27
Dec

Sweet spot.

Whenever I am asked how old my kids are and I say 6 and 3, the very next words out of my mouth are...
we are in the thick of it.
We are raising tiny humans
doing homework
balancing extra curricular
balancing really difficult careers
balancing a home
fighting through the storming
the tantrums
the rage
the meltdowns
the need for naps
and rest
the fighting to take them.
Until one day, a close friend changed how I view 3 and 6.
Until she explained, how with her own 3 and 6 year old,
we are in the sweet spot.
And, as with most of our conversations, it forced me to look at them, us, all of it, differently.
And how I can express my love for them always,
even in the difficult.
And then one day, instead of complaining about how in the thick of it we are, which we are,
about how much storming there is, because there is,
I started to view it from the sweet spot I was in.
Not just the crazy whirlwind that our life is, because it is.
Not because my son is owning three like he purchased it with his life savings, because he is.
Or how our daughter can be so mature and so immature all in the same moment, because she can.
But, the sweet spot.
The spot in which my kids aren't as needy,
but still in need.
The spot in which they are starting to create their family away from the family we created,
but we are still important in their lives.
They are potty trained,
but still need to announce going.
They all feed themselves,
but we all eat together.
We are not washing bottles,
but we are still filling cups.
Anna does chores that contribute to the home,
but is still waiting for me to help out, still calls for team work, so we can all be together.
She is reading, full books, all on her own!
But still loves bed time stories being read to her.
This, is our sweet spot.

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They are becoming so independent.
Getting dressed on their own
setting up their imaginary play
doing homework
setting the table
taking care of our puppy
earning rewards
buying their own things from allowances
treating for her brother
riding her bike in the neighborhood
playing by themselves
getting so familiar with electronics.

But,
they are still mostly ours.
Our time isn't over.
They are still so little,
and the little can be crushing, heavy, wonderfully heavy.
They adore us
want to be around us
love to be cuddled
and kissed
and snuggled
and read to
and tucked in
and traditions
and rituals
and team work
and team Houser
and puppy time
and Friday night family movie
and pancake Sundays
and love.
This is our sweet spot.

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This is our sweet spot.
This is our time of being able to come out of the fog
but still feel the heavy of family on our back, on our chests, in our hearts.
This, is our sweet spot of family.
This is our time.
Our most loved and wanted and just wanted, not necessarily needed but just wanted time.
This!
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And this!
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So, when I go to bed at night, and I am snuggled into my person,
touching toes and holding hands,
I am in my sweet spot.

When the kids announce when I have arrived home with shouts of
MOMMY!
I am in my sweet spot.

When my daughter grabs for my hand and gives it a gentle kiss,
I am in my sweet spot.

When my son comes up to me just to tell me that he loves me,
I am in my sweet spot.

When we talk about our future and are excited for our graying years,
I am in my sweet spot.

When I recognize their happy childhood,
when I can see in their faces that I brought them joy,
I am in my sweet spot.

When I go in to give them one final kiss goodnight,
and all throughout the room you can hear their gentle breathing,
you can see the perfect on their face,
their curls mushed up against their forehead.
And I think to myself that my heart may explode out of my chest
and the joy that they place in my heart is so loud right now, it's going to wake them up.
And I kiss them over and over and they whisper to me from their dreams,
that is my sweet spot.

When we're storming,
brutal, battling storms,
and I am looking at you and wondering how I could have done this all differently
and instead of continuing the storm,
I take your hand and say
"you are the greatest thing I have ever done. You are one of my reasons, one of my purposes,
and you, you are the best kind of love and I simply cannot not love you. I always will, always, love you".
That, is my sweet spot.

When she cuddles up into me,
when she puts her arms around me to tell me that she loves me,
I am in my sweet spot.

This, is my sweet spot.
Houser22

14
Dec

Difficult

Anna, remembering the time when you were 2 turning 3 gives me intense anxiety.
Sometimes, just talking about those days, and the storming that came with them,
it brings actual tears to my eyes.
And the stubborn rage, it continued.
You would dig your feet in,
and so would I.
You would want your voice heard
and so would your dad.
And somehow we all thought that whomever was the loudest won.
You would expect to be reasoned with
and we thought we knew better.
So maybe we needed a different approach.
Maybe in order to teach respect, we had to show it too.
In order to teach kindness, we had to be kind, to you.
To teach being gentle and loving, and we had to be those things, with you.
So what if we place our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

Cole, you turned one, started to cry and have not stopped.
And we always wonder why.
It's not a matter of you don't have the words, you always have.
It's not a matter of we give in and give you what you want, we never do.
So maybe it's because you just need to cry and we need to accept that.
Maybe it's because our way isn't working.
And we now need to change our approach.
If we want to teach you quiet, we have to stop yelling.
If we want to teach you to listen, we need to listen to you too.
If we want to teach you to follow directions, we have to stop saying NO!
To the boy that can't sit still.
NO! to the boy that has to move.
NO! to the boy that wants to climb.
NO! to the boy that wants to touch.
NO! to the boy that wants to talk.
It's time to place our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

You are people.
You do not want to be controlled, you want to be guided.
You do not want shouts of anger and rage, you want to know what gentle feels like.
You do not want rules just for rules sake, you want to be respected.
You want a voice.
You want some control, some decisions.
You have bad days, because everyone has bad days.
You have moments when you are not being difficult, you are having a difficult time.
You are struggling and you need the grown-ups, the adults in the room to realize you are asking for us.
So what if we changed it all?
What if we put our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

And what if we remembered how hard we tried for you.
What if we remembered how great it felt when we felt confident in our ability to parent.
How wonderful you can make a life.
What if we remembered that we create childhood for you.
We are the owners of your heart for such a short period of time.
We have to stop waiting for a time period to be over and done with.
What if we put our arms around you,
realize you are not giving a hard time
realize you are having a hard time
and love you.
Even in the difficult.

11
Dec

Five Minute Friday - reflect

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 reflect.
Go

Last year, right around this time, Five Minute Friday picked reflect as the word of the week.
And I wrote about how I sit in quiet each year trying to put all of the pieces of our life together.

That was two years ago and this year, there is so much of me that I broke, so much of my life that I shattered.
2015 was a combo of joy and struggle and love and hate and rising from the ashes and leveling us to our core and
rising again.
2015 was a combo of fear and bravery, loss and moving on, spreading love and negativity.
And I have made a promise to all those around me, that I will rebuild, I will heal.
I will lead differently.
I will be more gentle.
I will be more kind.
I will love so much more.
I will put down my phone.
I will be with my kids.
I will be there.
I will be calm in order to have them find their calm.
I will be silly and fun again.
We will find our childhood again.
I will stop believing that it all starts and ends with me.
I will remember that I have partners everywhere.
I will I will I will.

And, my reflection on the year is one of regret. I feel like I let these precious moments slip through my fingers
all to give worry more fuel for an already growing flame.

When I reflect back on this next part of my life, regret will no longer be welcome in our home, in my heart.

Stop.

6
Dec

#Happychildhood

My vivid memories started when I was three.
That was the start of my little life.
And most of those memories are not great.
But, because of who I am, how I process, what I choose to focus on,
that means I really emphasize and linger on all the not so great parts and I tend to let the good go.
And, there was good.
Like how many late nights my family spent with my cousins who were my best friends.
The smile on my mom's face when she was around her family, her sisters, her parents.
The shouting and laughter that came from those late nights when all the men played cards.
How when we were older, we were allowed to play too and how happy that felt.
How many times my cousin and I talked our parents into sleep overs.
How gentle my parents were on the rides home, with two exhausted kids in the car.
The first time we moved into our new house and how they were both beaming with pride of what they accomplished.
Vacations to Canada and how much he loved going, how much he felt connected.
How much we loved it, those trips, our summers.
How he always felt most connected with extended family.
How he still feels most connected, most loved, when he is surrounded.
The night before Christmas,
midnight mass and everyone opening gifts in a storm of wrapping paper flurries into all hours of the night.
How bedtimes did not matter.
How when we were really really little and he worked tough hours, we would catch a glimpse of him in the morning
and he really missed us.
Every once in a while, he would surprise us with a dollar coin and we had to take turns as to who got to put it in their piggy bank.
How we only had one car and so we walked everywhere with our mom.
Her on one side, me on the other.
And on the really cold days, she would hold our hand and place it in her pocket to keep warm.
There was good too.
There was something there that looked and felt a lot like family.

When you both think back, what will I leave with you?
Will you be flooded by the good?
Will you have to search, or will it be right there?
Will the good be right there to keep you warm, and have you follow some guide?

Here is some of our amazing...
Traditions.
Traditions could not be more important to me.
And I have many for us so please remember and please make your family all about them too.
Friday family pizza and movie night.
Sunday pancake breakfast.
Christmas Eve dinner at Nonna and Nonno's house followed by opening gifts with your cousins (a little bit of Ruzza) and getting new pjs and going to see all the decorated homes (a little bit of Houser).
NYC every holiday season.
Picking out your ornament from Macy's.
Baking our holiday cookies.
Summers at the Cape.
Saturday summers at the track.
Sunday bike rides.
Decorating our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving
spending that entire day watching holiday movies and in PJs!
Sunday family swims.

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Hard work.
We tried, really hard.
At everything we did.
Parenting, work, our home, love.
We work really hard for all of us.
Remember that our hours were long.
Our days, long.
But our hard work was all for us
for you
for us.
At times, we lost sight of what was important.
Like time with us
and happiness was put on the back burner.
But it was your faces and little voices that always brought me back.

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Remember love.
We had a lot of that.
In our hugs,
our phrases
our moments.
We had it all wrapped up in each other.
Nights in front of the fire.
Story times snuggled in bed.
Praying for what we are thankful for.
On our knees, asking for forgiveness when we are unkind.
Love and patience when needed,
and always love.

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Remember each other.
How much you lean on each other.
How much you help each other.
How important it is that the other is happy,
feeling supported.
Remember your first words to him were, you're my best friend.
Remember that he compliments you.
Remember that he looks up to you and that's why he is always there.
Remember that he needs you and you need him too.
Remember that only you two share your childhood.
Only you two can complain about us in a way that will be 100% understood.
Remember that you are love when you are gentle to each other.

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Remember summer.
With your dad.
Full of warmth.
And adventure.
Times at the track.
Times at the library.
Times outside.
Swimming.
Bike rides.
Remember late nights.
Ice cream dessert.
Ice cream for dinner.
Remember downtown blown up.
Remember the Cape.
Remember the beach.
Remember sun screen, sun kissed.
Remember the explosion of childhood.

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Remember the holidays.
And all we made important for you.
How hard we focused on what really mattered during the holidays.
Remember gathered family.
And baking
and time together.
Remember how warm it was
how cozy our home felt.
How calm it all of a sudden became.
Remember the importance of love
and giving
and time
and how we tried to make it stand still
for you
for us.

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Remember that there was good.
Even in our mistakes.
The ones we learned from
apologized for
asked for forgiveness and patience.
Asked for love to put us back together.
Remember that we were all that mattered.
Remember childhood, a #happychildhood.
One that I always dreamed of,
one that I always wanted for you.
One that warms my heart and makes me smile.
Remember there was good because there was love in this home.

4
Dec

Five Minute Friday - season

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. 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 season.
Go.

Each turn of the calendar is another change.
Each change is a good-bye to where we were.
And as we said good-bye to our summer and the season changed to fall
I said good-bye to daily swims
and long long days
and warmth.
I had to welcome a little girl in grade 1
and a little boy going into pre-school.
I had to welcome backpacks
and made lunches
and homework.
I had to welcome teachers
and how much they love my kids too.

And as fall came to a close
and the change in season shifts again,
we said good-bye to cool air and warm days.
Gorgeous color and the smell of leaves.
And hello to holidays.
And traditions.
And decorations.
And pjs all day on the weekends.
And little face excitement.
Dreams of what is coming.
Movies all day long.
Warm houses and fireplaces.

Change in seasons remind you to enjoy your time
enjoy this short amount of perfect because the next season is right around the corner.
Change is coming
and it can be daunting
it can be hectic
it can also be the reminder you need to
slow down
enjoy
sit in your little perfect
and take advantage of the season.

Stop.

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