Wanderess

With every trip around the sun that I get the privilege of experiencing, the more evident it is to me that I am a collector. A gatherer of emotions.

A large segment of my soul thrives on capturing feelings. The emotions incarnated by people, places, and even things. It’s an inner craving to feel this life, and an addiction of mine to translate my experience into words. Writing them onto paper is a driving force and an act ignited somewhat by fear. My family genetics do not guarantee that I’ll get to keep the memories I’ve cultivated. Words like Alzheimer’s and dementia are true threats, both of my grandfathers suffered and passed separately from each. For me, writing feels proactive, a strategy that will ensure that my memories, the love I’ve felt and written for people and places, the words that hold my life, live beyond any disease.

After I came back from Maui last year, I came across a word. A name. It sat in a quote written by Roman Payne, and it was enchanting. It was the first time I truly tasted an inhale, the breath needed to dance the syllables of the word off my tongue. I know that must sound strange, but it’s the only way I can describe it. It held life, the same as the inhale.

The word?

“Wanderess.” It connected with every little fiber of my savage heart. I’d found a slice of myself in that word, and if I had to define what the word wanderess encompasses for me, I’d say it’s the endless chase–I’m not lost, or without–rather being led by an inner flame set to pilot, but in constant search of kindling.

Certain people and places are my kindling. My husband. My daughters. My family. My home. Colorado, and the ocean. These people, places stoke a fire within me, setting my heart ablaze.

The ocean, sigh. Eight days ago, after a five-day girls’ trip, I left the ocean and it felt like agony. The emotion was confusing, and quickly guilt arose. Motherhood and even wifedom can be a soul’s ruthless opponent. After all, I was returning to the five loves of my life, my family–the very highlights of any legacy I can craft–and surely I am relaxed and elated, and to every degree that matters I was, and by every degree that contradicts your conscience I was also sad.

I love the ocean. To be honest, it’s a certain type of love affair. After a week of separation, the first glance, feel, and sound of it is still a pristine recollection. I can vividly recall my first step onto the fluffy surface of the white sand, the soothing rustling of waves lapping the shore in the distance, and even the squeal of elation that left my throat.

The sting of the sun, the burn your bare irises incur from the sparkling reflection of its rays upon the rolling waves–the view infinite. To wear sunglasses feels like an injustice. It’s a view you want to see, capture. The way your feet melt into the sand, its swift caress between your toes. The soft glide as it brushes across the bridge of your feet, and caves under your step.

The lick of ocean water at your ankles, and the power you feel as you submerge yourself fully. It envelops you, enticing you to follow the wave receding from your body’s grasp. The taste of salt on your tongue, and the bite it invokes when it invades your eyes. How all renders nearly silent save for the white noise of water shattering against itself over and over.

The ocean is an incarnation of emotion. A seamless paradox, and my wanderess heart is forever captivated, held without touch. ❤

Love Affair

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There are so many love affairs in this life. For instance, I have an ongoing love affair with thin mint Girl Scout cookies—I will selfishly not share the box(es) I buy and honestly, I normally consume, in one sitting, enough to kill a diabetic. It’s wrong, I admit it. But thin mints are literally too legit to quit (and if you love them too, we probably can’t be friends because I won’t share. Period. Worse, I wouldn’t be above stealing them from you. Also, I’d make no apologies about said stealing either.  #sorrynotsorry)

I also have a love affair with music, more preferably my apple playlists.  The quote, “can’t explain, but I’ll find a song that can” has almost become the mantra of my life.

But most importantly, I have an ongoing love affair with my tribe of women. These are the women who give me life.

As a collective whole, they offer the best entertainment (the laughs that rival any ab circuit), advice (with wine), and therapy (that doesn’t cost $150 an hour and is just as golden).  They let me exist in a space free of judgment, but have no qualms about telling me when I’m wrong without abandoning me, or chalking me up as a lost cause–even when I play the same broken record on repeat.

These women’s shoulders have held my sobs and squeezed me just as tightly when I succeeded as they do when I failed.  This circle of women, these beautiful souls, fill the emotional gaps that exist in marriage.  This pack of fierce lady wolves have grown me, celebrated me in ways I could never repay.  And my life is so much better for it.

Half a year into my thirties, the truest gift I’ve learned to date, would be understanding that women are one of the most beautiful creations. Period.  We are all things gorgeous, better we get “it” and the ugly. And best, we can speak to it.  There is nothing in this world like having a tribe of women who love, support, uplift, and honor women.

And as the mother of four daughters, this is a celebrated truth I wish to impart on my daughters–the liberation, power, and love that comes from the bond of having a strong connection to a tribe of trusted women is a sacred gift.  It’s a love affair that rivals very few others.

If I celebrated all of my tribe in this blog post…it would be a tomb and most likely take Proust’s Guinness record, so in lieu of that…I’ll settle on highlighting one.  Strictly because if not for her, I don’t know that I would love women how I love them today.  In truth, because of this, this woman has made me a better mother–which is an invaluable gift.

To date, I haven’t written about her specifically, probably because she’s the thin mint of friends, and I’m not good at sharing those. Ever. (And in a sick way, I’d hurt anyone that steals her. She is mine. *insert the knife emoji here*)

But, I have to celebrate her…it’s how I love.  It wasn’t until my twenties that I understood that a loving rhetoric, words of affirmation, was my default love language for all of my relationships. I believe we should celebrate individuals for who they are versus trying to hide who they are not.

I love through words in all aspects of my life. And because of that I can often be that “person” that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives: the inebriated friend that will make an incessant declaration of love, usually tearfully reciting how much they love a person…except I’m not drunk when I “overshare” why I adore a person. #imkindofalunaticbutlovemethroughitokay

I think it’s partially derived from the word loving harpy within me (that imaginary sparkly crown wearing, tequila wine consuming, type B personality, “I’ll keep you wild” woman that flits and dances on a string of romantic and cruel words inside my skull, and who is constantly at war with “domestic Sarah.” She makes me fun, but oh so hard to love at times).

But Melissa has loved me through all of it and still to this day, answers my phone calls.

I can’t remember the first time I met her (which family function it was). Nor remember having an epiphany that she was the ultimate friendship goals when I hugged her at my wedding, after saying “I do” to her sister’s son.

Truth was, I didn’t know over the course of the next decade that I’d grow to deeply adore and love this woman on a level that is two seconds shy of creepy.  Honestly, I think I fell in love with her and she had no choice but to be my close friend.

By fate, our husbands’ careers brought us together and often kept us in the same towns.  And as a result, I clung to her.  Which means I probably invited myself over, arrived at lunch, and then was that awkward friend that way overextended their stay (yep, I probably stayed past dinner, too) but (if I did that) I couldn’t help it.  She is one of those people…you crave their presence.  And finally, after a decade of friendship, I think I’ve finally figured out why I’m so captivated by Melissa.

She is that woman, the alluring one who owns every piece of her existence. I haven’t met anyone, to this day, that owns “human” like her.

And being witness to the sight…it’s enchanting.  She doesn’t waste time mulling over imperfections, plotting bullshit, tearing anyone down, obsessing, or being a victim of anxiety.  She just lives.

Yet, she is a vivacious conundrum, because she is the most laid back person I know.  She is beautiful, an awesome mama and wife, has the soft soul of a hippie (and is always the giver to anyone in need), holds the wisdom of a 100-year-old grandma that has lived an exciting life and learned from it and isn’t afraid to share what could rip your heart or bless your soul.  She holds an inner spark of life that makes her the life of the party, but only when she chooses.  She doesn’t own an ounce arrogance–it’s part of her enchantment.  She is everything and assumes nothing.

And she is fun. Cool girl meets wallflower with a touch of mischief.

The gift of her friendship has broadened what it means to me to be selfless, showed me that thoughtfulness and openness is a responsibility to self, but so is self-respect, and taught me the art of accepting others without compromising your values.

She lets me cry, whine, bitch, and bitch some more, constantly pulls me back from the ledge, let’s me talk politics, answers all my questions I have about faith and “what does the bible say about that,” has infinite patience with all my crazy antics (like the time I called telling her that I needed help, because Trav had buried his truck, up to the frame, in mud.  Thirty minutes later, she showed up, in the pouring rain, with two shovels.  After a solid hour of digging in the cold pelting rain and trying not to fall face first in the mud and getting absolutely nowhere, she said, “Sis, I hate to tell you, but I don’t think we’re going to get it.  But if you think we can, I’ll keep digging.”

Or the time I threw Trav an 80’s themed birthday party and asked her, dressed like a hot 80’s groupie, if she could please pick up the food at the caterers and she didn’t bat one eye–even when this meant walking into the speciality grocery store, filled of clueless people, looking like she just got done partying hard at Woodstock–green eyeshadow and crimped hair to say the least.

From being pregnant at the same time (me with my first and her with her last), for being a solid fixture (I will talk you through this) in every rough patch I’ve experience in adulthood, to choosing to stand for me against those you loved, for our Ada and Ardmore days, our vise nights, every room you’ve helped me paint and all the furniture you’ve helped rearrange, the f.u.n. we had at Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke concerts, for helping me move several times (and all the labor intensive projects I’ve roped you in and never once have you ever complained), for watching my beauties any. time. I. needed. you, for it all…

Melissa, you are one of the great loves of my life and I am so thankful for you.  For your love.  And your friendship.  Thank you for being such a subtle vixen, a true paradox, who I immensely admire!

I love you, always.

P.S. I hope if you’re reading this that you have a Melissa in your life.  Also, tell people how you feel, even if it makes you vulnerable, or them uncomfortable.  Celebrate those you love, they deserve it! #trustdoesnthavetohurt

 

 

The little love…

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{Photo cred: Amy Treasure}

A week ago, I stood upon the threshold of my oldest daughter’s bedroom. My tired body leaned into the door frame. It was late, past completion of story time, lullabies, and prayers.

I’d been on my way out, my headspace churning gears in an attempt to gather energy to go downstairs and mind the kitchen still in a state of disarray from dinner.

“I love you. I’ll see you in the morning.” I smiled at her.

I nearly walked away, but her stricken face kept my feet planted at her doorframe. I was motionless for the greedy pull of my eyes. I watched as her small fingers pinched the square Hello Kitty pillow in her lap as her eyesight continually bounced from her feet back to me. Her heart shaped face was injected with an emotion that made weariness jolt my brain awake.

She was restless and most definitely had something to say to me. She deeply inhaled, before our thoughts collided.

“Mama, I have something to tell you.” She exhaled in a voice radiating excitement. Then her face broke into a massive grin, the kind that sinks the corners of her mouth deep into her cheeks.

I released the air, heavy as rocks stuck deep in my lungs, before taking a few steps toward her.

“What is it?”

Pregnant silence.

“I have a CRUSH!” Her voice energetically barrels out and then she slaps the pillow to her forehead and lets out a high-pitched squeal into it. She continues to hide her face a full five seconds, before swiftly pulling the pillow back to her lap. She’s wading in a pool of embarrassment. Her demeanor says so. Her eyes jet towards me, connect for a mere .0000007 of a second with mine, before dashing away again. She looks at her lamp. The posters on her wall. Her fidgeting fingers; anything to avoid looking at me.

I feel like choking. My oldest daughter has never been boy crazy. Now, her younger sister is mad for boys. She’s seven and already been in love forty six times–the total number of boys in her kindergarten and 1st grade classes.

But Avayah, this is new and feels heavy. My spine involuntarily straightens. Adrenaline floods my entire system. I cough, before forcefully breaking my face with an easy smile. I drop into the chair beside her bed and place my elbows on my knees before cupping my jaw.

Reactions. Dang, they are hard as a parent. You can pull out the wrong one and completely ruin the moment (and they never share with you again). There I am sitting in her chair trying not to smile too big, or worse, scowl. (This is my first baby, she’s not allowed to grow up. My heart is screaming, NO! I am not ready for this.)

“Who is it?” I croak. I’m positive my voice sounds stretched too high. She looks at me strange. I think she’s gauging my trustworthiness. I almost scoff at her in return.

“His name is Russel.” She giggles. Here is where I want to roll on the ground, stomp my feet, and act like a straight lunatic, because I’m hit with about 27 different emotions I don’t know how to comprehend.  It feels insane.

She is my first baby.  A slide show of firsts flickers before me. I’m spaced out, watching a mental video of all her milestones, as that country song, ‘I loved her first’ plays alongside it, inside my head. I can feel my hysterics inching up on me. (I’ve already cried five times writing this post.)

I’m seconds away from becoming a legit basket case. Call the asylum now. (All the while, I want to tell myself to get a grip. She’s 10. It’s not like she told me she’s getting married, but still. This is new territory. We won’t, no she, she won’t go back from here—insert ugly cry here. I need tissues…and hugs, friends.)

My baby has found intrigue in the opposite sex.

While I die on the inside, we make casual small talk about Russel. Her cheeks are pink; her face alight with infatuation. She says he’s nice, funny, and cute. He even stopped mid-race to help her up when she tripped. Gush. These parents are raising this boy right.

Yet, as I sat in that chair beside her as she spoke, I felt a small part of me dissipate into a pool of ache. The crack in her childhood just split by a substantial proportion. Light is no longer leaking, it’s bleeding out.  And it’s probably the first time I’ve despised its presence. Who hates light?  Me, right now. I know it’s selfish, but sigh. Motherhood hurts. This is the part you are never prepared for. The separation.

Near the end of our conversation she told me that he’s moving to Florida at the end of the school year and that he doesn’t know that she likes him.

I told her that she should always tell people how she feels. Unless their married. Or engaged. Just basically do not mimic a Julia Robert’s movie, unless it’s Runaway Bride.  (You can always run to Mama.)

The next day, my brave girl spoke her puppy love feels via a secret admirer note she wrote. It was the most precious thing ever.  I was so honored she let me read it (and to have gotten away with secretly photographing it, too.  She can kill me when she reads this blog much later in her life.) It went something like…I’ll give you my initials and if you guess who I am, I’ll admit it was me.

It was my turn to giggle like a tween, because they are in the same class. I don’t think the mystery will last long. Actually, it didn’t. He knew, but still wrote her a note back confessing he liked her too, along with his initials.

Ah, to witness puppy love as an adult…I’ll admit, it gives you the feels. It’s so innocent that you can’t help but giggle about it to your closest girlfriends. (Sorry Avayah, but in truth…those women love you too and your secret is safe with them…and anyone who reads this blog.  Eek, I’m starting to question my trustworthiness now.)

A week later and they’re in love and we’ve set the date.  Okay, not really. They’re just buds, who play xbox live together and see each other in class and that’s about it.

I knew this day would arrive at some point and I’m excited for Avayah, even if this milestone hurts.  If you see me, hug me and tell me that I’ll survive my daughter’s first love.  (and ignore me when I start singing, “I loved her first..”)

Because obviously, this is about me.  Not Avayah at all.

Tis Motherhood.