Thoughts from Inside

Right after my dad died I wanted the world to stop. For everything to be put on hold and for everyone to feel what I was feeling. Breaking News on every channel of the TV: My dad died.

1.5 years later, the world seems to be slowing to a halt. That fictitious thought I had now coming dangerously close to reality with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are all in this collective experience together (though greatly varying degrees), sharing similar emotions of sadness, fear, anxiety and pain.

And while we’ve never seen this pandemic before, these feelings we are experiencing are ones we have lived over and over. With experience we know that fear, anxiety and pain are companions of love, kindness and gratitude.

Nasdaq is plummeting, but compassion is skyrocketing with daily reminders that steady mental health, weekly grocery store runs, physical and emotional comfort, and quality medical care are absolute luxuries.

Parents are always talking about the rapid speed at which our kids grow and the clocks tick. We are living in a rare blip of history where time is all we’ve got on our hands right now (and excessive amounts of craft particles).

We raced a leaf boat down the gutter in the rain yesterday. Maiz introduced me to “Cousin David”, the plant on our side yard. And a bird flew into the house just as the girls went to bed.

Surely someone’s flying over the cuckoo’s nest around here.

It’s March 18, 2020, another day and a new opportunity to practice living with uncertainty of the future, finding safety in ourselves despite a lack of control, letting anxiety move through us, and revealing that seed of calm within amidst the storm.

(Please seek God for more information on how).

The world is turned upside down, but we’ve seen her underbelly before and we know we will get to the other side.

For the Books

Twas’ the night before Christmas eve and I was sitting in my room sorting and getting ready to wrap each of the girls’ presents I had thoughtfully collected over the last month. As Ryan, Maisley and Coura rushed into the house with dinner, I threw a blanket over the gifts and went to join them. 

After dinner, Ryan and I got to talking about car trouble or something interesting, when we noticed that a silence had fallen over the house. I ran into my room to find Maisley playing with her tea set from Santa Claus, Coura with her Christmas jammies in hand and every present overturned. 

All Christmas season I had been hearing about how it’s not about the gifts. The priest left us with, “I hope your Christmas is REAL this year”. The Grinch lays it out pretty clear – it ain’t about the gifts people. I know this, I preach this, I believe this!

So in good Christmas spirit, I scream-cried my brains out on the floor for the next 30 minutes. Christmas is ruined, my irrational small-mind kept repeating. 

I’m learning so much right now – in therapy, in my writing, in my own personal experience of grief and motherhood and life. There have been so many shifts in my head and my heart, but only smaller, less noticeable ones in my actions.

I’m hoping my insides match my outsides more in 2020. I’m also giving myself a break because it seems healing happens in moments, that it’s not linear and not all at once. 

In the reruns of our early days, this Christmas will simply be: the one where they accidentally saw all of their presents. And more appropriately: the one where we shared our first Christmas morning together at home. 

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Love, Mom

Please get off your sister.
I’m so proud of you.
Come cuddle with me.
Give me a minute please.
No, one more minute. 
No one’s tougher than the sun.
What just happened here?
Markers are for paper only.
What do you see?
Can I do mermaid hair?
One show.
Did you hear what I just said?
Good question.
What do you need?
You just had a snack.
When did you get so big?
Let’s read a book.
Do you know how much I love you?
I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Birth and Death, Breath by Breath

My knees met the floor at the side of my bed in desperation, exhaustion. Ironically, the same place I bowed down to birth, I found myself surrendering to grief.

In anger and tears, I had lost all strength. The pain was too much.

As time recklessly and graciously ticked on, the swell passed.

When I got to my feet, I was surprised to uncover that giving birth had taught me how to survive grief. 



As goes birth so does death,
breath by breath. 

Waves of intensity build to a first breath,
from a last.

Every swell comes crashing with a purpose.
Feel it, don’t fear it.
Welcome it, don’t fight it.
Dance to it, flow with it and let it move through you.

But don’t let it take you away.
Feel your feet on the ground,
your gaze on the wall,
the breath in your lungs.

Deep inhale.
Full exhale.

Determined minds present an endless Q and A:
What just happened? What’s next?
Why him? Will she ever come?

Deep Inhale.
Full exhale.

When your limit is near, the wave knowingly retreats:
Sweet relief.
Find your balance.
Brave a smile, an effortless laugh.
Reach for hope, a glass of water, connection and gratitude.

But how will I get through that intensity again?

Deep Inhale.
Full exhale.

You were made for this.
Cut from the same cloth as the sea and trees,
made to be two things at once.
Living and dying,
ebbing and flowing. 

Birth and death,
a tug-of-war of fear and hope.
Compassion, anxiety, resilience, resistance.

Tucked beneath comfort blankets and glossy eyes,
new life has unearthed.
Everything forever changed. 

What’s left? What’s next?
What’s always been:
Nothing but love.

Deep Inhale.
Full exhale.

A Family of Our Own

There’s only so much other people see; at the park, on a playdate, in a photo or through an Instagram page. It’s all real, but it’s only a part of our story. The intricacies, everything unfiltered, what we’re like in these four walls – that’s the nectar reserved just for us. The cheeky smiles before the huge laughs, the inside jokes on the last page of the potty book, the bedtime shenanigans, the embarrassing dance moves, the strange “sammie” voices and nonsensical nicknames. How we look singing Sam Hunt songs in Eddie the Explorer. The loudest screams, the deepest cries and the softest hearts. Pillow talk. The best of us, the worst of us, all of us. In the moments in between what other people see and what we choose to share, we are knitting the heart of our family. A family of our own. Home. 

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Ara & Little Boy

I used to think Maisley had an imaginary friend. Her name was Ara. She talked to her often; on long drives, in the kiddie pool, in bed. After months of inquiring about Ara and google searching the scale of normal for imaginary friends, I found out some other, arguably less disturbing news about who Ara really was.

It happened in the car one day.

I turned around in the midst of a conversation with Ara to find Maisley gently cradling her left foot. She proceeded to tell me that Ara was sandy. Ara, her left foot, was sandy. I finally caught up to her imagination and asked if her other foot had a name. Indeed it did, his name was Little Boy. 

This is Maisley, Ara and Little Boy at their first day of preschool.

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The Missing App

A stolen moment of freedom spent on the porcelain throne.
“Hey babe, can you watch the kids? I’ll be back in a ‘minute’ ”.
I take off down the habitual rabbit hole of time well wasted; checking in on that complete stranger to see if she had her baby yet.
Gmail →  Instagram → Facebook.
Something’s missing.
Where’s that app I really need.
The one that guides and predicts my day:

For dinner tonight cook this.
Here are directions to the path of least resistance;
to the path of most enjoyment.
Reminder: don’t pick that battle.
Coura needs to be held 20% more today.
A weird rash analysis.
Toddler not listening? Say this instead of that.

An app that knows for sure: everything is going to be okay today.
So I can let go of my worries and find joy without hesitation. 
Check in to my abundant reality.

I guess I don’t need an app for that.
Time to shit or get off the pot.