Without Notice.

What’s the most important thing in life? I have to ask this sometimes before I think to open my mouth or use my heart to make decisions. I have a big heart, so big that the broken parts can’t support the stable parts and often it just all feels bruised. I want to respect the people who treat me well and it’s so very few people that it shouldn’t be a hard task. It just feels so impossible. I don’t want to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing or make any promises I can’t keep. I’m the most decisive when I am fueled by pain, hurt and loss. I have lived my entire life completely selfless or completely selfish as a rebound for the former. I need to find a grey area. I need to be treated right by the right people and be happy with the decisions I make. I’ve only ever watched people be completely selfish, which has only ever made me want to be an example of complete selflessness, all while being attracted to those selfish people. When life hurts, I join them. How better to guard myself from feelings than to think only about myself and what I need. No one ever got anywhere in life selflessly. Clearly, letting people in only hurt so now it’s time to think just about me, until of course I end up alone again to reassess whether selfishness was really the way to go. It’s a never ending cycle and I don’t know the right way to live. While I have found love so many times and have been loved by so many amazing people, I find myself hurt, sad and disappointed more times than I care to count. Ending up completely alone because I refuse to be treated poorly never feels like a total loss. It’s better to be right than be happy and it’s better to be alone than to be disrespected. Its especially easier to be angry than to be despondent. Feeling alone while sitting next to someone is the worst feeling I’ve ever had. I’ve felt it with my parents. I’ve felt it in relationships. I’ve felt it with my kids, at stages. At least with them, I know that they will grow out of those stages. I refuse to live always lonely but never alone. Is there a way to fix the pain of raising a child all alone? Is there a way to fix the empty feeling that is waking up next to a baby and being the only one there staring at her beautiful face, cuddling her beautiful body and putting her back to sleep, night after night. All alone. I don’t wonder if there are words anymore. I know that there aren’t. I tried the words thing more than I ever would have normally. I blame the hormones because I’m really NOT a fighter, or a talker even. I cared a lot, but it didn’t get me anywhere. I see the truth. I’m not stupid. I don’t know what’s next, but I won’t stop loving and I don’t blame anyone, not even myself. I don’t think life was supposed to be easy. It seems as though, daily, I am faced with the reminder that it all could end without notice. I am thankful. I am grateful. I know that I am blessed.  I will keep going.

The thing is …

The thing about things is, they are just things. They’re never going to bring you back to relive a moment in the same way. The first time is the only time you can experience a memory the right way. You can relive it in your mind, sure, that’s healthy and hopefully you were present enough in the moment to realize that it was one of those moments to really hold on to. Hopefully you weren’t buried in your phone or thinking about what’s for dinner.

I’m always present, maybe it’s a problem sometimes because I miss moments while they’re actually going on, I get emotional in wishing I could make moments last forever. There are a handfuls of blessed moments I will never let go of in my mind and my heart. There are more terrible ones, for sure. One of the good ones was the last song at my wedding when everyone that I loved that I had been collecting my whole life gathered around in a circle and we danced and high fived our way into a new chapter. Their acceptance, their love, their smiles, the laughter, the music and sounds can never be duplicated, purchased or bottled. Keeping my wedding dress in my closet to never be worn again isn’t going to bring me back to that moment better than my vivid memory. 

I remember coming home with my first baby, laying in bed, looking at the miracle of life we had created, it was quiet, there wasn’t a plan for the day or anything to do that was more important than just being present. I can still smell her skin and remember the feeling of love like I had never felt before in my whole life. The feeling of peace, purpose, success and health. That complete feeling doesn’t get diminished or changed because I didn’t save the outfit my baby was wearing. 

My kids draw pictures and write me notes everyday. I adore them. I often keep my favorites around for quite a while and I take pictures of them to refer back to for the rest of my life. Do I hesitate throwing them away later? No. Not ever. I touched them, I acknowledged them, I loved them and they mattered to me, they still do and that’s why I took a picture. What I think is so much sadder than throwing something like that away is cataloging it in millions of Rubbermaid boxes in the basement to be either looked through in a sorrowful heartbreak moment of times gone by, or worse .. to overwhelm your space and your life and to never be gone through again until you need the space and have to make the heartbreaking choice to get rid of them for good. This time, however, you’re asking your kids, your relatives, your storage company if they give a shit to take them off your hands and love them the way you do. They won’t. Those memories mean so much less to everyone else because they’re yours. 

Yeah, it’s more than possible that I’ve watched too many (all in fact) of my loved ones hold on to things and homes as if that’s who they are and that’s all they have. I have watched them spend endless hours going through boxes of memories, sad to think about making space for more, devastated that they can’t take it all to their grave. These people are overwhelmed with feelings. They’re overwhelmed with clutter. They’re overwhelmed with in your face good, bad and missed memories. Those feelings weigh them down like a ton of bricks and it becomes too late to handle it in an afternoon, a year or even several years. 

I get it. I’ve been there. You can’t be raised by people like that and not have caught the bug yourself, at some point. Cleaning my room as a teenager was daunting, difficult and just made me want to eat a bunch of ice cream and quit for the day. After all, I didn’t only inherit the collector vice, but I was also blessed with the power to eat all of my feelings. Lucky me. As long as I could sit around a room full of unopened, rare action figures of my favorite horror movies, mint condition Care Bears, old notes from friends and lovers, empty bottles I thought were cool, 400 movies, 1000 books, a closet full of shoes, 80% of which I’d never wear again .. man, it almost felt like I wasn’t alone. I was SOO alone though and when it came to throwing a thing away, changing something or letting go of emotions that were attached to all of those things, I’d never felt more emotional and more alone. Maybe, if I just ate a bunch of garbage that didn’t make me feel better, I could hide behind the idea that I deserved to be alone or that I didn’t feel like or want to be seen or heard. After all, I subconsciously, yet very purposely and literally made myself too sick to do anything but sit around in the overwhelming environment and emotions that made me make myself sick in the first place. 

For actual hundreds of years I’ve been witness or privy to my family being held prisoner with the impossible and isolating burden of keeping a business afloat on their own, keeping an old house warm, together and cared for, keeping land in the family. This has actually killed them. Like walk out to fetch some wood for the fire and never come back, killed them! 

Loving a property, a business, stuff, a town, land … it isn’t love. It’s possession and you aren’t the one who is in possession. The things are in possession of you and they will weigh you down enough to kill you. 

It is my choice to live my life feeling light, living in the light, not being burdened by things and stuff that can only weigh me down. 

That’s the thing. 

There are no mistakes.

For anyone who ever thought they made a mistake and anyone that ever thought they were a mistake ….

There is this idea that a child can be a mistake. I don’t buy that. 

One in four pregnancies miscarry, that’s without the medical need to end them, which brings the odds of success even lower. 

A woman is born with all the eggs she will EVER have. An egg can only be fertilized 12-24 hours in a month! Leaving a very short window for even the most fertile of people. 

Each time a man ejaculates he releases 100 million sperm! They are all different genetic codes and different genders! 

Let’s go back ….

A woman is born, somewhere. A man is born, somewhere. Somehow, they meet. Somehow, they like each other. Somehow they find themselves together, intimately. 

Whether they were trying to create life, or not, their dna combined. 

Not only were they healthy enough to have the parts that made it work, but the timing was right. The match was right. 

After months of waiting to see what they created, they look at that baby … it’s unlike any baby in the whole world. They made THAT match. Any other couple, any other sperm, any other month, day, hour and she wouldn’t be who she was. She is unique. 

Circumstances may not always be perfect. But that baby was meant to be. With billions of obstacles in her way, she is here, never the less. You can’t tell me that was a mistake. She is a match, a miracle and a life that was meant to be created.

Some of us were raised by loving parents. Some of us were raised by parents that hate each other. Some of us were raised by only one parent. Some of us were raised by relatives. Some of us were abandoned. Some of us were adopted. Some of us were barely raised at all. But ALL of us were meant to be. 

That’s science. 

Sitting, hollow.

I think too much. It doesn’t help that I sleep never because of diabetes, discomfort and the fact that I think too much!

I think about my life. I think about the choices I’ve made. I think about the regrets and the future. I can’t pinpoint or label either.

It’s hard to decide if I have regrets. I have a lot of love in my life, more than most. I have been blessed with three beautiful children. I have the most incredible life partner and best friend a girl could ask for.

I have hurt people. There is zero excuse for that. I can find many, but none justify the behavior and I’m not proud in the slightest. I have never hurt my children. I refuse to hurt my children. I will always try to do right by them. I am SURE they will find faults with many things I have done when they grow up. They’re human, after all.

When I think about the future, I don’t know what will come of it. I’m scared, honestly. Scared I’ll continue making the wrong decisions, thinking they’re the right ones. Scared that maybe two years from now I’ll be laying in bed just like this, wondering how I could have messed things up so badly.

Today he reminded me of when she was sick and we didn’t know what was wrong. He told me how he’ll never forget that he gave her a popsicle because she wouldn’t eat. That he’ll never forgive himself because in doing so, he made her sicker.

In that moment, when all those memories came flooding back, I just knew … I’m so fucked up.

I don’t know how to fix these feelings and if I bring myself back to those days, it feels as if my bones are hollow and my muscles are mush. It makes me want to puke. It makes me want to cry. But all that really happens is I sit there, still, and I become an emotionless statue.

While he’s talking about those days, as I sit there hollow …. she’s in the back seat. She’s healthy. She’s so happy. She’s asking me to turn up the already very loud music. It could have been so different.

Part of me will never leave those vivid days where I knew something was wrong and I tried to find out, but no one knew what to do and I couldn’t help her.

Part of me will always remain hollow and all of me will always feel guilty about the way I can’t fully appreciate the fact that she’s still here. I’ll always feel guilty about the way I’ve dealt with not knowing how to deal with it. I’m just still so fucked up.

Maybe it’s the wind.

Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the wind, maybe it’s overwhelming emotional exhaustion, maybe it’s the gluten I ate because I hate myself. Whatever the reason I dream the way I do, I am very thankful. Today I woke up with a smile on my face, I was dancing with my grandfather. He must know that I need him. It’s weird to believe in those things. Like he can see me and he knows that I need him, but I’m really starting to believe it. I’ve lost so much and I’ve felt so alone in all of it. Dancing with him in the kitchen while making breakfast is exactly what I needed. Nothing is fixed but the thought that maybe one day I’ll dream like that again, the thought that those memories and love have existed in my life, it helps. He must have known that it would. 

Losing people to death is hard. It’s very final. There’s nothing you can do. I don’t dream to compare the pain of loss of any kind. Every kind of loss is painful. I’ve dealt with all of them. The worst pain that I’ve had to deal with is the realization that things aren’t good anymore. No one died, but everything changed. The change wasn’t death so you’re thankful, but nothing is the same. The person you knew and the life you knew is completely over. That loss lingers harder than a New England winter. That in your face, freeze your soul kind of loss is staring you in the face every single day. Remembering the way it once was is beyond your control. Your interactions are different and you can’t help but compare it to the way it used to be. I don’t want a life that feels that way but I do understand why the beginning of death often feels that way. 

It’s a cruel twist … aging, sickness and death. It almost doesn’t feel fair to anyone, but it’s quite understandable. People get sick, weak, frail, they start to hate the pain and not being able to do the things they once did. They get used to the idea of death. Their loved ones get used to it in the same way. When they go, they’re gone. It feels like an empty place in your heart but your brain can wrap around it accordingly. Immediately you feel as though, if they couldn’t be who they used to be, who they wanted to be, then maybe it’s better that they get to be without pain and sadness.

I smiled about my dream of my grandfather dancing with me in the kitchen. It was all happy. There was no wishing he was here, just wishing that dream could last longer. When he was here, he was weak and the sadness of who he once was could fill a room. That dream though … That dream wasn’t a dream at all, but reassurance that that man was always in there, the whole time and somewhere he still is, even if it’s only within me. 

A different kind of alarming …

It’s four o’clock in the fucking morning, but that part doesn’t matter, seeing that I haven’t had a 20 minute stretch of sleep since I got into bed at seven pm. You see, I’ve been awake dealing with diabetes alarms …. which ones? EVERY FUCKING ONE. Highs, lows, lost signals, suspensions, her phone, my phone, his phone and some how an actual constant siren alarm blasting 100 decibels into his fucking ear. No, of course he didn’t wake up to that … and yeah, it made me think this hell of a night was almost over because why in the fuck would someone have an alarm set like that if it wasn’t time to wake up for work? … I guess I’ll have to keep guessing until morning because it was 3 fucking thirty AM! 

Never have I felt the need to blow off steam in the middle of the night like this. The need to drive a buck twenty down a north country road with the loudest metal my subs can pump before they blow. The urge to fuck and get fucked, until walking is off the table for a week (on a table, even better). The need to run seven miles, as fast as I can, in 25 degree weather until I see stars and/or break a leg off. 

Oh, but instead I’m going to lay here, blood boiling, head filled with “what the fuck am I going to do with my life” thoughts because I’m not only the keeper of this little girl that has no idea how fragile she is;  I am also the vessel for another precious human life. I love them. I love them more than I could ever love myself. I love them more than getting fucked, driving fast, running at lightening speed or anything else for that matter. 

Here I am, justttt reflecting. A life of making all the right decisions. Working my ass off since I was ten, making sound financial investments, getting rid of every man that was bad for me, getting the best education, throwing out all bad habits with drugs, drinking, food and worldly possessions. Never falling apart in body, spirit or mind, no matter what came at me .. because I swore I wouldn’t be like them.  

Them? Everyone. I was better than everyone. My mom. My dad. His mom. His dad. Who is he? Doesn’t matter. All of them! I was better than all of them. I wouldn’t fail. I couldn’t fail. In fact, I was so busy not failing that I forgot why I thought they were pathetic failures in the first place. Until, of course, last night … or was that tonight? I can’t even google the answer to that one. 

There I was, whenever that was, in my fathers house. The one he has been throwing millions of dollars into, his entire life, because it was his parents. God forbid he live his own life and let down those dead fools, who were never even any good to him anyway. 

My kids are running around, begging me, every three seconds, to take some garbage toy home with them. Another floor ornament I can look forward to making disappear in about a day, once it’s been ignored, starting one minute after they, proudly, get me to agree to take it home. 

My dad isn’t even there. He’s in Massachusetts for yet another doctors appointment. My brother is there, taking care of the house and the business that can attribute to 97% of my father’s health issues in the first place. Yeah … my Dad, stubborn, unhappy and alone in a large, old house inhabited, crowded even, with wayward, halfwit failures in their own right. 

There’s my brother. It’s like looking in a mirror. Every. Single. Time. He’s on his phone, trying to get the internet to work, desperate to escape into his video games, but still happier than I’ve seen him in a million moons. He’s already escaped from his domestic responsibilities for the night and now it’s just us in the kitchen. Life was always good when it was just us in the kitchen. 

We aren’t any better than one another and neither of us are really better than our parents. Maybe we are a little different. That’s just it. We are different. Different kids of unhappy. Different kinds of failures. Different things to run away from, but barely. We feel comfort when we are together because when we are alone, without our families, it’s … different.

When you’re kids, you’re just kids. You are exactly who you are and you can’t hide it from your siblings. You knowww them. Standing in front of them, no matter how much time has passed, you will be stripped down to your true self. You see each other more than anyone else could ever see you. You aren’t parents. You aren’t home owners. You aren’t workers. You aren’t successful or worthless. You aren’t smart or dumb, rich or poor, pretty or ugly … you’re just you. 

When you get a little older you try to focus so hard on what you think you should be like. What you wish your life will turn into. Some of us work towards it. Others give up before they start. None of us really end up exactly, genuinely, ourselves. We are still searching a little bit to figure out what it was that we were fighting for the whole time. What if this picture we wanted our life to be wasn’t at all what it was cracked up to be? What if somehow we lost our true selves while fighting to succeed in a cut throat, judgmental world where our harshest critic is ourselves … Or, what’s worse, maybe we never tried. Maybe we thought we were good enough from the jump and we never allowed ourselves to change into anything better because we didn’t see it as better … 

I may never figure out what I want to do with my life. Certainly not before the next alarm goes off at five am, FUCKING WIND CHIMES whyyyyyy .. 

I feel annoyed. I feel blessed. I feel right. I feel wrong. I feel overwhelmed and completely in control at the same time. But there isn’t one feeling better than when it’s just us, alone in the kitchen. 

Time, Money, Heart.

I’ve always had this sort of obsession with looking good on paper, both literally and figuratively. Like yeah, it doesn’t hurt to look good in your license picture. I will admit I have delayed getting a picture taken on a bad day. Let’s be honest, they always end up just terrible, regardless. It was always HAVING the license that really made me smile. I remember when I got my first job, (not on the farm) at the ripe age of 13. I remember what it was like to have my first bank book far before that, at about eight years old. I remember my first paper checks (what are those, right?). I remember my first American Express Card. I remember filling out all the paperwork. God I LOVE paperwork. This feeling of paying bills, having a passport, license, registrations, applications, credit cards, asset accounts, insurance documents, diplomas and degrees; It made me feel like a person. Equity, organization and the ability to have the means to get something done has always been my most urgent focus in life.

I am more than positive that my need for being a success on paper was derived solely from feeling like a scattered mess as a child. Having no control, as a child, made me want to be an adult as soon as possible. I grew up too fast and took everything too seriously. As an adolescent, I strived for significance far beyond my years. I craved a significance that embodied a structure and control that I was desperately seeking in my childhood.

I have always felt that if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backwards. I procrastinate for motivation. I reach further and further than I even need to so that I can catch up with myself. I wholeheartedly believe that the most fierce competition should be with oneself.

As I grow older not much changes, except that I’m not as worried with where the next money will come from. I don’t do this because I’m delusional. I do it because I now know what matters more. I know that if I work hard as much as I can, whenever I can the money will eventually come. Just as they money comes, it will go away. That’s the lesson in life about money .. it comes and it goes. Time, however, time just .. goes. You don’t get more time.

There’s always a point to working hard, making investments and being smart with money. There no point, however, in stressing about something that you can’t control. You’ll never be able to control the price point of the things that you need or want … so if you need it or want it enough … buy it and shut up. If your family needs it or wants it .. buy it and shut up. If you have a slow day at work, remember there will be busier and more lucrative days in the future, just like there were in the past, enjoy the pace and shut up!

I am old enough to have watched people die, too many times. On one’s death bed they are never worried about that slow day at work 15 years prior or how they needed to budget a little more on certain months. They never tell you about how they regret making too much money or too little money. No. If there are any regrets to be spoken of , they are the regrets of lost time and lost relationships. Rarely is it about what they look like on paper, but more how their families and friends see them in their heart.

I have small children. I do not have all the answers. I do know that I would like my children to be motivated and determined to make something of themselves. I expect for them to learn these things about money, time and heart on their own. Far beyond what I want to teach them about the importance of education, infrastructure and success; I want them to know that it is all going to be okay. Is that hippy of me? No. (and ew, never) I believe that my kids will be far more successful if they do not hear the adults in their lives being a slave to work, time, money, price points and the constant battle to look better on paper than the day before. There will always be more money … there will never be more time.