25
Jun

This has been

It's been eight years.
That's how long I have been a mom.
And, when my first was just 8 weeks old, a new part of our lives started.
A part in which I welcomed other women into my family, daycare and nannies and helpers.
And they helped me raise my kids.
They helped me raise my kids and me, into a mom.

It all started with one.
I met her when I was pregnant and we were looking for an at home daycare.
Someone that had other kids in her home but still had a personal and flexible touch.
I immediately felt comfortable and calm with her.
I felt that she would love my little one, I just didn't know how much.
Nor did I know how much she would care for me, me for her.
I remember that very first day.
I left Anna in her pac-n-play and I walked out the door.
Except I didn't just walk out.
I kept going back in, and I would touch her face one more time...
and I would cry.
And then I would walk back out and start the process all over again.
And it was her voice that simply said, I get it and you take all the time you need, that finally got me to go out the door.
I sent many messages, called frequently,
and she took every phone call, she let me talk to my 8 week old like a crazy person.
She would send me notes every day, letting me know how it all went.
What Anna did, how much she ate, how many diapers she changed.
And when preschool started, she was the one that dropped off and picked up.
She became a part of us, she became my friend.
This has been the most humbling eight years of my life,
she helped me raise them.

And soon after our second, I met my second.
She came to our house, helped with the morning, helped me with my stay at home days.
She would play, she would separate, she helped put them down for naps.
She was the one that reminded my crazy mind that I wanted Cole to go to preschool because it was more quiet now.
Quiet is what I needed
quiet is what I longed for.
And as the tears came harder and harder, she told me,
I get it, I understand. I miss him too and I can't believe it either.
She would miss him too.
She stayed through his preschool years.
Helping with drop off and pick ups.
Helping with the bus, always so flexible so kind.
She would tell me how the bus went
she would fill me in on Anna's day before Anna could.
She would tell me how tiring preschool was for my little monkey
she would send me pictures of him sound asleep.
He runs to her when he sees her
arms open ready for this hug.
They still talk about her all of the time and ask about when they get to see her again.
She became a part of us, she became my friend.
This has been the most humbling eight years of my life,
she helped me raise them.

And then, in our last year of need came our third.
She had one adorable little face too, looking to transition out of full time employment and she was
loving
and generous
and caring
and concerned
and upfront
and calm
and always smiling.
She loved watching my kids with her daughter.
I beamed when she told me she was expecting another.
She reminded me of the beginning of motherhood, the gushing love.
She was never stressed with all that was on her plate.
She just loved my kids.
And when I hugged her goodbye, I cried a little.
I cried because once again we are writing a new chapter.
One in which they go to school and no longer need my village.
He talked about her and her daughter throughout the day
he longed for his days with her.
He fell in love with her kid, he was so excited when he found out she had a baby in her belly.
Anna, she would take guesses on boy or girl and felt gratified to know it was a girl.
She became a part of us, she became my friend.
This has been the most humbling eight years of my life,
she helped me raise them.

Eight years of daycare and nannies and three amazing women that helped us raise this amazing family.
Eight years of drop offs and pick ups.
Eight years of bags packed and worrying.
Eight years of goodbye waves as you take over for the day
to the half day
to a few hours
to now.

This has been the most humbling experience.
Seeing them become who they are
watching you fall in love with them too.
Letting go and seeing you take over
watching them fall in love with you.

This has been the most challenging years
the juggling
the schedules
the figuring out the when and where and how.
The potential for one ball to drop and a whole day is ruined.
The, he's sick today, who is taking over.
The, the weather is bad, should we have them come over?
The, who's going to what?

This has been the most loving of years
the quiet time with just us.
First, you and me Anna.
The crazy quiet time you loved
the sleeping from 12:30-4
the alone time once naps were over
the to and from preschool.
You were always so good at this.
You were always so patient with me.
You always loved this time, you were always so content.
And then you Cole.
The time we finally got just us two, because with your second, those times are precious.
The rhythm we found.
The kid you became
the greatness you are.
Even during the difficult years,
the times I had to take meetings in my closet because you were crying
the times I had to schedule it all around your naps
the times I had to figure out how to do this job and all of you
this was always the best time with you.

And the other night, as we were going to sleep, I turned to you and said,
I remember that first day with Wendy and now...
as the tears flowed down my face, you reminded me that we found three amazing women.
Three amazing people
each different
but all three incredible for taking this challenge on with us.
How did they do it? How did we?
And then you said, I know, this will be hard for you.
But, it's always hard to let them go a little more.
And on top of it, say goodbye to all three.
But, we somehow became lucky three times.
This is a parent's nightmare and we didn't find just one, but three amazing people.
We were always so comfortable with them.
We were always so at ease.
We never worried about our kids with them.
And as hard as it is to give your kids over, it was always so fine with us, because we found these three incredible people.
I don't know how we got this lucky, but we really had the greatest hearts helping me raise my kids
and raise me, into a mom.

I want you all to know that you have shaped me.
You have allowed me to love my family and my work.
You have allowed me this time.
You have allowed me to do any of this.
Because whenever anyone asks how we get any of it done, it has always been because of you.
And I thank you for loving them
for loving us
for being a part of us
for sharing your home
your time
your families
your love.
For seeing the good in them
for realizing I don't have any of the answers
you became my friend.

I also want you to know how much they adored you.
How much they looked forward to you coming.
How much they loved seeing you.
How much they loved babies, especially Cole.
How much they would wait for you.
How much they still talk about you.
You became a part of them too.

This has been eight years of us.
It has been crazy
and stressful
and fun
and slow
and quick
and worrisome
and loving.
I am about to walk into a whole new chapter now, again.
A time in which I sit alone and work
no kids
no listening to the imagination at play.
No more rhythm
no more hum
no more meetings in closets
no more shushing the cries.
I once again give you over to someone else.
I once again get to hear about your day from a far.

Because big kids go to school
and I am the mom to some big kids now.

Thank you village
thank you.

23
Jun

Five Minute Friday - steady

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 steady.
Go.

I am not the steady one of the group.
I am not the rock.
That's your job.
You were my joy, my constant, my always and forever.
Still now, as the waves of life crash down on us and make us nauseous
you are steady.
You are the calm in our storm.
You are the one that keeps us steady.

The push and pull of life has me very unsteady these days.
The stress and worry has me shaking and unstable.
I am a tightly wound ball of nerves and balls are not steady, balls wobble, balls roll.
You are my steady.
You are my reminder that this too shall pass and more crazy will come.
You are my whisper of find us, we are here.
You are my fixer of all things, you are my steady.

And the attraction started because of your constant joy.
The natural joy that lived in you.
I didn't realize someone could feel that way, all of the time.
You were so thrilled to be.
Happy to be doing anything, as long as we were together.
Which is why dating me is still your favorite.
Which is why you look forward to just us two.

Kids knock you down.
Jobs, careers, business, they drag you through the mud.
Homes offer retreat and worry.
Life is full of the swinging back and forth
it is what makes life worth living.
And every person that gets lost in the whirl
every person that almost gets hurt from the spinning needs a steady rock.
A place to steady their thoughts.
A place to steady their mind.
A place to steady.
You, you are my steady.
You are my always and forever.

Stop.

18
Jun

Ode to

To the water, the one that wanted to swallow me whole.
The one that was so cold it felt like knives
the one that had me feeling like I could not move
the one that made me think I was standing still and not getting closer to the end
the one that thought it was going to win,
I beat you and I got to the end.

To the hill
the one that's right at the beginning of the bike route
the one that hurts
the one that I haven't been able to get up without walking
the one that is really long and doesn't seem to end
the one that on the way down frightens me because it is so steep
I got up.
I made it to the top
I kept going
and I beat you to the end.

To the man that ran most of the 5K with me
the one who was in Iron Man clothing
the one who was also at a loss for why that water course hit us hard
the one that said "I only did half an Iron Man, not the whole thing"...
I say "I only" too
"I ran a marathon but I only ran it in my neighborhood, not a real race"
"I do triathlons but I only seem to do worse and can't find my grove"
I only I only.
Why do we do that?
And so, with real intensity I turned to you and said, you should be amazed with yourself,
and I meant it sir.
We beat the course, all the way to the end.
We made it to the 2 mile marker and we said, we've got this
and we did.

To the woman I passed and told her great job, almost there
the one that quietly and sadly said, "I feel like I am in last"
you and your voice made me stop and turn around to say "you're not in last but even if you were, we're here to finish"
the one who smiled back and said "I've been in last before" and the one that made me laugh and say
"me too, someone has to be, why not us?"
We made it. I saw you finish too.
You made it to the end, you beat the course.

To my husband
the one who came up with this idea.
The one that asked me to do it
the one that helps me with my swimming
the one that is so concerned for me in the water
the one that shouts to me to make sure I am ok
the one that feels like he disappointed because the course got the best of us
we made it.
It didn't win, it's didn't get the best of us because it didn't beat us all because we made it.
We finished another triathlon.
We finished our third one in three years.
We swam and biked and ran.
We finished
even though we were tired
even though we were out of it
even though our bodies didn't want us to
even though we panicked in the water
even though the exhaustion asked us to stop
we made it to the end.

To my body
the one that tells me it can't but shows me it can
the one that thought it was going to drown
the one that was so exhausted after the swim it didn't know how it would bike
the one that got off the bike and legs hurt so much for the run
the one that wanted to give up, at every turn wanted to just stop.
You didn't.
You kept going
you beat the course
you made it to the end.

To my MS
the one that made me stop moving
the one that told me I needed a nap, now.
The one that made me curl up, shut down
the one that made me feel out of it for a few days
the one that made me scared
I am beating you too.
I am doing this all to prove to you that I still can and I always will.
I am fine, better than fine.
I am beating you all the way to the end.

To my mind
the only one that doubts me
you didn't disappoint.
You were always there second guessing me, us.
You were always reminding me, look someone else passed you
you were always aware of what leg was flying by you
I didn't let you win.
Because I am more stubborn than you.
And every time you tried to tell me I don't have enough grit for this,
I told you to f off and I kept going.
I beat your doubts
just like I beat the course.
And even though I did worse and my times were worse
I made it to the end.
I didn't give up
I kept going

and I owe it to all of you.

#StrongIsTheNewPretty
#TheCoupleThatRacesTogether

16
Jun

Five Minute Friday - worth

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 worth.
Go.

I find myself asking, is it worth it a lot these days.
The arguments to keep her healthy
the arguments to make them good people
the arguments to remind those I live with of love
the struggles at work
the struggles I am enduring for my business
the races I work hard for, even though my time doesn't change
the time I put into all that I do
is any of it worth my time
energy
effort
worry.

What stands out as worth it?
What do I not question?
It always comes back to the quiet with you guys.
The Friday nights on the couch
when I should be finishing up work
it is always worth it to be with you.
The endless book dates when I should be doing anything else
is always worth it.
The bikes rides, the runs we take,
they are all worth it.

Because side by side
and moments of quiet love remind all of us what is important.
They remind us of the why we put in the work and they remind us how of effortless the work is.

They remind me, that it is always worth my time
because everything else is a distraction.
You, this, now, it is worth it.
Your smiles, your arms around me, slowing down, it is all worth it.

I won't be distracted by life
I won't be consumed by have tos
I won't be made to feel guilty for putting on my mask first.
Because I am building.
A life, a family, love.
It's easiest to love you and always and forever worth it.

12
Jun

Graduation for him

Next week
you are all done.
Next week, you will no longer be in preschool.
Next week, you will graduate.

Here is the most remarkable part of this whole thing monkey...
you and school really hit it off.
You are the perfect mix.
Watching you develop into this kid...
the listener
the curious one
the one that raises his hand
the one that shows respect and as always love
love
and so much love
well, it has made me fall in love with you
all over again.

I honestly thought school would be your challenge.
The sitting
the listening
the slow beat of it
the sharing
the taking turns
but you found your rhythm
you found your speed.
And each and every time I saw you there
you were the best version of you there is.
You were kind
you were gentle
you were caring
you were loving
you were respectful
you were joy
you were always trying
you were learning
you were always curious
you were happy
you were a good friend
you were amazing.
And I watched this amazing little boy
I watched him beam
I watched him just do
I watched him in his routine
I watched him.

Next week is your last day of school there.
And no other child of mine will be going to that preschool.
I will never ride in the car and hear, that's my school! when I pass that adorable little building.
The teacher,
the one I fell in love with,
the one who has patience and grace and care and is smart and overwhelmingly loving, I will never see her now.
I have already cried hugging her goodbye.
I have already thanked her for being the greatest person to them.
I have already reminded her she is the reason I came back to the school, because I couldn't wait for my son to be taught by her.
And she lived up to all of my memories of her.
She was even more amazing than I remembered
and she too fell in love with a little boy that became five before my eyes.

So I went back and read the story of Anna's graduation.
Reading back on the words, seeing the pictures, well the heaviness of your graduation hit hard.
And the tears came.
Because, this, once again, if my last.
And you know how mom deals with milestones and change.

Monkey, I am so proud of you.
I am so overwhelmed by your love and good heart.
You are the best Cole I know, so always always always be you.

Put on that little cap.
Sit up on that stage.
Sing your songs, the ones you have been practicing.
Sing the songs for dad too, the ones you are keeping a surprise.
We think you're the greatest and Kindergarten is so lucky to have you!
Go get them monkey!

4
Jun

He

He always had this amazing smile on his face.
He was completely covered in joy.
And I fell hard, knowing he was my person, he was family.

He didn't have grand ideas.
He was very traditional.
He just wanted us, and a little family to call his own.
He wanted the career he knew he was made for,
he wanted a house to call home.

But his ideas were grand to me.
They were dreams I didn't have
so he took my hand, walked me through fear and he created my family.
My home, my safe.
He started all of this,
he was my beginning,
he is my middle,
he will be my happy ending.

Even when times are tough and we aren't happy,
he reminds me of all of us.
He takes my hand again and he reminds me that the real us, we are in here.
And he slows me down.

He is the reason I don't give up,
not on them
not on me
not on you
not on each other
not on us.
Because he tells me that giving up isn't an option
not when you found this version of love.
He reminds me that love means picking each other,
through the good, through the trying, through the boring ordinary life.
He reminds me to keep taking his hand.

Yeah, you were his idea.
You were always a part of his dreams, he knew you would be here.
He knew being a dad was part of his story and he made sure we wrote this chapter, together.

He makes this world a better place
people are better for knowing him
he brings them smiles
he brings them his stories, the ones he laughs at himeself for
he thinks he is so funny, even though he has dad humor, way before he became a dad.

Happy birthday coach.
You are so lucky to be loved this much
and we are so lucky to have you to love.

2
Jun

Five Minute Friday - future

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 future.
Go.

No one knows, right?
What tomorrow will bring,
what the future holds?
No one knows if there is a tomorrow, if they have a future.
But for some reason, we all keep making plans
even though nothing is promised
and I see that as hope unfolding each and every day.

I hope that this third date leads to a future with you.
I hope that one day you will be my forever.
I hope that we will build a future together.
I hope that this anniversary isn't our last.
I hope we spend our 40s owning our lives.
I hope we give them the best future possible.
I hope that we are setting them up for a future.
I hope that they see their future as exciting.

Hope is what keeps us making plans.
Hope is why we go to bed angry, hoping we have tomorrow to make up.
Hope is why we think it's a better time another day.
Hope is even why we put things off, I hope to get to that one day.
So hope can be beautiful and calming and peacful
because we are not saying never, we are saying in the future.

The reality is much darker
much more fearful and full of sadness
the never promised tomorrow
the not knowing what the future holds.

So, we make plans.
We make future plans.
And we build today around tomorrow.
We hope to see another day that gets us one day closer to our future.

Stop.

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