11
Oct

5 years later

I didn't realize how bad you were that day/that weekend. I didn't realize until the full day lingered and you hadn't moved. And then when dad came home, you were still just laying there. You had peed but hadn't moved. That's when I knew. You couldn't stand, you wouldn't eat, I knew.

We set the appointment and dad wouldn't come to grips with it, but I knew. It was a Friday late afternoon of a long weekend and they were closed that Monday. They said we could bring you back after the weekend if we wanted more time, but ultimately, this was the decision. He begged to take you home, but I looked at you and I couldn't let you suffer for three more days, it was time.

I put on my protective coat. The one I feel slipping over my skin when hard decisions are needed. It's the coat that separates me from my body and my feelings. It actually makes me feel colder, but it also allows me to make really hard decisions I can't make. I felt it slip over my body and I knew. You had lived your purpose sweet love, I knew it was time.

We had our closest friends coming into town that weekend. I think you knew how much I needed that. I remember how much it hurt to breathe, how loud the quiet was. How empty a full house felt.

For the next several months, you could find us falling apart here and there. It would hit us both differently and at different times. It was early March and he was cleaning the backyard and realized it was the last Mia cleanup he would ever do and he cried. It was November and I went to a yoga class that asked me to bring you wanted to love and something you wanted to release and I brought your paw print and cried. It was a warm spring day when we placed your ashes under a tree and the kids lost it. It was December when my brother-in-law made me a book of my goodnight note and I read it over and over and over again. It was April that we brought home our new puppy. The one that made us smile, laugh, snuggle in, our lover of love. Our little bundle. Our little little girl. We called her Mia here and there and would cry. We tried nicknames that we gave you and cried. We were ready but still missing you so hard we were losing it all over again.

It's been five years now. Four of them we spent with Pearl. We still spend so much time talking about you but we are better. I see pictures of you and I don't cry. I can talk about you without pain. I don't reach for you in bed anymore. I don't shuffle my feet when I get out to avoid stepping on you. I don't hear you. So, I guess that's all better.

It's been five years without you. You lived the longest life, inching out every single year, knowing how much we all needed you. How much I still needed to be raised by you. You were my reason. Time protects us from moving farther away from the pain and heals. Time keeps life moving forward. Time is what we needed.

It's been five years without you peanut.

3
Oct

Resort

We live in a great, small resort town. This town is my home, my community and I adore it. I love the summer when things come to life. I love all the visitors, tourists. I love seeing our town overrun by people. I love how long it takes to get through such a small block in town. I love the traffic, the things to do. I love the restaurants, I love the excitement. I love where I live.

Towards the end of summer, early fall, you could say that the town starts to "quiet down". But for our town, all that means is that the locals come out in full force and it is still busy as hell and I love that too. As the tourists are leaving, the people that live here are still taking every ounce of summer living and loving their town.

In the winter, there is a quiet and white blanket that is thrown over our town. We all huddle into our homes, hibernate and brave the cold by finding outdoor activities we can do. The second there is a warm day, the town explodes all over again.

As with all things that you love and with this love, comes work that needs to be done. I have never been one to stick my head in the ground and pretend something does not exist, but it wasn't until recently that I realized how much work there is to do here. The lack of diversity has always been apparent, the fact that my children will not see the real world represented has always bothered me, but the reasons why there is so much lack of diversity is awful. Hearing from those that live here and the struggles they have been through, seeing others fight equity and inclusion has been heartbreaking, and unfortunately, the work is only beginning.

With the resort feel comes money, a lot of it. With money, there comes power. With a lack of diversity, there comes a lack of empathy. With a lack of empathy, there is a lack of caring and it is painful. It is painful to know and hear and see that we are so far behind where we need to be.

When you know better, you must do better.

The fall season in my resort town is here. I can see a change. The nights are a bit cooler, the mornings are just plain cold, sweatshirts are needed, I even have a heavier blanket when I sleep. Seasons are changing. And it is time for us all to take a closer look at what we love and change what we know needs to change. When you know better, you just do better.

I love you enough to work on you and work for you.

3
Oct

Five minute Friday - need

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 need.

Go.

Quiet.

Sometimes, all I really need is quiet. I make my life way too loud and I need quiet, especially right now.

Order.

Things in life are so hectic. Spending so much time together for so long was wonderful and also very messy and piles of stuff everywhere and it's time to get back to order.

Reading dates.

They bring us closer together, make us feel warm and cozy, bring in our love of reading and sharing that.

Baths.

It's getting much cooler in NY and sometimes I can't get the chill to go away. Sinking into the warmest bath is so lovely and relaxing, it's a need.

Laughter.

Things feel heavy right now and there is a need for laughter to make them all better and find a lighter side.

Love.

All I need is you.

Stop.

31
Jul

Five Minute Friday - drive

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 drive.

Go.

For as long as I can remember, I had a strong drive. I'm gritty, scrappy, I'm determined, I'm stubborn as hell, I'm self-motivated and I'm focused. I have goals, I have a vision, I see my end game, I work hard...damn hard, I have drive.

I have so much drive that at times, it's concerning and too much. I don't drop balls and when things get overwhelming, I take MORE on...I do more. I plan more. I schedule more. I have drive.

It took me YEARS no, DECADES to understand that this is a me thing. A me and other self-motivated, internally driven people thing. This is not universal. It took me even longer to accept that, learn from those that are slower, kinder, calmer. It took me even longer to realize that this is why I am always and forever attracted to my balance. I look for and ache for those that are not like me. I am hungry for those that make me slow down a bit, calm the hell down a bit. Put that drive in park for a beat and take it a little easy.

And I cannot say that I am a good balance for my balance. I cannot say that I make them better people like they make me better, but I can say that they too find me, they keep me. So maybe they too need a little of my drive. Even if it's for a reminder of what they do not want their life and goals to be?

I have drive, I am driven, I am determined. I am stubborn as hell, I have grit, and I'm scrappy. I don't give up and I do not quit. People like this, we get shit done...no joke get it done. But this is why we also surround ourselves with balance.

And so I found the loves of my life that will put a book in my hand and beg me for a reading date. I have babies that ask for a walk instead of a run today. I have a puppy that wants to be snuggled with me. I have always loved a nap and always and forever will. I married calmer and made him a little more driven. I have framily that is kind and forgiving. I have accepted how different we all are and I have realized how much I need those help me find the parking brake.

Stop.

25
Jul

Heavy

Do you ever feel so heavy that your heart feels like a rock? Like it sinks down to your belly and then tries to fight its way back to its place in your chest but can't? I do.

Do you ever feel like there is an unbearable ache? You ache for those you love, you ache for their pain? You see it in their eyes and you hear it, when their voice cracks, you break along with them? I do.

Do you ever feel things too much, you cannot breathe, you cannot stand it all? I do.

Do you ever miss parts of your past that you know is not what you want your life to end up, but wonder if you could go back, what would you change? And if you changed any of it, would any outcome have been different? I do.

Do you realize you are missing now, even as you are missing it? Because when you feel this heavy, you know you are not here, you are not present. You know that your mind is in so many different places and as much as you yell at yourself to be thankful, watch what is happening in front of you...you know you're missing it? I do.

The past several months have been a lot. And although there have been moments of such deep sadness, I have been ok. I have been really ok. People ask why or how and I just don't know. I don't understand it either. I am not one to put things into compartments. I am not one to think logically only, I feel too much. I am too much.

But then, the last two weeks, I arrived in a place my family and I have been dreaming about. Planning and dreaming. I do none of the planning. My husband is in charge of everything to get us here and get us back. He does all the research, he figures it all out and we all just go with it.

From the moment I stepped on this island of paradise, I have felt a heavy feeling that could not go away. I woke up the very first morning to unbearable news from a friend. News that will forever change her, change her course, change her everything. And I hung on to hope with her and I let go of hope with her and I listened to her cry and try to laugh. I listened to her talk and we also sat in silence.

Life can be so cruel and at the same time, so giving and beautiful. I do not understand.

I watch another friend struggle with pain. Actual pain that is debilitating and no matter what they try on her, none of it works. It hurts her, physically yes, but mentally and her family. It hurts her family. All I can do is check-in, offer to help, and watch from afar. I do not understand.

I have watched the real strength of women hold their families together even when they cannot hold themselves up. And all I feel is heavy.

I know that in times like these, there are no words, no deeds, nothing that will make any of it better. All you can do is sit with them, allow time not to heal, but to make the pain liveable.

A friend told me that this time here isn't the universe telling me that I should not be here, but telling me to rest up myself. That when I return, I will be needed. But the problem is, I feel needed now, even though I know there is absolutely nothing I can do.

To those in my life that are hurting, that are scared, worried, heavy...I promise I will try with all that I have to lighten your load. My heavy is because you are not okay and you being okay again one day is all that matters to me.

Do you ever wonder how to get out of the heavy and then realize it just on its own lifts and it is when you feel the washing over of joy that you realize you can feel joy again? I do.

24
Jul

Five Minute Friday - Order

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 order.

Go.

There's a peace to order isn't there? There's a balance and a calm. At least for this highly scheduled, regulated, tasked, desperate for order and calm mama. There's a beautiful peace with it.

So what happens when that mama marries messy? What happens when kids are introduced and your pre-teen keeps reminding you that it's her room, not yours. So, I can keep it how I want it, not you. What happens when all over her home there are piles. Just piles that "I'm going to take care of". Piles that need homes, piles that need to be moved out. Piles on top of piles.

This mama panics and goes nuts. She loses all energy and can't function. She shuts down.

Order is how I manage, it's how I cope and function. It's how I move through life.

But, I've also gotten really comfortable with legos all over my home. I actually love seeing them. I've gotten comfortable with the books that she has so many of that she can't find room. I actually love seeing those too. I've gotten comfortable with the toys that he loves, because little by little, his little is fading.

So, although the piles and the messy sinks and bathrooms and clothes all over make me itch and squirm, there's something loving about parts of the mess too.

One day very soon, I will have all the order I want back.

Stop.

17
Jul

Five Minute Friday - strong

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 strong.

Go.

When I had you, I met an amazing photographer that put into words everything I wanted to teach you...#StrongIsTheNewPretty.

I feel that at times I can move mountains and other times, I feel like a mouse that hides away from bullies. I feel like I would push a bus out of the way for you, and I also feel like there is so little I can do. I feel like I push to prove that I am strong, I try to scream it from rooftops. But it is when I listen that I show you the strength we all carry.

Sweet Anna James, you too carry strength you don't know. It's right behind your fear. You have to trust me on this, it is right behind your fear. You can do hard things, you can push through a little bit of pain. You can do hard things. You do not need to be rescued, you can make your own way. You have all of it in you.

And when you feel like you need a break, come home and rest your bones. Come back to comfort and care. But not because you have to, but because you want a break. There will be times as a woman walking this earth, you will feel the weight of family, and responsibility, and home, and career, and babies, and friendships. But trust me, you will figure it out. Find family and framily and you will carry the weight. Fight through the fog of life and remember how gorgeous it really can be.

#StrongIsTheNewPretty my girl and you are stunning.

Stop.

11
Jul

Five Minute Friday - summer

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 summer.

Go.

It's the epitome of childhood.

Long long days, warm nights.

A ton of ice cream. Ice cream all of the time.

Late nights.

Lots of TV. Movies on top of movies.

So much outside time. Walks with our puppy. Sitting out. So much swimming.

Vacations and so much time away. We decided to make this summer our summer of getaways.

A lot of books and so so many reading dates.

Legos on top of Legos. Legos all over the house. Legos in every corner.

So summer is your favorite season. Summer is your time to not have to do much. There are a lot of have tos. Summer is our time to unwind a little. Be bored a little.

I know how much you adore this. I know how much you love to wake up when you want to. I know how much you love your childhood. And my forever promise is to protect it. Protect and stand by it for as long as you let me.

Squeal, jump, run, play, fight like crazy siblings that make us beyond crazy.

Summer is all about your childhood and my second chance.

Stop.

4
Jul

Tomorrow

As we round the corner, we are staring down a pretty important milestone. This anniversary isn't just a typical one. This one marks something pretty special.

July 8th 2021 means we have been together for 21 years. Twenty-one years of us. And there has been so much sharing in those 21 years.

From the couple that so easily fell in love. You were the easiest decision of my life. You were so joyful, so full of pure heart and I fell so hard.

To the couple that heard the news that would change their lives forever. And just when I thought it would only change mine, you reminded me there is no just you and me anymore. We're in this. You stood by me, you held me together.

To the couple that moved and moved and moved and moved. Until they found home, but a forever home. We fell in love with our surroundings, our town. We fell so in love with our home and we grew it to exactly what we wanted. We fell in love with the lives we were creating.

To the couple that got engaged. The night you got down on one knee was a story written just for us. Proposing in front of our Mia, making sure she was right there, a scared boy asked me to walk by his side forever.

To the couple that got married. And had a WEDDING. A wedding that was full of people and things and glitter and gold. I know this day is all you wanted and I'm so happy it was the magic it was.

To the couple that saw little blue lines that made them whole. I know how much you see and want from them. I can feel your pull for their future, just remember to hold on to the today that they are there and when you can, remember the joy. Remember how Cole is you, your pure heart. Remember that Anna wants us. Remember that both want us. Remember that time with you is all that little man asks for. Remember that our window with her is closing. Remember that we are going to blink and empty nest will be here.

To the couple that lost their first puppy. The loss of Mia was a moment I will never forget. You and me, in a room with her. You begging me to take her home, me trying to hold it together long enough to make the decision that she needed to go. She was our reason and we felt so lost without her for so long.

To the couple that opened their homes, lives and love to their second puppy. Pearl Rose is exactly who we needed, exactly what we all needed. She is not our dog, she is the family dog. She loves her entire pack. She loves her kiddos, she loves her mom and dad, she is shared. She is the lover of love we all needed.

Job and big career changes and address changes and adding kids and puppies and illness and really living hard to really living. We are a couple of 21 years.

But it's July 9th that means something. July 9th is 21 years plus one day. The day that marks us being together longer than we've been apart. The day that marks knowing you, having you, loving you, building with you, longer than I've done it on my own. I will officially close my eyes knowing that you have been with me longer than you haven't. I knew this day would come Coach. I knew that there would come a time when it would happen and July 9th is that day.

So, for this anniversary, we will be in Hawaii. We will be sharing our every other year trip with our kiddos. We will be in paradise, but lovey, you have already given me paradise.

You gave me babies I didn't know I even wanted. You gave me motherhood and I cannot believe how much I adore it. You gave me your smile your heart and then, you gave it to your little man.

You gave me years of taking care of me, giving me shots that made me so sick. You fought through my tears and my pain, you held me altogether.

You were always fine with my training, my races, my goals. You tackled a lot with me and you let me do some alone.

You stuck by me during the move and my career. You have taken on so much to make sure my career pushes forward. You truly get how important work is to me and you allow it to happen. You pick it all up.

You have taught me about true partners. Partners that just show up. No matter what...I drop, you pick up. You drop, I pick up. You do it better, you've always done it better.

You gave me all of the trips we take. You set up every vacation and each one is better than the last. I am so happy we are doing this for our babies and I'm so happy we found a way to make it happen.

You said yes to Pearl. You could see and feel how much I needed her and you showed up...again. You said yes to a puppy we never met and you never looked back. You realize how important she is to us and you love her as much as we all do.

You are all over our house. Every inch is you. Your design, your hard work, you built me a home after we just bought a house.

You bring me wine anytime I ask. You get up of the couch and get me anything I need. You ask me if I want/need anything just as we settle in.

You take walks with me at 11pm. Even if you're sore from working out. You know that I'm scared of the dark and you come with.

We have both changed so much. I've gotten softer, you've gotten harder. You've become a harder worker, I've wanted to take a step back. We both have grayed. We both look different. We both act differently. But, I remembered the secret that I figured out...grow together. Just keep growing together. It's going to be tough, the dark years filled with fog will really really make you question it all. And, they are years, not days, not weeks, but years of fog. But, keep growing together. Get through the hard, it gets hard, and keep growing.

So tomorrow I will remember that 21 years plus one day is really important, really special. We will wake up with our babies, the ones you always knew would be here. We will wake up in paradise and have a day that you planned for us. Tomorrow, I will know you longer than I haven't and that means something.

I love you Coach, alottle.

Olive juice always.

26
Jun

Five Minute Friday - quiet

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 quiet.

Go.

The quiet is my favorite thing. It's my favorite place. I live in a very loud world. Two kids, always at each other's throats. A hubby that is very loud. A little boy that stomps instead of walks. A doggy that barks. Lots of meetings with lots and lots of talking. It's always very loud.

This summer, once again, every member of my family will be home. I adore our summers, I love and really wrap myself around their childhood. But damn, it is so loud all of the time.

So I really protect the quiet. I protect the time I get to sit and write. I protect the warm coffee and silence. I protect the time I get alone. I very much love the school year of sending them off and getting to be and think. I love my two days a week of no meetings, those are so so quiet. I love love love the quiet.

I will not be having a quiet little summer. It will be insanely busy. We will always be going. We are doing so much traveling, but that's okay too. It will be a summer of memories and time I will forever remember. There will be a lot of us time. A lot of the four of us all in one place and very little alone time. That's ok too. I know it won't always be like this and I also know how insanely privileged I am to be able to do any of the things we are doing. I realize that one day, the quiet might be too much...I say might and I mean might. So, I will love our summer of crazy and too much.

I will also very much love this fall. When both of my babies climb back on a bus. When my husband heads back to a classroom and the quiet settles in.

Stop.

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