Tag Archives: kids

YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME

If I could go back to the first week of August 2006 I would’ve stayed longer. I wouldn’t have rushed away because the kids were gripy. Of all the asinine things in the world I “had” to get to IKEA to look at some shit for the house. And I wanted to be back in time to get the kids to bed at a decent hour. So I didn’t hug him. I didn’t even look back. I said “bye” and that was it. I assumed I would see him after he got back from his trip to Colorado. Like I always did. He always rode that bike far away and always came back. Always. Only not this time.
If I could go back to 2002 I would’ve visited Dallas one more time from Tyler where we were living. Andy was an infant and I had a 2 year old and never slept and the world seemed to be feeding kids, giving baths changing diapers and griping about my lack of sleep. And so when Pawpa passed I couldn’t quite forgive myself for not going back one last time to see him. I never get to go back.
If I could go back to 1999 when I found out I was pregnant for the 4th time I wouldn’t have panicked. I would’ve taken a deep breath and soaked in the joy of that moment. After so many miscarriages I was unable to enjoy one moment of my pregnancy with Maddie. All I did was worry. And panic. And I can’t get those 9 months back.
If I could go back to November 1996…I would still say yes. And know that even though it may not end the way I thought it would…it would bring me 2 children and a world of memories I wouldn’t trade for anything.
If I could go back to 1989 I would GO to my grandparents lake house one more time. I was too cool by then. Too teen-agery. Too wrapped up in myself. Grandad would get Parkinson’s eventually. And I would spend many years looking at a man in a body that wasn’t the man that taught me to fish on that dock at that lake house. I’d fish longer. And one more time. With him.
When my kids walk out the door I hug them. Hard. And long. When I think about my sister I call her. When my house is dirty I still ask my friends in. When I get asked to sleep in a field to watch the total solar eclipse I say yes. When I get my grandmother’s inheritance I buy some land. And move to a mountain.
You THINK you have time. You think.
I am researching photographers to do Maddie’s senior pictures and setting up tour dates for college campuses for her. I just walked her down the hall to her first day of Kindergarten. Just now. Only it wasn’t just now. Time is this crazy amazing thing. This gift we are given. It can seem endless and dark and last forever when we are grieving. It flies like lightening when we are trying to slow it down.
There’s times Im REALLY tired. And I don’t want to sit up and watch BMX bike documentaries with Andy. I do anyway. There’s times I don’t really feel like going rock climbing. I do anyway. There’s times I’d rather nap than go to one of Maddie’s 4 million activities. I go anyway. And you know what? I’ve never ever ever ever regretted any of those things.
You get one shot. One trip around. One chance to be a parent. One chance to be a wife, a friend, a girlfriend, a teacher, a learner, a giver, a loner, a dreamer. One chance to be alive. Live it. Love it. Say yes. DO more. Be more. Be kind. Leap without looking. Take more pictures. Laugh more. Share more. Call your friend. Hug your kid. Buy the land…..because not a day goes by that I don’t regret not turning around in that driveway and saying “fuck it I’ll go to IKEA tomorrow”. And sitting in a lawn chair and having one more beer.
“I’ve had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I’ve had some time to think about you
On the long ride home”
        Patty Griffin, ‘Long Ride Home’
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I JOINED A MENOPAUSE SUPPORT GROUP- AND OTHER WEIRD SHIT

Two months ago I went to the lady doctor for my yearly check up. I had been experiencing some symptoms so I told her about them. I had (obviously) googled the symptoms and self diagnosed myself with Ebola but I figured I should check with a professional just in case. This bitch looked at me and said “oh…you’ve entered menopause”. To which I said “uummmm WHAT” then turned around to see why she was speaking to my Mom who clearly wasn’t there (sorry Karen). I’d like to say I handled the news well. Id like to say I was mature about it. Id like to say I didn’t cuss at my doctor……I’d also like my little boobs to be 3 inches north of where they are now….but…..life aint all roses and rainbows.

Im about to tell you a story that is literally TMI. Turn away. Stop reading. If you ever wanted to look at me with dignity again please.
Ok when I was 13 years old at North Carrollton Junior High on Valentines Day of 1985 I started my period. In white pants. Yes. Im serious. I went to the nurse’s office and she started calling my Mom (who was in college classes at the time), my Dad (who was on the road as a truck driver), and then…..my Nanny (who was at work at the library). But guess who answered? Yep- my grandfather. He’d recently retired as an air traffic controller at DFW. He answered questions “affirmative” or “negative”. He had a bumper sticker that said “Burn the judges, save the flag”. He was ex military. And as I sat on that chair in someone else’s too big gym shorts (a donation to the clothing bin for kids who had “accidents”) I heard the nurse say “Ok Mr. Ellis we will see you soon.” And I felt my entire body crawl into a fetal position and just want to disappear. I hated my Mom for being in college at that moment. I hated my Dad for being on the road. I hated my Nanny for working. And I hated God for making me a girl.
Pawpa was amazing. He took me home. He asked very few questions. He told me to take aspirin and get a heating pad. And we never spoke of this again. EVER. Good man. Im sure he has some deep secret military secrets buried with him. None of those were as important as this one.
The second my doctor told me I was entering menopause I had a flashback to that day I started my period for the first time. It seems like a million years ago. A different lifetime. And yet it seems like yesterday. I finished having children at age 29. I have wanted my monthly cycle to go away ever since then. But like clockwork…every 25 days she showed up. Proving I was still female. Still able to get pregnant. Still fertile. Still bitchy. I’d done NOTHING but wish her away for years. And now my doctor tells me that time is coming. And Im sitting with that news. And not really sure how I feel.
Dont get me wrong- Im elated about the good side of this. No worries about planning vacations, cramps, packing Midol and lady products.
On the other hand- my memories on FB keep popping up and 2 years ago this week I was in INCREDIBLE shape. I was eating whatever the fuck I really wanted, working out a LOT and feeling great. My body does not look like that today. It was one of the first symptoms I noticed- weight gain. I was still working out a lot but my body wasn’t really responding the same. I can’t really sleep all night some weeks. I sweat…at night…a LOT! Im extremely moody (fuck off yes there’s a difference). I have these strange headaches I never had before. I have awful vertigo at times. And a list of other pretty unpleasant symptoms. But its not cancer. Its not Brain Rot. Its not anything severe. Its fucking menopause. I was 44 and looked good and felt good and slept well and had muscle definition and one day I woke up and didn’t.
I do have mixed feelings about all of this. The support group I joined has been amazing. You feel so “normal” when you realize other women are going through the same things. I miss my taught skin, my toned muscles, my lack of serial killer type mood swings, my ability to eat whatever the hell I want. But my tubes were tied 16 years ago. Ive known I couldn’t have kids anymore for a long time. So Im not really mourning the loss of that idea. Im not sure WHAT Im mourning. Or if Im mourning.
Honestly- today I feel like celebrating. The doctor told me menopause might last 5-8 years. Awesome. Im sure Dude is thrilled. Great timing there buddy. But there is just something about getting older I really like. Its not the wrinkly skin, age spots, cellulite, or vision loss. Its honestly nothing physical. Its truly a feeling. I feel so much more peaceful, settled, comfortable with my self, lack of caring what others think. I have less desire for things. In fact, I know less is more. I appreciate my kids as the people they are. Im learning to forgive myself ;). Im learning about love and happiness and letting go and being who I was meant to be and I wear my Nanny’s pearls with jeans and boots and I wear crazy leggings and I dont wash my hair for a week at a time and I don’t feel bad saying NO. All of that comes with age. There’s things I KNOW now that I couldn’t know at 25, 35 or even 40.
45 is technically a tad young to enter menopause according to statistics. But Ive never really been one to follow the rules anyway. Im sure there will be days I cry, feel old, look old, can’t workout as hard, and NOTICE this aging process. And thats ok. I look at this as just another reminder to LIVE. Buy the shoes, eat the cake, travel the world, climb the mountain, zipline the Gorge, write the book, and say YES. I reserve the right to change my mind about all of this tomorrow and HATE life, my body, my mood, my age, my weight gain, etc. But for today- I am happy. Im currently planning my summer trips which include but are not limited to camping/rock climbing/biking through Moab in May, Indianapolis and girls week in June, possibly a trek through Ouray, a backpacking trip through Wyoming and a ton of other little mini trips.
I am not the same girl I was on Valentine’s Day 1985. Im not the same girl I was on July 6, 2000 and March 7, 2002. Im not the same girl I was when I left Texas 5 years ago. Im not the same girl I was yesterday. I guess now I get to say “woman”. I think Ive earned that.
Grab the adventure by the testicles and GO. GO! And don’t stop. We all are very different in many many ways. But theres one thing we all have in common. You are older today than you were yesterday. And tomorrow is coming……fast. Time is a bitch man…she doesn’t discriminate. So buy the shoes, eat the cake, climb the mountain, backpack across the country, buy the land, build the house, pet the alpaca. And do it NOW.
I’ll CHOOSE to embrace this beautiful change in me. I’ll choose to celebrate that I GET to be a woman. That I GET to wake up each day. That I GET to do the things I want to do. And if that doesn’t pan out….I’ll eat an entire chocolate cake and start again tomorrow.
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EMBRACING THE I DONT KNOWS & MOVING FORWARD

I’ve heard it called a mid life crisis. I pictured a 50 year old man with a bit of a gut, a receding hairline he’s trying to save, and a sports car he shouldn’t have bought. I pictured him flirting with younger women and making a fool of himself. I pictured a cheesy shirt and some jewelry he shouldn’t be wearing and a dirty martini. Its what I pictured. What crept up and slapped me square in the face was what it really is. Not so much a crisis as a stage of life. A transition. A skin shedding. A wing spreading. A death and a rebirth….and most shocking of all….not a HIM at all.

Admitting Im in a “transitional phase” (as the experts like to call it) is humbling, embarrassing, cathartic, cleansing, funny, and disappointing all at once. Im only 44 years old. Ill be 45 in a few months but I don’t think theres an actuall time stamp on when this shit happens to you. You can be 38. You can be 58. Its not exactly about an age but more about whats going on in your life. And whats going on in my life? Ha. Great question. Wish I had an answer for that. Since the age of I don’t even recall Ive pretty much had my shit together. I knew I wanted to be married, have a family, have a home, plant roots and be a Mom. In 24 months my oldest leaves for college. My youngest will be doing online school so it matters not where he lives. So it goes without saying I’ve given some thought to what this means.
For the first time in forever the NEXT place I go, live, stay, adventure….it wont matter how good the school district is or what the property values are or how far of a commute it is to work or school or grocery stores. It wont matter that a great preschool is nearby. It wont matter if its within 30 minutes of soccer fields or tumbling gyms or indoor bounce houses or any of that. ANY of that. It was so very difficult for me to become a Mom. I had MANY miscarriages. The one in the 5th month was the worst. And the most painful. I thought Id never get to be a Mom. So when I became one I was ecstatic and grateful and thought I’d found the identity I’d needed. Wanted. A name to call me- MOM. I have loved every damn second. The tantrums, diapers, potty training, first day of Kindergarten, sleepless nights, swim lessons, soccer games, all of it. All. Of. It. How crazy privileged I’ve been to get to do this parent thing. Some don’t get to.
There’s been a grieving in me for things that wont ever be. I wont ever live near my parents and they wont make every game my kid cheers at and there wont be weekly Sunday dinners with cousins and large family gatherings and accepting that has been hard. And sad. And cathartic. And DECIDING that I get to decide what life looks like now, whats normal, whats ok….took time.
I think we all go through this whole “transitional phase”. Maybe some just slide by it almost unnoticed. Maybe some don’t even blink at it. Maybe some are so happy to be getting on to the next phase of life that its a happy time. Maybe some are sad. Maybe some feel they are losing some purpose and identity as their kids leave. And maybe a few are like me- kind of flailing. Flapping their wings and trying to fly away while keeping one foot in the nest with the kids. Trying to figure out if this is what being “grown up” means. Trying to find what and who you are at this next phase.
Its a strange thing getting older. I feel more confident, sexy, smart, sure footed and calm than I ever did when I was actually younger and prettier and had less wrinkles and was rocking a pair of shorts. Maybe God gives you the nicer body and face when you’re younger to make up for the idiocy that engulfs your brain. I would NOT trade the things I know for the younger body. Not in a million years.
The type A in me wants to know what happens next. Where will I be? Where will I live? Who will be in my life? How will love look? Is it a cabin on a mountain, secluded, just me and the mountains to hike. An occasional trip to the local pub to grab a beer and a conversation. Will it be a little cottage on a beach and days spent running in the sand (ok walking) and a suntan and waves and walks into town for good food. Will it be a condo downtown near all the “stuff” and I can walk to coffee and shops and see people all the time. Honestly any of those sound amazing. As long as there’s no fences. NO FENCES. Not knowing is scary. Not having kids here all the time is scary. Not knowing what life holds is scary. But its also fucking amazing. So just like the day I became a Mom- scared shitless, not knowing what the hell was in front of me, how Id screw this kid up, how Id get through it all…..I get to look ahead at a new phase and be scared shitless….and excited..and anxious…and not know. So I’ll flap my wings a little, test them out, I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll pray and I’ll dance in my socks and I’ll put one foot in front of the other…..because backwards is no place to go.
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CROOKED PATHS AND BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

Someone once told me I was doing it wrong. DOING IT WRONG. It doesn’t matter what “IT” was. I saw a quote that says “Just because someone is on a different path than you does not mean they are lost.” That person who told me I was doing it wrong….she was wrong. She was very wrong. I have made a million mistakes, some bad decisions, said some words I regretted, hurt some people I shouldn’t have, and all of it has me right here, right now. And there’s no place else Im supposed to be.

My High School reunion was pretty cool. I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I realized they have each taken a different path to where they are. Some married, some divorced, some widowed, some with kids, some with no kids. Some who had tackled alcoholism, abuse, heart break…and some dealing with Brain Rot. And you know what…not one of them is doing it wrong. We are all doing it exactly how we know how. Exactly how we can. Exactly they way that is best for us right now. And a bunch of years of stupid, immature, judgement fell away. Just like a robe that falls to the floor. And my shoulders felt light and I knew all that had ever happened to me, around me, was all exactly what brought me there. And the trip was worth the kind words I got from an old friend about how my blog had helped them.
I am not super proud of every decision I’ve ever made. But I think you get to an age where you reflect a lot and my best friend & I hiked yesterday and did some reflecting. I work with teenage girls and people with weight issues. Self esteem and self acceptance are hard to come by in those two groups of people. And for me…it might’ve been hard to come by for a long time. But time has a way of rolling some pretty cool people into your path. And Im reminded of a Cheryl Strayed quote (of course) “PUT YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF BEAUTY MORE OFTEN”. And instead of dodging the scary things, the new people, the new experiences…I choose now to stand and let all the beauty that can possibly be, roll right into me. And Ive learned to like me…just the way I am. All the good. All the bad. All the weird.
All paths aren’t straight. All rules aren’t meant to be followed. All destinations don’t have a one-way-only-to-get-there map. In fact…I now know that most of the fun and most of the lessons and most of the love happen OFF of the path, on the roads not on the map, in the way of beautiful people who have something to show you. Crooked paths are so much better than straight ones. You scoop up all the interesting when you venture off the path.
Feeling grateful today for this moment in my life where I can jump on a plane to Texas when I want to. Go hiking when I want to. Stop into a tattoo shop on a Monday afternoon and get a tattoo when I want to. Maybe the good moments don’t throw themselves at you- maybe you have to look really hard to see them…but man…its worth the effort to look.
Maybe I was lost. Maybe I am lost. But I tell ya what….lost and wandering is a much better place to be than on a straight path to the same place everyone else is going.
Stronger than yesterday.
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LEAP BEFORE LOOKING

Dear Maddie & Andy,

So there’s a few things adults were wrong about. Things they told me when I was young or things I heard. Quite a few things actually but I can’t name them all. A few stick out. And I tell you these things now. That may be wrong. Whatever….as we all know I long ago surrendered my “parent of the year” award. First of all…YOU WILL NEVER EVER USE ALGEBRA. Unless you become some sort of mathematician, teacher, or some career Im too dumb to know the title of…you. will. never. use. it. And trust me….if by some crazy, rare situation occurs that I cannot foresee right now in which you DO need Algebra…..you can google it.

Second…brussel sprouts are disgusting. They are NOT needed for survival, should never have been meant for human consumption and if someone claims to like them you should not hang around that person.
That saying…”sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”…..completely wrong and BACKWARDS. Physical wounds heal. Words hurt. Sometimes so deeply that they never heal. Choose your words carefully.
And most importantly….that saying “LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP”. OK this is where I may get hammered. The following opinion is just that…an opinion…MY opinion. Its taken 43 years to come to this conclusion so maybe you should take 43 years to make up your mind about it but I do want you to know what I’ve learned.
I looked before I lept for a LONG LONG time. In fact…I often looked so long that I never lept. I mulled things over, thought them through, weighed pros and cons of leaping, had panic attacks over what if I made the wrong decision and lept when I shouldn’t….years of this. Years of anxiety over not knowing what decision was right. Worries and concerns about the repercussions of the decision I’d make. What if the leap failed? What if what was on the other side was awful. Or scary. Or worse…what if I FELL? How embarrassing. What if I regretted the leap? What if I hurt somebody or made a mistake or…..lord have mercy what if the PLAN failed. You always needed a plan. A well- laid- out- plan. And spreadsheets and graphs and charts and reasons to and reasons not to….it all needed an order.
And then a motorcycle accident and then Brain Rot and then Hashimotos and all of a sudden the leaping part seemed so easy. How silly. Why in the hell had I wasted so much time on the safe side pondering the “what ifs”. Time….its a funny thing ya know. One day you are 17 making out in the backseat of your car (I hope  my Mom doesn’t read this) and worrying if your “cool jeans” are clean for the next day then BAM…you’re 43 with 2 teenage kids a husband with brain rot and a WHOOOOLLLE lot of responsibilities. Time flies. It. FLIES!!!
So Im telling you there is not time to stand on one side and ponder and wonder and think it through. Im telling you to JUMP. LEAP. LEAP before looking. I know its counter-intuitive. I know it goes agains all of your instincts. I know its scary. But it took me 43 years to realize that you will NEVER EVER regret leaping. You will only regret the time you spent on the safe side wondering……trust me. It may hurt, you may fall, you may get your heart broken, you may fail, you may be embarrassed…in fact I can almost guarantee ALLLLLL of these things. And good Lord I hope them for you. Those are things that life is made of. THOSE are the things that make a heart a HEART, a human a HUMAN, and fill your soul with character. I have no regrets…minus any hurt I may have caused others. I have no regrets about the leaps I DID take. It is VERY true that the only regrets in life you have are the chances you DIDN’T take. So take them all. You may move far away…that hurts my heart…you may date people I don’t approve of…I know that, I accept that…you may make decisions I don’t agree with…as it should be. Find yourself, jump, leap, stray…I will always and forever support that.
LEAP BEFORE LOOKING. Because for all of the scary, horrible, frightening possibilities that may lie on the other side….there just might be something way freaking cool too…and its worth the risk to find out.
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F you Monday

Did you ever have a Monday you just wanted to go back to bed. Curl up in a ball. Disappear?

I hate complaining. I hate complainers. I hate excuses. I’ve made no bones about that stuff. So this blog goes against everything I say I stand for. I wasn’t going to write this. Or at least not post it. We’ll see if I do. I think its important, though to share our struggle. To be honest. To let anyone who might be suffering out there know that they are not alone.

When Im stressed I hold it in my shoulders and neck. It doesn’t help that I have some cracked vertebrae in my neck that flare up once in awhile. So when stress is at an all-time high I can barely move my head. It hurts. Like SHIT. I still workout- because I need to and want to and it is what I do. I woke up today with tears rolling down my face the pain was so bad. But I wake up next to a dude who’s brain is shrinking. Complaining seems idiotic. And selfish.

My business is growing quickly. That is NOT a complaint. I could not be more thrilled with that. I am ecstatic. Its amazing and a blessing and Im so grateful. My “why” for doing this coaching thing isn’t just to “help other people get healthy”. Thats a big part of it. I love fitness and exercise and feeling great. But lets be honest- there’s good money to be made. And with Patrick’s very unknown work future I feel a serious obligation to my family to keep us financially secure. He makes very good money. I have not worked in years. I cannot express how grateful I am to him and to this situation for allowing me to be home with my kids all of those years. I am one lucky girl. So it feels so ungrateful to bitch about the pressure I feel when I know there’s single Moms out there that have been dealing with this for a LONG time. Who never had a supportive partner. But I can’t help but feel the pressure. Im sure my husband has felt this pressure to provide for 18 years. It’s my turn. And lets just say Im great at the “people and parties” part of this job. I love socializing, I love working with my team, I love working with people to find the appropriate fitness program and watching them succeed. The stupid ass taxes and administrative shit can kiss my ass. I don’t do “business stuff”. And now Im forced to. I know- poor poor me…business is doing well so I will deal. Its just me having a bitch session about the fact that I HATE dealing with numbers and taxes and accounting and crap. I went to a party college- and got a degree in Psychology because it required the least amount of math classes. And holy hell I need help because I don’t want to end up like Wesley Snipes and make a bunch of money then lose it because I DON’T KNOW WHERE THE HELL IT IS! OK- rant over about that.

People are relying on me. My kids, my husband, my customers, my coaches, my team. I love that. But it is stressful. My husband has been VERY wobbly this past week. And his speech is worse. It seems to be progressing. I knew it would. But for some dumb reason I ignore it. I love the little world I love in called Denial. It serves it’s purpose. It keeps me sane. It helps my neck. It helps me continue functioning. But he’s getting worse. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it. And it fucking sucks. And 99% of the time Im ok and happy and embracing life and knowing each moment is precious and appreciating it. Today is a 1% day. Fuck you Brain Rot. And I want to call my Dad for help. He’d run here. He’d move here. He’d be here to help me. But I don’t have him. I have me. And when I Iook around for the grown-ups to FIX this. For the support of a more mature person. For a place to fall down and cry while someone else cleans it up I realize there is no one. Its ME. Im the grown up. Fuck.

I got some sweet messages from people about my video I posted on Facebook last week of me dancing in my driveway to my new CIZE workout. Very sweet. And some saying- “wow I could never look that good dancing” or “wow you’re in great shape I could never live up to that”. And I feel like some people get a picture of a perfect girl with a perfect life who’s thin and in shape and happy all the time. I want those people to know that there’s REAL shit in everyone’s life. I am thin. Born this way. Im the bitch who can workout twice and have muscles. I’ve never been overweight. I was too thin at one point due to severe IBS and stomach issues. I feel great now physically- Im healthier than I’ve ever been.. I can climb a mountain. My husband can’t.

And he texts me that the wobbliness is even worse today. And I have 500 things on my list for work to do. And I have 35 messages to return. And a new coach basics group to help run. And new coaches to train. And a kid to take to the orthodontist. And a light bulb to change. And dishes. And laundry. And a health check up for school athletics. And a workout to do and video and post. And so, so , so many other things. And all I really want to do is cry. And go to sleep.

And that is me bitching unnecessarily. Because I know that there are a million Moms, a million people out there who have it WAY worse than me. I get to travel. I have amazing friends. I have a nice house. A great family. An amazing “job”. And it all looks perfect. Perfectly perfect in that dance video. And maybe thats why someone WONT think they can get fit or find their healthy or “look like me while dancing” (good lord aim higher). Dont do that- dont think its all roses. I am one tough ass girl. I am strong willed and capable and I never give up! NEVER! I love my work and I will pour my soul into that. I love my family. I know how damn lucky I am. I don’t dance because my life is perfect. I dance INSPITE of the shit and BECAUSE it is so imperfect. Now Im going to have a cry. Then Im going to put on my big girl Nike Pros and kick this week’s ass. I hope you all do the same. Thanks for letting this girl bitch a little….or a LOT!

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PERFECT MOMENTS

I think I’ve gone through life thinking there is a perfect whole I am aiming for. A goal. A final destination. So Ive hurried through time trying desperately to get to that perfect destination. It took 41 years to realize there is no perfect final destination. There is no final perfect whole. That dumbass saying about life being about the journey and NOT the destination is true. Dammit. It is. There is no perfect whole final destination. But there are some very perfect moments. The secret to life is recognizing them, slowing down, and enjoying them.

Sunday night I drove home from the cheer competition alone with Maddie asleep in the car next to me. It was dark and very, VERY snowy and slick and a bit scary. Just me and the radio for a few hours was nice though. And I looked at her curled up in a ball in her cheer uniform with a blanket and thought…this is one. This is one of those perfect moments. She’ll have her drivers license in just over a year and she won’t need me to drive her anywhere. That is such a weird realization.

I remember when I had Andy and Patrick had gone back to work and it was one of the first days I was home alone with an 18 month old and a 2 week old infant. And I remember rocking him in a chair while Maddie toddled around and for the first time in my life, at age 29, I felt like a Mom. Im not sure why it didn’t hit me like that with Maddie. Believe me I would have killed anyone who harmed my kids. Still would. But that overwhelming feeling of “God I am someone’s mother…I am two people’s mother” hit me in that moment. It was one of those perfect moments of panic and joy and fear and gratefulness all in one.

A few years later I was sitting in my parents driveway in a lawn chair drinking a Coors Light with my Dad. We were the only two outside and Charlie Robison was playing on the stereo (yes the garage stereo). We were discussing politics and music and how to change the world. It was important shit. All the important shit is figured out over Coors Light in a lawn chair. We sat well past dark and stared at the stars. Perfect. PERFECT. Moment.

In the past few years I’ve slowed down. Mentally I mean. And no jokes please. Im just as quick witted as I’ve always been so shut it…I mean Ive slowed my brain down, calmed the rush up there. Its been so nice. I truly honestly enjoy the moments more now. I don’t rush through things like I did. I don’t wish the days away. I don’t hurry. And I like it. Its ironic that this most beautiful and favorite time in my life is also filled with crap. Maddie’s health problems, Patrick’s brain rot. But somehow in the midst of all of that…and maybe BECAUSE of all of that Ive come to accept that there is a sadness in acceptance that your ending may not be the “Happy Fairytale” that you dreamed of or expected. It is sad. But acceptance is good because it leads to new discoveries. There may be no perfect ending…but there are absolutely perfect, beautiful, amazing moments that take your breath away if you let them. If you slow down and SEE them.

I’ve been lucky enough to have many. I had one in college, with an old friend. I had one at my wedding. I had one in high school at a football game while cheering. I had one on a mountain recently. I’ve had 42 years of many perfect moments. I know I’ll have many more. And now I know Ill actually be RIGHT enough and happy enough and slowed down enough to recognize them. And I’d give up a perfect ending any day for a million perfect moments.

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FOUR AND A HALF YEARS

She keeps saying it and I keep glossing over it. But for some reason this weekend it hit me. She is leaving in four and a half years. “Going faaaar away to college” she says. UGH. My stomach HURTS. I swear to you she was just yesterday four and a half years old. We were trying to decide if we should hold her back in Pre-K for one more year since she has a summer birthday. Thank God we did. I got one more year with her. Or this blog could be titled “THREE AND A HALF YEARS” and I’d be having more of a nervous breakdown than I already am.

So in my head I am still about 19. My body sometimes feels every bit of 42 but Im pretty sure Im still the idiot 19 year old girl I once was. How the hell I have a kid talking about college is beyond me. I swear there are days I still wake up and think “shit there are 2 humans relying on me to keep them alive”. But really they aren’t. They are potty trained (for the most part 😉 ), they make their own plans with friends, they shower themselves (mostly), they feed themselves, they come and go as they please and Im pretty much done parenting Maddie. Andy still needs reminding that his teeth are not self-cleaning.

I always heard adults saying “enjoy their childhood it goes VERY fast”. They were so right. I blinked and she was a lady. A person. She’s always been opinionated and wise beyond her years but SHIT. College? She’s asking to visit campuses and discuss what places have what majors and what universities have strong support for women on campus. Seriously? My college search criteria consisted of “what school has bars within walking distance?”. Who’s kid is this?

Looking back on Elementary School it is mostly a blur. All of the grades kind of run together. Literally FLEW by. We are about to register her for High School classes. I will likely vomit during the process. How am I even old enough to have a high school aged kid? Wasn’t I JUST in High School? She gets her driver’s permit in 8 months. Holy Hell. This is all going way too fast at this point. I am so very proud of my daughter. She gets straight A’s in honors classes, is the Secretary of Student Council, is very disciplined in Cheerleading and works hard three to four times a week at practice. She is a decent guitar player and at times I see her be so sweet to her brother when she thinks Im not watching. She truly loves her friends. She is a good person and we could not be prouder. I often say she ended up great DESPITE her Mother but Im just going to go ahead and take a little credit…my mini-me 🙂

Above all of her accomplishments I am most proud of how strong she is. She battles a daily barrage of health problems, weakness, exhaustion and aches and pains that a stupid autoimmune disorder dishes out to her and still pushes on. And God Bless the man who decides to spend his life with her. She is a HANDFUL. Strong-willed, opinionated, and mouthy. I have no idea where that comes from….yes I do. A long line of Ellis/Cannon/Harris women that don’t take any shit. A kind heart and a strong gut.

Four and a half years is going to fly by. I know it. I dread it. Its a funny mixed bag of emotions. A sadness that my sweet first born, beautiful child will fly away from home and things will never be the same. Alongside a swelling pride that I helped raise a person I know is going to change the world. I guess its true that kids are just on loan to us…and the goal really is for them to fly. I plan to enjoy every second of the next four and a half years.

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TOUGH GIRL

You know that saying…Life never gives you more than you can handle? I call total Bull Shit. I know life gives you more than you can handle you just have no choice but to “handle it”. However you can.

My daughter, Maddie is 14 years old. Several months ago she was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism with an underlying autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Disease. Big fancy words for fat swollen thyroid and exhausted ALLLLL the time. The doctor is great…I like her. She’s young and cute and funny and does NOT wear a white coat. These qualities are a must in a doctor. Even my husband’s new neurologist was picked based on these exact qualities. * An aside note- I have fired several of his neurologist based on lack of humor and insistence on wearing that stupid lab coat. HIs new one kicks ass. She even said “shit” in our initial meeting. I hired her THAT SECOND!

So back to Maddie- the medication her doctor put her on several month’s ago was not working. Her thyroid was growing even bigger and her blood work showed it to actually be getting worse. She was more tired than ever and things were not good. So I scheduled an appointment. For Yesterday. And I took her by myself (which I rarely do) but my husband had to tend to our son’s four thousand activities. You people with more than two kids amaze me!

Me, a hospital, and running tests on my kid = a level of anxiety that my Xanax could not touch. But oddly enough I remained semi-normally calm. At least my face did. I might have had a mini heart attack in the ultrasound room as they were scanning her neck for cancer. Yep- cancer. Fuck. After the doctor examined her she felt the need to send us immediately to radiology for an ultrasound of her neck. To look for cancer. Or some other shit-tastic thing that could be causing this. But all I heard was “cancer”.

My entire family has thyroid problems except me. Mine is totally normal. TOTALLY NORMAL. I know this because I just got it checked. My aunt even had thyroid cancer as a teenager. And as my kid laid there on the exam table with someone running an X-ray ball all over her I sat frozen. Three thoughts went through my head. I remembered 15 years ago lying on a table and having a sonogram with Maddie in my tummy. I remember crying because finally I was having a healthy baby after several miscarriages. I remember finding out she was a girl. I remember all the wonderfully fabulous things I wanted for her future and her life. Not once when you’re pregnant do you envision broken arms, braces, boyfriends, hormones, dirty rooms, algebra homework or your kid laying on an exam table at 14 finding out if she has cancer. Thought two was of that scene in Steel Magnolia’s where Sally Field screams “I can run to Alaska and back but my daughter can’t”. The complete gut wrenching inner plea you have with the universe to please allow you to switch places with your kid. I would in a heartbeat. All parents would.

The third thought was of Sydney. Maddie’s friend that died over a year ago from brain cancer. My gut churned and my heart flipped and I came close to vomiting because I could not begin to fathom how her Mom feels. Cancer fucking sucks.

And I will admit that several times today I have wondered what I did to have all of this crap land on us. MY HUSBAND HAS BRAIN ROT. Is that not enough? Really? REALLY?

I often say Im a tough girl. I am. But my definition of tough is putting one foot in front of the other while crying and barely breathing and wanting to lay in a ball and stab someone. Im THAT kind of tough girl. But I am tough. And my amazing kid is tough too. She is SOOOO tough. On the way to the ultrasound room she said “Im not scared of thyroid cancer…I googled it…high survival rate….it won’t kill me for sure”…and then she added “Mom my only real concern is if I have to have chemo & my hair falls out how will I wear a cheer bow at competition?”

Thats MY girl. TOUGH.

And not 3 hours later we get a call from our cool doctor saying “ALL CLEAR”. No cancer. No fucking cancer. Halle-fucking-luyah.

And my heart goes back to all of those people in Children’s Hospital today that I saw who will not get good news. Sometimes life DOES give you more than you can handle. You just have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other. And if it takes pills or drinking or going crazy or counseling or taking up taxidermy or smoking pot or cleansing your aura or acupuncture or speaking in tongues or running away then SO WHAT. Deal with that shit anyway you can. Survive ANYWAY you can. No one in the world has the right to judge you or how you handle things…. NO ONE! And if you do have an opinion of how someone might handle something like this…if you think YOUR way is the ONLY way.…well…Im waiving a very well manicured middle finger at you right now…BLESS YOUR HEART.

Here’s to all those Moms and Dads who will not get a “good news” phone call. My heart is with you. Go punch a wall…sometimes it helps.

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THE PASSING OF THE GUARD: AN ART DESK AND A NEW CHAPTER

I started this Beachbody thing in February 1st of this year so it’s been 8 months that I have been coaching. I love it. I work from my kitchen counter. I don’t love that. We have these swively stools and I sit and stare at the cabinets as I work. My printer is downstairs in the basement. So when I print something I have to run down there. My workout space is also set up in the basement. All of my Beachbody DVD’s, my weights, my yoga mats, my exercise ball, my husband’s weight bench, etc, are all down in the basement.

I also started my term as Colorado Springs Chi Omega alumna Secretary recently. And Im pretty sure my sisters are concerned about their dues checks and membership forms floating around in my chaotic house. Im not exactly what you’d call organized. I may be Type A with my workouts and my social life but not so much in my business life.

My daughter claimed this amazing little nook in our basement when we first moved here for her art supplies and desk. She has a great desk and a bazillion art supplies, paints, brushes, charcoals, sketch papers, etc. We set up the area when we first moved in. She used it quite a bit for awhile. She is in 8th grade now and her interests have changed. Her LIFE is cheerleading. I cannot IMAGINE for the life of me where she gets that!!?? Her little art supplies have not been touched in months. Instead she tumbles across the basement, stretches, back bends, jumps, practices cheers, and coordinates matching hair bows to workout outfits. Oh…and her makeup has taken over the art supplies. 😦 I think I am sad. I am so happy she is growing into such a beautiful, smart, responsible, driven young lady…despite her crazy mother. But a little part of me is sad. The art brushes are all dried up.

I realized recently I cannot function on my kitchen counter. There are Chi Omega alumna forms, checks, and letters everywhere. There are scratch papers with Beachbody notes, my spirals, and my workout schedule scattered on the counter as well. Beachbody and Chi-O have merged to create some crazy sorority workout mess that I cannot keep control of on my kitchen counter.

So I asked Maddie if I could have her nook. Her art nook. She didn’t seem to mind. She just asked that we organize (and by “we” I mean me) her art things and put them in the storage closet. We have 2 HUGE storage closets so there is plenty of room. I spent last night (while she was at cheer) emptying her desk of art supplies and filling it with my spirals and Chi-O forms. I even STARTED a little bulletin board to decorate with inspirational things to hang above the desk.

She came home last night and said “wow you just really evicted me from my nook, huh?”. I asked if she was ok with it. She said yes. She didn’t say much else. I went to bed.

This morning I went down to “work” at my new area and glanced at my bulletin board. Right there in the middle was this big green “child-like” note pinned to it. I think Maddie and I both knew that putting the art supplies away was more than just putting the art supplies away. Time moves too fast sometimes. ENJOY. EVERY. SECOND.

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