45.

Wow, 45 years on this planet. Incredible. I’m grateful for the time I’ve been allowed.

Facebook has this wonderful way of reminding you of what your recent years have brought with its “On This Day” memory feed. It brings me a lot of laughter and even a bit of sadness. It’s bittersweet to see past birthday wishes from friends who¬†have moved on to whatever comes next for us. I am now older than some of them when I was born many years after they were…It’s a good reminder, though, to sit with gratitude for my extended time.

And I’m old enough now to sit with my memories without regret. I can think about the thousands of experiences I’ve had, the people that have come and gone, the dreams that never came true and the many that have. Hindsight and all that, right? I can fully appreciate it now.

Those old posts also remind me of goals I’ve had along the way. Where those unfinished plans once brought heightened anxiety, today I thought about the things that did get done, and I reflected on the obstacles that kept me from accomplishing the others. Instead of being upset that I still haven’t finished a novel, I cut myself some slack. I’ve written thousands of words through the years, after all. I’ve been published in magazines and newspapers. I have four novels fleshed-out and have been concentrating on one for the last few weeks. Tens of thousands of words. I know they’ll all get done.

I have time.

Besides, the kids are having their own pre-teen adventures, and they need their space, so I get a few extra minutes every day to write and create. The time they need from me is concentrated with the really good stuff, too, and I’m grateful they share what they do with me. One shares every detail; one tells me what he can. It’s not always easy. People never are. Luckily, I can read both of them without the words, even if some days it’s like picking apart a poem to get to the truth. They’re complex creatures, my kids. I love that most.

They’ve had their first heartaches (!). They have opinions separate from mine (we actually encourage it). They know how to do things that others can’t (Rhiannon’s starting her fourth year of piano and has written short songs! Sebastian creates board games to rival Parker Brothers!). They’re proud of those things. And they are becoming – every day – more solidly themselves. I know they’re both excited and scared about that. We’re closer and closer to adolescence…

Tony and I are at the point where we let them make decisions. We expect the truth from them, and – while we’re still guiding them – we’re evolving more and more into a support system instead of being the puppet masters. We have high expectations, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that they know they’re loved.

They are excellent huggers, too.

I love their friendship. They’ll talk, and I realize they have conversations we didn’t hear. They have inside jokes. They fight less and less, and we’re a talkative house, so arguments are inevitable. I know that they’ll always have each other, even once Tony and I are gone. I’m glad for that.

Rhiannon is my heart. She’s kind and smart and beautiful. She’s more than I ever expected. I look at her with awe that I ever had a life before she existed. It seems impossible that she’s so new to this world! I am truly privileged to be her mother. And she loves me more than I knew anyone ever could. Sometimes I cry thinking about how lucky I am.

Romance through the years? Ugh. I didn’t know what I was doing! I’m finally figuring it out. Tony is my best friend. God, can he infuriate me. He pushes, and I push back. Our past relationships have made it impossible for us to keep things bottled up, so everything bubbles over. All of that raw beauty. All of this intense beautiful love. I’ve never had a man love me like he does. He loves me, not some construct he created in his mind. He wants to know me. It’s such a gift.

He’s a great man. He works hard. He loves his son and wants to raise him to be a good man. He’s stepped up for my daughter and wants to raise her to trust that people keep promises. He loves her as his own. He is like a fierce warrior who would die protecting us.

It’s amazing.

So, yeah, 45.

There are some leftover goals to tackle, along with, you know, being a mom and wife, running a business, being a community leader, being on a theater board, and still being available to deal with my parents and brother. It’s busy.

And I love it. I’m grateful to be here.

 

2016: a fresh start

live your best life

I have always loved New Year’s Day. I like the idea of starting fresh, and a new calendar year has that clean slate feel to it. Does that mean I think that I can just forget 2015? Yeah, right. A lot happened, and a lot of it wasn’t so great. Still, if I’m looking back and reflecting, I did okay, you know? I cried a lot. I still miss my cat Cleo. I gained some weight and found out I am not as healthy as I thought.

But I survived and grew stronger. Cliche? Sure, but there is a reason for cliches; they’re commonplace.

And my year was not that uncommon. All people go through crappy times. They say good-bye to toxic people, even when they love them. They agonize over their pets’ health and death. They get sick. They struggle.

I like the way I handled things. Maybe it wasn’t as graceful as it could have been, but 2015 wasn’t terrible. There were some events that landed on my Top 10 Worst Days Ever, but the year was good. I started a new business that is closer to my original vision and gives local creators a venue. I got even closer to people that mean a lot to me. I made a lot of art. I fell in love with another cat. I did my Mom-thing. I started investigating the mystery that is my own body.

My goal for 2016 is to continue living the best life I can. Some days that will be reacting in the best way to outside forces, which isn’t my favorite. Most days, however, that will mean laughing a lot, digging down deep to figure out my “stuff” both mental and physical, and being the best version of GiGi possible. I’ll eat better, do some yoga, walk more, write more, CREATE MORE, and keep loving my people. I even plan on making/saving more money, something I never really make a priority. This year it will have to be.

It’s going to be great.

 

 

 

art, art, ART

One of the reasons I love my shop is that I have a venue to sell my own art/jewelry/weird stuff. The countdown to Christmas is here and so many of my artists and craftsmen are selling at different places and events, and I’m so happy for them, but I’m also trying to bring in enough new items to sell. With everyone running around busy, I decided, “GiGi,

image

So I’m working on Christmas ornaments and decorations to sell. It’s fun AND it’s getting me excited for the holidays.