love note no.13: dear routine.

There have been a halt in love notes because I haven’t been at a computer.  We spent a few days last week at a friend’s cottage and I have just returned from a solo trip to Chicago to visit a friend.  Because this time outdoors and with friends is so precious to me, I am not on the computer too much.  But with recent events, like my daughter’s sprained ankle and time away, I have discovered a few things…

So let’s try this again.  Instead of 100 days of love notes.  I am amending my project to simply “100 love notes.”  And here’s why…

Dear Routine,

You and I have been going steady for a long time now.  You were the trophy wife to my creativity, to my sanity, to my MO of “getting shit done.”  When I had my babies, you rode in like a knight in shining and armour to slay my dragons of chaos and exhaustion.  You even helped me mount several attacks against my arch-nemesis: laundry.

In fact, we took it to a new level of commitment in recent years and you became a sacred ritual – a morning must and a creative daily project like this one and this one.

And when it came to the kids and homeschooling, your edges became less defined and our relationship had less hard boundaries.  We were officially exclusive and you were a slow and steady rhythm that matched us to the seasons and helped us develop a family flow each year.

But we have had some rocky times lately.

Since we returned from Costa Rica in late March, and entered the Land of Transition, we’ve become estranged.  Sleep schedules have turned upside down – some children need me at midnight while others come to me in the early morning to be held.  I feel like I am nursing again.  With adolescence comes different sleep patterns and with change comes different needs.

My 5am sunrise wake ups haven’t been happening this year on a daily basis.  We are up at night talking, planning, researching, and wondering.  The kids wake up in the middle of the night more and crawl into bed.  They have trouble falling asleep.  I lie with them and stroke their heads. We wake up in the morning disoriented because we aren’t at home.

I have stared at my morning pages, the little piece of you I cling to like a security blanket, with so much to say.  They have become my constant companion transforming into mid-morning pages, lunchtime pages, afternoon pages, evening pages and late night pages.  Every moment I get lost in my head, I throw all the thoughts in there to make space to see clearly.  But I don’t have a dedicated morning time anymore to stay in that space.

We are out enjoying our favourite places with our favourite people savouring every moment we have with them this summer.  It feels like a lot of doing but it’s not.  Yes, we are moving and driving and visiting but we are also being.  So when there is a last minute text to hang out or a day trip to a faraway beach with family, we are saying YES.  Yes to being with the people we love.  The people we are going to miss.

This means saying NO to you a lot.  No to regular bedtimes. No to regular mealtimes.  No to familiar grocery stores and markets. No to pre-scheduled extra-curricular activities. No to sitting at the computer to writing these love notes.

After my daughter sprained her ankle and I looked at our calendar for the next month or so, I have realized that daily love notes is a bit of a stretch for me at this time.  I  made the commitment thinking it would fuel my creativity in this time of uncertainty and become a consistent place to ground.  But it only served as another reason to be hard on myself for not following through.  A chance for my shadow bits to rear their ugly heads and sit on their pedestals to cast judgement.

By trying to force us to return to the same relationship we have had, I forget one very important thing – I have changed.  What I want from this relationship has changed.

I need to loosen my grip on what we had.  I can’t be married anymore.  Not right now.  Mornings don’t need to begin the same every day and my bedtime may fluctuate.  What I loved about you, the solace you gave me, was feeling grounded and centred.  My challenge is to feel that without you, to stop struggling to keep you when what I need is to go with the flow.  This doesn’t mean flying by the seat of my pants and being non-commital.  I can still plan and decide what is important to me.

It means ALLOWING.

Allowing myself to plan around the events I want to show up for.  Allowing my heart to open up to experiences and the moments of connection that are staring at me right in the face that I would not have noticed if my head was preoccupied with you.  Allowing for the unexpected while being gentle with myself.  Allowing for busy days driving all over the place and late morning starts.  Allowing myself to dance in the car in traffic trying to get back into the city for my son’s baseball game that used to be five minutes away from our old house.  Allowing myself to visit a friend on my own for a couple of days just because.  Allowing nature to hold me in her arms every opportunity I can get.

Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve

Photo Cred: Marisa Mackay-Barnett at Matthiessen Dells Nature Preserve

Allowing myself to say YES to it all (with a manageable to-do list).

For now, Routine, we are on a break as I focus on letting life move me.  This is the only way I can ease in to change and accept that we are living with mostly unknown outcomes for the next little while.  As I detach from you, I detach from the past and the temptation to assume anything.

This is not goodbye forever but I am discovering so much about who I am right now by letting you go.




100 love notes.









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