To be honest, I've been feeling so silly this evening I really didn't think I'd be able to turn out a blog post. Even as I sit here, soaking up the warm summer night air next to the pool, I find myself giggling with a new friend as we attempt to "get some work done." So, as I thought about what I want to say now that I've reached the halfway point in my training, I guess that's what I want to say: I feel silly again. I am having so much fun and feeling a great sense of lightness, even as I contemplate all of life's really big and important stuff.

I feel like ME. The prankster responsible for numerous distractions during ballet class growing up. The kid at the sleepover who laughed till she cried, making up ridiculous songs and dances. The post-college wanderluster embarking on a series of international adventures. I never took life too, too seriously. That is, until I did.

And now I am having the most marvelous time reconnecting with these other sides of myself. I don't care who's watching as I try to contort myself into some crazy yoga posture, knowing full well I'm about to fall on my face. I am blurting out jokes faster than my self-conscious has time to censor them. If you knew me growing up, this is probably sounding familiar. But it is so NOT the person I've been in the past few years. It was really amazing to start writing a blog that people who didn't know me personally actually read, but ever since our lives became quite public, I've become quite cautious about what aspects of myself to expose. And, in turn, all of that thinking gets quite exhausting.
PicturePractice, practice, practice.
So, back to Greece & yoga. Here's a quick recap:
  • Today I taught my first mini-class. And by mini, I mean very, very mini. It was a grand total of 15 minutes, but I had so much fun and my dear friends forgave me for all my errors (now is definitely the time to know my right from my left).
  • After 7 straight days of Ashtanga yoga, I had an amazing day off. It began prematurely (as in, the night before) with drinks and dancing in Oia. Then I enjoyed a day of quiet - blogging for Brainline.org, swimming in the pool, and eating a glorious dessert overlooking the ocean. 
  • I survived 24 hours of no talking and no technology. And I LOVED it. I wrote in my journal, meditated in a hammock, took a walk on the beach, and started reading a new yoga book. This is an experience that must be repeated. And I think it might start with a new rule at home: no internet after 9PM.

But the thing I'm most excited about is that I think I've discovered how I'd like to practice yoga when I get home: planning yoga caregiver retreats. I can't think of a group more deserving of a few days of rest, relaxation, and reflection than hardworking caregivers. So now I need to set out and make this dream a reality. So much to do in this life, I just need more time!

In other good news, my lovely husband joins me out here on August 1st and we will finally take the Greek honeymoon we've always dreamed of. There is much to look forward to in the weeks ahead, and so much to enjoy right now in the present moment. I've said it a million times already, but thank you, universe. I am so incredibly grateful.

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Beautiful Oia.
 
 
PictureThe shala (aka "yoga tent")
I won't lie. My knees ache. My elbows are bruised and I have multiple moments a day in which I wonder if I'm going to make it through the next 17 days. But the good news is that I still love yoga.

For the past few years I have been practicing yoga inconsistently - a class here and there, and then admittedly, several months of nothing. I didn't really return to it with any serious determination until this past February when my dad was at home in hospice care. Those days before his passing were long - filled with lovely memories, of course - but each hour ticked by slowly as we sat at his bedside preparing for his final moments. After a few days I started to go stir-crazy. Eventually my sister and I began to allow ourselves an hour or so each day to leave the house and try to feel some normalcy. Usually we went to a yoga class. And how lovely it was, not to think about anything but the present for those 90 minutes. It was glorious. One of the many benefits to be reaped from this practice.

But yoga all day, everyday? Now that's a different story.

My days in Santorini begin at 6AM. That's when my two roommates and I wake up, pull ourselves out of bed, and still blurry-eyed make our way to the group shala for 6:45AM meditation. I've never really meditated before and I am finding this practice extremely challenging. While our meditation sessions are only 30 minutes, staying still and silent for this time is a difficult task. I find my head cluttered with random thoughts and observations on every subject and constantly have to redirect my attention to my breathing. No doubt this is a practice that takes considerable time to master.

Up next is a two-hour yoga class. For the past week it has been Ashtanga yoga, a lineage of asana (yoga postures) that I am only a little familiar with. The sequence is the same every day, full of those poses that make for amazing photos but the ones you rarely find in a beginner's vinyasa class. Tomorrow we will run through the entire primary series of Ashtanga postures, but we will do so in Mysore style, which basically means you do the sequence yourself, without the instruction of a teacher. We will all be moving in different ways and finishing at different times, so it will be important not to get caught up in paying attention to what the person next to me is doing, which brings me to my next thought... It is INCREDIBLE to watch these women move. Every one of the women here demonstrates such unique strength in her practice. Some are incredibly flexible, some are physically powerful, and others move with such effortless grace, I can't help but feel overcome with appreciation for the capability of the human body. It's truly beautiful.

Breakfast is at 9:30 (usually a giant bowl of creamy, delicious Greek yogurt), maybe a dip in the pool, then back to the shala for 2.5 hours of asana breakdown. This is when we go through each of the poses individually, learning its Sanskrit name and practicing teaching it to others. As the days go on, we'll be doing more and more teaching -first to small groups, then to the whole group. 

After lunch we head to philosophy class where we are learning the yoga sutras, the chakras, and all of the mind and energy theories behind yoga. Then my favorite part of the day: restorative yoga. An hour of peace and quiet under the shala, releasing muscle tension and relaxing through some very gentle asana. Anatomy class is our final part of the day, after which I am more than ready for a nap. The days are very full, but I am doing my best to balance all this yoga with some time for writing, reading, and a little sunbathing. 

I am truly inspired by much of what I have been reading and learning about here. So many of the questions I've wondered about and asked throughout the mental journey I've been on for the past two years are the same questions we all ask and wonder about. Although I am missing my family like crazy, it is so therapeutic to have this time to really think about these questions deeply and to gain the perspective of some very courageous and adventurous women.

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View from inside the shala
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A fish pedicure! The tiny fish (Garra rufa) nibble on the dead skin on your feet, gently softening it. Feels like a hundred tickles at once, but a fun experience!
 
 
PictureSantorini sunset
The sun has set in Santorini and finally I return to my blog after a year of such inconsistency. What a year it has been from August 2013 to nearly August 2014 (my definition of a calendar year). It was full of such incredible opportunities and adventures: the Marie Claire contest, the release of the Nothing But The Truth anthology, the amazing travels we have taken. I imagine it's a fairly natural response for people who are recovering from some sort of traumatic event to want to pack in as much living as possible. And that is how I approached the past twelve months: saying yes to every invitation, seizing every opportunity, taking every postponed trip, just living, moving, and experiencing. But the year has also been exhausting and filled with extraordinary lows. There was the six months of watching my dad suffer at the end of his life, the stress of returning to work and trying to fulfill all of my competing roles. It wore on me in ways I couldn't appreciate in the moment, but could only recognize in the final weeks of June as I struggled with debilitating fatigue and inexplicable gloominess. With no real reason to feel low or even tired, everything just felt like a gigantic effort I could no longer manage.

But then there was Greece. Looming around the corner was a trip I felt tremendous anxiety about - a month away from my family to heal, practice yoga, and process all of the craziness of my recent life. It was the combination of two bucket list dreams: to visit Santorini, a place I've fantasized about for years, while simultaneously earning my yoga certification. I will write a lot about my relationship with yoga over the next few weeks, but it's one of the few things in my post-brain injury life that has felt 100% authentic, genuinely me, just real. I was giddily excited and completely guilt-ridden in the weeks leading up to this trip. It's such a long time to be away, such a selfish journey in so many ways, and yet, as I discovered at the end of the school year, so completely necessary in order to restore myself. 

I don't give myself high marks for how I've handled the past year of my life. After TC's injury and the months of very natural grieving that followed, I felt I had stumbled onto something important: a new life philosophy, an approach to happiness that was sustainable and healthy, a sort of enlightenment really. But then we returned home to DC after a year on that journey and I fell quite easily into the trap of my old life. Things looked the same, but, of course, they weren't. I used every ounce of my energy over the past year trying to preserve that image, living exhaustively, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole even though I was preaching otherwise. I couldn't say no to others and I couldn't say it to myself.

The problem was that I didn't have time to think, to really figure out how to navigate these familiar surroundings in a fresh way. Once again I was the workaholic, shopaholic, burned out, stressed out, trying to please and be everything to everyone version of myself that came so easily before. And I hated myself for this submissiveness, mainly because I knew I wasn't being brave enough to change things. And after everything we'd been through, it felt very shameful to suddenly be a coward.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. There is no manual for the path I'm paving and there are so many distractions and responsibilities along the way, but after only four days of quiet and meditation, my missteps are now clear. I know now why I felt I had to take this trip. I needed to be present, like fully present, by myself, no Wi-Fi, no distractions, no obligations. I also needed to be inspired. What incredible highs and joy I experienced in the first year after TC's injury! I was seeing the world in high definition, finding gratitude in nearly everything, fully tuned in to my senses, and suddenly, it was gone. Things were dull again. There were routines to be repeated, the news was filled with tales of sadness and acts of senselessness, even social media felt narcissistic and empty. My soul was dry, craving inspiration as nourishment. And I didn't even know where to look to find it.

I had become hardened along the way. My heart was opened in those first few months of madness, trying to explore the beauty in the unexpected and uncertain. And then I returned to my old life and slowly it closed again. Unwilling to be hurt, unwilling to grieve, I just couldn't afford to feel so deeply anymore. And so I closed myself off, stopped the healing process, even before I got to a place of true acceptance. So here I am, trying to soften again, to reclaim some of the innocence and playfulness that was torn from my spirit. One of my yoga teachers opens her class with the following mantra, "May you soften when life invites you to harden." That is what I am here to do. Hardening is the path of least resistance. Only with bravery and compassion can you choose to soften instead.

For five days, I have been living mostly in nature, eating the most divine vegetables and Greek yogurt, checking Facebook and e-mail only occasionally, learning to sleep with one pillow, choosing the Santorini winds over the air conditioner, and indulging in every dessert. My muscles are aching, my head is full of Sanskrit, and I have never felt more like myself. It is the true gift of my life to be able to take this journey and I am so deeply grateful to everyone who understood its importance and encouraged me to go forward. I can't wait to share with you the adventures ahead.

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A little evening yoga on the roof of a church
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The food, the food! Ahh, it will be the end of me!
 
 
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So, I haven't been quite the prolific writer I'd hope to be over the past month, but I'm choosing to forgive myself considering how jam packed and significant a month May turned out to be. More on that later...

More than a year ago your support helped me win the Notes & Words essay contest sponsored by best-selling author Kelly Corrigan. Last month my essay (as well as 72 heart-changing others, including one by Kelly herself!) was published in the anthology Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 73 Women on Life's Transitions. It was such a thrill to be able to hand a copy to my mom over Mother's Day weekend. It was an additional thrill when Maria Shriver's site, "The Shriver Report," choose to run my essay on their homepage!

The contributing authors to the anthology are remarkable women - many of whom, including myself, are members of an online group called A Band of Women. These women are incredibly real and honest. If you check out the anthology, I'm sure you'll agree that their stories are both raw and powerful. And if nothing else, take a moment to check out what's going on at A Band of Women. This brilliant online forum brings together women from all over the country - women who sincerely believe in the importance of supporting and empowering each other. I'm lucky to have found them. 

Thanks to everyone whose Facebook vote last spring helped get this essay published. As well as being a huge boost of confidence, it led me to my book agent, and hopefully to a future in book writing! 

 
 
PictureSpring is here! About time I'd say.
I lost the balance. 

In the weeks leading up to my return to work last summer, I was quite afraid this would happen. It wasn't my fear of teaching again. What I feared was the runaway train that is the life of a teacher: the constant demands and nagging feeling of a job not-quite-done, the mental to-do lists of all the things you could be doing marginally better, the worries and anxieties that come along with adding 23 children to the one you have at home. These children are not yours of course, but they get under your skin, causing you to love, obsess, and fret over them as if the fate of their entire future was squarely in your hands. And for 180 days, it pretty much is.

But that's not an excuse. I've never done the work-home life balance well. Even in the days before TC's injury, I struggled to put work away, to sit across the dinner table from my own child without feeling mentally preoccupied about the kids I had just said goodbye to for the day. I tried (unsuccessfully) to set limits on myself: no e-mail after 8PM, no lesson planning on Saturdays, no teacher talk at family gatherings. All these rules were for nothing, however, because the fact of the matter is that for all people at all jobs, the work has to get done sometime. That's just the way it is.

I knew my writing would be the first thing I sacrificed. It was a fairly conscious decision on my part. My writing does not pay the bills. My teaching job does. But as I look back at my blog, witnessing five months of nothingness, I have to wonder how much I have allowed my job to serve as the excuse for why I am not writing more.

There is another reason - a much harder one to explain - and it has to do with failure. Writing a blog was never on my life list of things to do, so it was really disorienting to post my first entry two Augusts ago and have 5,000 people read it within the first few hours. I didn't know who I was writing to and, in some ways, I still don't. I don't know that I write anything that makes me unique or identifiable from any other blog author except that I have inadvertently made a lot of people cry over the past 21 months. But regardless of my own author identity confusion, I have to admit that I love writing. I love writing so much that to fail at it even a little will suck enormously. And for that reason, sometimes it's easier to write nothing at all.

A lot has happened in the past five months. In February I lost my father after a very long illness. The experience of being at his side during those final weeks was so intimate, so emotionally taxing, that I still haven't found the right words to put around it. To tell the truth, I'm still not sure I've really accepted that it happened. And behind closed doors, living with brain injury oscillates between being pretty easy and emotionally devastating. TC and I are the survivors of some very rough patches and yet we venture on, resolved to keep working at this family and to repair the very fragile links that were broken. It's not OK to write about yet, because we're still very much living it. And after more than a year of living very publicly, we are both relishing in the occasional moment of solitude.

This all leads me to the thing that's on my mind these days: I have to keep writing. You can't be a writer if you don't write. I certainly don't have magical thoughts every day of my life, but as a reader, I know that I'm always happy  to read even the most mundane thoughts by my favorite writers. The point is to get those thoughts out there - to risk failing, to risk offending, to risk succeeding. That's the creative process. It's full of self-imposed anxiety, ego, and guilt. But I learned so much about balance last year that I cannot let myself forget one of the fundamental principles of my new life: scary things are survivable. But living without risk is simply wasteful. 

So, consider this a warning: I will be writing more - surely annoying folks on social media as I post links to non-magical thoughts. If they're worthless, that's fine. If they're gold, I hope you read them. It is a true honor to write for any kind of audience and I appreciate all the people who have continued to check in as I've let stress, fear, and distraction take me away over the past few months. I hope life has been busy and rich for all of you and mostly I hope you are finding the time to live your passions. Because, really, that's the point of all this, right?

Till next time... 
XO Abby

 

Resolve

12/31/2013

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One of the many things I love about traveling is losing track of time. After a few days of travel, Tuesdays are no longer distinguishable from Fridays, morning and afternoon begin to mesh, and your whole mind becomes a blurry, satisfied pool of relaxation.

Vacationing in sunny Aruba during the month of December has only amplified my confusion as the sudden arrival into perfect summer weather quickly robbed me of last week's Christmas, cold-weather related memories. So it was with a certain amount of surprise that, while nursing my sad little sunburn after a morning at the beach, I remembered that today is, in fact, the last day of 2013.

I imagine many of us will be making resolutions today, as we are apt to each December 31st. I hope we'll all be wise enough to document them somewhere so as to check in on them from time to time during the upcoming year. I'm the type of person who tends to make resolutions during all times of the year. I'm also the type of person who tends to abandon them quickly. On the eve of my 30th birthday (a week before TC's attack), I compiled a beautiful list of all the lovely habits I wished to carry into my third decade of life: healthy eating, more exercise, more sleep, yadda yadda. It should be stated with no uncertainty that each of the items on my list was instantly torpedoed out of my life the day I was forced to face the new reality of the impending decade. Slowly, and with much healing, I have been able to recover many of these highly esteemed habits (albeit with limited consistency). 

This year, however, I am not interested in list making or self-punishment. I've spent plenty of years engaging in both. New Year's resolutions are a great reminder that we ourselves are the ultimate driving force of change in our lives, but they are meaningless without the resolve to carry them through. This year I plan to resist the urge to set strict parameters for my existence in 2014. It would be terrific to make it to the gym five times a week, for example, but just to move at every possible opportunity, at every impromptu dance party with my son, or morning meeting in my fourth grade classroom, is more likely to bring joy to me and to others.

I'd like to go forward into 2014 without resolutions, but with great resolve. Resolve to live boldly, unapologetically, and kindly. Resolve to shut up every once in awhile and just listen. Resolve to learn more and read more, for both these things broaden my world, take me outside of myself, and remind me that there's a whole lot of stuff out there about which I am quite clueless (which is, incidentally, a great method for squelching self-importance). I have a whole lot to learn this year about the world and I resolve to let those lessons in. 

Call me the New Year's grinch, but the only true difference I can see between today and tomorrow is our resolve to think differently and, ultimately, our resolve to let our thinking impact our actions. Cheers to you all, to 2014, and to all the life it holds in store.

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Something sweet and strange about this randomly placed mural in Oranjestad, Aruba.
 
 
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While driving down to visit our families in southern Maryland on Saturday, I sat silently, considering our holiday plans for this year. Finally I remarked to TC, "Hey, do you realize we don't have any traditions left?"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I mean, absolutely everything has changed in the past two years. There's nothing about the holidays that's the same anymore." The whole idea struck me as incredibly sad and I began to wonder what we have at this moment to pass on to Jack. For the first time in his life, Jack is fully aware of Christmas and his excitement about the holidays is adorable, truly joyous to witness. But what kinds of things will he tell his friends and teachers are the holiday legacies of his family?

I don't drive to the "county" (our hometown) very often anymore. Mainly because our schedules over the past few months have been so insanely hectic, but also because my mom spends so much of her time up in the city visiting my dad. For the past 4.5 months, my dad has been a patient at Georgetown Hospital. What began as a bowel obstruction has developed into months and months of related ailments that have caused him to lose much of his physical and mental strength. My dad's health has been problematic for years now, increasingly to the point where my mom decided to sell their house (the one my sister and I have called home for the past 13 years), and build a more manageable home a few miles away. With so many health issues and transitions to deal with, I've hardly had a moment to process the loss of this home - one of the few stabilizing elements of my adult life.

Moving was the best decision for my mom, and even though I feel twinges of sadness when I consider the memories we made in our old house, I'm proud of her for making a decision that has brought her ease in her day-to-day life, something TC and I are trying to achieve ourselves. 

Still, it's hard to pretend this Christmas might resemble those in the past. In a new house, with my dad absent, and the emotional scars of TC's injury still fresh, we're still very much in a transition phase. At times, I feel an overwhelming desire to feel secure again, to lay down roots somewhere we can stay put, to get settled, and to infuse some fun in all of our lives, but especially Jack's. The problem is, I'm not quite sure how to do this or whether the timing is right. I find myself fantasizing about the ten years I spent growing up in Arizona, a time in my life when things truly were easy, and I ask myself whether it's possible to replicate this. But the voice in my head, the one that always tries to override my impatience, tells me to wait. It promises that things ahead will get better and more stable if I can just wait it out. It promises that the answers to life's next big changes will reveal themselves if I can just stay true to the course. However, it also reminds me to be bold and risk-taking, to seize opportunities as they come, and to create magic in the life we are living at this moment.

After considering my comment about our traditionless life, TC answered thoughtfully, "Well, it's an opportunity to make new traditions." I know he's right, and more than that, I know we must. We cannot wait for our easier lives to begin before giving Jack the memories we hope he'll carry into adulthood. The task of creating new traditions starts today, in whatever house we find ourselves, with whoever is present. Living in transition does not necessitate living without tradition. As our lives inevitably change, we must search for the things we can carry forward with us, and when those things come to an end, we must carry forward our ability to create something new. 

 

Survival

11/24/2013

2 Comments

 
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On Friday night I was up late going through old papers and returning e-mails. As I sat there thumbing through hundreds of old medical bills, receipts, to-do lists, and notes to TC, my heart was pounding furiously. Had I really been responsible for all this? Did I really juggle all this insanity last year? Oh, God, was it really that awful? In a simple word: yes.

That work is not over. It probably won't be over for many years. I still panic over unresolved medical bills and disability payments. I'm still behind on returning important phone calls and e-mails. Life continues to throw us terrible disability related annoyances that eat up money and time (my most valuable resource these days). It's not over, but it's certainly a lot better than it was a year ago. And I know it's a lot easier than the hurdles other families with disabilities face.

There are so many moments from the past fifteen months that, looking back, I don't know how we survived. Among the treasures I uncovered on Friday was a notepad I used to write to TC during my visits to the rehab hospital. At that point, verbal language was a complete mystery to TC, so as I talked to him, I'd write what I was saying, either on a laptop or in a notepad. Rereading this little spiral bound book was gutting. 

You're not weird, honey. Your brain just doesn't understand words the same way it used to.


They found the people who did this. It was a group of teenagers. They're in jail now.


Don't be embarrassed, but people have been donating money to us. They want to help.

I cringe, remembering the reality of our lives last November, in the days before TC was finally discharged from the hospital. Is it possible those memories are more awful in retrospect than they were in the present moment? Last week I received an e-mail from a high school student whose family suffered a terrible TBI related loss. She was writing a paper for school and wanted to know more about our experience. Do you remember TC as he was before? she asked. I told her the truth: Yes. But I choose not to think about it. For the most part, I choose not to look back at all. I want to remember, but I really can't afford to. There's no way to change the past. We can only go forward.

Humans are built to survive. I've learned this firsthand, of course, but I've also learned it through the incredible stories people have shared with me over the past year. Insurmountable losses, devastating setbacks, daily heartbreaks. I look at other caregivers with complete awe. Some seem to do it so much more graciously than I do. I recognize gratitude and I preach it often, but I still lose sight of how much we have been given in this life. I continue to want more and to lament what is gone. Meanwhile, TC is still here. And given the severity of his injury, he is so much healthier than he has any right to be. He gets frustrated and so do I. Like a lot of people, we want it all and we want it now. Our sense of what we deserve continues to be occasionally rooted in the flawed logic of selfishness. But I am smart enough now to recognize that what is here today may certainly be gone tomorrow. And a quiet evening of reflecting on the surviving artifacts of last year reminds me that we are still growing, still improving, even if we can't see it in our hurried day-to-day existence.

This week I'm grateful for survival. And I'm grateful to all the survivors out there who have taught me the value and beauty of a life in progress.

 
 
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Please join TC and me this Thursday, November 14th at the Pentagon City Sephora store to celebrate a cause near and dear to our hearts! Marie Claire magazine and Josie Maran Cosmetics recently bestowed me the honor of being their Model Citizen of 2013. In addition to being featured in the December issue, I am so thrilled to raise money for two important causes on Thursday: the Brain Injury Association of America and an aphasia scholarship fund TC and I have started to help others receive intensive speech therapy. The loss of language is a devastating disability that affects far too many people. We hope you'll consider stopping by on Thursday and enjoy a little pampering. As a Josie Maran Cosmetics convert, I know you'll be just as obsessed with her all-natural argan oil based products as I am! 

Don't forget to RSVP for Thursday's event. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

 
 
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Well, I think it's safe to say this fall's award for worst blogger goes to yours truly. As I look back at my last posting from nearly two months ago (yikes!), I realize what an impact the return to "normalcy" has had on my ability to keep writing.

These days my time is mainly spent teaching 9- and 10-year-olds how to write. And to be honest: it's a real joy. I never thought I would derive so much happiness from returning to work. And while the transition has certainly been stressful, it was the break I needed from a life that has revolved around caregiving for an exhaustively long time. 

As we head into another beautiful Capitol Hill autumn, TC and I have been counting our celebrations, as well as looking forward to the adventures ahead. Last month TC was honored by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office at their annual ceremony for victims of crime. I was one proud wifey as he stood up to receive his award from the leading U.S. Attorney. I was also quite honored to be this year's guest speaker. It was privilege to stand in front of so many brave people - some who were being recognized for putting their own lives on the line in order to achieve justice for others.

The days are busy, but also quite rich. As Jack prepares for 3rd birthday, I am struck by the incredible changes I have witnessed in him over the past year. He is talkative, hilarious, consistently obsessed with dinosaurs, and so good natured. There is nothing in the world that brings me more joy than an impromptu Katy Perry dance party with my happy boy. I continue to be so proud of his resilience and flexibility in the months since TC's injury.

At the end of next month our story will appear in the December issue of Marie Claire. I am so thrilled to have been chosen as the magazine's Model Citizen of 2013 and I'm hoping that by continuing to write about the challenges of brain injury both here and on my new blog (which will be introduced next month on Brainline.org), that we can continue to bring attention to families who are coping with similar struggles. As I wrote back in August, brain injury doesn't end. The transitions from one phase of life to another continue to be an unsteady ride with no clear destination. At times it is easier to stay quiet and ride the waves alone. At other times, it is appropriate to speak up, vent, or ask for help. 

As we all are, I am constantly searching for balance in my life. Work, writing, family, exercise, sleep (OK, ideally) are competing priorities for my time and it's hard not to feel as if I'm always falling short. Until I find the solution for more hours in the day, I'm hoping that the next few months will open up greater opportunities for writing, so that I can continue to connect with you all. 

Happy Autumn! Wishing you peace and joy in the weeks ahead.

Abby