Powered by Nature, Humanity, Humor, Food, Lifestyle, Fiction, and Culture; Oh, and a questionable amount of coffee.
One Time At Band Practice
Lucas Rogers was a rare breed for the small high school I grew up in. Many girls had crushes on him, and I was no exception. He was a band geek, but one of the few tan and handsome men at our school. He always wore nice, preppy clothes, and a tight beach themed necklace followed by a cross around his neck. He could make a joke out of anything and was never less than lively. He was friendly to everyone, no exceptions.
The Boy She Fell For That I Wasn't
When I was 14, I had a secret online profile nobody knew about. I often thought to myself, "I wish I had been born a boy." I would have likely been labeled as transgender if society had known more about it back then. I was often already confused for a boy. My hair was short, and my figure hadn't femininely blossomed. I did typical guy things, and many of my friends forgot I was a girl. I "crossplayed" more than cosplayed, and my family was frequently frustrated about my male costumes and fashion choices. I didn't care. That was what I liked. If I wanted to look like a boy, then let me. What did it hurt?
Natural Vitality Calm
Quarantine has had increasing challenges and demands placed on many, but especially parents. You don't need me to discuss how many times regulations, restrictions, and guidelines have changed over the past year plus. Although my husband and I did not have to take over education responsibilities because of my son's age, it still had its challenges and overwhelming demands. We were both considered essential employees. He was instructed to telework, and I was instructed to split my work between telework and physical reporting. My position had never been authorized to telework prior to Covid-19, so this was the first never tested experiment. My job was already stressful and demanding prior to Covid-19, but I was at least able to say my shift ended when it ended. I could wash my hands of my work responsibilities when I came home and put on my "mom hat." Initially, the teleworking transition wasn't too bad. Workplace items were getting sorted out with what was authorized and what wasn't, and for the first time, some of the traffic in my position slowed. I was able to watch my many of my son's first milestones and felt I could still be the parent I wanted to be. In a matter of months though, this changed drastically for the worse.
Spring for a Toddler Mom
As I sit here writing, my son, Leo, is eating his breakfast. This morning he has a mini peanut butter sandwich, unsweetened applesauce, and a small amount of no sugar added orange juice. He has eaten his fill, and is now proceeding to tear off a piece of crust. He is making "choo choo, clickety clack" noises like the toasted bread is a train. He has taken his spoon and painted his cup, tray, bib, and part of his chair in applesauce. At various points he has forgone the spoon entirely and dipped his hands in his bowl of applesauce, and shoveled it into his mouth. It's more efficient that way. He pushes the now inside out sandwich over top of his cup's top, smearing peanut butter all over the lid. This is a fairly common occurrence at mealtime in the Martin household, and I'm sure it is fairly common in other family houses as well. By the end of most days, I will have cleaned his tray a total of twelve times for one reason or another. Some messes and food will be less concerning. When I'm really stressed about the mess, he'll have some finger foods like gold fish crackers, dried fruit, or veggie straws. Those items are usually reserved for busy telework hours when we are both home for Covid-19 quarantine reasons or for the occasional trip out, but sometimes you're just tired of cleaning the same messy tray over and over again. Sometimes the quick wipe down after those pre-packaged snacks just makes life a little easier. When I clean his trays and the big messes foods like applesauce, soup, or smoothies can create, I try to remind myself that he ate healthy food. Not only did he eat it, but he ENJOYED eating something that is beneficial for his growing body. That is a big deal, and a success. He has recently been excited by helping make smoothies. He loves getting the berries out from the fridge or freezer, dumping them into the blender, pushing the button, and watching it blend. It isn't a mess free experience, but it is a pleasant one to be a part of. This Spring, I'll get to watch him help with new child safe parts of seasonal recipes and taste even more seasonal ingredients. Messes are unavoidable and inevitable, but finding the positives about the messes with a toddler does seem to help.
First, Change Your Sheets
Organizing and spring cleaning can get overwhelming. As a parent, this adds the additional clutter and complication on an entirely new level. You aren't just responsible for your clutter with or without the assistance of a spouse, but also your child's or children's clutter to a certain degree. It is often a chore for anyone other than certain types of personalities and mentalities to organize, clean, and declutter a space. I have met people like those who thrive performing those tasks, but I will guarantee you they are not me. I found that following a rewarding, small paced step-by-step, day-by-day system helps motivate and encourage me to organize, clean, and prepare for Spring better.
Let's Focus on Failure
I remember taking a state practice test when I was in high school. The portion I recall was a critical thinking section and judged your analytical skills in reference to reading. I can’t tell you how well I did or what questions were asked afterward, but I can tell you what information and story I absorbed in that process. It is a seemingly insignificant story or factoid that has influenced me even today.
The Heart of a Lion
What I find entertaining is others’ ability to label you as a zodiac sign you are not. I’ve been labeled as a Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn, etc., but my true Zodiac sign is Leo. You would think those signs are so far from one another and completely different. I’ve often wondered if I’ve had to adapt to an office environment or social situation and have presented as one of those signs to hide my inner self. I’ve wondered, how do they not know who and what I am? It should be very apparent. While the environmental adaptation may be true in part, people read a lot of themselves or their loved ones into you when they interact. You may remind them of their son or daughter, a younger version of themselves, or on some occasions someone they dislike from their past. Who you are is frequently mistaken simply because people read into you as “who they want you to be.” This can be disappointing on both levels. People who do this aren’t looking at you for you. You may find yourself questioning their misguided judgments about you. On the contrary, you may question your zodiac sign and the various information disseminated about it. Not everything has to match, but things may not match the way initially perceived either.
It was a rainy day when my life and perspectives were forever changed. In a rush, I called the office to tell them I would be late yet again. During the call, I tripped on a piece of sidewalk and fell into the nearby mud. Just my luck. My trench coat was covered. As I was getting up, I saw an object slightly wet and covered in mud. Ordinarily I would not have picked it up, but something felt different about today. A book? The binding was creased, and its color had faded. It appeared to be someone’s private journal. In the back, was an “If found please return to” section. It had a name and address: Maria Wright.