Bridging

I was washing dishes, and it was unmistakable; I could smell my grandparent’s home. A mixture of dampness, mountain air, old furniture, and an old house. Only a ghost of a scent, it lingered for a moment and almost as soon as I recognized it and labeled it, it drifted away. Leaving me inhaling, searching for the source, yearning for the feeling of home it brought.

This happens, and I’m always awash in memories. One in particular of an old wooden bridge spanning a dried creek bed. The bridge that led to a hill and a gravel road where the two creeks crossed: our favorite place to walk and skip stones. I could never skip stones, but my grandmother could. Her strong hands, covered in age spots would curl around my chubby fingers and guide my hand to release the flat, carefully picked skipping stone. And it would plunk and sink decidedly into the water while hers always glided at least three times across the surface before delicately finding the bottom.

The thing about that bridge is we always came back across it on our way home, usually to ice cream cones and rocking chairs on the porch. And right now there are many bridges spanning different distances, and we are straddling them all. We are bridging from childhood to adolescence, from toddler to preschooler, from early elementary school to big kid. I am bridging from young mom to older mom, from newly married to simply married. Or maybe it is bridging from young to older, from naive to more mature. In many ways, we are all on a cusp.

Lately I’ve been examining my boys’ faces, searching pointedly for the soft, curvy lines of their babyhood and early childhood. Instead finding that those lines are quietly being erased and redrawn a bit more angularly, a bit more defined and particular, and sometimes I can glimpse the grown men they will become. And then when I examine myself in the mirror and see my own lines where there was once smoothness, crinkles by my eyes, creases around my mouth, it startles me to see the grown woman I’ve become. And the mother I am still becoming as I learn to guide them across their bridges with a mixture of support and freedom.

It is frightening to step across, now the expert guiding smaller hands. We continue to grow and change and encounter these bridges to new hills and gravel roads and creeks. We struggle to skip stones and depend on each other for guidance to land perfectly and softly on the surface. We may not be able to return to where we once were, to recross the bridges we have traversed. But ice cream and rocking chairs and porches? Those will always be there: spanning the distance, the time, the generations and bringing us home.

Friday Favorites (July 21-25)

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This week we are taking time to celebrate some of our contributors’ favorite posts from their blogs. Enjoy!

Amy from Using Our Words shares A Cup of Soul

Jen from Momalom talks about the details of blogging.

Heidi from Love Each Step celebrates the beauty in the daily chaos.

Sitting in Your Poopy Pants

Grief and poopy pants go together like Bogart and Bacall. Ice cream and Cake. Cookies and Milk. Spaghetti and Meatballs. You just naturally think of one when the other is mentioned. That makes sense, right? Stay with me; let me explain.

I have been babysitting babies and toddlers since I was 11. Before I went to law school and started my legal career, I nannied. I have three nieces who I have watched grow up. I now have two boys of my own. I have witnessed a lot of potty training in all my years of being around babies and toddlers. As I have now (hopefully!) closed the chapter on potty training my boys, this “story” is even more relevant.

I have often said that grief can often become like a poopy diaper. Yes, you read that right. Grief can become much like a poopy diaper. One of the hardest parts about potty training a toddler is that the child is often really attached to their diaper (and what is in it). I will never forget the response of one of the boys I nannied for, when we started the whole potty training process: I was telling him that he was a big boy and asking why would he want to sit in a diaper full of stinky poop when we could clean him up and make him feel better? His response? “It’s warm; it’s NOT stinky; it’s MINE.” He was stuck in a place of thinking that his poopy diaper was as good as it was gonna get. It was HIS. It belonged to HIM. And even though it was stinky, it was warm and made him feel at home. It was familiar.

After years of working through my own grief and supporting those in groups struggling with theirs, I have seen that many people (myself included), preferred to sit in their own poopy pants, rather than see what other options are out there. Maybe because even though it was grief, it was familiar. It was what we knew. Maybe we identify with the grief. Maybe we forgot what it was like to NOT sit in poopy pants every day.
We often prefer to sit in our own poop, rather than face the unknown and unfamiliar, the scary because the poop IS familiar. It may be poop, but it is OUR poop. Sure it stinks, but it is OUR stink. We fear moving on from the poopy diaper – we fear cleaning up because it seems like something might get lost along the way. If we allow ourselves to release the deep burdens of grief, we fear that we are releasing our loved one. We fear forgetting our loved one. We fear we won’t remember the physical attributes, the sound of a voice, the feeling of a hand on our lower back. If we decide to finally throw the stinky diaper away, we fear our loved one will end up in the trash with it.

I am here to say that you will never forget your loved ones. They will always be with you. Someday, whether it is next week, or next month, or next year or 10 or 20 years from now, whatever YOUR process is, you will decide that you are sick and tired of sitting in a poopy diaper. You will know that you can throw the poopy diaper away without losing your love, your attachment and your connection to your loved one. You will basically be able to take the good to keep and throw the bad out. You won’t “get over” the loss, but you will learn to integrate it so that the grief (poopy pants) is not so all consuming all the time. You will find joy again. You will laugh again. You will honor the journey that was your loved one’s and is now yours. You will get up, and change out of those stinky pants, and see the world that your loved ones wanted you to continue enjoying. You will start the things you need to start. You will finish the things you need to finish. You will know that your loved ones wished for you more than just sitting in a stinky, hot mess of a poopy diaper every day. And, you will honor them by living the best life you can from the moment you decide to throw the poopy diaper out.

No one should ever continue to sit in their own shit unnecessarily. Not when there is living to do.

Bio: Kate Lyon Osher is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend and writer who also happens to be a third-party reproductive attorney in private practice since 2002. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, fraternal twin sons, and wonder dog, Roxy.IMG_5910

The Necessity of Silence

iStock_000008204805_SmallIn just over a week my three children will begin another school year. Our days will start before the sun rises. Breakfast and morning routines will be chaotic. Shoes will get lost, someone will forget a jacket, and we might make the morning bus with only a couple of minutes to spare.  But by  7:30 in the morning I’ll find the quiet.

Silence.  

Since I began writing full-time I’ve come to crave those quiet hours during the day when I can sip coffee and spend time with my creative side.  I don’t turn on the television and I rarely play music.  The only sounds I’ll here come from the birds outside, the dogs barking at something random, or the phone ringing with yet another political survey.  I try to ignore even those.

When I allow myself to be surrounded by the silence I find a fuller supply of patience. I discover new ideas. I accomplish more. It’s as if my body resets, finds the calm, and begins to work the way it is intended to work.  I can easily get distracted and overwhelmed by the noise of everyday – especially in the summer. Sending them out the door and back to school is the goal and the silence that follows is the gift.

In the silence I’ll open my laptop and begin or continue the next story. I’ll allow myself to become immersed in the conversations and characters I’ve created. They become my companions. We’ll take adventures to new places, sift through the emotions of a necessary journey, and become just as connected as if each of them were real.  I’ll spend hours in that world aching for more and begging to never leave. But at some point it stops.

The alarm rings and I must transition back to the noise.

I’ll head off to carpool, start sorting and guiding the day’s homework, pack equipment and head to after school activities, cook dinner and pack lunches – do all the things that make me a mom and a homemaker.  I’ll tuck them in bed, set up coffee for the next morning, and relax into my own needed sleep. I’ll close my eyes, take a deep breath, and wait for the hours to pass when I can find myself in the silence again.

Friday Favorites (July 14-18)

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One of our Better Blogger Series contributors has been published on Mamalode!

The beauty of summer is captured perfectly in this piece.

Melissa’s midweek encouragement posts are quickly becoming a favorite!!

Can I be a feminist if I disagree with you?

My Facebook feed is exploding with the Hobby Lobby aftermath, and the sting of reading what women are saying about other women on social platforms and the media has just made me sad.

I have no interest in writing about my opinion on the Hobby Lobby decision (although I did post my thoughts on a few friend’s threads…..why do I never learn) but I do feel like I need to address the issue of how dangerous I think alienating other women who are fighting for the same cause is.

For example, one person posted this: “By not supporting Justice Ginsburg, you are threatening the reproductive rights of our daughters.”

Another woman on television said: “Christian, stay-at-home moms are so out of touch with reality and are willing participants in their own oppression.”

And my personal favorite: “If you don’t get why today’s ruling sucked, you don’t deserve to be called a feminist.”

Ouch.

This is the sort of banter that I just don’t get — no class, no inclusion, no respect. And don’t think that I didn’t see it is coming from both sides.
Sometimes the very women that are proponents of “feminism” — the ones who proclaim they are for women’s rights — actually only like the women who think like them.

Time and time again we try to pigeon-hole ourselves into what a true “feminist” is. If you choose to stay at home with your kids and let a man be the main breadwinner, you can’t be a feminist. If you are pro-life, you are stuck in the stone age. If you are not for affirmative action, you are not for women’s rights.

Stealing from Wikipedia, by definition feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women

If you ask me, this is a pretty broad definition, which is why I don’t understand why “feminists” continue to alienate other women. I for one don’t know any woman that is not for equality.

I believe that the very root of feminism is about choice. Having a choice about education and our professions, having a choice about our reproductive rights, and having a choice as to whether we want to work or stay at home. But when we constantly belittle those women that choose differently, think differently, believe differently, we do nothing for feminism. In fact, we hurt our cause.

Because when we shame women for their personal beliefs, we are no better than the men who we claim are oppressing us.

I get why people don’t think I am a good feminist. I am a stay at home mom who is currently completely financially reliant on my husband. I am not anti-man, a man-hater or think all men are oppressors, although I like to think I am pro-women (or more importantly, for universal human rights.)  I am pro-choice, although I think abortions have become too common in today’s society. I don’t really believe in equal pay for equal work, but instead believe in equal pay for equal contributions, which I believe gives women a competitive advantage.

What makes me a feminist? I want to make going back to work after having a child easier, so I think we should have increased maternity and paternity time off. I believe we should have huge corporate tax incentives for businesses that offer child care, particularly for gaps or health issues. I believe crimes such as rape and domestic abuse should be prosecuted swiftly, mammograms and pap smears offered widely, and flex time be mandatory when possible.  And yes, I even believe that birth control should be cost-effective and readily accessible.

But most importantly, I want less laws giving women our rights — such as the right to vote or to equal pay, and more people to ensure we have those rights that should have been originally distilled to us by the constitution. I believe in what Susan B. Anthony said many moons ago:

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.

I believe women should collectively come together to fight more for what unites us than what divides us.  When issues like the Hobby Lobby ruling come up, we can’t let one judgement sway us from our ultimate goal of equality, and we can’t use it to ostracize those among us who want the same, but believe different things. I am for an educated debate, but I’m over the judgmental name calling.

Because I’m more just my uterus. And although I like being a feminist, I don’t want to be a bitch.

Bio: Whitney Fleming has a decade of parenting experience, 15 years of marketing communications experience and 20 years of wine drinking experience, which makes her perfectly qualified to write about parenting, relationships and this thing called life. She is a freelance writer and blogger at www.playdatesonfridays.com.

The Little Voice

Remember Oprah’s talk show when she would tell you to listen to that inner voice that told you to do stuff? Not the one that says ‘Eat all of the hot fudge directly out of the container while everyone else is sleeping’, but the one that says ‘Ask a security guard to walk you to your car when you are at Target after dark because you have a creepy feeling’.

I was an avid Oprah watcher back in the day and always thought that was such good advice, but my problem is that my voice only gives me dessert-related guidance (see hot fudge instruction above) and shopping demands, and doesn’t give a crap about my personal safety. That said, I still try to listen for the voice just in case I get a strong message one of these days that doesn’t involve a fountain drink or using my Kohl’s cash before it expires.

Seriously, I envy people whose little voices have their back, and I am listening hard to hear mine. My problem is that when I am boarding a plane I start thinking about Oprah and her advice so much that I start to hear the voice. My voice has a wise Hermione Granger accent, and implores me to run home immediately, to escape certain death, and to act quickly. It tells me I will be interviewed on the evening news as the only passenger that didn’t board the plane because of my Oprah-tastic 6th sense, and that the world will weep at my ability to listen to my little voice. This is when I start to get excited about my upcoming fame (at the expense of the other passengers crashing to their demise of course). At this point I hear another voice. One that sounds more like a raspy Hannah Montana and says ‘Girl, go ahead and do it. You will miss your flight and look like a lunatic. Oh, and go get yourself a king sized Hershey bar with almonds and an Us Weekly for the ride. You know you like breaking up the little rectangles of chocolate at various intervals to last the whole plane ride — oh, and its the right thing to do’.

And those are my voices.

While I continue to keep an ear open, I try to remember a story my dad has told many times where his little voice talked and he listened. FYI, his little voice typically stays focused on weekly visits to the ice cream stand and DVR-ing 1 hour crime shows, but back in the day, ice cream flavor lists were short and boring, and DVRs were but a glimmer in the eye of Mr. Betamax, so his voice was on its game in this story.

My father is not a big talker, but is a great story teller if he has a good story to tell. One of my favorite stories he tells took place when he was in the army. I’m going to attempt to retell it, however, my subpar version will pale in comparison to his, so just imagine it way more climactic, detailed, and of yeah, entertaining. Lets begin.

It must have been the late 1960′s and my father was stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia. His group went out for several days on field maneuvers. I can’t tell you that I understand exactly what field maneuvers are, but I can tell you that it involved being taken out in helicopters and parachuting into non-civilization. They were there for several days and had to dig trenches and probably simulate some facet of battle. I’m sure there was much more to it, but for the purposes of this story, that is all you need to know.

On the last day of maneuvers, the soldiers were instructed to fill in all of the trenches. As they were finishing up, the helicopters were returning to take them back to the base. My father put down his shovel and was making his way to the helicopter when he felt for his wallet and realized…it was not there. I’m sure the reaction was something akin to me heading to Chick Fil-A only to realize its a Sunday — disaster and panic.

Realizing pretty quickly that his wallet was likely somewhere under the tons of dirt that had just been filled into the trenches, he quickly started digging with little hope of recovering it. His military ID was in there, as well as whatever else men had in their wallets in the 1960′s – cash? driver’s license? Cool Hand Luke Ticket Stub? (clearly I know very little about the 1960s).

He dug furiously but it was time to get back on the choppers or he’d miss his ride out of this no man’s land (okay so maybe it was a few miles from base, but I’m trying to make this story exciting – didn’t you hear my use of the word ‘chopper’ instead of helicopters??).

Just as he was about to hop onboard and with everyone urging him to hurry up, something told him to go back and try one more time. It was the little voice! I am guessing his little voice sounds like a Dan Rather or maybe a Barbara Bush, but in any event it said ‘Dig my son. You must dig one. more. time.’ (again, its called embellishment people and it is how I story tell). Knowing that he had time for one more scoop he hopped off the helicopter, ran to the dirt, grabbed a shovel and dug on last big hunk of earth as his little voice urged him on.

Nothing.

Psych! What kind of story would that be?

As he dug his last shovel full of dirt, the universe smiled and revealed his lost wallet.

Make friends with your little voice and hear what it has to say. Maybe it will save you from a fatal plane crash, maybe it will help you find your lost wallet, or maybe it will just redirect you away from the hot mess that is the OWN Network during channel surfing before you get sucked into a Lindsay marathon (sorry Oprah), but it is there to help you.

Listen to your little voice.

 

Bio: As mommy to 2 toddlers, wife to a work-from-home husband and CEO of keeping people in her house alive, Susan Maccarelli derives constant inspiration for her blog, Pecked To Death By Chickens, from life’s little annoyances. PTDBC is home to many humorous posts about life’s minor annoyances, a Friday series featuring hilarious (and often idiotic) Craigslist postings, and sometimes Susan even writes something to help other bloggers (because once you have been blogging for 6 months you are totally an expert and can start doling out advice to others). You will also find stories that are a bit more serious/poignant when Susan wishes to show her soft underbelly (sadly this is a euphemism AND a literal description), but most of the time she sticks some humor in there somewhere.

Find her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Friday Favorites (July 7-11)

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Jenny nails it when she explores how our bodies are meant to be used purposefully regardless of how the physical effects.

Lisen shares The Not-So-New Mother, Finding Balance – a great post we should all read!

SitsGirls talks about how to maintain your writing voice in the great sea of blogs out there.

Bethany from I Love Them Most When They Are Sleeping talks about true blue old friends.

Lisa from Grown and Flown shares the perfect letter to sending your child off to college.

A Final Gift, A Lasting Lesson

Someone asked me several weeks ago, “when is it that you became a grown up?” Seems like an easy question, but I really had to think about it. Growing up, my parents often reminded my sister and me what “being a grown-up” meant. What I gathered from most of these talks is that being a grown-up often meant making tough choices. Being a grown-up meant taking responsibility – admitting when you had done something wrong and letting people know you were sorry (and with action, my mother would say, not just words. “Sorry” doesn’t mean anything if your behavior doesn’t change. Wise woman, my mother). Being a grown-up meant standing up for what you believe in, no matter what, and knowing when to take up the good fight. It also meant knowing when to walk away. Sometimes, being a grown-up meant putting other people’s needs in front of your own, but it also meant knowing when you, yourself, are the priority. It meant appreciating those in your life, despite the flaws you perceive. It meant saying “I love you” often, even if love was hard. Most important, they told me, being a grown-up meant taking a truly honest look at yourself – all the positives, all the flaws. Basically, being a grown-up seemed like an awful lot of work.

So, instead of stating what made me a grown-up, I think it’s better to start with all the things that didn’t actually make me a grown-up, even though at the time I felt like a very worthy member of the “grown-up” class. Looking back, these events might have shown I was “a big girl” (like my mom and dad used to tell me whenever they wanted me to be brave, obedient, polite, and especially when they used to leave me with a babysitter, which I hated), or even that I was “growing up.” But, make me a grown-up, they did not. I would come to realize this years later.
I didn’t become a grown-up when I left for college in Texas, living away from my parents who lived in California. It wasn’t the first time I had sex (which, by the way, I am embarrassed to admit occurred before I left for college and like most “first times” was an incredibly disappointing experience). Not when I graduated college; not when I paid taxes for the first time and argued to my dad that the government should keep their greedy hands off my earnings; not when I entered law school; not even when I passed the California Bar Exam or took on my first client after I became licensed. It wasn’t even when I got married, left California, my family and my friends to move in and start playing house with my husband in Colorado.

No, I became a grown-up in the early morning of May 20, 2002, when I answered my cell phone, during a stay at my parents’ house, and a detective on the other end of the phone asked if I was alone or if someone could stand near me while we talked. When I told him I wasn’t alone and that my mom was with me, the detective proceeded, rather bluntly, to tell me that my husband had been found dead in our garage, outside his vehicle and surrounded by personal effects. The next slur of words were a blur in my brain: carbon monoxide poisoning – self inflicted – apparent suicide – letters left behind – I am terribly sorry – when do you think you will be able to catch a flight to Colorado and make the necessary arrangements? At this point, my own screaming and crying was making it impossible to hear any of it. At that very moment, I didn’t want to be a grown-up. But I was. I had to be. This life changing event made me a grown-up who would be forced to do very grown-up things.
Seven months earlier, I had been a bride, walking down the aisle in my Grace Kelly inspired gown surrounded by family and friends, stating the vows “till death do us part” to the man I loved more than anything else in the world. Dreams of happily ever after (despite the many warning signs that this would be difficult to achieve) filled my mind: a new life in Colorado, career changes, babies – so many things I wanted to think were possible.

In a sudden moment, by answering the phone, I had become a twenty-eight year old widow, trying my hardest to channel my own inner Jacqueline Kennedy, whose grace and dignity in times of grief and turmoil I always so admired. Tough times and tough choices were ahead of me. Grown-up arrived, hard and fast.

My eight year relationship with my husband hadn’t been easy in the end. There were times when it hadn’t even been easy in the beginning or the middle. Throughout our relationship, my husband struggled first with alcohol and then with prescription drug addiction. He achieved periods of sobriety, only to relapse countless times. Three months before our wedding, he completed a thirty day residential treatment program. This time, we both held faith that sobriety would stick. Getting married at that time was perhaps not the smartest move, but it was something we both really wanted. Love conquers all and that sort of thing. Years prior, he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which explained so many things about him and his behavior, but also brought him a lot of shame. The best way he knew to live with the diagnosis was to pretend like it didn’t exist. He simply ignored it, denied it, and he asked that I ignore it too. Not an easy feat, any of it. So, in the end, things unraveled in a magnificent way under the pressure of all these various factors. I had actually been staying with my parents in California for several weeks before my husband’s suicide. We both needed some time and space to evaluate how we could, if at all, rectify some of the difficulties in our marriage. With his death, I was forced to look all these parts of our life straight in the eye, all the while answering the myriad questions being lobbed at me by friends, family and even strangers: How could this have happened? Why wasn’t I there for him? How would we all go on? Just to name a few.

In the days, months, and years that followed my husband’s suicide, I became a grown-up with each decision I made. These included having to claim my husband’s body, planning three different memorial services so that all his friends and family could be accommodated, determining final disposition of his remains (which, for a time, caused friction between me and his mother), packing up our home in Colorado and moving belongings back to California, (and then determining the “right time” to finally let go of my husband’s clothes and other things), living daily without my partner, and going back to a job I didn’t enjoy because my husband had left me with a mountain of debt . Through all of this, I found my voice – a voice that had been hibernating for quite some time.

I became a grown-up when I started to say what I meant and meant what I said. When I forgave others for their inability to be there for me, I became a grown-up. When I grieved on my own terms and realized there wasn’t an end to grief, but instead an integration of grief into daily life, I became a grown-up.

While my husband’s suicide was a defining moment in my life, I wasn’t going to allow it to define my life. It would not destroy me. Sure, I felt sorry for myself many times, but generally, I tried to get up every morning, greet the world, and make my situation the best that it could be. Every time someone looked at me and said “Suicide is so selfish. But really, what did you expect, marrying a person with all those problems?” and I replied, “I expected we would make the best out of every day. I married him because I loved him, and I believed I could make a difference in his life, and all the good times and all the bad times made me who I am today. And that is a gift that he left me,” I became a grown-up.

Finally, when I forgave myself, I became a grown-up. When I realized that just like I wasn’t responsible for my husband’s troubled childhood, his addictions, his mental illness or the legal problems linked to all of it, and I wasn’t responsible for his final act of suicide, my heart and my soul were freed again. Once that occurred, I was able to fully be there for myself, and, in turn, for the ones that I love, and ones going through difficulties and experiencing similar losses and trying to survive. I kept my heart open, even when it hurt. Because in life, what matters most is the joy and love that we share. That remains my husband’s lasting gift. And that is what this grown-up knows.

Bio: Kate Lyon Osher is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend and writer who also happens to be a third-party reproductive attorney in private practice since 2002. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, fraternal twin sons, and wonder dog, Roxy.

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Getting the Picture

magicalmomentOk, you guys. Everyone come here for a minute. We’re going to take a picture.

A collective, exasperated sigh came from the crowd I was trying to gather. And, I’m pretty sure the loudest one was from a grown man — my husband. (Though my brother, also a grown man, was a close second.) Our kids knew they’d have to awkwardly grin and bear it, but they’d do their best to sabotage the outcome with closed eyes or a stiff smile.

The two men were grumbling to each other about how ridiculous all this picture taking was. Why did we need all these pictures anyway?

Part of me totally agreed. There we were in Maui enjoying the beautiful view, the fresh air, and the mai tais, and I made it all stop for a few minutes so we could capture the moment. Who wants to stand still when there are bugs to catch, shells to find, or cocktails to drink? Yes, let’s just soak up this moment!

But part of me wanted to plead with them. Please, please let me hold on to this moment when it’s passed.

You see, I used to be on their side. I’d roll my eyes, impatiently pose, and make a few snide remarks along the way. But then I became a mom.

Yes, as a mom I realized, these moments? They don’t just happen. They’re hard earned. There’s the packing five (plus) suitcases, the dragging pounds of towels and gear to the beach, the getting multiple people de-sanded and cleaned up for a breathtaking beachside meal. And it’s in those moments that I do all of my sighing and eye rolling (too much, I’m afraid).

But then there’s that moment where it all feels right. Everyone is where you dreamed they would be. Together. In paradise. And, if you ask me, that’s worth taking a moment. That’s the time to put your arms around the people you love, and smile.

It’s not just for the camera. It’s for the heart. It’s for the reflection.

Because the person who beckoned you into that perfect spot knows that — all-too soon — those bags will need to be repacked. Laundry will need to be done. And she’ll want more than the sand at the bottom of a suitcase to remember how magical that moment of togetherness and paradise truly was.

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