24
Feb

happy safe secure love

I didn't realize how much I was seeking something so simple. Something most don't even understand they have because when you have it, it's your normal, and you know no other. You don't know that some never feel safe, never feel secure, are always waiting for one shoe to drop, are always on edge, are always ready to walk away because at any moment you might have to. There are some that walk this earth so protected and so ready to bounce because "I'll leave you before you leave me." Even 19 years in, even after all we have walked through, even though I love with all I have and want nothing more than you.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first found it, the one who will never walk away, I didn't understand. And so I did things to push, I still do things to push. Test who we are, test our limits. But happy, safe, secure love is easy, and you always made it easy. You always uncomplicated me. You were always the balance to my crazy, my extra, my hard. you were my calm, you embraced the crazy, you lessened my load and you softened me. And then you asked for them.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first met you my girl, it was new. The strong connection we had the entire time you were resting with me, it was weakened with the labor, the delivery, the recovery and everything felt new and unlike us. Until the day, the day it all came rushing back. Staring at your face through a camera lens, it hit me like a truck. You were and are my happily ever after. You had me believing in fairy tails. You reminded me of me, you reminded me of dad, you were my old soul with a silly and joyful heart. It wasn't new anymore, it was old and familiar. It was happy, and safe, and secure, I was in love.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first met you monkey, it was my one and only love at first sight. You instantly struck my heart, and you continue to instantly strike at hearts. No matter where you are, no matter who you meet, no matter how many seconds have passed. Your heart demands to be loved because all you know is love. You are all love, all joy, all ease, all easy. You, like your best buddy, you uncomplicate me. You make life easy, you soften the hard. You were mine right away, it was always gorgeous love of love. It was happy, and safe, and secure, I was in love.

happy, safe, secure, love. For some it is their normal, what they have always had. A foundation so strong, so stable, you realize you always have a home and a base. And that is what we are for you, that is what I hope and dream and cross fingers and toes that we are for you. I hope you never wonder, I hope you never feel unsure, I hope you understand that love is right here, we are right here. You are always safe here, you always have security, you always have love, right here. In this house turned home. So as you go out into the world, as you find your person, your family, know that your cup is already full. As someone I look up to reminded me this morning, there is a definition of love that we do not always remember. Real love is filling yourself fully and being so full with love in your life that it spills over. The love you have within is filled and spilling over and that's what you get to now share, that's what real love means, you now have real love spilling out of you and onto them.

happy, safe, secure love. I didn't realize I was missing it until I found it. Until a young me, looked up in an empty store and saw your eyes smiling back. Until I melted with that smile, until the ease of us washed over me and melted my worries. Until every time I push and test and push away, you grab hold, you stare right back at me, and you tell me we are home. You remind me the other shoe won't drop, we are in this together. We are the rock and foundation that started all of this and will continue on long after they are grown. happy, safe, secure love. I understand it now.

22
Feb

Five Minute Friday - just

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on just.

Go. 

Just trying to hold on and make sense of it all. Just trying to remember the me that I am in the chaos that has been here. Just trying to breathe and let it come, let it go, let it build, let it be.

Just trying to redefine this year, just trying to undo the universe having heard me call it "terrible" before it started. Because what I actually meant was that it would be challenging, but I will rise to the challenge. It will be overwhelming, but I will find a way to calm my nerves. It will be a lot for me, but I will search for what I can and should delegate. It will be ever changing, but I am embracing my year of change. It will at times be painful, but I will look at the lessons and I will look to the love I give out and let in.

Just trying to connect, remembering that loneliness is the killer of my joy. Just trying to build the best me, be the best me, shed what makes me dark, embrace the light. Just trying to move towards light and love and loss and living.

Just trying to remember that I have you. Just holding on to the love that we have created in this house turned home. Just trying to connect with their little faces, just trying to be right here with them. Just trying to remember these days of small and crushing little. Just trying to embrace all the big kid things for a mom that cherishes the baby phase. Just trying and that's the best we can all do, is try.

Stop.

17
Feb

I love you because...

Each year, I hang little notes of why. Why I love you to bits. Reminders that we all need of what we possess that others notice, what and why others love us. I can't even begin to explain what having you has meant, has done, has changed. Your dad always knew you would be a part of our story, I needed way more convincing and we are just so lucky to get to do this with you, for you.

Bella, I love you because...

You always try.
You are a book worm.
You run with me.
You really love Pearl.
You miss Mia.
You care about your friends.
You love our traditions and demand them as much as I do.  
When you laugh, you do it with your whole body.
You love family movie nights.
We share books together.
You kiss noses.
You love to learn.
You work at the piano and you sound so lovely.
You love your family.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Anna, I love you because...
Because of your love of books.
You are an amazing artist.
You are open to trying new things.
Love, dad.

Anna, I love you because...
You are a rock star!
You love Pearl.
You have the best singing voice.
Love, Cole.


Monkey, I love you because...
Your heart is always full.
You are a very good friend.
You care about school.
You are an amazing little brother.
You are dad's best buddy.
You love with all of your heart and know no other way.
You love food and dance when you eat.
You give me little guys.
You are a great student.
Everyone who meets you knows you have an amazing heart.
You have dad's gorgeous eyes and smile.
You make us laugh.
You love love.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Buddy, I love you because...
Because of your kind heart.
Because you are my best buddy.
Because you are a great little brother.
Love, dad.

Coley, I love you because...
You are silly!
You are there for me.
You work to reach your goals.
Love, Anna.

Coach, I love you because...
You work so hard on our house and I love to show you off for it.
You have always believed in our kids and you won't settle for anything but their best.
You believe in me.
Our kids look like you and you are so handsome.
You took a chance on yourself.
You are my Valentine.
Love, your bride.

Dad, I love you because...
You share Harry Potter with me.
You share stories with me.
You work hard and never stop till you get there.
Love, Anna.

Daddy, I love you because...
You read Strange Scouts to me.
You are my best buddy.
Love, Coley.

Pearl girl, we all love you!
Because you are the best lover of love.
You love to play outside.
You're snuggly and give great hugs.
Because you run to the door when I walk in.
Because you love our family.
Because you love the snow.
Because you're cute.
Because you ring the bell to go out.
Because you love the fireplace.

Mom, we love you too...
You give me back scratches. Love, Cory
You are beautiful. Love, Cory
You never give up on me. Love, Cory
I love your love of naps. Love, Cory
You buy us stuff that makes us a matching family like PJs! Love, Anna
You are smart. Love, Anna
You love Cape Cod. Love, Anna
You love me. Love, Cole
You are great. Love, Cole
You're the best mom. Love, Cole
You are a fiercely loyal friend. Love, Cory
You work hard all day long. Love, Anna.
Your heart is so full mom. Love, Cole
You work very hard mom. Love, Cole
You are relentless in the pursuit of your goals. Love, Cory
You snuggle with me. Love, Anna
I just love you. Love, Cory

I just love you all too. Love, me

15
Feb

Five Minute Friday - Confident

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on confident.

Go.

I'm not.
I'm just not.
I can't pretend to be, because I just don't have it in me and I can't fake it. Because I am not.
In anything that I do, anything.
I am not. I am scared instead and damn do I question.
My parenting, my leadership, my choices, my words, my decisions, my wants even. I'm just not.  
And I will be okay. Maybe more than okay.
Because what I have painfully learned is that confidence has nothing to do with me. But that doesn't mean I stop trying to be the best me.
Confidence doesn't live in me, but that doesn't mean I stop at all.
Fear propels me, it keeps me on my toes and it keeps my nerves tingling and it keeps me alive and working for what I want.
Fear more than any confidence makes me me.
I walk through it, I push, and although I don't believe in myself always, I also know I won't let me down.
I don't let others down.
I work for what I want, I fight myself to get there.
I worry because I love the "it" standing in front of me and although I am not confident in me, I am confident in the thing. I know the thing is worth fighting for.
And so I fight for it, I work for it, I put me into it and that's all I've got to give, me and my very best.
You know what I confident in?
You, of course it's you.
It's always been you and all you stand for.
Love and family and us and your belief in us.
I'm confident in you and in us.
I'm not, and I know others are.
I'm not and I know at times it knocks me off my balance.
I'm not and I will be okay.   
And I will be okay, more than okay. 

Stop.

10
Feb

Drive

It's a funny thing, ambition, grit, and drive. It allows for a hum for those who feed off of it, for those who need it as much as others need air/food. But it is also debilitating and at times, robbing of actual joy. It is also an exceptionally negative force and creates one more reason to feel lonely.

All week, I have been hooked on stories that follow people through the good/bad/ugly/gorgeous of their careers and the drive they had and have and the lessons they learned along the way, the lessons they are still learning, the lessons they know inside and out but cannot stop themselves, the reason why they feel so trapped in a box, why they love it, why they hate it, why they need it, why it is ruining important things in their life, and why it is their life. I have heard their side, I have heard those that worked with them, for them, speak up about how "interesting" it is to work alongside someone that has this drive. I have heard words like micromanage, all in, crazy, relentless and I have heard questions like are you successful because of or despite of? All week, I have related to, cried with, screamed at, felt sick for, been addicted to, and have felt ever so validated by all of their stories. Their determination has made them successful, leaders in their trade, trailblazers in their industry, the actual standard of how to do this and do it well. But rarely does anyone do this for success. It is the drive that is propelling and in charge. It is the grit and the never settling for anything other than greatness from yourself and those around you that makes them feel alive. And I find myself desperately searching for my own set of rules, a handbook of sorts to get through this.

There are what some call simple rules for doing and running and succeeding like never be afraid to fail (yeah right!). Take a chance, just leap, jump at opportunities. All of the words that make my heart go up and down, my stomach ache. But the rules for drive, those are much more complicated, much more in the gray, and very very personal. The problem is, the rules that we create, also become the chains that hold us down. And although personal, they do follow this weird little path that looks and feels and smells so familiar. It starts with pouring your heart, your you, into something and all you can think about, all you can dream about is the thing. You can't sleep so why bother? Go to work instead and just do what you are laying there thinking about doing. That hum keeps you alive and keeps your attention and keeps you going and in love. You get to a place of bone tired and you start to remember that you have others around you to turn too, others that can do some of the things right? But damn, letting go of that thing is hard because you know the thing, you took care of the thing, you nurtured the thing, you know so well how to do the thing, and you wonder, will they take good care of it as I have? And just when you think you can start to come up for air, you allow something else to fill that space and you are right back to where you started. And sometimes, the things that you gave up start to unravel and you double down. And the hum is harder to hear so you double down even more. And the anger starts to build and the person you are most angry with is yourself. Why are you here again? How has it been decades and you haven't moved the needle for yourself? You've moved the thing, but you are where you started, obsessing over the thing.

Drive is such a funny and exhausting but very much alive emotion. It fills us full and depletes us completely. And for those that feed off of it, we need to remember our balance. We need to remember how much we lean into work and how much it means to us. But for those that lean so heavily into work, we also have to remember that we can still get knocked off of our balance. Because the answer is not doubling down, the answer is not just doing more. We have to remember that when things get depleted, we have nothing to give those we actually love. Those we actually love, not just the thing we love. Those we actually want to nurture, not just the thing we have nurtured. We have to remember why we started, what our vision was, how important it is to us, how much we love it, how much we need it (more than it needs us) and why we also need to walk away from it to recoup.

Drive and ambition...for some they are food, water, air, life. In order to keep them alive in us though, we need to find calm within it. Maybe that means some of the rules have to change. Maybe that means celebrating success. Because although success isn't the goal, it is important to recognize the successes along the way. Maybe that means, looking for a line. Because although the finish line is never ever the goal, it is important to recognize milestones. Maybe that means stopping, looking hard at yourself and asking, for what and how do you want to be remembered?

3
Feb

The next thing you know

She will be driving.
He will be in high school.
There will be significant others.
Phones or another gadget(s) will be coveted.
Privacy will be demanded.
Doors will be slammed.
But, we will still be us. 
And I will be okay. 

Because we have a base, we have a really strong foundation and we have ways that at the end of a hard day, week, month, cycle, we come back in small and meaningful ways. And it starts with all of our traditions. Lovies, I started them to remind you all that this is where we come home to. This is who we are, at our core, this is where we will always belong.

The next thing you know
prom will be a thing.
Graduation will come.
Schools will be researched.
The house will be quieter.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know
this chaos will be our "remember when"... 
And tomorrow we will laugh at what made us cry hard and worry today. 
The next thing you know, all the things that make us worry will no longer matter. They will be fine, they will be good, they will be them. Not our version of them, not our hopes of them, but them. The them they were meant to be, the them they want to be. 
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, their mess will be gone. The legos will be put away, the instruments will be no more, the running around will stop, the sign-ups for sports and things will be a thing of the past.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, it will go from just us five to four to three. And I, the one who struggles most with change, will be dragged into a new reality. One in which their decisions are out of our hands. One in which my time is again all mine. One in which I hope we remember how much we all loved and tried in this house.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, our foundation will matter most. Our little reminders of love, our little reminders of us, our little ways of reconnecting. Because schedules will only get worse. Because time will only get more limited. Because we will have to divide and conquer. Because we will continue to be pulled in too many directions. Because we will be losing our minds at times. Because responsibilities will only get heavier. Because things will pile up and up. But, us, the real us, we're right here. The real us that will have warm pizza and a movie every Friday. The real us that will pile around the island and talk about our week over pancakes every Sunday. The real us that will connect over shows we are showing you from our childhood. The real us that always gives warm goodnights. The real us that piles on top of each other to read together. The real us that talks about our gracious heart. The real us that holds hands. The real us that sings in the car. The real us that eats ice cream for dinner to celebrate. The real us that vacations together every summer. The real us that hugs with all of our body. The real us that tries to laugh every day. The real us that makes dinner together important. The real us that snuggles. The real us that talks about love constantly. The real us that knows how to get home. The real us that realizes the power of puppy love. The real us that realizes we are a team. The real us.
And I will be okay. 

1
Feb

Five Minute Friday - where

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on where.

Go.

It's my year of change and that means a different direction and embracing all the change that has to come my way. That means being comfortable with them getting older. That means, for the first time in 40 years, being comfortable in my own skin. That means leaving something I spent 19 years building to someone else. That means stepping into something that is terrifying and changing how I see my future. That means changing how I am viewing my year of change and changing what I say about it. That means changing, period and end of story changing.

So where am I going? Where am I headed and what direction is this life about to take me? Where do I want to be at the end of this year? Where do I want to say I have been? Where do I want to spend my time and my focus? Where do I want to say I belong? Where do I go when things feel overwhelming? Where do I go when I feel lost and too scared to make it one foot in front of the other? Where do I soak my tired bones? Where do I feel safe? Where do I focus my attention, where do I want to be?

When change feels not only frightening but actually devastating, these are questions you shy away from. They are questions you don't want to answer because you just want things to stay the same. You want the comfort, you want the protection. But, kids get older too. Life moves on regardless of if you are on board. Change is our constant, like it or not. When you force yourself to look in the mirror, these are questions I had to answer. And so I did. I sat myself down and said I can't hold on to motherhood in the first year of parenting when you have a 6 and 9-year-old. They have grown and changed and you have to too. You can't hold on to a 19-year-old plan because it is time for fresh eyes. Where I am headed has to be different and I have to be not only ready, I have to want this. I have to tell the universe that I want it and I have to listen to it telling me not to force it.

Where I want to be at the end of this year is not where I am, change is coming my way.

Stop.

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