Crows feet

The Big Thaw. Today was that day. Slush welcomed us as we took our late afternoon walk. Wasn’t it lovely to not feel like your face was an icicle?! The podcast in my ear was about living a joyful life. And it mentioned that we should look at older people who are truly happy. What did they do that led to their happiness? They had 1. Purpose. 2. Satisfaction. And 3. Enjoyment.

So, I was born a Crowe. Looking back on all the places these Crowe’s feet have taken me…..it’s been such a fun journey. I’ve been blessed with a nimble body that can easily do so many things. I was able to horseback ride with my children, no problem. I can still dive off the diving board, and had great fun showing off in front of our kids. I can do a cheerleading jump (sort of) and jump on a trampoline (they really should hand mothers a pantyliner with those required orange park socks), but I kept smiling and nobody was the wiser. I was able to ski the first time I tried. I fell once or twice but then popped right up. I was 28 years old. I have run 5Ks for fun and for charity. I have ziplined with my husband and then on a smaller course with our children. I have swum with dolphins, requiring leg strength as they let you stand on their bottle nose and raise you up out of the water. I love paddleboarding and could do it for hours. I’m not afraid to haul logs, move furniture, trim bushes, shovel snow. It’s amazing how strong our bodies are made to be.

But, you know, sometimes I get lazy. Or my mind gets in a funk. And then there’s this cycle. Particularly in the winter. It’s so cold and dreary I don’t want to exercise. And when I don’t exercise, I feel tired and don’t have the energy to get up and move. And so it goes. The cycle. My old friend. Every fucking December.

Unfortunately, age has a way of sneaking up on us. And being sedentary has consequences that it never used to. They’re called joint pain, backaches, belly rolls, and decreased strength. So, I have vowed that this winter will be different. I may not follow through every day, but I will be accountable. Movement is essential for my life goals. There are so many of them!

All the joy I’ve experienced and all that’s yet to be. So many smiles and laughs and days spent in the sunshine, giving me crows feet. I look in the mirror and I notice they’re getting more pronounced. And, I wonder if I should try to “help” them go away. A little cream or injection, maybe. But, I don’t know. I kind of like what they signify. A life well lived. A full life. A joyful life. Eyes that have seen both beauty and heartache. That can look at someone and intuitively know what they need. Eyes that cry, and sparkle, and wonder, watching my feet do all the glorious things that feet do, smiling at the marvel of it all.

Smiles of Snow

If you know me, then you know this white blanket does not thrill me. Luckily, as the newspaper suggests, this happens around here about once a decade. But every year, whether it’s a skiff or 10 inches, these precious faces glow. Their hearts giggle with delight, eyes twinkling in the backdrop of white. I document and it’s in doing so, that I feel it. This magic of a snow day! A gift to our family. The gift of sleeping in til their bodies awake on their own. Playing for hours, exploring where their imagination will take them. Getting outside, feeling the cold earth make contact with their bodies as they fall off the sled. Picking themselves up, trekking the hill, and breathlessly doing it all over again. Joy in the fatigue. Pride in the stunts. Warmth in the cocoa. Kisses in the marshmallow topping. Security in the memories. This is their childhood. And nothing thrills me more than sharing that with them. Bring on the snow days! ❄️❤️❄️❤️

There’s Something About Sunsets

I look to the setting sun and my soul is at peace. The presence of my Creator is magnified and sparkling in orange, and pink, and purple. It’s mesmerizing. My eyes are fixated on watching until that moment when the day goes to bed and kisses us good night – Turning to the night watchman and telling him to sprinkle flecks of light here and there, just enough to let us know we are not alone. That if we wake up scared, worried, or lost…. We can look up and find comfort in the steadfastness of our night keeper.

As I watch my mind often wanders. A meditative state really. So many memories, daydreams, plans…. Dance through while I watch. But interestingly there is no room for worry. The glory of a sunset has no use for that.

What if we could sparkle magnificently, radiating such joy and contentment that others pause, mesmerized by our glow, and can’t help but watch in wonder? Let’s shine like that. Fearlessly.

Pressing Pause

I don’t know when the last time was I posted. I think this picture was taken on Tuesday, when it was actually warmer than 25 degrees. The last three weeks are one big blur. I’m exhausted. I am just starting to feel like the fog is lifting. It’s so crazy to think that our COVID story started nearly three weeks ago. When you isolate or quarantine there’s this weird sense that the rest of the world has stopped too. Surely if the news is talking incessantly about how virulent Omicron is… Then everyone else must be home riding this out too! Right?

Nope. Life went on. Our boys missed basketball games and practices. We missed work. Thank goodness for grocery pickup and the kind folks who shopped and loaded our car for us two weeks in a row. But beyond that, we are fine. I don’t feel like we take good health for granted, but it’s interesting how inconvenienced we felt by something that knocked us down for more than a day. It was strange for all of us and perhaps somewhat nerve wracking, given the connotation that COVID has carried with it for nearly two years.

So a couple days ago I read an article from the Washington Post to our oldest. A physician was being quoted as saying that those who have been vaccinated and had Omicron have super immunity. He seemed to smile thinking of himself as having a superpower. Later he told daddy, we all have super immunity- well except for mom. I told him I did too, to which he replied, “Wait! You had COVID?!?”

I share this because I am certain other mothers would understand and be amused. Moms just keep going. There’s no other choice. Praise God I was able to continue caring for my family and they were none the wiser. And yet, recovery is slow for those who don’t listen to their bodies. So, I didn’t go out in the freezing cold and walk my buddy. I haven’t cooked dinner for four days. (Thank you, hubby) I’ve been reading and resting when able. Taking vitamins and pushing fluids. I’ve pressed pause.

There have been heartbreaking stories of loss and suffering happening to friends and family this past week. It is heavy. My prayer list is quite long and I hope God can bring healing to them all. He was definitely with me when my loves were sick, calming me, and giving me strength. He says, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”

Stay Playful

Time has a way of aging us. We choose how. Do we wear sunscreen and minimize our wrinkles or do we embrace the aging rays? Do we consume more antioxidants and phytochemicals or saturated fats and GMOs? Do we watch too much television or do we read literature that influences our heart and mind? Are we active or sedentary? The list goes on.

Similarly, do we forget how to play or just choose not to? Do we take time to allow ourselves to savor in little joyful moments or are we rushing on to complete the next task, finish the assignment, respond to that text?

Studies have shown that relationships play a huge role in longevity. Not just having people in your house, living with you, passing you in the hallway; but rather significant connections with others through meaningful conversations, games, travel, experiences, and shared laughter. This is the ticket to a long and happy life!

How fortunate are those that have people in their lives who take the time to nurture those relationships!

When I was a young girl I loved to play. I would play “school” and teach my younger brothers math or read to them. I would play “church” and give them communion. We played “town” and rode our bikes around stations in the yard that served as the bank or the store and one brother was the police officer. Those days flew by. Before long I was spending my time with friends performing in the theatre or attending organized sporting events. And growing more serious. I developed a reputation as the voice of reason. Some laughed at me, “goody two shoes” and others asked for advice. I was eager to spread my wings and explore life beyond our small town, but very cautious even when I was having fun. That practical girl never left.

At some point between the education, the jobs, the parenting, and caring for a household, play became even harder to prioritize. Playing with my infants/toddlers/young children came easily to me. I enjoyed imaginative play, until they told me I was doing it wrong! Lol.

I love baking with them, reading together, creating artwork, and playing board games. We find ways to enjoy each other and chat about our lives.

But, lately, with tween boys I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone. It’s about meeting them where they are. What hip hop music is on trend? What You Tuber is playing what game, and how much energy can you bring to the table? I really could care less about snow, but each year I put on the gear and join them in some sledding and snowball fights. We need play! For our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our relationships. So, that’s my commitment. To keep showing up to the game and asking to be put in-

Put me in coach, I want to PLAY!

(Thinking about my son today as he plays his first game(s) post-Covid infection. His pediatrician has advised a graduated return to athletics and Jack is less than thrilled about less playing time. Hugs and prayers to my boy! One day at a time!)

My cup runneth over

Honestly, my life is always good. Even when it’s bad, I’m blessed. So, with that knowledge, comes guilt at admitting that I feel anything less than sunshine and rainbows. But, well… 10 days of a sick household is wearing me down. Kids are improving and that makes my momma heart so happy. One is still quite tired and easily winded and I wish I could take that on for him. Otherwise, they are such Rockstars! Back at school and practices, working hard.

Over the weekend my husband and I started having symptoms of a sore throat, congestion, headache. He tested positive for Covid, I did not. He is a quiet soul, stoic, turns into himself when not well. He’s not moaning from the other room about how much pain he’s in or what he needs. But, he’s also not able to take in food or fluids without excruciating throat pain. It’s beginning to worry me.

I was lying awake last night thinking about him. Our boys are worried about their daddy. And we all miss him. It’s interesting how much void there is in our family dynamic without him. He’s never one to want attention or talk much, even to us, but his presence is large. And our hearts are aching while we wait for him to heal. We miss his dad jokes, his insight. We miss the ease with which our evening routine and family dinners play out. I put together a shelving unit today and had to read the directions- which I never do because he’s always happy to read directions. Lol

I can’t replace the lightbulb in the hallway because even on a step-stool I’m not tall enough.

The toilet is clogged and I’ve tried and failed to fix it. He is the champion of unclogging toilets 🤣 please recover sweetie, our shit show needs you!!

Seriously though, I’m not me without my partner. And it’s damn scary to think about ever losing that person who is so interwoven in your daily life.

But, I know we’ll get through this, though it can’t happen soon enough!! And on the other side of it, I’ll remember how the last two weeks may have brought me to my knees, kicked me while I was down, but I had hugs and kisses from sweet children who nurture my soul. I had friends and family sending texts and lifting us up in prayer. And I had the sweetest door dashers ring our doorbell and leave a feast of soups, scones, baked noodles, and cookies for my family! And a bottle of red wine for me! I have been in the trenches, but these rays of sunshine fill my cup up. And my cup runneth over.

Not amused

We ventured out onto the slippery paths. It was one of those gray afternoons where the sky seems heavy and yet the air is eerily crisp. All around it’s quiet, like you are the only lifeform left on the planet. There wasn’t much to see. No birds, no squirrels, no other dogs, no cars, nothing. However, this puppy seemed quite intrigued by every ditch, every mailbox, every leaf. I, however, was cold and not amused.

Life is playing hardball right now. So many friends and loved ones are sick. So much worry, fear, and chaos. The rules keep changing, the schedules change every day, and it seems that people are about to explode at the smallest slight. I want to shut the movie off, it’s a nightmare I can’t watch. Or a video game I don’t want to play. Except it’s our world right now, and I am not amused. Can we get a do-over?

Rest

We are in rest mode here. Many nights of minimal sleep has got me like….. Um no way we are going out when it’s NINE degrees!!! My body, soul, and mind are crazy tired. But so relieved, my cortisol levels are dropping. Muscles are relaxing. Today our boys were not lying around, fever and weakness were gone and replaced with snot and coughing. But, hey, they were able to do schoolwork and play with each other. They ate a good supper and complimented the chef. So incredibly grateful to see the spark back. Maybe just maybe, we’ll leave the house tomorrow and venture around the block.

Keep faithfully moving forward

I’m not sure I can write anything worthy enough to post. I’ve been gut punched. I’m on my knees, begging God to end the madness of this pandemic. COVID is now a visitor in our home. And it has broken me. The fucking virus won. We did what we were told. And yet here we are. Last year, we trusted science, got our vaccines as soon as we could. We masked. We distanced. We homeschooled. This fall, our children got vaccinated. By early December, my husband and I got boosted. So now, as I watch our son crying from pain and weak from fever I can’t help but feel broken. I couldn’t protect my baby. That’s my job and despite all my efforts to control a terrible situation, choosing the least bad options, and also trying to let our kids live a full life, I couldn’t stop this beast. Many laughed at me for trying. I know for certain people talked about our cautiousness behind our backs, like we were crazy for believing we stood a chance. And, well, perhaps they were right. After all, God is in control. He is in the driver’s seat of this rollercoaster. I’ve spent many nights in conversation with Him and He’s always answered. I know without a doubt He’s got us covered in protection and healing. But, ha, so funny that I thought I could help Him. For now, all I have left is faith. One strong enough to keep me going, one step at a time.

Balance

Even though we didn’t get outside, he was right there with me today while I worked legs and arms. It’s cold outside, but inside we are keeping it warm and cozy. And productive!! I’ve organized the kids’ closet, the game closet, the pantry, and the junk drawer! Today, I gave our half bath a fresh coat of paint. January always has me wanting a fresh look and an organized home. But we’ve also had time for reading, board games, and movies. Time for cooking and feasting on special eats. It’s been a great balance. Looking forward to more days like this.

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