14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

7
Oct

I've lived a life

I have spent 39 years waiting to blow out my 40 candles.
Most of the 39 have been spent not okay with me and who I am.
This last year, my year of different, was all about learning what I do well.
Celebrating what I accomplish and just plain old celebrating me.
At times, quietly, at times shouting it.
I have realized how strong we all are, in our very different ways.
And I stopped comparing myself and what I deemed as crazy me with those I saw as calmer, more balanced.
I stopped wishing I was different.
I accepted that I personally kick ass.
I respect those that are slow, take life bite by bite and I honor those that go and do.
I realize that at times I make things harder than they need to and I continue to find my own definition of balance.
And reflecting, really reflecting, I have lived a life.

I have lived a very long life in a very short amount of time.
I was born forty.
Too old for my age always.
Too responsible.
Too much.
I was born old.
But that doesn't mean that I was or am mature or wise nor does it mean I didn't have a lot of growing up to do and a lot to learn.
Being born 40 means you revert to a child throwing an actual tantrum, because you never figured out how to self-sooth.
Being born 40 means you live in a world or resentment, because you know you shouldn't be this old at this time.
You look around a lot at those just living their life at their actual age and you resent them too, without even realizing it.
Being born 40 means you spend a lot of time blaming others because you think they got you there, but the truth is, I was born just like this.
My past may have magnified it, but I was born just like this.
Being born 40 also means you know what you want and you go after it.
It means you know what you are supposed to be doing and you know what you're ready for.
It means you make really smart decisions for you.
It means you know how to protect yourself.
It means you know how important your circle is, really early on, you realize that your circle is your strength.
It means that by the time the calendar actual says 40, you know how to do this decade, you've been waiting your whole life for the number to just catch up to who you always were.

Because by the time one is 40, they feel ready to own their life, really own it.
They are comfortable in their skin.
They are ready to take chances on themselves and have the space to do so because so much more is grounded and protected.
I have established a really strong foundation.
I have built and built and built and built and built.
I am fully ready to own who I am, what I want, what I have learned.

Like the fact that I love being a mom.
Honestly and with all of my heart.
I love love love being your mom.
And you know what, I am so good at it.
Not in the way that others are good moms but only in the way I am a good mom to you.
I listen to you
I carry you
I empower you
I raise independence
I lead by example
I am strong for you and I am brave for myself and for you.

Like the fact that I married my husband because he was full of joy and I needed so much more joy in my life.
I met him at a time when I was ready to be joyful, ready to let go of the anger and hatred I carried.
I was ready to laugh and feel light and be simple and content and easy.
He was my balance, my counter in all ways.
He was my easy Sunday morning and I fell madly in love with every inch of him.

I have also learned and accepted the fact that in a marriage, sometimes people need to switch personalities and you carry each other.
I have learned it is my turn to bring joy and when I can't I need to stay silent.
It is my turn to be easy and when I can't I need to stay silent.
It is my turn to be his balance and his light and simple.
and when I can't I need to stay silent.

Like the fact that I have always been good at picking a circle and the lowest saddest loneliest points in my life were when I had no one around me and I couldn't seem to find who and what I needed.
Until I did again and I was reminded that most in their 40s have their amazing circles but those born 40 always will.

Like the fact that a little puppy was my reason for 17 years and now I am the reason for a new little life.
I learned that she too was old and understood how important it was to be there, to guide me.
To him, to them, to this life.
Yes, it sounds so so crazy but a puppy brought me along for a ride and I let her.

I learned that I can trust and let go.
I learned that I do not have to lead, that I can take a back seat.
I learned that I cannot lead and am rarely in control when it comes to parenting and I have learned it's their greatest gift to me.
I learned that yoga is my church and running is my way of cleaning out all the junk.
I learned that I can cry so hard for so long that I fold into myself.
I learned that I am still scared, all of the time scared and I learned that I keep going.
I learned that I will never be not scared.
I learned to listen more, talk less.
I learned that I love the home we built.
I learned that I make things cozy and that I am a homebody.
I learned that I never need an abundance of people, just my tight glorious circle of love.
I have learned that I still hate change, but you make it so I have to change almost daily.

And I am ready.
To take a chance on me.
To continue to work hard for what I want.
To learn to work smarter.
To trust my instincts and remember that solving problems is what I do.
Solutions are what I am known for.
I am ready to keep mothering you, keep loving you.
I am ready to start my 40 things to do in my 40s because of course, I have a list.
I am ready to say that 40 is a really big deal because I was born 40.
It was never just a number for me.
I am ready to do this decade, I know how to be 40.
I know how to experience this decade and live through it.

In my 40s my daughter will leave for college.
My son will start to drive.
Both will stop believing in Santa.
All of their baby teeth will be gone.
Their rooms will be redecorated so teenagers feel more in control.
Proms will be danced.
Significant others will be a thing.
Childhood will be a thing of the past and memories we always talk about.
Traditions will become even more important.
Our family will be tested.
Everything will be more serious, more heavy.
My husband and I will travel more, our whole family will.
We will start to sleep later but somehow be more tired.
We will go through the heavy and thick of after-school activities and being in two places at once.
He will love it, I will worry it's too much on all of us.
No matter what, we will come out the other side.
We will remember married life, not just parenting.
I will continue to experiment with whiskey drinks I like, finally.
He will happily take me to more and more happy hours and date nights.
Our puppy will become an old dog.
Our major home projects will be done but our house will always be a work in progress.
Our bodies will get ready for 50.
We will get ready even more ready to retire.
He will continue to prove to himself that he is stronger, smarter and more capable than anyone I have ever met and he too will start to believe in his power, not his potential, but his actual power.
Our careers will become more and more defined.
We will be able to check more and more off of our bucket lists, I will continue to make all of the lists.
Health will always be important to me.
Love will always be a priority for all of us.

I have spent 39 years waiting to blow out my 40 candles.
It's not just a number and I am so damn ready.

16
Sep

It's personal

I get asked why a lot.
Why do I run, why do I race, why the triathlon?
Why if you're so scared of swimming do you throw yourself into a body of water and swim across a canal?
Why if it causes this much anxiety do you keep doing it?
Why?
What is the rush for you?
Is it the training?
Is it the exercise?
Is it the body issues you still carry?
Why do you do this?
When it hurts, why do you keep going?
When do you think enough is enough?
When will you finally stop?
Why is it so important right before you turn 40, why in your 40s, why?

These aren't the only times people sit me down and ask why?
Because when you live like "this", people look at you and wonder why a lot.
Why do you do it that way?
Why do you add so much?
Why would that bring you, hell anyone, pleasure?
Why did you start doing that?
Why are you participating in that?
Why are you so type A?
Yeah, I get asked why a lot.

And all I have to offer is, it's personal.
There's only one person I am trying to prove it to.
And that's me.
I am sure it stems from them and wanting some sort of acknowledgment.
I am sure it is because they told me all I couldn't do it.
I am sure it is because they wanted to be needed and so they wanted to raise weak.
But I will be 40 and soon.
The only person this falls on now is me.

What I am about to write,
what I am about to share, is going to sound self-loathing.
It's going to sound as though there is too much self-hate.
But, I promise, it is the opposite.
This is the most loving part of me because it is all about self-care.
It's personal.

Races and running and triathlons and half marathons and marathons and hearing my feet on the road and freezing in water and swimming even though I just learned and biking 20 miles on a Wednesday and being bone tired and killing myself isn't just gratifying, it's healing.
It's healing because I live in doubt.
All year, all month, all hour, minute by minute, I live in doubt.
Of me.
And I have strong roots in fear.
Of all that I do and try to do.
Everything that I say yes to, I walk through fear to get there.
My jobs, my careers, my business.
My family, marriage, parenthood.
Owning a home living a life or just plain living.
I doubt myself and am scared of everything.
So, if that was my litmus test, if being too scared or thinking - I can't - was the reason I didn't do something,
I wouldn't do anything.
And f that.
That's not a life, certainly not one I want to live.
So instead, I do.
I run.
I try.
I swim.
I do yoga and get stronger.
I weight train and step out of my comfort zone.
I push.
I make sure I'm tired.
I keep going.
I work long hours.
I train for long periods of time.
I work on being a mom.
I work hard at my marriage.
I take the promotion, I plan for my future and next steps.
I write a blog to protect their childhood.
I work hard period and end of story.
I do.

And I tell myself enough.
Enough of the BS talk and whining and the scared nonsense.
Do.
Your body hurts? Too bad.
You're too tired? Everyone is tired, get out there.
It's cold and the water scares you to the point of shaking? Stop it, they won't let you drown, get in now.
You trained for four months and he is beating you barely hitting the road? Yeah, that happens, he's stronger and more athletic but who cares.
Oh you think you'll be a shitty mom and fail them? Well everyone thinks that so you're not special.
You're worried your marriage will ruin what you guys have? Stop being so negative.
You think you can't run a company, specifically this company? Too bad because you are so keep going.
You're worried everything will fail? Yeah, it might, it could all crumble, but you still have them.
You're busy? Show me someone who isn't.
You want your MS to be the reason you can't? Someday it might be, but not today.
Today you will shut up and show your body you can run 13 miles.
Show it that a triathlon is in reach, who cares how long it takes.
Shut the hell up and lace those shoes.
Get up early and get started.
Hand out your business cards and talk to people about what you do, sell your brand.
Work your mission and remind people why it's important.
Work for what you ultimately want.
Do.

Show yourself that you can handle this.
Remind yourself of what you are trying to get to, what is waiting for you within reach now.
Do.
That might mean more grit than most.
That might mean more exhaustion.
That might mean more from you more expected out of you.
Because in order to quiet the doubt and the fear,
I have to do.

And from the outside it looks crazy because it is crazy.
From the outside I know people judge.
From the outside I hear the whispers of that is one tightly wound ball because I am and I won't let myself down.
And those that don't have to be this way, I envy you. I wish I could live just like you but I can't.
I know I make my life harder and I am working on that but I won't give up on me either.
So instead, I do.

It's personal.

9
Sep

Exhale

It has been a summer.
Like a for real summer.
I don't have off like the rest of my family but even I felt like we were living our best life.
There were sunrises and sunsets
warm weather
paddle boarding
camping
our Cape trip
track days
so many old friends
framily time
so many visits and my heart being full
framily that knows my whole story
framily that accepts and do not judge
framily that only loves and knows we are all doing our best
ice cream for dinner
the kids read their hearts out
they played and played and played
Cole became the best bike rider
Anna went to her first sleep away camp
both kids went to basketball camp with dad
Pearl had an amazing Cape week with her bestie followed by fun with camping
a week with their grandparents and so much adult time
just amazing wrapped into one incredible summer.

Except I could not exhale.
Me, I was the problem.
I was so anxious and so nerved and worried and scared and had this feeling of concern
and there were days where it would pass and then days upon days of it being right there.
But, it's my year of different and so I kept trying.
Trying to figure out why
trying to let whatever it was go
trying to find my breath
trying to let it out, exhale and let go of whatever was on my mind
trying to not let whatever this was ruin this time, destroy the good memories
trying to not let them in on what was happening
trying to get back to okay so I could find my way into joy.

But, as always, the harder I tried, the worse it got until it all piled on and found its own way out.
And then built back up and piled on and found its way out
and such was the cycle I was caught in.

It's going to be okay, just call it out.
Give it a name, recognize that it's there and then it will go away once you have given it fair attention.
But it didn't.
And it hasn't.
And here I am.
With little faces in school and me wondering where I went wrong.

So, I start again.
Because fall is crazy and summer is how I restore.
Because I am mad at myself for not restoring.
Because I stayed too long at a party and I am trying to get back home.
Because I started something so new and so scary that I feel like I might mess it up all of the time.
Because when I do mess it up, it does crazy things to my nerves (upholders struggle with doing it wrong).
Because I have too many balls and I am starting to feel alone.
Because I am celebrating my birthday for the first time ever and I want it to feel special.
Because the weight is hurting my shoulders and placing a foot on my chest.
Because I should be crying more than I am, releasing.
Because I don't want to let them down, I don't want to hurt their memories.
Because I want to make sure they know I am here, even when I am withdrawn.
Because I need to not be withdrawn, I don't want to fake it.
Because there is nothing to fake, things are all okay.

Summer of 2018 was not an okay summer, it was wonderful.
My little boy told me yesterday he was so sad our summer and our time together was over.
He was actually heartbroen that our break had come to an end.
That's how different our summers have been.
Because our summers were not always like this.
Years ago, our picture looked shattered and our pieces were all over the floor.
And at the end of that summer, I started to put parts back together and made some big changes.
Since then, things have been getting better, stronger.
They were concerning and I couldn't have them be concerning.
And the tide turned because we shifted and we made important decisions to change.
I found framily to hold on to.
I reconnected with the past.
I started to take ownership.
I found their little.
I found joy and so did they.

So, I am back to my journey of starting with okay.
Just be okay and then find a little joy.
And with a little joy find a little more joy and a little more.
Find your calm mamma, remember after you take that big breath in, let is out again.
Exhale.

11
Feb

I notice you

I am quick to remind you of all the things you're not doing.
I am quick to get annoyed.
I am quick to excuse it all with my exhaustion, my lack of patience, how I was raised.
But I am slow at figuring this all out.
Slow at seeing all you bring
all that is important to you and how you show love.
I am slow at the thank yous and I am never coming with the "I am sorry".

So, today, on my track to being different
today on my month of gratitude
I want to thank you for all you do.
For me
for us
for them
for the family.

Because I want you to know, I notice.
I notice you and all you do, I notice your smile when you look over at them.
I notice your happy face when he pulls out his Starwars guys
I notice your pride when she is working hard and not giving up
I notice you.

And I know, words don't resonate as much with you as they do with me,
but I think it's important to document my gratitude for all you do.
Like how you don't make me feel crazy for my crazy
like how you don't let me get away with it either
like how you are a doer, you always get stuff done for us
like how you have poured all of you into this house
like how you are the one he turns to in the middle of the night because "dad stays to snuggle longer"
like how you are the one she gets homework help from
like how you are patient with their learning
like how you see them for what they will become
like how you always saw them, even when I didn't
like how you were the first person to believe in me
like how you made me believe in love
like how you made me a mom
like how you never give up on us
like how you will never let us be angry forever
like how you always say sorry first
like how you need hugs
like how you tell me I'm still pretty
like how you tell me I am strong
like how you never question my hours
like how you never worry

I notice.
I notice all you do
I notice how much you work at all of this
I am proud of you
and I heart you.
I notice you, sweet love, I do.

7
Jan

Here's to us

Here is to almost 18 years of us.
From page to page, chapter to chapter, book to book to book.
I have loved writing our story even during the times when the chapters were glum.

So here's to the years we were happily dating.
Here's to the years we have been married.
Here's to the years of family, the one we wanted and created.
Here's to the ups the downs the highs and the lows.
Here's to the boring, the awful the scary and the thrilling.
Here's to us.

Here's to our vows, the ones we made to one another.
The ones we cling to.
The ones we swore to.
The ones that light our way in the dark.
Here's to our concerns, our wishes, our hopes.
Here's to our wants, our needs, our fulfillment.
Here's to us.

Here's to our wedding bands, the ones I still look at and feel as though it can't be real.
Here's to the day you got down on one knee and asked me to take on forever with you.
Here's to me feeling that was always our path, ring be damned.
Here's to us.

Here's to our friendship.
The one we have to remind ourselves of when we don't like each other that much.
Here's to our foundation and our love for movies and concerts and sports and board games and playing cards.
Here's to our love of close friends and times of laughter.
Here's to us.

Here's to my worry.
Here's to all that scares me.
Here's to the one I need to feel safe.
Here's to my crazy, the crazy you balance.
Here's to us.

Here's to you never giving up on me or us.
Here's to me never giving up on you or them.
Here's to you reminding me how important we are.
Here's to me reminding you that sometimes we need to be more.
Here's to me pushing the status quo.
Here's to you being content in the boring.
Here's to us.

Here's to half a decade of wrong and trouble.
Here's to the reminder of lessons learned and mistakes made.
Here's to the apologies and tears.
Here's to us.

Here's to your hugs, the ones that you want to melt everything away.
Here's to feeling safe together.
Here's to touching toes and snuggles on the coach.
Here's to your nook, the one that belongs to me.
Here's to holding hands with my boyfriend and husband.
Here's to us.

Here's to your socks that I love to wear even though it drives you nuts.
Here's to the sweaters I have shrunk and claimed as my own.
Here's to my boyfriend sweatshirts
and to all of the sports shirts I know own because I met you.
Here's to us.

Here's to all of my planning.
Here's to all of your doing.
Here's to my determination and grit and drive.
Here's to your calming me down, but being my handyman in all of this.
Here's to your amazing work, love, and attention poured into our home.
Here's to my eye, and yours.
Here's to our vision of forever home
forever us.

Here's to us.

17
Dec

I lost my hum

There is something that happens when you say yes to everything.
There is something that happens when you think, sure, I can do that too.
There is something that happens when you keep on going and forget to eat, or breathe or think.
You lose your hum.

There is something that happens when you don't delegate.
There is something that happens when you take control of it all.
There is something that happens when you keep plugging along.
There is something that happens when you keep adding to your plate.
You take other things away.
You make your priorities out of whack.
And in the end, you lose your hum.

I first heard someone describe the hum on a Ted Talk and as soon as she opened, I immediately cried.
Tears of anguish
tears of guilt
tear of understanding
tears of being understood
tears of heartbreak
tears of wanting a different life
tears of realizing how beautiful my life is if only I stopped to look.

But, there is something that happens when you don't stop to look
you lose your hum.

I have acknowledged the hum before but in five minutes, I couldn't exactly dig deep...
So, here is how the hum goes...
I introduce myself by the number of hours I work in a week.
I wear it like a badge of honor.
I define my life by it.
Because a mom that loves her work and loves to work has to justify it, to someone and everyone.
And I do love to work.
I love working
I love the joy, the accomplishment, the tasks, the wave, the ride, the emotions, the winning.
I love to work.
It makes sense to me, I love that there is a right and wrong answer.
I love that I can get better at it.
I love that math makes the world seem real and I understand it.
I love that I get to be good at something.
I love to work.
And so, I do it all of the time.
I do it in my sleep
I do it instead of other things
I do it instead of things that I am worried I am not good at
I do it instead of sitting in quiet
I do it all of the time.

And the harder I worked, the better I got, the higher up I was promoted, the more work I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and the harder I worked
and the more I was promoted
and the more I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and so on and so on and so on.
Until, there was nowhere else to go.
And I was doing so much of the work
and I am a hard worker so she can do that too
and I won't let it fail so I work harder
and I won't give up so I keep going
and the hum got louder.

And then one day, it was gone.
The hum, the drive, the determination.
I lost my hum.
Suddenly, none of it made sense.
None of it seemed right.
Suddenly I was filled with regrets and what ifs and I should haves and what did I do and resentment and anger.
Because the hum made me think and feel
the hum was my guide.

So, I doubled down and searched everywhere for the hum.
I hear it when I am working, so I will work harder.
I hear it when the work makes sense so let me stay right here until it all makes sense.
I hear it when everything comes into focus so let me stare at the problem, I can find a solution again.
I just need to work harder.
But the hum was gone.
And I went into mourning.
I mourned a loss.
Of my work
my time
what I sacrificed
what I allowed to be sacrificed
I mourned me.

And then, I rooted to rise.
I ground down to rise up
and I found a new definition.
I found a new badge to wear.
I found other things to be proud of
and I learned to find a hum in different places.

It is still my go to
and when things get stressful and work becomes overwhelming
I still put my head down and forget to come up for air.
It is only when my depleted and exhausted and angry body climbs out of bed in the dark that I realize
I am here again.
I am in the bad place and I have to set a different plan in motion.
I have to determine a time, a limit.
I have to set a schedule of I will allow this for this amount of time and then,
I find my hum someplace else.

I cannot do it all
I cannot say yes to all
I cannot be it all
but I can still love the work
and the life.
I can say yes to my kids
I can read to them
I can train with them
I can journal with them
I can play board games
I can comb their hair
I can have quiet snuggles
I can be present when I am with them
I can make this life I asked for lovely
I can find my hum.

This Ted Talk changed me...http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything

19
Nov

What chapter now?

A story.
Our story.
Our love story.
Our book of love.

Chapter 1...
There was an ease to us wasn't there?
From the moment we met, I would describe us as easy and happy.
You blew me away with joy. I couldn't help but be happy around you.
It's what drew me to you and what created our instant family.
You fit right into my family, the one I was born into and the one I created.
I trusted you, I trusted your heart and I realized we would always be in each other's lives.
We were family.

Chapter two wasn't getting married.
Getting married, for me, was an extension of chapter one.
I realized that other people needed the official title of husband and wife.
I think I realized how even you needed it
but for me, we had already been family for almost six years
so this was the continuation of us.
Easy and happy us.

Recently, I have been stuck on the ease and joy we once were.
Things are more complicated now, more difficult.
Because marriage and relationships never stay as is or was.
They are not linear, they are not sequential even though we try to make them so.
They live, they breathe, they grow and they develop, they change.
And that's not new information, but almost everyone forgets this about all relationships.
Friendships, partnerships, business relationships, everything that is alive changes.
Everything and everyone has a story and stories do not stay on one path, they do not have one direction.
As we are in the middle of chapter what?

Chapter 2...
Anna.
The birth of our first daughter.
The one we wished for, the one we dreamed about, the one you talked me into.
The one we wanted, the one we talked about how ready we were.
The relationship we went in with eyes wide open.
But our first year with Anna was an awakening for me.
It took the love we already had and maximized it.
I could not have loved you more than I did in that first year of parenting.
I felt so close to you
Anna was so easy
everything fit
I felt this sense of how I was made to do this
I saw how much you loved her and it made me fall harder for you
we weren't losing sleep so we didn't have that to contend with
she only cried when something was wrong
she was a wonder
we were in love with her
with each other
with life
parenting was what we were made to do.
And so, everything during that year was a mush of love.
Chapter two lasted three years of love love and more love.
We just got it, it all made sense.
It was an amazing chapter to write with you.

Chapter 3...
Anna turns three and Cole is born.
Age three was rough for me with both kids.
So many reasons
so many difficulties
so many triggers and so many memories that hurt me.
Three was hard for you too, just for different reasons.
We always felt that Anna was an old soul and therefore that somehow meant she then needed to act older than her actual age.
We were unfair to her.
And you were around kindergarteners and feeling like your daughter was in that mix.
So, when she was three, you started treating her like one of your kindergarten kids.
Her three-year-old self could not live up to that expectation.
Add to our stress a newborn, who was also such a good baby BUT
there was always something a little wrong with Cole that made us worry.
I went through 8 weeks of not being able to mother
not being able to love
move
feed
hold our children
all because of the surgery.
You were gone a lot and I felt abandoned
he wasn't thriving
he wasn't gaining enough
he wasn't hitting milestones
he was rushed to a hospital
he had high fevers
routine checks always had a hint of concern.
Everything eventually shook themselves out, but damn I was scared.
You kept trying to be reasonable and keep me and my crazy in check.
I felt like I was wasting time in pain and resentment and missing out on my kids, my last newborn.
And chapter three continues.
In this chapter, we forget how to laugh
in this chapter, I cry a lot
in this chapter, my childhood comes rushing back and I get sent into a panic
in this chapter, we forget that we are a team
in this chapter, we keep track a lot
in this chapter, I forget that team and partnership never ever means 50/50
it only means showing up for each other and we forgot how to show up for us.
Chapter three lingers.
When Cole turned one, he started to scream and cry and he didn't stop until he was four.
Those three years were brutal.
To make matters worse, we were both struggling professionally
we were both feeling so lonely without local friends and fun
we were both forgot how important it is to laugh, we lost joy.
But, this chapter also brought its own magic.
In chapter three, our family was completed.
It is the chapter that we meet a little boy that reminds me of you
a little boy that is loud and messy and heartbreakingly adorable and so amazing.
We got to witness a sister and brother become best friends.
We got to witness their love grow and my heart expanded for her, for him, for them.
We got to witness the joy and crazy in his heart too, the one you carry, the natural joy he got from you.
We got to witness him come out of those struggling years, out of his frustration and just be him.
In this chapter, we became a core four.
In this chapter, our babies became kids and physically needed us more and less.
This chapter brought on personalities that we needed to learn to manage and the end of this chapter is when I realized who we are isn't who we will always be.
And it was time for a change.
So we started a new chapter.

Chapter 4...
Our acknowledgment of crazy and tired and stress and sad and mistakes and angry and finding our way back.
To us
to fun
to funny
to joy
to ease
to enjoyment
to self-care
to family.
This is a slow chapter because we have to take our time and get it right.
Because we have muscle memory of too much and need to find the not so busy.
Because we have to remember how to talk and listen and not bite.
Because we have to remember that we matter.
This chapter is slow and deliberate.
This chapter is building on the memories they will remember.
This is the chapter that will shape their relationships.
This is the chapter that teaches, guides.
This is the chapter in which we remember we are more than just parents, we are people, separate and together.
This is the chapter in which we remember to hold hands, touch toes, lean on each other, use our words, cry together, and laugh.
This is the chapter of framily and laughter and fun again.

I don't know how many chapters our book of love has.
I don't know how many we get to write together.
I don't know how many more times we get to change, grow, mold.
So much is reliant on them and changes they go through and our reactions to those changes.
So much is reliant on things out of our control and our reactions to that.
Aging parents
higher bills
changing paths
taking risks
building a house and creating a home.

But marriage, family, and relationships are not linear.
They are forever changing.
We will keep changing the pages and adding and taking things away to write our own happy ending.
One that doesn't look like anyone else's.
All I know is I am still happy to have you as my co-author, I am in love with our tear shattering chapters as much as I adore the mushy ones.
I love that you are willing to keep writing with me, I love our story.
Our book of love.

8
Jul

Forever

When I first met you, there was a part of me that knew we were family.
When you asked me to walk beside you, hand in hand, for the rest of our lives, we made it official to everyone else.
But I always knew, way back then, we would forever be us.

Seventeen years later, everything looks different,
our bodies
our minds
our patience
our cares
our priorities
our home
our jobs
our health
our wrinkles
our skin
everything has changed.
Even our pledge to each other,
to our forever.

It doesn't look like puppy dog love anymore
it doesn't look young and fresh and sweet
it doesn't look like kids pretending to be grown
it's hardly even cute.
Our forever has changed
into real
and boring
and forgiving
and kindness
and turning towards
and heavy.

Because love changes and grows and molds
as people do
and you can either grow apart
or grow together.

One thing that has not changed is when things get hard, I am the first to question.
I question us
I question our decisions
I question our arguments
I question our commitment.
When things don't look and feel like us, I want to walk away.
But you have always realized that it is a result of me never wanting to live the life I had,
the one that I knew
that one that I walked out of
before I met forever.

And so, each and every time, you call me out.
You remind me that we don't ever give up
not on them
not on me
not on you
not on each other
not on us.
We do not get to give up,
because you remind me of forever.

So, we keep marching on.
We find our own adventure
we tackle the challenges
the trying and difficult times
and hand in hand, we find us again,
we find forever.

Because along the way, you remind me of love.
Actual, real, consistent and caring love.
Our love is more ordinary but you and I find the magic in boring.

Your I love yous come just the same...
you love through action.
You fix
you build
you have to make it all better.
And I finally understand your language.
Words, writing, presentations, none of that is how you speak.
Instead you research everything, for me, or us
you plan every vacation, so I can not plan a thing
you bring me a glass of wine
you fix me coffee
you get the kids up and ready
you tackle bed time
you hold my hand through the bad news
like the medical hell we went through
like aging parents
like losing our Mia.
You tell me you love me by saying yes to Pearl
and how fell in love, just by placing her in your arms
like the love you have for them
the amount you care about them
the expectations you have for them, because you see all they are going to become
your I love yous come just the same.

everything has changed.
everything looks different
even our forever.
But what will always stay is you are my forever.
Thanks for finding me.

23
Jun

Five Minute Friday - steady

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. 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 steady.
Go.

I am not the steady one of the group.
I am not the rock.
That's your job.
You were my joy, my constant, my always and forever.
Still now, as the waves of life crash down on us and make us nauseous
you are steady.
You are the calm in our storm.
You are the one that keeps us steady.

The push and pull of life has me very unsteady these days.
The stress and worry has me shaking and unstable.
I am a tightly wound ball of nerves and balls are not steady, balls wobble, balls roll.
You are my steady.
You are my reminder that this too shall pass and more crazy will come.
You are my whisper of find us, we are here.
You are my fixer of all things, you are my steady.

And the attraction started because of your constant joy.
The natural joy that lived in you.
I didn't realize someone could feel that way, all of the time.
You were so thrilled to be.
Happy to be doing anything, as long as we were together.
Which is why dating me is still your favorite.
Which is why you look forward to just us two.

Kids knock you down.
Jobs, careers, business, they drag you through the mud.
Homes offer retreat and worry.
Life is full of the swinging back and forth
it is what makes life worth living.
And every person that gets lost in the whirl
every person that almost gets hurt from the spinning needs a steady rock.
A place to steady their thoughts.
A place to steady their mind.
A place to steady.
You, you are my steady.
You are my always and forever.

Stop.

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