18
Sep

Five Minute Friday - church

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 church.

Go.

For some, it takes place in a building.

For some, it means praying and rituals and symbols.

For some, it means there is a "Person" involved, a God of sorts.

For all, it is a feeling, a meaning, a peace, and that can happen anywhere.

Church can be pancake Sunday with the kiddos so excited and happy and the coffee warm and loving.

Church can be our happy hearts where we share what we are grateful for, that week, during that time.

Church can be a run, a yoga class, a feeling of letting go and allowing something else to be in control.

Church can be a really hot shower, a warm bath. The sinking in to water that is needed to wash the day away.

Church can be an ocean, a beach, the sound and rhythm of the back and forth that allows you to listen, really listen.

Church can be a bed, calling to you. Asking you to close your eyes and lay your worries down.

Church can be a race, the adrenaline running through your veins as you come together as a community.

Church can be losing yourself in a book, forgetting all about yourself.

Church can be your community service and remembering others need you, this world needs you.

Church can be putting your babies to sleep, looking at those little faces, telling them we did our best today, tomorrow we will do better because we know better.

Church can be telling your family you love them and the feeling that comes from hearing it back, even when they talk to you from their sleep.

Church is not contained in walls, buildings, or by the God we worship. Church is all around us.

Stop.

14
Sep

Fall

The leaves are starting to yellow in New York. The nights are cooler, the sun sets earlier, the mornings feel cold. No matter what the calendar says, it's fall in New York.

It dawned on me tonight that for the first time since I became a mama, I did not make a summer wish list. I just kind of let it happen. If I really sit down to think about why, I think that someone that lives and dies by lists, can't make a list and not check it off. And with 2020, everything is too up in the air to make a list and stick to it, so I didn't want to bother at all. So, I didn't. And like I have learned in the crazy year, the earth didn't explode, nothing stopped working, I just didn't make a list and that was ok. Do I love my summer and fall lists, god I do. Do I miss them, oh hell yes. Will I go back to them, I will I will, but NOT having a list did not mean our summer was awful.

In fact, we squeezed every bit out of this summer. We watch the sun go down, we stayed up talking, we laughed, we walked, we rode bikes, we watched so many movies, we swam in the ocean, we looked at the stars, we ate ice cream, we walked some more, we did so so many house projects, we hung around our puppy, we danced, we cried, we cleaned, we made so many messes, we did a ton of trips, we were tourists in our own town, we ate and ate and ate, we had so many s'mores, we fought, we slept, we napped, we worked, we worked out, we walked and walked lots more, we vacationed, we surprised each other, we celebrated birthdays, we talked a lot, we made fires and roasted marshmallows. We squeezed the hell out of this summer.

Last week, we talked about some of our favorite parts. I forgot that summer was when we came out of quarantine and started to see friends again. I talked about our little weekend getaway to the Brightfuls. We talked about the 4th of July, the Cape, mom and dad talked about our track day with the Berrys. We talked about our upcoming Lake weekend and how much we all really needed it.

We talked about how much fun the 4th was, even though it was certainly not our usual and how it was still full of magic. We talked about the Cape and how even in 2020, being so careful and with the masks, it was exactly what it has always been...8 fools madly in love and basking in the warmth. We talked about the water and the beach and our house there. At the peak of summer, it is hot and perfect. It was the time that I needed. The vacation and time away that was necessary. The normal in the crazy of 2020.

As we drove to the Lake, you could clearly see the start of fall. New York has a way of really setting fire to the trees and it's starting to happen. The yellow is happening at the tip of the leaf, some are showing signs of red, but there is still enough green to help you remember summer was only two weeks ago.

As we looked out our huge window onto the Lake, all I could feel was calm. We were surrounded by older kids who were able to be and do. We didn't have to keep such a cautious eye. But, still little and having fun playing in the water and acting like fools. We got to watch our boys snuggle in bed and say goodnight to each other, somehow like brothers. Our girls stay up talking too late like teenagers, all of us too tired to tell them to knock it off, maybe because it was too cute to stop.

It was the end that I needed. The goodbye that was necessary. The normal in the crazy of 2020.

Tomorrow, for the first time, my babies head to separate schools. My daughter, fully immersed in the in-between, is headed to middle school. Middle school. My baby girl is in middle school. I cried so so hard the day she started kindergarten. I could not believe that little face was climbing a bus and I lost it for weeks. By the time it was Cole's turn, I was a disaster at the reality that I would be working home alone for the first time since I was a mom. And tomorrow, this milestone hits. She is ready because she did not like being out of school for six months. She is ready because she likes teachers and misses friends. She is ready because she wants to have her routine and structure and separate life. She is ready because, she is. She is always more ready than me, why would this be any different.

My son will start grade 3. Ferdinand in all his glory. "Will you be kind"..."yeah". "Will you remember to listen and show respect..."yeah". "I love you..."I love you too". As we talked about all of the reasons we love each other...reasons like "you're smart mom, you have a big heart Cole, you're always up for playing with me buddy...I always have my playmate..." we said good-bye to our second grader. One more year, one more leap.

Like most in this country, this week marks us leaving each other for the first time in 6 months. I have no idea how we all did this. I have no idea what tomorrow will feel like. I have needed quiet for a very long time. I have needed time alone. But, I'm also me and walking away from them after six months is going to hit me. I'm going to feel weirdly alone and like it will be too quiet for a while. Six months is a fascinating amount of time. Day in and day out of each other and we all just kept going.

The leaves are starting to yellow in New York. The nights are cooler, the sun sets earlier, the mornings feel cold. No matter what the calendar says, it's fall in New York.

15
May

Five Minute Friday - normal

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 normal.

Go.

I was never really fond of the word, and I hate it even more now because it's always connected to "our new normal" and no one knows that that means yet.

I feel as though the wheels are starting to fall off. The only thing that is "normal" is that we all need connection, in some way, we need people and connection in our lives. I need to have a meal with loved ones. I need to laugh with a friend. I need to squeeze and hug someone so hard I never want to let go. I want to see someone smile and their eyes light up, but not on a screen, I want to see someone.

I need to hear all about someone's day/week. I need to know how they are going, I need connection. I miss my people. I miss miss miss my people.

My little people miss miss miss people. God, they are longing for people. They are just waiting for any connection, any time, anything. They just need to know when they can see people again because they need to feel like there is another side to all of this.

I know we also need to focus on businesses and opening up the economy and what that all looks like. I know how important that all is, and how we all have so much to figure out.

I know this isn't the worst thing. I know this isn't the end of the world. I know how lucky I am, how lucky my family is, I know. But, I just miss people and I don't feel normal right now. I don't feel full and I just want a normal connection again. Even this introvert wants her people and needs them to feel normal.

Stop.

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

Lovey

When you were both born, I gave you each a little present, a lovey. They look a little different, but their size, their use, and their shape are the same. It was my first present to you, it was my first decision as a mom as to what to hand you, and it was the first time I made such a good decision that when I see them today, I am overcome by memories. And joy. And love. And remembering how little you were. And what they meant to you. And what they mean to you. And finally, what they mean to me.

When you are first starting out as a parent, there are so many "cute" things about shopping. There are so many aws and ohs at little clothes and socks, and blankets and stuffed animals, and ways to decorate your room. But, I remember really wanting to get you a lovey. I remember how important it was in my mind, I became a little me about it. I didn't research them or look over every single one. I walked into a store with something in mind and I walked out with it in my hand. And, when I met you, I remember placing it in your little tiny arms, I remember wrapping your arms around it, and I remember telling you how important this will be to you. And then, I let you fall in love, all on your own.

Every time you cried, I placed lovey in your arms as I too held you. Every time you slept, I put it right by you, reachable and close to you. Every time you were sick, I made sure you had it on you. Whenever you were anywhere snuggled, I made sure it was by your side. And now, all these years later, for one of you over a decade later, I really strongly feel, it's not only one of my first decisions as a parent, but it was also one of my best. Because as time went by, lovey became a part of you and what you turned to. As time went by, lovey was what you needed to fall asleep and even though Cole, you have outgrown it for needing sleep, you still need it in your life. You still need to know we have it. You still need to know it's yours. Anna, you need it...plain and simple end of story need it. And for both of you, no matter how important it is to you, it means so so much to me.

When I first heard what they were called, lovies, well, how could they NOT be made for this mamma? Lovey is what I call dad, and those I adore, and those in my circle. Lovey is my little nickname for those that matter, and this, this was going to matter a lot in your life. I remember watching you sleep and search for it in the middle of the night, I remember hearing you stir as an infant and realizing it was close to you and that's all you needed, I remember it being so positive for you and for your growing little mind. So no, it's not just a little something I gave you. It's the first something I gave you. It's the first thing I bought for you and said "happy birthday little one" with. It's what reminds me of babies and little, and snuggles, and love, and parenting, and warmth, and family, and motherhood.

So, no, it's not something that I can ever replace. No, I don't have a "spare". No, I don't want you to lose sight of it and yes, I do worry I may lose it which is why I keep a mamma eye on it. Because it was the start of us lovies, it was the start of you and the very first thing I ever gave you.

13
Sep

Five Minute Friday - start

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 start.

Go.

This Sunday, I start what might be my last race for a while (see how committed I am there??). I have been feeling like it is time to hang my training shoes up, maybe not forever, but for a while. I have been feeling like I have spent an entire life proving that I can do hard things, and now, I need life to be a little more kind, to me. I have been feeling like I just want to take things a little easier on myself, and like I just need some peace. Hanging up training shoes means I am also putting down my fighting gloves and it's time to start this new chapter.

And so, on Sunday, I will stand at the start of my half marathon, I will wave to my family and I will run. I hope it will clear my mind and I hope it will be healing for my soul. I hope that it will feel like I might need a few years off to regroup, recalibrate, and figure out how to make this new world I am creating just a little bit easier. It is time for me to take a little break, a little breather, and to start a brand new day.

The words that keep flooding my mind are "easier" "lighter" "calmer" "kind" "gentle" "grateful". Because after a heavy storm, the clouds part, the earth is washed, the groud is full, the plants have been fed, sometimes, leaves fall off and branches break, but there is a necessary calm. Sometimes, you have to clean up a little from the debris left behind but that's okay. It's the start of a new day and for me, it's the start of a whole new life.

Stop.

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