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Connections Beyond Motherhood:

Hello Dear Readers! I now have a fun side gig as the Content Coordinator for a local magazine- here is the latest article around Motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day Lovely Tribe!

Connections Beyond Motherhood: 

Sunday, May 8th marks Mother’s Day, a time when we celebrate the person that has been with us from the very beginning. Flowers, chocolates, brunches, and homemade cards are just some of the ways to honor Mom.  Did you know the first proposal to make Mother’s Day an official national holiday was rejected? In 1908, Congress joked that if there was a national Mother’s Day, we would soon have to celebrate a national Mother’s-in-Law Day, hence the motion never passed. In 1914 however, Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, a national holiday to honor all mother’s. 

Ironically, the woman who started the campaign to make Mother’s Day an official holiday was arrested in 1923 for disturbing the peace at a candy convention. Nine years after its official inception, she felt Mother’s Day had become entirely too commercialized; focused more on profit than sentiment. 

Two thoughts run through my head at the statement above. I would find it extraordinarily difficult to disturb the peace at a candy convention. I would yell and shout and someone would hand me a piece of chocolate and then I would find it very hard to be angry. 

The second is that this lovely holiday established to honor the first person who held us tight and made sure our tushies were dry is sometimes a little difficult. 

For medical reasons, my husband and I do not have children. We grappled for years around how to ignore this holiday for ourselves but still honor our own mom’s who we happen to be quite fond of. 

I have also watched my Mom’s friends manage crowded restaurants with cranky, hungry children during Mother’s Day. “I would like to go away for Mother’s Day,” said a friend, “I would like my husband to take the children and I will spa with my girlfriends. It will be quiet, civilized and lovely, complete with food that I get to eat while it is still warm. Is that wrong?” 

I told her it was not wrong as long as I was one of those girlfriends. 

I have many friends who are Moms. I watch in awe as they raise beautiful, independent, amazing children. I also have friends who sadly have lost Moms. Recently on a girls’ trip, a friend and I passed a See’s Candy stand in the airport. “My mom loved See’s Candy,” she said with a sigh and teary eyes. 

We left 5 minutes later with a box of chocolates. As Mother’s Day approaches, I am reminded to send my friend a box of See’s , not only to remember her mom but that as we get older, good friends step in where our Mom’s might not be with us. 

Dictionary.com defines motherhood as ‘the state of being a mother,’ they also define it as, ‘having an inherent worthiness, justness or goodness that is obvious or inarguable.’ 

When I told this second definition to my friend and mother of three, she laughed, “Today none of my children find me Just or Good. The only thing that is obvious is how unhappy they are with me.”

Raising the next generation of amazing humans takes a village. My best mentors were adults beyond my parents: coaches, teachers, aunts, uncles and family friends. My friends now are those who talk openly about the challenges to raising kiddos and lean on their tribe. I love it when they lean on me and honestly, it’s a great excuse to see Sing 2 or ride the water slides one more time at Water World. Some of my best days are those when I can be the amazing aunt. 

To the Mom’s, Auntie’s, Grandma’s and friends who show up, Happy Mother’s Day. I have had the amazing opportunity to interview many families through Neighbors of Northwest Arvada and the resonating theme has been a sense of family and a community you can lean into. It takes a village; to you and your village.

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Grow

My nephew is trying out for swim team. Today we practiced our strokes in the pool- I’m not sure who is more excited…..I think I could love being a Swim Aunt.

As we walked towards the locker room, I looked at the signs, Men, Women, Family Dressing Area. “Are you okay to shower and change in the Men’s locker room?”

He rolled his eyes at me, “Hehe, I’m almost ten.”

Sigh….yes, yes you are almost ten.

I did shower and change super-fast so I was out before he was, and I may have stood too close by the Men’s Locker Room door while I waited for him. Hello Crazy Aunt.  

And while ten is shocking and I’m not quite sure how these years past so quickly, I’m okay with ten. I can look at this young person and think, “I can deal with ten. I’m not okay with you going into the locker room alone. But okay, ten.

It’s May and my social media is peppered with beautiful young adults. Adults I knew as babies. Adults who are now going to prom, graduating, getting scholarships, making the world a better place. Your children have grown and I’m not quite sure how that happened.

These photos are so bittersweet.

This clearly was not the path chosen for us. I don’t look at these amazing moments and think that could have been our Littles. But since so many of us were having babies at the same time I do marvel at how 16, 17, 18 years have past before me and how you have created, watered, fed and grown a beautiful (almost) independent person in this time.

Grief is a thief of time. Not just the time that could have been but in the time after. It takes time to just survive, time to rethink, recalibrate a new normal, time to watch that new normal crumble and rebuild again. It takes time to do the work and, in that time, you, my friend, have built a person.

When my grief was young, it needed constant attention. Like a young child, it demanded to be fed, held and coddled. I am happy to report I can now leave my Grief at home for a weekend and it will not destroy the house.

It’s a new time for many of us. I am thrilled to see your amazing kiddos go off into the world. I am grateful that as time has passed, I feel more present in this joy.

This weekend, I watched an interaction with my friend and her 16-year-old daughter: beautiful, sassy, testing the air with her new wings. As she ran off, I turned to my friend and said, “your child is my spirit animal.”

And Nephew, I will watch you and your brothers grow. I might even wait ten feet from the Men’s Locker room door.

Maybe.

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A Little Bit of Jackson:

I can count on one hand the times when I have truly have not understood the plan that God has designed for myself or my Loves. That is not to say there are other times when I have been sad, angry or distraught.  But shattered and unable to make sense, that has been few.

This week has been shattering. And anytime something breaks into a million pieces, we are left behind holding the shards, wondering how the hell to piece something back together. We hurt. And knowing that the people we love are experiencing a hurt a 1,000 times ours, there are no words.

There is no fix. And at times it feels there is not enough strength, grace or patience.

But there has been love. Lots of love. An outpouring waterfall of Love.

I did not know Jackson well. But I love his Mama fiercely. And I love that in this shattered time, she has shared Jackson with the world- amazing, caring, beautiful, talented, humble Jackson.

I have thought of him often. And I have thought of how I would like to carry this lovely soul in my space- my world needs a little bit of Jackson……..

  • When I kiss my Mama: which I intend to do more of
  • When I golf with my dad
  • Heck, even when I golf
  • When I wear blue
  • When someone calls me Ma’am- Jackson made Ma’am a compliment
  • Anytime I pass a Texas Roadhouse
  • When the Aggies play ball (I might even become a fan)
  • Dimples- any dimples, any time
  • When I do anything of service
  • Wrestle with my nephews
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Anytime Russell Wilson makes a touchdown!
  • If I ever give birth to an 11-pound baby (I know this one is a stretch but if it happens, I will think of Jackson)
  • Anytime I am with his Mama.

This list is woefully short, but I know that is temporary. I look forward to adding more Jacksonisms in my life.

I will start with a Dr. Pepper.

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For the Love of Anger

My sweet tribe is suffering an unimaginable loss.

A loss of such magnitude that stories are shared on the news: graphic images coupled with newscasters speaking in high rapid tones to convey the urgency of this magnitude.

With every story shared about this loss, we shake our heads, shed another tear, mumble another f-bomb and wonder how the hell this could happen.

Because this is an unimaginable loss.

I know loss. I have grappled with the injustice in the universe, cursed at God and wondered why me? But this one leaves me a bit speechless and wondering how my sweet tribe will recover.

This one leaves me angry.

More stories are shared. Stories around a driver, stories around a father, stories around a criminal past. And it is so easy to be angry.

I’m a big fan of anger. While others are talking that someone is in a better place, I take the ‘this is f$cking sh!t balls’ approach.

Have I mentioned I’m trying not to curse so much?

Have I also mentioned I’m not doing a very good job at trying not to curse so much?

Where does anger sit in this process?

In my potty-mouth opinion, anger is a pillar to moving through grief.

It must be addressed and it must be felt. The other day I was looking for my Ouiser to slap because my goodness, I really wanted to slap something

*On a side note, if you have not seen Steel Magnolias, go see it now.

My tribe has handled the unimaginable with amazing grace and love.

But I want them to know that when things get angry, we can offer up a Ouiser, hold their hand, sit in the uncomfortable, and perhaps teach them a new curse word.

We are here when things get angry.