Monday, December 31, 2012

2012...Thank You

Not every year is a banner one.

They can't all be, right? 

But this year was for me.

If I could place myself in a movie, I would be that girl who came out of her shell....who morphed from the caterpillar into the butterfly...and soared to find her true know, the one that had been hidden for sometime.

After deciding by sheer will that 2012 would be the "Year of Kelly," I found running or, it found me.  Either way, the love and discipline of putting one foot in front of the other saw me through three half marathons, one Hellacious trail run, a 5K mini race, countless early morning short runs, and many, many long Saturday morning training jaunts.

Running helped me to regain my self confidence, to garner time dedicated to breathing in and out and taught me to let go of my past transgressions and simply to trust.

Undoubtedly, I was transformed.

And so, I sit staring down a new year...2013....and it feels a bit ostentatious and entitlement-driven to dub this next year, my year again...but why not?  Shouldn't every day of our lives be for the living?  Shouldn't we yearn to soak it all in and to not be afraid of what lies waiting around the corner?

So, here's my proposed 2013 bucket list.
  •  5 Half Marathons
  • Cheering the hell out of my good friend while she kills it in her first FULL Iron Man race
  • Yoga and lots of it
  • Writing....more of it and more unabashed accounts of what lies inside of me
  • Swimming, Dancing, Singing, and in general Enjoying the hell out of my Family
  • Dreaming...clinging to the hope that one day I will find myself in Tuscany
  • Thanking God daily for my blessings
And so, here we go.  Here's to you and me doing this New Year together.  Let's make it our year to soar ferociously and fearlessly...I can already feel's going to be good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lots of Room...and Need...for Love

I haven't been writing much lately.

I'm not sure what to chalk it up to.  I suppose any old excuse will do.  Busyness of the season.  Exhaustion from mothering three little ones.  Or maybe, a need to take a step away so as to assess where I am.

The morning of Friday, December 14th, 2012 was definitively a wake-up call.

I woke up extremely exhausted.  Our youngest daughter, Claire was to celebrate her second birthday, but unfortunately, she'd been up most of the night throwing up.  She was the last of the brood to take on the stomach flu.

I was preparing to get my "game face" on as I went in to teach a Conflict Resolution training to thirty plus not-for-profit members of the community.  Meanwhile, my husband was juggling morning appointments so that he could be home with our sick little one while also getting the older two to school.

As everyone got situated, I asked participants to share their names, agency affiliation, and their personal contribution toward world peace.  I introduced myself as the CEO of my household and told them that my contribution was personal timeouts from my children, so as not to commit acts of violence during times of extreme frustration and lack of patience.  Everyone laughed and then one by one, individuals gave profoundly important answers to the icebreaker question.

Feeling good about the training, I drove home and checked Facebook.

Very quickly I learned that there was a horrible school shooting in a small town in Connecticut called Newtown and that they didn't know how many children had been murdered or staff members.  I thought I would vomit.  And then, I quickly called home.  Were my children okay?  My God, how could this happen again?

In the days that followed where we learned more details about how many children and adults were massacred, it all became so heart breaking that I found myself filled with more sadness than anything.

Simultaneously, I watched friends on Facebook decimate each other with their opinions about gun control, gun rights, mental illness, school security, and a barrage of other topics semi-related to the shootings.  It reminded me all over again of the political commentary revolving around the elections.

In this season and spirit of the holidays, I am reminded that we are all in need of greater tolerance, grace, and love.  None of us has the answers.  We can universally agree that to lose someone we love with all our heart is beyond imaginable. 

My prayer in the new year is that we draw closer together...that the lives that were tragically lost in Newtown serve to help us to cling tighter and not to divide.  We need one another.  We do better when we are connected.  We are all valuable individually and collectively.

And so I am reminded of Mother Teresa's words:

"If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."  Amen.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ode to Claire on Her Second Birthday

Two years ago today, I met you face-to-face...which was a gift, because I'd been dreaming about you for years.

Post the birth of your brother, Sam and your sister, Kate, I had a feeling (call it mother's intuition) that our family was not yet complete.

In my heart, I believed that there was a little girl, by the name of Claire, just waiting to grace us with her extraordinary presence.

You scared the pants off of the doctor, when you emerged with the umbilical cord wrapped around your neck four times.  And in that moment, we knew that we were done for.

Gorgeous blonde hair, huge blue eyes, a petite little frame, and a smile that never stops, you are a definitive presence.  But beyond your beauty, it's truly your personality that makes you a force to be reckoned with.

Flinging yourself off of the dining room table, diving into swimming pools, stomping and moshing in dance parties galore, you love being alive and sharing your spirit with the world.

As the youngest of three, you've decided that keeping up with your older siblings is a must and so different than the others, you learned to pray first, get yourself dressed, sing songs, initiate potty training, and do spider man push-ups.  Really, you're quite good.

My prayer for you, my youngest child is that your eyes will remain as wide, hopeful, and optimistic as they are today.  May your fearlessness continue to transcend any doubt, limitation, or concern that you feel as you navigate the world.  And may you continue to know tangibly within your soul that you are loved, you are wanted, and you are supported by so many.

Happy, Happy Second Birthday, Claire Bear.  Here's to so many, many more!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Love of the Tub

There seems to be one sacred spot that for a few brief moments breeds beautiful isolation.

A destination for a recluse. 

A remote spot where no one's begging me to prepare a snack, to help find a lost toy, to locate the keys, or to return a call.

Complete with steam, it melts the frustrations of the day away and gives back some semblance of what it means to be me exempt of the stress and the chaos of raising little ones.

It's the tub.  And, I adore it.  Especially in the winter time.

So, you can imagine my chagrin when I found myself knee-deep, literally, in the throws of a "Calgon-Take Me Away" moment only to look up to see my two-year old dare devil daughter about to dive on top of me. 

"Jesus Christ!," I yelled while simultaneously ripping out my iPod ear buds.  "Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Saint Jude, can't a mama catch some peace?"

And then, she vanished and I realized, there's going to come a day when I long for her to chat with me while I'm in the tub...but today, is definitively not one of those days. 

I love my children more than I ever thought imaginable, but today, my adoration for the tub is at the top of the list.

There should be places in the home where children will be zapped similar to an animal with a shock collar if they try to come near.  I'm advocating that the tub (while mama is in it) be one of them.

That's not too it?