That’s How Much I Love You by Julie Rudi

Have you ever read That’s How much I love You by Julie Rudi?

 

This morning my son wrapped his arms around my neck and hugged me. Hard.

 

“I love you, Mama; if you were a sock, I’d be your shoe.”

 

My heart. Exploded.

 

I tell my son this all the time because it’s from one of our favorite bedtime stories.

 

Julie Rudi

That’s How Much I Love You

 

This was the first time he ever thought to say it to me.

 

Julie Rudi

 

I am so grateful and so full of love. In this moment, I am also overwhelmed by the haiku I wrote for my son:

 

HE’S NOT MINE TO OWN,

I WAS MADE TO PROTECT HIM…

BEFORE I WAS BORN.

 

IMG_6153

 

 

At some point during the whole becoming a mom stage of my life, I realized my protective capacity was off. Off like…I would kill myself to save someone else…from boredom.

 

My son saved me.

 

Before he was born, I was slowly dying…and I didn’t even care. I had toxic relationship poisoning. Were it not for my son, I never would have began my self love journey. My son taught me to rage against the dying of the light. RAGE. Don’t fuck with my son’s mom. I matter.

 

For someone who realizes that they were created to be a weapon of war, a tool of destruction, the very idea that you “matter” can be overwhelming…and confusing. When I started to ACT like I matter, I lost almost every single person in my life.

 

What’s up, grief?

 

If you are not on board with me loving myself,

 

IMG_1133_2

 

 

I’ll grieve you.

 

What did one year of boundaries do for me?

 

(1) Could not meet son’s teacher vs Had son’s teacher over for dinner

(2) Hospital every couple months vs No Hospital in 9 months

(3) Wanted to go to a support group vs Hosting a support group

(4) Could not stay asleep for longer than 2 hours vs Sleeping up to 5 consecutive hours per night

(5) Living in constant FEAR vs Only experiencing fear when appropriate (NEVER!)

 

IMG_3273

 

I have my health, I have my family, I have love and I am GRATEFUL.

 

IMG_2715

 

XO

~Rachel

IMG_3270

 

 

How Saturday Night Live ruined my childhood

What is loving yourself all about?

 

Remember this guy?

 

loving yourself

 

Stuart Smalley. A Saturday Night Live character played by Al Franken circa 1991.

 

loving yourself

 

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and, doggone it, people like me.”

 

loving yourself

 

That’s it. That’s “the joke.”

 

In 1991 I was 10 years old and completely cognizant of how laughable loving yourself was. People like me?! What a joke.

 

loving yourself

 

Wouldn’t it be smarter (safer) to just believe that I was not good enough, not smart enough and honestly, that everybody hated me?

 

loving yourself

 

Sigh. I got pretty good at that mantra. So good, that 5 years later, when I was 15 years old, this character seemed like an alien:

 

loving yourself

 

Helen Madden. A Saturday Night Live character played by Molly Shannon circa 1996.

 

loving yourself

 

Licensed “Joyologist” Helen Madden was best known for spreading her message of JOY, finding the most comfortable positions to sit on interview couches and saying “I love it, I love it, I love it!”

 

loving yourself

 

That’s it. That’s the joke. She was trying to spread joy.

 

Ugh.

 

loving yourself

 

HUGE eye roll.

 

loving yourself

 

 

My idea of loving myself at this time was to have intense secret crushes that were never returned, thank god…because if you dared have a crush on me I would surely CRUSH you with my indifference and secret horror.

 

It wasn’t until I was 32 years old that I even began my self love journey. Even then, it was because I had to, not because I wanted to. What does unconditionally loving yourself even mean?

 

I thought loving yourself meant loving others as hard as you possibly could. That worked all the way up until having a baby. Then you watch how fast you drain and don’t replenish. If you don’t love yourself, you don’t replenish. Then you truly understand how loving yourself is not a luxury or a choice.

 

It’s the way.

 

loving yourself

 

XO

~Rachel

 

P.S. Gilda Radner is one of my hero angels.

 

 

7 houses in 6 years: Children Need Consistency

Have you ever thought about how children need consistency for healthy growth?

 

Here is a trip down memory lane…

 

children need consistency

 

When my parents first separated, I left the family home I had been raised in for my first 11 years and moved to this townhouse in Derby right before the start of seventh grade.

 

children need consistency

 

The landlady was super nice; she allowed us to bring our cat, Sam, even though she had just installed brand new carpets.  My Dad helped my Mom and I move in. I thought they would get back together. Then my Uncle John came to the door and when I got my Mom for him, he served her with divorce papers. I had seen this Uncle only a handful of times in my life and he was so aggressive and frightening, I fainted. We had to move out the following month because we could not afford to live there.

 

children need consistency

 

This was my grandparents home, where my Mom grew up, and we got to live here for about 8 months before my Grandpa sold it so he could build a retirement home in Florida.

 

children need consistency

 

I spent the eighth grade living in this duplex on Cleveland off of Beach Road in Angola. The upstairs neighbors pounded on the floor if we played the radio or made any noise. The next door neighbors left their cat on a leash, even in the rain and always had a yard sale going on.

 

children need consistency

 

We went to go live with my mom’s boyfriend and his children for most of ninth grade at his house on Church Road. When we lived there, it was a one-story; this is what the house looks like today. This was the first time, of many, that my brother, Philip, crossed the lines and left my dad’s house to come live with us.

 

children need consistency

 

Don’t get too excited. This is not what my tenth grade house looked like when we lived on Summerdale. At all! This was a one story when we lived here that had two kitchens only 25 feet away from each other (awesomely awkward in-law quarters). Our old neighbor eventually ended up buying the house after we moved and knocked it down to build this McMansion, which is on a cliff overlooking the great Lake Erie.

 

children need consistency

 

Come on down to Albeeville, it’s gonna be a JAMBOREE!! Anyone who knew me in eleventh and twelfth grades will not recognize this house because, once again, it looked nothing like this when we lived here. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to grow up in a buttoned up home. I’m excited for the people who live here now.

 

children need consistency

 

The longest amount of time I have lived in one house remains the first eleven years I served on Northfield. Whenever my husband talks about feeling averse to the stress involved in moving homes, I always think about this sequence of events and kind of laugh, bitterly.

 

I don’t care if we move, as long as we all get to stay together as a family.

 

“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anais Nin

 

XO

~Rachel

 

children need consistency