3Splitz Farm, nature

Spring’s Surprises

Hard to believe, but it’s our first Spring season as owners of 3Splitz Farm. We put some of our own plants in the ground, but what’s also been exciting is watching what blooms and emerges that we didn’t even know was there.

So far we’ve had sprinklings of daffodils, clusters of crocus, hills of violets and some beautiful bushes coming to life. But what made me smile most was looking out my bedroom window to see the familiar dapple of white flowers unfurling.

Dogwoods were my mother’s favorite. When I walked the property I counted at least 8 of them lining our drive and flanking the cabin. Each craggy, each unique. I was ready to plant a dogwood there last fall but it wasn’t time to put them in the ground. Every house my family has owned has had a dogwood in the yard. 3Splitz would be no different. Little did I know those beauties were already there. Another symbol that feels like I am on the right path, even if I am surrounded by distractions.

Spring is just beginning at the farm. Things are greening up. I wonder what will blossom next? Azaleas? Iris? Lilies? Who knows. Thanks to the previous owners for these delights. Excited to see what’s next.

author moments

Big Bang Theories

At the beginning of a race, you might expect to hear a gunshot or even two.

At the shooting range, or on a hunting trip, out in a field in the country, sure. Gunshot makes sense.

But in a Mexican restaurant on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Salem, Virginia? Where we just happened to stop in the middle of a marathon whiplash road trip?

Well, maybe I am naive (ok, definitely), but it wasn’t the first place my mind went when I heard the huge bang with a slight echo. It *was* unusually loud, and I shared glances with a few other guests, but my mind told me it was a huge tray being dropped, which I then told the rest of the table. We kept eating.

One of my daughter’s friends saw the police pull up out the front window a few minutes later. Several officers casually walked back to the restroom area, where a man was seated. They put on gloves.

Many of us started to murmur, to wonder. What was all this about? All the while, we keep eating. More baskets of chips and salsa arrived with the same fanfare as the police walked in. Nothing to see here, or so it seemed.

Next, the ambulance. And then, the firetruck, all with lights flashing.

Again, the EMTs casually rolled the stretcher in. They loaded the man on. His jeans were cut open and he held a towel over his thigh. They rolled him out to the ambulance. He had really shot himself! In the bathroom! In the leg! On accident!

!!!!!

The waiter brought our check. We paid, uncomfortable and astonished. I did an 18-point turn to get out of the parking lot, weaving through the emergency vehicles. We continued on our way.

For the next hour or two as we headed down the road, every once in a while I or one of the others in the car would blurt out a “What if…” comment. What if the gun had been pointing another direction? What if I had gone to the bathroom at that time? What if his injuries had been more serious? What if there had been an argument and he had shot someone else? What if there were more guns in the restaurant?

Even years later now, I am shocked reading this. And today, in early 2021, I spoke with someone who showed me a picture of an acquaintance who had shot himself in the leg just days ago. An experienced and knowledgeable gun owner, he was planning to shoot into the ground but instead he will live with a bullet in his bone.  It could have been much worse.

Be careful out there. You never know who’s packing.

family

Mystery Envelope

A self-addressed stamped envelope on the kitchen table. (Who even does that anymore?) My own handwriting. A return address sticker with a name I didn’t know. Confusion.

Opened the envelope to find a letter and some photos. A pile of very old and very unexpected memories.

It was her very first plane ride. A whiplash trip to Naples, Florida. Me and my little baby.

Took the 8am flight out, the 8pm flight back. Nothing but a car carrier, diaper bag, formula, a ton of diapers, my little front baby pouch, and some food. Her Great Grandma was nearing the end of life, and I wanted them to meet each other before Great Grandma passed away.

We took a shuttle straight to the nursing home. Met her Great Grandma during recreation time. She sat in her wheelchair. My little Anne, still wobbly on her feet, reached up for her. Great Grandma was deep into dementia by then. I’m sure she didn’t know me, she didn’t know Anne. But still, even through the fog and confusion, Great Grandma’s face lit up. A sweet little baby, soft and curious, reaching up to be held. Their smiles echoed each other’s – wide and cheerful.

We spent a couple of hours. Just talking about nothing in particular. Great Grandma hadn’t been my family for very long. She was my Grandpa’s fourth wife. He had been her third husband. He passed away first, leaving my little known new Grandma to handle his affairs. This wasn’t an easy process, but my Dad loved and accepted her because she had been his Dad’s choice. He still called her every week. But she hardly knew me. I hardly knew her. There was just a lot of smiling and playing with the baby.

We flew home. I wrote her a letter and sent her photos of the visit. As I wrote in the letter, I knew she didn’t have much use for clutter in her tiny single room. So I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope in case she wanted to return them.

Fifteen years later, 2021, the envelope, the photos, appear in my mailbox. My sweet baby in the photos now drives her own car. Still has the blond hair, but she’s five foot nine. She still reaches up. She still smiles, and brings smiles to many.

A letter from her daughter came with it. She had just found the photos, with my letter and envelope, in a long packed away box of photos and keepsakes. Obviously Great Grandma wanted to keep them, she wrote. What can you do but wistfully smile at fate and memory and times long gone?

I got to share the story with Anne, and the pictures. Shortly after that visit, I learned that those were the very last photos ever taken of Great Grandma. Her own children appreciated them, and cherished that we took the time to visit.

Across fifteen years, a whisper from a daughter I may have met once. A memory of an experience that mattered, even if Great Grandma and Anne wouldn’t have known it at the time.

When I think about it, it was kind of crazy. Take a baby on a plane? By myself? Twice in one day? Just to see someone who probably won’t recognize me? Who may not even know why we are there? Yup, I did that. I’m still that kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that will drive hours out of my way for a hug. That will go over and above just to do something little. The little things are the big things.

Take time for people. Take time to write. To chronicle and share. To connect and care.

friendship

Surprise!

Everyone likes a surprise. Nobody likes secrets. Generally speaking I can’t keep a secret. You shouldn’t tell me anything that wasn’t meant for the world to know. Just a fun fact about me.

Ironically, I picked up the phone one day and was recruited to keep a secret from a special friend in my inner circle. Clearly the requester had no idea how bad I am at this or they wouldn’t have asked, right? Maybe I was the only option? Of course I signed up for the job but it wasn’t going to be easy. I just couldn’t say no.

The person being surprised is a sleuth. A gal with 1 million questions and a memory like no other. I’m going to get caught I just know it. She is going to be so mad at me for being deceitful. How will I overcome this?

Why did I volunteer for this? Who can I can recruit to help me be sneaky? At least if I’m not the only guilty party she can’t be mad for long, right? I got the pack on board. We each played our part. So far so good. Days are turning into hours. We are honing our deceitful skills as we speak. 

While we are being deceitful the suspecting party is catching on. Her latest line of questioning was Kim asked me this weird question and then Sarah asked me this on the same day…. Me: okay, so what are you trying to say? She: I hope they are not being sneaky for my birthday. Me: I doubt it. You are imagining things. Big sigh. She: Who are you talking to about flowers? Me: somebody asking a dumb question. She: Who? Me: my sister. Bad answer she is a master gardener. Oh well, dodged another bullet. I think.

We have been keeping a secret about a surprise birthday gathering of an unsuspecting or maybe inquiring soul for what seems like months. In reality it’s a week. It’s been torture to say the least! I’ve had to make sure I don’t slip up in a text, in person or on the phone. Talk about challenging.

Close call the day before. Somebody said I’m bringing your gift tomorrow. Oh no, did she catch on? Nail biter for sure. I deferred and deflected but not sure sure if she fell for it….

It’s been kind of fun in a way but I’ll be glad when it’s over. At the end of the day the surprise went off without a hitch. Tears of happiness were flowing in abundance and a very special person was recognized by many who appreciate her.

When the surprise can be kept, the outcome is amazing. It makes all the scandalous secret keeping worth it. I’ve had my fix for surprises for a while. I don’t even like to wait for Christmas to see what I got for presents. I like to know now. 

The best part was a virtual birthday card. Pretty proud of the idea. Excited for the unveiling but it will be a gift that she can look back on many times. So many people sent amazing messages. Not sure why I’ve never done a virtual card like this before but it was my favorite part of being sneaky. 

A big thank you to my Miagi who put all the videos together for an amazing end result. More tears. As expected. Time to shift back to honesty is the best policy motto. Have you had the opportunity to surprise one of your close friends? If not, be sure to give it a try. See if you can keep the secret surprise!

celebrations

Showing Up for Me

My friends and CrossFit community mean a lot to me.  My coaches are an important part of my progress. There are so many people who are important on my health journey. 

But in the end, when I go to workout, I show up for me. All the different versions. 

I show up for the grouchy one.  The tired one. The clumsy one. The one who doesn’t think she can do it.  I show up for the feisty one, the nervous one, the one who is just going through the motions.

I show up for the one who loves burpees and power cleans.  I show up for the one who forces herself to do thrusters and running.  I show up for the one who mumbles and grumbles and at times dawdles and always has to run to the restroom just before the countdown to zero.

I show up for the one who sometimes forgets how far she has come.  I show up for the one who thinks she will lose her momentum if she misses a single day. Who forgets that an off day won’t set her back 5 years.  

I show up to meet her.  Who will she be today? I show up to see what’s new and how she has changed.  Some days she surprises me. I show up to encourage her, to lift her through it.  

Keeping the promises I make to myself is as important as any other commitment I make in my life. A recent podcast featuring Ed Mylett reminded me how important it is to move, to detach from outcomes and focus on the process, and to follow through on the promises I make to myself. 

There are a few precious people I would put myself on the back burner for.  This is a huge change from how I used to be. I used to be willing to back burner myself at a moment’s notice for anyone who even asked. People I hardly knew. Heck, some of them didn’t even ask – I volunteered!  It was almost a point of pride to be that way. 

But the extreme selflessness I prized in myself cheated me of my strength, my energy, and my growth.  I am learning that I am better if I rank myself high on my priority list. And that means showing up for myself.  Even when it is hard.  Even when I am going it alone.  Even when no one high fives me.  The people who I would set it all aside for notice.  And they celebrate how I am changing. For the better. 

I can’t drink from an empty cup.  When I am there for myself, my cup runneth over, and I have more of me to go around. 

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