Love Hard Challenge | Spread the Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is my kind of day. Not just because of the proliferation of chocolate or the explosion of hearts cut out of construction paper. No, I love Valentine’s Day because it is a day devoted to loving hard.

I firmly believe that small acts of love and kindness change the world, one moment at a time. One person at a time. I believe in the intimacy of words and the poetry of those small tokens of affection we bestow on friend, foe, and stranger alike.

I understand the allure of random acts of kindness. I appreciate the nobility in gestures big and small offered with no expectation of recognition or reward. But while it is nice to pay for someone’s dinner, to pay for their coffee, or to give anonymously, if we’re honest with ourselves, that’s often the easy way out. We can pat ourselves on the back for doing something good without having to get involved. Read more...

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Don’t Wait

Dont Wait Happiness is All Around You Love Hard LuckyOrangePants.com

We expend so much emotional capital waiting.

Waiting for the weekend, for a new job, for when we have more money, for Christmas, for the right timing, for some magical time and place where the stars align.

But the truth is, friends, happiness isn’t a destination. It isn’t a date on the calendar. It certainly isn’t a notch we check off on the imaginary to do list of life. And all that waiting just blinds us to the happiness staring us right in the face.

Don’t wait for Christmas to make your house glitter with lights. Read more...

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I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

anniversary vows we should have written things dont go as planned lucky orange pants

When Billy and I got engaged, we immediately leapt upon the idea of a winter wedding, both because of our mutual disdain for sweating and my blisters.

But as seemingly befalls all Reeves events that are geared toward cold weather, it was a balmy 75 degrees in Charlottesville 14 years ago today. While others were gleeful at the springlike weather, I had a momentary twinge of disappointment that there was no snow falling from the sky on January 3rd.

We could do nothing but laugh at the irony of dancing to “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” as small beads of sweat formed on our foreheads and my father cajoled Farmington Country Club to turn the air conditioning on full blast to keep our snowflake cake from melting. Read more...

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You, Just You

You just you

When your first born says he wants a date night with you – just you – you scrap your holiday party plans and trade your cocktail dress for your Lucky Orange Pants to drive to Charlottesville for this.

In those early days, when your babies want you, just you, all of the time, it can be exhausting. And you think there isn’t enough of you, just you, to go around. You feel like you are not enough. For your children. Your spouse. Your parents. Your friends. Yourself.

The older they get, the more they let go. The more they rely on a tapestry of people to hold their hand as they navigate the waters of  childhood. Like they’re supposed to. Read more...

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We Make

We make things and we break them

We make things. A million times a day.

We make beds and appointments and late night trips to the drugstore for ibuprofen.

We make time, even when there is none. For the school project. For the friend who needs to feel loved. For the little hands reaching up for help.

We make meals. Sometimes 3 different ones on the same night. Sometimes it’s a stop at a drive-thru. Sometimes it’s an all-day elaborate affair.

We make mistakes. We fumble and fall and fail. Sometimes we laugh them off. Sometimes we see the lesson, even if it stings. Sometimes we make things worse. Read more...

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I Am

I am all the things and none of the things
I am too much for some. I am not enough for others.

I am a failure in a hundred ways every day, but I think I am victorious at more.

I am loud and opinionated and at times bursting with bravado. Yet a careless word or a cold shoulder brings me to my knees.

I am a mother, a keeper, and a fixer but I am also a child, dazzled by multicolored lights and desperately wanting someone to tell me everything is going to be okay.

I am a rule follower, a stickler for details, yet I am always ten minutes late and perpetually forgetful. Read more...

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The Descent And The Climb

Grief climb hill Virginia football

We have seats. Really good seats. Behind the bench in the middle of the field. But every Saturday, before the game starts, the boys like to climb down the Hill.

The way down is precipitous and steep, momentum propelling us faster than we can control, our ankles buckling on the uneven ground.

When we finally reach the bottom, they sit as still as can be, as the percussive vibrations of the band commingle in the air with the raucous cheers of the crowd.

Two boys who rarely stop moving for anything are rendered completely motionless, despite the chaos that surrounds them. Read more...

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The World’s Worst Thank You Note

You guys. I have been so overwhelmed by the response to I Am The Keeper. So overwhelmed that it took me this long to even write this very belated thank you. It’s digital and not handwritten and it’s 3 weeks late so I’m fairly certain my father is rolling over in his grave at my lack of manners.

But I hope you know how sincerely grateful I am to those of you who read it, who commented, who shared it, who tagged their fellow keepers, and, especially, to those of you who reached out with your struggles and your own stories. Read more...

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I Am the Keeper

I am the keeper

I am the keeper.

I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.

I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.

I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets. Read more...

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Summer’s End

Summer childhood love back to school

Summer childhood love back to school

It’s back to school time. The time of the year when parents gleefully post pictures of themselves jumping for joy as their children shuffle off for their first day.

But not me. I’ve been dreading tomorrow since the minute the final bell rang in June.

Maybe it’s because I mark the passage of time by the school year instead of the calendar year.

Maybe it’s because my oldest is 10 now which means I only have 8 summers left with him at home. I have fewer summers left than I have had and as each one ends, my heart is heavier than it was before. Read more...

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Charlottesville: Loving Hard When It’s Hard

Charlottesville love grace

241 years ago, our founders created a country based on the radical view that liberty was not doled out by a self-aggrandizing monarch but was an inalienable right. The heirs of that spirit of liberty fought a Civil War to protect it, to declare it sacrosanct.

80 years later, another generation volunteered in droves to safeguard that same spirit for men and women across the world that they had never met. They knew, perhaps better than anyone in history, that it wasn’t just the fate of the war that hinged on their utter selflessness. It was the fate of humanity. Read more...

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5 Things I Learned This Summer

I have always had a love hate relationship with summer. The heat and humidity remind me of all the things we cannot do because of our blisters.

But I love the freedom from schedules and commitments that affords me endless time with my boys. I view that as sacrosanct. So I tend not to write much in the summer. And as much as our summer has been what it always is – a lazy conglomeration of quiet mornings, big adventures, and total spontaneity – there were plenty of very important things I learned. Read more...

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Fall Risk

Fall Risk hospital love hard

The nurse wouldn’t even let me through the doors of pre-op until she had slapped a bright yellow bracelet on my arm proclaiming FALL RISK. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to be insulted or impressed that she knew me so well. I went with the latter.

If there are two better words in the English language to describe me, I haven’t yet found them.

I am, of course, a literal fall risk, even when I’m not on anesthesia. I am clumsy and uncoordinated. I fall down stairs. I fall off my bike. I trip on chair legs, sidewalks, even air. I prefer to think of it as a talent rather than a liability. At any given time my body is adorned with more bruises than jewelry and, usually, I have no idea where they came from. Read more...

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Love, Loss, and Time

Love loss time memory

When you lose someone, everyone is quick to tell you, in soft voices laden with reassurance, that you will forget. That time anesthetizes the sharp pains that disrupt your sleep and interrupt the most mundane moments of your day.

And they’re absolutely right.

But what they don’t tell you is that the forgetting hurts as much as the initial loss. That in the forgetting, you lose another piece of that which you have already lost.

That the resilience that propelled you through the gasping breaths of panic and the heaving sobs of loneliness is a double-edged sword. Read more...

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What Do You Wear To Get The Results of a Biopsy? Random Questions I Never Thought I’d Ask…

What exactly is the appropriate dress code for getting the results of a biopsy?

In case you’re wondering, Miss Manners has not yet expounded on the topic, which, frankly, surprised me considering she once deemed “business casual” to be less of a dress code and more of an accounting practice accessorized by handcuffs.

Look. I understand that this question seems ridiculously inane, even for someone who is regularly consulted on matters of traditional, albeit arcane, fashion etiquette. Read more...

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