Somewhere over the rainbow… and beyond.

Triggers.  I don’t always know my triggers, some are built into this- others hit me, BAM me in a way.

I have been working in the girls’ school for a few weeks now and really love it.  I am tired.  I am beat… but I am impressed.  I work in a developmental classroom as a substitute teacher assistant (which to me sounds so grown up).  The teachers and aides impress me, the students impress me and the environment impresses me.  It is a room full of really creative approaches and lots of mastering a complex schedule.  I am in love with the students.  This job has helped me to become more patient and loving in the classroom and as a mom.

Triggers… today I was working with a student who’s reward was this song.  I got a little treat, I got to watch the video and sing the song with this student.  This song is very emotional for me.  Sitting in a classroom surrounded by teachers and children going about their own workday though… I had to just sit in it and take it in.  I felt like I was in a good spot, sitting next to this student and enjoying the reward for hard work.  The song made me feel a happy inside… a deep happy.  There are some connections in working at Madeline’s school and seeing her teacher’s and people who knew her… in knowing I am only a hallway (or 3) away from my girls… that make me really feel a bond to her there.  What are the odds that a reward song is one that I connect to… maybe the odds are big, but whatever, I know its part of the gift, the journey and the guidance (to heck with all you pessimists).

Triggers can hit in different ways, environments can make a trigger easier or harder… triggers hit differently than they used to.  I welcome them… they bring me back to a better place and remind me of how far I have come.  Triggers help me access memories and feelings.


These words get to me… in a good way.  Madeline is safe, okay and home… she’s just somewhere over the rainbow…

“Someday you’ll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me… where trouble melts like lemon drops, high above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me… “

Sometimes… you get what you get & you don’t throw a fit.

A hard concept for me… yet I say it all.the.time to my girls.  I swear to God so many important lessons are learned in preschool and forgotten in adulthood.  I am getting better at this one though… I control my fits.  I am not always super happy with what I get, sometimes I want to throw a big fit… but lately I am doing better at not giving my big fits to anything but a good friend and a run.  I have learned that my big fits don’t really help this situation.  I got what I got… I must move on and live it up.

I feel that we are starting to level out and move on.  I know I have said it before, in this we take 40 steps forward and and 52 1/2 steps back… and then 30 steps forward and only 22 steps back.  It kind of goes like that.  It gives me hope that I am not always falling behind.  It was a week of mixed feelings… mixed emotions.  It was a week of exhaustion from new adventures at Bradt Elementary.  It was a week of preparation for family events that look and feel different.  It was a week of thinking of a birthday party that will be different and for this year maybe forced.  Those are hard things to let sink in.  They are sinking in and staying… I guess we could say I am ‘taking what I get and not throwing many fits’.

I think life should be broken down more often into the simple stuff… the lessons we learned at such a young age.  We learned important social lessons and relationship stuff.  We learned about love and feeling safe and trying new things… even though the choices were more like whether or not we go down the slide or not- and life now is more like do we skydive or do I try that?… Imagine if we practiced those early lessons.  Imagine if we simply treated people how we wanted to be treated… we were kind and said please and thank you (instead of being on our phones and ignoring waitresses and door openers).  I know, I know… I am the last one to let people open doors for me, and train my girls to open them as well (for anyone).  Imagine if we practiced you get what you get, be kind to all and throw it over your shoulder… what a different world this would be.  Life is so freakin’ hard and at the same time the easy lessons are what really get us through.

So… here I am in this very spot, living, breathing, crying, laughing and moving- getting toward an Erin that is more thoughtful and remembers those lessons.  I think I need to… to move.  I get a day or a moment and I am stuck in the “ANGRY BAM OUCH” mode and then I throw it over my shoulder… run with friends and get rid of the mad. I try so hard, and  fail sometimes, to be the Erin I want to be and know that my actions are mine and mine only.  This is an important part, I know it.

So… lately it is a struggle to move and live and breathe… and throw it over my shoulder.  I am in need of easy and lovely and useful…and I live.  Even in the hard life is good.  Even in the pain life is joyful.  Even in the heavy life gets lighter… it is the nature of life.

So I will think about those life lessons learned as a child… and remind my brain when I am walking around all “woe is me”… and know that I need to throw it over my shoulder, get what I get and not throw a fit, suck it up buttercup, let it go, change my attitude… you know all those ones we say and don’t live.  I am going to be cognizant and bring those thoughts forward when I need them.  I know I often need to just step out of the situation and think about it- small problem/big problem… and not react as though many things are big problems.  I keep going back to this ‘we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit’ saying when it gets really hard and I wonder “why me???”… and others say my life is SO hard… I think I got what I got, I won’t throw a fit… and sometimes I think jeesh, I sure am glad I don’t have your pile.  I, mostly, accept and live with my pile.  So… enjoy your pile… think young and simple and I think we all will have more fulfilling lives and take better care of ourselves and relationships.


Can you believe that this could possibly be the 3rd Annual Maddie’s Mark 5k?  To others that sounds like a normal and a great (I am proud too)… I am just astounded that it could be the 3rd year that Madeline is not here.  How can it be that it has almost been 3 years since she left us.  I wonder if I will be sitting in 20 years thinking, has it really been 23 years since I saw Madeline’s eyes and felt her skin?  I know that time will chug on, it always does.  Time moves on even when life doesn’t.

Madeline’s death is very integrated into my life now and my thoughts.  I don’t often sit and feel sad, I just feel at peace with it.  I don’t often feel the pain I used to feel, or the heavy.  I believe, for me, the foundation and the fact that we bring Madeline along in conversations and life has really helped me heal.  I think it has helped Amelia and Lucy heal as well.  We aren’t ‘all better’ but we need a smaller band aid and less care and maintenance.  We are chuggin’ on and living.  I mean what the heck else are we supposed to do?

Three years.

Today’s 5k will be a really amazing day, I can feel it.  I love, love, love seeing and sharing Madeline.  I love this race… it is a healthy and happy day.  There will be tons of people together enjoying their families, laughing and running (my kind of day).  I am so proud of the work that some awesome people did for today.  There are some very strong and positive people that help move mountain for Madeline and our family still- three years later.  That is a testament to Madeline and why we keep chuggin’.  I am so proud that we have people and families who will get in their car and drive an hour away for a ‘best day ever’ yard redo and work their tails off for that family.  I am so blessed that we have people who will put in months of work and brainstorming and pushing and promoting and preparing for a… that will be so Madeline and ‘best day ever’.  I am so glad that people support and sponsor… three years later and many old and many people understand our story and our mission and help us build it.

Three years later and my lovely is, in a way, still living.  She is still running, still helping, still smiling, still bringing peace and love to her friends and family.  This helps me.  This helps my girls.  I know this helps my family.  Thank you.  Thank you for helping us share, supporting our mission, gifting us time, putting in your energy… thank your for being a mountain mover, member of the ‘herd’ and part of the best.people.ever.

Good luck runner friends.  Don’t forget to double knot, drink water and pee before the race.  You’ll do great- you’ve got an angel on your side.


❤ hope your runnin’ like a cheetah chicky.

… clicking shoes to get back home.

Sometimes, instead of travelling the Yellow Brick Road and finding adventure and fulfillment… we just need to click our heels and head back to Kansas.  In my case, Brownville… I don’t get to Kansas too much.  There is something about home, a familiarity… a feeling.  I don’t know what it is, a safe I guess.

Life is freakin’ crazy, always is… probably always will be, until I kick the bucket.  I am in no hurry to do that, but know that the first time I really slow down will be the day I am buried next to Mads.  I think I like this nutty and busy life, and still enjoys lots of it.  I do need a break sometimes, well maybe more often, but I do TAKE a break sometimes.  This past weekend I headed home.  I needed home, my girls needed home… my dog needed home.  Did I mention we needed home???

So home we went, all three plus hours of it (really 2.75, but gas stops, pee stops and Boonville Burger King stops… add up).  The ride home I felt Madeline.  I felt the sun on my shoulder going home… and it made me warm and happy.  Inside me I know it was her… telling me to bring her sisters home.  We had some normal nutty and bad tantrums on Tug Hill… but mostly I loved the girls talking and playing and rocking out to Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean.  It felt like we were our own little family.  The comfort and warmth from the sun, alongside a feeling that this was in fact Madeline, made me know we were headed where we needed to be.  The whole weekend was like that, just easy.  My girls played and hung out with my parents and their cousins.  We got pumpkins and had a great afternoon.  Weirdly everywhere we went on Saturday and Sunday there was one Monarch butterfly.  Only one… it is October… those are supposed to be en route to Mexico.  Those butterflies felt like little bits of Madeline telling me “I love you mom, keep chuggin’… I love my family.”

I don’t often get all sappy and symbolic about my trips and the sun and butterflies… but I am telling you it was her.  In me I know it… she is here guiding and maybe gifting us life and living.  I don’t know how to explain… but I just know in me.

Madeline loved being home, loved her family.  She was a connected and thoughtful daughter… I believe she brings that through now too.  This weekend was so easy… nothing difficult in it.  My girls saw all of their cousins and connected.  They celebrated and swung in the new hammocks on the new porch. They laughed from deep in their gut because Lucy wore two different shoes for the weekend… thankfully they were two pink CROCs.  I got to snuggle and stare at my new nephew… talk to my sister about his eating and sleeping.  I got to change itty bitty baby boy diapers- and managed to not get peed on (score).  The girls met Reaner and loved him up… assessing his toes and hands and faces.  I got to see old friends and have a few beers after a BIG, crazy and tasty dinner.  I didn’t get a run in this past weekend, but I slept well and felt good all weekend.  I felt Maddie when I was home.

Sometimes we need to just click our heels and don our red shoes and go home… I believe this is absolutely necessary for a healthy heart, mind and soul.  Home can look different than where you grew up, but it is a place that you are safe and welcome and loved.  Madeline, Amelia and Lucy are my home… I am home when I am with them.  It has taken a long time to feel ‘home’ with no Madeline, and now no Matthew.  I am finally starting to get that feeling, that ‘home sweet home’ feeling.  You pessimists or nonbelievers think that is just me getting over those losses… but really it is those losses becoming a part of me… becoming a part of ‘home’.  I need a trip home to renew and see my family, feel my ‘home’ and breathe my lake air.

Here I am back in my life as I know it… working at the girl’s school, loving it… trying to balance it all… feeling a little bit more me- just from that trip home.  That bit of comfort keeps me chuggin’ when the days are long and sad… keeps me focused when life is nuts and crazy and confusing.  That taste of home will keep me ‘Erin’ for a while longer.