Sunday, September 22, 2013

The greatest of these is love.

Today is a very special day.  It's my first wedding anniversary.  I know, big deal, right?  Especially for a girl for whom it's her second marriage.  Well, it IS a big deal, and here's why.

We all think we know what love is.  We all have an idea of what marriage is supposed to be, what we want it to be and what we expect it will be.  The expectation, the reality gap seems to be greater the younger you are when you get married.  No, not for everyone, but for many.  

As I look back on our wedding day and the year that has transpired since and even look back to my first marriage, I simply smile and feel peace in my heart.  Life is playing out the way it was meant to be.  It's a journey.  I have found peace, happiness and unconditional true love.  Sappy, I know, but true. Our anniversary is not about flowers, gifts or hoopla.  It's about us and love.  Remembering the journey that brought us together and looking forward to walking whatever path life leads us on.  Together.  Pure, simple, love.
The 'first look'
Perhaps nothing explains it better than the vows we wrote for each other.  Here is a glimpse into our love:

Joe's Vows to Kim:

Kimberly, here we are.  Not a beginning and certainly not an ending.  We both went through much to get to this point.  We have loved, learned, suffered, rejoiced, laughed and cried.  We have discovered what brings us joy and grappled with our inner demons.  We have found more about our greater sense of ‘self’, so much so that we would not have been ready for each other if things hadn't gone the way they did.  We are the sum of our core plus all we have experienced.  I do realize it took a great tragedy as part of those experiences for us to finally find each other.  And never doubt, despite how much being ‘us’ means to me, that if I had the power to reach into the sky and peel back the veil of time to save Meghan, I would do it in an instant, even though it might mean we wouldn't be standing here today.

Many speak of ‘knowing’ when they've found their partner.  I had fear for years.  Fear that I would never have that ‘knowing’.  Fear of being oblivious and not acting on it even if it did happen.  Fear of not even knowing what I was seeking in a partner.  After I met you, I learned to act on love and not fear.  It was then it became so clear.  I listened to my heart, and it told me everything I needed to know.  I now know, with all the certainty I can muster, that you are my partner.  I admire your compassion, your great strength, and your capacity for love.  I love your understanding, your comforting touch and your knowing gaze.  I am humbled that you see the real me and help me bring that out into the world.  You are the other piece of my puzzle.  My companion, my confidant, my best friend, my love, the one I would give anything for and for whom I would work tirelessly to bring happiness.

As you already know, two cannot truly become one.  Instead, on this day, I will promise you that we will walk this path of life together hand in hand, bonded by love, trust, and respect.  We will walk stronger and prouder than we once were but not as strong as we both can and will be.  As we walk, when you stumble, I will catch you, just as I know with all my heart you’ll do so for me.  I promise I will comfort you during rough times, celebrate with you during good times, and bridge our differences with love, patience, and understanding.  Whatever the path of our future holds, I promise that we will face it together.  I promise I will always keep myself open and share myself with you.  In sharing, we will draw strength, for pain shared is pain halved, just as joy shared is joy doubled.

I am touched and honored that you have invited me into your family, as I know how significant a decision that is.  I promise I will do my best to raise your children as if they were my own.  I will never forget they are a part of you and I will love, guide, and nurture them to the best of my ability, even the step daughter I will never get to tuck in at night.  I look forward to watching your boys become the fine young men they are meant to be and I will swell with pride for all they accomplish.

Know that, above all, I love you.  When I ponder the many futures my life could take, none of them are without you.  Our connection, our ‘fit’, is what completes me.  As I mentioned before, this is neither a beginning or ending.  These are the next steps on our shared path forward.  We’re not ‘done’.  There will always be work to do and struggles to overcome, both individually and as a couple.  Nothing is perfect.  Times will be hard.  Always remember that I will never stop trying to make our journey better with each step as we continue on our path, hand in hand.  This, I promise.

Kim's Vows to Joe:

Six years ago, the Universe presented to us an opportunity. We almost missed it yet again, except that day, it was finally the right time.  There was this bottomless glass of wine, some bet about a kiss and a strong energetic connection to this guy on the dance floor whose first words to me were, “Do you swing?” 

couldn't figure out why I was so instantly and energetically drawn to you, until I looked into your eyes and recognized your soul. 

Over the next several months we cultivated a relationship built on open and honest conversation.  It was as if we’d known each other forever.  It was so familiar and so right.  I could feel it with every ounce of my being.  We were meant to be together.

We bring out the best in each other.  We challenge each other.  We nurture each other.  Our connection, our love, it transcends the physical, the emotional and the spiritual.  It is pure, honest, and true.  It is built upon mutual respect and trust.  It is surrounded by light and peppered with laughter.  Lots of laughter. 

Joe, you have been the greatest gift to me.   At a time when my world was nothing but gray, you were like a ray of light.  You accepted me as I was.  You held me, you laughed with me, you cried with me.  You reminded me how important it is to play.  You showed me unconditional love and respect. You brought the color back to my life.

I promise you, I will always be there for you.  In joy and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain, but in the cold I’ll need a blankie...  I’ll be your partner for life, both on and off the dance floor.  I promise to keep your food from touching, to protect you from vegetables and to do my best not to confuse Star Wars and Star Trek. 

I will honor and cherish you and be grateful for every day we share.  I will love you joyfully, with laughter and playfulness.   I will strive to inspire you, grow with you, encourage you, empower you and support you in all that you desire.  I will love you wholly, truthfully and honesty.  I will nurture you, our relationship and our family with tenderness and care. I will love you passionately with all that I am and all that I have.  I will love you always.   With my heart, my mind, my body and my soul.
I know you will be a wonderful husband and a fantastic step-father.  You will always be my super-hero, even when you are not wearing your super hero jammies and cape.  I am forever grateful for all that you are and all that you've given me.  

I told you very early on in our relationship, I’d walk this path with you. I know not where it will take us or what terrain lies ahead, but I know it was meant to be with you and we shall always walk it together.  Heart in heart and hand in hand.  

I promise to you a lifetime of love, light, laughter and friendship.  It is an honor to take your hand in marriage and to be your wife.  I love you. 

Pixie dust, after the sand ceremony, for Meggie!  Because all you need is faith, trust and a little bit of Pixie dust!

Our wedding day was unique in many ways.  It was truly a celebration of who we are, where we've been and who we have become, together.  It was a blending of families.  A recognition of "Yes, this is where we are supposed to be, it all makes sense now."  

My hope is that every person is able to find such raw, honest, true love.  To realize relationships are work. We never stop learning, growing and changing.  The difference in marriage is that it's together.  The reading we chose was a poem called "Love", by Roy Croft.  It was read by our mutual friend, known as "Wombat".  It speaks volumes. "Love" By Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;

I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Our friend "Wombat", reciting the reading we chose
Our awesome wedding party!
As we celebrate today, we shall remember our wedding day fondly. We will watch our video an flip through our photos.  We will eat our delicious anniversary cake!  I love cake!  We will be grateful for the family and friends who were able to share the day with us and  remember the love and Heavenly presence of those who were with us in spirit.  A bittersweet day this year, because at our wedding we celebrated the 86th birthday of my maternal grandmother.  She passed away this past May.  She was thrilled to be there and to get some extra attention that day, proud to see her eldest granddaughter marry on HER birth day!  

It is also the anniversary of my paternal grandmother's death. My family seems to do things on the Autumnal Equinox!  Not surprising, really, as it's a day of transition.  A day of harvest, and a time when the veil is lifted.  We really did dance with the angels.  We always will.  

If you'd like a 3 minute peek into our day, you can view our wedding trailer here. 

You may kiss your WIFE!
Peek a Meggie on my bouquet

Our family

Happy Anniversary my love.  The first of many.  A day for us, really like any other, except we will be more mindful of why we chose to marry and declare to the world our bond of love and friendship.  Oh, and we get cake!  ;-)
Together, hand in hand, we shall walk.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I ran 10 miles!!!!

Holy runner's high!  I'm beginning to see how runners become addicted to this sport.

Yesterday I surprised myself.  I accomplished something I never thought I would until recently.  I ran 10 miles!  In a row!  And I lived to tell about it!

I'd like to personally hug Jeff Galloway, because without him, I never would have gotten past 5K.  My body just can't run non-stop.  I've tried.  I've failed.  It's probably where my dislike of running came from in the first place.  I'm following his half-marathon training plan (to finish in an upright position).  It was supposed to be a 9.5 mile run, but I wanted the 10, so I went for it.  I ran the entire 10 miles with a run:walk ratio of 90 sec run and 30 sec walk.  I ran it on a relatively flat course with long, gradual hills here and there, much less hilly then my neighborhood loops.  I even ran through the cemetery and visited my daughter's 'special place'.  I did take a 60 second break to spend a minute with her.  It was serene.  My time was 1:51:11 which averages out to an 11:07 pace.  My first mile was about a 10 min mile.  I gradually slow down with distance, but my overall pace is faster than it was when I was running shorter distances!  The last 1.5 mile was tough, I was tired, but I was determined.
Uh-oh.  Is that competitive drive I hear in my words.  
Who am I?

I started my run at 7 am.  It was 48 degrees and a gorgeous sunny morning.  Well, the sun wasn't quite 'up' yet, but it was a clear, crisp, fall morning.  Near perfect weather to run in. So much better than the heat and humidity of the past few months.  Runkeeper is my companion as is my half-marathon running mix.  I wear one ear bud when running on the road and keep the volume low.  I had a Cliff shot mocha and a Zico chocolate coconut water before I ran and another Cliff shot about mile 4.5-5.  I wore my water belt and consumed all my water but it was just enough.  I wore my Skirt Sport tank and running skirt. Love them!  I started out with a light sweatshirt for the first 2 miles, but shed it after that.  I do understand the benefit of running sleeves now.  I might have to invest in a pair.

I am proud of me!  I rewarded myself with a cider doughnut!  OK, two of them.  :-)

Next up, a local 5K on the occasion of a running buddy's 40th birthday!  Yay! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

10 Often Overlooked or 'hidden' hazards in your home

This is an article I wrote for the Spotlight on Safety for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette's MassMoms Blog:

It’s baby and child safety month!  Parenting is a 24/7 job.  It’s one we often do in addition to our other jobs.  We don’t get paid for it.  We parent until the day we die.  It is one of the most challenging and yet infinitely rewarding jobs we could ever be blessed to have.  

We all know kids don’t come with instruction manuals.  Neither do our homes.  We rely on our inner wisdom, family, friends, pediatricians, books and the almighty internet to learn how to keep our kids safe and healthy.  The world our kids are growing up in is very different than the one we grew up in. As our technology advances, more and more hazards present themselves to children and adults alike.  As our children grow and become more mobile and active, their world becomes a playground. At the same time, it also becomes a time when parents need to be informed about the potential hazards to their child and how to keep them safe both at home, at grandma’s house and in the car.  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 2,500,000 children are injured or killed every year from preventable accidents in their homes.  Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.  Emergency room physicians report that parents often say they were ‘right there’ and couldn't stop their child from suffering an injury or death.  Many simply didn't believe their child could get hurt the way they did.  Since all accidents are preventable, being safety smart and making your home as child and toddler proof as you can and teaching your kids from an early age how to be and stay safe is the best way to prevent injury or death.

In honor of child safety month, I've compiled a list of 10 of the most common ‘hidden’ dangers in and around your home, perhaps even in your purse!  These are the things most parents don’t think about as being particularly dangerous or think are too rare to happen to their child.  As I say in my Safety Smart classes, no one ever thinks ‘it’ will happen to them, but ‘it’ happens.  Supervision is important, but it is not enough. Awareness and prevention are key.  

1.  MAGNETS:  Magnets are popular.  They are also a potential choking hazard.  What many people don’t realize is that if swallowed, magnets can cause damage to internal organs and often need to be removed surgically.  The more powerful the magnet, the greater the danger.  Inspect magnetic toys (for both children and adults) frequently, don’t purchase refrigerator magnets or toys if the magnet can fit inside a toilet paper tube opening.  If you think your child has swallowed a magnet or is complaining of abdominal pain, seek medical attention immediately.

2.  BUTTON BATTERIES:  Small batteries lurk everywhere.  Greeting cards that talk or sing, remote control key fobs, children’s toys, calculators, handheld games, watches and hearing aids to name just a few.  They are small, shiny and look an awful lot like candy to young eyes.  If swallowed, the acid in the battery can cause severe damage to internal organs, and if not identified and treated quickly, can result in permanent injury or death.  

3.  FLOOR AND TABLE LAMPS:  Lamps can be heavy and be pulled off of tables by the cords or by a decorative fabric on which it sits.  Floor lamps can tip quite easily and are very difficult to secure. The added burn hazard from a hot lightbulb, laceration hazard from the glass from the bulb should it break, and potential mercury exposure from a broken CFL or fluorescent bulb should make parents think twice about the position and safety of their lamps.  Since they are also corded, strangulation and electrical hazards also exist.  The good news is, this is easily fixed by moving the lamp to a safer location where a baby or toddler cannot access it.  This may mean removing floor lamps from the room or gating off a room to prevent access.  

4.  FURNITURE TIP-OVER:   71 children every day are injured from a fallen piece of furniture, TV or appliance (mostly furniture or furniture with a TV on top).  It’s estimated a child dies every three weeks from a fallen piece of furniture.  Every house has furniture and every piece of furniture poses a threat to your child, especially any piece with shelves or drawers.  The best way to protect your children is to secure your furniture is with furniture safety straps.  To learn more, visit and the CPSC Furniture Tip Over PSA

5.  TV TIP-OVER:  As flat screen TV’s become more popular, old tube TV’s are being put in children’s bedrooms and playrooms, unsecured, often on inappropriate and unsecured pieces of furniture.  The number of children injured and killed by fallen TV’s, both tube and flat screen, is rising at an alarming rate.  It’s estimated a child dies every 3 weeks from a TV falling on them.  Those who survive often suffer devastating brain injuries.  The combination of a TV on top of a dresser is even more deadly.  ALL TV’s should be secured to the wall.  Straps are available for tube and flat screen TV’s and flat screens can also be directly wall mounted, which is the safest option.  For more information visit TV Tip Overs, What Every Parent Needs to Know

6.  IMPROPER CAR SEAT USE:  It’s estimated as many as 80% of car seats are improperly installed and/or the safety harness that holds your baby or child in the car seat is not properly positioned or tight enough.  Did you know car seat safety technician training lasts an entire week? Every parent, no matter how old your child is, should have their car seats or boosters inspected by a certified car seat safety technician to be sure it is properly installed and your child is properly restrained in the seat.  It’s also recommended that children remain rear facing for at least 2 years and in a high back car seat with 5 point harness until they outgrow the weight and height limit for the seat. This is often until your child is in double digits in age and 80 pounds!  One of my favorite resources for car seat safety is The Car Seat Lady.  Check her out!  To find a car seat safety check point visit

7.  CHOKING HAZARDS:  This could easily be a stand alone blog!  Pretty much anything that fits inside a toilet paper tube (that is cut in half horizontally), is a choking hazard to a child under 5.  Spend 5 minutes on the floor and walking around your home, looking under chairs, between cushions, in your purse and diaper bag, on the fridge, on your desk, in your bathroom, where your pets eat and play and see how many things you can find that will meet that criteria.  Of special note, latex balloons are particularly deadly.  Children should never try to blow up their own balloons and should not play with inflated latex balloons because if they pop near their mouths, they could inhale a piece of the balloon which could obstruct their airway.  Make sure all choking hazards are out of reach at all times.  Food is also a choking hazard.  Teach kids to sit to eat, always, and never to move, talk, or play with food in their hands or mouths.  Every person who cares for your child should know what to do (and what not to do) if they are choking.

8.  POISONS:  Apply the same walk around the house noted above, but this time looking for toxic chemicals and plants.  Most cosmetic products, cleaning products, lawn and garden treatments and some plants contain poisonous substances and can be very dangerous if ingested, even in small amounts.  Know the Poison Control Center phone number at 800-222-1222 and keep all dangerous products locked up and out of reach and out of sight.

9.  CORDS:  Make sure all cords are secured within a channeling device or cord winder to prevent electrical burns and strangulation.  This includes electrical cords to lights and appliances, baby monitors and blinds or Roman shades.  Never run cords underneath carpeting or legs of furniture as they pose a fire hazard that way.

10. STAIRS and WINDOWS:  Falls are a leading cause of injury and death for both children and the elderly.  To prevent stair falls, lock and childproof and/or alarm exit doors to your home and doorways that lead to stairways.  Place gates at the top of stairs that cannot be blocked by a locked door.  ever use a pressure gate at the top of the stairs, even if the manufacturer recommends it.  Also gate the bottom of stairs.  Never store or place anything on stairs and be sure the surface is non-slip and well lighted at all times to prevent slips, trips and falls.  Windows should never open more than 4 inches from the bottom to prevent children from falling out.  Screens will not stop them from falling.  Window guards like the Guardian Angel Window Guard or Kidco Mesh Window Guard are the safest childproofing devices for windows and can be easily removed by an adult in the event of a fire.  The pop out stops on newer windows can easily break and are not meant to prevent a child from opening the window, do not rely on them for safety.  Open windows from the top, instead of the bottom and remove anything that can be climbed on from in front of windows to reduce the risk of falls.

These are but a few of the often forgotten or overlooked hazards in and around your home.  There are, of course, many more.  For all of these hazards, for the time and money it takes to have a dinner out with your family, you can instead purchase and install childproofing devices that will prevent these accidents from injuring or killing a child you love.  Some can be found at local stores, others might only be found online. has a plethora of childproofing devices.  Don’t forget to do the same at grandma’s house or anywhere your children spend time.  

To be as safety smart as you can be, you and everyone who cares for your child should know CPR, First Aid and take a childproofing or child and home safety class.  We don’t know what we don’t know until someone teaches us about it!  Don’t let ‘it’ happen to your child. These classes are all offered locally.  For child safety updates, information and recalls visit Meghan’s Hope on Facebook. For more information on home and child safety visit Home and Life Safety, Safe Kids USA, and The Consumer Product Safety Commission.  If you are interested in taking a class or learning more about these or other child safety questions, feel free to contact me at  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The power of 44!

Well, another trip around the sun completed.  Today, I embark on a new journey around that flaming ball of fire.  I kinda hope she throws a big ass solar flare our way.  I would love me some northern lights.

I have lived on this planet 44 years today.  I know!  Shocking, isn't it? Although the official time of my birth was just before noon, so as of this time, I have a few more hours at 43. Someday I really need to get an astrologer's take on my birth day and time.  I bet that would be fascinating.  Someday, I should probably act my age.  Oh, wait.  I do!  Turns out one's 40's are quite silly. Just like my 30's and 20's and teens... Maybe it's just me.

My birthday used to be a day of great anticipation and excitement for me.  I've been known to herald it's arrival for months in the past.  I've done downright silly things that might have involved bubbles and a tiara, oh, and dancing around the back yard like a fool.  Hell, I do that on non-birth day celebrations from time to time...

Now, it is a day of quiet acknowledgment.  Perhaps because as I grew older, the family celebrations waned. Then, family moved away or got busy with their own kids.  I had kids of my own.  Life got busy.  Priorities shifted.  Work gets in the way.  Gradually, the fanfare subsided.  Other than the milestone decade birth days, it's really just another day.  Not worthy of any sort of special celebration. Or is it?

I've mentioned before how MY birthday is a trigger day for my grief.  I know it's coming.  I am powerless to stop it.  It's more anticipatory than anything, it impacts me more in the days before my birthday.  It's about the sadness of the loss of a dream.  Of expectations. Of my precious little girl.  The hole in my heart is a bit bigger on this day and a wee bit leaky.  I used to be baffled by the fact my birthday was so much of a trigger for my grief as it is.  Of course the first years were the worst, but even now, 9 years later, it's still nothing like it used to be.  I'm no longer blindsided by it, I know it's going to happen.  It manifests as fatigue, apathy and a flat mood in the days before.  I tend to want to withdraw and avoid it, yet I still want it to be acknowledged. A double-edged sword of sorts.  It makes me not want to acknowledge the day, as if that somehow would dull the pain and sadness.  I really want to hear that little, yet loud voice sing "Happy BIRD day" to me from my lap.  On the other hand, I wish it were more of a celebration, like it used to be.  I wish my boys chose to celebrate me, without nagging.  I long for the simpler, innocent and care free days of my youth.  When it was just one day, all about me, to do what I wanted, just for a day. A day I could freely sing and dance with a tiara, eat cake all day and have not a worry or care in the world.

Damn pitfalls of being an adult.  A responsible one, at that.  Today is just like any other day.  I will go to work. I will be a soccer mom.  I will make dinner (or more likely, pick up pizza).  I will nag the boys to do their chores and homework.  I even got to clean up cat puke this morning!  Such a gift.  Not.  On the up side, I get to go to my favorite restaurant for my dinner!  Yay!

Then again, birth days are really about two people.  The child who was born and the mother who birthed them.  As a mom, my children's birth days are a day for me to reminisce about their birth.  To look at those old photos.  To remember what it was like to be a new parent.  To take inventory of the hopes, dreams and expectations I had then and where I/they are now.  I wonder, am I anything like what my mother imagined I would be?  I'm going to go with no.  ;-)  I wonder if my mom pauses today to remember the day I was born.

I am 44.  Middle aged, officially.  Holy crap.  The thing is, it doesn't bother me. So far as I can tell, I'm still about 28, but waaaaay wiser than I was then. :-)  I like the number 44.  Rather angelic.  An even number.  I like even numbers.  It's going to be a great year!  I'm finally getting my s*it together!  It finally feels like MY life.  The rewards of the ups and downs the past 43 years have brought me are being realized, finally.  I am happier and probably healthier than I've been in a long time.  I have a plan.  I like having a plan!  In my 44th year I will accomplish new things.  I will see the realization of a few goals and maybe a dream or two.  I will run a half-marathon, although maybe that just confirms my crazy. I will continue to manifest an abundant and creative life.  I will finish writing that book. Because saying it 'out loud' to you makes it so, right?  I will honor Meg's memory in a whole new way, maybe in several ways.  I will continue to mother my boys and God willing, help them become responsible and compassionate young adults. I will have an amazing, perhaps once in a lifetime, family vacation with my boys.  A shift is in the works.  I can feel it.

You know what the best part of my birthday is?  Starting the day off right.  With CAKE!  Chocolate of course.  Actually, Chocolate cake with raspberry chambord Italian cream from my favorite Italian bakery. For breakfast!  :-)  Have I mentioned I have the best husband ever?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September is...

I posted a poll of sorts on Facebook this morning.  I asked my friends to fill in the blank.  September is _______.

The answers were interesting.  Of course my sample size was small.  Some people answered as if they were filling in what I would say.  Others, what they love about the month.  Some were insightful.  Some simply stated the obvious.  What does September mean to you?

I've always loved September.  My favorite month by far.  Mostly because of the weather.  The season of change with warm days and cool nights.  The humidity goes away.  Sweater weather approaches! The colors of nature start to literally burst. The symbolism of the harvest time.  The colors and smells of the season.  The leaves start to turn and gently fall.  The sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet is so soothing to me. The light gets softer as the sun angle lowers.  I swear, things glow in September.  Apple picking, eating and of course, cider and crisp!  Cider donuts!!  Pumpkins and hay bales to decorate with.  I love to be outside in September.  The days are getting shorter and the animals are preparing for the winter.  Gathering and enjoying the cooler weather themselves in playful anticipation.  Oh, how I used to love to jump in the leaves.  Wait.  I still do!

I love the new beginnings September brings.  As a kid, shopping for back to school supplies and clothes, the excitement of embarking on a new adventure, the opportunity to make THIS year the best one ever made this month one that was met with great anticipation and excitement.  The change of seasons seems to inspire a change for the better.  A chance to start anew.

September is also my birthday month.  In fact, it is a VERY popular birth day month!  Seems a whole lot of people conceive babies around the holidays.  Don't believe me?  Do the math!  :-)  I'm guilty of it myself as my eldest son is also a September birthday!  As it is for several of my cousins and friends, too!  It is also the month of the birth of my maternal grandmother and the death of my paternal grandmother, would you believe, on the same day.  That same day is also my wedding anniversary.  Something about the 22nd... It's also the month of the death of an uncle, he was born on the spring equinox and died on the autumnal equinox.  The symbolism of which is not lost on me, but now is not the time to delve into that.

Then there are the anniversaries!  It's a popular month to get married!  Heck, I did it.  Twice, even!  My sister's anniversary is also in September.

Every year in September, I also find myself getting nostalgic and introspective.  Not just because of the history aforementioned, but because ever since my daughter died, it has been a very different experience.  I am keenly aware of what she (and therefore, I) am missing.  My birthday is not the same.  I used to love celebrating my birthday.  Now, it's more of a trigger day for me.  There is no little voice to sing 'happy bird day' to me or her brother.  There is no back to school shopping for her.  It is a time of new beginnings, yes, but a stark reminder that these were not the new beginnings I had imagined I'd be having every September.  I also find myself reflecting on my first marriage, also in September.  If only I knew then...

This month is also the beginning of the last third of the year.  The third I both love and hate the most.  I love September with all my heart but it marks the beginning of the holiday season, at least in retail (don't even get me started!)  It marks the beginning of when I find it difficult to go into a department store and not be triggered.  I start to avoid them.  The upside of this is I save money and I get my shopping done early and on line!

September, obviously, leads to October.  October is always the beginning of my darker days and not just in terms of daylight.  Halloween is not the same when I planned to have a lifetime of Halloween parties to celebrate the birth of my twins. The month where I am slapped in the face with the fact I see one where two should have always been.  Where I must celebrate the birth of two, but with only one.  Where we have our annual cupcake picnic at the cemetery instead of at our kitchen table.  October leads to November, where gratitude is tempered with sadness and November to December and well, let's just skip December and move right to January, OK?

What I love about September now is the new routine it brings.  Soccer for my boys, which has the added benefit of getting me outside more, now, if the weather could please cooperate on game days. Yes, I'm talking to you, Mother Nature!  I look forward to planning birthday dinners and festivities for my eldest son and his younger brother, whose birthday is in October.  Celebrating my first anniversary this year with the love of my life and perhaps a long weekend get-away for us.  Definitely a new and positive contribution to the month!  Remembering my grandmother, who was with us on our wedding day to celebrate her 86th birthday last year, and this year, is no longer with us, having died in May.  Our anniversary will be bittersweet.  It will also be spent at a soccer field.  :-)

I shall try to focus on the energy of autumn.  The energy of the harvest.  Of reaping what has been sewn.  Of seeing the fruits of my labor.  Perhaps that will be in the form of a few chapters of that book actually getting written.  I have new teaching opportunities, speaking opportunities and training for that half-marathon and personal accomplishment to keep me, quite literally, putting one foot in front of the other.  As the leaves start to turn and fall, I will do my best to be present in what the season has to offer.  The old and the new, creating a new 'normal'.

And, if all else fails, you can find me curled up on the couch, with a blanket and some hot apple crisp!  It is the one month I might forego the chocolate in favor of the fruit of the month!