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Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Artist in You

Dearest Artist,

I see you. I see your creative ways. I see your hope, your vision and the edges of what you thought you would be when you drift off to sleep. I see that you have hands that used to build such big things that now spend endless moments in water, baths, washers, sinks, that you forget what else they have the potential to do. That water can swallow your days whole. That water can make you forget to breathe, forget to paint or write or sing or dance. It can make you forget to dream. For being so consuming, it can leave you so very empty.
But dear artist remember this: you are doing the most important work and the constant drowning spiral of it all can make us lose sight of that. You are shaping miracles every day. You are a creator of hope, a visionary and a keeper and gardener of dreams. So make sure that you still go after your own. There is time enough for all that stirs your soul.
There is time enough for you.
Go create. The world needs you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To My Daughter on her First Day of Middle School

Dearest Lucy,

I'm not sure how this day even got here. Somehow time has accelerated the older (and more fun) you have become and it seems like the opposite should be true. I'm in a bit of shock at the speed and ferocity of this whole motherhood experience.

I want you to know that I remember being eleven years old. I remember middle school. I remember how it feels to be on the cusp of not wanting to ever grow up and wanting more than anything to grow up. I remember feeling like a marionette puppet being pulled in two opposite directions, often with the same force and desire, not wanting for change but yearning to grow. I remember the hard of it all.

Which is why you need to know that I believe in you. And I'm beyond proud of you. And I am in awe of your brave and kind soul. And that is what I need you to show up with every day from here on out: bravery and kindness. I know it sounds simple, but it's amazing how often the human race forgets one (or both) of those things each day and what a different place it would be if we didn't. There are people who may test your kindness and push the boundaries of your bravery. There are people who hurt and hurt others as if it is a game. There are people who think being cool or popular is somehow the greatest quality a person can obtain. There are people who may make you feel that you are somehow not enough.

If there is one promise I can make to you in this lifetime it is this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Always have been. Always will be. You have been built to handle anything this world gives you, no matter how unfair or cruel or unsurmountable it may seem.

You can and will rise and prevail my love. Again and again. And you can do it with a smile. That is how your father and I made you and we will be relentless in our pursuit of watching you conquer life like the warrior that you are. Just keep rising.

We won't back down and we will never expect you to either.

You have intelligence, strength and fire and what you do with it is yours and yours alone. Don't dim or compromise your spark for anyone else. Ever. Boys are fun and great and all but they are only worth your time if they can see your worth. You, love, don't need to be like the rest of them. You be original, glorious you. Say yes to the things that bring you joy. Say no to the destructive. Put the blame on your parents. Do your chores. Work hard. Say please and thank you. Put the napkin in your lap. Be gracious. Be grateful. Be brave. Be kind. See beauty. See opportunity. See the light. Smile. And, above all else, keep on dancing.

You've so got this girl.

Here's to a new chapter in watching you rise.

Love you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Open Letter to my Thighs

Dearest Thighs,

You have been with me now, literally, forever. You’ve witnessed and been one with me through thicker and thinner days. You’ve been there through the crashes and the cascades. You know what it feels like to reach for the clouds on the springtime swings of childhood. You know what it feels like to have the warmth of a July sun and soft powder sand cradle you at the same time. You know what it feels like to help carry the weight of bringing a baby into the world. You know all about being weightless for a moment in the depths of cool oceans and being so whole and heavy in the all encompassing place of motherhood.

So I feel saddened and shameful to admit that when I look at you, admiration is not an emotion that I adopt. You are what my eyes first see in a dressing room mirror. Fluorescent lights seem to showcase every line, every imperfection, every dimple of years that are mapped across your edges. When I see you now, it is hard to remember the girl that you used to pedal on a bicycle faster than fireworks on summer afternoons. When I see you now, it is hard to remember that I once saw you as beautiful. When I see you now, I long for an eraser instead of a highlighter. When I see you now, I see the things that are wrong instead of the things that are right.

Which is why I have decided to call a truce.

I am no longer going to complain about you. I am no longer wasting dear moments producing hostility toward you or me for the way that I carry you. I am no longer letting you dictate whether or not we will spend summer in a body length cover-up or in a show you off sweet bikini. I am flaunting you. Because you are powerful and strong, regardless of size. And life is glorious. And the more complaining we do about the way we are built, the more that glory seems to diminish.

Our time is too valuable to pick apart the width of our bodies instead of embracing the pieces that make up the width of our days. Whether it is thighs, or stomachs or breasts or arms or faded images of the way we used to see ourselves. The way I see it, we have two choices: to either let go of our complaints or to do something to make a change. We can go to the gym, or go to yoga or go to a plastic surgeon or buy the spanx. Or do none of that. There should be no shame either way. We have a choice in the way we see and treat ourselves and how we see and treat one another. So let’s keep on going and live a life that is lighter and freer because we won’t have our negativity weighing us down. We get this one shot at life and our bodies are there for the whole stunning ride.

So thighs, bring it on. You are with me in the drivers seat and the time to press the gas is now.

Let's do this…

The Other Place

This was a piece that I wrote for Scary Mommy that appeared on their online site on the 26th of April. Cheers...

I don’t really know how it happened but one day I woke up and my children weren’t babies. Or toddlers. They didn’t need me to pour their cereal or lift them out of their crib. They didn’t need me to dissolve pink syrup in the milk filled purple sippy cup. Sippy cups no longer live in our cabinets or more accurately, leaking on the stained fabric between faded car seats. The stroller in the trunk has long been replaced by lacrosse equipment. The sweet new baby smell has grown into the scent of sweat and the reminder to my nine year old that he needs to take a shower. Yes, right now. 

Last weekend, they were all in the house, all doing their own thing. And it was quiet. Four kids. All independent. And quiet. My mind was blown. I asked my husband, “Is this really happening?” His response, “They’re not yours anymore.” My response, a hesitant bordering on the edge of tears, “Yes they are.” Who asked him anyway. Shit. 

They still need me. But it has evolved into the other place. I’m no longer in the thick of the everyday. Just. Like. That.

Before any of them rode a school bus, I used to take them to a toddler morning at a local roller skating rink where you could bring bikes and scooters and baby doll strollers and whatever you schlepped inside would instantly be no longer wanted by your child as soon as they saw the new big wheel that another child was riding. The whole thing was a hot mess but we NEEDED to get out of the house to be able to survive winter. The center of the rink was the thick of it. This is where there were seats for the nursing mommas, this where the full body tantrums happened, this is where the tears were relentless and the falls of the beginning skaters happened again and again. This is the place where everyone’s hands were full. It was where mothers gave each other reassuring nods that they were not alone.  They too, understood that you had to get out of the house no matter how difficult it was to leave and how challenging it was to make it through the present moment. 

And then in the outer ring there would always be at least one momma on rollerskates. She had older outer ring children that knew how to ride on skates or on bikes without training wheels. They didn’t need her hands any longer to hold them up. She still was there, but now more as an anchor than an appendage. Her hands were free. She was smiling. She earned the other place.

I never thought I’d be her.

But I am.

When you are caught in the thick of the tears at the roller rink or the grocery store meltdowns or the endless sleepless nights, it seems almost impossible that any other place exists. I am here to promise you this: one day you will be in your home and you will only hear the sounds of the outdoors. You will be able to complete a thought. You will be able to drink coffee while it is still hot. And it will scare the hell out of you. I also promise you this: it will be remarkable. You will have earned the time. You will have earned the quiet. You may even miss the noise. And it’s okay if you don’t.

And you are still needed. Every single day.

You are still the chef, the chauffeur, the laundry chief, the therapist, the mediator and the all knowing master of whatever item your child loses or needs that day. You are still the queen bee.

For life.

And that outer ring has no end. It just keeps evolving to a different ring, a different place. Easier in so many ways, more challenging in others.

As much as it breaks us down, it builds us up. So whatever place you find yourself, please know that it is hard and it is beautiful and you will survive it. And somewhere there is a mother looking where you are and longs for just one day to have that place back. She misses with fervor the fullness that used to be in her hands. She misses the sound of it, the laughter in it, the smell of it, the wholeness and the hope of it all. And that is the heart wrenching bittersweetness of all that being a mother is. It is an unparalleled journey. 

Here’s to all the places of motherhood.
Here’s to us.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

What if...

What if you never learned to ride a bike because you were too afraid to fall...
What if you never saw the world because you were too afraid to fly...
What if you stayed with someone who leaked the life out of you because you were too afraid to be alone...
What if you never wrote the story that you were meant to write because you were too afraid of rejection...
What if you never splashed in crystal blue water because you were too afraid of the way your thighs looked in a bathing suit...
What if you dreamed crazy big dreams but were too afraid to go after them...
What if you never reached half of your potential because you were too afraid to grow...
What if you were consumed with so much fear that you forgot to be alive?

Life feels safer when you are sitting on your couch. Life feels scarier when you are dancing on a stage.
But the thing is... only one of those things makes for a great story.

I can hear your excuses: you don't have enough time/money/security, your cat is sick, you have too many children, you're married, you're single, you're tired, you're too old, you're too young...
Let me ask you this: do you have a pulse? Yes? Then don't let your life be swallowed by excuses and regret. They may give you something to complain about but they don't make the beautiful life that you deserve. Make a plan and do all that you can to inch yourself toward wakefulness.
Every. Single. Day.

Until you are six feet under you owe it to yourself to live your best life above ground.
Let's stop losing our lives to fear and letting the what ifs win.
The time to be alive is now. Right now.

Let's make it count.


from You are a Warrior by Katie Yackley Moore (the naked momma & her warrior kids)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Girlfriend Vows

My dearest friends, I promise you this:

I promise to know when an occasion calls for ice cream or wine and the wisdom to know when it needs both.

I promise to be honest. Never brutal. Never painful. But to tell it like I'd like to be told.

I promise to be me. Broken, open, raw, vulnerable me.

I promise to accept you. Broken, open, raw, vulnerable you.

I promise to not vacuum before you come over. Unless it is almost a health code violation and it is in absolute dire need of it. Only then.

I promise to always be kind to the person that you are in love with. Even, and especially when, I don't think he/she deserves you.

I promise to be in your corner for your battles.

I promise to let you know when I am struggling through a battle of my own.

I promise to celebrate your victories.

I promise to never order a salad when we go out to eat. Unless it is followed by nachos.

I promise to love your children.

I promise to support your choices, mighty and small, even if they don’t mirror mine.

I promise to laugh with you at all the appropriate times. And especially at the inappropriate ones. 

I promise that when life is slippery and fragile and hurts too much to keep going forward that you are not alone.

I will be there. I will listen.
I will hold your hand. 
I will dance with you.
I will cry with you.
I will toast with you.
And to you.

I will attempt to be all that you are to me.

I love you sister.
Always will.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coffee Shop Thoughts...

Life is so very short.
Wear the red heels. Be present. Take a selfie in a faraway land and then put your phone away. Say thank you to your mother. Compliment a stranger. Put a pen or paintbrush to paper. Leave a mark. Tell a joke to a child. Let a child tell you a joke. Don't forget to laugh. Hold someone's hand. Learn to forgive. And let go. Listen to your gut. Love yourself first. Find a way to move your body every day. Read more books. Create something with your hands. Release yourself from guilt. Tell the people you adore why you adore them. Buy the coffee for the person behind you.
Tomorrows are not infinite.
Live out loud. Now.
Celebrate what sings to your soul. Now.
And smile.
Starting now.