How do you measure a year?

Hello friends. It’s been a while since I posted on here but I think I do a pretty decent job OVER posting on all other social media outlets to make up for it 🙂

Today marks one year that our “new” family became a family. One year ago today we moved into our home, and I’ve been thinking for weeks now what I would write about. It got me thinking about what a difference a day, a month and a year make. It got me thinking about how far we have come, and how I would NEVER want to go back… or revisit the early days after Shannon & David died. I have SO much to share, but not a lot of time before I have to take Connor to Starbucks (because I PROMISED him he could get one before his big CHAMPIONSHIP game today!) and then run off to my sweet cousin-in-laws baby shower, onto the SLDM tailgate with the greatest parents ever, BIG CHAMPIONSHIP game VS St. Luke, transport Danny to basketball (THANKS DAD & BRANDI!), pick up our cutie pie sitter, and race over to our big team party at the Finns. I woke up with a cheerful heart today. I did not cry in the shower. I sang instead. I painted my nails and got ready while my whole family slept. RARITY. TODAY is going to be a GOOD day. And it starts with sharing some thoughts from my Broadway heart ❤


Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.

BOOM. BOOM! Measure in LOVE. In our case, the love is basically immeasurable because it is still pouring out of so many of your hearts. We stay busy. We have a lot of fun. We have smiled and laughed more than we have cried in the past 365 days, that I am sure of. We have this capacity to find joy in just about everything, or we try to. I am not going to sit here and tell you that every day is pretty. My own husband doesn’t know how I grieve or when or how often. I am not going to pretend that I have even come to grips with the fact that Shannon is gone. Because the truth is, I haven’t. But it’s like I was telling my friend Chrissy last night… we have our whole lives to let this sink in. No sense in feeling the weight, the pain, the agony all day every day. That is why our God is SO good. He only gives us what we can handle. And sometimes a good cry is all I need to pick myself up and see how truly blessed we are.

I also measure in the depth of my friendships. I have the most amazing friends ever. I consider them like sisters (and brothers) to me… and I could never have enough siblings. So thank you, friends. NEW and OLD. For being in my life. I love you dearly and deeply.

THE BOYS ARE DOING AMAZING. They really are. Danny calls me moms or mom, no more Aunt CoCo ever. The “s” got dropped pretty recently perhaps as a test and I’m noticing that it is becoming more and more consistent. Danny is NINE. Danny is a BABY. Danny needs a mommy on earth. How lucky am I to be chosen? 2nd fiddle, sure. But as a mom, I’m used to playing 2nd fiddle all the time anyway. I’ll take it. And I just pray Shannon knows that no matter what he calls me, she will ALWAYS be his mother. I am simply her understudy, ready to perform for life.

Connor has shortened Aunt CoCo to AC for the most part, but what I have gathered from a recent conversation is that he considers Doug and I his parents. He asked me last weekend, after I refused to let him spend Halloween night out because it was the eve of a big game, if I ever missed being “cool Aunt CoCo”. I answered him honestly. I said… no, honey. I don’t. Because this is my job now. To be like a parent to you. And it’s the best job I’ve ever had.  And he said, with those big brown eyes, “I know I don’t call you mom, but you know I think of you as my parent.” And if you know Connor, that was pretty monumental.

Ryan and Maddie are also doing great. People often ask me how they are doing, because even though they didn’t lose their mom and dad, they sort of lost their position in our family line up. And this is what I have to say about that. Ryan and Maddie (and Shannon) will NEVER know the difference. Their lives are RICHER in love, friends, play time, laughter, & happiness as a result of our new life as a family of 7. It is SUCH a delight to see them interact with kids at the boys’ games. They LOVE their new school, they LOVE their new friends. The LOVE seeing mom mom and pop pop and their cousins so frequently. They LOVE that when grandma comes, she lives with us, usually for about a week! And so do I 😉 When they go to St. Louis, they get super quality time with grandma and grandpa and uncle Jimmy. They are excited to stay for a week after Thanksgiving! (reminder, grandma!).

And Shannon. Sweet baby Shannon. I can’t believe we ever lived without her. She is the perfect baby. She could sleep a little better, but I know that doesn’t last forever. And I love my sweet Shanny snuggles. She is the perfect addition to our family, and all 4 kids worship her. They cannot get ENOUGH! And neither can I. She is our angel on earth.

Mom and dad are doing pretty well, for the most part. Dad is strong. Dad deals with his grief by talking publicly about faith in the face of tragedy. He is helping others. Of course he is. He is my dad! I I keep my mom busy to distract her from being sad… or that is what I tell her 😉 I love every single moment I get to spend with my mom. She is my very best friend and it pains me to see her tear up when people ask her how she’s doing. But then, of course she does. She probably always will. She lost her daughter. I pray to never have to know the pain that she and my Aunt Kelly and Aunt Cindy know: to lose a daughter, a son. But in a way, the pain is almost beautiful, because it is a scar of motherhood. A scar they would both gladly trade in, but one they will wear because of the love they have for their children. It all comes back around to LOVE. It brings a smile to my face when I think about Shannon and Zach and all of my relatives hanging out in Heaven. A touch of comfort. A tinge of jealousy. And a dash of hope.

Doug is of course…. amazing. Not much more to say. He is the BEST dad. Like, ever. He works HARD. He loves to meet new people and have fun. We have SO much fun! He is everything I never knew I needed. 4 days marks 9 years from the day I met him and I wouldn’t change a thing. God sent me to St. Louis for a reason. It’s always been in his plan. THANK YOU, GOD. THANK YOU. Thank you forever. And thank you Howard and Jeri. You sure did something right.

Janet and Rich and the kids are doing well. I LOVE seeing the kids. I can’t get enough. If this hadn’t happened, my relationships with them would have never blossomed to what they are, what they will be. I don’t get to see Janet as often as one might think, but when I do see her, I love it. I SO wish one of our kids was in the same class. Because it sort of seems like that’s the drill once your kids make friends – if you are lucky, your kids friends parents are cool. Lucky for me… my kids friends parents are the COOLEST! But in less than a year, she’ll be down to 2 (Nick will be in college!!!!) and I’ll be more routined, and I can’t wait to spend more time together.

I want to end with this. I could probably keep writing all day, but now the boys are in my face, Maddie is in my makeup, Ryan wants to count his candy (for the 27th time) and Shannon needs mommy’s milk! A friend sent me this the other day and it so resonated with me. I hope it resonates with you, too. Boys

I’m so lucky that “another woman” is my sister. There is no greater gift I could ever give to her, or that she could ever give to me.

Thanks for following along. And reading another CoCo novel! Have a beautiful day.

xoxoxo Colleen

quick thanks to my 4 c’s: Colleen, Colleen, Christine & Chrissy. Without your love help and support………… I do not know what i would do. One more thing that isn’t lost on me that I just compared my friends to diamonds. The 4 c’s: Color, Clarity, Cut & Carat Weight. All 4 women amazing and essential to my life, all 4 components beautiful and essential to a gorgeous rock. AMEN!