Life is Like a Tarantula Plant: A Lesson in Perspective

Posted by Kim on Friday Oct 9, 2020 Under Dear Tru, First

Our first pandemic.

Doom and gloom

That’s what it’s been for awhile now. The world is spinning a little more wobbly than normal, it seems. And we are all hanging on tight and trying not to get too dizzy. It started with Coronavirus and the whole world shutdown. Then the riots and the world was getting burned down. But really, for us, it started long before that. COVID was just the last straw.

They say happiness has a tipping point. As long as you can stay above 50%, you’re good. Smile. But once you hit 49%, that tips off the happiness scale and down you go.

Our scale tipped last year in 2019. Grammy got worse. Then Poppy got cancer. Then Grammy got even worse. Then Poppy got worse. Then Grammy died. Then poppy died. Then we got worse. And then the world got worse.

Just when we were drowning in all of the mess of life, the entire world stopped. Yes, came to a sudden halt. Well, that’s never happened before.

With all of the tragedy that has come with the Coronavirus, and it is a nasty thing, I have oddly felt a relief. A gift of some sort. As if the universe is whispering to me, “Hey, things have been super crappy for you and sorry about all of it happening at once. Take a break from life and sort things out.” I feel guilty for saying that knowing that so many have suffered and I know it didn’t happen to help my little family out, but I have to find this gift of time nothing less than miraculous. Just when we needed it most.



Time together.

Whenever tragedy strikes, we try to find the silver lining. Well, the silver lining for me is the timing of it all. When you experience a death in the family everyone sends condolences and offers thoughtful words and tells you to grieve, but really they expect the grieving to end in a few days and you go back to normal. You are expected to move on and be fine. You are judged for how you mourn – if you mourn too long or if you seem too happy too soon, if you cry or if you don’t cry. Most people mean well…I know they do. Others just really don’t care. They give you a little sigh and a moment of sorry, but in the end, they think – get on with it.

Just when I needed to be home with Grant, school shut down. Really? Never before have teachers worked from home. The whole premise of teaching, is in the classroom, with the children, not at my dining room table. But I was home, and together Grant and I took on the monumental task of filling Poppy’s shoes in the shop and in life. He was the anchor of our house. He was here every single day overseeing all of the operations of home and shop and family. Bringing you a plate of sausage or a pack of Reese’s. His presence was reassuring and his absence was terrifying.

Together we found new ways to do things. We figured out how to function and there was no guilt for taking all the time we needed. The whole world was changing how to do things. The whole world was figuring out new ways of operating. The whole world was slowing down and taking a moment of stillness. Like a global deep breath. We all inhaled and slowly exhaled together. The whole world was maybe recognizing the importance of balance. And since the whole world was on pause, we were granted some incredible guilt-free time to mend and heal.

Our breakdown started in 2019.

But 2020 has been about re-visioning. Getting clear. Changing perspective and rising above that tipping point.

A self-retreat, of some sort.

It’s been like the little plant that sits in my bedroom. I loved this plant. So soft and delicate. I thought it was beautiful. It’s a rabbit’s foot fern and when I think of a rabbit’s foot, I think of good luck. So, yay little plant! But one day, you looked at it very curiously and asked why in the world I would have such a plant. You thought it was weird and ugly. You critiqued it pretty harshly. Your nose crinkled up and your mouth turned down. You leaned in closely and said, “Who would want a tarantula plant?” I was shocked. I stopped and looked. I saw it. I totally saw it. I could not deny it. For the first time ever, it did indeed look exactly like a tarantula. It probably looked more like tarantula legs than rabbit’s feet. This plant that always made me smile and brought visions of a sweet little bunny, all of a sudden made me think of a big, scary spider!

Do I get rid of it? What now? I was at an impasse. Is that all I will see when I look at it from now on? It’s beauty ruined for me?

That’s my decision. It’s up to me as to how I see this plant. Beautiful and symbolic in inspiring hope or as terrifying and creating fear?

I choose beautiful and hopeful.

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The New Normal

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Jan 1, 2020 Under Dear Tru

Poppy’s gone.

Just 2 words. 2 powerful words with a shattering impact.

He was larger than life. Indestructible. And vital to us all.

He took care of everything. He answered all of our questions.

Everything seemed possible because Poppy would see to it.

See, sometimes in life, we get so used to how things are.

We get into a groove.

A comfortable pattern.

A steady flow in things.

We float. We coast. We skip along.

And everything feels in perfect synchronicity.

Then all of a sudden the lights go out. And we find ourselves stumbling around bumping into everything and we don’t know which way is up.

That’s where we are. Lost in the dark.

Arms out stretched, feeling our environment.

Searching for something recognizable. Something familiar. Something that makes sense. Something safe.

Who will bring you sausage and mustard on Saturday mornings?

Who will eat the candy and stuff that I don’t like or shouldn’t eat?

Who will package boxes for me and see them to the UPS man?

Who will get glass from my foot or a splinter from your hand?

Who will fuss at the dog’s because they crowd the front door?

Who will get the mail and lay it on my desk?

Who will fix the garbage grinder when I jam it up?

Who will tell us stories and make us laugh?

Who will go out into the world and find crazy stuff and show up with it and shock us?

We are realizing that what was, will never be again.

There is a new existence among us. A new world in which we must learn to speak the language, in hopes that one day it will feel normal.

Life is funny like that. Things start off awkward and foreign until, the next thing you know, it’s normal.

Long ago it was just me and Daddy living at the beach in a simple, tidy condo with Byte, our little dog. I was teaching. Daddy was working on computers at his small office. Grammy and Poppy were at their home in North Carolina. We were happy as could be. We didn’t think things could get much better. That was our normal.

Then, when we weren’t even looking, we found a house with an office and warehouse next door. It was the perfect fit for our lifestyle. We snatched it up. Poppy came down and practically remodeled the house, converting it from business use to a home. Daddy just walked across the parking lot to work each day. He was now next door, so I could be with him and at home at the same time. Byte had a yard to explore and we got a golf cart to take rides around Windy Hill. This was perfect. Life was great. That was our normal.

One day I found out I was pregnant. Baby things filled up the rooms of our house and months later we came home with you. The energy in the house totally changed. Rooms were used differently. Stroller rides replaced golf cart rides. New routines and rituals fell into place. Grammy and Poppy moved down to take care of you. They devoted their entire life to you. You were Poppy’s “buddy pal.” Each day when I’d pick you up, Poppy would have a written list of feedings, diaper changes, and they recounted the events of the day and it was all said with laughter. You were everything in their eyes. They were so proud of everything you said and did. It was our home away from home…homes intertwined. Several nights each week Grammy cooked a yummy dinner with dessert. Life was better than we could have ever imagined. We were on top of the world. That was our normal.

A few years went by and you grew older and bigger. Before we knew it, you were going to start school. Daddy knew that Poppy would be lost without his buddy pal, so he opened a gun shop for Poppy to run. Poppy had always been a collector. A gun shop would be a fun way for him to spend his days. And he loved every minute of it! Since Poppy didn’t know a stranger, of course he made dozens of friends that sat around each day and listened to his colorful stories. Everybody loved Poppy’s stories. Daddy bought a bunch of chairs for the shop so they all had somewhere to sit and visit. Daddy and I came and went at our leisure as you gamed on your computer at the shop with Poppy. Grammy read her books and took her daily walks. We all found our place. We all fell into a perfect rhythm together. We each did our own thing, right there next to each other. One independent of the other, yet completely connected. It was pure bliss. That was our normal.

We began to unravel when Grammy got sick. Stress and worry entered into our days. Poppy and Daddy were distracted at the shop. Poppy adjusted and would come and go more throughout the day. Daddy researched and tried various things to help Grammy. Daddy started cooking dinner each night since Grammy couldn’t anymore and they came here to eat. Things were tough, but we were all together. That was our normal.

Then Poppy got sick. He struggled with his routine, but he kept on trucking. He didn’t complain, just did what he needed. We all did what he needed. Grammy left us in September. Poppy carried on in high spirits. He got down in October with a broken hip, but he recovered so well from the surgery, that he was better than before. He was on the up and up. He ate dinner with us Saturday night (collards and black-eyed peas with corn bread) and laughed at you catching M&M’s in your mouth, but he didn’t come to breakfast the next morning. He didn’t answer his phone either. He was gone. We found him peacefully laying in his new recliner chair. All of a sudden, we were alone here. All the building of life over the past ten years, the layers of love, blown away in a puff of breath. We are back where we started, just me and Daddy, but now we have you. This big, wonderful life that wove itself around us and through us, is now memories. This is our new normal.

With each normal, life got better and better. At each point, we thought it couldn’t get any better, and lo and behold, it did. Each time we were shocked with more happiness, more joy, and even more love. It didn’t seem possible, yet it continued to happen for us. While I write this in fear, I’m clinging to an even greater hope.

I fear we have arched. We reached the peak. We went so high, that now we must come down. But, I hope that this life taught us many lessons. Knowing Grammy and Poppy wasn’t a simple thing. It was beautifully life-changing. Their capacity to love selflessly is something we are profoundly fortunate to have been the recipients of. When you experience that kind of love in life, you are deeply touched. You carry on differently.

Pa holding Donna, Mama Brown, Poppy, and Grammy
Grammy, Poppy, & Daddy 🙂
Grammy, Tonia, & Poppy

I’m not sure what our normal will be now, but I know their impact will heavily guide us and influence us. Their love is within us, a solid part of who we are and hopefully, who we will become and that makes me feel so very good.

I love you too much.

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Hey, Future Me

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Nov 1, 2017 Under Dear Tru

I look at you.  All the time.

And every time I am reminded of how much you have changed.

Every six months we mark your height on your closet door frame.

And every time I see how much you have grown.

With all the obvious right in front of me, I remain unable to grasp the truth.

Unable to swallow the fact that you are BIG.

Life has blinded me and I am stuck in a state of dark adaptation.

Constantly trying to adjust.

I mean, in my head, you are a little boy.

In my heart, you are a baby.

I am saturated with memories.

With an abundant archive, I close my eyes and reflect on distant days.

Holding you at bedtime and walking gently around the room. A soft, fuzzy head on my shoulder and plump little legs resting on my arms.

Picking you up out of your crib after your nap. You standing there waiting for me. Smiling, you reach your arms out and the weight of you feels like pure love. I squeeze you.

Oh the little sounds. All the little sounds you made before you could talk. A Morse code of sweetness.

I knew I needed to backup my valuable life data. At the time I tried to soak in every detail knowing that one day I would need to recall those moments. And now that day is here. It is right here knocking on my heart.

As much as I tried to etch details into memory and preserve those little years, it escapes me. I mean, I remember, but I do not remember.

Thank goodness for a massive collection of photos and videos.

I look at you now getting huge. Practically eye to eye with me. No longer am I able to pick you up. Almost having to reach up to hug you. Surprised each time I notice that you are the length of the sofa. What has happened?

So, hey, future me you can not get this back. No matter how much you focus on the present, days from now it too, will be a distant memory. This will be gone. Many of these beautiful details lost on me. Beautiful details that should never be forgotten.

So do yourself a favor future me.

Slow down. Pay attention. Awaken the senses.

And grab the camera.






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Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by Kim on Thursday Nov 26, 2015 Under Dear Tru

I have always felt I had more than I deserved. When I was 5 my dad got cancer. I have told you the story many times, but it did make for a different way of life. You know he fought and he survived in a time when cancer had just begun. So, I kinda felt that I had cashed in all my luck. For everything else I received I felt as if I was cheating. And if I ever wanted more, I should do so in secret. I felt guilty for wanting. For years I struggled on this thin line of gratitude.

You did something amazing for me. You liberated me. You broke that lock.


For I had received something so precious. So beautiful. So special.
And it was a gift.
Maybe that gift was easier for me to accept because it was not just mine to receive, but mine and Grant’s. Whatever the reason, I finally felt worthy and you were mine. And I would be forever grateful.

I took on this new approach to life filled with gratitude. I was drowning alive in these beautiful moments with you.

Every little thing was extraordinary and my senses were exploding into pieces. My heart was overflowing with rapids of emotions and to get a grip on this new life it only made sense to be grateful. To stop and appreciate all that had been given to me. To recognize that these things I love more dearly than anything, could not be bought. I have to be thankful. What else could I be? As a child, I got the life of my dad when I was not suppose to and as an adult, I got the life of you. How did I get so lucky? I have come to realize it is not luck at all. It is the gift of God. To receive such gifts, is to be blessed. And when you are blessed, you should give thanks. Every day be grateful. Every day live accordingly. Every day. That is ThanksLiving.

Every day I wake up and am thankful for another day to share with you.
To hug you. To kiss you. To give you healthy food. To play with you. To laugh with you. To learn with you. To grow with you.
I love being at our house, with our dogs. Our home is cozy and loving and the most comfortable place in the world.
I love being at school with you. Watching you walk down the hall. Getting the best hug ever at lunch every day. And playing in my room after school.

Every day I see the world with these grateful eyes. I see beauty everywhere.
We walk outside and notice bright flower blooms. Clouds drifting overhead. The moon shining in the dark. The wind blowing across our faces. The songs of birds. And the scurry of squirrels in the trees. We notice.

Every day I think of this world. Not for only my lifetime, but for lifetimes to come. The future you will live in. The world you will be growing your family in.

A constant practice of gratitude keeps me focused. With gratitude in my heart, I am humbled by so much wonderfulness.
I simply have too much to be grateful for. I can not even keep up.
So I write. And I write. And I write.
I photograph. I share.


That is how I embrace this beautiful life.
Every night I write in my gratitude journal. Many nights you help me with this.
I go to bed grateful for another beautiful day. I rest in the graciousness of such a life.
This gift of a life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I love you too much!

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My One + Another One = 11

Posted by Kim on Wednesday Feb 4, 2015 Under Dear Tru


Your Daddy and I have been married 11 years, but he’s been my best friend for 25.

Okay. To be honest, I forgot it was our anniversary until I read it on Facebook thanks to a post. I am not one for dates. I don’t remember them and I don’t think of them. One day just goes into the next and they are all special to me. One day in my life does not hold any more significance to me than any other day that I’m breathing. I count each one a blessing, especially with my boys.

11 years.


I’m one. He’s one. And together we’re two ones…11.


He’s my other one.

And I’m so glad he is.


We are in sync with one another, side by side.


In all of our years together we’ve created so much. So much together. So much we share.

One love +

One friend +

One joy +

One life +

One comfort +

One hope +

One tenderness +

One pleasure +

One adventure +

One heart +

One son +

Equals 11 years of bliss.


I love you both too much!


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The First Man I Ever Loved

Posted by Kim on Friday Oct 17, 2014 Under Dear Tru

*Thanks to Danielle and Chris Tanner for the beautiful video.

The first man I ever loved was your Grandpa. He was born October 16th, 1935. He was the most loving man ever, and not because he was my daddy. If he was just someone I had met, I would have loved him all the same. Many people did. I spend so much time trying to figure out how to explain him to you. My one wish is that you could have known him. How wonderful he would have been with you. How much you would have learned from him. If I can pass any of that to you, I will spend my life trying. Trying to be the role model he was to me. Trying to influence you the way he influenced me. Trying to love you the way he loved me. He was a beautiful person.

I was a daddy’s girl, but it goes much deeper than that. I guess it really started at the tender age of 5, like you are now, and my daddy was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs and lymph nodes. It was the 70’s and cancer research had really just begun. I think it did something to me deep inside to know that my daddy was so sick. I think I knew he might die. He was selected to participate in a new experimental treatment called chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He left home and I didn’t see him much. Next thing I know we are moving to Virginia so he can be near his family because he only had months to live. They had done all they could do for him at the hospital. So we waited. And we waited. And he kept living. I think I felt that every day he was alive was a gift. I got my daddy after all.

So there was a connection that I can’t quite explain. I can think of a thousand words to describe him, but they don’t seem quite enough. Yes, he was kind and gentle. He was humble and generous. He was courageous and sensitive. He was funny, yet a thinker. But he was so much of these things. He never talked about himself or anyone else. He never complained. Ever. He never got mad. I never heard my dad yell. He was always simply positive and full of love.

He owned a little convenient store. Nothing fancy. Actually in a not so nice neighborhood, but he loved that store. He loved his customers. And they loved him. They loved him dearly. See, he took care of them. When they didn’t have money for food because they had to pay rent or fix their car, he gave them whatever they needed. Sometimes they paid him back, sometimes they didn’t. But he didn’t care either way. He wanted to help. He put a pool table in the back room and the kids would stay there all the time. He was like their daddy too. The entire community loved him.

I remember so many special things about my dad. Things that I didn’t realize were special at the time. Like how he’d come home from the store and bring me a roll of SweeTarts. Or how each night he’d count his daily earnings from the store on a tv tray in front of his chair. And how he loved to have his head scratched. We had a deal. I’d scratch his head during the tv show and I’d get a break during the commercials. (This was before Netflix.)

I remember how I just loved to talk to him about anything. It seems like whenever we went anywhere, dad and I would find a little spot to sit. Like at family reunions, or when visiting others. We were both quiet by nature and didn’t participate in much of the activities. Even when I returned home to visit, I remember many nights just sitting on the sofa talking about nothing. But that was everything to me.

I remember Sundays at church. He always sat on the back left pew. And at some point during the service he’d offer me a mint. He never sang the hymns and he always cried during prayer. Afterwards we’d go sit in the car and wait for mom.

I remember how he used to always ask me, “Who do you love?” And even though he knew my answer and I knew he knew my answer, I always played along. Sometimes I thought it was so corny, like how I do the same silly things with you, but now, as a mom, I get it. That’s all he really cared about – that I loved him. He just wanted to have some fun with it.

I remember when he was recovering from a back injury when the lawn mower flipped over on him. He had to stay in bed for awhile. I would come home from school and we would watch the soap opera General Hospital together. He was really into the drama. We would make our predictions and figure it all out.

I remember how when I was in quiet thought he’d say, “Penny for your thoughts.” What I now love about this, is the realization of how much he truly cared about what I was thinking about. He wanted to know what was going on inside my head. Not to be nosy, but to connect with me. I catch myself doing the same thing with you. When you’re quiet, I just want to see what’s running through your little mind. Lovingly curious.

I remember how he always winked at me. Anytime we were sitting anywhere, he’d catch my eye and give me a wink. I always thought that was so cute. So sweet. If he couldn’t catch my eye, he’d say, in a very particular voice that I can still hear today, “Hey, Kiiimberrrlyyy…” and when I’d look, he’d wink.

I remember his crazy dancing in front of the tv. He would squat and place his hands on his knees and then move his hands crisscross from knee to knee. He thought he was so cool. And so did I. We would laugh.

I remember him saving up all year to take his summer vacation. He loved the beach. He’d sit on the balcony or under the umbrella with his drink. He didn’t have to be doing anything. Just there. He was so peaceful and calm.

I remember our trips to the horse race track in West Virginia. He loved the races. We would sit side by side and he taught me how to study the horses. When I tried to pick one based on the name that I liked, he explained the statistics to me and not as if I were a child, but he talked about complicated columns of numbers as if I were an adult. Then we’d go place a smart $2.00 bet. Yes, this Christian first man, loved to bet! We talked about what we’d do with our winnings, which were never much at all, if any. The real joy was taking the time to make intentional selections and then watching our horse race like a champion. It was a thrill and he taught me that life is exciting when we think about what we do and purposefully make choices.

I remember Sundays at the bowling alley. He was a serious bowler. He had been on a bowling league before getting cancer and he had trophies because all he knew how to bowl were strikes. I, on the other hand, only bowled gutter balls. He prepped me every time it was my turn. He guided me with instructions about how to hold the ball, how to move my arm, and how to line the ball up using the arrows. But to my disappointment, I most often went into the gutter. He never got frustrated with me. Every time I was up, he started all over again like it was my first time. I wanted a strike so bad, but not for me, for him! For him because he worked so hard trying to help me. He was always patient with me.

I remember when I was in Kindergarten and I couldn’t tie my shoes. At his store he made me a practice board from a piece of a Sunbeam bread box. I thought it was the coolest thing. I practiced and practiced and before I knew it, I was tying like a pro.

He was innocently funny, which made him all the more charming. Like the time he was at the mall with mom and he saw toe socks. He thought they were gloves and said, “That’s just crazy. They know nobody’s fingers are that short!”

Or like the time I wanted a pair of Guess jeans. I asked if I could get a new pair of jeans and he said, “Sure. What kind?” I said, “Guess.” He said, “Jordache.” I said, “No. Guess.” He said, “Gloria Vanderbilt.” I said, “No Dad. Guess is the brand. Guess jeans.”

Or like the time he walked down the sidewalk at home one morning on his way to the store and mom stepped out the door and asked him what pants he had on. He said the ones she had laid out. Well, come to find out he had put on the ones she had laid out for her. He just laughed and said he thought they felt a little funny.

He always put on silly hats or made funny faces. It was more funny when he did it because he was such a quiet, private person. His humor just kinda slid out of him and gracefully spread out to others.

He liked to predict what was going to happen in movies or better yet, he always claimed he had already seen whatever movie we were watching. When I would tell him it had just come out, he’d respond, “Well then I’ve seen one just like it.” Whatever dad. 🙂 He had a playfulness about him with everything.

I remember his dreams. Oh, he loved to dream and I would join right in with him. We’d sit and plan what he could invent or what new business venture he could start. He had a table by his chair and in his table he kept his legal pads. We’d sketch out our new home we were going to build or the pool we’d have put in. None of these things ever happened, but we had ideas and he taught me to value my ideas. We dreamed big and when we dreamed, we really believed it was possible. He had a vision and that vision made every day new. Every day I really thought was the day something big was gonna happen.

I remember how he always had a positive outlook. I had so many screw ups. I made so many mistakes and stupid choices. But not one time in my life did he make me feel anything but special. I would ask him what he thought. I would want to know what his opinion was and he always told me, “Do whatever is going to make you happy.” He never shared his opinion because he wanted me to think for myself and above all, be happy. At the time, I thought ok. That’s nice. But now, as a parent, I respect it so much. All I want for you, is for you to be happy. And there will be times when your happiness will not be my decision or my choice. And you will not always do what I want. At that time I hope I can be the parent my daddy was and put my happiness aside in order to put your happiness first. That’s hard to do. But I learned from him that in the end, the way real love works is – if you’re happy, then I’m happy. Real love doesn’t demand. It inspires.

I remember how our first dog Byte loved him! Whenever he came to visit, she stayed right by his side. And she was not a social dog. She actually didn’t like anyone. But she loved my daddy!

I remember so much about my daddy, but every day that passes without him, I’m afraid I lose some. I miss his positive vibe. He brought clarity and goodness. I catch myself imagining what he would say or how he would react. I do this, so I can keep learning from him. So I can keep growing as a better person and as a mom. While people might see his gentle, quiet ways as weak, I see them as nothing but courageous. He had everything going against him, but made everything go for him. He had compassion for others no matter what the situation. I don’t know many people who can really do that. He lived honestly and proudly and with his whole heart. If I can be half the person he was, then I will be a good mom.

I have nothing but good thoughts when I think about my daddy. I can’t help but smile. One of the best things he taught me was how people should act every day. He was the perfect role model and thanks to him, I found the second man I ever loved…your daddy.

I think of the man you will grow to become. All the lessons I have learned from my daddy are helping me and guiding me every day with you…the third man I ever loved.

As his birthday draws to a close, I think of him. I think of him every day. But today I think of his life. His beauty. His tenderness. I think of his triumphs and his struggles. I think of what the world was like with him in it and what it’s like with him gone. I’m happy. I’m sad. I laugh. I cry. I think of all I’ve learned from him and how much I need him now. How much you need him. I think of how lucky I was to have had him for a dad. And my greatest tribute to him, is to be that kind of mama for you. I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but you deserve it. I will do my best. After all, I had a great role model.

I love you too much.


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A Fire Like Never Before

Posted by Kim on Sunday Sep 14, 2014 Under Dear Tru

This is one of those posts that has been blowing through my head for 5 years. A spark of an idea, but no direction to go with it. It’s just a burning feeling that swells up and I want to get it out, but nothing. It simmers down before I can make any real sense of it. This has been a reoccurring phenomenon since you were born. I’m wrestling it today. I’m gonna bring it to fruition even if it’s the worst piece of writing I’ve ever written. Here we go.

There’s a story you like for me to tell you again and again. “Tell me about when I was born mama.” This usually happens as we are driving down highway 31. Past the crispy looking trees and foliage that are now growing more dense. You know the connection.

It was the end of April 2009. You were due any day and North Myrtle Beach was on fire. A fire like never before. It burned through neighborhoods and jumped highways. It was burning up everything in it’s path. People were fleeing their homes for safety.

Our world was smothered in a big cloud of smoke. It was hard to breathe outside without a little coughing and ashes were swirling around in the air like black snowflakes. The forest burned. What once was full of trees, was now bare.




A midst all of this, we fled our home to go to Loris Hospital. As I wait to meet you, the world outside is ablaze. Little did I know, my own world was about to ignite. My heart was about to be turned on and fueled like never before. Just like the forest that is now growing more full, so is my heart. There’s new energy. A new landscape. And new love. A fire rejuvenated the forest while a boy rejuvenated my life.




Thank you for adding the spark every day to my life and to my heart.

I love you too much!


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A Shout-Out to Daddy, Poppy, & Grandpa!

Posted by Kim on Saturday Jun 14, 2014 Under Dear Tru

Where do I start? How about the inspiration for this post. Sometimes something so random hits you so hard, it brings back a distant memory as if it were yesterday. We were going to the beach today and we went into the warehouse to get your boogie board and a raft caught my eye. A raft we’ve had for about 100 years. But today it caught my eye. Today…the day before Father’s Day. Today it made me feel like I was 13 years old again and playing in the ocean with my dad.


I always write about my love for you and how you’ve made my life better, but I have to admit that when it comes to Daddy, I’m nooooo comparison. This I know. And I’m okay with it because I also know you have an incredible daddy. I give myself credit for two things in my life: you and your daddy. I found the best husband and had the best son. My life really began when I met your daddy and then it amazingly got even better when I had you. I’m so grateful every day I wake up and see the two of you, usually peacefully sleeping as I sneak out the door to work.


(notice the blue raft)


(Daddy feeding you your first pear, which both of you love for a snack.)



You are so blessed with his love, as am I. And I’m so happy for you. You couldn’t have a better daddy. I was a daddy’s girl, so I know. I get it. My dad was incredible too. Maybe because I had such an incredible dad, he gave me the role model for finding yours. Moms are home. They love us and nurture us and take care of everything. They hold it all together. Being a mom is hands-down the most important thing I do. Ever. But a dad. A dad, when present and involved, is a force to be reckoned with. They bring something a mom can not. Your daddy, like mine, brings peace and clarity. I try every single day to do my best, but end up screwing most everything up and try again the next day, but repeat the process of screw ups. Your dad, well he does it all so naturally. I’ve learned so much about parenting from him. Not a book or a website or even other moms. From your daddy. He lives and loves wholeheartedly and believes in living by example. Again, I could be talking about my own dad here. The only thing your daddy ever worries about is health. He tells me, “Health is king.” Which always brings me to pause because my dad, your grandpa, always told me, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Unfortunately, my dad was speaking from experience. He was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 5 years old. When I was going to Kindergarten, he was going to Johns Hopkins. As a child, I spent many weekends sitting in his hospital bathroom coloring and eating popsicles the nurses would bring me because if I stayed in my dad’s room I had to wear a mask. He went to Johns Hopkins because in the 1970’s that’s who was doing the cancer research and they were trying chemotherapy for the first time. My dad was part of the experiment. While he did survive, against the odds, he was left with many other health concerns. Heart problems and eventually diabetes. As an adult I spent too many weekends in his hospital room as he recovered from heart surgery. I spent afternoons watching him hooked up to a dialysis machine that he absolutely hated. And I hated it for him. He later lived with an oxygen tank that he checked on every few minutes. I’m telling you all of this because your grandpa was a fighter. He had health obstacles thrown his way my entire life and I watched as he always quietly and gracefully, but fiercely fought every step of the way. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. And with a smile and a wink. Your daddy didn’t have any health related experiences like this in his family growing up, he’s just wise. Another reminder to me how very similar these two men in my life are and another reminder of how very lucky I am to have been loved by both of them.



(I specifically remember him saying, “I have everything I need right here.” Side note: he was visiting and was in the room that is now yours.)

I’m always almost brought to tears that you never knew my dad, but you have him in you. I know you do. I feel it. Thankfully you have a beautiful relationship with your Poppy. Grammy and Poppy retired and moved here when you were born. I can’t imagine it any other way. They have been a huge source of happiness for you. When you were a baby, I honestly believe they took better care of you than I did. You always have been Poppy’s best buddy. You two are almost too much alike sometimes. Bossy and know-it-alls! We wouldn’t have it any other way though. While Poppy is as tough as nails, he has a golden heart. A few years ago you decided you didn’t want to go to their house during the day anymore, so Poppy would come here. Then your daddy got the brilliant idea to open a gun shop for Poppy to run since they are collectors and now it’s like the Boys Club over in daddy’s office. You spend your days with daddy and Poppy. I don’t think it gets any better than that.






All I want is for you to be happy and healthy. When I look at the relationships you’ve built with the men in your life, I’m so deeply moved. It inspires me. I see strength and tenderness. I see honesty and compassion. I see laughter and courage. I see a love and a bond I’ve never witnessed before. It’s poetic, really. Sometimes I just sit back and observe and in my heart I’m thrilled for you because I don’t know of any other 5 year old who has what you have. And I’m so excited for you because this beautiful groundwork has been laid. It’s been laid by 3 of the most amazing, wise men I have ever known.  What you have in you is pure and powerful. If you decide to use it, no telling what you might do!

I love you too much.

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The Unanswered Question of Feb. 28th, 2009

Posted by Kim on Friday Feb 28, 2014 Under Dear Tru


I have but one sadness that I come back to again and again…that you never knew your Grandpa. What would be my last visit with him, at 7 months pregnant, I showed him the ultrasound picture of you and he smiled. I talked. I shared. He knew my joy and he smiled. I loved his smile. He knew of you and I find comfort in that.

That night I stood in his hospital room by his bed holding his hand. His tired eyes looked to me. No words were left, yet I knew he was speaking to me. But what? Asking me to stay? It was late and everyone was waiting in the hall to leave. I stood by his bed desperate to figure out what he was trying to say, but it was hopeless. It was late. I’d driven 6 hours. I’d sat in his tiny half of the hospital room and my 7-month pregnant body wanted to lay down. So I walked away. I walked away from him. Never to see his eyes open again. He was tired too. Tired of fighting. Tired of struggling. He knew he was leaving me and he tried to tell me. He reached out to me and I had no idea. I left him laying there. I left him alone. Alone in the darkness. The next day I stood by his side all day watching and waiting. Watching his eyelids. Waiting for them to open. Watching for movement, but there was to be none. He rested.

That evening, after he’d passed on, he laid in that bed with eyes closed. Everyone was busy gathering his personal items and all I could do was sit in the chair. Frozen. I sat in the chair. Staring. I sat in the chair. Numb. Feeling stupid. Now here I was, but he was gone.  I’d give anything to rewind back to the last moment he looked up at me. I would forget about the few hours of rest I wanted and I would just sit by his side. I would stay with him. Hold his hand and carry him away. But instead I live each day wondering what his eyes were pleading to me for. I live each day wishing I’d paid attention. I live each day with the haunting of the unanswered question. The moment he needed me most and I let him down. I disappointed him and I carry that disappointment with me everyday. It guides me. It pushes me to be a better parent.

I learned many lessons about life from your grandpa about laughing and tenderness. About courage and strength. But it was in his last moments, he taught me the biggest life lesson that would shape the parent I would become. Hopefully a parent like him. I pay attention to every moment. I live each day with you, so I have no unanswered questions. I will never look back and wonder if I spent enough time with you. I will never feel I should have sacrificed more. I will not lose a minute. In all of my sadness, I have ultimately gained greater happiness. I look at you, Tru, with different eyes than those that looked at him that last night. I see the moment. I hold the moment. I live in the moment. That was my last and greatest gift from your grandpa. The deepest sorrow has surprisingly brought me the greatest joy. I’m so sorry for that and I’m so incredibly thankful for that at the same time.










You would have loved your grandpa, Tru. You would have loved him too much!

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10. He always, always, always makes me laugh.

9. He makes a mean blueberry pancake.

8. He thinks that a bunch of pillows are better than a blanket.

7. He pushes me and challenges me to do things I would never attempt to try on my own.

6. He has given me a better quality of life by eating healthy.

5. He knows my imperfections and loves me because of them. (I may or may not have had a mullet at one time.)

4. He knows how to make decisions and doesn’t falter.

3. He puts things into perspective at the bat of an eye.

2. He continually finds ways to spice up our life, like teaching me to drive my own jet ski.

And the number 1 reason why being married to your dad for 10 years today are the best 10 years of my life is…

1. He gave me a boy as wonderful as him.


I love you both too much!!!



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