2.16.2021

Gwen - 11 years


Dear Gwenie - my Baby, 

Eleven feels so old to me, maybe because I can still remember vividly so many of the things that I felt and experienced in the days surrounding your birth. Maybe because I've been attending some births lately, and you are just so BIG compared to those little babies. A large part is just how much growth you've shown this year. 


This year brought an anxiety and depression diagnosis that knocked us all over, in addition to everything else that happened in this world (a pandemic! a very violent and charged election!)... but you! you managed to take those diagnoses and use them to grow. You handled them with more grace and fortitude then many adults could have. Learning what tools work for you to manage them, you turned them from a negative into just another part of the amazing you. To say I'm proud  (and impressed) would be an understatement.

Then there was that darn pandemic. We've spent more time at home in the past year then we probably have in all of the 4 previous years combined. Our big summer trip was cancelled, which was hard for us all. But we made it work. Thankfully we had snuck a ski trip in before everything shut down, so you got to see your cousin, Aunt, and Uncle, and had that fun... but it was hard for you not to head to the East Coast. 

 

That difficulty was nothing though next to virtual school. Oooo boy, was that a challenge! We made it work though, and I think after everything 2020 held, we became a much better team. Thankfully when this school year started (5th Grade! last year in Elementary School), they had all new plans in place, and most of the year has gotten to be in person... which a few weeks of much smoother and easier virtual in there.



We found new ways to have fun, spending lots of summer time outdoors, exploring our local trails. We took a really fun weekend to car camp at a nearby campground that we hadn't visited before, and it ended up being such fun! As it got cooler, we went on another camping trip with the three of us, and took drives into the mountains to see the colors. While we all missed our normal cross-country experience, we found safe ways to still get our adventuring in.


You spend this year working your way through Invisalign treatment, again, something that so many adults struggle through, and you just rocked it! Your adaptability will be one of your biggest strengths in life, and I hope you never lose that. And... treatment paid off! Not only do you have a lovely straight smile, but more importantly, first the first time since your first two loose teeth, you lost baby teeth without issue and had the adult teeth come in just as easily. What a win to NOT have to get teeth pulled.



Penny, our bubble family's baby, was born a month after your last birthday, and you have been so sweet to watch with her. You are playful and gentle, and no one (outside of her Mommy and Daddy) can get her to laugh they way she does for you. It's fun watching you play that big sister role. I think we've all wondered how you would feel in that role at times, and this has been the best of both worlds... getting to see you get to love on a "little sister", but then we all get to go home! 😁 Ha!



Many of your interests remain the same: you love fantasy and magic (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), reading (graphic novels especially - Lumberjanes and Last Kids on Earth are favs), drawing, travel and adventure, and music. You've found new ways to entertain them: recently you were taught how to play D&D, and boy did you love that! It's the perfect combination of fantasy, magic, creation, adventure... and thankfully for you, your Dad, Aunt Ffion, and Aunt Elise all love to play too! So you have enjoyed some amazing adventures and travel right in our living room! 



Which brings up a big, delightful change from this year: your Aunt Ffion and Aunt Elise moved here!! I always joked that Colorado would be perfect if only I could pick up my family and move them here. Well, that happened at least in part, this past year. You could not have been more excited, and we've joined them for appropriately masked and distanced walks and celebrations. Since your birthday and Ffion's birthday are less then 2 weeks apart we celebrated with a fun horseback trail ride with all of us. It was a beautiful day, and embodied some much of what I had wished and hoped for, for over 5 years now!


Your love of music has grown even deeper this year, as you've learned its value in helping to express emotions and handle hard moments. Its become a valuable tool, and some of your favorite songs are You Will Be Found (from the Dear Evan Hanson soundtrack) and This Is Me (from The Greatest Showman), but you enjoy just about any music. Recently you asked for some Heavy Metal, and then pulled up Five Finger Death Punch all on your own (you have the Pandora app on your phone).



You have such a deep and abiding love of animals... this isn't new, but maybe even more so this year. Your pup friends are some of your favorites. Daisy of course, but also Becca's dog Hank (who is the office dog!), James's dog Lilly, and then the friendly squirrels that come on our porch to say hi regularly.


Gwenie, my love, its so hard to sum up everything from this past year. Normally I write your letter slowly over a month or two, and I have lots of posts to look back on to help me remember; but this year is just so different then most. My own depression stole away much of my desire and ability to write posts, while the pandemic took away a lot of my normal material to write about. I'm writing this as we sit at home together, the day before your birthday. Celebration this year will be Chinese takeout (your choice) with Ffion and Elise, and a quiet day at home building Lego presents and reading new books. Its all so very different.

(One thing, thankfully the same... they found safe ways to reopen the slopes! And you are better then ever on the skis!)

For everything we've got through this past year, and everything new that's happened, one thing remains unchanged: I am so so damn grateful that I get to be your Mama, and that you love me so deeply. I love you my Babes, to the deepest depth of me. Thank you for being you.

 

Best Gwenie I ever had, 

Mama



11 and 10

1.18.2021

My Body is Soil

My body is made of soil,
loamy and rich - colorful and fragrant, 

a ground waiting to plant,
in a package of good intentions,

biting my lip when the tears come,
holding back the sobs in the dark, 

push them down and bury them,
fertilized with fears of what they will grow into. 

 

 

 

 

 


1.11.2021

Time Flies When the Rioting Starts

 

I meant to be back sooner, but between the world burning, and the holidays, well here we are just a few days shy of half-way through January! No big resolutions for me this year, instead just a promise to treat myself with kindness and get back to the things that make me feel best. I'm taking my vitamins regularly again, eating a more veggie focused diet, and aiming to just move more (not to mention lifting as soon as humanly possible).

It helps that starting today Gwen is back in-person at school (masked up!), meaning an actual routine and schedule. They all started back virtually for the first few days, and now they are back all the way. I'm excited for time and quiet to handle our day-to-day... its nice to not feel like I'm constantly listening for her.

 

Christmas and New Years have come and gone, so crazy to think they are already weeks behind us. I hope to have more to share soon, but for now I'm plugging along with mostly virtual classes, and looking forward to vaccines, a change in President, and hopefully more time with friends and family this year. Also working to manifest a house this year, we are ready for it.



Did you make resolutions? What are your 2021 hopes?

12.14.2020

Hi

I was in the shower the other day, after a long walk* on a cold day. I cranked the heat up a bit, rewarming myself, and even though it wasn't that hot, the contrast was... vaguely uncomfortable, a little weird. That's how the past 9 months have felt. Everything is weird and awkward and even the good feels a little off.  


[*immediate side bar: I had my routines all in place pre-pandemic, and those were all thrown out the window in March. All the classes I took, save one, done; my gym, closed; alone time, what's that? So one weekend in the late spring/early summer, I grabbed some hydration and set off down the trail. And I walked. And walked. And walked. I covered about 4 miles that day, and it felt amazing to be on my own, to move; so I kept doing it. Now I walk 5-6 miles almost every Sunday. Its always worth it. But I still miss my gym. Hopefully opening soon, and then weights, here I come.] 

Hi. I posted something in October and said I would be right back. I wasn't. Sorry! 

Here it is, just moments from Christmas, and then (hallelujah) the New Year. I'm ready to see the back of 2020. I'm tired, my anxiety and depression are kicking my ass, I'm overwhelmed, and I'm ready for a 3 month nap. I'm throwing all this out there because I'm craving openness and honesty, but please don't mistake this for an invitation to talk about it. I have no interest. I know you're here for me, thank you.



(Sorry, these photos are in no order at all...)

Putting that aside, we're doing okay. Gwen, despite some struggles, is doing so well with virtual schooling. I'm so impressed with her responsibility and ownership; though we're all hoping she'll be able to head back to in-person in January. Travis is working as hard as always, despite a very scaled back event schedule. He and Gwen are excited about the ski season... COVID restrictions means way less people on the slopes, which is a little plus. Daisy's foot tumor grew back, but then responded really well to a combination of topical steroids and oral anti-histamines, and we are just hoping that she has many years of pain free walking and living ahead. I gave up one of my new studios (the one downtown), and picked up another class at my studio out here. My schedule is still a work in progress, but I'm making it work. 

At the beginning of November, my sister* and her wife arrived here in Denver... for good! They live in the building next to ours, and it has been so amazing having them here. They came over for Thanksgiving (masks always when not eating... they ate on the porch, we ate inside), and it was so so wonderful. I have missed having family close, and this is a blessing beyond measure right now. 

[*my sister is trans, and they are now public, so I'm excited to share; her name is Ffion, and she is the best sister I could ever have. Positive comments only, thanks!]

I'm not sure what else to share at the moment. We are plugging along, in this weird new world... not doing much, but so busy all at the same time. I feel like Gwen's assistant some days (m'am, you have two zoom meetings this morning, and zoom school this afternoon), and like I am always with her, but we are making it work. Today was the first day of the new vaccine here in the United States, and while its going to be a while before we can all get it, its a little, much needed ray of hope. Maybe this summer I'll actually be able to see my parents! 

We got a new couch!

I'll try to update more often, but in the meantime, sending love and solidarity.