100 Days.

Look how far we’ve come. Or have we?

I had really hoped for and wanted this to be an uplifting and all positive post, but the truth is that I feel a bit like a speck of dirt this week. I feel very small as a wife, a mother, and an all-around human being at this time of writing, and I don’t even say this for reactions. In fact, I encourage you to ignore it and focus on the beauty, because there is so much of that. I think you all know that I can’t even be here if I can’t be frank. (can I still be Garth? Name that reference if nothing else!)

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It’s like this. Say you’re building, painting and maintaining a house. You may think it’s on the steadier side but one day you realize it’s made of straw and it’s bound to fall. And not only that, the materials you’ve been using on it haven’t helped it stand. They’re not necessarily the right materials. That’s ok, though. Underneath the fallen straw and the rubble, there’s probably a steel frame on your house. That steel can crush the straw and can hold up the beams, the rooms and the layers.

There are so many layers. There are so many rooms.

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My steel frame is partly built of me, and partly built of you. It’s family and friends and passions and sparks and a husband who thinks I’m hot, and kids who are often happy and healthy. Don’t worry. This isn’t a movie. They whine and scream just as much as your kids. They’re also pretty cool. Enter in Scarlet singing about peace in a video my mother-in-law shot in Florida.

This post is about 100 days.

Scarlet’s school celebrated their 100th day of school earlier today with a parade. Scarlet celebrated her 100th day of kindergarten with a snazzy vest decorated with 100 stickers at home, and with a snazzy crown she made at school.

There was a time I couldn’t pick up Scarlet from school the way I thought a normal parent can pick up their kid from school.

There was a time when up to an hour before I had to get her, my heart would pound. I would feel breathless.

And there were many times, and many years, and decades, in which doing something so routine would hardly be a blip on the radar. I could do it while listening to the music of my choice, rather than the anxiety-soothing sounds of the San Francisco bay. I could do it without essential oils on my wrists and on the back of my neck. I could do it directly after having eaten, and with lightness and grace. Maybe laughter. Friendly smiles and waves all along. I could be there. So there. Now I can again.

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It’s not a perfect art or science. The trauma trapped in my brain and in my body still tells me I’m insignificant at best sometimes. Every now and then I’ll be leaving someone’s house or giving a hug to a loved one and I’ll feel a flutter or flicker of breathlessness. It seems to say, “I’m still here, but I’m just a flutter or a flicker now.” And I hope and even pray that I can always gather more materials in my army against anxiety. My kindergarten experience was traumatic. Sometimes I learn to move past or even just with that current of electricity and pain. And never to let it gush far ahead of me. Or all around me.

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At 100 days and counting, it’s nowhere near perfect. Sometimes after a long weekend or a series of snow days, I can feel my heart pounding before I have to walk into the school. Just for a bit, and really so minor, but I notice it. I feel butterflies at other times, when the only thing I have to do all day is pick her up. They are butterflies though, and not hornets. These days I get into my car and listen to whatever song I feel like listening to – often Tori Amos “A Sorta Fairytale”, Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” or my always beloved Capital Cities. I get out of the car at school and I walk without worry of anxiety. I smile and laugh and greet my friends. It’s a bit funny that something so normal and commonplace once knocked me off my feet.

100 days grown. Both of us.

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These photos were taken at my in-laws’ house on Labor Day weekend, right before school started. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet, I’m finally uploading them. As usual, my photos and words have synced up on their own and I love the results.

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


100 Days. — 144 Comments

  1. We celebrated 100 days right before winter break here and a few days before I signed Lily up for Kindergarten for this fall. Trust me when I say still in denial even though I knew it was inevitable and coming. But still my emotions are all over the place, as well. And by the way, I still use Kevin’s grandmother’s quote with, “You be frank and I’ll be honest!”

    • I love that quote! I guess this means we are more than halfway through the school year! That seems shocking to me. And also comforting, that there still half the school year and that warmer weather is coming!

  2. I remember when they used to celebrate that. My kids had to make something out of a hundred something or other. like 100 fruit loops for a necklace -lol – It was kind of a pain. ha-ha

    cool pictures. maybe you just have the winter blues? Spring is coming soon! πŸ™‚

    • That really means a lot. I was too choked up to reply to this last night!
      It helps for other people to see the beauty in me, because sometimes I just can’t at all.

  3. Awesome feelings post, Tamara! And awesome work/progress you’ve made! After all, as I’ve been told many times by wise people I’m blessed to know, it’s all about progress, not perfection!

    And look at all that fun from warmer days! πŸ™‚

  4. I read your link Tamara. I hope all is well, and I’m glad you were able to get a diagnosis. I admit I’m not too familiar with anxiety, but it seems like you are making progress! My son also celebrated 100 days at school (he had a crown too πŸ™‚ ).

    • Awesome about the crown!
      I would love not to know much about anxiety. Things have definitely been better, but not perfect. I still find new inspiration every day.

  5. Girl, I am feeling you. I don’t know how you feel, but have experienced anxiety for the first time. It’s happened a few times since I became ill. I had no idea. I am sorry that you have to experience this in your life. And happy to see that you are dealing with it and caring for yourself. Big hugs. BTW as usual the photos are gorgeous, I could use some of that warm weather!

    • I can see why anxiety could go hand-in-hand with illness.
      Mine has come and gone throughout life, but never severely. I just got bad in the fall when she started kindergarten. I’m coping!

      Some warm weather would certainly help.

      • Big changes 100 days ago, huh? I am glad that you are doing better. I hate change, or at least drag my feel all along the way. I think that my anxiety comes with knowing I may not be able to accomplish some things, physically. It makes me mad & extremely anxious. Not really a good combination! LOL!

        • Wow. I can definitely understand that. Not to any strong degree, but I can imagine as an anxious person. And you were saying you’re not even an anxious person the way I am!

          • No, I have not had anxiety to this level before. Now that I am physically challenged anxiety has reared up. I feel like I am going to have a heart attack, hard to breathe, tremors in my hands and head, it is the oddest thing. Watching you I know that I need to get through it, and I have, but boy is it scary. I have so much empathy for you my friend.

            • It’s very scary. I’ve never had it to the level you described, but definitely little bits and pieces of it along the way. And mine was never bad until this year.

  6. 100 days!!! You’ve made it! I haven’t experienced anxiety in a long time, but when I do, it is paralyzing for me. I love these pictures, they remind me that there is hope that summer is right around the corner again.

    • I don’t think I realized you’ve had it in the past so paralyzing. So glad it hasn’t happened in awhile! Every now and then when I’m doing a lot of things right, I don’t even have it a little for years at a time.

      And warm weather is certainly coming!

  7. Listening to Scarlet sing really was the perfect soundtrack to reading this post. Those really are beautiful photos and I can only imagine the feelings that you were experiencing when you were taking them. And your words…oh how I admire them and your ability to share a vulnerable piece of yourself.

  8. That little video is a treasure. I hope you always the technology needed to play it and watch it (as technology changes so fast, I worry about this a bit.) What a wonderful thing to have her head filled with those ideas… as opposed to what so many teenagers have running through their brains from pop music. Anyway, it’s all good. None of us are perfect, and we all have our butterfly/beating heart struggles. Just keep on keeping on!!

    • That’s right! I’ll keep on keeping on.
      I worry about the technology too. I hope there’s always a way to view it. I have it in a couple of different locations.

  9. I think it’s hard for those who have never experienced anxiety and panic attacks before to understand how truly amazing this moment is for you. Look at how far you’ve come in your fight. Look. Unbelievable and in 100 days. I am so proud of you. I really am. This is a celebration indeed.
    You are stronger than you know Tamara…and tell those flutters that you ARE significant. You are a mom, wife, sister, friend, writer, photographer – just all around awesome. Then tell it to feck off. xoxoxo

    • I certainly will tell it to feck off!
      I think the people in my life who are closest and don’t understand anxiety are the hardest hit. I think even my successes don’t impress them, because I’m still not 100%. I’m glad I have a lot of people who do understand.
      And I definitely love to talk back to my flutters!

  10. I love that you can write such a moving and beautiful post, and yet it begins with a Wayne’s World quote πŸ™‚ It is amazing how fast 100 days flies isn’t it?

  11. YAY! Amir also has his 100 days of school today and they’re doing God knows what, bringing 100 things of their choosing to class. Fun times! I’m taking a break from the post I’m writing.. It’s a lot more time consuming than I anticipated. This happens more than I’d like to admit. I get engrossed in the research and forget all the other details like writing it up in a formal essay, the images/graphics, the citing, the composition/editing, the SEO. It’ll be up Friday but until then, I needed a break. I feel the same way you do – it’s been two weeks now, I blame it on the below zero temps. It’s breaking me and i take stimulants! Even still, without them I’d be sub-human, quite literally. Not enough to make it through – it’s not depression just that feeling of a hibernating bear trapped in a body that has to function with society and has responsibilities. Tell Scarlet thank you for that video – it made me tear a bit but with joy, it’s a hard day. I needed the distraction and reminder that life can be simpler than we make it and that things feel better when we think less. Amir is in school so he can’t sing for me but when he does it always makes me happy. I’m also feeling grateful – the entire network went down and guess who was supposed to be on call but wasn’t because I switched with my coworker? This gal! #gratefulandfuckinghappyasshiet. Kindergarten was traumatic for me but my anxiety was off the chain – it’s plateaued in college and now it’s tapering to where it’s not intrusive. Let’s hope it stays that way. Hoping for warmer weather and happier dispositions πŸ™‚ Happy Hump Day lovely! -Iva

    • That was certainly a whole blog post in a comment! Love it. I always hate winter, but I cope better than I think. There’s the whole holiday thing. Then in January we usually go away. February has Valentine’s Day and March is hopeful.
      Never had seasonal affective disorder or, or depression for that matter. However, we all know I have anxiety.
      Scarlet’s video is pretty amazing. I just love her facial expressions.

      • LOL yeah I was inspired πŸ˜› Yeah January I’m straight since it’s my birthday month πŸ™‚ March I hope for snow. Today we were robbed because no snow fell, not at the rate they were babbling about on ALL weather reports; however, I did get to work from home which is precisely what I wanted so F it. Tomorrow is Friday, my post is scheduled, LG = Life’s Good. πŸ™‚ Her video IS pretty amazing πŸ™‚

  12. We had our 100th Day this week, too. In some ways it seems to have gone so fast, in others, not as much. I think we’ve settled into a little routine, but then it seems that we are constantly fiddling with it just a bit. Trying to adjust and improve and streamline. I think I will always be a work in progress. (And I’m OK with that.)
    I love Scarlet’s song. So very precious.

    • I’m okay with that over here too!
      The secret about that song is that I believe she will sing it in the Spring choral concert, which is coming up. So I may have an even better video! Although I don’t know if anyone could top this one.

  13. Oh I remember celebrating 100 days when the kids were younger. I love Scarlet’s song, so sweet and happy a reminder to celebrate the little things! Great photos with your mom-in-law too! Looks absolutely beautiful there.

    • Thanks! It is totally beautiful. And it’s that time of year when everything is so lush. I guess that’s just me admitting how behind on photos I am, because right now it’s a snow globe here.

  14. If you’re a speck, you’re a glittery speck. the kind that reflects the light just so and that you see because of it. When things feel this way for me, it helps to imagine a hand in mine of someone who knows the struggle and who could use a teammate right then, too.

  15. 100 days… yes, it is that time isn’t it.

    Anxiety is a battle isn’t it… and we can’t expect sometimes when it will swell.

    These pictures are gorgeous and Scarlet singing was absolutely beautiful (she has a mature voice doesn’t she)?

    Thanks for sharing. Sending you a warm hug.

    • Yes, she does have a mature voice! I’m totally curious what it will be like when she’s old enough to take lessons or do it more in school.
      Sometimes I think anxiety is a war, and there are a lot of battles. And of course, we win all the battles. Because there’s no other way around it.

  16. Your in laws live in paradise. It is so beautiful there! Summers are just so hot here that we roast and melt. One hundred days of kindergarten and you all survived! Hooray! I always give myself a pat on the back at that point each year because I have managed to make breakfast,lunches and snacks all while getting the children dressed and out of the door on time most days, There should really be an award for parents. Maybe Scarlet can share her crown with you. I bet it would look snazzy!

    • You are so right. I need a crown and a medal and a pat on the back.
      I can’t believe how many lunches I have made. How many drives to school and back I have done.

  17. Love all the pictures and can’t wait until we can all be carefree like that again (or at least try to be carefree)!!!
    Here’s a funny 100 Days story. When Jordan was in kindergarten he came home one day in January and said that the next day was the last day of school. What?! It’s only January. Yep, it’s the last day because it is the 100th day. I tried to explain that it was just that – the 100th day but he was convinced because the calendar in the room was just up to 100 days and everything had been geared to that – counting and all. UGH!! I finally emailed his teacher and asked her to explain it to him. He was so disappointed!!!

  18. Happy 100 days to both of you! I made myself a crown for my 100th blog post, and it felt wonderful to wear. Really, we all should wear homemade crowns every day.

  19. G’s school does 400 acts of kindness to celebrate the 100th day of school. Each class (2-5) donates at least 100 items to a different local nonprofit. How cool is that? It’s a story for my book. 100 days of growth is definitely worth celebrating.

    • I’m glad you digressed! It was like a little Easter egg I hid for everyone. Although it wasn’t hidden.
      That means a lot that you were worried for me. I was too! It was very scary to be so impacted.

      • LOL. I remember that movie being the “thing” when I was in uni.

        I’m sure it was terrifying…your words really brought it home. I admire your bravery confronting the feelings and sharing them with all of us.

  20. It definitely felt like the 100 days mark crept up way too quickly. And even though you may feel like a speck of dirt for now, your words and your photos create so much more beauty. Maybe that speck of dirt is part of a beautiful piece of clay pottery. I can’t even remember how long I’ve been reading your blog, but I can see the growth. Congrats to Scarlet for getting 100 days through school…and congrats to you for your own growth.

    • That’s so beautiful. I love that description as much as Eli calling it a speck of glitter. Or a handful of glitter.
      Knowing even one person can see the growth means the world. That’s why we blog!

  21. Beautiful photos with powerful words, as always! I have never heard of this 100 days thing. I don’t know if they do it out here in AZ or if I just wouldn’t know because I’ve never had kids in school yet. We definitely didn’t do it when I was growing up. And those pics of summer looked amazing!

    • I had never heard of it either! I think it’s a new thing. I know that they start school in August instead of September where it’s warmer, so some of my Facebook friends were celebrating 100 days a month ago! That’s when I first realized it was a thing.

  22. Huge congratulations on the 100 days for Scarlet…and you…Tamara! Woo hoo! I still remember those anxious weeks prior to her starting. On another note in this post, “:There are so many layers. There are so many rooms.” and the entire paragraph above it. That really resonated with me and ironically you left it open to a lot of interpretation for each writer to ponder within themselves. In my opinion. This reader copied and pasted it and is going to ponder it again after I send this off. Have a wonderful day my most awesome, special friend! πŸ™‚

    • I’d love to hear your interpretation!
      So many times, I write without thinking. It doesn’t mean it’s not real, but it’s from the heart and not the head. So I’m sure the meaning is so different.
      I must’ve been a hot mess before the 100 days started. I’m sure it leaked out into all of my writing!

      • I will definitely share more on my interpretation soon πŸ™‚ I was so preoccupied when commenting last night (about your post) that I forgot to mention how much I loved the Scarlet video! Also, the Golden doggie and Athena as well in the background put a HUGE smile on my face Thank you, Tamara! πŸ™‚

  23. Your pictures always make me so happy. 100 days of school – that was always so much fun for my boys. I’ve been having an anxious week too – just when I think I’ve got it under control it gets me.

    • I don’t remember ever doing it too! It must be new. And in her school, it was only the kindergarten. The other grades noticed it, but didn’t march in the parade.

  24. The 100th day of school during Kindergarten is so fantastic! Sadly though, it’s only amazing in Kindergarten, at least for Adrian, his teachers haven’t made much effort after that. I think it should be a big celebration every year!! I love to jam out to Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama!” It’s so soulful and freeing and I feel like a new person by the time I’m done belting out the lyrics!!

  25. First of all, congrats on making it to the 100th day! I’m glad you feel that it is getting better for you. Secondly, you are not insignificant! You are a beautiful person inside and out. You touch so many people with your words, your pictures, and your life. I love your analogy of the straw house and hope you know that you are also part of the strong, steady, steel frame! ((HUGS))

  26. Tori Amos’ β€œA Sorta Fairytale” is a beautiful song and one of my favorites from when I was in high school. How exciting to reach the 100th day of school! A parade is a fun way for the kids to celebrate πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much!
      I actually have been meaning to tell you, that since seeing your older one’s sixth birthday photos, I’m really stunned by her beauty! And also glad you have great photographers down there.

  27. I know you don’t want comments about the first paragraph, but I must. If just to tell you that I have often felt the same. Hugs!

  28. Oh wow, just before I commented you were at 100 comments on your 100 days post! I love these pictures, they are so sunny and fun. Scarlet looks like she is having an absolute blast. I am with you in the emotion of your words, and I am left with hope and joy with your pictures.

  29. omgosh – she’s so cute in that song. I think my kids same the same song.
    I love the idea that it’s a flickering butterfly and not a stinging hornet. All of us carry something that shaped and molded us: sometimes bringing out the worst — other times our best. Some wounds never quite heal — but, they don’t have to sting so much. Really though, a scar actually is just a wound that DID heal. but the mark remains.

  30. Love love love. Tucker had his 100 day celebration this week (no school again today b/c snow and OMG). Not to brag, but I made an awesome mummy shirt. I’ll put it on facebook. I’m so ready for spring, Sweets. So so ready. Here’s to 100 days grown. All of us. <3

  31. Oh T- bless your precious fluttery heart. You know I get the flicker… and the breathlessness…

    I’m so proud of how far you have come!! It seems like it’s been YEARS since that time leading up to the first day of school for Scarlet. wow.

    You’re doing it babe. You’re slowly and quite strongly stepping through it… one courageous step at a time.

    Those pictures, oh those pictures…

    Sometimes, when we feel so small, and so weak… and all that jazz- something really amazing happens in a fast SECOND that opens up our entire universe to see how truly big, strong, and significant we are and this place we roam in, live in, love in. It’s amazing how that happens- when we least expect that. It can be a really small thing that lights us back up- or sets the fire within… or something really grand too.

    Look for it.

    I swear it has happened to me.

    It’ll happen to you.

    I just know it.

    • I just know it too.

      It’s a little shocking that it’s only been 100 days, because it surely feels like 100 years sometimes. We have both grown so much, and even though I feel light-years behind her, I know it’s not really as bad as it seems.

  32. BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS. Full of warmth.
    100 days is such a milestone and I think it’s meant to be celebrated – no matter how big or small.
    I think life is meant to be celebrated and I believe that’s what you do despite the anxiety, despite feeling small or maybe broken sometimes.

  33. So, I want to offer you a glass of lemonade, but not just a regular boring lemonade. I want to make you a nice glass of fresh strawberry lemonade or maybe mango lemonade… I sure hope you like lemonade. Lemonade makes me feel like it’s summer, I can instantly be transported to happier sunnier days, with a sip of lemonade.
    We have been drinking a lot of lemonade here πŸ™‚

    I’m proud of you, Tamara! I know how hard Kindergarten was for you, it was for me too. You’ve done amazingly- and 100 days just makes you realize WOW I can do it, we made it, and everyone is okay.
    Anyway… good job, Mama.
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

    • It always starts after Labor Day here, but I definitely see people going to school in August. Especially where it’s warmer so that their summer starts in May!

  34. The boys had their 100 day celebration at school on Valentine’s Day I think. They always make a big deal of it in kindergarten and Everett was very excited but I don’t think that Jasper’s class really did much outside of their “bring in a 100 of something” project and I could see that he was a little sad that he doesn’t get to celebrate as much as he gets older which makes me sad. But 100 days – so much can happen in 100 days, so much growing. Happy for the progress you’ve made.

    • The other grades in school didn’t celebrate at all! I guess it’s a kindergarten thing. Made it a bit bittersweet. At least we will have another kindergartner in three years.

  35. Our school doesn’t celebrate 100 days which is so odd to me because they celebrate so well. But I’m sorta glad they don’t this year because this year I dont need any reminders of how time is moving way too fast.

  36. We haven’t celebrated 100 days for a long while, but I love the pictures. To see the kids playing in the sun, especially during the winter, reminds us of the future and the past. I love how you can see the positive through the negative, even when you’re trying to let us know that it’s not quite so positive. I hope you’re feeling better.

    • Seriously one of my favorite comments of all time. I feel like you just saw what the whole post was about and said it so simply. And yes, I am feeling a bit better thank you!

  37. THE SPRINKLER PICTURES ARE THE BEST THING EVER! Oh my goodness. Your words are always so raw and beautiful, and then your pictures just blow my mind. Tamara, you are so talented in so many ways! I love seeing your confidence through the lens.

  38. It’s been 100 days???? I mean…I’m glad that spring is coming soon, but has it really already been 100 days??? Damn. Things move to fast. Kids are growing too quickly, but that doggy in the kiddie pool makes me feel like it’s all alright.

    Oh and I should tell you that I haven’t been able to get Alanis Morissette out of my head ever since I binged on your blog last Friday.

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