Transition

“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” – Anonymous

I’m not sure those words could reflect more accurately how I’ve been feeling as I approach my 30th birthday. Time has evaded me. Almost three decades on this intricate planet of ours and I still have an overwhelming amount of self-awareness to achieve. I would file the past three years in particular under “lessons learned” and “harsh realities”. Life changing for both the good and the bad. In that time, I have managed to experience some of the most exhilarating moments of my life; hit rock bottom (or what I certainly hope is my rock bottom), both emotionally and financially; seen some of the ugliest sides of life, as well as people (myself included); rebuilt some relationships and abandoned others completely; and struggled with a mountain of guilt, regret, and loss (not all in that order).

There have been times I didn’t think I could possibly feel more alone…imprisoned in my own whirling thoughts. Times I didn’t think I could feel more alive and enlightened. And times I truly didn’t know how or what to feel, so I sort of just stopped feeling. But that, I’ve come to understand and embrace, is life. The only thing predictable about it is it’s unwavering ability to be unpredictable.

This period of transition I find myself on the brink of is pivotal to my evolution. No, the earth won’t stop turning the day I turn 30; nor will life suddenly change in some sort of drastic or abrupt way. However, the opportunity presents itself to exhale the negative from the past decade of my life (a decade full of self doubt and self scrutiny, more rash decisions than I’d like to recall, and more hard losses than I was able to cope with) and to instead breathe in a new decade. One of potential, one where I focus on self love, personal growth, and strengthening my ability to be more patient and understanding of others, and most importantly, MYSELF.

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Note to My Dad

Last night I picked up your guitar for the first time in years. The acoustic one you used to play us. I dug it out of the back closet, dusted it off, and strummed the strings slowly. Maybe I thought if I did I could hear your singing voice more vividly in my head. I’m scared. Three years and I feel like I’m losing grasp of some of my memories of you. Yesterday I actually sat through the entire song I had picked out for your funeral without crying. Why does that make me feel a tinge of guilt? Time heals….healing is good right?

You’d be so proud of me; that I know with certainty. My boys, your Grandson’s, are growing up to be such sweet, respectable individuals. They would make you smile and laugh every day. I have a great career I know you’d love to hear about. You and Mom raised a strong, independent woman. And the man that has blessed my life, boy would you love him. He’s musically gifted like you and works well with his hands.

Life is good now, even though I wish I could show you.

When you were in the hospital bed, I held your hand and I sang to you. I think you heard me, because I saw a tear roll down your cheek. The song we sang growing up:

 

I remember daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer
And reachin’ out to hold me, when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the callous’ and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind

 

I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man
But I’ll always remember the love in daddy’s hands

 

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands

 

I remember daddy’s hands workin’ ’til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands

 

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands

 

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I have plenty more to tell you. Until next time, Dad.

 

 

Friendship

It’s only April, but it feels more like a balmy California summer night….the ones I grew up relishing. All four of our children are in the house playing, dare I say, peacefully. As I sit next to the fire pit in my best friends backyard, sipping some particularly fruity wine, the two of us singing along to the best of 90’s country music (yet another thing we have in common); I feel comfortable. Not just comfortable in the physical sense. Comfortable with the company whose presence I’m in; with where my life is at in this particular moment; and in the sense that I no longer fear the future, even though I have no idea what’s in store. Much of that comfort stems from this friendship.

I suppose it sounds a bit adolescent to refer to someone as your “best friend” when you’re this close to 30. But anything less just won’t suffice. Ever since that first Saturday morning we met for coffee almost 2 years ago, our lives have never stopped merging paths. Perhaps it’s because we were at the same complicated crossroad in our lives. Fresh off of divorce; trying to find the balance between being super (single) mom, and becoming our own person once again. I wouldn’t be able to paint you an accurate picture of my life without mentioning Amber. We are the friends that make no sense but perfect sense all in one. A random adventure, car karaoke, belly laugh, inside joke, human diary, closer than most family, once in a lifetime type of friendship.

In essence, this unexpected friendship has allowed us both to recapture some of those young, careless years we missed when we were thrown into a grown-up world far too soon. We have thrived off of the moments that let us briefly forget the decisions we have made, and those that were made for us that led us here. Two tired, young moms trying to be self-sufficient; trying to manage guilt of varying magnitudes; trying to rebuild our happily ever after. Whether we are picking up each other’s kids because we are in a bind; talking through another broken heart; walking along the streets of San Francisco at 4 AM to get pizza; admiring the fireworks from a beach in Hawaii on the Fourth of July; or freezing our butts off on a late night ferry from Seattle to catch the skyline view from the water……we have learned and we have proven that true friendship makes life worth living. It makes the hard times a little less hard and the good times, amazing.

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“Close Friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

For true friendship, I am eternally grateful. For the few people that come along in life exactly when we need them to, and they never leave our side. The ones that help heal our wounds and readjust our thoughts when we’re ready to throw the towel in on life. Here’s to old memories, and those yet to be made with the people that make our days a little brighter, our transitions a little smoother, and our hearts a little fuller.