Dancing in the New Year
It was still dark out when she woke. The usual excitement that fills her body and mind before a sunrise hike has encompassed her. Yet instead of jumping out of bed to get the morning underway, Katrina lays there snuggled close to her son, Gregory.
She leans over and gives him a kiss on his forehead, he stirs slightly. He didn’t need to wake yet, so she watched him sleep peacefully. He lets out a sigh, a robust giggle and his face then returns to peace. She wonders what he was dreaming of as she quietly gets up to prepare for the hike. When it was time to wake the little man, Katrina leans in close to the little boy and starts to whisper.
“Good morning sweetheart, it’s time to wake up.” He didn’t move. “Gregory, Good morning, it’s time to go on a sunrise hike.” She says, a little bit louder. Gregory sat up so quickly he almost knocked heads with his mom. Although groggy, he, too, was excited.
This was his first sunrise hike and he’d been preparing for this adventure the last two weeks. Most nights Gregory would climb into the hiking backpack after the sun went down and go for a hike with Katrina. Hiking in the dark can be scary, shadows, sounds, smells and the feel of the hike are very different. This regular hiking kid, however, was not scared today. He was ready.
Thankfully it is Winter and the sun doesn’t rise until just after 8AM, which allowed the duo to start their trek just before 7:30. A short, flat hiking trail that leads you through a duck estuary to the ocean waterfront. It’s gorgeous and situated at the bottom of a huge mountain that Gregory and Katrina had conquered the previous summer.
Giving Gregory the option to walk it himself, he opted to be carried in the backpack. Although he is excited, he is very tired and it is rather early to be fully ready to participate in a full body cardio workout. While up and on his moms back, Gregory was better able to be heard and hear his mother as they sang songs together the whole way. Stopping to read signs, to listen for the birds, to look for eagle feathers and smell the ocean.
The sky was light blue, turning pink at the horizon, the sun was going to come up soon. They made it to their destination, a little outlet of land with a perfect view of the sunrise. Katrina let Gregory down to explore the area while she set up the music speakers with some upbeat dance music.
The music started and mom started moving. Gregory looked a little weary at first, dance parties were normal in the house, but outside on a hike? But by the time the chorus of the first song came on he was jumping and spinning and having a blast dancing the morning in. Katrina picked up Gregory and spun him around in circles until she felt she would lose her balance if she spun one more time.
The next song ended and Gregory asked to be picked up, Katrina obliged and held him close. They swayed to the music, turned to the horizon and watched in silence as they waited for the first sliver of sun to peak up and bring on the new day. Gregory inhaled when he saw it and pointed with his finger, too stunned by the beauty to create words. Katrina smiled and looked at her precious son.
“Happy New Year my love.”
2018 – A Year of Growth
If you’ve read my December 2017 recap blog post, you’ll have read that I am entering the year 2018 with the mindset that this is my year of growth. I want to try new things, mend wounds, learn about myself, others and most of all, I want to move forward.
So far, I think that I’ve been amazingly successful. Even Gregory had tried and totally rocked his first ever sunrise hike on the first day of the year. What a kid, already crossing things off of his aspiration list for 2018. I don’t make new years resolutions. I make an aspiration list.
Gregory wasn’t the only one who did something new on New Years Day, however. I threw on my swimsuit and went on a Polar Bear Swim. I had seen the newsreels on TV growing up and decided almost the night before that I was going to do it, and I did. I drove down to my mom’s house and asked if she could drive as I suspected I would be all shaking and teeth chattering afterward (I was).
We drove down to the local Polar Bear Swim beach that we were told would have a huge event going on. I’d get a button and everything if I went up to my waist. I wanted a button, I set my mind on making it to my waist. But I knew that the beach that we were going to was an odd beach that you had to walk out really far to get deep because the water gradually gets deeper. You can walk 20 feet and still only be knee deep.
We got out of the vehicle and noticed that no one was at the beach. It was 5 minutes to the start time and I realized that we were told to go to the wrong beach. I did want the button, but I wanted the experience of doing a polar bear swim more. So, I stripped out of my warm onesie and ran into the water until I was past my knees.
The water took my breath away and I didn’t want to dunk down. Of course, I’d have to if I had wanted the button, so I took a few quick breaths and squatted down to my ribcage and bounded up and out of that water faster than a cat chasing a laser pointer. Laughing and screaming and in disbelief that I had, in fact, just done that.
I think I’ll do it next year too.
Preschool for Gregory
My little boy is really growing up. This month he started Preschool and I am so proud of him. Also, I’m missing the crap out of him. I don’t get to see enough of him it feels like. He’s always away learning and off doing new things all on his own. It was not an easy transition. Day one was a cinch, but the weeks following were a struggle as Gregory went through Separation Anxiety.
His teachers are amazing and are very understanding of our history. They work with me to try and make Gregory as comfortable as possible. I’ll write about all the things we did to try and make the first few weeks of preschool easier. Nothing takes away the pain of your crying child who just wants to not grow up and stay home with mom. Unfortunately, we all must grow up. No matter how much we wish everything could stay the same.
Gregory Thomas, My Wonderful Son
We had just got home a few minutes ago and he was already asking for the newspaper so he could start cutting with his scissors and practice his cutting skills. Katrina was still busy hanging up her things and started to get Gregory’s backpack unpacked.
“Mom, come watch, watch me.”
She strolled over and sat down on the floor beside Gregory where he worked. He cut, she watched, he watched her watch and then cut again. This went on for several minutes before Katrina said, “This is really good work. Well done, all your practicing is paying off. I got to go empty your lunch food, but I’ll be right back.”
Before she could stand up Gregory exclaimed “Wait!” and grabbed her face. Katrina winced and pulled away and Gregory knew that he must be slow and let mommy know he has gentle hands and won’t hurt her. Placing his hands softly on either side of her chin, he starts kissing her.
One light kiss on the right cheek, he pulls back to smile and sees that she is smiling brightly back at him. He forcefully turns her head the other way and leans in to softly kiss her left cheek. They watch each other, smiling.
He kisses her nose, her forehead, each temple, her chin and lastly her lips. “There you go, all done.” Katrina beams at her little boy and returns his love, showering him with kisses as he giggles.
“Thank you.” was all she said as she stood up to make a snack for the two of them. And he returned to his cutting, unknowing of how precious that moment was, and the memory he had just given his mother.
Finishing Things Up
I feel incredibly proud to say that am wrapping many things up in my life and am clearing out the past to make way for my future. I’ve graduated from my Pre-employment program, and now am on the hunt for some volunteering opportunities for work experience on my resume and to get used to a working environment again. This is a huge step, I’m almost ready to get a real job. I’m, like, a grown-up again. I’m doing it!
I’ve also managed to lower my medication for depression and anxiety to the lowest dose. BOOYAH! Currently conquering mental health and feeling awesome about it. That being said, I was totally triggered my last day of group at my PEP and totally had a meltdown. I was able to remove myself and get grounded again, all on my own. Which again shows how much I have grown, how self-aware I’ve become and that I am getting better at managing my PTSD. Double Booyah.
I’ve got a few other projects that I have on the go in my life and they are also coming to an end. It is very bittersweet all around, but I am very excited to see where my life is going to go this year. Great things are going to happen. Probably a few not so great things as well, but it’s the great things that I want to concentrate on and the not so great things I will remember and learn from.
Before You Go
Want to catch up on posts I’ve written the last month? Here is a quick list of links you can click through and catch up on.