22
Jul

Smile

For both of you, it started about six or so weeks into your life. You were both laying down, and out of nowhere, this amazing precious smile came across your face and once again, you lit up our lives. Anna, you on our bed at home and Cole, you were in my office. You both looked up, eye to eye, and you smiled. Anna, dad got tears in his eyes. His little girl saw him, really saw him and melted. His little sweets knew it was her dad and she couldn't help but smile at his loving face. Dad called for me, Brin...she's smiling, oh my god, she just smiled at me! Cole, for you, it was just us two. You and me kiddo. I immediately took a picture and sent it to dad, who called me, and again, catching his breath, he smiled! That's really a smile!

That's what kids do to us parents. They just smile and we melt into them, into who they are, who they were, who they are going to be. We see it all right there, in that little smile.

To this day, it happens to both of us. Just the other night dad remarked at how gorgeous of a smile you guys had, how loving your smiles are. Anna, how when you really get laughing, that belly laugh, a real laugh, damn, it rocks me to my toes. Cole, even from across the way, your smile pierces right to my heart. It grabs my attention, and there are times, it brings actual tears to my eyes.

I see it when we are in really crowded areas at school, during some sort of performance. Anna, you search and look and make sure you can find us. And when you do, there's that smile. The one that says you've found us, you see who you were determined to make out. Your whole face lights up and you beam. You can see the pride and excitement in my face too and you can sense just how much we adore you. This moment, it's held in time a little bit, because that smile is just for us.

Cole, there are times you will be in the middle of a game, in the middle of something make-believe or in the middle of a ball game in which you're actually playing. And for a second, you'll look up, eye to eye, and there is a smile that spreads. Not one of recognition as much as one of love. You start to smile from your heart and the love you carry it bursts out of you, you just can't help it. This moment, it's held in time a little bit, because that smile is just for us.

Dad says you both carry my smile, but all I see is dad's. It's his smile that I first noticed, it's his smile that made me want to follow him around. It's his smile that made me fall, it's his smile that made me feel like I had found family. The smile that bursts hearts open. The smile that makes even strangers fall in love. The smile that makes you trust that you are good people. The smile that makes you realize this person's heart is alive and well. This person's heart is for real. They can't even pretend, just look at that smile that radiates actual light.

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.

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

30
Dec

Change

Close your eyes, fall asleep and stay there. Something that has always been so simple, is so simple. But for me, I am always up, my heart racing, and I have been missing sleep. I am struggling to stay there, and I know why. All of my worries, concerns, and stress are waking me up and telling me I can't. Nothing can change, it all has to stay the same.

That's what time added up over years and years that have led to a decade over a decade does, it makes you too comfortable. It allows you to fall into a routine, your routine, and it hates change. And I hate change, I hate things changing, I always have. But that's okay, I have come to realize, it all has to change.

2018 was my year of different. It was my year of trying and retrying and making things happen. I stumbled, I thought I fell, I thought I was lost, but I regained consciousness and I kept going. I built each month on a different theme and I followed through, I built a year around words and actions. I built who I need to be and I remembered who I always was. I got myself ready for this moment and now, everything has to change.

Everything has to change because everything always changes and it is time this stuck in the routine girl, the one that keeps going in the same direction using the same tools, has to take a very different route. It's time for this woman who hates change to embrace it. And what better way than to make it my word for the whole year?

I will start with you my little faces. It starts with changing our busy routine and grounding into us.

January will be all about family time, even if it's moments each day, ending our day all together, all calm and allowing light to be our only guide. January will be a change to how we end our day.

February will be a change of heart with our letters of love. But this year, the whole family will get involved. A gentle reminder of why you are important, why I am important, why we need each other.

March will be a change in attitude. I will learn how to meditate and ground myself. I need this, my year might be an uphill battle but change is coming and change is good and my responsibilities are shared. I am not in this, any of this, alone. I need to stay grounded, follow my breath, allow the air to move in and out. I need to find a way to put my head on the ground and remember that I am only one and the world does not fall all on me. I will find peace within myself, not outward, but from within. March will be a change in attitude.

April will be a change with my relationship with joy. I will find a way to reconnect with joy and find it in my path every single damn day. I will remind myself that all of this sacrifice is for the ultimate which is joy. Not happiness which is planning for the future, but joy which is present in the here and now.

May will be a change to put aside the big and bold and more and a reminder to focus on the little. The little things in life, the little all around me, the little that is changing and becoming more and more big.

Junewill be to change my relationship with sleep. Once a week I will go to bed with my kiddos. I will close my eyes as my children are and I will be swept away into dream land. I will be okay with the amount of sleep my tired body needs.

July, I will be halfway there, I have made it halfway and I've got this. So June will be to change my relationship with stress. I will find ways to cope that are out of the box, I will find a way out of my own head.

August will be to find my style and dress with how I am most comfortable and feel like my best self.

September will be to connect with me, what I do well, how my year is going, what changes I need to make right away.

October will be to learn a new skill! I have been dying to learn how to use my camera for six years, this is finally the time!

November will be to change my view on resentment and let go of the black and dark I hold. Say goodbye to grudges and move on. Be okay with letting go and move on to all that matters.

December will be to decompress and a chance to reflect and see what other changes I need to make as I walk into a new life, a new purpose a new chapter.

Change I am ready for you, I am embracing you, I am an all in girl and I am all in with the changes I need to make. Each and every step will bring me closer to me, hold me closer to who I am, bring me closer to you. With tender love I say goodbye to you 2018. You were glorious and scary, you were full and lonely, you were my preparation and I am now ready.

7
Dec

Five Minute Friday - balance

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 balance.

Go.

I should not be in charge of this word.
I should not go near it, even touch it.
I get asked advice on it and I always say, I am the last person you should be talking to about this.
But maybe not.
Maybe the woman who learned the hard way how important balance is should be the one standing up for the word.
Maybe the woman who got so sick she needed to have a year of different should be the one talking about the importance of the word.
Maybe the woman who spent three months in despair should be the one carrying the torch for the word.
Maybe for all women, people, that lean into work, maybe we need to have a different conversation about this word.
Maybe it starts with me.

I love work.
Not just my job, my career, my business, but I love all of the work I do.
I love working.
I love being tired and productive.
I love that I am ambitious, I love that I have grit, I love that I am determined and I love that I keep going.
I love that I set goals, I love that I get after it, I love work.
I feel confident there, I feel like it makes sense to me.
There's a hum, there's a rythum and a dance and all of it feels so so good.
But I am a mom
and a bride
and a friend
and I run
and do yoga
and I work out a lot
and I run my house
and I love to cook dinner
and I love my kids
and I love my person
and I love to see my family.
So a mom that loves her family and loves her job has some explaining to do.
A mom that leans into work more than she does downtime needs to be a little more careful.
Because our balance starts out leaning, we are balanced when we are leaning into work.
We just are, and that is okay. Our balance starts out a little crooked.
It is when that balance starts getting interrupted that we get into a lot of trouble.
That is when it gets really hard and we can't fight our way out.
As much as we want to go back to our neutral, as much as we fight back into the natural lean we enjoy so much.
It is when the work becomes too much even for us and we just continue to do and do and do. Even if we feel we have taken on too much and we no longer can see a way out or what to give up.
We don't know how to drop any of the balls.
All of them become a priority so we just do more, we push harder, we double down, and we get hurt.
We end up sick and resentful or just plain crazy.
We end up feeling like we can't breathe, we hurt and we can't see a way out.

So yes, I do know about balance and its importance and its power and its meaning and its need.
I do know how much I need it in my life, how attracted I am to my opposites, to my balance.
I married my balance, I dedicated my life to the one person that is my compass, who makes sure I lean the right way.
And at every turn, I find myself continuously attracted to those that are not me, to those that seem to have it more figured out.
To those that I feel have a better grasp of priorities and can take life as it comes and are so naturally good at life.
Me, I make life harder than it has to be, I cannot be my own balance and again, I don't need to be.
I am the example of the importance of this word, I hold it very close now and know when I am in trouble.
I am the expert, just not the way most would think.

28
Oct

Waking up

Good morning sweet girl.
You have been asleep for quite some time and nightmares have filled your mind, impacted your body.
On the day you woke up, it was like seeing people again.
You rubbed the garbage out of your eyes and you saw the morning light.
You heard laughter and people connecting, instead of the whispers that have filled your space.
You smiled at the sun, you didn't squint or shy away.
You woke up, got out of bed, stood in the mirror and smiled at the person you have always been.
You stretched your arms and you noticed how strong you are.
Your back, shoulders, arms, legs, and body.
The one that carried two babies, the one that carries a family, the one that supports, and at times feels like the world is sitting on top.
It's okay now, the world is starting to melt away, you carried yourself through.
That's why you're strong, not because you conquer, but because you push through.
Not only because you can carry, but because you lift.
Good morning sweet girl.

While you were sleeping, the world continued on, people continued on.
While you were sleeping, you missed some precious moments, some important time.
You missed your kids, your husband, yourself.
You missed color and smells and warm showers and good food.
You missed reading and shows and hugs and hand holding and snuggles.
You missed smooches and little guy kisses from your son and kissing noses with your daughter.
You missed some time.

But that's okay, you obviously needed the rest.
You needed some time, reflection, processing, and like the flu, you needed it (whatever it was) to flush out of your system.
Like the flu, you needed to purge, burst through your fever, and open your damn eyes.
And now, they are open, and you are well rested and recovered.
You are over the sickness that took hold and you are better, not healed but better.

So good morning sweet girl.
I hope the smell of coffee lures you downstairs.
I hope the promised of whispered love keeps you warm enough to let go of the covers.
I hope you step into your morning shower, feel the water wash away the smell of fear and wash you clean.
I hope you remember what hope feels like and as you take slow small steps back into your life, I hope the light is what guides you this time.
Because even though you always start in the dark, feel most comfortable there, enjoy the cozy it brings, you need the light for balance.
You always need balance because you, just you, is too much.
So make sure you are kind to yourself, take it easy as you find your strength and your legs.
Take it slow, be steady, stretch your arms out.

Good morning sweet girl, we missed you while you slept.

21
Oct

Right there

The coffee in my hand is still warm, the light is shining through a window and I sit.
In silence, remembering a different time.
Trying to figure out what happened, what is still happening, and when I took a turn.

" "Finding yourself' is not really how it works.
You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket.
You are also not lost.
Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people's opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.
'Finding yourself' is actually returning to yourself.
An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you."

I have lost my way, but not myself.
I am here, right here, still standing, still me.
Some pretty exceptional people have stood up to tell me so.
To remind me of the real me, not the opinions floating around, not the rumors I am spreading about myself in my mind, I am right there, right here, the whole time.

I know why other's opinions matter.
I know why I take it so seriously.
I know why I take it all so personally,
because to me, it's always been personal.
It's always been serious, and to me, it's important.
All of it is.

I can't explain it well, I don't have the right words to tell you why I view life this way, I can't not take it seriously, I can't just pretend about anything, and I'm really bad at letting go.

So instead, there is some undoing I have to get to.
I have to undo some irrational thinking and I have a lot to figure out right now.
Big things, important decisions about the direction I need to take, the U-turn that I have no choice but to take.
I don't have to find me, I am right there, right here.
I am here, standing, breathing, me.
I am real, I am just as important, I am just as significant and I matter.

I am worth it, I am good at things too, I am capable.

It's darker now, I wasn't able to do this all in one sitting.
The light is fading and candles fill my space.
I have had some real conversations and some significant realizations.
I understand a little more about my direction and I started to turn the car around just a bit.

Not to find me but to go back and return to who I know I am.
I am right there, right here, still standing.

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.

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