the summer of your back


three years ago, it was the summer of skinned knees for you.  i was pregnant with lane, we were in our stow house still, we spent so much time outside that summer, it was my last year nannying, so much nostalgia...

and you were constantly falling,  your chubby thighs, barely fitting into 18 month clothes.  you were constantly testing out your waddling turned to running skills.  you took most of the falls with grace, crying of course, but not letting them slow you down.

it seems time has slipped by again... it is hard for me to believe that was only three years ago when so much has come and go in between.  another house, two children welcomed, was it really only three years ago that it was just you and me baby girl?

now it seems i am only catching your back.  your blonde hair, rarely tamed, whipping behind you.  your legs are no longer skinned, instead they are carry bruises from the constant run ins your have with your environment.  these summers are slipping by, so quickly it seems.  your legs are starting to carry you away from me instead of to me, there is a wisdom in your eyes- rarely seen in one so young that has come from great grief.

we have been caught it seems.  you and i, in this great circle of summers together.  i know before too long, it won't even be your back i see chasing you around the playground.  it will be your shiny lips, caked in lip gloss you don't need, your too blonde hair with your too tan legs, it will be teenager addy, getting ready to go out with her friends, your summers won't belong to me.

and so for now, i will take what i can get.  for now, i will take your back.  in the future i will take your sassy mouth and bubblegum smacking lips.  i love you baby girl, here's to our fifth summer together- cheers.

your momma

limits, firm and soft.

last year i wrote about how i almost wished for scars from this journey, a physical rendering of how much pain i had endured.

over the weekend, i dropped my phone in the atlantic ocean, of course i did.  and so, i had a backup right?  jim and i had gotten brand new phones right before... right before everything.  and i've had his phone, just the same as it was when he was alive.  it was one of the last very physical remnants of his life.  i knew, i knew it had to be backed up, to be erased and then i could transfer my stuff to it.  i asked my boyfriend to do it, this impossible task of seeing years of memories.

i was laying on my bedroom floor, petting my dog, getting ready, 1 2 3 for the wave.  he came in and held me while it crashed and as i laid there in a very physical and real pain, i thought to myself, i remember when i felt like this almost all the time.

year two... year two is interesting.  i am exhausted almost all the time.  the pure stamina and adrenaline that kept me going that first year has depleted.  and part of me feels guilty, guilty when i drop my kids off and come back and crash.  year one was pain, year two is complete exhaustion.  and it's better, right?  i mean, it is better, i am better.  slowly.  but it's still damn difficult.

the correlation between physical and emotional trauma is so real.  i feel guilty because i feel like there's no reason for me to be exhausted.  like if i had been in a car accident, or a surgery, or a cancer treatment, then it would be ok, but to be exhausted because in a matter of eight weeks, i delivered a baby via c-section, watched her die, and had my husband die?  no that's not ok.

this world is so caught up, so caught up on meaningless shit.  and it makes me feel so guilty sometimes.  when all i really need to do is focus on my healing so i can provide a mom that is patient, a mom that is kind, a mom that has energy for her children.  when all i need to do is focus on my healing, so i can use my message to help, to heal others, to get my message out there.

money is as money is.  but let me tell you, you don't take any of it with you.

healing, comfort zone, and goooooo

my comfort zone was honed carefully.  as loud, brash, and outgoing as i can be, that is all my comfort zone.  i think it is easy to think of me as brave, or pushing the limits because so much of what i find comfortable is outside of so many people's comfort zones.

want me to public speak?  no problem
want me to share intimate public details of my life? yessir

but silly things, things you wouldn't think can incite moments of panic... those - those are my weak spots.

this morning i found myself in a kayak for the first time... ever.
as someone whose swimming skills consist mainly of dog paddling until a rescue boat comes, the idea of being MERE INCHES FROM THIS WATER was quite disconcerting.  i didn't always have this fear, but i definitely had it today.  it took about ten minutes of breathing and not focusing on the fact that i was comfortably resting in a boat suspended in MURKY UNRELENTING water.  never mind the fact that i definitely had a life jacket on.

one of my first dates with a guy we went to an ethiopian restaurant where i had to eat with my hands... outside of my comfort zone.  it's hard to actually eat and converse when you are wondering "do i look like a weirdo eating like this?"

loud, crowded places - especially with other people's children running around? not my comfort zone.

recently i started neurofeedback training, which if you are new to the concept, harvard and the mayo clinic have some awesome research in it.  i got my brain mapped and i can see this visual representation of my fight or flight.  i am still very much in recovery PHYSICALLY from the trauma that i experienced last year.  currently i am suffering from being hyper-emotional, rumination, visual processing, the list goes on and on.

and right, so often we associate depression with trauma and we think- okay if we aren't depressed, we must be ok.  because here's the thing, i'm not depressed.  i'm actually really happy and although i don't exactly love what went down, i have been provided for since and i choose to trust even when i don't see the whole picture.  but depression isn't always the most debilitating or severe of the symptoms we can experience with trauma.  (not that it isn't serious and/or should not be treated)

i have a hard time making decisions, i tend to jump into them and then wonder how i landed where i got or i want to defer to someone else to make them.  i have a hard time not being self-deprecating.  i can go from being really happy to being really stressed and it doesn't take much.  i am not very even keeled right now.

it's weird, mother's day weekend is the first weekend i have really clear memories of last year.  probably because it was my first major holiday and everything up to that point had been so surreal.  in  a way, it is almost harder than the anniversaries.  because to think back to "this time last year" is nothing but pain, nothing but suffering.

i remember distinctly, being with my friend stephanie on that saturday before, the sunday morning of.  i was a shell of a ghost.  a whisper of a vapor.

and i look now and sometimes it can be hard to not see how far i still have to go, to not be discouraged in how broken i remain, to not focus on my very real physical and mental struggles that i am still carrying day in and day out, to not focus on how quickly i am irritated with my kids, how i struggle with very real and necessary actions.

it's hard ya know?  it's still hard, the bruises are still there.  i don't think there is any easy way to experience and approach death.  but i'll tell ya what, when you've spent years buying into a certain way of belief and have that rug pulled out from under you, the landing is pretty cruel.

sometimes it's hard to remember that even halfway up the mountain still has a good view every once in a while.
sometimes it's hard to be thankful for how well i have been sustained
sometimes i just don't want to feel crippled
sometimes i just miss being strong, miss being together

this has taught me how to ask for and accept help.  how to be gracious to those willing to give and to also set firm boundaries.  this has taught me a lot.  lessons worth learning, but learned most brutally.

happy mother's day.

who does the future belong to?

the future belongs to those who are willing to fight for it.  the future belongs to those who say "i will take it"

too many times, we sit out.  that has stopped.
too many times, i take a backseat (let's be normal)
that time is gone.

my mom was special.  special to her core.  i was reading her journal today and just smiling at the prayers she wrote down, many were for me, many were for my dad, some were for the president and his wife by name.  never condescending, my mom was her own person.  i don't remember a lot about her, definitely not many details.

i remember what it felt like to watch her get ready when she would go out, i thought she was the most beautiful person i had ever seen
i remember her always reminding me how fortunate i was and how other children had less than me
i remember the feeling of her arms and how her smile would light up
i remember how we would always be late, because people were just drawn to her and she seemed to always have a crowd around her

there are hazy details that come together to make up my recollection of her as a person. she painted, she created, she was an excellent sewer, she loved music, she was cheap AF, she loved Jesus, but she loved everyone equally.

for a long time i struggled with whether my mom would like me if she knew me now.  would she like this girl in front of her with tattoos, who lets DAMN slip from her mouth when her daughter knocks the medicine out of her hand, who does life a little differently than most, would she love the girl who is a single mother?  would she love the girl who has struggled?  who has been depressed?  would she love all parts of me?

and today i realized, my mom was different too.  there is a general acceptance when you realize the person standing across from you also doesn't fit in.

so who does the future belong to?  it belongs to you.  it belongs to the person who thinks differently, who processes differently, who spends more time with a paintbrush or music or lithographs than their phone screen.  it belongs to the weird, the challenged, the gays, the losers.  it belongs to everyone who has felt the pressure of a category that doesn't fit their soul.  it belongs to the ones who go to school and get teased every day, it belongs to those that challenge their professors, it belongs to those who don't see any other options but to keep fighting.

it belongs to you.

and this is a list of the things that my mom and i have in common that i can list off, so when i am old and dementia sets in, addy and lane can reference it

a love of music
a general distaste for conformity
being a single mom
struggling with self-confidence (this is from hearsay on her part, but i think it's a good guess)
healthy eating
distrust of big pharma (LOL)

i love you momma, happy mother's day.