Have you ever gone back?

Have you ever gone back?

To that place when it was all you ever knew? To those streets and the people who lived in the houses that lined them and the events they contained. When all of that was everything that made up your life?

What would you tell that version of you? Run? As as fast as you can?
Soak it up. This is it.
Keep going.

In the past 10 years I have lived a number of places and known a number of people. My life in each of those places—jobs held, relationships formed, return addresses penned on letters mailed, coins pushed into washers and dryers, grocery aisles walked—those everyday pieces that make up a life—changed. And not once, but over and over.

Our lives are only what we know and have known up to this moment.

There is so much more.

Streets to walk. People to meet. Events to happen.

It can feel disorienting to come across a place or person that you knew before. Drive a street you used to daily. See someone else walk through a screen door that used to be yours. Bump into an old friend or colleague. Something or someone that once defined a piece of your existence but no longer does. Your life changed, the place or person you knew kept existing, and maybe changed too.

It can be sad to think of ones that have gone. Opportunities, people, moments that will never again be what they were. But also a relief to think of others that have passed.

When we think of this moment, right now, it can feel so final. Because it is all we know. But if we look back and see how much can change in such a short window, it can offer a shift in perspective.

Life will keep changing.

What will we bring forward with us to the next moment?

Who will we become next?

Mother’s Day

When they both wake up from their naps and their lids and limbs are still heavy with sleep, they crawl onto my lap and we rock until the world comes into focus.

To all the moms who protect us when we’re at our most vulnerable, and when we’re ready, send us out freely to tackle whatever project we have our sights set on, all the while waiting if we need to climb back into their protection once again.

This casting of love and faith sends our kids out a little further each time, but, fingers crossed, they will know they can always come back, that we will always be waiting, and eventually they will come back not because they need us—they will have learned to navigate the world on their own—but because they simply want to be with us.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Planting seeds

They are always watching. 

Are we planting seeds of compassion and kindness? Of patience and perseverance? Of confidence and work ethic? Of love and inclusion? 

They will grow into what they’re surrounded by and nurtured with now. We’re doing our best to model love and light. And not mess them up too badly. 

I hope they get my love of books and their Dad’s dance skills. I hope they look for beauty but also learn to sit with sadness. I hope they’re quick to share a laugh. I hope they chase whatever makes them happy and are kind along the way. I hope they always know our family is home, that there will always be a place for them, and that they are deeply, irrevocably, and unconditionally loved.

Gratitude

We’ve had a lot of snow, wind, rain, and general grayness going on in Northeast Ohio the past two weeks.

I’m impatient for the weather to turn. For the sun to stay and the breeze to shift from cold to warm.

When we’ve had a warm day pop up during the stay-at-home order, we’ve taken long walks through the neighborhood, gone on “nature walks” in the yard (the kids each carry a bucket and fill it with whatever they come across), played with chalk, rode bikes and cozy coupes, kicked a ball, dug for worms… we have filled hours of our day being outside. And we were all happier for it.

As the weather has kept us inside in addition to being at home, it’s been an active effort to shift to gratitude.

When you can’t control the circumstances of your life, it’s easy to focus on what is not going the you want it to: work is different, school won’t resume, you can’t go out to eat, to the library, to browse at a store, to meet a friend for coffee, to the gym… really, the goings-on of life have been put on hold and there are no distractions at the ready. We’re being forced to sit with these circumstances.

And in doing so, it is easier to feel trapped than thankful, to look at what’s wrong instead of what’s right, and to look inward at our unhappiness instead of outward with gratitude.

Make the effort. Look outward. Claim small victories. It may be cold, and snowing, and gray outside—you can’t control that. But, you can control where you shift your gaze, what you let your thoughts rest on. Choose the things that are going right.

Shout-out to a decent guy who picked up these tulips with an antibiotic prescription earlier this week. Gratitude.

Shelved


Last month I had an op-ed featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.


Three weeks ago, I finished writing a new op-ed. 


Today, that document continues to sit on my desktop. 


I haven’t submitted it anywhere. And while I know the subject is important and needs to be discussed, it is no longer a priority. 


The world has turned upside down. In jarring ways, perspectives have been opened. 
Routines, careers, passions, relationships and ideas have been put on hold. Shelved, to shift energies and efforts toward survival. Rightfully so. 


But that does not mean those routines, careers, passions, relationships and ideas are not meaningful, worthwhile or valuable. 


I hope, dearly, that we can see it through to the other side of this unthinkable with as little loss of life as possible. 


That is priority number one. 


And I also hope that the routines, careers, passions, relationships and ideas that have been paused can re-emerge more thoughtful and powerful than before.