Gratitude bites

Change is the very basis of our life, not to be fought, to be welcomed and tasted, to be seen for the gift it truly is.
~ Brenda Shoshanna

Well.  It’s sunday.  I have just returned from a glorious trip to my beloved Colorado.   People, Colorado is heaven.  There are no words, for the beauty, the glory, the loveliness of my home state.  The air…it is so dry, light.  As in not wet.  The horizon, it is so open and full and distant and colorful.  Not a green tunnel.  The houses, they were so large and spacious, the plumbing, the roof tops, so… vivacious.


Yesterday, we flew as a family of five, a family containing a three-year old person (God Bless Us All) from my glorious Colorado after a long visit,  to our home in Connecticut.  I proceeded to apply every ounce of any people pleasing, energy-sapping, procrastinating, doubting, lonely and fearful energy to the road ahead, as we bounced down the runway.  We arrived home, and instead of breathing in our home, taking in the charm, the soft light, the artistic nuances, the brilliant color, the fresh familiarity and promise… I picked a fight with Rick, pouring every particle of fear and heaviness that the months ahead will hold for us into making him feel inadequate, making our home look rundown, making my spirit feel small.

Not good.

It is now that gratitude is necessary. In the moments when gratitude bites, and everything feels impossibly fickle.

A year ago, we moved here.  That word, moving, does not capture what we went through. Or maybe it does.  Move.  Ing.  Movement.  Motility.  Mobility.  I know that many, many people in the world experience this excruciating transforming, called moving.  From the old, to the new. The fossilized, to the green.  The roots were dug up, and we found ourselves in pain.  To be dug up is painful.   It was an acknowledging, that our lives needed new movement, as much as we resisted that change.

We arrived here in the northeast a year ago.  I found myself facing monsters, unearthed from a vault I was no longer able to keep locked.  The August air here was as thick as my fear.  My daughter became ill with a bewildering affliction.  The cracks we had spackled over and repainted in our marriage became fissures threatening to render us in two.  The acknowledgment of my powerlessness was paralyzing, the idea that I was not strong enough, capable enough to withstand a “silly move” across the country filled my body with cement.  I found myself facing a spiritual crisis larger than I had ever known.

I fantasized about walking out of my life.

I found myself weeping into a cardboard box, with a new and passionately destructive mantra:

This is not my life. This is not my life.  This is not my life.

I shocked myself with the depth of my misery, my weakness.  When you choose to move, change, transform something in your life, every problem that has not been addressed, every injury, every insecurity…it will rise to the surface, reveal itself to you for acknowledgement, for repair.  And it did.  Viciously, and without pause.

Apparently, I had been standing on a volcano of suppression, and it erupted at our taunting…our invitation, by moving our family to Connecticut.  I am still in the process of digging out.  We hit our one year move-iversary and while things seem more familiar here in Connecticut, the repeat seasons, the fact we have spent an August here before… the humidity, the rainstorms, the unpacking of suitcases, it floods back to me in giant waves of panic.  Like post traumatic stress disorder.  My scalp has been itchy as the memories barrage me (did I mention that we all got lice during our move?)  A certain sight or smell or taste will trigger a powerful rush of memory of my misery just a year ago.  The site of the weeds in the yard, growing taller than me.  The organizational nightmare of our garage, still housing trashed cardboard boxes. Or the smell of wood smoke wafting from the eighty-four year old chimney after a rainstorm. I am randomly overcome with the remembering of my absolute undoing.

Two days ago, at my parent’s home, we had a dinner with the people closest to us in Colorado. We ate and drank and reminisced and took pictures. The kids made messes in the dress up box and turned dinner into a combined game of duck duck goose and musical chairs.  Periodically an adult would snag a child and trap them in a hug without their permission and the impending close to our visit would loom larger.  And then we said our goodbyes.  Again.

I wiped the tears of my children  with the palms of my hands, I buried their heartbroken sobs into my belly and rubbed their backs and soaked in their sadness.  I kissed my nieces and nephews and hugged my brothers and sisters just as we had last year, on the front lawn of my parent’s house.

Yesterday, we hugged Grandma and Grandpa in the early morning chaos of the airport and flew back again, to the place where the moving must happen.  It is happening now, as I write this, with a lump in my throat.

As we made our final descent  yesterday, I held Stella’s dimpled three-year old hand in mine and felt the airplane speed up to meet the fast approaching ground, and then slow…speed up in a burst, then slow again.  It felt choppy and unpredictable as we dipped lower toward the ground.  I was afraid we would land too hard, the inconsistency would prove to be a danger to our arrival.  Despite the unsteady approach, the ground seemed to rise up to meet us, and we eventually bounced to a roll, roared to a lull, and found ourselves safely…Home.

There has been changes, monumental, and minuscule, in our movement from one place to the next.  But mostly, the change is in the mantra, which has been unearthed from the rubble so far.

This is my life.  This is my life.  This is my life.

And the universe will rise up to support me.

Today I am grateful for:

-a family worth missing

-the softness of Stella’s hand

-the healing properties of spackle

-the reassuring step from the threshold of an airplane on to solid ground


Gratitude Sunday

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins

I am heading into my last week of vacation with friends and family in Colorado, and so I am a bit behind with my posting…but I made this gratitude pledge last week and I am sticking to it!  True confessions, I haven’t done it with my kids this week, but I tend to give myself a lot of leeway on vacation.  On vacation, the kids can pick whatever cold cereal they want in the cereal isle, eat ice cream for dinner at least once, go to bed too late, and eat out of grandma’s red licorice drawer.  So, the daily gratitude has not been introduced, they are too tired and hopped up on sugar to think straight.  (Me too…Ahem).


We are spending the day with this lovely couple, our besties, Shannon and Dean.  We took this picture a year ago on their anniversary, where they threw us a goodbye party at the park.  Today we are helping them celebrate their little girl’s 4th birthday.  Finding good friends is like dating… some friendships are short and intense, some come and go, wane over time, or grow apart.  And some friends are for life, till death do us part.  And today the knowing we have this kind of friendship fills me the gratitude.


So, we’ve moved.  To the northeast.  And it was so, so hard.  If you are reading this blog, you will hear more about this.  After a year of being in Connecticut, the grief and overwhelming disorientation is waning a bit and I can see some of the beauty and fun that we will get to enjoy being in a new part of the country.  But one thing I miss is the amazing horizon and views.  Living in Connecticut is like being in a green tunnel.  You can’t even see the gas station when you exit the freeway.  I miss this gorgeous distant view of the mountains and surroundings.  The ability to see more than a few feet away.  And, let’s not overlook my sweet not-so-little girl, still game for a good snuggle and huge hug.


A note one of my girls wrote Rick for Father’s day…I will insert myself into the message…a glowing endorsement of our parenting skills up to this point.  Gotta be grateful she has such a positive spin on her childhood so far!


Not the greatest in pictorial skills…but are tantalizing pictures of licorice really necessary?  Actually, while I do like red vines, I rarely buy them unless I am missing my mom.  She loves it, and has a drawer full of it in her kitchen, on road trips and vacations she always has some to pass out, and she has no trouble throwing out half a bag to open a fresh one she has stored in the cupboard.  Delish.


We did the Warrior Dash last year.  There is a huge mud pit you have to swim in under barbed wire, and I was pretty grossed out peeps.  I have all kinds of sensory issues.  The idea of having to touch a terra cotta pot makes my skin crawl, so submerging in mud…not my gig.  Thank goodness I have someone to push me out of my comfort zone, because it ROCKED.  The whole experience was so fun, Rick is trying to convince me to do the Tough Mudder next.  But, live electrical wires are part of that experience…and I don’t know that I am ready for defibrillation while fully conscious.  When I feel like getting fried, I will be sure to let you all know.

That’s my five gratitude highlights this week!  What are you grateful for?