happened to our family. In the 12 months that made up 2017, I realized that none of the guilt I had should have existed. There was nothing I could have done. My parents both deserve to be happy. If they couldn’t be happy together, it was only fair that they try to be happy separately.

In the months following our first move, I struggled to be happy with most of the puzzle pieces I am made up of. I was doing the one thing I’d been waiting my whole life to do; teach. But I was coming home every day with a headache, and a heartache. And this consistent voice in my head telling me, “You’re not good enough.” That wasn’t what I signed up for.
And then, in the final days of school, I’d been notified that three of my students listed me as one of their Top 3 Most Influential Teachers. I still can’t think about that without tears welling up in my eyes. I’d spent the entire school year telling myself I wasn’t good enough, when all along, I was changing the lives of these students.

I am good enough. I am a good person. I am a good friend. And I’m a really good teacher.
In 2017, I learned all of that about myself.

2017 broke me, and forced me to rebuild myself into the best version of Olivia this world has ever seen.

In life, there are going to be obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. There will be battles that seem impossible to win. There will be people who seem impossible to impress. None of that is your fault. None of that has to stand in the way of you becoming who you truly are meant to be. Some days, it is hard every day for me to get out of bed and be someone that I am proud of. But it’s not impossible. Because there are days where I am someone that I am proud of. There are a lot of days like that.

May 2018 bring moments in your life that change you for the better. May 2018 bring you mental wellness, good memories, and lots of cats. Go confidently in the path that makes you the happiest. And if you are feeling alone on your journey, don’t forget to call me.