Without the loud, there would be no laughter

I sometimes sit and wonder how I got here.
A woman who was terrified to take on parenthood, marriage, being responsible for raising little faces.
Being responsible for their responsibility in this world, in our community.
And of course I know how.
I met a boy who called me out of my fear and allowed me to feel safe enough to fail,
to cry,
to worry,
to laugh,
to let go,
to hold on,
to not be able to move on.

And there are more moments of hard than there are of easy.
That's the truth.
The truth is that parenting is so hard.
So difficult
So exhausting,
so altering,
so life changing,
so so difficult.
On you,
and your marriage,
and your sanity,
and your body,
and your house,
and your pets,
and your love,
and your patience.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

So yes, there are times I want out.
There are times we all want out.
There are times I think how can I dislike someone I love this much.
How is it possible to be this angry at something so small
or someone I have felt like I have always known?
There are times when the loud hurts.
It physically hurts my body
my head
it hurts my hair even.
As you get older, it gets louder.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

Parenting, it is heavy.
You are holding people up.
You physically and emotionally carry them.

This week, a member of my framily wrote to remind me that pain and tragedy and heartache happen all day everyday and we are just a victim to it.
They happen out of our control and all around us.
But joy, that can't be an accident that we wait for.
Joy has to be created and on purpose.
Joy has to be brought out.
You have to be reminded of joy and when you are not, you have to be the joy.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

I have to be reminded that joy is in the loud.
That without the loud, I wouldn't hear your gut laugh.
Without the loud, I wouldn't hear your childhood.
Without the loud, I wouldn't be surrounded by your joy.
Because joy for you is loud.

Joy for you is running and chasing and being chased.
Joy for you is shrills and screams and tickling fights.
Joy for you is loud.

I fiercely protect childhood
I protect yours
I protect mine
I protect those I serve
I protect childhood at every turn.
And with that, I have to let your childhood unfold
and let the loud in.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...



Dear Anna:

Growing up, I never thought I had an ounce of beauty.
I always judged myself,
my decisions
my looks
my walk
my words
my mind
I starting running at the age of 8, not because I loved to run,
but because I wanted to lose weight.
I never accepted a compliment.
I always put myself down.
And then, I met you.

There was a day when you and I finally connected and we became mother and daughter.
I remember it so clearly, you were fresh out of a bath, it was just you and I home.
I decided to snap a few pictures of you and put you down on a couch and pulled out an actual camera.
I started saying your name, trying to grab your attention and you recognized my voice.
You melted when you heard it and you looked at me, with such warmth, such love, such beauty.
You looked at me like a daughter should look at her mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

Dear Cole:
I was never a lover of love.
I didn't trust enough.
I didn't think people really cared because there was a lot of letting me down.
I didn't think that love could be so raw, so emotional so naked.
Until I met you.

The moment I held you, you were mine.
There is no way to explain it other than using the cliche of they slipped you into my arms and heart.
You are my one and only love at first sight.
You were full of so much new and wonder and wonderful.
You would look around the room and take it all in because every part was amazing to you.
Including me.
The moment our eyes met, they locked.
You looked at me with instant recognition and you looked at me like you knew we will have each other to count on.
You looked at me like you needed me because you did, but I needed you too.
You looked at me the way a son should look at his mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

My body looks, feels, and acts differently.
I am a shell of who I once was.
Because once upon a time, I was younger and young.
I was new too even though I always felt old.
I was smooth and I didn't have wrinkles and stuff didn't droop.
I was in charge and I was empty.
But I didn't like that girl that much.
I didn't appreciate her, I didn't know she was strong.
And instead, I focused on her anger.
I focused on all that was wrong, all I would change, all I wanted to change.
Until I met you coach.
And you told me she was good, she was worth it, she was able to be happy, it was ok if she was happy.

Now, this woman, I can appreciate.
I appreciate her for carrying two hearts, twice.
I appreciate her for pacing with sick babies.
I appreciate her for giving all of her and then coming back around to self-care.
I appreciate her for finding the room to breathe.
I appreciate her for taking time for her, finding her again in the fog of mothering.
I appreciate her legs for being able to run.
I appreciate her heart for being able to love.
I appreciate her soul for shining light outward.
I appreciate her stomach for stretching and molding.
I appreciate her arms for holding everyone up.
I appreciate her words for she picks them carefully.
I appreciate her beauty because she finally found it.
In the mix of all this confusion and chaos and fog and tired, she was able to find glory and grace.


Five Minute Friday - story

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 story.

My story is one of fear.
Always scared.
Looking over my shoulder, noticing those I pass.
Searching for monsters.
Looking for a feeling of safety.

At each turn, each new challenge, each thing I try, there is fear.
Every time the day turns to night, there is fear.
Taking a run in my neighborhood, there is fear.
Being alone in my house, there is fear.
Noises scare me.
Getting promoted terrified me.
Starting my own business made me stay up for months with panic.
Each new client I take on, fear.
Getting married was a blur of emotions, but the one that stands out is worry.
Buying a home scared me.
In parenting, there is too much fear to put in a box.
My blog fear of the raw and nakedness of my life.
Doing a race, trying a new yoga class, learning something new, at every single turn, there is fear.

So, when my little faces are scared, I remind them, mom is scared every day of her life.
Every single day kiddos, but I do it anyway.
I learn to swim so I can do a triathlon.
I take the promotion anyway.
I sleep with the lights on when alone.
I still go for that run.
I did marry dad, and we did have you and I am so happy I did.
And every decision I make, I am scared that I am messing it up but I make them anyway.
Because that's my actual story, even though I am scared, I do it anyway.
And I do it better because I use the fear to drive and motivate me, not stop me.
Never to stop me.

Yes, I wake up scared, yes I go to sleep scared.
Yes, I am scared most of the day.
Yes, this cannot be good for my health, but I am living.
I have a life and one that I built from the ground up.

Because it's true...being brave doesn't mean living without fear
it means being scared and doing it anyway.

My story is about walking through fear to get to what I need
what I have been looking for
and that is family.

My story is about walking through fear to find all of you on the other side and finding myself in the process.



All I have learned

I've been at this for over 8 years.
That's almost a decade of my life.
In any other relm, one would say that's a long time and you must be a master.
But when it comes to parenting, you're not seasoned until the day to day is over.
So I am still so so brand new at it all.
I haven't even started to come close to the teenage years.
I have an eight and a five year old.
A boy and a girl.
Two different babies turned into two different children who will turn into two different teens, who will turn into two different adults.
Different people.
With different needs.
Different wants.
Different triggers for them and me.

So, I know nothing.
I have zero answers.
But here is what I have learned from the two of you.

Neither of you responds well to anger.
One ignores it, the other doubles down.
One pretends they can't hear all of a sudden.
The other meets anger with rage.

My person and I need humor.
It's the only way to survive this.
We have to call each other out on our crazy.
We have to laugh at one another.
We have to make fun of our go-to traits.
I am the worried parent.
You are the grumpy parent.
I am the one that fiercely protects childhood.
You are the one to push them to be their best.
I become deranged at a mess and things out of place.
You become crazed when you feel unheard and disrespected.
When one of us drifts too far into our own lane, we need laughter to bring us back center.

Cole loves love.
And food.
Both make his feet dance and his heart full.

Anna loves praise and making others proud of her.
She lights up when you tell her you're proud or explain how much and why you love her.

I learned this a long time ago but friends are important, for them and for me.
I learned that I have always needed to be close with people and I have learned that in this season of my life, it is no different.
In fact, it is more intense.
I have learned that framily keeps me sane, grounded, laughing, feeling full.

Traditions are important.
To them, to me, to this family.
I have learned that they do not have to be grand, but they do need to be consistent.
Small reminders that bring us back home.
It is our center, our foundation.

I have learned that sleep is the most important thing in my life and I would leave all of you for more of it...
just kidding because if that were true I would have been gone already.
But I have a love affair with sleep every night and my bed is my everything.
The more I get to sleep because I don't have babies, the more exhausted I am because I have children.

I have learned that I have to teach you everything.
I swear I never realized this until I had you.
I didn't realize that people didn't know how to blow their noses, or wipe, or comb their hair.
I never realized how much there is to parenting.
How much learning happens that isn't tested, it's just to become a normal human.
Everything, I have to teach you everything over and over and over again until you master it.

I have learned how to call on those that know better than me.
Those that I respect and those that I know will bring me out of my terror.
I have learned that each phase is so different and each age is so challenging that I can't keep up.
I have learned that I just have to ask, you've been here, you've done this, what now?

I have learned to say yes! a lot.
I have learned the power of that word because for years I was the mom that said no.
I have learned that you need so much more room and I have learned that I am willing to protect your freedom and independence more than my fears.

I have learned that I loathe playing.
I hate your rules
I hate pretend
I hate the "you're not doing that right".
So, I have learned that I am the reading date parent.
I am the one that will color as long as you want and I have learned that board games and card games are my jam.

I have learned that no matter how big you get
how old you are
how much you are doing now
the sight of you in a bath towel still makes you my baby.
I have learned that bedtime is still special because you are still small.
You still fit and I have learned to linger in these moments of tiny.

I have learned that the witching hour is very real and I have learned to stop looking at parents with a melting kid because there is NOTHING that person can do.
They don't want it happening either.
I have learned that a tired child is like a bomb and once it goes off, destruction is all that can happen.

I have learned that no matter how sentimental I am about all of the things,
I cannot keep any of your stuff from school.
I have learned to hold you while you cry and see this happening.
I have learned that you will thank me one day when I don't hand over to you a garage full of scraps of paper you wanted me to keep when you were four.

I have learned I am still scared.
Of everything and everyone.
I have learned that I don't see the world differently now that you're in it,
I have always been on alert and terrified.
I have learned that I am not willing to put any of that on you so I have learned to walk you through fear.

I have learned that each phase you go through, I go through one too.
I have learned that we are learning together because neither of us has any of this figured out.

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