When I started writing this post earlier today the first sentence I typed was, “This year really ******* sucked.” Yet as I looked back over the the past 12 months, a better story emerged; a story about doing what feels right, instead what looks right. For me this meant walking away from a few things that no longer served me or Welcome Mama. It meant waiting for the grace to forgive. It meant learning to listen, instead of projecting or hoping that others had the best of intentions. And most importantly, it meant putting one foot in front of the other when I really wanted to roll up into a ball and cry.
So here it is: My 2017 Year in Review
Took a 24 hour bus trip to DC for the Women’s March and then came home to vitriol from friends (both Liberal and Conservative) making fun of white girls in pussy hats. The Liberals were the most depressing, sharing their facebook memes, making fun of “stupid white chicks” like me. Yeah, those comments were super awesome to come home to after sitting on a bus for hours with a bunch of strangers trying to bring momentum to the resistance movement, you know the one you have bumper stickers for?
Life Lesson #468: People suck on both sides of the aisle. The ones who suck usually do so from their armchairs...
After the Women’s March debacle, I returned home to reality. I was running late dropping my daughter off to preschool and speeding off to Creative Play at Gentle Parenting when a Hamburg cop stopped me dead in my tracks, promptly giving me my first speeding ticket… I cried.
The pic above is all I have to show for February - March. I may have done something special, like survived my daughter’s ill fated 5th birthday party where half the class didn’t rsvp until the last minute...Special shout out to We Rock The Spectrum.
My 5 year rolled around in our backyard on the first nice day in April. A week later she was complaining that she had a bump on her head. It was an ENGORGED TICK. My husband was able to remove it properly, but was then berated by our doctor for doing so. Our doctor then spent a good 20 minutes scraping the shit out of our kid’s scalp, trying to dig out the “leftover pieces” that weren’t in there. I asked about antibiotics. My kids don’t take them unless absolutely necessary (I think they’ve needed them once each). But nah, preventative antibiotics for tick borne illnesses didn’t seem justified to my super educated doctor. I suggested we go ahead and get the tick tested, but super smart Doc decided that I was nuts for wanting to do something like that...until she had symptoms. He also claimed that it was TOTALLY a dog tick, so, no worries! Um. Yeah.
Life Lesson #2736: Listen to your gut and eff the experts.
Attended the WNY Doulas Better Birth Baby Shower. It was amazing. My son decided the night before to stay awake until 4AM, so I tried desperately to get someone to replace me. No one could, so I put on my game face, a little make up and trucked out to Amherst for what was an amazing event. I seriously had so much fun and got the chance to talk to so many moms about the Postpartum Resource Center of NY and the work that we're doing on the WNY Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Task Force.
I started to get pumped to work on what I was calling the WNY Birth & Early Parenting Directory. Kind of a mouthful, but I was having a hard time thinking of a great name of something that I had been thinking about doing for a couple of years. Scheduled what I thought was a business consult with a friend for help on how to make my little website happen. She was going to write up a list of recommendations. I was going to pay her for her help. Neither happened. Life Lesson #9798: You get what you pay for and then some…
and Life Lesson #4977: It’s okay to share your ideas with others, just don’t share them with the wrong people...like people who expressly tell you that they “watch” their competition with pinpoint precision. Mmmmokay, Creepy.
I set the date for the launch of Welcome Mama, Mother's Day! The name sucked, but I just needed to get it moving. I feared if I didn’t do it, someone else would. I had no idea that my naivete and trust would bite me in the ass. Kind of sucked, but at the end of the day, I still felt like WNY women were better off having more resources instead of less.
Welcome Mama came from a stencil on my friends’ studio wall. It said something like “Welcome to Our Tribe”. While the idea of a tribe is super appealing, some days I feel like just ONE person can make the difference for another. It doesn’t take a crew of 50, just ONE to make you feel like you’re not alone or that what you’re feeling is something someone else understands. And so I thought, I want other moms to feel like they felt welcome into this motherhood gang. Because, seriously? There have been so many moments during my own motherhood journey that I have NOT felt like I belonged. And ya know what? It REALLY sucks feeling that way.
This year more than any other I was surprised by my own inability to LEARN from past experiences, to LISTEN when people speak badly of others (and for fuck sake, Lindsay, stop joining in when people start talking shit!). We all sit around and post about tribes and sisterhoods, but do we REALLY embrace those ideals and live by them? I don’t know man, but the things I’ve witnessed this year definitely don’t display these examples of supposed comradely.
May was nonstop action. I was honored to have been the recipient of the Cynthia Wachenheim Memorial Training scholarship that made going the Postpartum Support International's Components of Care training. It was both pretty triggering and awesome, helping me see where I somehow fit into this whole safety net for other women. It made me dig down deep and see that I still had so much more healing to do.
Catherine Broom, LMHC and I got to rep for the Postpartum Resource Center of NY at Shannon Johns Brunch for Bumps event at Pearl Street @ The Webb. There we finally got a chance to meet Maura Winkler of Fika Midwifery which was awesome.
My friend, LMT, doula, Improving Birth die-hard and all around awesome person Amanda Rayburg wasn't able to make January Harshe's Buffalo event, so I got the hooks of a lifetime. Birthing Without Fear's Find Your Village was incredible. Not only did I get to geek out and sit mesmerized by January and his wisdom, but I also got to meet another local doula (finally!) in person Ashley Betz pf Buffalo Family Doulas. She single-handedly organized the B-lo event.
For the past two years, Nickel City Doula & Placenta Encapsulation has hosted a diaper drive that has accumulated nearly 10,000 diapers and wipes for families in need. This mama, who's already busy running two other businesses, brings all donations to shelters and nonprofits serving familiesin crisis. This year alone she was able to contribute to The Priscilla Project, The Buffalo City Mission, Harvest House, Vive Shelter and Every Bottom Covered. If you haven't met Amy Buzzell, the woman behind both this annual diaper drive, you need to.
Somehow, in the middle of the chaos of this year, I was able to spend some time with my kids: the people who make this whole life thing worth the struggle. The above is a snapshot from Alyce Thorp's inviting Backyard Atelier. We were just there for a lovely get together, but you can check out her listing right here on our Alternative Preschool page. She has a really unique program that's worth checking out.
Every year my husband and I attend Buffalo's Out of the Darkness Walk. However, for the second year in a row, The Postpartum Resource Center of NY was able to sponsor a team for WNY's own Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Task Force and Project 62, an initiative to bring resources to women in every county in NY State. We had a great volunteer turnout, including our team captain, Julie Rosinski. We had gorgeous team shirts designed by mama Morgan Dunbar and personally printed by another mama, Sue Thomas at Park Avenue Imprints.
The Fall in our home was filled with so many changes. My first "baby" started Kindergarten and my second baby potty trained, weaned (thank freaking GOD), and started nursery school. It wasn't an easy transition, especially for our son, who had spent most of his life with his older sister as a constant playmate.
My mom is 1 of 4. 3 girls and 1 boy. Her family, though sometimes disjointed and less than functional, is what made my childhood not suck. Along with my grandparents who provided us with love and support, my aunts were like second mothers. For the past 10 years my mom's eldest sister, my aunt and Godmother, Roberta Ellen Raby Bond dealt with cancer. She was stoic and didn't often discuss her treatment with me or my mother. She would always just say that, "It is what it is." She was pragmatic and when her cancer spread, she chose to end her days in Hospice, surrounded by her friends, her quilts, HGTV and her family. My mom visited her nightly throughout the summer and into the fall. The months leading up to her death were rough, waiting for the moment when I would be called back to see her one last time. In October that day came. My mom said her breathing had changed and had refrained from getting out of bed unless it was necessary. I drove the 3 hour trip solo with my thoughts and music cranked. I cried. A lot. I cried not because I was losing her, but because I had so much love in my life. I grew up in a loving family where I always knew that I mattered. I know too many people who don't grow up with that. When I finally found my way to Oswego, we sat and watched HGTV, talked about her recipes and who would make what. I kissed her good bye and told her that I loved her. She smiled and told me the same.
A few short weeks later family would be summoned to sit by her side, to crank ABBA and Michael Buble, to cackle together, to sob, to pray. It was crushing not being there with them, but I held space from afar.
On November 9th my aunt took a breath and passed from this world to something different.
The winter solstice meant so much more to me this year. Something about finding light in the darkness spoke to me. Something about opening doors instead of closing them seemed to fitting to end the year with....
And so, we begin another spin around the sun. Thanks for being here for me and for Welcome Mama. I'm so proud of what we're accomplishing and cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.