Best of 09 – Catching up on days 18-21

December 18 Shop. Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?

There wasn’t a lot of mad money to spend this year. Like many people, we were tightening our belts and watching our savings slip away. That said, I did have two little spending sprees with gift money – which I refused to use to pay the bills even if that would have been the wisest choice. A little something new for mama is good for the soul. Especially when mama is exhausted and still doesn’t fit into her pre-pregnancy clothes, two years after the fact.

Spree #1. Anthropologie (with birthday money). I cannot buy clothes online. I have the shoulders of a football player (thanks Dad!), hips, thighs and a butt. My husband likes it that way. Clothing designers do not. While not the cheapest or the most expensive clothes on the shopping block, I can always find something (or a few somethings) here that make me feel pretty. And a little pretty goes a long way these days. Happy Birthday to me.

Spree #2. Patagonia (with Christmas money). With the move away from the bright lights of Los Angeles, I feel less compelled to worry about how fashionable what I’m wearing is and am more interested in how sustainable/green/eco-friendly the company is who is making them. Desperately in need of some cooler weather wear, I arranged for some toddler-free time and headed over to the store at Patagonia headquarters. There I met the warm and lovely Whitney (and some of her equally lovely associates) who supported me in my quest for cozy but still attractive clothes. Clothing shopping for me can be an exercise in frustration that often turns to self-loathing. It’s a testament to both Whitney and Patagonia that my experience there was almost 100% positive (if only the mirror cut out the bottom half of my body, it would have been perfect).

I find myself more and more often turning to online shopping for some of life’s necessities. It’s much easier than attempting to strap an unwilling child into a small seat. The convenience factor often offsets the environmental cost. But I am, and always will be, a people person. My computer won’t tell me about a trunk show at a funky store, won’t pick out its favorite tops for me to try, won’t smile and welcome me to a new town. I love my computer, but I love human beings more.

December 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

At the risk of being repetitive, the car ride that comes to mind was the one from LA to Ventura on moving day. Here’s a big part of why it was so intensely memorable.

My daughter, who was just a bit older than 2 at the time, had been adjusting incredibly well to all the things involved in the sale of our house. We moved furniture, we hid toys, we had people coming in and out of the house at all times of day. We were clearly stressed out and emotional about the whole process. We talked about what was happening. We traveled several times to find our new home. We told her “no”, and “wait” and “don’t touch that” more than any of us were used to or liked. So when moving day came and she was the trooper we know her to be, we weren’t surprised.

On the drive though, something minor happened. Something that frustrated her. I can’t remember exactly what it was – I think I wasn’t understanding something she was trying to say. She melted down. At first it seemed a typical toddler reaction but eventually I realized that it was so much more. She was processing what was happening. She had just said goodbye to the only home she’d ever known, to our neighbors who were some of her best friends, to the familiarity and comfort of a place we all loved. She couldn’t talk about it, couldn’t journal, or get on the phone with a friend, or meditate to help her cope. My husband was driving and it was so hard on him to hear her cry and cry and cry. It was hard for me too, but it was such a beautiful experience to calmly touch her and talk to her, to give her the space, the compassion, the acceptance she needed. She gave me the gift of allowing me to be her mama in a difficult time and I gave myself the gift of rising to the occasion.

December 20 New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

2009 was the year of Jessicas. One in particular touched my spirit. Her light shines brightly. She is working to make herself and the world a better place. I’m not sure if our connection will be short-lived or long-term (I’m hoping for the latter) but I do know that her warmth fills people up like a cup of hot cocoa on a cool day. And if you need a life coach, she’s great at that too.

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

This year I developed and implemented a workshop for new and expecting parents with the company I founded late in 2008. We called it the Secure Start Parent-Infant Attachment Program. That’s a mouthful and not terribly catchy but it worked for the organization and the grant they needed to fund it. I love facilitating this workshop. I know when I am there that I am making a difference in the world.

My next project? A support and self-discovery group for teen mamas. I’ll look forward to telling you about it next year.

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~ by Alana on December 23, 2009.

6 Responses to “Best of 09 – Catching up on days 18-21”

  1. i see a thread of giving running through this post . . . and it’s not just a ’tis-the-season thing. giving to self, to child, to others. meeting needs without judgment. good stuff.

  2. I’m grateful I found your update today, I am amazed as the month progresses how many new Best09 bloggers I continue to find. Your post is so filled with grace – I love the moment of awareness with your daughter as you let her feel, allowed her the ability to process, even before she had the language to express what was within her. Kudos to you, dear Mama.

  3. You rock my world, lady, and I feel so fortunate to have you in my life. You have walked through an incredibly challenging year with such grace and selfless love – you are an inspiration. And how did I have no idea about your startup? Can’t wait to hear more about your plans for 2010. xo

  4. Jeanne – thank you. Your comments are always so thoughtful and are greatly appreciated.

    Julie – I am also loving the best of challenge for the blogs I have stumbled on. Thanks for reading – and letting me know you were here.

    Emma – we’ll talk 😉 Here’s to big plans. xoxo

  5. I love the empathy, the compassion, the warm, the authenticity of this post. Looking forward to following you and your path…glad I’ve crossed it =)

  6. Ah, I’m hoping for long term too! Thank you, Alanna! I am so blessed by you — over and over. The people and connections you’ve brought into my life, and the resources you connect me, with keep unfolding. I feel your light, I see your light, I’m touched by your light! Thank you, my friend! And thank you for your writings. xoxo

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