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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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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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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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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My Break Up With Social Media (And What I Learned In the Process)

why i broke up with social media detox and what i learned

It’s been over two months since I broke up with social media.

I wish I could say it was intentional, that it was part of some noble plan to be more mindful.

But it wasn’t. It was apathy.

Honestly, it was a lot like the end of every other mediocre relationship you stay in too long out of habit. Until one day, you wake up and you simply don’t have the energy to care anymore.

Like all relationships, the love affair with social media started out so promisingly.

The idea of being able to stay connected to the daily lives of friends and family regardless of geographical distance was revolutionary, much like email had been 10 years earlier. Read more...

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This is What An Invisible Disease Looks Like

mom boys disability epidermolysis bullosa

This is what an invisible disease looks like.

It looks like nothing at all.

There are thousands of them and they run the gamut from rare to common, physical to mental, life-threatening to debilitating. But they all have one thing in common – they leave no noticeable mark. To the outside world, we all look healthy.

Mine, and my children’s, is called epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic disease whose hallmark is debilitating blistering of the skin in response to heat, friction, injury or rubbing. I was encouraged to write something about it today for Rare Disease Day but, truthfully, I didn’t know what to share. Read more...

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A Promise To My Second Born

It is trite now to offer up written apologies to latter born children. To catalogue all the ways in which we have relaxed the rules the second (or third or fourth) time around. To humorously list the words they’ve learned too early, the movies they’ve seen too soon, the crappy food they’ve eaten.

In fact most of these articles aren’t apologies at all but thinly veiled parental pats on the back for being so nonchalant, so easy going.

Here’s the truth if we’re willing to admit it. The innocence of our latter born children is all too often sacrificed on the altar of their older siblings. It just is. Read more...

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Why I Hate New Years…

Judging by social media over the last few days, 2016 was apparently the worst year in all of humanity. The rash of posts and tweets heralding New Year’s Eve as the end of all the ills that have befallen the world left me a little befuddled (which, admittedly, is not hard to do).

This symbolic adherence to New Years as the closing of one door and the opening of another has always struck me as a little contrived.

Maybe it’s because I have always marked the passing of time by the school year, not the calendar year. Read more...

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Be The Inkeeper Who Opens The Door

Be the Innkeeper Who Opens The Door. Mary and Joseph. Be the Good. Christmas Kindness. All Year Long. LuckyOrangePants.com
One year ago tonight, I took the boys to dinner. As Jack was making his salad, an elderly gentleman with a walker was trying with some effort to open the door.

Without my prompting, the boys rushed to open the door for him. He seemed genuinely touched and told me what gentlemen they were.

For some reason, I could not stop glancing over at the man as he waited for his takeout order at a nearby table. Perhaps it was his eyes which bespoke a quiet, gentle loneliness. I know that look.

I have felt it. Read more...

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