Friday, October 12, 2018

Tap tap tap

In 2 weeks, I will have 3 teenagers in my house.

It's unfathomable.... One of the most shocking aspects of parenting is how your children disappear. They evolve and change so much in such short periods of time. You think you know who they are and then...poof. Who they were is no longer who they ARE and you had better pay attention, Mama; you can't live in the past (no matter how much you want to, because teenager years are SCARY AS HELL).

I can't write about them the way I used to. Their stories are theirs and are more personal than before. The funny stuff is still funny, but there are a lot of deep moments lately. I'm adjusting to figuring out how to write about our lives without crossing boundaries... 

Corinne and I spent a long time reading old blog posts together the other day. She and I laughed SO hard and she basically begged me to start writing again... It is incredibly validating to know that the time I spent recording our memories on this blog is already valuable to her. I know it will be important to them some day when they're older, but it's truly wonderful to have it acknowledged already.

Still, I'm a little out of practice. I don't walk around writing stories in my head anymore, like I used to. I've been living offline a lot more which is deliberate and rewarding. I need to find a balance of writing and retaining the current memories while still enjoying our real lives.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mind Log Post

Man, I miss blogging. The blogging of 8 years ago with the community and the constant thought process of recording a moment in time. I love to read through my old posts and feel the memories of moments I HAD forgotten, brought back to the surface of my mind. So much beauty in this life I live... I'm thinking about renewing my attention here, and writing on more regular basis without really worrying about what I'm writing. I would like to have more of these "nothing special" moments recorded, too....

I am so content at this very moment. This moment, with a messy house, dirty hair, and a hot cup of cappuccino (fancy new coffee making present for Patrick = fancy new coffees for ME. Win/win). This is the part of winter that I LOVE. There are 363 days till Christmas!! That is the best feeling in the world. I may enjoy parts of the holiday season, but I really just want to hibernate, avoid talking to people all the time, skip shaving my legs, and wear fuzzy socks. I love this Season of Soup and Hot Drinks and feel so relaxed right now.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

So many Elizabeths

Joanne, Marilyn, Jessie, Ethel, Jennie, Lottie, Mary, Nettie, Salome, Theresa, Carmella, Catherine, Elizabetta, Maria, Elizabeth, Sarah, Anna, Isabella, Rosa, Isabelle, Anna, Mary, Anna, Freny, Anna Maria, Maria Elizabeth, Martha, Lillian, Elizabeth, Abigail, Elizabeth, Abigail, Louisa, Lydia, Experience, Mary, Elizabeth, Margery, Mary, Rebecca, Phoebe, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Elizabeth, Ann, Martha, Louise, Caroline, Barbara, Sarah, Cristina, Brita, Maja, Johanna, Kjersten, Lias, Anna, Elna, Anna, Catharina, Butvi, Lisbeth, Gertrud, and Catharina...

I'm all about connections to the past and how they relate to our present. I gave myself an early Christmas present of a renewed subscription to This month has been spent diving into the files upon files of antique cursive where forgotten ancestors' births and deaths are recorded with startling lack of penmanship (I mean, seriously? Can you not separate and define your letters?). My house has been filled with my shouts of  "Oh my gosh! Look! Here is the actual town in Sweden your 4th time grandfather was born in!" or "Both the father and mother died on Christmas day after drowning in a river horrible!" Responses to my exclamations are met with every type of response from "That's so awesome, Mom," to "You can't cry for everyone, Mom. They've been dead for over 2 hundred years."

Those names up there? They belong to my mother and to all of the other mothers of everyone that has led to my existence (that I can find so far). These women all loved and hoped and dreamed for their babies. Some were probably amazing mothers and others may have lacked, but each and every one of them holds a link to my past. I cannot explain how important it is to me, right now and always, to feel this connection to the world. Continents are crossed and centuries are spanned and it all still leads back to me, sitting in my kitchen in Illinois, raising my own 3 children. Living for a moment before I also pass on into what will someday be thought of as the distant past...

It's incredibly humbling.

*"Experience" wins for the most awesome name of far.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


So, despite the fact that Justin is 18, he only JUST got his license last week and is driving, solo, for the first time tonight. I am NOT FREAKING OUT. Not at all. Just.... Ok. I'm freaking a bit. I mean, holy shit. This is bigger than letting them go to the park or even letting Evan ride the raft down the river with Connor by themselves (I mean, water = drowning). This is a vehicle. On the road. With other people who are not aware that MY CHILD is on the road with them...

Deep breaths. He'll be home soon, and then I can breathe. Until he takes the car out by himself tomorrow, and I have to worry all over again.

Hold me.

Justin starts JJC on Monday in their culinary program and Evan and Corinne will be starting their Sophomore year and 6th grade school work at home on Monday. Life is pretty tame right now and that is pretty fine with me, to be honest.

And so, this is the update for my future self, as I wonder why in the hell I wasn't updating more often as the kids were getting older. Give yourself a break, future self. Remember how hellish this past year has been (or don't, because you deserve a break from the grief, girl) and give your past self a pass. The kids are awesome. Patrick is awesome. You are awesome. Some of the sweeter, smaller moments may not be as well documented as in the past, but that's ok. It's in your head, if only you work a little harder to find it.

Points to spark future memories:

Evan's tone as he jokingly calls me "Maaa-aaa--aaaaah!"

Corinne's obsession with making slime. All the slime. All over the house. Including baggies that spill into her underwear drawer. Sigh.

Justin coming to terms with not going into the Marines and refocusing on culinary school, instead.

IRELAND. Oh, Ireland. (I will definitely write about that trip, because Oh my goodness, the green. The memories...)

LTYM ending. Bittersweet, but timely. Moving onward, as it were.

Evan slowly coming around to being less teenagery and more adult-like when dealing with you. Small favors, sweet Universe. Thank you for them.

Corinne's last moments as a young girl... They're just wisps right now. She's nearly a young lady. It's there, on the edge of the horizon, and it's beautiful, but definitely heart-breaking as her mom. Sigh.

You are teetering on the edge of several life changes... Healthier eating. Healthier living. A sudden consciousness of different desires to live a fuller but simpler life. The amazing coincidence that Patrick is coming into that consciousness simultaneously. Hoping that this change becomes something greater that sticks...

And now I have to go sit by the front window because Justin is leaving his game night and on his way home and I don't want to obsess, but I think I'm going to let myself do it, just this once. He is, after all, my baby.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Breaking the Seal

Springtime always makes me nostalgic. Hopeful, happy, and wistful... This year, with so many monumental changes in my life, just seeing the trees yesterday caused me to out and out sob. I am serious. They were so green, and so fresh! Beside them, the first goslings of the year were toddling about on the newly mown slope that led down to the lake and I lost my shit under a sky so blue it was blinding. With my windows open and upbeat music playing, I had to pull over and let the grief  over the swiftness of life wash over me.

I know I can't hold back the emotions when they hit. At least, not for long. If I am feeling overcome, keeping my tears inside doesn't help anything. It's such a release to just bawl, knowing it won't be permanent. Just as nothing in the springtime lasts for much longer than a moment, my pain for everything I have lost (and am going to lose) doesn't have to stick around too long, either.

I hadn't really gotten emotional during our read through's for the Listen To Your Mother show. I mean, I was really upset in August when I learned of the upcoming ending, but it was still in the distant future and I was overwhelmed with so many other losses, that this one didn't take precedence. The other day, Melisa and I read through the final version of our script and the last words that we will ever read on stage and...nothing. I didn't cry.

"Crap. I really need to cry," I told her. I knew that if it didn't come out beforehand, it would be too much on stage on May 7th. I needed a pre-cry!!

I started listing all of the things that I would miss about the show, and all of the people I was in contact with that I wouldn't be talking to as much, and that I probably wouldn't ever be working with her on a project again (she moved to Knoxville!)... And then the seal was broken. It isn't the stage, or the attention, or the sharing of my own stories that I will truly miss (though I love all of that, so very much). It is knowing that this portion of my life, with constant contact with people that I love, will be over.

And I'm ok with it. I AM. Shut up. I AM. Just like I'm "ok" with my kids growing up and life changing and, gulp, the death of my dad. I'm ok with it in that I have no control over any of them, and so I HAVE TO be ok, otherwise...what would I be?

The sheer beauty in the greenness of those trees and freshness of the goslings is the impermanence of it all. Life is precious because it is fleeting. If my babies were to be babies forever, the joy of new discoveries wouldn't exist. I treasure the peaks of joy in life because they are just that: peaks, surrounded by valleys. Up and Down and up again...

I cry a lot. I always have. I feel the moments pass and the emotions overwhelm me. Joy and pain are just opposite sides of the same coin and I KNOW that I cannot have one without the other. And so I choose to enjoy this moment in my life. Climbing this current mountain of hope and happiness and trying to enjoy all of the small moments that Life presents to me.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Oh hi. Still alive. Still struggling.

Currently in a state of flux as Justin is now 18 (and I didn't write him a birthday letter and I'm going to feel some serious guilt over that. I need to write SOMETHING for my firstborn child), and the house is in disarray from trying to finish projects, start projects, and plan for 437 activities/vacations/responsibilities all at once.

I decided that RIGHT NOW was the best time ever to finally save my old VHS home movies onto DVD and digitize them. So, I've been on a memory lane bender for the past week, wondering where my babies are. I am actually serious when I say that I am angry that they aren't here anymore. They were here, in my arms, and now they're different people. Completely different people. I had that magical period of time and now it's gone and I'm pissed off. I love their personalities now, don't get me wrong, but my babies/toddlers/young children were insanely special people who have left forever. Yeah, I've cried. Ironically though, I have only cried a few times when I see my dad on video. I'm actually super grateful to have all of these moments on film to replace my final memories of him being so very sick. And if I can erase the final time I looked upon his face from my mind completely, that would be awesome.

Anyway. Sitting in a house with boxes and laundry and random shit. Feeling overwhelmed and ready to just throw it all away (which I've actually been doing a lot of lately. But I'd be happy to just take a box of photos and videos and maybe a spare change of clothes and LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND).

deep breaths. Trying.

Where's the sun?

Friday, January 06, 2017

New Year

Christmas came and went and we survived, even though it sometimes hurt so badly I couldn't see. And then it didn't hurt and then it did and and then it didn't and back and forth and the waves keep coming...

Life. It is so incredibly messy and twisted. We build these foundations of "security" that are just fabrications. Our minds cannot cope with the knowledge that everything is absolutely impermanent, so we create little security blankets of twisted bits of thread. The illusion of control and safety is what allows us to rise each morning and move through each day, working and cleaning and fiddling our lives away with the unimportant necessities that living in a society require. All the while we are holding this threadbare-blanket over our heads, like toddlers in our cribs, hoping to keep the monsters away.

There is a huge, gaping, ragged hole in my blanket and I am unsure if I even want to try to stitch it together again. If I keep staring through the holes in my safety blanket, if I acknowledge the monsters every morning, perhaps the inevitable destruction they WILL bring won't be as much of a shock. As I've always said, and thought I understood; it's not IF someone dies, it's WHEN they die. If I am truly grateful to see someone each time we get together, knowing that it's never a guarantee, will it help to keep my eyes open to the fragility of this entire experience on Earth?


Separate brain rant: If I hear one more person compare the death of their loved one to something mystical and beautiful, I MAY JUST SCREAM. It was not peaceful, it was not beautiful. I did not feel grateful that he finally left and that his pain was over, because the pain didn't go away, it just transferred to all of us. Death from cancer was messy and ugly and cruel. It took so much from him and us and took so incredibly long... Knowing that people are experiencing our pain right now, every day, over and over again, just rips me up.


And now it's 2017 and it's a new year and the end of the year that my father last lived. 2016 was his last year, and that year is over... And I honestly just want to take one more picture with him.

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