Ever since I was an awkward teenager, I've been writing down my thoughts. Documenting the voices in my head has always been a way to keep myself grounded, cope with downfalls or to celebrate meaningful moments. Below is a small collection of personal journal entries.
MARK OF CHANGE
Today a leaf attached itself to me. I held this fragile fugitive in the palm of my hand and whispered words of beauty into her decay. Reflecting on her journey to me, I envied her for having left the comfort of what she knew before. She let go and was free to fall, to move, to crumble...but most importantly, to become a mark of change.
DIG DEEPER: UNSOLICITED ADVICE ON TRAVEL SOFTBALL
Softball’s not soft. My daughter constantly wears a rainbow of bruises to prove the hardness, but throughout the years there have been more direct hits to her spirit outside of the field. With every team she calls home, she excels and works hard to deliver everything she has each and every time she steps onto the field. Her love for the game, responsibility and dedication to teammates and coaches is unwavering, yet she has rarely been given the same return in love and respect. There are so many travel ball organizations that claim they have the best of “all the things” to develop players. The truth is, my daughter just wants less organizational drama and more teammates with heart and hustle that match her own. Her recent decision to join a new travel family has already started a whirlwind of negative side-talking from people she has given her all to. I think these are harder lessons for me to bear witness to - she’s already left those insults in the dirt and is ready for the next play.
My advice for parents with players looking for new teams: Dig deeper. Go back to the basics of why your daughter plays softball and find a team that supports her development without compromising the joy of the game. Find a team of girls that have heart and respect. Find coaches that empower, support and nurture. Remember that skill is taught but spirit and drive do not come from air-conditioned facilities, manicured fields or coaches with titles. Don’t compromise what is important to your player and keep fighting through the tough lessons that come with the whole experience. Most importantly, make sure the simple love of the game stands above everything.
A THOUSAND BREAKING HEARTS
Tonight I feel the weight of a thousand breaking hearts.
But really, if you could gather her tribe into one room, there'd be too many hearts to count and that's assuming there'd be a room big enough to fit everyone.
Beautiful and fierce in every category of character, my Aunt Toni lived with an immeasurable amount of strength and love that perfectly balanced her humor, sass and stubbornness. She lived life by her own rules and was always an example of what it meant to be a strong and independent woman.
If you were lucky enough to call her aunt, sister, friend, teacher, mother or grandmother you knew that you were unconditionally loved with all that she could give or ever have.
Antoinette Williams Utter will always be one of the most beloved and influential characters in my life.
I'm sending love and strength to her tribe as this loss sinks deeper into all of our hearts.
BE THE LIGHT
America, this is the time to rise up to your potential, embrace your ability to be the light in darkness. We all share similar varying stories with marks of injustice, defeat and scars. We are all human, and we all need each other more now than ever. Politicians don't share the commonality of our lives, we do. And every one of us can change what it means to be an American. One man (or woman) will never define who we are as a country. How you live your life every day will. Have respect, find your purpose and let's show the world that we are stronger together.
MOTHERS DAY REALITY CHECK
Mothers Day - A day I try not to give up on and surrender into the fetal position of binge-Netflixing on the couch. It's a tough one, no mistake, but I've learned to survive the past decade without my mother through an inner-strength-rally of group gardening and crafting.
But folks, here's the reality check. I'm officially declaring war on all the "just-need-a-break" mom movements out there. For those who complain and declare a kid-free day with massages and mimosas, I have a very important message for you...
From birth, we have about eighteen years with our children until they are gone.
and disappearing from the nest with flight patterns connecting busier lives, more important things, and other people who love them.
Every Mothers Day (and every other day on the calendar) I'm one hundred percent into my kids, knowing one day I'll be honored but no longer the center of their lives. These are the days that matter the most to me and I'm not giving up one single day up if I don't have to.
Mimosas, massages and no babysitting? Don't worry if you think I'm missing out, I've already scheduled them all into my empty-nest days.