DECEMBER 1, 2018

TWO years SEVEN months old + TWO months old

Over rivers and valleys, mountains and plains 

Over all you have lost and all you have gained 

Over all you have gathered and all you let go 

You have traveled at length through the wild unknowns 

And through all that is changing you can see you have grown 

You have walked in the light, you have not been alone 

-Morgan Harper Nicholas 

  

Marion has managed to blend into our family with such ease, it’s hard remembering life without a daughter–that not so long ago, she was still just a star, waiting to be brought home to us. 

Each day gets a little better; Chris and I get more sleep, my routine takes a sharper shape, and I understand Marion’s needs better. 

Everett has adjusted well to having a sister. I’ll catch him giving her kisses when she’s in her swing, or he will run over and gently plug her mouth with a binky if she’s crying. And on our beloved Trader Joe’s trips, he still says hi to everyone, but now makes sure to also introduce his new friend, as he points to Marion and repeats, “Baby, baby, baby!” 

I’m the one who had a strange time adjusting to two. 

 

When I got home from the hospital, my first priority was to put Everett down for bed. With so much about to change, I needed him to know that our routine was going to stay the same. 

Sore, tired, and bleeding into an adult diaper, I gently crawled into his big boy bed and laid beside him, just as I always had before. All I could do was cry though, because suddenly, it felt so different, like I was having a strange and silent affair within my heart for Marion. He was no longer my only baby, and the sudden transition made me feel scared, dropped in a place I’d never been before. 

Seeing me cry, despite the efforts I tried to hinder my tears, Everett took his blanket and willingly wiped my eyes. His ability for compassion and the soft sweetness that comprises his personality entirely, makes me so incredibly proud he’s mine: in one of my most vulnerable moments as a mother, my son held me and just that feeling of him, assured me everything would eventually be okay and I’d adjust appropriately in time. 

As Grandma has joked before, you don’t grow an extra set of hands when you have another baby. And as I’ve realized, nor do you grow another brain or heart–you just simply make more room, dividing up the attention and love. 

And I haven’t forgotten to keep some space for myself. 

 

Learning how to be selfish was a milestone within my motherhood, which even the word alone sounds scary as a mom, because daring to take care of your needs before exhausting all energy on your children, must mean you don’t love them enough. 

But the absolute opposite is true. 

When my needs are met, I’m able to take better care of my babies–when I’m replenished and full, I am capable of watering my flowers and guiding their growth, all while remaining in love with myself, knowing I need nourishment, too. 

It seems simple enough, but with Everett, why was it so hard to make it to the shower? Why was it so hard to leave the house alone and without guilt? 

Because I started off motherhood thinking that sacrifice was what I was supposed to do–that sacrifice meant I loved Everett most. But I don’t want my kids (however many I end up having) to represent what I gave up for them. They will be my life’s work, there’s no doubt about that, but I will not lose myself in the process. 

  

Jessie got married two weeks ago in Maryland. It was the event I’ve been anticipating since January, and the day truly unfolded with perfection for my most deserving friend. 

Everett was left at home with Allison; we only brought the baby, and treated the weekend as a short getaway from our toddler and the routines of home. 

For the entire wedding night, I wore Marion in the Moby wrap, which sadly covered from my waist up, the beautiful Anthropologie jumpsuit I treated myself to for the big day. But she slept like a pouched kangaroo and never cried. The only sound she made was a little burp when Jessie and Justin were exchanging their vows. 

Seeing your best friend marry the right man is a wonderful feeling. I can now know and trust that the things she dreams of, are secure for her taking, like babies. She will most likely be my first best friend to turn mom friend, something that literally thrills me. 

And while my daughter was wrapped to me on the dance floor, with a drink in one hand, and a stand-by binky in the other, I felt alive and accomplished and an accumulated version of the mother I have always wanted to be.  

I felt like you, all blended into me. 

People would come up and gently shout over the music and into my ear, “I want to be a mom like you when I have kids!” And something within me pridefully swelled with each drunken comment, as if I was somehow an example to my friends and the friends of strangers, that you can still keep yourself when you have a child 

 

When I first found out I was pregnant, I envisioned myself with red lipstick, drinking a beer, and breastfeeding my baby at this beautiful wedding. But my lips were still bare, my beer had a straw (that’s how it’s most comfortable to drink), and my boobs were dried up, for reasons that unlike with Everett, I’m not going to explain over three or so spanning entries.  

Minutes before we arrived at Jessie’s venue, out in the middle of farmlands, I happened to look up and out the car window with in-sync timing, seeing one of those church signs with marquee lettering:  

Strive for progress, not perfection 

And I quickly knew to kick the whiner inside my head that was poo-pooing because my lips still weren’t brightly colored with lipstick, even after all this time. I have indeed made incredible progress, when back in July, I found a doctor who prescribed a medicine I take once a week, and each month, my lips seem to get a little better. 

Even though I am still within my healing process, I know without a doubt, I would’ve never gotten this far in my beliefs or personal growth, had it not been for this condition, which forced me to keep believing, keep appreciating, keep meditating, keep trusting. 

Source always gives you what you need, in order to get you where you want to go. I guess that’s why be careful for what you wish for is a line everyone knows.  

 

At my six-week check-up, there were several other new mothers in the waiting room, all of which had their own moms with them for help and those extra set of hands. I was obviously the only one alone. 

At Everett’s first appointment, I would’ve cried seeing those other mothers, thinking that I was permanently crippled and incapable because I wouldn’t have your help or guidance or support. But this time around, I felt like a straight boss, simply because I chose to. 

During my exam, Everett was occupied in his stroller, eating a packed mini pizza, and I had Marion in the Moby (surprise), while I laid on my back and got my vagina checked and cleared. The whole scenario caught me affirming in my mind over and over: I am an awesome mother.  

Because its not a bad thing to love yourself. And constantly reminding our minds to tell us good things is our strongest super power. 

The way we speak to ourselves matters–it’s just a point of making positive talk a habit and having the audacity to believe the things you tell yourself. For so long, I was scared to mentally affirm I was beautiful because what if I really wasn’t? What if no one else believed I was? But that truth is up to no one but me. And whether or not I believe I’m a good mom is up to no one but me. 

  

I wrote a pretend check last year for a certain amount of money, printing “FALL 2018″ on its front, and on the signature line, “for house and property.” I playfully imagined the cash coming from a book deal. 

When Chris and I began looking at land this past summer, I started seeing see 2:17 on the clock, on a regular basis. I couldn’t understand what it meant for weeks, until I realized that the check’s referencing number was 217. So from then on, I truly believed this money was coming one way or another. I truly believed the land was coming, just not in the way that it all recently came to be. 

 

A few months before Marion was born, we found another wooded lot for sale. It’s almost five acres and it’s on top of a hill, two criteria that met my desires with perfection. Each time we visited the land, I could picture where our house would be. I pictured Clifford prancing free in his terrier ways, and the way I’d call the kids in for dinner after they’d been playing outside and under the trees.  

In my journal, there are property descriptions and child-like drawings of our future driveway and views, which now seem to have been magically traced from that space of pen and paper, onto this framed piece of land. There’s even a little creek that runs along the bottom–a total bonus. And within the past years, I would tease Chris, telling him I was going to have a trail around our house, so that I could walk out my door and into the woods, with a stroller and the dog.  

Well wouldn’t ya know, there is a nature reserve surrounding our dotted property lines, just like the previous lot we loved, with an already established walking path. 

The Universe delivered.  

 

Back in July, when we first started flirting with the idea of buying land, we figured out all the ways to scrape together our current home’s equity, our savings, and another loan. But now we are in the financial position to actually do thisboth the land and the house, because Chris got a new job. 

He secured an interview in New York City for Amazon Web Services. I was surprised he had searched for change, because we’ve been comfortable financially and he loves his current job at Carnegie Mellon. 

But for two weeks, he was absent from himself, preparing for the infamously challenging interview, and I knew I just had to pull up my big girl pants and leave him be, allowing Chris to do what he does when he knows there’s a job to be done. 

One day after the interview, he was offered a position, and because of his constant drive to move forward with his work and the ability to provide, that vision check is real. Our land is real. Our house is real.  

The property will be ready to purchase in spring 2019. And our current elder neighbor used to build houses for a living, so when I ran into him the other day while on a quick walk without the kids, I told him our plans, and he recommended an architect. It felt like another stepping pebble was simply handed to me, like the Universe was saying, “Here sweetheart! Keep up the positivity and appreciation!”  

Literally, everything has come together, just as I tried so hard to believe throughout these conversations with you. 

 

Now all that’s left, is this book. Which perhaps coincidentally, I’ve definitely decided to publish through Amazon.  

When the time comes for its launch, I fear it will get lost in a sea of online novels, or that no one is going to want to read a stranger’s journal. What if no one relates to anything I’ve written? What if everyone thinks I’m crazy because I think my mother sends me Blue Jay feathers? What will Grandma think when she finds out I have a vision board dream of smoking topless on my back porch?  

It’s all really scary. But that’s how I know it’s right and ready and ripe for the taking. I must believe that the good ol‘ Universe or God or Source, will take care of the details and allow this work to become all I know it can be. 

In the foreseeable future, I know I need to find someone to format these entries. And I need an illustrator for the cover. And I need to start creating an e-mail list to send out digital copies of the book before it launches on Amazon, for the purpose of reviews–without them, a self-published book will plummet. I learned all of this from that $97 course I purchased, which I’m obviously very thankful I found.   

 

It would be pretty surreal to have this book real and physical and ready to buy by Mother’s Day. I just think it’s fitting–we’ll call it your gift. 

 

I think this is the last entry, Mom. Even though putting a stop to our talks feels like another form of goodbye, it suddenly seems natural and right to allow our ending.  

Everything feels complete, a realization that came the moment Chris corrected himself in the delivery room and said Marion was a girl, like she was my very own physical evidence of something I still don’t fully understand. 

Now that I have a daughter, I can only hope she will one day love me as much as I love you. That when I travel onward, she will think of me as often as I think of you, and she’ll carry within and throughout her, every ounce of my spirit, as she constantly holds me both in her mind and heart. 

Because that is what I do with you. 

And I hope to teach her, through my example, how to be her own mothering sun–how to nourish both herself in her own becomings, as well as her kindred flowers. 

Because that is what you did for me. 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

NOVEMBER 4, 2018

THIRTY-TWO months old + ONE month

 

Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born 

Yours is the darkness of my souls return 

You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars. 

(-e.e. cummings) 

 

 

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. 

It feels as if I somehow dreamed this sweet, petite petunia into my life. 

 

 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 TV remote and reading through the lengthy “Everett directions” I wrote, 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 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 may not 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 hardship…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 oldfashioned 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 a saline solution through the tubing, therefore expanding the bulb and hopefully my cervix. 

 Once it was secured into place, 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-back 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 really 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 naturally. 

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 mimic, 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 encountered. 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 good-looking 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 forty-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 narrating. 

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 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 calmly cheered me on with encouragement. 

Allison and Chris did, too, and when I’d hear 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 an awe-frozen face 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 acknowledge 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. 

 

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. Never have I manifested something so accurate and with such knowing ease, receiving so many assuring signs in the weeks leading up to her delivery. She feels like the ultimate proof of all I’ve written about in this journal. 

Marion is the very piece that revolved me entirely from Everett’s birth, and all I have become since. I feel as if I’ve now spun into my very own rotation, under my own guiding light–because of her, I know my power. 

  

I promise I’ll 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’m already feeling 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

 

How you deal with your energy flow has a major effect on your life. If you assert your will against the energy of an event that has already happened, it is like trying to stop the ripples caused by a leaf dropped into a still lake. Anything you do causes more disturbance, not less. When you resist, the energy has no place to go. It gets stuck in your psyche and seriously affects you. It blocks your heart’s energy flow and causes you to feel closed and less vibrant. This is literally what is happening when something is weighing on your mind or when things just get too heavy for you. 

This is the human predicament. 

-Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul 

 

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 acknowledgement: Okay. I’ll write the final “pre-baby” entry today. 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. 

When I turned, there on the wall was a huge 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 supper, 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 my 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 vacuum 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. 

 

If I don’t go into labor by October 5th, which is three days after my due date, I’ll be induced to avoid another large baby, which apparently accompanies a higher risk of shoulder dystocia. 

I have really been trying to separate 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, that damn 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. 

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 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 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 the bud, had slid right out, just as Id been trying to imagine happening within my body, moments before. 

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 4, 2018

TWO years FOUR months + THIRTY-TWO weeks pregnant

 

If a Blue Jay shows up it means:  

Whatever the situation that has triggered some fear, attack it boldly and courageously. Assess your main gifts and talents, develop a plan as to how you can best use them, and then take clear and purposeful action. Choose the project you’ve started and finish it. 

-Dr. Steven D. Farmer, Animal Spirit Guides 

 

It’s hard to describe the feeling I get, when I so desperately want you here and real, not as a thought inside my mind or unseen energy. It sometimes 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 spirited and special 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 perfectly intact, so sharp in its sapphire coloring, it honestly looked fake, like it was created in a craft store. 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 take clear and purposeful action, for that is one of the meanings of my coveted blue bird. 

And speaking of this clear and purposeful action… 

 

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

(And I’m proud to tell you that one of my essays, featured on a popular site called Elephant Journal, received over 2,000 views when it was posted. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like confident confirmation that I really can create words worth reading.) 

But each time I send material to agents, 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 polishing 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 the natural flow, as I listen to the signs and my intuition, which continually guide me forward in both the creation of this book and myself. So 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. They were the same ones I saw while in Maryland, for the Jen Sincero book signing. 

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 these numbers, if there even was one. 

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

The combinations of 7, 5 and 3 mean now is the time to make the necessary changes 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, trusting that the time and money spent on it, was not wasted. Because I know it got me this far. And now 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.  

As for my “soul’s mission,” as Mrs. Walmsley put it, I know that sounds like a strong description for being published, but this book has always been inside me, and so has the challenge to pursue it. The final product of this book will be my evidence that: I am powerful and capable and a creator of my reality. And then I’ll be able to merrily continue along my life’s path, raising children on that land, in that house–with the unwavering understanding that you are my constant lighted guide. 

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, quickly squashing the familiar fear that arises with new opportunity. I didn’t hesitate or talk myself out of purchasing it–I simply bought the $97 workshop. 

While I educate myself, I trust the next step will be figured out and presented within perfect timing, just as it was when I found the proposal course, right when I needed it. And in the meantime, I’m still editing and proofing 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. 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

MAY 4, 2018

TWO years ONE month old + NINETEEN weeks pregnant

 

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. 

 

 post to blog every two weeks 

40 posts total 

roughly 1,500 words each  

100 minimum pages total of book 

written proposal for agents 

submit queries by April 2018 

 

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

But during my silent months of March and April, of which have now created a gap in this journal, I wrote to you several times and just felt flat, like there was nothing flowing through me, and had nothing of importance to tell you. So I’d occasionally accept the idea of stopping this project (yet again). 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 Mrs. Treml or Nana or friends on Facebook, to read and possibly learn something from. 

I don’t know if I can blame this productivity drop on pregnancy, 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, eating 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 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, to yoga blocks and business cards, all while eating a messy peanut butter and jelly, intermittently watching his favorite show “Tumble Leaf” on my iPhone. 

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 my after college era. 

She 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 and babysitting, 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 secret, coveted corner of my heart that I never wanted to shut. 

So I saw my therapist last week, 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 the 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. I wasn’t again going to miss a chance to meet my girl crush. 

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 the beginning. 

Once I arrived and settled in, Olivia and I went into the city for a delicious Thai dinner, and then walked into the John Hopkins 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 knew 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. 

As I’ve already journaled in previous entries, these are the little things that make life feel exciting–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 seating. 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 walked 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 for me, hearing that 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 complete. 

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 and to start building the house we imagine, on the property we dream of, with a plethora of kids and animals. 

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

I mean, I’ve submitted query letters–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 once took trains and boats around Amsterdam alone, almost too merrily stoned and not an ounce less scared, to read the transporting tickets that would get her safely back to her abroad home in London. 

 

One last thing I want to share with you. 

While driving to Maryland, I was listening to a recorded Esther Hicks seminar. You probably remember, but this is the woman who channels a spirit and speaks about energy and attraction and thought–all that fun stuff I love telling you about, and her books and lectures still teach me an incredible amount since I found them last January. If I thought going to a book signing was life-changing, I can only imagine what it would be like to go to one of her seminars in person. 

But as I navigated the highway, trying safely to hear the GPS and good olEsther, 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’m going to burst if I don’t naturally allow myself to turn towards the stars. 

And my true eventual hope is that someday, somebody will read this journal of my becoming, knowing that they can grow in 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 of 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–the softer part, nudges a reminder: 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 because he’s just trapped downstairs in the dark basement all day, seeing or hearing no signs of life. And it’s obviously too cold to return outside in his hutch. 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 walls of our house though, dreaming for warmer air and the ability to go outside for regular 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 the house for reasons other 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 Native Americans 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 dumb, but remembering that you are never far, because even Pocahontas says so. 

 

I recently stopped the early 6 a.m. yoga class I taught 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 now 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 immediately 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 a while. 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. 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 hear you asking. 

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–remember? 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 after a month, I stopped, knowing I had control over my body and was determined to learn about 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. 

 

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 the 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. 

 

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. 

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. I will teach them how to track their cycles, even if they have irregular periods or what not. 

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. Well, condoms–but not medicine. 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, became 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 done so 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.  

The baby will be guaranteed out by the time Jessie has her wedding in Maryland, and I keep picturing myself with my long hair and a baby on my boob, drinking a Blue Moon set to lips that are finally tinted with my Ruby Woo colored lipstick, 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. 

 

DECEMBER 8, 2017

TWENTY months old

 

If we look at the path we do not see the sky. We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see we are connected to all things and that there is no separation, only in the mind. 

–Native American, source unknown 

 

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 number they can 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 absurd 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, and we have started 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 few months ahead of him. And at least making-out isn’t a requirement to make a baby, because still, I have yet to heal and cannot kiss 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. 

After TV 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 reading. 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 sit with my new habit of meditation, then 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. 

However, 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, until I feel confident enough to send it out to the list of literary agents I have pinned to my vision board. 

 

So about that meditation I casually mentioned 

I’ve consistently meditated Monday through Saturday for almost an entire month now. I set my timer for ten minutes, 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. 

Countless 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 wish I could 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. At this point, I have totally accepted the fact that I’m always going to be one of those weird people who believes in spirit and energy and signs from the Universe.  

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. 

 

 I’d say the best side effect from this meditation (so far), is that I’m beginning to 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.  

I don’t know how sitting and breathing created that change, but it did. 

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 from-Maine checkered flannel and moccasins, and she had a smart attitude with the cashier, directing which groceries went into what bags like it really mattered. She 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 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 my connection to the world all around me, comfortable in pettiness and material things, blind to the sunshine because my 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 higher my vibration (the more I appreciate, the happier I am, the better my thoughts), the closer I am to youthe 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, 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. 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

OCTOBER 3, 2017

EIGHTEEN months old

 

 If you are resisting something, you are feeding it. Any energy you fight, you are feeding. If you are pushing something away, you are inviting it to stay. 

-Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul 

 

I went to the mall a few days ago with Everett. He just sat in his stroller, snacking on food while I shopped at Forever 21, my for whatever reason, favorite store. I bought a new scarf, a few sweaters, and a surprisingly functional tote backpack. (I’ve come a long way since my black Gap jogger days.) 

On our way to leave the doors of the mall, I let him out of the stroller to run around–he must’ve thought he instantly became king. He trotted along a few feet away from me, looking over his shoulder to keep a watchful eye on his mama. 

 

Refusing to stop his fun and having time to waste, we stayed, and I took him on the clear glass elevator to get to the first floor. He had a face of astonishment as he watched the world around him go down down down, looking at me and pointing and saying, Ooooooo 

The elevator opens right up and onto the food court, and the smell of Chinese-style chicken wafted my nose, immediately making me think of you and all our times sitting there, eating after a shopping trip. I looked for our frequented spot, where the turquoise-topped chairs remained the same, while simultaneously searching for the sampling kung pao chicken lady.  

I can still see the orange fried chicken clumps, on top of fluffed white rice. I can still taste the extra packs of soy sauce we’d douse our meals with, remembering how you’d tear the corner of the plastic packet off with your teeth and still manage to look pretty while doing it. 

 

The last time I was at that food court, I was being interviewed for a clothing company called Buckle. It was the “cool” store during my senior year of high school, the place I bought all my Lucky Brand clothes in attempts of being a high maintenance hippie. 

My possible future manager asked me question after question, and in between trying to give the right answers, I just wanted to speak out and say, Are we done yet? I’ve got to get home. My mother is dying and I don’t have time. Am I hired or not? 

You were sick at home, and it was only a matter of time at that point, like we were all just waiting for it to happen. 

 

I never think about those last few weeks. I never really think of you being sick. It all happened so fast, that the small span of time can easily be swept into the back corners of my brain. 

But because I felt so mentally stuttered when getting off that elevator and smelling that damn chicken, I knew something inside me needed released. 

 So when we finally got home and Everett went down for his afternoon nap, I went and found the journal I was keeping around the time of that interview–around the time you died, wanting to face this possible resistance, and therefore, give it permission to leave. 

 

August 1, 2008 

Well, cheer camp is all over.  

I drove home with Stephanie and her parents, and while in the car, Nana called me to say the cancer had spread to Mom’s spinal cord and brain. That’s why she’s recently been acting mean and confused and upset.  

I hung up the phone, looked out the backseat driver window, and cried quietly. Steph’s mom reassured me that this would just be another treatment and that Mom would do great, just as she has been doing. I wanted to believe Janice. I wanted to believe Mom’s best friend. But I couldn’t.  

When I got home, Grandma was waiting for me. After I showered and ate some lunch, she took me to the hospital to see Mom and Dad. I will never forget exiting the elevator, turning the corner, and walking into the communal waiting room where Dad and Allison were already waiting. Mom’s room was twenty or so feet behind them and her door was open. All I could see were her legs, tucked tightly under a light pink hospital blanket.  

Just by looking at Daddy’s face, I knew something awful was happening. For a split second, before he said anything, I thought she had already died. I was so confused, I couldn’t think straight or crooked or in any way shape or form. 

I was so scared and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Dad talked me through it, and then sat Allison and I down, explaining to us that the cancer had spread. He told us the treatment options, something involving a box on her head and more needles and radiation and tests. And he said he had the option not to treat her any further.  

Somewhere in all that, I heard she’d only have months to live, regardless of treatment or no treatment.  

Even writing about all of this, days later in my journal, I still can’t comprehend it.  

Dad took Allison and I home from the hospital towards after dinnertime, and I’ll never forget the drive home on the Pittsburgh parkway. We were in the BMW, the car Mom always said she wanted when she’d turn forty years old. Dad bought it for her thirty-ninth birthday back in April, probably knowing waiting another year was of no point because by then, she may not be alive.

The convertible top was down, and the summer day air was fading away as it hit my face and blew my hair wildly in all directions. The sun was setting and the city looked so beautiful. It felt so wrong to be driving home without her, like we were leaving her behind for good. None of us talked, but you could feel how hurt the three of us felt. How confused, mad, sad, angry and awful we felt.  

I’m just in disbelief that my life has changed so fast. Prior to cheer camp, I thought the cancer was gone. I thought she was better, just meaner. Now she has limited months/weeks/days to live.  

 

August 3, 2008 

I heard noise down below from my attic bedroom and went to see what the commotion was about. Dad was giving Mom a bath at 11:30 at night. She has her days and nights mixed up. When he put her back in bed, she kept trying to get up, like a stubborn little child. Dad hasn’t slept for days and I feel so helpless. He looks like he could fall asleep standing up. I told him to rest and that I’d stay with Mom for a little. She fought me the entire time, relentlessly trying to sit up and out of bed.  

It’s scary to think of what will happen in the near future. I could never have imagined any of this happening; not even the cancer, but just how it’s all ending–her not being able to talk to us, Dad having to feed and wash her. She can’t really even walk anymore and I’m not sure she knows who everyone is. 

Her and I sat together at the kitchen island today while I ate an apricot cookie. She’d always buy them from Giant Eagle and she stared at me while I ate it, telling me “I was silly,” in broken up syllables. I gave her one, and we each ate them together with glasses of milk. 

Dad took her to Dairy Queen in her convertible and when they pulled into the garage, she had thrown up ice cream everywhere. I helped give her a bath afterwards. It’s like she’s crumbling apart, and we have to watch it because we love her and there’s nothing else we can do.  

On a happier note, I interviewed for Buckle today and got the job. I have tried to just keep doing normal things, like seeing my friends etc.  

 

August 14, 2008 

Mom is doing really bad, not talking or eating or moving. Family has been visiting again, and it feels sickening to know they’re all here to say their last goodbyes as she sits in the same upright position in bed. Cole and Tatum are in Harrisburg with Aunt Katie and Uncle Ryan; Dad didn’t want them here for what we think are the final few days. 

 

 And that’s it for those entries. That night, on the 14th, you left our world, and never since then, have I stopped searching for you. 

 

MAY 4, 2017

THIRTEEN months old

 

You are Eternal Beings. And when you re-emerge into Non-Physical, you do not become less-than. You don’t become nebulous, unfocused energy that just swirls around in nothingness. You assume that perspective of All-Knowingness. You remember all that you are, not just the personality that you were.
But when your daughter, or someone who loves you, recalls that which you were and approaches it from a positive vibrational standpoint, you can reconstitute that energy and be, for a moment in time, that focused energy.  

-Abraham Hicks 

 

When I have a little girl, I want to decorate her room in mermaids. 

Random, I know. But I was scrolling through bed sheets on Target’s website and stumbled upon a mermaid set, thinking how cute it’d be to have a little Maine themed room, with seagulls and sand dollars and white clouds pouted on the walls. I can picture it all perfectly. 

And speaking of Maine, we have our dates set aside for this October. Instead of waiting for Chris to say yes, I simply took the initiative and started small steps, like saving my yoga money in a stashed envelope, booking our hotel, and gathering enough gumption to ask Papap, the vetted pilot, to fly us there in his airplane–which will be an experience all together on its own. 

 

Everett is walking now. He hasn’t completely committed to two feet, but he’s been successfully taking steps and strides across the room. I’d say in a month, he’ll be running around the yard, chasing after Clifford. 

People keep saying, “Good luck once he’s walking!” But I’m glad he’s so close; I honestly cannot carry him everywhere anymore. My back and spine have several muscled knots, caused from heaving around my cute twenty-seven-pound ball of chunk. 

I seem to be having more and more fun with him, the older he gets. Every time he learns something new or makes a first face or tries a new sound, it’s exciting. I know and understand why mothers get upset thinking of their babies growing up, but they’re supposed to evolve forward. For some reason, my baby growing just makes me proud, not sad. If he was my last, I think I’d feel differently, but the plan is that eventually, there will be several more children to follow. 

We’ve been playing outside on our porch a lot. Chris just painted its wooden floor, and I purchased an outdoor table, along with a new three-wick candle to top its center. Maybe tonight we’ll eat dinner out there, call it a romantic date. We’re having pork chops and Caesar salad, tossed with Fodder’s dressing recipe. I love making it and thinking of your Dad, the two of you together, wherever you are now. 

 

Yesterday, Everett and I spent the day out at Nana’s. She took us to a local greenhouse, where we picked out perennials in the welcome-back warmth of the sun. Nana bought me a lavender plant, and another little one called a “creeping jenny.” I had to have it because of my middle name, and it’s now snuggled in the spring dirt outside my house, ready to creep, I guess. 

We then went to Home Goods and shopped for stuff we didn’t need, but I enjoyed browsing the store while Everett sat in the cart, snacking on crackers and making eye contact with everyone who passed. He loves going places, observing and interacting with willing strangers who always ooooo and ahhhh over his blonde twirly curls. 

Chris was already home when I returned, so I was able to swiftly leave for yoga while he handled Everett. I was grateful to go. I hadn’t practiced for two weeks.  

During my commute, I asked aloud if you’d be in class with me…I asked for some kind of awareness of your presence. Because sometimes when I practice, when both my mind and body are still and unified, I feel you. I swear I sometimes even hear you, like this flowing voice coming through me without a hinge of pause, and you completely fill me up. 

And minutes later, when I walked into the studio, sitting on the check-in desk were lily of the valley flowers, set in a little Dixie cup. You might as well have been standing there saying, Now how much more obvious do I have to be? Because I know when those lilies show, it’s you. 

 

At the end of this yoga class, during the final resting period, I laid on my back with my arms draped up and over my head, physically exhausted, with my mind completely turned off. I was so relaxed, I wasn’t even aware of my body. I was just being, temporarily existing in what felt like a balloon of bliss that was impossible to puncture. It was incredible.  

Tears began to spill out from my closed eyes; I was overwhelmed at the feeling of feeling you, like your spirit had melted right into mine. You were real, simply having become focused energy, being called from my positive vibrational standpoint. 

 I suddenly understood that I chose you to be my mother, even though I always knew you’d have to leave me someday. It was as if something other than myself was funneling this thought into my brain for processing, and it pulsed through every fiber within me. 

And Mom, if I ever got the chance again, I’d still choose you. For reasons that may never make sense, I was supposed to only have seventeen physical years with you.  

No longer do I feel like my life was permanently ruined when you died. No longer do I feel like our family was cheated. No longer do I feel like it all isn’t fair. Because those mind-sets only leave me vibrating low and helpless, far far away from where you exist. 

 

I reason the weirdness this way: if my body could conceive and grow and birth a human, why is it so hard to believe that on some level, I can connect with your energy? 

Before Everett, I had limits as to what I believed to be possible. If I thought I felt you in yoga, after seventy-five minutes of moving meditation, I’d dismiss it and think that’s just my brain trying desperately to believe you were real for a moment. 

But my child is the perfect proof I’ve always needed to have a little more faith in the unknown–to have a little more trust in what I feel, rather than in what other people tell me, or in what I’ve always been taught. 

I look at Everett and still cannot comprehend that he was once never here. I cannot understand how he started as a tiny tadpole in my stomach, who grew to full baby size and then came out and literally through me, into this world. I have no words for it, but he’s simply my evidence of an unexplained miracle. Sure there’s science behind conception and birth but come on, really–how does that all happen and evolve and come to be? 

 

I’m sure there are some people who think I haven’t healed or moved on since you died. Because even after all this time, I still talk about your death and about missing you and wondering where you are. Maybe a few even worry if I’m doing “O.K.” And I get it, I understand their possible concern. 

But what kind of daughter would I be if I just accepted your death one way and one way only, never to think or ponder or question or strive to find more answers that continually bring peace to my heart? I may never stop all the wondering, all the searching. And that very statement, has come to identify the biggest parts of my person; I am who I am because of both your life and death. 

 

 

APRIL 15, 2017

ONE years old

 

I depart as air…I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags. 

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles. 

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fiber your blood. 

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. 

 Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass 

 

My baby is officially one. 

I can specifically remember the morning of Everett’s birthday, because for once, he had slept past the sun. Its light filtered through my bedroom curtains, and when Chris and I opened our eyes, we were shocked to greet daylight. I stretched out under the covers, looked over at him and said, “Hug me,” in my cutest voice. It’s the one Chris loves. And we cuddled for a few moments, until he said, “It’s Snuggies’ birthday! Come on!” 

We went into Everett’s room, the video camera in Chris’s hand, and switched on the lights, saying, Happy birthday baby boy! in somewhat of a unison. Everett had a confused look on his face, but once his eyes adjusted, he stood up holding his blanket, smiling ear to ear because his Mom and Dad were both there to see him. He couldn’t have been happier. 

After breakfast, we opened his presents from the previous night’s party, hosted by my in-laws. 

The birthday food was excellent, the company was comfortable, and Everett was the center of all the love and attention he could stand.  

But I missed you the entire time. And it was difficult for Chris’ mom to continually remember why there were so many people in her house.  

 

I had a dream last night that Chris and I were at this huge outdoor party. I don’t know what people were doing there, but it seemed to be a concert-like setting, with lawn ticket seating. And amongst the tightly knitted crowd, I started calling for you, saying, “Mom….Mom….Mom…has anyone seen my mother?” I sounded like the little bird in that book I read to Everett, who leaves his nest too early. 

You were still alive in this dream; however, the party was just too big, and each face I looked at, wasn’t yours. I was scared, literally feeling this fear in my sleeping state. 

And sometimes I still feel scared about where you are. Sometimes I really want to ask people, Hey, do you know where Jenifer Norris went? She was that bubbly blonde with four kids–yea, that one–the one who died of breast cancer right before her baby started kindergarten 

But the reality is that no one truly knows, which is frustrating as all shit. 

 

There are days when I feel where you are, and I trust the certainty of your existence. 

There are days when I think it’s all a bunch of nonsense–that you really are just gone, unable to help me and unable to know Everett. 

There are days when I truly cannot fathom the fact that I haven’t seen your fading face for eight years.  

 

You never got to see me as a grown young woman. What would you think of me now?  I wonder if you’d be embarrassed that I wear flannel shirts and moccasins, not the tight tops and high heels you frequently flaunted. I wonder if you’d be proud of the fact that I’m a yoga teacher, that my hair is mermaid length, or whether or not you’d think I was beautiful.  

And you never got to meet Chris. That, almost above all else, breaks me the most, you know. For some reason, I sometimes picture how he’d look when saying, “You sound just like your mother,” as I pretend he knows the hidden parts of me that are comprised of you. 

 

But even though eight years feels equivalent to an eternity, in this first year of Everett’s life, I’ve learned to feel closer to you than ever, even in comparison to when you were alive. 

And each time I think of you, it’s not so much in a sad way anymore, but in a my mother is here, kind of way. Because you don’t exist as a winged angel staring down on me from heaven–what I feel is much more than that; I feel you are here 

I don’t know what better word to use, but here. 

When I think of your face and your hair and your lipsticks and the way you smelled after applying suntan lotion, my heart aches. It makes me mourn to see you in person. Your physicality is what’s completely finite, and it always will be. 

But what’s not subjected to limitations is your soul…your spirit…your energy…your life force. Whatever anyone wants to call it, because it’s all the same thing. When we leave our physical bodies, our spirit—the very “thing” that cannot be pumped back into a body (as my yoga once teacher taught me)—returns to the greater energy it came from and continues to exist. It returns to the Source.  

 

A few days ago, I brought Everett to the cemetery for the first time, on what would’ve been your 48th birthday.  

I felt like I was somehow finally introducing my son to you, allowing him to share my secret place, where a realm of pleasant serenity always awaits my melancholy mind. 

We sat on your grave, while he kept pointing ahead at the lake, spotted with ducks swimming in repetitive circles. I’d watch when he swayed his feet in the grass, feeling the texture of it on his bare toes, as I myself have done many times before. It was hard to believe how close he was to you–like the earth underneath us was literally comprised of you. 

Look for me under your boot soles. Because you are now a part of the same force that grew the very grass under Everett’s exploring toes.  

 

He will never know your pretty face. He will never fully understand how fierce and funny and fun you were. He will never get to hug you, feeling the love his mother has for him immediately double, because you’re the only other woman on this planet who could come close to loving Everett the way I do.  

But you will be alive when I teach him your constant presence–how there is no this place or that place, no death do us part. And for anyone who has ever lost someone, it can be incredibly liberating to imagine there is no heaven, no hell, and above us only sky. Because with that understanding, the idea of permanently parting until death can reunite, is nothing more than a human illusion. 

With confidence, I can believe Everett will know you in a more special and profound way, than if you were still here to be in physical person when he blows out his birthday candles each year. And it will always be my responsibility to teach him just how close you really are–that we’re all laced together in such intricately detailed ways, there aren’t words to quite make sense of it.