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Today I decided to end my blog.

Tibetan sand mandalas are a practice I’ve heard a bit about. A group of monks get together and chant and meditate and send as much positive energy as they can into a very intricate mandala full of beautifully colored sand. Then, when it’s complete, they sweep it all away into nothingness again.

That’s a little how I feel about this blog. (Not that I’m comparing it to a sacred mandala, or anything. Only it has been sort of my sacred mandala. The sacred mandala of a white suburban mother of three with writerly ambitions.)

I was 30 when I started this blog, and to think of myself at 30 makes me take a deep breath and shake my head. Who was I then? How did I get here? 30 now seems so young, although at the time I felt like an old, tired, and hungry person bogged down by all that life had thrown at me. I was trying to figure out who I was in the midst of having and raising kids, nurturing a marriage, deciding what I was supposed to do with my life. How was I going to honor the legacy of the women who came before me? Was all that time at home feeding and burping and putting children to sleep a waste? When was I ever going to be something?

I needed a creative outlet, and this blog became that. It was the little voice that said, Wait. Find the silver lining. See what you can do. Adjust your attitude. And if it gets bad again, adjust, adjust, adjust.

But a person cannot adjust forever. I am not a shapeshifter. What I realize now is that the teacher in me had set up a little course for myself back in 2010 with my first post—a course of self-discovery. And I sought, and I sought and I sought. And I very much found. And now my course is complete. I wrote upwards of 350 posts on love, marriage, family, girlhood, literature, parenting, stories of my life. I defeated the demon at the end of the level. And I’m off for the next round, armed with what I know and the woman I’ve become.

I did not anticipate the end of this blog being so near. I had been blogging more regularly, thinking about what songs might be next on my 2016 soundtrack, or what poems I might share before April’s end.

But it became clear to me—that little niggling feeling in my gut—that writing in this voice, for this blog, just isn’t what I want anymore. That I was in the process of becoming, and now I have become. And it is time to take my beautiful creation and blow it away so I can move on.

Of course, I must leave you with the last song on the 2016 Soundtrack. Even though the lunar year isn’t over—for many, it’s probably barely begun—these last few months have loomed long and large in my life. A cycle has come to its fruition, and I’m off to beautiful new beginnings. I will always find ways to express myself creatively—I’m  unstoppable in that regard—but I don’t know what they’ll be yet. I’m excited to see.

In this song, “As Tall as Cliffs,” by Margot and the Nuclear So-and-So’s, there are these great trumpets in the background that make endings feel not so bad; instead they feel right and real and what must happen. The trumpet and harmonica signal acceptance of what was and acceptance of what’s to come. They acknowledge all the fun that was had, all the wealth of experience—but, they say, this is life, after all, and things come to an end.

Darling I’m tired, and I should be leaving,

leaving….

Sometimes the surest way to know something is over is when you’re tired. And the way you know the next best step is whatever makes you feel light and energized again.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I loved sharing my life and journey with you. I loved meeting so many wonderful women these past six years. I pretty much loved every minute of being here. I know great things are ahead.

But here is where the credits roll.

 

 

(I’ve compiled a page of all the tracks on the 2016 soundtrack, and you can find it here. It’s called “I Should Be Leaving (And I Am).” I have to say, it makes one awesome mix.)

 

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Attitudes

January 15, 2010

When I was a young girl, my mother told me that I needed an “attitude adjustment.” This meant that I was pouting and needed to smile more. 30 years later, I’m still a pouty girl. And nothing made me want to smile less than someone telling me to.

I never thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom. Of course, I do think that every country should have paid maternity leave for a certain amount of time, but I always saw myself as a working woman. So I was a bit surprised when I realized I wanted to stay home with my toddler, even if it was only for a couple of months. Then I became a stay-at-home mom for the second time this past July. The first time was with my son who is now two-and-a-half, and after 8 months or so, I was going stir-crazy, even though I had a part-time job. He wanted to move around the house and engage with other children; I wanted to move around the neighboring towns and engage with adults. So I went back to work. After a year, though, I was five-months pregnant and laid off from my job as an English teacher. I knew it would be good to have time home with a new baby, but I was worried about the isolation, the boredom, my creative brain turning to mud.

That’s when I decided I needed an attitude adjustment. I was going to be fortunate enough to be home with my two children and have some unemployment money coming in (every English teacher in PA knows how impossible it is to find a good teaching job). I talked to older women who said they cherished time they spent with their children who were now adults, and I realized I was very lucky.

So I bucked up and threw myself into playdates and storytimes. Surprisingly, it’s been rewarding. In the last stage of my pregnancy, I still enjoyed time with my son, especially when he could occupy himself with toys and I could read the Huffington Post. Now that the little girl is here, I’m realizing how hard life can be with two crying/whining kids to contend with, but I still feel fortunate to have this opportunity. Despite what it might sometimes feel like, this will not last forever. They are only young for a short time, and I’m trying to treasure every minute of it.

I’m keeping a positive attitude. (Mostly.)

This blog will be about the joys and trials of my experiences in parenthood and womanhood. Please feel free to share your own.

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