Struggling to find the right words this week. Tempted just to send you a little love letter, and to tell you I miss you. I do love and miss you. So much. And I think I’m pretty good at those letters - especially to you.
But I do want to try to go a little beyond that. Trying for a driveway conversation.
Not going to push it too hard, but let’s give it a shot, and see where it goes.
(For the record, this is draft seven. Seriously.)
Do you remember the vision boards we never did last year? You know, the only thing on our December calendar that we couldn’t quite make happen? I know you remember.
No, I did not do a vision board for 2019, although I do have a beautiful one in mind, and one that sustains me when it’s raining and you’re out playing and it takes me a little while to find you. Perhaps I’ll share that one with you in the coming weeks. I think you’ will love it. I know you will love it
But just because I don’t have a full blown vision board for 2019, that doesn’t mean that I let 2019 settle in without setting an intention. No chance.
My intention for 2019 is to embrace this gift of crisis. To squeeze every single ounce of life out of it that I can.
Do you remember when we talked about this? (I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now it’s from one of Glennon Melton’s books. One that I still haven’t read. Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed. Soon. Maybe. Or maybe not. My Kindle is full of books that are are well under 50% read, so maybe not soon.)
Anyway, here’s what she said:
“You have been offered "the gift of crisis". As Kathleen Norris reminds us, the Greek root of the word crisis is "to sift", as in, to shake out the excesses and leave only what's important. That's what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most. The rest falls away.”
It’s been just over a month since you died. We’re only five days into 2019. And already I notice other things starting to make their way back into my little bucket of stuff that matters.
All the rest.
I find that I have to consciously shake things up. Like shake things up almost every day. Sometimes more than once a day, and sometimes, I really don’t want to do it.
Here’s the thing about the rest. You know, the stuff that had fallen away, but is now sneaking back in.
The rest is almost always the product of fear, and not of hope or faith or confidence. The rest asks that we trade the space in our lives that we've set aside for what matters most, and give that space to things that might make our lives easier. The rest asks that we trade more time for more money, and comfort and security all that stuff that comes with more money.
The rest is coldly rational. It asks that we carve out just a tiny bit of our must space, and give it to our should space. The rest reminds us of how hard must is and how it might not work at all and how disappointed we would be if it doesn’t, so why not just grow up a little and look at things like an adult? It suggests that we hedge our bets just a bit, and let just one more little thing into the bucket.
Until, one day, we look in the bucket, and find what matters most is buried by the rest.
It happens. It has happened. Over and over again. Not to be too melodramatic, but we know crisis. I’m mean everybody knows crisis. But goddamn...we know crisis.
Your gift, Abi, was to remind me, and so many others what it means to embrace the gift of crisis. To remind us to be bold and confident, and to have the courage to hold on only to what matters the most, and to let the rest fall away. To have the courage to embrace the raw nerve moments, even knowing it might not all be balloons and roses. To choose to challenge ourselves.
(Here’s the funny part. I realize now that I did a similar post last year at this time. Even used the same quote. Well, I think I can live with that. We have more readers, and you know what? It’s pretty good to remind myself of this every now and again. According to this, it probably wouldn’t hurt to redo this post more than once a year. We’re so bad at remembering important stuff, aren’t we?)
Let me tell you more specifically what that means to me in 2019.
I am more certain of my must, my why, than I’ve ever been. Abi, you told me so many times, and I’m finding it’s almost certainly true. I’m beyond excited by knowing.
So my very specific intent is to follow that as hard as I possibly can. To say yes! to every single opportunity that allow me to be the coach or cheerleader or friend or whatever it is that people need to find their way, to find their why, and to help them to find the courage to realize it.
And just as important, to say no to the things that do not. To recognize that’s just the rest talking, and I don’t have to listen. That I have a choice. To remember to shake things up as often as I can.
Sweet girl, what’s truly amazing is just how many of these opportunities are presenting themselves. They may have been there all along, but I didn’t notice. I notice now. And I’m so hopeful. I’m hopeful that I’ll do an FD camp this year as a camp dad. I’m hopeful for writing opportunities that have popped up, seemingly out of nowhere. I’m hopeful for other coaching opportunities that might be the very stepping stones to the practice and the vision that I can’t go into just yet, but opportunities that simply drive me forward.
Abi, I’m just full of hope, I can’t wait to tell you how it unfolds.
Okay, just a final word about Pajama JAM. (This is the missing you part, in case you wondered.)
I want to tell you about the seconds leading to, and after midnight.
Everyone has champagne. The photo booth is in the corner, complete with that golden fabric stuff that changes color when you rub your hand on it (what’s that called?), and the props that Bindi hasn’t taken into our room, are on the floor beside it.
There are onesies everywhere you look - John, John, Evan, even Joseph. Everywhere. And people are counting down the ball in loud, perfect unison. The ball reaches the bottom, and the kisses start, and they were so true to your challenge to them:
Tell them I want them all to eat popcorn and drink a little bit too much and make that New Year’s kiss one to remember for the rest of their lives.
Then the memory I have to look away from, but cannot look away from.
I glance toward the kitchen and see Kylie and Ashley and Erin in the deepest hug. Wrecked. Chris and Nate standing right beside them. Same. Trying so hard to squeeze the sad out of each other. And failing.
It occurs to me that I’m not the only one who suddenly and completely understands this part of 2019. How you will be here, and you will not be.
How all year, you will fill every room completely, yet remain unseen. At Pressley’s first birthday party. At the birth of the Earons Stans’ daughter. In the tent with Kylie at our place when everyone is watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and eating peanut butter M&Ms that we bought from Dollar Tree. At sibs weekends. At both sibs weekends.
Completely here. Filling every vase and every glass of rose wine and every corner.
But also not here.
But in the strangest way, more here because you are not. (I think you know what I mean.)
To quote you:
It’s the actual best. It’s the actual worst.
And here’s the thing. I’m so grateful to you for sticking around. Because every time I miss you, like every single moment of every single day, that will be my reminder to shake it up.
You can count on it.
You know who you are, sweet girl.
I love you,