One Year

One year later. those words keep echoing as I was writing this week’s essay. It is about growth, acceptance and adventure. My favorite topics to write about. As you are reading this, try this writing prompt: where were you last year? what did your expectations for the immediate future include and how is the reality different? 

I realize I am curled up next to a crackling fire. My toes are heating up and the night air above me takes on an embracing calm chill. I need this now more than ever. My phone is unable to reach a call, or a buzz of bank alerts as a reminder of how close I am to failing at this. But I can’t yet define failing as every day is just a struggle to get from one moment to the next. So many people depend on me not to fail that I may have been doomed before I started. (According to my anxiety) What a year it has been. I say to the fire, and the air. Here I am, writing in the dark. Living this moment a year later than when I started this journey. Two toddlers are asleep in a tent; I hear a soft roar of their snoring as I take my sigh of relief in the form of a freshly poured glass of wine. The fire is begging me for it and I am happy to abide. This is my therapy, my happy place. My love hate relationship with the world, especially the people in it, has pushed me toward solo relaxation. No waiting in line to use the restroom or nudging my way through crowds while lost in a sea of people watching – Just me, the fire, the chatter of my older daughters and light conversation with my husband.

Continue reading One Year

Burn Off

November 17, 2016

I was at the beautiful part of my trip where every morning I woke up wondering what state I was in. Montana? Colorado? Wyoming? Idaho? Oregon. Definitely Oregon. Rubbing the morning haze from my eyes, I caught a glimpse of outside. Clouds. We hadn’t seen many clouds on the trip. Just sparkling sunshine, reflecting off long roads and spectacular mountains. But no rain and no clouds yet. This trip was reliant on outside and really no thought was given yet on what we would do if it rained. That was the fun part. There was no planning. It was very immature and I loved it. The escape was to get away from being an adult; and planning every moment was too much of an adult thing to do. I was allowing spontaneity and curiosity to drive the car. I was just there for the ride and rain was not part of this ride. Did we even bring an umbrella?  The kids were slowly waking up and grabbing breakfast like sloths whose pajamas would linger a bit longer than normal. Maybe the clouds were secretly welcome, but not for an entire day. Don’t worry. I was told. These clouds will burn off by the afternoon. My Ohio mind is unusually baffled by this concept. The sun warms up and burns off the morning fog revealing another perfectly sunny day. Ok I may be exaggerating a little bit here. We have sun in Ohio. And not every cloudy day results in rain. But it happens enough that burn off seems like more of a luxury then an actual  occurrence. Back in the real world I often crave those little connections to our road trip. A long drive doesn’t always seem as daunting as it once had. I stare at the spot where the sky meets the land and get a sense of calming. I close my eyes and picture the sunset in the distant South Dakota sky painting the mountains. I see miles and miles of sage brush in the Idaho landscape. Since being home, I have tucked away these images for when I need some extra drive to move forward.

Lately, I have started to feel like my life is becoming that trip. There is no direction. I am making it up as I go along, each day revealing a larger part of the life I am fed up with planning. I woke up this morning like every other  at the sound of a toddler call. Six thirty again, Jackson? Second time this week. And it was only Wednesday. He may have fallen back asleep but the girls were getting ready for school and my phone was buzzing, first with another alarm reminder then with a special weather statement. Fog Advisory. I quickly read. When Cece got up, it became clear that they were restless. She was climbing on the couch and standing on the arm only to sit back down once the alarm on my face had reached her level of satisfaction. He was asking for food then refusing to eat it. I couldn’t use my iPad to check my email or browse the morning news without a round of Peek-a-Boo Barn. They both wanted to sit on my lap at once. Then not at all. Cece wanted to sit on the dog and Jackson felt the need to watch me go to the bathroom one too many times. It was barely 9AM. “Let’s go for a walk” Josh suggested. As we stepped outside, I remembered the fog advisory. “Look at that!”  Josh pointed toward the sun pushing its way through the morning clouds. It was working hard to burn off the fog slowly revealing another beautiful fall day. Our walk took us to the playground, mainly due to letting Jackson dictate the direction we headed “That way!” He commanded as we got to the top of the street. “Over there.” We crossed the street. “Green Playground!” He said with such enthusiasm there was no way to disagree. They played through the burnout running in the hazy sunlight as a beautiful day slowly revealed herself. There was something about this organic trip to the playground that eased my mind from it is daily anxiety rush. This moment was all that mattered. The playing, the swinging and running and endless toddler laughter. For the first time all week, I was finally able to concentrate on a single span of moments.

My daily journal entry was one of solitude and appreciation as if these moments were going to dictate how my life, like my trip, was going to plan itself. I like to take pictures (and more and more pictures) of these moments. They drive my pen as I try to come up with ways to write myself sane. If my journal post is a series of my name in block letters (my go to since fifth grade) and the words “I don’t know what to write” then I grab some pictures and write about that experience. Where was I? How was I feeling at the time? What are some smells around me? Do I feel happy, anxious, grateful? As I get older, my memories are held as much in these pictures as they are on my journal pages.