Monthly Archives

April 2020

The Upside of a Pandemic

Yes, you read that right. There is an upside to the Covid-19 pandemic. This truth came to me, as truth often does… out of the mouths of babes. My students have been writing journals during our time *Learning at Home*, as I like to call it. Each week they have been completing a prompt that asks them about their feelings around different things that have happened since this situation started in March. “How did you first hear about the Coronavirus?” and “What did you think when you heard school was going to be closing?” are two examples of the reflections students have been engaged in. (Thank you, Kristen Collins, for sharing this awesome project!)

This past week the kiddos have started writing about how their days have changed and subsequently, how they feel about these changes. As I read over their responses this weekend, I came across the expected comments about their struggles with trying to learn via Zoom and how much they missed their friends from school. A few are getting extra tormented by their siblings, lol. But what I also came across were the changes the students were enjoying, loving, and so happy were happening. It made me realize that sometimes we need kiddos to remind us of what is truly important.

I love that we are having dinner together at the table every night.

I used to have to do karate or dance every night and now I have more time to relax and watch T.V.

I get to wear my pajamas all day.

My mom and I have been baking a lot more.

I think the best thing is playing outside with my parents.

And my favorite –

I love that I get to spend so much time with my mom and dad.

So here’s what I need you to know: What a truth, friends! The children are happy that they get to slow down and spend more time with their moms and dads. I have always said that we are doing an excellent job of teaching our kiddos to be overscheduled and stressed out. Nothing better than a quarantine to show them firsthand what they have been missing, lol. Long, lazy days full of daydreaming and imagination harken me back to the summers of my youth. And weren’t those glorious times?! You could spend hours walking in the woods, or doing puzzles, or coloring, or helping your mom make dinner. Wait a minute! That’s exactly what they are doing NOW. 🙂

So as we head into the second half of our required Stay at Home period, maybe we remember what a gift this is.. for us and for the kids. I know how hard it is to juggle everything you have going on at your household, especially if you have littles. Maybe you aren’t going to win any productivity awards in May or even Teacher of the Year (dibs! lol), but maybe, just maybe, you make the Most Amazing Memories with your family. Our children just want to be with us. Who knew? 🙂

I am closing out with the sweetest dang video from Art Garfunkel featuring his family. Stay safe, friends. Xxx

Feeling groovy

The FIrst Days

There You Are

Yes, this past Tuesday was the worst. What’s that? You weren’t asking? lol. Well, I am sorry for throwing this bit of information out there, but it’s facts. It is a dreary day to begin with, obviously, but the Covid situation really amped up the *suckiness* of the moment. (Yes, Google, suckiness is a word. It is the act of being ultimately sucky. Quit underlining it in red, lol.)

People were very kind and reached out as best they could that day. There were a few cards and gifts; thoughtful momentos left at the cemetery; and many, many texts of love. It was all sweet and coming straight from someone’s heart in an effort to help, but I missed my people. I missed my family, and my friends, and the freaking kids. I REALLY missed the kids. And I get it. You don’t organize a car parade to come by and honk and make signs in a situation like this. Some might think that’s a little awkward. Well, most, lol. But the fact is, I needed the ruckus! The day crept by in silence… well, save my crying, and it is not the way we have ever marked April 14th.

Luke Inwood lived large and loud, my friends! It has always been fitting that we have had one hell of a party every year and I have always pictured Luke in a corner, his own beer in hand, smiling his ass off watching his Dad tell another great story to a room full of his friends, young and old. It is also not like Luke Inwood to fade quietly into the night. He is a KING, don’t you know, and I am sure his ego is thrilled when we gather in his name.

The Irish Funeral that laid Luke to rest also marked the beginning of the most incredible connections. I trust that my family and friends know what an important role they served in my healing. But those kids! Over the last few years I have had the honor of getting to know so many wonderful lovelies and they have moved in and found a permanent place in my heart. So when I couldn’t see them this year? UGH! There is a song by Vance Joy called Fire and Flood and it is my song for my lovelies. Every lyric speaks to how much I love them and have become used to having them in my life.

Since we met I feel a lightness in my step

You’re miles away but I still feel you

Anywhere I go there you are

Anywhere I go there you are

Late at night when you can’t fall asleep

I’ll be lying right beside you counting sheep

Anywhere I go there you are

Anywhere I go there you are

Toni, Billy, Paige, Fran, Dom, Thad, Maddy, Madi, Haley, Lauren, Berkeley, Sam, Eric, Marty, Brendan, Justin G., Cody, Ashley F. and Ashley J., Mike O’Toole, Camden, Danny J., all the Taylors, Rylee, Chris, Casey, Hannah, Olivia, Danny L., Justin S., Alex, and Beck. You are really, really, really good human beings. You have let me love you and hug you and be equal parts your friend and your bonus momma. I am lost when I don’t see you. You have made John and I incredibly happy and no matter how much time passes, whenever you show up at our front door, or stomp through the basement ’cause you’re fam and who uses the front door? lol, you will always be welcome. Forever.

So my friends, my family, my lovelies, I miss you all. And when this damn quarantine is over we will have a proper soiree. I will hug you, and squeeze you, and probably sing a note or two, lol. And we will remember our boy, Luke Inwood style, till the sun comes up. #NoAlabama.

Fire and Flood by Vance Joy
Okay… I just watched the video and Vance is way too melancholy. lol Sam Sjostedt, we need to make a video for this. There will be hugging. 🙂
The FIrst Days

Love Always, Always Love

So much time is spent over the course of a life trying to figure out the biggest of the big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose or destiny? And maybe most important – Why is life worth living?

Loss grants you the answer to that question, the answer to all those questions, in that moment when breath leaves your loved one and a hole tears open in your heart. It is Love. To Love and Be Loved is the Why behind everything. Just love.

So might I suggest we take the time to lay in bed every morning and think about five people who love us? Maybe it’s your mom, your spouse, your Grandpa, Fido, or even Miss Patty. 🙂 And as we smile making our list, let’s then get up and make it our mission to show and tell five people how much we love them. Spread love like sunshine, like sparkles. Fill our days with HUGS, with Selflessness. What if we spent our whole lives making love our purpose? What a world it would be.

Love outlives us all.

Love is all we need. Xxx

The FIrst Days

It is Year Five

In ten short days it will mark five years since we lost Luke. Five. Years. Truthfully, I have been a train wreck since January. When you lose someone you love, the reality is there are more hard days than good days, no matter how long it has been. They just get… less awful. Finding that video of Luke a few months back made him seem *here* again and after the newness and joy of it faded, the feelings around his absence grew more intense. Sigh. Such is grief.

It is Year Five and here I am. Waiting for The Day. In the past I have used the people around me who also loved Luke to bolster me up – our friend group, his friend group, Logan’s friend group. They come over that day and we hug and cry and laugh. We mostly laugh. And did I mention we hug? lol It is me after all. Most importantly, we lay eyes on one another, and in doing so, when we really look into one another’s eyes, we can check in on each other. I can look in their eyes and see if they are really doing okay; they can look in mine and know I never will be, but I am better, less tense, because they are there. One thing I know for sure, out of losing my boy, is that life is about showing up. Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, people can’t show up. So now what?

It is Year Five. Fives are things we celebrate, you know, under usual circumstances. They are the big birthdays we mark, the wedding anniversaries, the pounds we lose, lol. All counted by fives. And we throw parties and send cards to mark these occasions. But what do you do when it has been five years since you lost part of your heart? Before this whole shelter in place thing happened I thought maybe we would plan something and try and get the lovelies to join us. They have spread out and have lives of their own these days, you understand, but I thought maybe there was a chance we could do SOMETHING. But what now?

It is Year Five. My feelings are equal parts acceptance and what the actual f*#$. Just this week I was down at the cemetery staring at the dates on the back of Luke’s headstone wondering how the heck this has become my life. How did this happen? And yet, deep down, I know how far I have come since those first days. Since my Day One. Losing Luke shattered me, but I like to think of my heart like an old teacup that had the misfortune of being dropped one Sunday morning. You love it, so you take the time to glue it back together, as best you can, and place it back on the shelf. And so, too, is the condition of my heart: No longer in pieces, still able to fulfill its purpose, a little worse for the wear.

It is Year Five.

Milestones