30
Jan

Five Minute Friday - wait

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on wait.

Go.

I feel like I am always behind.
Always one step behind your crazy fast feet, your crazy fast mind, your milestones.
I find myself wanting to shout, slow down and wait for me!
But, I know you are set to your own pace,
your own rhythm.
You have your own beat.
Anna, yours is slow and deliberate, but still too fast for mom.
Your maturity and ability to take in adult information is so crazy.
But you have set your own speed on Anna time.
Cole, yours is much faster, much more upbeat and at times reckless but not because you are ready.
You don't have to wait for me.

This week, I said goodbye to a woman who was taken too young, fought her fight and her body is finally resting.
She said goodbye to this life, to her husband and to three little faces that will always remember how much she loved them.
And more than ever it hit me how much life does not wait.
Not for me, not for you, not for anyone.

And so my little faces, you don't have to wait for me.
The truth is, I will never be ready for your next step.
I will forever see you as the little faces I brought into this world.
I will forever think I can hold you in my arms and rock you.
Life doesn't wait, time rushes on, and nothing sits still.
So stamp your feet to your rhythm.
I will be there with you.
You don't have to wait for me.

Stop.

25
Jan

Us

When people ask me if I can remember my life before kids or if I can even imagine my life without them,
the absolute truth is yes, I can.
I remember what it was like to not have to always worry about scheduling everything.
I remember not worrying about every decision I make and how much it impacted someone else.
I remember what it was like to not have to worry about childcare, or school, or homework, or getting them involved.
I remember sleeping until 10.
I remember staying up late (and who cared because I could sleep until 10).
I remember drinking too much (and who cared because I could sleep until 10 and not have to be a mom, on a hangover.)
I remember carefree and easy.
I remember not thinking about them, and if I am doing or giving enough.
I remember not having to think, am I enough for them?
But, there is something that happened to us when we became parents.
The second I fell in love with her,
I fell in love with you in a way that was so deep, so connected that I can't remember what it felt like before.
I remember my life before them.
And I remember us before them.
But, I don't remember what our love felt like.
I know that I loved you then, clearly, I loved you with all of my heart.
But, since my heart has grown,
and then doubled,
and now continues to grow,
well, our love has changed so much and has become something so different.
Better, yes.
Stronger, yes.
Connected, yes.
Scary, sure.
But, watching you with them. The real you with them, it's pretty amazing.
I always knew how good you would be at this.
But seeing him on your shoulders going on a hike,
or watching you carry two exhausted kids through NYC, during the holidays,
or seeing you get excited about posting a pic with you guys ready for a great game
or hearing your morning conversations with them,
or hearing you say goodnight,
seeing how natural you are at affection,
how great you are with homework help,
teaching them things,
your summers together,
you fill with kid excitement at having them start something new,
it's changed us.
It's changed how I see you,
how I feel about you.
It's changed us.
They have brought us farther apart and they have brought us closer together.
They have made us question us, and made us realize, without any doubt, that this is what we are suppose to be doing.
They have made us fight, they have made us a team.
They have made us drive to the edge of despair and exhaustion and they have filled us with a new energy and hope.
They have pulled at our hearts, and made it shatter a million different times, but they have put the broken back together.
They have made us cry, for the good and the bad.
And smile, they make us smile.
They have made us so forgetful but remember what is really important.
They have made us.
I remember my life before them, of course I do.
I don't remember our love before them and I don't want to.

Houser52 Houser01

23
Jan

Five Minute Friday - share

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on share.
Go.

There was this brief moment in time, when it was just us.
And then, we decided to make them.
And for an even briefer moment in time, it was just me with them.
I got to carry them with me,
I got to be someone that carried two hearts.
And when it came time to share them with this world,
I wasn't ready.
Not in the way most moms aren't ready,
I just wasn't ready to give them up.
And I think that's why I tell them that I carry their heart,
because I was so lucky to have that opportunity.
I was so so lucky.
And when it came time,
I just didn't want to let go.
I wasn't ready to share you with the world.
I wasn't ready.
But of course you came.
You were always and still are always more ready than I am for your next move.
And it has been wonderful.
Watching you interact with everyone, watching others fall in love with you too.
But, when I think back on those times,
when it was just us,
when I knew your every move,
when I knew you were sleeping, or when I knew you had the hiccups,
I remember how amazing it was.
How I was able to have this little sweet moment in time, of just us.
And how, although I will never have it again, I will always go back to that time to remember how in love I was.

Sharing is hard,
you both know that now.
And I have to share you with each other, and dad, and grandparents, and teachers, and friends, and coaches and the list will continue to grow.
So, when I am holding you a little close when we have our time, please remember how much it meant to me.
Time with just us again, I hope we continue to carve even a few hours a week of just us four.
Because soon, you will both walk out that door and start your own.
I will be one of the people you share your time with.

And the memories will keep me warm.

Stop.

18
Jan

Perfect

In her eyes,
she is perfect.
She looks great wearing dresses,
she looks cute wearing sweats and/or jeans.
She looks great in boots and sneakers.
She looks like a princess when she dresses up.
She loves her eyes and she is told that they look like dad.
She loves that. That there is a piece of her she got from him.
She loves her smile and she is told she got it from mom.
She loves that too, that a part of me is in her.
She loves that we have the same color hair.
We match mom, our hair, it matches.
She loves hearing about how much we are alike, how much she and Cory are alike.
She wants to know where she came from.
How we are connected.

She loves to look at pictures of herself.
Old pictures, pictures we just took, pictures of her and Cole, pictures of just her.
God, she loves loves loves to take pictures with me, with us.
She loves family shots.

She loves to show us her artwork.
She loves to hear that she is creative, that I love the fact that she used my favorite color.
We do homework together and I remind her how smart she is.
How well she has adjusted to reading and writing and math.
And she loves to see how proud we are when she is reading that book alone, or complete that match problem.
I am in awe watching her learning unfold, I am amazed and she beams with pride.

And at some point, she is going to think she is not good enough.
I won't know how she will get there.
I may not hear the comment that makes her believe it.
Or maybe it's years of hearing how she needs to look different, dress different, act different.
Maybe it's someone telling her she has to spend 5 hours a day on a sport in order to really compete in it.
Or maybe it's a magazine article that makes her feel bad.
Maybe a classmate will say something.
Maybe she will overhear a grown up talk about how much she wants to change about her body.
And maybe that will lead her to believe that she needs to change hers too.

But at some point, she will lose her sparkle.
She will lose her shine.
She will see herself not as perfect and gorgeous and smart,
she will want to change so much about her.

Anna, perfect is impossible to live up to.
It does not exist.
But happiness, it's inside us.
It's something we have to pick.
Happy and calm and content, with what you have and connections you make.

Sweet girl, know that our connections bind us.
You came from us, two people that wanted you, tried for you, work for you.
You get your eyes from him, your smile from me, your humor from him, your thinking from me.
And so sweet girl, don't over think like me.
Don't obsess.
Feel the calm and the happy wash over you.
You are not perfect, but you are lovely, you are healthy, you are all that we have poured into you and all that you are creating.
You are not perfect, but you are insanely gorgeous, inside, out, and that gorgeous gorgeous mind of yours.
Stop with picture perfect.
Start happy.

Look at yourself with smiles,
be kind and gentle to yourself.
Create happy sweet girl.
Leave perfect for movies and commercials and shows that can create something unreal.
Live in this imperfect and scary world.
Live and love the imperfect.
Find happy.
You are not perfect.
You are Anna James Houser and you are remarkable at being her.

16
Jan

Five Minute Friday - send

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on send.

Go.

One day, we will let go.
We will sit back and be filled and full with the memories we have created.
We will remember walking in the front door with you for the first time.
We will remember first words, first steps, first day of school.
We will remember you sleeping on our chest, and Sunday morning snuggles.
We will remember family movie nights and Sunday breakfasts.
We will remember small.
We will remember fun and traditions and love.
But, it will happen.
We will send you off into the world.
We will let go of your hand, we will start over.
And we will keep moving.
We will celebrate new beginnings, we will be proud of different accomplishments.
We will follow you in a different way.
Sending you off into this world is why we create children.
We prepare them for that day,
we spend all of this time and care for that moment, for the send off.
And we are left, with our hearts still on the outside of our bodies and a piece of us, an actual part of us, walking around making their own choices, living their own lives.
The send off, it will be difficult, because it is filled with love.

Stop.

11
Jan

I love you more

It's Sunday morning, a little past 7am and you know that once the clock reads 7, you can come out.
I hear your feet hit the floor, and your door open.
My heart starts to fill as I hear you run down the hall and whisper "mom, can I snuggle with you guys?"
You come in, right between us, rest your head on our pillow, snuggle under the warm blankets and you reach for my hand.
I quickly kiss your nose, my eyes still closed, still tired from last week and already exhausted thinking about the week ahead.
And you whisper, "I love you mommy".
And all I can say is..."I love you more".

This will always be true.
I will always love you both more, more than you will ever love me.
You will not realize how strong this kind of love is, not until you hear a little voice whisper, I love you mommy.
Not until you realize that you love little faces through sibling fights, and screaming no in your face.
Not until you realize that you love them through good and bad choices.
Not until you see them hurt, or sick and all you want to do is take it from them.
Not until you hear a two year old voice, full of happy.
Not until you see a kindergartner step on a bus and wave back to you.
Not until you are all sitting around, in pjs and in love.
Not until you live for quiet Sundays or Friday family movie nights.
Not until you hold them for the first time and really connect with the person in your care.
Not until you give them a bath and see how adorable they are.
Not until you have the power to kiss away the hurt.
Not until you are willing to lose yourself for them.
Not until you labor and scream them into this world.
Not until you fall in love with your person more because you both love them.
Not until you realize that you need to come up with new phrases for I love you, because it's just not enough.
Not until you say, olive juice...I love you more.

9
Jan

Five Minute Friday - Welcome

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on welcome.

Go.

2014 was, different.
It was a year full of stresses that I and my personality only made worse.
And when I feel that overwhelmed, that anxious, that stressed, I shut down.
And I spent the year welcoming in the tension, the stress, the worry, the chaos, the concern, the sadness,
and an entire year of wasting time.
And that is my goal in 2015, to change what I welcome into our lives.
My resolution is to welcome calm.
I am not even suggesting that that means I will spend the year stress free,
or not yelling,
or all worry will somehow vanish.
It means, I will welcome in the calm.
I will welcome in the joy of parenting.
I will focus on how we built a house that was made a home through them...
family, love, little.
I will welcome the calm of our night time routines,
I will snuggle in more and feel them on my chest
I will welcome the calm of our traditions, our love.
I will welcome the calm of family movie night and Sunday breakfast.
I will welcome the calm of love.
I will hug more
I will hold hands more
I will touch toes more
I will smooch more
I will hold their faces more
I will laugh more!
I will read to them more
I will welcome the calm.
I will welcome the calm that I and I alone can create from inside me.

Stop.

4
Jan

Whispers

It's late,
I am off to bed and there is one last check that I love to do.
With each of you.
My little faces.
It's the middle of the night and you're sound asleep.
And I snuggle right in.
And I whisper...
how much I love you,
how much you mean to me,
how sorry I am for my mistakes that day,
how much I wish I could take back that moment,
have a do-over on that argument,
handle your tantrum better.
I whisper that I carry your heart
and if I get you at just the right time, you whisper it back.
From your dreams.
You whisper to me from your dreams and I melt, fall in love all over again.
It's my most favorite and pure time.
It's when you seem most small to me.
It's when I feel most safe, most close, most like a mom, in all the right ways.
I whisper that I eat you up I love you so,
and you whisper back...mommy's sweet and low.
I tell you that I will miss you while we sleep,
you whisper you miss me too.
And I tell you that I love your face
and I hear in little voice whispers...I love your face.
And as you roll over, I think if you hear me in your dreams.
If you will ever remember.
So in case you don't, I am telling you now.
It's how we would say goodnight.
It's how I ended my day,
all curled up, snuggled next to you.
Holding your hand, and holding you tight,
watching you sleep,
pushing the hair away from your closed eyes.
Tracing your nose, and in whispers.
I would end my day with whispers and with you whispering back,
from your dreams.
And they are the moments I will remember always.

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