I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that pretty consistently, Saturday’s and Sunday’s are the hardest for me. I believe there are a few reasons for that. First, the last seven months before he died, he was home every Saturday and Sunday. He worked Saturday’s the first 4 years of marriage so it was so fun to have him home for the weekend and I definitely got used to it. I think another reason is because Saturday’s we don’t usually have as much scheduled, so we’re just home and there’s not as many distractions. The last thing I think is hard for me is church.

I’ve been attending church on Sunday’s for my whole life. It’s a part of my routine and something I like to do. It gives me a way to worship who I believe in, in a way that helps me grow closer to God and to my family. But you know what a big part of church is? Families. Sure, there are other single parents, widows or widowers, young parents, whatever. But it’s like my situation is so visible.

I don’t like people paying attention to me and for the last 8 or 9 years have purposely arrived late to church and left early. It drove Denny nuts cause he hated being late. If you weren’t ten minutes early, you were late in his mind. I’ve shared that before. But it was very true. Even when I would be late to meet him when we were dating, I could tell it bothered him cause he’d barely talk for the first 20 minutes of us being together. I grew up in a family who was notoriously late for everything. So I’d just tell Denny to chill out a little and laugh at him being so annoyed by such a trivial thing. And now I’m early for almost everything… except church.

But I didn’t like socializing. I was more reserved and kept to myself. If you ask someone who knew me during high school, they’d probably say I was the loudest person in the 2,000 students that attended there. I mellowed out in my early twenties and with social anxiety came more of a quiet personality and no desire for attention. And apparently I gave all of my loudness to my girls who are now the loudest children on the planet. Officially.

[Here are some embarrassing pictures from younger years to give you an idea of my personality… think this like 95% of my awake time every single day. I was a lot to handle and really liked attention 😂]

Right up there in front 😅

The second we walk in the chapel every Sunday, my kids are off. They are basically everyone’s children at church and hop from pew to pew to be entertained by every family there. And no one is mad or annoyed (at least visibly) by my kids screaming the whole time. Or by Winnie bossing Piper around the chapel yelling, “PIPER! PIPER!!” They treat us as family. And that means the world to me when I feel so alone. I’ve been blessed to have the church congregation that I have. As a group, they’ve been my greatest support over the last few months. And I’ve had to learn how to socialize more and be around other people more even though it’s hard because I need that support system and so do my girls. They shouldn’t suffer because of my social anxiety.

But ya know what? It’s hard to see Winnie go from family to family wanting to spend time with a mom and a dad. It’s hard to hear all of this talk about families when I feel like mine is broken. It’s hard to want to be there when I feel like we’re failing at so many things. I’m trying my best and it feels like I’m reminded too many times of the things that I’m not doing or that I’m failing at. I’m so grateful for those who accept me and love me where I’m at.

Don’t you think that’s just how we all should be? We should all just take each other where we’re at? I’m not perfect at this. But I do feel like my trials in life have helped me be more accepting and loving of others. The ONLY thing I feel justified in judging you for is if you are unkind to others when they are kind to you. If someone’s trying to murder you… probably don’t be kind and instead, rip their face off. Or limbs or something. But if they are kind and respectful of you, you have absolutely no reason to be cruel, unkind, mean, or degrading. I don’t care what you’ve been through, you show kindness to everyone that doesn’t bring you harm. We should just love everyone.

I feel like if we could do better at this (me included), we wouldn’t have such an issue with mental health. If we could just love each other where they are at RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT, people wouldn’t be so ashamed. No matter the depression or anxiety or illogical behaviors or if you aren’t functioning or whatever. I want to love you where you are now. And I hope you’ll love me here too. Cause I’m struggling. I’m doing better than I was a few months ago. For sure. But I’m still struggling. Somedays I absolutely CANNOT with my kids anymore. Somedays I am non-responsive to any of the texts coming in. Somedays I have four hundred things I have to do that day and I don’t even finish one. Somedays I will respond to every comment and the next I won’t respond to any.

This weekend started and I felt the wave of grief coming. And sometimes it just happens without warning and I just feel it and it’s overwhelming. Other times it’s coming and I don’t want to feel it. This was one of those weekends where I really wanted to have a productive and happy weekend. And you know what? A dear friend took my kids most of the day Friday, then my Aunt took Winnie that evening. Saturday I had another dear friend take my kids swimming and shopping and then I had visits throughout the evening. A group of friends even changed their birthday celebration plans to eat dinner with me and my friends at my house rather than going out. These people love me where I’m at. And it’s amazing to me that even though I feel like I have absolutely nothing to give back to them, they still show up. They are still serving me and loving me and my kids. They still spend time with me even when some days all I can talk about is Denny or my girls. Or other days I stare into space while they fold my laundry. I talk about laundry a lot. There’s a lot of laundry with kids. I hate doing laundry. It often sits there in the basket, folded for long enough to go through it all and have to wash it again. Probably more often than it actually gets put away. If someone can design a robot to do my laundry for me, I will give you like…$5 for one cause that’s all I can afford.

Some of my favorite friends who showed up for me this weekend as they often do.

Let’s love people where they’re at, yeah? Folded laundry or not? Can we do this together? Thanks.

Also, wherever you’re at, thank you for being here and supporting me on this rough journey. I love you and am grateful for you no matter where you’re at in life, in mental wellness, in physical fitness, in spirituality, in LAUNDRY. You are needed. You are loved. And you are certainly NOT a burden.

My two favorites that always love me and think I’m the best mommy in the whole world no matter where I’m at.

5 thoughts on “Where You’re At

  1. I absolutely love this, Dani! Thank you so much for reminding me to love others where they’re at! By the way, I just said a little prayer for you, girl… God loves you and so do I, no matter where you’re at… even doing the laundry! 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

  2. I just found your podcast this week, which led me here. You are a brave and inspiring woman. I absolutely love this post and could not agree more. I’ve struggled with my own mental health for years and finally reached a point last year where I knew I needed to get help and start opening up to others. As I’ve worked on stuff this year, the thing that has become clear to me is exactly what you posted. It’s all about love. Life, the gospel, relationships…just love.

  3. I love this article about Church, weekends, laundry, accepting others where we are! Dani you are an incredible, AMAZING individual! There is soo much endless good in you, in your heart, in your words! You seriously inspire me and make me want to be better and do more!
    Thank you for being exactly the way you are!!

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