Falling in love with life [again] can prove to be difficult when you have learned so much about tragedy. People have said to me for a very long time that "Mabel is here and she is well. She is beautiful and for this time she is healthy," as if those things being true are supposed to take away the heartache I feel and the knowing I live with. What people sometimes don't understand is that my heartache goes far beyond Mabel. It's in the lives of people I love that are also experiencing tragedy, sadness, and pain. When you walk through grief, you immediately have a stronger sense of empathy for those around you, I believe. It poses a challenge for the prospect of feeling true, unfiltered happiness.
But this summer, I experienced that kind of happy once again.
It seems that it was buried in the heart of northern Michigan. Little did I know that I would be given the gift of uprooting it and bringing it home with me after our visit.
I've been so very lucky.
I have been given the opportunity to live each day with Mabel to it's very fullest. I have been given two unbelievably beautiful and smart older children. They are incredible. I have been given the gift [and it's an honor] of falling in love again.
In their lifetimes, many people are not so lucky and I know that. I try every day to remember just how special this life of mine truly is. While sitting on a quiet Michigan beach, I listened to my baby gently practice her 'pigeon call' noise and I looked out into the clearest water I have ever seen. I looked over and smiled at the man who I have loved for almost a year and I breathed deeply. I was in that moment with him and with her so wholly and I will never forget what it felt like.
It felt like happy.
Northern Michigan is a place of memories. It's filled with beautiful scenery and incredible food. It's cool, crisp and inviting. It was in this place that I met new friends, experienced new sights and enjoyed incredible coffee. I woke refreshed and I filled up to the brim with calm.
I reflected a lot.
I can't believe where life has me. It has me starting over.
Ten years ago I was just beginning a life that I was so excited about living. I was newly married, and soon to be, for the first time, newly pregnant. I was young and optimistic about the future. I had the world at my fingertips.
But I was also naïve.. I had very little life experience and I was on a mission to "make my life work."
I am not young or naïve anymore. In fact, I have grown and changed so drastically in the last two years alone that I think my mind is finally right and my vision is finally clear. It took that long to come out of the fog of my old life and step wildly into my new one.
And when I pulled back that dingy curtain and stepped over the threshold into the new, the vibrancy was almost blinding. It was gasp-for-air breathtaking.
I am alive once more.
There's something about a Michigan evening that changes you. We spent many of the days shopping and walking, or relaxing and lounging. But then as evening came and the sky filled with stars as the air turned crisp, all in the world was suddenly right. The quiet was astounding. The atmosphere alone will make you want to live the kind of life that involves dancing.
There are many things in this life that I don't know and many that I would choose never to understand. But one thing I know for certain is that getting away, clearing your head, laying in a hammock, enjoying the simplicity of nature and one another-
these are the things that draw you back into yourself and make life whole again.
It's essential to take the time to be in tune to yourself.
It's necessary to focus on the soul.
My soul, for certain, is no longer weary.
My heart re-awakened last year when I experienced the second chance at falling in love. My soul on the other hand, was lagging. It was achy and tired. There are days when it just feels sad and weak. I can feel the difference now, between heart and soul. And I am so glad that they have caught up to one another.
I feel free.
More photos of Michigan to come.
And more visits to come as well.