My Latent Love

I wrote this post about Oliver a few short days before his first birthday.  It is still so pertinent today.

My little Oliver is about to turn one in just twelve short days.  I have really been reflecting on this lately because, as I look back, I can’t believe how far we’ve come and what we’ve overcome together.

Max has always been considered and probably always will be considered my little miracle baby.  Born after 2 losses, arriving almost six weeks early, it was hard not to love him at first sight.  This was something I had worked so hard to obtain, not just for for nine months, but for the three years before he was born as well.  He looked exactly like me and we were inseparable since our first day together.   And, in all honesty, we still are.  We are two peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth.  Our personalities are so in sync that at times it is hard to figure out where I end and he begins.  There is, of course, a bond between father and son, but not quite like the one we share.

In opposition, being pregnant with Oliver felt like a chore.  I know it had  a lot to do with having a toddler already, having to keep it a secret because we lived with my in laws at the time, and spending all my time worrying about where we were going to live, how we were going to pay for things, etc, but still I wanted it to be over.  I was ready for him to be born and ready to get the “parenting two under two” show going.

When he was born, he was absolutely perfect in every way a baby could be, but I was still worried.  Not about him because he was everyone’s favorite, but about Max and how we would take it.  I know I should have been more worried about Oliver, trying to spend more time with him, but I felt like, for some reason, he didn’t need me as much.  He had daddy, and the grandparents, everyone fawning all over him and all I could think about was how to make sure Max was included in all of the newness and excitement.

I know moms that will sugar coat things and say that bringing a new baby into the fold was easy and natural, but I’m not going to lie.  From the minute we walked in that door and we were all left alone it was hard.  Taking care of two in a tiny house was insane.  Having no income at all while on maternity leave was a nightmare.  Oliver was sick a lot and in turn we were all sick.  My sleep suffered.  My marriage suffered, everything seemed to be changing and I really wasn’t ready for it to.

My siblings and I are completely different, so I don’t know why I thought that Oliver would be easy just like his brother.  There were/are so many differences, even from the beginning.  Oliver wanted a lot of attention.  He loved to be held and be around people, especially his brother.  He was noisy and cried a lot and ate a lot, and was a terrible sleeper (still is!)

But with all of that came his smile, his huge blue eyes, and his ability to find joy and laugh at everything.  My day doesn’t feel complete if Oliver isn’t up to say goodbye to me in the morning.  No matter what kind of day I am having, seeing him run to greet me when I come home with that huge smile on his face is all I need to change my day around completely.  He is definitely daddy’s boy, through and through, but I know we have something too, a connection that only a mom and son could have.  It may have taken a little while, but now I realize that I would not be able to function if he were not here with us.  He is the puzzle piece in the middle…the one without which you have no idea what the picture actually is, the one that keeps everyone together.

At first I felt guilty about these feelings I had, like I wasn’t a good enough mother for some reason because my heart did not burst full of love the minute he came into this world, but I know that I shouldn’t.  My love for Oliver grew a little bit each day and I know that even now it is not done growing.  Today I can say I love him to the moon and back, but I know we still have the rest of the universe to conquer together.


Happy Birthday.

The day before I left Mike it was his birthday.  Having postponed the move so many times, I finally decided that would be the official day.  Determined to have one last day of family and one last day of togetherness, the kids and I spent our day creating the illusion of happiness.  We went out to buy presents, made a cake, decorated cards, and prepared a favorite dinner.  None of it was really appreciated, as I knew it wouldn’t be, but we did it anyway.  It was important to me for the kids to see me still making the effort to do nice things for their father, even though we were no longer together, even though our world was going to change dramatically in the next 24 hours.

I still made the effort. And that seems to be the one sentence that can sum up my 13 years of marriage to a man I am no longer in love with.

I still made the effort.

And now, today is my birthday.  A different birthday than every other year. Since Oliver and I are two days apart, my birthday usually falls in the shadows of his.  But this year, some one has gone out of their way to make it extra special and for that I will always be grateful.

I have loved the calls and the voicemails, the facebook posts, the emails, and the text messages telling me Happy Birthday.  I even received one from my father-in-law (ex-father-in-law? Too many hyphens to be sure) telling me Happy Birthday!  Happy birthday exclamation point…as if he really is being genuine even though I have left his son.

Yet, as of 11 am, there have been no texts or calls from Mike wishing me a happy birthday.  There were the texts asking me about emailing Max’s teacher since he is sick and home from school.  There were the texts asking me about bills that need to be paid.  These texts began at 6:32 this morning, and yet, not one saying Happy Birthday.

At least once a week there is the text asking me when I am “coming home” and getting back together with him. But not a single happy birthday.  Yes, I know it’s still early in the day, but still…you’d think if you loved someone so much and wanted them back in your life, it would the first thing you say.

I can’t really act like I’m surprised.  He’s notoriously famous for forgetting my birthday, even when we were together. Really, that’s a tiny piece of the enormous puzzle of why I left.  I’m sure other’s have their judgements.  I ran off with another man.  I broke up a marriage.  I put my happiness above Mike’s.  All true, of course, but also insignificant pieces to the larger picture.

Do I need a happy birthday from him?  No.  Not in the least.  I’m glad to know that even when he didn’t care about my day, I still made the effort for his.

And I will choose to do so with the kids each August 14th.





Nostalgia is a funny thing.  I usually try and shy away from it as it tends to make me sad.  I sugar coat the past at times, putting the shiny crystal sheen on things making me think I had it better when, in actuality, I probably didn’t. Charleston, kid free times, college – all things I think back on fondly, wishing I was still there in those moments, never really remembering the times that weren’t so good.

Today, though, was different.

I’ve been contemplating the idea of accepting my guaranteed entry to the NYC marathon since I dropped out last year.  I told myself that maybe this was the year I would *actually* do it if I could just take the first step and get out the door to exercise.  Today made three days in a row and I’m pretty damn proud of myself for that.

Today is cold.  And snowy.  But I managed to get the workout clothes on and out the front door to run/walk/jog/slide for 30 minutes.

As I began navigating the neighbor streets where I now live, the neighborhood streets where I lived years ago when I first began running, the nostalgia was overpowering.  This is where it all began…my love for running.  The shiny beacon in an otherwise tumultuous time in my life where I could barely stay afloat.  And then out of the blue “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey came on and my heart stopped.

This could be the fall of 2013 when I first started running.  That song took me right back to those moments so many years ago.  The early mornings and sore legs.  The darkness of running pre-dawn.  The excitement I felt when I ran down certain streets and crested certain hills and the annoyance I felt with others.

Not only did I fall in love with running on these streets and sidewalks, for the first time I actually fell in love with myself.

This girl.


And this one.


The girl who completed her first Runner’s World Run Streak.


And her first half marathon.


The girl who was happiest and had the biggest smile when completely covered in sweat.


This wasn’t the same kind of nostalgia that I was used to.  It wasn’t so much remembering what I had as discovering what I can absolutely have again.

With this short 30 minutes this morning I began to realize that maybe I never lost my love of running or even myself.  Maybe it’s always been here.  In this neighborhood.  On these streets, waiting for me to return.  Because this is where I belong.


No.  Not the wine.  Though it is very good.

I woke up to a tweet that today is the day the lottery for the NYC marathon opens.  For all of you thinking, “Oh great, here she goes again.” you’re probably right.  Why am I even contemplating this yet again?  Why put myself through something that I am just going to give up on and quit?  In all honesty, I have no idea.  I just know that when this time of year rolls around I get a little shiver of excitement up my spine.

A little backstory, if you please.

The NYC marathon is rather hard to get in.  There is a lottery system and roughly 16% of “regular” US residents that apply get in.  Some people have applied for years and year and never once gotten in.  I’ve applied for the NYC marathon lottery twice.  And both time was accepted.  The first time I applied I was pregnant with Charlotte and was hoping this could give me the edge I needed to get back into running post-baby.  Long story short…it didn’t.  A tumultuous summer and very rough fall had me stop running almost completely and I dropped out and chose not to use my guaranteed entry for the next year.

Last year I applied again, hoping it would be the kick in the pants I needed to get my absolutely horrifying wreck of a life back on track.  Obviously, since you are reading this it didn’t work.  I won’t justify it, but I went through hell last year and am just happy to come out alive and relatively unscathed.

The icing on the cake (mmmm…cake)… after all of this, I pretty much stopped running, stopped working out, and gained by almost all of the weight I initially lost.

So after quitting two times on this marathon, why am I sitting here contemplating it again?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s the signs I’m seeing.

A few thoughts on the matter.

  1. I actually don’t have to apply to the lottery again this year.  Since I “dropped out” last year I actually have a guaranteed entry for this year.
  2. In that respect, I do have to pay again.  Almost $300.  While I don’t have an extra $300 just lying around to waste on a marathon, I do have exactly that much in my Digit Savings Account.  Is this a coincidence?  Is it a sign?
  3. Or maybe this is the sign.  My daily shine text for today: FullSizeR
  4. My life is a lot more put together this year.  A lot more.  And while my free time is basically non-existent, I do think I can make the training work.
  5. Speaking of training: the marathon is 42 weeks away.  Just by looking at it quickly I would have exactly enough time to start (again), the couch to 5K program, then complete the 5K to 10k program.  Then have 24 weeks to complete a marathon training plan.
  6. And yes, I realize that just because I complete the training plans doesn’t mean I’ll be very fast or anything.  Which is why I just googled the NYC marathon finish times and found that the slowest actual finisher was a female who finished in over 10 hours with a 24:35 minute pace. If she can do it, maybe I can also?

So, again, a conundrum.  I know I have time to figure it out.  One month to be exact.

Is this my year?  Is the third time a charm?  Are all the signs pointing to yes?  Is my personal life in enough of a working order that I can finally start doing something for me again?

Or am I naive and just basically flushing $300 down the drain?


The Obligatory Post

Every year around this time I write a post about how different my life is going to be next year.  About how I’m going to change my entire existence and have everything together.  About how I’m going to leave the shambles of the proverbial today and yesterday behind me with a renewed sense of self and motivation.

This is not that post.

That being said…I love New Year’s.

We all knew it was coming.  The obligatory post where I profess my love for this understated holiday.  I can’t help it.  It’s been my favorite for as long as I can remember.  I know the calendar has nothing to do with this, but there is something about the last number of the year changing that signifies a baptism. The past is put aside so new experiences can emerge. With the change in number so comes a change in attitude, purpose and resolve, almost as if the year is shedding off it’s old coat in order have renewed sparkle and shine.

Just scrolling through my posts on facebook from this day in the past brings up a variety of negativity.  Posts about friends not being my friend anymore, about how I’m completely burned out with life and lack basic patience, about how I never hold myself accountable for anything, about how I tend to make bad decisions, about how I never manage to take the “first step”, and just excuses upon excuses for everything.

And I hate that.  I hate that my favorite holiday, the end of the year and beginning of rebirth and renewal, is continually marred by my constant negativity.  So many posts of how I’m done with this year and ready for the next and how the year was horrible and I can’t wait for it to be over.  I’m rolling my eyes at myself as we speak.

Yes to all those things.  Completely.  Life has been hard each year and I tend to end on a rather low note instead of going out with a bang.  But this year, the difference is I’m not ending my year by stating how horrible this year was and how I’m ready to leave it behind me.  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.  While this year has been my hardest year to date, for once I’m ending it happily.

As my favorite author once wrote:

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

And that’s the biggest truth I ever heard.  While this year was hard, it was full of bravery and courage that I never knew I had.  Once I was able to really leave my toxic situation behind, it’s amazing how many things were able to fall into place. I’ve never been happier in life.

I won’t bore you all with my new year’s resolutions.  In fact, I don’t really plan on making them.   But still, there are changes that need to be made.  It’s time to reboot and recharge.  It’s time to take a break from things that are dragging me down, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  It’s time for making plans and moving forward with a renewed sense of vim and vigor.

No more constant worrying and regrets.  No more trying to change the past.  No more agonizing over friendships and relationships.

“Don’t look back.  You’re not going that way.”

More mindfulness.  More being present in the moment.

Each and every day.







It comes and goes. And I need it to stay.

After Joe got a new dresser all to himself, I was finally able to take over the big dresser completely.  For someone who completely doesn’t give a crap about fashion and usually looks like a cross between asleep and homeless chic, it turns out I have quite a lot of clothes.  Going from a walk in closet with built in shelves AND a large dresser to a small closet and half a dresser was definitely a bit of a struggle (but one I most willingly made and wanted to make, and was happy to make, so no, I am not complaining).

But as always, I digress.  Long story short, I have quite a bit of clothes.  So, after two weeks of Joe moving into a new dresser and me taking over the rest of the dresser, I finally had a free afternoon to organize and move my clothes (from my closet floor, Charlie’s dresser, and the boy’s room).

And I have come to realize…I have a lot of workout clothes.  I mean… A LOT (see below for about 2/3).

And in the past few weeks I haven’t worn one piece of them.

Oh, I wore a couple when I faked my way through the run streak for a few days before I was sidelined by the stomach bug.

And the few times I managed to go to the gym that I pay quite a lot for.

But mostly, they just sit there.  Looking at me.  Judging me.  Telling me to get off my ass.  And let’s be clear, I want to.  But I don’t listen at all.

I don’t know why this was easier when my life was “harder”.  When I was beyond lost, and my dad died, and I had nothing else to lose.  But it was. And I was able to lose 75 pounds.

Now, I can’t seem to get up the motivation to wake up at five.  Or hit the gym after work.  Or not eat the damn cookie in the cabinet.  And I need to.  Because it’s killing me (literally killing me) not to.

But this is a new week.  And the running clothes are organized and ready for the morning.  And lunches are prepped.  And a workout schedule is made.

So maybe this is the week I am able to finally get my shit together.

Finger’s crossed.


It’s Always There

The holidays are always a big deal for me.  Thanksgiving through New Years is my favorite time of year.  I love the atmosphere around this time; twinkle lights, chilly air, yummy food, the possibility of snow, and a lot of time with my family.  While the holidays can be hard for some, especially those with depression, I have always been the opposite.  This is my happy place and if I could I would stay in these feelings forever.

It comes as no surprise, I guess, that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad.  The kids are getting older and they are certainly asking more questions about him, but that’s not really it.  During these two months I tend to see my brothers more and our conversation inevitably falls on him at some point.  Some memories good, some memories not, but they flow and ebb throughout our conversations almost as if he was still here, about to walk in the door.  Sometimes I think he just might.  Parts of him are in all of us, again, some good, and some not, so we can’t help feeling the pull of nostalgia during these times.

While I have never shied away from telling people of my father’s struggles; the alcoholism, the unmedicated bipolar disorder, the anger (so much anger all the time), few people know that for many years of his adult life, after he and my mom divorced, he was homeless.  Not the homeless where he slept on people’s couches, the homeless where he slept in a tent under the highway.  These are the years we had no contact, because I just couldn’t.  That’s probably why I tend to keep this a secret.  Not because of me feeling embarrassed about him being homeless, but me feeling embarrassed  because I didn’t do anything to help.  Not that I could have.  I was a mess in most of my twenties, dealing with much of the same problems as my dad, but sheltered in an apartment and school and friends.

I guess you can say it’s been imbedded in my life in some way…the concept of homelessness.  But I never thought about just how intertwined it was until recently.  My dad was always the type to give money or food to homeless people on the street.  A big believer in religion he would tell me that even if they weren’t really homeless anyway, it was ok.  It wasn’t his place to judge.  And I have carried that with me for a very long time.

When I was in high school, my parents separated and after a few months with my mom, I went to live with my dad.  We didn’t have the best relationship (it was downright awful) but I missed my friends and my school and wanted to be back there.  Life with my dad was rough, and he was definitely not doing well being on his own.  We barely spoke and that seemed to work well for the both of us.  I don’t remember much of those months, as I’m pretty sure I have blocked them out, but one thing has always stuck with me.  A few days a week when I would come home from school, there be a random man or two at the house.  They called my father “Mr. Gary” which always made me laugh a little.  Long story short, my father would pick up homeless men from random places and bring them home.  He would let them stay for a few days and feed them in exchange for doing work around the house that he just couldn’t do (painting, mowing, yard work) and then he would take them back a little cleaner and less hungry than before, always trying to put them in contact with someone who might be able to give them a job.  It is quite literally the best memory I have of him.

Flash forward to years later when I moved back to Baltimore from Charleston.  I was driving around and saw a homeless man on the street corner asking for change.  I looked at him and he looked at me and though it took me a while to recognize him, it was my dad.  We stared at each other for a minute and then I drove away, vowing to never tell anyone of this moment because the guilt and shame I felt for my behavior, for not doing anything at all, was overwhelming.  That was the last time I saw my dad before seeing him lying in a hospital bed, in a coma and end stage liver failure, dying.

Sometimes I think I still see him.  In a store.  On a street corner.  Just hanging out. And the memories of these moments flood back in an overwhelming way.

I didn’t help him then.  I couldn’t help then.  But maybe I can find a way to help someone else now.