Dear Reader,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please understand why I’m writing this blog. I’d like my children to read these and smile. Maybe these posts can provide some comfort or will give them some insight into who I am. I’ve been craving some sort of creative outlet and I’ve always liked writing my thoughts. I can write what I’m feeling better than saying it out loud. I want to capture moments and thoughts and pictures and conversations because I cherish every second with my family. These posts will be a way to reflect on my day. But also, maybe you can relate to my daily struggles and successes and all the emotions and laughter in between. 

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Featured post

Dear Florence,

If I’m gone tomorrow, thank you for being my daughter.

I was terrified to have a daughter. I didn’t know what to dress you in; luckily, you dress yourself. I didn’t know how to be patient; okay, I still don’t but I’m learning. I didn’t know how to guide you into a “proper” woman; screw proper, I’d rather you be fierce and unstoppable while being polite and considerate of those around you. I didn’t know how to raise you with a tender heart; though, yours has always been sweet and empathetic. I didn’t know how to teach independence. I didn’t know how to help you become a strong woman. Luckily for me, (or unluckily depending on the moment) you came into this world as a strong, independent, determined little person.

Quite simply, I didn’t know how to be a mother to a daughter. I still don’t know how to be a mother to you. But I can promise you that I work at being better daily.

You’re constantly giving me advice for my worries or frustrations. Yesterday, I was annoyed that you wanted me to run all the way downstairs and back up to grab you something. You had a solution, “mama, I have a great idea, you don’t have to run, just go slowly.”

This week I have been the one putting you to bed. I think daddy was slightly sad that you hadn’t requested him. You grabbed him gently by the face, looked him in the eyes and said it’s mommy and Florence time for a five days then it will be daddy and Florence time for five days. You were sweet and tender with his feelings.

My favorite advice you often give to me is “when you feel so mad, that you want to Roar, take a step back and count to four.” Usually, I’m huffing and puffing about the constant mess. Or getting you something to eat every 20 minutes because you didn’t finish your previous meal. I’m sure these complaints won’t go away and the messes will get bigger every year. Thankfully, you love helping me do chores around the house and love to cook with us. I’m glad you take pride in our house and want to alleviate some of my stress. And sing me little tunes to smile away my frustrations.

Basically, I just want to thank you. So far, you’ve taught me far more than I’ve taught you.

Heartbreak for humanity

I was a sophomore in high school.

I was never one to watch the news.

The closest I got was watching

Unsolved Mysteries with my Grandparents.

I wasn’t interested in feeling powerless.

That morning I was circling the hallway before class

with my girlfriend.

 

Desperately trying to catch her up on my ever

changing teenage life before the dreadedbells rang.

There was commotion in the hall but I was

too busy telling my self absorbed story.

One of my classmates passing us said,

“someone hijacked a plane”.

She trailed off into the mass of teenage bodies.

bodies.

I barely heard what she said.

I shamefully said, “who cares?”

Not because I didn’t care.

But because I did not understand the magnitude or really anything at all.

magnitude or really anything at all.

I pictured a small two person airplane that some teenage kid tried to steal in my

hometown.

I thought well that was a dumb move.

I had never even been on an airplane.

Or visited a big city.

My world was small.

My perception of the world was small.

As soon as these thoughts formed,

the bells rang and the hallway rushed with madness

I walked into class and the teacher had the news on and I saw.

news on and I saw.

I felt it all at once.

I felt every person’s fear and heartbreak.

I pictured it all as if I was there.

Rushing down stairs.

Stuck on an elevator.

Confused.

Helpless.

Running.

Jumping.

Walking the streets lost in Ash.

It was tragic and I cried every day for weeks, months, every anniversary.

weeks, months, every anniversary.

My heart will never forget it’s first real heartbreak for humanity.

heartbreak for humanity.


 

Cheers the new opportunities!

If you follow me on social you know that I enjoy writing. It’s something I grew up doing but took a long break from, outside of business writing. I took every opportunity possible in the corporate setting to write as often as I could.

After starting my blog last year, I have thought about pursuing writing in some capacity or even becoming a blog contributor. I randomly glanced at Facebook the other day and saw my favorite local site, was hiring writers. Clearly, that’s all I could focus on for a day and I’m so glad I applied.

They have given me an opportunity to meet with the editor and begin writing on a trial basis to make sure we’re a good fit.

The fact that my writing was chosen, means the world to me. It’s validating. It means that when I’m ready to go back to work full-time this is the path I should follow. I’ve never been this excited for an opportunity. I enjoyed Human Resources enough but to align a passion and career path feels better than I can describe.

The thing with dreams is that they feel so personal. I’ve always been artistic. I’ve always felt this creative beast in me that I could barely tame but I pushed it aside because I thought the way to success was through business. I never felt fulfilled working in the corporate world. Yes, I had highs but mostly I didn’t feel satisfied. My last job I would get motivated when they complimented me on my business writing skills. All of the signs were there but I never thought I could do anything with writing. But here we are.

Even if writing for my favorite site doesn’t pan out, that’s ok because I’ve discovered a new path.

Dear Florence,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please don’t lose your imagination.

Your imagination often reminds me of my grandma. She saw the world through creative eyes. As much as you enjoy the arts, I hope your imagination will continue to bleed into your artwork. As much as I love to create art, I was always missing the out of the box thinking that helps many artist’s excel.

The past couple months you developed an imaginary pet mouse. You take him on adventures. When we leave the house, you demand he ride shotgun and you even buckle him up. You cuddle with him on the couch. You bring him outside to play. You feed him Teddy Graham’s. You’ve even pretended that he doesn’t like the snack you’ve brought him. Once you tried to pour him milk, it ended in a mess. You sit him in a specific spot and remember where you sat him hours later.

We do live in an old farmhouse so maybe he’s a ghost mouse? It actually started after your love for the book series, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Wherever the idea came from, it brings a smile to my face to see you having fun and taking such good care of your friend.
I hope nothing squashes your playful and imaginative side too early. Life tends to make you grow up fast and forget this side.

But one day, when you’re forced to grow up, don’t completely lose your playful, joyful, imaginative spirit. Learn to tame it and let it out through the arts or in whatever you’re passionate about. It will help you enjoy life.
I hope nothing squashes your playful and imaginative side too early. Life tends to make you grow up fast and forget this side.

But one day, when you’re forced to grow up, don’t completely lose your playful, joyful, imaginative spirit. Learn to tame it and let it out through the arts or in whatever you’re passionate about. It will help you enjoy life.

Age 3 with your arm wrapped around mouse.

Got wrinkles?

What does a wrinkle represent? The stories of our lives. The many faces we’ve made. The laughter. The crying. The anger. The annoyed. The grinning. The crap I forgot my sunglasses now I have to squint.

I don’t mind my smile wrinkles or crows feet or my forehead wrinkles. I know these wrinkles have told a million stories. My face is very expressive. If you watch me tell a story I tend to use my entire face to provide emotion or help with my lack of words. I usually just let my facial expressions do the talking. I’m a quiet person but my facial expressions are not quiet. They are loud. Sometimes too loud. I remember going through our candid wedding pictures and thinking wow the many faces of Crystal. Why can’t I just nod and smile? Instead my head is thrown back. My eyes are wide. My forehead is wrinkled. My mouth is gaping. I constantly use all of my face muscles hence why the wrinkles are starting to show.
There’s only one wrinkle that I regret and it’s my frown lines. Oh if only I could stop frowning.

There’s only one wrinkle that I regret and it’s my frown lines. Oh if only I could stop frowning.

I’ve always given a good stink eye. If you annoy me, it’ll show. There’s no poker face. If I’m cranky, my eyebrows are furrowed. All I can do now, is try to stop frowning so much. Instead I’m going to do things that help relieve stress. I’m going to continue to exercise because it’s helping my mood. I’m going to snack more often so I’m not hangry. I’m going to breathe through my impatient tendencies. I’m going to flip that frown, upside down. I’m going to work on adding more smile wrinkles and you should too.

daily prompt – wrinkle

Flo took this picture.

Dear Charlie,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please know I love seeing your smile again.

It started with a cold last October. Your first visit to the doctor was early November. You and Flo had cold after cold. For you, the same cycle would occur. Cold symptoms, croup cough, ear infections. Within 3-4 months time you had approximately 6. You were up every night. And cried most days. You were miserable with a few good days sprinkled in between. I thought this is our new life. You hated diaper changes which is complete opposite of the newborn I brought home. I held you making many breakfasts and dinners. Nothing seemed to comfort you.

Finally we took you to a Specialist whom you cried at most of the appointment. He said you had fluid buildup that probably started with the first ear infection. The buildup caused pain and discomfort even when the infection subsided. He recommended tubes put in your ears the following week.

After surgery you started this new high pitch scream. You weren’t screaming in pain. You were having fun. After you healed, you started saying so many new sounds. You say mama more frequently. You started saying Flo. The grin on your face is different. You seem carefree and happy. I feel like I see my Charlie again and I’ve missed you.

You’re laughing and playing and talking. You’re not up in the middle of the night. You’re following directions and interacting more. It’s apparent that you’re feeling like yourself and it makes me incredibly happy for you.

Appendectomy

One year ago I suffered the worst pain that I wish on no one else. Some mornings I wake to what I call phantom appendicitis. The degree of pain is nothing near the amount I went through but it’s a reminder.
It started with what I thought was food poisoning or some stomach bug but I couldn’t find any relief after each round. After 6 hours of getting sick I was still managing to nurse Charlie because at 3 weeks old he still needed to eat every couple hours! I tossed and turned moaning in pain while trying to comfort my tiny baby. As soon as Sam heard the moans he knew I had appendicitis. I wasn’t ready to admit there was a problem because I couldn’t imagine leaving my baby at home while I was in the hospital. Early in the morning, we drove to the emergency room. The pain was getting worse. I could no longer walk or lift my right leg. They hooked me up to pain medication via IV but it wasn’t even touching the level of pain I was in. My appendix ruptured that night and thank goodness the infection didn’t spread. After antibiotics they finally prepared me for surgery over 12 hours later. After surgery, I thought the pain would be gone but I was wrong. I was straight up pissed. Barely recovered from cesarean and now I couldn’t move freely again. I felt defeated. How would I ever manage to care for my newborn and my demanding two year old and heal my body. The pain was unbearable after every meal. I cried myself to sleep several nights. I was sick of hurting. I was helpless. No one could take my pain away. ‎Luckily, Sam, Mom and my Mom in Law were there to get me through. Finally, I began to heal about a week after surgery. I was on the mend. The sky wasn’t so gray. Charlie made it easy. He smiled and cooed. He didn’t mind diaper changes. He nursed very well. It’s as if he knew I needed him. I needed him to be the easiest newborn. I needed his smiles to get me through. I needed to melt in happiness every time I looked at him. Sam waited on me hand and foot. Florence was as gentle as a two year old could be. She had empathy in her eyes every time I cried out in pain. She hugged me tight. One year later I see that this mighty family of four can make it through anything.

Empathy

Empathy. I’ve always been a sensitive person and I feel other people’s pain and happiness almost to a fault. This is why you’ve seen me cry at movies, tv shows, commercials, and novels. I don’t always cry at every sad thing I see but I can instantly put myself in another person’s shoes, even fictional. If I see someone is engaged or having a baby I can’t wipe the grin from my face. If something sad has happened to someone I know or a stranger I can’t stop thinking about that person and what they must be feeling. Feeling other people’s emotions helps me connect to those around me. Makes me feel human and reminds me that we are all human.

I might not have travelled the same path, but I’ve stumbled. I’ve kicked rocks beneath my feet. I’ve been stuck in the mud during a downpour. I’ve tripped over my feet and fell on my ass. I’ve stopped at crossroads. We all have. There’s a story behind every person’s eyes. If we are that self absorbed that we can’t see beyond our own wants and desires then we should no longer be the human race. Without empathy we cannot survive as the human race. So put your own selfishness away for a moment, think about those around you. Think about how terrified those children were during the school day. Think about how terrified those parents were finding out. Imagine going about your mundane life and hearing shots out of nowhere. Imagine your heart racing. Imagine your feet can’t move fast enough. Imagine being struck by a bullet. Imagine watching your closest friend being struck. Imagine your child or granddaughter. The idea is heartbreaking. My chest is tight and I can’t breathe thinking about it. These are the times we live in. There needs to be change and if you can’t see that, then you’re not human.

Teach your child empathy. If you want the human race to continue, teach and show empathy to your children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and neighbors and strangers.

Dear Florence,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please continue your love and appreciation for art. Always make time for it. Do not push it aside. Let it be a part of your daily life.

It’s been a peaceful morning of watercoloring. Your love for drawing has been apparent for over a year now. I’ll never forget the first time you surprised us with a face on your new easel. You slowly add new features as your ability grows. You add limbs, smiles, and hair now. I haven’t made art as much as I wish to in the last decade. My preferred style is realism and I hope to show you my favorite portraits some day. Your ability at a young age astounds me. Lately, you’ve been making objects and places, bananas or the hospital with newborn Charlie. You’re exploring your talent and it’s neat to watch your progression.

I dreamt of having an artistic child one day. One to play pretend with. One to share my artistic eye with. One to share my appreciation for nature. One to share my love for colors and different elements of art. Your eyes are filled with imagination and appreciation for the beauty in the world. You point out when an object resembles a heart shape. You notice the sunset and enthusiastically call to me to watch it with you often. You pointed out the moon at age one. The look in your eyes was unforgettable. You love the rainbow. You know that yellow and blue make the color green. You try very hard to color inside the lines already. Your patient with your art. You frequently make creations for others. Today you made artwork for a teacher’s assistant. I can’t wait to watch you give it to her.

I hope no one ever stifles your creativity. I hope no one ever crushes your imagination. I hope you always feel free to create exactly how you want to or learn to enjoy your happy little accidents. I hope to sit and watch Bob Ross with you, like I spent hours with my grandma, another fellow artist. I hope one day we can sit and create pieces together. You have yet to see my ability. I make excuses. I let life get in the way. Today that stops. You have conjured up this beast I’ve pushed aside for too many years. After watching you this morning, I feel inspired to create. I’ve been writing daily for several months now and it feeds this beast but I’m craving something more. A new artistic outlet and am ready to jump back into my passion of making art. Thank you.

Daily prompt- Conjure

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