Dreams That You Dare to Dream…

 

Phonto

I have heard so many grandparents talk about how the only thing that was better than the birth of their own children was the birth of their grandchildren.  I never questioned that notion…not even a little.  I simply resigned myself to the fact that it was something I will understand when my kids become parents (in 40 or 50 years!).

I’ve told you the story of my sister, Carole, and the loss of her daughter, Fiona, last May.  Last week, Carole gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Emerson Patrick.  Let me tell you…I know what those grandparents are talking about.

For the last few weeks of Carole’s pregnancy, we were all anxiously awaiting Emerson’s arrival.  No one more than Carole and her husband, James, but we were all waiting…and hoping….and praying…and hoping some more.  The day that Carole went to the hospital, Krissie (one of my other sisters) and I were getting updates from Sarah (the fourth sister!) who was with Carole and James through the whole process.  At one point, Krissie and I were commenting about how worthless we both were at work that day…just waiting for the news that Emerson had arrived.

Then, at 3:35 PM on Tuesday, April 12, I received the four most amazing words ever sent in a text message: “He’s here. He’s beautiful”

I was so excited that I nearly jumped out of my skin.  I told everyone at work who would listen that my nephew had arrived.  I held it together pretty well…until I got to see my sister holding her son.  Then, I pretty much lost it.  Finally, through the storm, my sister was on the other side…holding her rainbow.

My husband and sons got to meet Emerson in the hospital the day after he was born, but only for a couple of hours.  Last weekend, we spent our hole Saturday with the little family of three.  Danny, my older son – my rainbow baby – couldn’t get enough of holding his new cousin.  At one point, Carole captured the most beautiful picture of the two of them together.

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Danny and Emerson.  Two boys who will likely never understand just how much they mean to their parents.  How long and hard they were wished for and prayed for.  How much they are the dreams that we dared to dream.  The double rainbow that fills our hearts.

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Pals and Rainbows

PAL.

Rainbow Baby.

 

Two terms that shouldn’t have to exist.  Two terms that can, simultaneously, bring hope and anxiety to anyone encountering them.  Two terms that – although I experienced them 8 years ago – I didn’t know even existed until this past August.

I have, over the last several years, been very open about my struggles with trying to conceive and then maintaining a pregnancy when I did manage to conceive.  That wasn’t always the case.  My husband and I suffered through too many times where we thought we were pregnant, only to find out that we weren’t.  And then there were the times that we were pregnant…and then we weren’t.   We told very few people that we were even trying and we told no one about the miscarriages until I had to have a D&C done with my last one.  Honestly, the only reason we told our family was because I was going under general anesthesia for the procedure.

We were fighting to build our family in a time where “Social Media” consisted of AIM, My Space, Live Journal and email.  There was no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Finding others who were dealing with what I was dealing with took way longer than a quick Google search and probably would have involved me dialing my (flip) phone and talking to an actual person.  Not exactly what I wanted to do.  So I quietly navigated my way through the losses, somehow finding the strength to go through my life as though nothing was different.

Pregnancy After Loss (PAL) is one of the most terrifying things a woman and her partner can go through.  Every doctor’s appointment brings the fear of bad news.  Every time you think you haven’t felt your baby move for too long, you start – almost frantically – pushing on your belly to make him move.  You never let yourself slide into that blissful state of “everything will be perfect” because you know that there is always another shoe, waiting to drop at any time.

Rainbows are the beautiful arches of color you see after a storm.  Rainbow babies are the beautiful arches of hope who arrive after the storm brought to your life by a pregnancy or infant loss.  It’s something that many who suffer the loss of a pregnancy or infant long for.  Let me be perfectly clear – a rainbow baby is NOT a replacement for the baby who passed away.  Not.Even.A.Little.

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As I mentioned, I first learned about these terms when my sister became pregnant with her rainbow baby, Emerson – due to arrive in April.  Carole has been extremely open about her navigation through the waters of grief following the still birth of her daughter, Fiona, back in May and the anxiety that comes with her pregnancy with Emerson.  Once I learned about Rainbow Babies and PAL, I embraced them  – for my sister more than myself.  For me, it was a way to support Carole through the months of her pregnancy.  Somehow, learning this new terminology would help me to be more understanding of what she’s going through – like learning the language of a foreign country.

Although I had suffered my own pregnancy losses, I didn’t initially allow myself to connect to rainbows and PAL.  My miscarriages had all happened in the first trimester (prior to 13 week gestation).  I never knew my babies’ genders. I never saw them.  I never knew their names.  I never got to the point where I had told anyone other than my husband that I was pregnant.  I never started putting a nursery together.  I never got far enough to have a baby shower.  I never even looked pregnant.  Let’s be honest, the odds miscarrying in the first trimester are significantly higher than the odds of a still birth in the third trimester.  How could I POSSIBLY say that my losses were even comparable to someone who had time to see, feel, hear and bond with their child?

The truth is, I still can’t.  No one can.  One person’s loss is not the same as another’s.  We can’t sit here and say that hers is worse than mine, but mine was worse than that person’s over there.  A loss is a loss.  They all suck and I wish we could live in a world where no one has to bury a child.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.  And, chances are, you or someone you know has endured the loss of a pregnancy or an infant.  One in Four women (and her partner) will suffer through a pregnancy or infant loss.  We need to work together to support one another through our times of grief and celebrate our times of joy.

If you have suffered a loss, and want to talk to someone about it, feel free to reach out to me.  I share my story in the hopes that at least one other woman will stop feeling the shame and guilt that comes with the loss of a child.  I want to be there for you if you need someone.

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If you know someone who has suffered a loss and don’t know how to help, I encourage you to visit the Star Legacy Foundation.  They are an organization dedicated to researching the causes of still births and helping those who have suffered through the loss of a child or know someone who has.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing a pregnancy after a loss, check out the Pregnancy After Loss Support page.  They support women as they work through the gamut of emotions that come with a PAL.

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Finally, I encourage EVERYONE to support the March of Dimes.  They not only provide support to babies born prematurely, they also conduct research to see why miscarriages, still births, and premature deliveries happen – and how to prevent them.  I’ll be participating in the March for Babies this year, and I’d love for you to donate to support this organization.  If you want to donate, you can click here to go to my fundraising page.

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This week is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness week.  A time to remember that pregnancy is not happiness and glitter for everyone.  A time to remember that, for too many, it is the scariest 9 months of someone’s life.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have walked, currently are walking, or someday will walk this path.  I hope and pray that you all are able to bring home your rainbow.

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Not Resolutions – Goals

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  Frankly, most of them are just not realistic and the vast majority are broken before the end of January.  I prefer setting goals.  Somehow, a goal seems a little more flexible but, at the same time, more measurable.

Whether you are making resolutions or goals for the New Year – or any other time, for that matter – make sure it is something SMART.

The concept of making SMART goals is not one that I can claim as my own.  It is most commonly credited to a gentleman by the name of Peter Drucker and the first known use of the term was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, which contained a paper by George T. Doran, called There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.  (All of this according to Wikipedia.)  It is, however, a concept I can understand, get behind, and use in my own goal setting.

SMART is an acronym utilizing the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.  The graphic below (borrowed from teacherweb.com) will explain how each if these sections work:

 

So, keeping the SMART concept in mind, here are my goals for the next several months:

#1

(S) Complete The Masters Hammer and Chisel program in its entirety.

(M) I have a chart that will help me make sure that I am completing each task on its assigned day

(A) As long as I stick to the schedule, this is completely able to be done

(R) It is worthwhile to me and will meet my ongoing need to be sure that my lifestyle is one that keeps me physically and mentally healthy

(T) I start the program on Monday.  It is a 60-Day program, so I should be done by March 3rd

 

#2

(S) Run a half marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes

(M) Progress will be tracked as I work through my training over the next several months.

(A) My last half marathon time was a little over 2 hours and 49 minutes.  Cutting nearly 20 minutes off of that time is absolutely doable, if I keep up with my training.

(R) Again, this is worthwhile to me in the lifestyle I am working to maintain.  Running is extremely therapeutic to me, so my mental well-being will benefit just as much as my physical well-being.

(T) I will be running the Cocheco Challenge Half Marathon again in the fall.  Once that date is announced, I’ll have my timeline set.

 

Those are the goals I have now.  There will likely be more to come, and I will keep you updated as to the progress I’m making through each one.  I’ll share what’s working for me and even what isn’t.  If you have tips, feel free to share with me (and anyone else who may be reading this).

What are your goals for the next few weeks/months/years?  Have you applied a process such as SMART goal setting to get to where you need to be? How will you accomplish your goals?

Communication

Two days ago, I found myself in a situation where I had a great deal of time to myself.  When you’re a wife (to an amazing husband), mom to two (equally amazing) boys, a volunteer for several school/community groups, and someone who works outside the home 50+ hours a week, time such as this is an EXTREME rarity.  Finding the time to add to this blog has been equally rare.

So, realizing that the equation of “free time + wanting to write more” directly results in actually writing more, I decided to sit down and get some shit out of my head and onto a page.

Because I had so much time, I actually got a TON of writing done.  Yay me! As I was getting ready to actually begin posting for you lovely people, I realized that the sheer amount of what I wrote was waaaaaayyy too long for any sane person to sit and read at one time.  I know I’m a little (ok…a lot) whacked out in the head from time to time, but I wouldn’t expect any of you sit through the entire diatribe that found its way onto the page.

My first post from this writing, “Pick and Choose” was put up that evening.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, feel free to click here and check it out.  Just don’t forget to come back to this page to finish reading this entry.

This is Part 2 of the “series”.  I’m not entirely sure how many parts there will end up being…you’ll just have to keep coming back to see.

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Being part of a “forced” group is never easy.  We have all had school or work projects where we find ourselves assigned to a partner or group.  If you have not already developed a working relationship with that person(s), tensions can build.  Only once you have earned the respect of the others will the work come together and the project be completed well.  If that doesn’t happen, one person is left completing the project themselves.

Being part of a family is similar in that way.  All of the people involved need to earn the respect and love of the other people.  I do NOT buy into the bullshit concept that you “have to” love someone in your family simply because they are part of your family.  It just doesn’t work that way.

I am raising my boys to be respectful of each other and what it means to show love and respect to one another.  I don’t tell one to love the other because they have to.  There are times when they argue and, since they are only 7 and (almost) 4 right now, there are MANY more of those times to come.  However, part of my job as a parent is to teach them how to work things out for themselves and resolve their conflicts.  (It is NOT to consistently side with one over the other, making the “other” one feel unimportant…but I digress…sort of.)

Any time that any group of people is “forced” together, there will be disagreements and conflict.  That’s just the way it is.  There’s yelling and screaming, slamming doors, crying, hurt feelings, anger and frustration.  Hopefully, though, there comes a time of talking, resolving, working things out and, (sometimes) agreeing to disagree.

Here’s the thing, in ANY relationship, there will be issues that need to be addressed.  The strength of that relationship depends solely on the ability and willingness of those individuals to communicate their needs.  Truth be told, that is always easier said than done.  But trust me when I say that moping around when you’re in the presence of someone who has upset you does nothing to fix the issue at hand.  All it does is make the situation much, much worse.

If you have an issue with something that is happening in your family – or any other relationship – YOU (and only you) have the responsibility to put your big girl (or boy) panties on and address the situation.  Directly with the person (or people) with whom you have the issue.  If you can’t (wo)man up and communicate, you can’t expect the other party to make any changes.

Talking to other people about it doesn’t get you anywhere either.  Don’t get me wrong, chatting with someone else about the situation can be extremely beneficial.  There have been many times when I’ve talked to a person about a situation and

  1. the other person has helped me figure the best way to approach a situation
  2. the other person has told me just how unreasonable I was really being about the situation
  3. me listening to myself talk about it made me realized just how irrational my feelings about the situation are or
  4. some combination of the above.

I mean that constantly talking to someone and never doing anything about it (aka whining) does nothing but frustrate you more about the situation.  And, quite frankly, it makes you seem like someone who makes it all about you.  You’re victimizing yourself when you have just as much responsibility to mend the situation as anyone else.

If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

If you won’t communicate, you’re just as much at fault as anyone else.

When I say “communicate”, I mean actually sitting down and calling or meeting face-to-face with the person who has upset you.   I say to my (almost) 4-year-old, “Use your words” when he’s whining about something his brother did.  To an adult I’d say “talk to me if you have a problem with me.”  Don’t talk to everyone else about it, don’t give me the silent treatment whenever we happen to bump into each other, don’t play your passive-aggressive games until I give up and walk away – thereby making you the victim you always wanted to be.

Communication, however, is a two-way street.  When you finally have that conversation with the other party, you need to be prepared to (a) hear what they have to say (b) actually really listen to what they’re telling you and (c) be ready to act on any concerns they brought to the table.  News flash….it’s not always all about you. No matter how much you think it may be.

In order for any relationship to be successful, you have to be open to a little give and take.  Usually, when there are issues, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for some part of the issue.1  If the other person says “I reacted this way because of this thing that you did”, you need to ready to look in the mirror and remember that it takes two to tango.

 

1To be clear, there are exceptions to this statement.  If you are the victim of an abusive relationship of any kind – physical or emotional – you are NOT responsible for any of the abuse you are taking.  My statement refers to those relationships – romantic/familial/platonic – that do not involve consistent hurt from one person to another.

Pick and Choose

Family.

It is a simple word – with a relatively (ha! See what I did there?) simple definition.  Usually.

When you say family, most think of the people they are related to – genetically, by adoption, or by marriage.  Spouses, parents, siblings, kids.  The phrase “extended family” often brings to mind the outer branches of your tree; grandparents, aunts, cousins, nieces & nephews.

By and large, you have little to no choice about who the members of your family are.  You don’t get to choose your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  You get to pick your spouse (hopefully) – but you don’t get to pick the group of in-laws that comes with that person.

Being part of a family is, sometimes, difficult.  Navigating those relationships can be incredibly stressful – especially when you feel as though you’re stuck with a particular set of family members.  And, yes, to a point, you are stuck with them. Until you don’t have to be any more.

Your life/personality/energy/aura (whatever you want to call it) is like a bank account.  When you are born, you have nothing.  Those closest to you are the ones who are going to help you build that account as you grow.  These are the ones who will love and nurture you.  They will provide for you – not because they have to, but because they want to.  They are the ones who you can lean on for advice.  They are the ones who will give you the “tough love” – not because they enjoy being right, but because they love you enough to help you get better.

Then there are those who seem to do nothing more than try to take away from you.  They make it clear – mostly through actions – that their love is only given out of obligation.  Your level of importance is directly correlated to how it makes them look.  If what you’ve done makes them look better, then you’re right on top.  If your achievements aren’t enough for someone else to say “you must be so proud!”, then you’re worthless.

Hopefully, those who are adding to your account far outnumber those who are trying to take from you.  However, if you’re anything like me, the ones who take from you are often far more successful – even though their numbers are smaller.   The only way to stop them from taking from you is to no longer give them access.  And that’s the hard part.

What is easy is recognizing the people who aren’t part of your family, but really should be.  Those are the people who are making the effort to add something positive to your life in the way that any of your family members would.  For me, these are the folks who I know I could call at any moment of the day and they would drop everything for me if I really needed it.  And these guys, I hope, know I would do the same for them.  These are the folks who my kids call “Auntie” or “Uncle” – even though there is no actual familial relationship, beyond that of friendships standing the test of time.

When you get old enough and financially stable enough, you get to start picking and choosing which of your family members you want to stay connected with – and what level of connection you maintain.  You may decide to add members to your family – officially or otherwise.  You may also choose to cease contact with a member of your family – for your own good and that of some of your other family members.

Keep in mind, however, that changes to a family’s list of members will create a dynamic shift that will ripple through the entire group, and you need to be prepared for that.  Adding someone is, most of the time, a good thing.  Even bringing in a die-hard Republican to a family of lifetime Democrats can be done successfully, assuming (s)he has some redeeming qualities.  (Fortunately, my husband has survived the liberal fires pretty well over the last 13+ years we’ve been together.)

If the person you’re bringing in is not well received, however, you need make choices about how you will proceed.  You may choose to force the two together in the hopes that something will work out eventually, you may become the “go-between” doing your best to make sure all involved are happy, or you can choose between one side or the other.

If you chose to eliminate a family member (or group of family members) from your life, there is a fall out that comes with that choice, and you have to be prepared to accept that fall out.  Largely, you no longer get to know what is going on in the life of those people.  You chose to cut them out.  You chose to walk away.  You gave up the right to learn what is going on in their lives directly from them.  You now have to accept that anything you learn about those family members will be second-hand information.

When you say, “I don’t want to be part of this family.  I want to leave and never look back.” You have to be ready to accept everything that comes with that choice when/if you actually act on it.

At the end of the day, I suppose you really can decide who is in your family and who isn’t.  You just need to make sure you’re ok with those choices. Once you cut people out, they’re often out for good.  Even with family, you only get so many second chances.

So, go ahead.  Pick and choose.  Just make sure you do it carefully.

Half Marathon – Full Belief

When I started this blog, I had these grand ideas of writing and posting something at least every other day.  Then, it was going to be once a week.  Well…it’s been over a month and I am now just getting my act together to make another post happen.

I’ve had a great deal of time to think about and reflect on the half marathon I completed in October.  I’m still more than a little impressed with the fact that I managed to complete the whole thing.  Let me tell you folks, completing this challenge was more a mental effort than a physical one.

Trust me, you don’t just get up one morning and decide “I’m going to run 13.1 miles today” and expect your legs (lungs, back, hips, and shoulders) to get you through that whole thing.  There is a ridiculous amount of physical preparation that needs to happen.  I was running, on average, 3-4 days per week and doing strength training on the off days.  You learn (very quickly) what foods you can eat the day before (and day of) a long run…and which ones will revolt against you.  There is a fair amount of discipline that comes into play in order to properly prepare yourself for physical demands of such a lengthy run.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really enjoy my running time.  It is the one time that I truly have to myself on any regular basis.  Just me, my thoughts, the road, Pandora, and the lady on Map My Run updating me on my splits every mile.  This time is a great opportunity for me to sort through the discord that has seemingly enveloped my life over the last year.  Problem is, when I let myself get drawn in to the general suckitude that (a) others have created in my world or (b) is a result of a generally shitty situation, I find myself having a more and more difficult time getting through a run.  There is a (very) fine line between using the hurt and anger you feel to fuel your run and allowing it to drag you down.

There was a period of time when running was not what I needed it to be.  My family and I had been dealt a huge blow with the death of my niece, Fiona, in May.  (Click here to read the post that tells the whole story…I just don’t have it in me tonight to retell it.)  After I regrouped and began dedicating my running to Fi, I was able to get back at it and truly prep for the half.

In an effort to keep myself mentally in the game for this run, I made sure that I had little pieces of Fi’s spirit with me for the race.  I wore the number 19 on my bib (advantages to knowing the organizers of the race), and Carole placed Fi’s hat from the hospital in my hydration pack.  I also wore a t-shirt with the letter E on it…for Fi’s brother or sister – due to arrive in April.

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A few minutes before the race, I went through my pre-race routine of going to the bathroom (for the 10th time), adjusting my shoelaces (for the 7th time), getting my phone in my arm band, checking Map My Run to make sure it’s ready to go, turning on Pandora, taking my phone out of my arm band to get the apps where I need them to be and it’s easier to do when the phone isn’t on my arm, making sure Pandora is on my Aerosmith (70’s/80’s rock) station, getting Map My Run ready (again), putting the phone back in the arm band, arm band on the arm, and ear buds in the ears.

I got to the starting line and my family gathered on the sidewalk.  After a prayer from my church’s Senior Minister and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, I began the 13.1 mile trek with Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” playing in my ears.  And trying to remind myself that, while the first 2 miles always suck, it gets better from there.

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Carole posted this on her Facebook page as I started the race: “So proud of this lady! She is carrying my heart and the memory of Fi. I pray she makes herself known on the course. Keep running ladybird!!!!!!!!”

Sure enough, I was about 2 miles in when I first began to feel the twinges in my lower back that had been aggravating me for the couple of weeks prior to the half.  I instantly began questioning whether or not I would be able to finish the route.  At that moment Carole, drove by me – honking and cheering as I plodded along.

A mile later, still questioning my ability to make it through, I looked to the top of the hill and saw Carole waiting for me.  Knowing me and where I get my motivation, she very intentionally placed herself at the top of that hill…knowing that I wouldn’t walk up the hill with her standing there watching.

That was the first time during that race that I really began to get out of my own head.  It was the first time I really believed that I would complete the course and not have to be picked up by the sweep car…my biggest fear.

At about the 6th mile, I could feel myself really beginning to lose some of my energy and I needed a little push.  I rounded a corner and came to a nice level section of the course.  At that moment, I could feel a little hand at the top of my back, right between my shoulders, gently pushing me along.  The pressure was coming right from the area in my hydration pack where Fi’s hat was safely tucked away.  That got me through the next four miles or so.

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Somewhere around mile 11 “Sweet Child of Mine” came through my headphones…again.  Now, I spend a great deal of time listening to Pandora.  NEVER have I had a time when I have heard the same song in a 3-hour span.  NEVER.  I looked up, smiled and said “OK, Fi.  I know you’re here.  Thank you.”

I pushed through the final 2 miles and rounded the corner to my family waiting for me at the finish line.  In fact, Johnny (my 3-year-old) ran the last little bit with me.

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I had three goals when I set out to run my first half marathon:
1 – Complete it in less than 2 hours and 45 minutes

2 – Keep my average pace under 13 minutes/mile

3 – Don’t get picked up by the sweep car
My final time was 2:49 and change, but my average pace was 12:55/mile – under 13!  Two out of three ain’t bad!

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When I learned that Fiona was going to be born an angel baby, I was crushed, hurt, and broken hearted.  I never could have imagined how heavy my heart would be still today.  I mean, it’s not like I was the one who had carried her for nearly 9 months.  It wasn’t me getting a room ready for her arrival.

I’m still angry that she’s not here.  I still don’t understand why she’s not physically here.  I’m still without the right words to comfort my sister and her husband.  I still don’t know how to comfort Danny, my 7-year-old, when he is missing the cousin he never got to meet.

I do, however, know that her spirit is here with us.  I firmly believe that she makes herself known at the moment when we need her to be here.  I know, without a doubt, that Fiona Michelle gave me the mental and emotional strength I needed to complete the toughest physical challenges of my life.

#halfbefore36 #ihofmr

Aspire

About a year or so ago, my sisters (Carole, Sarah and Krissie) introduced me to Beyoncé.

No…not this Beyoncé

Beyonce single ladies Glastonbury

This one:

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Beyoncé (the-giant-metal-chicken) was a gift from Jenny Lawson (aka “The Bloggess”) to her husband, Victor.  Well, maybe “gift” isn’t exactly the right word.  Beyoncé is more of a response to very strict instructions from Victor to not “bring any more goddam towels” into their house.

Confused?  I was too…until I read this.  (Don’t want to click over and read the whole entry?  Silly.  You should.  Still don’t want to?  Here’s the short version.  Jenny’s going shopping with Laura.  Victor tells Jenny not to buy any more towels.  She doesn’t.  Instead, Jenny buys a giant metal chicken.  I know.  It’s not that funny when I tell the story.  That’s why you should read Jenny’s version.  I told you so.  And you’re welcome.)

Naturally, reading this blog entry lead me to (after about 8-10 months) purchase and read Jenny’s first book “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened”.  It’s not that I didn’t want to read the book, it’s just that…well…parenting.  And wifing (whatever that is).  And working.  And adulting.  You know…acutally being responsible doesn’t always allow for leisure reading.

At any rate, I finally read the book this summer while camping with my family.  It was a rainy day and we had decided to head to bed early since trying to get a campfire going in the rain is next to impossible.  So here I am, in a tent, lying on an air mattress, next to my husband, with our kids a few short feet away.

I am laughing hysterically…and silently.  Have you ever tried to laugh silently so you don’t wake your kids?  Ever tried it on an air mattress?  My poor husband didn’t know what hit him every time the mattress would start shaking uncontrollably.  I couldn’t believe I could read something that was (a) true and (b) so utterly hysterical!

Jenny Lawson writes about the struggles she’s dealt with in her life.  Everything from living with a taxidermist father to the loss of a pregnancy to her struggles with anxiety and depression.  The way she writes, however, is what appeals to me.  She writes her truth in a relatable, true and downright snarky way.  She shows that, although life hands out a shit deal every now and then, we can’t take ourselves and our situations too seriously.

Jenny recently came out with a second book, “Furiously Happy”.  It is at the top of the “List of things to read as soon as I have 37 seconds to remember to purchase it”.  I know that at least two of my sisters have already read it so I thank them in advance for their lack of spoilers.   (In fact, the lucky ladies got to MEET the Bloggess herself in Boston on Saturday! From left: Krissie, Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson, Carole)

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I bring Jenny Lawson to your attention because you need to get to know her blog…like yesterday.  Also, and more importantly, because she is someone I aspire to be.  My whole family is reading this saying “you want to be a nationally-known blogger with two best-selling books?  Since when?”  Not that those things wouldn’t be pretty cool, but, no.  Not where I’m going with that.

As I said, Jenny is true to herself and how she feels.  She makes no apologies for the way she feels about anything.  She openly, honestly and, somewhat, sarcastically shares her story with anyone who wants (or needs) to read it.  I have all the respect in the world for anyone willing to expose their soul in such a way.  That’s what I aspire to be.

Raw truth, vulnerability, honesty and a skilled pen (or, more likely, computer keyboard) are incredibly hard to come by.  So, imagine my surprise when another writer reached out and spoke to me.  Ok…not just me.  She posted a little something on Facebook.  I, and about 15,000 other people, liked and “liked” what she had to say.  She wrote about the way our daily 5-minute interactions with people can create a perception that is completely opposite from what our lives are really like.

“Scars”, written by Genevieve V. Georget, spoke to me in a way that nothing had before.  I read and re-read that post and realized that I could have written much of it myself.  As I read her subsequent blog entries, I can’t help but feel like she’s in my head.  Gen has been dealt a hand that is scarily similar to mine in many ways.

Like Jenny, Genevieve is true to herself and lays herself on the line for all to read.  She has a much more soft-spoken way of doing it, but the vulnerability is still there.  She talks about love, life, and the loss of both.  She is true and honest and real. I want to be able to get to that point in my own life…that point where I can, shamelessly, leave it all on the table.

Genevieve…you need to check out her writings as well.  I wish I had the words to describe just how intense and impressive they are.  I don’t have them.  In fact…I think she stole them.  No wonder I can’t find them!

How is it possible that these two women, whom I have never met (but would love to!), have managed to speak to me on such a deep level?  I’m sure that there is a reason for it.  For now, I’m not going to focus on how or why it’s happening.  I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride that their words are taking me on.  We’ll see where it goes from there….

On a side note, as I was prepping for this entry, I was scrolling through Genevieve’s Facebook page.  Imagine my surprise when I ran across this:

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Seriously, Gen.  Get out of my head!

Jenny, meet Gen.  Gen, meet Jenny.  I want to be a fly on the wall when you two meet in person.