30
Sep

Five Minute Friday - collect

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 collect.
Go.

Moments in time
memories
precious precious time with you.
I can collect it all, but I cannot bottle it, I cannot keep it, I cannot keep you.

Things
items
money
I can collect it all, but I cannot take it with me, in the end, it is all meaningless.

Hugs
smooches
kissing noses
holding hands
I can collect it all, and these are the moments that keep me warm.

Arguments
wins
times I know I could not be more right
I can collect it all, but what does any of it matter.

Time with you
time with all of you
giving all of me to you
I can collect it all, and even though I cannot bottle and keep you
this is what will make all the difference.
In our future
in yours
in your decisions
in each choice
you will think of us
and our time
and what it all meant to you.

I will collect and keep your story.
I will collect and keep your memories.
I will collect and keep your precious moments with us.
I will collect and keep what shaped you.
I will collect and keep what made you glorious you.

Stop.

26
Sep

The gift

I am not a gift giver.
It's not in my nature.
I don't accept them well, I don't give well, it's just not part of what I do.

But what you don't realize on this journey of parenting is that each day, your children teach you something new.
About yourself
about your triggers
about your buttons
about your capacity to love
and your inability to manage and contain your feelings
about how you can run towards and away from love all at once.
And most of the time, you view these lessons as failures that you need to learn from.
But what they also are, what they can also be called, are gifts.

Here is what I have lovingly accepted as your gifts, to me.
Anna, you have taught me more about myself than anyone, and this sweet girl is such a gift.
I see so much of me in you.
I see the good, the bad.
The gentle and the anger.
The perfectionist, and the frustration that makes you want to give up, on yourself.
I see the nerd, the one that has a love affair with school.
I see the quiet one that is loud and insane in her comfortable pack.
The one that loves just us four, but also has such a need and desire to expand her circle, her need for framily.
The one that holds us to our promises, the one that wants to know why, the one that finds our traditions such a necessity.
The one that carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and therefore feels empty when it's all just too much.
You have gifted me the ability and foresight to really watch my words because you are listening.
You have gifted me, for the first time, the reasons to just not talk about my body, because the only thing that matters is strength and health.
Anna, you have gifted me my title of mom.
You have given me the gift of you.
And what I promise to give back to you, is the gift of me.
All you want is to be close, to feel connected, to spend time.
I gift you time to go for runs with me,
I gift you all of me when you come home from school,
I gift you some quiet time for us to sit,
I gift you time off of my phone, away from my work, so we can be together.
I gift you my time to teach you things, to be my shadow,
Anna, I gift you all of me.

Cole,
you have gifted me the ability to find another way.
Because you have always wanted to make a different mark.
You have always wanted us to know that you are not your sister and that won't work with you.
You have gifted me the ability to find out what love at first sight means, how it feels.
You have gifted me the completion of our circle of love.
You have gifted me your joy, you have brought it back into our house.
You have gifted me the beginning with your dad, because you are all him, in every way.
You have gifted me the ability to start over, to see it all for the first time because your soul is brand new.
There is nothing old about you, you are seeing it all, just now. Day by day.
You have gifted me the love of eating, having it make your feet dance and doing it with your whole face.
You have gifted me the importance of snuggles, because you reminded me that you love with your whole body.
You have gifted me the definition of all in, because whatever you do, you are always, all in.
And what I gift to you sweet love, is the power of the word yes.
Can you climb, yes.
Can you run, yes.
Can you jump and chase and go crazy, yes yes yes!
Can you eat that, yes.
Can you smooch me, yes!
Can you just be glorious you...yes sweetie yes!
I gift you our attention and play time with you.
I gift you glorious, joyful, emotional, you.

23
Sep

Five Minute Friday - five

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 five.
Go.

Five has always been my number.
My jersey, my go to, my number.
It was my dad's number too, when he was playing soccer,
when he was on the field feeling like a kid, and finally laughing.
Which is strange that this number keeps finding me too, even when I was small
because we didn't have that kind of connection
but maybe we did, and this was the universe's way of saying
fight as hard as you want, he is a part of you.

Because when I was five, I realized how different things were.
For me, for my family.
The reality of adulthood set in, at five.
And as I watched you turn five,
as I saw how little that is,
how small, how precious,
I am so protective of your childhood.
So fiercely protective of keeping your little here, for as long as you need.

I have always said that I was born 40, and although that's funny and kind of a joke,
it's also really sad,
really hard to come to grips with.
I 100% believe it's not just who raised me, a lot of it had to do with me, how I am,
how serious and daunting life was for me.
How hard I make things,
how difficult I make life.
Which is why, a year before you turn five, I watch over and protect this time.
Which is why I always say you gave me my second chance, at childhood, at developing, at health and peace.

Through your little,
I have recaptured something I never had.
Through your firsts,
I am seeing what this all feels like, what it all means, how to navigate.

Which is why, so many times I mess up.
So many times I put my head in my hands and say, "I have no idea what I am doing, I have no clue how to do any of this.
And if I get it wrong, the impact that has on you..."
Which is why this is a journey we take on together.
Which is why at night, I apologize for my mistakes.
Like the times I lost my patience
the times I expected too much out of you
the times I didn't come from a gentle place
the times I try to control too much
the times the screaming makes you crumble
I am so sorry.

Five, it's such a small number.
It's always found its way to me.
It has always held a special place with me,
it has always been my number.

Stop.

18
Sep

Close

I am a doer.
I, am a list maker.
I live by them.
I like things organized, and neat.
I like to check off my boxes.
And once you become a mom, you can happily be flying through your day and you hear,
"can you come play with me?"
you decide to be close.

I like routine,
structure.
I like knowing that at 7, you head up the stairs.
I like knowing that by 7:30, we say goodnight to our day.
I like that feeling of tucking you in, knowing we are ending it right.
I like that you sleep in your bed and I sleep in mine.
I like coming in to give you one more kiss, I love seeing how small you look in a big kid bed.
But once you hear
"can I sleep with you tonight?"
you decide to be close.

I like having dinner together.
I like talking about our day
the good, the bad, the parts that make no sense because your story is so all over the place.
I like having us around the island, I like knowing that it will get easier.
But when you hear
"can we snuggle on the coach and watch something?"
you decide to be close.

I like going for runs alone.
It's my time to think,
no music, just the sound of my awkward feet hitting the road.
I am so self conscious most of the time,
and even though I look ridiculous running, and so many people tell me that, I just don't care.
This is my time, just me, the cold, the heat, the road, me.
And then I hear
"can I go with you?"
and you decide to be close.

At the end of the day, I am finished.
I have nothing left to give.
My patience, what very little I start with, is completely gone.
My temper has most likely come out.
I am through, I am done.
But when I hear "can you please snuggle with me?"
and I decide to be close.

I decide to bring you in
to give you what you need, which is me.
To be what you need, which is there.
To love you the way I know how, which is through closeness and affection and wrapping my arms around all of your little.

I decide to be close
to you
to love
to family
to affection
to warmth
to us.
I decide to be close.

16
Sep

Five Minute Friday - listen

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 listen.
Go.

I have been told it is my best quality.
I have been told it is why people always feel so comfortable.
I have been told it's why I am so good at my job.
I have been told that it's because it makes people feel important, and heard.
Who doesn't want to be heard?
All we have to do is listen.

However, I know me, and I know that with those I cherish the most, I don't always listen.
I am too interested in being right.
I am too invested in making sure they don't get hurt and trying to protect them.
I am trying too hard to get them to see it my way, the way I think is the right way.
When all I have to do is listen.

And as we continue to go down this road,
as you grow and I no longer have babies
if I don't tune in and just let you talk
you will not turn to me.
If I make you feel judged,
if I make you feel like you aren't making the right choice, the right decision,
you won't feel heard.
All I have to do is listen.

All I have to do is listen.
Because if I am not your rock today, I won't be later either.
Because I made a promise of the mother I want to be remembered as.
And I want to be the one you can rely on
to listen.

And yes, I will admit, I am good at listening.
I love hearing people tell their story, share their life.
But what happens when you are asking questions about yourself to no one.
Kind of leaving it out there that you are questioning so much about your journey,
will I be strong and wise enough to listen?

This entire year,
I feel as though the universe has been screaming at me.
I feel as though all of the questions I have, the universe has answered
But my fear keeps blocking it out, and treating it all like noise.
I am not listening to all of the reasons things will work out.
I am not listening to my instincts
I am not listening to all of the support I have.
All I have to do is listen.
The questions have been answered
all I have to do is listen.

Stop.

11
Sep

My mom

One day, in the very near future
you will both be grown.
You will both be looking back on this time
they will all be memories and a guide for how to live your life.

And I am now trying to live a life with you in which you will look back and say...

"My mom would stroke my hair while I would tell her about the glorious and ugly parts of my day. She wouldn't fix anything, she wouldn't judge anyone, she would listen. She would ask me questions so I knew she was there, listening and always interested, because my mom...she listened to me."

Houser2016home133

"My mom, she taught me about friendship and framily. She taught me about this precious circle that you get to build around you and how we always build people up, never tear them down. My mom taught me that with all things in life, it does take a village and my mom really turned to her village, really got the support she needed and my mom, she taught me all about how important the family you pick for yourself is."

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"My mom, she would always work so hard, too hard. She taught me to never give up, but to always walk away when it didn't feel right. My mom told me to work smart and even though she struggled with balance, she always found her way back, to us."

"My mom was clearly afraid of the entire world around her, but dammit, she used her fear to move her, not paralyze her. My mom taught me to not be ashamed if things scared me, that was normal, that means you really mean it, but what you do with the fear and how you walk through or away from it, that's what will define you."

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"My mom, she always made people feel good about themselves. I wouldn't overhear her talk about other people, she liked to talk about ideas and things and only talked about ways to help others. She dedicated her life to childhood, and building people up."

"My mom, she loved to laugh, it was her favorite and she became a brand new person after a really good hard right from her gut laugh. She always talked about the importance of joy and laughter and finding humor, especially when things were really serious. My mom, she could be too serious a lot and as soon as she saw it take over, she would go out and find humor."

"My mom, she gave hugs, not just with her arms, but with her words and her smile. You could tell on her face how much she loved us. You could feel it in her touch, you could see how proud she was of us. My mom didn't know if she would ever be a mom, but she always reminded us that it was her best decision and what she loved and cherished most, my mom, she loved being my mom."

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"My mom, she always believed me. She reminded me that we were a team and part of something bigger than just ourselves. She would tell us how important trust was so she could always be on our side and advocate for us, when we didn't feel like we had a voice. She didn't rush to save me, because she knew I was strong enough, it's just that my mom, she was on my side."

"My mom, she taught me how to say things like 'that's not okay' or 'I am walking away now' or 'you are not allowed to talk to me like that' or 'I deserve better'. My mom, she taught me to believe in myself too."

"My mom, she taught me how to apologize, how to fix a wrong. She taught me that mistakes happen and people make them and even though we are good people, we sometimes make really bad or angry choices. My mom, she taught me to take the time I need to realize my part in it and take responsibility for that part."

"My mom, she taught me to fall in love with learning. Because there is always more to learn. She taught me to never stop gathering information, never stop searching for the truth."

"My mom, she taught me really key words like compassion, kindness, generosity, team work, listening, friendship, and honesty. She made us practice those key words, she made me live by them."

"My mom, she really believed in love. She believed in working for it, she believed in protecting it, she believed in its healing powers. My mom and dad were in love and taught us that love never looks like it does in the movies, but there is so much extraordinary in the ordinary."

"My mom, god, she just loved us. With everything she had, she used it to love us."

Houser2016home007

9
Sep

Five Minute Friday - heal

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 heal.
Go.

Up before the sun is, I sit and listen to the nothing.
Up before the chaos starts, I sit in the quiet of my day.
Up before the mothering begins, I sit in the moments that are just me.
Up before the work life balance shifts, I sit and heal.

I feel as though my life, like so many others, is a constant tornado of reactions and then reflections on how I could have,
how I should have,
handled that differently
started differently
responded with more gentle calm
and how I start to heal.

Several years ago, I met a person that melted my anger, did not allow me to walk away from joy and normal and without even knowing it,
showed me how to let go.
Not through always talking about it, but by living.
Because when you live in joy, you cannot hold on to anger and hate.
It all sort of washes away and you just start living life, for you.
He healed a part of me that I did not realize, until once again reflecting on it, that felt ill.
I didn't realize I was a tornado moving through my life at full speed, but not noticing the damage I was doing.

And today, as I reflect back on the past five, six, seven years,
as I hear from others who took a strong step back in their work
or their toxic relationships
or their lack of balance
as I hear "I was really good at this, but it meant I was also a bad mother and wife"
and it hits such a cord with me,
that I once again sit, look back on the tornado I created, reflect on what I could have
what I should have done differently.
How my time for change is now
and heal.

Stop.

4
Sep

Summer

Although there are many weeks left,
to us,
to this little family,
Labor Day weekend is always our goodbye.
I think it's because our hero,
the person who is responsible for the joy and laughter and silly in our house, is a teacher.
And his summer being over means they say goodbye to their summer and goodbye to their adventures, and it all goes back.
To schedules and work being crazy for both of us and structure and so much getting ready the night before.
We kind of say goodbye to carefree and light and a little part of me always aches.
Not because I don't love fall, and I also love winter, but after you have kids, each season change makes you ache a bit.
Because everything always goes by too fast.
And this summer, well, we outdid ourselves.
This summer was all about childhood and finding the joy and slow and adventure that has always defined us.
We have been through some tough tough years, with tough tough situations, and kids that are testing and everything seemed so hard.
And as things are falling into place,
as we are finding all of the us,
I made him promise that this summer would all be different.

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This summer would be the real us.
This summer would be about laughter and memories.
This summer we would find joy.
This summer, we would slow down but still do things.
This summer, we would fix what was broken, we would use our heads to figure out how to make it better.
This summer, it would be all about them.
And we did all of it.

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We started with a bucket list.
We started with ice cream for dinner.
Things we wanted to do, didn't stress, but wanted to do together and we started to chip away.
We vacationed, we never had so much fun.
We camped, we forgot what that felt like, how amazing that is, how far away you are from hectic.
We ate, all of the ice cream, all of the smores, all of the goodness.
We ran through sprinklers
we swam and swam.
We played,
we ran
we biked.
We watched movies,
we watched thunderstorms,
we raced in a triathlon,
we stayed in pjs,
we got out and did things,
we stayed in and huddled
we spent so much time with friends,
old, new, framily,
we saw family,
we celebrated,
they spent days with their grandparents,
we had time just us four,
we were at the track a lot,
we read,
we were in the car a lot, which always makes me feel closer to them,
we saw new things,
we had a summer.

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And because I am never ready,
and because emotions are so hard for me to move through,
and because I have a little girl going into grade 2 but I keep saying grade 1,
and because I have a little boy that will being going to pre-k and not at home as much,
and because I hate how quickly they are growing, but love the freedom of not having babies,
summer, I am sorry to see you go.
Which is why I had to end it with ice cream for dinner.
We had a summer, a great one, and all of the memories will keep us all warm, until next time.

2
Sep

Five Minute Friday - Path

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 path.
Go

I wonder, should I go straight or take the next turn?
Am I headed down a road that I am too scared to cross, or should I push through this fear to get to the other side?
Am I on the right path?
For me, for you, for our family?
Am I headed in the right direction?
Am I the one in the lead and therefore our journey and road blocks fall on me,
or am I following you all blindly?
Am I on the right path
for all of us?

Change is difficult for some of us.
Being at a crossroad, that doesn't feel good.
And for a while, I felt so lost?
What journey am I on, who's journey am I on?
What path do I take, what is my next turn?
And once all of the pieces start to fall into place,
and excitement of the new and possibilities start to build,
and fire, a hum, comes back...
then I know and I am all in.
However, every step I take in that direction, every turn I make, I question myself again and again.
I have self doubt take over for a while
and wash over me.
And the advice I receive, all worries me too,
because I am a worrier, and there is so much at stake with every decision.
Very little is about just me, almost all things I touch effects us all.

Yes, I am ready.
I am ready for this road, this path.
I feel the universe screaming at me that it is time.
And I will take your hands, and lead the way.
Knowing I have my team
knowing that although I am in front, I am not alone.
Because the path I started down so many years ago has lead us to here and now.
Because it is not dark and filled with shadows.
But that also means we all need to keep moving, and take different twists and turns.
Our path is never what we thought it would be
but always worth the journey.

Stop.

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