the old soul

It’s Wednesday!  Time for another Sluiter Nation Recruit!  Not sure what the heck that means?  Well read THIS.

Today I bring you possibly the most positive person in the blogging world.  No…in the WHOLE world: Kir of The Kir Corner.

I am fairly certain I met Kir through The Red Dress Club (now Write on Edge), but what I AM certain of is that minute she started commenting on my blog, I felt like I had a permanent cheerleader in my corner.  She is supportive and loving and it’s how I imagine having a big sister would be.

And through all that support, I traveled to her blog, and ohhhhh!  Her writing is lovely!  You are going to love it.  And then you will love Kir.  Guaranteed.

*************

You’re an old soul.

Honestly, I’ve heard those words since I was a little girl. I could make conversation with anyone, but the truth is that even as a young person I preferred the company of the “older generation” to my own peers.

I never really hated being left with my grandmother and her friends who loved to play rummy. I would sit at the table and just listen, I would ask all kinds of questions and occasionally, even then, I would offer my opinion in a debating fashion.

This might not sound like such a bad personality trait, but when you are in your formative years the best thing to do is to try very hard to blend in. Yet, it was never really the way my brain percolated. I was dreamy, thoughtful and often airy. I used to believe it was because I was blonde or just plain silly, but now I look back and just know I was a dreamer even then. I had very little patience with rational explanations and social rules.

If I liked you, then I liked you even if no one else did. I did not like to make fun of people and those phone scams that radio stations enjoy doing; I still cringe, even today, when I feel like the “victim” of them is hurting because of it. Those first few weeks of shows like American Idol, you know that ones, the AUDITIONS where they love to poke fun at the people who can’t sing?

Yeah. I normally cry and lose my faith in humanity for an hour or so.

So it’s a miracle that I ever really found a place to belong since the social mores of teenagers rely heavily on the ability to make fun, to find fault, to tear down to build up. See the thing is that I wanted to belong at each lunch table. I enjoyed the band kids, I laughed with the musical theatre kids, I could talk about college basketball with the jocks and I was a cheerleader all 4 years. I could debate religion with the priests and nuns that taught me at my Catholic school even while I pondered the fashion of the day with the best dressed & most popular girls.

I guess the best way to explain it is that I refused to fold myself into a different box for every occasion. Instead, I did everything I could do to have something in common with you, see your point of view and hoped beyond myself that you would find it agreeable. I might walk away feeling like I failed, but never like I was ready to be anyone but who I was for you.

Like everything else, I found out that you do eventually find your path.

Why can’t I just be who I am?

Why should I try to shove myself into that box that means I am just like everyone else?

Why can’t I like Broadway musicals, be a cheerleader, run for student council and love to write too?

Why is being a deep thinker or a person who cares too much viewed as a personality flaw?

My “old soul” knows better now. It still marches to the beat of its own drummer, but it’s a melody that is the music of my life.

 

Katie, thank you so much for recruiting me today, for letting me be a part of your amazing world and space. Gaining your friendship, reading your words and having a sneak peek into your life this year has been such a gift to me. I am honored, humbled and so happy to “Belong” here with you.

Xo Kir  

*************

Oh Kir, you know I love you.  It is an honor for me that you are here.  And an honor to send my lovely readers to you.

Here is just a sampling of the awesome that is Kir…

A recent gem showcasing her darling twin boys…Do You See What I See?

A beautiful small moment remembered…In a New York Minute

And a post I think represents all that Kir is to me…Remind Me

 So go enjoy some time in Kir’s Corner.  You won’t be sorry.

no private rooms

I am beyond excited about today.  Sluiter Nation Recruit Day.

But first I want to tell you that Tonya of Letters for Lucas has invited me to her blog today. She has this amazing series called Letters for You where she invites bloggers to come share a letter they have written.  It can be to anyone at all.  Today I am over there sharing a letter I have written to my late father-in-law.

So please head over there after you’ve read what I have for you here.

And now on to today’s Recruit…

Ok…here.  Today.  I have for you someone who contributed in the saving of my life.

No really.  Without her being in the right place at the right time, I am not sure that I would be living the life I have.

Today I bring you Lauren of My Postpartum Voice. Lauren runs the Monday twitter chat #ppdchat.  I was directed there when I was diagnosed with PPD and Lauren was right there to let me know that I was not alone.

She checked in on me.  Asked about my meds, about my experience, about my support system.

She was there every time I had a relapse…and I know she will be there when my brain fails me again (because it will).

What moment brought her to blogging and advocating for PPD awareness?

Read on…

*************

She swayed and moved her flannel covered arms along with the rhythm in her head. Her voice belted out over the dark silence in the ward. I shivered, involuntarily.

“Sign here, please.”

My hand grasped the pen and signed my name but it wasn’t my hand. Through the shivers, I managed to stammer out a question.

“Are there private rooms here?”

“Oh no. There are no private rooms on the Acute Flight Risk Ward.”

I knew. I knew the flaxen haired soprano was my roommate. She continued to sway and sing loudly as she waltzed with an imaginary companion across the common area, deftly avoiding the couches, chairs, and tables with crayon boxes littered across them. As I fell asleep, she finally entered “our” room, loudly, muttering to herself as she clambered into bed. It took a millennium for silence to fall. Another millennium for sleep to see fit to welcome me.

The weekend I spent at the hospital for suicidal and homicidal thoughts toward myself and my children as a result of severe Postpartum Depression, OCD, and PTSD, changed my life. It was there I first longed for another mother to talk with about my crazy. It was there a nurse told me I didn’t have to tell anyone where I had been for 48 hours. That it was nobody’s business but my own. Perhaps, but I can’t shut up about that weekend.

That weekend is what got me to where I am today. It led me to reach out, to blog when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with my son, and ultimately, to start #PPDChat. If you don’t know about #PPDChat yet, you should. It’s an amazing hashtag on Twitter meant for support for women, their families, their friends, and anyone, really, in need of support or information about Postpartum Mood Disorders. Participation is worldwide. There are members in the UK, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, the US, and Canada. Someone is always around to answer questions or offer support. A moderated chat occurs every Monday at 1pm & 830pm ET.

The #PPDChat community is an amazing, beautiful, strong, and compassionate group of people who get where you’ve been with Postpartum. They’re at all different stages of recovery and ready to welcome you with arms full of love. Judgment doesn’t exist here. Stigma doesn’t live here either. Openness and Acceptance thrive here. Given the public nature of this support, the acceptance is miraculous.

Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders are nothing of which to be ashamed. They can happen to anyone, after any birth, even with adoption, miscarriage, or infant loss. Just like cancer or a heart attack, everyone is vulnerable. Getting help is not shameful. It’s necessary, just like seeking help for diabetes or a broken leg. Medication doesn’t make you a bad mother. Therapy doesn’t make you a bad mother. It’s acknowledgment of your desire to be a BETTER mother to your child and to yourself.

If you or a loved one suffer with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder, don’t do so alone and don’t do so without reaching out for help. Find us at Twitter under the hashtag #PPDChat. Or go to Postpartum Support International for information and a Coordinator near you. If you’re feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK or find @unsuicide on Twitter for more resources. You’re never alone. Help is only a tweet away these days.

*************

Lauren is magical when she writes.  No one puts into words what depression…and beating that depression…feels like the way she does.

Read on.  You’ll be hooked.

I know this monster all too well…The Monster in the Corner

No, having a PMD is not the newest trend…Are PMD’s the New Jimmy Choos?

When Lauren researches something, look out!…Thoughts on Exploring a “Pregnant Pause” (this is in response to a Vogue article on taking depression meds during pregnancy).

on bowling and belonging

Welcome to another  Sluiter Nation Recruit Wednesday!

Today I bring you Angela of Tiaras and Trucks.

I have met some absolutely delightful people through this world of blogging, and Angela is at the top of that list.  I believe I met Angela through The Red Dress Club (now Write on Edge), but I do most of my chatting with her on the twitter. Plus she is a fellow Michigan girl, so there’s that.

She is kind, thoughtful, and always has a positive thing to say when I am feeling down or discouraged.

And she can write like the wind blows.  I am in love with her metaphor in the post she is sharing here today.

Oh, and Angela?  I’ve got a bag of twizzlers for you right here!

*************

One night in college, tired of yelling over loud music or possibly just looking for a different pitcher of beer, we decided to go bowling. 

A small group of people converged: my boyfriend and some of his friends, many of whom I’d known since high school.  One of the guys brought along a girl he had just started dating.

She and I chatted a bit, my interest in bowling heavily overshadowed by the humorous nature of bowling shoes and the ripe opportunity for people watching.

Fueled by vending machine Twizzlers, I had one of the best bowling games of my life, despite bowling with a six pound ball in one hand and a piece of candy in the other. 

In a cosmic planetary alignment, one of Ryan’s friends, a guy with a hyper competitive streak, happened to be bowling beyond terribly.  At one point it seemed like I might beat him.

Thrilled by our unlikely rivalry, our friends cheered each time I bowled a great frame.  A better bowler would’ve called it keeping the ball out of the gutter, but with my limited skills four pins seemed like quite a feat.

Light-hearted and silly, the evening was a welcome change from a usual night at the bar, until I overheard the new girlfriend complain, “I don’t get it.  I’m bowling better than her.  Why are they acting like she’s doing something special?”

A little hurt, I didn’t offer to pour her anymore beer.

Years of friendship meant the cheers weren’t literally about my anemic bowling score, and it wouldn’t have been fair to expect her to understand that immediately.  But if she would have paused for a moment and tried to figure out the group dynamic before commenting on it, it would have done more to endear her to an established group with a long history.

I’m reminded of that night every so often as I stumble into different blogging communities, figuring out where I belong, finding my own tribe while respecting community members already comfortably established.

I’ve heard rumblings at times, like the too-loud whisper of the new girlfriend.  Vague comments alluding to favoritism or the mysterious nature of a popular blogger’s following are spoken without mentioning names. 

Part of the beauty of blogging is finding a community where you feel welcome and comfortable and ready to share candy or beer or a six pound bowling ball.  But finding a community doesn’t mean you automatically have access to the complete history of the members or the ins and outs of established relationships.

I’ve been lucky enough to discover a few places where I’ve felt an instant sense of camaraderie, but I’ll admit I’ve taken a moment to observe and participate a little cautiously, trying to feel out the intricacies of the group before making assumptions about how I fit into the mix of personalities. 

For me, truly belonging takes a bit of time, but I’m so thankful I’ve taken that time and found this supportive, funny, and fun community tucked snuggly into the online world.  You can share my Twizzlers anytime.

**************

I wasn’t kidding.  Angela is the real deal (plus she totally knocked out 50,000 words during November for NaNoWriMo.  I hope she remembers me when her first novel is published).

You should be reading more of the lovely Angela…

about taking time to rejuvenate her spirit…Leaves in Their Hair.

as a mom of a little girl, she finally makes peace with Disney princesses…Her Royal Wish

and some of her thoughts right before she dove into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)…My Costume?  I’m an Author

Go on…spend some time with Angela today.  I totally understand.

All Done

Jumping Jehoshaphat!  It’s Wednesday again!  Look at that!  Time for another Sluiter Nation Recruit!

This week’s Recruit is Jo from Minnesota Joy.

I met Jo via twitter when I was going through some bad stuff with PPD. Jo has been a constant stream of support and love ever since we got to chatting.

She can be absent from twitter for days and if I post that I am struggling it’s like her spidey senses go off and I get a direct message or tweet from her to hold on and that I am doing a good job.

She has four beautiful children, a great husband, and a big heart.

While she has helped me celebrate the joy of this new pregnancy, she is “all done.”

I love her and so will you.

*************

I’m watching Harper play on the hard wood floor. She bangs two blocks together and laughs. She dances to the music from Sunday Night Football, her little behind so cute bouncing around in her pink footie pajamas. Then she reaches for me with her little chubby hands, saying “Mamamamamama” and looking at me intently, daring me to resist her sweetness. (I can’t.) She took three independent steps today so it is only a matter of time until her tentative movements become more confident and she is running all over the place. I love this age, still a baby and needing me so much but also brave and trying new things every day. We are still breastfeeding with no signs of stopping (yet). I love looking at her soft little cheeks and tickling her gently to make her giggle while she’s nursing. Sometimes she lets go just to smile at me, but mostly she smiles with her eyes but still continues on eating. Right now she’s sleeping on my lap and soon will be carried up to my bed, where she will snuggle into my side all night long.

I love this girl.

Jamie is in bed now. He was sick the last few days. I hate when he’s sick and that spark is missing from his eyes. I get lots of snuggles (which is nice) and his cheeks turn pink as if he’s been out in the cold. He finally started feeling better this evening so he was bouncing off the walls, pretty much using up every ounce of patience I have and then some. I looked at his hair when he was preparing for bed and mentioned that he needed a hair cut. His blond curls are so long but I can’t really bear to cut them off yet. As soon as he heard me say haircut, he announced that we needed to go right now so that he could get a BLUE sucker. He was very insistent that it be blue. He will be three at the end of the month and is now completely day time potty trained. He makes my heart happy.

I love that boy.

Katy is next to me on the couch, eating a bowl of spaghetti and pretending not to watch me type. She wants to talk to me, I can tell. Katy is my impatient one and would not have a thing to say if I were not busy. She’s the one that has to talk to me whenever I am on the phone and the one that would follow me into the bathroom if I let her. We are working on this. As much as I get frustrated by how much she still needs me at twelve years old, I secretly love it too. For such a long time she was my baby and it’s hard for both of us to let that feeling go. Classic middle child, that’s my Katy. So helpful and so emotional and so very kind-hearted. She would literally do anything to make you happy and her smile lights up a room.

I love this girl.

Laura is with her dad now and I miss her already. She’s the piece of my heart that is away from me all week long. I live for Fridays when I know she’s coming home again and dread Sundays when I know she’ll be leaving. She’s so smart and so beautiful and so very funny. She loves her friends but comes to my house willingly, even though it means missing sleepovers and seeing Breaking Dawn with her friends. She always chooses family first and rarely complains. I live for summer when she’s here for a week at a time and I can pretend she never has to leave. She’s sixteen and will have her license soon and I just cannot believe that so much time has passed already. I still see her with skinned knees and a dimpled grin.

I love that girl.

I was 23 when I had my first baby. I will be about 57 years old before my last child has left for college. That means I will have ‘actively’ been a mother for 34 years by the time my last child turns 18.

During this Thanksgiving season, I am reminded again of how truly blessed I am. I have four absolutely amazing children and a husband that ‘gets me’ most of the time. I could never have imagined this life but I wouldn’t trade it for anything…well, except for the exact same life with a bit more money. *grin*

People ask us if we are “all done” having kids. My answer is always an emphatic YES…with exclamation points, all caps and bold font if necessary. (Funny though, people still don’t believe me.) I love my babies with all of my heart but I figure that 34 years of having kids in the house is plenty. I am a miserable pregnant woman with excessive not-just-morning-but-all-day sickness. Pregnancy is hard on my body and my mind. I spent more than three years of my life being pregnant and nearly all of that feeling down right wretched. I love babies and I love birth but I do NOT love being pregnant.

I see people announcing pregnancies online almost every day and I am absolutely thrilled for them. But me? I am all done.

Oh, and here is some pink footie pajama dancing for your enjoyment. 😉

**************

Jo is a wife and mama of four from southeastern Minnesota. She’s slightly addicted to Twitter and is passionate about educating people about mood-disorders, especially PPD and anxiety. She thinks that stigma sucks and refuses allow it to be a part of her existence. Some might think she’s a tree-hugger, but she doesn’t hug ’em all – just the ones that make sense to her. She is a breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping mama who works outside of the home but also thinks you should do what is best for your family. You can find her on Twitter at  or on her blog.

It Takes A Village

It’s Sluiter Nation Recruit Day!  If you haven’t check out the ever-growing list of outstanding Recruits, you should really check them out.  They are some of my most favorite people around the interwebs.  Go check it out.  I’ll wait.

I am honored to bring you Heather of Theta Mom into The Nation today.

Heather’s site was one of the very first communities I found when I first dove head first into this blogosphere.  And it’s one of the only communities I still keep up with.  It’s that amazing.

Heather created not just a blog that makes you feel part of something, but it assures each of us that we are not alone in this mom thing.

It’s not about linking up and getting blog hits and comments with Heather.  It’s about finding other moms like you.  It’s about seeing that you are not up a creek without a paddle.  Theta Mom is not just a paddle, but your canoe, and a barge of cheerleaders.

Read on, you’ll see.

**************

When I first started blogging, I wanted to share my voice because I knew there had to be other women out there experiencing the same kind of things that I was going through. But little did I know the amazing community that would emerge out of a single blog – before I knew it, a real sisterhood was born.

We all seek community in various aspects of our lives; we want to find it in our neighborhoods, at school, in the workplace and even in our places of worship. We thrive on building community because it makes us stronger and makes us feel more connected. When we are part of a community, it’s like we are part of something greater than ourselves – we share a real connection and THAT is the invaluable thread that binds us together.

And when you really think about it, isn’t building community a big reason why we continue to blog?

If it wasn’t for our readers and the need for that connection, we would probably continue to write but keep our blogs private. Instead, we choose to publish our thoughts for the world to see in the hopes that our endless dialogue and text resonates with other human beings.

When I published my first post at Theta Mom, I also published a Mission  statement. It was my way of communicating exactly what I envisioned for my blog and what I hope would come of it someday. There was an immediate outpouring and sense of community among women who understood this mission and without hesitation, they came on board and the rest really, is history.

My blog is not only the space in which I have the platform to share my stories, but it’s a place for other moms and women to connect, a space that lets you know that you (as a woman and mom) are NEVER alone. I truly believe that blogging has changed my life – it has given me a new perspective on motherhood. I’ve also had the opportunity to “meet” thousands of women from across the globe who continue to share in this motherhood mission. If you ask me, it doesn’t get better than that.

I’m honored to be a part of the blogging community, namely my own at Theta Mom  consisting not of just “one” blogger, but a village of bloggers who understand the ups and downs of motherhood. One of my favorite posts of all time that sums this up perfectly is You are NOT Alone  because we really are in this thing together.

Yes, it’s all about community.

And it really does take a village.

*************

Go visit Heather…

Owner of Theta Mom® http://www.thetamom.com & Theta Mom® Media http://www.thetamommedia.com Tweet: http://www.twitter.com/thetamom

Word Problems

Annnd it’s Wednesday!  Time for a new Recruit!

Today is exciting because I am bringing you the words of one of my MUST read bloggers:  Julie of By Any Other Name (although admittedly, I blanked on the name of her blog because I always think of it like her her twitter handle: julieCgardner.com…oops).

And to be honest, the fact that I always just think of it as Julie.com is because I am so in love with her words that I forget that her blog has a name.

She doesn’t post every day–which I love because I canNOT keep up with you who post daily, so when her blog lights up with a new post in my reader, I go right for it.

Julie also leaves me the best, most wonderful comments EVER.  Seriously, cruise around here and read what she has to say to me.  You’ll be in love with her just from those.

But I will give you another reason…read on…

*************

The breakdown of the word BELONGING is not lost on me.

After all, you can take the English teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t make her love math. Or something like that.

Which is why my equation for today is this:

Be + longing = A state of yearning to be a part of something.

But what? And how? And why?

From our earliest years we question our place in the family. Perhaps a sibling steals our position as “only” or we enter a home already inhabited by at least one other child. We suspect the universe revolves around us and strive to test the theory; especially when we’re forced to share a ball, the last cookie, our mother’s attention. It’s hard to prove you belong when you’re only three years old.

Unfortunately, the quest to fit in doesn’t ease during our school days; in fact it becomes worse. What if we like the wrong shoes, the wrong music, the wrong gender? Or forget the rules of the game and how to fix our hair? We fear failure at every turn, our anxieties amplified by hormones and pimples and unavoidable change. It’s all so very serious and strange.

Then young adulthood tempts us to seek real partnerships, validation, authenticity. We may even believe people will appreciate our true selves but we aren’t really sure what those selves are. So we try on different attitudes; we shift in our seats, settle into our souls; cross our fingers that our invitations are returned. We hold our breath and wait. And then.

The response can be more deafening than silence.

Even as a “grown-up” I’m a drifter between groups. I overlap, dip in and out; test the waters for their depths but avoid making waves. I half-fit into many circles but rarely feel I’ve reached their centers. I want to be fully vested, but chip away at my own rough surfaces until I expose the underlying reasons why I’m not quite right for each circumstance.

A part-time teacher leaves campus before eating lunch with her colleagues.

A part-time mother doesn’t join playgroups that meet while she’s working.

A writer works with words but fumbles when she speaks. She creates sentences but ruins conversations; forgets how to dress for public consumption.

If I try hard enough, I can convince myself I’m too old or young; too fast or slow; too rich or poor; too much or too little of whatever is necessary in any given situation.

Or I can stop the madness.

I’m smart (except for the math). I can be funny. I am loved for real by some and perhaps (at least intermittently) by many who’ve shared their online worlds.

I can let go of the first-grade girl whose peers run so quickly back to class after recess that she’s left behind. Lost.  Sitting by herself until someone notices.

I’m not that girl now. And yet. At one point, aren’t we all?

Some longer than others; some long more than others.

I imagine there’s a person in the history of living who’s always felt she belonged. But I do not know her. And I’m not sure I’d want to.

No. I choose the quirky, the silly, the slightly-off.

The one who’s at the park with her kids and (instead of a pack of mom-friends around her discussing their upcoming girls’ weekend) she has a strip of duct tape hanging off the seat of her ten-year-old sweatpants.

Theoretically.

But those girls-weekend friends? I suspect they worry, too.

They stand close to each other thinking they need to tighten their pores or freshen their breath; to treat the pit stains on their white t-shirts. (Worn only once and still!)

We can kill ourselves with the longing to belong. Or we can just be.

As hard as it is. For as long as it takes.

So come on. Hold my hand.  Let’s address this word problem together.

Because You + Me = Enough.

And then some.

*************

You need more Julie in your life.  You so do.  So here you go…

I absolutely melt when she writes about her kids:  today call me complete

Again with those kids:  today call me chosen

And this is just funny because we ALL know she doesn’t need this:  today call me Bo-curious

All I have to say about this one is…sigh: today call me julienancy

I know.  you are in love with her.  It’s ok…go hang out at her blog.  I totally get it.

a nation of my own

Happy Wednesday (and el día de los muertos)!  It’s time again for me to bring you a lovely new Recruit.  If you are new, you can find out what a Sluiter Nation Recruit is here.

This week I am happy to bring you Elizabeth from The Writer Revived and The Mom Pledge.  I can’t even remember when Elizabeth and I first connected.  I feel like she has just always been there in my corner rooting me on while I whined spilled my feelings to you all here on the blog.

Elizabeth is a lovely writer and I have been honored to be a bloggy friend of hers.  She has done something I don’t think I ever could.  She quit working to be a stay at home mom.  I still don’t know how you SAHMs do it every day…you ALL have my utmost respect.

I am beyond honored to have Elizabeth here today sharing some of her words about how she manages.

*************

The feeling of isolation I experienced when I left my career to stay home with my daughter was intense. My world shrunk so severely it was essentially limited to the four walls of our house.

And really, in the very early days I only spent my time in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen. I don’t think that is a natural state of existence for anyone, least of all someone as social as I am.

It was the one aspect of stay at home motherhood I was least prepared for. I had been focused on what was in my daughter’s best interest. I’m not sure I gave much consideration to whether it was in mine.

Wanting to stay home with her was one thing. The reality of being there was quite another. I had almost no connection to the outside world. And I hated it.

Blogging and social media enabled me to connect with other moms. To feel as if I had a life again outside of those four walls. I daresay it saved me.

I started blogging to reconnect with my passion for writing. I had no idea it would connect me with women from all over the world I could relate to.

When I’m facing an issue with my child or have a parenting question? They share their experiences with me in an honest, nonjudgmental way.

When I need to rant? They understand.

When I’m having a difficult day and think I can’t take one more minute? They help me through.

When I am working toward a goal? They encourage me.

When I have something to celebrate? They are my cheering section.

They make me laugh. They make me cry. They make me think.

They add to my life. They brighten my days. They inspire me.

Some people say you don’t really get to know others online. You don’t “see” their authentic self. You see snippets. The better side. The part they want you to see.

I say I know more about some of the people I’ve met online than I do the people I know “in real life.” And vice versa. And I do consider them to be friends.

I’ve built my own little nation, full of amazing women I adore and admire. In the process, I developed a greater sense of myself and where I am in my life. My world no longer has walls. It has expanded, and so has my point of view.

I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be part of Sluiter Nation. Thank you, Katie, for inviting me!

**************

No, thank YOU, Elizabeth for sharing your heart with us today!

You should of COURSE go check out Elizabeth at her blog…

A beautiful  way to get to know Elizabeth if you don’t already know her:  Celebrating

Her most popular post to date (and the reason there are certain times of the month Eddie does NOT see me in the bathroom):  Say What!?

A big topic on her blog is the fact that her daughter struggles with Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Chatty Cathy

An absolute fave of Elizabeth’s and a wonderful impromptu moment:  The Places We’ll Go

Don’t be shy…hop on over and visit Elizabeth.

Got Some

It’s a very special Wednesday here in Sluiter Nation!  Today’s recruit is WAY special.  But first you probably need to know what a Recruit is, so go here.  I’ll wait.

So this week’s Recruit is so close to me that he actually sleeps with me.

That’s right.  This week I am bringing you the words of my sweet husband, Cortney.  Did you know he blogs?  Well, he sort of blogs. OK, he has really good intentions of blogging.  Alright, he started a blog.  It’s called Tasty Buttered Toast.  Sometimes he puts his thoughts there.  But not as often as I wish he would. Because people?  He is a damn fine writer when he wants to be.

He started his blog when he was unemployed, and now that he IS employed…and back to school…and bowling league…and a dad of a toddler…and husbanding a pregnant wife who is carrying his next son…well, he is a bit swamped.

Plus he was the one who encouraged my words.

And because I love his words (and his cute booty), he is here today.

*************

I was asked to be a “recruit” over a month and a half ago… at first I thought I was a neat idea.  Write for the blog that I encouraged, nay, convinced Kate to write.  And here we are, how many hundred posts later, more readers than she could have ever imagined from parts of the world she’s never traveled.  Anxious to read those comments from so many of you, most of which she has never met in person, but talks about so often you’d swear she just got home from having lunch with them.

For me this blog is more than just an outlet to share the goings on of our little family, but it’s a chance for my darling wife to vent her frustrations, share her successes, and probably most importantly get support from her “fan base” to get her through those rough patches… and you all know we have had our share of those.  A HUGE thank you, and you know who you are, for being there when we needed that little extra something to get us through a rough spot.

So, back to this recruit thing… at first I thought it was a neat idea, not to mention a great way to give me a chance to put my mark on her little slice of the blogosphere pie.

It’s an interesting position to be in… I feel as though most of you already know so much about me already, what is there new to share?  What is there that I want to share?

Well, let’s see… I’ve hit a hole-in-one, bowled a 300 game.  I wonder why there is so much spitting in baseball, even by the players that don’t chew or eat sunflower seeds.  I don’t understand why some people with a NASCAR sticker in their back window choose to drive under the speed limit.

At one time in my life I was an avid pro-PC geek… back then, it was mostly just to antagonize my pro-Mac friends.  Truth be told I haven’t had enough time on a Mac to know that I don’t like it, I just know that the stuff I do on a PC would be different on a Mac; and change at this point isn’t a good choice.  I have a pretty good feeling that at some point, there will be an Apple product in this house (other than an iPod).

I’m not much of a cook, but I pride myself on putting out a solid spread at breakfast time… all credit to my late father for those skills.  He could grill just about anything, but breakfast, specifically omelets; were his specialty.

Well there you have it.  Not too shabby for my first post on the blog with my last name in the header.  I must say, I’m quite proud of the little space that Kate has created, built, and maintained on her own.  Thank you for your continued support of her writing and well-being.  Your comments and site visits make my heart smile.

*************

He doesn’t have a ton of posts, but he has some that I really love.

When his Grandpa Sluiter passed on Christmas last year, he wrote this:  Parting Ways

His take on lullabies:  Squeeze Box

And every post he writes about his dad gets me.  This one is from last year:  And I Walk the Long Road

I know he hasn’t posted over there since August, but when he does write…man does he write.  I can’t wait until he writes about being a dad someday.  I know it will be fabulous since he is so wonderful at it.

the haze and the fog

Hello and welcome to Wednesday!  It’s time to introduce you to another one of my lovely Sluiter Nation Recruits.  New here? Come check out what a Recruit is here.

Today I bring you the lovely Yuliya who writes She Suggests.  It’s almost impossible to put into words how just wonderful Yuliya is.  She is thoughtful and kind and a talented writer and amazing mother.  This summer I got to meet her at BlogHer, and I was enchanted.  I could have ditched the whole conference and just listened to her talk.

Yuliya and I found each other, I think, through Write on Edge back when it was The Red Dress Club.  I absolutely fell in love with her writing, then with her.

I think you will love her too.

***************

One of my big fears prior to getting pregnant and all throughout it was getting PPD because I knew that the risk of having PPD is increased in someone who already suffers from depression.

Fortunately I was lucky. Not only did I not get PPD, I had what can only be described as the opposite of PPD. My postpartum period, while filled with the usual intense emotions and occasional unexplained crying fits, was without a doubt the happiest I have ever been in my life. Yes, I was sleep deprived, covered in throw up and leaking constantly but I was exuberant. I was that (annoying) mom who stared constantly at her baby, held her incessantly and covered her with kisses practically every minute.

It was magical.

I started to let myself think that this was the new me and that maybe that old me who suffered from bouts of apathy and cycles of destructive behavior was just missing this, this beautiful child, this coveted role of mother.

But old me caught up with new me, maybe she was switched with someone at the hospital and was now finding her way back to me full of fury. I resumed my old ways, bailing on things I cared about, procrastinating, eating excessively, becoming angry and short tempered or simply lying on the couch and trying desperately to tune my family out. I was inside of a thick fog for months.

I woke up from that fog last Sunday to this:

Aliza, my 20 month old daughter bounced awake from our family bed, exclaimed “Cold! Shoes!” and ran clumsily to dig through her bureau and present us with her shoe selection for the morning. Girl child loves her shoes, and no, I have no idea where she gets it from, I live in flip flops.

She poked her daddy gently in the nose and reminded him “juice, boom, boom,” a reference to him making our morning green smoothie in a booming blender.

At breakfast she refused her bib and ate all by herself without spilling anything on her pajamas, she even drank her smoothie from a cup, using just one hand.

She informed me that she had to potty, about four seconds too late. She turned on the radio and bopped along, little hands waving in the air, non-existent booty shaking, and no I have no idea where she gets it from, Mama’s got back.

I watched and participated as this morning scene unfolded and all I felt was angry.

Angry because in these last few weeks while I was inside of the fog my daughter began to shed the last of her baby-ness. She cut back on nursing, began to wield utensils on her own and started the path toward potty independence.  She morphed from a baby into a full blown toddler.

And I missed it.

In that moment I began to understand what postpartum depression does to someone. Having had depression prior to having a child it just didn’t affect me the same way. Sure, I was frustrated at the time I spent feeling sad or apathetic to life. But now, with a child in my life I felt robbed of all those moments that slipped away, all those changes that took place when I wasn’t present, all the time that I will never get back.

I wonder did my daughter notice when I wasn’t “there”? If I don’t get better will she spend her childhood with someone who goes through the motions but isn’t truly present? Will I get PPD with the next child? Do I even have the right to talk about PPD and what I’m going through in the same sentence?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But by being here today I took my first step by talking about it. Maybe this is the new me, I’m not in the happy magical haze and I’m not inside of the fog, but I’m here telling a little bit of my story to this wonderful community and now that I have,  hopefully I won’t go back to going through it alone.

*************

I know you will rally around her and let her know she is NOT alone.  Ever.

And then you will want to read some of her other stuff.

Where Yuliya is from (spoiler: it’s not the USA)…Where I’m From

She is funny…and maybe a bit forgetful…Why I’m Not in Charge of Family Finances

And a post that was syndicated at BlogHer and is close to my heart as well…Are Bloggy Friends Real?

There are so many more I could choose from since she always shows yummy pics of food and delicious pics of her adorable daughter (she is an amazing photog, people), so you should browse around her site.

Go ahead.  Get lost there.

You won’t be sorry.

*************

Oh look!  I am featured at The Mom Pledge today!  Come say hi a quick second…so I am not all lonely over there.

one is silver the other gold

Oh hey…it’s Wednesday again.  That means it’s time to meet another blogger…a new Sluiter Nation Recruit.  What’s a Recruit?  Start here.

Today’s Recruit is someone who has been a long-time Sluiter Nation visitor and supporter.  I met Molly of A Day in Mollywood via twitter and our shared experiences with depression.  That sounds a bit morbid, but I promise it’s not.

I was lucky enough to get to meet her at BlogHer…something I had hoped would happen.  And she was just as encouraging and lovely in person as she is in the world of the internet.

I am so very pleased that I can share her with you today.

*************

Make new friends
but keep the old
One is silver
and the other gold

I remember walking into my kindergarten class, lunchbox in hand and mini backpack on my back. I met my first real friend, Terra, within minutes. Years later she would serve a very important purpose in my life. But I had no idea at the time.

I think we are attracted to certain people for reasons unknown to us.

The same could be said for internet friends.

If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, chances are you’ve already found a few blog soul mates. The ones that send you into fits of laughter when you were trying really hard not to smile. The ones that cause an upheaval tears from a place you didn’t know existed. The posts where you find yourself nodding along because, while your friend is upset, you know you’ve been there too. That sense of knowing you’re not alone creeps up and knocks the wind out of your lungs.

These new connections, new friends, they’re the silver ones.

Like an unsteady game of Jenga, I’ve stacked one year of my life on top of the other. In doing so I’ve realized that it’s not the making of friends that is difficult. It’s keeping them.

I have lost many companions over the years. Sometimes it was my choice. But mostly they walked away from me. Each time they did I felt a deep sense of loss. The loss of what could have been. The hurt when I realized that person no longer felt I was worthy of their time. But I have come to understand that a friend is along for the ride as long as we need directions to get where we’re going at that time.

We all find it easier to keep friends on the internet. Maybe that is why so many of us are here. Reading about each other’s lives because if you’re offering it up and we’ve got a few spare moments, we’re able to speed up the friend-making process. Technology moves fast and we chase it.

Writing a blog is like the adult version of “show and tell.” We’re standing in front of the class. We’re talking about our favorite things. We’re asking people to like us. And that’s okay.

But we mustn’t forget to spend time with those outside of the computer screen. We need to remember that the friendships we’ve kept over the years will be the most important relationships of our lives.

Because they were cultivated without the help of social media. They have withstood the test of time. They are steadfast.

I can recall holding Terra’s hand, skipping out onto the playground for recess. We hid in the tunnel set above the jungle gym. Sharing secrets and sticking out our tongues at boys who dared enter our hiding place.
Twelve years later, I would receive a knock on my dorm room door. I opened it and was shocked to see Terra standing before me. She needed a new college roommate and I needed a friend more than she knew. We would hold hands during our first year of college. After losing touch through high school we were unexpectedly reunited. We shared laughter and tears. We shared shoes and shots at the bar. She ordered pizza at midnight while I cried over another break-up. She stood up for me when no one else would.

I never could have guessed how important she would be to my well-being during one of the most difficult years of my life. All because two little girls said “hi” to one another on the first day of school. Do you think a part of me knew? I’d like to think so.

But that’s the thing about relationships. You never know.

So hold all your friends close. The constant ones and the acquaintances. The ones who stayed and the ones who walked away. Keep them safe in your heart.
You never know when an old friend, a golden one, will come knocking on your door.

*************

More Molly?  Ok!

Here is the post that won BlogHer Voice of the Year:  Part II: The Lost Year

One of the hardest things she has ever written:  The BlogHer Breakdown

A favorite of hers…a lovely reminder to keep things in perspective: The Random Placement of People

And a recent tale of a big heart…Let Him Drink