gifts of service

I was a little bit nervous to take a spiritual gifts test last week.

For the uninitiated, a spiritual gifts test is basically an inventory of what you like to do, what comes naturally to you and how you interact with others. The end results are words that describe a unique set of gifts that help describe the kind of work you enjoy and the activities and interactions that energize you.

I’ve taken the test before and was disappointed to see administration rising to the top. For an inventory of gifts that were supposed to energize me, I felt disheartened at the results.

I suppose that I had really hoped that I would take this test and find out that I was someone else. It sounds crazy to write that sentence, but it’s true.

And truly, I spent so much of my life hoping that I was someone else, wishing that I would find a hidden talent or a secret skill. This pursuit of being someone else was ultimately a frustrating and exhausting endeavor. Even still, when I look back at those years I see some of the same themes bubbling to the top.

I really wanted to be a leader.  Leading sounded like fun – who didn’t want to be at the front of the line or the head of the class? There are some people who are born-leaders. They don’t care where they are marching, they just want to be in charge. That was not true with me – there were times when I was really uninterested in leading, but felt that not wanting to lead was a sign of weakness.

When I learned about servant leadership, I was so excited and relieved! I didn’t want to lead just to be a leader. I loved the idea of helping people along by taking a leadership role.  The idea of servant leadership gave me permission to be myself while also giving me the authority to do my work.

Looking back on my life and career, I notice similar themes emerging. I thrived under directors and bosses who embraced the idea that the goal was greater than getting credit. I loved working with people who embraced a culture that good ideas and great work sometimes came from unexpected and unorthodox places. One of the agencies I worked at adopted the phrases “One Team, One Dream” and “Winning Ugly Together” to focus and motivate employees. Sure, they were cheesy, but it put words around the spirit of working together for a common goal and gave permission to the idea that often the process is messy. I loved it.

Basically, the concept of servant leadership and the cultural attitudes of the teams I worked on encouraged and empowered me to look at a given situation and step in where there were holes. To address specific needs of an organization or group, I became good at things that others were not as interested in.

It was hard for me, though, because the gifts and words we seem to value as a society and even as a church, are leading and celebrity and influencing. The problem was, if I didn’t see a need, I wouldn’t lead simply to be a leader or strive for popularity for popularity’s sake.

I knew that I liked to help. I knew I loved to work.

And so, with all of that history behind me, I took a spiritual gifts test – half wincing – because if history was any predictor, gifts like leadership and teaching would not be in my top five.

Y’all: Those things are STILL NOT in my top five.

And that is OK.

My top five? Serving was number one. Like, big time, number one. Followed by mercy, faith, giving and pastoring.

I looked at the test results for a while. I mulled it all around in my head and heart, investigating what serving really meant.

And instead of being annoyed, I was relieved. And excited.

Serving has often been limited to serving food and giving people things. But the heart of serving is an attitude: What do you need? How can I help?

I think that the reason administration and hospitality were high on my previous tests were probably that those were the areas that I was stepping into most often due to gaps in the workplace and at church.  I really hate filing and calendaring and organizing, but someone had to do it. I filled the need.

People who serve stand in very important gaps in the workplace and in ministry – they fill these gaps in order to accomplish a goal and meet a need.  These “need-fillers” keep projects and work moving forward in important ways.

There are so many other need-fillers out there; these are people who have stepped up to keep all of us moving forward and onward. I find need-fillers to be curious, interesting people who don’t master one particular skill as much as they embrace learning about a lot of skills. Need-fillers will help move, help clean, help teach, help lead – not out of a love of any of those things – but out of a love for people and the end game.

But it’s hard being a need-filler, especially if you haven’t figured out how to name your gift. It’s hard to know when a season of helping with a specific need is over.  It’s hard sometimes when finishing up your season of work means saying “good-bye” to people you love. It can be hard understanding your value and role in an organization when don’t have the words to express who you are at your core.

To my need-filler friends, hopefully these are some words that will help describe your heart: you thrive in the space where help is needed and provide that help out of the joy of your heart. You fill the voids left by people who couldn’t lead or wouldn’t lead and keep organizations and groups not just on life support, but thriving. You see the space between a dream and a reality and help build a bridge between them. You spot the missing people like missing puzzle pieces and help work them back into their rightful spaces.

At the heart of a need-filler is a spirit and attitude of service. That spirit of service is a gift – not just to those benefitting from it, but to the bearer as well.

Want to know what your spiritual gifts are? Click here.

annie is one.

I started this post over a month ago:

Annie, my sweet baby, is one and on the verge of walking and talking and expressing herself.

It turns out, her past year of docile compliance was just a cover: she has been taking notes, identifying weaknesses and formulating a strategy.

As of this week, she has decided she will NOT stand for being locked up in a baby-safe containment area (or, crate, as I call it) while I work out and shower. Once she is free of the bonds of the minimum security baby containment facility, she immediately bolts for any doors she can find.  Cabinet doors and drawers that are unlocked are unceremoniously opened and slammed shut with deep, unmitigated baby satisfaction.

Annie did run into a minor hiccup with opening standard doors: once the door swings open away from her, she found herself standing unassisted. The first few times, she plunged forward after the swinging door in sheer terror. Now that she figured the tricky doors out, she smirks as she maintains her footing and the door crashes open.

A fan of her sisters, Annie is completely delighted by any attention they pay to her.  Ellie is much more amenable to Annie’s hair pulling and grabbing, while Carrie gets annoyed by these shenanigans rather quickly. Despite Annie’s interest in slapping her sisters silly, the twins adore making Annie laugh and giggle.

Annie says a few words that sound like “Hi!” and “Daddy!” and “MAMAMAMAMA” and so on.  I’m terrible at understanding baby talk. I’m lucky if I understand half of what the twins are hollering at me from the third row of the minivan.  All that to say: Annie may be reciting soliloquies from Shakespeare and I have absolutely no idea.

And now, almost a month later:

Annie is walking! It is unsteady, precarious walking, but it is walking! I am both relieved (my child can walk!) and terrified (my child can walk!). I recall, all too clearly, the poop-storm that ensued with twin toddlers and while Annie is only one child, she is one of three very active girls.

No matter.  We survived the twinpocalypse, I am sure we can make it through one more unstable toddling little one.

In short, Annie is one and is walking without fear, speaking without annunciation and drinking without a bottle.

And so… I think I better hit publish on this post before it’s 2027 and Annie has discovered the Internet (or whatever it will be called then) and realizes that I still haven’t published her first birthday summary!

Congratulations Annie!  YOU ARE ONE! (Or 13…)

We love you!

Kerous-29

three things: a summer frame of mind

Summertime and the living is…

well.

Complicated.

If you are a small child, the living is VERY easy. Popsicles, bike rides and splashing in the pool… repeat!

If you are the cruise director in charge with coordinating all of the activities and events that, when strung together in your children’s minds, will create the perfect symphony of childhood memories, then summer is your PRIME TIME.

I have good news for you: I do NOT have a magical list of amazing bucket-list-type activities that YOU MUST ACCOMPLISH by Labor Day or else. I also do not have a list of the top ways you are making your children hate you and hate summer and fail at life.

What I have is a very brief list of ways that I have adjusted my mindset and attitude so that I can actually enjoy summer and be more present for whatever shenanigans we find ourselves doing.

In no particular order:

Thing 1: Mess is Best 

I immensely dislike living in a disorderly environment.  It makes my soul itchy.  Quick fix for this? Accept defeat early on and try to never be inside my home.  If I can’t see the mess, it’s not happening.

If for some reason, you can’t put the blinders on to what is happening in your home, then do the dishes every night and wipe down the counters.  At least you can enjoy your morning coffee and Cheerios in peace. The rest is for the birds.

Speaking of which, the birds are outside and they do NOT care if your laundry is folded. So go. I promise the mess will be there when it gets cold outside.

Thing 2: Yes, AND…

In the category of “Everything I learned, I learned from Tina Fey,” I have to give credit to this mindset change to the wise Ms. Fey. Not only is she brilliantly funny, but her improv chapter of “Bossypants” is saving my summer – and maybe even the rest of the seasons. Essentially, the way improvisation works is if a character proposes something like “I am a moose” and the second character says, “Yes, and I am a moose rancher” or something. The idea is that improv only works if each of the characters in the sketch are building off of the other’s story in a positive and meaningful way. In short, improv is life and summer is the perfect season for living.

Example: This week we had a day that contained exactly two hours and twelve minutes of warm, rain-free sunshine. I was driving home with all three kids and groceries in the trunk when my neighbor announced she was filling the kiddy-pool and invited us over. Planner-me wanted to say, “Well, I have groceries and I need to put them away and start dinner and so on …” but SUMMER me said, “YES! And I’m bringing a fruit platter!”

I put away frozen and refrigerated items, had the twins un upstairs and put on swimsuits and we were in the freshly-filled baby pool down the street, noshing on fruit and juice boxes in less than 20 minutes.

That is summer. The girls loved it, we all had fun and life was lovely.

Say yes… and add to it!

Thing 3: Baths

If you can accept that your house is going to be a mess and that your plans may become a mess, then it’s time to accept that your children (and you!) will likely also be hot, sweaty, dirty, happy messes. I learned this one the first summer that the kids were walking.  I would drop them off at their sitter’s house in adorable summer outfits and I would pick up virtually unrecognizable sweaty, smelly, grinning messes. It took me less than two seconds to appreciate that my kids may have been messy, but they were also incredibly happy. Running, jumping, investigating dirty things, rolling down hills, playing in the “forest” and so on are the things that make memories and open up minds and free our children to be children. It delighted me to find my girls covered in the dust of their day, exhausted and happy.

It’s just that… baths, man. Baths are a process in our house.  I can’t speak for any one else, but bath time is just… ugh.

I realized that my desire to avoid giving baths to three children, every single night, was causing me to view activities through the lens of whether that activity would merit a bath. I finally just had to say, “Self. We are going to have to put on our big girl pants and give these kids baths. You’ve done harder and more dangerous things than give three kids a bath. Self, I’m asking you to step up on this one for the sake of the summer! GIVE THE KIDS BATHS AND LET THEM BE FREE!”

It was quite a mental process.

I am pleased to report that once I made my peace with the nightly baths, I felt free. Free to let Annie crawl around in muddy grass in her diaper becuase she was happy. Free to let Carrie hug all of the pollen-laden flowers in the backyard because, gosh darn it, those flowers needed big hugs.  Free to let Ellie roll around on the ground for reasons I could not understand (although, I did find out later she literally rolled in an ant hill, so, you know, maybe I need to reign in my “go forth and frolic” attitude a smidgen…).

Really, letting go and embracing the reality of nightly bath time gives me freedom to say “Yes, and” to a host of dirtier adventures.

So that’s where I’m at.  How about you?

fear, uncertainty and doubt

When we moved into our house several years ago, we couldn’t figure out our garage door key pad.  The previous owners had never used it and the owners before them couldn’t recall their code.  It turns out the key pad was dead.

Our actual garage door opener was so old that it would only accept programming from a similarly old keypad. I remember the garage door repair guy essentially challenging me with, “Well, this is really a basic install and you would waste your money having us install it.” I was game.

“Of course,” I said nonchalantly, “I can definitely install that.”

Sometime after that, I did tear open the box. I was immediately overwhelmed by all of the what ifs: What if I programmed the opener and it deprogrammed all of our other remotes (this had happened before)? What if I broke it? What if it took a long time to do? What if it was aggravating? What if I still ended up having to call the company anyway?

Marketers would’ve been delighted with my quandary – this delightful blend of fear, uncertainty and doubt keeping me from doing a simple task and pushing me toward unnecessarily spending money. Many times I considered calling the garage door repair company and paying them a ridiculous sum to fix the problem. I considered buying a new garage door opener – justifying it with the fact that our current opener was so old any way.  I considered bribing someone else to fix it.

That ripped-open garage door keypad box found a nice home in the cupboard over our refrigerator where it lived for almost two years.

Every time I took the kids for a walk and had to grab the door opener out of the car, I silently chided myself for being so silly about this keypad. Every time Frank went for a run and left the screen door open, I was annoyed at my silliness.

I could’ve asked Frank to do it, but I didn’t.  He was unconcerned by all of this unnecessary juggling and was actually unaware that the solution was tucked away in a cabinet.

Today, almost impulsively, I decided this fear of the unknown was going to be put to rest – at least as far as the garage door key pad was concerned.

Armed with the owners manual, an unhelpful You Tube video of a kid showing off his keypad in the bedroom (not a euphemism) and a new ratcheting screw driver that I love, I went out into the garage and I was the boss of that garage door key pad.

Not only did I program it, I removed the old key pad, installed the new keypad and checked to make sure that the car’s garage door openers still worked.

Everything. Worked. Perfectly.

All in less than 20 minutes.

What this makes me think of: in what ways are fear, uncertainty and/or doubt stopping me from moving forward? What silly work-arounds have I created to avoid addressing fear head-on?

How about you?

mother’s day

When Mother’s Day draws near, I hold my breath a little bit, as though I am anticipating a punch that never happens.

Mother’s Day has become, for me, like sitting down at a feast with all of my favorite girlfriends. The day is beautiful, the food is amazing – but there is a catch: not everyone gets a meal.

The first few Mother’s Days I experienced while we were trying to get pregnant and going through infertility and dealing with losing a baby, were just bone-chillingly sad and lonely. Sure, I was happy for my friends around me who were experiencing motherhood, but here I was with this deep sadness and pain, on a day designated to celebrate what I didn’t have. My plate was empty.

I was lonely and sad and scared. And let’s be honest, until infertility, the realest pain I had experienced was losing a grandparent, which is, while sad, a pretty standard part of life. Mother’s Day was an emotional bomb with shrapnel spread far and wide.

Four years ago, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day. I expected to feel unfettered joy on that first Mother’s Day morning, but instead…

I was grateful, absolutely, for the two little girls I was holding that morning. But looking around the Mother’s Day table, I noticed that there were still people with empty plates.  The abundance for some and the emptiness for others made a knot grow in my stomach. It just seemed unfair.

Not celebrating Mother’s Day is not the answer. We all have moms in many forms and fashions – the mothers we were born with and the women that mother us throughout our lives – and so celebrating their impact in our lives is appropriate and good and right. I am grateful for my own mom who is the embodiment of joy, friendship, kindness and hospitality. She made every day of my childhood an adventure and continues to be one of my dearest friends and confidants.

And still…

It also feels right and good and appropriate to acknowledge and hold space for the women (and men) who put on a brave face on Mother’s Day in spite of feeling incredible pain, loss and sadness. I don’t have a cure for this heartache, but I want you to know that you are not alone and that you are loved. May you have a supernatural peace this Mother’s Day in the midst of all of the noise.

housekeeping

Before I get caught up with the blog…

Entropy, or the concept that time moves in only one direction, has been a minor distraction of mine for the entirety of my life. I find it fascinating that we can physically move in many directions in space, but only in one direction in time.  So I love fiction (and non fiction) that talks about wormholes and time travel and other time-bending/reversing theories. The first chapter book my dad read to me was HG Wells’s The Time Machine.  Good stuff, even if I was only in second grade.

And so, here I sit, marveling at how precisely and fluidly time has marched forward, plucking away, while life happens. I am particularly aware of time’s effects when I look at our not-so-little Annie! Annie constantly grows and changes imperceptibly over the course of a day, but it isn’t until I look at pictures from a few months ago that I become aware of how she is no longer an infant and is verging on toddlerhood.

Speaking of Annie…

Annie is ten-and-a-half-months old.  If we were to assign labels, I would call Annie my “chill” baby.  She slept through the night at two months, rarely cries and loves playing little games with me.  Her favorite is when we grunt back and forth at each other until she dissolves into giggles.  As the designated “chill” baby, she is taking her time with mobility. A mighty-fast army crawler, she refuses to pull herself up on anything unless she feels the reward is greater than the risk.  She will walk assisted, but prefers to be on the ground, stealthily getting into things and finding little treasures (lint, dustbunnies). With a mobile baby, you can never vacuum or sweep enough – so – my new mantra: why bother?

Annie is eating table foods with ease, enjoys a good sippy cup every now and then, and is transitioning to reduced formula levels.  She loves to give “noseys”, but nose-beware: she is aggressive with her affection and has no fear of breaking a nose – yours or hers!

She is a dancer in the style of the groundhog from Caddy Shack, grooving in a herky-jerky rhythmic fashion while balancing on my knee.  She rolls with most things: no nap, no problem!, but occasionally develops a strong preference that she makes known.  Recently, she has developed a strong dislike for her “cage” – an open-air baby-safe area that she can roam around in our family room. Girlfriend knows her mind!

So that’s Annie the Awesome.

Her twinster sisters are four, which means, thank goodness, they are no longer three.  Three was a little bit of a debacle.  Considering the major changes in our family, it was actually not terrible, but three year olds certainly have an opinion that they enjoy sharing all-the-time.

At four, they are more reasonable and really quite smart.  They love talking about the natural sciences with Frank (how does the sun work? where does it go at night?) and ask surprisingly detailed follow up questions that demonstrate that they are trying to learn a topic.  While they need frequent reminders about manners and tidying up, most of the time they have it down right.  My current quest is to help Carrie word statements so they sound less like accusations (“Apparently you forgot to tell us what the day of the week is, Mom”) and more like reminders (“Hey mom, can you tell us the day of the week please?”).  I have a feeling that mastering this skill will be super useful to her in life – especially marriage.

We just had the girls’ parent-teacher conferences and it was interesting to see how the girls’ personalities come to light differently in the world than they do at home. Carrie has always been a dynamic little personality, but in the past year she has really blossomed and has been identified as a leader in her classroom.  She is encouraged to allow other children to also lead, but her teachers said that the other kids are quite happy to do whatever she suggests.  It will be interesting to watch that skill unfold and be refined.  At home, Carrie is often the laid-back kid who would prefer to sit slack-jawed in front of the TV for hours if we let her (we don’t let her!).

Ellie, who often instructs Carrie in what to do at home, is a little bit more introverted in the classroom.  She is also quite smart, grasping skills and concepts quickly.  She loves to take some time to herself to read a book while at school, but then is also happy to go play with her friends.  At home, we’ve seen her working on her teaching skills with Carrie and some of her other friends.  It’s quite cute to see her kneel down to instruct another child on how to do something.  When the other child accomplishes the tasks, she is so encouraging saying, “That’s right! Good job!” It’s really a joy to watch!

As far as staying at home – the short response is: it’s good.

The longer response is:

It is both what I imagined and nothing that I imagined.  I’ve kept busy with some free-lance projects and volunteering, but I’ve also loved just being with the girls to hear about their days and to go on little adventures.  Like many mothers before me have noted, it’s frequently hard to know where the day has gone. I rarely find myself just sitting on the couch or with free time to write, which is contrary to how I imagined it would be. I can appreciate why so many stay at home moms feel under attack by others who question “What did you do all day?”  There is a lot of time and energy that goes into keeping the operations of our household running, but the actual tasks are often not worth noting.  I cleaned a toilet. I fed the children. I paid some bills. I researched a project. I did some work.

I can also appreciate why some moms are totally unstimulated by staying at home.  Repetitive tasks like dishes and laundry have become monsters in their own right.  Boring, tedious monsters that scare – not by jumping out of dark corners when I least expect them to – but by just sitting where they are, staring quietly with eyes that plainly say, “Sure. Fold me/Clean me – I’ll just be right back here in a matter of hours or days. Try me.” These monsters are unrelenting in many ways.

Of course, these monsters existed even when I worked, but let’s be honest: I rarely cooked when I worked so we ran the dishwasher once a day (maybe). Now, I run that sucker two or three times a day. And when I worked, I had a lot of dry cleaning and only had time for laundry once a week, making it feel more like an exciting event.  Now with five people in our family, laundry has to be done twice a week or we will drown in laundry. Literally.

To finish my evolution into a complete cliche, the twins will start soccer in two weeks with one of their buddies down the street from us. So yes, I will be rolling into soccer practice in our minivan, drinking a half-caf latte and wearing yoga pants. It’s going to happen and there is nothing any of us can do to stop it. So I say, embrace it!

Over the course of my existence, I’ve come to realize that nothing lasts forever. I know that this stay at home mom experience is just a season of my life. I am doing this for now, and I will do something else later. In spite of the laundry and dish monsters lurking at every turn, I am trying to put into practice the concept of being content where I am and enjoying this season of life.

So that’s it.  I think I’m caught up now with the blog.  I am hoping to write on a few more topics in the upcoming weeks because so much more has been happening in the K-House than just laundry!

showing up

In 2003, for reasons I still don’t understand, we wrote our new family’s first Christmas letter. Frank wasn’t sure why we were writing it at the time and we both thought that this first entry into our family’s public narrative should be sent out for very limited distribution. Our first letter vividly featured our most pressing and passionate marital argument until that point: a debate on the number of pillows allowed on a bed.

My answer? Eleven.

Frank’s answer? Definitely less than 11.

What was funny to us then, and even now, was how many people responded to tell us how much they enjoyed the letter.  And also, to passionately declare their support for either Team Frank or Team Emily.

The important thing, though, is that we felt this surge of connection with the people who commented.

So, we wrote another letter. And another. And another. And we got brave and sent it to everyone on our mailing list. It was exhilarating!

There are only two rules of K-Fam Christmas Letter Writing: 1. Keep it light and 2. No medical drama.

There have been some years when those two rules have been easier to follow than others.

The letter-writing process begins with both a scrubbing of the year’s events as well as a suggestion of a concept.  This year, after spending approximately five minutes with his newest daughter, Frank determined that the letter should be a memorandum from Annie talking about the circus she joined called Our Family.

In the case of this year’s letter, I wrote it, deleted it, wrote it again, sent it to Frank, sent him some changes, he sent me changes, I sent him changes and then we were done. Many years, there is at least one request (from Frank) for a chart/graph representing of some sort of achievement (sometimes this achievement is vomit or diaper-related) and most years, I ask for a few extra pages.  We’ve remedied these requests by occasionally allowing a gratuitous graph to sneak into the letter now and then; I started a blog.

The most important thing that happens, though, is that first step: we scrub the events of the year.  I take out the unnecessary details of the somewhat emergency c-section, the intestinal drama with two toddlers that reside in our home, Frank’s inability to securely screw the top on the orange juice and Annie’s over-the-top cuteness (she’s too young to get into too much trouble right now). Not to put too fine a point on this topic, but Frank, what is up with the OJ? And the Tabasco? And anything else with a lid?

So the events are scrubbed.  Cleaned up. We put a bow on the whole thing and send it out first-class mail.

The other stuff I don’t include is how many times I look at my peers and see how they are being a better mom.  They have better crafts, better playdate ideas, cuter lunches for their kids, etc, etc, etc. And then I see how some people are truly excellent writers and I’m a hack blogger.

I actually almost didn’t write this blog post because, well, it’s not an original topic or theme and others have written about this particular theme better, funnier and betterer.  (That whole sentence is a beautiful mess. I can’t fix it.)

But since this blog exists largely so that my daughters can glimpse inside the brain of their 34 year old mother, I am writing it anyway.

I realize there are two things illustrated with the story about the Christmas letter:

First, that when Frank and I are sharing our story and delighting people and engaging with friends and family – that is when we are the happiest.  We love making people laugh.  We love the idea of people opening their mail and being excited to see another silly letter from those tall people. We love the connection.

Second, nearly every year I think, “meh. I don’t think I can write this letter.” I didn’t do anything remarkable enough.  I made mistakes.  I can’t even tell you how many times Frank wanted to write something fun about my job, and I told him to just chill out – write something generic – write something uninteresting that essentially says, “Don’t worry, Emily still has a job.” I did fun and cool stuff when I worked.  I worked with remarkable leaders and innovators and true public servants. I helped out with projects that were fun and interesting. I just never could say it because I was weirdly worried that someone would write back and say, “Um, yeah, Emily is lame.”

In a nutshell, I have a lot of anxiety about how people perceive me and I hate that about myself. (I am actually working on a post specifically about that anxiety, but I started it a year ago and I’m still not any closer to done.)

I am not the best writer.  I am not the best mom.  I am not the best human. I am not number one, I’m not even in the top 50%. The only immediately remarkable thing about me is my height – and that doesn’t help me on the Internets.

I would really like to use that lack of bestness as a reason not to try.  I want to say, “Well, I don’t have to write that press release or post that information or play tea party with my twins” or WHATEVER – because someone else is doing it better somewhere else.

Wiser people than me have said now-cliche things like “99% of success is showing up” and other such brilliant things. And they are right.

I write all of this to essentially steal borrow other people’s wisdom: show up.

Show up and do your job. Show up and be a parent. Show up and be a friend, daughter, son, sister, brother – whatever. If you don’t have the best words to share, the best dish to pass, the best outfit for the occasion – show up any way.

Be brave. Be courageous. Let your little light shine. Even if that light is just a Christmas letter. Even in the worst years, when your spouse lost their job twice and you moved and you were a little freaked out – show up and write the letter and connect with the people you love.

A lot of people don’t show up. Maybe they are scared, too. Maybe they were worried they couldn’t do the best or most interesting, so they stayed home.

I totally get it: It’s hard. I often don’t want to show up. Sometimes, I don’t show up.

And maybe people don’t know that sometimes all they need to do is show up. Sometimes they are worried about a lot of things, like what if they aren’t enough. Maybe, if you see someone not showing up, maybe you could reach out to them. Show up for them.

Stand firm. Be present.

Grab hold.

Because the other thing I’ve heard a lot is that possession is 9/10ths of the law. (Note: I am not a lawyer or someone who knows anything at all about the law. So, you know, take that possession thing with a grain of salt.)