Shut Up and Dance

On Saturday, March 26, 2011 my life was transformed when a 6 lb 11 ounce princess joined my world. When the midwife first placed her in my arms, my daughter rested her tiny hand against my left cheek and stared at me with large, dark brown eyes accentuated by strikingly long lashes. Her look was intense and so attentive, qualities that would only grow deeper as the years passed. It has been almost five years since Emerson Belle was born and not a day goes by where I don’t try to live like “Emmy.”

To Emmy, every day is the best day of her life.  Every chocolate milk she tastes is “the most IMG_5886delicious one ever.”  Every dress she owns is, “the most beautiful gown in the world.” Every cartoon on t.v. is “the funniest show she has ever seen.” Emmy feels everything so deeply that something is not merely good, it’s, in her words, “unbelievable.” And the compliments that this kid dishes out can make you feel like a million bucks. She won’t just say you’re pretty, she will tell you that you’re the most gorgeous woman in the entire Universe.  But times are not always glorious on Granite Street.

When Emmy is upset, “it’s the worst day of her life.”  This comes with slamming doors and loud outbursts.  But her tantrums are short-lived and she emerges from her bedroom apologetic and loving. Emmy has taught me the value of pure and raw emotion. Being vulnerable enough to share your true feelings with another is a beautiful thing, yet it becomes so rare as we age.  Society tells us that mature adults must control their emotions. Adults must not get angry and certainly must not cry.  Adults that do such things are labeled as “emotional” and deemed weak.  Label me then. To share your genuine self makes an ordinary person extraordinary. Through Emmy, I have learned that feeling things so deeply simply means that you are living completely.

Not long after Emmy’s first birthday, I discovered that I was once again pregnant.  Thrilled, I did what most newly pregnant women do, I hit the computer. I found out my estimated due date and started scanning websites for potential names. All the while, I did not feel quite right. Looking back, all the signs of a miscarriage were there, but my optimistic nature refused to pay them any mind.  I was convinced that I was having a baby boy and that Blake Ashton would make his arrival on or around December 9th.  I had no reason to think otherwise because I had such a textbook pregnancy with Emmy. But this time, I was not so lucky. Just shy of two months, I would experience the loss that accompanies a miscarriage.

I was left devastated and full of questions. How could this happen? I thought I was healthy.  Did this mean I will have problems having another child? I wanted Emmy to have a sibling. I felt tremendous guilt and deep sadness all at the same time. Did I have the right to grieve this much when others have carried and lost a baby much later in pregnancy? And what about those women who have faced multiple miscarriages. I felt so alone and it was not until I met with a midwife of Essex County that my healing process would take shape. She listened to all of my fears and questions. She let me cry long and hard and then provided invaluable comfort and guidance with her words. A baby is real the second a woman finds out she is pregnant. Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of your baby.  Your body was healthy enough to reject an unhealthy pregnancy. You will conceive again when you are ready.  It took this loss for me to learn that it’s okay for adults to talk with other adults about what hurts and to even share fears. There are some great listeners out there. Through opening up to others, I learned that I was not alone. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 women experience this same heartache. Time and a shocking surprise helped me to move forward but not forget. Every first week in December I think about the loss I suffered but also pay respect to the Universe for the surprise she brought me.

Not long after that meeting with the midwife, Brandon and I learned that I was once again pregnant. This time around I felt awful, but a good kind of awful. My morning sickness lasted for six months and it didn’t stop at noon. I was nauseous 24 hours a day and I couldn’t be happier about it! It meant that my body was doing what it should, creating a new life. And what a life it would create.

Emerson Belle and Ryder Kai Sanborn

Emerson Belle and Ryder Kai Lewis

Ryder Kai entered the world on Saturday, January 26, 2013.  This 6 lbs and 6 ounce baby boy with blonde hair and blue eyes would grow into the coolest kid I have ever met. While I know my daughter like the back of my hand, my son still surprises me constantly. A boy who marches to the beat of his own drum. A very large drum. Ryder knows what he wants and he doesn’t care if everyone else wants something different. No one is changing Ryder’s mind when he sets it on something. He is that comfortable in his own skin. You can imagine the struggles we have faced when trying to convince him to eat something besides butternut squash or chocolate. Through Ryder I have learned how important it is to stay true to your genuine self and that spontaneity can be invigorating after adhering to a schedule dominated by routine.

Ryder is a fearless child who takes risks and has the scars on his chin to prove it. He lives hard and sleeps the same way. In a few weeks, Ryder will turn 3, yet he still naps like a infant, for 2-3 hours every day. Ryd savors mischief and easily finds it countless times in any given day. The kid who appreciates the bad guy. Sher Kan, Scar, and Shredder are among his favorites. My son loves to

Emmy and Ryder Kai Sanborn. Good Harbor Beach .

Emmy and Ryder Kai Lewis
Good Harbor Beach .

swear and I know his favorite song is Shut Up and Dance just because he thinks he’s getting away with saying something inappropriate. Ryder has taught me not to take life too seriously. He has

helped me worry less and lighten up, even when times are tough.  He has shown our family the importance of humor; no one can make us belly laugh quite like Ryder Kai.

It is true that there is no gift like a new baby. But the best gift of all are the lessons these babies teach us as they grow up.



lori sanbornLori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years, teaching eighth graders.  Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.

Hear Her Roar

Lori Sanborn

For the first twenty-five plus years of my life, I felt more connected to the male gender. Throughout my middle school, high school, and college years I had way more male friends than female ones. Of course, I had a few girls that I trusted and could tell anything to. And one or two, who I was really close to that I would even smoke Marlboros with and cut class. But overall, at these stages of my life, I felt more comfortable around males. I was even able more readily to

Nancy Sanborn (my Mom), Meagan Sanborn (sister) & me

Nancy Sanborn (my Mom), Meagan Sanborn (sister) & me

admire males over females. But then I turned thirty, and from that point on, my perspective had changed entirely.

During the last five years of my life, I have witnessed countless acts of unwavering courage and unbelievable strength from women in my circle of friends, women from our seaside community, and from one of the most important women in my life, my sister.

I have some badass girlfriends. Not because they ride Harleys or remain standing after pounding five shots of tequila. My friends endure. I have a friend who only cried once after being diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. When “cancer” entered my world, I was on the bathroom floor unable to move. Yet when recalling her story, she actually smiled and told me she “had two boys to raise and they needed her.” She never looked back but rather dedicated herself to being the best mother she could be. Did I mention that she was also a single mom? Badass.

Another girlfriend of mine had her world turned upside down upon hearing that her mother had been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Honestly, I would struggle to get out of bed if faced with such a circumstance. But in looking at my dear friend, one would never know of her struggle. She maintains a calmness and stick-to-itiveness that is admirable. She goes to work. She takes her mother to all of her doctor appointments, all while managing to hold down her own fort. She values her role as wife and mother. She doesn’t complain and is one of the most genuine women I know. Did I mention that she doesn’t drink? Badass.

Within our Gloucester community heroism is all around us. She is the woman that has the drive to start a new main street business and still raise four kids. She is the young woman that moves by herself to North Carolina to start anew.  She is the woman that can still believe in love after being lied to time and time again. She is the loyal wife of over 30 years. She is the woman that has the courage to file for divorce. She is the woman that can still raise a child after losing one.  She is the woman that can work more than one job to provide for her family. She is the woman that decides to follow her dream or face her fear.  She is the woman that runs for office. She is the woman that chooses to be a stay at home mom. She is the woman that has lost a spouse or sibling unexpectedly. She is the woman that faces a health scare of her own. She is the woman that ran the Boston Marathon. Did I mention that SHE doesn’t always roar?  Sometimes she just shows up, and that alone is enough. Badass.

My sister is one of those women who always shows up. No matter what time the hockey game is, no matter the hosting state, she is always in that rink for her sons.  And she’s probably there two hours ahead of time.  No matter how many times she has faced unfairness or less than desired

My sister, Meagan Sanborn and her son, Timmy

My sister, Meagan Sanborn and her son, Timmy

outcomes, she has pushed on. She never complains about being the sole provider, but rather has always found a way to provide. She always puts her boys first yet somehow finds a way to be there for her family and friends when they need her. She is the type of woman that shoots straight and knows just what you need and when you need it. Intuitively, she knows when to take you on a Backshore ride, grab her Macy’s card, or pour a big glass of wine. She is the woman that picked me up off that bathroom floor after I was misdiagnosed with lymphoma and spoke only this to me, “So, you’ll beat it.” She is the woman that hates hugs but can still make you feel loved and comforted.  Did I mention that she just closed on a new house for her and the boys? Badass.

It may have taken me thirty years to truly connect with the female gender. But in only five years “She” has taught me the real meaning of compassion, loyalty and above all, strength. Imagine what “She” will teach me in next twenty-five.

And this is not some feminist propaganda piece.  I could give you a thousand reasons why I love my Daddy.

~Lori Sanborn

lori sanborn

Lori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years, teaching eighth graders.  Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.


Humbled by Hoops by Lori Sanborn

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Coach Joe Billante with Lori Sanborn at 2015 GHS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

sanborn- fishermen logo

Humbled by Hoops

by Lori Sanborn

I still remember the first drill I did with Lisa Olson my freshman year in the old gym at Gloucester High School.  Coach Olson stood at the baseline and rolled the ball out towards half court.  Battling one another, Erika Brown and I charged for the rock looking to score on the other end.   Junior versus freshman. All was fair game.  I loved that drill.  I loved that gym, with its amazing hardwood floors and local history.  I loved how many people crammed into that small arena to watch our boys and girls play basketball.  Khris Silveria and Paula Ryan were my hometown heroes.

But my love for the game did not start here. In fact, it came much earlier.  Somewhere between having CYO practices in the tiny Magnolia Library and going to open gym with all the boys at the Cape Ann YMCA, I fell in love.  To me there was no better feeling than blocking an opponent, finding a wide open teammate on the opposite block or making an unexpected steal that led to an easy lay-up off the fast break.  Although, my all time favorite feeling was the sound that echoed from the hoop after making a “nothing but net swoosh.” That WHITHTHTHTHPPP.  Some of you know the exact sound that I am referring to.  And hearing a swoosh on a chain net, well forget about it….

Simply put, I felt good playing basketball.  So I played whenever and wherever I could get gym time.  The size of the court did not matter.  Nor did the gender or age of my opponents.  I shot my heart out whenever I could.  But my personal drive could only take my passion for the game so far.  I was blessed to be supported by an extraordinary family and an equally dedicated and diverse group of coaching influences.

My mother and father brought me to every practice, game, and AAU tournament in Massachusetts and beyond.  And they did so with smiles on their faces. They supported my wishes to attend camps all over New England and most importantly, talked me off that ledge when I had an awful game.  Their unwavering support for their daughter, would help number 21 to score 30 points after only netting 3 in the game before.

While there have been countless individuals who influenced me during my basketball career, three definitely stand out for helping me to take my game to the next level. Rich Langan, pushed me to become a better post-player, first as my AAU coach and later here, in the gym of the Benjamin Smith Field House as head coach.  Not all players clicked with Rich, but I am one of the lucky ones who did, and his influence motivated me to play this game far beyond its winter season.  Alex “Pep” Borge had a profound influence on my life.  In 6th grade I played for Pep in the Cape Ann YMCA boys league.  Pep’s positive outlook and joyous attitude were infectious.  He made this game fun for me, a gift that every coach should give its players.  I credit Pep for helping me to become the optimist that I am today.

Anyone that is close to me knows how much I love to get yelled at by “old men.”  Why else would I torture myself with the presence of Joe Billante for so long?  All jokes aside, Joe is one of the greatest coaches I know.  No one knows more about the game than Joe B.  And his philosophy is simple.  Fundamentals first and practice makes perfect.  He values the player that works hard.  He values the player that hustles.  Most importantly, Joe B. gives his heart to every player that he works with.  Joe B. has taught me the true value of passion and that if you love what you do, than life will always be worthwhile.

The confidence and courage I found on the hardwood has transferred over to college classrooms, interviews, and eventually parenthood.  Ball taught me how to think quick, be strong, and trust others.  My parents and coaches, like Joe B., reinforced the value of preparation, practice and positivity.  So having my name hang in this gym, and now on the Hall of Fame Wall means more to me than you can imagine.  I want future generations of girls who have hoop dreams to see the name “Lori Sanborn” and hopefully believe that they can be better than me if they really work hard. This should be the mentality of all aspiring athletes, not to be ‘as good as’ but rather, to be ‘better than.’  And if I am really lucky, maybe my own daughter will be able to out-perform her Mom one day.  We just need her to choose sneaks over heels first.

sanborn - HOF class of 2015

GHS Hall of Fame Class of 2015 at September 20 Induction Ceremony

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the Hall of Fame Committee for choosing me to be among this talented group of male and female athletes and coaches inducted into the 2015 Hall of Fame class.  I will never forget the four years that I played for the Gloucester Girls Basketball program or the teammates that helped me to reach such an accolade. Once again, I have found myself completely humbled by hoops.

sanborn- bio

lori schaefer

Lori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years,  teaching eighth graders.  Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.

My Dear Friend Erin From Holly Street

“When thinking about the… qualities and characteristics that are important for young girls, I can’t help but remember my childhood friend, Erin.”


by Lori Sanborn

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From left to right, Amanda (Amaral ) Marr, Susan (Macchi) Hensley, Amanda Ribiero, Lori Sanborn and Erin Ernest. 1986


Raising children is a tough job.  As parents we work tirelessly to bring them up right.  Our days are filled with giggles and belly laughs, questions and crayons, pirate booty and cookies, tantrums and timeouts, spills and spending, and of course, Sophia and Jake.


Once in a while, when we’re not too tired or robotic, we get the chance to sit back and actually daydream and wonder about the future.  During rare moments like these, I wonder what type of people my daugher and son will become.   How will they act and behave at each stage in their lives? At Beeman? At O’Maley Middle School? At Gloucester High School?


As a woman, I can visualize, with much more ease, the future awaiting my daughter.  Naturally, I worry and hope that my daughter will possess a strong sense of self.  When thinking about the types of qualities and characteristics that are important for young girls, I can’t help but remember my childhood friend, Erin.


Erin was the type of girl who lived life fiercely, every single day.  She was the girl audacious enough to climb trees and pull fire alarms. The girl who always chose “dare” over truth and who was fascinated by the supernatural and the Ouija board.  I admired her fearlessness.  I admired her curiosity.


Erin was the type of girl who welcomed the exploration of the unknown and was never worried by the presence of an unknown place or person.  When others were hesitant, Erin jumped right in.  She was a leader and helped others go outside their own comfort zones. She was adventurous, every ounce of her.  I admired her courage. I admired her independence.


Erin was beautiful and mysterious, even at a young age. The type of girl who was so comfortable in her own skin. Confident enough to make declarations, like “I love Adam,” in sidewalk chalk without concern or second thought.  She didn’t care who saw it or if “Adam” felt the same.  He was cute and she wasn’t afraid to say it.  I admired her boldness. I admired her confidence.


As my daughter enters her second year of preschool, I hope that she shares more than the love of the color purple with Erin.  May she tackle each day with spirit and passion.  May she always show the world exactly who she is and never be afraid to stand out. May she inspire others around her to take risks and try new things.  Above all, may she always treasure her own childhood friends.  Because there is only one thing as special as the memories we make in our youth and that’s the kids that we made them with.


Erin, you left us way too soon.  But know that every single time my daughter laughs deeply, acts boldly or leads her friends,  I think of you, my dear friend from Holly Street.


Erin Ernest’s home at the corner of Holly Street and Washington Street, Gloucester, where her parents established the Willow Rest. She lived there all her life- just 24 years.






lori schaefer

Lori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years,  teaching eighth graders.  Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.