The collector

One of the most magnificent and accurate things I have read was:

I am a collector
Not of things
But of
Nostalgia and stories

I wear memories and stories and the past like a warm blanket.
I drape it over me, I allow it to keep me cozy when I feel a chill.
I sink into my memories as if they were bubbles in a bath.
I allow them to cover the naked and the cold.
I am a collector of memories and stories.

I remember most things with such clarity and life.
The memory plays back in my mind as if I am sitting back and watching a movie of it.
I am able to see all of the past unfold over and over and over again.
All of my past, the good, the bad, the ugly.
The parts I healed but never let go.
The parts I don't want to look at anymore, the ones I wish would vanish.
But I see all of us, all of you.
I am a collector of memories and stories.

I see your dad's face the first time I met him.
I see his smile, how clear blue his eyes were, how young he looked.
I see his face when two little lines on a stick changed our world.
I hear his voice when I let him know you were coming.
I am surrounded by the visuals, the colors, the vibrant colors of our life.
I am a collector of memories and stories.

I see your little face when I first met you Anna.
I see the towel wrapped around you the day I feel forever in love with you.
I see Cole, brand new Cole, being presented to me and offered a kiss.
I remember the first time I fed you both and the last, and every single time in between.
I am a collector of memories and stories.

I see the day we threw away baby bottles, I see myself on the floor of our kitchen crying.
I see your first crawl Anna
and your first walk Cole
and your first words, all of them.
I see every single costume you ever wore
each and every pumpkin carving you did.
I see our summers at the track
our framily at the Cape
our Thursday night dinners
our Friday night family movies
our Sunday pancakes
god, I see our family and our story unfold.

I see my childhood, the one I am reclaiming.
I see my grit, my determination, but I also see my anger, my lack of balance.
I see each job and how I was lead to a career and a business.
I see my entire life which includes the most exceptional of people.

I am a collector
Not of things
But of
Nostalgia and stories.


Five Minute Friday - include

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 include.

I made the decision to include you in my life pretty early on in us.
I just knew, our love would become family.
And so I decided to walk with you, side by side, hand in hand.
And there are times you allow me to take the lead, bring us down a certain path
but when it comes to the really big things, you lead me.
Out of fear, anger, mistrust, concern.
And you lead me straight to them.

It took me longer to include you in my life kiddos.
It took me longer to think about all of the pros and cons.
It took me longer to look at this parenting thing and for some reason, I felt I needed to go in
eyes wide open.
So I did, I did all of the research
I made us have all of the conversations
I came up with all of the different scenarios, situations.
And as always, you guys taught me.
That parenting and family doesn't work that way.
That all of life is day by day, moment by moment so let's live in it.
And when I finally decided to let you in, you made me something else.
You made me into this woman filled with beauty and love and warmth and you handed me my second chance at childhood.

We all make decisions on what to include all day every day.
What to include in our lives, in our days, in our moments.
We decide what to include in our homes, who we include in our circle, what to include in our heart.
We decide what to include in suitcases, baggage, closets, hearts.
We decide on what we let in, what we let take over, what stays and what has to go.
We decide and so I have chosen wisely.
I have included joy to balance my lack of.
I have included love to balance my cynicism.
I have included young to balance my old soul.
I have included you to balance me.



You're the best thing I did

From the outside looking in, or even from the inside looking right at us, it seems as though there are times I question my decision.
I know I get stressed too easily.
I know I am distracted and my lists take over.
I know that I'm not the parent that plays, I don't have an imagination to tap into.
But you, both of you, you were wanted.
You were planned for and desired and needed.
You are the best decision we made, I made.
And you're the best thing I did.

I question most of what I do.
Most of my decisions I play back and forth in my mind.
Most of my final decisions I worry about.
And I worry about you both too, of course I do.
I worry I am making the right decisions for you.
I worry that I am crushing happy.
I worry about your happiness.
But, I don't question for even one second that this is what I am supposed to be doing.
I question my parenting, yes.
I don't question my decision to have you both.
Because you're the best thing I did.

I realize there are days when you question my loyalty.
You question if I am on your side.
There are so many moments of exhaustion and deflated emotions from both of us, ones I am so not proud of.
but you, you are what I am most proud of.
You are my pride you are the best people that I know.
And even when you think I am not being fair, when you don't quite understand the why,
I promise my only intention is to keep you being you.
My only thought is building you, supporting you.
But to support something, someone else, it's a heavy load to carry.
But none of that matters, because you're here.
And not only did we decide to burst open our heart to have you here but, you're the best thing I did.

It won't always be this way.
We won't always be together like this.
Success is measured by you being on your own.
I promise I know that and I know that one day all too soon, you do just you.
And then I go back to me, us, without you.
It's hard to imagine for all of us right now.
It's hard to picture this time, but it's coming.
I don't know how I will be, I don't know how to explain how it will feel.
I can remember life without you, I peak inside that different world from time to time.
I miss that world too so the thought of going back to it has perks.
Because there was a time when a boy and a girl met and life was too easy.
And I don't know if we can ever get back there or if creating this experience means nothing will ever be the same.
But, how to stop being around you like this, I don't know how yet.
They say we will grow into it together and I have to trust that.
I have to trust that I will feel good about no longer seeing the day in and out of the best thing I did.

So on the days that the lists don't get completed.
On the days the laundry piles up for both of us.
On the days that the house projects have to take a back seat.
On the days that a deadline has to be rearranged.
On the days that we bail on life and spend it together
know that this overworked, overstressed and tired mother is spending time doing what she loves the most.
Being embraced by love from the very best thing she did.



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.


Five Minute Friday - future

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 future.

No one knows, right?
What tomorrow will bring,
what the future holds?
No one knows if there is a tomorrow, if they have a future.
But for some reason, we all keep making plans
even though nothing is promised
and I see that as hope unfolding each and every day.

I hope that this third date leads to a future with you.
I hope that one day you will be my forever.
I hope that we will build a future together.
I hope that this anniversary isn't our last.
I hope we spend our 40s owning our lives.
I hope we give them the best future possible.
I hope that we are setting them up for a future.
I hope that they see their future as exciting.

Hope is what keeps us making plans.
Hope is why we go to bed angry, hoping we have tomorrow to make up.
Hope is why we think it's a better time another day.
Hope is even why we put things off, I hope to get to that one day.
So hope can be beautiful and calming and peacful
because we are not saying never, we are saying in the future.

The reality is much darker
much more fearful and full of sadness
the never promised tomorrow
the not knowing what the future holds.

So, we make plans.
We make future plans.
And we build today around tomorrow.
We hope to see another day that gets us one day closer to our future.



What was our rush?

I remember starting out with you.
Each moment of our lives, I remember every, single last detail.
I remember the moment we met, how fitting we were.
I remember feeling close to you, a stranger.
I remember having a dream about you that night, I remember how comfortable and safe my dream was.
And, when I saw you again, I remember your smile when I walked into the bar.
I remember how happy and light it felt, but still comforting, safe.
We were kids, barely legal to drink, and we were family.

But somehow, we got caught up.
And looking back at our book of love, we rushed through so many chapters.
Always hoping for our next step.
And as I jokingly said to you, what do we wait for next...death?

And maybe it's because I was born 40
and maybe it's because you were always a kid at heart
and maybe it's because I had so much to prove
but somehow, we got caught up in the rush of it all
and we grew up too quickly.

This weekend, as we were watching our Friday night date movie
(because movies were always where and how we started).
We watched this young couple start their own book.
And for some reason, this movie hit us both so hard.
It brought up back to the beginning.
About how young we were
about how much fun it was then
and it left us wondering what was our hurry?
What was the rush, what deadline did we have?
There was a time when all we argued over was the laundry
and maybe you're right...
maybe we would have found more to fight about,
but maybe, just maybe...laundry would be our only tense moments.
Why did we have to grow up?
What was our rush?

But, as you remind me...
we wouldn't have met them
and we would have regretted that.
We wouldn't have grown into who we are
and we are still pretty great.
We would have held other babies and felt an ache
because you always wanted dad to be a title you held.
We would have missed out on building our house
because we all turned it into our home.

So why did we have to grow up?
Because everyone does I guess.
Because time continues to move forward.
Because Mia wouldn't have lived forever, even though she was the start of our family.
Because all that I am, is because of you.
There isn't an ounce of me that doesn't belong to you and what you believed I could be
who you believed I should be.
You believed in me, in us, always.
You made me reach, you challenged me, you made me believe in us too.

But, you have to admit...
if you could go back
if you could start it over again
if you knew the outcome would all be the same
you would jump at that chance.
And maybe, just maybe, we would linger more.
Maybe, just maybe, we would step back and really savor that time.
Maybe, just maybe, we would realize
there's no need to rush.
Time would get us here anyway.


Five Minute Friday - park

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 park.

It's happening less and less, our time in parks.
At one point in our lives, it was our weekend get away.
We could grab our puppy, head out the door and no matter the weather, you could find us outside, together, in nature.
Winter was our favorite with snow shoeing, probably because it was Mia's favorite too.
And there is something about a puppy smiling and clearly happy and then sleeping from exhaustion that makes you feel too warm.

But, seasons change
and time becomes more limited.
And with two little ones, our time in parks, it's happening less and less.
But the times we do get there, I always think, why are we not doing this more?
And a couple of weeks ago, when we said goodnight to Mia, we headed out.
And the kids ran, and played and found a play ground.
They ran too far ahead of us and they were shouting with joy and laughter.
And as I dragged my body through that very sad weekend, it was all of their smiles and laughter that reminded me how much life there is left to live.
How much happiness there is.
How many seasons we are spending inside and how much more we need of this.
Time outside again, breathing a different air.
Walking around, finding a mountain to climb,
finding more to do in winter when our part of the world is covered in a glorious white.

Our season is changing once again,
we have reached a time in our lives when the kids are a little older,
a little easier since they don't need to be carried
and a little harder because they need to be guided
but we always said we've got this as long as we're together.
And more and more, I am feeling this pull to the old us.
I understand there are parts we will never get back,
the days of feeling free and careless are forever gone.
But the days of silly and goofy and fun,
they are what should fill our time.
Because we will get back to those parks, hand in hand
and find our joy.



Five Minute Friday - happy

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 happy.

"You only know you've been high when you're feeling low"

It's in there, happiness.
It's there, sitting in you, in all of us,
wanting, needing, desperate to come out.
That joyful, free, light feeling of happy.
Joy, is sitting inside.

But in order to appreciate the sun, you need the rain.
In order to appreciate the warmth, winter has to set it.
In order to appreciate joy and love and all things glorious, you have to know pain and sorrow and sadness.

Your natural joy, your carefree spirit, your love of life and amazing smile,
that's what I fell so madly, deeply, crazy in love with.
Up until I met you, I didn't have the kind of life in which someone smiled through their day.
And I just knew, you were going to be the best part of me.
You were going to bring out the best in me.
Our life, would have struggles, because all lives that live and love do,
but happy, we were going to be happy.


And I was right, happy is what we found.
Our life has had struggles.
We are not strangers to pain, we have seen and felt and been covered in blue.
We have fought, with and for each other.
We have held hands through health concerns and kids and we have been turned upside down.
We have lived through this life, we are not surviving it and with that comes pain and loss and at times a hurt that makes your heart break and your face drop and your eyes spill emotion.
But happy, we are.
And through the tantrums and screams and chaos of kids and family
we are now searching for joy,
that natural joy that beamed out of us, when we first met.
When life was simple and all you had to worry about was simple too and you knew it.
I fell in love with that natural joy and it brought out a sense of hope and belief in me,
And I know that if we find it again, they too will realize that joy is just as important as love.

You see, when I feel, I am all in.
Sad, I am blue and covered in sorrow.
Angry, I am enraged and cannot see straight.
Happy, I am elated, beaming, sunshine and so light and carefree.
When I feel, I am all in.
And they are the same.
That is the childhood they and I carry.
We are full of big emotions in this house, all of us wear our hearts on the outside of our bodies.
All of us feel big and speak loud to have our feeling heard and realized.
When we feel, we are all in.

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So now that we have happy and love covered,
now that they know how safe they are to express their emotions,
now that our family is finding it's way back,
let's remember the power and magic of joy and happy.
Let's have them look back and say I had a

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Five Minute Friday - miss

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 miss.

Sitting in my office, a seasoned mother comes in.
A mother with no more babies, just lanky almost men living in her house.
No more small, no more cute.
No more stepping on toys, but tripping over guitar equipment.
No more worried about fevers, but terrified of the future.
And with actual tears, she says, "I just miss my baby, because I will never have him again".
And that's when the tears spill from my face too.

Of course she loves the teenager her son has become,
he's amazing, and their relationship is strong.
But, she misses a little boy she once knew that will never again be there.

Of course she is growing with him, as all mothers do because they have to.
But, she misses goodnight kisses and arms around her neck.
And she says to me, no matter how hard it is now, just enjoy them.
Not patronizing, not declaring she knows it all, just realizing there is so much I will miss of these little faces.
Because there is so much she misses of hers.
And it all happens too quickly.

Last night, I saw a blossoming couple madly in love.
One plus years into their relationship.
Just now moving in.
Embraced, smiling, so full of hope and new.
And I said to her, you remind me so much of us, all those years ago.
And with more tears, it makes me kind of miss us.
Yes, I adore our story and I mean adore it.
Yes, the years we have grown into us, I wouldn't take away.
But, never again will we be that carefree, that able to just love.
Never again, even when they are grown, will we be able to feel that new.
So yes, I miss that version of us.

Growing up, growing old, growing together.
There is such gorgeous beauty in it.
We know each other like no other, all of our secrets are out.
We have a special dance, a long and amazing journey behind and ahead of us.
But I miss newborn babies.
I miss little feet learning to walk.
I miss first words, first hearing mom.
I miss little high chairs and bottles.
I miss holding you whenever I wanted, I miss baby snuggles.
I miss oh so crushing little.

I miss new, exciting, calm, love.
I miss you being my only thought.
I miss early days of getting to know you.
I miss very little responsibility.
I miss pure joy, all of the time joy.

And here is how I know that I love my life,
if given the chance to do this all over again, I would, as long as it guaranteed doing it again with all of you.



In you

I don't believe in soul mates.
I don't believe that every pot finds its lid.
I don't believe that you always find who you are "meant" to be with.
I don't believe in "meant" to be with.
But, I believe in you.
I believe in family,
I believe that love can fix broken.
I believe in working for us
because I believe that you are perfect for me
and I believe in us.


I didn't believe in love at first sight.
I didn't believe that you should build a life on that first look.
I didn't believe it even existed.
Until I saw a little man that we created.
Until they placed him in my arms
until I gave him a kiss and said, hi, I'm your mom...
Until he looked at me, and thought that I was his moon and stars.
Until I heard him call you his buddy.
Until I felt him hug me tight.
I believe in working for us
because I believe that you are perfect for me
and I believe in us.

I didn't believe in happily ever after.
I didn't believe in happy endings.
I didn't believe it was possible and only happened in fairy tale movies.
I didn't believe in fairy tale movies.
Until I met a little girl that reminded me what happy is.
Until I fell hard, so hard, for a face that looked just like dad's.
Until she grabs my hand when we are walking, and gives it a kiss.
Until she opens up about her day in the most mysterious of places.
Until she loves to snuggle.
Until I hear how important our traditions are to her.
Until I see how much she loves us, all over her face.
I believe in working for us
because I believe that you are perfect for me
and I believe in us.

I didn't believe in family.
I didn't believe my childhood could be recreated.
I didn't believe I would ever see past hurt, anger.
Until I met you all.
And you took away my hard edge.
Until you created soft
and second chances
and joy
and laughter
and so many arguments that build and tear down and rebuild again.

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I believe in our perfectly imperfect family.
I believe in our faults, in our mistakes.
I believe in our love, in our desire to keep going.
I believe we are a fit, that we fit, that we always fit, that we were and are and will always be family.
I believe in us,
I believe that you are what is perfect for me
and I believe in us.

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