Sister love

Sisters. Sometimes this is a challenge, and other times, it’s just flat out beautiful. My two daughters had an event recently that made us all cry. Lemme tell ya all about it. If you’re a softie, pause here to grab a tissue.

This is gonna be good.

Little sister was supposed to hop on a plane with her man for a month in Paris, to be followed by another three weeks of gallivanting around Europe. This trip was cancelled, obviously.

Big sister felt bad for little sister, and decided to surprise her by bringing Paris to her.

Big sister initiated and executed this covert operation. She cleaned, decorated, organized, and invited all of little sister’s besties. She recruited little sister’s man to get her there, fully dressed to the nines. (For anyone that knows little sister, this is not difficult. She lives for these occasions, even when she has to invent them herself.)

Big sister recruited me and my unicorn man Joe to help with food and beverages. Bellinis, Side Cars, Baguettes with Creme Fraiche, Fruit, and Macaroons rounded out the menu.

Little sister was surprised! Tears were shed, hugs were given, champagne was poured, and the whole evening was just so unbelievably touching.

Notice the sign. Soooo sweet!

As the mom of these two sisters, I am delighted and thrilled to see them care for one another so deeply. As a bigger sister, I have tortured my own little a-plenty through the years. I’m noticing how much better we treat one another these days. More acceptance, less squabbling.

Isn’t that the way? The more we age, and hopefully also mature, we realize that arguing and bickering is just wasted energy. Even when issues loom large.

We are all connected. And though we don’t have to agree with everyone, we can at least try to get along with one another. Respect for others goes a LONG way.

You said it well, Aretha

With all the chaos going on in our world these days, it’s a good reminder. If my two children can rise above their history and nonsense, turning something sour and disappointing into something kind and sweet, I feel like there is hope for the rest of us.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Life in a snow globe

No I didn’t move to the Arctic. I’m still in Florida where I belong.

I had snow globes when I was a kid and they were absolutely fascinating. Shake them up and watch it all float back down.

Not all of it floated of course. Just the snow. Or confetti or glitter or whatever it was. The bulk of things stayed securely fastened at the bottom. Where it was supposed to stay.

It may have been this exact one!

Unless of course your snow globe was some cheap-ass souvenir you got from your Aunt Carolyn when she went to the Ozarks – or wherever she went – and then it was a different story. If your snow globe was like that, it could not withstand the shaking. The fixtures were not so fixed, and soon the unglued scenery floated around with the snow.

Of course we thought this was hilarious which only prompted more violent shaking from us, the masters of the snow globe. It looked like the aftermath of a tornado when everything settled.

Eventually, everything settles.

This is what it feels like, doesn’t it? It feels like the world is being shaken up and everything is confusing and out of sorts and a lot of things we once thought as permanent are now floating around.

It’s sad when you look at the things that were once solid. Like spring semester of your senior year of high school. Sports. Prom. Graduation. These milestones that were once fixtures are now up in the air for so many, including my beautiful niece Macy.

Macy, class of 2020. Photo credit Andra Travis Photography.

My world is affected on a much less heartbreaking scale. Even so, I know it’s important to acknowledge and to name those things that I’m grieving, no matter how petty and frivolous. Here’s a short list:
-Not working at the office with all of my coworkers.
-Delaying my orthodontic treatments as planned.
-Not finishing my pottery class which is totally cancelled.
-Not eating in restaurants.
-Not taking a hot yoga class (but thank you Adriene!).
-Cancelling the trip to Paris scheduled for the summer.
-Seeing the hundreds of faces that belong to my church family.
-And the thing that aches most is NOT visiting the cutest baby ever.

If he gets a tooth or starts crawling before I see him again… I’ll just sob.

All of these are now hidden behind the swirling snow (and social distancing directives). I just really want everything to land where it belongs, and don’t we all?

Perhaps, while things are still swirling, we can take a look around and assess what REALLY matters.

Like what? Everything is still swirling! And this exactly why I need to also name the things for which I am grateful right here and now. Some of these could come unglued too, as no one is immune or exempt.

Remembering my faith in God and returning to a regular prayer time. Checking in with my family and friends regularly (thank you FaceTime and Zoom). Having time and space to spend with a new special man. Time and energy to be back in my studio painting. And also access to a private beach during the best weather of the year.

What are the takeaways from this post? Other than the obvious admiration of Baby Ellix and jealousy of the private beach?

Recognize we are in a snow globe right now. Take inventory and name your grief and your gratitude, no matter how big or small. Reach out to your people and let them know you hope they are still there when it all stops swirling. And see what they need in the meantime.

Hang in there everyone. It’s all gonna be okay.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

PS. If you are really struggling right now, there is help. Check out this message from Dr. Henry Cloud and this message from Dr. Brene Brown.

7 days with baby E

A week ago, I was busy shopping and cleaning and cooking.

And in a blink, the week has come and gone. My daughter, her man, and their beautiful baby, have also come and gone.

Yesterday, I cleaned and tackled piles of laundry. I was glad to have something to do. I may have also rewarded myself by finishing off mostly-eaten bags of chips and random growlers of craft beer that were left behind.

They made it home safely, and I’ve got a mound of stuff to send that wouldn’t fit in their suitcase. I had to bag it and put it by the door so at least I’m not staring at baby things in every corner. My heart just can’t take the constant reminder that they are not here.

The amount of love and support that arrived in gift bags and through time spent is overwhelming. Let’s not forget the gladly loaned baby gear – donated pedicures – and dinners out. Our community blessed my daughter and her little family so richly.

Everyone cried except the baby.

It was a solid event-filled trip for them, which included:
– Attending church and having the most heartfelt baby dedication
– An open house / luncheon for a dozen people
– Naps (not enough, but is there such a thing?)
– Dinner out for Aunty Mo’s birthday
– Mommy & Daddy’s first night out without baby E
– A boat ride in the Gulf of Mexico
– A trip to the mall
– Breakfast out / lunch out
– Hanging out at the beach
– Hanging out at the pool
– Hanging out at the house with friends
– A visit with great-grandparents that live 90 miles away
– And to finish it off, a lovely sunset on the beach

This helps…

So yes, it will be quiet, and baby free, and oh-so-empty for a bit. I’ve already booked my next trip in just 54 days. The only consolation was to begin a new countdown.

Thanks, technology!

It was incredible to see my girl and her man operating as a team around their little one. They were helpful and patient and so loving toward one another and baby E. He is one lucky dude to have amazing parents, and I told him so the entire time he was here.

Our hope is that they are able to relocate at some point soon. For now, we’ll hop on planes and facetime each other and send group texts. Distance is annoying, but love and technology will help us to stay connected.

-To those who survived the bygone era of actual mailed letters, and photos that took a week to be developed, bless you.
-To those who missed hearing the voices of their grand babies (okay, cries more than voices), bless you.
-To those who are unable to travel to hug the people you love, bless you.

If you are lucky enough to live nearby your grandchildren, count your blessings. And don’t wait for a special occasion to invite them over or pay them a visit. In fact, go over right now and tell them you love them. And pinch their cheeks if it’s appropriate! Do it for all of us grand-parenting from a distance.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

No news, is _____ _____.

I love old sayings. My friend Susan has gobs of them. Some are more like funny descriptors, as in “it was darker than a gorilla’s armpit”. Is that even dark? How does anyone know? I doubt anyone has investigated this as in, “Hi there Mr. Gorilla, mind showing me your armpit?” It’s just an imaginative way of making a point. Entertainment > accuracy.

My daughter, who is still with child as of this writing (38.5 weeks!) has been bombarded with sayings, or old wives’ tales, or whatever they are. Heartburn means the baby will have lots of hair, and if you opt in for the miracle that an epidural is, it can make breastfeeding more difficult. Who are these old wives anyway?

Sometimes sayings get handed down without explanation. Like this one, “The proof is in the pudding.” Really? I guess that would apply to pudding makers, but I’m not sure how to make it relevant in my own non-pudding world.

This blog is about many things, but pudding isn’t one. It’s about sayings, and my current battle is with the one almost in the title, “No news is good news”. What that could mean is don’t talk to me.

Wow, rude.

No, it means to assume the best when you don’t hear or don’t know some important fact. It largely applies to medical ailments, hospitalizations and other such events.

Like at this exact moment. I have been staying so close to my phone in case when my daughter calls to tell me she’s in labor and ready for me to come. It’s so hard to sit here and wait for the call. But each time I answer in full anticipation of springing into action. My suitcase can be packed in about 3 minutes. I’ve been practicing like I’m in a pit crew at the Daytona 500.

In this instance, no news actually IS good news. Waiting for a baby to be born is a perfect example of not calling someone every five minutes to ask if you are still pregnant, or how are you feeling, or are you having any contractions yet and if so how far apart are they and what else are you feeling and should I come now???

My sister called me every day during the final two weeks of my last pregnancy. Or at least it seemed like every day. I finally snapped back with, “Actually, I had the baby a week ago. I’m just not telling you.” I was hormonal, and my sister has endured decades of my smart-assiness. “No news is good news” is definitely for the protection of those kind and innocent folks who call (a little too) often, simply because they mean well.

But what if your family operated in this mode all the time, like my family sometimes? Also, this is true for my friend Kevin. The only time he hears from a certain family member is when that person calls to report a death, like he’s on a beat with the local paper. The other day, Kevin got a call from this person, and no one had died. It was just a call to say hello. He was shocked, as were the rest of the family when the call wasn’t actually about bad news, but connection.

When there is distance between people, as in my family and Kevin’s, it’s even more important to call with good news. Silence is not always golden. Sometimes we need to hear from those we love, and it’s so beautiful when it can drop right in from the clear blue sky.

But alas, I am learning to take responsibility for my own self. When I am missing anyone, it’s up to me to reach out and initiate the connection. It’s okay to call to say, “Hello, how are you? I don’t have any news, good or bad, but I’m thinking of you and wanted you to know.” Easy enough, right?

Maybe your call or text would be good news to someone. There’s only one way to find out. Who do you need to reach out to today?

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Treasures from Eva

Very soon, as in later today, I’m making a trip to a local jeweler. I have important research to do.

They will not be too suspicious. And I may or may not share the real reason for my visit. You see, I’ve been wanting to try my hand with some historical fiction writing, Francine Rivers‘ style. It’s one of my favorite genres to read. It requires just enough research to keep things interesting, but not so much that I will drown in it.

Come on already, what are we talking about?

I think it’s cut glass and brass maybe? I think it’s beautiful.

This. My mother gave me this choker on my recent trip to Iowa. It had belonged to my Great Grandmother, Eva. She died in 1910, when her daughter, my Grandma Hazel, was very young. Miraculously, it was saved and passed on to her, and then to my mom, then me.

Years earlier, my mom gave me this beautiful piece, also from GG Eva. It’s been safely tucked away in my jewelry box. I hadn’t realized it was also from her. It’s so elegant, but it seems too fragile to wear. I’m not risking that heartbreak.

Eva and I have the same taste.

I know, right? These pieces are so gorgeous, and I am delighted that they’ve found their way into my possession. Here’s the thing: we have so little zero information about either piece. We know GG Eva’s full name, where she lived and when, but other than that, it’s a giant mystery.

Oooo, I want to know, don’t you?

Not only are they gorgeous heirlooms, it sounds like a book I would like to write. The girl goes on a quest to discover more about the treasure and its owner, and through the process, eventually, she discovers herself. It’s a good plot line with plenty of room for twists and turns and interesting characters.

It’s all swirling around, along with other book ideas in the queue. I haven’t actually started writing any of them. But putting it out on this blog helps keep me accountable. Also it means I’m spending time here instead of on that.

Oh, the challenges of the writer’s life! One of the gillion phrases underlined in my beloved copy of Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird. “Do it every day for a while,” my father kept saying. “Do it as you would do scales on the piano. Do it as a debt of honor. And make a commitment to finishing things.”

Thanks Anne, these are good words for me. I’ll put my butt in the chair and commit to getting words in the page.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

We can’t wait to meet what’s-his-name.

Hi baby. I felt you in there squirming and doing backflips and kicking your momma in the ribs.

Loving on that baby belly!
Photo credit Kris Holman

I know you’re still growing and developing and all that important stuff. I know your mommy and daddy are busy preparing for your arrival. I know there are still seven weeks until your predicted birth date. I’m okay with that, but barely.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of hanging out with my beautifully pregnant daughter, her awesome man, my other daughter and her awesome man, and a ton of their friends. We threw an amazing coed baby shower. This included multiple trips to multiple stores, a weird balloon baby, a taco bar for forty people, and some really fun games.

It was spectacular and I loved every single minute, even the non-glamorous moments.

Photo credit Kris Holman
How beautiful is this?! And the gorgeous couple too…

I wasn’t expecting to feel so much excitement for you. But oh my, how ready my heart is for you to be here. It doesn’t matter what name is chosen, or if you have dark hair or blonde hair or no hair at all. You, little one, are already surrounded by so much love.

It’s so good to celebrate with friends!

We cannot wait to meet you!

In the meantime, if any of you have grand-parenting tips to share, let me have it. This is exciting new (and slightly terrifying) territory for all of us. We welcome your wisdom.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Commencement!!

This could very well be my new favorite word. It really means “beginning”, and that is exactly how I am choosing to view this momentous time.

The dorkiest hat – but oh so happy to be wearing it

Buh-bye school. Hello LIFE!

Of course, there has been plenty of life during my season of attending school. And I know the sacrifice of time, and the discipline of learning and studying has been worth it. But now it is time for other things.

What am I going to do with all of the time and energy that has been sucked up by school? That’s easy. Whatever I want.

Actually I have some catching up to do. With myself. With friends. With this very blog. And my studio. But it can all be done at a normal person’s pace, instead of the insanity that I have been practicing these many months.

Rabbit trail: One day last summer my friend Nadia said she was “pulling a Sherri”. She had booked like 6 major things into 2 days and had zero time to eat or change or rest in between. It was not a compliment.

Sure, I like efficiency. I like to cross items off my to-do list (and yes, I will write down things AFTER I do them just so I can cross them off). I like the feeling I get when I’ve accomplished things. But I also like to lay in my hammock, and stroll on the beach, and doodle. I like to read for the sheer pleasure of it. I like to take my time, and not rush so much.

I like taking care of myself, and this could mean cooking more than twice a month. It could mean taking yoga classes more often. And running again. It may mean sleeping better because my brain won’t have so much to process.

Hey there Life-After-School! You’re looking might fine. You’re right here, waiting for me. Thanks for showing me how to live well. I’m grateful for so much, and the degree is just a small part of that.

The most important thing is the people in my life, especially the ones who cheered me on, understood when I was studying, and listened to me whine when it was hard. There will be much less whining (and more wine-ing) I promise!

My beautiful daughters (and a baby bump!)
Prince Charming, one of my biggest supporters.
I’m not sure who is happier!

We’re headed out to a beach house for the next few days. This girl knows how to take a well deserved break and just where to park her beloved beach chair!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri