It’s Official, Summer 2014 is Over!

Summer is officially over–thank heavens! In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, the summer of 2014 “is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”

Rather it was a summer full of immense pain, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, surgeries, doctors, and therapists. My beloved season of summer had become my winter as I was resigned to hibernate so I, and yes, my leg could heal.

So on this first day of fall as the days are getting shorter, and the warmth of the sun that embraced me on Memorial Day 2014 is now, but a glimmer in the rear view mirror, my hibernation has come to an end. I am up, out of bed, off the sofa and yes, “walking” and ready to start a new season.

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Goodbye Little Mommy

little mommyTonight I ask, hug your kids, hold them close, and say thanks for the miracle bestowed upon you.  No matter how many teenage moms MTV promotes or  kids pop out of that Duggar woman in Arkansas, having a child is a miracle.

For me, reality has sunk in–it’s highly likely I will never be a parent, a mother. Yes, I believe in miracles, but I’m also grounded in reality, and my reality is that at my age I only have a 10% chance of having a child, and that’s if my Patrick Dempsey look-alike-boyfriend entered the scene today. With medical intervention it’s only 25%.

Enter, my silent grief.  Silent because I wonder if it’s even a valid grief, if I’m entitled to the pain of losing something I never had while others have lost children and suffered miscarriages.  Silent because in the hierarchy of society there’s little value placed on a 40-something, single, childless woman; we’re the bottom feeders of a social caste system that celebrates marriage, motherhood, and baby bumps. We’re the wallflowers at the high school prom who have nothing to offer society except taxes that fund schools of which we’ll never use. Heck, even teenage mothers get more societal love than the 40-year old childless single.

So I sit quietly by and watch those around me post pictures of their kids’ achievements and celebrations, announce pregnancies, wipe dirty faces, chase after that one missing shoe,  or even raise their voice to say, “if you do that one more time, I’ll…” and each time, I’m reminded that I will never know any of those things. And each time, I know this won’t be the last, that on some random day in the future, just when I think I’ve moved on and believe that my life is fine without kids of my own, a photo will show up on my Facebook feed,  a birth announcement made on a conference call, and I’ll be reminded all over again.  It’s a cycle that will continue for the rest of my life.

And while people will tell me that without kids I’ll  have the flexibility, the time, and the money to do what I want, I nod my head and say, “yes, I know.” And I really do know. I have the benefits of a no child life posted to a bulletin board and read them daily as some sort of positive affirmation. I replace visions of  birthday parties, graduations, recitals and little league games with visions of exotic travels, plastic surgery at 50 and a solid retirement fund so I can pay for someone to take care of me when I’m old. Yet, no matter how many trips to Fiji I take or units of Botox I inject, at my core, I know it’s all a consolation prize.

As a five-year old my favorite book was the Golden Book, “Little Mommy” –that’s what I wanted to be.  Goodbye Little Mommy.






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Wine, the Pope, Italy and the Church…Remembering Marsha

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Marsha and I at the Collseum in Rome

I took a sabbatical from my blog, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but what I did have to say was better left unsaid. But today was different, today, I needed to pay respect to my dear friend, Marsha, who I found out passed away a few months ago.

I met Marsha while I was living in Nashville, a time that I’ve come to refer as my working sabbatical from life. I don’t talk about my time in Nashville much. It was a dark time. I was working through a broken heart, an unintentional professional life and shattered dreams. I had come to Nashville to face the demons of my past, to exorcise them, and to start a new. Marsha became my new.

Marsha’s husband had recently died when we met in RCIA class at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville’s West End district. We shared broken hearts for losing “the one,” hers to death, mine to another woman, but through it all we found hope and comfort in the majesty and beauty of the Church. Every Thursday for seven months, from September to Easter Sunday, we shared in our learning of the Church, and at the Easter Vigil in 2005, we both entered into communion with the Church.

A week later, Pope John Paul II died, prompting a shared intrigue for experiencing up close and personal,  The Vatican, Saint Peter’s and yes, the new Pope.

Eight months and a move to DC later, Marsha and I met in Rome and enjoyed nine days touring Rome, Venice and Florence, and stood side-by-side in a crowd of pushy nuns to get a front row view of Pope Benedict. Ahhh…that was an angelic moment.

She loved wine almost more than I did and in Italy we shared countless bottles in our hotel room, and at various bistros across each city we visited. She shipped a case home and reserved one bottle for the following Easter to celebrate our one year anniversary into the Church. Unfortunately, flight delays and cancellations out of Dulles forced me to cancel my trip to Nashville that year. I didn’t know it at the time, but that cancellation not only prevented me from sharing a fantastic bottle of wine with a dear friend, it would prevent me from seeing her one last time.

Every Lenten and Easter season since 2005, I think of Marsha. Last March as the Church was voting on a new Pope, the Lord spoke to me and said, “write Marsha.” Marsha was on Facebook and had e-mail,  but He was clear, He said, to write. And so on a Wednesday night in early March, I pulled out a note card that I had created using my many photographs and took pen to paper and wrote Marsha a letter. I said to myself, “when was the last time you wrote a letter?” I couldn’t remember anything more than a sentence or two written inside a card.

Several weeks later, I opened my mailbox to find a letter from Marsha. The first line she wrote, “I was thrilled to get your letter.” She brought me up to date on all the happening’s in her life–grandchildren, boyfriends, break-ups and her plans for Easter. I thought, I need to go to Nashville next Easter. We need to finally have that bottle of wine.  I missed her.

Next Easter is almost here, but Marsha is not. I expect she’s having a much better bottle of wine in Heaven with God, Ed and PJP II, laughing while many of us, me included, have given up wine for Lent.

But come Easter Day, it’s all celebration. I’ll finally open the bottle of Chianti that I bought on that Italy trip which now sits in the recess of my cabinets for a “special day” and toast my dear friend Marsha.  There’s nothing more special than knowing that nine years after we entered the Church together, she’s Home.




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Making it Work While Asking “What’s Next?”

My end of year tradition is to find a theme song that sort of wraps up my year in just 3-4 minutes. This year, I struggled. Nothing in my repertoire seemed to totally encapsulate it as I spent most of the year contemplating “what’s next?”  This question still plagues me and possibly I’ll have an answer between now and midnight, but I expect the “what’s next” trend to continue into 2014.

The positive: I’m a heck of a lot closer today to “what’s next” than I was six months ago. In the absence of a clear answer, I started to clear out, get myself ready, clean the clutter, and make way for new challenges, new surroundings, a new beginning–whatever they might be.

I knew it was time to let go. Let go of things that were holding me back emotionally because I was clinging onto a life I was dreaming of rather than the life I had today. I began to let go of ideas of what was “supposed” to be and began accepting reality. I began working with what I had rather than what I thought I should have. I channeled Tim Gunn and claimed the motto, “make it work.”

Overall, 2013 was about letting go and getting ready for where ever God takes me. And so on NYE, 2013, I can say the load both physically and emotionally is getting  lighter, the picture is becoming clearer.

And finally, it’s amazing how good you feel when you finally ditch the 35 year old cross stitch books because you realize you never want to cross stitch again. That was a different life, a different me. I’m moving forward.  2014 bring it on!



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Christmas List 2013: Peace, Reflection and a Cocktail

004Peace on earth, or at least peace, was the motto for Amy’s Christmas 2013.

No I-95 traffic, no airport delays, crowded airplanes, or mad dashes to the mall for last-minute gifts. Not for me, not this year. Just a simple Christmas with Paxton, reflecting on the joyous reason for the season.

“But you’ll be alone,”  people say.  I don’t see it that way. I see it as an opportunity to find peace within yourself, and “Be still and know that I am God.”

If you’re like me, distractions, whatever form they take, for me it’s fighting traffic jams or  getting frisked by TSA agents, the hustle and bustle of trying to see everybody and do everything in a 24 hour period, strip away the joy of what Christmas is all about, and brings out my inner Scrooge.

It’s been several years since I can truly say I enjoyed Christmas. It’s felt more of an obligation than a celebration. This is not a knock on my family, I actually like to visit, and reserve my trips for more quality time when the stress of the holiday is not hanging over everyone’s head like dried up mistloe.  No, this is more of a result of growing up, becoming secure in myself, knowing what I want and having the courage to do it.

And what I wanted was a quiet, peaceful Christmas with Paxton, a few cocktails and midnight mass at my local parish rather than being a visitor at Saint Gabe’s in Charlotte. I wanted peace to reflect on my many blessings, and to prepare for the upcoming year.

Mission accomplished. It’s Christmas Eve AM and it’s getting quiet outside, and for once, I can hear it. I’m enjoying the twinkle of my 4ft North Carolina Fraiser Fur with no ornaments, just an Eiffel Tower tree topper. Paxton’s sacked out taking his mid-morning nap and I continue to work, sending email to a teammates who won’t read the message until January 7th. Later on,  I will step out for holiday cocktails with friends, and then midnight mass (yes, in that order–don’t judge, it’s the Catholic way, which I’m sure is written somewhere in the Catechism).

This will be my Christmas, and I’m positive it won’t be as “sexy” or picture-perfect as the many Christmases I will be a part of via Facebook and Instagram, and I’m okay with that because it’s perfect for me, perfect for this year.

Traditions are meant to be broken, revisited and then revamped. And sometimes between all that we  to have a reset and just do what’s right for us, for that year. I’m resetting. In fact my whole family’s resetting, going in different directions and building their own family Christmas traditions. It happens and it’s okay.  In fact, I find it refreshing, even liberating to create my own version of Christmas, or just wing it and see what happens. Over-planning at Christmas is no fun!  And the way I see it,  is that family is family and true family takes you in every day of the year, not just one.

Merry Christmas and may your day be filled with peace.

Amy & Paxton


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