Going back – to work, and to mountain biking

Tomorrow morning I pack up Lyra first thing in the morning and walk her to daycare before heading on to work. I am of mixed emotions about this, as I am sure many others have been before me. There are a lot of random thoughts cascading around in my head tonight. I worry that Lyra’s not going to get enough to eat at daycare – she’s not all that into food, most of the time. I worry that I’m going to spend my entire lunch pumping milk without having a chance to take a break and eat. I worry that I won’t fit into the new format and team that they’ve developed at my office in the year I’ve been gone. I worry that my daily two hours of commuting time is going to make me crazy. I worry that I’m going to be exhausted, that getting up extra early and getting out the door is going to be incredibly hard, that I’m not going to get enough sleep to be all that functional, that I’m going to spend too much money on expensive coffee because I don’t really like the cheap stuff.

All this worrying is not really something I do much, so it’s making me kind of moody. I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even gone back yet. We can’t afford for me to not go back, and to be fair I really do enjoy my workplace. I should be excited. Instead I’m just kind of worried. I can accept that, tomorrow I’ll be at work either way.

Today we went to a mountain bike trail building day on Fromme, which got me thinking more about my relationship with riding these days.

Lately I’ve also been trying to get back into biking. What I’ve figured out is my lack of fundamental skill and learning is a problem lately. I’m afraid of momentum, I’m afraid to go too fast or feel like my bike is leaving me behind, which sometimes you have to do to get past obstacles. I’m nervous about riding in general, so I hesitate rather than make plans to get out on my bike – and end up not going at all. I’ve been out riding twice I think in the past few months, because I don’t make plans to get out. I don’t really want to ride the trails that are close to me, they’re all at a level that I’m not comfortable with, and rather than going out to practice on them and try to develop skills I just feel like crap because I can’t ride anything. I get filled with panic and freeze up. It’s not fun, and saying I should just keep riding till I get over it doesn’t help. I know, I’ve tried telling myself that.

Plus with Lyra I’m more worried about hurting myself badly. This is a sport where you expect that you will fall, because you aren’t always going to ride perfectly, you can’t predict changes in the trail, and things can happen that are entirely out of your control. It’s part of what makes riding fun.

At least I feel a bit like I’ve figured out that problem – I need to go back to the basics, to learn beginner skills that I’ve never really had, and to ride trails that aren’t full of technical features that freak me out. I need to pretend like I’ve never ridden before and start from scratch. I need to ride places that aren’t on the North Shore. I really need to get out and actually ride, but I know now that means I have to go out and do trails that no one else feels like doing because they’re too easy. I’m not talking Floppy Bunny easy either… I’m not there yet. I used to be, but I’m not anymore. I’m just barely able to deal with riding the Richard Juryn trail, and I still walk stupid little things on that because I panic. I think I need to do some XC.

So maybe with going back to work I’ll feel more comfortable spending the money to take out a co-op car and go riding from time to time. I miss the times when I really enjoyed riding. I’m not really interested in going to Whistler, or trying to push my limits by riding on the North Shore. I want to start slow and easy. And I don’t feel like joining another club. I barely make it to the rides the club I’m already in does. I guess I should really start there with the weekly XC rides, and see what I can figure out beyond that.

I guess there’s a lot on my mind tonight. Hopefully I will sleep just fine – I’m certainly tired enough.

Because I was told to

and I like to do what I’m told.

When you see this, take a minute and share five good things of your day with the world, uncut.

1. Lyra is no longer feverish or sick, and has returned to her usual cheerful self.
2. It’s been raining for a couple of days, which makes the air smell good and makes me feel happy.
3. Adam is in the bedroom lying down with Lyra who is fussy and refusing to sleep alone, which means I am currently free to sit at my computer unfettered. Sweet, sweet freedom.
4. I’m about to make a cup of tea, which will fill me with contentment.
5. I had coffee and donuts with a friend this morning, which was just awesome.

You may now share your 5 good things with me, if you are so inclined.

Self-analysis for a change

… because I’m never self-analytical. Nor am I sarcastic.

As I walked home from dropping off the co-op minivan this morning, baby seat slung over my shoulder, I thought about some of the things that I do and things that I have. Last night, for example, I went out with the MuddBunnies to photograph riders working on various stunts. I’ve been working on a couple of websites lately, building or managing content or figuring out problems for people. I’m re-visiting my NaNoWriMo novel from a couple of years back, thinking I should really get on the whole ‘editing’ thing, much as I loathe editing – I’m pretty sure it was a good story, worth following up.

Last week I did a bit of tootling around in the woods on my bike with the aforementioned MuddBunnies. I’m kind of hoping when Adam gets his recording studio all set up again I’ll be able to convince him to help me record a few songs for Lyra (a personalized children’s album, if you will.) In just over a week, I’m heading back to work at the The David Suzuki Foundation after my year off with Lyra – a job which I was incredibly proud to get, where I feel like I belong and am actually really happy to go to work most of the time. I love to write, and I think much of the time I’m pretty good at it – even if I’m not, it makes me happy. When I want some relatively mindless entertainment, I can happily play video games and geek out on the internets.

At home I have an awesome relationship with my husband, even with the weirdness that comes when you first have a baby together. If anything, we’re a stronger unit than we’ve ever been, I think. I have a fantastic, good-natured, happy, smart, funny, beautiful little girl whom I adore, and who lights up every time she sees me. I am probably among the best-rested parents I know, to the point that sometimes I’m afraid to mention it in casual conversation – I’ve been getting enough sleep since Lyra was probably three or four months old, and before that I only hit the exhaustion wall very occasionally. I’ve taken to motherhood well; in fact, I’ve never really felt more balanced in who I am than I do now.

North Vancouver is a fantastic city to live in, and I love being so close to the mountains. I can get out on a trail on very short notice, and I try to take advantage of that fact whenever possible. If the situation changed and we decided to move somewhere, I’m comfortable with the concept that I could easily re-integrate into a new place; especially if we were staying in BC, since I’m now utterly addicted to mountains.

I know that I have a lot on my plate at any given moment, but since before this I would go bonkers with boredom if I had nothing to do, I think I might be in a perfect place. I have enough to do to keep me busy most of the time, enough downtime that I don’t get overwhelmed most of the time, and at this moment I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like I’ve got it together for now, and it is an awesome feeling.

It’s bound to change sometime, but for now I am not going to worry about it.

The thought occurred to me as I walked home this morning that if I met myself, I would be utterly, hopelessly intimidated, to the point that I would be terrified of talking to me. I would probably avoid talking to this girl who does a million different things and has it all so together, feeling like I was somehow inadequate next to her; that she would never be interested in talking to me. I feel that way about most people I know who aren’t me; the ones who aren’t quite friends, but who I see or talk to reasonably often. They intimidate me.

Realizing this makes me stop and wonder why I’m so nervous about talking to people. It’s a main component of my anxiety – talking to people who I either don’t know, or don’t know well, because I think I’m somehow not worthy. How ridiculous is that? I’m no more or less worthy of talking to / hanging out with someone than any other human being. Who am I to judge whether or not I’m of a certain worthiness to be allowed to talk to someone? Such hang-ups we acquire when we’re young… I think my next personal goal shall be to work through that fallacy in my brain.

Because really, I’m tired of being more afraid of you than you are of me. It’s really time for me to just quit being afraid at all.

Camping and growing with Lyra

We went camping last weekend in Tofino, BC, on the far west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s almost as far west in BC as you can get. This was Lyra’s first camping trip, and she loved it. We were in a tent, and it was chilly, but the bedsharing definitely worked in our favour for it. Lyra was cozy in my sleeping bag with me. She very much enjoyed the beach and watching the waves and stuff. You can check out all the photos I posted from the trip on Flickr, but here are a few I particularly liked.

Sunset over Sproat Lake

Lyra & Adam

Lyra in the sand

Kite flying with Ian

Long Beach sunset

This guy is dancing like a superstar!

Jenny & Lyra at the beach watching waves

Today I took a couple of videos of Lyra playing around in the living room, showing off some of her new tricks: pulling herself up on tables, and standing around.

On being mom

I watch my daughter sleeping, just like all the clich├ęs say you will. I can’t help it – I’m still so enamoured with her that I can’t imagine ever being tired of looking at her. Every time I watch her sleep I marvel over how much bigger she is than she used to be – and every time, she’s grown. I don’t really remember what it was like when she was smaller. It’s hard to believe sometimes that this little girl has ever been any size other than what she is now, and then I look at her again and she’s so much bigger than I expect her to be.

Someone asked me the other day if I feel as though I’ve changed with motherhood. I don’t feel like I’ve changed. I feel a bit like I’ve grown into myself, like I’m somehow more myself than I used to be, and that feels good to me. I’m still who I was, just more focussed, and more complete. Was I incomplete before? I can’t remember, but that’s partly because I can’t imagine life without Lyra in it anymore.

It’s amazing to me how absolutely in love with this little girl I really am. Sometimes when I look at her face I can see the child she’s going to be – like I can see shadows of who she’ll grow into overlaid on her sweet little face. I can see them especially when she’s sleeping, or when she’s figuring things out, all lost in thought and serious.

I think about the issues everyone I know has with their parents, and like everyone else, I’m sure, hope desperately that the issues we will have someday won’t be too painful. I try not to fool myself into thinking they won’t exist… I’m pretty sure even the best mother/daughter relationships have their own quirks and problems. They will exist. I will work to try and keep them to a reasonably sane level. We’ll see how that goes.

Occasionally I get hit with a wave of irrational or semi-rational fear, like when I’m driving somewhere and imagine suddenly a car coming from nowhere and smashing into me, or having to avoid something and driving off the road, or walking across the street at the wrong time even and getting run down (apparently I have an irrational fear of cars.) It’s practically debilitating for a split second while my brain runs through scenarios of me being killed and not being around to take care of Lyra, or see her grow up; and scenarios where I lose her somehow. The thoughts are physically painful to me, for just a moment or two until I get a better grasp on my subconscious and beat it into submission.

Am I a good mother? The perfectionist in me likes to ramble in my head about what I should be doing that I’m not, and what I should be doing better. That part of me compares myself to other moms, and Lyra to other babies. The realist in me knows that I can’t attain perfection, that I often hold myself up to unrealistic standards that I would never impose on any other human being. I’m not a bad mother. I’m willing to admit, on some days, that I might even be a good mother. I’m being myself, and being a mom… and it’s actually a lot of fun.

And no, I am not looking for reassurances from people that I’m doing fine. I know I am – Lyra is happy and healthy and awesome, and that’s the best indicator I’ve got.