into the woods.

Fresh Scratch, Rosemary Meyer Lemon Drop

Finally, a new season. Winter, how the heck are ya?! I’m coming at you from my hiding spot this week in a log cabin in the middle of Idaho, wood stove going, wrapped in a quilt, flannel pajama pants on, surrounded by snow and books and good company. This is my reset button.

In other words, hello – it’s me. I’m back. I’m happy. I’m more than okay. I want to thank you for all of your thoughtful words after my last post an entire season ago. I shouldn’t have been so surprised by all the people who reached out to me – because I am a lucky girl who has all the best people – but I was touched in a way that may sound odd, given the circumstances. Those of you who have had the experience of walking down the aisle to get married may know what I mean: you looked at all the people smiling at you and felt so loved. So supported. I know this wasn’t that, but it felt the same somehow. I still have all that matters.

After sharing the news with you that my family was changing, the sands beneath my feet really shifted in a matter of days; things went from bad to worse, and I truly needed all the nice things you said, all the hugs, all the good vibes. I didn’t think anything would bring me more consuming grief than losing my dad, but these events did. They brought the heat in a not-nice way. But you know what? It’s in those kinds of battles where we become warriors.

I feel stronger than ever. I feel resolute. I feel solid. I feel more kind. My girls are thriving. I got that house I was hoping for – gingerbread and all – and we’ve settled into a new normal over the last six weeks or so. It feels right. And if I can just follow what feels right and never stray from that, I’m golden.

Fresh Scratch, winter field

I was getting tired of just surviving, and I was really starting to miss the things that make me feel twinkly {is that a word? who cares! it is now.}. Then a couple weeks ago, the snow just started dumping on my drive home. I had stuck my big camera up high in my closet upon moving in, but on this day I dragged in the stool, climbed up, and greeted my old buddy. As we walked toward that pretty field up there, I felt something familiar: excitement. It’d been a while. I snapped that shot and just knew my magic was back. Just like you know all the things you just know.

Here’s what happened after:

I thought of this.

I sat in front of the Christmas tree I had cut down by myself {so much harder than it looks! the girls made so much fun of me, especially when I said, “Quit talking! I am trying to cut down this tree!”}, read a book {I just finished this one, and just started that one}, and remembered this.

I recreated my exact cookie party components from last year, then had like 20+ of my ladies over to my house on a school night, where we boozed it up and got so loud I had to shout across the kitchen to Emily. It felt like a christening of laughter for my house. Promptly at 9:30, they all went home. That’s how we moms party.

And now I’m at the cabin. Because in the quiet moments of my storm, I knew that this was the place to wash ashore.

What’s next? Well, checking on the fire, for starters.

The rest is wide open.

Thanks for making my heart grow three times as big.

xoxo, ms. fresh scratch

 

 

promises: those we keep, and those we do not.

11th Anniversary

fresh scratch, ring box

Today the jeweler tenderly cleaned my wedding rings for the last time while I cried right there in the middle of the shop where we had purchased them years ago. Here is the box, wrapped up with a bow and awaiting the day I pull them out and give one to each of my girls. Because this is what they wanted me to do with them.

“Here is a promise that I made. This promise gave me you,” I will tell them.

This summer my husband and I decided that not every promise should be kept.

Our invitations to this decision arrived around the same time for us both and in the form of a simple knowing. A knowing that this long season of doing life together for over fifteen years had taught us all it could.

At first, my invitation scared me – I put it in the drawers of my heart and tried to forget it. I did the hard work to show that invitation that I ALREADY HAD MY OWN PLANS, thankyouverymuch. But, like the beginning of the Harry Potter series, the invitation started to find me everywhere. It wouldn’t be ignored. That knowing – which came as a lump in my throat or a little voice deep inside – simply couldn’t UN-KNOW.

It wasn’t an invitation away from something, but rather toward the next adventure, even though we don’t know exactly what that adventure holds. And so we each decided {with tears! with not always nice words! with frustration! with all. the. feelings!} to RSVP a “yes.”

Yes.

We will leave this party and make our own way to the next one.

Yes.

We will let this go.

Yes.

We will be honest.

Yes.

We worked very hard to keep this together and – yes – our marital therapist made a gold mine off of our regularly-scheduled sessions the last two years. But we already knew: our lifeboats were coming, and we weren’t going to be sitting in the same one together.

It’s not a tragedy, so we are trying our best to not treat it as such. Was telling our girls the worst thing ever in our lives? Yes. Do I cry about it? Yes. I mean, poor Mr. Jewelry Store today, see above.

But it’s because beginnings – all beginnings – are scary. And I cry because I worry about the ways this will change me and my girls. I don’t know exactly what we will be like on the other side of this knowing. But I have hope.

And when you have hope, you don’t need to despair {much}. Cheryl Strayed said of children, “If we rise, they will rise with us every time, no matter how many times we’ve fallen.” I have to believe her.

So hope is getting me through. Honesty is getting me through. And, damn, my people are getting me through. I was pretty sure I had a tribe of keepers, but there is no denying it now. I have the best friends and have never felt so much like so many have my back. When people say yes to honesty, others see that. They want to keep you moving toward the light. They cry with me, they know when to bring me pie, and their trust in my heart makes me endless amounts of humble and grateful.

Every time I’ve met you here, I have tried to give you something: a pretty picture, a laugh, some sass, a recipe, something. A thank you for showing up. Today is no different. I wanted to tell you this news, yes, but I also wanted to share the things that are helping me through this huge transition, just in case you or someone you care about is leaving one season for the next. Really, fall is here, so aren’t we all?

This podcast.

This quote.

This amazingly brave book.

And this quote from the wonderful film Benjamin Button, which I hear in my head always always always spoken in Brad Pitt’s voice:

I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over.

Sometimes breaking the promise we have made to someone else is the biggest act of courage, because, in doing so, we are keeping a more sacred oath to ourselves.

Thanks for your patience while I’ve been trying to figure out how to share this with you, and thanks for your support as Matt and I continue our most important work together: raising our girls to be strong women.

What’s next? Cross your fingers that my offer on a new house gets accepted…it has the greatest kitchen in which to bring you some new, butter-laden recipes.

xoxo,

ms. fresh scratch