23
Dec

Calm and bright

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Hello 2020. I have waited a long time for you. In real-time, just 365 days, but in my head, it has felt like a lifetime. I have prayed for you to come and I swear, I thought I would never get to actually meet you. I found my saying for you 2020. It's a saying this year, not just a word, and I am so thrilled with it. See, I am shedding the difficult but still working on expecting more out of myself and setting goals within my limits and reach. 2020, I am ready for you.

All is calm, all is bright

I started my year of change knowing it was going to be tough, and I mean really tough. Not only was I taking on such a challenging word for me, but this was the year I would start to close out my career, my work, my value. After 20 years, I was going to put aside who I have been and start over. I started a new company three years ago and this was the year I said I can no longer do both. I would set myself up to say good-bye to BBBSCR just as I am saying good-bye to you 2019.

But, that meant I had a lot of work to do. I had to really bring it. I had to replace my income, I had to network, I had to meet and meet and meet and I had to sell a company. I had to hire. I had to create practices and processes and I had to believe I could. I had to believe this is what I do now. I had to bring it, bring all of me. My days were b.r.u.t.a.l. My family suffered. I lost my mind. My agency lost its mind. My memory was affected. My body was tired. My brain was a fog. I lost words. I lost my humor. I lost hope. I lost compassion. I lost all patience. I stopped believing. I got scared. I was worried. Everything everywhere went wrong. I went from putting out fires to throwing my body on grenades. Explosions became my norm. I cried, so much. I panicked. I got sick in really strange ways. Doctors were worried. But, it happened. I f'ing did it. The day before my birthday, I turned a corner.

All is calm, all is bright

And sweet sweet girl of mine, the one who kept saying, mom, I'm so excited. Mom, I can't wait for...or I can't wait to do... Mom, I can't wait for next year. Mom, you promised next year we would have more time. Mom, you promised next year...sweet girl, all is calm, all is bright.

Yes, it is going to be a different year. Yes, I did make promises to you. Yes, I am going to live up to them. Yes, sweet girl, I am excited too. Yes, I too cannot wait. Yes, I too am thrilled at all we will be able to do together. Yes, sweetie, it's finally happening. But mamma is also letting go of a lot right now and she is sad. She is also having to retrain her body and mind to no longer be in a constant panic, and that will take reconditioning, But yes, sweet girl, I am ready.

All is calm, all is bright

I did not do a single thing alone. You were always there lovey. You have always always always been my coach...always. You have always been such a support. You didn't flinch, even if you were worried. You never doubted, even if you didn't think it could happen. You didn't say, are you crazy, even if you knew I was. You didn't ever say, let it go, even when it wasn't working. You didn't ever say, this is too much, for you, for us, you have to stop doing this, even if it all was. You just hugged it out. You told me it was going to work and you told me that no one even knows what I am going through because I make it look easy. So, you also lied, but that's okay, you lied to make me feel like I had a handle on things I no longer did. You took on so much around the house and with the kiddos, and you dug deep, you were their everything, you were our everything. Their morning, their homework, their afternoons, their coach, their dinner, the cleanup...You did it all and asked nothing of me other than, you go ahead and finish up your work for the day. You listened to me cry. You listened to the panic. You worried about my health and would hug me and say, it's going to work out Brine, we all know it is. And you would allow me to melt right into you, head on your chest, crying like a fool, shaking, melt into you.

All is calm, all is bright

And you sweet sweet sweet boy, you asked all the questions. Why are you quitting? What does this mean? What will happen to your old job? Will you still be a boss? Will you still work all these hours? Will you no longer work on the weekends? Will you be able to play with me more? Will you play with me every night? Will you read to me?

All is calm, all is bright

Sweetie, I didn't quit, I resigned. There is a difference and the main thing that is different is, I will never be able to fully walk away. I am still in love with everything about that place lovey, but it was time. Yes, they will be fine, better than fine...they will have fresh eyes and energy and time and balance. See, mamma just isn't that important. All she did was love them and who wouldn't step into that role and love them? Yes, I will still work, yes, I will still lean into work, but yes yes yes, you will see me and yes yes yes, I will play with you and read to you and have reading dates and yes lovey to time.

All is calm, all is bright

It's going to be really different, but I'm still me. I'm still running a company that our family is depending on. Things matter for a different reason now. Things are going to be calmer guys, yes, but I will also be providing light again. I will be lit up again. I will be alive again. I will be living again.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I get some rest. I rest my brain and I rest my really tired body. I rest my nerves and hopefully, my mind, my memory, my words will all come back. I have my days set up the way I want them. I have some routine and schedule. I have meetings set. I have time set aside. I am starting to lift that damn foot off of my chest.

I have my workouts planned, I have my classes set up, I know when I'm hitting the mat and when I'm hitting the water and when I am hitting the road and when I am hitting the gym and lifting. I know when I am taking walks and I have time set aside to do that with you all too because you want connection and I do too. I have time set aside to write, and time set aside reading and I might even learn how to use a camera...like I wanted to when I was 14.

All is calm, all is bright

My hope is that I remember that I was once more joyful. I once carried more light so it's time for me to find that all over again. It will not be perfect, I will have to fight off some demons, I will still be me and like GR says, "accept yourself and expect more from yourself". I really am ready for you 2020, I have been for a while. I wasn't sure if I would get to meet you, there were so many times you seemed so far away I was sick at the thought, but you're here now. And welcome, it is so great to finally meet you.

All is calm, all is bright

20
Dec

Five Minute Friday - birth

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 birth.

And here we are again...when the word of the week directly speaks to me. I have been thinking so much about both of your births these past few weeks. I have a potential client that does home births, and I have been sharing your birth story, and I even was talking to dad about both of your stories. And then, this week, here's the word.

Anna, it all started with you and your incredible story. How you made your way to us, how scared I was in the room, how much scarier it got when we had to have surgery, your dad's face that I will never forget as he walked into the O.R. and we immediately switched personalities...he was emotional and worried, I was calm and confident. He was watching his whole world on a table, hanging in the balance of a doctor we barely knew, I was sure it would be great, and begged him to be with you..."there will be a team working on me, don't leave her side, be there for our daughter lovey, I'm going to be okay, it's all going to be okay." And it was. Sweetie, you came into this world at your own time, in your own way and even though there was what could have been chaos and mayhem, it, like you, was very calm. It, like you, had a silent presence, energy and actual force you could feel. And, again, you spoke to me...mom, it's all going to be okay, I'm supposed to come out this way, so just close your eyes and get some rest, I'll see you soon.

Cole, yours was exactly you. Even though it was supposed to be surrounded by the calm of knowing what was to come, well, it wasn't. Something went wrong every step of the way, just little things. You, my little monkey, needed to set your mark from the beginning. You were always telling me how different you would be and get ready mom, your life is about to get loud and crazy, and lots of energy coming your way. And then, all eyes were on you and people were immediately drawn. People fought over changing you, holding you, damn, you immediately won hearts. Your dad, this time, was ready. He knew what was to come. He was just waiting.

Lovies, your dad, he couldn't wait to meet you both. I so wish you could have seen him BEFORE he had you because it was so special and you would instantly know how loved you are. He is the reason you are here because watching him talk about you like you were already here, I just couldn't deny him this. I couldn't take this from him, he was made to be your dad, and he wrote this chapter for us.

Your birth, it was exactly how both of you were to come. One, slow, quiet, methodical. The other, crazy, loud, eyes wide open. Your lives, they are being played out exactly as they should be. Exactly as you, we, the universe is writing them out.

Thank you for finding us loves. Thank you for making this happen. Thank you for being the reason I believe in happily ever after and love at first sight. Thank you for making me a believer in magic and making me kinder and slower and more thoughtful. Thank you for giving dad this chapter that he so desperately wanted. Thank you for making me want it too and thank you for making our lives a page-turner.

Thanks for being born.

Stop.


15
Dec

Full circle

Lovies, things are starting to come full circle. It's the end of a very long year, the end of three very long years, the end of 20 incredible but forever long years. And, I tried really hard to embrace change this year. But, what ended up happening instead, is I got stuck a lot.

I have no idea how you guys will deal with change. Part of me thinks you will struggle because I raised you to love a tradition and love the consistency of knowing what is ahead. Part of me thinks you will be fine because it never hits you as hard...you rebound pretty well. But for me, change is so brutal I had to actually make it my word for an entire year to remind myself that it is also inevitable. I can never ever think it just won't happen and hide. It always finds all of us.

And just this week, there were three reminders of why I have to embrace the change that will always come our way.

First, I made a decision to stop long races for a while and enjoy running for the love of running. I started a new route, one by the lake right by our house. I never went this way before because it was a little scary, the road can be a little desolate and I was always worried. But, I started to go this way with our Pearl girl with me...and she loves it. And turns out, I love it too. I changed my mind and now really look forward to this little route. And this fall, this stretch really brought me back, made me stop and stare. It made me really ground my feet and take a deep breath and take it all in. I don't know if we had an incredible fall or if I was finally embracing the change that comes with the season but running this road full of falling gorgeous color with a puppy who was actually smiling because she was so happy made me appreciate the change.

Then, last week, the lake was just gorgeous water, as it has been all fall. I run around it and really try to see it for what it is, this incredible view I get right by my house. One I always shied away from, until I made a change. And then, one week later, the temps dropped and the lake turned to solid ice and it was a gorgeous mirror. It looked exactly like glass. It actually made me stop in my tracks because I was blown away by how in only one week, it could change that much.

Well, the very next day, the temps went way up, and the lake became marble. The cracks in the ice made it look like someone's beautifully hand-picked marble, but for as far as your eye can see. And since it was so warm, there was this layer of water sitting on top of it...all in one days time.

Change can be beautiful guys. I'm sure most normal people know this, realize it, move forward with it. I'm sure most normal people, especially grownups, don't throw actual tantrums over it, don't try and desperately hold on to things. I'm sure most people realize growing up that everything changes and you have to be really flexible. That's all part of maturing. All part of what your mom never really dipped her toe into.

As small as this was, or may seem, for me, this was a moment. This was me going with it, appreciating it, and loving the changes. Maybe I always would have, maybe I would have gotten there without dedicating a solid year to the word, maybe I would have seen it for the beauty it really is...maybe not. Maybe I needed a year of hardship, at times torture, loss of control, loss of myself, finding myself again, losing things I really cared about, finding my way back to them too...to finally get to this place. Change can be really beautiful. And your mamma has come full circle.

13
Dec

Five Minute Friday - darkness

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 darkness.
Go.

It's starting to get really dark really early in NY now. As much as I find comfort and peace in the dark, a still quiet, even I get a little over a 4:30 sunset. But, regardless, the darkness has settled in. The sun comes up much later and sets much too early, so most of the day is without light.

I too am surrounded in a cloud of dark right now, and once again, I am reaching my darkest hour. Things are unraveling quickly, my patience could not be thinner, my ability to care about all of the details all of the time, that too is thinning. I am less kind, I am more hostile, I am tired, I snap, there is a lot of crying, there is a lot of what ifs, there is a lot of pressure and there is a feeling of a foot constantly on my chest. I am struggling to find my actual breath, the one I go to my mat for. Even there, the thoughts race and my breath is too heavy, I am too heavy right now.

And so, I have to start my climb back up. I have to find my way out and remember that everything is temporary and I am so close to the end of my year and leaving a 20-year career is freaking hard, and there are a lot of feelings that have to be processed, and people around me have a lot of feelings to process, and goodbye will be rough on only me. But, this was my decision. I asked to go. And, most importantly, what someone told me months ago...Sabrina, you're a good person. Regardless if you are running a nonprofit for kids or not, you are a good person.

I will light my candles. I will make sure my Christmas tree is on. I will watch the twinkle of the lights. I will work by a little light next to my office space, I will embrace these dark hours and know that I will find myself again.

It's always darkest before the dawn isn't it?

Stop.

9
Dec

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, you paired me with a spitfire of a little girl. A seven-year-old that was joy and energy and the best example of childhood that I had ever seen. And I knew I was home. I was where I belonged and found all I had been seeking. Because I fell hard and fast for you and all you stood for. 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, I was on a mission to prove so many people wrong and I was doing it with a chip on my shoulder and hard edges. And you softened me. You were the example of something that I felt in my bones; that childhood is important. It deserves to be protected and defended and that is why, when I met you, I found my purpose. I found a new way to be, a new drive, a new commitment, I found hope...and who doesn’t need hope? 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, when I first met you, I was also scared. You taught me how okay that is. I will always be the one to walk through fear, but you taught me to keep walking. I stand in front of you today because I found people that always, at every turn, believed in me more than I believe in myself and they wouldn’t let me stop. You gave me mentors, you gave me family, you gave me a future and you gave me love. You gave me opportunities and you gave me something to fight this hard for...childhood. 

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, thank you. Thank you for all you do for our kids, thank you for how you change our communities. Thank you for realizing that we don’t create potential, we defend it. Thank you for making me realize I could do this, I had potential and I needed a little protection too.

Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters, I treasure you, I will always carry you, and I love you.

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