27
Dec

Dear 2021

You started with such hope, such promise.
You started with my letter to Joe, my promise to love, my promise to myself.
We had so much planned for you. We were all getting vaccinated, we knew vaccines for the kids were soon to come.
We had a trip of a lifetime planned, 2 solid weeks in Hawaii. We were going to spend the summer being stupid happy, drunk with happiness. We were going to surround ourselves with friends, we were going to have experiences, the kids were beaming, Anna couldn't stop chattering about all that was to come.

We settled into January and felt so cozy.
Cole was back in school full time, Cory too.
Anna and I had this amazing groove. I brought her to school two days a week, she worked with me at home three days a week. Pearl never ever left her side. We took breaks to walk her or run to get a bagel downtown. We really made the absolute best out of her virtual learning.

We were so happy with the pace of our life. And the "hardest" part was picking up Cole by 3 and waiting in that forever line to bring him home. That was the most frustrating part of my whole day. It really felt good.

Come spring, we were still on top of our game, nothing sinister around the corner. My business was flourishing, I was really busy but able to keep up. I was adding more and more services, I had plans and strong partners to turn to and ask questions of. I was loving my work, so happy I found this, thrilled I had made the move.

We all were really just walking slowly and again, stupidly happy. The only thought of concern was holding out hope for our trip, that COVID would allow us to go. But, even that felt so shallow to "worry" about. Postponing a trip was nothing. We would figure it out.

We saw friends all of the time, we were each other's everything, life was feeling quite wonderful.

And then, out of nowhere, things started to break down. And fast. So, 2021, I could list all of the ways you turned on us. How the light quickly went to darkness, but would good would that do? And, a lot of the stories I have to share are not mine to tell. So, I will say this...

By the time I arrived in Hawaii, I was a mess. I was crying and feeling regret and guilt leading up to the trip and on my first day, I woke up to devasting news that would change a life that I love forever and always. I spent the first three days feeling so heavy and really screaming at myself to just be here.
Be here, in Hawaii...but I couldn't.
If there was anywhere to breathe, it was here, but I couldn't.
If there was anywhere to feel your breath, it was here, but I couldn't.
I tried...
to remember this is their only time here,
our only time here, but I couldn't.

The day that we came home, the hits kept coming. More and more people that I loved and cared for were being taken down. I couldn't keep up. I was putting things on my busy calendar and thinking, maybe I'll be able to be there, most likely not. I kept having to explain myself...canceling meetings, canceling with prospective clients and staff, canceling my appointments. I wasn't sleeping, or I was too much. It all just ran into each other and it was a lot at once.

Ok, so 2021, you brought on a shit storm and you brought it quickly and made sure to keep it flowing, but here's some of the amazing that it was able to do...

Just us four.
We leaned hard on each other. But like really hard. Like my husband having to pick me up in a hospital parking lot unable to breathe from how hard I was crying hard. But he was crying too, and still carried me home and put me to bed. And my kiddos, we did so much crying and hugging together. And I think they got it, that we are important to each other. But, they also had a lot of crying to do and a lot of questions that I didn't have answers to. And my 12 year old stepped into the role of compassion and my son stepped into the role of innocence and we hugged each other all of the time.

My extended family.
It's no secret that our relationship has been complicated. Heavy. Filled with stress. I have done so.much.healing. Throughout the years, I have put a lot behind me but never forgotten. So I always knew that I wasn't completely done. This year brought the complications and memories back up, made me scream them out loud, made me say things to them I never thought I would, and made me put them to bed. And you know what, we're in a different place now. Oh, we're still very much us with undertones of "don't start that conversation" and "don't start...I'm serious, don't" but in a much different place. For the first time ever, actual priorities are priorities. Things that are supposed to matter do, and things that don't, they still do too, but in a different way. I cannot explain it, but it's different now. At the end of this all, we can say that we've said all we've needed to say, we've been honest, we've been loving and we were there for each other. That is an accomplishment so we're going to be ok.

My marriage.
It's also no secret that Coach is the absolute love of my life. I think about him and us all of the time. I think about our start, I think about where we are and I think about where we're headed. It's also no secret that we have been trapped in an eternal fog. A fog that lifts and crashes back down for years. A fog that was at its thickest and then cleared and then got mucky again and then, this year, had a breakthrough. And my house is different. We scream less. I'm less worried. We find a different way. We finally started listening to each other and when we hit a road that asked us which direction we're going in, we answered...I'll follow you anywhere. The kids are happier. Dinner together is different. Talks are different. Our daughter shares so so much and just talks about nothing until it is something. My son is just himself and we're all very happy with that. We look at how much joy he brings, even if it comes with a storm of tornadoes.

My body.
This year has come with some significant changes. My body has had some significant changes. From a workout that is doing more for my spirit than my waist, to the start and end and start again of PT, to minor surgery that is driving me nutty, to stress making me forget things...this body is changing. But, I am proud of myself for slowly, painfully, in my own tormented way, changing with it. There are so many things about myself I do not recognize anymore and I, of all people, am getting there. This is a breakthrough for my mind, my image, my thoughts. I will never ever be the type of woman that is all in on herself, but this has been a huge change.

My squad became each other's lifeline.
Friendships changed.
My life looks different.
My heart is different.
Some parts are healed, some parts are broken.
Sometimes it feels this joy and release, sometimes it feels such sorrow and weight.
My trust is shaken but my ability to love in the way I do has been heightened.
My house is quieter, but maybe we all could use some shh...
I sleep when I'm tired...but sleep hard and fast.
My puppy and I walk and walk, we have a really good rhythm.

It's all very different because of you 2021. I do not think 2022 will be a fresh new start, I think it will come with its challenges and changes too. I think it will come with more complications, more mourning, maybe healing, more joy...but I also think that this is the life of a 40 something. The changes we all go through, the heartache, the role reversals, the pain, the joy, your children age, your parents' age, you age.

So when I say goodbye to you 2021, I won't be filled with the same promise and hope for 2022. I won't welcome it as I did you. I've aged and I'm different now. I'll accept the new year, live my life, feel my feelings, love how I love, create what I want to forever keep, remove what hurts, keep going. It's all different now.

19
Dec

Five minute Friday - announce

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 announce.

Go.

Like so many, each year, I try and pick a phrase, a word, a guiding light for my year.
They have ranged from
More and less
Peace
All is calm, all is bright
Change and different

I have also tried different monthly additions, ad-ons, ways to connect.

This year, I'm landing on comfort and joy.

I'm not ready to talk to you yet 2021, it's coming, but I'm not ready today. I'm gathering up my thoughts on you and what you have brought. I'm trying to reconcile it all. I'm working on it. Because although so much happened in this year, and the pain, the heavy was so noticeable, I also need to remember that this is life. Life has pain which means it has joy which means it has love which means it has loss which means it has meaning.

So, I'll get there 2021...I'll get to a place where I can talk through our days together.

But, 2022, my hope and my wish, the reason I announce a phrase/word/saying/feeling/goal is because I need comfort and joy this year. I need laughter, I need snuggles, I need a little taking care of, I need a little hand-holding.

Please universe...hear my wish, please take this announcement and know that I am asking, I am in need.

Comfort and joy.

Stop.

19
Dec

Flaws

"So flaws can be good too?"
"They're the best part."

-SATC

The way wood has bumps and scratches.
The way cooper patinas.
The way dishes have chips.
Flaws can be good too.

The way a house creeks.
The way walls can have finger prints.
The way rugs can have stains.
Flaws can be good too.


The way I can be so stubborn.
The way you are so absent-minded.
The way we can be hard on each other.
Flaws can be good too.

The way anxiety can push a person to keep working.
The way anxiety can push a person to rest.
The way anxiety can push a person to be both.
Flaws can be good too.

The way people can be childish.
The way people can be dependent.
The way people can be impatient.
Flaws can be good too.

The way a woman's body looks after birth.
The scars and marks and healing she needs to go through.
The way it feels like it's hers but also feels so foreign.
Flaws can be good too.

The way I can be so judgemental.
The way you can be so forgiving and understanding.
The way we're both right and wrong.
Flaws can be good too.

The way my face is aging in front of my very eyes.
The way our bodies are changing.
The way aches and pains just are.
Flaws can be good too.

The way love stories write their final chapter.
The way love can also hurt.
The way love means you hold that person inside forever.
Flaws can be good too.

Actually, "they're the best part".

12
Dec

Five Minute Friday - behold

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 behold.

It's a good time of year to take stock of all of the beauty in this world.
It's a good time of year to remember that we are all very lucky.
It's a good time of year to take a look around you and say...behold...

I have a loving family.
I have a dog that I get to see all day long.
I have a job that allows me to live well.
I have a home.
I see sunsets and rises.
I get to work out every day and move my body.

Behold...

I get to walk my puppy and she freaking loves it.
I get to spend my days with the love of my life.
I get to have my two babies still sleeping under my roof, in my home, walking up and wanting to be with me.
I get to make amazing traditions.
I get to introduce my daughter to amazing shows that I loved growing up.
I get to watch movies with my hubby.
I get to travel.

Behold...
I get to love and lose and hurt and cry and laugh and feel...feel all the feelings.
I get to embrace and smooch.
I get to hear music and dance.
I get to be.
I get to make misakes and be.

12
Dec

Where our story begins

There is something so beautiful about the beginning of a love story. Something so sweet, so pure. You can't stop smiling, your heart rushes, something happens in your toes. You can't get enough and you can't picture anything different. And no matter what happens to your story, holding on to that feeling is just so important. In fact, I once read that you can tell if couples in therapy have a fighting chance by the way they talk about the start of them. If they fumble through the story and giggle and remember the joy or if it's all about how it all went wrong and feel as though it started with contempt.

I am so lucky to have so many gorgeous love stories and more for me than you, I want to share them. I wanted to honor them and I wanted to remind you that happy endings look so different. There is no need to mention names, those who know already know. Some are people, or pets, or places/cities. But the who is something I will keep just for me.

When I first met you, I was 14 years old and still desperately trying to figure out how to get through this part of my life. I had my goals and my life planned out, but I was too young to be this angry. You kind of got it, you understood, and you validated how awful this was. You made me a teen with crushes and late-night talks. With an obsession with the phone, notes being passed, talks about boys, first kisses. You made me young and happy.

When I first met you, I was dating someone else and you came on strong. You wrote me letters, poems, you wrote about me. You read my writing and you were amazed that we shared this secret language that we shared with no one. You made me feel so special, so seen. You were my first young love. You made me feel like me and okay with that.

When I first met you, it was way later than I should have. Everyone else had done visits and tours of their choices and made an informed decision. I saw you through brochures because I wasn't allowed to see you in person. But when I did, when I did, it was everything I wanted. From the moment I laid eyes on you, you felt like a warm blanket, ready to take care of me. You were gorgeous, absolutely stunning.

When I first met you all, we were crazy young, a little nervous, but so so happy. We were all trying to figure out what this important part of our lives was going to look like but one thing was for sure, we were going to take care of each other, be there for each other, we created a home, a framily. Years and years and years later, we have been through heartache, heart breaks, first adult loves, weddings, babies, raising kids, taking care of aging parents. We have held on to what we created.

When I first met you, I met my heart, my forever person. Your background was so similar to mine and you understood me in a way most couldn't. Your family was so loving, so caring, so there and supportive and that's exactly what you became. What you have given me is my forever and ever family. Watching our kids become who we were, what we still are, is the highlight of life. Loving your husband in the way that I love you, knowing you love mine as deeply and meaningfully. You fill me full, you are my one week a year and you so beautifully know and accept me. You so lovingly appreciate how crazy the four of us are, and you teach me...you fill me full.

When I first met you, it was my very first night of college and we stayed up all night talking. We sat on a wall and talked the night away about where we came from, what brought us here, our families. Our stories were so different. Within months, you became my first college boyfriend. You made me laugh, you made me have fun, you made me dance, you loved music as much as I did. You let me be with my girls, and you made me happy.

When I first met you, I was taking a class that I needed to check off my list. What I found was an amazing love of the subject, a deep sense that I needed to learn more and more and that I could not get enough of you. What I found was the beginning of my love of education, no longer my have to, but my actual love and desire.

When I first met you, you were seven and you changed everything about me. You and your family had me believe in a loving home filled with laughter and healthy fights and warmth. You gave me a future to believe in and a career that would change my entire life.

When I first met you, you were the funny guy downstairs. We bonded over our love of Pearl Jam and our friendship drove us both mad and crazy. It still does to this day. You make me laugh and think differently. You opened my eyes to the world, you were protective, you were inspiring, you were a real and amazing friend.

When I first met you, we were playing a game at one of your house parties. You leaned over and kissed me and took me by such surprise, but that kiss sparked something, years of something. You had a way of taking care of me, even though I was trying to scream that I didn't need to be taken care of. You had a way of making me feel special, even though I felt like I didn't deserve it. Ultimately, you were what helped me realize what I did deserve and what I needed to be looking for.

When I first met you, you were in a little ball in a cage waiting for your family to find you. As soon as we laid eyes on each other, we were locked in. The day I brought you home, you sat next to me like my little co-captain in this life. And you held that role, most times taking the lead but just a nudge, but always always being there. You became my reason, my heart, my family. You brought dad to us, you made him fall in love with us. You were soft and gentle and cute and smelled so good. We took such good care of each other. And for all of the years of love and moves and changes and life events, I have no regrets. I know I loved you as hard as I possibly could and I know you knew how much that was. You were my reason.

When I first met you, I was renting a movie, your smile immediately drew me in. I met my family, and I was home. All that we have created together is remarkable. Our decades together have meant something. Our future is still so unknown, but solid. Even through our darkest and hardest of times, you keep us...you keep us. I want to thank you for never ever giving up, for listening, for moving in the directions we needed to move. I want to thank you for your undying support, a real true partner. I want to thank you for picking up what I have needed to drop. I want to thank you for knowing how important my work is to me, but also bringing life back to us and them. I want to thank you for falling in love with puppy kisses and being patient with my mothering. I want to thank you for insisitng I become a mother, something I love so much. I want to thank you for loving me and growing with me.

When I first met you, it was different. Two little lines told me you were coming and in that instant, our connection began. I can't explain it, but when I placed my hand on my belly, you whispered that you were a girl. Months later you told me your birthday and months and months later, you were here. A person. Half me, half dad. You made us walk into parenthood so gently and lovingly. You were so easy, so easy to care for, so easy to love, nothing was ever hard those first three years. You slept, you ate, you got sick, you got better. You cried, you were serious, you laughed, you danced, you fell in love with puppy kisses. You were the daughter I was always afraid of, but exactly what I never knew I always needed.

When I first met you, well, it was love at first sight. They put your little head up to me and we gave each other our first "little guy" kiss, something we do to this very day. You looked at me differently, like I was your world...your moon...your stars. I just could not believe the way my heart felt. But today I realize that my heart was feeling what your heart feels. Because your heart is something that dreams are made of. You have such a loving and caring and affectionate soul. Your heart is always on he outside of your body...always. You feel very deeply, you love so naturally. You are a good friend, sibling, son, student. All there is to know is that you will be loved in this world and the world needs to change to accept your love. You do not need to change to meet the world, your love will be the change this world needs.

When I first met you, I was a mom in the thick of it and so lonely. I was in the middle of my marriage fog and desperate for family. I asked for you, and you showed up. My heart was insatntly connected to yours and your family. My soul was full. You were exatly what I needed at exactly the time I needed you. We raised our babies together. We struggled together. You walked me through years of heartache and change. You helped me to see my husband's side of the story. We watched our boys go from parellel play to actual best buds. We saw how complete opposites they were, we laughed at all of the ways they need each other, but drive each other nutty. I fell for you, you taught me so much. You made me a better mom and person and you helped me see balance so differently.

When I first met you, all I saw was a picture and turned to dad and said, this is her, this is our girl. We have to go and get her. There was a lot of back and forth but the day came that we finally got to take you home. You were a bundle of floopy skin and so shaken. Strangers opened up a car door and I turned to our littles and said, she's here, this is our new girl. You instantly warmed to us and we started on our lover of love adventures. A puppy that wants love, and smooches, and caring for more than food or potty breaks. A puppy that is my running and walking buddy, but also my snuggles and fireplace lover. A puppy that loves a nap and a tasty snack but hates the rain or being wet and dirty. A puppy that loves to run looks so natural doing so, a puppy that lives for us, shakes her cooley at us with excitment for just being home. The ray of light we all needed at exactly the right time we needed it. Our perfect, precious ray of light and love. A reminder that time heals and love moves on.

The beginning of a love story is so precious, so wonderful, so caring. It feels so right, exactly what you needed when you needed it. No matter how the story ends, what new chapter you write, just hold on to the feeling of love that you were a part of. Thank the universe for bringing it to you, making you feel that way, that special, that needed right back. Thank them for their part in it. Because love stories come and go. But knowing all of our hearts, we never let the love die.

6
Dec

Recordings

"Once it's recorded, you'll have it forever".

I've written for a very long time, never calling myself a writer because that feels like a heavy title that I do not live up to. But, I write. What once started as a way for me to get down what I was feeling, and needed to get out without saying it out loud, has turned into this, a way to record you. A way to remember. A way to keep what we shared forever.

Because there is so much that we have shared. So much we have already gone through. So much that we've already done. So much that I know I will forever remember, but will you? And for some crazy reason, I want you to know. I want you to know how wonderful and difficult it all was. I want you to know that it was a decision I did not take lightly but made me feel so much lighter. I want you to know that it was crazy hard. I want you to know that it made all of our relationships different, especially the one I shared with your dad. I want you to know that what was once the easiest relationship of my life turned into the hardest, but I would do it all over again. I would. And that means something, you meant something, this time together definitely meant something.

I want you to know that I really really liked being a mom, and I never ever thought I would. I want you to know that I really really liked being your mom. I want you to know that we tried, each and every day. I want you to know how often we failed and tried again. Tried and tried and tried again.

I want you to really know the good. I want you to remember the traditions. I want you to know that traditions are important and I want you to have some with your families. I want you to remember how special they were to us. I want you to remember how much they built our foundation. I want you to know that we loved you.

I want you to know that every day, "adults and parents grieve". They are grieving the old you that was yesterday and accepting the new you of today. Every day, you are changing before their eyes and for those that are noticing, it's really something. Magical, yes. Wonderful, sure. Exciting, of course. Sad and mournful, also true. And so, every day "adults and parents grieve."

So I record it all. I want to remember, I want you to remember, I want to have it forever and always. What started as a way for me to get my feelings out, has continued to be me getting it all out, just in a way that captures who you were, how it felt, who you're quickly becoming, and how we're all doing.

3
Dec

Five minute Friday - expectation

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 expectation.

Go.

I have unbelievably high expectations. I expect too much.
Out of myself.
Those that I love.
Those that love me.
My career.
My team.

I expect the love of my life to love me in a way that makes me feel loved.
I expect those that I work with to give their all with love.
I expect my family to have been there for me in the way that I needed.
I expect my friends to be framily and show up as I do - like the family I always wanted.
I expect my kids to be well behaved, respectful.
I expect myself to work hard.
I also expect myself to have balance.
I expect that I will set and meet goals.
I expect that I will work my body.
I expect that I will also be gentle on my body.
I expect that I will be a good parent, bride, friend, framily member.
I expect to be there for those that I love, always and forever kind of be there.
I expect to be a really good mom - nothing about perfect, but really good and always learning and trying.
I expect to take walks with my girl.
I expect to snuggle with my monkey little boy.
I expect a loving household, built on traditions and care.
I expect that love to seep out of all of us.

And damn, when expectations are not met, I do not respond well. I get hit really really hard. I fully and wholeheartedly take responsibility for my expectations being too high for people...almost difficult to meet too high. I fully and wholeheartedly take responsibility for my part and my crazy.

But I also know that with this comes a girl that loves deeply. Loves with all that she has because she doesn't know how else to love. There comes a girl searching, looking hard for what she feels she needs. There comes a girl that wants the best out of her family, but also gives them the room to make mistakes, grow, learn...kids so desperately need that. I know the part I play in this. I know how I set myself up to be let down. But I also know that to know me is to know true connection, true deep love. To know me means that I have let you in and I take that so seriously. I can either keep apologizing for who I am, I can keep trying to be different. I can keep saying that maybe it's possible for me to be different, or I can accept this part of me.

I set the bar high, I know. But if I am so willing to accept and love others, I have to start showing up for me in the same way.

Stop.

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