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Baby Steps...

These past few weeks have been a very difficult time for myself and my family. For no obvious reasons, my son's behaviors took a twist and it has thrown us all off. My husband and I were beginning to doubt our abilities and effectiveness as good parents, and my teenage daughter was feeling like she was being punished for something she had absolutely nothing to do with.

Yesterday, something changed. My husband and son attended a local college baseball game with his Little League team. My daughter attended her first sibling support group activity through a cake decorating class. I, attended, to me. At first, I was very nervous, feeling guilty, and second guessing myself. Shouldn't I be spending this money on groceries, things the kids need for school, or gas for my car? The practical answer is simply: yes. After about 30 mins parked outside a nail salon,

I convinced myself to go in.

I kept telling myself not to get sucked into ordering something fancy, just a basic mani/pedi will be enough. I was handed a menu of options and ordered the "Diamond Package" w/the hot stone foot massage! So much for basic! As a gentleman worked on my hands, and a lovely woman, my feet, I closed my eyes and listened to nothing but the very calm music playing in the salon and began to feel: well, different. I have fibromyalgia, so I am usually in pain-cranky and whiny. I sat there, feeling the pain, but it was okay. It hurt, but not so bad. The edge was gone just enough for me to feel good. I remember thinking, if only I could feel this good every day. I had a moment right then. I had walked into that salon, ordered a frivolous service (or so I thought), and I found someone. ME. Somewhere buried under all the layers of stress, was ME. For a split second, I felt like I wasn't Nicole, the Crazy-Advocate-Mama Bear-Autism Mom. I felt like I wasn't Nicole, the overtired-useless-by-dinner-time-Wife. Nicole, the Mom to-a-wildly-overachieving-amazing-strong-willed and stubborn teenager. And I was certainly not Nicole, the President of The Soothing Stitches Project. I could barely put a sentence together.

I was the Nicole I once knew-a young, carefree, happy, calm, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, soul who wore her heart on her sleeve, with very calculated and deliberate plans to fly the family nest and set the world on fire.

Of course, the service came to end, but that feeling didn't. I walked outside and immediately took notice of a gentleman wearing a "SYRACUSE" hoodie. I asked him if he was from there, we exchanged a few comments and went on our way...I love running into people with a connection to my hometown.

Still beaming, I waltzed into the nearby Joann's. Where I usually go with my 30 million coupons and nonprofit VIP discount card, to score a deal on flannel for my precious clients. I happily walked right through the fabric section, despite the 60% sales, and smiled. I touched not even a sliver of fabric. I was there for ME. I ended up wandering the aisles of yarn. Touching, feeling, imagining...what could I make...I wanted something special. Then it jumped out at me. As I mentioned, my hometown is Syracuse, NY. I saw the Lion Brand Hometown Collection and instantly attracted to the bright orange. Get the heck outta here: it said Syracuse!!!!

I reached for the dark blue to be totally Orangemen: it said San Diego Navy. Shut UP. My husband's hometown is San Diego. In the perfect marriage of blue, orange, and both of our hometown's I bought 5 skeins of each. I have no clue what it will end up as...but if that wasn't the "something special" I was looking for, nothing is.

Very blissful with my find, I perused the magazines, and walked away with two.

I found other odds and ends that made me smile.

Little bookmarks with bikes and coffee cups, a colorfully-swirled crochet hook, a fun little spring-garden-themed embroidery kit for me-the-gardener-who-kills-every-plant-I-touch, some cute little journals for who knows what, and a Ghirardelli dark chocolate w/raspberry filling bar.

My alone time had come to an end. It was time to gather up my family and get to the other business at hand: organizing my late mother-in-law's house for an estate sale next weekend. There, I was able to reconnect with my sister-in-law and her family, laughed, reminisced, and continued to organize. If my mother-in-law was still here, she would have been smacking us all upside the head...her feisty spirit is so very missed. Every. Single. Day.

Despite a massive migraine by the end of the night, and being completely ready to fall over-my son decided he wasn't going to give up the iPad and go to sleep quite so easily. So instead of my husband and I tearing into the room with our empty threats of what privilege he would lose-we both kneeled down at his bedside-elbows on the bed-and started giggling and whispering: "why are you still yelling, buddy" He HATED it. So much that within five minutes he gave up and turned over the iPad very calmly just so we would get out of his face. HAHAHAHAHA I high-fived my husband back in our room and exclaimed "WE DID IT".... Sweet Victory.

Much to my wild surprise, when I woke up this morning, that feeling was still there. I feel that fire again. It's the heart in your throat, excitable, giddy feeling where you could either use that energy for something life-changing, or hold it down and go-back-to-your-ho-hum-life feeling. But I'm not going to let that happen. Of course, we have our routines we have to tend to: kids have to get up and go to school, dogs have to be fed, house taken care of, and my husband has to go off to work. But in between, all of these things we "have to do", I am choosing to take a step back from my usual self of: yelling-begging-for-mercy-WHY GOD-moments of getting ready for school, where all I wanna do is smash my head into a wall because I feel like no one listens, to actively engaging my son in his 30 minute long video game explanation of what a "pasta creeper" is. (I still couldn't tell you) The important thing is that I was getting him moving without the stress that usually undermines me. He talked non-stop until the second I dropped him off at school. And instead of me ducking to not get nailed in the head because I had upset him-he walked away professing how much he loved me and blowing me kisses. MY KID. ON A MONDAY MORNING.

Is he mine??? I was overcome with emotion and happiness.

When I arrived home, I gathered my breakfast, a magazine from Joann's, and my mug of coffee.

I told Alexa to set a timer, and read.

The only annoying disturbance was my three little dogs fighting over air. Even that could not shake my happy. I was so excited to sit down and share this experience with you all. Years ago, my favorite Aunt told me I should write a book. For today, I reignited my blog. Baby Steps, Aunt Sue. I need baby steps.

Now, I must shower, hit the day the ground running and be productive.

Have a truly, happy Monday.

Love, Nicole <3

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