28
Nov

Endings

There is this woman I follow whose best friend is going through her second divorce at the age of 35. All of her current feelings are around failure. How she failed herself, her family, her husbands. She is ending another relationship that should have lasted forever.

Littles, when something ends, we are taught that we have failed. I have always felt that way. I've let myself down, I've let those around me down, I'm giving up, and I don't give up.

But there is another way to look at it. And not just the typical "it takes two" but more about how the relationship could be celebrated for what it was. Cherished and loved, because it was what you needed and wanted. It came to you at the exact right moment and it started and lasted as long as it did for a reason. But it also ended for a reason and maybe it means something a little more than just failure.

Her friend reminded her that just because it is over does not mean the entire time together was not worth it, nor does it mean it did not matter. That just because it was meant to last "happily ever after" does not mean there were not moments of pure joy and love. She brought it all back to the chapters we write in our lives.

What if you two just got to the end of your chapter together and it's time to write a new chapter?
What if some people have more chapters to write than others?
What if you have more chapters to write but instead you decide to shut the book?

Her friend went on to talk about how we should look at all relationships like this, not just marriage. The end of a career, the end of a friendship, the end of a relationship, marriage, children growing up. Because endings are hard, they are sad, they create this feeling of regret. But instead, they could also mean something very different.

When I was thinking about leaving my 20-year career, the one that meant so much to me and defined me. The one that I was so good at, the one I worked hard for and made so many sacrifices for, it took me years to finally end it. And the reasons are endless, starting over is hard. Starting a new business is scary. I didn't believe that I could or should do this. I didn't believe in just myself or my ability. But I also felt like I was breaking up with my agency and that took me another five years to get there. Three of those five were so hard because I was already there in my heart. And each time I doubled down and tried to work harder at it, the angrier I was. The more I wanted to go, the heavier it all felt, every single thing that popped up felt like another burden, no longer a challenge, but a burden. I wanted to go and I was just too scared to admit that it was over. I was worried I was admitting that I had failed.

You will feel this way a hundred times in your life. The wonder of "what if I had stayed" will stay with you always and forever because when you love something or when you love someone, you never really let them go entirely. And instead of spending a lifetime wondering how you could have made it better, remember that this feeling means you loved with all you had, and that's more than okay. That's exactly how one should love, with all that they have.

But here is something you also need to remember. You know exactly what would happen if you had stayed, you were there, you know how it felt, you know why it was time. So celebrate the love, the closeness, the feeling. And when you are ready to walk away, it's not because you or they failed, your chapter came to an end.

If I continued to think that I was not ready to write my next chapter, I know exactly where I would be. If I continued to think that I wasn't ready to move on, I would still have that feeling of dread. I wouldn't have ever started this, I wouldn't have ever had taken a chance on myself. I wouldn't have found my balance, my way, I wouldn't be exactly where I need to be.

Endings are hard. They are painful. They are filled with regrets and what-ifs. They are lonely. They require you to be brave. They require you to be compassionate. They require you to not place blame. They require you to be gentle, with yourself as well as others. They require time. Time to mourn. Time to heal. Time to read through every single word written in your time together. Time to analyze. Time to learn. Time to put pen to paper and start a new chapter, whenever you are ready. Because some people have more chapters to write than others.

15
Nov

Why moms cry

Because we're tired.
Because we want to sleep.
Because we know we have to get up and start the day.

Because you're so small.
Because you're getting so big.

Because your heart is so big.
Because you are the best people I know.

Because I tell myself stories.
Because you tell me actual stories.

Because we're lost.
Because it's you who brings me back.
Because we're over and underwhelmed.
Because we have too much going on or not enough so all we do is think.

Because we are thinking about the day we met you, the day we brought you home, and all the days in between.
Because when you were an infant, I could not believe how magical you were.
Because when my daughter was three weeks old, she became a person so connected to me that my heart beat with hers.
Because when my son was born I understood love at first sight. This little man looked up at me like I was his world and he quickly became our heart.
Because I felt you move inside of me and hiccup and kick and fall asleep.
Because we're thinking about your firsts, your lasts.
Because I look at our puppy with such love and cannot believe how lucky we are to have been saved by two doggies.

Because fights hurt our feelings too.
Because we get bad news.
Because we learn of how different our lives will be.
Because we have to always be making really hard decisions.

Because life is simple and hard.
Because there is so much to be happy for, but also some really hard spots in life.
Because the TV show was really heartbreaking...I know, it's weird but true.
Because we can't believe or get over how beautiful you are.
Because we can trace your face to exactly who you always were.

We cry when we're alone.
But also in front of you.
Or as we go to sleep, or watching TV.
We cry in the shower or the car.
We cry on runs, especially those in the rain.
We cry as we say goodnight to you, or when we kiss you in your sleep.
When we least expect it, when we shouldn't be.

So yeah, moms cry...at least this one does. And I don't see that ending anytime soon.

3
Nov

Boo.

Oh, this holiday. A holiday, like all holidays that makes you grin from cheek to cheek. A holiday that made you two bond. A holiday that you asked to be a team. A holiday, like all holidays, that you love.

You love the fun, the enjoyment, the traditions, the excitement. You love the candy (of course) and the laughing and the time with friends. You love a holiday and this one is no different. It is a holiday that brings out the kid in you. A holiday that makes childhood really shine.

From your very first where we were too sick and it was too rainy to go out. You were so small and still so excited and laughed and laughed as a six month old in a costume. To your second as a cute little flower, squeeling with excitement. To a ladybug, asking me if "Anna could go home now" because she was all pooped out. To all of the matching ones with you and Coley to all of the matching ones as a family. Your little cheeks so happy, you love a holiday.

Last year COVID threw us a curve ball but we found a way to laugh anyway. This year life, and I, threw you a curve ball and asked if you wanted to break all traditions and go out with just your friends. No family costume. No family trick or treating. Just you. You were torn, but you also were excited about the possiblity of the night. You came home gushing and hysterical. It was your night, just yours.

When we hinted at doing something with just Cole, you were so upset, you weren't fully ready to cut it all off. So, we found a way to pivot and compromise. We know this is the beginning of the end of it all, we know this was the start of a new way. As I craweled into your room, I looked at you, with the same cheecks as the six-month old on my couch, and I of course cried.

I cried for our losses, I cried for an end, I cried to your new, I cried because you're ready, I cried because I'm not. I cried because I felt a shift, I cried for Cole, I cried for me, I cried.

But then when you got home from a night out, I took it all in. The way you were, the way you could not stop talking, the way you wanted to talk, the way the night went, how happy you were. I'm not going to lie and say I'm perfectly ready and fine and elated. But I am happy for you. And I am proud of you.

One more example of you being ready and me having to pretend. You dipping a toe into a new place while still wanting to hold on to the old and me trying to hard to let you. You know how moms talk about there are nights they cry themselves to sleep because of their kids. Not because of something bad, but because they feel the growing up? You know how most moms don't talk about it? Well, I write about it. So, if you ever read this one day, know that leading up to your 12th Halloween, I spent the week crying myself to sleep. I dreamed of my babies and I remember that little 6 month old sitting on a green couch wearing a very yellow banana costume, giggling her head off. I remember the 2 and a half year old asking me to go home. I remember seven year old wearing a Rey costume to be "just like mom". I remember all the princess costumes and I remember Cole as a side kick.

I will also remember that for a few years it was just us three and for the first time, it was again, but for very different reasons.

Boo.

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.

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.

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.

6
Jun

Isn't it strange?

Is this not enough
This blessed sip of life, is it not enough?

It's certainly not just you, but it's so obvious in you. You seem to shout it from the rooftops, how you feel like it's all not enough and not worth it. How you keep begging, bargaining for more. And because of this, I feel like you take advantage of the time we have here, worrying about things that don't matter. I feel like your priorities aren't straight. I feel like you make things, life, this life, our life, harder.

You can't get out of your own way. But like with all things with you, I try and accept and move on. I try. And I also learn. I learn from you when you are not even realizing it. And you are teaching me, even if you are not trying.

Because the truth is, this blessed sip of life, it is enough. There are so many reasons I have been thinking about this very thought these days. This life we are given, there is a lot of heartache and things to worry about in this life. But there is also so much to be thankful and grateful for.

Isn't it strange...how we move our lives for another day?

Since always, since before always, I have lived for another day. I finally stopped to look at myself. There is something really special about finally doing that. Stopping, taking stock of what you have, what you love. REALLY looking around, there is something moving and special when you can.

I will always have goals and dreams. I will always be planning ahead. Always. But for the last year and a half, I have also slowed down and planted my feet. And that's why I do feel I've had a really good and loving life. I'm not waiting for the best to come, I'm living the best years, each year.

Wash out this tired notion
Oh, that the best is yet to come

And I stopped burning the day.

...this love will open our world
From the dark side we can see the glow of something bright

Isn't it strange...

how it takes a pandemic

or the world to stop spinning

or your life to be ripped away from you

or your real priorities screaming at you

or when you have space,

to finally realize who you are, what you have, what you want?

Isn't is strange?

I'm able to inhale and exhale a little more each and every day. I'm having some really difficult conversations, but I'm also able to realize, love lived here. And I want to thank whoever or whatever gave me this blessed sip of life.

The person I get to spend my life with makes me happy. It's hard but he makes me happy.

My children are loving and kind and able. Parenting is really really hard, but it makes me happy.

My first puppy raised me. She loved me until she said goodnight and she lived her purpose. Losing her was a heartache I didn't realize I could feel, but if losing a puppy is my worse heartache, that's a really good and happy life.

The puppy I currently get to love is full of love and light. She wiggles her bum when she sees me. She hugs me, she smiles. She walks and runs with me. She snuggles into naps with me. She loves my babies. Her dad is her favorite but she makes me so so happy.

I left an agency that taught me so much more than leadership and running a business. They taught me about the importance of childhood and little. They taught me to believe in me and how capable I was. It was hard and exhausting and at times, painful and the stress was debilitating, but I am so happy I found them.

I have a disease. One that is unknown when and what it will take from me. But, for 19 years, I have kept on. Not out of luck, but out of a fight in me. I didn't ask for you, but I'm not going to let you quiet who I am. So yes, I don't know what it will look like in another 19 years, but I am happy with how I dealt with it. I'm proud of the marathon I ran, and the half marathons I ran and ran and ran. I'm proud of the solo races I did and the ones surrounded by hundreds of people. I'm proud of the tris I did and the hard work I put into learning how to swim. I'm proud and happy that it happened to me.

My home is filled with love and memories and every corner has a special moment. It is too big and too messy, and too much, but it makes me so happy to come home.

'Cause we need the light of love in here
Don't beat your head, dry your eyes
Let the love in there
There's bad times but that's OK
Just look for love in it
And don't burn the day away

And I stopped burning the day.

9
May

To mother

To mother means sharing your whole body, regardless of if you carried a baby or not.

To mother means to sharing every part of your being, every ounce of energy you have.

To mother means you carry your baby, always and forever, regardless of how old they get.

To mother means you lose yourself, even for a minute, and then find yourself again and they reemerge someone, something different.

To mother means you find strength and then you find rest and then you find a way.

To mother means you say no a million different times but yes to so much more.

To mother means you mange...relationships, feelings, emotions, arguments, fights, brawls.

To mother means you mange...schedules, appointments, lives.

To mother means you manage...your feelings, your emotions, your relationships, your past that you thought you could keep in the shadows but to mother means they bring them out into the light.

To mother means you love differently. Yourself, your person, your littles, your life.

To mother means you are loved differently. By yourself, your person, your littles.

To mother means to give a lot up but to also gain so so much.

To mother means to be used and at times tossed aside.

To mother means you find yourself crying over a familiar smell, or an old article of clothing.

To mother means you look at pictures with aches in your bones.

To mother means you stare at the phone, you worry, you lose sleep.

To mother means to be the protector, the smoocher, the light, the happy they see when they wake up and go to sleep.

To mother means to be the one that keeps all of their moments, every single one.

To mother means to love them in your sleep.

To mother means they are with you, even when they are not.

To mother means to be strong.

To mother means something.

25
Apr

Let's take a walk

Let's grab a flashlight and walk around in the dark. Let's hold hands and snuggle close. Let's bundle up, it's cold outside. Let's wear our hats, and gloves, and warm coats. Put your hands in my pockets, let's grab the hand warmers. Let's talk about how cute it is that Pearly smiles and trots when she's with us. Let's talk all about how cute Pearl is. Let's talk about how lucky we all are. How happy we are, how warm this feels, even though, yes, it's cold.

Let's look up at the sky and talk about the stars, the moon, the way the clouds look. Let's talk about the way sometimes it looks like a painting, that's how gorgeous it is. Let's talk about how funny our boys are, how adorable they can be. Let's talk about how good dad is at well, everything. How he fixes everything for us. How good he makes our house look, how lucky we are that he's in our life, how lucky we are that he asked me. Let's talk about how cute monkey is, how much he loves loves loves his dad.

Let's talk about school and your friends. How great they are to you, how funny you guys are together. Let's talk about how important friends are to me, why they are. Let's talk about how we make sure our friends are our right circle, how important that is. Let's talk about how to be a good friend.

You know what all of this is? It's gratitude. It's moments of appreciate that make us feel warm and lucky and grateful. This allows us to take stock. It helps us to see our big picture, see who else we can help, talk about how important helping is. It allows us to set priorities. Make sure we are going all we can when we put our head down at night.

Let's take a walk sweetie.

18
Apr

Bricks

I read a story written by a black mother that talked about the bricks she has to pack in her children's bags.

Don't wear this sweatshirt.

Don't go out in a group with other black people, but don't go out alone either.

Don't drive in this neighborhood, I know your friends live there but don't.

Don't be in a car with too many other black kids.

Don't run away, don't walk away, don't walk towards.

Don't make eye contact, but don't look away from.

Don't be too seen, don't call for attention.

Just come home to me. Just come back home, please.

Can you imagine how heavy that bag is, how many bricks are in there? Just come home to me baby.

I don't know how to read this and not ache, but I also have no idea what any of this feels like.

I have read and listened to so many in the black community talk about how exhausted they are. It's a never-ending war. I have read that each and every time, it is a reminder that they are less than. They are not as valued, they are not humanized. I don't know what that is like either. I don't know what it is like to not feel like you are part of society, you are not part of the human race. That I need to humanize myself to let you see me, I don't know what that is like.

All mothers worry. All mothers carry their babies long after pregnancy. All mothers want their babies to come home. But, this, it's different. It's a different feeling, it's a different worry. It's a life I cannot relate to and I am so sorry.

But, I am not tired. I haven't had to endure this always and forever, so I'm not tired. My kids are not tired, we are just getting started. I have not carried bricks, I have not placed bricks in their backpacks, so we are not tired. We can still move, I'm so sorry you have felt so differently for so long. I'm sorry for all I have done to contribute to it. I am sorry I thought not being racist was enough, and how much I did not do. I'm sorry it took the world seeing it on video to prove you right, and I'm sorry there are still some that do not believe.

I'm sorry that you are seen as a threat, that you are seen as scary, that you are seen as less than. I'm sorry that as white men continue to shoot up people, and churches, and even that Capital, they are not seen as a threat. I'm sorry it's always so different. I'm sorry that your communities are seen as less than. I'm sorry that protecting you is not an obligation, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry you have to show us pictures and videos of black pain, black joy, black families, in order to us to see you as a person, a member of a family. I'm sorry that we become the judge, jury, and executionist. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that you are told how to protest, I'm sorry that we who have made you need to protest, also tell you the right and wrong way to show your pain. I'm so sorry that it's always so different. I'm sorry that we are not moving fast enough because for people, you move faster than this.

I'm so sorry but I promise I won't stop at I'm sorry. The job is done when you no longer have bricks to carry, bricks to pack, and when we disassemble the building.

I see you, I believe you, I stand and kneel with you, and we will figure out a way to throw the bricks away and create something so strong and beautiful.

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