Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Anna

Dear Anna,

Double digits is a big deal.  You're not a little kid anymore. you haven't been for a while now, though. I want you to know a few things now that you're ten.

You are an amazing girl. So kind and helpful and thoughtful and responsible and funny and smart. Man, I wish I were more like you. You are the person I want to be, the person I aspire to be like. I hope you find this little space of mine someday when you're older and have kids of your own, and you read all of these thoughts of mine about being YOUR mom. I am so happy to say that I am your mom and you are my daughter. I hope you know that you and your sister and brothers are without a doubt the most important people to me. And even though you guys drive me batty sometimes when you fight, I hope you know that there's nothing you could do to make me love you any less.  My love for you keeps multiplying and some days my heart is so full that it spills over out of my chest and falls in the form of tears down my cheeks.

I hope you continue to blaze your own trail through this crazy wonderful life of yours. I hope you don't let circumstances jade you. I hope you don't let ANYONE dull your shine.  I hope you continue to spread your joy and love around like glitter.

Most of all, I just want you to be happy. Now and forever. In whatever you do. If you're a garbage person or a doctor or a hot dog vendor in New York City...I just want you to be truly happy.

Happy Birthday, sweet Anna.  You're a shining star. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Space Between

You know the space between living and dying? the living being happiness and joy and the dying being suffering and hopelessness. the space where you just go minute by minute and hope to keep breathing and sometimes breathing is difficult and living is impossible and dying isn't an option so you turn to running your heart out and untangling the thoughts from the spool of useless, hopeless, fearful, dreadful thread. and after you run your heart out things make more sense, and you see a sign that things will be fine and let go of your fears. you see the most beautiful magnolia tree on your favorite running trail...one that you've never seen before and haven't ever seen again. because your thoughts made you breathless and your throat tightened up, and you looked to the sky for some answers and you looked right and then left and in the middle of all.the.green.stood the most beautiful magnolia tree with bright white blooms and it was like a sign telling me things were going to be fine, and don't give up hope, let go of what doesn't matter and hang on to what does. And right there i thanked God for the sign and gave up on my fears because a life living in fear is not a life worth living at all.

The thing about living and dying is i'm not afraid to die. I know that when i die i'm going to a better place, but the thing about living is that life is scary. life is not knowing anything. life is taking this path that leads me to who knows where and i don't know how i'll get there and if i'll make it safely and who will be on this path with me. life is messy. life is spilled milk and a hundred loads of laundry day after day and mismatched socks and fighting and tears and sometimes i feel like the worst mom. some days my kids tell me i'm the worst mom...other days they wrap their little arms around me and tell me i'm the best and they love me...but most days, i breathe a huge sigh of relief when bedtime comes and the kids are tucked in safe and sound and i collapse on the couch and sometimes the tears roll down my cheeks and other times i just bury myself under my blankets with my contacts still in. i make sure my alarm is set for my early morning run, because without my run i would die, i would literally die. i run so much my toenails are falling off and so are my pants and if i go without my runs i can't function normally. 

sometimes life sucks. sometimes i suck. sometimes i feel like i'm failing at everything i touch and do and look at. sometimes it takes someone dying to get back into the the joy of living. sometimes an epiphany comes in the form of sun rays shining on your downward looking face, and you raise your eyes to the sky and see the most beautiful, picture perfect moment and you grab your phone and snap a photo and something changes inside of you...like a light switch turning on and you snap the photo and put it on instagram and think to yourself that it's been too long to live without the joy of a sunset. it's been too long to live without hope and joy and happiness in the small moments. it's been too long living in doubt and fear and anger and hate and letting someone else control my happiness. my happiness is my own and i won't give that up to someone else.

so, happy thursday. my favorite day of the week. soaking up the evening sun with a beer in my hand and the summer upon us and the kids running around outside in their pj's and knowing that tomorrow isn't a school day and this giant epiphany falling into my lap and i know it's no accident because i have a guardian angel in heaven now and i know everything will be fine and good and happy again.

hope and faith and love are powerful things.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


There's been no writing. No photo taking or tweeting or facebooking or instagramming. There's been nothing. Silence. Dead air, crickets chirping. I've almost forgotten what it feels like to write. There's been writing in private journals, not meant for anyone else to read, just my mind's ramblings of deep deep pain and fear and nothing to share but dark and twisted thoughts. The only constants have been running, running and running and music and friends...thank God for running and friends and music. Music so loud it blocks out any and all thoughts of everything and nothing all at once. Running has saved my life more than once. it's done it again. this running thing is not just about the feet pounding on the pavement, it's about chasing the demons from my mind and soul and my heart and body coming together in perfect harmony to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other and just keep breathing; one breath and then another and another until you don't have to tell yourself to just breathe. just take a deep breath and inhale good and exhale bad because sometimes my brain needs to tell my soul to take another breath because it's worth it to just.keep.breathing. and friends waiting for you on the other side to tell you they're there and they love you and that you're perfect just how you are.

Let go or be dragged. When you're going through hell, just keep going. On the other side of fear lies freedom. quotes i've lived by for many many months. Friends and brothers and sisters and dads, they've taken down walls around me one brick at a time. Left me bare and vulnerable and open and i hate it. i'm good at putting up walls, i've built them one brick at a time for years and years and years and everything has always been good and great and fine when in fact these empty words are bricks building walls so high no one can see over and no one can get through and it's just me inside the walls and i'm protected by these beautiful bricks that have taken years to build and only days to crumble apart. it's humbling to let people in. i hate it. i hate people knowing that things aren't fine and everything isn't great and nothing is wonderful and hasn't been. I hate the fact that I'm not really a badass, I just pretend to be...with the black nail polish and the tough girl attitude and the head held high and confident smile. Oh, some days I'm as confident as they come. Other days I'm the fat girl hiding behind a cupcake and crying in the corner and then running like hell the next morning because the fear of fat is the only fear i can control and the treadmill is a very good listener. Fear and failure and fat and fuck those feelings. I'm brave and scared and weak and strong and happy and sad all at the same time. I'm a mess except when i'm not. i ride a roller coaster every.single.day. and i want to get off. i want to jump off some days, kicking and screaming the whole way down, except i land on my feet and scream at the top of my lungs that i survived. i'm stubborn and kind and compassionate and empathetic and sometimes my heart explodes with pain and happiness and it bubbles up and makes the tears stream down my face and i wipe them away because nobody needs to see me cry.

I can feel the long, cold, gray winter days coming to an end. the days are getting longer and warmer and the sun comes out and warms my cheeks and my heart and when i run i don't feel my feet slide in the snow they splash in the melting snow puddles and i come back warm and sweaty and muddy and wet. i can almost see the light again. the middle is dark. there's no light on either side so you don't know whether to turn back or keep running forward because you're stuck in the dark and feel like you're drowning in it. the light feels like air...filling my lungs and i can start breathing again...start breathing without thinking about making myself breathe again. my soul feels less crushed. i feel less worn. my heart isn't as heavy.

worry and fear can't take up more space than hope and faith, and when there is nothing left to let go of, there is always hope and faith.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sunset Running...

I'm a summer-loving, winter-dreading, cold-weather-hating kind of girl. I'm a get-up-early-in-the summer morning-to-watch-the-sun-come-up-when-I'm-running kind of girl, but with the shift of seasons, I've had to adapt if I want to run at all. So instead of watching the sun come up, I've been watching the sun go down on my afternoon/early evening runs. The days are short right now, so unbelievably short and sometimes really bleak and gray and depressing, so it's more important now than ever that I get my runs in when I can. These runs are my saving grace, my moments of calm, of deep cleansing breathing in and out and in again. I dress in layers and mittens and my stocking cap and I sprint...I sprint to get past the holy-crap-it-is-so-frickin-cold, I sprint to feel free, I sprint to feel alive.

I run and I run and I run and the sun sets in the distance splashing pink and purple and orange hues against the cold, winter sky. And the stars start to pop up one by one, and the light of the moon reflects on the snow and it's really really beautiful. I've never noticed this beauty of winter running so much as I have this season.

Running and breathing and feeling with my heart and soul and turning down the noise in my mind and listening to the snow crunch under my shoes and looking up at the night sky and feeling really small and really big all at the same time and feeling bold and empowered and strong with each step I take and finally warming up and hearing only the night silence with the beat of my heart in my ears and with each breath in and out my burdens are lifted and one by one they float away like balloons  into the cold winter sky. 

I'm feeling so thankful right now that I get to call myself a runner. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Healing Runs...

My runs lately have been more of the healing kind. Healing the holes in my heart with each footstep. Run down the street, jump on my trail, and see that my running self has been waiting patiently for me. I jump into myself and we take off and I can breathe again. Breathe and smile and run so fast. Run away from my cracked and bent and battered self. Run so hard that I leave my worries in the dust until they are just a shadow behind me. All that matters is I'm breathing again. I forget in between runs how running makes me feel. No pain, no fear, just happy. The million pieces of my shattered heart slowly get patched up again. I feel like myself again.

And then I get angry. I get really angry as I'm on this healing run, because, fuck you life for dealing me an unfair hand of cards and for putting these impossibly high assholish hurdles in my path. I can't seem to jump over them, so I get furious and try to run right through them, only I can't because they're too big, so I crash into them and fall flat on my back and look up at the sky and ask why? What's with all the goddamn hurdles?

And then I run faster and harder and more furious until my lungs and legs and throat are burning with tears, and I have to slow down or else I'll throw up. I turn up my music to blaring and wipe away the streaming tears and tears are good and so is pain because that means I'm not numb...and I don't want to be numb. I'd rather feel in pain than be numb.

After the anger comes the realization that while I'm laying on my back cursing God and staring up at the sky, still reeling from wrecking into the hurdle, someone who loves me has come along and offered their hand to help me up and instead of jumping over the hurdle we walk around that huge asshole of a hurdle...leave it in the dust behind us. Why didn't I think of that before? Why do all of the hurdles need to be jumped? Going around is good too.

And then my healing run brings peace. It washes over me and around me and heals my bruised self and I'm renewed again with a fresh coat of armor to fight the good fight and the daily battles and chin up buttercup, you can.not.quit.yet.

Just keep running, keep going, one foot in front of the other, sometimes sprinting, sometimes slow and steady, but keep moving forward, because going back is not an option.

Things are happening...really good things.

I've even embraced this barren sometimes snow-covered trail of this season I'm in.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Remember...

being cold...

in a light spring jacket that wouldn't zip. Only it wasn't spring, it was just cold.

The wind whipped through me and around me and my eyes stung with tears from the cold.

I cried to my older sister, I'm so cold and I don't remember what she said back, but I know she was just as cold.

We were walking blocks and blocks to school and I couldn't wait to get there so I would finally be warm.

I remember the sky was gray and threatening to snow and why was I in such a light jacket? My fingers were red and numb and I had a hood on my jacket only it wouldn't stay up because my jacket wouldn't zip and the wind kept blowing it off my pony-tailed head.

I hate being cold. I would rather be hungry than cold, and we knew hunger; when we only had Saltines and dry cereal to fill our little tummies, I could swallow away hunger, but couldn't escape the cold.

I remember being cold at night. I'd curl myself into a tiny little ball to try and warm up and I'd wish for more blankets so I could bury myself beneath them.

Today I wear layers and layers. There aren't enough layers...I text my sister to complain about the cold and wonder if she remembers those same walks to school in our jackets that don't zip, and the wind that whipped our hair, and the tears that stung our eyes.

She does. We know cold in the same heartbreaking way as only we sisters could. Someday we'll live somewhere warm where the sun is always shining and sparkling over the ocean waves and we can bury our toes in the sand and say, we never have to be cold again...

I wear layers to bed and sleep under piles of blankets and I curl myself into a ball like I used to. Sometimes I wake up sweating. That is the nicest feeling. I'd rather be too warm than too cold. I ask my kids every morning if they're warm enough. Do you need a hat? Another warm layer? Are you sure you don't need your mittens? They always insist they are fine. They love the winter; the snow, playing in it for hours until I beg them to come in and get warm. They don't feel the cold like I do, don't know the feeling of never being warm enough; and that's good, that's really good. I'll wear their cold for them.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Morning Dance Parties...

My kids hate Monday mornings, and this morning was no exception. Why do we have to go to school? My head hurts. I hate school. School is boring. My thumb hurts. And then there's the 3 year old who gets to stay home all day but throws herself down in a crying heap in the middle of the kitchen floor for no other reason than because she's 3... This morning, I felt like throwing myself down with her, sprawled out and crying because, oh the Monday morning injustices. Teasing and fighting and whining and dear Lord, there is not enough coffee in the world for this Monday morning...

So when Camden asked if he could have candy for breakfast. I said yes. Yes, you can have candy with breakfast but only if you share with me, because they might as well learn now that chocolate can sometimes be a cure. And so can dance parties in the kitchen. Turn up the music, really loud, play our favorite music, Classic by MKTO and Counting Stars by One Republic and Holy Grail, which I'm a little embarrassed to admit the 3 year old knows the words to, and we danced until we were silly. Shake those Monday morning blues away, sing at the top of your lungs, hop around the kitchen floor until the 3 year old is laughing again. Start over on a different, better foot; make your own sunshine on this gloomy, dreary morning; and maybe? Just maybe, pass it on.  

Our dance party continued in the car on the way to school, and when we were stopped at a red light and my son was singing at the top of his lungs and waving his arms in the air, I looked over at the car next to us, and they were all smiling at us, not laughing in a dang-you-guys-are-really-crazy kind of way, but genuinely smiling. Look you guys, we just made someone smile. 

Have your own dance party; make someone smile today, they might need it more than you know.