I do it every year. The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I cram.

Every night, I scan Pinterest and cooking blogs and make detailed notes. Food Network becomes my CNN news feed. Tyler Florence, Paula Deen and Ina Garten bring me updates on all things Thanksgiving like Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos keep viewers abreast of all the latest news.

Speaking of breasts, did you know that more than 200 million pounds of turkey breasts are consumed during Thanksgiving? That’s just a sample of what I’ve learned during my cram sessions.

Now onto my planned Thanksgiving feast courtesy of Pinterest and the Food Network or what my husband calls, “The fast, easy way to drive yourself insane before a single relative walks through the door and asks, ‘what’s that smell?'”

They make it look so easy; those television chefs. According to Paula, the success of this holiday is dependent on a single ingredient; “moar reel buuuuttr.” By the end of her Thanksgiving special, I’m saying things like, “Jackson, get yo’ mama the buttr. I think these Fruit Loops will be a mighty bit tastier if we put a big dollop on top.”

I did come away with some very handy cooking tips courtesy of Ms. Deen. One: Real butter does make everything taste better. And two: Just because you exaggerate a southern drawl doesn’t mean you can intelligently explain that a turducken is not a cross hibernation of three birds but rather the main dish for the Andrews’ Thanksgiving feast.

I’ve started preparing my grocery list. For Tyler Florence’s cornbread sausage stuffing, I need 12 spices I’ve never heard of. I’m convinced Ina Garten’s recipe for Pear Clafouti will be a crowd pleaser even though my mother-in-law says, “people won’t eat what they can’t pronounce.” And if my guests don’t particularly care for those, my fried macaroni and cheese is sure to win them over… Or raise their cholesterol 100 points.

I’ve picked up most of the non-perishable grocery items and ordered the bird needed for the Thanksgiving feast.This means I will have a few minutes to rest before the rush of activity begins on Thanksgiving eve. For fun, I decided to try out one of the new recipes while Jacob was home from college last weekend. I summoned the boys to the kitchen to taste a sample of what is sure to be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving Day dinner; cranberry pudding. Halfway down the stairs Jackson says, “Ugggh! What’s that smell?” Maybe not.

No matter what, I’ll continue to cram for the holiday cooking season. And I’ll always remember that Thanksgiving is not about the food you cook but about the people gathered around your table refusing to eat it. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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Healthy Living

I’m a sucker for anything holistic.

Some of my first memories are of my grandmother giving me a big, heaping spoon of cod liver oil right before bed, followed by a dose of wisdom. “This will make you smarter than all the other girls,” she would promise.

And with that…I was hooked.

Who needed to memorize multiplication tables each night, when instead, I could endure two seconds of this gross, nasty, magical elixir and just like that, I would know math!

My grandmother was also a big believer in the benefits of fresh goat’s milk. And when I mean fresh, I mean still warm from the utter, fresh. To keep me from gagging, she would add in two tablespoons of chocolate Ovaltine and then place the tall glass of frothy, smelly, awfulness in front of me. “This will make you prettier than all the other girls,” was the promise this time.

To this day, if I pass Ovaltine in the grocery aisle, I have to take a big gulp and look away.

But I continue to be a believer, and so every few months, if I stumble on an article or hear about an amazing superfood that will make me healthier (with no other effort on my part), usually within 48 hours, I’m trying it.

Coconut oil. Check.

Kefir. Check.

Green tea. Check.

Ezekiel sprouted bread. Check.

You name it. I’ve suffered through it.

And most always, I’ve done it alone.

This time, however, my husband was the one who heard about the benefits of apple cider vinegar and wanted to give it a shot. A quick Google search of all this vinegar could promise, and I was in!

Before he could say Kroger, I was home with a big bottle of Bragg’s Organic Vinegar.

This would be easy. I liked apples. I liked cider. And I loved vinegar on my salad.

The bottle said add two tablespoons to a cup of water and then mix in honey to taste.  Are you kidding me? I was weaned on the oil squeezed from the liver of a cod fish.

I drank it straight.

The burn as the vinegar went down my throat was like tiny razors slicing my throat, one paper cut at a time. The taste was like eating a salad puréed in a blender.

This elixir was going to go the way of all the others, but for one small fact.

Throwing away a six dollar bottle of vinegar is not anything Brody Kane can bring himself to do. So instead, every morning, he brings me my vinegar water.

“I promise, two more weeks and the bottle will be done,'” he tries to remind me.

I close my eyes, hold my nose, and gulp it down.

This worked a lot better, when I was the only health nut in the family!

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To Be Cool

When I had children, I knew that I would be a cool parent.

My kids were going to be fully aware that the only thing a stork carries as he flies over our house is a strain of bird flu. When it comes time for “the talk,” we — my husband and I — were going to be honest and open for any questions.

From the time my children could talk, I thought it necessary to call a body part what it was. None of the cutesy little names like oo-ah’s and tete’s for my kids. This was all in preparation for the questions they would have later. I was determined to answer those inquiries better than my parents.

While I loved my mom, when it came to “the talk,” she simply said, “That’s none of your business, Becky. You talk too much.” I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Yes, my parents were raised in a different time, where having the talk meant giving your children brochures and telling them to see the school nurse with any questions. But there had to be a better way.

My decision to be open with my kids was derailed for a short time when I was pregnant with my youngest and my oldest asked me how the baby was going to get out. I knew this was a pivotal moment for my little boy.

He was almost 5. I gave him an answer and he was satisfied. No more questions. He was brilliant. The next day I picked him up from preschool. After the teacher buckled his seatbelt, she looked at me and said with an enthusiastic tone, “He was so excited today! He let everyone in the class know that his new brother was going to come out of his mama’s BAGINA.” That should have been my first clue that maybe it’s better if the stork visits instead of honesty.

When I hear people fret about how they are dreading the talk, I don’t understand. I say the more uncomfortable the better. In other words, BRING IT! This probably has a lot to do with me being so cool. Granted my children were 10 and 5 at the time, I was too dumb to realize that when you say something like, “BRING IT,” you better be prepared for something very uncomfortable to get brought.

It turns out, I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was back then. Or now, for that matter. Although, I do have a pretty woke playlist. (My children hate when I use slang, for reelz.)

Anywho, at the same time, I chastised my friends for not talking openly with their daughters, about that inevitable step of womanhood, I was secretly thanking God that I didn’t have to worry about that talk. You know…since I have boys (insert sarcasm).

Then one morning while my boys and I were getting ready for school, my oldest said, “Mom, what’s a period?” Before answering, I thought about how this could be yet another pivotal moment in his life.  “It’s what comes after a sentence. You talk too much, Jackson.”

You can reach Becky Andrews at becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

 

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The Purge

This weekend, we did something that all family’s dread.

I had put it off long enough but finally marched up those stairs.

It had to be done!

I knew it. and they knew it.

And it was going to be horrible.

My pitiful children followed behind me with garbage bags in hand. We were going to be at this for hours, days even.

Yes…the time had come to clean out their closets. Oh, the horror!

The annual cleaning out of the closets is a precursor to winter school clothes shopping. And with it being almost November….I was cutting it close.

How my children accumulate masses of clothes is beyond me. But they do. And by the end of fall, these clothes can be found stuffed in random drawers, under their bed, on top of the armoire, in each other’s rooms, on the floor and sometimes, just sometimes, in their actual closets.

Hundreds of socks in all sizes and colors are dumped in the hall as we try to find pairs. Jeans and skirts they forgot they bought are found. And usually, I’ll find at least five items belonging to my husband and I.

“So that’s where my yoga pants are! In Neill’s closet, why of course!”

We toile for hours, and with each passing hour, I become more and more irritable.

“This still has the tag on it! Why do you have five of the same blue polos? This is my belt!”

“No, I’m not giving this away because it’s ugly. When you asked me to spend $30 on it, it wasn’t ugly!”

“Yes, if it doesn’t fit Madison, then it moves to your closet. That’s the role of the younger sister. She wears hand me downs. Look it up.”

Back and forth. Back and forth. We carry on for hours.

Sometimes they try to escape, and I’ll turn to find one gone. I wouldn’t notice but for the fact their sibling immediately outs them.

“Bring me more garbage bags,” I yell to the one now hiding downstairs.

Drawer by drawer, closet by closet, we fill bags to the brim with too short pajama pants, mustard-stained polos, out of style cargo shorts and shoes whose match is long gone.

We also reorganize, color code and finally see the bottom of everyone’s closet.

Why yes…the carpet is still there!

And at the end of the day, we drag bag after bag downstairs and then proceed to pass out from exhaustion.

Rest up. Tomorrow we shop for new school clothes.

Oh, the horror!

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If the Boot Fits

Since childhood, I’ve cleaned, pruned and organized my closet space at least 200 times.

As a child, it was much harder to throw out or giveaway stuffed animals, extra monopoly game pieces and plastic jewelry. I had no problem throwing out clothes that no longer fit. It wasn’t a big deal to get rid of those blue jeans with a bright rainbow embroidered on the back pocket. They didn’t fit. Of course, that’s when I was 10 years old. Not quite old enough to realize that the number on the scale or dress label would somehow validate how good or bad I should feel for most of my life.

As a teenager and young adult, an item of clothing not fitting became a challenge. In my mind, life was better when those shorts fit. The thinner me was always happier me.

Last week, after reading a blog on how to transform your life by incorporating Feng shui, I went on a cleaning spree. In my closet, I found a pair of shorts, a red velvet dress (no idea?) and a pair of Union Bay jeans. All from college. All too small…by A LOT!  All completely out of style.

It wasn’t like this was the first time seeing these items since 1993. I have packed and unpacked all three 11 times. But seeing them during my Feng shui attack, I was horrified. In truth, the Union Bay jeans should have been given away in 1995. All have been too small since 1998. But I kept them around. Even after children. But why?!

They didn’t represent a happier me. A thinner me, yes. A happier me, not really. And they weren’t making me particularly cheerful these days either. If anything, they had become my albatross. Keeping me stuck between the Spin Doctors and Adele, dark brown matte lipstick and gloss, belted, high waist and boot cut. Clothing I couldn’t suck in enough to pull past my knees was now giving me anxiety. It wasn’t the extra 15 pounds I’ve been trying to lose since my 24th birthday that was making me feel bad: They were making me feel bad!

Anytime any item of clothing feels tight, I stress. That doesn’t help matters since I’m a “stress eater” and I generally stress about everything. I eat my feelings, and my feelings taste like chocolate, salt and vinegar potato chips, cheesecake and popcorn.

Keeping those stupid dated clothes around had not done a thing for my self-esteem over the years. So I decided to do something different. I tried to find ways to repurpose them, but I’m no good at Pinterest projects so instead, I tossed them.

A weight was lifted. Not a 15-pound weight. But still, I felt lighter. Since college, my tummy has gotten softer, my arteries harder and my mind a bit wiser. Clothing, relationships and politics; sometimes the things we once loved doesn’t fit into our lives anymore. But one day you realize that you can’t punish yourself any longer for something that just doesn’t fit. And at 43, nothing feels better than wearing nice pants that fit…after eating a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Focusing on What Matters

“Divisive” seems to be the go-to adjective for describing the political climate these days.

A few years ago, I believed politics (or politicians, on occasion) illustrated that even though you may disagree on most issues, somewhere along the way, all sides could find common ground. Nowadays, it looks more like two teams brawling like the Socs and Greasers in an odd social media rumble.

Politics is supposed to be about working toward compromise for the greater good, right? My husband and I have worked this way for years. Sometimes he wins and gets to stay home all day on Sunday instead of going to a birthday dinner for my sister. I mean, who else is going to make sure my patio chair doesn’t float away? And sometimes I win, and our cat gets to sleep on his side of the bed. Or when it comes to money, sometimes he wins, and we use any extra money to pay down our mortgage or put in savings. Sometimes I win by not telling him about any extra money we have. We get there, and if we leave his cat allergies out of the argument, we do so in a way that doesn’t disrupt our lives.

Lately, the divisiveness of politics has infiltrated conversations in our offices, our homes, our churches, our schools, our grocery stores, our doctors’ offices, our Facebook newsfeed. If this phenomenon could be viewed under a microscope, it probably looks like a mutated strain of SARS or maybe an unnamed STD.

Some of us have taken to social media to share articles, memes or websites that align with our political beliefs and declare that if anyone disagrees, “then we are no longer friends!” I’ve done the same. I’ve allowed how people respond to protests or health-care bills determine their friendship worthiness or their worthiness in general. Arrogant much, Becky?

Even if I didn’t make it official by posting that a particular group of people were no longer my friends if they support a State Rep or Congressman I don’t personally agree with, I had already marked them off. Albeit most were people I didn’t know beyond Twitter or Facebook, but some were people I’ve known since elementary school. People who were there when my children were born, when Jay’s dad and my mom died. They were there for birthday parties, school plays, graduations, baseball games, track meets. They are funny, kind, good people.

I remember reading through a Facebook friend’s comments on a post about last year’s presidential election. It was like watching the Mayweather/ McGregor match. Only, in this case, there wasn’t a multi-million-dollar prize waiting for each winner.

You knew how it would end but still had to watch blow-by-blow. No matter how long the fight went on, no one would be declared the winner and both (and all the people who watched the exchange from our iPad’s/laptops/PC’s) would leave the ring worse for wear.

Both keyboard competitors were prepared with facts and statistics, but fighter No. 1 had been in this rink before and knew how to pace themselves. Fighter No. 2 had passion and time to fact-check. No one won. No one changed their mind and said, “You know what? I didn’t think about it that way.” Or, “I understand what you’re saying, but this is what I believe.” If either felt like they weren’t being heard, the personal insults commenced. It was an emotional knockout, for everyone.

It was sad to watch but more disturbing to be a part of the online crowd watching. It made me feel anxious about what the future holds for our sanity and our children’s sanity, not just our country.

We are better than this. Spewing vitriol at each other about issues that have nothing to do with politics, purely based on a someone’s party line.

So, I decided to stop. I stopped trying to make someone see my point of view. I stopped spending time fact-checking trending stories. I’ve pretty much stopped watching and reading the news. I stopped worrying about things that politicians, news outlets or family members say I should worry about, in favor of focusing my attention on what does matter.

And right now, what matters is my family and our collective sanity. We have very little to spare, so I consider this a public service. And I don’t care if we never agree on politics. If we can agree that real butter is better than margarine and Betty White is going to live forever, I will love you and respect you for what makes you so uniquely you.

Comments?

Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

 

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My Perfectly Perpendicular Box

If you were to look up the word “uptight” in the dictionary, front and center would be a photo of yours truly. And, in that picture, I’d be sitting in a perfectly proportioned square box.

Oh, how I love my box where everything is just how I like it. Nothing out of place, everything color coordinated in muted colors, elevator music playing in the background, putting on my comfy socks on a Friday night, right before sitting in my comfy chair pinning decorating trends on Pinterest.

And being as uptight as I am, when someone tries to dismantle my little box, I don’t do very well.

So a while back, Brody came up with the idea that I should apply for a spot in a local organization that does quite a lot of good for the community. He had participated in it years before and wanted me to join. The organization, while a worthy one, required an overnight retreat of its members, where I would not know many of the other participants.

It also involved a bus ride, where it’s common knowledge, at the end of which you will be required to tell the entire class what you learned about your seatmate. It required a personality test where your entire personality is dissected and discussed. It required countless interactions, games and discussions with those I barely knew. And it required my sharing a room with someone I had never laid eyes on.

For many years, for these reasons alone, I said “No way!” That box sounded noisy, messy and way too close for comfort.

For one, when I’m on a bus or plane I read, don’t talk and, just in case you try to engage me, immediately upon sitting down, I put on my earbuds and hoodie (the international language for “leave me alone”). I don’t need a personality test to tell me all the ways I’m controlling and crazed.

And I don’t play games because I can think of 101 things I can clean with the time it takes to play an entire game of monopoly or bunch. But the No. 1 thing I dislike more than anything, in this entire world, would be sharing a room (i.e. my box) with a complete stranger.

For some reason, I won’t ever be able to fully explain, in a very weak moment, I finally agreed to attend. So a few weeks ago, I did all sorts of things I never thought possible from my little box.

I made a new friend on a bus. It was slightly painful at first, mostly for her, because she seemed to be one of those people who can talk to anyone.

I completed a personality test — that at the end of the day — found me to be judicious and competitive, which are nice words for controlled and crazy.

And I played games that weren’t so bad, except I missed every ball that was thrown at me, which tends to happen when your hands are crossed in front of you.

But most importantly, I shared a room with a complete stranger, and she didn’t kill me in my sleep nor did she steal from me.

My stranger roommate was very, very nice. A former model and diamond broker who now works for a local non-profit, she kept her side of the room neat and tidy, let me shower first and actually went to bed before I did. As potential psychotic roommates go, she was a good one, although the diamond broker M. O. had me worried there for a minute.

When I returned from the retreat, I was met by both Brody and Becky. who seemed so very proud of me for stepping out of my box. So much so, I found it quite annoying.

“I’m not completely anti-social,” I told them both. “I talk to people every single day of my life and lots of people like me.”

“Sure they do,” both said in unison while trying not to laugh.

But I must say, that evening, upon returning home, there was nothing I wanted to do more than put on my comfy socks, sit in my comfy chair and read about the virtues of properly aligning frames on a gallery wall.

While that other box wasn’t as bad as expected, there is simply no place like home…especially when it’s a perfectly proportioned square box.

With Leadership Wilson’s Dare to Dine set for a Nov. 11, we thought it was a good time to share Angel’s Leadership Wilson retreat experience from several years back. Tickets are still available for this fun event at www.leadershipwilson.com.

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The Real Cost of Gas

I’ve been consistent lately with working out. I’ve found a little slice of heaven inside the walls of a yoga studio. Never mind this heaven can be more than 100 degrees with 30-percent humidity. But a few weeks ago, I thought I would need to hide my head in shame and never return because of something silly.

What happened, you ask? I passed gas during yoga. It was quiet; the room, not the gas. At first, this group of seriously, flexible yogis was too focused on perfecting their Warrior III to pay attention. No one knew until the moment it became clear that “silent and deadly’s” aren’t always silent. I could tell by the look on everyone’s face; they’d caught wind of my secret. Our dear instructor must have sensed my angst as she softly said, “stay with your breath. Come back to your intention.” I started chanting my intention in my mind. “don’t do it again, don’t do it again.” Unfortunately, this had the opposite effect.

I was sweating profusely. Mostly because the room was nearly 100 degrees with 40-percent humidity, but I’m sure my flatulence was responsible for at least a few of those beads. If I could make it a few more minutes, the class would be over, and I’d be in the clear. Then it happened again. They were building strength as I’m certain I heard a thud of someone passing out behind me.

What should I do? What should I say? Do I say anything? Should I close my eyes like instructed OR should I just play the ghost fart card and hightail it outta there, so everyone thinks the cute little brunette sitting to my left is responsible. Who am I kidding? She doesn’t have a look for anything other than Zen perfection. If she is a gasser, it probably smells like a mix between fresh flowers and unicorn dust, which I hear smells heavenly.

Me? I look the part. Or at least I felt like I looked the part at that moment. Two dustings later and I made a promise to God, Betty White, Oprah (and anyone else I could think of) that I would NEVER again eat cauliflower, eggs, chocolate chip cookies, beef jerky or Sour Patch Kids. I essentially went through everything I had eaten the previous six days. I then made a mental note that I need to rethink my diet.

Even though I was sure everyone knew it was me, they didn’t show it. For me, it was torture. I’ve heard someone do this in class before and I always catch myself before I giggle out loud. I can’t help it. No matter how old or educated I get, fart jokes will always be funny. This was my payback. This boiling anxiety was payback for all the years I laughed at inappropriate jokes or the fact that I don’t use the phrase “passing gas” more than its less sophisticated cousin, fart.

As class ended, everyone slowly came out of their respective floor poses. This was it. No one noticed. I exhaled for real this time because I stared humiliation in the face and said, “please, please, please don’t do this today.”

Before standing, I made eye contact with my neighbor and gave the international facial expression for “damn, that was hot.” I couldn’t believe I wasted an entire hour worried. When I stood, it happened (again!). Everyone including the adorable little yogi sitting next to me would now be able to put a face with a…whatever.

I had two choices. I could either ignore it (again!) and never show my face at the studio OR I could be an adult about this. I glanced at my yogi neighbor as we exited class and said, “Did you hear what that butthole said?”

Kidding. I did not say that because saying that is not very adult-like. I simply held my head high and told the instructor I would see her next week. Embarrassment is a high price to pay for a little gas, but it’s worth it to continue my yoga practice. Namaste.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

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The Perks

I’ve been so forlorn lately with the prospect of No. 2 heading off to college after this school year that I almost completely forgot about No. 3.

And then I opened my freezer.

Only to find hundreds of frozen bug eyes staring back at me. And just like that, the school year has begun.

Bug projects, school photos, study guides, homecoming events, never-ending school emails and the list goes on and on.

When we had three little kids at home, my motto often was …. cut it out, glue it down and we are done!

Because nobody has time for that!

The difference though between three kids at home vs one is these days, my motto is… let’s do it together. Just you and I.

Because, at this point in my life, I’ve got nothing but time!

We often go out to dinner now, just Brody, myself and No. 3. We watch him eat, we follow his every move, we hang on his every word.

I was a first born. My brother was the baby. I always thought he was treated particularly well after I left home. Now I’m certain of it.

No. 2 can see the writing on the wall.

“Did you just move a television into Neill’s room? Madison and I were never allowed to even watch television!”

“You let him go to the fair on a school night. What is going on?”

“Are you letting him eat food in the den? You never let us do that!! Hello? Who is parenting him?? That’s his second Coke tonight!! Hello???”

And she is right.

No. 3 gets special treatment. Not because he is No. 3. Not because he is a boy. But because he is my last one.

Maybe it’s wrong. Actually, I’m sure it is. I don’t even care. No. 2 has started compiling her dorm room supply list. She’s made her choice! No. 3 is all I have left.

So while I made the girls find and freeze their own bugs, for No. 3, I’m right along with him as we capture, freeze dry and then pin down spiders, wasps and all sorts of nasty little creatures.

When it was three little kids at home, life was a chaotic blur of fast food dinners, racing between soccer and dance and Halloween outfits that (if I’m being honest) were subpar.

For him, I make banana bread each Sunday so that he can have a warm slice all week. We get to his football games an hour early, just to watch him practice. For Halloween this year, we are hosting a teenage goblin party!

No. 1 has even called home to complain that she is hearing No. 3 is being spoiled.

“Zoe told me that Neill is getting a Polaris. Have you gone insane! She and I had to walk the garbage bins down a gravel driveway all our lives. She said you said it was too far for him to walk!!”

Did I mention that my brother didn’t leave home until he got married at 25? He still lives in Memphis near my parents. They vacation together twice a year and have Sunday lunch together each week.

Now I get it.

Well played, Mom and Dad. Well played!

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On Hope, And Not Losing It

When something bad happens, that bad can reach in and pull the breath right out of your gut. It feels like suffocating. But as your arms flail and you gasp for air, the light turns green, traffic starts to move, pedestrians take to the cross walk. No one notices. It’s as if the people in cars, on cross walks, in the grocery or at the DMW don’t care or don’t feel the shift on the planet when life as you know it forever changed.

I remember going to the grocery the day after my mom died. It was late afternoon in the summer and the store was busy. This infuriated me. As if this completely normal scene for a grocery store in the middle of summer wasn’t enough, a teenage girl breezed by as she was smarting off to her mother. I wanted to get on the loudspeaker and shout, “What is wrong with you people! My mom is gone! Now please be sad like me at least while I pick up diapers and hotdogs! You can go back to whatever you were doing when the proper respect has been paid to my mom, WHO IS DEAD! And as for you, smart mouth teenage girl. One day your mom won’t be here for you to roll your eyes at!” Makes perfect sense, right? While I didn’t get on the loudspeaker or even scream, in that moment reality hit. Life goes on. While the reality may change, everything else…goes on.

It would be nice if someone wrote an etiquette book on how to get back to normal after loss. Something to prepare you for the jarring reality that there’s an expiration date on your grief. Grief over the loss of anything; death of a person, relationship, job, or life you expected. Once that date comes and goes, it’s time to buck up and get over it. That’s what it feels like anyway.

But then something happens. After weeks, months, or years, your inner dialog does an about-face. Instead of,

I wish I could feel normal again.

OR

Will life ever be the same?

You realize you were never normal and since life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving windstorm of existence, the days would be boring if they stayed the same.

Here’s the cold hard truth. There is no timeline. There’s no magic day. No rhyme or reason as to why one year you cry on your mom’s birthday and the next you realize her birthday passed without so much as a sniffle.

All you can do is stay hopeful. And hope doesn’t look the same on everyone. Some find hope in prayer. Others find it through exercise or food or children or scrapbooking. I happen to find it through all of those. Except for scrapbooking, never been a fan.

The point is “hope” is waiting. And sometimes hope is all you have to cling to. Without it, how could life go on? Choosing hope doesn’t mean you’re getting all Polly Anna. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. If you think about it, choosing hope really doesn’t mean anything specific. It means everything.

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