27
Feb

Happily ever after

Once upon a time, a very long time ago...
a boy and girl met.
They were young, they smiled at each other a lot, they loved spending time together.
You would catch them holding hands all of the time, smooching in the corner.
They were happy.

She wanted to leave where they were living,
he was unsure, of leaving behind all he knew, all he had already accomplished,
but he did.

He wanted kids, and marriage, and a suburban life, and happily ever after.
She was so unsure, of herself, of her abilities, and didn't believe in happily ever after,
but she did.

And somehow, they continued to be happy.

Life went on, as life does.
This happy couple went through some bumps,
she had MS,
he didn't find a job after the move,
she works a lot,
he (now working in his chosen and desired field) is around kids all day, and then comes home to be a full time dad.
He balances,
she balances.

They found a house,
they built a home.
They have two wonderful kids and a dog.
There are times, they are the definition of happy.

And once she had her daughter, she realized that happily ever after does exist.
It just looks so different than what anyone thinks.

The two, they fight, they argue, they are unsure, they are growing,
but not in different directions and that's what is important.
She is stubborn, he has a temper.
She HAS to be right, in control, he is more forgiving.
He flies off the handle, and she has to bring him back.

And here is the secret to all relationships, including theirs...it is so easy to love someone through the good and even through the bad.
It's all the in between that you have to worry about and work on.
There is so much more time spent in the in between.
The lull, more moments are there than in the good or the bad.
The paying of bills, and mowing of the lawn, the laundry, the house upkeep, the raising of children.
That is where all of your efforts and work has to go into.
The good is easy and the bad is natural and easy,
it's the in between.
That's where you have to find humor.
That's where you will be tested.
That's where you have to work and decide to love one another.
That's where marriages, families, make it or break it.
Because in this time, you can get bored.
You can get distracted.
You can find it hard to remember that at the end of parenthood, it is just you two.
You can get lost in the details and crazy of life.
You can get lost in the kids, in the schedules.
Parenting, it can make you walk in separate directions if you're not careful.
You can forget why you started.
You can forget that hope you had when you looked at each other.
You can forget that you are better together than you are apart.
You can forget that they are watching, hoping to see what love looks like.
You can forget that you can do this alone, but don't want to.
You can forget that you decide, each day, decide to be together.
You can forget that happily ever after, it's there, it's here, it just looks different than we are taught.

That boy and girl,
they have grow up.
They are adults, no longer playing house.
And the best part, you can still find them holding hands.

27
Feb

Five minute Friday - visit part 2

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 visit.
Go.

Last year, I wrote a five minute prompt on visit.
I thought back to a time when all of my friends and I were in one location, one apartment, one town. All smooched together.
Now, we all live all over and all we have is our visits.
This prompt, my mind goes to something very different.

I have been thinking a lot recently about how fleeting life is.
How we all think we have a tomorrow.
How my aging parents are the only people I know that talk about life after they are gone.
But last month, I saw a young mother of three lose a battle and leave this earth.

For weeks, I thought about what that must have felt like for her and her family.
As I would put my two small faces to bed, I would think...how would I ever say goodbye?
This young, this small, how would I say goodbye?
And I thought about their visits, their time together and what they would say back and forth to one another.

Those precious moments when you try and smooch a lifetime of love into days/weeks.
Visits when you want them to know how memories of your time with them will keep them warm.
How even if you are not here, you will always be with them.

And all I could do is think I don't want to wait for visits.
Not now, not as I age.
I just want them to know now.

I carry you with me everyday guys.
Just thinking about you makes me smile.
You are strong and loving.
You are a part of me and a part of him, and together, we are better than apart.
You are lucky because you got the best parts of us.
You are remarkable, and smart.
You are the definition of love.
You gave me a second chance, at life, at childhood.
You keep me warm and fill me full.
I am always with you, you are always with me.
Carry me in your heart and I will carry you in mine.
And above all, I love you.

Stop.

22
Feb

Pink

I know, it's been your favorite color forever.
You love being a girl and all the frills and girly stuff that comes with it.
You would sell me for a dress.
You would wear one everyday, rain/shine/snow/sleet...no matter to you.
You love femininity and all gentleness it comes with.

But, you know what,
you love loud too!
You love to run, so hard, so fast, red in the face when you stop kind of run.
You love to run with me and I long for the days we will go on long runs together.
I long for the days that I get to show you and teach you what running like a girl looks like.
You love to get dirty, play in the mud, find every puddle kind of dirty.
And it drives your calm dad more crazy than your OCD mom.

Princesses, you love them all.
You love the dresses and the dancing and singing.
You love their hair, how long it is.
And I work to tell you about their personality, or their determination,
I work to show you how they may have just saved the day and how their beauty doesn't come close to their brains.

Beauty, you love to hear you look beautiful.
You love telling me how pretty I look.
You love to get dressed up, you love watching me put on a dress, you adore it when we look alike.

But, it's not the clothes that make us look alike.
It's us.
It's what binds up, hands on our hips, stubborn determination, our temper, that's how we're alike.

I grew up listening to all I could not do, because I was a girl.
I will not allow you to ever think that.
I grew up fighting the can't, but there is no need for you to fight, not in our house.

I know how much you love being a girl, and I love that you get to decide what that means and looks like for you.
I love that you love pink, but I also love that it doesn't matter what you're wearing if it means you get to play outside.
I love how gorgeous you are, but I love that your beauty shines the most when you are kind and show your heart.
I love how much you are understanding at school, I love your mind.

So...
wear pink
dress in dresses everyday
play with your princesses
play house
do your match homework and love how numbers make sense
read your books and get lost in stories
go for that run
find that puddle
get dirty
scream
jump
rip your clothes
get your fingernails dirty
be the girl you are.

15
Feb

That time

That time she needed me at 2 in the morning to find her lovey.
All of the times they fell and just needed comfort.
The times they are sick and you drop everything to take care of them, be with them.
All the homework time we put in with them.
All the stories we have read.
The countless times we taught them to say please and thank you.
That time she had the flu and you held her upright all night long so she would sleep.
That time he had the flu and we both stayed up all night in the hospital with him, watching him sleep.
How we both kiss them goodnight, one last time, one last tuck.
That time he had croup and we ran a bath and took him out into the cold, terrified of his breathing.
That time he wouldn't gain weight, and we worried and worried and worried about his size chart for a year.
That time neither of them would walk and we worried and worried and worried that they never would.
That time she was in a play and we were both there watching her shine.
That time she started Kindergarten and we made her feel so special.
All the traditions we started, memories that will keep us all warm for years and years to come.
The movies we have introduced them too.
The stories we have told of their childhood and how they glow listening to what life was like when they were too small.
All of the dinners.
The late night feedings and changes.
All the baths.
All of the things you are able to fix because "dad can fix everything".
That time I had the flu, and still had to be a mom.
The time you spend answering all of the questions.
The journal I kept while pregnant, so they would know every emotion I felt, while I held them from the inside.
All the zippers zipped, gloves put on, hats we have wrestled with.
All the laundry, all of the time.
All of the trips we have taken as a family.
All the hands we have held.
All the scrapes and falls we have kissed away.
All of the times I whisper to them in their sleep and the times we just watch them...because it is the equivalent of watching childhood and smallness all wrapped up in adorable.
All of the mess, all of the time, that my OCD has to take a back burner to.
All of the times I have cried for you, either in front of you or behind your back to protect you.
How you know where all of their things are, all of the time.
That time she threw up on you and you still held her.
All of the encouragement we give, how we always believe in them, and in their spirit.
All of the times outs, to teach consequences and the choices they make.
The times she stomps her way up the stairs and slams the door and I lived to tell the tale.
The time he lost his lovey and I turned two houses inside out looking, searching, desperate for the first gift I handed him when I held him for our first time.
All of the I love yous.
All of the different ways we have taught them an I love you.
We are superheroes.
We wear an invisible cape but who else can hold this much love for someone so small?
We are not just enough for our kids, we are all to them.
We, are superheroes.

13
Feb

Five Minute Friday - when

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 when.
Go.

When I was younger, I thought I would have it all figured out by now.
When you were babies, I held you so close to drink you all in.
When I was younger, I did not imagine this life.
When you were small, I would be crushed by the little.
When I grow up...I still don't know how that sentence ends.
When you grow up, I want you to think back on us and remember love.
When I look back on just us four, they are the memories that will forever keep me warm.
When you walk out that door, you will carry our hearts with you.
When it is back to just us two, the silence will be too loud.
When I held you for the first time, I melted.
When you smooch my nose, I fall a little harder.
When you hold my hand, it is a moment that defines love.
When you throw your arms around me, you fix all the broken.
When we focus on the good, you find so much love and kindness.
When I hold you, I feel like a mom, and all the good that comes with that title.
When you laugh, you define childhood.
When it's time to put you to sleep and tuck you in tight, they are my favorite moments of the day.
When I am away from you, I carry you with me.
When you talk in your little voice, I am whole.
When you eat, your feet still dance.
When you smooch, you do it with your whole face.
When we love, we do it with all we have.

Stop.

8
Feb

I am always afraid

They act up in front of others and I am afraid that they are going to be disrespectful for the rest of their lives.
They are hateful to each other and I am afraid that they will be hateful, always and forever.
They are mean, to me, to their dad, to each other...and I am afraid I am raising mean kids.
They are loud and I am afraid that others can't stand to be around them.
They are on my last nerve and I am afraid that I am the only mom that yells, all of the time, to her kids.
I am afraid that they sound just like me when they yell back.
I live in fear that I am at work and school or daycare will call with someone being sick.
I live in fear that the sitter will tell me that they misbehaved.
I live in fear that they are spoiled, have too many things, don't appreciate anything and will never go without.
I am afraid that every time we do something special for them, they don't show appreciation, they need to be reminded to thank, and not to ask for more.
I live in fear that we will somehow mess this up and lose this life.
Somehow, we will drop a ball and it will all come crashing down.
I am afraid that they watch too much TV.
I am afraid they don't move enough.
I am afraid they will not grow up to be independent.
I am afraid they don't understand consequences.
I'm afraid they will never grow up, I am afraid that they will.
I am afraid that I am not enough, I am afraid that I am too much.
I am afraid that they don't understand, I am afraid of all that they already understand.
I am afraid that we will run out of money.
I am afraid that she will someday hate her body, her hair, her personality.
I am afraid that he will not be strong and sensitive.
I am afraid that she thinks too much.
I am afraid he is too reckless.
I am afraid that I am not enjoying the days enough.
I am afraid I am going to see it all go by too fast.
I am afraid of my anxiety.
I am afraid of his frustrations.
I am afraid of her five year old stubbornness.
I am afraid of his two year old tantrums.
I am afraid it is too hard.
I am afraid that I don't love enough.
I am afraid that they don't love enough.
I am afraid we don't talk enough about how love fixes it all.
I am afraid that one day I will not be by their side.
I am afraid of saying goodbye.
I am afraid of all the noise, all the time, and I am afraid of the quiet this house will become.
I am afraid.
I am afraid all of the time.
I have no idea what I am doing and I am making most of it up, most of the time.
And, I am not afraid to admit that.

6
Feb

Five Minute Friday - keep

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 keep.
Go.

If I could, I would keep you little.
I would keep you with me, all snuggled, all a pile of mushy family.
If I could, I would keep you safe always.
I would protect you with all I have.
If I could, I would keep here, in this house you turned into a home.
If I could, I would hold your hand tight, until the end of time.
I would keep watch over you,
I would keep you close, to all we created together.
I would keep reminding you of what is important.
I would keep your heart protected.
I would keep you laughing.
I would keep you wanting and loving a happy childhood, even in old age.
I would keep you striving, and working and moving.
I would keep that shine in your eyes, that way you always look happy.
I would keep you in love, with all that is in front of you.
I would keep you.
If I could.
Instead, I will watch you from a distance create happy and you.
I will watch you create your memories, your life.
I will no longer be your keeper, I will be your mom.
I promise that when that time comes, I will instead keep a safe distance.
I will always keep a piece of you with me, because you will take most of me with you.

Stop.

1
Feb

Love at first sight

Sometimes, for some mothers, with some of their children, falling in love with your child is a slow process.
It may take time to see the person you held for nine months to become the son/daughter you hold.
Sometimes, although love and protection are there, it takes a little while to get to know them,
and it may take time to find your rhythm.
But, when you do, the dance is the picture of perfection.
That's how it was with your sister.
God I loved her, but it took me some time to get to know the real her.
I remember the day I fell deeply and madly in love with her,
the day that she became my daughter and the day I felt like not just a mother, but her mother.
And I remember our first year together was the most calm and amazing dance of my life.

But, when I met you sweet boy, it was different.
And because everything about you is so different from your sister, of course this has to be too.
See, I fell in love with you the moment I put my eyes on you.
And you sweetheart, you looked up at me in a way that fixed all the broken.
You were and are my one and only love at first sight.

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And our first year wasn't calm.
Actually, I felt more like a first time mother with you than I ever did with Anna.
But, that's okay, because you made me strong, you made me walk through fire and hell and still find love at the end.
You had a way of catching my gaze and holding my heart.
You were squishy and small and cozy.
You were drawn to me, so safe with me and you didn't have a problem showing it.
Your first words were mamma,
you didn't make me wait or beg for it,
you just wanted to call out for me.

I was your world, I was moon and stars and I loved you more than my heart could handle.
You had me gush and you had my love overflow.

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You loved me in a way that I desperately needed in my life.
You found a way of fitting into me.
You completed a family that didn't realize was missing a piece of their puzzle.
You turned Anna into a big sister and made her heart fill with love so strong for a brother she adores.

You always had an ability to draw others in.
Even when you were two days old, I woke up in the hospital listening to nurses argue over who was going to get to change you.

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And even now,
through all the tantrums,
through all the screams and cries,
through all the fights, with Anna, and us, and yourself,
through all the times you want for dad more than me,
you find your way back.
You bring me back to love.
You find a way of holding my gaze and you continue to hold my heart.
You have the tiniest voice even when it's louder than loud.
You have the greatest smile,
eyes that shine, hair that is all me.

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You were born like your dad...full of new, full of life and full of frustration.
You were born like your dad...you have a smirk that melts, eyes that capture, and a heart full of love and trust.
You found two people who wanted for you and we are so lucky that you found us.
You picked us.
You were and are my one and only love at first sight.

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You scare me Cole.
You have me worried most of the time.
And if I'm not worried, I am exhausted because you exhaust.
But, that's okay too.
You love to cry, but you love to laugh and laugh too.
You love to whine, but you love to say "thank you" too.
You love to scream, out of frustration, out of anger, and out of excitement too.
You love to make you and your presence known, you will define your space.
You love to hug and sing goodnight.
You hum when you are happy.
You talk to me from your dreams.
You look up to the big sister you created.
You will never back down, you will always be a fighter.
You were and are my one and only love at first sight.

Cole DSC_2289
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