14
Apr

Goo

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Years ago, I met someone. Every Sunday, I would show up to her class. I would rush in late, head down, never talking to anyone. And I would see her, hear her, follow her. I sat close to her for years and years, never looking up, never talking, but I felt a pull. She didn't know my name, she doesn't know my story, but she is so important to my life. And several weeks ago, she started hinting of a move and then finally announced her intentions of not just a move but a cross country move, and I slowly fell apart.

Little faces, it is mom's year of change. And a year of realizing there is so much I just have to roll with because I don't roll easily. I don't let go easily, I mourn every change. But it is starting to really feel like a season of loss and like I asked for this, I called it to me. I told the universe that this is my year to embrace change and how hard it is for me so the universe responded with moves, and people leaving in dramatic ways, and people slipping through my fingers, and the parts in my life that made me okay all of a sudden not being there and me having to rebalance and shift and dammit, I don't balance well so to rebalance is hard and how am I going to keep shifting?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Just last month, I finally introduced myself. I finally spoke directly to her, I laughed with her a bit, we connected. Little does she know I was already connected. I am the girl that fully listens to her on Sundays, open-hearted, open-minded. My stubborn fades when I am sitting by her side. My hardness melts and I am not only softer, I am kinder. And mostly, I am kind to me, and I am rarely kind to me. I have cried with her several times. I have laughed from my toes with her. I feel differently when I leave her each week, better, I just feel better.

There are other things too. She has taught me what my body can do, she has taught me how to breathe, and more importantly, how to exhale. She has taught me not only can I do a hand-stand, but she changed my whole perspective on it, she took away my doubt. She has taught me how to keep what I learned with me all week. She has taught me about allowing joy and good in. She has taught me how good it feels to be part of a community that comes together each week, she has taught me how to meditate, she has taught me to put the lists away and be here for just this hour and a half. All from a woman that didn't even know my name.

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Little faces, these are the words she spoke to me just last week. And the tears started to roll down your mom's face, they didn't stop for a solid 15 minutes. Because I am in a season of such fear and not believing in myself and doubting my decisions and fearful that I am going to lead us into the dark, the unknown. Having to just let go and believe and how does a planner, a type A, an upholder, one that controls all aspects of her life her world do that? How do I let go and believe I have it in me and it will just come? And, god, what if I fail? What does that mean for our security, our future, what does it mean about our survival? How am I to believe that it was in me all along? How am I to realize that I have to now call this part forward, I have to affirm it in my soul. This is the actual change I seek.

She began her talk about "the goo". How when you are in the middle of a transition, whether it is sad or joyous, whether it is scary or exciting, whether it is a new beginning or the very end, every transition has what she referred to as the "goo" phase. A phase in which everything unravels and there is destruction and you have to mourn the old to get to the other side of the transition. She said it's similar to how a caterpillar has to become this butterfly. It slithers along, it goes deep into itself, it then destroys all that it is and knows, it becomes a pile of goo, only to re-emerge. Brighter, faster, able to fly.

And that is exactly what I do and exactly what change feels like for mom. Unlike dad and the two of you who all deal with change so so well, mom rarely stops to look and admire the butterfly. She is so stuck mourning the damn caterpillar. I am always looking at the caterpillar and sad for the loss, I am wanting it to come back to us, I am screaming at it to breathe, I just want it to stay the same.

She talked about how she, her family, and her entire community are in this goo phase and all I could think was, when am I not there? That is the reason I had to make change my word this year. I needed to force myself out of the goo phase. But instead, I have found myself stuck in goo, mournful of my year, mostly sad. And watching this woman fly like a butterfly has me on my knees giving CPR to the caterpillar and wondering, what next?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

As the tears continued to fall throughout her entire speech, I wanted to tell her I am part of the goo phase too and her leaving is leaving a huge hole in my heart. But, here's the thing. She's right. You have to go through the goo. It is an essential part of the process. Where things get difficult is when you linger there or when you stop moving forward because you are there. It's when you let fear take over and you refuse to move. Or when you think it's easier to stay where you are. Or it's when the sadness is so much you cannot see the beauty of the butterfly. That's what I do. I forget to see how gorgeous the butterfly is because I am so sad for the caterpillar.

But the three of you, you always see the butterfly. Yes, you love the foundation and Anna James, my little me, you long for the known and the traditions because you ache for it to stay the same. But you, like your dad, always see how gorgeous that butterfly is. See, your dad says things like, I'm sorry your instructor is moving. I know this will be hard for you and how much you loved her class. But, there might be someone else that takes over and you might like them too? That is looking at the butterfly.

So universe, I am trying. I really am. I am trying to embrace the beauty of the butterfly but at the same time, I need you to back off a tiny bit. The change I have called forward, I could use a small break. I get it, you are trying really hard to get me to keep flying through change but I am a puddle these days. I need a hint of stability because what I want is to walk away from a 20-year relationship and project that I have believed in down to my toes. A relationship I will always and forever believe in. A relationship that taught me more than anything the power of childhood. Because the change I want is to grow and fly. Please, let me become the butterfly and give me the stability I need to be grounded in the other.

Dear girl in my life, the one that just learned my name. Yours was not just a class, it was my church. Yours was not just where I went to learn a new pose, it was where I learned to get stronger, to believe in me. I know you are going home and I am looking at your butterfly with all its beauty. Dear universe, please allow me to keep believing in her words

"you're going to realize it was always in you"

and allow me to become my own butterfly.

8
Apr

Double-digit girl

Dear double-digit girl, I have been thinking about this day for a long time. Heading into a whole new chapter. One in which friends and time away and circles are of high importance. One in which feelings are getting tougher to navigate. One in which your mom who struggles with change can only see the little we brought home. I remember the day so clearly, the sun shining, being in the car with you. Checking out which little nickname sounded more fitting. I remember what I was wearing, I remember what you were wearing. I remember the car seat feeling so far away. I remember pulling into the driveway with our orange car, taking you into our house turned home and introducing you to Mia. I remember bringing you to your room, taking you out of the seat, placing you on the carpet, and I remember the day I fell madly in love with you.

I remember so much of our ten years together, I remember the wonderful, the scary, the awful, the trials, the horrible, and the boring every day. I remember every fever, most appointments, the things you always try (because you are good at always trying anything), and the hugs along the way. I know that we raised a ten year-old that loves and honors traditions. I know that we raised one that thinks a lot, that observes, that listens, that looks to us. I know that the bookworm lives strong in you and I know that you love music. I see how much family time means to you, and I realize how important your friends are becoming.

Ten. Double-digit girl, I have been thinking about this day for a very long time. On the day you turned five, I was taking your picture and said "look here baby girl" and you said, "mom, I'm not a baby anymore, I'm five now." So what do you think ten means? Gosh, ten means a lot of chatter, all of the feelings, filling me in on so much of your day to day, letting me see what you think is so so funny. Ten means I keep listening, because you love telling me things and I have to keep that going. Ten still means snuggles and whispering, "I love you mom". Ten still means holding hands a lot and kissing noses and telling each other we carry our hearts with us so we're never alone. Ten means you asking me questions about work, and why so many hours and tell me more about how it's going to slow down soon, ten means you ask how our days were and you laugh with your whole body.

Double-digit girl, I have spent the past ten years learning how to mother. You have given me a gift sweet girl. The gift of all of my firsts, because all of your firsts are my firsts. You have handed me this gift of learning and growing with you. And holy hell have I learned. I have learned that losing patience makes you more mad than calm. I have learned that you can scream just as loud as I can so why bother. I have learned that you have moments of anger, frustration and boredom that makes you make poor decisions. But I have also learned that you beam when we are proud. I have learned that kindness goes a long way with you. I have learned that you adore time, time with us, time one-to-one, time. I have learned that you are easy, you bend, you are flexible, you keep going with us. I have learned that you just do, you navigate, you pivot well. I have learned that you try, oh sweet girl do you always always try. No matter what, you give it a try and see how it goes and that makes you fearless and limitless. You do it with such confidence, you are my hero.

Double-digit girl, I have a lot more to learn, you have a lot more to do. I promise to hold on as you take me through this ride and the next ten years will be drastically different than the firs ten. Double-digit girl, I have spent along time thinking about this day.

Happy birthday sweet Anna James.

31
Mar

Stepping back

You know how sometimes, I get so angry and my patience is nonexistent and all I can think about is how messy the house is or how loud everyone is? You know how sometimes I get so mad at dad for yelling or you guys for fighting or Pearl for eating something? You know how it feels like I am always asking you to clean up after yourselves or setting up rules for the house? Well, even with all of that, even in all of those times, even when I am my most mad, I want you to know I am not taking any of this for granted.

I always take a step back and I know, I realize, our time together is limited.

That is why I am also the mom that has started an empty nest bucket list of things I want to do when you are gone, because I need direction and things to look forward to. I am also the mom that has set traditions, and foundation, because I want our base to be strong. I am also the mom that can see into the future, the one in which you are off and our time together has come to a close, and I just don't get to anymore.

I don't get to know every detail. I don't get to know what your new facial expressions mean. I don't get to kiss you goodnight, I don't get to sit for hours and read with you. I don't get to mother. And that is why I always take a step back. I know, I realize, our time together is limited.

It is true that in the thick of motherhood, in the middle of actually surviving, every moment is NOT about tomorrow. Most moments are trying to get through without your teeth itching and you losing your shit over nothing. Most days, most parents, are running on actual empty. Most days, most parents, do not have anything left in their tank. Most days, most of us are all together and for one reason or another, we are on each other's nerves. But, this mom who is focusing a year on embracing change, knows that tomorrow always comes and every stage is limited. And that is when I take a step back, and hold on. Because our time together is limited.

It is not hard for me to imagine a day when you are gone. It is not difficult for me to realize that day is coming and I cannot be swallowed by it. I know that I will linger in your bedroom. I will remember why we put this one thing here or there. I will remember how I set up your crib, how carefully we chose your first bedding, your decorations. I will remember the talks and the books we have read, and the tickle fights and the quiet will hit me hard. I know this day is coming. I also know that your dad will do better with it all so he will find me in a puddle, missing you. Which is why I work so hard on stepping back, taking it all in and realizing our time together is limited.

When it does come, the beds will be permanently made. The toys will be long long gone. The carpets will not be landmines of legos. My laundry chores will be easier, my kitchen will never need to be picked up and homework will no longer be a stress. Our four person office will quickly turn to two and your spots will be empty. See, your absence will be everywhere and I will have to be okay. And that is why, I keep stepping back, looking at it all from a future point of view, I take it all in and realize our time together is limited.

When we get to come together again, maybe just us, probably an expanded family, all of that will be a visit, almost like a gift. But I won't be your immediate, I become an extension. That is the actual circle. But know this, I loved you as hard as I could. I lingered in our limited time. Yes, I was annoyed at the stuff and the noise, but I basked in your little. I spent days upon days watching you, listening to you, opening up my heart to all of this. I spent time stepping back, taking it in, realizing our time is limited. And I won't take it for granted.

24
Mar

Darkest hour

It's starting to get warmer now. We have turned a significant corner in our part of the world and although there will still be cold days and a storm here or there, nothing will stay long. We will have more warmth than cold, more rain than snow, more light than darkness. We have passed the darkest hour.

"And I actually need you, in my darkest hour."

There will come a point, a period in your life, when you will lose a tremendous relationship. It may be a breakup, it may be a move, it may be a passing. It may be a friend, or a significant other, or a family member, or a parent. It will be a loss, it may be a season of loss, it will all feel unbearable.

During a season of loss, you cling. You think backward. You cry, you mourn, and you cry more. You only think of the good that was there, you get angry, you think of reasons why you are better off, you think of reasons why you cannot move on, you linger.

I have been in a season of loss. Loss of love and light. Loss of balance and good. Loss of words. It is my year of change, and I am trying to accept and move forward with it. But, as I knew it would be, change, for me, is hard. For me, change, all by itself, already feels like a significant loss. It already feels like I am having to move in directions I and I alone am not ready to go. So I am in need, and without a light to guide my way, I have reached the darkest hour. I do not know if I will weather every storm, I do not know if I will always navigate myself out of darkness, but I do know that you are watching. You are listening. You are taking notes. You are attentive. You are building tools and reworking your notes. You will use this as your compass when you find yourself lost. Alone. Entering your darkest hour.

I know you too will be here. I know you too will feel loss. I know you too will feel lost, and alone, and it will feel like you are the first one to have gone through this. You will feel like no one can or will ever understand. But let this serve as proof that I, and most of us, have been here. You are not alone. I will stand with you, during your darkest hour.

And I promise you this, I will not judge. I will work on holding my tongue. I will not offer up advice. I will not advise. I will try to barely talk. I will ask very few questions. I will not share stories of how or when it happened to me. As hard as it will be, I will not tell you how I would handle it, how you should be handling it. I will just look you in the eye. I will hold you close. I will just be there.

"But what if I need you in my darkest hour?
And what if it turns out there is no other?"

I will just be there.

10
Mar

I'm having a moment

It's no surprise that the first year with both of you are some of my favorite memories. There is a peace with newborns that can't be explained, there is a comfort in the "dream phase" of parenting in which there is no actual parenting, only love.

It's easier now, sure, less reliant, absolutely. And watching you play Legos for hours while I do work is incredible. Having reading dates where we can all read our own thing is wonderful. Having you get yourself snacks, play with the dog, use equipment, go up/down stairs without a worry makes life so much easier on the constant need that comes with little ones. But the ease doesn't equate to calm.

There is a calm that comes with that first year. There is this outpouring of love for the little one on your chest, your person swaddling them, and the sibling that loves on them. The newborn bath smell that makes you feel like you are doing parenting right. The little noises that only you know what they mean, the facial expressions that tell you something else, the rhythm you establish together, a really special song only your little family knows the words to. A dance that you do that only your special group know the steps to.

When we had our last, and went through all the last firsts, I spent so much time loving reclaiming my home. Getting rid of highchairs and bumbos and newborn clothes and toys and reclaiming our bank accounts with no more diapers and no more preschool tuition and less and less daycare needed. But, the house gets refilled with other things, and the money goes to other places and I am having a moment of ache.

I am dreaming of babies, I can physically feel myself being so careful, so gentle. I can feel the weight as I hold them, as I walk them, as I smell them. I am meeting moms with twins and having thoughts like, what if we just adopted a set of twins, that would instantly give me the four I actually desire. I find myself in newborn baby aisles and picturing how and what I would do differently.

Even though I know (sort of) that this family is complete, I never had "the moment" of done and so I am having a different moment now. One in which the sadness hits me hard. Because I would be lying if I said I knew and I felt it and it was done and the stillness and calm of that decision makes me feel good. Instead, I know intellectually that we are done, I know that more would be more, I know that we are good, they are good, but damn, a girl can dream and so this one is.

For the mom who wanted none, but decided to give it a go, I'm having a moment for her. For the mom that had to be talked into it, and put all of her fears aside, I am having a moment for her. For the mom who held her daughter, claimed her motherhood and thought one and done, I am having a moment for her. And for the mom that held her son and three minutes into his life exclaimed I want 2 more...I am having a moment for her too.

I am having a moment in which I want it all back, I want my time with them back. I want the little back. I of course love where they are. I know how much my husband grows so easily with them. But this mamma struggles a little more with each and every passing that. I miss my babies and I miss newborn clothes and newborn detergent, and my husband looking like a gentle giant holding them. I miss the stillness that comes with that first year and I miss the quiet. It's a blip, I will feel better again soon, but for now I can admit, I'm having a moment.

3
Mar

What happened?

Do you ever look around and think, how did we get here? What decisions did we make along the way that got us to this spot? I think about it a lot because I remember it being exactly what we always wanted.

Remember when you knew exactly what you wanted to do, exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? And then, all be damned, you went and did it. You knew when you were nine and then you became the thing you always wanted. Every day, you're doing it, you're getting to go in and be all you ever wanted to be...remember?

Remember when my work and the mission and the agency and the mission and the work and the agency and the work were all that I could ever dream about? Remember when I left the first time, how sad I was to walk away from something that I believed in so much, with all my heart so much. Remember how when I got back I felt like I was home, exactly where I belonged. And then as I got more and more involved and more and more into it, remember how much more I loved it...remember?

Remember when you told me we were going to be parents? You knew, you always and forever knew they were a part of our story? Remember how you said it...we're having kids, it will be fine, you will love them, we are going to be parents. Remember when before they got here how we would talk about them? Their names, what they would look like, how we would handle this scenario or that, who would do what, when we would do this all? I remember, I would stare at you and wonder if they would get your eyes, or your smile? I would hope for my hair and green eyes are pretty too. Remember the few months it didn't work how heartbroken we were? Remember how much it physically hurt? Like they were somehow taken from us. That, by the way, that was how I knew you were right, I did want this. I wanted them before they came. You always wanted them...remember?

Remember how we could not imagine life without Mia? Remember how we would talk about it, we knew it would happen and we would wonder how and who and reactions and life after and timing? Remember how we thought you would be the strong one, I didn't even know if I could be there? Remember how she was our one and only for so so so so long? She was our reason, what we came home to, what we worried about, what we poured love into. Remember how I would joke that she would hate our kids, how mad she would be? Remember how everyone told me I would love her less once they got here, except I knew it would only make me love her more...remember?

Remember the promises we made...better or worse, sickness and health, together, strong...touching toes and holding hands kind of strong? Remember how eyes wide open I thought we went into parenting? Remember how easy it was to love each other, how silly the fights were, how walking away didn't seem ever possible? Remember how we always felt like family...remember?

So, we did it. You know, we really did it. All the big and little dreams. The ones like homes and careers and kids and moves. The ones like easy mornings with coffee and traditions that bind and movies that still define who we are. The ones like everyday living and big life planning. The ones like saying goodbye to our one and only and welcoming in a puppy that is a lover of love. The ones like adding kids and even more love and hearts growing. The ones like heartache and fights that shake us and how it takes actual effort and holding on to not walk away now. The ones like how your nook is still my spot, the ones like how we expanded our arms to fit them all in. The ones like hearts exploding and breaking and how love and time continue to put all the pieces back together again.

We did it, all we ever wanted, all we ever wished and dreamed for so we can look around and just be so thankful. Thankful that they are healthy. Thankful that we have space to fight over a parental decision or reaction. Thankful that it's messy. Thankful that it's loud. Thankful that they are good kids. Thankful that we do somethings with them right. Thankful that saying goodbye to Mia was so painful and we knew that pain only because we did love her as hard as we could. Thankful that we allowed Pearl in. Thankful that you convinced me this was our story to tell, thankful that you convinced me to have not just one but two little faces. Thankful that I convinced you to add another puppy and thankful that you said yes. Thankful for the work we wanted being our lives. Thankful for growing into bigger dreams for us. Thankful for the house turned home, the one we built together. Thankful for your ability to do anything, thankful for mine to want to tackle everything. Thankful for laughter, thankful for the tears, thankful for the fits of anger that crumble, and the hugs that heal. Thankful for all the smooches to end our day, thankful because we did it.

What happened was that we made it. We got our wish, so although that doesn't mean we stop, we can at least take a beat and say, we landed in the place we always wanted to be.

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.

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?

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