It’s been a DAMN good weekend!

Yes….I know the weekend is not completely over just yet.

As I am writing this, it is 907am on a Sunday that just so happens to be Daylight Saving Time.

So REALLY it is 807am.

And the world is today’s oyster…. ummmm I mean, anything can and is bound to happen.

But for this moment, at 908am, I am going to take a moment of gleeful silence to hold on to this feeling a little bit longer.

Ahhhhhh. That felt AMAZING. I wrote on FB last night that I was on cloud 9.

And I still am.

In fact, Cloud 9 grew and continued to grow overnight. And now, I am surrounded by a Forest of Cloud 9’s.

They are neon yellow, and fluffy. Weightless and soft.

Comforting, as if being wrapped in a fresh out of the dryer, warm and gooey, fuzzy smooth blanket.

Side Note: did anyone else realize that this moment happened at 908am, which is really 808am today?!?!?!?!?!?!??!

LOVE YOU GRANDMA. I AM READY TO RECIEVE WHAT THE UNIVERSE IS WILLING TO SEND MY WAY – I send loudly via telekinesis to my Grandma in the afterlife.

As I sit here writing this, at 917am, my memories are walking thru this Forest of Cloud 9s. Reliving each moment lovingly that brought us to this exact moment in time.

The good ones, the bad ones, the nightmare ones.

Each moment, had to happen, to get to this moment.

As I sit here, I start to scan this amazing wilderness covered in not meadow flowers, but memories.

Just off to my left, hiding next to a bush, trying to remain hidden, is all the social anxiety moments that overcame B & E over the years.

The moments that E shrank behind me; the moments B would chew her nails, pick her skin, or twirl her hair until it fell out. The moments I would stay up late researching keywords like skin picking, why, what is social anxiety.

I take a deep breath. I close my eyes. I remain still enough to hear the bluebird in the tree across the way, hop up from their perch on a branch.

I open my eyes. And I continue scanning right in my peripheral. A memory, way far in the distance, that continues to disappear in to the horizon.

A cloud full of memories of doctor visit, after doctor visit, after doctor visit. Memories of endless nights, hours upon hours of therapy, infinite months spent begging the universe for a sign.

Memories of a Mt. Everest sized hill that we call Medical Debt, continuing to unimaginably and rapidly….grow to unsurvivable heights.

I quickly and hastily close my eyes. Swiveling to the right so urgently, I did not hear the gale force wind sneak up on me.

I open my eyes slowly, hoping to see a better memory to cleanse my palette.

Ahhh. This memory full of memories. Laying in the field the length of a school bus away, almost to the center of my body now.

A small yet fierce, fluffy cloud full of memories of happiness and joy. Memories full of highlights from our endless adventures and hysterical moments of all the pranks and laughs we have.

I don’t want to leave this cloud. Relieving these memories reminds me that it is super important to always find the good in the bad, the anchors in the storm, and hold tight.

Because these memories, are the ones that will shelter us thru the storms. These memories will beam thru the darkness as the lighthouse light spins thru the darkest of nights.

My hand slips from the clouds of happiness, as my body shivers from the cold. I was so consumed with the last memories, I was blissfully unaware of the wind picking up, the small drops of rain, and the dark clouds suddenly appear as if magic lives here.

NO!!!!!! I yell. I can’t. I don’t want to. STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But to no avail, I am forced to watch this memory. The wind from the left bullied my body in to looking down at my feet, straight in front of me.

The wind picks up.

I try to reach down to touch it.

My arm grows shorter.

I give up.

I kick.

My foot slams in to something protecting it.

SLAM!!!!

WWWWHHHHHHYYYYYY???? I scream from the top of my lungs as the wind picks up, the drops SPLOOSH and splash! across the Forest of Cloud 9s.

As I shut my eyes as hard as humanly possible, like a clenched fist ready to strike in blinded rage, the wall of the storm forces my eyelids open.

These are not memories I want to NEVER relive. These are memories full of hours upon hours of storms and meltdowns.

School pickup after school pickup.

Meeting after meeting of IEP meetings, and fighting for their rights.

Path after path of destruction.

Deafening scream after scream.

These are memories I wish would be locked away and hidden in the depths of memories, becoming roommates with the memories of my childhood.

Night after night I spent crying myself to sleep.

Elopement after elopement, and that incident. No. I cant. Please don’t. I am begging.

I know reliving it will help me heal. I plead with you though.

Okay. Okay.

In the middle of all those memories, is the darkest of them all. The only memory, perfectly uniquely surrounded in a tar like fog.

Everything seems attached to this one memory.

I sigh and give in. Show me the memory, I begrudgingly mumble under my breath.

March, 2017. Or 2018. E in the middle of a 9 day fever marathon. 2nd or 3rd drs appt to keep an eye on her. We park. We get out. E and I join hands.

I take a step forward. I blink, my eyes needing to adjust to the bright sun. I feel a slight yank. I look down at my hand.

Shes gone. Shes running faster than I could walk.

No. I can’t.

I weakly sigh. She took off down the sidewalk, and disappeared. I hear her screaming. And crying.

I finally found her in someones back yard. I thought I cornered her.

She found an opening and she is off. I completely lost her. Did she go left. Or right. I need help.

Cars zooming by.

People staring.

I need help. I pull out my phone. I call 911. I frantically try to remain calm so I can give them the details they need.

I get back to the parking lot.

I walk pass the car to look down the other sidewalk.

Nothing. She is nowhere. I am still talking to 911. I turn around. I see something moving in my car. I run walk to the car.

I FOUND HER, I excitedly tell 911. I found her. She is in the car. I left it unlocked for the first time in years.

We remained in the car for 20 more mins. While she is storming.

I put on the child locks and lock us in.

She calms down enough to get buckled up so we can go home.

We drive down the hill and park. I take a deep breath as tears flow down my white as a ghost cheeks.

I open my door slowly. Full of worry about what is going to happen once I open E’s door, I walk agonizingly as slow as possible, to her exit hatch.

I grab the handle. I open the door. She already unbuckled herself. She hugs me. And I hug her. We embrace eachother.

And we are both bawling.

I can feel the winds lighten. The drops of rain shrink, slowing to a sloth like drip.

As I am stuck in this memory that is the root of my PTSD, I can sense the clouds lightening. My skin tingles and hair stands up as the sun seeks me, hiding under the darkness.

I inhale so deeply, I can taste the freshly baked memories that just recently happened.

As if savoring each moment of these memories off to my right, I examine each moment.

Delicately and intensely.

Softly and without judgement.

This cloud full of memories that just popped out of the oven, is centered in the middle of a football field sized plot of meadow.

But, it is smaller than the others.

It doesnt take up alot of space. I quickly realize that this, this plot of land, this memory, has a wide open space of memories waiting to be made and remembered.

Good or bad, they will have a home.

But for now, this cloud is beckoning me back to reality. Flashing, as if a caution light reminding you to slow, yield, pay attention.

I take a deep breath, and roll my shoulders down. My chin lifts up, my mouth closed, my back as tall as can be, my hands on my crisscrossed applesauce knees.

I close my eyes, and exhale.

The memories come rolling in like a slow maple syrup being tapped from a Maple tree.

The week was tough for the girls. E started last week on a 40hr stretch of being awake, and ended the week with an urgent pick up from school required.

Meanwhile, B was feeling all the emotions last week. So much so, she couldnt stop shaking at her TKD tournament.

It was a week where I needed to write about my sadness over E moving 1 step forward and 6 steps back.

But I didnt.

And now we are here. In this moment. At 1012am. Holy cow. I am still writing. Sorry everyone.

Wait. Where was I.

Ah yes. This cloud full of memories of miracles.

Saturday was a huge day in this household. So huge, I ended the night on the original Cloud 9 seed that built this forest that surrounds this meadow-like cloud field.

B has been working hard at TKD since she was in kindergarten, 5 years ago. She will be testing for her black belt in June. But first, she must attend 3 seminars, and 3 competitions.

And for her….this is nerve wrecking. There are 2 types of people. Those that love competing and those that wish to be as far away as possible.

B is the latter. She cannot stand competing. But she knows she must show up at the very least.

She was feeling all the feels Saturday. So much, she was visibly shaking.

But she didnt let that stop her.

She perseveres, and she continues fighting, even when her inner dragon wants to keep her locked in the dungeon.

And she did just that on Saturday. And because of that, she not only earned a silver medal, but she earned that self confidence boost.

Wait! I wasnt done with that memory.

Ooooooo. Ahhhhhh. Yes. This memory.

I prepared the girls that Saturday was going to be a sensory overload kind of day.

Saturday is also the day that E has her regularly scheduled storm.

So as we were in the car, on the way to B’s competition, I decided it was the right time in our lives, to talk to them about their super powers. Giving them tips and tricks, ground rules and set expectations.

I had them visualize how we see their body react in different situations and how we can all help tame and control their super powers.

Psst: I actually do use this verbiage with the girls.

I have spent restless hours researching to find tactic after tactic to help our kiddos thru their storms.

And Saturday evening…..is the moment that a miracle seemed to have taken place.

Ahhhhhh yes. This miracle memory.

1hr free time until chores. I announce to the household after we finish eating at our respective comfy butt shelves.

The morning was sensory overload for everyone. So we all needed a break.

30 minutes left of your free time today, I checked in with them.

9 minutes. 5 minutes. 2 minutes. 30 seconds.

I calmly remind them every so often.

Time is up. I stand up.

Ok family, time for chores, I say without demanding. And I get to work.

In comes B, looking at the chore list written on the dry erase board. She asked if she could pick her chores first.

Yes you may, I acknowledge.

In comes E, with her headphones on and her tablet in one hand. She walked straight to her every day chore first – dishes.

I can hear music playing. Hmmmm, that’s odd, I think. I havent put any music on their tablets.

I step back and watch her for a minute. Without using my words, other than telling them it was time for chores, E was not fighting or stalling or melting down.

E was actually doing her chores. Gleefully. Obliviously.

I ask her if I can see what music she is listening to. She obliges. 1 song. She only has 1 song on her tablet. And she is listening to it over and over again. I close the case and hand it back.

With her tablet in one hand, she walks to the living room.

Ah ok, she is going to quit doing her chores. I ready myself to give her the choice to do her chores or lose her tablet for the rest of the evening.

She picks up a couple dirty dishes from daddy’s side of the couch and starts walking back to me.

She loads the dishwasher, and I immediately go get a purse to put her tablet in for her to wear. It doesnt fit. Wait!!!! One of her old daypacks!!!!!!!

It worked. She wore that backpack. And she danced. And she did her chores without screaming or storming.

And that was when the Cloud 9 seed was planted and watered with all the rivers and rivers of waterfalls down my face.

I wipe the pools that are beginning to form under my eyes away.

And I am engulfed in a hug after this next memory comes leaping and bounding up to me.

Oh it’s a deep embrace for my soul. A memory reminding me that I am exactly where I need to be and doing exactly what I need to be doing.

Memories of the intensely dark and deep moments of solitude that I had to weather over the years.

Memories of the thoughts of wanting to give up, but not out of unconditional love of my family.

Memories of the exact moment I gave myself the ability to realize the unconditional love of myself.

Memories of the miles hiked, the tears spent, the sound of my inner voice hashing it out, and the moment I took control of my life.

This cloud is full of memories that are linked by knotted rope. Strengthening the one coming next.

I inhale this moment of courage and bravery.

I open my eyes.

I twist my torso to the right, looking as far behind me as my periphery allows.

Darkness encapsulates the very end. But as I untwist my torso, and scan the meadow that surrounds me, the warm cuddly blanket envelops me once more.

I begin to stand, and stretch, and yawn. As if awakening from a deep slumber.

And as if pushed with a gentle nod from the leftover breeze of the storm that was, I am reminded that this is just a moment.

A moment that will soon become a memory.

A memory I can gather strength from, and anchor myself to, in the storms to come.

This weekend, will always be known as the weekend that the Forest of Cloud 9’s was founded.

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