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Art by Antonio Mora

So neuroscience says I should name my feelings to be happier.  Like we all don’t want to keep the Hoover Dam intact or something.  This has historically been a hard time of year for me, and the past few years haven’t done anything to better this season either.  So when neuroscience says, jump, I say how high.  Cause I’m a good girl like that.

My feelings…

*taps fingers on table, then bites them*

I know I may portray some mother who has all her shit together, but I and 4 red heads can vouch that I am not.  Having 4 kids although was a dream of mine, was not on the list of things to do to stay mentally well. In particular I struggle with summer a lot to be honest.  While everyone celebrates holidays, and time off school, I’m like “what the mother fuck do I do with 4 kids who thoroughly enjoy fighting with one another all day every day?”   Ages 8-15 is a wide range of capabilities, interests and peer groups.  So every May/June for the past 8 years I sort through my feelings, and to add to matters, sorting through a few anniversaries of sorts one of them being that of my deceased fathers birthday.

So I feel a bit lost, a bit shameful I am not a more engaged mom.  I feel anxiety around providing things to do like camp, day trips and slurpee runs and the money to do all such things.  Thankfully I share the load half time with my ex-husband over these holidays, but summer becomes a mishmash of unscheduled scheduling that effects us both.  I feel guilt for not staying with my <cough> partner (so to speak) which in a different world could have allayed the anxiety over summer.  

I feel sorrow, over my dad, he would have been 76 tomorrow.  And subconsciously I have felt myself channeling him.  I planted petunias, coleus, impatients and tomatoes yesterday.  (In 4 years at my home I have planted nothing.) I didn’t realize until after I bought them how I had been surrounded by these exact plants my whole child and adult life because of him and his love for the garden. (Great grandma D too ;). So dad is on my mind, and I’m just feeling a little bit sad.

I feel a tad lonely lately as well, and I am guessing it’s an unattractive quality, because getting out on dates have been few and far between.  My entire adult life I have had a companion, and up until 3.5 years ago I always did life with a partner.  And although not a partner I want to do the rest of life with, we still had one another, to get through dark nights, belligerent children and for a “remember when” story. I miss that.

So neuroscience says something else as well though.  And I wasn’t surprised to read it.  It spoke about gratitude as a way to be happier.  Gratitude is a little more than just doing the above, like to quote Pinkalicious, “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”  Gratitude is the more evolved version of the above.

 For me it’s the practice of saying I am thankful for my eldest.  He is incredibly smart, he has binge watched every Dr show and decided after House (and the influence of 4 Drs close in family) he wants to become a Dr.  And I believe he has what it takes to do it.  I believe that his strong will and ability to hold his end of an argument up will make for a tremendous adult.  (But a pain in the ass teen for now.) 

I am grateful for my 12 year old who has a sponge for a heart.  Ever since he was young he has had an exceptional ability to empathize with others, and as I hearvin the classroom this translates into caring for his peers with special needs.  He befriends the weak and strong alike, and feels the world fiercely. (I can make him cry with a look…this is a gift and a curse as a mother.) But man, if you want a good friend, this guy fits the highest qualifications.

My daughter is not the wee spitting image of me according to my late father, I apparently was chubbier. (the things you never forget.)  But she is fiery like her mom.  She like her older brother is a caregiver to those around her.  At the end of Kindergarten I will never forget a child’s mom saying her special needs son would have never gotten through the school year without my Tessa.
 <insert tears here>. She loves to help in the kitchen when it comes to cooking and baking and engages her motherly instincts frequently with her other siblings. (this is a plus or minus at times)

My youngest is my fierce and tender Scorpio.  He can kick you in the shins one second then cup your face in his little hands and kiss your lips the next.  He does everything big; he is the loudest, the spilliest (yes I said spilliest), but the cuddliest and helpiest as well.  

My friends both near and far are another place my gratitude needs attention.  Patient Tami’s, Paris’s, Marnies, and Matts accommodate my ruminating and melancholy often and without them I wouldn’t be me.  I just wouldn’t.

So neuroscience, I named my feeling then practiced gratitude.  But another article I read caught my attention as well by its suggestion for living the happy life.  It said to do more of what you love.  So that’s why I did this.  I love to write (mostly), I love to examine my thoughts (mostly), I love to make beauty with the combining of 26 letters, and although not everyone wants to read it, I need to write it. 

So I did. So there. 

Here is one of the articles I read, it’s not rocket science, neuro but not rocket.  It’s within any of our capabilities, writer or not, to practice these things.