A dead iPhone and a new goal


Thanks to a dead iPhone, I finally have my goals set for 2016.

I only read books in the summer. I need to be in a folding chair, with sand between my toes, sun on my shoulders and the sound of the ocean in the background. I’ve tried to read at home in front of the fire, but I instantly fall asleep. And reading in bed doesn’t work for me either. The bed is for other activities — like television.

Of course I read a ton of blogs and magazines, and I never let my need for sand hold me back from the latest bestseller. When I’m not on the beach, I listen to audiobooks as I walk. It gets me and the dogs out of the house, puts steps on my fitbit, and lets me get lost in a good story. It also allows me to avoid too much thinking. I like to leave wandering thoughts for when I sit down with my journal or this blog.

This morning something horrible happened while I was out on my walk. Two miles from home, my iPhone died. I stopped in place, staring at the screen and didn’t know what to do. I thought about calling Dan to pick me up, but my iPhone WAS DEAD! Two miles takes me about 40 minutes. 40 minutes to think. I took a deep breath and decided I would take the opportunity to think about my goals for 2016.

The usual suspects came easily to mind. More walking, less drinking, getting published (my fingers have been crossed for so long that it hurts), less carryout, more kale. This list took me less then a minute. 39 minutes to think a little deeper.

It took a while, but I think the walk allowed me to come up with something. Here it is – my goal for 2016 – SLOW TIME.

I’ve spent most of my life looking forward. Looking forward to the weekend, to the next vacation, to the next paycheck. I would like to start living more in the moment. Appreciating every slow Tuesday and every quick conversation and every little hug — especially from my kids.

When Jack and Anna were babies, I felt so buried in sore boobs and laundry that I loved hearing from older woman who told me that “the years would fly by”. That sounded pretty good to me. I fantasized about the day that I could throw away the pacifiers and rid of the baby gates. Once that day arrived, I looked forward to the first day of preschool and watching the kids learn to read. That day came and went and  I was already gearing up to lose the carseats and start planning adventurous family trips.

Life, of course, didn’t follow the path exactly as expected. It wound around and filled with experiences. Not all were welcome, but I proud of where we are. Now, I find that I’m on the other side of the “years flying by” equation and I’m worried that it’s all going too fast.

I’ve got two teenage children with very different futures, but they are both speeding towards adulthood. Jack’s cord may stay closer to home, but even he will find some sort of independence. My days of raising little (big) kids is numbered.

My goal for 2016 is to learn how to slow the momentum. I think I can do this by learning to breath and taking time to appreciate more. Probably not every moment, but all the moments that don’t include poop or sassy teenage chatter (although if Jack wants to give me some sassy teenage chatter, that’s okay).

Love, Jess



a pain in the neck.

Jack is killing me one hug at a time.

Jack’s hugs are legendary. They’re intense and over-powering. He doesn’t just hug with his arms. He uses his whole body – his whole soul (if you believe in that kind of thing). Generally, these hugs are encouraged and stolen as often as possible. Something I look forward to as I get him out of bed each morning and as he steps off the school bus in the afternoon. But, this week I am avoiding them like the plague.

I woke up last Friday with a little crick in my neck, and by Saturday afternoon I found myself on the living room couch, crying to my mother on the phone because I was having trouble getting myself up. Dan rescued me and took me to the doctor. With a shot in the ass (not sure of what – I didn’t ask too many questions), and a pile of pills, I was sent home and told to “take it easy for a few days.”.

If you know me, you know that those are welcome words. Binge watching bad TV without guilt, generally would sound like a mini-vacation, but I wondered if the doctor really understood my ability “to take it easy” and the hidden dangers that lurk in our house.

Luckily, it was Saturday and Dan and Anna are unbelievable caregivers. They took charge of the dogs and the cooking, and set me up on the couch with a heating pad on my neck and my feet up. I was on a cocktail of valium, steroids and muscle relaxers and was finally able to forget about the pain and focus on the horrors (and blossoming love) unfolding in the Foxworth grandparent’s attic.

Jack was my partner. He loves nothing more than hanging with his mama on the couch and never complains about my choice of viewing (one of the benefits of having a non-verbal child). But sitting quietly on the couch watching Lifetime’s attempt at the Flowers in the Attic trilogy was far from relaxing. Jack would throw his leg on my lap, making me move and sending a spasm to my neck. Then he’d grab my arm causing the same reaction.

It happened again and again and I started getting frustrated, which made Jack sad. I could see him trying to figure out what he was doing wrong and how he could fix it. Suddenly, his beautiful brown eyes locked on mine and he knew what he needed do to make his mama feel better. He went in for a hug. Unbearable pain!

It’s been days, I’m off my medicine and feeling much better, but every time I see that look in Jack’s eyes, I get a little nervous. It’s going to be a few weeks before I can trust those arms around my neck again.

Love, Jess

Here’s just one example of the intensity of a Jack hug. Be warned.