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.

7
Sep

A deceptive peace

I cannot begin to explain to the world how much I needed March 2020. I did not need a pandemic and I did not need people getting sick or Americans losing their jobs/lives/livelihood. I did need the world to stop spinning for a while and I needed the time March gave me.

Being huddled up in my home during the cold month of March was like a miracle. Having everyone here with me, all of us safe and sound, it was heaven. I desperately missed our framily connections and I was so sad the grandparents couldn't connect with their babies, but we found really good and nurturing ways to stay connected and feeling loved.

March was long, really really long. But I needed it to go as slowly as it did. I was scared for my new business, I was scared for my family, our community, our country, I was. I was also tired. I was worn out and worn thin. I spent three years hurting myself and I needed it all to slow the hell down. I needed to see my family, I needed to work side by side with my husband, I needed to see him really shine with our kids as he taught them. I really really needed March.

April was lovely but eery. There was a deceptive peace as the magnitude of the virus really hit. We all started to really connect the dots on how long this was going to take us and there was no end in sight. More and more and more things shut down. Phases started to be introduced. The streets were empty. Stores, big and small, were closed. Restaurants really suffered. The deceptive peace really caved our walls in all around us.

As the weather got warmer, we became more hopeful, but longed for people and connection and coming out of hibernation. The deceptive peace had taken hold.

Grandparents drove to talk through the windows. People connected as much as they could in video meetings with friends/family/loved ones. As quickly as we were excited about connecting through video screens, we were also over it. Easter was canceled. Everything was eery, so quiet. Eery and quiet became the norm, a deceptive peace became our norm.

The deceptive peace made me at times feel so grateful for this time, so tired all of the time...I could not get enough sleep. There were moments when the peace filled me with so much joy but the deception of the peace had me so worried and filled with dread. What next? What happens now? How is this ever going to be fixed? Who do we know that's sick, who is lost forever? The deceptive peace had my dreams still filled with anxiety but my eyes continued to be heavy. I would do the littlest thing and the exhaustion was overwhelming. The deceptive peace had taken over my whole body.

Deceptive because...

It should not take a pandemic for me to settle down. It should not take a pandemic and a virus that knocks down the world for me to finally realize enough is enough. But, it did. And, this is who I am and that is a very hard pill to swallow and a lot for me to just accept.

The anxiousness still talked to me in my dreams. It still found me and told me that things were okay but not okay.It still asked me questions I had no idea the answers to. It still "what if"ed me all of the time.

We were expected to do everything, all at once, and everyone knew no one was doing anything well. Not one thing was being done well and with clarity. Instead, we all tried to "make the best of things".

Everyone was guessing, all of the time guessing. Everyone still is.

Deceptive because it snowed in May, riots started soon thereafter. A civil unsettling and reckoning were awakened and we were all called to task. We were all called to do more, listen more, say more, shut up more.

June, July and August all ran into each other. School "ended" and we all tried to make summer work and be summer. In so many ways, it was, in so many ways, it was not. Riots continued, more and more stories hit of the racial injustices of our world, our lives, our nation. We learned more, we were faced with the ugly truth of who we have always been.

June, July, and August all ran into each other. Kids tried to be kids. Vacations were had. Framily came back together. Grandparents got to spend time with their grand-kids again. And before we knew it, our little family had been together for six months. Six months.

In September, my daughter and I were taking of of our many walks and she said, so dad goes back to work in about 2 days...wow, it'll be weird without him home. After all this time, the deceptive peace became our normal, and the real normal now feels strange.

So yes, this week, we will have our ice cream for dinner tradition. We will say goodbye to summer. We will tuck dad in for his early mornings. We will continue to guess the right/wrong way to handle this all and we will figure it out.

For the past six months, you guys have been resilient. Calm. Crazy. Gotten along so well. Hated each other. Laughed together. Screamed at one another. Been on millions of walks. Saw framily. Reconnected with who you are. Gotten ready for a brand new school. Cried. Talked. Drew. Built. Ran. Rode bikes. Swam. Loved on Pearl. Watched a million movies. Read so many books. Spent hours of tablets. Shopped. Watched me work. Watched dad create a home. Hugged. Loved. Found peace.

30
Aug

Ferdinand

Monkey man, well, you have reached that age. The age where the babyface and the baby cheeks and the baby belly have gone away. You are all lanky and thinning out, the baby is washing away. My baby is fading away.

You are eight. With eight, comes a little boy that is very loud, and impulsive, and quick, and doesn't follow through, and stomps (instead of walking), and yells (instead of talking), and is a bull in a china shop. There is a definite transition. You went from Curious George, small and curious in the most amazing way, jumping and climbing and wondering and always looking at things differently...to Ferdinand. But, I know Ferdinand, and I'm in your corner.

I know Ferdinand. I know how much his heart is full. I know how much more he loves to love than fight. I know that he doesn't have a fight in him until he is pushed and his back is up against a wall. Even then, he will sit in love and ask to be spared.

I know Ferdinand. I know that with this love comes energy. And excitement. Energy and excitement that bursts out of you because you love life and the beauty that comes with it and you cannot understand why others are not taking advantage of that. I also understand that energy and excitement can be tough for some. I know Ferdinand.

I know that you have two switches...on or off. I know. I am well aware that the on switch means you are go go go. I know that the off switch means you are asleep. I know that the sleep you have is deep and meaningful, you lived yet another good day.

I know Ferdinand. I know that he is big, all over. His personality, his laugh, his smile, his heart, his love. I know that Ferdinand wants to run and play and I know he wants to be with his family. I know that precise is not his strength, I know that careful is not his priority. I know that he knows life is just too short to be that meticulous. I know that he deeply cares what others think of him and I know he wants others to like him and think he is kind. I know that kindness matters. I know that he is one amazing friend. The kind that would give up everything to have that friend be happy. I know that he would walk through fire for people, he would give all he had to another...I know Ferdinand.

I know that he loves nature and to be outside. I know that he does not care about what he is wearing or even if he has clothes on because he is a hot box. I know that playtime is everything to Ferdinand. It's his job, he plays like it is his job and he is really good at it. I also know that when Ferdinand wants to be creative, he can be, but only when it comes to building a lego set. Something he will sit and do for hours. I know that naps are not his thing, but snuggles are. I know that sitting is hard, so he has to be doing something else. I know Ferdinand.

I know that his dad is his best buddy. I know how much he looks up to his dad, even if his dad is grumpy and being a bull and puffing out his chest and being gruff...I know that his love is so deep that he just sees his best friend, right here living in his house with him - every single day. He wakes up and his best buddy is just there! He goes to bed and his best buddy reads to him! He plays basketball with his best buddy! They play ball together and go on adventures together. He gets to wake up and live with his moon and stars right there with him, that excitement is hard to control. I know Ferdinand.

I know that others find it hard to keep up. I know that some will even make fun of how gentle you are. I know that others will really struggle that gentle does not mean or look like careful, I know that. I know that Ferdinand can really wear you out and down. I know that it is really really hard to be around that level of energy all of the time. I know that he needs to be reminded to quiet down. I know that he needs to be reminded that people are sleeping so stop talking to them. I know that he needs to be reminded to find something quieter to do. I know that things break around Ferdinand, things fall. I know how clumsy he is. I know that spills are inevitable, I know that he feels so badly about it but also doesn't know how to make it better.

I know that some will try and just "do it" because it's going to all fall apart so why bother with the cleanup. But I also know that he and I have a different approach and language. Spill it, Ferdinand, we can clean it up together. It's okay if it breaks, let's learn to be more careful. Don't just leave a mess, you're not entitled to have a fulltime cleaner on your side, you have to learn to take care of the messes you create. It's okay if your clothes get dirty Ferdinand, they didn't have a fighting chance so go...go play outside. You and I have a different approach because I know Ferdinand.

I know his smile, I know his wonderment. I know his love of life. I know how hard he goes. I know he is a bull in a china shop. I know he has one volume, one speed. I know his big blue eyes see things differently than most. I know he is just a really good person. I know Ferdinand and I'm not just in your corner, I am all in on you and your love of this life.

9
Aug

Changes

Recently, I am back to my very old ways of being so down on myself, so down on my body, focused only on the imperfections, the things I want to go away. I am no longer focused on my strength or health, no longer on how I feel or how a certain workout makes me feel. I am solely focused on a look. I have no idea what that look is because I have never gotten there, but I am struggling.

I am struggling because all the things look and feel different now. My hair, my nose (I mean, seriously, my nose??!) my culi, my face, my legs, my chest, my ability to not have to sweat through everything. Things are changing, quickly. And I am taking a lot of careful notice and the struggle is deep rooted right now.

Yes, I have always struggled, yes. Yes, I have always cared too much, yes. Yes, I have always spoken low of myself and how I look, yes. But then I had a daughter. A daughter that really listening and carefully watches, and quietly takes notes. A daughter that started watching me, listening to me, and taking quiet notes on how I act. Even though I did not stop thinking about how my body could/should/would be different, I stopped saying it in front of her at all. And I did find, the less I talked about it, the less I thought about it. Recently, that has started to fade because all I am doing is putting myself down and I know I will slip and say something in front of her.

My body is of course changing. In some ways, it's normal aging. In some ways, it's a new workout that is changing how I look, in all ways, it does not matter. I am in my 40s, living with MS for almost half my life and I am healthy. I am still walking, still able to work out hard, still not only able to work, but able to really build careers. I can see, I don't need instruments or accommodations, there are times I have to slow down and times that the stress really screams at me but I am able. All of this comes with a "yet" or a "for now I can". I don't need any of this yet, and for right now, I am still able, but my body has done so so much for me. It's time that the only change is my own thought process. It's time I realize my body is enough.

Since I was diagnosed, I changed my mind and made health my priority. But, deep down, I always thought about how I was less than. When I had her, I stopped and really showed her the ways women are miracles, but I still struggled to say out loud that I am proud of all this body has done.

Dear legs, I want to thank you for hurting after long days but still have enough strength to carry me to my bed where I need to be, where I belong. Thank you for the long runs and the heavy workouts. Thank you for reminding me to stretch you out and pay attention to your muscles. Thank you for being able to withstand the injections I had to receive and for being enough.

Dear arms, I want to thank you for helping me carry two babies, some days for long long long periods of time. Thank you for then allowing me to carry toddlers that wanted to be thrown and held. Thank you for allowing me to play with my son and throw him in water. I want to thank you for allowing me to carry weights and increase my ability to lift more and more. Thank you for your strength as you hold me up in poses and balance all of my on you. Thank you for being enough.

Dear feet, I want to thank you for the hours and years of hard work you have put in. The training sessions, the miles and miles we have run. I want to thank you for your sound, the quiet you bring on a run. I want to thank you for your hardness because that means you are working hard. I want to thank you for carrying all of me, all of the time. I want to thank you for being tired and how you need warmth and love at night. Thank you for being enough.

Dear hands, I want to thank you for your gentle touch. The touch that strokes tears away. The one that would massage an ear to keep a baby awake during a late night feeding. The touch that caressed and showed so much love. The touch that would move aside a piece of hair. I want to thank you for holding big and little hands. I want to thank you for how you show love in that touch of yours, how others feel that love. Thank you for being enough.

Dear back, I want to thank you for the piggyback rides. I want to thank you for holding me up all of this time. I want to thank you for hurting when I'm stressed so I know to tap into that stress and find a way to relief. I want to thank you for your strength, your fragile strength. I want to thank you for carrying babies and kiddos on your shoulders. I want to thank you for being enough.

Dear stomach, I want to thank you for growing and creating babies with me. I want to thank you for making all of that room and making sure that they had enough space. I want to thank you for stretching and getting as big as they needed you to. I want to thank you for the scar that reminds me they are here. I have a permanent mark of their life. I want to thank you for telling me I need to eat now. I want to thank you for the aches you bring when I am not supplying my body with the right fuel. I want to thank you for bloating and allowing my daughter to feel that bloat. I want to thank you for allowing me to tell her that regardless if a woman wants to be a mom or not, this bloat comes because her body prepares for life. It is our incredible superpower and we should be so proud of that bloat. So proud of that little bump that is permanently there. I want to thank you for being enough.

Dear eyes, I want to thank you for allowing me to see my babies, watch them grow into people. I want to thank you for working so hard on so many projects and I want to thank you for becoming blurry when things are too much and you need a rest. You always tell me when my body needs to rest, you're the first indicator. Dear eyes, you will continue to grow weary and together, we will worry. They tell me you will suffer the most and the quickest from this disease and so far, you have just soldiered on. And for that, I want to thank you for being enough.

Dear muscles, thank you for growing and growing tired.

Dear hair, thank you for changing and being as crazy as you are. I am ready for the gray you are beginning to shine.

Dear mouth, thank you for my words and all the smooches.

Dear culi, thank you for the cushion you have provided, sitting is my favorite.

Okay body, it's time I put all this nonsense to bed. It is time I get back on track to protecting my health, my strength and my emotions. Enough of this garbage I am spewing and enough of all this BS I am putting in my mind. I am changing. My body is changing. This is not the first time, it will only come more rapidly now. Changes will happen so much more frequently and all I can do is be.

26
Jul

Easier

2020, for me, started gently. I had set my intention...all is calm, all is bright. After years and years of hurting myself and breaking my brain, 2020 was when I was going to be gentle...on me. I went into 2020 with ways to make my life easier. I started my relationship with the year by wanting a better relationship with myself.

The things I wanted accomplished all had to do with slowing down, making life a little easier.

  • At least one year off of all races. That means no triathlon, no half marathon, no pushing myself to the point of pain to prove I can do hard things. I have already proved that to myself. I can do hard things. Now, I would run for the love of running. I would ride my bike because I like to ride. I would work out, I would still work my body, and I would be tired after, but I would feel good about that.
  • More intentional time with my family. Dinner, together. No more me sitting at dinner worrying about all I have to get back to. I just wanted to sit and enjoy dinner with my family. Breakfast together. I wanted to sit and take you in during the morning and I wanted our mornings to be lighter, full of love and kindness.
  • A slower start to my day. Me able to put them on a bus. Big hugs and a mom there, with you.
  • Walks with Pearl, multiple times a day. Me and my girl able to take breaks and take in the cold, watch the seasons change together.
  • More yoga. I wanted to stretch and do the one thing that makes me quiet and still.
  • Save more money because I was in a position to start making more money.

We are halfway through now. 2020 threw us all for a loop. And although there are many things on my list that are weird now, most of my intentions have been met.

When the pandemic first started, it was so obvious what instantly became easier in our lives.

  • A husband whose busy season was canceled. Just canceled. Me having to be a full-time parent all by myself ended. It was the first spring we have ever had him home with us.
  • All of the kiddos springtime activities were canceled. Because on top of him being gone, their activities are nonstop in the spring and all of those came to a halt.
  • Even if I wanted to do a race, there was no way to get tempted, they all ended. Canceled for the year.
  • Me working hard for one job works for me. It works really really well for me. Now, I no longer start at 4am and go until I collapse at 10 at night. Now, I get up later, (most times I am no longer setting an alarm,) and I work out, I have some coffee and I start. I still have early morning meetings, I still have things to work around, I still am falling into old patterns of making myself too busy, but I am immediately recognizing it and making changes to get back on the right track. Working one job and focusing on that one job, that works for me.
  • Pearl is living her best life with slow car rides, trips, so many walks, time with us, she is one happy little puppy.
  • Time with my kids is plentiful...almost too much and we need to find some time apart but all in all, we are making it work well.
  • So many naps, and is there anything more gentle on your body than a big old nap?

As time continued to slowly crawl by, it also became glaringly obvious what was now harder.

  • Kids have been out of school since mid-March. They may (YIKES) go back to school this September. They may (YIKES) not go back to school this September. They may (YIKES) go back to school part-time this September. By the time September hits, children will be home 6 solid months. Six solid months. If they don't go back, if they do go back, all of it will be hard.
  • Alone time. I miss being in my home for a full workday alone. I miss my Mondays (only conference call meetings) and Fridays (no meetings so only accomplish work) and I miss my time.
  • Seeing people we love. My kids miss friends, a lot. Like all kids, they just want to be around other kids. They really really really want to be around other kids.
  • We spent almost four months not seeing a soul and that was really tough. I definitely need my people. We are slowly opening up to others, but nothing is the same.
  • Worry, we all have no idea what any of this will look like. What the long term effects of this will be. How this will all end or when it will end. We are all guessing about the right things to do for our family. For our kids. For our jobs. For our futures. For our health. Everything is a total guess.

We have all really gone through all of the emotions of this. We have all gotten on this roller coaster and are up and down and up and down. We are all surviving and we are all doing the best we can. We are all making the best out of it. We are all enjoying it and not. We are all out of our minds and the calmest we have ever been. We all taken stock in what is important but I don't think we have all learned our lesson yet. I see us going back to our "old ways" as soon as we possibly can and that makes me so sad.

The world should not have had to stop spinning for me to slow down. But it did so I am going to really listen. I am going to take a look at what is actually important and although there may be times I will be "more busy" than I want to be, I will no longer make "busy" my badge of honor. This year has certainly been hard and I am very privileged in that I know only one person who got very ill and he has turned the corner, both of us have had an income, everyone in our four walls have been healthy. We have been so lucky. So the least I can do is say that I am going to take all the lessons I learned in 2020 and continue to make my life easier.

24
Jul

Five Minute Friday - young

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 young.

Go.

When I was young, I was scared.

When I was young, I was scared of my own shadow.

When I was young, I was scared of myself.

When I was young, I was scared of family.

When I was young, I was scared of love and needing it.

When I was young, I was scared of motherhood and couple-hood and I was scared.

When I met family, I got less scared. I got lighter. I became more free. The more I leaned, the more I gave up control, the more free I became.

When I was young, I met you, I fell hard. I embraced what you had to offer. You made me a better me. You made me better.

When I was young, I found family in places because even though I was afraid, I was needing it, I was craving it, so I created it.

When I was young, I had you. I held your little in my arms and I am just so happy I did. You were exactly what I never knew I always wanted.

Now, I have a front row seat to you being young and I get to watch this amazing person become. She is funny, and kind, and loving, and angry, and stubborn, and feisty, and has a need for connection...sound familiar?

When I was young, I was scared. Scared of myself, my shadow, the world. I'm still that scared little girl, but as the years have ticked away, I too am becoming.

Stop.

11
Jul

Five Minute Friday - endure

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 endure.

Go.

2020 has been one big roller coaster ride and the words "it can't get worse" are no longer on my lips. What we have endured has been unreal to me. What communities have endured for centuries is inhuman, ungodly, and immoral. What else, what now, what do we do now?

We have isolated.

The environment has healed.

We have lost jobs.

We have closed down.

Businesses have been lost.

People, we have lost people.

We have watched a civil rights movement finally unfold.

We have listened.

We have slowed down.

We have rested.

We have worried.

We have lost sleep.

We have been with our children.

We have forced them to be bored.

We have read.

We have cried.

We have moved our bodies.

We have not moved at all.

We have lived a life we should hold on to a little bit.

We have done the unthinkable.

We have lost and gained.

We have stood and knelt.

We have been separated but connected.

We have been divided but there are more of us that want to come together.

We have endured. Some have had to endure more. Some have had to endure for too long and we no longer want you to carry the weight alone.

So, what else...what now?

Stop.

5
Jul

It's my honor

As milestones pile on and time starts really speeding up, this introverted mother has really gotten sad. So sad that you will find me folded into myself. So sad that I feel very heavy, unable to breathe, and like someone might be standing on my chest. So sad that I call framily huddled by garbage cans hysterical and unable to be understood. So sad, that I message framily and can't get through my thoughts because the tears won't stop coming. So sad that I need to make sure my littles don't see me so I hide.

And then, my wise loving friend reminded me...we get to watch our babies grow up. That is a privilege, it's actually an honor. And I never ever thought of it this way. We get to watch them grow and figure it out. We get to be a part of every single milestone so far. We get to experience this, we get to watch them figure it out, we get to do all of this.

When a mother has to do the unthinkable and put their babies to rest, I have heard them cry out for what I get to do. I won't ever see them...I won't ever watch them...I won't be able to be there when...that was all I needed to hear.

My sweet girl, my Anna James, the one I named after a strong woman that doesn't realize her strength, the one that started my path. From the moment I met you, I knew you would be teaching me. I knew that I would be following your lead and I knew that you would be in charge of our dance. There are times when I cannot believe I am the mom you are turning to because you have taught me way more than you will ever realize. I will continue to learn from you, I will continue to be the one you will lean on and I thank you for your gift of motherhood. Your smile, your personality, your sense of humor, your love of reading, your consumption of books as if they are food, your love of Nutella, your love of silly, your love of friends, your need for framily, your desire to stay little because you too love childhood. I promise I will listen more than I talk. I promise I will never make your feelings less than. I promise that I will remind you that a good night's sleep will cure most things. I promise I will laugh with you when things are funny. I promise to be silly. I promise to also be your mom, the one that sets your limits and boundaries, I promise to be your structure. Most importantly, I promise to be your foundation and the one you can always come home to. I promise to remind you how strong we are, how much we can do, how much we can overcome and I promise to fill you with the hope of a better tomorrow.

To my loving son, the one we named after a dad who you resemble in all of the best ways. The one that taught me, love, at first sight, was possible. The one that made me fall in love with joy again. The one that reminds me of how incredible it is to love love. The one that reminds me of why and how hard I fell for dad because you embody all the good that he also carries. The one that is just happy because life is good. The one that believes, always, that every day is the best day...just because it's a new one. The one that taught me to fall in love with Lego messes and building and who reminds me...connection brings peace. All you want is time with us and you will demand it no matter what. Your energy, your heart, your imagination, your creativity, your love of love, your little guys. I promise to play with you, I promise to really connect with you. I promise to always let you build. I promise to trust you. I promise to build you into a man that will be accountable for his actions and realize that every action has a consequence, you pick if it's good or bad. I promise to always love your love for your dad and remind him how special that is. I promise to always try and keep up with you. I promise to try and see things the way you do, and I promise to teach you to do the same.

My littles, there are so many things this mama does that needs a redo. So much I feel like I am messing up and so much I keep trying. But, there are also things that are being done right.

Like I will forever protect your childhood, it's how we approach everyday.

Like I never ever take advantage of the time we have, I know that it is fleeting and I know how small our window is so I see it every day...I see our family every day and I take us in and hold us close.

Like although I mess up, I have very little that I regret.

Like I didn't just introduce you to the concept of framily, I helped create and structure your first framily ties and connections. And, I picked right. I always have. From the framily that reminded me that this is my privilege, this is my honor, I get to watch you become...to the framily that got to work and filled my Amazon cart with things to put some love and connection and control in the uncontrollable...the ones I call crying when nothing makes sense and they listen and guide me...the ones that teach me that "what makes adults adults and kids kids is that even if we haven't been through THIS, we've been through STUFF. And, we can (even unconsciously) know that things can work out and things can get better and feelings and situations aren't forever. Kids haven't been through STUFF so they don't actually know any of that". The ones I call hiding near garbage cans. The ones I call locked in my room and freaking out and they bring their mama knowledge like the bosses they are. The ones that make me laugh by saying, "none of this is happening, so let's stop talking about it" because they too are scared. A hubby that reads about what and how to do this all. This is our circle of love. The trust we have built. The courage and needing of each other and the leaning and knowing we are always there. I didn't just introduce you to the concept of framily, no, I helped create and structure your first framily ties and connections.

Like how I apologize when I am wrong and ask for your forgiveness.

Like how I dance with you.

Like how I sing on the top of my lungs in the car and make you feel music and how it can move you and help work out your feelings.

Like how I taught you to love reading.

Like how I gave us the best puppies and taught us how important furry babies are.

Like how I love you spills from us in words, in touch, in actions.

Like how I taught you how important traditions are for building family and love and knowing what is coming and knowing how to make it special, even in the ordinary.

Like how I taught us to do happy hearts each Sunday.

So now, this is the next thing I will do for us. I cannot even pretend to say that I will not continue to fall apart at each and every single milestone. Of course I will. Watching you grow up does bring about a loss for me and I will forever lean on my framily for the support I will need. But, I swear to you, I will remember that it is my job to teach you that this is "stuff" and we all go through "stuff" and we all get through it. I will remember that although you are walking through your next chapter, you're always and forever the kids I love. I swear that I will remember that this is my honor that I get to watch you grow.

28
Jun

Hindsight

2020 is the year that we are living.

2020 is also what people call hindsight.

2020 has been one hell of a year and there is no way to remember it all so this is my very small attempt at gathering any sort of information and trying my hardest to remember it all.

The year started with me being full-time in my business. After 20 years, I said good-bye to my agency and I started on my own. For three years, I worked both, and I broke things. My feelings, my brain, my joy, my heart. I broke really really important things.

So I started with a few words, guides, phrases, and priorities that I needed. The year started with things like:

  • Calm and bright
  • Balance
  • Time
  • Connection
  • I wanted us to have breakfast together
  • I wanted to take family walks, walks alone, walks with just one of you at a time
  • More time spent on my body and care
  • Family games, puzzles, happy hearts
  • A little girl that was now in-between

January started with me still working as an interim CEO and needing to figure that out. It started with some enlightening things that my business needed, some structure. January was the start of my body starting to let go and release. Better sleep, deeper, more baths, calmer heart. A weekly schedule the way I wanted it to look. BUT, it was also when I wasn't able to be protective of my time and I was being pulled into doing "too much".

January was also a month that in our county, our President was under impeachment. When someone reminded me of that, I thought they were lying because that felt so long ago but they were right. It was all we could talk about and learn about. It was huge news.

February was even more quiet, more calm. It was cold and slow. I was still walking and my words became:

  • Slow down
  • Keep walking
  • Love
  • Valentine's Day
  • My littles, my little faces, their little big hearts
  • Snow days
  • Childhood
  • Giggles
  • The Coronavirus was starting to become a buzz word

By March, COVID-19 was a thing everywhere and to everyone. I was still walking, I was doing yoga three times a week, I was in a routine and still really really struggling with letting go. I was fighting with demons and my past. The words and phrases were now:

  • COVID-19
  • Dreams and heavy nightmares
  • Anxiety and struggles
  • Remembering who I am, what I accomplished, remembering my good
  • Yoga
  • Walks
  • Calming puppy time
  • Happy kiddos loving their new lifestyle
  • Easier days and nights
  • Gearing up for a busy spring and getting ready for a coaching season

In March is when schools closed for 5 weeks and we were floored. In March was the first time we did "panic shopping" and quickly realized we were not made for end of the world purchases. In March is when we felt our coziest...everyone was home, everyone was together. Hibernating in March feels so natural and wonderful. Things were hopeful, I thought by May we would all be normal again, we just needed to get through March, rebuild in April, and welcome May with open arms.

  • School closure
  • Distance learning
  • Flatten the curve
  • The world stopped spinning
  • Everything is closed
  • Sports stopped, all sports, everywhere, stopped.
  • Restaurants are take out only and we did Friday night take out every week
  • Everyone needs support
  • Lay-offs and unemployment at an all-time high
  • Tax deadline was extended
  • Concern over my business
  • Concern over our communities
  • The environment started to heal...immediately
  • Stay home, stay safe
  • NY Strong
  • Empty highways
  • Empty roads
  • Empty downtown
  • Closed up restaurants
  • Posted signs everywhere about safety
  • Work from home
  • House projects galore!
  • Sold out toilet paper
  • Sold out paper towels
  • Sold out hand sanitizer
  • Free resources
  • Gyms closed and online workouts
  • Time actually stood still...how is it still March was trending

Come April, we started to realize we were in this for a very long time. This was a long long haul and we had a lot of learning to do and things started to change daily.

  • Cancelation of Anna's birthday part
  • New normal
  • We're in this together
  • Front line workers
  • Overburdened hospitals
  • Finding out who we know is ill
  • Praying for strangers
  • Supporting family from afar
  • Friday night takeout continued
  • Zoom calls
  • Zoom meetings
  • Reconnecting differently
  • Really really missing people
  • Visits through windows
  • More and more house projects!
  • Murder hornets started to become a thing.
  • Running with kiddos by my side
  • More at-home workouts
  • Introverts and extroverts both struggled

May, May was the beginning of exhaustion. May started to feel warmer and people wanted to stop hibernating. In May, people wanted to see people and be around people again and started to really struggle with isolation.

  • It snowed in May
  • Then we had a tornado
  • Distance learning was implemented for the rest of the academic year
  • My daughter really struggled with not being able to say good-bye to her elementary years.
  • House projects were still coming and coming
  • Friday night takeout continued
  • More and more and more and more walks
  • Really big and important talks
  • Figuring out what to do during the weekends was really a struggle.
  • Figuring out what day it is was a struggle
  • All the cozy clothes all of the time for months and months and months
  • My business started to introduce webinar training
  • Social distancing and wearing masks started to become law.
  • Six-feet apart
  • Running with kiddos by my side
  • More at-home workouts
  • Can we, should we, how do we see people?
  • Hibernation was over and we were tired.
  • George Floyd
  • Say his name
  • Black lives matter
  • BLM
  • Protests
  • Systematic racism
  • Anti-racist
  • Passive racist

The end of May and beginning of June, June was the start of another civil rights movement. Another black man was murdered and America responded.

Talks became even more important. It was time our family of four also learned how we were contributing to the problem and in no way being part of the solution. We all dug deeper and did more. June was important.

  • Phases
  • Phase 1-3 were implemented
  • Phase four was discussed but no gyms
  • Running with kiddos by my side
  • More at-home workouts
  • Friday night takeout
  • Elementary graduation was tough and mama cried
  • Summer vacation?
  • Say Her name - Breonna Taylor
  • Social media Blackout
  • Black Lives Matter streets
  • Marches/protests/kneeling
  • Elijah McClain
  • #518 Mamas for BLM
  • Opening up slowly and carefully to friends and family.
  • Stores and restaurants slowly starting to reopen.
  • One way signs in stores
  • Social distancing
  • 6-feet apart
  • Masks mandatory
  • 2 weeks quarantine if you leave the state
  • How to spend our days?
  • Track will race, no spectators

It's only been three months. When we look back what will we remember? What will stand out, what will be an "oh yeah" moment? What will be good about this, what will be hard? What will heal because we stopped moving and what will change because we refused to compromise? Hindsight is 2020.

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