Guest Post for Break The Weight

Guest Post for Break The Weight

Two of the ladies who are also featured in Transforming Loss, Ricki and Lulu, have an awesome website–http://www.breaktheweight.com–that documents Lulu’s weight loss journey as she’s coached by Ricki through the experience. The site is inspiring, always. I love reading every day’s post as they each discover new things about themselves and each other. And every day they break the weight–physical and emotional. Every week they invite someone to share their own story of trial, tribulation, and coming out on the other side. This week, I am honored to announce that their Story of the Week is mine. I do hope that you’ll read my post and that you’ll also spend some time with Ricki and Lulu as they document their journey together.

GIVEAWAY: God’s Whisper Manifesto

Part of me has always wanted to live in a real community. Not just people that happen to live together on a street and wave to each other when your walking to the car to leave. I dreamed of something like a commune, where people live and work together. I’m a firm believer that we are all in this together, whether or not we’re directly connected with one another. We don’t exist in bubbles, and as much as we like to think, especially in the United States, that we are “rugged individualists,” the fact is that we aren’t. We are dependent upon one another in so many ways. We need one another for company, for strength, for edification, for sustenance, and for comfort. This cannot be denied. And when I am with people, even though I do like my time alone, I feel better.

I “met” Andi Cumbo last year, when I took an online writing class that she offered upon the recommendation of my only local writer friend, Becca Rowan. She had taken her class and couldn’t say enough about Andi. Since then, I’ve been hooked by her teaching and her writing over at Andilit. She’s helped to make me a better writer, and her encouragement and feedback has meant the world to me.

When she bought God’s Whisper Farm, I was thrilled for her–a dream come true for a friend. I love it when my friends are successful and reach for what they want. I take joy in the fact that I know people who achieve their dreams. When she decided to write a manifesto, a statement of what she wanted to accomplish at God’s Whisper, I couldn’t wait to read it because I knew that it would be amazing.

I was right. This short, concise, and lovely book describes Andi’s vision for God’s Whisper. A place of respite, creativity, and rejuvenation. A place of peace, quiet, and contemplation. A place for people to make music, food, and stories. A place to find comfort in the presence of others who want to build, grow, and learn. In other words, this place that I had imagined many times over the years. A community where people float in and out as needed. A community where people share bread, wine, story, and song (and probably some good cheese, too.) A community where it’s okay to be alone. A community where your personal choices are respected. A community in the mountains of Virginia with gorgeous mountains surrounding you. A community where a warm bonfire awaits you after a day of contemplative wandering over hills and woods. A community of love and acceptance.

This is a place where I’d like to visit. More than once. I got to visit it for the first time in my imagination with the help of Andi’s beautiful manifesto. It will inspire you, I promise. It makes me dream of a “God’s Whisper North” on the shores of some lake, big or small, right here in Michigan.

I’d also like to point out that she plans to have baby goats on the farm. I’m a sucker for baby goats.

If you’d like to read about God’s Whisper, I’ll be giving away a copy of the e-book right here on my blog. In order to enter, please leave a comment below. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner. You have until 5pm on March 24th to enter.

Tell me about the community that you dream of. What does it look like? What would it do for you? How do you hope it would make you feel?

You can buy Andi’s book HERE.

P.S. Please, subscribe to my blog! You’ll get a notification of every new post. I’ve been writing more lately, and I hope you’ll find some good stuff here. An update on my memoir progress is forthcoming.

Living Up Close

I have such a hard time being. Just being. Just experiencing whatever is going on in the moment. I have, admittedly, strayed far, far away from my meditation practice. I think when I was regularly meditating and practicing yoga, I was able to “be” a lot better.

See, I am a person who is very much wrapped up in my thoughts. Always thinking. Always mulling. Ruminating. My father says that it’s one of our family’s greatest skills. But I’m not always dwelling or stuck on any one thought. Quite the contrary. I might be on a dance floor shaking my groove thing, as a girl is wont to do, but I’m thinking about whether or not the new puppy took a crap in his cage.

My mind is always in overdrive and I need to work to quiet it. It’s not really something like ADD, because it doesn’t steal my focus away from the things I need to, or want to, but mostly need to do.

Monkey mind. Getting the best of me. Leading me away from the now to the yesterday or tomorrow. I have a searing desire to appreciate the moment. After everything I’ve been through in the past five years, I know how critical those moments can be and how disturbing it can be when you realize you let some of them slip away from you in favor of yesterday or tomorrow.

Some of what I’ve realized is that many of my moments were experienced at somewhat of a distance because I was disconnected by thoughts of other times. I have lots of memories where I feel like I sat and watched everyone. I wonder sometimes if people notice these times when I get quiet. I think they do. I’ve been asked if I’m okay, if I’m having fun. And those questions snap me back into the moment, but it’s not long before I’m lost in the tangle of my gray matter again.

I think this is why this reshaping and refreshing that I’m undergoing, my grand remodel, has kicked itself off with physical activity. Exerting myself is a way to push all of the what ifs and if onlies right out my head. It doesn’t always work. There are moments when I’m running and feeling a little short on breath that my brain travels back to the pulmonary infarction and starts demanding that the body breathe deeply to know that there is no pain, and hence, nothing wrong. Anxious thoughts and worry, distracting me from the task at hand.

Anxiety is so much rooted in the worry of the past and the future. Through some of my personal battles with health, both physical and mental, that has been a very difficult concept to grasp. When you’re busy living today’s moments it’s much harder to worry about tomorrow. And, of course, there’s a fine balance between planning and chaos. I tend to be a planner, a manager, a controller, even. But in the grieving process, I learned a lot about relinquishing control. I learned about what things I’m really responsible for, and that when you’ve done everything you can, it really is enough.

So I came to the keyboard tonight because I was distracted. Thinking of things other than the thing I was actually doing. And you know what? It occurred to me when I sit down to this keyboard, or that notebook, or that scrap of paper, or the back of that checkbook, and I start to write the words bubbling up from my brain or my heart, I’m not focused on anything but that. And the revelation: it is like meditation. These thoughts come up, they travel to my brain where my fingers are magically instructed as to what to type or write (without me even realizing it), and then they are gone. I don’t dwell on the sentence just written. Not now. I move on to the next one because the ones that are already down can be edited later. There is nothing cemented. Perhaps, with the embrace of my writerly self, with my acceptance of the world of words as part of my sphere of influence, I could take this same sense of pouring out and letting go as I sit and breathe in a meditation. Thoughts arise and pass. Thoughts arise and pass. And since there is no paper, no screen, no kilobytes to hold these thoughts, they merely slip away. No assessment, no force-ranking, no saving for later.

This week I’m going to embark on internalizing some of the changes I’m making. Letting the old flabby stuff fall away in favor of the leaner, stronger, more flexible me. Morning pages done as prescribed by Julia Cameron. Meditation done in the vipassana tradition. Centering prayer done as prescribed by J. David Muyskens.

Taking my inner self back to the beginning.

Wiping the slate clean and learning to be in the fullest of ways.

Living up close instead of observing from a safe, detached distance.

Transforming Loss: Part 2

I left off yesterday’s post in the coney island after our morning of filming in the church. Today’s post picks up where we left off.

After we finished our lunch, we headed back to our house. This was going to be the hard part: the interview. The day had grown significantly warmer as we had been filming at the church, like into the 90s warmer. We arrived at our house and the crew immediately began transforming our living room into a movie set. They set up lights and reflectors to bounce the light onto us in just the right way. We tried our best to settle in, but I felt really nervous and couldn’t sit still. I could tell that Mike was feeling the same way. We both started to take pictures of our “set”: pictures of each other in the viewing screen on the cinematographer’s camera, sitting in the chairs where you could see the boom and the lights and the reflectors. They artfully set up pictures of the boys on different pieces of furniture, both in the living room and in Ethan’s room (which was to be Colin’s room, once upon a time).

We guzzled water and sat in the old folding chairs from his grandma’s card table set while the crew checked audio and Judith made conversation with us. The boys were sequestered in our den, but the mic was picking up every noise they made and the dog barking in the back yard. I had no idea mics could be so sensitive!

There was a production assistant who eagerly accepted the challenge of watching the boys and our dog, Molly. I was truly impressed. We suggested they walk up to the local ice cream place. We figured that would be long enough to keep them busy, so we could finish filming. Chaos ensued as the boys got excited to go for ice cream with their new friend and the dog’s exuberance exploded in reaction to the boys’ excitement. And they were off.

And we were ready to finally start with the interview. Until a lawnmower started buzzing outside and the audio guy let us know that he could hear it. Foiled again. The cinematographer ran outside to talk to the landscaping guy who was mowing the lawn. He returned with the news that the mower would be finished in about 20 min. Judith sighed and rolled her eyes, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She then leaned in and looked at us and started to apologize. We explained that she didn’t need to apologize for OUR noisy neighborhood! But we were all starting to get a little tired, and the lights made the living room hot even though the air was on.

Fast forward nearly 30 minutes later, and we were finally able to get started. Judith would ask us questions and we would answer them. Usually the question was merely a jumping off point to get us talking about our story. We tried to balance the storytelling between the two of us, but I think it leaned a little more toward me talking about it, especially when talking about what we did for other people, since I had initiated much of the work we did for various charities. Mike acknowledged that, of course, but I have to give him props for reaching out to Judith (thanks, hon!).

We kept talking and talking, and we finally had to take a break to get a drink of water and do some technical tweaking. Judith was constantly thanking us and encouraging us, telling us that we were doing great. She was terrific at keeping us on track–preventing us from rambling too much as we talked.

In the meantime, my mom had called to come pick up the kids for their usual Friday visit. I asked her to go to the ice cream stand and pick up the boys, the dog, and the production assistant. She was, fortunately, agreeable to the request. She called to tell us that she had found them all sitting in the shade of a roadside tree between there and home, taking a break from the oppressive heat of the late afternoon. They got home to pick up their things and leave, and the production assistant and the dog hung out in the shade outside. Molly’s barking was no longer a concern because she was completely worn out from the walk.

It took a little while longer, but we finished the interview. Toward the end, I started to get really emotional. We were talking about how our faith was impacted by the loss. I remember getting emotional, and start crying, but I couldn’t remember, until I saw the screening, what I said. It made Judith cry and bring her hands up to her heart. My husband told me that I what I had said was amazing. I couldn’t remember at all. It was seriously an out-of-body experience–the entire interview.

We wrapped things up and Judith and Marguerite, her producer, thanked us profusely and talked about filming some b-roll (action footage to be played with the interview as voice over) later in the month. I was completely and utterly exhausted for the next few days. Telling our whole story again was emotionally and physically draining. My muscles were actually sore and I was physically tired. I was surprised by the toll that it took on us, but it was worth it, without a doubt.

We completed the filming at the Tomorrow’s Child walk a few weeks later, so people could see Colin’s handiwork in action.

In February, the film premiered after the families screened it a week prior. We finally got to meet all of the cast (which would be ANOTHER blog post–or five). We immediately bonded with everyone. The public premieres were amazing experiences. So moving. So difficult. So enlightening. So empowering. At the last night, a gentleman in a yarmulke came up to me and put his hand on my arm. He spoke, “In my religion, we have something called kiddush hashem. It means to glorify God. Tonight, you have glorified God.” I choked on tears and thanked him. I was completely overwhelmed and humbled by what he said. I still am.

I do hope that you will try to make a screening, or at least visit the website to learn more about the film and watch the trailer (http://transforminglossdocumentary.com). I believe it is going to be important. No one has ever allowed the survivors to tell the truth about grief in as raw a manner as this documentary does. You really feel everything that the griever is feeling. Everyone is raw and honest about their process. No pretense. No filter. The straight truth about surviving the tragic loss of a loved one.

Brava, Judith. All we did was tell our stories. You and your team made them beautiful.

Transforming Loss

After attending the fourth screening of Transforming Loss this week, it occurred to me that I have never written about our filming experience. I’m going to break the story up into two parts because I don’t think I can boil this down into one blog entry, so expect another entry tomorrow. Yep, two posts in a row!
This past summer, my husband, kids, and I were fortunate to be part of an amazing experience: filming this important documentary–Transforming Loss. It features six families affected by tragic loss and their grief journeys. It all happened because of my husband, Mike, who is pretty cool. He happened to see that a friend on Facebook had liked a page called Transforming Loss: A Documentary. It turned out that this friend of his knew one of the women in the film from school, hence her liking of the page.
Mike went to the page and saw that they were still filming and still looking for stories to document. He considered all of the things that we had done on behalf of Colin, because of Colin and reached out to the filmmaker, Judith Burdick. She contacted him with the quickness and asked if she could have a call with both of us. A few days later, she called while I was crawling around on my bedroom floor and cleaning out the closet. Yes, again. It’s ridiculous how quickly my closet gets out of control.

Mike plopped his phone on the bed and put it on speaker and we chatted with Judith. We gave her the quick and dirty rundown of the events of Colin’s brief life and then all of the efforts with It’s My Heart, CHF – Michigan Chapter, and Tomorrow’s Child that we took part in to honor his memory. We told her about my writing for Still Standing and the blog (which was kinda lame back then, but it gets better every day!). She immediately wanted to meet with us to see if we would be a good fit for the film.

We met her in her office a few days later. In addition to being a filmmaker, Judith is also a psychotherapist who suffered the loss of her husband in a scuba diving accident when they were in their 30s. Her experience as a young widow led her to seek out the stories that nobody wants to talk about: tragic losses of family members before their time due to illness, accident, or suicide. She asked us questions about how we coped, what we did, what prompted us to start to help others, and to give time and effort to charities and other venues. She talked to our boys who she immediately fell in love with, and they with her. Within a half hour, she had decided that she wanted to include us in her film. We were completely surprised and honored to be part of this important film–an honest look at what happens to those left behind after a loss.

By the end of the week, there was a film crew at our home–very early in the morning! We filmed some outdoor scenes of Mike and I walking in some fortuitous fog that looks fantastic on film. We filmed us having breakfast, me getting ready for work, all of the ordinary stuff. We filmed some scenes at our beautiful church. I taught a pretend yoga class (thanks so much to the friends who came and made that possible!) and sat and looked meditative in the pew as the light streamed in through our gorgeous stained glass windows and splashed sunset-colored hues across the sanctuary. They filmed Mike in the memorial garden where Colin is interred and a statue of an angel sits atop the very spot where his ashes were placed. We then broke for lunch at the local coney island/diner. During lunch we all  bonded, laughing, telling stories, sharing pasts, and talking about the dreams for the film and Judith’s rightly ambitious vision. It was a lovely meal. A waitress took our picture and the way the light shone around us, it was as if there was a glow around our table, and only our table. We started to feel as though someone or something was with us–shining down on us–watching over us.

To be continued!

My Latest Still Standing Post: Self-Care and Significant Others

http://stillstandingmag.com/2013/03/self-care-significant-others/

I hope you’ll read (and enjoy!) my latest article on Still Standing. After re-reading it, I wanted to make an addition to point out that being a seemingly stoic caretaker in a time of deep grieving can be grieving in and of itself. Many people heal by helping others. After all, that’s how I finally began true healing after Colin’s death. That’s how I began to find my way out of the deep, steaming well of tears and anger that I found myself flailing in. Once I reached out to others to help, I found myself buoyed back up to the mouth of that well, breathing fresh air and soaking up sunshine.

Staying strong doesn’t always mean not grieving. It just depends on who you are.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I promised to post here more frequently, and I dropped the ball. And you know what? That’s okay. Here’s why. I had a few goals set for the past few months. One was to get my blog REALLY up and running, regular posts and all that. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’ve gotten back to writing again. And, really, there are only so many weeks I can go without writing something. That said, the blog will be seeing more life. I will start writing at least two to three times a week. I’m working on sort of a schedule right now, since I think that will help me direct my efforts instead of being able to write about everything and anything, which is overwhelming and frequently a source of paralysis when it comes to actually composing and posting a blog entry.

One of the other goals that I had was to get my own web site. Not this reallylongname.wordpress site, but a real URL that is easy to remember. I wanted rachelkain.com, but it’s taken. Blah. I’ll be unveiling something else, something that I think is very salient to my journey as a woman, a mother, a wife, and a writer. Stay tuned!

I had another goal of finishing three chapters of my memoir by the time the documentary that we are a part of, Transforming Loss, premiered. I missed that one, too. But I am taking a memoir class and managed to write about 1400 words for my first assignment. And it felt good. No, better than good. It felt cathartic, and wasn’t as scary as I thought. I have some work to do to delve deeper into the emotion, which is one of the scariest parts for me, but I feel like I’m making some progress on that front. When I read the 600 words I wrote a few months ago, they read like a news report compared to what I wrote last week. I got some very useful feedback, and as a plus (or minus, depending on my given mood!) I will have accountability to other writers and my teacher (whose classes you can find at Andilit).

In addition to the forward progress on my memoir, I have also been collecting breadcrumbs (have to give Debra Smouse credit for that suggestion). Breadcrumbs? Fact is, I keep having these flashes back to our time with Colin. When they started happening, I felt as though they were signals from my mind that I was ready to tackle our story in earnest. Then the memoir came along and it was becoming clear. Anyway, the breadcrumbs are me recording these flashes or impressions and collecting them to put the story together. I had started at the beginning, assuming it was the very best place to start, but that ain’t necessarily so. I am elated to say that I’ve truly started writing my book. I am hoping this is fertile ground for future blog posts.

The last goal that I made was to lose 20 lbs in 3 months. Before I got pregnant with Colin, I had actually lost all of the pregnancy weight from Austin plus an additional 8 lbs. I weighed what I did when we got married. That weight, admittedly, was well above my goal weight, but was still only 10 lbs shy of losing the baby weight from both Ethan and Austin’s pregnancies. I was so close!

I didn’t gain nearly as much with Colin. I attribute that to the stress of coping with his CHD diagnosis and impending surgery so soon after birth. I didn’t lose a lot of weight after he was born because I was pumping, not nursing, and spent the bulk of my time sitting on a stool in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) after his surgery, followed by evenings of sitting on my butt at home. After he died, I had some health struggles and I ended up staying rather sedentary. For 3 years.

Enter my friend Dorothy. She has a house full of boys, too and blogs over at Life With Boys. She tells me she’s going to try a women’s fitness boot camp. At 5:45 AM. In the morning. Before the sunrise. For reals. I think she’s nuts, but after hearing her about her experience (no berating, no intimidation or embarrassment a la Jillian Michaels, just lots of encouragement). I decide, what the hell? I hate mornings, so I’ll go work out everyday–EVERYDAY–at 5:45 AM.

Best thing I’ve ever done for myself. For serious. I have not been blogging or focused on my writing because my body finally said, “Hey, what about me? Give your poor cerebral cortex a rest and focus on me for a while!”

I finally listened. I am eating so much cleaner (next to no processed food or refined sugar) and I feel stronger. I have gone up in weight on some exercises more than once, and I can do a couple of push-ups ON MY TOES. Yep. Rilly. Dorothy did 10 in a row today while I was home with this silly cold, so tomorrow–it’s on.

I’ve learned a lesson with this experience. A lesson directly related to a topic that I write about for Still Standing: Self-Care. It’s a passion of mine, largely because I was such a dismal failure at it with regard to our time with and without Colin. I’ve learned a lot about how to do it and do it right, and I want to share it through a larger, less grief-focused lens here on my blog.

I learned that the only person I have to listen to when it comes to taking care of myself is me.

Not the naysayers who say:

“You can’t just become a morning person” WRONG

“When will you have time for that?” AT 5:45 AM.

“Isn’t going every day a lot?” TELL THE SCALE, MY WAISTLINE, MY BICEPS, AND MY BUTT THAT.

I’ve also started running. But that’s another story.

So, I’m taking care of me. You take care of you, okay?

Oh, and I’ve lost 8 of those 20 lbs.

I would love to hear some changes that you’ve been going through and would happily answer any questions about the transformations I’m undergoing. 2013 is going to be an exciting year!

Cleaning Out My Closet

It’s a new year. The last few years of my life have been a never-ending carnival of change. Both good and bad change, both changes of choice and changes foisted upon me. But all of it constant upending change. For FOUR YEARS. I’ve had 4 jobs in the last year–for a variety of reasons. I generally don’t talk about work online at all, and I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but to sum up: The first was a short-term assignment that I had hoped would turn permanent. The second was a bad decision all the way around, except for a few really lovely people that I met and grew to appreciate and respect. And the drive sucked. The third job was ok, but there were some frustrations. And the drive sucked. I’m lucky enough to be in a position for which there is quite a bit of demand, so I have some flexibility (three calls from headhunters just yesterday!).

Finally, I’ve settled in somewhere much closer to home where I feel part of a team, but also am given a lot of independence. Part of me was wishing, all along, that I hadn’t left the job I had when I had Colin. Unfortunately the gains I made in the salary and benefits department could not be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all about the money–after all, this position pays slightly less than the last one, but the intangibles were worth it to me. And did I mention the drive sucked? But I have two kids and a husband and a dog and a house and all, so a good salary is nothing to sneeze at. Besides, it means I can give more and experience more with my boys (little and big). The amazing trip that we went on this summer (a post on which will be forthcoming) was possible because we could afford to take 12 days off work.

Anyway, I digress, which is sort of the point of this post anyway. Constant change does something to a person. I’ve discovered that I’ve sort of had a hard time settling into any good new habits or even reestablishing good old habits. From the time Colin was born, I have been spinning through my days and sliding through my nights. I feel like nothing I do has 100% of my attention. Ever. It’s not that I don’t wish to concentrate, it’s just that so much of my world is messy and unfinished. I don’t have this sense of internal or external calm. I am constantly forgetting things and letting attention to things that I feel are really important drop off in favor of being able to just vegetate because I am constantly stressed about what I am not accomplishing. The very definition of irony, no? Doing nothing because you have anxiety about what you’re not doing?

Well, forget all that. I want to find some peace and I want to feel alive and vibrant again. I am working toward it, and writing more is part of it, but I also know that I need to get the Mt. Everest of laundry done, so I can minimalize our textile burden. I also need to reorganize my kitchen cabinets, so half-full bags of brown sugar doesn’t fall on my head and 13 x 9 pans don’t clatter out onto my floor every single time I open one of them. I know what I have to do. I just have to do it.

And in order to just do it, I’ve got some immediate, concrete, well-thought-out and prioritized goals to help me find my peace and vibrancy, mostly about this blog, fleshing it out, building it up, sharing more with you, my dear readers. I’ve also got some goals about meditating daily and counting blessings. And Michael Moore has inspired me to take a walk every day–starting tomorrow. I’ve already committed to fewer things in the new year–I won’t be teaching a Saturday yoga class, for instance, just subbing here and there. Saturdays are the only days that my presence is not required somewhere on a regular basis. And I won’t be able to audition for the spring musical because rehearsals fall on nights that I do not have free, and cannot free up on a regular basis. I’m starting to learn that it’s okay to not do everything.

And I’m taking one of the first of my steps toward my goals–being a little confessional here. Yes, I’ve often talked about what life’s been like for me since Colin in dribs and drabs, but this is the ugly, regular parts of dealing with a world in constant turmoil. This is what happens when you realize that the last time you lived in the present was before your baby died. Seriously, it occurred to me, as I was rolling our time in the hospital around in my head thinking about the memoir I’m writing, that the last time I have been truly present was during that time. I was immersed in my son’s existence and immersed in my time at home when I wasn’t with him at the hospital.

But these days, I’m not so present and the lack of mindfulness has taken its toll. I’ve gained weight. My house is messy and dirty and needs decluttering (thanks to Deb Smouse, I have an email folder full of tips to do just that). I always feel like I’m spinning, but not in a good way, like when I’m hooping.

Tonight, I want to walk to my side of the bed on a bare, clear floor. I want to be able to find my shoes in the morning. I need to not have to pick through flip flops that should have been put away months ago. I have to find peace in my bedroom, if nowhere else. So, I’m going to clean out my closet.

But first, pancakes.

(Did I also mention that our family is in a documentary? More on that later this week!)

How about you? Are you seeking peace, or quiet, or stability? How are you going to slow your roll, like I need to slow mine?

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Letter for My Son

So, we had this assignment to write a letter telling our son, Austin, how special he was and what we love about him (everything, ‘course!). I whipped this up super fast, but sometimes that’s the brighter gold. I re-read this and I’m really happy with the end result, so I thought I’d share it here. By the way, this was a rush job because it was due by this morning and I totally forgot (sad trombone).

Dear Austin,

Your dad and I want you to know how special we think you are. You are maybe the funniest kid on the planet, and so many people agree with us. We love how you are so good at making people laugh, especially when you can tell that they need to laugh right then. Right along with that, you are a great performer: a superb dancer and a great singer and actor—you have presence, Austin, and that is a gift.

You are also super-duper smart, but you’re so smart you know that already, right? We are constantly amazed at how much stuff you know and how quick you are to understand what goes on around you.

Even though it sometimes drives us crazy, we love your passion for all things computer. We think that your future is somewhere in that computer, so take it all in now. You are so creative and have so many ideas. You will build beautiful, useful, fun things—we just know it.

Your heart is so big. When we think of how much you love the people in your life, it blows us away. You love so hard and so huge and no one in your life can have any doubt how much you love them. That means Ethan, too.🙂

We love that you care so much about other people and animals. You do a great job of helping to take care of Molly at home.

Thank you for loving us. Thank you for your hugs and kisses. Thank you for being kind and smart and talented. Thank you for being an awesome kid.

We will do everything we can to make sure that you stay awesome or, if it’s possible, become even awesomer! We’re so lucky to be your parents.

Love,

Mom and Dad

 

Have you written a letter to someone special recently? If not, you might consider it. I think that I’m going to start a new habit of writing to my boys more often. And I want them to learn the art of letter writing. In this world of email and text messages a letter is so special.

Do you enjoy writing letters? Do you miss getting them in an envelope on stationery, like I do?

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Some Smith's

looking forward to heaven, learning to walk on earth, letting Love heal all

One Dad

Marriage. Children. Life. Loss. Love

So Says Ced

Not so random and miscellaneous musings from of a youth pastor, obsessed with good coffee, and admitted sports-aholic

Keeks

Living a better story by sharing

I Have the Floor

Gear, guitars, entertainment, sports, politics from Greg Pinelo

HUMAN Detroit

bringing the D to the planet

Write On Wednesday

A Writer's Roundtable

Elizabeth Ellis

Mondo Zivvie: Musings and occasional brilliance from the middle coast

Young Workers Movement

Documenting and Building America's Young Workers Movement

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