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.

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.

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.

21
Feb

Chapters

Maybe she looks at chapter one too harshly, maybe she looks at chapter three with rose-colored glasses. Maybe her memory plays tricks on her as she builds her chapters and remembers them the way she wants to. Maybe there is a different version of the story out there. Regardless, this is her story, the one she remembers, the one that shaped her, made her. This story is her why...why are you like this? It's because of this story.

Chapter 1: she is too young to be this old.

She spent this time really worried, scared, and surrounded by a lot of anger, yelling, and slamming. There was a lot of crying and although she was and still can be so immature with her feelings and reactions, she always knew she was too young to be so old.

She likes to really focus on all of the hard during this time. She lingers in it sometimes and is brought back to it too quickly. To this day, they still act similarly, and therefore, it's easy for her to remember the hard. So, she pushes herself to remember that there were also moments of gentle and sweet moments of family too.

Moments like walking with her mother and sister, because the family had only one car, so they walked everywhere. Her mother in the middle, each child by her side. She would hold their hands and to keep her little girls warm, she would place them in her pockets.

Moments like Christmas Eve when it was so loud and they were surrounded by so much of her father's family. They had cousins and family, and midnight mass, and opening presents at 1am and too much food.

Moments like really late nights with her mother's side of the family. The men all playing cards. The cousins scheming for ways to have a sleepover. The woman drinking espresso and talking the whole night away. Falling asleep in the car bc it was always too late when we left.

But, there was a lot of hard too. And she knew, she had to find a way to move on. She was too young to be this old.

Chapter two: where she wanted to be.

Having spent high school really creating strong and loving friendships, the kind she knew saved her and would carry her, she left. Some call it running away, they are not wrong. Some call it moving away, they are not wrong. Some call it leaving, they are not wrong. Some call it selfish, they are not wrong. Some call it strong, they are not wrong. Some call it scary, they are not wrong. Some call it liberating, they are not wrong. Some call it necessary, they are not wrong. Most call it going to college, they, are not wrong.

College was as warm as a heavy blanket. Surrounded by trees and fall leaves and snow and wind and cold. College was an incredible four years. The start of framily. Forever relationships that would never leave her heart. College was everything she worked so so hard for. College was the end of the road. College was all her goals and her final destination. College was fun and loving. It was hard and a ton of work. It was late nights, early mornings, little sleep, lots of sleep. College was figuring a lot out for her. It was also knowing a lot about herself. College was everything she wanted, exactly where she wanted to be. But still, there was this little dark, heavy, and angry cloud that did not allow her to fully let go.

Chapter three: it's so easy.

From the moment she met him and saw that smile, it was just so easy. Being in his tight hug, seeing him across a room, hearing his laugh, it was all so easy. It was just the two of them and their little reason of a puppy, the one that made sure they were together. Even when things were harder or stressful, chapter three was just so incredibly easy.

She got sick in chapter three, really sick, forever sick. But since life was easier, she also knew what she needed to do to get better. And, there was nothing that was complicating that. She was terrified, she thought she needed to walk away from him, but he just pulled her in tighter.

He was family, she didn't realize how much she needed him until she found him. She needed his easy. She needed one thing to feel this easy. She didn't realize he was missing.

Taking walks together, staying up all night talking, going to grab a coffee, city living, holding hands, watching TV, it was all so easy. He blended right in to her family, the one she had now created for herself. He was the last and incredibly important piece to the puzzle. They were so different, but in a good way, they were each other's balance. They had so much in common, but in important ways. They had a really solid foundation. They liked to be together, they liked to be with other people, they really liked each other and it was all so easy.

Chapter four: the family grows.

With a move and marriage and the puppy, they added and added again. He always knew children needed to be a part of his story, she needed to be talked into it more. But, once they were here, she fell in love with being a mama and protecting their little. She looks at them, all of the time. While they are eating, or sleeping, or playing, she cannot take her eyes off of them. They look so much like him and it makes her fall for him even harder, they are the two of them combined becoming their own little person. They are so different, one a book nerd, the other a Lego master. One a sitter, the other anything but.

Although the first three years of parenting were incredible, really incredible. So incredible it felt like this was what they were made to do. They fell in love with falling in love with their girl. There was an incredible dance during those first few years.

But, right around year three, the fog finally set in and settled all around them. It was no longer easy to find each other. It was so hard to see one another and the foundation didn't seem as strong. She was filled with so much worry during this time but he knew it was all just a blip and kept pulling her close. She made a lot of threats during these years, and he kept trying to remind her that the fog would lift. There were so many emotions but they rounded one important corner after another until it was clear again.

Their first puppy had her final days, and they said one very difficult goodbye. Without her, it felt really lifeless and dark. So, a new puppy brought life and love, and light back into their home. She was the lover of love that every single member of the family needed and clung to.

Chapter four was hard and wonderful. It was the definition of life, couplehood and parenthood.

Chapter five: the job that was always too much.

She spent 20 years being raised by an agency. She fell so hard for the mission and the hope they created. She loved the way they too protected childhood and understood how important that was to communities. It was never ever a job for her, it was always a way of life, something she needed to breathe. Until the day came when she truly loved it to death, not only was it no longer her breath, it was choking her and it all became too much. Only because she made it too much, because that is who she is and what she does, she is an all in girl and loves things too much.

For the longest time, she relished in the hours and hard hard work. For the longest time, she felt like she was home an in a groove. Until she realized that she was no longer riding a wave, she was getting soaked and the water was starting to take her under. She was drowning. And even more heartbreaking, she lost her hum.

There was a constant headache brewing, a tightness around her chest, an anger that was rising. She was the only one that could stop it but she didn't know how. It was then that she realized her time there was up, they all needed something different. And it wasn't just her or her family that needed her to walk away, it was the agency. They too needed something different and she had to go now.

So she spent three years planning and building and figuring out...what next? This had been such a deep and rooted part of her for so so long, where to next? When the answer came she knew it would be a hard three years, but she also didn't see any other way to make it work. So, she got to work and poured hours on top of hours and worked harder and longer. And it broke her. It broke her brain, her heart, her spirit, her...it broke her.

It was always too much but only because she made it so.

Chapter six: all is calm, all is bright.

She struggled in the beginning. It took time for her to sleep well. It took time for her to stop crying, shaking. It took time before the nightmares stopped and it took time before she didn't feel like someone was standing on her chest. It took time to figure out her days. It took time for her mind to come back and her memory, it took time for her memory to improve.

But slowly, it started to happen. She found and caught her breath. She no longer felt like every decision was the wrong one. She started to really enjoy her days again. Slowly, she started finding herself.

Chapter seven: peace and joy.

She had forgotten pure joy. Not just a glimpse of funny here or there, but moments of actual pure joy. She found them in the smallest of places. Walks with her dog, watching TV at night, reading with her girl, all of the naps. She found joy.

And she loves her job and loves to work. She no longer sits down heavy, but really has the ability to find solutions and think through the best way to handle something new. She still panics here and there, has to be pulled back down, and talk through some trouble spots, but she once again loves her work.

She also realizes she, and only she, can keep finding the balance, or she can keep up her old ways and love it to death, again. She has a chance here to love what she does but not only do work. She has a chance to keep herself open to new possibilities, but only if she is open. She has the chance to problem-solve, but only if she is not overwhelmed. It's up to her what direction this all goes in.

She has found time with her kiddos, games and reading dates, and so many walks and walks. Walks with her new puppy. Walks with her kiddos. So many talks with the kiddos. Making sure she is the mama she needs them to be, a mama that is there for them. She loves being their mama and she needs them to see how much.

She found her laugh again, she can't give that up again. She found her way but it is up to her to make sure this is how she keeps going. She can't go back to her old ways, she needs this peace.

Chapter eight: the one that isn't written yet.

?

31
Jan

Work

Alright lovies, I know you know and can feel this but here is the absolute truth...
I love to work.
I always have.
Even when the jobs were just jobs and not careers.

Even when I felt like I was drowning and it was clear that I hated it. I loved it even then. 

  • I love to work.
  • I'm good at work.
  • I'm capable.
  • I have a groove.
  • I have a flow.
  • I see the big picture and I see the little details to get me there.
  • I see how the pieces can come together.
  • I feel good doing it, something comes alive in me.
  • I feel invigorated by the challenge. I love stepping up, honestly, I love stepping up.

I love it so much it's what I would do in my spare time. It's what I actually do in my spare time. If I have even a minute to spare, I'm right back working.

I love it so much it's unhealthy, I have to remind myself I'm more than work. I'm more than work and working. I need more.

I love it so much that you have to remind me that I'm more than work. You have to remind me that I need more than work. You have to tell me to come to eat, come watch a movie. Let's go take a walk, will you read with me? Do you have time for a reading date? Will you play now? I love it so much I need you to peel me away. And for that, I'm sorry but I'm also so thankful.

I know it's not fair that you need to do this for me, and for that, I'm so sorry. I know this should not be your job, and for that, I am so sorry. But I'm so thankful that you remind me how much more there is to this life of ours. I'm so thankful that you fill my life with other. I'm so thankful that you pull me away. And here is what I have learned.

Nothing is that important.
Most importantly, I am not that important.
Most things can definitely wait.  
My business will be fine, my clients are fine, my team, fine. 
It feels like life and death to me because I created that in my mind. 
It's not my only love.
It's not the only thing I'm good at. 

I do love work. But I started this business because I couldn't do what I was doing anymore. I loved work to actual death and I was the one that felt like she was dying.

I have no idea how you and those that love me stood by me. I have no idea how family and framily and friends and my squad did not walk away. I have no idea how or why you lovies were so patient with me. I have no idea how your little understood what I was working towards. And now that I'm here, thank you for reminding me that I can love it with all of my heart, but to leave so much more room for our life.

24
Jan

Peace

Hi 2021, bring peace.

It's a big ask. I asked 2020 to make things calm and bright. Although you can argue that we did not get either, I can also argue that I got a little bit of both.

So why peace?

Because it was a year of unrest. A year of chaos. A year that was needed, the chaos, unrest, unpeaceful year was needed. We had been living in privilege for too long and the entire world needed to hear the roar. A year that needed anger and uprising. It was a year that was needed.

And although we are not stopping, and the work, the hard work, will continue, we are also going to find a way to allow peace in. It is time for a little bit of peace.

I spent a lifetime proving and doing. I spent a lifetime making this really hard on myself. Some think it has been a way to continue to punish, they may be right. Some think it is how I have always been wired, they may be right. I think it was to prove that I could. When you are told all of your life that you can't, there are many ways to react to that, I picked fighting and fighting hard.

And then 2020 came. As I was wrapping up three of the most difficult years, 2020 came. As I was ready to put down my fighting gloves and stop proving, 2020 came. As I was ready to slow down, 2020 came. As I was ready to catch my breath, find myself again, 2020 came. As I was ready to find my mind, remember and see things more clearly, 2020 came. As I was ready, 2020 came.

I found balance in a year where everything stopped. I found a way to work, a way to stop when I needed to, a way to nap, a way to allow the calm. I fought through imposter syndrome, I fought through "why am I doing this and who do I think I am?" I fought through all the negativity I was throwing my way. I let go of a lot of my past. I stood up for myself in ways that made me uncomfortable and proud. Uncomfortable because when a mouse finally says enough, it feels like a storm destroying the earth. When all I really did was say, I deserve better and you can no longer make me feel this way.

I stopped crying. I used to cry a lot. In the shower, on my way to work, in my dreams. I stopped crying. I stopped worrying all of the time. I stopped dreaming about work. I stopped having nightmares. I stopped having moments of insane panic. I stopped feeling like someone was standing on my chest, taking away my breath. I stopped feeling bad all of the time. I stopped.

I was able to no longer say "I'm not ok" I used to say that a lot. "I'm not ok", because I wasn't. I was not ok. And once I found my way to this place, it all came rushing back. My time with my kids started really feeling differently. I was no longer checking off boxes, I was really with them. Watching TV feels different. Isn't that insane? Watching TV feels more present and less brutal. How did watching TV ever feel brutal?

I found my laugh, I found joy. That's a big big one. Joy. There are so many moments through my day, day in and out, that joy now sneaks in. During a walk, I will get a shot of it. Driving in my car, I feel it. I am no longer rushed to one place or another, I no longer feel like I'm always late and running into trouble. I drive the speed limit. It's these incredibly small and stupid things that bring this rush of joy and this stupid smile to my face.

And so 2021, I need to remember that peace is necessary. Yes, there is a lot of work to do and a lot of wrong to right. There is a lot to do. I am running a business, there is a lot to do. I am a mom to two littles, there is a lot to do. But, I no longer want to move through life and just know I need to be somewhere based on a schedule. I want to see where I am. I want to feel my days. I want to feel when I need to stop and stop. No, I am not all woo-woo. No, I am not all-knowing, really couldn't be farther from either. No, I am not regretful. I know that if I had to do it all over again, I would. Just the way I did. Only because I know no other way and every step, decision, every moment of exhaustion allowed this to happen. I honestly do not think I would love, embrace, and really appreciate this time if it were not for the previous years. So, no, I do not regret any decision.

But I am happy, I am ok again.

Hi 2021, please bring peace.

20
Dec

Time matters

If there is one thing we all learned this year, it is that time matters. Well, I don't know if we all learned it, but I certainly did. Coming off of three extremely tough years...years that hurt me physically, mentally, hurt relationships, hurt my mind, tore me apart some...years I spent more time crying than doing anything else at all...I did that all because I knew that time matters. Time with you, time with those I love, time to read, time to nap, time matters.

And then, coming to a full and complete stop...time matters.

When this first hit, and we all thought it would be over in a few weeks...maybe even a month or two...I really stopped. I snuggled into the quiet and the calm that I was privileged enough to have. I snuggled into naps, long runs, watching time go by. To some, time no longer mattered, to me, it mattered.

My lists became what did not matter. My have tos no longer important and everyone was just trying to figure this new life out, thinking it would all be temporary. Once things lingered, no one was doing anything well, we all knew it, we were all just hanging on. I still held up most of my routines, I still did "me", but I really relished the fact that time was what I was afforded and I took advantage of it all.

I took long walks with my daughter. I ran far but not for distance and time anymore, but for time alone and time with them. I walked my dog all of the time, I still do. It's our amazing time together, and if she doesn't get it now, she gets furious with me. After all, I took something from her, I took away her time and time matters.

I read, some. But I didn't make it a task or a goal, I just read when the time was right, when my daughter asked me for a reading date, when I decided the screens were too much and demanded a reading date. I found time to read again, and time matters.

I drank so much coffee I should probably start cutting back but just do not want to. I drank wine and I "gathered" with friends, squads that leaned on each other, even on videos and walks. I drank with my husband, we would have a "we made it through another day" toast. I relished all of the time I had found because time matters.

I worked hard on my business, it flourished. I finally had time to dedicate to it and it really showed. I was so fortunate to hold on to our business, our income. I sit back and think hard about where I was five years ago when I started to feel like it was time to move on. I sit back and think hard about where I was one year ago, how hard it all seemed but things slowly falling into place. And as I sit here today, I do not for one second take for granted the fact that it worked out. I found something that I am good at, enjoy, can make a living off of, and gives me back my time. I no longer work from 4am till 10 or 11pm. I no longer work in my sleep. I no longer work while I'm driving. I no longer dream and have nightmares about work. I no longer sit in the shower and think about it all and rush out because I have 5 minutes before it all starts. I have a life back. I have time in my life now. I have my own calendar. I have time and time matters.

So, just as I asked for calm in my life. The world stopped spinning. Just as I desperately needed time, the universe showed up and made time meaningless and the most meaningful things in life.

Time matters kiddos. How you spend it, what you do with it, who you spend it with. It matters on the days you sit around doing nothing. It matters on the days you are crushing goals. It matters when you are exhausted and finally rest your bones. It matters when you are cold and decide to put your body into warm water. It matters, time matters. And in a year when it was exhausting to be alive, time showed up and reminded us that we are at a fork in the road now. We can go back to speeding through life, we can go back to everything being too important all of the time. I know we will not continue to stand still, most cannot and will not even if they could. But, we can also decide that time matters and make choices that are simple and on purpose. We can stop having life happen to us and around us and we can once and for all decide that time is important.

20
Apr

I'm listening

When was the last time you said I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

Lovies, mom has a small obsession with yoga. So much so that in 2020, I added an additional class. Because 2020 was going to be my year of clam and bright, my year of finding my distance and now, well, that's all I've done. I have found so much time to sleep. I have found so much distance. And although it's not all calm and bright, there is something about the world not spinning that has me feeling like somehow, we're all in it together. But yoga was her time. And for some reason, I'm struggling to find my ambition for it at home and I need to because now is the time I need to remember to breathe to keep it all together. My classes kept me together and kept me thinking. Like the one I got to attend months ago.

When was the last time you said I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

That's how my new class started. When was the last time you said...I love you...I'm listening...to yourself?

There was a long pause before the last part was stated. Therefore, when she said the words when was the last time you said I love you, I'm listening? I quickly starting thinking in my head, this morning about 20 times. To you guys and hubby and Pearl girl...it falls out of my mouth all of the time. I love you drips from me so much that I have found other ways to show you the level I'm feeling it at that moment. I always always feel it and saying it is what I always always do.

We're so quick to say it to others and really mean it, but when was the last time you were that gentle and kind with yourself?

Never, the answer for me is never.

Lovies, there are so many times my mind and body are screaming at mom and she is just not listening. And when do I show myself any grace, love, a moment of pride...well never. The answer is never for me.

Because I don't listen well. I don't listen to warnings or alarm bells or signs. I see them, I acknowledge that they are there, I even introduce myself to them, but I do not listen. When my body is asking me to stop and slow down, I tell it to shut up. You're fine, this is how it has to be for right now and you can do it. I know you're tired but so what, anyone can do anything for a week, month, year, three years. Just keep going. Let's get to the other side. So, then, something revolts. My body reminds me who is really in charge and it takes things away. It adds to my plate and adds more worry and concern. It can come physically with shakes, emotionally with panic, mentally with forgetfulness. Each time, I "listen" in the way that I admit it's too much, I might even take a break, but then I double right back down.

And love myself? When does anyone ever take a moment to say, you did something, I'm proud of you, and I love you? Do people do that?

So, these last two months, I have been going through something. Something that the pandemic and crisis actually have nothing to do with. I am struggling with my pride. I am struggling with my sensitivity. I am struggling with how hard I worked on something and how I am being made to feel less than. And people can only make you feel less than if you let them. If you too feel like you didn't do your best. But, even if you feel you did the best you could, you still worry it wasn't THE best. But, being THE best isn't possible...doing your best is. It's all I ask of you, so it's all I'm going to ask of me too.

I did my best. I worked my ass of. I was good at parts, I learned from other parts. I made my own path, others don't have to follow and shouldn't have to follow. I did my best.

I believed in my work. I rolled up my sleeves. I worked hard. I lost sleep. I lost my mind, I found myself, I was afforded opportunities, I did my best. I was good at a lot of it, I wasn't the best at any of it. Things could have gone better, been better, but I loved it. I loved it. I loved me in it because I felt like I was good at it. It was my hum for so long. I did my very best.

So, Sabrina, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of the doubt and I'm sorry that you're being made to feel this way. I'm most sorry that you are allowing them to make you feel this way. I say this with kindness but stop it. Stop it and stand up for what you did, stand proud by it. Stop worrying what they are saying and why. Listen to me, it does not matter.

I'm sorry that you are the one taking the hit for nothing. I'm sorry you are taking this beating right now. I'm sorry that it feels this way, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you didn't listen to all of the warnings that it was too much. I know you did your best. You put everything aside for something you loved and believed in. And, I'm proud of you.

I'm proud of you for surrounding yourself with people who are so much smarter than you are. I'm proud of you for giving it your all. I'm proud of how you handled yourself and I'm proud of how you carried yourself. I'm proud of you for caring and I'm proud of your heart and your work ethic. I'm so proud of how much you cared, I'm proud that you always give it your all. I love you for the way you love. I love you for the way that you care. I love you for always being all in.

Sabrina, please start listening. Please learn from this. Please put it behind you and do what you always do, your very best. Set this up the way your heart knows you need to. You are not a child, you can rise above the rumors and BS. I'm sorry Sabina, I'm listening and I do love you.

23
Dec

Calm and bright

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

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

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

All is calm, all is bright

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

All is calm, all is bright

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