Everlasting Memories Blog About Life, Loss and Everything In Between
Wowie! How the heck is it November already, my leaf peepers! I swear I took a blink and a sip and the month of October was here and gone. That lovely rain that we had on Saturday stripped most of the leaves from our trees and they lie in a heap on my driveway begging to be raked. (insert laughing and crying emoji) I don’t rake, kids. Unless I’m being paid and even then, most likely not. What have you - suffice to say that Old Man Winter is shaking the dust mites off his blankie and hobbling to come knockin on our doors. Bring it!
This end of October also brought about the close to Breast Cancer Awareness month. A cause that is near and dear to my heart and I have friends, old and new, that have been impacted by the disease. I am grateful for those that reached out, that shared their stories and allowed me to put a voice to the journey they’ve been on. You don’t realize how far reaching the tentacles of that voice can be and how much it touches people’s hearts. Which I was overwhelmed by. And eternally grateful for.
I was blessed with the opportunity to take part in the 80’s or Bust breast cancer fundraiser this past Sunday at our gym, aka my home away from home. There were 40+ of us that came together to support a woman and a cause and to give back to Dana Farber in support of all they do for so many. During the event one of the athletes sweating beside me asked if she could have five minutes of my time after the festivities were all said and done. I said of course and she said the only thing required was that I be completely honest. And, if I’m being honest, I thought - please don’t ask me how much Titos I drink…
Long story short, she asked me how I did it. How I essentially be me. That she knows I have things going on in my life that are less than ideal, three kids living in three different locations, sports, a husband with a high stress job, four dogs, a big house, working at home, blah blah blah. How are you happy? Smiling? The answer is easy. A little silly I’m sure and I have no doubt there are those of you out there rolling their eyes. But this is the 100% truth.
I wake up 9/10 days (sometimes 8/10) feeling blessed. Lucky. Full of hope for the possibilities in the day that lies ahead of me.
And she just stared at me. And in the silence that followed I explained that there is always going to be garbage in our lives. Trash that needs to be taken out. I lived a lot of years with toxic relationships, drama filled days, full of negativity. I don’t want that. I surround myself with people and experiences that bring out the BEST in me. Her response:
Your vibe attracts your tribe.
Five words that individually are inconsequential. Strung together - yep, that’s the story of my life and, in my opinion, the story of my year. The pen with which I continue to ink out my journey. So, sweet friend of mine, I know you came to me for advice and answers but it is you that put the words in my mouth. Gave me the WHY. So this one, doll…this one is for you.
Make Good Choices
Let’s face it. When we get out of bed in the morning we are faced with choices. And our choices dictate the path that our day takes. Choose to face the challenges ahead as just that - a challenge to overcome. Or face those challenges of the day ahead with a 'why me' attitude - crying over spilt milk. No day is perfect or without imperfections - it is solely our choice in how we react.
I love the morning time. Love it. It’s typically just me and the four hounds and it’s my quiet time. If I’ve been proactive the day before there is a pot of hot coffee waiting for me. The dogs are rotated in and out of the house, a Bath and Body Works candle is lit on the island, pellet stove is filled, it’s my nesting time. My mom calls me every morning around 6:30 am so I try to have all of my normalities out of the way by the time that she calls so that I can give that phone call my full attention.
I walked down the stairs the other morning and stepped right into the middle of a cold puddle of dog pee. Yep. No way to escape it. And then my Gus Gus did me the favor of dancing around in it like a duck with all four doggie feet which he then pranced all over the wood floors on his way to be let out. Trust me when I tell you that that was NOT how I planned on starting my morning. I squashed my annoyance and went to grab the bleach cleaner and towels to wipe up the mess.
Cuz here’s the thing. It was most likely Gunner. Gunner is our black lab, born August 15, 2005. He is 13 years old in dog years, 91 in people years. He’s full of tumors, can’t hear if at all and vision is declining. And he goes by “Papa Goose” or “Best Boy”. He is my oldest son’s dog. And he is a good dog. He doesn’t pee on the floor to be bad. He doesn’t know any better. And if I have to start my day cleaning up after him a little bit, so be it. #alittleboysbestfriend
You Are the Company You Keep
Y’all I’ve had more friends than I can count and most of those friends I no longer have. True story. And what I’ve come to realize is that at a certain point in time our friends are often a reflection of our children and their sports, our age, what we are drawn to that makes us feel safe. And we are like little spongy mirrors, absorbing those qualities of our friends, reflecting them in our own life. And when those qualities are qualities that align with our personal values, FAB-U-LOUS! But as times change and we change, some of those qualities aren’t so nice and align more so with the petty mean side of us - the whole misery likes company. I’ve learned the hard way which side of the fence I want to be on. And I have no one but myself to blame.
Me so happy
Here’s the bottom line and I think part of this is that you have to go through your 30’s and 40’s to really understand this. Your friendships are going to change. You are going to grow when others are not and others are going to grow while you’re simply treading water. And, if it’s a solid friendship, you can ebb and flow and no matter the time that has passed, it’s as if you just talked yesterday. I am so lucky to have a very small handful of friends that are my waves and we easily can go for months without seeing each other and then when we reconnect, it’s easy breezy beautiful.
And sometimes those growth spurts lead you in completely different directions. And that time away starts to lift layers of toxicity or negativity that you didn’t realize you were wearing and that you didn’t realize were suffocating the you that you want to be in an effort to join forces with a friend that you don’t want to lose. Sometimes those friendships can be salvaged but often times I don’t think they can. They expose a difference in values that no longer are cohesive with yours - that go against the way that you live your life.
A wise man told me this last week that life has a lot of gray area - that relationships are not as black and white as what I think they are. I agree to an extent with what he’s saying; however I reached a point where for me personally, I am unwilling to invest my time in people that don’t bring out the best in me. The same as I wouldn’t want someone investing their time in a relationship with me if I’m not adding something positive to their life. I have my go-to’s, my ride and die’s, my tribe that makes me happy, that fulfills the little girl in me that just wants to be liked. That tribe is small but they would go to battle for me in a heartbeat. #thisonesforthegirls
The Vibe of My Tribe
We all need a tribe in our lives. We simply do. We cannot go at it alone, singularly trying to get the most out of life, conquer the challenges thrown our way, without a hand to hold now and again. And my tribe - they are the cat’s meow. In my tribe I have:
My Nurturer. She is my go to girl for looking out for me. My emotional health, my physical health, my family health and is always ready and willing to take care of me in ways that I don’t often foresee.
My Reality Check. She’s my truth. She’s tell me like it is, doesn’t let me hide. There’s no window dressing on our friendship, no need ever for pretense. She let’s me cry when I need to then kicks me in the backside when that is what is called for. She would go to battle with me in a heartbeat and keep me from a battle that isn’t worth fighting.
My Ride and Die. I laugh because she will know exactly whom I’m talking about. She is my girl that no matter what, she’s up for the challenge. The ups, the downs, the heavy weights and the challenges we each face, she is there for me and I am there for her.
My Cheerleader. Oh she's totes pretty amaz-a-balls! Always smiling, always encouraging, always with a positive word. She's that tribe member that reminds me that my given best on any given day - well, it was more than good enough.
My Best Girl. Yeah, she’s pretty special. Sometimes those members of your tribe are silently waiting in the corner until the time is right and then they come into your life like a firework, continuing to burn bright. She’s my secret keeper, the sister I never had and always wanted, a gift that I treasure.
And countless others. Some that encompass all of the above. And at the end of the day what these women bring to my life is a positive energy. A smile. A moment of camaraderie about how hard life is at times. Joint fears about letting our children go and hoping together that their wings bring them back to their roots. That view of the world as a glass half full. That when life hands you lemons crack open the Tito’s and pour us both a drink.
When you are doing your best to live the best version of yourself, that positive vibe is what attracts positive uplifting people into your life. I am telling you - I have lived it, worn it, breathed it in. This life is a gift - live your life with that intention, with a tribe that embraces the same mantra. The vibe that you put out there to others will attract those like minded people into your life. Be certain that the message you’re sending is the one you want received and reciprocated.