In case you didn't know, today is World Poetry Day! Poetry is such an amazing, undervalued part of our society. If you're new to the poetic world and feeling lost, here's a great place to start.
Today you get—you guessed it—another sappy poem about my wonderful husband. Happy reading, friends.
Since we met, I've taken so many forms.
I've grown to fill the vessels around me,
and I've shrunk to fit.
I've touched the peaks of mountains we built together,
and sunk to the bottom of oceans
we didn't intend to create.
(The silt there is fine and feels like silver.)
How can you write a love poem to a person
who is a part of you?
Every breath you take moves my lungs too
and when you are hurt, I can feel my own heart breaking.
Our sun is a star, but it is also a source of
light that connects us even when we are apart.
My limbs are yours and I can use them
to climb to the top of the world and scream out
how much I love you--
our universal inhalation
moving as one.
I mean to say that,
without you, my dear,
I'm a bird walking on stilts,
unaware of how to fly,
unable to move in a straight line,
and I'm constantly in love
with the feeling of your breath under my wings
keeping me afloat.
I've been every shape since we met,
and so have you,
but my favorite is the one where I'm curled into your side,
nestled into you
like two moons in different phases--
perfectly concave at the right points.
The snow is falling outside; quietly, slowly. Dancing toward the ground as if taking part in a silent ballet. It has come down all day, and I’ve spent the afternoon in my favorite place—in my warm home with my boys.
I’m nestled on the couch between them, my head on my husband’s lap, my dog’s head on mine; our breath moves together, in and out at the same speed. It’s as though we’re all connected by a thread that none of us can see, but we all sense exists.
With busy weeks behind us, we relish in the stillness, knowing that our weekends to come will surely be swallowed up with dinners with friends, visits with family, social engagements that we’ll dread ahead of time but love once we’re in the moment.
Our house hums with few distinct but familiar noises—the dishwasher whirrs quietly in the kitchen; tires break through the fresh snow on the busy road just outside our yard; the delightfully cheesy theme song from Star Trek: Enterprise breaks through the living room every hour or so.
It’s a Sunday built specifically for relishing in the laziness; a day where sweatpants and dirty hair are mandatory, and popcorn seems a perfect lunch. My legs begin to fall asleep from lack of movement, and I wonder if they’ll eventually stop working if I never move again; it wouldn’t be the worst thing to imagine, dissolving into the couch and being a spectator to every future conversation in this house.
It’s a Sunday built for ambitious planning for the week ahead, at least mentally; I imagine the books I’ll read, the poems I’ll write, the goals I’ll tackle head-on—a matador facing down a bull in a scarlet outfit. I accept these plans will likely never be realized and will fade into memory as they do every Monday evening, after the determination has materialized into exhaustion.
It’s a Sunday built for daydreaming, building imaginary houses and decorating them with the beautiful plans I have for our lives together; the nursery will be space themed, adorned with sweet images of stars that I hope our offspring will reach someday. Cosmo will begin walking through the house more slowly, gray fur taking over his muzzle. His tail will wag with joy when he sees our children toddle into the living room, welcoming their entrance with a wet kiss. In my head, I see Evan pick up the smaller members of our someday family, his face growing larger with an overflowing smile. I can see it so clearly.
It’s a Sunday built for gratitude.
I sit in the comfort of this day, of this life, and I drink it all in like a warm cup of tea. There are moments when everything else falls away and you realize how blessed you are—the moments when the Universe asks you to pause for a moment.
And when you do, it whispers in your now-open ears: Trust me. I have your back.
All is well.
Moments exist in life that serve no other purpose than to bring us back to reality: fights with your best friend where you clearly in the wrong; being rejected or embarrassed; a family member getting sick; a loved one dying.
God or whatever you want to call that Supreme Being above us is a big fan of humility—not in terms of humiliation, which is an entirely different animal, but reminding us that we are not perfect and we will falter.
But most importantly, we are reminded that we can get back up—that there are things greater than our struggles, anxieties, and misfortunes.
In times like this, when I've been knocked down and told to re-evaluate my situation, an overarching theme stands out.
Most of what you think is important doesn't actually matter.
Your job is important. But should you let the piles of undone work take over your family time or occupy your thoughts while outside of the office?
You may fret about your physical appearance. And yes, feeling good about you the way you look is worthwhile. But is it worth stressing over? Are those extra 10 pounds worth the self-abuse you heap on yourself?
You may worry about where you will be in 5, 10, or 20 years, but will that change the present?
Popularity, if you're doing enough with your life, what you eat, how you carry yourself, what your friends think of you, how much stuff you have, and how much money is in your bank account—the list of fascinations goes on and on.
But, friends, this is not the stuff that matters.
Sure, on a practical level, some of it is worth entertaining. (You need money to buy food, so keeping an eye on that bank about might not be a bad idea.)
But the point is, life isn't worth stressing about things that aren't serving you.
When you think about what makes your soul happy, is it really what you wore last week? Or if your friends laughed at your joke? Or if your boss likes you?
Your soul doesn't give a second thought to any of that stuff.
So where does humility play into this?
Humility reminds us of the importance of our life—as well as the experiences and people with which we fill it.
The love you give to your family and friends . . . this is what matters.
The relationships you foster and grow over time . . . this is what matters.
The generosity you bring to the world around you, taking care of anyone and everyone you can . . . this is what matters.
The way you nurture yourself, both body and spirit, so you can better give yourself to your passions . . . this is what matters.
So slow down: appreciate this moment, and remember that life is so fleeting and yet so full.
That is what matters.
Often when you hear people discuss physical things, they throw around the phrase "quality over quantity"—the expensive, well-made shoes are worth more in the long run than the eight pairs of cheap sneakers in your closet, the subject matter of the books in your collection holds more weight than the number of stacks, and so on.
But less often do you hear the concept applied to people—living, breathing things with personalities that are harder to quantify or appraise.
Let me tell you about my dear friend, Becky. Inseparable in college, we practically finished each other's thoughts and spent every possible second together for years; then, as it often does, life happened. She graduated and moved to grad school across the country. Devastated doesn't seem correct for the way I felt the day she left; as we described it earlier today, I felt as though my tribe abandoned me.
We keep in touch as well as we can via e-mail, texts, and phone calls, but coordinating time to connect in the midst of marriages, careers, and differing time zones proves difficult. Even though we communicate less, I always feel that she walks by my side during every big event and every time I doubt myself.
Being separated by so many miles, Becky and I rarely get to see each other in person (usually only once every year or so). I treasure every minute of that time. We laugh, cry, and babble philosophically as though we never parted.
And why am I telling you this?
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of spending the afternoon with my Becky, and it was another one of those moments—the move never happened, the miles didn't exist, the talking never stopped.
Relationships, too, boil down to quality vs. quantity.
I may not get to spend several days a week with my friends that I love so much, or my family that lives across the state, but when I do, I make sure that those moments count.
I've discussed the importance of being present and enjoying the best times of your life while you're in them; this is a concept with which I continue to struggle. But as I sat there, laughing over a glass of wine with a friend who's been through so much with me, I didn't want to be any place other than that moment in time.
You may have a lot of friends, and if you do, that's great—I hope you cherish them and make sure they know how much you appreciate them. But if you're like me, keep your small crew of friends close and squeeze them with so much love that they'll never doubt your affection.
Record each moment in your personal happiness book and appreciate every second. You may never have that moment with those people ever again.
And so today, I say thank you to my friends—thank you for your love, thank you for your loyalty, thank you for always being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.
But most importantly, thank you for being quality.
Cosmo and I went on a walk today, just like we do any other day. It's been a while since we needed to bundle up, but the biting Fall air felt a little more like early Winter. Against his will, I zippered the pup up in his jacket, outfitted myself in a hat and mittens, and headed out the door.
After about 30 minutes in the chilly but beautiful outdoors, with the sun fading into the skyline, we migrated back inside to the warmth of our house.
As I removed our excessive layers and Cosmo attempted to shake off the imaginary water rolling down his back, I looked around and took in the view.
Our home isn't anything special—a standard 1970s-era split-level in a cul-de-sac. There's far too much paneling in the basement and carpet too old to ever be considered fashionable. The ceilings sparkle with the artificial popcorn spray that invades many suburban homes. There's so many projects to be done to this place, so many things that could be improved.
But I wouldn't change a thing.
Our home isn't anything special, but it's just that—home.
The entryway where I stand is where I drunkenly asked Evan if he was going to kiss me for the first time. When I look in the living room, I'm reminded of the sparse setting for one of our first dates: a big-screen TV, nothing on the walls, Evan's hand-me-down floral sofa, and Seinfeld filling the room. When I walk down to the basement, I see the fireplace where he proposed to me on Valentine's Day almost three years ago. The kitchen emits the scent of the meals we've made together, the wine consumed, the birthdays celebrated. The walls are full of wedding pictures, family photos, and souvenirs of great times.
Every inch of our home pulsates with memories. These are the places where we've lived, loved, and tried to grow up together (as hard as it proves at times).
Sure, it's often covered in piles of laundry, stacks of mail for sorting, and eight million books, but to me, it's perfect.
Whenever I look around, I'm reminded that a home isn't just a physical building. It's a place where not only your loved ones live, but where your love lives.
Coziness is basking in the incredible glow of that love, embracing it, and looking beyond its faults. Much like our house, our love isn't perfect. But I've never felt happier or warmer than I do when I'm snuggled up in this place, with this man, with this life.
You know the feeling of being in love, right? Not the weak-in-the-knees, fluttering stomach sensation you get when you first fall under someone's spell, but the quiet, hard-burning, sensational love that you can only feel after years together. It's like a hug, so comforting and encompassing—you never want to tear yourself away from something that warm and perfect.
If you don't know it now, I hope that someday you do.
I've just returned from an invigorating weekend at my sister-in-law's bachelorette party; the days were filled with wine, laughter, and so many discussions of love and the importance of it in our lives. Last night, after the bride-to-be opened her presents, the married women in the room took turns sharing the thing they love most about their husband.
And when it got to me, I barely managed to squeak out a few sentences before a tear rolled down my cheek.
(Sometimes my hormones get the best of me.)
You see, I've been blessed with a husband who has too many wonderful qualities to name. There's no way I could narrow those enviable things down to one, but now that I no longer hold the floor in that quiet, loving circle, I can share them with you:
The purpose of this is not to brag about my lifetime partner and best friend (okay, but maybe a little). The point is recognizing when you are blessed beyond measure. I have chosen (or been guided to by forces unseen) a man who listens without complaint, lives without regret, and loves without exception.
So dear, if you're reading this, please know—I love you. I cherish you. I will never stop working on our marriage or making myself a better person for you. Marriage isn't always easy, but it's always the best thing I've ever done.
You're so worth it.
Hazy pink blankets coat the horizon
like a blouse tossed to the floor
at the end of a
There’s a fog rolling over the cliffs,
entirely entranced with
the spinning of the Earth.
In the early morning sun,
champagne is within reach and the
cool, beckoning touch of
is almost tangible.
I could look at the crest of this
jagged rock forever and picture us there,
buoyant in the clouds
without strings holding
But there are too many things to do,
too many lives to live,
too many moments to pretend to be
So I pick up my pen and write another damn
poem about mountains,
wishing I could fade into the pastel
peaks like a
coasting into the sunrise.
Under my feet,
there's an ocean of cement.
After years of trying, I found a way
to wade through the city blocks and seascapes
that kept me from you.
When we were younger,
but not that young,
you’d hold my hand and pull me through
all this, so I never even knew the depth
of the water at the end of the Earth.
And now we’re older,
but not that old;
our bodies don’t float as well as they used to.
But it’s okay.
Our fingers together become a boat
keeping us near the surface.
I’ll never let go of your hand or your heart.
Sails are stronger in the open water
when there are two catching the wind.
Promise me that when the tide stops turning
and the world becomes so still
it seems like an oil painting,
you’ll be there yet--
teaching me to swim when
I’ve forgotten how water feels against
Never let me go. And I promise that I will
always row us to shore with my words
and my affection.
I can see it.
There’s a beacon in the lighthouse
calling us home every moment
with the words:
We are here, my love.
As so many Minnesotans did on this gorgeous day, my husband and I spent the afternoon outside doing yard work.
After a while, the time spent raking, piling leaves, and pulling weeds in our large backyard wore on me. My back ached, I felt tired, and I was generally ready to resume my place as resident couch potato.
And then I looked over at my dog, Cosmo, who was on a long leash in the yard with us. He sat in the grass, soaking in the sun’s rays.
Suddenly, he started excitedly digging his little paws into a patch of fresh dirt. I’ve yet to see such determination in hole digging.
As my white dog slowly turned black, I couldn’t help but laugh.
All it took was a messy dog to remind me, man, I need to lighten up.
We humans tend to make things so serious—especially situations that have no business being so. Our heads spin with endless to-do lists and growing lists of grievances. But do we take the time to just smile at the great things around us?
A beautiful day outside with my little family, getting some exercise and making our home look nicer—how could I possibly complain about a sore back? Watching him traipse through the yard with such joy, I remembered just how lucky and happy I am.
It’s necessary to pause and reflect, especially on days when the sun warms your back.
Always enjoy the little things and let go of anything that’s not worth your energy.
Spend time with the ones you love and let them fill your heart with happiness.
And as Cosmo, in all his infinite furry wisdom, reminded me:
Sometimes, you just need to play in the dirt and live a little.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.