In true Brene Brown style, I looked up the definition of sentimentalism and Google said it means excessive tenderness, sadness or nostalgia. And you know what, I think I’m okay with that because if I’m going to be excessive about anything, I think tenderness is right up there with excessive fruit and vegetable eating. 🙂 I have been sentimental for almost as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s my astrological chart with 5 planets in water, maybe it’s growing up seeing my sweet momma getting teary-eyed at emotional commercials, maybe it’s my love for photography and recording fun memories to look back on. I was even my high school honor society’s historian one year. (A perfect role for me really!) Then scrapbooking became popular and I ate that up! Then later on with smartphones and social media, apps like Timehop and Facebook started reminding of pictures and posts we created a year or more ago.
I love that stuff. I eat it up. And I think it’s time to embrace it. I don’t want to hide it or cover it up. Yep, I’m sentimental and it makes me who I am and if that involves excessive tenderness and nostalgia, I’m okay with it. The excessive sadness can get pretty heavy at times though, but don’t they say that you can’t truly cherish the sunshine without some rainy or cloudy days? We who live in the beautiful, mostly gray Pacific Northwest know this metaphor well. It makes us love and appreciate the sunny weather even more. And well, if there are too many days of sunshine in a row like a few weeks ago, we start to even long for the cloudier days.
How can we learn to embrace even our sadness? Of course we don’t want to live there all the time, but sadness happens, nostalgia happens, and it’s a normal part of life. My baby girl, who I waited years and years to meet and hold in my arms finally, is turning one in a few weeks and I’ve been feeling very sentimental about it. I love watching her grow and learn and develop her sweet spunky little personality! And at the same time, I want to enjoy every milestone and moment with her so much that I want to slow time down.
I’ve been thinking about the amazing past year with her and to be honest, some moments are already foggy and that makes me sad, even though I know it’s part of parenthood. The amnesia of those first days. And then sometimes regrets start knocking on my door–I should have written down more memories or taken more videos or this or that–but the truth is we sometimes don’t know what we’ll want to have as memories until the time has already past.
Hindsight really is 20/20. And coming back to gratitude and recognizing all that I have recorded of her first days, of my first days as her mama, is key. It grounds me and reminds me to relish in what I do remember and hug her even tighter in this moment, right now. If only mindfulness were more a part of parenting and childbirth ed classes. Because it’s really what gets me through hard times. That and love. The ginormous love I feel for this incredible little human being we created! It’s overwhelming and comforting and all-encompassing all at the same time! I love her SO much! Words just don’t express the enormity of my feelings about her and being her mama. What a truly awe-inspiring gift! And the most challenging and rewarding journey I’ve been on. I still try to find words to express how I feel about being her mom but my heart really bursts with so much more than words. And with all that tenderness, of course vulnerability and even anxiety accompany these big feelings. Like our doula put so beautifully when Luna was first born, it’s like having our hearts on the outside of our body now.
How do you process big feelings like this? Both loving and anxiety-causing feelings? And a mix?
~ ~ ~
If you’d like to learn more about my life coaching and wellness education services, please check out Maret Carrillo Coaching: Owning Your Goodness. You can also sign up for my weekly creative stress management newsletter here.
To read more stories from my wellness journey, check out my sister site, Meditations From My Ecua-Gringa Life.