31
May

The magic of play

And I would sit in my home and do laundry and cleanup and live in my reality and get to watch my six-year-old play and create worlds and friends and whole conversations. It was as real to them as the laundry was to me...

Have you ever peaked in on a little one playing alone? Have you ever listened in on the full on conversations they have...all by themselves? Have you ever been cautious, knowing the second they spy you, it stops because they start laughing to themselves?

Have you ever stopped what you were doing and really listened to the whole world and people they create around them? How real it is to them? How boredom is not boring when you are this young and you have so much magic living right inside of you? How real this world is to them? How engrossed they become, how large this world is? Have you ever watched a child play?

Do you remember doing this too? Do you remember playing this way? I definitely do. I remember that little big world that I created, I remember the discussions, I remember feeling not alone. I remember doing it with my parents "around" but when I noticed them, I would feel differently. The world would shatter because their reality would set in. I remember playing school with real students sitting there, I remember assigning homework and doing math problems. I remember the wall I used in my pantry as a chalk board and I remember my basement when we moved being my whole world. I remember posts in my house being people, I remember dancing with them. I remember playing.

Have you ever watched this world be built from the ground up? Have you ever seen how intricate it becomes, how legos become whole worlds, amusement parks, stadiums, war zones, homes, communities? I have a little one building communities like crazy in here. Have you ever watched a child play?

Have you listened to the families they create? Have you listened to how they set up different rooms in their homes and cradle their babies and talk about having to go to work and the pets they have? I have a little one creating her dream family, from the ground up, all the things she wants, baby in hand, career ready to go, dinner with those she loves. I have a little one creating a family. Have you ever watched a child play?

I remember how young it started, how my 2 year old would spend his days creating and building and constructing and conversing. I remember working close by and whenever I was able to take just one little breath, I would hear this tiny voice in the room next to my office, I would hear his imagination and all he was up to. I would smile so hard tears would spring to my eyes. Here he is at 8, doing the exact same.

I remember a little girl, my one and only, for three incredible years. I would watch her take care of her toys, I would watch her dress up and make and become so involved in the world she was creating. Here she is at 11, and that little girl is still there. The little girl that still wants to play with a doll and have a make-believe moment because it's not make-believe, it's her reality. Even living in the in-between has not robbed her of this joy.

Have you seen magic unfold in front of you? Have you seen the magic of play take over? Have you ever watched a child play?

29
May

Five Minute Friday - born

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 born.

Go.

The night before you were born, I knew you were coming. It was scheduled and I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at my packed suitcase and wondering and wondering about you.

I knew I would love you, I already did. I knew we would make room for you, we already did. I knew she would fall in love with not only you, but her brand new role, she already did. I knew it would be tough, it already was. I knew it would be easy, it already was. I knew it would be good, it already was.

There were a few moments when you had some people thinking you would come a little sooner, but I knew you were going to be born on May 30th, I knew we would hang on. I knew I was not sharing you with the world until that day arrived, I knew I would keep to keep you close, a little while longer.

The night before you were born, I held you on the inside of my body, I talked to you, I felt you push into my hand and I told you a little about the family you were about to be a very big part of. The night before you were born, I held you tightly, knowing this would be my last night with two heartbeats, and your mamma cried.

On the night before you were born, I knew it was time. It was time to put a huge and incredible chapter in my life behind me. A chapter I had no idea I wanted to write and a chapter I loved every word of. I would never be the "expecting mom" again. I would never again wonder, I would never again sit on the edge of my bed and hold anyone this way.

Here we are, eight years later, on the day before your 8th birthday. Monkey, can you promise me you won't get older tomorrow...I'll try mom.

Some things will never ever change.

Stop.

25
May

Five chapters

Autobiography in Five Chapters
1) I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there
I still fall in it… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5) I walk down another street.
-- Portia Nelson

Chapter one. I lived in chapter one for at least two decades. It felt comfortable, familiar, it felt a little homey. It was awful, the rage and anger and tears were plentiful. The hole was enormous and nothing was my fault ever. It felt really good to be the victim and I needed to be the victim. I could not have healed if I didn't feel like it was happening to me. Because when you are a child, it is happening to you. You are a victim of your surroundings. You are a product of what has happened. I didn't move on to chapter two because I grew strong or smart, I just grew tired.

I then lived in chapter two for several years. Pretending it wasn't there, everything was fine, being triggered by everything, all the time, never ever my fault. I lived there not because of comfort, but out of fear. I again needed to feel as though this wasn't my fault, I landed here but only when I was pushed. I didn't leave chapter two because I was brave, I turned the page because I finally saw what was in front of me.

I lived in chapter three for a few more years. I saw things, clearly. I saw that part of it was my fault, there were things I needed to take responsibility for. There were things I did wrong, it doesn't matter the situation. There were things I did wrong. And, there were things I needed to do. I needed to push towards. I am a product of my past, but I am also the choices I make today and the choices I want to make for tomorrow. I still fell down the hole, it just took me so much less time to get out. Not for any other reason than I was ready.

I stayed in chapter four for an even longer time, I am probably still there. I am a product of the good and bad of my past. I am loving, I am all in on love because of my past. I am a hard worker, my work ethic is undeniable, because of my past. I am loyal, I am fiercely loyal, all of my heart loyal, because of my past. I love and laugh often, because of my past. I love food, because of my past. I also see the bad and have decided to NOT allow the cycle to continue. I see it, I accept its pull, its presence, its undeniable presence. But, I continue to walk around it, I continue to not fall for it. I continue on my path. My life, my decisions. I get to write the pages from here on out.

I see chapter five, I see it around the corner, I just need to turn the page. I need to have the courage to turn the page and finish the book.

And I will, I will walk down another street, all in due time.

22
May

Five Minute Friday - forward

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 forward.

Go.

Each Friday, I plan, in detail, my next week. I look at my meetings/events scheduled, I prioritize my to do lists. I figure out what I have to do and when. And each week, as I look forward, I keep deleting all of the "things" we had planned since they no longer are happening.

In the beginning of the year, I had planned to slow down and take things easier. I had planned to find a new rhythm and slow dance. I had planned for things to be calm and bright. Fast forward to March of 2020 and the world stopped spinning. At first, it was the exact pause I needed and maybe it still is. But as it continues to fly forward, I don't see an end and I don't see a solution and I don't see how this will ever change. I only see the pause and isolation.

I, and my family, have been very fortunate. It is a privilege that it has taken me this long for it to feel heavy. I am privileged, no question about it. I am healthy, I am strong, we are both working, my brand new leap of faith business is still going. So, with knowing this all comes from a place of privilege, the weight is starting to feel a little heavy. I don't know if I can keep going and going without an end and without connection. So, today, I say a little please to the universe, a quiet little prayer. I would like to start looking forward once again and having something to look forward to.

15
May

Five Minute Friday - normal

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 normal.

Go.

I was never really fond of the word, and I hate it even more now because it's always connected to "our new normal" and no one knows that that means yet.

I feel as though the wheels are starting to fall off. The only thing that is "normal" is that we all need connection, in some way, we need people and connection in our lives. I need to have a meal with loved ones. I need to laugh with a friend. I need to squeeze and hug someone so hard I never want to let go. I want to see someone smile and their eyes light up, but not on a screen, I want to see someone.

I need to hear all about someone's day/week. I need to know how they are going, I need connection. I miss my people. I miss miss miss my people.

My little people miss miss miss people. God, they are longing for people. They are just waiting for any connection, any time, anything. They just need to know when they can see people again because they need to feel like there is another side to all of this.

I know we also need to focus on businesses and opening up the economy and what that all looks like. I know how important that all is, and how we all have so much to figure out.

I know this isn't the worst thing. I know this isn't the end of the world. I know how lucky I am, how lucky my family is, I know. But, I just miss people and I don't feel normal right now. I don't feel full and I just want a normal connection again. Even this introvert wants her people and needs them to feel normal.

Stop.

10
May

Mother's Day 2020

This year, I asked for all to be calm and bright.

I asked for time with you, time to regroup, time to calm my nerves, time to do one job only, and take on a new career, time to find the strength to walk away from a 20-year project. Time to linger and sleep, god, I really really needed so much sleep. I asked for time.

I asked for quiet, I asked for sleep. I asked for darkness and rain and sunny days and walks with Pearl. I asked for days off. I asked for time off during the day. I asked for more and for less. I asked for quiet moments to read, and look at you, and listen. I asked for it to be quiet.

I asked for you, I asked for you to talk to me. I asked for you to want and need this time as much as I did. I asked for your heart, I asked for your stories, I asked for your ramblings, I asked you to lean on me. I asked you to trust me, I asked the universe to give me the courage to not react, but to really listen and build on our already strong foundation. I asked for you lovies.

I asked for perspective, to get a grip on reality. I asked for fewer distractions, I asked for me to find out what I now am. I asked for my heart to grow and let go, I asked for a change to not make me feel like everything was ending but I also asked for grace to be sad. I asked for perspective on moving on, forward, and remember that love is what I do best. I needed perspective to get a firmer grip but a losen the hold I always need.

I asked for grace. Grace for me from me. I asked myself to remember how hard I worked, how much I care, how much I always do the best I can, how I am the first to admit that I could have done it better, but the grace that I did all I could, gave it all I had and did so only with love. I will always give it all I have. This all in girl needed grace.

So, here we are. I got all I wanted, all I needed. I have so much time. I have all of you, all of the time. I sleep and nap and then sleep more. I have given myself permission to sleep all I want when I want. That's grace for you. I read here and there. I work out. I eat so much and it feels so good. I binge-watch everything and I love it. I drink and that too feels so right. I have a new perspective and so many less distractions. I have all of you. I have everything I asked for.

It looks different than when I asked...it always does. It comes with the rest of life and the world tied to it...it always does. It comes with worry and concern and stir crazy emotions and tears...it always does. But, we are here. All of us, under one roof. We are safe, we have all we need, most of what we want, we have each other.

This mother's day, I am forever grateful that you talk my ear off Anna. I am forever grateful that our walks mean so much to you. I am so sorry how much we all miss our friends, so much that it is painful. I am so sorry that there are days we all just need a good cry...that unfortunately will never change.

I am grateful that you come with me on my runs monkey. Even on the days I so badly need just an hour alone, you're all in with me and you're ready to tackle that challenge. I am grateful that you love to work out with us. I am grateful that you love our reading dates and time with us, it is all you want...all of the time.

I am grateful that Pearl hugs us all and gets really upset if we're not all together. I am grateful for her sloppy kisses and playful heart. I am grateful for ball games in the backyard and a deck we are all enjoying.

I am grateful that during a normal spring we wouldn't even see dad but he is home, working with you on all of the school work, working on house projects. I am grateful he is so good at this, and even if he grumbles, he really loves it because he's so proud of himself and he should be, everything he does he does with only love for us in his heart.

I am grateful for the time, perspective, grace, quiet, you.

3
May

Today was hard.

It's Friday, May 1st. Normally, this time of year, we would be crazy busy. The kids would be in activities...baseball, tennis, piano, chess, drama stuff. Coach would be coaching and I would be trying to keep it all together. The kids would be bursting with excitement about the spring season and how warm it is and desperate to just be outside and play. The end of the school year would be looming, we'd all be over it in some way but instead...

Today was hard. Because today, it was announced that NY schools are closed for the rest of the year. My 5th-grade little girl folded into herself and cried, a cry so hard her body heaved, and whenever she found a quiet moment, she cried all over again. Right before bed, she held me in a way she hasn't in years and she sobbed. Today was really really hard.

What are you going to miss the most?

I'll never see my teachers again, this was my last year there and it's just over now.

This little one loves a tradition and loves looking forward to things and loves loves loves her friends...remind you of anyone?

The little one struggles with things ending, it feel differently to her, and she needs to mourn it a little bit...remind you of anyone?

This little one is scared, and sometimes, she thinks she can't do anything because she's too scared to try, but she always tries...remind you of anyone?

This little one feels things with her whole body, she cries with her body, just like she laughs with her body. She loves to find things to laugh about, she desperately looks for them because she just wants to laugh...remind you of anyone?

This little one started living in the in-between and can't go back now.

Today was really hard.

I messaged her teacher to tell her about her sadness, I told her about what she said about missing her and the response back was, well, it was the reason Anna will miss them most.

I have so many words and none of them seem to be right to convey the admiration and love I have for the tiny human that is Anna. The adoration is a two way street and being one of her teachers has been a great joy.
Our ride together is not over. I will continue to support Anna through her years at Saratoga and when she takes that walk across the lawn at SPAC I will be there with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart lining her path.
I have no doubt that Anna is going to do great things. I trust that with her sweet disposition, perfect comedic timing, beautiful smile, and driving determination she is going to continue to make us proud for years to come.
I have done my fair share of crying today as I mourned to the loss of many things. But as I worked through consoling myself I thought of the amazing impact these kids are going to have for what they have lived and thrives through.
Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you for all that she is and all that she will be.
I will see that sweet girl again
...

Today was hard. Tomorrow might be better, it might not. That part doesn't matter, what matters is that she's 100% allowed to feel sad. I told her that a good night's sleep will help, but she will feel sad for a long time and that's okay too. You're allowed to be upset because for a 10 turned 11 during quarantine little girl, well, you're allowed to feel like your whole world just shut down. You're allowed to miss your friends and your teachers and your routine and your school building and your activities. You're allowed to because you shouldn't at all be thinking about how much worse things can be, this is bad enough.

Through her sobs, she did say things like, I'm happy we're all healthy, and I'm really happy your uncle feels better...I know sweetie, but I know this is hard too and that's ok.

I do promise you will see your amazing teachers again. I promise that we will make these last two months as good as they can get. I promise you aren't the only one that misses her friends. I promise I will continue to make sure you're all in touch as much as possible. I promise it will get better, but I also promise that today was hard and that really is ok.

Tomorrow might be better, or there might be more hard around the corner, either way, we're in this together kiddo.

2
May

Five Minute Friday - distraction

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 distraction.

Go.

It seems as though many are looking for a distraction to get through these days. But, what if you were always distracted and you need a pandemic to have a new perspective? What if you used every excuse as a distraction and now, you are finally able to sit and see and feel and be okay. What if it took the world to no longer spin for you to find a sense of normal and stop being so damn distracted?

I was distracted with busy and work and hours and hours and hours of exhaustion. No, I was not the only one. No, it's hard for a lot of working parents, stay at home parents, single parents, people, life can just be hard sometimes. So, no, I was not special and no, I am not that important. But distracted was the name of my game for sure and how I lived most of my days.

No, it was not all bad. I still saw my kids and they still felt loved. I still had fun and found a good routine. There were moments I felt my hum, I didn't just hear it, I felt it in my body. I felt it vibrating and I felt so so good. But, once you lose that hum, once you are just doing to do, once you are "getting through" a week or a time or a lifetime, that's not a life worth living and you are too distracted.

No, I didn't have much of a choice. I made decisions and sacrifices for our family, I did what needed to be done and I wasn't keeping myself distracted to NOT face something, I didn't see a way out and even with space and distance, I would go back and do it all over again just this way.

I was able to set up some space, some security, I was able to do it in the way I felt most comfortable, I planned and I worked hard. All of that is ok and it was a "short time" in the grand scheme of life. But, distracted I was. So now, I look a little harder. I take in the view more, or at all. I find different routes to run, I really pay attention. Now, I spend time showing my daughter things and talking to the kids a lot more. Now, I'm a little less distracted.

Stop.

26
Apr

The grass is greener

Taking slower walks allows you to see things like when the grass changes from a brown/hint of green, to greener, still not summer green, but getting there.

Watching the world unfold like this allows you to see the ups and downs that people are having, feel the roller-coaster ride because you are going through it too, but you are going through it, it is not steamrolling you. We are getting there.

Watching a long, slow, calming rain come down on a Sunday afternoon reminds me of the things I love. The snuggle time, the flicker of candles, warm coffee, long long naps, kids still in jammies, smiles on everyone's face, getting slower, which is so needed because I am getting there.

Making my bed, cleaning up my kitchen, doing the laundry, cleaning the washroom, putting things away, getting it less messy, wiping away the goo from counters, cleaning up the floors, vacuuming, getting it to smell better reminds me of who I am and what also calms my heart. Because we all need a little bit of normalcy in order to get there.

Having a chat through a window, birthday drive-bys to show you love someone, calls, video chats, wine dates, social media connections, they are how all of us are reaching out. We need connection and love and our families and framilies and each other, we all just need each other. It's the only way we're going to get there.

Family puzzles, card games, movie nights, grilled pizza, happy hour on a deck, talking, planning, kid games, family time, long runs with littles on bikes, doggy runs that exhaust, it's the love in all of us that will get us there.

The grass is a little greener this week, we are getting there.

17
Apr

Five Minute Friday - another

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 another.

Go.

It's another day, another week, another month of isolation.

It's another way of trying to figure out what to do, what to continue doing, what to do now.

It's another long walk. It's another home work out, it's another cup of coffee, another glass of wine. It's another day of all of us together, it's another day of me trying to find a moment alone, it's another day.

It's another whirlwind of emotions. It's another day of being really thankful for how lucky and privileged I am. It's another roller-coaster ride of figuring out how to make it stop feeling so daunting, stop being so worried. It's another way of me trying to make plans and to dos when you can't. It's another way to plan and wanting needing a plan when you can't. It's another day.

It's another day of lots of talking and lots of family time and lots of eating. It's another day of being totally fine with it because we all need some grace. It's another day of letting go and trying so so hard to find normal, new normal, what another day will look like when they all look exactly the same but so so different.

Stop.

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