Home

A raised ranch. Natural shingles. White trim. A silly sign that read “Beware of Dog.” Ah, my Old English Sheepdog. So strong. So loved. My father’s oversized garage. The way the driveway angled. Our additions…the sunroom, the deck, the above ground pool. Royal blue rugs turned to hard wood floors. A paisley-like blue pattern switched to red and white buffalo checks. Walls torn down. Walls created. That olive green tub. The mural that adorned all the walls of my room. And then were covered with soft pink paint. From a  toddler to a teenager. Pushing a toy truck to running to the back door to greet the boy that had tossed chunks of dirt and grass at my bedroom window to wake me. I look outside and see my brother mowing the lawn on the riding tractor. It was black and silver. And over time, the seat started to rip and my father held it together with duct tape. A surprise 13th Birthday party. A sleepover in third grade. The one where I waited for my mom to get mad. The lavender purple phone I received from my best friend as a gift. The Janet Jackson cassette tape. And my favorite – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The tire swing. That once was home to hornets. It was my first sting. My half of a grapefruit sprinkled with sugar breakfast. The days I walked out of the house with colored eye shadow. Getting ready for my first prom. Watching the Red Sox on my small black and white TV in my room. Sitting on the steps wishing to be sick so as to cause distraction to my arguing parents on Christmas morning. Putting all my clothes in a wrapped up blanket and threatening to runaway. Running down the street from the bus and seeing my mom with her bathrobe and curlers waiting at the door. The yelling, the laughter, the crying, the smiles, the tears, the joy and yes, even the pain.

My mind is full of memories. That home nestled on the end of a once dead end street, molded me. I left my signature inside the closet. My stamp that I was there. I loved that home. Years ago it was for sale. My family and I went to the open house. Walking through the rooms, everything was so much smaller than it had felt as a child. Keeping my glasses on, they offered a shield hiding the tears. That home holds a piece of my heart. It provided me with a childhood full of not only memories, but lessons, heartache, growing pains, and love. I admit it is hard at times to reflect back. It causes a sincere heaviness in my heart. But, I know. I know I need to feel.

 

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Dream

So real. A house boat. Floating. An attached dock. With jet skis. The dock fiercely moving with the energetic waves. “Don’t you get scared?” “I am use to it.” Emotions rising. Holding back tears. Memories of these times flood my mind. Suddenly a big push and the dock smacks against the wall. She is jerked backwards and then forwards but unharmed. It is now loose. Floating away. She jumps first quickly to get to the house boat. I follow. Lost around the corner. We run. Yelling for the both of you. I can now hide my tears against this excuse. As you retrieve the runaway dock, it suddenly becomes apparent it was not as big of a deal as originally thought. Keeping my head down, yet obviously upset, she says “she is not happy.” You look at me and suddenly I feel your hands rubbing my temples. The tears now flow readily down my cheeks. And I reach up to hold your hand. I feel you. And it hurts. And then….I awake. Crying inconsolably.

“Feel it. The thing you don’t want to feel. Feel it and be free.” – Nayirah Waheed

Once Upon a Time

I remember

running off the bus, talking – or rather yelling – to my mom as I ran down the street, excitedly telling her the “gossip” of the day.

I was 6 maybe

I remember

racing my bmx bike down the street with my next door neighbor Bobby. I saved up to buy that teal blue Mongoose bike. And I remember the day I walked into the bike store with my Dad.

I was probably about 12

I remember

laughing, giggling, doing crazy, stupid things in High School. I remember late nights, heartbreaks, crying, being scared, feeling mature, and dreaming about my future.

I was 16 and planned my whole life.

I remember

feeling a bit lost in college. Finally finding my way and discovering happiness.

I was 20

I remember

my life unfolding as I began a marriage, started a career, became a mom, and a mom again.

I was in my 20’s

I remember

a life I have lived thus far that I do not regret. For all the memories, good and bad, brought me here. Where I should be. It brought me two amazing children. Somewhere, somehow, I did something so true that I was blessed with the both of them.

And so I will not forget. I will remember.

 

Where is Hope?

As if to suddenly have cold water thrown in my face, hope has appeared to have left the room. Sadly, it feels like it has left my life. Boiling, festering, lingering, holding strong – all the hurt and disappointment. Grabbing hold of the present, the moments of light. But the clock outsmarts me. Poof – it’s gone.

Drops of guilt, remembrance, dreams, memories, love, and pain wash down my face. But it doesn’t feel cleansing. “Is everything okay? You said there is a lot on your mind.”

Yes, yes there is. Don’t you know? Can’t you feel? Tomorrow would have been eighteen years. Tomorrow, eighteen years ago, was and still is one of the best days of my life. Laughter, love, family, possibility, and hope.

Please tell me. Where is Hope? I need you.

The Fourth

The fireworks, the smell of the grill, parades, the American Flag, watermelon, and corn on the cob, and potato salad, and patriotic colored desserts. The traffic, lawn chairs, fire truck horns, blueberries, and strawberries, and s’mores. And more fireworks. The Fourth of July. It’s friendships, families, camaraderie. It’s independence. The irony does not escape me. My favorite holiday is about coming together, independently.

The boys will be celebrating separately, by choice, doing what they each love. This alone gives me some piece of mind. For they are happy. Making memories that they will cherish. But my place is lost. Maybe this Fourth of July is more about independence for me?

 

14 Reasons Why I am Lucky

I guess in some shape or form we all have reasons for being and feeling lucky. But are we lucky as a result of some cosmic force providing us with wonderful pieces of our life? Or are we lucky as a direct result of reaping what we sow? Or maybe it’s because we just opened our eyes wide enough and altered our perspective just so? Whatever the reasons may be, they are there….reasons why you, me, are lucky. Certainly, I have more than just 14 reasons of why I am lucky. But, 14 is an important number in my life, a marker. So to list 14 just felt right. The first 7 are the more obvious of reasons. The bricks of my life per se. The second set of 7 are the deeper reasons. The ones that hold the bricks together and complete the structure, my life.

1. My two beautiful, amazing boys. Everyday they push me to be a better mom, a better person. They keep me in line. Make me question myself…in a constructive way. They are my motivation, my inspiration, my heart, and my soul.
2. My health. I am able to run, to practice yoga, to take deep breaths. I am able to clean my house, to walk my dog, and weed my yard. I am alive and well.
3. My friends. It’s nice to have people I can talk with, discuss my worries. Even complain. It’s wonderful to know I am thought of in so many ways.
4. My family. How lucky am I that I have family I can depend on to be there for me when I need them. I am loved.
5. My job. In my work, I have the ability to make a difference in a child’s life, however small. And they have made a difference in mine. What I do during my work hours is meaningful and full of hope.
6. My home. I have a roof over my head, a cozy bed, warm blankets, pictures on the wall that remind me of how great my life was, is, and is sure to be.
7. My dog. Yes, even my dog. He is such a caring, loving, sociable fluffy ball of happiness.
8. My breath. It centers me. Instantly relaxes me. It’s a gift that is always available.
9. Exercise. Some days it’s more challenging to begin a workout. But I never regret pushing myself to move. It uplifts my spirit. It feeds my body.
10. My sense of self. I have only relatively recently been able to feel and show my true sense of self. It was always there and shined at times. But now it’s more blatant. It makes me feel stronger.
11. Memories. Some good, some bad. But they all serve a purpose, a lesson, a reminder. I can look back with gratitude. I feel blessed.
12. Meditation. However short my practice is at this time, I’m still discovering. And escaping to a neutral space that allows me to stay the course.
13. To connect. I can connect with people. How amazing. Sometimes someone can relate the smallest of gestures that make the biggest impact. Stay open and feel the power of connecting.
14. My window. Sounds funny right? My window? Yes. I can look outside and watch my children play, hear their giggles, see their smiles, watch the intensity of their faces as they chase each other or ride their scooters or throw a football. I can see the flowers bloom and the grass getting longer. I can watch the cars drive by and the mail be delivered. All of these moments, these small gestures of life, remind me of why I am lucky.

Take a moment. Look out the window. Life is good.