marriage, motherhood

This Is The Way (of a Courageous Heart)

December 6, 2003

Within each family are the stories of shared memory. For example, ask T.Puzzle how the boys earned a day of ‘Unlimited Video Games But with Limits’ and you will hear a little bit about what makes our family tick. It’s a whole lot of teasing and humor with a generous dose of love.

Another such story that lives on as family legend is how Mad Dog broke up with me not once, but twice.

Twice.

I can find the humor in it now, but living through it at the time was anything but funny.

Not surprisingly, my boys find this fact to be hilarious.

As today marks the anniversary of our 17th year of marriage, I realized something. Following one’s heart is not without fear, but following it at all is enough to sustain you through life’s uncertainty.

While we were dating, Mad Dog was always honest with me that forever may not be in the cards for us. Through the course of our relationship I learned I was worthy of commitment and decided I would not settle for less.

Mad Dog clearly disagreed.

Not once. But twice.

Twice.

Then at some point, he had a change of heart and I was faced with a dilemma. Do I follow my heart or do I let this guy go once and for all?

I followed my heart.

My heart knew better than all the naysayers and it knew better when my head spouted fear and worry. I chose to live from the heart because I figured if it all blew up in my face, at least I wouldn’t have regrets.

I would never have to wonder ‘what if?’.

This is a life lesson I have carried with me. It has helped me leap forward when my head is adamant I stay still. It helped me know it was time to return to Florida. Moving during a pandemic in the middle of a school year is not the circumstance one dreams of when contemplating major life decisions. While all signs pointed to stay, my heart knew without question it was time to go.

This knowing, one might assume, would make life immune to hardship as if our gut instincts will shield us from adversity. Yet it has been quite the opposite. I can’t even begin to describe the stress and challenges we have faced in these past few months. We have fought, I have cried, there were quiet moments of genuine despair, and yet, we have not broken. We seem to weather each day as it comes, storms and all, and keep going. It’s as if these hurdles when woven together bind us closer as a family.

Through every up and down I continue to listen to the knowing within. Whatever happens, my hope is to never let a ‘what if’ define me or my life.

I would marry Mad Dog all over again.

No regrets.

Our anniversary sunrise. Worth every bit of the journey.

family, humor, motherhood

Better Already

Throughout my life I have had many best friends.

Some real, most imagined.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Princess Kate, and Abby Wambach are a few examples.  These are the women that inspire me and help me to dream bigger dreams for myself.

My current ‘best friend’ is Melinda Gates.  While it is mildly possible the Gates Foundation has slightly more monetary resources than the giving fund Mad Dog and I started, Melinda’s philanthropic sensibilities are the paragon I hope to follow.  She grew up in Texas and, when the world was accessible, I would drive by the high school she attended on my way to workout. This makes our ‘friendship’ seem all the more real.  I live near where she grew up.  I live near where she learned how to code.  I live near where she became the person she is today.

See?  Anything is possible.

Mad Dog recently sent me an article about books Melinda recommended.  Since she is one of my very best friends, I immediately bought them.  One in particular, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, has daily entries to help open your mind and heart to a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.  It is awesome, but honestly, my best friend wouldn’t recommend anything subpar I can promise you that.

Since I am deep in the self-quarantining phase of life, I have several books that I am reading simultaneously (I kind of roll like that anyway in regular life, too), and found myself with this glorious recommended book in serious need of a bookmark (as all others were in use).  Ever the problem solver, I marched back to the game room and announced the boys needed to make me one.  Yes, there was some serious pause and a healthy dash of attitude thrown my way, but I persevered.

“I gave you life.  Because of me you have life.  Make. Me. A. Bookmark.  Now.”

It took them a few minutes, but they did it.  I also made it clear, please, take it seriously.  Write something thoughtful and inspiring on it as I will be reading this book every day.

First up, I read Full Speed’s side:

IMG_8503He did not let me down.

Well done.

Next up, T.Puzzle:

It’s super emotional so if you are the sensitive-type, gather up your courage before you look at it:

 

IMG_8504

Look at that, you just read this whole post.

The world thanks you.

I thank you.

Don’t you feel better already?