Category Archives: Joy

Counseling.

I have no clue what I’m doing. I just do the motions: sandals on, jacket slung around my spring shoulders, turn the key, drive the highway, walk the steps, pay the co-pay, and purchase my seat next to her on the mini couch, in the room with the jeweled-turquoise walls and the truth flying out of my body and onto her every inch of being.

It’s aggressive and shy at the same time. It’s a binge and a fasting in the same moment. It’s a rocket and blade of grass. It’s high-altitude winds and a sullied stagnant puddle. It’s symphony and a solo. It’s all of it and none of it and everything in between.

Counseling.

I tell her the truth about how it hurts and how it heals. I tell of my youth, I tell of my present. I tell of every moment in between and every moment I anxiously try to see coming. I tell of the words said and unsaid, the touches made and unmade, the forgotten and the too-close. I tell her all that I know, paying close attention to leave little out, because I believe it all counts in the circle of things. The details inside the round-and-round of my story is like a scribbled globe of endless circles, but it’s this way and that way and back to this and back to that. It’s clockwise and counter, quick left, slow right and around and around again. And just as that feels so redundant to read, it is that redundant in life. It’s both too many words and not enough words at the exact same time.

I never knew there was a permission-slip waiting on the inside of that brick building. I never knew there was a person out there who would take such care of things. And by that I do not mean fix things. By that I mean: take their time, take their slow listening, take their gentle revealing and confident correcting of upside-down thought patterns, take their nurture, take their understanding, take their empathy and with-ness, their advocacy and sense, take their aerial view, and gift it to you in care. Spirit with skin on, maybe.

stigma

[stig-muh]

noun, plural stigmata [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, –matuh] (Show IPA), stigmas.

  1. A mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.
  2.  Medicine/Medical. a) a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy. b) a place or point on the skin that bleeds during certain mental states, as in hysteria.
  3. Zoology. a) a small mark, spot, or pore on an animal or organ. b) the distinct eyespot of a protozoan. c) an entrance into the respiratory system of insects.

Give me the stigma of therapy. Give me the stain of freedom-work. Give me the surprising goodness of middle places. Give me the hysteria and the healing and the Dear-God-I’m-finally-beginning-to-understand world that this stigma offers me. Mark me with the spots of shoulders lightened and a body alive once again.

Maybe I am that of the insect. Like the one in that final definition. Give me the stigma of therapy, if it means these hours on this couch open up my respiratory system and in enters the light and the oxygen and the breathing again. Give me the door flung open wide to the entrance of my lungs. Give me this hurricane air tossing fear off it’s hinges, filling this body with breath that tastes like movement and grace and room and nearness.

Yes, that. Give me all of that.

Give me the work of paying attention, if it means these eyes can finally see. Give me the work of climbing out of boxes, if it means who I am is, after all, free.

Geronimo. (Or: A Letter To My Everett)

My Sweet Everett,

You.

You, love, are a gift.

BW Collage

I’ve known you for 31 days and in those days you have awed me, softened me, terrified me, taught me, blessed me.

Do you remember those few days before you entered this world? You were brave, little one. Readying yourself for the impact of a life full of vulnerabilities and risk and love. Those days were long … and I missed you so much. To lock eyes with you! The ache to lock eyes with you was so real, and it is that very ache that saw your dad and I through so many hours of labor, eyes glued to the screen watching your heart rate as it blipped and beeped. It dropped dangerously low far too many times. You were ready. I was ready. Yet we were being kept from seeing each other because of the blurred and fuzzy words I remember in the background: oxygen, umbilical, positioning, nerves. They told me they could see you. They told me you had hair, little love. You had so much hair! And then the beautiful rhythm of your heart dropped out, low, slow, and we all knew this was too real. Too fragile. Next thing is: surgical lights, steely metal, masks, knives, bags and drips and lines and tubes. It was cold and hot all in the same moment. Dad came close to me, forehead to mine. And eighteen minutes later, you took your very first breath. You arrived in this world with the smallest, most beautiful fill-our-hearts-to-overflowing cry, and your dad and I just lost. our. selves. Boy? Your eyes. They said everything – alive and inquisitive and so very bright, taking it all in. Not even a blink. You were so ready.

tricks because I don’t know how to make a line space here :_)

Just Born

Baby SnugglesYou’ve made my heart burst in gratitude, in love, and in the wonder of both how big and small it all is. You’ve pushed me into new territory, little one. You’ve made me think in ways I’ve never had to, adding to my life an honesty I had yet to experience. All the pieces that make you up, Ev? They move me. I collect the learning of you and it makes me run somewhere new, hard and strong and determined – all in uncharted surrender to what being your mom means. It’s so vulnerable. It’s so raw. It’s so scary. And so incredibly beautiful. You, sweet boy, are a wonder. Thank you for teaching me to unclench my fists. For teaching me what it looks like to give myself away. To look fear in the face and then leave it behind, letting love be what lingers. I was shaken by the newness of you. Yet still, I say: I’m all in, boy. You’ve turned my world inside out and I love you, Everett. Here’s me, open hands, all in, flinging myself out of comfort and into the reckless beauty of it all.

Geronimo!

May you, sweet Everett, forever find that your feet stand on a firm foundation of truest love.

May your roots grow deep, drinking the living water of our Jesus who is your advocate and life source.

May you grow healthy, strong, vibrant.

May joy surprise you around every corner in your incredible, unstoppable life.

May the roads be open and wide for you, little one. Go, go, go for it!

May your relationships be strong and supportive. Honest and compassionate.  Loyal and loving.

May your eyes see wonder and beauty and resurrection everywhere.

May the passions of your life lead you to amazing places, filling you up and pouring out goodness everywhere you go.

May your battles be fought in peaceful valor, always knowing we have your back and will champion for you.

May the good words spoken over you find their way deep into your heart. May you remember them always.

May you find yourself at ease in this little family; authentic and supportive and honest and silly.

May life thrill you and surprise you and bless you over and over again.

May you thrive, little one. May you have an absolute blast in this life!

And may the grace and peace of our Jesus be with you, always.

All my love,

Mom

Thank you.

To you, whom it most definitely concerns:

Remember the time you made me laugh so hard I went silent, tears streaming down the sides of my cheeks, unsure if I’d ever breathe again? I wanted to say thank you.

Or the time you left tiny purple flowers and a paper airplane under the wipers of my car? Thank you for that. I loved it.

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Remember when you taught me how to grow watermelon in the garden? Thank you for introducing me to the beauty of soil and water and growth.

Or you! How about that time you took my hands, jumped up and down, and danced and squealed with me like seven-year-old girls, though we were absolutely in our twenties? Thank you so much.

Thank you for your patience, when I was prideful and snippy and self-absorbed. You could have changed your whole mind about me, but instead you loved me. For that, I’m so grateful.

Thank you for the time you smiled at me. I really needed that.

How about when you sat in the car and drank luke-warm coffee with me, talking about everything and nothing, friendship buzzing and becoming? Thank you so much.

Remember the time you said something kind to me, and I replied awkwardly, not knowing how to receive it, kicking my way back to the curb I thought was my home? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your words lift me.

Oh gosh, remember when I was the new kid in class and everything around me was hell, but you told me your name and let me use your strawberry “perfume” and we stuck like glue at gym class, sun beating on our backs day in and out in that city heat? Thank you. You noticed me. I’ll never forget it.

Thank you for that time when I was growing and getting bigger and stronger, but you carried me to bed anyway.

Oh! And that time you sent me a note in the mail because you thought about me, and loved me, and wanted to share it with me? Thank you so much.

How about that time in high school when you threw me a surprise party, there at your aunt’s house, and everyone was there – loving me and celebrating my life. You let me be myself and you told me I was cool with my piecey crimped hair and Walmart jeans.You let me feel a part of everything, because you believed I was and you loved me deeply. You were my courage sister. Thank you.

Remember the many times you prayed for me with intense devotion? Thank you.

Remember when you told me that I love people well, and that I was actually meant for it? Thank you. Thank you for believing in me.

How about that time I got so insecure and scrambled my way through our conversation, hurting you with my volcano words, and remember? You forgave me, with sincerity. Thank you. That was so kind.

Remember when you chose graceful support over judgement? Thank you so much. That let me be free.

Oh, oh! How about that time we stayed up late in the night listening to movie soundtracks and boy bands, there in the mountain cabin? We played in the snow and drank in our friendship and I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for asking me how I am, and for not letting me answer with a sweep of obscurity. Thank you for investigating and truly caring and being with me in the truth behind that question. Your desire to truly know me makes me feel so very loved.

Remember the time you bear-hugged me longer than I felt comfortable? It really made me feel adored and known. Thank you.

Thank you for the time you invited me to that thing. And that other time, too. I needed to know I was wanted, and that was so kind.

Thank you for that thoughtful gift you gave me! Your whole heart went into it, and that made me feel so valuable!

I remember a season when you pushed me into strength, into character, and into deeper peace. Thank you so much.

How about that time we lingered long after breakfast together, sitting and chatting as the people passed our table, about all things life and boys and friendships, singing the same lines of rap songs like we were so legit? You always brought with you genuine love, and a playful wit. Thank you.

Thank you for giving me a curve to learn on. For respecting the time it takes to work issues out, and for sticking with me when I haven’t quite gotten it yet.

Remember the time you let me in? You shared your story and soul and you trusted me? I’m so grateful. Thank you for letting me be a safe friend to you.

Oh! Gosh! How can I forget? Those times you fed me amazing food with an ease of selflessness and generosity? Thank you so so much! It was delicious.

Remember the time you let me be cranky and whiney and irritable, still choosing to like me, despite? Thank you. And bless you.

Thank you for sharing that bite of cake with me. That felt like family.

Remember the time you felt my excitement with me and you let my joy become your joy? Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Or how about that whole length of time where you supported me in the search for my truest self? You explored with me and asked me questions, you let me ramble and run in circles. Thank you.

Thank you for offering to drive, friend. You’re a great driver and I’ll totally throw you five bucks.

Remember the time you told me you loved me? That was so brave to say. Thank you.

Or that one time when you read books next to me for the entire day, stopping to discuss a moment here and a quip there? You’re the best kind of friend for doing everything and nothing with. Thank you.

Remember when you decided I was worth your life-time covenant? Remember when you chose me? Thank you. That changed everything.

How about that time you spoke to my soul without words, just by your friendship and presence and honored respect for my uniqueness? Wow. Thank you.

Thank you for telling me I had something in my teeth. Really, thank you. That’s a good friend.

And, of course, thank you for that time when you sat in the dark with me, in that awful pit, reminding me that love is greater than fear and that this wouldn’t last forever. You told me I was doing great, and that something new was coming. I’m so grateful.

Thank you for all of it. For your life next to mine, your love when I didn’t deserve it, your words when I needed encouragement, your spirit urging me on. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today, I am so very grateful for you.

With deepest affection and admiration,

K.