27
Mar

It's so quiet

Have you ever stepped into a moment that is so quiet, so wonderfully quiet, it is precious?

March threw us one last storm, a pretty big one.
My girls and I decided to take a walk right in the middle of it.
No cars, no plow trucks yet, no people, just our feet again the crunching of the snow.
Just a puppy trying to stay warm and dry.
And out of nowhere, my biggest little said, it's so quiet mom.
I know sweetie, and it's wonderful. I'm so happy you're here with me.

Last week, later at night, I took the puppy out by myself.
The wind that had been rushing through the air had died down, the rain stopped, and it was pleasant.
I had intended to just to a loop in the neighborhood but I just couldn't stop moving my feet, it was so quiet.
Just me and her.
No lights, no neighbors, no other dogs to get her to pull in one direction or another.
Just us and the quiet night.

After all the questions were asked, after the results were in, after the doctor left, it was just us.
And my tears, in the quiet.
Just a quiet moment between two people that have never shared a quiet moment.
Just a quiet moment between two of the most unlikely pair.
A moment so beautiful it was almost poetic and you don't do poetry.
It was in the quiet that I found love.

In the morning, rushing them out the door, getting in all we have to do before busses come, it's a bit loud.
And then, once our final smooches are smooched, and everything is ready, I close all the doors and take one moment of quiet.
I start a yoga class.
And take a shower.
I light a candle, I sit in my clean kitchen with a fresh cup of coffee and I get to work, in the absolute quiet that I have the privilege to appreciate.

Lying down next to you at night, you start with all the questions and all the talking and all the things to keep the night going.
Eventually, you settle into the quiet. You snuggle in and rub your eyes a little. You move around and find the right spot and then the quiet of the night settles in and your breathing gets a little heavier, a little deeper.
We continue to whisper I love you here and there, but the quiet has finally won and you are ready for sleep.

Have you ever stepped into a moment that is so quiet, so wonderfully quiet, it is precious?
Like listening and watching the rain.
Like sitting outside during a snowstorm.
Like taking a warm bath and just sinking in.
Like sitting in a dark room to write to your babies.
Like reading a book.
Like snuggling with a puppy.
Like a run with no music, no talking, just the sound of your feet on the pavement.
Like late-night walks.
Like a cup of coffee with yourself.
This introverted mother works hard for her quiet. Sometimes she has to work to find it.
Sometimes it just creeps up on her and she allows it to wash right over her body.

17
Jan

Respect

Lovies, there is a secret that I really really hope I have kept from you. Even though we're not allowed to keep secrets, I kept this one...again, I hope. If you ever decide to read this blog and learn about us and you and me and dad and marriage and our life through my second chance, well, here's something I fought hard to keep from you.

I have always and forever hated the way that I look. Always and forever...always always and forever.

And, I have tried SO HARD. The one and only thing I can say is that Anna, once I laid eyes on you, I tried even harder to fix this and I also tried even harder to keep this part of myself hidden (only from you two) because I could not even think of passing this insanity down to you.

And that's just what it is, insane. I see beauty in every shape and size. I adore women with confidence in their bodies. I aspire to be just like them, they inspire me to be better. That's how I know it's insane. I can see someone that looks like me and think she's stunning and then with me, I think it all looks wrong.

I have no idea why in all of the healing I have done, this one lingers and keeps at me. But, what else can I do or think or say that I haven't already done or thought or said? I know those that know this about me are very much over it too. Hearing me complain, me constantly asking how it looks, should I wear it, what does this part of my body look like. They aren't going to tell me the truth anyway so what am I doing? So, I can continue to blame "them" and say "I know where it comes from and they still make awful comments about my body" but the truth is, I am 43 years old as I write this. Forty-three years of age. I have zero excuses. I either figure this out or I don't. I either figure it out, or I don't. Just me. No more them, me and me alone.

So last week, I posted a picture of myself on social media. A picture that I stared at for days and thought, should I, shouldn't I? So many judgemental thoughts running through my mind and I thought, ok, this is it, one more shot at trying to just stop this insanity.

So, I wrote the story and I hit post and now it's out there.
Me. After three years of lifting. A very different version of myself.

The craze in my mind is I have actually worked so hard to look like that picture. I just didn't realize my body was going there while doing it. I'm working hard every single day, as I have always done, but lifting is different and it changes your body so much.

The craze in my mind is that I call all the other amazing women strong and I see how clearly their strength shines through. But I don't see it for me, all I see is thick and different.

The craze in my mind is that my numbers are scaling up and that's never happened to me...the girl that's terrified to know the numbers because it messes with her head too much.

The craze in my mind is my coaches love it, encourage it, want more of it. Do not care what it should be, they want to redefine it.

My whole life, I have tried to "fix" this part of me. Trust me I know how unhealthy and how damaging it is to think of yourself and your body this way. I know how devastated I would be if my daughter had even one of these thoughts. I know how angry I would be if my son thought this way about any woman ever.

So I tried to prove myself...to me.
But the harder I tried, every time I "failed" I would feel like a failure.

I ran a marathon but hit a wall at mile 20. My body failed, I failed.
I had a baby but my body gave out and I couldn't deliver her. So I had a c-section. My body failed, I failed.
I had another baby, a planned c-section, but I couldn't heal. My MS wouldn't allow my nerves to heal for three awful months. My body failed, I failed.
I do yoga, but because of my hips, I always look "off", never graceful. My body failed, I failed.
I run half marathons but because of my hips, I look like a duck, awful form and that form can cause actual problems. My body failed, I failed.
I have done triathlons but I didn't learn how to swim until I was 36 so I'm awful at it. My body failed, I failed.
I'm slow, I'm not the strongest, I always have the wrong form. And I feel like a failure.

I'm not even going to pretend that this new workout routine has fixed any of this in my brain, but my best girl told me something that did make me think differently.

I just don't spend any time thinking or worrying about my body. I can either go down that rabbit hole, or I can spend my energy in other places.

Who would have thought that was even a possibility? Not thinking about how I look. Just give it the respect it deserves by not constantly thinking about everything I want to change.
So instead of trying to get to a place where I am "fixed" and love everything about me, what if I spent my energy differently?

Immediately after I was hit with three gorgeous women that shared little snippets of self-love.

I am changing the definition of beauty.
I am in love with the woman I've become because I fought to become her.
I am thicker and I love it, I mean, why else are we going?

And the one thing I do not keep as a secret is that I do think there are moments when the universe is trying to tell me things or give me things. So, yes, I will try and listen.

I am changing the definition of beauty.

I know it has nothing to do with a look, a specific look. I believe that, fully believe it. So just as I see everyone else change the definition of beauty, can I try to for me? Somewhere I got the idea that beauty for me meant being lean. Why do I even want lean? What is the look? What is the number? How thin is enough? How lean? Right now, all I see is thick and my body is no longer lean...anywhere. I can no longer make lean my definition. I am not representing beauty by being lean.

I write about #StrongIsTheNewPretty and no matter how much muscle I have or don't have, this family is strong. And I have overcome a lot to be exactly where I am, which is exactly where I want to be. This little life I lead, it is really gorgeous and I'm so so lucky.

I am in love with the woman I've become because I fought to become her.

I have fought hard for this woman. Really hard. I've been fighting since I was 8. I put down my fighting gloves years ago and then in 2020, I stopped proving I can do hard things because I can.

I hit a wall at mile 20, but I ran 20 miles and I finished a marathon. I fought hard for her.
I had a baby via c-section, but I had a healthy baby. I labored for 23 hours, and then I had surgery and I had a baby. I fought hard for my baby girl to come into the world and she is here. I fought hard for both of us.
I had another baby, a planned c-section, but I couldn't heal. My MS wouldn't allow my nerves to heal back together but eventually I did and during those three months, I mothered. I mothered a new born and a toddler. And I fought through my MS, like I have been for almost 20 years. I fought through and I fought hard for my babies and my body and I fought hard for me.
I do yoga, I do not look graceful, but I do it for me. I find my breathe and I sink into the floor, and I feel it getting better. I feel my body feeling better. I show up and fight for me.
I run half marathons and when I run, I do look like a duck. So much so that strangers stop me in town to ask if I'm the woman that runs on their street, I make that much of a scene. But, I run without music or noise. I run in silence and I listen to my awkward feet hit the pavement and I take in where I am. I fight for those runs and I fight for me.
I have done triathlons and I learned how to swim at 36 for them. Every time I felt like I was going to sink, but I always kept going. I fought for that finish line.
I'm slow, I'm not the strongest, I always have the wrong form. But I keep showing up and I keep going and trying. I fight for who I am.
I have fought hard for the woman I am, it's time I show up for her and give her some respect.

I am thicker and I love it, I mean, why else are we going?

My coaches, the other members that go, my sister, they cannot get enough of how much their bodies are changing.
That's why we're doing it.
But I didn't know when I first started and again, my crazy definition had to do with being lean. So as things started to get bigger, thicker, as the numbers climbed and things started to feel different, I panicked. A lot. I really really freaked out. And they just kept encouraging me and telling me, we're not done. Your strength is all we care about. Your health and your ability. You living up to that ability so keep going, keep working, keep trying and keep coming. And I am so I guess that's my decision. I'm in this. I'm doing this. On purpose, paying to look like this. So enough with caring about anything other than showing up and loving my time there and letting the rest...rest in peace.

This year, I'm going to work on respecting this body. Not loving it, but respecting it.
I'm going to work on better confidence. Not loving it, but appreciating it.
I'm going to work on spending my energy on other things, not obsessing over it, but respecting it.
Respect to you 43 year old.

12
Dec

Where our story begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6
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
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.

3
Nov

It's simple to find little things

This week, I read a beautiful post from a wonderful woman who spoke on how it can be so simple to find little things in this world to make you smile. Make you happy. Make you slow down a little, appreciate a little more. She set out a challenge...find what makes you keep going. Write that shit down. Make yourself remember the things that make you feel like you are living, actually living. Things that breathe life back into you, make you so content, comfortable, and at home. So, I made a list. And not my regular "get this done" list but instead, a make yourself remember there are so many things to be happy and appreciative of list. This is my list of love.

  • Rain…the sound, the smell, the clouds, the gray, the dark.
  • Waking up before anyone especially if it’s still dark out.
  • But also, sleeping and napping at all hours, any time of day.
  • The heaviest of blankets.
  • The smell on my hubby’s chest, it smells like home.
  • My kids’ actual belly laugh.
  • My puppers kisses and hugs…because I have a dog that gives actual hugs.
  • Seeing my husband love on our dog.
  • Seeing my husband belly laugh at our kids.
  • Pop-tarts…for real though.
  • Looking through old pics of the kids.
  • My fireplace and how much my puppy loves the fireplace.
  • How much my puppy loves her crate.
  • How much my puppy loves her family and you can physically see it!
  • The glow of soft lights.
  • Coffee, I have such a deep-rooted love for coffee.
  • A lit candle.
  • My bathtub.
  • A good robe.
  • The sound of a bat as it hits a ball, that crack gets me.
  • The look of a grown man’s face when he is so happy you can actually see the little boy in him.
  • Watching basketball, especially college, most especially with my family.
  • Long runs when I have 0 training scheduled, because I'm just running for the love of running.
  • The very end of yoga because laying down is my favorite.
  • Waking up and realizing I have so many more hours of sleep ahead of me but I’m not struggling to fall back to sleep. Because again, I love to sleep!
  • A really good kiss, because you are a really good kisser, even decades after our first. 
  • This fall, I don't know if I was just ready to really watch it all happen this year or if this fall has been especially exceptional but we really do live in an amazing area. I feel like we are living in a movie about a place that has a beautiful fall. There are leaves everywhere, the air is crisp but still warm, the colors are gorgeous…it has been magic.
  • Family bike rides and family walks with the puppy.
  • Playing a game together as a fam, I just love spending time with you guys. 
  • A gray day.
  • A new snowfall.
  • Snowshoeing!
  • Watching the kids sleep.
  • Holding hands.
  • Quiet.

I have so much to love on every single day. I need to remember how lucky I am and how much good I can find in my days. It is not always easy, I focus a lot on what I can be doing, should be doing, could do differently, need to work on and lists that look so different. But this list, this is a list we can all make and all take in. And slow the hell down and remember that life gives you reasons to smile. Life gives you reasons to slow down, you just have to take a breath and remember that your own list is there for you.

23
Sep

Done

It's been a strange week. A week of a lot of lasts for mom. A week that has me so tired I can't seem to get myself out of bed no matter how early I go to sleep and no matter how many hours of sleep I get. A week that has me feeling weird and a little off. Not feeling like me, kind of overwhelmed and not motivated. Lovies, mom is at a stage in her life in which she is feeling very done and is grappling with the emotional ride of feeling like a quitter. I am taking a break from my triathlons and the training that goes along with them. I am taking a break from my half marathons and the training that goes along with them. I gave my notice to a career I have built and an agency that has defined who I am. And I am just so bone tired.

I am watching my to-do lists just pile up and run one day into the other. I am watching my home just come undone. I am watching my emails collect in all of my different inboxes. I am turning off alarms instead of getting up to work out. I am turning off alarms instead of getting up to work. Every once in awhile, I get a surge of energy and plow through something, even a tiny thing. But then the exhaustion becomes so overwhelming that I just feel like I am done. Period and end of story I am done.

Maybe my MS is in overdrive and the exhaustion that I feel is because I have this disease. Maybe my emotions are in overdrive and I cannot climb these mountains anymore. Maybe my lists are so long I can't imagine how to get it all done so I am shutting down. Maybe I am sick and I can't seem to get better no matter how much I rest my body. Maybe the disease has something to do with that too. Maybe I need more than a break, maybe I need more than a rest. Maybe I am so scared I am getting paralyzed. Maybe I am so sad I am being swallowed. Maybe.

So, I am giving it attention and calling it out. Yes, I am done with proving I can do hard things. But, part of what makes me tick and part of what makes me proud is that I can do. I have to find the right middle between doing and not leaning into the hard. So, instead of running as hard as I can in a half marathon, I go for an 8 mile run with my puppy by my side, both of us smiling and loving our route and taking in the scenery of how gorgeous it is to live here. Instead of working until my head hurts and it's taking me three times as long to do things, I get up when it's still dark and I plug away and I check off my boxes. Instead of doing it all, I set up systems for the kids to remind them that they are people and they too are ready for the responsibility. And instead of fighting, loving. Loving our time together, loving what we are grateful for. Loving all that we have worked hard for and have been lucky with. Loving how we are building a family of trust and openness. Loving our little family walks. Loving some time together. Loving our snuggles. Instead of being the mom that says no, or reminds you of to-do lists, being the one that reminds you I trust you.

And then, this morning, I set my alarm early again. My brain and body felt rested. I got up in the dark, I kissed my hubby on the arm and squeezed his hand as I whispered "I love you." I worked for hours and hours in the dark. I drank warm coffee, I wrote, I got things checked off my list. I sat in the amazing quiet. I got to hear my little puppers sleeping. I knew my little family was all snuggled. And I started again.

There are some things I am done with. My body, mind, patience, acceptance, they have met their limit. There are a lot of things I have left to do and creating a new normal is very much one of them. I knew how hard this transition would be on me. When you spend half your life being defined and feeling valued in one specific area, it's hard to say I am no longer that. But, it is time. For a change, for a bit slower of a pace, for a middle ground, for me to find out who this person is about to become. And one thing she will never be is completely done.

16
Sep

It's personal

I get asked why a lot.
Why do I run, why do I race, why the triathlon?
Why if you're so scared of swimming do you throw yourself into a body of water and swim across a canal?
Why if it causes this much anxiety do you keep doing it?
Why?
What is the rush for you?
Is it the training?
Is it the exercise?
Is it the body issues you still carry?
Why do you do this?
When it hurts, why do you keep going?
When do you think enough is enough?
When will you finally stop?
Why is it so important right before you turn 40, why in your 40s, why?

These aren't the only times people sit me down and ask why?
Because when you live like "this", people look at you and wonder why a lot.
Why do you do it that way?
Why do you add so much?
Why would that bring you, hell anyone, pleasure?
Why did you start doing that?
Why are you participating in that?
Why are you so type A?
Yeah, I get asked why a lot.

And all I have to offer is, it's personal.
There's only one person I am trying to prove it to.
And that's me.
I am sure it stems from them and wanting some sort of acknowledgment.
I am sure it is because they told me all I couldn't do it.
I am sure it is because they wanted to be needed and so they wanted to raise weak.
But I will be 40 and soon.
The only person this falls on now is me.

What I am about to write,
what I am about to share, is going to sound self-loathing.
It's going to sound as though there is too much self-hate.
But, I promise, it is the opposite.
This is the most loving part of me because it is all about self-care.
It's personal.

Races and running and triathlons and half marathons and marathons and hearing my feet on the road and freezing in water and swimming even though I just learned and biking 20 miles on a Wednesday and being bone tired and killing myself isn't just gratifying, it's healing.
It's healing because I live in doubt.
All year, all month, all hour, minute by minute, I live in doubt.
Of me.
And I have strong roots in fear.
Of all that I do and try to do.
Everything that I say yes to, I walk through fear to get there.
My jobs, my careers, my business.
My family, marriage, parenthood.
Owning a home living a life or just plain living.
I doubt myself and am scared of everything.
So, if that was my litmus test, if being too scared or thinking - I can't - was the reason I didn't do something,
I wouldn't do anything.
And f that.
That's not a life, certainly not one I want to live.
So instead, I do.
I run.
I try.
I swim.
I do yoga and get stronger.
I weight train and step out of my comfort zone.
I push.
I make sure I'm tired.
I keep going.
I work long hours.
I train for long periods of time.
I work on being a mom.
I work hard at my marriage.
I take the promotion, I plan for my future and next steps.
I write a blog to protect their childhood.
I work hard period and end of story.
I do.

And I tell myself enough.
Enough of the BS talk and whining and the scared nonsense.
Do.
Your body hurts? Too bad.
You're too tired? Everyone is tired, get out there.
It's cold and the water scares you to the point of shaking? Stop it, they won't let you drown, get in now.
You trained for four months and he is beating you barely hitting the road? Yeah, that happens, he's stronger and more athletic but who cares.
Oh you think you'll be a shitty mom and fail them? Well everyone thinks that so you're not special.
You're worried your marriage will ruin what you guys have? Stop being so negative.
You think you can't run a company, specifically this company? Too bad because you are so keep going.
You're worried everything will fail? Yeah, it might, it could all crumble, but you still have them.
You're busy? Show me someone who isn't.
You want your MS to be the reason you can't? Someday it might be, but not today.
Today you will shut up and show your body you can run 13 miles.
Show it that a triathlon is in reach, who cares how long it takes.
Shut the hell up and lace those shoes.
Get up early and get started.
Hand out your business cards and talk to people about what you do, sell your brand.
Work your mission and remind people why it's important.
Work for what you ultimately want.
Do.

Show yourself that you can handle this.
Remind yourself of what you are trying to get to, what is waiting for you within reach now.
Do.
That might mean more grit than most.
That might mean more exhaustion.
That might mean more from you more expected out of you.
Because in order to quiet the doubt and the fear,
I have to do.

And from the outside it looks crazy because it is crazy.
From the outside I know people judge.
From the outside I hear the whispers of that is one tightly wound ball because I am and I won't let myself down.
And those that don't have to be this way, I envy you. I wish I could live just like you but I can't.
I know I make my life harder and I am working on that but I won't give up on me either.
So instead, I do.

It's personal.

18
Jun

Ode to

To the water, the one that wanted to swallow me whole.
The one that was so cold it felt like knives
the one that had me feeling like I could not move
the one that made me think I was standing still and not getting closer to the end
the one that thought it was going to win,
I beat you and I got to the end.

To the hill
the one that's right at the beginning of the bike route
the one that hurts
the one that I haven't been able to get up without walking
the one that is really long and doesn't seem to end
the one that on the way down frightens me because it is so steep
I got up.
I made it to the top
I kept going
and I beat you to the end.

To the man that ran most of the 5K with me
the one who was in Iron Man clothing
the one who was also at a loss for why that water course hit us hard
the one that said "I only did half an Iron Man, not the whole thing"...
I say "I only" too
"I ran a marathon but I only ran it in my neighborhood, not a real race"
"I do triathlons but I only seem to do worse and can't find my grove"
I only I only.
Why do we do that?
And so, with real intensity I turned to you and said, you should be amazed with yourself,
and I meant it sir.
We beat the course, all the way to the end.
We made it to the 2 mile marker and we said, we've got this
and we did.

To the woman I passed and told her great job, almost there
the one that quietly and sadly said, "I feel like I am in last"
you and your voice made me stop and turn around to say "you're not in last but even if you were, we're here to finish"
the one who smiled back and said "I've been in last before" and the one that made me laugh and say
"me too, someone has to be, why not us?"
We made it. I saw you finish too.
You made it to the end, you beat the course.

To my husband
the one who came up with this idea.
The one that asked me to do it
the one that helps me with my swimming
the one that is so concerned for me in the water
the one that shouts to me to make sure I am ok
the one that feels like he disappointed because the course got the best of us
we made it.
It didn't win, it's didn't get the best of us because it didn't beat us all because we made it.
We finished another triathlon.
We finished our third one in three years.
We swam and biked and ran.
We finished
even though we were tired
even though we were out of it
even though our bodies didn't want us to
even though we panicked in the water
even though the exhaustion asked us to stop
we made it to the end.

To my body
the one that tells me it can't but shows me it can
the one that thought it was going to drown
the one that was so exhausted after the swim it didn't know how it would bike
the one that got off the bike and legs hurt so much for the run
the one that wanted to give up, at every turn wanted to just stop.
You didn't.
You kept going
you beat the course
you made it to the end.

To my MS
the one that made me stop moving
the one that told me I needed a nap, now.
The one that made me curl up, shut down
the one that made me feel out of it for a few days
the one that made me scared
I am beating you too.
I am doing this all to prove to you that I still can and I always will.
I am fine, better than fine.
I am beating you all the way to the end.

To my mind
the only one that doubts me
you didn't disappoint.
You were always there second guessing me, us.
You were always reminding me, look someone else passed you
you were always aware of what leg was flying by you
I didn't let you win.
Because I am more stubborn than you.
And every time you tried to tell me I don't have enough grit for this,
I told you to f off and I kept going.
I beat your doubts
just like I beat the course.
And even though I did worse and my times were worse
I made it to the end.
I didn't give up
I kept going

and I owe it to all of you.

#StrongIsTheNewPretty
#TheCoupleThatRacesTogether

9
Jan

More!

You hit me hard.
You wanted me to crumble, and I did.
You wanted me to break and walk away from all that I knew,
and I almost did that too.

You started with so much sickness
so much scary and unknown
so much stress and worry
so much testing and anger
so much sadness and confusion.

See, 2016 was the year that I swore up and down I would stop wishing time away.
That was my resolution, I would stop wishing my life away.
Because for as long as I can remember me, I was always the person that would say, I just need to get through...fill in the blank.
And then one day I woke up and said enough, I have wished it all away and no more.
This is my life, I can either change it or live it and I am choosing both.
But 2016 was a tough one, all around.
And so, I say a very welcomed good-bye to you and I am dusting myself off and trying...
all over again.

Each year, I feel like my theme with resolutions circles around the word less...
less worry, less stress, less stuff.
So this year, I am going the opposite direction.
New year, new me. And this year, the word is more.
MORE!
More laughter
more fun
more me
more us
more them
more who I really am, not this angry person I have become
more time
more opportunities
more adventures
more trying
more new
more for my business
more of what I love
more love.

So, first things first.
I am going to start finding things funny again.
Really funny.
Us, I will find the humor in us and our situation and our kids.
God, I am going to laugh hard with my kids.
More laugh lines, not worry lines.
More silly.
So, I am going to lighten the hell up...way more!

I am going to kick my own ass, way more!
Yep, I am always afraid.
Yep, my first response is always "I can't do that".
Yep, I have to walk through my fear and I always do.
So, more me.
More time spent working to get out of my head.
More time spent on putting my own mask on first.
More time spent doing yoga
and running
and racing
and watching movies
and reading
and building my business
and building me.
More me.

More talking.
More spending time listening to your day.
More walking away from my work to show you that you matter.
More turning everything else off to be with you.
More hands free mom.
More curling up with you and just letting you go.
More time in the car together where you really open up.
More listening.
More of me with you.

More calm presence.
More loving words
more open arms
more smiles
more warmth
more letting you know I have your back
more being on your side
more snuggles
more laying with you at night
more caressing your face
more running my fingers through your hair.
More love towards those I love.

More smiling.
More finding other people as good.
More smiles with strangers.
More complimenting people just because it's true.
More giving of myself to those I don't even know in the most simple and humane way.

More happy.
More finding fun new things to do.
More snowshoeing.
More ice skating.
More playing hoops together.
More board games
more card games
more puzzles
more legos
more family adventure
more hikes
more trips.
More joy in our lives.

I am ready for the challenges that will come.
I am ready for a new puppy to show us that life always moves and goes on.
I am ready for this family, the one we created, the one we wanted, the one we have, the one we need to feel lucky to have.
I am ready for us, all of us.
I am ready to fall back in love.
I am ready to be comfortable.
I am ready to be full on me, us.
Just more of it.

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