Saturday, June 30, 2012


For us here, on AWordBetweenUs, this post is halfway.  It has been a wonderful downhill ride from the moment we launched.  But calling this halfway commits us even more.  In the first half of something you can always give up.  Or change direction.  But now that we’re here.  In the middle.  And it’s announced.  We’re in.  For another 26 weeks.

Somewhere along the way I got the impression that halfway meant half finished.  It meant that you had just as much left as you’d already completed.  The first part would immediately be finished by the second part which was equal...halfway. 

This.  Is false.  And halfway trips me up all the time. 

A few years ago when I was in the process of losing 40 pounds, I got to 20 pounds down and celebrated my halfway point.  It seemed so logical…and necessary.  Losing 20 pounds is a major accomplishment.  Just 20 more to go.  What I soon discovered was that although the pounds were equal, the effort was not equal.  That second 20 was not the same as the first 20. It was So. Much. Harder.  Downhill to the first 20 pounds and uphill for the last 20 pounds.  In some ways my mind was farther along than my body.  I had begun to make the changes in habit and it was just up to my body to catch up.  In my head I was changed, but in the mirror I was not changed enough.  The mental effort in the first half was Go! Go! Go! and in the second half was ComeOn! ComeOn! ComeOn!  Long story short…coming halfway did not mean I was half finished.  
A few weeks ago I started running.  After many miles on the treadmill I asked my husband to map out a route for me on the road that would take me 5 miles.  Out and back.  I’d know just where halfway was so I could make sure I had enough power left to get me home.  The road was the same going and coming.  The route was equal in each direction.  But the effort was not equal.  That second half was So. Much. Harder.  I had to push so much more.  It became just as much of a mental effort as a physical effort in the second half.  Not equal.  Crazy how that tree I flew past on the trip out looked different on the way back because it was all I could do to push myself to run to it.  It was not the same tree.

For some things, you wouldn’t want to know halfway when you got to it because it would mean that you could start counting an equal number of days until the end.  Oooo…if you knew something was going to come to an end that would certainly affect your efforts.  Maybe not in a good way.  I hope nobody ever makes a note to me of the halfway point of my friendships.  My marriage.  My life. 
The second half is mental.  The stuff that comes after halfway is all about paying attention and making decisions.  About being settled with what you’ve done so far and using it to pave the next way.  And sometimes halfway is just a spot on the journey that doesn’t mean as much as you thought it would.  Sometimes halfway is just the middle bit. 
So back to AWordBetweenUs.  Welcome to halfway.  Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or you just found us last week.  We’re at 26 weeks.  And for this year, that’s halfway.  But for this partnership that we started…this creative connection that we’re making…this thing we’re building that is distinctly Nancy and Susan together

…it’s just the beginning.

***Contributor's Note.  Have you got a word for us?  What would you choose as the inspiration for one of our upcoming weeks?  Leave us a comment here or go to our Facebook page and give us a word.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


What’s that glass jar full of Mom?


What’s change Mom?

You know…nickels, dimes, quarters, pennies.  It’s called small change.

It doesn’t look small Mom.  It kind of looks like a lot to me.  You could really buy something with all that.

I guess you’re right.  When you put it all together it is a lot.

Wisdom.  From the mouth of the child.  Small change.  The parts of our dollars that are just leftovers.  Collected in the bottom of the washing machine or the cushions of the couch.  Forgotten.  Not enough to do much with…

Unless you start collecting.  And the small change begins to add up.  To quite a lot actually.

Small change.  Like...well jeez, your pants are too short, it’s time for new shoes, you need your bangs trimmed again, your library bag is so heavy today.  You roll them all into the days and weeks as they go past.  Minor adjustments and tiny accomplishments.  Not much by themselves.  But then they start to add up and omigosh your baby’s not a baby anymore.

What about each small change we make in our life?  When we are on a path of making ourselves into something new.  Those little shifts in behavior.  Those insignificant differences.  Many of them are forgotten as they fold into the daily routine of our lives. They don’t seem like much on their own.

Unless you start collecting.  And those small changes begin to add up.  To something you can really do something with.  To quite a lot actually.

Maybe at first small change will barely fill your hand.  But if you start collecting, someday you won’t be able to hold it all in.    

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Uniform.  Same.  Or perhaps all alike but not the same.  Uniformity is not conformity.  No it is certainly not.

Do we become the thing we wear?  Or do we wear a thing because of what we have become?  Do we rise to the standard of our uniform?  Or choose it because we have already achieved a certain standard?  A sameness.  Does your uniform say who you are?  Or do you say who you are by the uniform you choose? 
I’m not resolved on my idea this week…and this is possibly certainly why my essay is 5 days late.  I was overwhelmed by references to uniforms this week.  I kept changing my mind about what I thought.  Where to start?  How to finish?

So…a story of two pilots as a start.  And then a bit of a rant.  Because they really do seem to be about the same thing. 

The first time I met my sister’s husband, he was in his uniform…his flight suit…a bag, I believe they call it.  He was instantly US Airforce, badass fighter pilot, Maverick and Goose (and yes, I know they were Marines), academy and polish, and all the other bits rolled into one.  He was only his uniform because I didn’t know him.  He has spent the last 13 years becoming something else to me.  Husband, father, Christian, grill master, late night beer runner, boater, Wolverine fan (yuck), and all the other bits rolled into one.  It’s kind of wild how he started as a uniform and became something else.

The first time I met my friend Tammy she was sitting cross legged on the floor of a Community Ed center where our two youngest children were attending a Mommy and Me class.  Dressed to the nines in sparkly coral wedges and this flashy yellow raincoat she was instantly classy and polished, mommy of boys and caring parent (I mean she was on the floor after all), and all the other bits rolled into one.  That’s what she was when I met her and since then she has added foodie, mother of a daughter, fun wife, power shopper and master party host to her list of designations.  Well, last Monday she came around the corner in the hallway of her very sparkly home in her other uniform.  Her pilot’s uniform.  Pressed and buttoned up.  Gold bars and shiny buttons.  I just kept staring at her.  I was trying to be covert…but there was staring.  It was wild how she started out as one thing to me and instantly became something else.  She was really that thing all along. 

Do we become the thing we wear?  Or do we wear a thing because of what we have become? 
I don’t wear a uniform to do my job…but I do have standards.  Of dress.  And grooming.  And behavior.  I was ranting just the other day about a fellow shopper in my local grocery store.  It was 10am on a Tuesday and she was there with her two children so presumably she was in the first shift of her very noble job as a SAHM.  (That’s Stay At Home Mom for you uninitiated.)  Grocery cart full of produce.  Reasonably well behaved urchins.  Coupon accordion file opened in the cart.  Nice.  However, this rant was about the fact that this woman was in her pajamas.  She felt that it was appropriate to go to work on this particular Tuesday bra-less in a lacy tank top, fleece pants with pink monkeys on them, fuzzy slippers and a scrunchie.  This.  I.  Do.  Not.  Understand.  She was out of uniform.  We SAHMs don’t even have a uniform!  But if we did, this would not be it!

Do we become the thing we wear?  Or do we wear a thing because of what we have become?  Do we rise to the standard of our uniform?  Or choose it because we have already achieved a certain standard?  A sameness.  Does your uniform say who you are?  Or do you say who you are by the uniform you choose? 

I do not know. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Knit.  To take one thing and make it into another thing.  Yarn stops being yarn and becomes something else.  A  sweater.  A scarf.  A new thing.

Something that has been sewn together is always at risk of coming apart at the seams…always at risk of becoming pieces again.  But when you knit yarn into something new, even when things begin to unravel, that yarn never goes back to being yarn.  It’s a sweater that needs mending.  Or a scarf with a loose end.  Nobody ever calls it yarn again.  Ever.

And this is how I know a mother is not sewn.

You can’t stitch together a mother from the bits of the woman that was there before.  A mother is not pieced together from girl, daughter, sister, wife, friend.  A mother is not remnants and seams.  Even the best stitches couldn’t hold those pieces together.

Knit. To take one thing and make it into another thing.  Once you’ve been knit into something new, you never go back to being what you were before.

That woman…she is the yarn that is knit into something new when she becomes a mother.  She never forgets what she’s made of; daughter, sister, wife, friend, but when you knit that girl into a mother she becomes something new.  When you knit that friend into a mother, she is transformed.  Even when things get a bit frayed around the edges and need special care, or begin to unravel and need a bit of mending, she never goes back to being just that woman again.  Ever. 

Knit.  One thing made into another with a careful hand and a practiced rhythm.   Knit.  A new thing created with time and patience.  Knit.  A project started and stopped, restarted and changed but once it is begun it’s no longer yarn.  Knit.  Not pieces stitched together, but a new creation.    

Once you’ve been knit into something new, you never go back to being what you were before.