Leave A Space

When they were babies, my children would look for my face whenever something shifted in the room. Whether it was happy, surprising or sad—they wanted to see how it affected me, so they could decide how it should affect them. If I smiled, their mouths would turn up at the corners. If I was upset, worry would cross their brows. If I pretended to cry, their faces would crumple, too.

As we get older, we begin to mistrust that instinct. We forget that sharing pain can help to lessen it. We forget that sharing joy won't diminish our own. We forget that being able to sit quietly beside someone and her feelings is one of the most beautiful aspects of being human.

Read More

Wherever the Road Takes Me

Rainbow

She was one of those ever-so-rare kind of people.

She never believed the success and accomplishments of others would take away from her own.

She gave her expertise generously and offered her support freely. 

She was one of the greatest mentors I've ever had. 

And when I lost her, I didn't know where to go.

I haven't been able to write the way I want to, or take the chances I hoped I would. 

I feel like she was helping me become that kind of writer, and it can't happen without her.  

Then I was invited to fly to the east coast and insert myself into a small group of talented writers, photographers, and musicians—where surely my shortcomings would be put on display—and I didn't think I could go. 

Heartache made my feet heavy and fear told me to stand still.

Until her words came back and grabbed me by the hand, 

I'm always surprised when I offer to read someone's work and they don't send it;

I wish more people believed in themselves.

And I felt her pull me towards the person offering me a place to go.

An ever-so-rare kind of person

Generous and supportive.

Hopeful that I'll accept her invitation to believe in myself. 

And I'm scared that it won't work, and I'm scared that it will. 

I'll walk to the ocean tomorrow and throw my tears into the waves, while I let myself imagine the writer I might become without her.

And then I'll find my words in their hiding place and throw them into the clouds, where I know she'll be there to catch them.  

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

#BESTFRIENDS

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 1.29.32 PM

The other day there was some kind of #bestfriend day sweeping across social media, and I knew it would be hard for you. When you're 13, friends are complicated. 

Navigating these days and experiences with you has reminded me of my own feelings of wanting to belong and the sting of feeling like I didn't. I don't want you to go through those disappointments, and I wish I could make them go away. But I know it won't help you—it's an important part of learning about yourself and others.

I want to tell you this instead. 

Your friendships shouldn't be represented by a hashtag.

And I was proud of how you handled it.

That even as you felt excluded, you made a choice to be inclusive. 

So while I can't protect you, I can remind you: your most meaningful friendships will be found in the people who sit beside you when it's good and when it's hard.

Those relationships will not feel like work; they will feel as easy as breathing.

And they will fill you like a breath, too.

I know it's going to be hard to figure this out on your own, and I know it will hurt to be let down. 

But turn your heart to the moments and the people who lift you up. 

And then multiply those moments by one million and send them back into the universe. 

There will always be someone ready to catch one. 

There will always be someone who needs to catch one.

Look for those people.

They're looking for you, too. 

#lovemom

 

 

Read More

Friends

Our 10-year-old son—the shyest of our lot—started at a brand new school this year.

It was the best decision for him academically, but it was a move that was not without its risks. 

For someone who struggles as much as he does with finding his place, it meant leaving behind a small, but tight group of friends that he (and we) had worked hard to build.

It meant starting over. And it's been a slow start, which is exactly what we expected.

To keep his confidence and self-esteem up, we've continued to spend time with the friends from his old school. We could not be more grateful that they have continued to reach out to him—it means so much to us. They have shown kindness and acceptance and genuine friendship. 

Today is Pink Shirt Day across the country. It's an initiative that focuses on anti-bullying, as well as the value of spreading positivity and kindness. And as much as we can count on the schools to help perpetuate those messages, it has to begin at home. It has to start with parents and caregivers and role models. We have to walk the talk ourselves, if we expect our children to do the same. 

Two weeks ago, we were on the receiving end of a beautiful gift from one of those boys, and I wanted to share it here on this important day. 

My son's friend came to our door with a wrapped gift and inside was a homemade Wall of Awesome with adjectives and words that described our son. He wears his emotions very openly, and when he read those words his face lit up with joy. It let him know that he is still seen. 

Wallofawesome

This gift comes from a family who aren't afraid to raise a boy who is empathetic and compassionate. They don't worry themselves about making him tough, they worry about making him kind. And even before this great gift, we had seen it exemplified in every interaction we've had with him. 

It isn't easy for my boy to trust peers, he's been hurt before. It's easy to hurt him, after all.

But with this friend, he is able to be his true self. 

And that is what I want my children to know at their core. 

A true friend lifts you up and helps you find your best version.

My son's friends are doing that for him and as their parents,

we are all standing on the sidelines cheering them on.

 

 

 

 

Read More