Home

It’s midnight and I could sit awake for hours in the quiet of this dark and contemplate this house.

front of house

The floors that shine under the light of the lamp illuminating where my son took his first steps and where busy plays and only night brings rest.

livingroom 2

I’ve memorized how the light shines in the living room window; the way it streams in through my son’s window at it’s rise and how it floods in through the downstairs bathroom window at it’s set.

Noah room

downstairs bath

I know this house.

dining room

I’ve loved it since the very first time we walked into it. And oh was there drama to get into it oh has there been drama to get out. But oh how I have loved BEING HERE.

kitchen 3

 

master bedroom 2

 

back yard

We’ve grown here and fallen apart here and loved and laughed and dreamed and danced and learned that our next house must have a walk in shower just like this one, but we need a bigger bath tub.

upstairs bath

 

And that we love the unique features and character of this older home but maybe our next house could have less creaky stairs.

 

nook

 

stairwell

There was always going to be a next time. Forever wasn’t here but that doesn’t mean here didn’t hold a piece of forever.

upstairs hallway

guest room

My son wants to take the seahorse light pull from the downstairs bathroom. “So I can always have a piece of our first house, Mommy.” Yes, of course you can, I told him, and together we cut the string.

He feels the pull here, too; his only home. The only house we’ve ever owned. The longest my husband or I have lived anywhere since we both left our parents homes when we were 18.

playroom office

We’ll take pieces with us too; pictures and memories and 4 years of our lives bound into the pieces of this house that I wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking of as “home.”

outside front

About Marriage

“When I was younger, I wanted to be married so badly. I wanted the companionship, the family, the love. I wanted lazy Sundays in bed and long walks. I wanted gazing into each other’s eyes and secret smiles and laughter.

I wanted a movie scene.

The problem is that movie scene portrayals of relationships are NOT REAL. Who knew?

My husband and I got married when we were both 23, a retrospectively young age to commit to be with another person for the rest of your life. We had an amazing dream wedding, an equally magnificent honeymoon, and then we returned home for real life.

We were terrible at it…..”

Today, I am sharing some tough stuff about my marriage and letting you in on a little secret….marriage is HARD WORK.

I am honored to have a guest post on Kludgy Mom sharing a post: My Marriage Is Not My Masterpiece…And Why That’s OK. 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Click here to read the rest of the post. I can’t wait to read your comments with your own marriage experiences.

See you there! xo

About Being Honest

The thing about being honest and vulnerable is, you don’t know where it will take you.

It took a lot of courage and time for me to summon up the strength to write about what happened on my 30th birthday. After I told the story, even the hard parts, I felt a sense of relief.

And then, the next morning, I felt immediate dread and a bit of regret for publishing one of my most intimate moments on the internet.

This little blog of mine is not so private anymore. Since I’ve started freelance writing my bio with links to my blog has become public, and I have blurred the lines between writing for just my small community of blogging friends and myself to writing to an audience that is very public and not at all intimate. My blog no longer became my safe space, because anything I write here could be read by anyone in my life, including people that in real life I would never share such details with. And that, is a scary thought.

But I didn’t start this blog to write about only the good things in my life or to paint a pretty picture about motherhood. I started this blog to tell the tough stuff. I started this blog to be honest.

And the truth is, I was finding it more and more impossible NOT to tell the story. I couldn’t come to my blog and posts pictures of Halloween (which I will do, though, because we went all out and it was awesome :) ) and pretend that nothing had happened because a major thing had happened. And it was the only story weighing on my mind.

Not very many people commented on that post, but I have received countless emails and private Facebook messages. I have received phone calls from people in real life who didn’t know. And it is both terrifying and amazing to see what happens when you are honest with your story, even in a terrifyingly public way.

There were people who had gone through the same thing and never told anyone, carrying around a small secret of pain on their own because it’s too hard and too personal to let it out.

And there were people who have never been through a miscarriage, who don’t know what to say, but want you to know that it’s ok to talk about it and to reach out and tell you how much they care about you. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

There’s a fine line between regretting the blunt honesty of letting you into the most intimate details of my life and then feeling the rush of relief that comes with telling a story that had been weighing on me. And if I had never told my story, I never would have gotten to share in the beautiful and comforting email exchanges and phone calls in which you told me yours.

For me, it was never even really just my story. It happened to me, but if I never told anyone about it, it would be like that baby never existed. And it did. If even for a very short time. I don’t want that baby’s story to have never been written just because it ended so early.

So I want to thank you for letting me tell my story and for those of you that shared pieces of yours, I am incredibly honored.

That’s the thing about being honest. It takes you to beautiful places. You may never know who you are touching with your words and who needs to read them, but you must believe that the events in your life, even the hard ones, are worth telling.

(image credit: www.leahfruthblog.com)

 

Welcome to 30

I stopped writing.

I do that. Stop doing things I love when I find myself at my most lost.

I stopped singing when my Dad died.

I stopped a whole lot of things after the birth of my son as I went through postpartum depression and processed my difficult birth experience. Some of that related to being a new mom; the missed showers, the lack of sleep. A lot of it related to how traumatized I was; the missed laughter, the missed enjoyment of almost anything for a long time.

It’s strange to go through segments of your life like that; where you find yourself going through motions and not really present. Before you know it you’ve lost some indescribable amount of time and some irreplaceable amount of present living and some inexplicable self-deprivation of things you love.

“You need to write about it,” my husband said. He would leave the computer window open to my blog, sitting silently on the screen collecting cobwebs and losing meaning.

“I will,” I would reply, and then busy myself with the comforting monotony of daily life tasks that never find themselves completed.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you write anything,” he would say again urgingly.

“I just don’t have anything to say,” I would lie, and he would pretend to believe me.

And so tonight, I’ll write about it.

The last time I wrote anything was on the eve of my 30th birthday. I was not-so-subtly freaking out about it and I had all these great post ideas about how I was going to reveal my hidden worries about turning thirty, or the things I was actually looking forward to about turning thirty, or maybe even breaking down that terrible list of what a woman “should” have accomplished by the time she turned thirty and revel in what I’ve accomplished instead.

Instead, I woke up on the morning of my 30th birthday and got ready for a hair appointment. In true “oh-my-God-I’m-turning-thirty” style I planned to get a drastic hair cut. I stopped on the way at this very nice French restaurant that serves lovely chocolate croissant pastries and a special Ginger Chai latte and ordered it to go. Only it’s been so long since I’ve treated myself there that they no longer serve the ginger chai latte and someone had just purchased the very last chocolate croissant.

Still optimistic, I continued on to my hair appointment where I showed my stylist a picture of the new cut I wanted, one that required chopping 7 inches off of my hair, adding layers, and adding some red highlights. (Did I mention the whole I-was-freaking-out-about-turning-30-part?) In order to add red, first we had to get out the blondish highlights that had been in during the summer, so my stylist matched my hair all back to it’s original color and than cut off all of my hair. Per my non-chocolate-croissant-eating request. (Side note: I don’t make good decisions when I’m hungry. Or, apparently, 30.) Then we went to add in the red.

And it came out bright purple.

Truly.

Like, Halloween witch purple.

By the time all of this had occurred it was time for me to go pick my son up from school.

With short, purple, wet hair.

Despite my speeding I was a few minutes late to pick up my son who greeted me with a “Mommy, why is your hair purple? Is it for Halloween?”

I got us home and settled the toddler with lunch. I was feeling a bit sick but thought it was probably from the lack of eating and just my general state of being stressed about the day.

I went to the bathroom and then I saw it. All of the blood.

It had soaked through my clothes and the sickness I was feeling was cramping.

And then, I knew.

My husband came home from work about an hour later to find me hunched over, crying, with purple hair.

“I don’t think there’s a baby anymore,” I sobbed.

We quietly whispered our conversation and spelled words between the little voice that asked “Why is Mommy crying?” and “What are you guys talking about?”

“Do you want me to call and cancel tonight? I have something planned but you don’t have to go.”

“NO! It’s my fucking 30th birthday. I don’t want to spend it being completely miserable. This just isn’t how I wanted this to go,” I continued sobbing.

I found myself laying in our king sized bed surrounded by the hugs of my husband and my son and realizing that the short lived excitement of a June 2014 baby would never come true.

I had discovered the two tell tale pink lines on a pregnancy test just a little over a week before. And just to be sure, seen the words PREGNANT on another test. Within a week my husband and I had both discovered and lost a baby.

I called the OB/GYN who put told me to wait for the triage nurse to call. When she called she encouraged me to go straight to the emergency room.

“Why?” I asked. “Can they do anything? Or would it just be for informational purposes?”

“It would just be for informational purposes, but it’s important to know what’s going on with your body,” she replied.

“I already know what’s going on with my body. I’m having a miscarriage” I replied in my mind, but in reality it probably came out more like “Ok, thank you.” I’m an eternal people pleaser.

I talked to my husband about it and ultimately decided not to spend my 30th birthday sitting in an emergency room. I took some advil, splashed water on my face, and went back to the hair salon to get out the purple.

It was, after all, my birthday.

A few hours later my purple hair had been dyed black because it was the only way to cover up the color. It was not the look I was going for but it was styled and curled and I purchased a lovely red lipstick to fully embrace my bold new look. The reality of what was happening set in every time I went to the bathroom and every time I let myself think about it. I found myself crying as I drove home and again when my sister called and my husband accidentally answered the phone.

I had been avoiding all of the happy birthday calls and messages all day.

By 6:00 that evening I was dressed and had fixed my make up. A friend picked me up and drove me to a local restaurant where I was surprised by a group of girlfriends waiting for me. My husband had organized a girl’s night complete with pre-ordered appetizers and wine (which I happily drank. Because, in light of recent events, there was no reason for me not to.)

We laughed and drank wine and told stories. I was so thankful to be in the company of such sweet friends and to find moments of genuine joy in a day that had certainly not gone as I had imagined.

I came home late at night and curled into the arms of my husband. I heard my son sigh in his sleep across the hall and felt my cats curled up at my feet.

And finally, I slept.

Welcome to 30.

My surprise girl's night on my 30th birthday. I am in the blue dress, black belt, and newly acquired black hair and red lipstick .

My surprise girl’s night on my 30th birthday. I am in the blue dress, black belt, and newly acquired black hair and red lipstick .

 

 

 

11 Years

The last picture I have of my Dad and I was taken in May of 2002. I was a senior in high school and was wearing all black and stage make up to perform in my high school musical. I had the leading role and would be going to college on a voice scholarship in the fall.

My Dad wore a red t-shirt tucked into his blue jeans and a belt; his signature style. 

We have our arms around each other and big smiles. 

Then, at 7:20 in the morning on October 5th, 2002, he would pass away.

I kept that picture in a small frame with pink metal flowers for a long time. With me in my college dorm room after I dropped out and returned, changing my major. With me in my first apartment and the first home my husband and I had together.

And somewhere along the way, with moves and with time, the little frame with the metal flowers and the picture of my Dad and I got packed in a box. Packed away as more of a memory than an item to be unpacked and displayed.

A lot changes in eleven years. Graduations, marriages, jobs, babies, moves.

Eleven years feels like a long time. It is a long time. Its an amount of time that allows a lot of things to change.

And people say that time heals all wounds.

I thought eleven years would be a long time.

But today, on the eleventh anniversary of my Dad passing away, I found myself in tears. Sobbing, hysterical tears. Not able to get out of the bed tears. Or talk to my son without crying tears.

I didn’t think eleven years would have felt like that. So I decided to have a regular day. I had 8 hours worth of rehearsal today. And I went to them, just like I was supposed to. And I made a spectical of myself and cried the ugly cry and had to explain that even eleven years later, the passing of my Dad felt as if it had just happened.

How even eleven years later, the wound was fresh and I could remember the details of the entire day. Like the hole in my heart had just been created.

The first few anniversaries of his death I gave myself permission not to do anything. I would skip class and spend the day crying in bed. Perhaps not functional, but it was my own version of therapy and it allowed me to avoid the inevitable embarrassment of public crying.

The anniversary in 2006 was the first one that I actually went about as a normal day. I was teaching in England, and I got up and taught. And the day was actually good.

There have been other anniversaries like that. Where it wasn’t so heart wrenching; it just WAS. I dreaded last year’s the most; the tenth anniversary seemed like such a milestone and a significant time period. My mom, brother, sister and I wanted to commemorate that occasion so we went on a weekend get away, just the four of us. It was a lovely weekend and the perfect way to celebrate and remember.

This year didn’t feel so significant. Eleven isn’t even a significant number. I had rehearsals and regular life on the calendar.

And yet, as it tends to happen with grief, this anniversary took me by surprise and left me inconsolable well into the afternoon.

The people who came to tell me it would be ok at the church rehearsal were older ladies who would say, “I lost my Dad a couple of years ago. I know what you’re going through.”

And I appreciate it. I do.

I can’t imagine that losing a partner would be easy at any point in life.

But we all know that this happens. We know that we grow older and pass away. We know that as we age our parents age, too. We must expect that at some point, in their old age, our parents will pass.

I feel like it’s entirely different losing a parent when you are young. They didn’t get to live their entire lives. They didn’t get to do everything in their careers, or travel everywhere they wanted, or become a grandparent. They didn’t get to be there for all of the things in yours. They missed your graduations, your wedding, and your baby.

I don’t think you know what that’s like unless you’ve experienced it. To have your heart entirely broken and then pieced back together again, every so slowly, and then every once in a while it loses one of the pieces all over again and you feel that you are starting over.

Starting back at the beginning of the most vulnerable time when you lost a part of yourself.

The truth is, I hate this day.

I hate the way that it always makes me remember losing him. I remember the good parts and the bad parts and our family and who he was as a father and a husband. But I remember those parts everyday. Those are the parts I can tell to my son when something makes me think of my Dad, or when I look into my son’s eyes, because I am lucky enough to have a child with my Dad’s eyes.

I hate that it makes me ponder all of the things that could have been different; SHOULD have been different if he were still here.

I hate that this day makes me remember the details of the day we lost him. The sting of that realization, the exact moment when you are told that your whole life is forever changed.

And I hate that I will never know, for the rest of my life, what days it will strike like this. What days the grief will become so overwhelming that you just can’t plaster on your usual smile and get through your day. That being comforted by someone who says “It’s ok” and “I know what you’re going through” seem meaningless because you are absolutely certain that no one knows exactly the extent of your pain or your loss.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It lessens them, perhaps. I’m not grief stricken every day. It’s not as intense as it was at first, or as paralyzingly hard as the very first anniversary.

But when the grief comes washing over you, it unavoidably takes you back to that first place. The first time that you felt yourself break.

And sometimes there’s nothing you can do but to live there until it passes.

I can’t believe it’s been eleven years. I miss you every day, Dad. I love you.

My Dad 2002

My Dad 2002

 

 

 

What I Know About Writing

What I know about writing is that it’s a complex simplicity of time and effort.

Sometimes the words flow easily and sometimes they are impossible to find.

What I know about writing is that it is soothing and frustrating all at the same time. It is healing and thought-provoking and time-consuming.

What I know about writing is it is isolating and connecting. It is a solitary activity but once shared it becomes part of someone else’s awareness; someone else’s story.

What I know about writing is that it is intangible, and yet printed words hold a magical power. You can not see words, or hear them, or touch them, but when placed together in an article or a book or a story they come to life.

What I know about writing is it is too heavy and too light and sometimes just right. My silly inconsequential posts seem so insignificant when I go read an article written so beautifully that it moves my thoughts; changes my perspective.

What I know about writing is it is powerful, necessary, and, to me, the very essence of all-encompassing simple complexity.

The Space Between If and Then

IF ____ happens, THEN ____ will happen.

Maybe.

But what IF ___ happens, THEN would ____happen?

Hard to tell.

I am guilty of this line of thought. Of over thinking, over analyzing, and of imaginary worries.

Guilty of made up scenarios that taint my perceptions and, often, my mood.

Guilty of planning a future that may never take place, or building an argument that didn’t actually occur.

It’s silly, really.

But it’s so real.

The desire to forecast our lives, and try to put into context where we are now to try to understand where we are going.

But what if there is a space between IF and THEN.

What if we could let ourselves believe that it’s not up to us to make these predictions.

What if we could truly believe that we are not in charge, and that there is something greater driving our lives.

What if there is a space between if and then?

IF there is a space between if and then, THEN maybe I could stop borrowing worries, and just trust that there is someone else who knows exactly what His plans are, and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

 

 

Finding My Voice

Last night, I was stuck in a downward spiral.

I was trying to coordinate holiday plans with family that lives far away, and heard news of a trip to Paris and some pregnancies. I started to go down the path one should never go down; a path of self-depreciation.

We have no trips to Paris on our schedule. Whenever we have free vacation time we use it to go visit relatives. There is no exciting baby news here. Our lives are inundated with work, running a household, and taking care of a toddler.  There are no major accomplishments or life changes to celebrate here. Basically, it is just plain boring.

As I spiraled into a negative thinking pattern that involved questioning my worth and my path in life and wondering what I would ever amount to, I packed my son’s bag. I was getting ready to take him to childcare so I could attend a rehearsal for my lead role in a Christmas production.

After getting my son settled, I walked into the rehearsal area and busied myself with rehearsing lines.

After a few minutes, one of the older men in the production approached me and asked my name, and followed up by saying, “I didn’t realize that was your real voice.”

So here’s the thing if you haven’t met me in real life…I have kind of a unique voice. One that has been made fun of, drives comments from cashiers at check out lanes, and sometimes even receives a compliment. But it is noticeably a different thing. And it lands me lead roles on the stage.

So sometime towards the beginning of rehearsals in October, this older gentleman had complimented me on my theatrical voice. Last night when he approached me, he said he didn’t realize that was actually my voice. I responded by saying, “This character isn’t me, but, yes, it is my natural voice.”

And then the most amazing thing happened.

This man stood there and inspired me. He asked if I had ever considered performing professionally.

“Well, yes, that’s what I always wanted to do. I was even a voice major in college and I used to perform a lot in community theater. But then, you know, I got married and had a baby, so now I’m just a mom. This Christmas show is just for fun.”

He stopped me from my spiraling as he said, “I’m not saying this to be nice, I’m saying this to be true; you are very talented. You have a gift. God gave you that. Is this something you want to do?”

“Well, yes, it’s always something I’ve loved doing, but you know, now I’m just a mom and…”

“No, it doesn’t matter what anyone says. If this is something you want to do, you need to do it. If your husband loves you, he will support you. This show isn’t just for fun. This show is your starting point.”

He continued to tell me about how much he enjoys watching me perform. How unique my voice is.  How he loves this character I’m bringing to life. He quoted scripture to me. He made me cry.

And then he said, “This is my mission. Because I was meant to talk to you tonight. And you are meant to do something great.”

As I wiped tears away from my eyes, I said, “Thank you. That is something I really needed to hear tonight.”

He left with a smile and a “See you on stage.”

*****

 It’s a prayer I say often, “Dear God, You gave me a voice. Please show me how to use it.”

And then it was answered with a speech from a man at rehearsal and an email about a new writing opportunity…both on the same day. (I’m telling you, fives are significant!) (And I can’t wait to tell you about the new writing opportunity..more news on that soon.)

 *****

Late last night, after my son and I returned home safely from rehearsal and my husband got home from his 12 hour shift, I began to recount my encounter to my husband as we stood in the kitchen, him eating leftovers and me sipping a cup of hot tea. Our toddler was eating a late night snack near by and we were all winding down to head to long-awaited bed.

“I guess I just thought that part of my life was over, you know? I mean I made a choice between pursuing performance or getting married and having a family. And now I’m just a wife and a mom and this show was just something to do. But tonight, this man inspired me. He reminded me that maybe I could be more than that. People used to say things like that to me all the time, but no one has said anything like that to me in a long time. I don’t know, it just really meant a lot for him to say that. And then there’s this writing opportunity  That’s one of the reasons I started blogging  right?  To become open to possibilities.  Maybe I could still be somebody.”

At this point, somehow my husband and I had wandered over to the refrigerator (I tend to pace when I talk.) My husband hugged me and gave me a kiss as he said “Of course you’re somebody.”

And then, on perfect cue, the cereal boxes on top of the fridge fell down and hit me on the head, spewing a few Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes around.

My husband, toddler and I all erupted into hysterical laughter that was just as much from the humor of falling cereal as it was from exhaustion before finally heading upstairs to bed.

Maybe there’s a greater purpose for me somewhere out there. Maybe I can use my voice for writing and performing in some capacity. But at the end of the day I will always be a Mommy, finding humor in spilled cereal and beauty in slobbery kisses.

**************************************************************************************************************

Speaking of using your voice, today is election day! I was thrilled to take my son to vote today and loved how proud he was to participate. Did you use your voice and vote?

We voted! Presidential Election 2012

 

 

A New Path

I have been feeling lost lately.

Not knowing what direction to go in next.

Not knowing what path I want to walk down and not really even knowing how to decide where to start.

I’ve been pondering so many different things that sometimes I feel that they collide and explode in my mind, jolting me awake from some distant place and bringing me right back into the Now.

And the now involves sticky fingers and a runny nose and lots of cleaning and lots of re-directing. The now involves lots of cuddles and lots of stories and lots of imagination and wonder. The now involves not enough money and not enough time and a restlessness and a peace all at once. And in all honesty, the heart of now is pretty amazing.

As I navigate the now of my present with the possibilities of my future I ponder the “right” choices. The “right” way. The path that will lead me to where I am meant to be.

Change is scary and new beginnings can seem insurmountable.

But through my life, I’ve been through enough changes, enough loss, enough new beginnings, that I’ve become a bit jaded to the magnanimity of them.

Tonight, I found out that a new beginning I had thought about was not going to work out. And I literally said to myself, “Well, that didn’t work out. Let’s see what happens next.”

Ummm, really self?

This is HUGE for me. HUGE. I am a perpetual self-doubter, emotional roller coaster, hope-too-hard and fall-too-far kind of person.

And tonight, at the loss of an opportunity, I just wasn’t.

It was a simple as that. And maybe that’s a new path in itself.

I Am

I Am

I am strong and hopeful
I wonder if everything really happens for a reason
I hear laughter
I see tomorrow
I want to be happy
I am strong and hopeful

I pretend that I have it all together

I feel lost

I touch my toddler’s sticky fingers
I worry about how it will all work out
I cry when I allow myself to let go
I am strong and hopeful

I understand that life is never what we expect
I say that I can handle it anyway
I dream for all the pieces to fall into place
I try to focus on the moment
I hope that one day I will KNOW I made the right choices
I am strong and hopeful

*This poem was made with the I AM template through Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop. It’s funny the things you discover about yourself when you are given the right prompt. What would you discover if you tried?

Mama’s Losin’ It