By Tristan K.
It’s the morning after Christmas. My feet are adorned with two different fuzzy socks. A laughable pair given the multitude of choices that are currently strewn around the bottom of our tree. Our home is so homey right now and it feels good. I can hear my son gaming in the background, through a muffled doorway he sounds so much like my late Huzzband, Mike. Same jokey tone, calling out his friends while running raids or whatever it is they play on the Play Station box. Oh my stars, people – this Fortnite thing – I don’t understand it and I don’t love it. But, damn, if it isn’t convenient as all get out to have 2 to 4 hours of uninterrupted time?!
The dogs are sleeping with me as I sit in the craft room that has seen so much life in the past 11 years. For so long I had a vision of what I wanted this room to look like – right down to the metal holders on the pegboard. When we first bought the house, this room had an old gas fireplace in the corner of the room that looked out through very dirty glass. Huzzband and my darling cousin, Dan, spent countless hours tearing out said fire place and updating the living room with a gorgeous white built-in that had a space for our TV and awesome shelving spaces for movies. The back of the built-in is inside my craft room. It is a lovely bookcase that currently is cram jam full of cookie cutters, 17 different types of glue, 16 extra school notebooks bought at the “beginning of the school season” sale at the Walmart, and so many bottles of sprinkles. This room has seen fights, it’s seen the nit picky crap you say to your spouse on Christmas Eve because you could really use a hand wrapping or assembling last minute stuff but Die Hard is on and your love is snoring on the couch so he can’t even hear you. It’s seen coats strewn on the floor when our house is jam packed with family for birthdays and get togethers to celebrate the life of your Huzzband when he should have been turning 35. Just typing that takes my breath away. Just for a minute. Breathe. Keep going.
This craft room has been a dressing room full of clothes when our family of three lived on the main floor of our home while I recovered from breaking my foot almost in half less than a full two months after Huzzband died. I used to crumble on the floor and scream into the piles of sweatpants and socks; overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of what my life had become. Widowed mother of 2 at 34. We’d had life smack us down in the Fall of 2017 – death of a Huzzband and an all around bad-ass dad. Then, a car accident that totaled our car while I drove Liv to school less than a month after he died. We both walked away fine and I’m proud of the way my girl handled a car accident, but it rattled us both. Did he feel any of it in the accident? My heart aches at the thought, but my mind knows it was quick and instantaneous. And then, less than two months later – a foot break. That certainly slowed things down and put me smack dab in the middle of loss.
I remember wheeling myself around the house when the kids were at school and on the rare occasions where there was no one visiting – I would take in the photos all over our walls. All the happy memories that we have created over the past 11 years. I would take it down, take in the photo of us smiling at the camera knowing that in that picture Huzzband would have just finished making a comment about how, “Queenie always has to have a picture!” But these photos are such beautiful reminders of the life we lived. With my foot propped up, I would shed more tears as my heart ached for all the memories we will have on future walls where his bearded face will no longer be part of our memories. Even now my eyes fill with tears just thinking about it. Life can be so unfair. And just so hard.
My eyes look up on the wall in front of my new writing space. This craft room has undergone a transformation in the past few months. With the arrival of Johanna, a sweet girl from Germany that quietly stole our hearts as she became a member of our family. My whole life, I have always wanted to welcome another kiddo into our house. We were done having littles, but my soul always knew there was a missing piece to our family puzzle. And it is Jo! She helped me go through the craft room and after a full day of cleaning, donating, and removing dot decals, my craft room now doubles as a meditation room. And a writing space. And just last night, Jo and I made a make-shift table, lit some candles, saged the space and read cards. This past year I have grown so much. My beliefs have changed; I have changed. It has not defined me, but it has made me take a hard look at where I had been investing my time and energy.
In this room, I remember setting my very first intention in the December of 2017. The idea that I would focus on one word and use it as a measuring stick to my reactions. Many of my friends love the One Word Movement (that I’m pretty sure has a book that goes with it), but let’s be real people. I haven’t carved out time for reading for pleasure in a while. It’s on my list of hobbies to pick back up, but I still haven’t made it there. I do my best organizing in my calendars, and sitting next to me is the 2019 power sheets intentional goal planner. Jo and I were looking through it last night and to be totally honest, parts of it scared me. Things like “what would I do without fear”, “what really matters to me”, and “what does progress look like.” And there is a page for one word.
My word last year was Soften. My personality has always been patient for a bit, but only to a point. I used to be well known for yelling. I come from a family of loud talkers, yellers and it used to irritate Huzzband so much. He was always so much calmer than I was. He kept me in check. So now I have to check myself – which can be difficult to do. As I softened this year, I became even more honest with my kids. I learned to apologize to them, how to cry in front of them, and have extraordinarily hard, necessary conversations. I changed my parenting style. Because I saw how when I yelled, my kids shrank. Just a little – and that was because of my harsh tone. I saw that life can change in the hottest of minutes. One minute you can be icing a cookie, and the very next be calling the State Troopers post because your Huzzband isn’t home from work yet. Those are things I remind myself time and again when I chose to breathe first and shift my perspective. To chose to soften and be flexible.
This upcoming year is the first year that I can think without a huge wave of sadness threatening to swallow me and drag me down to the depths of the ocean trenches. Knowing that he is never back to his Earth suit, I have to create a life for me and these three kids. I want them to see the world, not through a screen, but through a different perspective. Because I’m the one parenting them, I have the honor of helping to shape their ideas and views of this planet we inhabit. How we process loss, how we keep living this thing we call life. And how to rewrite my future, it is an open slate now. I recently quit my job to do some serious shadow work and really figure out just which direction our ship is heading, while tackling day-to-day life, both mom and dad stuff.
I choose my intentions in different ways that I find serve me best. I like to have one word for the year and then I set an intention daily before I roll out of bed. Sometimes that daily intention is just to survive the day, other times it’s to inspire kindness within those I will see that day by showing them kindness.
This year my intention word will be Expand. Right now, I perceive that to be expanding my mind, my heart, and my energy. I am going to welcome adventures and winds of change, because I’m Harold holding the purple crayon and I can create whatever I chose.
Do you plan on setting an intention or word for the year?
If so, I would absolutely love to hear them!! Thanks for being in this space with me today and sharing your time. Love your faces!