Posts Tagged With: sadness


My heart is full of love.
I got a snapchat from Thing 2 late last night.
She’s at her sister’s!

The idea of my two Things together makes me so happy!
They have a uniquely precious friendship. It’s been through it’s share of troubles, but what sister relationship hasn’t?

They’ve lived through every moment of their lives (well, Thing 2’s life anyway) together. Every joy. Every sadness. Every fear. Every love. They’ve been each other’s best friend and worst enemy. Though they are quick to get at each other, each girl would kill or die to protect her sister from an outside threat. Even now, after time and events and miles have created a distance between them.

Am I jealous?
No, that’s not the right word.
Do I feel like I’m missing out?
But not in a selfish way.

Being able to witness their complicated love of the last (nearly) twenty years. To see how their relationship has evolved as they become women. To listen as they speak their own personal language, when they finish each other’s sentences. To laugh at age-old jokes, or family stories they love to share.
I love the relationship my daughters have with each other. They are so blessed to have it. And they know it.
Sure, they take each other for granted. Sure they annoy each other if they’re together for too long. But when it comes down to it, they belong to each other in a way they belong to none of the rest of us.

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lifting them up in love and light

They say death comes in threes.
I don’t exactly know who “they” are…but that’s what they say.

I find it is true.
In the last two weeks, three people I love very much have experienced death.
Now, I was only truly close to one of the deceased. The mother of a girl I grew up with. Amy’s mother loved and taught and mothered me just as she did her own five children.

The other two deaths are further removed. Each of them is the father of a guy I love. I never met these fathers, but I love their sons a great deal.

My friend Jack’s father left a whole in his world and he’s been struggling so. It pains me to know this, to know that I really can’t help. He has to heal in his own way.

I got a message from Thing 2 this morning, she wanted me to know her arrival time might be delayed. The young man who is her true and dearest friend has to bury his father some time in the coming week. I’ve know the young man since he was an awkward preteen in middle school, with an unhealthy crush on my daughter. He grew and matured as a young man. I loved to watch as he took the stage with both my girls in high school. Turns out he and Thing 2 were meant to be the best of friends!

My heart is heavy for my friends. Dealing with this painful grief. So if you don’t mind, would you all join me in lifting them up in love and light?
Love and light to you, Amy and Jack and Lane.

It just occurred to me to wonder if I’m feeling this love so strongly on this particular day? Today is the anniversary of my own father’s death.

I’m going to love and light myself a little bit today, too.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

love and sadness deep in my bones

When there occurs a misunderstanding big enough to end a friendship, your initial reaction could quite possibly be to blame the other party. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly normal human behavior. You’re hurt. You’re sad. You’re confused. But then you’re angry.
For me, anger jumps in to protect sadness. I suspect that’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Blaming begins because anger is irrational. Anger is trying to make sadness feel better, so it lashes out. Well, let me assure you, that lashing out benefits no one.
Anger can turn a situation that’s tricky, but possibly repairable, into a situation that there is no coming back from.

In my experience, no matter how close a friendship, there is a line of truth you simply cannot cross. And that’s when you know that particular truth will create a shift in the other person.
Of course, we all long to believe if our friendships are close enough…that if you’re so close you’re “friends as family” there is nothing that cannot pass between you.
I’m here to tell you, watch what you say. Because you can wound deeply without knowledge. You can wound deeply without intent.

I recently experienced this scenario. And truthfully, it’s just a big bag of suck.
In a half-assed attempt to explain one of my long and delicate thought processes, I wounded a friend.
Without intent, my words were hurtful.
I believe I wounded his pride.
Pride is a double edged sword, too much or not enough can sometimes kill you…or others…

Each of us became frustrated. Then reactive.
There was no being mindful in this conversation.
I know the words “behaving like a petulant child” were involved…
When the conversation ended abruptly, we retreated to our corners to lick our wounds.
I honestly don’t remember who reached out first to begin the rebuild.
But after that, in true Robynbird fashion, I wrote a long and emotional email in which I completely over-explained my point of view.
To say it went over like a lead Zeppelin is…well…the truth. I have a tendency to overthink and overtalk my thoughts and feelings…normally my friend can sort through my words to extract the important information. But not this time.
Apparently, I triggered a hot button in him and anger came back via email. Blaming and (possibly deliberately) hurtful words on the screen caused two simultaneous reactions in me.
My hackles went up and I felt compelled to argue point for point. (and) I knew in my gut it was time to break the cycle.

This may seem terribly dramatic, to talk about a friendship this way. But here’s the thing, it was a terribly dramatic friendship. When I say “terribly dramatic”, I mean it this way.
We became friends with a quickness out of the clear blue. Differences in gender, culture, generation, time, and distance held no meaning. We were as close as siblings. (Not the ones you grow up with, but the ones you get to choose in your adult life.) We talked each other through some seriously tricky situations, and loved without question. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of loving friendship with a person of the opposite gender, you’re blessed beyond belief. That other point of view is invaluable.

I sat with my dueling reactions for a while before I moved forward.
When I chose to act, I was mindful. I used “I statements”. I expressed my love and gratitude for everything our friendship gave me. I wished him well.
I send only love and light to him. I’m hopeful he’s doing the same for me.

Can our friendship be healed from the hurt caused by this misunderstanding and our ridiculous reactions?
I honestly don’t know.
I do know this:
I have sadness deep in my bones.
But I also have love.

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my mom

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Mommie died. I’ve been thinking of her so much lately. I miss her in ways that sneak up on me and hit me upside the head like a baseball bat. I’m momentarily stunned and then I feel sad. Or I laugh uncontrollably. Or I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Or I get so angry I grunt and stamp my foot. I firmly believe that all daughters feel these things about their mothers.

I’ve written about my mom before, But I’m not going to talk about our unpacked baggage, or our love of robin birds, or the gift of silly memories. I’m just going to share my mom.

I love this photo!
This is my mom when she was sassy AF. I think she’s so beautiful. This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. I think my mom stopped being sassy when her mother died. She looks different in any photo taken after 1969, like something’s just a bit off…or something. Now, this is just my theory…but I do know that death of her mother changed her greatly.

This was taken at our house on Barton Street in Arlington. I suspect my dad took it. It was before I was living in that house, but I don’t know how long after they were married this was taken. Some time in 1970.
I think she’s beautiful in this photo too, but she looks different.

This photo was taken in April of 1971. The month before I was born. I think she looks tired. But I’ve been that far along in a pregnancy twice in my life and I remember feeling tired.
I’m so glad that the middle part went away for a long time…does it really look good on anyone?

So, my parents were pretty freaking strange. And quite possibly they shouldn’t have been allowed to bring me home from the hospital. I’m the weird little alien looking baby. My mother is holding me inside my father’s boot (he was a motorcycle cop) as he takes the photograph.
Obviously, I wasn’t a very cute baby…though in my defense, I’m kind of crammed into a big leather boot. That makes for some uncomfortable faces. Summertime 1971.

I went through years and years of photographs trying to find some of me with my mom. There are tons of photos of me with my dad (before he left) and even more of me with Grandaddy. But few with my mom. She was always behind the camera.
Being behind the lens is something that must run in our blood. I’m a photographer. Thing 2 is a photographer. Thing 1 is kind of a photographer too. Luckily, there are other people with cameras who’ve taken photos of me with my girls, even though I’m almost always behind the lens of my camera.

This is Grandaddy and Mommie and me. I’m not sure why Mommie and I are dressed up and Grandaddy is wearing a sweatshirt. Maybe we girls were going somewhere just the two of us? I don’t know.
I was probably in sixth grade so that would make it 1982…maybe?
(note my awful middle part)

I did find this one of us working a WETA telethon. (taken before we were actually on the air) I had this mad skill of sticking out my tongue just as the shutter clicked. And our hair is really terrible. This was the next year or so. My mom hated my long hair and cut it all off one afternoon under the guise of giving me a “trim”. Circa 1983?

This one was taken in November of 2000 by Thing 1. We went to see “Grandmommy” for Thanksgiving. This photo was taken sixteen years ago this same month. I love this photo because we look happy to be together. I recently removed it from the album and put it in a frame.
Positive reinforcement of love.

Five years ago this day, my mother’s life ended. She died the Monday before Thanksgiving. The girls and I drove down to see her body (before it was cremated) on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
The little bit of my mother’s ashes that belong to me are in a tiny enamel heart shaped container.
Sometimes I take it out of the blue velvet box and hold it in my hand. Sometimes I hold that heart to my own heart and imagine that we can feel each other’s love.

A small stuffed robin bird sits atop the blue velvet box. The blue velvet is on a small cedar box filled with memories. The small cedar box is on my bookshelf below my collection of journals. This is the side of the shelves that face my work tables and comfy reading chair. So I can see it whenever I want.

In some ways, five years is the blink of an eye. In others, it’s a long, dark eternity.
I’ll always have a complicated relationship with my mother. It wasn’t sorted before she died, but that’s because of who she was. And I guess that’s OK too.
I know she loved me. I know I loved her.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Warwick Avenue

How about a little Duffy this morning?
Please listen responsibly.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

patience or self-indulgence?

I was feeling mighty sorry for myself this morning. Filled with sadness and there were so many tears.
Nothing I did eased me.
This thought plagued me: I’m so tired of feeling sad and sorry for myself.

I’m tired of winter. I’m tired of feeling like hell all the time. Will I ever heal?
I’m failing at finding a job. I’m not keeping up with the house. I’m just a pathetic puddle of whininess and I can’t seem to snap myself out of it!

The weather is finally turning. It’s in the 70s today. I brought all the back porch furniture up from the basement and set it up. Filled the fountain and am now sitting out here listening to the water sounds and The Pierces.

Thing 2 and I were texting this morning during my sadness. She was kind and reassuring. (I guess today it was her turn to be the Mommy.)
I thanked her and she replied: Of course, Momma ❤ you’re always there for me and I’m here for you. I love you ❤ you’re awesome, don’t lose sight of that because things are crappy.

A bit later I really lost patience with myself and sent this: Shame on me all weepy and whiny when I think about (the young man) being sick and what (that family) is going through I want to slap myself.

She came back with this: Hey now, don’t do that to yourself. Everyone has stuff going on. Yes, their shit is really big and really stinky right now but that doesn’t mean that your shit isn’t any easier or less important. It’s the biggest thing in your world right now so you can’t compare it.

Me: Why are you so wise? How? You truly amaze me.

Thing 2: I may not know a lot about everything but I do know a little bit about a lot of things. And that is something I have always told everyone and will always stick in my head, because that is the truest thing. So feel bad for them and love them, but do not feel guilty because you are “better off” but still feeling bad for yourself.

Me: Thank you! My God, you are amazing!

Thing 2: I try? I don’t see what the big deal is, it just makes sense to me.

Me: It makes total sense. It’s a wisdom that most people your age don’t possess. I have always known you are special. But sometimes you do something that goes beyond.

Thing 2: I am flattered. Thank you.

How does she have that wisdom?
How does she know that it’s OK for me to be miserable even though people I love have worse things to be miserable about?

I wasn’t even excited about the washer and dryer coming. I cannot stress how important it is to note that.
I took pics when they were delivered.
I wrote a blog post about it.
Even though these new machines are a great and wonderful gift, and even though I’ve used them with gusto this afternoon, I have little joy. The underlying sadness is digging in it’s heels.

It’s time for this to stop, it’s gone on too long. I’m beginning to wonder if I can snap out of it. How long before patience becomes self-indulgence?
Perhaps I need one of two things. The first being a swift spiritual kick to the head. The second is to breathe new air. (That’s one of my favorite phrases my friend and mentor says.)
I don’t know. I’m breathing breezy porch air right now…think that’ll help?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a twisted desire to send a thank you note

Once there was a man that broke my heart.
When I say ‘broke my heart’, I mean he ripped out my heart while I watched. Then he stomped on it and kicked it into the corner where he left it for the dust bunnies.

In the aftermath, I was like a junkie without a fix. Shaking and wan, huddled in a ball. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I lost fifteen pounds and only left the house to go to work.

I was broken. I was absolutely pathetic. I believed I was completely unlovable. I was so far down the rabbit hole and I had no real desire to come out.

Then I met YBW. The first time we were together (after dating over the phone and via email and text for several months) he told me: I think I’m falling in love with you.
I didn’t know what to do with that. I wasn’t ready to say it to him. I was overwhelmed, but in a good way. In that moment I decided to trust him. To be completely open and ready for whatever we would experience together.

I would never have been ready to have YBW in my life if I hadn’t lived through that awful time. I would never have been able to trust him or expect him to trust me.

I thought briefly about the man that broke my heart earlier this week. He didn’t deserve me. I was a fool to share my heart. He knows what he’s missing. To be loved by me is unbelievably special. If he hadn’t convinced me that I was unlovable, I would never have been ready to love and be loved by YBW. I had to be dead empty before I could learn to love in an entirely new way.
I felt such gratitude. And a twisted desire to send a thank you note. (I didn’t and won’t.)

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goodbye, Why Not?


Sundance texted me Tuesday evening: I’m going into mourning. Why Not? is closing.
My response: Oh NO! Saddest face.
Sundance: I just saw it on the news! We need to go check it out.
Me: I’m wide open Friday. Can you go then?
Sundance: I believe so.
Me: Sold!
Sundance: Boo yah!

So I picked her up this morning and we headed into Old Town Alexandria.

Why Not? Is a toy store on the corner of King and Lee Streets that we have been shopping at for more than twenty years.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve taken any number of our four kids into the store to climb the steep and narrow stairs to the all important Groovy Girls/Playmobil/book section.
Thing 2 and Girlie Thing had so many pairs of adorably patterned tights from Why Not?
We’ve bought more books from Why Not? than from Amazon in the last twenty years.

Why Not? has been there on the corner for more than 50 years!

It is heart breaking to know that an independent toy shop just can’t keep up in the day and age of Amazon and Target, etc. Not to mention, it’s probably time for the owner to retire.

I am filled with sadness this afternoon. But I am also flooded with the happiest memories of being in that shop with my girls. Of sneaking down to Old Town when the girls were at school to do a little Christmas or Birthday shopping. Of piling into the car to see the windows decorated for the holidays.

Sundance has been coveting this little dolly for almost two years. It’s made in France and she saw it for over $100.00 at another toy shop. It was $74.00 at Why Not? and everything in the store was 30% off.
That little brown haired dolly had a red haired sister!
We decided we needed them desperately…but not enough to actually buy them. Our grown-up brains overrode our dolly needing little girl brains.
‘It was just Christmas. I don’t have a job. Blah blah blah.’
We discussed how my Mommie would have convinced us there is always money for a new dolly. Made us miss her. Sundance talked to her mom after I dropped her off at home, she told her we should have bought the dollies. So much for us being grown-ups.

I did purchase a children’s book.
It’s about girl power, I absolutely couldn’t pass it up!

Sundance bought two little teeny angel dollies. One for me and one for her.

My sadness runs deeper than I expected. It feels like a part of all the Things childhood has died. Luckily, they’re big kids now. They have happy memories, and hopefully no sadness.
How lucky are we that Why Not? was in our lives for so long!?!

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What “should” it be?

I’m going to have to swear off social media for a few days.
I keep seeing my friends with children the same age as Thing 2, children the same age as Thing 2 I’m “friends” with posting about graduation and it’s breaking my heart.
I’m excited and proud for my friends who share their pride and joy about this important milestone. I’m excited for these kids who count down the moments until they’re “free”. (Just stay in high school a bit longer, y’all, the real world can sometimes suck balls.)

I should be doing the same kind of sharing. I should be expressing my pride and joy that Thing 2 is graduating from high school. She should be sharing this roller coaster ride that her peers are on.
Should is a real bitch of a word. It’s mean and hateful.

I trusted Thing 2 enough to make the choice to get her high school equivalent. She trusted that choice. She appears to have no regrets. I trust that, too.

Graduation isn’t for the graduate.
Graduation is for the parents.

Graduation is for this particular Mommy.

The day Thing 1 graduated was of profound importance to me. I have never been more moved in my adult life as I was that day. To watch my baby take that ceremonial walk was more powerful than I can put into words.
Since that day, I’ve waited to experience similar feelings for Thing 2. My disappointment is bigger than I realized.
I’m not disappointed in her.
I’m disappointed to miss out on that moment with and for her, those feelings about her.

I believe witnessing your child’s graduation is a rite of passage for a parent in way a child can never understand the importance of. A sense of closure as well as a new beginning.
I’m wondering how I’ll experience that with Thing 2. What will that look like? Because it won’t look like a blue cap and gown at Colonial Life Arena in a few days time.

Perhaps it will surprise me when I least expect it.
But that frightens me! If it happens when I least expect it, how will I know the weight and magnitude? How will I know it if I’m not expecting it?
What does a rite of passage look like if it’s unexpected?

I can’t answer these questions.
I can only love my girl like I always have. I’m going to keep trusting her choices. I’m going to trust that we’ll experience our own particular rite of passage and it will fill me with equal amounts of awe and pride and never-ending unconditional love.

I celebrate with my friends in theory…somewhere in my deep in heart. I just can’t do it with photos and memories and hashtags and the like. It’s too painful.
Is that selfish? Or petty? Or simple self-preservation?
Dunno. Don’t care.
Just know I can’t look at other people’s babies in caps and gowns right now.

Thing 2 sometimes reads my words…so these are specifically for her:
You’re savvy enough to know this isn’t about you so I hope it isn’t hurtful for you to read. Your choices are yours to make. I support your right to make choices. I have faith in your ability to make mostly good ones. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I love you more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

of no party or clique

I’m sad, angry, hurt, and frustrated.

I never pay attention to the rumor mill at my school because I am a grown-up and not a seventh grader with a bank account. But there is a “new and exciting” rumor about me and it was brought to my attention by the one person I really trust. She shared it with me out of love.

I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t really talk about other people. (Well, I guess I sometimes do, but never where I work. I’m not a gossip.) I’m a listener. I have a knack for listening to everyone and never repeating what I hear.
I’m that person who’s not really in any “party” or “clique” but everyone likes to talk to. I hear the most awful things. I also hear some wonderful things.
I don’t know if people talk about me or not. I honestly don’t care. I’m me and that’s quite enough.

The rumor that was brought to my attention is that I “laid hands on” a child and another teacher in the building didn’t want her kid in my class.
I cannot express how much this sickened and upset me. I’m stern and no-nonsense but I am also loving and playful and for someone to accuse me of hurting a child honestly makes me sick.

I went to the curriculum director this morning (our director got hitched this weekend and is out for her honeymoon) with a whole lot of WTF?
She was appalled! She had no idea about this. She has not been told by a parent or another teacher. She says she knows me and knows what I’m like with kids and while “I’m very stern I’m the most loving” teacher. She was apologetic that this happened and she’s going to investigate.
I thanked her and shared the news that I’m considering leaving this summer. I assured her it had nothing to do with this situation, that it was simply time for me to hang up my spurs.

I have spent the better part of the last twenty years working with young children. I absolutely can’t believe anyone would think I didn’t always try to do what’s best for children.

I’m disappointed that my name finally got dragged into the rumor mill. But I’m absolutely heartbroken that this is what the subject matter is.
I know the people that “matter” know there is not truth to it. Parents and children and my co-teacher and the administration know the truth. Most importantly, I know the truth.
Doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

One more reason in my list of why I should be finished here, I guess.

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