When You Are 39

AN4A1686Do you ever look at your kids and wonder how their life will turn out or how they are going to be when they are your age now? Every time I do it, I deeply wish they could be as happy as they are now for the rest of their lives. I also wish I could condense all my experiences, discoveries and lessons in life in one “happy recipe book” they could inherit. But then I think what if my recipe for happiness might never fit their own? After all, a happy life can mean so many different things to all of us. Don’t you agree? This reflection inspired me to write a letter about happiness and the choices we make in life for my 5-year-old daughter. I am not sure when it will be the best time to share it with her, but I feel this is the best time for me to write it. I hope it inspires you to reflect on your own “happy recipe” and the expectations you have for your children. Perhaps it will bring you an inspiration to write a letter to your kids about this subject?

Dear Sophia,

You are 5 years old now and sometimes I look at you and deeply wish you could be this happy and fulfilled for the rest of your life. I also fantasize about leaving you a perfect “happy life recipe book” with all I have learned in life so far. Fantasies apart, as I write you this letter, I am still exploring what happiness means to me in this season of my life. One thing I can share about this subject is that lately, I have been “collecting” happy moments from my daily life instead of waiting for big happy things to happen. Just like you now, I find happiness every time I dance, hug loved ones, meet kind people, learn something new, listen to a song that moves me, enter the ocean on a sunny day, watch the stars sharing the sky with the full moon…I am aware that someday these moments might not be part of your happy list and it is okay. Mine is very different from my mother’s too! Normally people’s “recipe for happiness” can be very, very distinct and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, I find myself curious to know how your recipe will look like when you are 39, just like mommy is right now.

DSC_6056I wonder if you will already have experienced motherhood like me and think this is the most amazing thing ever. Maybe my first grandchild will be on the way. Maybe you will be trying to become pregnant or to adopt a baby from China. Would you be considering fostering your first child? Who knows? What about if you find out that motherhood is not for you? Whatever you chose, I will be proud of you for being true to yourself and your most deep wishes.

When you are 39, will you be a stay at home mom just like me or will you choose to have a corporate job or not have a job at all? Maybe you might be changing careers, taking a Yoga training, thinking about becoming an elementary teacher? Perhaps you will be already an accomplished athlete, model, dancer or actress? What about an engineer, investor, a hospital owner. Why not? Perhaps retired? Whatever you chose to do, I wish you find fulfillment. I pray for you to have the privilege of finding a career you love instead of a job that pays the bills.

At the age of 39, perhaps you will be married to a man the same age just like me, but maybe you will be with somebody half your age or double? Maybe you will be interested in women. No matter who you chose to be your partner, I wish you deeply love, admire, inspire and respect each other. I hope your connection never stops growing and that you can always make each other laugh. I hope your communication is off the charts and there is nothing you cannot tell each other. I wish you find happiness in the relationship but never give your partner the responsibility to make you happy. That responsibility will always be yours.

When you are 39, you can also choose to be a proud single woman just like some friends of mine. You might feel confident and beautiful, healthy and in the best shape of your life. Perhaps you will be working on your self-esteem and physical appearance. You might even be trying to fit the societies’ beauty standards by covering your gray hair, losing weight, having plastic surgery or getting Botox shots on your forehead. Wherever you are, I wish can take care of your mind as much as you take care of your body. I wish that every time you look yourself in the mirror you can focus on your attributes instead of your flaws. I hope people you chose to be around always remind you of how beautiful you are inside and out. I pray you always treat yourself with compassion and kindness. I wish you experience unconditional love too, ff not for another human being, at least for yourself.

When you are 39, I hope we are living in the same country, but maybe you will choose to move from the US and go to Europe? Asia? Maybe Brazil or Argentina? I wonder if you will be living in a tiny house or a two-story one in a middle-class neighborhood? Perhaps a mansion with a big pool and jacuzzi? Maybe you will be crossing the US in an RV or living in a monastery in India. It is even possible that you will not even have a place because you are traveling and exploring the world. Whatever you chose, never let society impose how your life should go or be. I will miss you if you are far away, but I believe connection transcends physical distance. We will always be connected by love. And after all, you are here in this world to make yourself happy not me.

IMG_0485It would make me very happy though if when you turn 39, I am still on Earth to celebrate your birthday with you and witness you creating your unique “happy recipe” for that special stage of your life. How special it would be for your mother to watch you fulfill your hopes, dreams, and expectations. If I am not here though, I leave you this letter I wrote when you were 5. If by coincidence you are reading it in a moment you are searching for happiness, I recommend you to look deep inside yourself for that happy little girl who must still live in there. She brought me so much happiness in life. I am sure she can bring some to yours too. Go there and find her.

Speaking Portuguese in the U.S.

By Ana Rubenstein

IMG_6650 2Almost every day, somebody will ask me how I taught my first language – Portuguese – to my children while living in the U.S. I always answer to them that I didn’t. So how are they bilingual? Well, from the day they were born, I spoke to them exclusively in Portuguese inside the house and everywhere we went. Now, at the ages of 4 and 5, my little ones can speak English and Portuguese with fluency and no accent. Pretty impressive but not as simple as it might seem. Continue on reading

Time for Forgiveness

By Ana Rubenstein

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Last Sunday, I was pretending to be a dinosaur chasing two cheetahs inside the house. My children and I were having a wonderful time when suddenly my son and my daughter collided. His front teeth managed to hit her face and open a cut that I was scared to look at. I rushed to stop the bleeding and drove to the hospital emergency room where she got 6 stitches.

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After my adrenaline settled down, I dove into guilt. I blamed myself for chasing them inside the house. Why was I not more careful? Why were we running inside the house knowing it is not safe? The blame went on as I kept asking myself: “Why did I not predict that could happen? I pointed the finger at myself and said: “You failed!” and all I could think about was a scar on my daughter’s face. Somehow I woke up from the nightmare I was in and noticed how I have been so hard on myself not just on this occasion but so many others in my motherhood journey. How many times I have been my worse enemy? Continue on reading

Patience for Mother’s Day

 

75285175 - patienceI wished this Mother’s Day I could receive a lifetime supply of Patience with my children! Can you imagine something like a Patience Spray that we mothers could use at the first signs of irritability, frustration, disappointment, or anger? A charming bottle with the following instructions: spray twice every time you feel like yelling at your children or impulsively react to them just to regret later. Side effects: start to respond calmly and respectfully to any daily adverse or upsetting situation. Continue on reading

Full-Time Travelling With 3 Kids

Interview by Ana Rubenstein

cover_travellerHave you ever thought about leaving everything behind and becoming a full-time traveler with your family? I personally fantasize about it sometimes but not sure I have what it takes to live this lifestyle. Brittany Kirby and Chris Horn though are two of these courageous human beings. Since October of 2017, they have been traveling full-time around the USA in their RV and so far they have covered 18 states along with their three little explorers Fisher (6), Boden (3) and Miles (8 months). Brittany recently shared with me a little bit about this experience, and I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as I did. Maybe you will even feel inspired to join this lifestyle? Continue​ on reading

22 Days of Non- Stop Decluttering

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By Ana Rubenstein

At the beginning of 2019, I made the commitment of bringing organization to my life but I had no idea how to start. At first, I was overwhelmed and even afraid of telling people in my life about what I was up to. “What about if I fail again or can’t keep up?” This thought was always in the back of my mind. I finally found the courage to share my 30-Day-Decluttering Challenge with my friends and family, with readers of this blog, and with my followers on social media. As I did it, some of them became my accountability partners by asking me how my project was going, and, most importantly, by sharing how I inspired them to organize and declutter their own houses. Wait? What? Me? My mother would never believe this actually happened. It did and my community keeps encouraging me to become what I always wanted to be but never thought I could: an organized person with a house that sparkles me with joy. Continue on reading

The Organization Beginner and The Declutter Challenge

By Ana Rubenstein

8d541208-4bba-48ae-95b4-da6663f226edI am not naturally an organized mother. I am not an organized person. Are you? I wonder if organization is a skill you develop over time or something you are born with? I think it is something you can learn, but, honestly, I have been too busy with other things in life that I skipped this subject altogether. Shame on me as I have been called disorganized many times over the years and even felt bad about it. After I had kids, disorganization reached its peak and I started to justify to whoever wanted to listen. “I have no time to organize the house. I am always chasing the kids around or they are always taking everything out of place.”

If you entered my house right now, you would find clutter, things out of place, unfolded laundry sitting on my couch, my kids’ toys laying on the floor, dishes in the sink, and, honestly, an unmade bed. If this sounds familiar to you and resonates somehow, stay with me. Should we keep accepting the “disorganized label” and feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in our house or should we do something about it? Continue on reading