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Friday, May 20, 2016

I can only hope

Dear Darlings,

Fluffy pillows surrounded me in my cool, dark room. The light from my bedside table was warm and soft, throwing just enough light for me to become fully engrossed in reading my book until a sound down the hall caught my attention. Her voice was firm and deep, resonating through the space separating our rooms. I could hear her enunciate each word with the grace of a seasoned speaker, but I couldn't tell exactly what she was saying. The conviction of her words drew me out of the comfort of my bed and the pull of the story that had engrossed my attention only moments before.

My bare feet padded quietly down the hallway overlooking our great room, threads of moonlight streaming in the windows and leading me to her door. I stood noiselessly outside, listening to what she was saying. Was she on a phone call? Did someone Skype her? Who was her audience? And then it hit me, she was practicing her monologue for her English class. I knocked softly on her half-open door and was granted entrance.

She was sitting at her desk with her hair tied up in her signature messy bun going over the words that weren't written by her, but were quickly becoming her own. She was practicing If I should have a daughter, by Sarah Kay. And she was doing it with a beauty only she could put into it. I asked her if I could hear it, from start to finish. Her reluctance was palpable. I had to cajole a little, beg a lot and barter some more before she finally acquiesced and agreed to leave the confines of her room and let me be her audience.

My feet skipped lightly back down the long hallway to my bedroom, and I dove for the bed in a heap of glee, looking so forward to hearing the words Sarah Kay wrote and my daughter borrowed. I've heard it delivered many times, but this time was different. This time, it was my daughter telling me what she wants for her future daughter. I wish I had prepared myself a little more for the enormity of what I was about to hear coming from my sweet girl, but I didn't. I was just so excited to be her audience. I snuggled back in the warm deep pillows of my bed, and listened to Claire's deep, assured voice begin to deliver her monologue. Tears stung my eyes as her passion shone through the words she so effortlessly delivered. The lightness and excitement I felt just a few minutes earlier was replaced by an emotion I couldn't name as the time, but soon figured out.

Pride...so much pride in my girl for wanting to deliver this monologue and wanting to name what she desires for her future daughter.

She began her monologue..."If I should have a daughter, instead of 'Mom', she's gonna to call me Point B because that way, no matter what happens she can always find her way to me." As I sat listening to this very grown up version of a little girl I once knew, I could only sit back and hope that she knows how much chocolate and rain boots do truly work wonders to heal a wounded heart. I can only hope she knows sometimes Wonder Woman won't be there to rescue her, but that doesn't mean she has to wear the cape all by herself. I can only hope that she continues to live her life with the passion and love she has within her. I can only hope she never feels she has to apologize for letting her light shine on this whole wide world. But most of all, I can only hope she knows I will always be her point B.

Oh, for the love of my children...

xo,
me

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Have No Words

Dear Darlings,

I sit here in my kitchen with my head throbbing. My neck muscles are tight and pinched, causing my eyes to squint and lose focus as I rotate my head from side to side trying with all of my might to release the knots at the base of my skull. It's not working. The knots seem to be growing tighter while my head sways back and forth and side to side.

Yesterday, a trepidatious voice asked me for advice. And for the first time ever I had no words of guidance to offer. What  kind of advice was sought is neither here nor there. The fact that I have no earthly idea how to help solve the problem is my dilemma, and it's causing my heart to fracture into a tiny million pieces.

It's one of those times when, as a mama, you truly 100% wish you had a magic bandaid to sweep away the pain, hurt, confusion, anger. But I don't. I don't have a magic band, nor do I have any magical words of wisdom. My heart constricts, wishing I had both of those things.

The one good thing to come out of this is knowing my advice is sought after, and that I am trusted.

In the world of raising our kiddos, I've tried my hardest to not judge, punitively punish, embarrass, shame or disregard feelings of any of them. My goal in this great, big world of parenting is to make sure any child who passes through our doors know they are loved and respected. My aspiration with my own kiddos is to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded, polite, thoughtful, kind, loving and successful human beings.

Will they make mistakes? Absolutely. Will there be errors in judgement? Without a doubt. Will they always listen to my advice? Definitely not. Will they have to accept the consequences when they screw up? You bet!

But will they talk to me when they need to? They just proved they will. Will they trust me to listen to what they have to say? I have to say, I think so.

I wish I could find the words of advice needed this time. Maybe then the throbbing in my temples would go away, and my neck muscles would relax. I only hope I'll find the words next time my advice is sought, because ... I'm beyond thankful to know there will be another time where they know they can come to me. I will listen with no judgement and no recriminations. I will try my hardest to find the words to guide them.

xo,
me

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work, Work...

Dear Darlings,

What's the one thing in life you really want to work to achieve? Money? Power? Fame?

For me, it's simple...family and love are my go to answers.

When I first started dating Stan so, So, SO many years ago, I was over-the-moon ecstatic at the prospect of becoming the "big sister" to his three younger brothers. I couldn't wait to be a part of a big family. It was like a dream come true.

Until it wasn't.

One day my vision of a big, happy family went so far south I thought I landed in Hell. No actually, it really was Hell. I was with Lucifer in the deep, dark depths of Hades, and I wasn't sure I could get out.

Let me try to explain...

You see, other sisters started coming on board making this family bigger and bigger. Heaven, I thought, was finally here. Except for one small detail...one of the new sisters and I had a colossal falling out. It was ugly with a capital U. I thought my dream of a big family full of love and laughter was gone forever.

Enter time and healing...

While it's true that time heals wounds, it doesn't fix them completely without work. A broken bone can't be re-set without working back into place, just like a heart slashed into a million pieces can't be put back together without work. The hurt in our family was once a massive, gaping wound festering with maggots and disease. There are scars, to be sure, but they are fading to a light, shimmery silver, instead of deep, angry reddish-purple. And they're growing dimmer because she and I decided to put in the work to make this family whole again. They are the battle scars to prove we made life and love and family our priority.

She and I had a lunch date recently, where honesty reigned supreme, and we put our cards (and our hearts) on the table. We talked through some of the hurt. We both took ownership of our emotions. We bonded over things no one outside of this crazy family would ever understand. And we joined forces with a vision for what we want this big, ol' family of ours to look like.

Was it easy to work at any of those things I mentioned above? Hell to the NO it wasn't easy (well, the bonding over crazy family things was easy), but it was beyond worth it. The evolution of our relationship is what family can truly be, if you want it enough...from battle-scarred relatives by marriage to trepidatious sisters to allies in this giant craziness of a family. She and I took a fractured relationship and we made it whole. When you can take shattered bits of heart and soul and carefully stitch them back together with love...that's family. And I am blessed to count her as not only a sister, but also as a friend.

So, my darlings, take stock of what it is that is important to you and resolve to work at it. If it's important to  you, the work is worth it.

xo,
Me






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Holding Hands

Dear Darlings,

The traffic was backed up for miles. Semis surrounded us as we crawled along I-81 heading home after a weekend spent in Lexington with Zach. A knot formed in my stomach as the pace of the vehicles around us undulated in a imprecise dance. Fast then slow. Brake lights screaming on in front of us. My hands were knotted together. We needed to get home by 5:30. The traffic gods seemed to be against us.

I hate being late. I don't hate it as much as Claire who has to be everywhere 15 minutes early, but I do hate it with a passion. It seems rude to hold someone else hostage to a timeline they didn't set. So I try my hardest to get where I need to be on time. I don't always succeed and this looked like one of those times.

The house finally came in to view and I went screeching in with my suitcase flying out behind me. Racing up the stairs, I flung my suitcase to the ground and began to change out of my lacrosse watching clothes into something a little more appropriate. Stan sat on the bed and watched with mild amusement as I flew around, grabbing clothes, brushing my hair and freshening up. He told the kids he was just there to stay out of my way.

Lucas and I left the driveway at 5:50, squealing out on two tires,  and pulling into the parking spot with my tires bumping over the curb as I threw the car in park. I skulked into the classroom in front of Lucas feeling my face flush with embarrassment while we tried to sneak in quietly to his introductory class for writing his college essay (yes, I did say Lucas' class for learning how to write his college essay And I said it without the threat of tears in my eyes...my how I've grown!). We were supposed to be there by 6 o'clock, and here it was 6:07. I apologized and slunk back to the back of the room with Lucas following behind me, never realizing how very uncomfortable I was with our tardiness.

My nerves quieted as I sat back and listened to Lucas' tutor talk about her vision for these kids and their essays. I could feel her passion emanating through the room. Entranced and enthralled, I sat and listened. Her enthusiasm radiated through me as she talked about writing these essays and how they're supposed to be fun ~ how writing and putting words together is supposed to be fun. It made me realize how much I'm looking forward to Lucas learning to love, (okay maybe love is too strong of a word, just like writing) and for him to enjoy the process of sitting down and coming up with ideas for his essay.

As I sat there wishing all of these things for Lucas, it hit me how much her words spoke to me. Writing. Is. Supposed. To. Be. Fun. In the past year, it wasn't so fun. It was a chore, and I didn't know where I lost the enjoyment. And then it hit me. Writing had become a J.O.B., and I didn't even realize it. Until...my publishing house announced they were closing up shop. The manacles of the J.O.B. seemed to loosen. When I was with Booktrope, I felt overwhelmed in this world where everyone was wonderful and great and helpful, but it was daunting to try and figure out how I was supposed to fit in to this vast network of people. It's not to say I didn't enjoy my time at Booktrope. I certainly did. And my team was beyond wonderful. From my editor to my proofreader to my cover designer and my book manager, they were all consummate professionals. The only word I can use to describe my time at BT was overwhelmed. I didn't know where to start or where to end. I didn't know which way was up. It was convoluted and confusing. There was too much information for me to try to sift through and try to write all at the same time. Once Booktrope said they were ceasing operations, the world of writing looked fun again. Because it was mine. It was my little idyllic place again. It was a spot where stringing words together became a challenge to enjoy, rather than a chore to be completed. Writing and fun held hands again.


From the interstate to the classroom so many emotions flitted through my body, panic, stress, irritation, embarrassment and joy. In the end the joy won out. Thanks, Tracy for helping to bring back the passion for doing something I love so much!

Love,
me