Today is my best friend’s day. She celebrates turning 28.
This morning, as I was drinking my coffee, I started going through photos of our adventures together over the past decade. With each click, my eyes began welling up with tears. Call me a sap, but this girl - she has been there. Our experiences together are … monumental (to say the least).
It all started in college. We shared a college dorm and then spent a summer waiting tables and being far too wild together in Ocean City.
That following fall, we jumped out of a plane together - twice!
After college, we both moved away from the small central PA town where we became friends and then, less than two years later, we both moved back. Neighbors, again!
We spent the next year training and training and then training some more. Over the course of one unbelievable year, I followed Kim through over 1200 miles of trails and city scapes as we geared up to compete together in 80 miles worth or marathons, trail races, and a triathlon. Short story: At one event, I started off the morning with a pre-race flat fixing session that forced me to miss breakfast and barely make my start. Before the second session of my race, Kim tracked down my set up location (sacrificing her own finish time) and dropped me off some fuel up food. Always looking out!
She was my wing man at our wedding celebration and my husband and I were the officiant at hers. Two days that go down in history.
When my husband was deployed - Kim was more than a friend. She was my family. She put regular lunch dates on my calendar and included me in her family dinners. She picked up Sully from daycare on my travel days, fed him, and taught him about farm life. She cheered me on endlessly as I was balancing a heavy load and did her best to lift the weight from my shoulders.
And when our son was born, she was the first friend to hold Sullivan and the person who stayed and documented our family and friends doing the same - even though she had a surprise party planned that afternoon to celebrate her now husband’s 30th. In a few weeks, I cannot wait to return the favor as she celebrates her baby girl’s welcome into the world.
I could go on for days about this gal. She’s a good friend. Strike that - she’s a great friend and I’m so incredibly lucky to call her my best.
Cheers to the next decade of adventures together, Kim!
The Road Ahead.
For awhile, I had to put this little piece of me on the back burner for a variety of reasons. Namely, I started to feel like I was writing for an audience or, rather, being selective about what I wrote about, because of an audience.
The desire to write has slowly started to trump my insecurities. My triumphs, my struggles, my dreams and discoveries - I need them in print, because there’s something about organizing and rationalizing my thoughts, in a way that can only happen on this screen, that’s therapeutic.
Recently, I’ve been facing a turning point in life. One in which I’m not sure where the road ahead is going to lead. And I mean that quite literally. For a brief minute, I felt like I really had life pinned down. But over the last few weeks, as I lay in bed at night, the mantra:This world is too big to be thinking so small plays on repeat.
And then anxiety sets in.
There’s a beautiful home in the mountains that bears our address, my name is perfectly printed on a business card that makes me proud, the mister finally has a career that puts his family first, our neighbors and friends are the things that dreams are made of, and the list goes on.
But I can’t shut off my intuition that this place we’re at in life is just a stepping stone. And so the wheels have started to turn again. Where the road will lead us and when we’ll start traveling on it, I’m not really sure. All I know is that it’s time to take to writing about the journey again.
Redneck swimming hole. This kid is a Hick(s). #dirtgrub101
“What I have been trying so hard to tell you all along is simply that my father, without the slightest doubt, was the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had.”
— Roald Dahl, from Danny, The Champion of the World
I get nostalgic every year when I snap pictures of Jeff’s deck. The memories that have taken place on those wood planks over the last 5+ years serve as a deep reminder of how lucky I am to be in this place and with these people.
Every morning I wake up, look at you, and swear you look a little bit bigger. You’re growing faster than I could have ever imagined. Already, your vocabulary has transformed. My baby, who just weeks ago wanted to go to “Pimmy’s” to see the “gickens”, now clearly knows that Kimmy has chickens on her farm. You’ve also recently learned how to use your cuteness as a tool to get out of trouble.
For instance, when I tell you that it’s not OK to try to poke Gus in the eye, you quickly come to me, put your hands on my cheeks, and in the softest, sweetest voice, you look me dead in the eyes and say, “Mommy, mommy” and then string cute little words together that don’t amount to much sense. I revert back to a lecture built for a two year old and you cut me off, again repeating “Mommy, mommy” followed by another string of cute little words all blended haphazardly together. My son, you are already a sweet talker.
You’re growing so quickly and I have this overwhelming fear that if I don’t move fast, I’m going to forget all of the things that you’re doing right now. In an effort to preserve your cuteness, here’s a list documenting the little boy that you are today:
- You’re 2.25 years old and weigh in at a solid 28lbs.
- You manage to convince your father to sneak you a cookie with breakfast most mornings.
- You’re a beast on your balance bike. I have to jog to keep up with you. Recently, you’ve started to lift your feet for about 5-10 seconds at a time as you coast downhill.
- You love heroes of any sort. Mickey, Goofy, and Donald in heroes costumes win you over all day, every day.
- Goodnight Baseball is your favorite book.
- You’ll quickly tell anyone that Zach, Kimmy, Gus, and Daddy are your best friends.
- You LOVE accessories! If you don’t have a ballcap on your head, then you’re wearing your bicycle helmet (you wear it to the store A LOT!). You’ve also acquired a taste for sun glasses.
- You can climb up on the counter top and scale over the back of the couch and you regularly do these things for fun.
- You get super embarrassed and yell “NO!!” when your Daddy starts to dance.
- You can count to twelve and you know most of your shapes (including diamond and star).
- You call the crescent moon a “banana moon”.
- Before bedtime, just as I’m tucking you in, you ask me to sing you the cowboy song (Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys) and you join in with the words you know - cowboys, trucks, doctors, etc. You can rock Old McDonald on your own though.
- When we drive through our neighborhood, your father and I look for deer. We always ask you what you’re looking for and you tell us “a mouse!”
- When you want something to eat, like chicken nuggets, you yell out, “Nugget, where are you?”
- One of your favorite things to say is “Don’t like it” and you commonly use those words when it’s time to wear pants, a jacket, or new shoes.
- You’re a happy child. You giggle and sing and smile all of the time.
When I told Adam that it has been far too long since we’ve seen live music and that I bought us killer seats to an awesome rock show, I don’t think that this is what he had in mind. Can’t wait to watch Sully go crazy tonight!!
Welcome home, Little Dude.
Miles to go before we sleep
I feel more like myself than I have in awhile.
That’s a weird thing to say, no? Not feeling like yourself when you are, in fact, living each day in your body and making conscious decisions around your own actions.
But you know, the evolution of a person can do that. It can make you move so quickly that you race to put all of the great things that you love into one suitcase - double, heck even triple check it, - only to inevitably find out that you forgot a few meaningful pieces.
That spirit inside of me- the one that wanted to quite literally run faster, climb higher, and sing louder was somehow missed. I think right around the time the mister went overseas, I quickly replaced her with a sensible alternative. A person that was more scheduled, less risky, and, at times, too focused on which rung of the ladder she was standing on.
In five days, we move into our new home. It’s snugly nestled in the woods and sits on top of a winding ridge. Just as you reach the final bend in the road, there is the most gorgeous view of the river and lake below.
That view has been the reminder I needed to go back and find that spirit I left behind. There are trails to run, trees to climb, and a refreshing new space that needs to be filled with music.
That spirit, the one I missed, is needed here.