I'm sitting here not really knowing where to start, except to explain my absence in this space...mostly to our girls. So, when we moved to England I was tired. I had just accomplished single parenting for 380 days and said yes to everyone and everything. Yes, I will watch your kids. Yes, I will volunteer every Sunday in my daughter's Sunday school room. Yes, I will be a tutor. Yes, yes, yes. I guess you could say that the disease to please had taken over. My mother often tells me that I care too much about what people think of me. Others would probably wonder if I care at all. My answer would be, "It depends on when you met me."
I knew something had to give when we moved to England. I knew that my family was going to need me now more than ever. So, I decided to go cold turkey. I decided I was going to say no. No, I'm sorry I can't commit to that. No, I'm sorry, but that is not a time commitment I am willing to make. No, I am not joining the spouses' club. No, no, no. Now, let's be real here. Of course I said yes to things, but I had set the tone and made a promise to myself that for these three years abroad the only people I was worried about saying yes to were my family. Let me just tell you that telling people no does not always go over well with them, but, for me, always saying yes often left me feeling out of control...of my own life.
A lot has happened these past three years. I immediately realized that the blog I had hoped would document these travel filled years would also need a no from me. We were immediately faced with six months of terror filled nights as we awaited medical care and a diagnosis for Allye. Then, for three years, Nate has been gone more than he has been home with us. Technically, it could be the other way around, but it is so close we are calling it like it has felt. We have traveled Europe in the hardest, coldest months because he has been gone every single summer we have lived here. I could go on and on, but it all really boils down to digging my heals in harder and harder with every single no I had to give, so I could stand firm in my commitment to saying yes to us.
As we are nearing the end of our time living in England, I am beginning to look forward. Our girls are all pretty self-sufficient and I am restless. I have happily given everything I can give to our girls, Nate, his career, our girls' education, and our family. Considering there is no Target, or any store for that matter, open after Nate gets off work each day, I haven't, exactly, been soaking up all that alone time moms need for our sanity. So, three months ago I decided to join Stella & Dot as a stylist. I considered this for over six months. I really felt it could be a great outlet for my love of fashion and creativity, as well as, a push for me to spend time on something that was just for me. Frankly, it has been hard. It creates all of the stresses I thought it would, but has intricately woven us together for a common goal in a way I never expected. I don't have big salesy type goals, and I am certainly not a pushy sales person, but I do love helping women feel and be at their best, whether that is with the words of encouragement I place on their screens or an idea about how to use a piece of jewelry to freshen their wardrobe or make them feel like they have it all together, because we all like to feel like we have it together, even when we know we don't. Right? Somehow, polished nails and any jewelry, besides a wedding ring and earrings, makes us think we accomplished something that day. Yes, I still remember those toddler years.
As we begin to see the light at the end of this tunnel I am beginning to say yes. Yes, you can give yourself the time to blog again. Yes, you can incorporate your love of jewelry and fashion into your life and help others along the way. Yes, you can let go of the guilt and buy that online course for your kids to take, instead of you teaching every single subject. Yes, you can go on a date night with your husband every weekend and not feel any guilt about it. Yes, yes, yes. It might seem clear, but what I learned about saying no to so many others is that I was also saying no to myself too often. It seems only right that I begin by saying yes to myself. So far it feels pretty good. As I think about how I am going to start saying yes to others, I think those will come a little easier as long as I am always saying yes to myself first. Maybe it's a lot like that warning they give you on a plane...the one that tells you to always place your own oxygen mask on before assisting others, even your own child.
So, for now, I am back on this keyboard, filling your screen with no real direction just yet. Just an urge. Just a mom with a hope to put it all down so one day her daughters can look back. And while I am quite sad that these pages went dark for so long, I am going to hold on to what Socrates said best, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."