NOVEMBER 4, 2018

 

On October 5th, we welcomed our little lady of the sea; Marion Maine.

She is healthy and beautiful and exactly who I gently imagined bringing into this world throughout the entire pregnancy. For all that time, I hoped my girl was making her way to me–and she was.

 

On induction morning, I got up at 4:30 a.m. and showered, had coffee with Chris, placed hot rollers in my hair and did my makeup as the curlers set. Nana and Allison came to the house, and together, they got Everett up and fed him the breakfast he refuses to stray from: vanilla greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s.

Chris got our hospital bags and pillows and the down comforter I insisted on bringing, packed into the car. He dusted off the finishing small details, like showing Nana how to work the T.V. remote and reading through the lenghty “Everett directions” I wrote out, making sure she knew his routine. This was all Chris’ way of carrying some of my nerves, and I appreciated that we were a team, even though it was me who had the job of physically delivering a baby in the next coming hours.

In the car, I stayed quiet. Chris had NPR on and I listened to one of my meditation tapes through silencing earphones. A few minutes into it, Esther Hicks (the woman I’ve written to you about, many times before) said this:

You can’t overcome hardship or stand stubbornly within it. You’ve got to reach the place where you accept it’s easy…and then it will be easy. And when people ask, “How was it easy?” You say:

I made it a struggle a lot longer than I needed to. It was easy because the energy was already there and the momentum had been gathered and things were already aligned. I just had to do one piece: I just had to relax a little and trust a little and try a little less hard. I just had to stop justifying and rationalizing and defending. I had to feel worthy without the needs for justification.

And hearing that little part (which probably doesn’t make sense without hearing the entire segment), felt as if her words were coming through my ears and into my heart, preparing me for what was ahead.

I accepted that this birth was going to be easy. I knew I didn’t have to stand stubbornly within hardhsip…that I didn’t have to be headstrong and refuse an epidural if I wanted one. I knew any choice I made in the delivery room, didn’t need justification.

I trusted that everything I thought and journaled and affirmed about this birth in the months and weeks prior, did indeed shift this whole soon-to-be event into right alignment.

Before entering the hospital’s parking garage, we made a right turn onto “Marion Street.” It confirmed that the old fashioned girl name I had on reserve, was the right choice. Just like the street sign, over the past year, I have seen her name in varying and random ways, as if something else had chosen what to call her, long before she was mine.

Perhaps she always knew who she was. Perhaps she always knew she’d be my child.

We checked in at the maternity ward and were shown to our room. It was spacious and settled within a corner, with two glass windows, allowing a view of the current sunrise. It was comforting and secluded and I was grateful to feel like things were continually going right.

The midwife on-call checked in with me, explaining how the induction would work. Before pitocin, she was going to put a foley bulb into my cervix, which basically just creates pressure and promotes dilation. It looked like a strange flexible balloon, with a bubble at the top and three sets of tubing attached and hanging.

She inserted the bulb part and with a syringe, slowly pushed water through the tubing, therefore expanding the bulb and hopefully my cervix.

It sounds more strange and intense than it was. All I felt were period-like cramps, and I was still able to walk around the room and use the bathroom. I just had three tubes hanging out of me, peeking through my open hospital gown. Chris and Allison got a kick out of that one.

For two or so hours, this bulb sat in me. Finally, it fell out on its own (which is ideal–that means it did its expanding job) and I said aloud that I thought my water broke. It felt like slow trickles were puddling on the bed underneath me.

This early sign of labor made me giddy and confident, like another check had been marked off under the criteria of easy. I truly just kept energetically floating down river and now as I’m reflecting, I can honestly say there’s never been a time in my life that I was that in the flow. There is such power in trust and surrender.

Pitocin started to drip into my plotted vein and contractions began soon after, each one coming about every one to two minutes, which is ridiculously close together when compared to starting labor natually.

During a contraction break, all three of us would talk, and then without warning, I’d close my eyes and get quiet and nod off into the tightening sensations within my belly. I remember Chris once saying to me, “See ya later!” in the funny Everett voice we like to mimick, because I’d truly disappear into myself as I concentrated on each contraction, knowing the pain was pulling our baby further and further down into me.

When I began to feel sweaty and frequently became more silent, I wanted my dilation checked. Knowing what was ahead, I questioned if I wanted to continue onward without an epidural. I was remembering Everett’s birth, picturing the room where I labored, the things I said and felt and thought, like I was being pulled back into that memory. And I wanted nothing to do with it.

Prior to this second labor, I thought I had to be brave and choose a drug-free birth again, so I could…I don’t know…face it. But I quickly recognized that reasoning equaled a wall of resistance; a rift in the feel-good river I was riding.

So without justifying and rationalizing and defending–without wanting to once again fight and prove how strong I could be, I simply looked up at my midwife and said in clear words, “I want the epidural,” even though I had just been checked at 6cm and labor was proving to progress quickly.

The surrender was simple and accepted and felt right. I was proud of myself.

Getting the actual epidural was easy, and my anesthesiologist was one of the most serious, calm, confident and well-carried men I’ve ever seen. He was the kind of man you would’ve found attractive, almost as if you had personally sought him out to be my doctor. I can’t explain it–that’s just the feeling I had as soon as he walked into my room, like you were pushing me forward within my choice of drugs, delivering them to me on a silver platter of encouragement.

When I felt the relief from contractions, that epidural became the most liberating piece of permission I ever gave myself. Instead of reaching the point of screaming and panic and digging into the deepest parts of me just to remain breathing, I laid in bed watching the Kardashians, with my sister and husband…my two best friends.

Within fourty-five minutes, my dilation was casually checked, and the midwife said, “Oh! You could start pushing if you want.”

I was so shocked and excited and in disbelief at how incredibly different the entire experience was continually unfolding.

Chris and Allison got on either side of me and held up my legs; they were just numb enough that lifting them took more effort than normal. And in the lower left side of my abdomen, I could still feel when I was getting a contraction, but the sensation was mild, peaking through just enough so I knew when it was time to push. To me, this all meant that I had been given a fabulous epidural–not too much, not too little.

Pushing was fun. With my hair done and makeup on, as shallow as it may sound, I felt not only strong, but beautiful. I felt like me. I was clear and focused and only had one job to do: push the baby out. And the room was calm. Only my nurse and midwife were there, who helped as she casually sat on the edge of the bed and cheered on with encouragement.

Allison and Chris did, too, and when I’d heard their voices grow in excitement, I knew I was getting closer and closer.

Within ten minutes, the final push came and Marion truly did slide right out, just like that mum bud.

I looked up at Allison; she had tears glazed in her eyes and a face frozen in awe as she was seeing the baby lay between my legs. For a passing second, I felt you. Your girls were together, experiencing one of the most beautiful moments this life can offer.

When people say things to me like, “Oh your Mom would be so proud!” it sounds like you are missing–that if only you were still living, you’d get the chance to aknowledge my accomplishments. But it’s within the moments like the one above, that my body pulses with that pride and I’m utterly aware of you–of that fact that it’s not would be proud but is.

Your presence was undeniable.

They laid Marion on my chest but her legs were folded closed. I kept saying, “What is it? What is it!” anxiously awaiting the most anticipated information of the past nine months.

“It’s a boy!” Chris looked at me and said with this huge smile I can still vividly remember. But my stomach sank because something just didn’t completely feel right.

He tried again. “It’s a girl!” And everyone, including myself, laughed, as I laid my head back on the pillow and cried with the relief that she was out, she was healthy, and she really was a girl. I had done it.

Her birth was truly one of the best days of my life. From start to finish, everything worked out, just as I had believed it would. Never have I manifested something so accurate and with such knowing ease, recieving so many assuring signs in the weeks leading up to her delivery.

Marion is the very piece that brought me full circle from Everett’s birth and all I have become since.

I feel as if I somehow dreamed her into my life.

 

I promise I will write again soon, when everyone’s needs (including mine) have been met, and I have a few moments to talk with you.

Now that Marion is here…now that I’ve truly settled into the comfiest and most confident places within myself and motherhood because of her birth, I feel like I need you less and less, which is both a hardening yet honest thought.

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 TWO years FIVE months + THIRTY-NINE weeks

 

For the past three weeks, I’ve written and edited and deleted several entries to you, all of which were about this baby and how I’m feeling for the soon-to-be delivery.

I eventually gave up my efforts, knowing words worthy of this journal were simply not going to come out before the baby does; my “flow” or whatever you want to call it, had simply stopped, and each conversation I typed to you, lacked everything I treasure these entries for having: connection and love and the feeling of real conversation with my spirit of a mother.

But while Everett and I were playing out on the porch this morning, so many blue jays began flying around and within my yard’s two adjacent oak trees, that it was honestly alarming. The birds seemed to be in an argument amongst one another, at such high volume, it felt my attention was being personally sought out.

So I gave some silent aknowledgement: Okay. I’ll write the final “pre-baby” entry today, when Everett goes down for his nap. I get the message…

Somehow it felt like you who was out there calling, asserting to stop this resistance against writing, and just finish it already. Because once this baby is born, the opportunity for a September entry will have entirely passed.

 

All I presently think about is labor and when.

It’s like I’m standing within a backroad’s blind spot, waiting for a semi-truck to travel around the bend and topple me with surprise, pain and incredible amounts of joy and love.

Dramatic, but it’s how I feel, less than a week from my due date.

Chris and I went out on dinner date the other night, a little farewell to life as we know it, as we sat and talked about how much we love Everett and how funny he is and how ready we are for this second baby to come.

He thinks it’s a girl.

I told him “her” name can be translated to “lady of the sea,” and he laughed, because he knows my quirky love for mermaids, even telling me often that I look like one, the way my hair naturally rests above the small of my back.

Before our meal was served, I went to the bathroom. Once I emptied my bladder for the twentieth time that day, while washing my hands, I paused and took in the familiar shape of my belly’s reflection, knowing the next time I’d be at this favorite restaurant we like to frequent, I’ll have met our named baby.

And there on the wall, was a large mural of a mermaid, looking sexy and beautiful in her painted skin as I stared back at her, wondering what all is soon to come around that blinding bend.

Like this “last” dinner, I’ve been checking off lists and completing little rituals of organizing and going to Target twice a week for who knows what at this point, as a way of feeling prepared for what I simply cannot prepare for.

My laundry has been washed and folded more often than usual, because ideally I’d like an empty hamper when I leave for the hospital. I go into the nursery where majority of my things are packed, just to stand there and basically stare, rearranging the way coconut water and snack bars are positioned on the dresser, as if I’m playing a game of Tetris, trying to get things to look and fit right, in a pointless attempt of mentally inducing labor.

My kichen cabinets have been wiped down. The closets have been organized so that our clothes can properly welcome the changing season. Everett’s favorite foods have been stocked numerous times, and I’ve trimmed his nails over and over (which has to be done with the bribery of M&M’s), prepping him as if I’m going to be gone for two months instead of two nights.

No longer will I be only his mother. No longer will I be a mother of one–the mother I’ve loved getting to know and grow into over the past two and some years. Yes I’ll still be me, but there’s no denying my person is going to shift and rearrange once again. Perhaps that’s why I have this odd idea of disappearing into thin air and away from my son.

While I know I can have things done and gathered and cleaned, no matter how many times I vaccum my living room carpet, it won’t change the natural timing of this birth. As I learned with Everett, the when is out of my hands.

 

I have really been trying to seperate my experience delivering Everett, from whatever is going to happen with this delivery. Over and over, I’d catch myself remembering his birth as if it had just happened, and therefore mentally prepare for another twenty-six hour labor, shoulder dystocia, the hospital transfer, no recovery time, and qualms with breastfeeding.

So to help me reverse this harmful thinking, I’ve written in my pen and paper journal daily, affirming that this time, things will be different–that they may not be perfect or easy or even drug-free, but they are going to be different.

I love thinking of Chris holding another baby.

The nurses and midwife on-call will all be perfect for me and baby.

It will be good to have Allison in the delivery room.

I have new pajamas waiting for me.

We will have great visitors.

The baby’s name will suit them.

Everett will be happy at home.

Every time I use affirmations–whether writing or thinking them…whether about labor or simply loving myself–I immediately feel better. I can actually feel my energy lift as that upward shift happens, remembering I’m in control of how I feel, always and without exception.

On our daily walk this morning, as I pushed the stroller and controlled Clifford on the leash, I was telling myself things like:

Labor is going to be much faster than with Everett.

You won’t pop blood vessels in your eyes and face because of an infant’s stuck shoulder–this baby is going to slide right out, just as it should.

I’d say it’s a good thing my passing walking neighbors can’t hear my thoughts.

But I was truly trying to visualize this baby being delivered by a few strong pushes, with no hindrances, and exiting my body in the “easy” way its naturally meant to.

After we got back, I wanted to water the fall-colored burgundy mums I bought for my front porch (apparently I’m even trying to prep my plants for my laboring absence), so I freshly filled my little watering can with kitchen sink water, while Everett was playing with the bunny cage, trying to wedge one of his toy cars between the metal bars.

No matter how many times I tell him to not touch the bunny, he simply cannot leave that poor rabbit alone. It’s the same with my new flowers. He picks the buds off and tosses them into unknown places.

Anyways, when I started watering, the long and narrow tipped-over spout wouldn’t release anything, as if the container was entirely empty and I hadn’t just replenished it.

Seriously confused, I kept tipping, until the can was almost upside down and then bam!

A mum bud, big enough to entirely clog the spout, popped out with such pressuring force, water exploded in a steady and outward stream.

It literally looked like a baby, represented as a bud, had slid right out, just as I had been trying to imagine happening within my body.

I couldn’t stop laughing, and began feeling that familiar warmth of assurance coursing through me, knowing my attempts to think positive were not falling onto deaf ears–that somehow, I am indeed being heard.

So this is my official surrender.

I am ready. I am open. I am even done cleaning.

I’m so close to becoming a mother of two…so ready to hold this baby and know who they are.

Mom, be with me.

 

 

AUGUST 17

I’m approaching my 34th week in this pregnancy, which means the baby is the size of a butternut squash, but I can assure you it feels much bigger–every space in my stomach is stretched and filled. Feet and elbows and a little cute bum, are always poking me, seemingly searching for more room within their confined home.

I have days where I still feel my globe-like belly is bearable, and then other days, I cannot stand having to squat and straddle my legs the way a novice stripper would, as I bend down to pick up toddler toys instead of cash tips.

But as much as I want to stop sharing my body with another human, I’m not entirely ready to share my time with Everett.

How will another child burst through these sewn motherly seams?  Because right now, they are sealed shut with only my son, yet it’s like I can feel this slow, internal transition: the gentle pulsing of tight strings, beginning to loosen around my heart and create more space.

My recent pattern of thought has been: How can I love so much again? How can I divide my attention? And when I hold this baby for the first time, am I going to think of Everett? Am I going to miss him in that moment, when I feel my brain immediately embrace his brother or sister?

I know these questions sound dramatic, but you have to admit, they’re valid for a soon-to-be mom of two. I can’t be the only woman to have wondered such things.

My favorite thing to eat right now is a turkey sandwich, with mashed avocado, a sprinkle of salt, one fried egg and pea sprouts, swaddled between two pieces of “harvest bread.” It’s a bakery loaf from Whole Foods that is so deliciously tasty, it causes Chris and I to playfully bicker over who’s had more during the week.

That man seems to be in love with my ever-changing body, always telling me how cute or beautiful I look, when he catches me walking through the upstairs naked, with a bowl of cereal cupped in my hands, ready for our side by side movie time together. And for the record, I’m not naked to be scandelous. It’s just that by the end of the day, clothes can feel like a tangled layer of tight or unfitting skin, and like a snake, I need to shed them off.

I know Chris is thankful that I’m safely harboring our child. I can tell by the way he gives me space and allows for patience and more privacy, or how he’ll now thread his arms under my back and cradle my head with steadying hands, while our bodies come together in the familiar way they know how to.

 

Each morning, Everett still goes outside and plays, pushing his lawn mower or waving hi to the elder neighbors that walk by. He’ll take a few jumps on his little trampoline, then travel over to last summer’s wood framed and failed herb garden, which has now been transformed into a sandbox filled with old mismatched measuring cups and trucks.

I make sure to give him a lot of independence, allowing him to do things himself, like picking up his toys before a nap, slipping his shoes on, pulling his pants up, etc. When we come home from somewhere, he takes off his shoes first thing, and puts them away in the closet. This is honestly a habit his father has yet to consistenly remember.

Just this morning, I decided to put together his two new Ikea bookshelves. It took me over thirty minutes when it would’ve taken Chris a fraction of time, but I got to sit with Everett and watch him puff with pride when successfully, a bolt he was working with, would finally fall into its fitting place.

You could say nesting has officially begun. The nursery has been emptied of Everett, back to its bare mint colored walls, and the dresser drawers are now slowly being stocked with blankets and onesies and diapers. I have one boy outfit and one girl outfit, washed and folded, waiting to be claimed.

And hundreds of dollars later, after the cost of custom cut blackout blinds, two gallons of paint (because mama changed her coloring mind), a dresser and little fixings like the booksheves, Everett was all ready for the migration over to his “big boy” room. To our surprise, he loves it. I took retired toys from the basement and placed them in a basket, ready for his grand new entrance. When he walked into his room, his face was in a permanent O, shocked and surprised and excited over the toys, the extra space and the laid out train track for his coveted “choo choos.”

 

At my last prenatal appointment, the midwife asked who would be helping me once the baby came, and immediately I felt a stone drop to the pit of my stomach, crumbling and spreading like the weight of wet sand. I’m supposed to say my mother. I’m supposed to say my mother-in-law. And even though I remembered this exact question during my first pregnancy, it still felt like the words to my response were stuck in my throat.

Lying, I said my husband would be home for six weeks on paternity leave, and that he would be my main source of help. It’s something that his work is currently trying to pass, so while I don’t know if it will be cleared before baby time, it was the only thing I could get out. And I’m embarassed to say “my grandmothers” are helping, because to the midwives, I’m sure it sounds like I’m trying to rely on two elderly people.

I could tell the midwife hesitated when typing my answer into her computer chart. I know she wanted to ask, How about your mother’s help? But whether because my family history form showed your death of breast cancer or something was just sensed, she knew not to ask any further questions. The whole ten second encounter made felt like a defeated, helpless little girl.

It’s now been ten years since you died. The 14th of August came and went this year, and while I thought I was going to have a magnificent entry to write to you because of it, I don’t.

I can remember after one year passed, trying to imagine what this many would feel like. Ten years? How will I go ten years with this feeling….with this missing? But I have. We all have. We’ve learned to wrestle and wrangle with it, question it, be angry at it, and attempt acceptance, as if we’re constantly trying to spread and perfect lumpy icing on a cake that simply won’t smooth over quite right.

I’d like to think I’ve eaten my portioned piece already, like it’s since settled into my belly and bones, having become one of the biggest ratios of myself. That’s why on the night that marked you leaving this physical place, I simply crawled into bed extra early and alone, but not because I was sad–I was just ready to be done with the background distraction of ten years ten years, and for the relief of tomorrow to come.

As I fell asleep, I thought about laying in bed with you at home, during those last minutes of your life. I thought about the things Dad said, as Allison and I witnessed what seemed like two separate parts of you, struggling to figure out which way to continue. One wanted to keep you physically here. And the other was slowly stealing your breath, pulling you closer and closer into the unseen energy you now inhabit.

He kept telling you it was okay to let go. He continually gave you the permission you silently needed.

While I can’t explain what it was like to watch you literally leave, I can say I envy the way you were guided onward by Dad. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life.

I was there when you took your last breath out of this world, and you were there when I took my first one into it. Now as I sit here, saying all of this to you, I’m thinking forward to the moment this baby takes his or her first breath of air. For the only thing that truly separates you and I, I’m still able to take into my lungs, while you simply cannot.

I can’t see this essential air. I can’t taste it. I can’t touch it. But it’s a gas that is all around, one that everything–the plants and animals and humans–need to survive.

And just like this invisible air, I know you’re still all around me. And just like I couldn’t live without it, I know I couldn’t live without you, even after all these years. From my first breath, to your last breath, to now–I’ve never known a life without you.

I’ll never have to.

AUGUST 4, 2018 TWO years FOUR months + THIRTY-TWO weeks

 

I don’t know if I can necessarily blame hormones, but I’ve been thinking of you constantly, as if you’ve become an invisible companion who sits on my shoulder, nudging your presence to be known during the ordinary every day moments–like while carrying laundry up the steps, or in the seconds my head hits the pillow at night–there you are.

It’s hard to describe the feeling I get, when I so desperately want you here, real, and not as a thought inside my mind. It seems the answer to bringing you back is so obvious, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure it out…

Like if I could just project myself far enough up into the clouds, I could burst through the Universe and somehow find where you’ve been hiding all this time. Or like there was truly a way to collect your scattered pieces and place them together, so I could hug and hold and hear you once again.

But I have to shake these fantasies quickly, because they make me feel utterly unworthy, incapable of reeling you back into this realm.

In reality, I know it’s absolutely beyond my control and more importantly, there is no “you,” sitting somewhere with your leather high heels and leopard pants, waiting for me or anyone else to come find you.

And while I’ve particularly missed you during the past few weeks, I had an “encounter” that blew the emotional blues right out of my sappy bones, and replaced them with the reassuring reminder that you really are closer than I could possibly conceive.

Yesterday Everett and I were having a good morning; our breakfast was easy, my coffee was strong, the weather had a relieving chill–all the little checks were correctly crossing off, and it put me in an easy state of appreciation.

While on our routine walk, Everett looked back at me from below in his stroller, giving me this cute and contented smile. I could tell in his eyes, he was loving that beautiful morning just as much as his Mom.

There have been so many recent and similar times when I’ve looked at him and simply cannot believe this little human of mine has never met my mother. I cannot believe that he’ll grow into a young man who will never quite fully understand, just how bright and beautiful his grandmother once was.

But I could feel myself choose not to get sad and sucked through the seaward current of missing you. I instead stayed in that appreciative feeling, thankful for Everett and our moment and our morning, knowing you knew I was thinking of you, knowing you were aware of us.

The choice was simple. I didn’t want to sacrifice my energy. It felt too good to be feeling good, and bad thoughts easily bounced off the barrier I had created.

And then I looked down at my walking feet: a Blue Jay feather was sitting on the pavement so perfectly intact and bright, it honestly looked fake, like it was meant for craft store use. The little voice inside my head didn’t immediately try to discount the fact that it’s only a feather, or rationalize how I could honestly believe it was from you–I just knew it was.

I stood and stared and softly cried looking at that feather, while every answer I’ve ever had about your death was instantaneously understood–without any worded answers.

The little piece of Blue Jay is now pinned to my vision board, where I’ll see it every night before bed, alongside the outlines of another potential property and my goals for this journal. It will be my reminder, not only of you, but to continually summon my courage and go for my plans, without letting anything stop me, for that is one of the meanings of my coveted blue bird.

And speaking of these plans.

In the past few months, I’ve been editing my entries, re-arranging my proposal, searching and researching potential literary agents, creating and submitting essays for websites, and writing query letters that meet both individual and particular agency requests.

Each time I send material in, I just don’t completely feel it.

As much as I try to believe that my pitch is going to be read and loved, I more so understand that it’s going to get lost in what agents infamously call their “slosh pile,” with my words buried beneath thousands of other aspiring authors.

No longer can I wait for an agent to deem me worthy. No longer can I continue working on my book’s proposal, trying to sell myself and the words I began writing after Everett was born.

My written conversations with you have accidentally become about learning to trust and follow that flow, as I listen to the signs and my intuition, which continually guide me forward in both the creation of this book and myself. If these attempts to prove and propose both myself and my work, are no longer where the energy is taking me, I need to bravely follow a new direction.

I’ve been seeing the numbers 753, showing up not only on the clock, but in amounted totals or addresses, too. Over the course of a few days, the pattern presented itself so many times, I felt compelled to at least search online for the meaning of those numbers, if there even was one.

A woman named JoAnne Walmsley has a book and dedicated web space for the description of these numbers, where I found the following:

The combinations of 7, 5 and 3 mean now is the time to make the necessary chages that will quickly advance you along your life path and your soul mission. 

Trust that the angels are supporting, encouraging and guiding you along the way.

This felt like permission to set the proposal aside, as well as the guilt for my “wasted” time and money spent, on the course I bought back in November. Because I cannot let a dead end stop me. I have to keep running this trail, even though I feel like I’m blindfolded, scared to trip and fall and remain stuck, losing the chance to create these words into all I know they can be.

So I’ve been researching the self-publishing route, something that I used to think was a cheating way to create a book, but actually, from what I’ve read, it seems both incredibly modern and smart.

I found an online course all about Amazon publishing, and now knowing how to recognize the familiar fear that arises with new opportunity, I didn’t hesitate or talk myself out of purchasing it. I deposited money taken from my stash of “yoga cash,” and bought the $97 workshop.

While I educate myself, I trust the next step will be figured out and presented within perfect timing. And in the meantime, I’m still editing and forming my journal entries into a story worth reading. Right now, that’s my goal for the next few weeks. As well as continuing to grow this lovely little baby.

 

Grandma told me the other night that she thinks it’s a girl. And to me, Grandma is right about everything, especially when it comes to babies.

I haven’t allowed myself to admit what I think the gender is, because I was proven entirely wrong with Everett. But I’ll follow her hunch, secretly knowing it agrees with mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY 9, 2018 TWO years THREE months + TWENTY-EIGHT weeks

 

yours is the light by which my spirit’s born:

yours is the darkness of my soul’s return

-you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars

-e.e cummings

 

The third trimester has officially begun.

I’ve reasoned that with the time remaining, there are only twelve more Monday mornings for Everett and I to go Trader Joe’s, as just the two of us.

I don’t know what it is about the grocery store, but we both love going. I enjoy meal planning and then the crossing out of items on my list, while I gather ingredients and snacks and the $3.99 fresh-cut bundled flowers that brighten my bedroom each week.

Everett happily sits in the cart and says hi to a few of the workers that he recognizes from being a frequent shopper. Sometimes I’ll pack him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat while we stroll around the store, or he’ll eat a banana and an oatmeal bar right off the shelf.

And when we pay for the empty wrapper and peel at checkout, he tries handing each item to the cashier, saying, “Here ya go!” in a too loud of tone, but it’s annoyingly cute.

I imagine simple errands will soon become more of a hassle and involve an increased amount of frustration with another child…I imagine a lot of things are going to change with this second addition. But the becoming part is over now–I am already a mother, and Chris is already a father.

For those reasons, I feel both thankful and prepared as I possibly could be.

Tatum finds it funny that Chris was once just a dude in high school, who wore flat baseball caps and thought it was cool having initials tattooed to his arm. When she giggles and says, He’s just such a Dad now! I feel proud, because even someone as young as her, can so obviously tell how much he loves being Everett’s father.

It seems he and I have really found the true purpose within our marriage– being parents. While raising our son together, we’ve unintentionally sifted into the best version of ourselves.

The two of us often casually talk about whether or not to wait in between the next (two) kids. He teased me the other day and said, “Do you really think you want four of these?” while pointing at Everett, who was screaming on the floor in a bedtime protest.

I told him we are too good of parents not to have that many. And added, “You know that the family we form is all we’ll really have.”

Because he and I both know what it’s like to have a mother whose sick. We both know the changes it creates within a family; how vacations become scarce and then disappear, how dinners out together become rare, and how each member handles grief and acceptance in varying ways.

You were our family’s sun. We all orbited around you, like little planets that had their own individual needs and characteristics, thriving off your warmth and light and directional pull.

When we lost the center to this virtual solar system, we stopped circling in the same direction and began again on different planes.

Dad’s took him somewhere far away, where parts of him I think were forever lost. I fought blindly to get back to you. Allison and Cole both traveled forward in a kind of silence. And Tatum, being the youngest, was frozen in space, only held up by the gravity of others who loved her.

But I am now that contagious light for Chris, Everett, this baby, and all our children yet to be.

That’s why I want such a big family. That’s why four kids sounds right when my husband and I talk about it. It’s not because you had that many. It’s because I want my light to provide all the life and nourishment and guidance that it possibly can.

It’s because becoming my own “mother sun,” is what ultimately allowed me to heal after your death.

 

Chris and I recently came very close to purchasing some land. That sounds like an incredibly strange statement, because I always believed that finding and financing property was years and years away, but it almost happened.

A few Saturday nights ago, we were on the couch eating our usual Thai takeout, watching a rented movie. During a quick break to wash my face and ritually light the bathroom candles, Chris had scrolled through his phone and found a new property listing online. We were intrigued by the price and location, but unable to tell what it really looked like through the realtor’s pictures.

Immediately filling with excitement, we agreed to go see it. It was past 8 p.m. and Everett was already hours into his night sleep, but we woke him up, brought him and his blankets and the dog to the car, and made the drive to the property.

Everett followed the moon for the entire car ride. He’d point when it would pop through the clouds and say uh-oh when it disappeared again.

The land was mostly on a slope, had a small leveled part, and then went uphill again. We quickly figured out that that’s why it was priced low. From Google maps, it was shaped like a long and narrow, steep rectangle.

But we went back the next day, because by then it was getting too dark and too late to try and hike the hills. Chris wore Everett in the backpack, and together, we walked the whole way to the top, curious to see what was at the hill’s peak.

It turns out there was a flat wooded acre, sitting at one of the highest points in the town we both grew up in. And the entire background of this property was a nature reserve, a place for our planned clan of children to thrive, where no one else could ever build.

I felt incredible up there. And so did Chris. You couldn’t hear the far away road, just the birds and the wind and whatever sound describes that kind of natural quiet.

So we contacted a realtor. We contacted the water authority. We contacted a plumber. We contacted the local building inspector. We figured out ways we could finance and what was involved for payment on land.

It wasn’t a straight forward picture, since where we’d ideally build a house (in future years to come) was all the way at the top of two hills. Water would need pumped up there, we’d need a sewage system, and have to swallow the cost of propane for our power source.

But still, we continued to visit the land, bringing Everett each time, who would touch the bark on trees we passed, or spy butterflies flying around the wild flowers. We’d measure and plot and explore. I’d look at my vision board each night, amazed at how closely I could picture the house I’ve envisioned for so long, sitting on that land.

Before making an offer, we needed to figure out how to get a driveway uphill. We had a local guy come look at the land, and he basically scoffed, saying it was impossible. Then we had an excavating company do the same thing. And finally, just to be sure, we had an engineer do the math, calculating the legal slope limit and how many curves would be required to make it to the flat acre on top.

Again, it was another no. This man at least said it could be done, but Chris and I obviously don’t want a scary and dangerous driveway attached to our forever home.

While I feel disappointed, I’m holding onto the feeling of that land. The way we felt up there, the way we felt when we talked about it through last week’s dinner conversations–it tells me something was special. Something connected, and even though that may not be the place we end up settling on, it opened our eyes to the fact that our dreams of owning land may not be as far off as we think.

And I know it made Chris equally excited about having a large family, where we’d be secluded on our own little homestead.

I feel relaxed about it. I honestly trust that our plot is out there, waiting for us. I know as confidently as I can, that the Universe will provide it, without the need for worry or rushing.

This is probably how I’m supposed to feel about all of my desires–how we’re all supposed to feel about the things we want in life.

Everything is always where it should be, if we simply trust this simple reasoning.

The moth and the fishes are in their place,

The suns I see and the suns I cannot see, are all in their place,

The palpable is in its place and the impalpable is in its place.

For reasons I’ll never understand yet truly trust, you are in your proper place, too, even if I can’t kiss you or hug you or hear the voice I’ve known since safely inhabiting your womb.

And even if you’ve become what Walt Whitman would describe as impalpable: unable to be felt by touch, not easily comprehended, incapable of being perceived by the senses, you are still in your place.

If I continually accept that what’s gone is only the physical part of you, I’m free.

You are much more than skin, bone and heart. You are my mothering sun.

 

MAY 25, 2018

The female being has been chosen by the creator to be the portal between the spiritual realm and the physical realm; the only force on Earth powerful enough to navigate unborn spirits onto this planet.

-Unknown

 

Everett is now almost two months past the two year mark. He’s becoming a little boy right in front of my eyes, suddenly seeming giant in his stroller, high chair, crib and car seat.

Ever since his birthday, I’ve noticed something different each day that propels him forward into mini boyhood–a new word, a new mannerism, a new understanding. A part of me feels proud that I’ve guided him this far, yet another cannot believe he was once the little baby I’d swaddle and rock and hold close to my chest.

Which speaking of babies, I’m finally anticipating this second addition’s arrival.

We had the 20 week anatomy sonogram last week, and I felt much more emotionally connected than I did at the previous one. While Chris chased Everett around the room saying no fifteen times over, I stared at the little black and white projection screen, lost in wonderment, as the technician whirled around my jellied belly and looked for the makings of a healthy baby.

She checked the chambers of the heart and took measurements of little details, from the baby’s head shape, to the umbilici cord and the size of its thumb.

It was so temping to find out the sex. The technician said she was able to tell, and I couldn’t believe she held that information in her head–she knew if Everett would be growing up with a brother or sister!

But I don’t feel ready to know yet. I truly like keeping it a surprise, and especially love seeing everyone’s reaction when Chris and I say we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. Most people are shocked and then almost all reply with, “Well, there are few true surprises in life!” 

When I think about packing two different colored outfits in my hospital bag, I feel giddy. I’m so excited that I’m pregnant. I’m so excited that we are growing our family, and I’m absolutely thrilled that this time I’ll have the hospital experience, getting to sit in bed while my family and friends meet the new life I just brought into the world.

After Everett was born and immediately transferred to the hospital with Chris, I had to stay at the Midwife Center for four hours, a span of time that I honestly can’t recount because it’s been blocked from my memory. What I do remember is when Chris came back for me, I simply sat up from the bed, my pants stuffed with pads and icepacks, and walked down the hallway, out of the center, passing the nurse’s room on my out and casually saying, “Bye! Thanks!”

They panicked and all looked like they were going to communally hurl, telling me I had papers to fill out and information to hear before being discharged. All I wanted was to hold Everett and the thought of that initial separation isn’t something I ever think about, but right now, it’s making my eyes well up. How frightening that must’ve been.

But I feel brave when it comes to this birth because I know separation cannot happen like it did prior, at least not from different facilities. I know I’ll get to stay in one place. I know Chris will remain with me. And I think I want Allison there when I deliver.

The two of them have developed a brother sister relationship, something that makes me love my husband even more. He consistenly calls her Saus (her family nickname) and asks every Saturday if she wants to come over for our Green Mango takeout night. And Allison can freely squeeze out his solid and practical advice about things such as credit card scores and how a man should treat her.

It’s special to see your spouse and siblings together. She won’t only be my support at the birth, but Chris’ too, as funny as that may sound.

I still have a ways to go though until all of that, so I won’t say anymore–but it does feel good to be looking forward to the near future, a very different mindset from where I was a few months ago.The second trimester of pregnancy really is the best, both physically and mentally.

As I said, Everett is growing at a pace I cannot keep up with. He is a true 4T in all clothes, and his stalky build allows him to plow and push through anything. Chris’ side of the family calls him Tank, for good reason. He’s not overweight in the slightest, just as solid as could be.

At his two year check-up, he measured 90% for both height and weight and my inner cheerleader silently shouted, That’s my boy!

He plays outside in our yard all day long, doing I’m not sure what. There aren’t many toys out there, but he finds sticks and little garden shovels and entertains himself in hidden rain puddles and piles of dirt. Sometimes he’ll come inside with mulch stuffed inside a back pocket, zippered up as if he’s saving it for later.

And he loves his toy lawn mower. We were at The Home Depot the other day to get him play sand, and when he saw the mowers all lined up, he said, “Wowwwww,” all serious and in amazement. Chris got a kick out of that one.

When Everett makes up his mind and doesn’t get his way, he now throws a fit, as I’m sure most toddlers do. He’ll squeeze his little fists together in frustration, or throw himself backwards on the floor to protest.

Usually I’ll bend down to his level, turn his shoulders towards me and say, “Look at mommy.” His sad eyes will immediately come to match mine, waiting for my words to reassure or fix the situation.

I’ll say things like, “It’s okay, we just have to stay inside because it’s raining. Do you have to go nunnies?”

In which he’ll reply with a very loud and long nooooo! And that little threat of sleep almost always makes him stop a fit. If it doesn’t, then I ignore him and trust the anger will run out of his system naturally.

I don’t know if either of these are “good” parenting tactics, but they work in this household. The other alternative is to yell, and when I join in on his big display of emotion, it only makes for double tantrums.

I freely admit that often I accidentally burst and cringingly cry out, “Everett!” and his whole body startles and his eyes get big, and I hate myself for making what truly looks like an innocent creature feel scared.

I’m not a mushy parent. There is a time to yell. There is almost always a time to lose your shit. But as I’m continually trying to be aware of my emotions and how I’m feeling energetically, I don’t wish to step off the line of balance that I work really hard to achieve, just to yell at him for painting his face with vanilla yogurt.

Before a nap and before bedtime, he insists on reading The Lorax. I catch myself throughout the day reciting lines, saying in my head:

Mister!” he said with a sawdusty sneeze…

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!

I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,

And I’m asking you sir, at the top of my lungs…

What’s that THING you’ve made out of my truffula tuft?

Sometimes in the car, I’ll say this memorized phrase in my funny reading voice, and glance back at Everett (sitting forward now like a big boy!), who is gleaming, balling his hands together by his smiling cheeks, like his Mom and the Lorax are both just too cool to handle.

He eats a packet of oatmeal each and every morning, and I swear 95% of his mass is made up of oats. He loves it. After he’s done, he hands me his bowl, I take him out of his chair, and he runs over to the couch, waiting for me to put on a movie.

Recently though, this small window of movie time has been forgotten about; he’d rather get right outside, which is obviously awesome.

And whether he’s on the couch or frolicking in the backyard, I make my breakfast. It’s twenty or so minutes that I cherish, and it’s time that I get to myself to mentally start myself out right for the day.

Sometimes I’ll catch myself cursing that I broke my egg yoke, and then feeling pissy when I eat it, which is absurd. And that momentum can easily pick up, when for example, I go upstairs to brush my teeth afterwards, and Everett follows me, opening up the vanity cupboard and spilling out each individual hot hair roller from its resting peg.

I’ll get flustered, frustrated, and before learning the power of awareness, I wouldn’t know how to separate myself from those emotions, so I’d absorb them and continue carrying them with me for the rest of the day, allowing the fellow feeling of worry to follow me around and join the mental party.

But why worry? It’s truly the most useless yet troublesome thing about my thoughts.

Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.

The power with awareness comes with not only stopping the stream of negative thought, but it can halt worry completely.

When I catch myself circling scenarios around in my head, trying to reach for an invisible answer, I stop, knowing I cannot benefit from it, and try to think of something else.

Remember in the last entry I talked about that natural forward flowing stream? Well worrying is moving upstream. And the more time I’ve been spending floating down river, with the understanding that I can’t control much, just the way I feel (and therefore the energy I’m sending out/what energy comes back to me), working upstream feels so incredibly hard and a waste of time.

I can’t stress enough how much everyone would benefit from sitting and breathing and observing and checking in with themselves and their higher power, even for just five minutes a day. It’s something I wish I could’ve taught you when you were still alive.

And with this consistent meditation, comes strengthening your intuition, which has become my new personal pal. With a clear mind, I can sometimes hear it, not just feel it. And it’ll say, grab this book, call this person, get this coffee, creating coincidences throughout my day that prove a higher power is real, somehow magically orchestrating the evidence.

At times, this “proof” makes me question how I’m not always in a state of awe, to be a literal part of the beauty and brains that is the Universe. When people complain about insignificant things, when they beep their horns one two many times and flick me off for not changing lanes fast enough or whatever it is–I feel sorry there are humans so consumed in matters of no consequence.

And I feel sorry that there are people who act as if living is serving some sort of favor. Those are the ones who’ve never experienced a loss like that of a young mother.

I’ve reached a point now though, where your death feels so…I don’t know….normal. It feels normal to go to Dad and Terri’s and not see you there. It feels normal to not be able to call you for help. It feels normal when you’re not here turning another year older for your birthday in April.

In fact it all feels so normal, that sometimes I feel guilty for thinking of your death as tragic, as if my psyche is whispering, What’s the big deal? Everyone loses their parent at some point. There are worse things–some people lose their children.

Time has a strange way or warping grief.

I saw a picture of you the other day, a blown up black and white one that Nana captured while you were holding Tatum as a baby. And I just stared at it, almost shocked for a second because I hadn’t seen your pictured face for awhile.

I forgot that you were once real. I forgot that you were once physical. It feels like such a dream to imagine you living again, that my brain just sometimes remembers the years that you were still alive as “too good to be true.”

The longer I stood frozen, I could feel my body warmly respond to your face and all I could think was, I am my mother’s daughter. I am this woman’s child. She was my mother. She IS my mother. 

And recently when I catch myself feeling overwhelmed or sad or whatever the situation may be that’s trying to rock me off this newfound center, I remind myself of whose child I am–that I am not alone, that I was not just dropped off on Earth.

Because I once belonged in you, just as my sweet star of an unborn baby now belongs in me.

 

P.S.- the baby is due October 2nd, Mrs. Treml’s birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAY 4, 2018 TWO years ONE month + NINETEEN weeks

 

It was about no longer being the kind of person who takes what she can get, and  finally becoming the kind of person who creates exactly what she wants.

-Jen Sincero

 

When I wrote the below goals in my pen and paper journal a little over a year ago, I created a direction to drive my determination and follow through with a visual plan to write this book:

February 2, 2017

post to blog every two weeks

40 posts total

roughly 1,500 words each 

100 minimun pages total of book

submit queries by april 2018

I am excited. I’m excited to do this–to achieve it. Because I’m going to do it. For myself, Mom, our family, my boys. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s because my doubts were greater than my belief. 

I’m proud to tell you that I did each of those bullet points, even the last one: I’ve been submitting queries (just a few) since January, and even heard back from one agent. Even though it was a kind decline, I got an agent (in London, no less!) to read my “application,” which in the literary world, is a small accomplishment.

But during my silent months of March and April, of which have now created a gap in our conversations, I wrote to you several times and just felt flat, like there was nothing flowing through me, and nothing of importance to tell you. So I’d occasionally accept the idea of stopping this project. I was even beginning to feel content with that decision.

Usually an entry just spits out through the keyboard in one sitting. And then I’ll re-read and edit and proof over and over, until I feel it’s worthy of people like Jessie or Mrs. Treml or Grandma or friends on Facebook, to read and possibly learn something from.

I don’t know if I can blame this productivity drop on pregnancy quite exactly, but I can say that these past months have proven more difficult than while pregnant with Everett. I’m fine physically, and with the beginning spouts of morning sickness having surpassed (like nausea, wanting to vomit when I saw green vegetables, craving frozen pizza for breakfast), I thought I’d be back into feeling all vibrant without my monthly cycles. Because that’s at least how it worked with Everett.

At my first prenatal appointment with the Midwives, they asked the routine question of how I’d been feeling. And I couldn’t fake my response. I said, “Fine!” in that stupid, too high-pitched tone, knowing the expression on my face was probably silently pleading, help me. 

I explained how I infamously have trouble before my menstrual cycle, and the midwife named Kara looked right at me and sweetly said, “Since pregnancy is basically like one big luteal phase, how do you do while pregnant?” And I thought, damn that luteal phase! Always getting me.

She suggested I see their on-site therapist when I come in every 4-6 weeks for the routine appointments, and I agreed, figuring it can’t hurt, and that it’s probably a good idea to stay on top of the whole depression question that’s been dangling in my mind.

A few weeks later, I was in the therapist’s office, listening to her talk with one ear and one eye, while watching Everett with the other observing set. He was touching everything from her coffee mug, yoga blocks and business cards, all while eating a messy peanut butter and jelly, intermittendly watching his favorite show “Tumble Leaf” on my iPhone.

Yes, I resorted to the effective method I used to scoff at: “screen time.” I realize that’s a term that wasn’t around when you were, but there are now portable digital devices that play unlimited content absolutely anywhere, including cartoons in a doctor’s office.

And while I instantly knew this therapist wasn’t “the one” for me, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for some kind of help. So I later made the decision to call my previous therapist from post-college years, Dr. Jaffe.

Dr. Jaffe truly helped me save myself, in a time when I needed to decide if I was going to follow what was expected of me (continue with more school and/or start a career), or if I was going to keep supporting myself with teaching yoga, in the hopes that I’d be a stay at home mom eventually, with no debt or career to leave behind.

And she helped me know Chris was the man I was supposed to marry, something I’d known for years and years, but got scared to officially accept, because it meant closing a corner of my heart that I never wanted to shut.

So I saw Dr. Jaffe last week (without Everett), and I’m glad I did. It felt good and appropriate to catch-up, explaining how different this pregnancy feels, how I keep forgetting about it and then wondering if that’s normal, and how stuck I feel, creating a baby in the midst of miserable hormones, uninspired to keep writing to you.

Talking in a comfortable environment allowed me to empty out many tangled questions and fears, coincidentally preparing me for a great planned weekend away without Chris or Everett.

The next morning, Nana came around ten o’clock to watch Everett, so I could hit the road towards Annapolis, Maryland, to my girlfriend Olivia’s apartment. I was staying for a visit and the You Are a Badass book signing in Baltimore. It’s a book written by my literal idol of an author.

The entire car ride there, I kept seeing signs that made me feel like I was going towards something exciting–something that was going to help lift my spirits. I’d pass the 1111.1 mile marker, happening to catch its glance in a split second. Or I saw a big motor vehicle with the logo “Puma” painted across the side, which has been Chris’ nickname for me since college.

Once I arrived and settled into her artsy, independently decorated abode, Olivia and I went into the city for a delicious Thai dinner, and then walked into the John Carrol campus store to get a coffee at Starbucks. Apparently the University’s mascot is my special Blue Jay, which were displayed everywhere on t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. I felt like I was in the right place, like everything was lining up for a fantastic evening.

Our Starbucks total came to $7.53. And when we had left her apartment earlier, Olivia’s car dashboard clock said 3:57. It’s the same consecutive odd numbers, flipped.

I know it’s so dumb! I know. But really, these are the little things that make life feel exciting to me–that make me feel like you and I can still connect, and that the timing in my life is always perfect. I get this trusting, reassuring rush, that lights up everything inside me, until I start to doubt it and think it’s silly to pay attention to things like numbers and birds and pumas.

We walked across the street to the book signing, located in a cute local bookshop, and found seats. There was the perfect amount of people–not too crowded, but not like no one cared to show up. And books were neatly shelved on all the walls around us, creating a cozy and inspiring environment that I was thankful to be in.

When Jen Sincero came through the entrance door, I stared and stared like she was the most famous person in the world, not “just” a best-selling author. I was giddy, and Olivia and I kept making little gossip comments like, She’s so tall! I love her shirt. Oh my God.

Hearing her speak in person took everything I ever read and blew it up into big-sized pieces, ones that I was eating by the mouthful, while my inner voice was saying, you can do this…you can do this…you will write your book! I could feel how sure I was, that being published could and would be done.

It felt like the energetic boost I’d been needing lately.

She was telling her story about being broke and wanting so desperately to be rich and “stop sucking,” and explained how excruciating it feels to know you’re not living up to your true potential. And it was like ding ding ding! 

That’s what has hurt the most during these last few months: the knowing of how wonderful this book could be, if I only believed and continued to believe in it and myself.

I would keep making excuses to stop writing, as I have in the past, but these ones felt truly legitimate. I told myself that I’ve accomplished my dream already, of being a mom and having a happy home and family. Which is entirely true. But it’s not “all.”

In the back of my (now signed!) copy of You Are a Badass, a long long time ago, I wrote in pink permanent pen:

I will have a beautiful home

All of my many children will be healthy

My writing will become something meaningful

I will always believe in myself and LOVE WHO I AM

And lately in this pregnancy slump, if I settled into the thought that I’ve already met my goals, I could convince myself of being content. But denying myself the ability to grow, especially when I can see and feel and imagine how good it will feel to rise further towards the sun, has now become more difficult than staying put and settling back down into familiar soil.

By avoiding the pain and fear we are afraid of, we create it and stay in it, because moving forward involves too much risk and judgement and unknown and “work.”

I seemed to have still been under the impression that I could choose to stay comfortable and just be happy with the beautiful life I have now, even if I never became a writer.

Because I have a great home. I have a healthy child, with one on the way. I am married to my best friend. That’s enough, right? 

Of course it is. But not when I can feel down into the deepest parts of me, what it will feel like to get published, to get paid the amounted check that sits pinned to my vision board, and to start building the house we imagine, on the property we dream of, with a plethora of kids and animals frolicking around.

Like Jen said, it feels excruciating to ignore that inner voice. And until I heard her say that, my inner voice was being squashed with reason and responsibility and perspective and “reality.”

The smallest crack of doubt will shatter my desire to move forward, something that has happened over and over again through this writing journey. As soon as I get something accomplished, like finishing my proposal, I get comfortable and content with “enoughness,” conceiving up unlimited reasons why it’s time to dust my fingers free and stop writing.

I submitted a god damn query letter–something that last February I was setting as one of my bullet point goals–and then just quit, settling into that okay I did it, I’m done now, because continuing on meant more rejection, more belief, more unknown. 

I don’t know how many more times I’m going to get dragged down by doubt. It may be something I’m always going to fight against, or maybe by the grace of all that is holy, this shift is permanent.

I even almost persuaded myself to not drive to Maryland. That voice was saying, you don’t have to leave and drive four hours, when’s the last time you even drove that far by yourself? 

Me, getting scared to drive to another state. This is the girl who took trains and boats around Amsterdam solo, almost too merrily stoned and not an ounce less scared, to read the transporting tickets that would get her safely back home to London.

I convince myself out of the things that will help me, without even realizing that by doing so, I’m sabotaging my growth.

One last thing I want to share with you.

While driving to Maryland, I was listening to a random Esther Hicks YouTube video. This woman speaks about energy and attraction and thought–all that fun stuff I love telling you about, and her books and lectures have taught me an incredible amount since I found them.

But as I navigated the highway, trying safely to hear the GPS and good ol’ Esther, I happened to catch her say: Anytime you feel negative emotion, it’s because you’re going against the person you’re becoming. 

It was another ding ding ding! 

We are all constantly becoming, a very part of this beautiful forward flow of energy that creates the world around us. And when we go against the current, when we deny that inner voice inside and stay safe, choosing a career because our parents say so, or wussing and excusing ourselves out of a needed weekend away from family, it hurts. It muddles our light and we feel terrible, stuck in the trying circle of convincing ourselves, it was the right choice….it was the smart choice…I didn’t need to go anyways, etc.

I don’t want to go against who I’m becoming anymore. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to be a wimp. I don’t want to stay put. I don’t want to settle in familiarity, even though I am a creature that thrives on comfort and things staying the same.

Because I can’t. It’s come to hurt too much, like I’ll burst if I don’t naturally allow myself to bloom.

And my true eventual hope is that someday somebody will read this journal of my becoming, knowing that they can grow towards the light, too.

 

 

FEBRUARY 2, 2018 TWENTY TWO months old

All around you are spirits, child. They live in the earth, the water, the sky. If you listen, they will guide you.”

-Grandmother Willow

Life with Everett continues to color our days here at home with fun, laughs and the perfect amount frustration. He’s discovering how to climb and be cleverly mischievous, sneaking his little hands into everything possible. I’m learning the balance of when to yell and when to calmly correct him. When he doesn’t listen, sometimes raising my voice works, but most of the time I just scare him and then feel terrible. And it makes me upset and worked up. But it’s so easy to scream. I feel like you when I do it.

A small part of me likes that, like yes be tough like mom was. And then another part says, that’s not you and you don’t have to do everything just like her. 

What can I say–I’m learning.

When we took a walk a few days ago, he wanted to stop and play in the grass. After waiting there too long, I told him to let’s go! but he wouldn’t budge. I even tried walking away but he could’ve cared less. So I dragged him by his arm for a few forceful steps until he laid practically face down on the pavement in a temper tantrum. I forced him to stand and got him to walk by singing a song about what a big boy he was.

You’re a walking boy, yes yes yes, going home to see your bunny and eat snacks!

Singing silly felt like a win. Dragging him and yelling did not. But who knows what type of mother I’ll be when more kids come along.

Recently I moved my bunny upstairs (I know, you wouldn’t approve) because he’s just trapped downstairs in the dark basement all day, seeing or hearing no signs of life. It’s lonely and I feel bad for him. So now he’s around all of us, and Everett likes to blow him kisses and throw pieces of his leftover lunch through the cage. Yesterday it was potato latkes. Everett can’t leave the bunny alone, but I don’t blame him. It’s cute to see him love his animals so much.

I feel like I’m ready to burst through the seams of our house though, ready for warmer air and the ability to go outside for walks and playtime. It’s nice getting to relax, watch movies and eat–that’s honestly what our days revolve around now, but cabin fever is a real term for a stay at home mom in wintertime.

We are going out to eat tonight as a family and I’ve been thinking about it all week, like it’s the outing of a lifetime, because I get to leave for other reasons than Target or Trader Joe’s.

Everett’s favorite movie right now is Hercules. We’ve watched it too many times to count. I put it on for him the other day and actually snuck a shower in while he was cuddled on the couch with a blanket, sippy cup, and Clifford. I felt like an accomplished superwoman.

He also likes Pocahontas and spins and sings when the Indians do their chants around the fire. I know it’s a feminine movie, but I grew up watching all those classics, each having an important lesson. When she runs through the woods and sings about the rivers and the animals being her brothers, and that we are all connected to each other, in a circle that never ends, I repeat the stuck-in-my-head lyrics while wiping down the kitchen counter, feeling silly but remembering that you are never far, because even Pocahontas says so.

Recently Everett’s been getting up at 4:30 a.m. For awhile it was 5:30, which was acceptable because we were just used to it, but the time has gotten earlier and earlier until I woke up on Monday, mad and tired, cursing that this nonsense would stop. It was time for a “baby re-set” as aunt Sara calls it.

We never officially made the transition to one nap and I think that’s where some of the problem is rooting. Everything, including his bedtime, needs to be shifted later. Each day this week I’ve done an extra fifteen minutes.

Ideally, in a few weeks, he will be taking one nap from roughly 11-2. That would be a best case scenario. And bedtime would be around 6:30. My goal is to have him realistically adjusted by Valentine’s day, so hopefully when I check in with you around then, this mama is getting more things done during the day and more sleep in the mornings.

Speaking of mornings–I recently stopped the early 6 a.m. yoga class I teach on Wednesdays. Chris is going back to school for his masters and cannot go into work late anymore while he watches Everett. So I will have one class, on Sunday mornings, and something about that just feels right. It gives me more opportunity to practice on my own mat during the week, and it’s one less day of getting up hours before the sun.

And it’s great timing because I am in fact pregnant.

This second time around already feels so different than with Everett. When I found out I was pregnant with him, the thought of pregnancy filled every mental second. I read blogs and articles and books and was so excited to learn as much as I could about what was happening inside my body and what life would be like once the baby was out.

I still get all gooey every time I tell someone the new news, but keep forgetting about those two pink positive lines on my test. I remember when I want to have a beer and think, nope can’t do that for awhile. Or when I wonder why I’ve been so tired in the afternoons or why my mood is for once stable.

The pausing of my menstrual cycle is the best thing about being pregnant. I love it. Hormones are whacky while growing a human, but for me personally, it doesn’t compare to the ups and downs I feel during my moon cycle.

What’s a moon cycle? I can already see you rolling your eyes at me, but listen, I’m not weird here. I’ve been reading a lot about the moon and its connection to women’s menstrual cycles, trying in any way to understand why I’ve always been so influenced by my period. Because no one really talks about them. And you certainly never did. The only thing you ever told me about puberty was that you grow boobs.

We were at one of my horse riding lessons and my teacher joked, saying something like, “Oh you just wait until you hit puberty.” Not knowing what that word meant, I later asked and you gave that one simple answer. I think “back then” it wasn’t as normal to talk about our bodies as it is today.

My menstrual cycle has had so much control over me, I tried anti-depressants when Everett was eight or so months old. I didn’t know what else to do and figured since you’d been on that same medication before during certain times in your life, it was okay for me to be too.

But taking that medicine made me numb and everything flat-lined. It took away my anxiety, it took away my lowest lows, but it also took away my highest highs. After a month, I stopped, knowing I had control over my body and was determined to understand the power of being positive. It seemed like my only choice. And thus my journey of understanding the Universe and thoughts and appreciation and all that stuff I bore you with was started.

In the cycles of nature, there are ebbs and flows within the seasons, the tides, and the waxing/waning of the moon. This mimics the cycle that is within women, the cycle that governs not only the flow of blood, but the flow of creativity and information. It’s instinctive and natural and connects us with something greater than ourselves. At least I believe so.

And our periods particularly mimic the moon phases, which is why women since the beginning of time have referred to it as “being on their moon.”

Between when my period starts and ovulation, I’m at my emotional best. This is my “highest highs” phase, when I sing in the car, believe I can write, and feel beautiful in my skin. I’m expressive, happy, have enthusiasm and new ideas–everything just feels good and balanced.

That lasts for about fourteen days and then comes ovulation. This is where the luteal phase begins, a phase I hated for all my teenage years and young adult life. Ever since I started my cycle, I never understood why I felt so different for half of the month. I didn’t understand why I felt emotional about everything, why I questioned my decisions, etc. This was always when I missed you the most, the times I’d lay in bed buried under the covers and cry until there was nothing left to empty out.

I’d judge myself and feel lazy and unproductive. My body would bloom a little fuller, especially in my chest and belly, and every month, I always thought I was just getting “fat.” So I’d eat less and exercise more, doing exactly the opposite of what my body needed most: rest and nourishment. For half of the month, I hated my body and how it made me feel. If I would indulge into my natural cravings, I’d throw the food right up.

A lot of past problems stemmed from not understanding my body.

But during this luteal phase, instead of hating myself and wondering why I’m crazy, it’s my time to reflect and go inward. It’s my time for me, to sleep and eat more, journal and stay home–not feel like a piece of shit. This is hard, especially as a mother, but it has forced me to be more kind to myself and not feel selfish for taking a small nap on the days Chris gets home from work early.

What’s amazing about all of this is that the moon phase goes in a circle of 29.5 days, the average length of a woman’s menstrual cycle. And the phases of the moon mirror what happens inside our bodies during ovulation. It’s even been scientifically proven that during a full moon (representing a ripe and ready egg in our uterus), women are more fertile.

I don’t fully understand it all, but that’s not the point–I truly believe I’m supposed to feel the highs and lows and work with the monthly cycle within my body, not against it.

These are ideals I want to teach my girls (if I have any, of course–Chris is convinced we’ll have all boys). I was educated on periods in middle school, but with the undertone of ew that’s so gross and don’t ever have sex or you’ll get pregnant and die. There was no connection of the physical body and the emotional side. And if there ever was, it was somehow all boiled down into the worst combination of three letters: PMS.

I don’t need my kids to pretend they’re Pocahontas and sleep outside to sync up their periods with the actual moon.

But I will explain to them why they feel a little crazy during that luteal phase, after ovulation. I will teach them how to track their cycles, even if they have irregular periods or what not. I don’t want them taking a birth control pill to “control” the most natural thing about them.

I know. I can hear you saying, but they’ll get pregnant! Would you want that for your teenage daughter? 

Even though you weren’t alive by the time I started having sex, I can tell you now that I never relied on birth control. I tried it a few times, hoping it would regulate my moods, but never liked how it made me feel. So I learned to track my cycle, become aware of when I was fertile, and always used protection.

And knowing your rhythms makes getting pregnant a bit easier. Boo-ya!

I’m proud of all I’m learning. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I know it probably all sounds strange to talk about my period so openly, but I wish someone would’ve normalized it when I was younger.

I really feel as if I got pregnant at the right time. As my body is creating life within, I can continue to create this writing into a reality. It’s a beautiful comparison if you think about it. My August goal for a book deal suddenly seems to make sense–it will be a few months before this baby is due. And we have three separate friends getting married this fall. The baby will be guaranteed out by the time Jessie has her wedding in Maryland, and I keep picturing myself with my long hair, healed red lipstick lips, and a baby on my boob, drinking a Blue Moon on my best friend’s big day. Talk about goals.

Thank you for where I am. Thank you for the timing of my life. Thank you for the sudden clarity I feel in my mind, as my body begins to take on a new form, creating our second child. I can’t wait to see what’s to come and for the first time in a long time, I am entirely hopeful.

JANUARY 25, 2018 TWENTY ONE months old

First post of the new year, long overdue.

Since we last talked, I’ve thought about quitting this book, I’ve thought about starting it over. I’ve thought about switching my direction entirely, and I’ve thought about waiting until a “better time” to try and become an author.

Without even realizing it, I started sabotaging myself and the idea of publishing this journal, thinking, I’ll still write a book, just not this one.

I can now recognize those words as nothing but fear, hiding in disguise and sneaking into the corners of my brain like a slithering snake, trying its best to scare me to quits.

But it’s scary to have two years of work, written out on paper and summarized into one little proposal, which gets sent out to huge publishers that honestly probably don’t even open my e-mail inquiry.

Here goes my current affirmation:

The right publisher will embrace me.

This project will bloom into huge success.

Because without belief and the knowing that these words will become bound in a book, it’s just not possible.

I continually forget that I’m not supposed to know how to do any of this. I’m not supposed to know which publisher is right, which wording is perfect or how to build my audience–I’m supposed to trust and relax, trust and relax. I’m supposed to keep meditating each morning so I can get my brain quiet enough for the day ahead, ready to hear and see and become aware of all the ways Source is communicating to me the way forward.

So that is my focus now: trust and relax. It sounds like the easiest thing in the world, but yet nothing has proven to be more damn difficult.

A few days ago, I watched a home video of you and hours later, while driving in my car alone, I kept crying over and over, each time I remembered the way your face looked, the way your voice sounded, the way we were all permanently recorded together in that special house as a family.

It’s been awhile since I’ve cried about you, but I don’t say that to brag. I say that because I’ve honestly forgotten that you used to be a physical person. I have become so used to thinking of you as unseen energy, like my personal little spirit in the sky, that when I saw you on video, you came alive again and I felt my heart flutter and pound and silently whisper over and over, mom mom mom mom.

I felt like I was your tiny baby again, needing the one person who felt natural and right to take care of me.

But in that grief, in that sadness, I have learned that just because I can’t see you, doesn’t mean you’re not real, which is perhaps one of the strangest lessons for us humans to learn.

It reminds me of the Polar Express book Nana would always read to us kids at Christmas. At the end, she’d gently shake the jingle-less bell, saying that only those who believed would hear its ring. We’d all say, “I hear it! I hear it!” after it was individually held up to each of our ears.

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are things we can’t see. 

I can feel more than anything, how much I want Everett and all our future children, to never stop believing those words. Because we all come into this world with that sense of magic, but lose it when everyone else around us starts questioning it, trying to come up with answers, like as to why Santa Clause can’t come down a chimney, or why the dreams we read about in fairytales just don’t come true.

That’s why I have to keep writing. How can I look at my kids and tell them all these beautiful truths I’m learning to remember, if right now, at this pivotal becoming “era” I feel like I’m in, I shrink back into myself, afraid of failure and afraid of doubt?

It just wouldn’t work.

When I first thought out my “plan” for this book, I gave myself until August 2018 to have some kind of end result. Why, I don’t know, I just felt it, so I wrote it down and made an end goal. While I know this is something I want to create–I know I can’t dapple along for another five years, saying to myself, I’m writing a book. 

No. Homie don’t play that, said in your original words, of course. I want to give myself the room to believe, the room to relax and trust, the room for this path to unfold without forcing my way through it. But I also need a time goal, or else I’ll change my mind another thousand times, something I seem to be infamous for.

Haven’t you noticed? I am ready for a baby. No way, not yet. I have baby fever! I am scared when I see newborns. I mean, that was an ongoing conversation in this journal for the past year.

At the end of my 6 a.m. yoga class this morning, I read one of my favorite quotes of all time, one I’ve never thought to share with you. And it just seems to sum up how I feel in this phase of my life. I want to tape it to my bathroom mirror, and repeat it each morning.

I now have a life of ease and lightness

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better

I am working smarter, not harder

I am now creating the life of my dreams,

in an easy relaxed manner, in a healthy positive way, in it’s own perfect time,

for the highest good of all.

It seems that I keep needing to remind myself to continue believing in my capability, each and every time I go on a binge of self-doubt. It seems I have to keep reminding myself that you’re still real. But I don’t want to feel ashamed of those things anymore, thinking, why can’t I just get this stuff right once and for all? Because I’m not supposed to. And I want anyone who ever reads these words to remember that it’s okay if they have to keep reminding themselves that they’re beautiful, that they’re powerful, that they’re capable.

I think that’s a part of our journey here on earth: to constantly keep remembering to believe in all the good–to consciously choose to believe in the good, about ourselves, about each other and the world around us.

Now while I didn’t write to you all this time, I still wrote in my pen and paper journal:

January 20, 2018 

I don’t have much time to write, but I’ve had the feeling I’m pregnant. Our past two “tries,” I said the same thing, but I feel like I did before finding out I was carrying Everett–I’m not questioning it, I honestly and truly feel that I am, for reasons I can’t entirely explain.  

Last night I decided to pull a tarot card (Chris sometimes likes to “play” the game at night before bed, to my absolute surprise) and I got the queen of hearts. She had long flowing hair and green eyes and was holding with her hands, centered at her chest, a bowl overflowing with flowers and fruit and I said to him, “I bet this means a baby.” 

She looked literally fruitful and motherly and like the beautiful goddess I try to convince myself I really am. Pulling that card was the intuitive proof I needed for the way I had been feeling. And coincidentally (or not), hearts in the tarot deck represents your intuition and emotions. Hello. 

Hoping to prove Chris’ doubts otherwise about my gypsy cards, I looked up in my little guidebook what the queen stood for: 

Fertility. 

I bet my lucky stars I’m carrying my second child.  

I won’t ever have proof that that queen of hearts card was meant to be pulled, right on the day that I kept thinking on and off: I’m pregnant. No I’m not. Yes I am! Nope, no you’re not. But the way I felt when I read it–it solidified everything.

All wrapped up into one teensy moment, I felt you, I felt assured, I felt a part of a great power, I felt taken care of and most importantly, heard.

May I trust each and every beautiful moment like the one I journaled about, knowing each and every time, to just trust and relax, trust and relax–that everything is always, without exception, working out for me with perfect timing.

Because everything is always working out for us if we simply choose to believe so. The magic is always there, hidden in plain sight for anyone who dares to search for it.

 

 

DECEMBER 8, 2017 TWENTY months old

We are in a happy phase right now, here at the Pearlman home. I love this cradled in comfort time of year, right after Thanksgiving and weeks before Christmas, when the weather is cool but not yet slushed with snow and that familiar anticipation awaits the happy season.

And I especially love the parties and traditions and togetherness, but ever since you transitioned from this world, Christmas has never been the same, even after all these years.

The first December came only months after you died. I ordered and bought and taped and wrapped, seventy-two presents for us four kids. Cole and Tatum were still young enough to believe the gifts came from Santa and not their big sister.

When we opened them, our house was empty of the one person who made those Christmas mornings so special and your absence ached and ate away at my insides.

I gifted Dad a big frame, holding pictures of the two of you through your shared seventeen years and he choked back tears, unable to look at them. It was devastating and confusing and I remembering wondering if I should’ve felt ashamed or accomplished for creating a present that made my unbreakable father cry.

I don’t know how he handled it, how he sat down there and watched his kids lose the magic of Christmas, as all the love we once shared seemed to shrivel and shrink and separate into individual hurting hearts.

In the years to come, I want my children to not receive seventy-two presents, but rather a reasonable amount they can anticipate and appreciate. I want them to understand that our family being together, all under the same roof, is what’s to be celebrated. And sledding and cookie baking and classic movie watching, all done as a family, is what’s to be treasured and remembered–that’s what it was always about for you, underneath the fancy parties, underneath our obscene amount of presents.

I don’t mean to sound like a sad humbug. Because I really am looking forward to this month of December. Kati is coming home from Texas, Allison turns 24, Yoga Flow is having a holiday party, my friends are getting together on numerous occasions, my father-in-law has his annual birthday dinner and we are seriously trying for baby number two.

With doubt and hesitation stopping the “trying process” for months now, I finally know it’s time. It’s safe to say Chris has a good month ahead of him.

Not much is new in the world of Everett. Each morning, he gets up around 6 a.m. and we go downstairs to watch cartoons for an hour or so. It’s our lazy time together, when I make breakfast and wake up the house, starting laundry and getting my coveted cup of coffee.

Some mornings I’m in disbelief that I get to begin my days in such a way–slow and with my babies (the dog included).

After T.V. we go upstairs and Everett sits in his room and flips through hardback books while I dry my hair and wrap it in hot rollers. On a “fun” day, I play music, singing in my bathroom that has a straight and full-view to his room.

He likes dancing to oldies and when Sherrrrrrrrry…..Sherry babyyyyy comes on, he nods his head and shakes his little body, still while readying. It’s so cute.

Everett always looks like he’s going to burst of joy–never have I met such a happy kid. He feels like my own extra special exception.

After playtime, he takes a nap, I do my little meditation and start writing until he wakes up. Sometimes I get an hour, sometimes even two, but when he’s up, I’m a mom again and I close my office door (which is really just our spare bedroom). I never want to get lost between following a personal dream and doing what makes me most happy–mothering. They have to balance and blend and not outweigh the other, otherwise, I’d have to set this book aside.

I’m proud to tell you my proposal is finished. It currently consists of over fifty pages, including parts like the books’ overview, sample chapters and a market analysis. So I’ve set aside the time between now and Christmas, to proof and rearrange and edit it over and over, l until I feel confident enough to send it out to the list of literary agents I have pinned to my vision board.

And I sent my query letter, a piece of writing some agents ask for before even agreeing to open your proposal, to a past professor of mine. I had her each semester in college and credit her ability to critique my writing more than anyone else. Her revisions were the pair of proofing eyes I needed before moving forward.

I feel pressure, I feel scared, but more than anything, I’m excited. I wrote a book proposal!

Some more news.

I’ve consistently meditated Monday through Saturday for almost an entire month now, starting with eight minutes in the morning. I’ve upped my time to ten minutes now–oooooh, and that’s all together one hour per week that I get to sit, breathe, clear my mind and make space for more good and positivity.

So many times before, I’d quit the commitment after a few days because it just seemed too simple to be of any benefit. But meditating is now starting to feel necessary, like every person in the world should try it.

The most important thing I have learned in ten years of practicing yoga is breathing. It’s not forward bending, not standing on my hands, not even learning how to teach. It’s simply the breath.

And breathing is key for meditation. It creates a rhythm, an awareness and the ability to connect with the greater power that gives me the energy to inhale and exhale in the first place.

When I close my eyes and seal my lips and start slowly breathing through my nose, I’m taken to a place in my head that I want to always stay. My focus is strong and my thoughts are intentional, rather than covered up by the constant background noise I wish I could just shut up.

And I’ll get an idea about somewhere to go, something to write about, someone to call….which all feels right, like something divine is guiding me and the thought that comes.

I can’t explain it without sounding strange. I’ve tried to tell Chris about my “meditating findings” and knew he was keeping his crazy pedometer on stand-by while still trying to be respectful of his wife.

However, I know I can tell you without receiving judgement. Because you exist in that powerful, yet calm place I’m learning to become a part of.

While meditating a few days ago, I asked “you” (which is the same as asking Source Energy or God or the Universe because everything is connected) to send me a reassuring sign that I’m choosing the right title for this book.

I want to call it Blue Jays and Lilies.

As soon as I was done and my ten minute timer went off, before moving my body, I picked up my phone and searched “mother journal magazine” on Google, hoping to find something that I could potentially write an essay for, in order to beef up my proposal’s bio section. When I hit enter, a bird magazine came up (why, I don’t know) with a blue jay on its cover.

And then a few hours later, I impulsively opened Instagram for the first time in a few days. Meghan’s posted calligraphy photo popped up and as I admired her art, I noticed a ruler in her picture’s background. It was branded Lily and Val and I immediately thought of our Lily of the Valley flower.

I got chills and smiled and kicked my heels thinking oh my freaking shit this stuff works. 

So Blue Jays and Lilies is my book title. I know I’ve already shared with you the lily’s significance, but blue jays have been appearing in my dreams, in books and I find their feathers and see them flying on our walks. Every time, I’m reminded of you.

Because in these signs, I’m assured there is a way to connect with you. They make me feel like I’m a part of life and the energy that makes up this Universe, not a victim to the circumstances or happenings that occur in my experience.

“The moment you have the audacity to start believing in the not-yet unseen, your reality will begin to shift. You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.” -Jen Sincero

I cannot be connected with a higher power if I’m sad and depressed and stuck in my mind. I cannot receive the magical evidence, like the blue jays, if I don’t believe there’s a higher power at work. And I cannot feel close to you if I believe you’ve permanently disappeared.

It’s all like comparing a closed flower to an open one–the sunshine simply cannot get in.

The only “price” I have to pay in order to stay connected and open, is put myself in the happy, positive and believing mindset that attracts the good stuff. But why does that sometimes feel so hard, even though my life is so wonderful?

Everett and I were at Whole Foods yesterday and at the checkout line, there was an older woman in front of us, dressed up like she was coming out of a meeting, with a silk scarf squaring her shoulders and a huge diamond ring that shined as she swiped her credit card. She was with her daughter, who had a baby, and for a moment I felt that pitted pang of jealousy, thinking, why can’t I have my mother like she does?

I caught the ringed one looking at me funny, probably judging my checkered flannel and moccasins, and she had a smart attitude with the cashier, directing which groceries went into what bags like it really mattered. Her and her daughter kept bickering at each other, keeping me entertained live while waiting in line.

But instead of letting any of their bad vibes absorb into mine, I understood their gloomy mood had nothing to do with me and tried to remember that I get to have you in a more special way than merely physical–that you were indeed there with Everett and I.

After they left and I was rung up, my total came to $23.45, the least amount of money I’ve ever walked into that store paying, but look at the pattern of the numbers.

While walking to our car, I discovered their Mercedes was parked right next to mine and smiled at the synchronicity.

I felt like I was gliding on water, a very part of the sunshine and clear sky and my ever-present mother who always seems to have a way of “showing up” when I need her.

I thought about the fact that if I never lost you, I would’ve remained a closed flower, just like that woman and her daughter, unaware of their connection to the world, comfortable in pettiness and material things, blind to the sunshine because their petals are pulled shut.

Because you cannot be miserable and expect miracles to manifest.

We are energetic creatures in an energetic Universe, where everything vibrates at certain frequencies. The better my vibration (the more I appreciate, the happier I am, the healthier my thoughts) the closer I am to you, the closer I am to the higher power.

When you died, you returned to the energy that created the Universe. You returned to the energy we all come from, the same energy that grows the grass and shines the sun and moves the wind and gives me my beautiful breath.

As a living human being, I am an extension of that Source Energy (or God), and when my time comes to move into the non-physical, I will return to the Source, just as you did.

So there is always a connection. We are all the same stuff, tethered tightly to all things and always able to reach each other (if we would only stop whining about our lives and choose to feel good).

I feel guilty that it took your death for me to realize what now feels like the foundation of my life. I will not waste this gift you’ve given me, better than any of the hundreds of Christmas presents I gathered through childhood.

And how wonderful it is, to think that my children will grow up, never having to fear losing their parents or anyone else they’ll ever love, because in all my power, I will teach them that there is no such thing as separation in our Universe–that severance is only of the mind.