2
Jan

Beauty

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

Hi 2024. I have been feeling like I have not been handling the last two years well.
I have been sadder than normal. I cried quite a bit, but out of real sadness and confusion.
I got very small, quiet and went away.
Although I'm still figuring out who I now am and how to now act, I do know I don't want to be this small anymore.
I want to remember that I love without boundaries and that's okay.
I want to remember when I was most fulfilled and find my way back.
Because it was beautiful, the life I had, the way I loved, the way I gave.
And my life is still beautiful, I just need to get out of my own way.
I need to get back to honoring beauty.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

I want to gain perspective. I want to remember simple joys, and find grace in challenging times. I need a more positive outlook. I want to remember that I am lucky and I want to find an ounce of gratitude for this life. The one full of beauty.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

I want my memories to be filled with warmth. I want to be remembered as warm. I want to see the rare glimpse of a red sky. I want to embrace the view from the lake. I want to remember who I am...I want to find simple gorgeous beauty.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

I want to rewrite the story I have been told and the one I have been telling myself.
I actually want to be free of my past. My mistakes, my pain. I do not want to forget it, I do not want to burry it, I know I needed it to be who I became.
I just want to be free of it and see the beauty all around me.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

I want to trust my intuition of the lives I've lived before this.
I want to trust myself again, even the dark parts of myself that know better. I have already seen the shadows of my mind. I have already dove deep into who I was and now need to navigate who I am, who I want to be. I want to honor the beauty that is change, growth, and new found love.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

To the beauty all around us, I come to you on bended knee. I lay down before you with grace, with love in my heart. I will not spend this year taking notice of you, I have already done that. I will spend it honoring you. I do not need to seek you for you are all around.

I humbly honor you.

Our life's work is to honor the beauty all around you.

7
Aug

August

"August is the slow, gentle month that stretches out the longest across the span of a year. It yawns and lingers on with the light in its palms." - Victoria Erickson

We have had one hell of a summer.
Busy, full of travel and sunshine.
We have had long days and warm ones.
We have been on the go and made some incredible memories.

But this August, we are staying put. And I am going to linger.
I am going linger, in the slow, in the warmth, in the sunshine.
I will watch August yawn and stretch.

Sweet August, we treat you like a race to the summer finish line, but instead, I will linger in you.
We speak about you as if you are the end of the magic that is summer, but instead, I will linger in you.
I will watch all four glorious weeks unfold and I will linger.

I will watch how your nights become a little more brisk.
I will sit in your sunshine.
I will drink you in.
This summer, sweet August, I will linger.

I will listen to your thunder storms.
I will watch your hydrangeas bloom.
I will see how you prepare yourself for fall and I will linger.

I will yawn and stretch with you August.
I will make sure to walk on your streets.
I will surround myself in your warmth and I will linger.

I will walk your beaches and your grass.
I will remember the feeling of the sun on my back.
I will feel the light on my face, and I will linger.

I will watch your sunrises and sunsets August.
I will watch how you go back and forth between warm and cool.
I will remember to go slow with you for now is my time to stop.
I will linger.

I will remember how much time you still give us.
I will remember that you are in no rush.
I will remember how much we ache for your warmth during the dead of winter.
I will linger with you August.

I will be slow and gentle with you.
I will get back to my pace, the one that works for me.
I will walk and not run with you.
I will run and not track with you.
I will catch my breath with you.
And I will linger with you August.

Sweet loving August, spread your light over us and watch us linger.


22
May

Surrender

Not of exhaustion, but surrender, as though he had given over and relinquished completely that grip upon that blending of pride and hope and vanity and fear, that strength to cling to either defeat or victory, which is the I-Am, and the relinquishment of which is usually death.” - William Faulkner

For you, your life, all of it was a battle.
A battle you fought no matter the carnage. A battle you felt you needed to fight, no matter the victims.
You fought, you were a fighter.
You fought the good, the bad, the every day. You fought what was wrong, what was right, what you thought was right. You fought for rules. You fought for control. You fought for your way.
You pushed.
You pushed away people, love, and normalcy. You also pushed towards a new life, a better one, one you thought would be better.

And so, when you found out, you fought, you pushed, you battled.
You fought us on how hard you were working, working at all.
You fought us on how to be spending your time.
You fought us on how you were not dealing with it, how you were dealing with it, how you dealt with us.

But then there was a moment.
There was one moment in those 13 complicated months of grief and worry that you had one clear moment.
A moment in which you understood and you accepted what was happening.
A moment in which you stopped fighting and you surrendered to the news, you surrendered to what was to come.

And in this one clear and beautiful moment, you surrendered.
Not to the pain, or fear, or chaos.
Not to the exhaustion or devastation.
But to the life you lived, worked for, the one spread in front of you.
And you looked so clear. So calm, so understanding.
You knew it was time.
You said your goodbyes.
You told us what you wanted to say.
It was fleeting, it lasted days, but it was there.

"Anyone who loves someone who’s fought this fight knows it costs all of you." - Lisa Joe Baker

Loving someone through this disease it changes you.
Loving someone through this reality scars you.
It is brutal, this time was brutal.
Add in the complication of us.
Add in the complication of language.
Add in the complication of what was happening.

At first, I watched you surrender without even realizing you were.
Your body was so tired and you wouldn't allow it to be. Your mind was so scared and you were so mad. The fear made you even more complicated.
At times, you were so beautiful, so present, so loving, so honoring of love.
At times, you were so resentful, so terrified, so overwhelmed, so in awe of all you were going to miss.

We were not one of the lucky ones.
We lost you before your next birthday.
We were not able to make your wine that fall.
We did not get to gather for the holidays together.
You didn't make it to be older than your dad when he passed, something you carried in silent fear since the day you lost him.

But somehow, we still got to find love.
I was one of the lucky ones because I felt comfort in my darkest and brightest days.
I was reminded of the love of family, gathered all around me, family.
Family that I fell in the arms of.
Family that picked me up off of floors and grounds.
Family that held me while I slept.
Family that tried to heal me.
Family that taught me how much we show up, even from afar.
Family that reminded me that we are always there for each other.
Family that cried with me.
Family that reminded me that I can laugh again.

So I hold space for grief.
Complicated, fascinating grief.
Grief that comes out in my runs.
Grief that comes out when I write.
Grief that comes out in my dreams.
Grief that comes out in my anger and my resentment and especially in my peace.

I have been thinking of you a lot these days.
Maybe because we are coming up on the anniversary of your death.
Maybe because I am once again going through it.
Maybe because she is crying a lot more right now.
But you are with me.

When you were first diagnosed, my friend forwarded me this poetic quote.
He reminded me of the beauty and fear of death.
He reminded me that love and death are a part of life.
He reminded me that you get this one life, and if you are lucky to get to the end and reflect on all you have lived...and then surrender.

11
Feb

Showing up

Lovies, this week, I had some pretty special people show up and show their love for me and an agency I hearted. And as I tried really hard to get through what they meant to me, what this place meant to me, what dad meant to me, I couldn't. I couldn't get the words out and I couldn't talk and the harder I tried, the quieter I got.

When I looked up at dad, he was trying so hard to be supportive and I could tell he was telling me I didn't have to, I didn't have to thank him. I didn't have to struggle through this, he knew. I tried, I really did, but it all sounded so quiet.

That night, I wanted to apologize, to tell him that it really did matter to me that he knew, that it mattered to me that he realized I never did any of this alone. That when I was asked, how are you doing all of this, I said, I have Cory. That I always had my lovey, my coach, and that no one has ever believed in me like this. That all of his hard work, all of his giving, all of his efforts, they mattered. I wouldn't have been able to do any of this without him, every single day.

Brin, we show up for each other, this is what we do. The nights I have to coach, the months you are at this alone, we just do it. That's what our family does. We don't ever have to worry about it, because we know the other one is there.

We show up for each other. It sounds so simple, but damn, he could not have been more right. We do just show up for each other and we do just keep going. I wish I could say the months it is just me showing up that I handled it with as much grace and love as dad, but I know I didn't. Still, I continued to show up and he has always shown up for us.

Marriage is so funny that way. There are so many things that a couple could be doing better, there are so many areas they can continue to grow towards each other, there are so many ways we stumble and so many times we just plain old fail. But for the ones that are in this for life, for the ones that found and then built on their family, they find their thing. And this little simple thing is ours, we show up for each other. We are partners in every way possible. It is never ever ever 50/50 in our house. Not one time, not one day. One is always giving more and that person can change day by day or minute by minute. That one person can be the one giving way more for way longer, but they get it, this is what is needed right now. This is how I am showing up. This is how I am there for my family, even when I am not the one there. We just show up.

It's what we do, and it's what we have always done. You know that, there's no need to thank me for us being us.

But there is lovey. Thank you for thinking I had a handle on this and thank you for thinking I could work at it. Thank you for letting me work at it. Thank you for letting me have it take over our lives and thank you for bringing me back and reminding me I can't let it take over. Thank you for believing we had this in us, thank you for wanting them and believing we could do that too. Thank you for seeing me, loving me, the real me, thank you for expecting more out of me and thank you for understanding my limitations. Thank you for knowing when you are not going to stand for something and thank you for letting me think I'm in charge, even though I never am. Thank you, for allowing me to cry and freak out. Thank you for talking me off of ledges and thank you for reminding me no matter what, it will all work out and be okay. Thank you for all of the listening and not just agreeing with me, but really trying to get me to stretch and see things differently. Thank you for loving all of us, as hard as you can and thank you for wanting them so much that you made me want them too. Thank you for your patience, your joy, your dad humor, for all people loving you because they see how great you are. Thank you for holding my hand in a public place, thank you for coming to every single event and being the one I could always find in a crowded and tired room. Thank you for letting me work all hours and thank you for listening to the alarm go off for hours while I willed myself out of bed. Thank you for all of the meals, and cleanups and all of the activities you sign them up for and schedule. Thank you for letting me sit out so much, thank you for all of their mornings and all the hurrying you had to do.

Thank you for always showing up, thank you for realizing it's our thing, and thank you for loving the hell out of us.

20
Jan

Five Minute Friday - sacrifice

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on sacrifice.

Go.

Wouldn't you know I have been thinking a lot about this word. All that we as people give up, sacrifice, all that we choose is important and all that we decide is no longer important. As mothers, women, workers, friends, parents, people, children, framily members, family members, we make sacrifices for those we love and what we love every day all day. We give up a lot for the other.

We sacrifice sleep for work, or a run, or quiet time with no one up, or the beauty of a sunrise, or sex, or a late-night talk, or worry. We sacrifice sex for sleep, or closeness, or comfort. We sacrifice our families for our jobs, our jobs for our families, our ambition for a different life. We sacrifice love for achievement and heartache for an easy route. We sacrifice our health for an easier way and we sacrifice the easy way for our health. We sacrifice our careers for family, and little, and protection and building something different.

We sacrifice our mentality for a year, we tell ourselves we can do anything for a year, and we sacrifice it all to get to some goal we created. Because we decided. We sacrifice walking away because we love and we just can't. And we know all along, we are putting something aside and making this other thing our priority.

Stop.

19
Jan

The in-between

Sitting in my office one night, nose to the grind and working away...trying to get as much done before I have to run out to take you to piano...you carefully waited.

You waited for your dad and little brother to head out the door, far from being able to hear and you asked...

hey mom? Can I ask you something?

Sure honey, what is it?

Is Santa real?

I always knew that by the time you were "old enough" and would ask me this seriously, I would answer truthfully. But, I was distracted and had a lot racing through my mind and I wasn't really listening...I wasn't paying attention. So, I mindlessly said "yeah".

But I saw my gift and Cole's gift from Santa in your Amazon orders, like you and dad bought them.

And THAT got my attention. THAT stopped me, cold. It was time, you were 10. You actually knew. I would now have to absolutely lie so instead, I looked up, locked eyes and began...

Before I could say a word, you knew I was confirming it. You folded into yourself, looking so small and so sad and you started to cry. Tears streaming down your face and you held your head as I tried to talk. Through my own tears of what was happening I said, lovey, Santa is a feeling. He is magic and love and generosity and the Christmas spirit. ALL of that is very real, so knowing that, does it matter who puts the presents under the tree? You didn't say a word, you had your arms around my neck, we were both crying and I saw you nod your head in agreement. We sat like that for what felt like forever, and I remembered hard all of the milestones we had together and I tried so so hard to say more, instead, we both just cried. As you pulled away you said, I promise not to tell Cole.

You're part of the magic now honey. You are allowed to feel so so sad, because it is sad. There is that part of your childhood that is over now. That makes me very sad. But, it's also really beautiful. You get to be that magic for Cole and all of your friends that still believe. As you continued to nod your head you asked simple questions like who ate the cookies and drank the egg nog and "wow, you guys must stay up really late for us" and then you started to put other parts of this together, so, the Easter Bunny too?

We both cried all the way to piano that night. You asked how old I was when I stopped believing and you told me how this year you were really questioning it and how some of your friends were talking about it. But, that you still thought it was true and it took seeing that it wasn't to really grasp the fact that it just wasn't true.

As always, you were fine, that night, the next morning, you moved on. I don't know how next Christmas will go for you and if you will be just as excited to watch Cole get worked up over it. Me, as always, I'm too many steps behind. I keep thinking about the Christmas you were three, how into it you were. The one when you turned four and really really got it. The unbelievable excitement you had on your face. How it lit up when you came down the stairs. Dad keeps reminding me about all of the traditions we have that make the holidays special, how it has nothing to do with Santa and we made sure of that but God, it's really done. I'm sure part of him feels almost relieved, but I'm just blue and reminiscing and going through old photo albums and I can't bring myself to watch a single home video because I can't handle it. I can't handle the smallness of it all back then.

So, I tried to pick myself up. I even have ideas of how this will all play out once you both know. Yes, I will be that mom that gives you a Santa gift until the day I die because I will continue with the magic lovies.

I know how much more emotional I am than all others about stuff like this, I get it. But, I also know that this is a really big deal. It's a huge milestone and we both see things differently now, a little more of real-life crept in. I know it was time you found out. I know we were going to have this conversation soon anyway, but sitting alone with you in the office, holding you, whispering together and crying together, that was hard and special at the same time. You waited for Cole to not be there. You knew we couldn't talk about it. You showed a level of maturity and smallness all in one.

Because that is where we live with you now, in the in-between.

17
Dec

Dear 2018

You were one of my favorites, and also one of my toughest.
You taught me, but really taught me.
You reminded me I need to be humble, and thankful, and most importantly, me.

You reminded me I needed to be me.

You were my glorious year of different
You were patient with me until you weren't.
You were kind to me and you brought me joy until you couldn't anymore. 
And I felt as though you turned on me, but the truth is, I had walked away from me and I needed to crawl back, and so I did. 

You had me focus on my health, eat more, drink water, remember how important the basics are.

You reminded me to be grateful, and really take a moment to say thank you and why I love you.
You allowed me to upgrade my life,  for the girl that makes life too hard and too complicated, you not only reminded me but actually allowed me to finally make things a bit easier, more simple, less cluttered. 

You got me back to those that mattered, those I have always needed, those I never get enough of and you allowed me to reach out and reconnect and take the time to show love and patience and gratitude for all of them. 

Yes, I lost my way, I lost who I was and I fell into a deep dark sleep for a very long time. But then I woke up again and remembered what morning was like.

Why I love it, why the light matters to me, why I need balance, why I am okay, why I matter too.

I remembered what it felt like to wash my face, feel the sun, hear laughter and enjoy it again. 

You were my glorious year of different and you mattered, you made a lasting impression. 

I am thinking hard on 2019, it is going to be a tough one for me and on me.

But it will all be worth it because it is time, and god knows I can do anything for a year. I can hold on, I can endure, I can work my way out of it, I can find a little more grit, a little more love, a little more me. I can do it. 

So thank you 2018. Thank you for being on my side, thank you for reminding me how it is important to remember who I am, what I am, at my core. Thank you for reminding me to balance myself out, thank you for reminding me that I am okay, even though I am too much. 

Thank you for loving kids, thank you for warm smiles, thank you for a puppy that loves love, thank you for my strength, thank you for my grit, thank you for not allowing me to give up on me, thank you for allowing me to find space to breathe, thank you for taking away what is toxic, thank you for giving me more love when I need it. Thank you 2018 for being so different. 

6
May

Baby

The truth is,
I'm afraid.
I'm afraid to live this life without blissful, loving, only filled with love and love to give babies.

The truth is,
I miss you.
I miss little you, I miss your tiny noises, I miss holding you, I miss your smell.

The truth is,
I miss us.
I miss the ease we fell into as parents, I miss knowing it all and having all the answers, because we were always the answer to you.

The truth is,
I am sad.
I look at you and I feel this loss, even though you are standing right here.
I am so sad of the babies that are no more.

The truth is,
I don't do well with letting go
and change
and big changes
and time falling right out of my grip.

The truth is,
I was so good at being your mom then.
I was so calm, it was so natural to me.

The truth is,
I am still good at it, it's just that most of it isn't natural anymore.
But, good, I'm still good at this.

The truth is, I didn't wish our time away and I don't regret most of that time together.
I did a really good job of living in the moment because I did realize I was going to look away for one second
and it would all be taken away
and it was.

The truth is, I still hear a baby cry and start to sway, the way I swayed with you.
The same rhythm, the one that made you feel safe, the one that made you feel loved.
The truth is, I look at old pictures of you and I am in awe of all of your perfectness.
The perfect you still are.

The truth is, you're still little.
I still have all the cuddles
all the warmth
all the love
all the memories
all the times you still need me.

The truth is, I will be ok.
This is just life
the one I signed up for
the one I wanted
the one I knew would come and go
our time together, I knew it was all going to be so short.

The truth is, we have so much to look forward to.
So much of our relationship that hasn't even had a chance to start yet.
So many milestones we get to hit together.
So much down the road.

Because the truth is, this is what everyone does.
They come into this world,
they make such an impact,
they impress on our hearts and then they continue to live their life.
The one they want, the one they ask and wish for.

25
Feb

This crew

There was a time we were all wrapped in one another.
A time when our lives were intertwined and we knew every last detail.
Every last heartache and why.
Every last date, story, person.
A time when we knew our drink of choice, how we liked our ice cream, our pizza.
All of our favorite spots.
A time when going out clothes looked different than class clothes.
A time when going out was an event.
And now, we are spread all over the place.
Now, our talks have to be planned.
Now, the phone is too hard because there are children or time differences or crazy lives.
But, I won't give up, not on this crew, not on the ones that found me and loved me.

There was a time in which we were close enough to hold each other's hand through a rough patch.
A time in which we were all roommates, staying in essentially one room.
A time in which we would throw together a quick party
a time in which we would have most meals together
a time in which they brought me back from crazy.
And now, we all have framily really close to us, friends, we don't even know about.
We all get to watch our lives unfold, hear about big events, we have lost the day to day.
But, I won't give up, not on this crew, not on the ones that found me and loved me.

There was a time that we all celebrated each other's everything.
Honestly, everything.
We celebrated tests and jobs and kisses and hand-holding and calls (because boys would call us back then) and trips and good essays and dreams.
We would talk
we would talk and talk and talk about everything.
We would talk about our days, our futures our dreams.
We would talk about how many kids we wanted, names we were going to give them, where we would live.
We would talk and talk and talk and talk.
And now, "talking" is more like clicking "like" on a FaceBook post, and thank god for that.
Thank god we have a way of following each other and our smiles and our little ones and our person.
Talking is far and few between.
But, I won't give up, not on this crew, not on the ones that found me and loved me.

There was a time when we would wipe away tears
we would help each other through all that there was
we would help with parents struggling to let go
we would help with crushes
we would help with figuring out schedules
we would help, always help each other.
There was a time when we had each other's back, no one was alone.
Each of us knew where another was, no one was ever left.
We were good to each other,
we took care of each other
we were old that way, we just adored one another.
There was a time we were family, honest to god family.
A time when a random bunch of girls were brought together and forced to live together and became something so strong.
And now, today, we are still that strong.
We still have each other's back, we still protect and love each other.
We still won't leave anyone behind, no one is left to feel alone, we are all in this together.
Because, we won't give up, not on this crew, not on the ones that found us and never stopped loving.

Yes, we are scattered, we are everywhere, life is crazy, kids are plenty, everything is much louder.
But, we spent too many years finding out who we were, together.
We found a life, together.
And I won't let us ever forget or let go.
Becuase you were the ones that loved me.
You were the ones that knew me.
You were the ones that made me laugh and laugh and laugh.
You were the ones I sang/screamed with
you were the ones I danced with
you were the ones I told everything to.

So, no, this crew doesn't give up.
We hold on just as strong, we still cry together, we still worry together.
Things are more serious now, we are all married,
most of us are raising people
we all have really big jobs,
we all love
time is so precious to all of us.
But this is the crew that is worth it, we were always worth it.

Because, we won't give up, not on this crew, not on the ones that found us and never stopped loving.

7
Jul

Five Minute Friday - play

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on play.
Go.

This morning, we started our summer wish list.
All of the things we hope to accomplish
all of our fun, laid out right before us.
And it's one of your favorite lists to make
I think even more than your Christmas list.

It's your favorite because you see the kid in me too.
You see my playful side.
The side that isn't about to dos
isn't about have tos
isn't about organization and work.
This side is all fun
all play.

And it's filled with things like ice cream for dinner
and swimming in the ocean
and kayaking
and introducing Pearl to her town
and family games outside
and more swimming
and day trips
and camping
and all of the smores.
It's filled with summer
it's filled with play.

I don't bring play to this family
it's not my gig.
I barely play with our kids.
I am the reading dates
and puzzles and board games mom.
My person is the get on the floor and play
my person is the run outside and play
my person is the joy,
he brings the joy.

The last handful of years have come with so many challenges
so many turns we didn't see up ahead
basically parenting unfolding before our eyes.
And somewhere along the way, we forgot that all they need is us.
All they want is time, with us.
And last summer, we changed too.
We brought out our playful
we had the most amazing memories
the ones they still bring up
the ones that you can tell keep them warm.

It was amazing to write our list this morning
they could see and feel all the time we would spend together.
They saw playful mom all in,
ready for our summer of joyful play.

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