Paradise and Time.

The past few days I have had a lot of time as just me, my friend had to work. I think she feels badly that I came down and she is working… but honestly I need time just me. I dropped her off at work and went to the beach yesterday. I walked and watched and listened… I found shells for my girls. I just was there. I didn’t get all deep in my thoughts or anything, it just felt great to just ‘be’. There was no other place I was supposed to ‘be’.

I spend my days and hours and weeks having to ‘be’ all over, ‘be’ all sorts of things… right now I am just here not being anything. It feels great. Sunny, sandy and simple. I am not here working on projects or meetings, I don’t have to maintain the schedule of church school, activities, dog feedings, birthday parties… I am only in charge of me. It is nice to have no expectations or need-to-do’s. I think this is my kinda vacation, unplanned and just here ‘being’. Honestly God did not make me to be a travel agent… planned stressed me out. So this break and bits of just being alone has been such a gift.

Tomorrow we go on a cruise, I have never been on a cruise. It will be a great adventure and it will be so warm there. I can not wait. I mean it has been a long time for me to feel this sun and warmth that I am enjoying here. I may have to squash a winter vacation in every year. I get it now people… winter is hard and dark… this bit of bright will get me through the next part of winter. Maybe God will let the sun resonate for the coming weeks inside my Vitamin D lacking self. Maybe He will help me maintain this little bright and simple for the hard and dark coming.

I scoped the beach for a really cool shell, I wanted a conch or something… but I couldn’t find a whole one. I found lots of little pieces and neat shells. I even found a crab skeleton for Lucy… there were some great shrimp exoskeleton that they would have loved but they were so delicate. I found some black shells and thought how great it is that even shells love a LBD. I guess I never thought about black shells… maybe they look skinnier J. Next trip is bringing a dry Starbuck’s cup and collecting sand to bring to Madeline’s spot. She needs a little of this trip up on her hill. Hopefully I will be able to find the girls souvenirs… they requested turtle shells. I don’t even know where to find a dead turtle shell… I hope they will settle for a shark tooth or shells. I can’t wait to find little bits of adventure for them.

On a funny note, I am seeing more of me in my lovely friend down here. She makes me laugh. I think we were made for this adventure. Rocking to country music, drinking wine, laughing, driving, talking about everything… even taking adventures for forgotten important things. Honestly it is great how similar we are… we are both forgetful type B ladies who love people, love fun and have strong faith. I met the other me that falls in wedges, laughs at her mistakes and forgets very important documents and clothes all.over.the.country. It has been an amazing adventure so far… I will stop here and update you all soon.

Thanks for the love and positive energy Polka Dot Tree Climbers… you are all by far some of the best gifts in this crazy, hard and awesome journey.

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Feeling a little Freedom…

I am sitting the airport, after a bit of a hectic day. I was supposed to leave tomorrow, a nice direct flight to Florida… but since the Blizzard of the Century is coming… my flight was safely cancelled. I was so anxious that I wouldn’t get the see the sun… but they managed to put me on a flight today and I should be outside blizzard territory in a little while (thank you Jesus…). The details for the girls ironed out and I think I remembered everything I need for a weekish on the beaches of Florida, a cruise and a stop in the Bahamas. So… after all those details and stress… I am almost in the clear, almost free for a bit of life and some adventures.

I have really not been to Florida since I was young and I have never been on a cruise or to any warm islands (I am quite limited to the 1000 Islands… which are rockin’ in the summer). So this adventure is full of firsts… I am so excited for a break and just some simple sun and warmth. I think my soul needs this. I think my brain needs a new surrounding… with no responsibility, no work, no expectations and honestly no plans other than books and time with an new and amazing friend.

I have a suitcase full of bathing suits, maxi dresses and my big coach sunglasses… I brought some books I have been waiting to read (nothing too deep Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler and Glennon Dolye Melton)… books that are real and fun and true… books that help me feel human and true and brave. Books that make me smile… I made it through the first chapters of Mindy’s book “Is everyone hanging out without me?”… and it is all about her being the pudgy girl. I can identify… we pudgy girls unite and share and laugh… and BAM we rock… I guess that is a little bit of free Erin cheering. I guess all of this freedom is making me punchy and bold, shocking isn’t it? I laugh reading her words, I know the feelings and I know the confidence that comes from loving yourself anyway. I used to always say “The pudgy girl gets the guy”… I wish I could have told my old self that I am just worthy, who the heck cares about the pudgy part. Also it is more fun to hang out with girls who love themselves and eat more than lifesavers and vodka… when I am well fed I am a happy and fun person…

Erin. Back on track. Get back on track.

So… where was I? Oh yes. I am free. I already miss my chickens. I miss that Meme’s darn tooth will fall out this week and I have yet to be the lady who gets the fresh, icky, bloody tooth handed to her. I swear it holds on until she isn’t in my care… oh well. She has a mouthful J… right? I’ll be there someday for a tooth falling out… I already miss Lucy’s lil butt. I miss pinching her and telling her she the best freakin’ Lucy ever. I already miss Meme talking and talking about her day. I think I am excited to miss those chickens… I am sooooooo excited to buy them souvenirs. I can’t wait to bring Madeline some sand from my adventures. I can’t wait to see what it is like, I want to bring them with me next time. I want to take an adventure with those bubbaloos. So part of my freedom is a planning trip for an adventure with them. Those girls are my world… all three of them. Madeline is in paradise… and I will be flying. Those facts make me feel close to her. I don’t know why flying and being in the sky makes me feel close to her. Maybe Heaven is right near airplanes… who knows. Maybe she takes extra good care of me when I am flying… but it doesn’t matter. I just am glad to be in the sky.

So… a little freedom and some clarity is a need today. I will share bits of this amazing adventure, even if I am stranded tonight. I am an easy traveler… and I am scrappy. I will make the best of hard parts and then I will put my feet in the sand, feel the sun and feel warm and free. I will find a new bit of me, a bit of me who has never visited many places. I will enjoy the company of an awesome woman. I will thank God for every bit of this adventure… I will hope Madeline bugs me or shows me she is with me on this adventure. I hope I come home feeling more me, more free, more clear, more at peace and more ready for the next hump and the next hard… and the next amazing.

 

 

 

I freaking love you darling. I can’t wait to be in the clouds and above… smack me with a bot of you. I want to really KNOW you are bugging me.

Goodbye stings.

Space and boundaries.  Those have been emphasized throughout… like God is repeating and reminding (telling me to get this down pat and understand He has put it there for months).  Space an

d boundaries are new to me, struggles for me.  Some people naturally give themselves space and create boundaries… not.so.much for this chick.  I have spent many a month learning this lesson, and am now maintaining a fence that is nicely painted and standing tall.  I am doing this… I am stsarting to build ‘me’, Erin, as the Erin that got through this and rocked out the other side (for we all know I am going to rock out the other side… wobbly bits and all).  I am starting to see the person that is going to pull through this and be fresh me.  I won’t be angry ‘me’, all sad me… I wont be confused me… I won’t be torn me.  I will be new ‘me’ and I know I am going to love her.

 

Sitting here tonight I am thinking about some of the sting in this.  I am thinking about some of the loss.  About 3 months ago… I had two families.  I had my side and Matthew’s side.  I had in-laws and a soon-to-be-ex that I tried to maintain a trusting and honest ‘almost’ friendship with (what a boundary breaker that is).  Fast forward to today… It is me, my girls (who have two families), my family and my amazing friends.  It freakin’ looks different.  It feels different.  It is different.  It makes me sad, mad and sometimes glad.  It will never look like it did only weeks ago, but it will never hurt as much as it did then either…. it is now today and now is getting better.

Tonight I had one of those boundary phone calls… the ones that hurt and sting but create the groundwork for a healthier me (and maybe a healthier other person).  This boundary stinks, but it is a need.  Goodbye freaking stinks.  I am getting better at it, not in the “goodbye, see ya later way” but the “goodbye, take care of you and I  will take care of me”.  I can not use my energy to carry and take care of people who are on a… different team.  I am on the get me better team, they are on the get him better team… we all lose some points along the way, sometimes we score a crazy touchdown or 3 pointer… (I apologize for my weak sports comparison), sometimes we have our A game and carry through… other times we lose.  We flat out lose, 55-0.  We struggle, we move, we live, breathe, sing, play, run and chug… we must make boundaries and keep our heart, brain and soul safe and healthy.  I can not encourage or build the other team… they have a new life, a new girl, a new baby… a new, fresh start for them and their side.  I need to work to ‘build me’… I need to surround myself with people who build me.  I need to be around people who have my best interests and my daughters in mind.

Back to the phone call…. goodbye stinks.  Goodbye to get better hurts.  I just know in me I must… it must hurt on both sides.  I guess it’ll get easier and better in time…  I used to have a spot at a table, another family… but I have my family now.  I have lost my seat at the dining room table, my place in that family.  I know that soon it won’t hurt so much, in fact it has gotten better ten fold in the weeks since this boundary was reinstated and upheld.  It hurt more then than now… for that I am thankful.  I am better about my brain not thinking about the new baby and the messy life he is entering.  I

don’t think of the fact that my old husband will be sharing hugely important moments in a labor and delivery room.  Those were moments I shared with him, only him.  Now… he has a newbie.  So I let go.  I let go of the family I had when I was married to him.  I let go of him and the dreams we shared.  I let go of trusting him.  I let go of sharing Madeline and her moments with him.  I let go of caring what he does, or what his family does.  I must let it go… just like the crazy awesome song.  I must let the goodbye sting and build me.  I must let them build them.

 

So sting away… I will get better, I will get stronger.  I will be ok.  To those hurting right now, because of this boundary, you will get better soon too.  I guess that helps, in this hurt… we will all get better if we chose.  I choose “yes”… I choose happy, I choose safe boundaries.  It freakin’ works.  God likes boundaries, that’s why He gifted them to us.  So settle with the hurt from goodbyes, jump over the pain of those moments… at the next place… the better and the stronger.  Stronger in the stinking goodbyes….

Write or wrong.

Write or wrong… this is my way. Inside of me I know I am supposed to write, to share and to bring others along in this journey. When I write it down I can see it, I can see the crazy string of thoughts, wonders, feelings and ideas come out. It is when I am most clear. Putting my thoughts down, whether for all to see or just for me, lifts weights from my brain, heart and shoulders. I feel lighter and more me…

When I wait to share something, something I know I need to share, I feel it. I can feel the heavy that comes with carrying my hurt and feelings and hard things… it is a gift to get to write it and give it up. I feel like I am not being honest to life when I don’t share this way. Inside of me I know that there is something in this journey that God wants me to share. There is something important for me to see and to learn, He wants me to share the good, the bad, the hard, the light, the happy and the grief.

Don’t get me wrong, as good as I can feel after writing down lots of my guts and exposing my heart… I sometimes feel naked. I feel like I walk into the grocery store and have nothing on… I have no armor or clothes to feel comfortable and safe in. I don’t think it is bad for us to feel naked though… not that I plan to go to Hannaford with no clothes on. I think getting ‘naked’ is a way to be vulnerable, to be a little unsafe and know that we are carried. Even in my most naked moments, when I gave the most of me… something kept me safe and stood in front of me with a towel. Sometimes it costs a lot to be naked in front of many… giving my insides away on the outside. I am blessed that so many can understand that… they let me walk around in my naked safely and with my towel guard up (I can not show all of my wobbly bits…).

Every time a connection is formed from a piece I write, about Madeline, death, living, divorce, grief, separation, infidelity… I know this is why I am here. I am here for those who can’t share and be naked. I am here for those wives, moms, dads… those people who need to see that someone got to the other side (though I am far from the other side of some of those things). I remember when Madeline died I didn’t know I could live, it made no sense that life could go on without her. It was a whirlwind that didn’t make sense. I knew that there was no way life could be livable or enjoyable… and then I started reading a blog by another mother. Gina’s daughter, Catie, died in 1998… the year Madeline passed away Gina’s husband died. I saw her and I saw her still living, not just surviving, but living. She could see good, happy and positive… and I know has her share of hard times. I needed to see someone else live through this to know that I can to. I needed to see someone else not just survive this but LIVE and share… and know that life is still good. Her humor and honesty has helped me in ways she will never even know. That connection was so important. When my words make a connection like that… I know I am doing the job I need to do in this.

I share because others can not. There is nothing wrong with not sharing, as long as you are not hiding things or pushing them away to not feel them. I meet many families with amazing angels that are honored in their own special way. I meet many families who take a leave of absence from life for a while when they lose their child or marriage. I see families put away bits of their lovely or ex when they are gone to move on the way they need. I see all of it… and none of it is wrong. We all do this differently… I just have to do this my way. Something in me is built to share- it builds me, it builds others.

Write or wrong. I write. I love the part of me that was created to share, to write. I was built this way. In third grade, the only teacher up to that point who helped build me, told me that I was a writer. I was a storyteller. I forgot this fact along the way… but it is all coming back to me. I make some mistakes, I am a terrible speller and I am human, but I know what I am doing is what He wants me to do. He made me with a voice and love of building relationships… He wants me to use those gifts. This is me. I am just doing this the way I was made… write or wrong.

Pain… with a purpose

The pain in these circumstances is actually kind of freeing.  It doesn’t make sense all the way, but it really is.  I am more free than I was a week ago.  I am more sure I am healthy and dealing and feeling.  I am more capable of seeing the boundaries I need to maintain.  These bits are only possible after feeling the pain that I have had to endure.  Tonight I feel free… a little more me, a little more excited for future me… a little more prepared to get there.

Pain is bearable… though I cant always talk myself into bearing it when I am working out (I am really a weinie)… it is bearable.  We get to the other side.  I am far from the other side but I think I am step farther from where I was last week and 10 weeks ago and a year ago.  In moments when another day seems far away, another day almost always comes.  Here I am today… it was a good day.  I am in a good spot.  I feel lighter and more free than I did… like a hold on me is gone.  The past is severed, though I know I will miss the past sometimes- screw it… I have lots to see, feel and be.

This hurt and pain get me to this spot… maybe I should be thankful for it (shut up Erin it is way to early for that… ).  Pain is important on this journey, for us all.  Our pain looks different, our tolerance is different, our defense mechanisms are different and our coping strategies are different.  Our stories are different, though, too… our gifts and blessings are different.  With no pain would we know how to feel the amazing?  Would we feel all of the happy or deep love?  Pain helps me gauge my emotions, and make sure I am healthy- dealing and feeling in a healthy way.

Why does this pain help me feel and know I am free?  Pain helps sever relationships that are toxic or just over, just as intimacy and vulnerability help build relationships.  This pain helps me see the end, a solid and real end.  I am going to just keep moving, letting go of this weight.  In fact I woke up physically lighter the past couple of days (an I don’t think it’s the  working out and vacation dieting I have been doing)… I think it was lifted.  I think the Big Guy saw his daughter hurting and He lifted some of the weight of this pain.  Today I felt lighter… and more me.  I am sure tomorrow I will be even more Erin… watch people :).

Through the pain I will keep chuggin’ and breathing and running and living and laughing and believing… I will keep building me.

The last big shocker, the last big hurt…

My daughter’s will be sisters again, to a brother, I hear.  Their Father is expecting a boy in the spring.

My lovelies LOVE babies.  They love their siblings, they love their cousins.  They love family.  They are very excited for the new life and the new little white house with a nice window (“that I just have to see mommy”).  They are children.

I am thankful for amazing family and friends who take care of me and are honest with me.  I am conflicted with this news. I hate thinking that two people who were such big pieces of my life would be so deceitful and dishonest… building a relationship when I still had trust and love for them. A chunk of me knows that new life is always welcome, God made that life.  So I am torn Erin.

Why does this hurt so much???  You would think at this point I would be done hurting.  I think I have hurt enough, but this still hurts. I have serious doubts about the relationship my girls’ father has created and the “family” that this new baby will have. I question the foundation which I don’t believe was sincere or honest. I question the deception that was imposed upon me. It is not the way I choose to live my life, and it is not the foundation of integrity and honesty that I hope to instill in my girls.

Through this I am learning that I need to sever a lot of ties.  I need to create a fence and get on my way to taking care of me and my girls in the more respectful and responsible way.  I can not layer people who are fighting for Matthew’s character and loving up on him.  I need distance.  I need space.  I need to not be a part of people who are going throw a baby shower.  I need just to get to a place where nothing they do hurts me anymore… I need a big freakin’ scab to heal over all of this.

So my daughters will have a brother.  A miracle in a mess.  I have some real and true worries for my girls in this.  I am going to do the best I can to let them show him their love and affection… maybe they are his gift in life. God has a plan in this, maybe my girls are his map out of messy… maybe they will be in charge of making sure he knows Madeline and has real solid feelings that he knows how to share. .  I hope they can show him truth and trust and real life.  I hope they have adventures with him that blow their mind.  I will try to redirect my sad into this knowledge… that my girls are his gift.

As for me… I will make it to bedtime again tonight.  I will wake up and run and do kickboxing and hang with my girls this weekend.  I will catch up on life and chores.  We will entertain one of our favorite sleepover partners for 2 nights (<3 cousin Tara).  I will move and live and work and run and breathe and sometimes I will break down and feel it all.  Soon it won’t hurt so much.

 

I love you darling.  Send me some love… take good care of this mess.

 

 

PS… a small part of me wants to do the ‘Love Actually’ dance in the stairway… a dance that says “I am free, I am free… I am single and free… ”

 

Moments from a Cancer Mom (Guest Post)

One of the most special parts of my blog is sharing words that help people connect and relate.  It is really special or know that I can help another mom share her words and thoughts… and give a different perspective and relatable pieces of her very different journey.  So please read and share and comment… so my friend and guest writer can see how her words are relatable and maybe tangible… if not tangible then they can help you feel bits of what her journey is like…  (thank you to my guest writer, trust me when I tell you she is amazing and strong)

Moments from a Cancer Mom

I have these moments that stop me in my tracks. Moments that take my breath away and utterly surprise me with the degree of emotion they bring.   These moments aren’t always the ones that you would expect to have an impact. The stories on the news of sports teams supporting children with cancer or the gratitude and sadness I can see in a family who has been helped by a local charity always brings tears… I am prepared for those emotional moments. I expect them.

However, other times, there are moments- positive moments, simple moments, that almost knock the wind out of me. These moments take me by surprise, turn me upside down and shake me a little bit. Today I saw a story about people trying to get legislative approval for a NYS license plate that said “Cure Childhood Cancer.’   It was such a positive, simple message in the fight against Childhood Cancer yet, it brought me to tears – almost uncontrollable tears. I am not sure why, I’ve stopped trying to figure out why.

I know that having a child with cancer changes you, it changes the way you see things, changes the way you feel, it changes the way you look at the world and changes they way you react to many things. I’ve learned that it can’t be explained or understood by others. I truly hope that there are fewer and fewer of us that understand this emotional rollercoaster. It’s these moments, those stop-me-in-my-tracks-bring-me-to-tears-moments I am reminded to slow down, to be grateful and to remember… to just take and feel that much needed moment.

gold licence