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.

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.

31
May

What it is like to be nine.

He came into this world on his own terms. Determined to be different from his sister. He was a scheduled birth, not an emergency. He was always fighting "something"...a tied tongue, a low birth weight, gross motor skills, milestones, and ER visit turned hospital trip. This one had us, well me, always a little on my toes.

He was also special...always. He lights up a room, his heart is so pure, his words so kind, his hugs so real, his smooches so sweet, his love of love...so natural.

So, what is nine like with you monkey?

It's a tornado with plenty of sunshine.

It's a little boy that cannot and will not sit still.

Playing, watching anything, sleeping, it does not matter, you do not sit still.

It's a little boy that still thinks we are his whole world.

It's a little boy that still has bad dreams that only crawling into bed with mom and dad can make right.

It's a little boy that crawls into bed at 3am but doesn't forget to whisper an "I love you" and grab your hand to hold it all night.

It's a little boy that plays Legos for hours and hour by himself...but still asks "will you play with me?"

It's a little boy that wants nothing more than your time. He will do anything you want as long as you get to do it together. He will always tag along and wants to help because all he wants is to be with you, always.

It's a little boy that thinks he will never get married because he doesn't ever want to leave his home.

It's a little boy that loves loves loves food. Favorite place to be, a grocery store, where all the food lives. His favorite food...anything that isn't tofu and rice. Truly anything.

It's a little boy that pushes back tears that make your heart ache. It is how he will get away with murder.

It's a little boy that asks so many questions, has so many what ifs, so many different scenarios to lay out.

It's a little boy that loves to be outside. And a little boy that will really be with you.

A little boy that cries when you've been gone all day and didn't get to spend any time together.

It's a little boy that loves praise. He loves to know when he has done a good job and definitely shuts way down when he is being criticized.

Nine is a lot of emotions, a lot of fun, a lot.

Nine is still believing in magic, and Santa, and fairies that take your teeth and leave money.

Nine is still believing that your family is your whole world. They are everything you have. They protect you, they are always there.

Nine full of love and heart. It's loud and messy. It's tornadoes and sunshine. But that heart, that is a heart of a boy right there.

Welcome to nine, your last single digit age. You picked the right circus to join monkey. We needed you to shake things up, keep us moving and on our toes. We needed you specifically.

24
May

Play ball

He's so little out there and for the first many many many games, he was afraid to even swing. He only got on base when he was walked, but that swing wouldn't come. So his dad worked with him, getting him out of his head and swinging at that ball, and it's starting to work. He's swinging again, he's not making great contact, but he's out of his head.

And the best part, he never gets frustrated or embarrassed. He just tries and is okay with it. He's so resilient that way. And resilience is not his strong suit. Walking back to the dugout, he's still him. Kind-hearted, smile on his face, ready to cheer on his team...just him.

I love to watch him play, not because he's great, or isn't great. But I love to watch his heart. I love to hear him cheer on the other kids. I love to see how excited he gets when someone does something out on the field. I love to watch him run out and tackle a teammate that got a cool run. I love to watch his heart.

I never was a sports fan, I wasn't a jock. I wasn't athletic and I'm still not. But I married a coach and fell in love with games. I fell in love with the team work involved, I fell in love with the thrill, and I fell in love with the slowness of it all. Even with that, I'm still in love with this season of our lives for something very different. I am just in love with who you are as a person and how clearly that comes out on the ball field.

I love watching you try, how much you exaggerate your whole body. I love hearing others cheer for you because they want you to do well. I love seeing your coaches light up around you, even if they have to remind you to talk a little less. I love seeing the smiles of those that get to be around your heart.

There is very little I love more than watching both of your childhoods. I adore this front row seat that I have. I love watching you navigate this world and I love watching you become who you are, especially because I happen to think you're two of the best people I've met. I love watching your dad coach you. I love the uniforms with your names on the back. I love seeing your identical blue eyes really stand out with your blue jerseys. I love hearing him coach each kid, be so positive and helpful. I love when he picks you up from being hit how you cling to him and cry and I love you knowing that's ok. I love you monkey.

Play ball sweet and low.

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.

3
May

Something special

"There's something special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there"

It's something we have heard since the moment you were born. People fought to be near you monkey. They fought to take care of you and hold you and change you and give you a bath and feed you. There has always been "something there".

It's not like it all comes with rainbows and sunshine. This special came with a little boy that started crying at 1 years old and didn't stop until he was almost 4. It came with "there's something wrong and we need to do more tests to figure out what". It continues to come with a lot of emotions, a lot of energy, a lot of doing things your way and a lot of feelings. It comes with a lot.

It comes with a lot of love. It comes with a lot of joy and so many smiles. It comes with big eyes that look at you like they really see you. It comes with a good heart, a good friend, a good student, a good teammate, a good and positive attitude.

It comes with a little boy that turns into a pumpkin at 8pm and needs to sleep. It comes with some talk back because dammit, you will be heard. It comes with a lot of "I won't do that". It comes with a lot of battles...so so many battles.

It comes with a little one that only wants to spend time with you, and especially time with your dad. A little one that wants to help, really be with you. A little one that loves loves loves family time. It comes with so many little guy smooches and a little boy that has no embarrassing feeling, he will scream I love you from anywhere at anytime.

It comes with so much movement, even in your sleep. It comes with bad dreams that call you to our bed. It comes with snuggles and hand holding. It comes with scared crying tears when something scary is on TV or someone is getting hurt. It comes with so much noise and screaming and the best kind of make believe play.

There is something there. It's the love and hugs and chubby hands. It's the curly hair and the big eyes made bigger by eye glasses. It's the love for dad, it's the best buddies. It's the cheering on of your friends. It's the way you feel for your sister and can't see her upset or struggling. It's the love you hold and it's the way it bursts out of you.

It's the way that people flock to you, even when you are in the wrong. It's the way you try to hold back tears, but you just can't. It's the way that you are so excited to see anyone anytime. It's the way you hug, it's the amount of enthusiasm you have for life. It's always been your voice, it's just so full of words that you can't make it all come out fast enough. It's the amount of movement you need. It's the stubborn streak you have. It's your loving heart.

"They're all beautiful, but there is just something about that Cole. There's something really special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there."

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.

13
Apr

Five Minute Friday - pressure

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 pressure.

Go.

It's not Friday, it's actually late Monday night and the first time I've had a chance to do this. Not because I've been under too much pressure, but because I took the whole weekend off. You know how sometimes that can recharge you and other times you feel the pressure build? I had both happen. I had so much fun this weekend, but also kept a running list in my head of what I needed to still do.

I also had a lot of responsibilities unexpectedly fall into my lab this weekend and instead of the pressure building there, I took it in stride. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes the pressure is so much and sometimes it all just happens to fall into place. But, as you are too well aware of little faces of mine, there was a time when any little thing pushed this mama of yours over the edge. The pressure was built to boiling and I could not keep the lid on the pot. I was always exploding. There is a reason I need to remember those days and who I was then. I need to remind myself I cannot let it get to that point again. Busy, sure. Lots to do, okay. Too much to do sometimes, we can handle that. Lots of lists, I love a list.

But the pressure that made my head hurt for years. The one that made it so I couldn't chew because my jaw hurt. The kind that made me feel like someone was always standing on my chest. The pressure that made me shake and have nightmares. The one that made me cry so much and stole my joy, I allowed all of that to happen. I asked for it and I did more and more to welcome it into my life, our lives. That pressure I cannot tolerate anymore and have to know when I am getting close to the fire and walk away.

Life can be hard, it can be filled with things we feel are "have tos". Life is also pretty gorgeous and can be filled with a lot of laughter. So tonight, I had a meeting at 8, it was pretty important to me and the community that I want around me. But my brand new 12 year old daughter asked me with her big eyes if we could have a reading date and I blew it off. I sat in bed with her, we read and then I put her to bed and wrote to you. I picked well.

Stop.

21
Mar

Hello again

New York is starting to wake up again. The days are much longer, there is still light at 7pm, the sun is a little brighter. Even on the really cold cold days, we know that spring is trying to make her way back.

Today, I watched you both play outside like little little kids. I heard the laughter and shouts. God, monkey, you could spend forever outside no matter the weather but when you get to be outside with your big sister, you are in heaven.

Today, you asked and begged for play time with both of us outside. You and dad played hockey and basketball and you could not get enough.

Today, I took the puppy for our first really long run. We ran by the track, and I saw our little town wake up. I saw people walking, hand in hand. I saw dogs smiling and pulling owners. I saw cars with their windows down and people grinning from ear to ear, we all woke up again.

Today, I cleaned out my car and threw away all of gunk that comes with winter. All the salt, rocks, the garbage that is too cold to throw away when it's winter, isn't that weird, that winter makes it all feel a little too hard. But, not today. Today, it felt invigorating to throw things away and gather up all the old and start again.

Today, I drank really cold water, and it felt refreshing. I didn't turn my fireplace on and that felt like a good start. It hit 61 degrees in our little part of NY and that's warm enough for kids in short sleeves playing by a pile of old ice and snow.

Today, my daughter wore flip flops, my son a tank top. My dog was panting during our run, got tired even. During my run, I started to sweat a little.

Hello and good morning to us all as we wake up from the long winter slumber. This winter was a little colder, a little harder. The snow hit us hard, we lost some trees, but nature is really trying to heal now...sound familiar?

Next week, I get my second shot of the vaccine. I never in my life thought that I would be living through a movie like scenario in which a country has to figure out how to roll out a vaccine after we have lost half a million people. But, we are healing. Last week, hate struck again as 8 people were gunned down by a white hateful 21 year-old. Their families are living a nightmare, our country is trying to figure this out, and no one has any answer that will make the pain ever end. But somehow, faith carries us through to the other side and we heal.

Faith in each other. Faith in good over evil. Faith in love over hate. Faith in tomorrow being another day as we open our eyes and stretch. Faith in starting over. Faith in science. Faith in healing.

Hello again spring.

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