Jumping Back In

This first sentence is a challenge. Not sure why. Like a conversation between old friends who sit awkwardly realizing they no longer have anything in common, I too am not sure what to say. With a lot in my head, but not sure where it all falls into context. I’ve been harassed recently by friends -even Paul, about when I am going to “post again”. Claiming the need for another good laugh, good read or as I tend to think, a small reminder that maybe their lives really are not so bad after all. Hey, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence isn’t it?

So the pressing question of late has been “what the hell have you been doing since Holy Night, Holy Shit?” Well, folks… to be honest, I’m not really sure. A whole lot of daily routine, play dates, laundry, cleaning, cooking and general running around. I was elected right after the New Year as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, so that has kept me busy to say the least. What I know for sure is that my days have generally been consumed in a whole lot of madness and daily insanity. My mantra is still and probably will always be, “slow and steady wins the race”, however I would be lying if I did not admit to also embracing (rather intimately), “organized chaos” as my close second mantra.

We finally rid the kids of the “germs that would not die” and got them healthy by the end of the winter holiday break and back to their respective schools. I finally felt ready, or truthfully, finally felt that I was in good enough shape, and started back kick boxing the first week of January. Pretty sad when you have to get into shape to go to the gym, however I knew well enough that Frank (kick boxing instructor who often sports a “I am here for you to hate” T-shirt) was going to quickly remind me about pain and suffering and that it was best to walk back into the ring prepared. Getting back into the gym has been great. It keeps me sane to say the least. The three day a week routine it is a total beat down and humbling experience, but I am getting stronger each day, loving the challenge of pushing myself and getting enormous satisfaction with how lucky I am to be back doing this. I’m not sure what other people think about when they kick and punch the 200lb bag, but I know what I think of, and damn does it provide great release!

For those of you who have not been in my home office, it is a rather chaotic place. Walls are covered with framed kids art, fabric samples, school schedules, tons of photos, articles and press related to my business and lots and lots of piles. It makes me laugh. Recently, I was working out on the elliptical in my office, watching the traffic pass out the window, bored and listening to music louder than necessary. I will not lie, I think far too much when I work out. Maybe it is the music and the lyrics that draw out the thoughts or maybe it is the extra oxygen I’m taking into my lungs that awakens my brain. Nevertheless, I found myself looking around at my walls; at all the images, art, fabric, colors, chaos and memories and I saw how my life had changed. Perspective was emerging yet again.

I chuckled to myself as I looked over at the wall of framed press and articles related to my business. While still an active endeavor, the world of Swanky Baby, its accomplishments and importance in my life have faded and seemed dwarfed by the wall of the boys art, photos and art pieces. I am certainly not saying that I never appreciated the kids art and images, I guess it is easier to say that the drive to conquer the world as an entrepreneur used to have far more significance in my life. The art wall, comprised of paper birds nests, colorful hand prints, abstract crayon drawings, original photos from travel and art from friends, spoke more to me about what is really important in my life and how my priorities had really changed. Yeah, it was great to get invited to the hoopla of the Academy Awards and showcase my company to Hollywood celebrities a few years back; and yeah, it was great to get write ups in trade magazines and newspapers, but none of that really seems that important or relevant now. All of that no longer seems to exist in how I define who I am now.

What struck me as I looked around and took it all in was that I was more proud of the images and pieces that defined me as a mother, defined those people who were my friends, defined the people that make me whole each day. I felt deep gratitude.

Prominently displayed throughout my office are very personal reminders of what is most important. Each day I get a daily reminder of my friend Jen Ehret. In the days and weeks after my diagnosis in 2007, she sent me package after package of spirit lifting gifts. A butterfly art piece (now framed on the wall with the kids art), a package of butterfly plates and napkins (used one night with girlfriends) and a handmade mobile of 18 colorful, individually unique, hand tied butterflies. The mobile hangs above my computer at my desk in my office and not a day goes by that it is not the first thing I see when I enter the room and what I look too when I am thinking and need strength. Then there are the assortment of photos of family and friends. Each one very personal, extolling as they should, an interesting story, great memory, smile and good laugh.

Hey, I know this is not original, not different from so many of your lives and your personal spaces, but this is my personal, authentic space. It defines who I am, how I think, what is important to me and what keeps me going. For me, it is pretty simple.

My life is pretty close to returning to normal. I really hesitate to use that term since I would love to have someone explain to me what that really means. However, I finally feel good physically and while the emotional part gets rocky at times, it is all to be expected. I will not lie, I do, at times, feel like the world should really alter to accommodate my personal life crisis. In this pipe dream alter-world, the laundry fairy would come and live with me, there should be time to travel and see the world, Paul and I would spend more time together, the kids would suddenly be angels who understand the fragile state their mother exists in, my house would be clean like a 50’s sitcom, etc… however, I accept that the pipe dream isn’t reality and my chaos isn’t so bad.

We’re happy and I am damn proud of that.

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