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

17
Nov

Last night

We have been really lucky in the sleep department. Our kiddos are really good, really strong sleepers. There are cons to this, like they can't miss sleep. Ever. They can't stay up really late and bounce back...no, I mean ever. Because then they have to be treated like an actual bomb that you place in your hand and watch and hold and don't put down and when it explodes, you lose everything that is precious to you. So no, they can't stay up later in the summer and sleepovers make them monsters forever! And staying up for any reason is always not worth it.

But, overall, it's a good thing. They slept as infants and babies. I never went through the exhaustion that comes with early parenting. They napped like crazy. My daughter finally gave up her four-hour nap when she went to kindergarten. Although worried about her transition, I wasn't willing to work on this with her because who would?

Recently, they have been waking up more often. And that means they have been coming in more often. To him, it's starting to feel like a lot more, but for me...truth be told, I am really loving it. It goes against everything we did as parents of babies, but I don't care. I am letting them climb in, I am letting them take over the bed, and I am loving the snuggles and the fact that they feel safest with us.

Last night, it became the perfect storm. She read a book that scared her so much she had to put it down and then her imagination got the best of her and she was so scared she asked to stay with me. He woke up at 3:30am and got really worried about how dark it was and asked to come in. And there I was, sandwiched between my two babies...no longer babies...but my two babies.

One held my hand and whispered, I love you, from his sleep. The other fell hard and fast asleep pressed up against me, snuggled inside my arm. Her breath became rhythmic, I watched her eyes actually get heavy, like they would when she was first here. I watched her struggle to keep them open so she could watch me watch her, but she gave up sooner than she would have liked and she was at peace. He came in like a storm. Rushing, loud, worried, breathing really hard. His breath slowed as he realized he was okay. He twisted and turned for a second and then looked up, grabbed my hand, and was out like a light.

Last night, I watched both my babies be at peace. I watched their chest rise and fall at different rhythms. Last night, I saw his eyelashes were so long that I wondered if he could feel them on his cheeks. I saw how gorgeous her lips are and how perfect they form while she's sleeping. Last night, I saw how much they looked like you and how lucky I am that I married someone so handsome. Last night, I saw pieces of me on their face, and I felt so lucky to be there. Last night, I felt so lucky that my little faces couldn't sleep...needed me, needed my arms and my attention. Last night, I opened up our bed to them, and yes, you got kicked out. Last night we did things like we never do them. We let them in, I got to be there all night with them. Last night we didn't worry about routines or what this would do for their forever sleeping, or if we were setting them up for bad habits. Last night, we just let them snuggle where they needed to be for that one moment in time. We let them be and we accepted what they needed and maybe what I needed too.

With them growing up so big, these moments of little are so far and few between. Even though we are so lucky that they are walking slow, they are still walking towards new phases and away from little. But last night, we let them be scared little kids that wanted their mom or dad. And I can't wait to do it all over again.

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.

6
Oct

It's always darkest before the dawn

It's one of life's little secrets. Something that when you are going through it, it's impossible to remember. And having anyone remind you doesn't help, trusting that it's true doesn't help, but eventually seeing the sun on the horizon, you'll always get that.

It was last year when I heard this line in a song that I adore and out of nowhere, I started to cry. 2018 was really hard for your mom lovies. Really really hard and really really trying and really really out there for me. My mind stopped working and I couldn't get a grip and I was drowning. Everything felt dark and then, something happened. Something woke me up and I realized that I can see the sun and the light and I can be okay. But, I had to hit the darkest hour first. It's always darkest before the dawn.

In 2019, I decided to really embrace change. Really lean into all the changes that I was trying to make happen around me and instead, I called changed into every area of my life and I felt like I was going to crumble. Since change feels like a loss to me, and everything was changing, I felt like I was losing it all. My head hurt, my body was aching, my exhaustion really took over. Once again, it all felt so dark and so lonely and so scary. See, as true as this line is and as much as it really represents life, it is so hard to remember it when you are in your darkest hour, or to try and figure out when you have reached it. It's really hard to figure out if you are moments away from sunrise or if the night is just starting to settle in. Because when you are feeling this lost, sullen, alone, scared, empty, exhausted, shaky, unsure, nothing is clear. Expressions like, tomorrow is another day, or you did the best you could, or even it's always darkest before the dawn...they don't help. It's so difficult to imagine the dawn and the sun rising and the light and warmth hitting your face.

Until it does.

Because eventually, the sun does rise again, things start to shake out. Obstacles are overcome, problems are figured out, or they aren't. No matter what, time moves us forward and the world keeps going. And then, out of nowhere, joy finds its way back home to you. And you realize it's morning again, it's time to remember who you are and get back to being you.

So, it happens lovies. There are days that bleed into weeks and sometimes months when it seems so dark. I will hold your hand through it, I will allow you to sit with it and eventually you will see on your own that tomorrow does come. But it's always darkest before the dawn.

29
Sep

41

Come and see
I swear by now I'm playing time
I against my troubles
I'm coming slow but speeding

I am growing more and more comfortable in my skin and more and more comfortable with celebrating a day that for 39 years made me so sad, so lonely, so sullen, so so blue.

So, this year, I once again celebrated. I celebrated me and I allowed myself to be grateful for my year. A year that has been really hard for me. A year that has been full of change and embracing change. A year that I set forth a huge goal and got there. A year that I decided to walk away from something that has defined me, given me worth and purpose. And I did it. A year that was so emotional because of my decisions and my choices. A year in which I reflected on 2 decades of work, 2 decades of dedication, 2 decades of opportunities and a full heart. A year in which I made a decision to be more present and slower with you. A year in which you taught me how gorgeous it is to walk slow. A year in which I have learned that I want to stop running hard and start running freely. A year in which I have learned how much we all mean to each other.

So, I celebrated me. I took the day off. I went to be pampered. I sat in silence and I watched the rain. I got a massage, I fell so much in love with massages. I laughed, I read, I slept. I sat in heat. I took the best shower. I bought a lovely coffee. And then I came home to family and framily. I read cards, I read gorgeous words, I was showered with love, I was hugged so tight, I was told you were happy I was born.

Do you wish a dance and while I'm
In the front
The play on time is won
But the difficulty is coming here

I will go in this way
And find my own way out

This is my decade, the one I was born as. And I am moving into a phase in my life in which I will be heading a new project. One I hope I get to ride out into the sunset of my career. One in which will bring me as much joy and love. One in which I still feel helpful and dedicated and determined. One in which scares me, because change scares me and because change worries me and because change makes me so sad. But I have done what I wanted to do and it is time for me to take this significant step in this direction.

41, you started out so strong. You went off the rails already with an emotional rollercoaster of hell on earth, because that is what life is. It's a wash and repeat of wonderful and awful and boring. And I am ready for all this year and this entire decade has in store.

I'm begging slow I'm coming here

2
Sep

One hell of a summer in 2019

It was one hell of a ride this summer. We got so much in, we lingered, we were lazy, we did, we accomplished, we traveled, we stayed, we built, we did nothing. We swam, we read, we beached, we (I) napped and napped and napped. We loved, we spent time around love, with love, with loved ones. We ate great food, we got alone time, we got family time, we got framily time, we got us time.

I surrendered, I changed, I laughed, I cried, I got worried, I slept and slept and slept and slept. I trained, I went for really long runs, I am getting ready to hang up my training shoes, I made some really hard decisions, I shared those decisions. I drank so much coffee, and so many bloody marys, I danced, I planned, I did and I did nothing.

We had ice cream and long talks. We had snuggles and movie time. We had so many people here, we opened our arms. We watched the sun come up and go down. We spent time with those we love and some time alone. We read, the kids read, they built, they played, the did camps, they saw friends, they saw us, they got time, they were busy, it was all-consuming.

We got every last drop of summer out of this summer. We really put our arms around it and squeezed and we hugged and hugged it tighter and tighter. We love summer, all of us. But, after all this time, we are also all ready for structure and routine and a little more clarity on the days. We are ready for time tables and the flow we all fall into. As this year progresses, I need to remind myself that your foundation continues to build, the stakes are so low right now and you can make millions of mistakes because that is how you learn, become independent and how you stand on your own two feet. There are some major shifts coming our way this fall. You will have more responsibility, I will do much less reminding, natural consequences will take place. I have to embrace the crazy that is about to hit me and prepare for it being just me in a few short months.

But in the meantime, I want us all to remember, we had a summer. One hell of a summer. We are lucky, we are privileged, we are beyond. We won't always spend summer like this, it won't always embody childhood like this one did, but that's going to be okay too. I promise I will walk with you because you are choosing to walk slow. I can't promise I will be ready and happy about how we change and mold and grow, but I promise to walk with you.

One hell of a summer is the only way to describe this one guys. We really loved the hell out of it!

9
Aug

Five Minute Friday - again

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 again.

Go.

I spent a week with love, and the sound of water, and the feeling of sand on my feet, and warmth from the inside out. And then I came home and it started all over...again. I felt the tension, I wasn't sleeping as well, I started to feel tighter, more concerned. I was at it...again.

I kept trying to find the feelings that were there just days ago. The ones that were light and happy. The feeling of comfort, the feeling of being surrounded by family and framily, the feeling of joy, the feeling of childhood. But the more I tried, the further away it all seemed. My littles faces felt it, my body felt it, my joy was fading and slipping away and it was being replaced with worry and being shut down...all over again.

So in my last few months of this year, I have a lot I still need to do. I am finishing my year of change and I still have a lot to complete. A lot to work on, a lot to change. And it will be tough, at times, it will be brutal. And that is why I really need to remember that I have to put down the things that are too heavy. The things I cannot carry. The things that are too much for me and I need to be an example to you. We are not responsible for everything and everyone. We are not responsible for every reaction and every decision. It is time I take a hold of my life...again.

Stop.

5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

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 take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


23
Jun

The year

I just read one of the most amazing articles of all time that put this whole school gig into the most amazing perspective. It's on the average kid, the one that doesn't make the team, isn't in every single thing, isn't straight As in all the subjects, isn't killing it since birth in an area of their life, isn't already headed for college at 10, hasn't already created something, invented something.

But the kid with heart, the one that loves to read, the shy kid, or the kid that can be friends with anyone, the kid that loves animals, or loves to color still, the one that still wants to play and just be a kid. That kid, the average kid, the one we all lost sight of, the one we are all trying to push, the one that doesn't need pushing because they are so content. And good, and kind, and smart at their thing, and thinking, and being little.

" School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best."

I made a promise that I would protect your childhood. Not a promise to protect you because you've got this, but your childhood. I made a promise you would get to be little, and kids, and not be over scheduled or overdone. I made a promise that it would be about being kids while I had kids because damn does that window close fast.

I don't know when or why it happened. I wasn't part of much when I was in school but I found my own way. Dad, he was part of the team, any team, but he still got to be a kid. He didn't have to start specializing at the age of 6 and somewhere along the way, parents lost their way and started down this really scary path.

And I just want you to know, my 4th and 1st grader, my little tiny faces, I am proud of the year you have had. Because you always tried, because you worked hard, because of your hearts.

Anna, I am so proud of you for knowing that all of your closest friends were all in one classroom together and instead of being upset, or sad, or even bringing it up, you made new friends. Good friend. Friends that you really love and laugh with and have so much fun with. Friends you have story after story after story about. Friends that you write notes to. Friends that you want to be around. Friends that make you feel good. You did something that has always been so hard for mom and you just put yourself out there and you connected. I am most proud that you befriended a new kid, one that you could tell was feeling shy and worried. You made the first connection and you brought her into your heart. I am proud of you for opening your arms and your heart out and as you get older, it will be harder but I hope you always remember how easy and natural it is for you to make friends.

Anna, I am proud of you for always trying, for giving your best. For putting your mind to something. Not because you are perfect at it, not even because school just comes easy to you, not because you don't get any mistakes or do everything right, but because you just keep going. When spelling was hard for you, you worked at it. You found solutions. You listened to tutors, you practiced. When things are hard, you do not give up, you do not get frustrated, you take the help and you learn and you cope and you do.

Anna, I am proud of you for really giving it your all. For leading with your heart, for being a social butterfly and loving to be around people. Anna, I love that you fell even harder for reading this year. I love that I find you all over the house reading. I love that you use the car to read. I love that you are covered in books and always have one near by. I love your love of stories. I love that you are starting to write your own and I love that you are still silly, and little and not at all growing up too fast.

Cole, I, and everyone that comes into contact with you, falls hard and heavy for your heart. I am proud of the person you are Monkey. I love that you make everyone around you feel loved. I love that everyone thinks and feels like you are their friend because you are. I love that there is nothing malicious about you. I love that there is nothing fake. I love that you just love people. I love that all the grownups in your life see that too. I love that you come in, get your homework done and just want to play play play. I love that you spend so many quiet hours with legos. I love that you make people feel loved and cared for. I love that people can always count on you. I love that you have a smile that can melt, and I love love love how funny you are.

Cole, I am proud that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. I love that you are emotional. I love that you put it all out there. I love that although sitting and listening are not your thing, you do it so well for your teachers. I love that you know what is right and what is wrong. I love that you look to them to confirm you have to step back. I love that you get excited, I love that you think most days are the best days of your life. I love that you would move heaven and earth to be with your dad. I love that you love hugs, I love that you love little guy kisses.

Kiddos, I am proud of you because you are good people. And I love you because you both love love. And that does not make you average, that makes you special. You receive what you put out and you always put out love and kindness. You put your best foot forward and you always try. You are not average, you are exceptional because you know and realize what really matters in this world. All of this other stuff, it does not matter, you have the real world figured out. Love, kindness, friendship, caring humans.

31
May

Five Minute Friday - name

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 name.

Mine fits me, is important to me, it's one of the things given to me that I am so proud of, in love with even. Dad's too, not only does his fit perfectly, even the spelling is him. Simple, not complex, nothing added as a buffer, just there, the real him. And together, our names now fit like they are supposed to. Not in a blended way, but just balance each other, compliment one another.

So, when it came time, we thought and thought and thought about the perfect names for you both. One, after so many women in our family, the other deeply attached to the family too. One, important to me, the other important to dad, both, fitting you. One meaning grace, the other a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth. Names that needed to sound right together, apart, with our last name, without it. Names that felt like the right extension, addition to us. Both timeless.

And once settled, we felt so good, so right about our decisions. You didn't grow into them, you were them. You were born feeling like them and you continue to live right up to them. You embody them. I love calling you by your names, I love that this is what we picked for you. I love knowing that you too love your name. I love that you too realize it makes you special, to us, to you. I love knowing you are in love with all the nicknames that come with them, I just love you.

Until this reminder, I had almost forgotten how important naming you was to me. I had almost forgotten how much thought and emphasis I put on it. I had forgotten how much I loved mine, how much I wanted you to feel that way about yours. I almost forgot that I really wanted to get this right and I love that we did.


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