Sometimes He Carries The Team

Photo By CatchFly Photography 2020

Sometimes he carries the team.

I can not undo what my brain is hardwired to do, or unlearn how I have been conditioned to love and be loved. So I overthink it and he lays out the facts.

I can not part with my experience of trauma because she is a part of me. So, I hold her tight and I carry her. And he holds us.

I can not forget the feelings and the memories of postpartum. So I put them in my pocket and I carry them. And he zips up my pockets.

I can not abandon those who left too soon, who I grieve for. So I carry them in the fabric of my being. And he helps sew in the stitches.

When I was inadequate, when I felt I could not meet the measure, when I have failed or have been failed, I sleep with that. And he sleeps beside me.

The dishes that I miss, the laundry pile that keeps growing, the demand of carrying each item, each baby in your body, each child in your arms, the physical weight of it all gets a little heavy and gets you thinking-

“Boy, what a lot to hold.”

Mackinaw City, MI. 2021

But he helps me carry it. I do not carry it alone. And for all the things I know that “I can not”, there is one thing that I do know for sure-

It would be heavier without him.

Without someone who loves me when I’m broken, and enough not to fix me.

When I wince, when I rest, when I’m weary, when I can not hold the weight of it all alone-
he is with me on my team.

And for all of these things that I continue to carry…

It is him who carries me.

– Wallflower Writing

#wallflowerwednesday

Seasons Of Grief

Houghton, MI. 2018

They say to get through grief “you must go through each of the seasons” and great loss makes you think about every interaction you’ve ever had.

Each challenge, every triumph, every single season.

At first, you watch the people around you, just as desperate and confused. Then you will laugh at the stories, and make no doubt, you will cry again. Knowing it’s the last time you’ll ever be with someone you love, you’ll whimper, scream or even fall to your knees.

And you will again, and again.

Yet, as time goes, you will discover that even in the changing of seasons, and with new perspectives coming each day, that the immeasurable void remains entirely the same. From the funeral to the grave, the 1st-anniversary date to the 20th, the depth of the pain remains unchanged.

So with each fall and with each season, you will rise and you will walk again. Until the next season that brings you to your knees.

Great grief doesn’t tire through just one year of seasons- it takes you- for all of the rest of them. It’s great love with no exit sign.

So, when they say “it takes a year of seasons”, please understand that saying “goodbye” to someone you love for the last time, is also saying “hello” to your new self for the first time. Because it is not just the final season of their life, but also the first season of the rest of yours.

The truth is, there is no agenda for loss. No timeframe for recovery, no amount of seasons that will make it different. There is only trusting in your heart that to have been afforded great grief, we were lucky to have first been afforded even greater love.

But you dont just “get through it.” As time goes on, you learn to accept the seasons of your heart, just as you have always accepted the changing of each season.

-Wallflower Writing

#inlovingmemory

Quit Asking Me When I’m Having Another Baby

Quit telling me I’m due for another.
Quit telling me the clock is ticking.
Quit telling me to try for- the very thing I long for.

Quit telling me my child needs a sibling.
Quit telling me the second one is easier.
Quit telling me about the cursed age gap between siblings. Quit telling me one more would make our family complete.
Quit telling me my child needs a built-in best friend, and that I ought to try for a boy.

Quit asking if it’s baby weight. Quit telling me my child will be spoiled without a sibling, or that she will be weird without one. Quit asking if we’re a one-and-done family. Quit telling me it’s what’s best for the little one. Quit telling me my child will be lonely.

Quit telling me my body is running out of time.

Quit asking me- “WHY NOT?”

Because even when you are well-meaning, for some of us, the question can feel painfully loaded.

We have tried.
We already know about the ticking clock.
We want that too.
We have carried.
We know about the cursed age gap.
We have cried.
We are okay with where we are at.
We are working.
We have begged, we have prayed.
We don’t know why.
We have sacrificed.
We are tired.
We have grieved.
We have labored.

We have loved and we have lost.

So we sit with the strength of ourselves while we laugh off the question that our insides scoff at, but yet we still are so frequently asked.

“When will you have another?”

I beg you, never ask. Because sometimes, oftentimes, you don’t really know what it is that you’re asking.

For all the pills you can not swallow.
For all these losses you do not know.
For all these things you do not see.

For all the answers we can not give you regarding these powerful questions that you ask. For feelings that only a mother can feel.

For all the prices only women who are mothers will ever have to pay.

I beg you, please quit asking.
Quit assuming it is a choice we all have.

Because for some women… it is not.

-Wallflower Writing
#motherhood #womanhood
#wallflowerwednesday

I Will Always Remind You

I’ll always remember the mornings you crawled into my bed in the dark to hold you before school. How you would cling on and hold me back.

I know that you won’t remember as I do, but I promise to always remind you.

I’ll always remember how long it took to master teaching you how to ride a bike and how long it has taken me to teach you about being brave. Especially when it comes to riding the bike.

How patient I can be because it was you who made me brave, you who made me wait. (Seriously, youre so slow!)

I’ll hear your belly laugh someday and remember all the tickles that I gave you and be reminded of the goofy-smiling mama with a messy bun that I was, who loved to play with you, and who you so dearly loved to play with.

How changed I am forever, because it was YOU who made me fun.

I know that you won’t remember as I do, but I promise to always remind you.

I’ll always remind you of the days all you ever wanted was me, because today I understand that all I ever needed was you.

In a world where I had to grow up so quickly and work so hard to survive, I finally found someone who shows me how to make-believe.

And how to dream. How to be bigger than the circumstances that made me. I won’t forget that the first time I got to be little myself, that I got to be little with you.

I know that you won’t remember as I do, but I promise to always remind you.

I’ll always remind you about the magic we felt under the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle at Disney. Or how we held each other tight on our first ever flight through the sky to get there.

I’ll always remember how I came alive when I had you, how I have been so alive ever since.

You might not always remember like I do, but I always will, and no matter how big you get, I will always love you.

I promise to always remind you.

-Wallflower Writing

Snuggle Wuggle With Tickles In It.

Lights Will Lead You.

I know that sometimes to see the light, you must experience and fully achieve its complementary darkness.

And it seems hard right now, because it’s been dark and it’s been raining for a while. But I promise you it won’t be dark forever.

From the darkness grows a great perseverance. And I believe that those who choose to, persevere towards the lightness.

Towards lightness that makes great ripples that will change the world. It is at our darkest moments that we must focus on seeing the light.

And when it is too hard to focus, when it’s too hard to find it, when you’re too shocked by the crazy world, and when the beacon has seemed to have fallen, we must come together and BE the light.

Because if your soul knows the light and if it lives in your heart, it will never be lost. And if you shine brightly and steadfast, the light will always lead you home.

~Wallflower Writing

My Name is Mama. And I am Tired.

“Hi, my name is Mama and I am tired.”

Do you ever imagine life as, like, the opening act of a big screen support group? No booze. All talk. Just drunk on no sleep, motherhood, and love? Because I do.

I imagine most would share stories with ease, proud of their success and the upwards direction of their lives. Others would relay their story sprinkled with tears, struggle, heartbreak, and loss.

How humbling it would be to see and hear moms in a brutally honest, safe space, unclothing their hardships in a room where it was accepted. Where little ears couldn’t hear.

I imagine how it might feel to stand in a room with people who call you by your name instead of calling you “mama.” What it could feel like to sleep at night instead of living with your demons or rocking your baby? To have a friend, a sponsor? To be one? To talk about it?

To be connected. To anything.

What might it feel like to say “I am struggling” to a room full of people who will say it back? To be a bad mom. To have yelled too loudly far too easily. To make a mistake. To relapse and to still have this community, so loyal to the honest acceptance of life and its challenges, that it would not ever question its members’ missteps.

I imagine myself there standing, watery eyes, messy bun, and yoga pants. The warmth in the room would be palpable at my truth; the booming joy would be contagious as moms clapped in solidarity.

I would be seen in all I’ve overcome in my motherhood, I would be supported in all of the places I am yet to go. Here, you would see just how much moms need other moms—just how much women still and always will need support.

Because we are all recovering from something.

And YOU, you mama are not alone.

Some say that actions speak louder than words, but I would argue that words are really, a very honorable start. So, I want to start this conversation: Hi. My name is Mama and I am tired.

—Wallflower Writing
#detroitmom #momswhowrite
Originally posted at @detroitmoms

100 Days of School in 2021

It’s the 100th day of school.
100 bouncy balls have been packed.
Items to dress like we are 100 in tow.
This day is one to celebrate the kids who made it 100 days in their first year of education.

Never mind the masks.
The half days.
The uncertainty of the start.
The shut downs.
The off days for tracking stats.
The staggered starts.
The canceled class parties.
Disposable lunch bags instead of boxes.
The days of zoom.
2 weeks on and 2 weeks off for unknown amounts of weeks.
Never mind the distance.
The small groups.
That you haven’t met your child’s educator.
The half days.
The snow days.
The prohibited playground.
Never mind no Valentines boxes.
Or dropping things off 7 days in advance for proper quarantine.

Never mind all that, it never mattered anyways. We made it to 100 days.

And last year, this time of year, I remember counting 100 days and thinking – how could this still be? A global pandemic I somehow believed would last 2 weeks, quickly absorbed into 100 and more days.

In a normal year it’s a staple of passing half way through the year of the first year of formal education. And guess what? It’s not any different this year. Because together and part, we made it another day more, with our kids leading the way.

Showing us their strength! With our kids at home or in school, or some weird exhausting combination of both. Happy little heroes, adaptable, tenacious and growing. Reminding us all to crawl, to move forward even just another day more.

So, celebrate we will!

It’s the 100th day of school! Cheers, to another 100 healthy, happy days more.

-Wallflower Writing

#storytellingmama #motherhoodunplugged #michiganwriters

Takes Work.

Catchfly Photography

He cleans the kitchen to avoid me.

I don’t mind because I’m avoiding him too and the kitchen gets cleaned. Silver linings.

Sometimes things will break under the weight of it all. Legs are going to shake.

What can I say? It takes a lot of work. It’s easy to be polite when that’s how you’re trained to be. But sometimes you have to fight.

Sometimes you have to let it fly.

You have to let those ugly feelings turn into words come out and you have to say what you need to say.

You have to meet in the middle.

You have to compromise, apologize and you have to grow through what you go through.

You have to have hard conversations.

And you just have to be real.

Because loving someone, really LOVING them, is risking looking ugly when ugly is how it feels inside.

It’s permission to let it fly.

To be shaky, to be ugly, to be soft, to be real when it’s storming.

To let go and learn from the bad times.

To challenge each other.

To grow together on merged time lines.

Both because of each other and In spite of each other.

But nevertheless, together.

It’s understanding that just because you love eachother doesn’t always mean you’ll like eachother.

So, let it fly and get that kitchen clean. Take time away and take the time to talk.

They don’t promise you it’s easy, they just promise you it’s worth it.

-Wallflower Writing

#parenting #momsofinstagram #storytellingmama #motherhoodunplugged #wallflowerwriting #michiganwriters
Catchfly Photography LLC

Look to the Future with Hope.

The year has been a hard one for a lot of people.

As we reflect through the hard things we went through, I want to remind you that even though none of this was normal and even though it sucks, a lot of people are doing a good job right now.

Some of us have cancelled our weddings, our baby showers, graduations and yes, even funerals.

We’ve modified plans, vacations, holidays, places of worship, and school programming.

Some of our houses have turned into dictatorships run by five-year-olds. Some of you are surviving on chicken nuggets and repetitive prayer.

We’ve refrained from hugs, kissing our loved ones, close contact kinship, and things that fill us up. Some have lost their lives in the absence of that connection.

Some of us are missing rent, waiting for a call back that won’t come, and letting bills pile, while some are working double with no hazard pay.

Some of you said goodbye forever to people you love. Through a video chat on someone else’s phone. Some of you were the ones holding those phones, and holding the hands of those leaving this world.

Some of your hearts are broken. Some of your grief is big. Some may never recover.

But even if your forward motion is at a crawling speed, I urge you to go on, even if you’re crawling.

Because no matter the size of the character of someone else and their story, the truth for all of us is this: this is all around just pretty freaking hard on every level and nothing about this is or was normal and you are doing a good job.

Look to the future with hope.

If this year has been hard for you, please, walk with faith knowing that you are better and wiser because of it.

Wherever you’re at, however you’re handling it, I just want you to know that I see you and I think that you’re doing a really good job.

—Wallflower Writing

The Gift You Gave Me: Words From a ‘Toys for Tots’ Recipient

The holidays and Christmas look a little different for the kids who grew up on the Angel Tree at the local Walmart, for the ones who stood in food bank lines to collect holiday dinner, the ones whose profiles hung at the Salvation Army for the months before Christmas came. Kids like me. Kids who generally grow up to be wonderful, compassionate adults.

The gifts my angels gave me changed my life’s trajectory and challenged me to grow bigger than the obstacles around me. Many programs intend to help low income and struggling families, whether an agency that provides money for Christmas shopping or charities that provide resources for specific assistance, or individuals who rise to the occasion. Angel trees, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots—all of these programs aim to purposefully put Christmas and resources back into the local communities. The biggest thing these programs have in common is that they curate the spirit of broken homes, struggling families, and above all—future adults.

It’s Not the Same for Everyone.

Food stamps don’t buy Christmas gifts. While the season fades into the many millions of dollars we spend on gifts and the lavish holiday meals piled high, the truth is that some families and children will not see the same spread on their tables and will wake with no presents beneath their trees, if they even have trees. In a world where most kids believe in Santa, there is a entire body of children who don’t have the choice to even believe. Every family has a different story. Some children are in foster care, some belong to single parents with no family, and some belong to families who are just barely getting by.

When I was a kid, I often was on the receiving end of these gifts. I remember being 14 or 15 years old writing my list…”an Abercrombie sweatshirt to make me cool like the popular kids and one for my sister, so she can fit in, too.” It was all I wanted. Didn’t matter what it looked like. We never had another gift, or a fancy dinner or family. But that morning, I opened that Abercrombie sweatshirt and my sister did, too, and I remember feeling, “someone heard me.” For some kids, this is the only version of Santa they know. And, it makes for very humble adults when they grow to be my age.

It’s More Than a Christmas Gift, it’s the Future.

The gift you gave me changed my life and the way I thought about living it. The truth is that sometimes it is not just merely a physical gift that we are gifting to these children. It is hope. It creates a mold for future angels. Future humans who have a fresh perspective of going without the experience of what it is like to be fulfilled, or who know personally what it feels like to have wishes come true after someone took the time to provide them to you.

It provides autonomy to children. For me, the Christmas presents were always carefully selected in size and preference right down to the color and brand. It took me a long time to understand this. As I grew from the programming curated to meet the needs of my adolescence, I recognized that through the years at Christmas time, even if it was just one, a present would show up for me in my size and taste. Just for me. Not some random item that would go largely unused, but something that I coveted, and really needed or wanted. Wrapped or not, I always knew someone saw me for who I am inside, not just as a profile on a public Christmas tree.

As an adult, I now understand the vitality in the gifts that were given to me and to my siblings through the years. It was about more than giving and receiving. The gifts they gave me was all about believing in the power of kindness and entirely embracing the mobility of mankind. Poverty is not an excuse to let children experience a Holiday season without the staples, love and resources that chalk it up to the “magic” that most of us know and love.

This holiday, season I challenge you to be an angel. To give the gift of hope to a child who is in need of the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of goodness. I challenge you to understand that all that is good of any of us, can be condensed into one small glimmer of hope within any one of us. I challenge you with each moment that you’re picking a name, a family, a gift—to consider just who these children might grow up to be because of your kindness. Because I promise you this, children like me, grow up to be incredibly thankful, hopeful, and compassionate adults.

The gift you gave me changed my life.