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Friday, May 18, 2012

Accepted and Acceptance

Yesterday I got the news that I was accepted to the graduate program for Creative Writing at Chapman University in the Fall of 2012.

Needless to say, I was overcome with emotion.  I was downstairs alone and Piper was napping.  Gavin had gone off to hang out with some friends and I opened an email from the admissions advisor I have been working with for the past few months.  I sent her a note a half hour earlier asking when I might get my letter (via old fashioned snail mail) because I checked my status online and "the decision had been mailed" as of May 14. 

That was Monday. 

Yesterday was Thursday and I had been checking the mailbox frantically, waiting for the postman to deliver this invaluable bit of information, information that might change the course of my life.  I literally had to leave the house to distract myself from dancing around outside in the driveway with anxious anticipation.

She sent a rather vague note with a letter "regarding my admission" attached.  I opened the attachment, which incidentally took about four minutes to download.  I was watching Howard Stern on "The Talk" when it finally popped up.  I paused the show, looked at the screen of my iPad and saw the word "Congratulations."  I read it about 5 more times and let it sink in, then I burst into tears. I had no idea that I would feel the same emotions I expected to feel if I had not been accepted.  I was hyperventilating and crying like a toddler who just lost bottle privileges. 

I immediately looked up to my mantle, saw the photos of my Dad and Susie and in my tremendous joy, felt a surge of sadness that I couldn't share this moment with them.  This incredible moment that was INSPIRED by them.  I sat for a minute and calmed myself.  I called Chris to share the news with him and he was, as always, completely supportive and excited for me.  I burst into the second set of tears in five minutes. 

The next call I made was to my Mom.  She has always had faith in me and encouraged and supported my dreams and decisions in life.  I couldn't wait to share the news.  You can guess what happened next...yes, more tears and joy.  Then I called Cheryl (Chris's mom) and received the same warm and supportive reception. 

Then I called my editor, better known as one of my Ya Ya's (or a BFF to use a term the kids say) Jenn, who couldn't have been prouder.  She was almost as excited as I was.  Were it not for her careful editing skills, I may not have turned in my best work.  Jenn, here is a heartfelt thank you on my blog, but you can bet your sweet ass you will get one in the book.

I called many more friends and family members to share this news and each one helped to encourage and boost my spirits even more.  I know that this journey will be one filled with challenges but I have been blessed with a support system unlike any other.  For that, I am beyond grateful.

But the truth is, I believed in myself.  I worked really really hard for this and up until about a week ago, I assumed that I would get in without an issue.  I don't know if it was my inflated ego but I really felt like it was a no-brainer. 

As the days grew closer to the actual acceptance decision, I started to have some doubts.  I started to think that maybe I wouldn't get in.  Maybe I didn't have what they were looking for.  Maybe it wasn't in the cards for me. 

My stomach was in knots as I thought about it more and more.  I then realized that I had done everything in my power, put my best work out there, and now I had to let the Universe take over.  I had to surrender control and expectations and be willing to accept the answer, whatever it might be.

Wednesday morning, after checking the mailbox for the third time, I decided to head out to yoga.  On my way there, I did a lot of self talk, I mean literally, out loud, self talk.  Some may call it a prayer, which that may be what it is. I just told myself that I had to be open to whatever the Universe had to offer.  And if that meant I wasn't going to get into Chapman, well then I had to accept it.

I went to class and moved through the postures in a 100* room filled with sweaty yogi's, and breathed it all in.  I struggled that day with many of the asanas but yoga has taught me that acceptance is part of the practice.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be, right then and there.  Turning to my other passion, turning to the gift that is yoga, allowed me to focus and ground myself and it calmed my frazzled nerves. 

I was so grateful when I got the news I had been hoping for, but that isn't always how it works out, is it? 

I think we all think about acceptance as coming from others, but the real meaning of acceptance is through ourselves.  Being open and honest with yourself, opens the door to acceptance.  Acceptance of what is, what will be and what has been, is one of the keys to awareness, change and happiness. 

As I go through this journey, I am certain that I will have to be full of acceptance.  There might be people who don't like my work, I might not get straight A's, I might struggle with a Shakespearean class.  In the grand scheme of life, these are minor hiccups.  If I can learn to accept the little disappointments in life, maybe the big ones won't seem so horrible and the great gifts in life, the gifts that far exceed the disappointments, I will accept those with grace and gratitude. 

So with that said, I urge you to accept yourself right where you are this minute and then decide if you want, or need, to change.  Look in the mirror and examine what you see.  Is the image the person you want to be?  Are you following your dreams?  Are you following your passion? 

These are big questions for which you may not have the answers. Start looking for them and don't be afraid to try something new.  This is your life, right?  Who are you living it for? As my other Ya Ya and dear friend Jen (and some guy named Gandhi) would say "Be the Change You Want to See in the World,"  and ACCEPT the wonderful being that is you.

I want to thank my extraordinary family and friends, once again, for your unwavering support and love. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello All!

Forgive my absence for I have been busy with the whole grad school application process, it was a doozy for sure!  Now, I am just waiting to hear if I will be, once again, joining the world of academia...

Or not.  Cross your fingers for the former of the two.

No stress, if it is meant to be, I will be returning to a college campus in August and buckling down.  If not, I will keep on keepin' on and hopefully, will finish the rest of the book I've written six full chapters of!  A fire is lit and the creative juices are flowing! So even though my blog has been neglected, I have still been writing.

So this morning, I got myself dolled up (don't get excited, that just means jeans and some make-up versus yoga pants and a pony tail) because Piper's school was offering photos with your child for Mother's Day.  I was bummed that Gav couldn't join us but he's a cool 7th grader who is often reluctant to get his picture taken at all, let alone with his mother.

So for a mother/daughter/grandaughter treat, my mom, Piper and I are heading down to San Diego tonight to spend the day at SeaWorld tomorrow.  The boys have a skateboarding deal so it's a good reason to head out of Dodge for a day of fun in the sun.   I am really excited because this trip reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom and I used to do the same thing-get a hotel, order room service (ahhhh room service) and trek all over the park to watch the whales, dolphins, penguins and flamingos.  Only back then, SeaWorld still had the AWESOME pearl diving - my favorite! At least they still have the otter and sea lion show, gotta love Clyde. Oh and Shamu had not yet attacked and killed a trainer. 

Piper is as intrigued and thrilled with marine life as Gavin and it's so amazing to see the similarities my children share, even being nine years apart and of the opposite sex.  Of course, Piper does idolize her big brother and her fascination with all things Gavin, from skateboarding to dinosaurs, is never-ending.

These two kids, they have changed my life.  I know, pretty standard for all parents, duh, but the reality is that the children have made me a better person.  I am selfish, I admit this freely.  I was basically an only child until I was a teenager.  My complicated and crazy family is another story entirely, which we have touched on in the past, but I was used to being an only child, having and getting everything I wanted (for the most part).  Don't be mistaken, my life has not been a rose garden, but it certainly has not been too terrible either.  I'm a glass is half-full kinda girl.

Spoiled?  Probably...well yes.  But  the truth is that even though I can be self-absorbed, I was lucky enough to have a mother who taught me how to be a good person.  She taught me how to be loving, caring, patient and kind, tolerant, giving and forgiving.  She taught me how to admit when I was wrong and how to apologize sincerely.  It is possible to be selfish and still have those qualities, I am living proof (I hope). 

And my friends adore her too, bonus.

When I married Chris, I got another Mom.  One that I love and admire. One that accepts me and loves me just as I am.  One that treats me as though I am her very own.  How lucky am I?  Pretty lucky I guess.  Oh, and my husband is pretty cool too.

I have a step-mother and step-mother-in-law who are incredible people as well.  In addition, I still have my grandmother, aunts and sisters. I am surrounded by women who offer love, advice and support whenever I need it.  And I couldn't be happier. 

See there I go again, it's all about me!  Hey, I will gladly own this too, for one can never have too much in the ways of love and support from the strong women in their lives. 

I sent out about 30 mother's day cards to my family and friends, most of whom have become amazing mothers themselves.  Those who have not yet ventured into the world of parenting, have offered unlimited love and support to my kids and I know that they will be incredible mothers some day too (if that's the path they choose).

All of these women, these mothers and friends, continue to teach me about unconditional love, patience, understanding and sacrifice.  They also remind me to laugh and to be present in each day, to really cherish the moments because as we all know, they are fleeting. 

So now that I have my own kids, I can only hope that I can teach my  children to have these same qualities, qualities that are admired by most and envied by some. 

Being a mother, while it doesn't define me, it certainly is a huge part of the definition of me.  Were it not for my kids, I don't think I could truly understand  myself and who I am supposed to be.  Times can be crazy, frustrating and messy but would I trade it for anything?  Hell no.  Bring on the insanity! There is never a dull moment and it certainly makes life interesting.

And as for the pearl diving, do you think I could do it in my pool?  Anyone got a line on where I can get some dive equipment and oysters in the shell, cheap?

Happy Mother's Day to all of the women in my life, but especially to my Mom...

Magi, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be me.
I love you...