19
Nov

What chapter now?

A story.
Our story.
Our love story.
Our book of love.

Chapter 1...
There was an ease to us wasn't there?
From the moment we met, I would describe us as easy and happy.
You blew me away with joy. I couldn't help but be happy around you.
It's what drew me to you and what created our instant family.
You fit right into my family, the one I was born into and the one I created.
I trusted you, I trusted your heart and I realized we would always be in each other's lives.
We were family.

Chapter two wasn't getting married.
Getting married, for me, was an extension of chapter one.
I realized that other people needed the official title of husband and wife.
I think I realized how even you needed it
but for me, we had already been family for almost six years
so this was the continuation of us.
Easy and happy us.

Recently, I have been stuck on the ease and joy we once were.
Things are more complicated now, more difficult.
Because marriage and relationships never stay as is or was.
They are not linear, they are not sequential even though we try to make them so.
They live, they breathe, they grow and they develop, they change.
And that's not new information, but almost everyone forgets this about all relationships.
Friendships, partnerships, business relationships, everything that is alive changes.
Everything and everyone has a story and stories do not stay on one path, they do not have one direction.
As we are in the middle of chapter what?

Chapter 2...
Anna.
The birth of our first daughter.
The one we wished for, the one we dreamed about, the one you talked me into.
The one we wanted, the one we talked about how ready we were.
The relationship we went in with eyes wide open.
But our first year with Anna was an awakening for me.
It took the love we already had and maximized it.
I could not have loved you more than I did in that first year of parenting.
I felt so close to you
Anna was so easy
everything fit
I felt this sense of how I was made to do this
I saw how much you loved her and it made me fall harder for you
we weren't losing sleep so we didn't have that to contend with
she only cried when something was wrong
she was a wonder
we were in love with her
with each other
with life
parenting was what we were made to do.
And so, everything during that year was a mush of love.
Chapter two lasted three years of love love and more love.
We just got it, it all made sense.
It was an amazing chapter to write with you.

Chapter 3...
Anna turns three and Cole is born.
Age three was rough for me with both kids.
So many reasons
so many difficulties
so many triggers and so many memories that hurt me.
Three was hard for you too, just for different reasons.
We always felt that Anna was an old soul and therefore that somehow meant she then needed to act older than her actual age.
We were unfair to her.
And you were around kindergarteners and feeling like your daughter was in that mix.
So, when she was three, you started treating her like one of your kindergarten kids.
Her three-year-old self could not live up to that expectation.
Add to our stress a newborn, who was also such a good baby BUT
there was always something a little wrong with Cole that made us worry.
I went through 8 weeks of not being able to mother
not being able to love
move
feed
hold our children
all because of the surgery.
You were gone a lot and I felt abandoned
he wasn't thriving
he wasn't gaining enough
he wasn't hitting milestones
he was rushed to a hospital
he had high fevers
routine checks always had a hint of concern.
Everything eventually shook themselves out, but damn I was scared.
You kept trying to be reasonable and keep me and my crazy in check.
I felt like I was wasting time in pain and resentment and missing out on my kids, my last newborn.
And chapter three continues.
In this chapter, we forget how to laugh
in this chapter, I cry a lot
in this chapter, my childhood comes rushing back and I get sent into a panic
in this chapter, we forget that we are a team
in this chapter, we keep track a lot
in this chapter, I forget that team and partnership never ever means 50/50
it only means showing up for each other and we forgot how to show up for us.
Chapter three lingers.
When Cole turned one, he started to scream and cry and he didn't stop until he was four.
Those three years were brutal.
To make matters worse, we were both struggling professionally
we were both feeling so lonely without local friends and fun
we were both forgot how important it is to laugh, we lost joy.
But, this chapter also brought its own magic.
In chapter three, our family was completed.
It is the chapter that we meet a little boy that reminds me of you
a little boy that is loud and messy and heartbreakingly adorable and so amazing.
We got to witness a sister and brother become best friends.
We got to witness their love grow and my heart expanded for her, for him, for them.
We got to witness the joy and crazy in his heart too, the one you carry, the natural joy he got from you.
We got to witness him come out of those struggling years, out of his frustration and just be him.
In this chapter, we became a core four.
In this chapter, our babies became kids and physically needed us more and less.
This chapter brought on personalities that we needed to learn to manage and the end of this chapter is when I realized who we are isn't who we will always be.
And it was time for a change.
So we started a new chapter.

Chapter 4...
Our acknowledgment of crazy and tired and stress and sad and mistakes and angry and finding our way back.
To us
to fun
to funny
to joy
to ease
to enjoyment
to self-care
to family.
This is a slow chapter because we have to take our time and get it right.
Because we have muscle memory of too much and need to find the not so busy.
Because we have to remember how to talk and listen and not bite.
Because we have to remember that we matter.
This chapter is slow and deliberate.
This chapter is building on the memories they will remember.
This is the chapter that will shape their relationships.
This is the chapter that teaches, guides.
This is the chapter in which we remember we are more than just parents, we are people, separate and together.
This is the chapter in which we remember to hold hands, touch toes, lean on each other, use our words, cry together, and laugh.
This is the chapter of framily and laughter and fun again.

I don't know how many chapters our book of love has.
I don't know how many we get to write together.
I don't know how many more times we get to change, grow, mold.
So much is reliant on them and changes they go through and our reactions to those changes.
So much is reliant on things out of our control and our reactions to that.
Aging parents
higher bills
changing paths
taking risks
building a house and creating a home.

But marriage, family, and relationships are not linear.
They are forever changing.
We will keep changing the pages and adding and taking things away to write our own happy ending.
One that doesn't look like anyone else's.
All I know is I am still happy to have you as my co-author, I am in love with our tear shattering chapters as much as I adore the mushy ones.
I love that you are willing to keep writing with me, I love our story.
Our book of love.

17
Nov

Five Minute Friday - excuse

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 excuse.
Go.

The ones we make about why we are mad.
The ones we make about why we are yelling.
The ones we make about why we are clinging to our phones and not to our people.
The ones we make about how busy we are.
The ones we make about why we can't do self-care.
The one we make about why we are stressed.
The ones we make about why everything else is more important than living a happy peaceful life.
The ones we make about why it was ok to let them down.
The ones we make about how tomorrow will be different.

Each day I feel this ticking time clock about how quickly it will continue to go.
Each day I make more and more excuses, each day I am losing and days are too important now.
Time is too important now, time is the most valuable now.
Nothing will change if we keep on keeping on.
Nothing will change if we just keep doing the same thing, it won't lead to a different result.

So, what I am trying to do is stop the excuses.
Stop explaining my way out of my mistakes.
They don't matter.
The reason behind doesn't make the pain hurt less.
The reason doesn't bring the moment, the hours, the day I took.
It doesn't bring it back.
The excuses don't matter, they never did.
I am the grownup, I am the one that leads.

I love you, I love being a part of us, I love our family.
Love is my only goal and the only thing I need to keep in mind.
Love is my only guide and the only way things will change.
If I speak, think, act with love the excuses will melt away.

Stop.

12
Nov

Parenting

I think by now you know I don't have most of the answers.
I, like every single person that is a parent, am trying my best.
The curve balls you bring, the constant questions are all almost impossible to answer.
Most frightening, a situation I never saw coming.
How am I going to react to that? I think most days.
What should I say?
For real though, how I respond to this matters because they are going to remember my response.
When they are grown, they are going to tell someone this story and I am either going to nail it or suck...for kids, there is no in between for parents.
Because it is not until you are one, that you realize, we are all just trying.

But, in the quiet light of day, I can think of all of the things I want to teach you.
All of the lessons I want you to walk away from us having.
So this right here is my little list for you...without any feedback or questions as to why or how...here is what I hope you hold on to as you do you.

You are not going to be liked by everyone. That is more than ok. You are not going to like everyone and that too, is more than ok. Part of this journey is finding out who gives you energy and who takes it. Most of your life will be figuring people out, their intentions, yours. Being kind to all does not mean all end up in your circle. Walking away from unhealthy anything, including people, is always the right thing to do.

Work hard like me and smart like dad. Not for any other reason other than to make yourself proud. I can't promise you it will lead to success or money or good anything. I can't so I won't. But, I promise you that the best feeling I ever have is feeling good about myself. Proud of my work, my accomplishments, what I overcame, who I am, and most importantly, I am proud of those I allow in to my circle (this is clearly important to me). I am proud of the fact that I became a mom, I am so amazed I get to mother you, you make me proud of me.

Chaos and mess lead to clutter in your mind. I know, I am type A. I know I have a way the house needs to look, I know it is my calm. But here's something dad won't share with you because it means he has to keep up with it without reminders...order makes us all calm. I swear it, I promise. A made bed makes us all feel better, a clean floor and clean counters give us space to breathe and allow us to think. Clutter and too much stuff takes away space, it adds clutter to your mind and makes it hard for all of us to think. It's easier to toss and walk away, it's easier to not put a thing away, it's easier to get up and go, but in the end, it is always harder. It is harder to clean up big messes than small. It is harder to think in that mess, it is harder to even know where to begin so start and end each day with a once over. Keep up with the little messes.

Play sports and learn to be a good teammate. It will teach you about showing up and having others count on you. It will teach you how to rely on others. It will teach you to move your body and feel good about that. It will teach you to feel a part of something bigger than you. And speaking of your body, be so good to you. Don't push it too hard too young, be gentle be kind, be loving. There will come a day you might want to change every single thing about yourself and know that none of that is true. Your body needs you and your spirit.

Everything will matter to you and being mature means only the important things matter. The quicker you learn that the little things like who invited who to a party, or who was wearing what, or who said what, the better for you and you alone. Do what is good for you and you alone when it comes to the little things. Get so comfortable in who you are and know that of course you will change and grow, but at your core, you stay the same. What should matter to you is taking care of yourself, being kind to others, falling in love with learning, none of that should ever change. Come to realize that you are loved and that real relationships does not mean a ton of relationships. Always find genuine in your life and normally that means intimate, which means small. Be comfortable with you and know that your foundation, your home base, we are right here. You are honestly never ever alone. We could not love you more or less.

Taking care of others is just what we do. Notice how I give those who don't have a home food whenever I pass them. Remember our random acts of kindness. Remember that we are a family that is dedicated to taking care. People matter guys, making people feel accepted matters.

I don't know what social media will be when you are older, I don't know if it was an explosion for me in my 20s and by the time you are a teenager it will be over but I really don't think so. Be better than that. Be better than being addicted to someone else's dinner and plans and fake life. Use it for connections but make sure it is not replacing actual people.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I did make a lot of mistakes and I continue to make a lot of mistakes. That's fine, that's life, that's human. Always take responsibility. Always say sorry, always learn from them and try as hard as you can to not repeat them. Do not shift blame to anyone, own it, stare it in the eye, use your courage to apologize and mean it.

Be brave sweet children. I swear to God, if I ever see you back away or back down from something because you are scared I will find you, I will grab you by the shoulders and I will shake you. Please remember that your mom was scared every damn day of her life. She could hardly breathe from the amount of panic. I always feel like I will fail, I will lose, I will not be enough. I am not kidding about this, every day, in all decisions. But, I try and if I ever see you not trying, I will find you. If I am no longer walking this earth, I will haunt you. Do you understand how important this is to me? I showed you every second of my life that even though I'm scared, I try and you will too.

One day, you are going to define your family. Be loyal to whomever that is, put them as your only priority. Don't take them for granted. Don't walk away from them, don't make anything else more important.

In case I don't make all of these things obvious in my day to day, I promise I will continue to try. Because that is the best we all can do, try.

10
Nov

Five Minute Friday - silence

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 silence.
Go.

It's my favorite sound, the quiet.
It's what most parents, most mothers seek.
It's the sound we long for.
The quiet, the still, the silence.

Because we all know that most of parenting is loud.
Noise is common, noise from them, noise from us, noise from toys, the noise we allow in, the noise we bring in.
But even while all together, we can find moments of special silence.

Like when we snuggle on the coach for our weekly family movie night.
Like when we tuck you in at night and finally allow the day to stand still, to sit in our silent love.
Like when we have reading dates and everything comes to a slow stop and we regroup.
Like when we hug, when we steal moments of affection throughout the day, hold on to each other and allow whispers and silence to wash over us.

And I fully realize that one day, my house full of loud
full of shouts
full of laughter
full of temper tantrum tears
full of crazy
full of stomping feet
full of slamming doors
it will all fall silent.
I will read this journey back and I will think, why did I complain about a little bit of noise?
What's wrong with noise anyway?

But in the thick of it, it's hard to see past the fog.
Which is why the moments of quiet that we steal, they fill me to keep pushing through the noise of it all.

See guys, you fill our home, with love and noise and stuff and lessons and chaos and humor
but you cannot complete me and you cannot be all of us.
Because you don't belong here forever.
You belong out there, doing loud amazing you and your father and I, we belong right here
serving as your rock, your home base
sitting in the quiet of our love and remembering all of the noise we once had.

Stop.

6
Nov

Extend, strength and open your heart

When I am in a yoga class, I take it seriously.
But what you are supposed to do is walk out of class and take the lesson of the work with you.
Me, I always forget, I kind of leave it all on the mat and I walk out feeling good about the work, good about my strength but I forget the lesson.
The one about healing and self-care.
The one about patience and calm.
The one about breathing because I forget to breathe.
The one about taking the time, to find space, to remember that this time is all about just this time.
Stop with yesterday, don't worry about tomorrow, here, we are here.
The one about rooting to rise.
The one about loving yourself first, the one about forgetting about what any of it looks like.
But this morning, the instructor's words brought me to tears.

I am having a month and I am looking down the barrel of another month that is not going to let up.
Everything is stressing me out.
Everything.
Everything right now is stress.
Everything is tight, everything is taking longer, everything is making my jaw clench.
Everything is reminding me that I am not allowed to be human almost anywhere in my life.
I have to keep things together all of the time.
My kids can't see me unravel
my work certainly can't
and so, I cry a lot...quietly and alone and I think about how it's all going to get done, because it always does,
but what is "it" going to do to me in the meantime.
Running through my list is giving this type A a constant headache and I can't let it go.
I am forgetting to breathe.

The one that gets the absolute worst of me is always my person.
The grownup I can't take care of during this time.
The one I have to turn to and dump all of the "others" on and the one that gets the wrath of my destruction.
But this morning, she said that the important parts in relationships are so similar to what is important in yoga and I listened because I needed a reminder of the good in relationships and my inability to function right now.

You extend
you use your back for strength
and you lead with your heart open.

You extend, you don't go inward, you extend out.
You lengthen because you give of yourself to them.
It is when I am most selfish that we hurt.
It is when I am looking only inward that we crumble, because I crumble.

You use your back for strength.
Because we are strong
and we carry others.
In a family, you carry each other.
You hold them up, you use your legs, your arms, your back,
dammit, you use your strength and you carry them to the other side.
It is when I need to be carried that I forget that I too am strong.
It is when I am asking to be picked up that I forget that I still have a back, I still have my power to hold me too.

You show your heart.
It is outward, you cannot protect it because it won't get hurt.
This is your trust, you give your heart out, there is no need to hold it in.
It serves no purpose inward, the heart is meant to shine out to everyone,
but especially your family.

As I walk into this week and the next and the one after that,
I will hold on to this lesson.
I listened today and in that moment, I felt she was talking directly to me.
I listened today because the universe was telling me to listen.
I listened today because I was clearly in a state of panic and those I love were suffering.
I listened and I held the message close walked out of the class and kept repeating it to myself.

Sabrina, extend and stop looking only at you.
Sabrina, remember how strong your back was built.
Sabrina, show your heart and show the world the light you hold and they will, in turn, shine light your way.
Show your heart sweet girl, you have nothing to fear.

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