It is almost 3 months into my 40th year and I find my inner voice saying “this is 40” in the back of my head at least a few times per week lately.

I spent a week in Florida over the 4th of July.  My travel was hooked to a International Chiropractic Pediatric Association seminar the weekend of July 8-9 but I went down to get a change of scenery the Tuesday prior.  I have not mastered the art of “stay-cation” where I just stay home instead of going to work.  I take 2 weeks off per year, Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40- Dr Erica Peabodyone at the holidays and one at the 4th of July however I have to leave town to not go into work.  It is not possible for me, YET anyway, to just hang out at home and take time off from work.  The guilt rules my days and getting on a plane and being away makes it peaceful for me so I am able to relax and let go of the office for a bit.

My most favorite way to start my days on vacation is to put on a swim suit and a cover-up and walk the beach for 1-2 hours.  It is a peaceful time of day and the walking helps the energy and thoughts surface organically.  In fact, the friends that I often vacation with, began to start asking me what the “song of the day” is because, inevitably, a song would surface in the morning time.  There is always a song in my mind however when it is quiet, it gets really loud.

While in Florida last week, my morning routine changed.  I still walked the beach but I had to have socks and shoes on.  My left foot is still not right from my trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro.  If you saw me in my day to day, I am fine and my foot is fine.  As soon as I start moving forward deliberately walking, it yells at me.  My walk is now a stroll and socks and shoes don’t look cool with bathing suit and swim cover so I wore workout clothes.  Which is fine.  So I am out there the first morning walking, strolling, on the beach for 45 minutes to start my day.  I look down and am in socks and shoes and avoiding the waves as they come to shore, instead of barefoot and walking in the water and my inner voice pipes up “This is 40”.

That bums me out.  I realize I just have to let my body rest and my foot will recover but it has really slowed me down.

In these moments, I know the very best thing to do is to start reviewing my current gratitude list to override that little pesky voice inside of my head.

“I have an incredibly strong and healthy body, stronger and healthier than every before.  This is 40.”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40 - Dr Erica Peabody

“I have an amazing chiropractic practice that has been amazing all these 12.5 years it has been open but it is a new level of awesome as I have progressed as a doctor and servant to my community.  This is 40.”

“I have outstanding relationships with my brothers and their families and can bring the wisdom I have gained over the years to help guide the littles in my family and offer unconditional love in their lives.  This is 40.”

“I have learned so many great, hard, wonderful, nasty, eye-opening lessons in life and love.  This is 40.”

“I am grateful to share regular time with my amazing Mom as we have grown to be such allies in life.  This is 40.”

“I have found an incredible supportive loving relationship and I am grateful for all the lessons in love up to this point.  This is 40.”

“I have come to a point in my life that I realize 100% of what I focus on heads my way so I better keep it positive and fruitful.  This is 40.”

“I realize the days, weeks, months and years go by so quickly and have learned to squeeze the juice out of every single day.  This is 40.”

“I am more and more grateful for all the little moments during the days that make my heart warm; from serving my patients, to stopping along my morning stroll to take in the beauty of a neighbor’s yard, to the simple hugs from loved ones, to laying down in my bed earlier at night in order to get proper rest to keep my body strong and healthy. This is 40.”

“It is obvious who ‘real’ friends are, who is in my tribe, and to invest in those relationships.  This is 40.”

“I realize how fast I got to 40 and I will spend the next 40 years trying to slow life down and smile even more.  This is 40”

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Trivial things like having to wear socks and shoes while walking the beach can really take us, well me for sure, out of my game.  I know and trust the tools I have worked to develop in my life that can change that feeling of being bummed and it all begins with GRATITUDE.  This life is not perfect.  These days have their own inherent challenges.  Life lessons come at us in all shapes and sizes.

But be grateful. Search for that silver lining.  For me, even though I had to wear socks and shoes to support my feet while I walked on the beach every morning and every evening, I am grateful I CAN walk and I am grateful to have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and realize it is just a reminder of my journey…for now.  This is 40 and I LOVE being 40!!






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The concept of “serving others” lives at the core of my being.

I remember 2 years into private practice at Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic I called my mom and said “So I wake up, eat, go to work, come home and eat lunch, go back to work, exercise, home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again.  Is this all there is?”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

I had jobs along the way however being a chiropractor was my first true career and I opened my own practice right out of school.  I busted my behind (and still do) to get this thing up and running and 2 years into it I made a realization that this is what I would be spending my years doing and it blew my mind to think that was all there is.

When I say that, I am not ignorant to the fact that many are married with children and running families and doing the same thing, however, our lives are truly filled quite full with time spent at work.

My very next thought was…”THANK GOD I am in a profession serving others.”

Service is my highest heart calling and my life has revolved around that for over 12 years in private practice and a few years beyond that during my internship at school.

It was dinnertime our second day on Mt. Kilimanjaro, we sat down and one of the first comments I heard was “Man, I really wish there was a chiropractor here.”

When I am out and about in my personal life, I do not always offer up front that I am a chiropractor and since it hadn’t some up in conversation yet, not many in that particular crowd knew I was.  …well until that very moment anyway.

Day 2 of the trek I still felt yucky, sore, tired and out of it.  That is not a place to “serve others” from since my own tank was on empty but it was now sitting in the back of my mind.

I could probably adjust this entire group.

It would do every single person some good in making the trek a success.

It only takes my hands.

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This thought sat in the back of my mind the following day as we made our way to the next campsite.  As we hiked along that next day, or porters would pass us on the trail.  As they cruised by us, they all carried about 30 pounds of stuff on top of their heads and I know one carried 30 pounds of my own stuff.  This is their job and many had been doing it for years.

From a chiropractor’s eyes, it is so clear to see just how much stress has been placed on their spines and it dawned on me that I should spend any extra energy I have serving them.  The 31 women on this trek live good lives and have access to all the care they need at home.  This is not to discount their need in that moment but many of our team of porters and guides had never heard of chiropractic and had no concept of what a chiropractic adjustment could do…much less how beneficial it would be to their spines, nervous systems, health and well-being and multiply that by the fact they carry so much weight on their heads on a regular basis.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

Our day 3 hike was long and tough.  I stopped part way down the trail and adjusted Kelly (my patient/friend that invited me on this trip in the first place) and that led to a couple staff members lining up to get checked. That led to me offering my services to all staff and  I opened up a make-shift office outside of the dinner tent, which pretty much just consisted of a chair that the staff could sit in so I could check and adjust their spines.

Many stood back and watched, but some jumped right in with full trust.  By serving them, my own energy lifted.  This is a usual thing that happens, even at my office here in town.  By helping others, I am helped.  By helping others to heal, I am healed.  By helping others to increase the energy inside their bodies, my energy increases.  It is the COOLEST thing about this work I do.  Serving others helps me.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

It also fills my heart and nothing is more satisfying than what happened the very next day.  I was stopped and standing on the side of the trail.  One of the guides, that was really reluctant to sit down in my chair the evening before but decided he would in the end, walked up to me and sort of whispered “That ‘thing’ you did to me yesterday, I have been so calm ever since.  Do you think you could do that again before you leave?”

Then the following day he stops me as says “That ‘thing’…do you think you could teach me how to do that so I could help my team?”

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”  -Marianne Williamson

There is serious power in those adjustments, every chiropractic adjustment is powerful and I often wish you all could feel what I feel in my hands.  Being able to release healing energy inside of the body to allow people to be stronger, healthier and adapt to the internal and external stresses in their lives better, I would argue it is one of the greatest things in life.

Serving others truly is one of the greatest things in life.

I am blessed and lucky to be spending my days waking up, eating, going to work at the Cafe, coming home and eating lunch, going back to work, exercising, then home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again the next day serving others.


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I have made a commitment to blog frequently and I am not sure how it is one month later since my last blog. I am not sure where the time goes. I am not sure what happened to that month…but to say it has been one of the most impact-ful months of my life is a massive understatement.
A month later I look back and cannot believe the trek up MT KILIMANJARO even happened. It feels like it was all just a Dr Erica Peabody - A Month Later - Chiropractor Fenton Michigandream. My life here in this precious little town of Fenton is so vastly different than the 10 days in Africa that it feels like I was swept into someone else’s existence when I went to do that. I am only brought back to my reality when I stand up in the morning and my feet are still screaming “Yup, it was us that did that!!!”
A month later I sit in my office, CAFE OF LIFE CHIROPRACTIC, and am so very grateful for this life I have created and how much of it I have shared along the way. Although sometimes I feel like technology and social media has taken us a step backwards learning how to have human to human interactions, I am so grateful to have been able to share the experience with all of you over FACEBOOK LIVE specifically and of course YOUTUBE as well (<<<—links provided to my Facebook page as well as to the YouTube clip of my video logs along the entire trip).

A month later I am still stopped all over this precious little town so that people can congratulate me on my mission accomplished.  I get stopped at the gym, grocery store and absolute strangers continue to walk up to me and introduce themselves.  I am so happy I have been able to share far and wide that people have followed the story and lived it with me.  When I get stopped people say things like “Hey!  You don’t know me but I know that you are Dr. Peabody.  I caught wind of your story and have followed your updates along your trip.  Thank you so much for sharing that because I don’t ever think i could possibly climb that mountain but I want you to know that because you did that, I have been inspired to take on ____________ challenge.”  This is the most incredible part of this trip, just knowing that it has spread and ordinary people like myself are dipping into reserves of strength they didn’t know they had.  I FREAKIN’ LOVE THAT!!!  I ABSOLUTELY LIVE FOR THAT!!!!

A month later I look back at just how serious the trip was.  I haven’t shared yet, but two women in the group ended up getting high altitude sickness.  When this happens, the porters put them on piggyback and have to run them down to lower elevation as it can be fatal.  When I say piggyback, I mean 2 hour piggyback while the porter is running 4,000ft down the mountain.  We had an awesome crew and they were able to recover well however in retrospect I can see why my mother was fearful for her stubborn, strong-willed daughter that decided to climb MT KILIMANJARO in the first place.  Sorry Mom, life was waiting for me.

A month later I cannot believe how much richer my life is because I was taught the great lesson of surrender.  Surrender to the elements.  Surrender to the body.  Surrender all thoughts and dreams and aspirations.  Surrender to the moment.  Surrender to the sensations.  Surrender surrender surrender.  In the most intense peak moments of this trip, there was nothing I could even think about aside from putting one foot in front of the other and taking one breath in and letting one breath out.  I know there were a lot of people pushing for my success but I couldn’t even think about any of it or I would instantly choke up and lose my breath.

And just a month later I can look back and say that was one of the most rich and rewarding experiences of my life and I am so very grateful to have taken the time and done the work to make it all happen.  Thank you to each and every one of you for all of your encouraging words and positive energy you sent my way.  Many have asked what is next on my list?  I am not sure as I am still processing this one a month later.


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We all need to crawl first!
I get messages from my patients at Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic all the time. Lots of wonderful messages about healing and growth and clearing their lives and feeling better.
I saw a 9 month old girl yesterday and mom reported that she has been starting to stand up to furniture but hasn’t crawled yet. Some parents would be so ecstatic that they were standing but without crawling, its presents a Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Crawl Firstchallenge. There are reasons why babies go from crawling to walking, it is a primitive developmental stage (the cross crawl movement is vital to so many other movements as well as neurological development) that leads to the next thing and to the next thing. Its stages, and normal development happens through those stages. When a child appears to be skipping a stage, it is concerning to me as a chiropractor.
So I checked her spine and nerve system and got her adjusted. I have been adjusting this little one since birth however more sporadic than anything and they had a busy summer and hadn’t made it in in the past 2 months.
This is mom’s text message to me this morning (yes some patients text me directly) “Just wanted to let you know that “L” is crawling around everywhere today!! …and getting on her brother’s nerves!!! Glad I finally brought her in, she obviously needed it.”
I did not push a “start crawling” button on little L, there is no such thing. I simply asked some questions, adjusted her spine as I normally I would for any child, and her body righted itself, got the nerves connected correctly and started crawling…apparently REALLY CRAWLING!!! For a child to go from stationary to crawling after her adjustment is an incredible shift in life. She is now ready to progress and will probably take off on foot very quickly.
This is not the first time I have seen this happen…many reports over the years but just finally had a moment to sit down and write this out for you.
Some people have a perception of chiropractic care is a “cure” for pain.  Was that 9 month old in my office for pain? Not even close. Using chiropractic for pain only is like using your iPhone to text message only. It is SOOOOOOOO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!!  It is about life and living and how the body is working and healing and growing and developing and handling the days.
It is about LIFE!!!
I am honored to be little L’s chiropractor. I wouldn’t have my life be any other way.
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I know what you are thinking, “what is she up to now?!?!”  I have to write this post and just globally announce that I AM NOT CRAZY!!!!

I am selling my house.  Yes, I have been so grateful and blessed to call a cozy place on a beautiful lake south of town “home” for the past 3.5 years.  SO. VERY. VERY. VERY. GRATEFUL.

As I was headed out the door for a run 3.5 years ago, my mom called me to ask if I would ever consider living on the lake (they live on the other side of said lake).  The very first thing that came out of my mouth is “that would be great if I had somebody to do that with.”

I pondered that thought for my entire run and it became very apparent that very thought was an incredibly limited belief about myself and my situation.  I called her right back and said “YES!!!”…and the rest is history.Fenton Chiropractor Lake 2

So fast forward 3.5 years later, with a for sale sign out in front of my house, and everyone is calling me CRAZY!!!  “You have got to be CRAZY to move off the lake!”  “Are you nuts, you live in a beautiful home!”  “I heard a rumor your home is for sale, are you out of your mind?”

All of you know that owning a home is a lot of work.  Adding the word “lake” in front of that word “home”, adds a lot more work on top of that.  I am not one to shy away from work and I have a lot of maintenance things hired out to keep my life simpler.

My biggest challenge is that everything on the lake weights 60-80lbs or more and there are so many routine things that I cannot do at all because things are so CRAZY heavy.  I am just one single gal and I truly have to call people over to help me on so many occasions.

Everyone will say “Oh, but that is simple for you…you have 3 brothers to help you with all that stuff.”  Well there is some truth to that and they step up every single time they can, however, they have their own lives and families and it is tough sometimes to coordinate schedules to make things happen.

I absolutely love the lake I am on and I practically grew up here though we didn’t have a house right on the water.  However, like I mentioned above, my Mom and step-dad are on the other side of the lake and in the summer, my brothers and their families hang out there almost every weekend.  Therefore, I am rarely at my house at all.  I would much prefer being with everyone else and playing with the kids as they learn about their world, about the water and how to swim.  We spend hours and hours chatting, playing, listening to music and the squeals of the children, and making and sharing food together.  That is what I want to spend my time doing and the greatest part of this is that I do not have to give any of that up.  My family will live in the house they are in for many, many, many more years to come.

I have a beautiful pontoon boat that I keep at my house.  It is a running joke on the lake, and some think I AM CRAZY that it never leaves my dock.  I took it out a total of 3 times last summer and 4 the summer before that.  If my family is out on my parents boat, why would I undo my boat and be separated from them?  Trust me, I AM NOT CRAZY!

I have a family home and I do not have a family.  I AM NOT CRAZY for making this decision, I am just one single gal and that is too much house for me anymore.

It is true that I will miss my view and my garage.  I am down-sizing and moving into town really close to my practice.  I AM NOT CRAZY, I have plans to eventually live on another lake down the road sometime.  For now, this is the next right move for me.Fenton Chiropractor Lake

It seems backwards and so strange when I tell others of this move.  I always feel like I have to justify the fact that I AM NOT CRAZY and then I go into my long list of reasons that I am choosing what I am.

I will absolutely miss this house.  If you know me at all, you know I have put some blood, sweat and tears into creating a home here.  Homes that are loved show you they are loved, that is apparent to anyone who walks in my front door.

I remember moving out of my last chiropractic office location and into the location where the Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic lives today.  When I left that location, it had been a chiropractic office spot for over 50 years.  I didn’t buy the office from someone, it just so happened they were moving their practice out when I was moving my practice in.  When the final day came in that space, it was incredibly emotional for me.  It just so happened to be the spot my brothers and I would go to see our chiropractor while growing up.  As a child I ran through those halls I was now serving in.  I also knew that we would be able to offer such a superior experience with so much more space and a better fit in our new building and that is exactly what has happened.

This feels a lot like that move.  It will probably be even more emotional because it has been a sanctuary for me, a refuge at the end of my day and a nest to settle into at night.

In retrospect, maybe it would have been great if I had somebody to live in this lake house with  Maybe that would have made it simpler and easier, or at least I could have had built-in help for carrying heavy things.  (On a side note, I would allow all of you to call me CRAZY if I married someone just so I would have help carrying things).  But I also know and fully trust that it is the next right move for me and it is going to lighten the load, free up my time and allow life to be so much fuller and richer in my new spot, right in town, right by my practice.  That will become my sanctuary, refuge and nest to settle into at night.

Ultimately I did choose to live here and though the seed was planted by someone else, I let it grow and become my current reality, which truly is beautiful and I am so blessed.

I also have found that when life gets a little uncomfortable, that is when the magic really happens.

Yes, I am in tears, this is incredibly uncomfortable.  It is so much simpler to stay in a place than to move  It is so much more comfortable to not make waves and shake up my life and have to pack everything up and unpack a home of boxes on the other end.  But I hope you can hear in my words that I am stunted here in this most beautiful place I call home right now and it would serve me better to let go and move forward.  It is also well thought-out and I rest peaceful knowing that, though it looks like a strange move from the outside, I AM NOT CRAZY!!!!  Rather, I am just doing my best to live my fullest life possible and I HOPE YOU ARE TOO!!!!   …and as a side note, there is a really great, very loved home for sale on Runyan Lake if you are in the market.



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There are a few moments in life when there is so much internalized intensity that tears help.  Just letting a small explosion come out of your tear ducts helps to alleviate the pressure of the current moment and the stress that is building.

I am a pretty sensitive gal and do my fair share of crying, though crying is not exactly what I am talking about, though I guess it would technically be what is happening.

This past weekend I re-visited Bower’s Harbor on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City to compete (or rather complete) the Traverse City Triathlon again this year.  I was signed up to do the same distance I did last year which is called a “Sprint” and consists of 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run.Fenton Chiropractor Triathlon

I had quite a bit if anxiety building up for about a month prior to the race last year due to the distance of the swim.  This year I was much calmer…until the morning of.

I had a few friends accompany me in the race this year which included my Mom and step-dad.  They had each done two shorter triathlons in the past and had been training and gearing up for a few months for this one.  I think I was partially picking up on their nerves that morning as well and hoping and praying they had good experiences since I was the one that encouraged them to participate.
The 5:30AM wake-up time came all too early and we were grateful most of our gear was packed the evening before.  The drive up to Old Mission took just over and hour from where we were staying.  As the miles passed and the time ticked away, the most intense nervous/anxiety feeling started to brew inside me.  No amount of deep breathing or meditation could contain this feeling.  It could have possibly been the month-long anxiety from the year before all being packed into one single hour.

I had to come up with a strategy and chose to turn on some loud music and let it out somehow and that is when tears started streaming down my face.  As I sat and watched my body do this, I checked into my thoughts to discover there was a little bit of fear creeping around in there…okay, it was sheer terror.  Over what?  Why such terror?  Then I tapped in to the fact that this swimming thing never gets easier for me.  I struggle and gasp for air due to my challenged heart and decreased ability to carry oxygen.

So I just let it flow and allowed myself to settle into the idea that the wet suit I was about to put on will keep me on top of the water no matter what and all I have to do is put one arm in front of the other and kick my legs.  Tears help a lot in relieving that kind of tension.

We pulled up to the parking lot where we would unload our gear and head down to the starting line.  My Mom walks over to me and says “I think I am going to throw up.”  That didn’t help the nerves any however I was grateful to have had the avenue of release already figured out and felt better, though still super anxious.

The morning continued.  I survived the swim easily this year.  The race went well.  I beat my time last year by 7 seconds…which I was happy about.  At least I am consistent I guess.  My hopes in doing these events is that my anxiety will diminish with each event and I can get to a place where I can thrive from the starting gates and focus on the event rather than being distracted with so much anxiety.  2 Sprints down, many many more to go.

Speaking of triathlon, I would like to mention one of my heroes that happens to be doing the Ironman Triathlon this coming Sunday.  My cousin Kelley was born 2 years after I was and we grew up together.  She has taken on endurance events over the years like it is a side job of hers and will be completing the ultimate endurance challenge ever…Ironman.  The race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 110 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.  I wish I could be there to witness this huge accomplishment in person but will be there in spirit.  And I have to admit that during my race last Sunday, I thought about her and was grateful to not have that kind of a race ahead of me.

Bottom line…tears help.  They do.  There is a reason they are part of our physiological make-up and can really be used to our advantage from time to time.

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The rose is known for it’s beauty and energy.  It is a symbol for “love and beauty” and different colors mean different things.  I remember growing up, when I got a rose that was white, it meant something similar to the “like” button on Facebook, yellow meant “friendship” and red meant “love”.  When roses were delivered in high school from someone, the color truly was significant…but the bottom line was everyone loves roses.

This evening I was having wine and a bite to eat with a friend, and since it was Mother’s Day, the restaurant was giving red roses out to all the females…basically making the assumption that they were

One of the servers at the restaurant taps me on the shoulder and says “Ma’am, would you like a rose?”  Instantly, and based on my assumption that “roses are for mothers only” I said “No thank you.  I don’t deserve one.  I am not a mom.”

WOAH!!!  HOLD YOUR HORSES!!!!  …now all of a sudden I have made an assumption that in order to “deserve” a rose, to be “worthy” of receiving a rose from a random restaurant server, I must have birthed a child into this world or somehow married into a step-mother role.

When absolutely ridiculous statements like that fall out of my mouth, a HUGE red flag goes up indicating it is a good time for me to take a step back and evaluate where on Earth it came from.

The friend I was sitting with was just the perfect person to have this conversation with as he reminded me that I am worthy of a rose…and so much more.  “You are like a palm tree in the North Pole…you give hope and you give life and put a smile on people’s faces”.  “Leaders and movers in the world were never placed on a yacht in the Bahamas, they were always where hungry and thirsty souls are.” and “Bloom where you are planted.”

Thank you my dear friend.

So I took the rose and I placed it on my purse and it became the center of conversation and a focal point for the rest of the evening.

Have you looked at a rose lately?  If you sit and are really present with a rose and you take the time to check out the intricacies of it’s structure…it is truly magnificent, a beautiful natural work of art.  As I brought the rose up to my nose for a smell, I was taken back by the beauty of the layers and layers of pedals that created this amazing thing…and to think all of that came from a very small rosebud is absolutely astounding.

In its infant stages, all of that gorgeous structure was already planned and mapped out.  A rosebud holds so much potential that is only expressed if it is nurtured and given what is necessary for growth.  …and the same holds true for each one of us.  There is such a magnificent, grand plan that will unfold in perfect timing and perfect beautiful structure if it is nurtured and given what is necessary for growth.  And if you look around, you will find this is also true for everything around you.

So let the beauty of a rose remind you of your inborn, INNATE potential to be magnificent and grand and beautiful and loved.  When you walk by the floral department in your local grocery, take a second glance at the beauty that is the rose in all of its gorgeous shades.  But do more than that…pick one out of the group, buy it, take it home, put it in water and place it by your kitchen sink.  Let it be your early morning reminder, your lunchtime reminder and your after dinner reminder of the beautiful potential that is you.  Nurture that potential and give yourself what is necessary to grow…and then get busy blooming where you are planted.



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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there reading this.  There are a few moms that I hang out with on a regular basis and of course one that is extra special to me…my own Mom.

I do not have children of my own at this point, and when I really think about it, I do not see how children fit into a life like mine…but my understanding is you just make it happen.  I can’t imagine one child, much less four like my Mom had.  Bless her for doing an amazing job with all of us and in retrospect, the simple fact that my brothers didn’t kill themselves or one another is absolutely a miracle in and of itself.

I could write on and on about the incredible human being that my Mom is however this picture sums it all up the very best and touched my soul at such a deep level I instantly burst into tears…



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“HELLO!  HELLO!  HELLO!” is such a familiar greeting in my childhood.  “Mom, why does grandma say ‘Hello’ three times when we walk in?” my 7 year old self would ask as we walked into my grandmother’s home who lived just one mile down the street from where I grew up.

I just heard that familiar greeting as I am sitting in the living room at my grandmother’s home in her golf oasis in Florida as a few of her friends arrive for a visit.  I have been here all weekend with some other family members as my grandmother moves nearer and nearer to THE final destination.  Yes, she is dying.  Not today.  Not tomorrow.  Not this week.  Probably not next week or the week after.  Within a month or two she will leave this earthly plane but in the meantime she is alive and living the best that she can and we are here to experience some of that.

I feel fortunate to be privy to some of the stories that are shared in such an intimate setting.  I always knew my grandmother was strong, powerful, full of life and opinionated.  However, as I sit and listen the stories this weekend (and of course stories I have heard over the years) she is also a real person with real life experiences, has had many ups and downs, has shed a lot of tears, has found love and happiness and has the most contagious, roaring laugh on the planet.

My Mom is here, a few aunts and uncles, with other neighborhood friends of my grandparent’s stopping by during the days.  Grandma is spending most of the day relaxing, reminiscing and resting.  We have done a lot of sitting and talking, literally hours of sitting and talking.  We have all shed tears, shared stories, asked questions and done a ton of laughing.  In fact, the first morning I woke up here, I thought to myself how great it is to be awakened from sleep by roaring family laughter, especially considering these circumstances.

During this time, we have drawn out the family tree.  My grandmother birthed 10 children.  My grandfather, who isn’t my grandfather by blood but has been “Grandpa” to me for close to 30 years, has 7 children of his own.  There are layers of grandchildren and great grandchildren and the total count of immediate family comes to 96 people total.  WOW!!!  Isn’t that an absolute monstrosity of a family!!!

“It’s a myth that a big family is always happy.  We have our share of tears, but there is a network support system that always goes into gear in time of need.  My children were the reason I got up in the morning” a direct quote from my grandmother back in 1981 when she was voted “Mother of the Year” by the local Fenton newspaper at the time.

That “network support system” has always been a central idea to how our family was run and I see it in my generation, especially when it comes to my own siblings and nearest and dearest.  That theme is a powerful part of what my life was built around especially considering my dad was one of his own natural support network of 9 children.

There is nothing like family, absolutely nothing that can replace these blood connections.  When family gets to these numbers, there are good eggs and bad eggs, however we are all connected and always will be connected in a way that runs strong and deep behind the scenes…and largely due to the ideas of the amazing matriarch that started this show.

My grandmother is a legend and one of my heroes.  I know she will never truly grasp in this lifetime the extent of her extraordinary life and contribution to this world.  She will never realize what an amazing person she is, her beauty, her strength and how much good she contributed while she is here.  But her faith is strong and I know she will figure that out as soon as she sheds her current failing body.

When she leaves this earthly plane, she will travel effortlessly to wherever she believes Heaven is and I know God will know when she arrives because he will hear her roaring laughter and her infamous “HELLO! HELLO!  HELLO!”.  May peace be with you in your process of transitioning, Grandma, and thanks in advance for watching over all 95 of us from the other side.

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I had a wonderful weekend enjoying time outside and soaking in the sun and I always enjoy celebrating Mother’s Day. I am very fortunate to live so close to so much family, and my mom is included in that. I have a wonderful relationship with my Mom and she and I are very close. Moms are moms and life happens which can sometimes create an awful lot of baggage in a parent/child relationship. I am very fortunate and get to spend a lot of time with my Mom. I consider her one of my closest friend and tend to discuss most aspects of my life with her. There are quite a few people that are curious of her and my relationship and most people make the assumption that we have been this close my whole life. I grew up with three brothers and was pretty much carted around with them, doing everything that they were doing and not getting much room to be an individual and almost never getting individual one on one time with my Mom. I never really learned the value of good quality female relationships until I went away for school many years down the road. Then came the invention of Internet and email. I was living in Alaska at the time my Mom first got email. We began to email each other 2-3 times per week and I really felt like I was able to get to know her, and thus get to know myself at a deeper level. This progressed for a few more years and our relationship really began to flourish to the point that I she became one of my very best friends. I moved back home in 2004 and lived under the same roof with her for two years. She is amazing, brilliant, straight-forward, talented, level-headed, caring, loving, balanced and really happy. I admire her and all the trials she has had in life and how that has shaped her to really be grounded in who she is. Though she is not “raising” us anymore, because of the mutual love and respect that the my brothers and I have for her, we are able to go to her when things come up and allow her to guide us when we need guidance. It really is a beautiful thing. For Mother’s Day this year, she spent the entire day working and wasn’t going to be home until 8PM. In my mind, she still deserves recognition, as every Mom does, on that special day. We made a small desert celebration happen last night to surprise her, and we did just that. Without my Mom, there wouldn’t be a Me and without a Mom like I have, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you Mom!!! …today and always!
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