Ilonka loves.

Spoiler alert re: Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things. Skip the second paragraph. There is also profanity in this post. Be advised. 

Moving is no joke. Even when you land somewhere as beautiful as Florida, it is monumental. It is beyond draining. It is hard.

ocean sky

Two kids each with their own issues, and the near constant advocacy required to keep it all going in new schools(one with a teacher who is well meaning and doing her best but with absolutely no ASD training). A commute that has me in the car between 3-4 hours a day in crazy traffic. The “clean” diet the kids require to keep them functioning at their potential. Supplement schedules, new doctors, dentists, specialists of every variety. And the good news/bad news looming knowledge we’ll be moving again locally when our lease is up in August, in an effort to nix the aforementioned commute. Riley has flown through her specialized program this year and will be ready for high school next year. Seth will be in a different school as well, starting middle school.

I have not written. I have not blogged. I have not visited Pinterest. I have not been on Twitter (not that I was ever much of a tweeter). Worse still, I have only read one non-yoga related book in months. Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest. Seriously, great book, but poor Alma. Will someone please have sex with her?

Did I mention I became a yoga teacher? I did. Smartest decision I made and I didn’t even plan it that way, but hello instant community of the most wonderful sort. I adore these people and loved every minute of the training. I’m hoping to help autism moms with self-care. Yes, yes, we teach what we need to learn.

Before moving, I let go of so many material things. Things I didn’t need. Things that didn’t serve me or my family.

Since here, I’ve also been letting go of behaviors. The kind where I don’t speak up and I tolerate things that are hurting my feelings. The kind where I self-sacrifice and co-dependently give to the point of my own detriment. The kind where I take on other peoples’ stuff, often without them even asking, and bear it for them, because I can’t tolerate seeing them in pain. The move just pushed me to the point of such exhaustion, I couldn’t. Could not. Could no longer do it. I was flat on the ground, thyroid/hormones/adrenals out of whack, last nerve raw, empty…not a brain cell or heart cell left to offer.

And then I spent some time kicking myself for not being more spiritual than that. More evolved. Move giving. More loving.

And maybe a better person could handle things differently than me, but turns out I’m not a “better” person. I’m just me. And there is some relief in that.

And some strength in it too. But boundaries come with sadness and loss.

I’m cracked open. Limited. 45 years old. 13 years into this intense uber parenting gig, and I’m fucking tired. Moving is said to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Right up there with death and divorce. Moving with my kids? And doing it again in a few months?

The “perfect” mother friend wife sister is gone. None of you were fooled anyway, right?

So I’ve been doing tons of yoga, obviously, and it’s done its thing, filling me up with oxygen. Toning my muscles. Busting open my heart. Quite literally, a sternum injury the likes of which my teacher had never seen in 20 + years. It is better now, thank Goodness. My body seems to be re-knitting itself. Yesterday some weird thing happened and released in my legs. I could never touch my heels to the ground in down dog, and then boom…there they were, suddenly with no warning. On the floor. Grounded.

And I’ve been meditating religiously, just to stay afloat. To stay just barely on top of what could crush me. And I have the most beautiful man who adores me and for some reason finds me hilarious. And I have two pure hearted angels for children, and we four are so close. And my Hot Toddy reminds me I fostered that. I created this good family. And he reminds me I am good. And he gets fierce about anyone who says I am not. Even me. He’ll not have it. I say something bad about myself, he says, “That’s a lie.”

And I talk to God. I’ve always been good at meditating, and listening, but not so much at asking, and I’m asking God more and more, WTF? I’m so sick of working on myself.

And I breathe.

And I visit the ocean.

And the other day while walking on the beach with my family, I had a tiny glimpsy feeling that maybe I’d like to write something, a fleeting spark of me, coming back to myself, but then thought, no probably not.

But here I am and I did write. And I don’t know if I have it in me to do it again any time soon, but please know the kids are doing well. The weather agrees with Seth and his health is good. Riley is becoming more savvy and poised each day. Truly a young woman. Hot Toddy is sturdy and stable as ever. The dogs are fine, though it is a tad too hot for Jingle’s liking and her walks aren’t as long most days because of it.

And me? I am, as always, for good or bad, a truth teller, ever becoming. Older. Grayer. Hopefully wiser. Ten pounds lighter.

Speaking of truth tellers, the other day, Riley told me I have more wrinkles than I used to.

“Almost every one of them has your name on it,” I replied.

And we laughed! We are at the point where we can have that kind of exchange and laugh. She understands sarcasm.

She’s not so delicate. And I don’t need to be so measured.

I surrender to my own imperfections and limits.

And, I love.

“Ilonka loves.” That was my nickname at yoga teacher training. I’ve been using my first name, Ilonka, in Florida. Michelle is my middle name, in case you didn’t know that. And my teacher gave all of us Sanskrit names at our graduation, and mine was Anahata Devi (open hearted Goddess).

Ilonka loves.

More and more, even her own messy self.

And that ocean.

She rocks me like a baby.

sunrise 1