19
Apr

Five Minute Friday - next

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 next.

Go.

What is next for me? Where do I go from here and how do I keep going and moving towards what I want? I am scared, I am tired, I am so worried and my fear comes from having to only believe in me. I have to grab my whole family by the hand and throw them off a cliff and tell them that I am going to have us land successfully, without scrapes and bruises. Trust me guys, I can do this, I can have us fly off the cliff, not come crashing to the ground. And although they have all the faith in the world in me, I don't know if I trust myself enough to do that. And so I am worried, I am retreating, I am walking myself back and I am allowing fear in.

My next chapter in this journey will most likely be my last so I wanted to be intentional and really smart about it. I wanted it to be a combination of me and a challenge and growth. But, what if it now feels unauthentic, what if it now feels like I am an impostor? Is that the fear talking, is it me, should I listen to the nagging voice, should I push through? What is next? There are moments in this, glimpses in which it feels so natural. I feel right, I feel in control, my connections are aligning, my hours mean something. There are most times when I feel defeated, like it is all for nothing. Like I will never move, like my next will not come.

So, it is time to use my "me-ness" for the good. Set a plan, get it in order, get all my to-dos laid out and move. Don't stand still, don't bury your head, don't just cry and complain. Exhale, know what is next, remember your why and your reason, remember the hours and what you really want your life to look and feel like, move with your breath, be intentional, connect, be there for people, remember it all started with a purpose. Hold on to that purpose, know that others will find you because they too want this in their life. Hold on to who you are, hold on to them, jump, leap, cradle them in your arms and believe. You will land, you will do this. This is your next chapter, do your thing, do you, make it count.

Stop.

14
Apr

Goo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and allow me to become my own butterfly.

12
Apr

Five Minute Friday - lack

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 lack.

Go.

When we feel as though we are lacking, we feel less than. We feel as though there is a hole that needs to be filled, but we don't know what needs to go in there. Nor do we know how to fill it. Nor do we know if we are the ones to fill it. Because we are lacking. We could be lacking in love, or light, or confidence, or balance, or strength, or power, or joy. But what that means is that we are without it and if we are without it, we are not complete. We are missing something vital. We are missing an important part of who we are.

When we feel as though we are lacking, we feel without. We feel stripped and find ourselves seeking "it", no matter what "it" is. We have to get it back, we have to find a way. Recently, I have found myself lacking. In most of the above. I have therefore found myself on the hunt and that is never a good place to be. So, I have to recognize this is where I am. I have to start counting all of the things I do have, I have to start accepting that time and the universe will answer and I have to give "it" up, no matter what "it" is. Here is my ultimate, I have what I need. I am not without, I am not lacking the strength or rhythm or desire. I am not lacking the work ethic, I am not lacking the drive. I am not lacking in the balance needed and wanted. I am not lacking in the calm that I seek. I have it all, I just have to tap into me.

Stop.

8
Apr

Double-digit girl

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

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

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

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

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

Happy birthday sweet Anna James.

5
Apr

Five Minute Friday - offer

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 offer.

Go.

It's been a crazy crazy ride. I am only three months into my year of change, and everything has changed...ask and you will receive I guess. I have been through drama and heartbreak and actually breaking and worry and stress and my body has revolted and my head has pounded and I have been concerned and scared and cried.

So, I surrender, I am waving my flag and telling this grand universe, I am yours, I am up for the taking and I hand it all over to you. I offer you control and all of me. I offer you my life, my future, my path, my journey. I offer you my mind and my concerns and my heart full of fear. I offer you my tears and my pain and my aching jaw. I offer you my stress and my place in all of this and me, I offer myself up to you. I offer it all up to you. I offer you my wonder of where I belong and my craze of how it will all work and my heart up and down. I offer you my days and my nights and my weeks and my months. I surrender to you because I do not know how or what to even ask of you so instead, I just plain surrender and say it is yours for the taking.

I offer up to you full control of all I have rattling in my head.

Stop.

31
Mar

Stepping back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29
Mar

Five Minute Friday - measure

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 measure.

Go.

I am in a constant battle. A fierce competition and I am always losing. My competitive nature falls squarely on me. I am in constant competition with myself and most times, I don't measure up.

Of course, like all things me, there are times it serves me well. It is why I can do solo races, it is why I can do races at all. It is why I work so hard, I do so much, I expect so much out of me. It is why I am given more responsibilities, it is why people can count on me. It is why I know I won't let people down, it is why I do hard and scary things.

But, again, like all things in my life, there is the hurtful con of being me. Like I never measure up to whatever vision I have in my head. Like I am more disappointed in myself than amazed. Like I am always racing against me. I am racing against all of the things I created, all of the things I made up. Like timetables, and things, and goals and accomplishments, and have tos...all made up in my head. And once they are put there, they feel so real. As real as someone else telling me I have to do this or that. As real as my life depending on getting there. A measure I have to live up to in order to be considered what exactly? What title will I give myself when I never reach the finish line I keep pushing away from myself?

That's what it feels like to be an "upholder", someone who responds to inner and outer accountability. That's what the balance is all about. It serves me and others well, of course it does. It also is harmful to my soul and will if I don't get control over it. Because I will never live up to the me I feel I want to someday be. All I can do is embrace who I am today, and work towards the me of tomorrow. All I can do is set goals and celebrate reaching them sure, but just as important, I have to celebrate making them. I am someone that does not need to be told what to do, I will do it all on my own. That, all by itself, should be celebrated as an achievement. That should be measured too so tell yourself that. Tell yourself that when you feel you are failing at whatever pressure you have hoisted onto your shoulders. Tell yourself that when you don't hit that time in that race, tell yourself that when you're crying, tell yourself that when you feel like nothing you are doing is working. You are working, you are building, you are putting things into play, you are doing, you are walking the path, you measure up.

24
Mar

Darkest hour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will just be there.

22
Mar

Five Minute Friday - reward

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 reward.

Go.

Parenthood is hard, and lonely, and difficult, and trying. It ends a life you once had, a life you really enjoyed and it creates a whole new one. Parenthood puts your marriage through every test, every bump, every crash and bush. Parenthood makes you wonder what happened, and why did you, and where did you go, and what family are you living for, and how are you defining love. Parenthood makes you break, shatter, lose, find, gain.

So why do people sign up? What is the actual reward? Is there one? Here is the actual truth about it all. Parenthood is a struggle. Most of the time, you feel lost, unsure, scared, worried, not on top of your game, your patience goes away, you wish you hadn't said that, you wish you had showed up for that, you wish you could have taken that back, you are mad, you are tired, you don't know what to say, what to do, you are in a fog, you come out of a fog, you remember there is a you in there somewhere, you cry...a lot, you lose sleep, you stress. But, the good...

...the good it so good that it carries you through all of that. The good is so good that they are the moments you will think of during your last days. The good is so good that it skews the bad, it makes you remember it differently, it makes you laugh at the things that bothered you yesterday. It makes you wish for the times that while you were sitting in them thought to yourself, when and how will this ever end? The good is so damn good that you would do it all over again. The good is so good that it makes your heart burst open. The good is so good that when you close your eyes, you find yourself actually smiling. The good is so good that when you look back at pictures, you only remember the good. The good is so damn good, it is so so good.

Is it for everyone? No. Is it what every person on earth should do, needs to do, is wasting away if they don't do it? No. Is it what I thought I would be doing? No. Is it how I envisioned my life? No. Is it what I always thought I would be, a mother? No. Do I remember the bad? Yes. Do I remember why I was crying, or worried, or yelling, or stressed, or tired, or scared? Yes. Is there a reward, yes.

It is in their hugs. It is in their smooches. It is in their stories. It is in their playing. It is in the good-nights. It is in the reading dates. It is in the traditions. It is in the fresh out of a bath and pjs on look that melts my heart. It is in the I love yous. It is in the little hands that reach for you. It is in the little shoes that I trip over in my mudroom. It is in all the pictures, all over my house, the ones that make me feel like the rewards are so so great.

Stop.

15
Mar

Five Minute Friday - place

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 place.

Go.

I have a place that I call home. The home in which my little faces are making memories, the one in which I am setting strong traditions, the one in which I found with you when we still dreaming of tomorrow but so excited for where we stood.

I have a place that I call home. The home in which I can be cozy and comfy. The home in which I live in pjs. The home in which I can peal off the day and sink in. The home in which I do the majority of my work, the home in which I am raising them in, the home in which they are teaching me in.

I have a place that I call home. The home that reminds me of who I am when I am feeling too much like me. The home that reminds me of where I am when I am feeling lost. The home that supports me when I am feeling very much alone and extra lonely. The home I feel loved when I am feeling attacked.

I have a place that I call home. The one we built, created and warmed up together. The one that is a constant work in progress. The one that is always changing, adding, and taking away. The one that has evolved and grew in every direction. The home that you knew you wanted and I could not say no to your face when you saw it. The one you pour yourself into and your hands have touched every surface.

I have a place that I call home. And right now, I am feeling like I don't belong anywhere and I have lost my place, and I have lost and lost and lost. But not here, not home. Not where we live, not in our place.

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