Legacy

All I have ever wanted in life is to be a mom. I played with baby dolls as a toddler and, as I grew, I moved to Barbies. I played out scenarios in which the main character was always a mom. I babysat, was a camp counselor, taught swim lessons, and took care of kids as my primary source of income for the bulk of my teen years. In my 20’s, I was known as the mom in my group of friends, always taking care of others. I could not wait to have my own children and be a mom for ‘real’!
I was married less than a year before I was pregnant. I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with my infant daughter on my lap at the same restaurant where I was engaged. I was happier than ever because I was finally a mom.
Years passed and I gave birth to 3 more children. I was also gifted with a bonus daughter, making me the mom of 5 children! Heaven right?! Not really. Being a mom is hard work. I gave my kids all parts of me. I was no longer me. I was someone’s mom. I lost myself in being a mom.
Each one of my kids will tell you that as their mom, I have made mistakes and had some colossal failures. I always did what I thought was best but some of those choices were made from poor advice and trauma. I never really trusted myself as a mom….because no one else trusted or supported me as a mom. I was flying blind.
The years following my divorce lead to some disasters as a mom but also led me to trust myself more than ever. It took almost losing my kids for me to learn how to trust myself and my choices as a mother. My decisions are not always popular with my kids and they let me know it! However, my job is to be their parent first. They have plenty of friends.
As my kids and I have gotten older, I think I have gotten a little better at the mom thing. I listen more and talk less. I support more and direct less. I love more and smother less.
From the beginning of my divorce process, my children were assigned a CA (Court Advocate) by the judge (but that is another story for another day!). The first time I met the CA was on the sidewalk in front of my home. I stood there and told her, “No matter what happens to my children or what the court decides, I want my kids to remain together and get counseling. I want them mentally healthy….”
I had prepared myself for the worst….my kids being taken from me. And because of that I made mistakes. I fought to PROVE I was a good mom and in doing so, did not listen to my heart. I lived from a place a fear and listened to others. It took plenty of my own therapy to realize I needed to trust myself …. no matter how unsure I felt or how hard it was.
Being a mom is not easy….no matter how old your kids are. What makes it better? Admitting my faults and making changes. Having boundaries and communicating those boundaries to my kids. Loving my kids for exactly who they are and not who I want them to be.
Fast forward to our most recent family event. I stood for a long time on the fringes, close enough to where I could hear my kids but far enough away so that I was unnoticed. What I witnessed was my dreams come true. All I have ever wanted is for my kids to be friends, to rely on each other. Someday I will no longer be here and I want to be remembered as someone who made mistakes, made apologies, learned from those mistakes, grew as a person, and left a legacy of love. Knowing that my kids not only love each other but they LIKE each other and like being together….that is the greatest legacy. That is a legacy of love.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Peace

It is a word to which I feel connected. It is a word that is all over my home and how I sign my emails and posts. It is a place and feeling I have been searching for for a long time.
It was not until the gift of the pandemic that I realized I have arrived into peace. It is a strange feeling.
When you live your life in hyper-vigilance and trauma for so long you forget when it feels like to really breathe, slowly and intentionally. I was talking to a friend the other day and said it is strange not to have to explain why I want to do nothing but knit or read. Why choosing to do nothing, or everything, in a day is liberating. Why sitting still feels so strange.
For years I killed myself in my home, as a mom and in my career. I was exhausted and made to believe that I was still not doing enough. “Why are you so tired?” (after teaching all day, driving kids all over, coaching, cooking dinner and doing other work) “What did you do all day?” (after keeping kids alive and out of the er, fed and happy all day plus house chores) “Why is (insert anything) not done yet?” (after doing all the things and fixing all the things and cooking all the things) I was conditioned to believe that I was not enough, I was not doing enough, and I was “lazy”. Yes, conditioned to believe those lies because I am a people pleaser (more on that trauma response later). I did not want to disappoint anyone. I did not want anyone to be angry with me so I killed myself….slowly and deliberately …. For the happiness of others.
What I failed to realize at the time is that I could NEVER make them happy.  The more I gave, the more they demanded. I had no boundaries.  Over the past 6 years, I have learned boundaries. I have learned balance. I have learned to honor myself.
It took a global pandemic to drive home the “slow down” message. I learned that slowing down to sit and knit, watch a whole movie, read a book or go for a long walk is ok. I am not “lazy” when I do those things. I am at peace. I do not have to be constantly moving. I do not have to give all of me in the name of the happiness of others. I do not have to explain my activity(or lack thereof) to anyone. I still want to make others happy (remember…people pleaser!) but I want to do it on my terms. It is not easy but I know what it feels like now to be at peace…..and I like it.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Kids

These kids.
My kids.
They have been though a lot as individuals and together.
They are the cause of my grey hair, my tears and my laugh lines.
They are the source of my pride and the origin of my insanity!
They build each other up more than they tear each other down.
They may be at different ages and stages of life, but watching them share space as they grow and mature fills up my momma heart.
I find peace in the fact that long after I am gone, they will still have each other….. and the memories of our times together.
I have, and always will be, their Kristine (mom)… whether they like it or not…. they can work that out in therapy!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Connection

2021 Pay-It-Forward:
The first five people to connect with me will receive from me, sometime within the calendar year, a handwritten note, perhaps with a gift attached. There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.
Let’s all pay it forward this year!
🖊
Pay it forward!!
Let’s connect!! Peace, #tutulady #forwardisapace

Hints

Holiday hints from Krissy Claus.
First the easy stuff….Do not count calories. Do not wear a watch. Try doing what other people feel like doing rather than being compelled to always make the plan. Stay in pj’s as long as possible each day. Getting coffee, bagels, donuts or tacos in pajamas is not only socially acceptable, it’s encouraged. Get down and look at your children when they talk to you. Or if they are getting taller than you these days, look up. Make eye contact. Cook someone’s favorite meal. Or cook your favorite and deliver to some friends. Sit by the fire and leave your cell phone in another room. Let the kids frost the cookies, trash the kitchen and get high on icing. Watch Christmas Vacation. Make pancakes with holiday M&M’s in them. If it’s not a hassle to make a fire in the fireplace, it’s an invitation. Pet your dog, especially right behind the ears the way they like it. When you grab your last minute stocking stuffers from the drugstore (admit it, I’ll see you there), pick up a couple scarves, socks, or fleece blankets to hand out to homeless people when you drive by – you can even let your kids do the honors and feel warm inside.
Now these are a bit more challenging but Krissy has faith in you! Put away your politics for a while and just love on people. Be kind …..especially to those “sandpaper people” in your life. The people who bug you are in your life for a reason, you may as well love them because they have something to teach you (as my friend says on the subject of judgment, “You spot it, you got it.” THAT makes you think twice). Don’t assume people know you love them, be clear. Ask questions and LISTEN to the responses. Active listening is a form of love. Accept people where THEY are right now…not where you want them to be or where you are in your comfort zone….you don’t have to step all the way out of your box but perhaps take down part of a wall. Think of someone you know (maybe not even very well) who has had a tough year this year and pick up the phone or put pen to paper and wish them a happier new year. Go for an evening walk and take in all the lights. Turn off all the lights in the house except the tree and sit there, at least once, late at night and recall what you are grateful for. Try to make peace with (instead of sense of) the things you don’t feel as grateful for. You are not too old or jaded to believe in magic. Everything you need is right here – every day, and especially at the holidays.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace