15
Oct

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...

8
Oct

Beauty

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
hard.
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.

24
Sep

Blankets

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Blankets are my security.
They are my go-to for snuggles and comfort and warmth and feeling secure.
Bad day? I wrap a blanket around myself and settle in.
Having a crisis? The warmth of a blanket can make it all feel ok.
Bad breakup? The comfort of a blanket feels like loving arms.
Feeling sick? Blankets make you feel instantly warmer, getting better.
I have blankets all over my house.
Extra ones hiding in all sorts of places.
At night, I need to feel the weight of a blanket on me, keeping me tucked in.
Blankets have always been important to me.
They are significant, they have meaning in my world.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I went away to college, my experience wasn't "normal".
I left home and went to college.
I left behind a family
a house
a familiar surrounding
a situation
and a life.
A life I knew, even if I wasn't in love with it, even if it wasn't the one I wanted, it was all that I knew.
And I landed in a college that felt like a warm blanket around me.
It's how I always describe my college, my experience there.
I felt taken care of and comforted, it felt familiar, homey.
And for a girl that was stepping into fear, she needed this comfort.
And for a woman that would continue to walk through fear, I continue to use blankets for protection.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I met my person, it was so easy between us.
I instantly felt safe, I felt his joy, and that too covered me in warmth and comfort.
He felt like the most amazing blanket, keeping me protected from the darkness.
He was my light, my warmth, my security.
And I knew, right away, he was it.
He always kept me warm, always kept safe, always kept me feeling perfectly covered.
He was my blanket.

Because wrapped up in a blanket, I feel loved, I feel calm, I feel good about my life.
I feel taken care of, I feel nurtured.
I feel like I can concentrate on the moment.
I am here, not rushing off to a million places, I am here.

And then last week a friend told me about a book he was reading and how a quote hit him hard...
...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Because now, I am that blanket for others.
I am the one who is covering you up in love, in security, in safe.
But, no parent can cover it all.
Even though I work so hard on intentionality with my kids.
Especially since they have hit school years and I feel like important memories and words are sticking, it's more and more important that I am not reacting to them.
That I am not white on rice with them.
That I am listening more than speaking.
That I am answering questions honestly.
That I am there, really present with them.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

But, days get long.
Patience runs out.
It feels like nothing is getting done
and you just can't cover it all.

You can't be everywhere.
You can't be everything.
You can't do everything.
You can't always be kind.
You can't always speak with intention.
The blanket is too small and something, someone, is being left out in the cold.

But, not to them.
They don't think that I am stretched too thin.
Because even if I'm too small for me, I am still the biggest most comforting blanket for you.
I am who you want when you are cold
sad
lonely
bored
scarred
worried
sick.
I am your warmth and comfort and protection from the cold.

No matter how small I feel, you see me as able, enough.
You see me as heavy and sturdy and strong enough to continue to stretch from corner to corner.
You never feel I am not covering every corner.
I am the one now wrapping you in comfort.
I have become a blanket for your life.

And just like dad is for me, I always will be the warmth and comfort you need.

17
Sep

You're the best thing I did

From the outside looking in, or even from the inside looking right at us, it seems as though there are times I question my decision.
I know I get stressed too easily.
I know I am distracted and my lists take over.
I know that I'm not the parent that plays, I don't have an imagination to tap into.
But you, both of you, you were wanted.
You were planned for and desired and needed.
You are the best decision we made, I made.
And you're the best thing I did.

I question most of what I do.
Most of my decisions I play back and forth in my mind.
Most of my final decisions I worry about.
And I worry about you both too, of course I do.
I worry I am making the right decisions for you.
I worry that I am crushing happy.
I worry about your happiness.
But, I don't question for even one second that this is what I am supposed to be doing.
I question my parenting, yes.
I don't question my decision to have you both.
Because you're the best thing I did.

I realize there are days when you question my loyalty.
You question if I am on your side.
There are so many moments of exhaustion and deflated emotions from both of us, ones I am so not proud of.
but you, you are what I am most proud of.
You are my pride you are the best people that I know.
And even when you think I am not being fair, when you don't quite understand the why,
I promise my only intention is to keep you being you.
My only thought is building you, supporting you.
But to support something, someone else, it's a heavy load to carry.
But none of that matters, because you're here.
And not only did we decide to burst open our heart to have you here but, you're the best thing I did.

It won't always be this way.
We won't always be together like this.
Success is measured by you being on your own.
I promise I know that and I know that one day all too soon, you do just you.
And then I go back to me, us, without you.
It's hard to imagine for all of us right now.
It's hard to picture this time, but it's coming.
I don't know how I will be, I don't know how to explain how it will feel.
I can remember life without you, I peak inside that different world from time to time.
I miss that world too so the thought of going back to it has perks.
Because there was a time when a boy and a girl met and life was too easy.
And I don't know if we can ever get back there or if creating this experience means nothing will ever be the same.
But, how to stop being around you like this, I don't know how yet.
They say we will grow into it together and I have to trust that.
I have to trust that I will feel good about no longer seeing the day in and out of the best thing I did.

So on the days that the lists don't get completed.
On the days the laundry piles up for both of us.
On the days that the house projects have to take a back seat.
On the days that a deadline has to be rearranged.
On the days that we bail on life and spend it together
know that this overworked, overstressed and tired mother is spending time doing what she loves the most.
Being embraced by love from the very best thing she did.

10
Sep

These two

There are relationships that stop you in your tracks.
They make you stop breathing for a moment.
They reawaken something in you.
But they also level you, they make you worry, they cause you heartbreak.
They define love.
Like these two...

There are relationships that make you realize this is how it should always be.
They make you cry by looking at them.
They make you swoon.
They make you focus on what is important because they make you focus on only what is important.
They are filled with heroes and feeling secure.
They make you strong by taking away all of your powers.
They bring light back into dark days.
Like these two...

There are relationships that start of easy, comfortable.
They are how you would define family.
They are filled with joy and ease and comfort.
They are cozy and joyous.
They grow, they change, they face challenges, they suffer, they struggle, they evolve, they find each other again.
Like these two...

There are relationships that start off new.
They are so new you don't know what to do.
They are so fresh, they have so many possibilities.
They are filled with "I wonders".
They are loaded with questions.
They start you on a journey, one you will never be ready for.
Like these two...

And they evolve and change too.
They become roller coasters.
They are scary at times, they are comfort most times, they are wonderful.
They become song and dances, there is a familiar rhythm to their flow.
They are real.
Like these two...

And then there are ones that explode.
They have so many emotions you cannot contain them.
They are tantrums and gushes.
They are sweet and gentle, they are chaos, they are crazed.
They are erupting with feelings.
They burst you open.
Like these two...

There are relationships you wait for.
Ones you never realized you needed.
They are the ones that know all of you, your whole story.
They are the ones you will fall back on
they are the relationships you count on.
Like these two

There are relationships that are filled with history.
They have traditions and important meaning.
They are what you call home, what you look forward to.
All relationships serve a purpose.
All come with meaning.
All walk on your heart, all leave their mark.
Some are deep and leave scars.
Like us...

4
Sep

All you want...

...is us.

Play with me.
Color with me.
Read to me.
I want to go with you.
Snuggle me.
Stay with me.
Can you just be here?
Can we have a date?
Can I go running with you?

All you want...is us.

This summer, we took a once in a lifetime family vacation.
Your favorite parts: being in the pool as a family.
Sleeping in the hotel, because you each got to sleep with us.
Just time with us is all you need to fill your bucket.
You would whisper things to me like
"I love talking to you and I promise I always will"
"I love you mommy, I love being with you"
"this is the best vacation ever, we're all together!"

Since we have been home, all you want, is us.
Playing with us.
Snuggles with us.
Board games with us.
Reading dates.
All you want...is us.
Time with us
all of us with you all of you.
Us.
Just us.

Our trips to the Cape, you love the togetherness of it all.
You love how crammed and cramped we all are, because we are all together.
You love sharing the space.
You love how cozy it is.
You love how you all pile up on a coach.
You love being, with us.
All you want, is us.

And yes, there are moments when the attention and time are almost too much.
I get tired
days are long
but this needed time
this need for just me
take me as I am me
it's incredible.
It's what I will miss the most of this small window we all have.
That out of anyone out there, you have always accepted me.
As I am
crazy and all
tired
never put together
forever wanting pjs
forever wanting cozy
the woman that doesn't know how to dress
the woman that doesn't do her hair
the one that doesn't know how to apply makeup
the one that needs peace and calm
the one that finds that calm in routine and clean
stressed and crazed
hurried and impatient
me.

You love the real me
you see me as I see the real you.
You look beyond all of the flaws and you find the me you love.
And you don't really want anything from me,
you just want me.
Not distracted
not angry
not always tired
but happy to be with you too
me.

You slow me down.
You make me realize what is important.
Because how do I say no to being with you?
How do I look at a little face and say no, I can't help you.
No, I can't be with you.
No, what I am doing is more important, than you.
You are my reminder that time is fleeting.
You are my reminder that time is precious.
You are my reminder that all we will ever need, is us.

30
Jul

When you're not looking

It is when we are paying the most attention.
We sneak into rooms to see you play.
We creep up to watch you interact with friends, each other, watch your imagination.
We quietly enter classrooms and get a glimpse of you in your world.
We sneak into your room to watch you sleep.
When you're not looking, we have so much attention on you.

And this is one of the many secrets that parents keep.
It is that we spend so much time just gazing at you.
From the moment you were born, we could not keep our eyes off of you.
So many months of holding you and looking at you with wonder.
So many months of chest to chest contact, that closeness that is so new, so amazing.
Watching you in the tub as the relaxation spread through your body.
Watch you as you fed
and mostly as you slept.
How I still brush your hair away
how I still snuggle in and breathe your air
how I still whisper to you and how you now whisper back.
You won't remember the first few years that changed us forever
they are all my memories that I get to share with you.
And even now, you have no idea how much time I spend in awe of you, just watching.
How I can't look away because when you're not looking is when you are being you.
Not for attention
not for admiration
you are being you.

There are so many moments that the sight of you takes my breath away.
Because overnight you grew.
Because I still think of you as babies
because I remember all too well the feeling of you resting in my belly
because that first year of wondrous you was yesterday not years and years ago.
because the day you were born was another way that my heart walked around outside of my body
and now, when you're not looking, I can't turn away.
That's my heart and I can't look away.

So, when you're not looking is when I am.
When you are deep in a moment, caught up in you, that's when I get a glance into your life as you define it.
We love these moments, this precious door you open, when you're not looking.

14
May

Simple letter of love

My Mother's Day letter of love...
take 3.

I love how independent you are becoming.
I love watching you pour your own cereal.
I love that we are still needed but just in time and love.
I love seeing you at school, so loving, so caring, so attentive.
I love hearing about your day and the crazy telephone game it becomes.
I love our summers and how many memories we make.
I love that you love our new doggy. I love that she is important to you.
I love that we healed enough to open up our homes to Pearl, I love that we still love and think of Mia.
I love that Cole still comes to plant himself in the middle of us during a hug.
I love that they both get nervous when we fight and want it to end, I love that we end it for them.
I love that small is still important in our house right now.
I love that I am really taking it all in, just how fleeting time is.
I love every single tradition, every single one.
I love that you love them too, every last one.
PJs and out of a bath are still my favorite, that smell, that clean, that cozy.
I love that you are beginning to look like me.
I love watching you be and play and childhood come alive outside.
I love that our goodnights are still magic.
I love love love to watch you both sleep.
I love to grab your hand, push away your hair.
I love the feel, the smell, how time stops as we inhale and exhale together.
I love our DEAR time. I love digging into a good book with you, warm by the fire and watching you love your book too. I love that we aren't distracted, my phone is away. This is our time, our end to the crazy of our day.
I love all of the cards, the letters the pictures.
I love getting ice cream for dinner, I love seeing you be a kid in the best way.
I love every picture we have hanging of you, of us. I love seeing and feeling that moment in time.

I love you both.

You have given me these gifts loves you have filled me so full.

Dear Anna,
This year, you started down a path of maturity.
And you are working hard on finding you.
Even in the middle of all of your friends, staying true to you.
I will continue to drive that message home because you are the best you I know and I cannot have you change.
Not for silly
not for them
not for any one person.
Grow, develop, have fun, laugh out loud, all of it, but always and forever be you, you are the best you I know.
This is your gift to the world sweets, your kind loving heart.
And I need it to shine so everyone can see it, to shine across your face to see the love and light you hold.

This year, you gave me the gift of one on one talks.
You are opening up to me more and we even started a journal together.
This year, your gift has been the gift of getting to know you as you are getting to know yourself.
And I love our time.

Dear Cole,
This year, you started down a path of amazing.
You hit four and it all fell into place.
Your crying, your screaming, your tantrums all gave way and in their place became my little man.
The one I knew was in there.
The happy little boy.
The gentle soul.
The calm, the storm, the loud, the crazy, the happy wonderful you.

This year, your gave me the gift of you.
Wonderful, amazing loving you.
This year, you reminded me how important it is to love love.
How important it is to be a good and wonderful friend.
How important it is to go on a goodbye tour when you leave friends and leave them feeling wonderful.
This year, you gifted me your heart.

Thank you both for all 365 days of the past year.
The wonderful, the awful, the beautiful and the ugly.
Thank you for your patience as I cried and cried over Mia.
Thank you for your hugs of understanding.
Thank you for do overs and starting again.
Thank you for words instead of tears.
Thank you for still holding my hand.
Thank you for still kissing noses.
Thank you for allowing me to carry your heart and eat you up.

Thank you for the best parts of you, thank you for finding me to mother you.
You have given me a life I never knew I always needed and wanted.
You have given me a title I will hold close and protect.
You have given me my smile.
You have given me family.

And as always...
to the little girl that made me believe in happily ever after
and the little boy that was my one and only love at first sight
I love and adore you
.

8
May

Too much like me

It's late and the exhaustion is strong.
We are both at the end, of our day, of our patience, of our tempers.
And the quick transition from happy day to stubborn tears starts.
And just like me, you're not giving up, you're digging in.
But also like me, you're not willing to give up on who we actually are.
And just like me, you want a do over.

The older you get, the more and more I see me.
The more and more I see the person that won't be walked on.
The more and more I see the person that won't let someone else tell her story.
The more and more I see the person that stands up for herself, but only to her parents.
The more and more I see the person that is timid around others, unsure if this is something she has to take a stand on.
The more and more I see the person that is afraid to speak up, but has it in her.
The more ad more I see the person that will do almost anything for friendship.
The more and more I see me.

I see me when you are wrapped in a cozy sweatshirt, because I am always wrapped in warmth.
I see me when you are mad and all you can do in that anger is cry.
I see me when you are so happy that it shines from your face.
I see me when you look to me for approval, because I always wanted it too.
I see me when you are filled with pride, because I always wanted it too.

I see me when all you want is a hug, because you want to melt into someone.
I see me in your smile, because you always had my mouth.
I see me when you are thinking, processing.
I see me when you are old, because we were both born old.
I see me when you are trying, because we always try.
And I see me when you are tired and everything is therefore wrong.
I see me when you put on your fighting gloves, because I own a pair too.
I see me when you are making things too hard, because that is what I do best.
I see me when you ask to go for that run, because I always push too.
I see me when you want to work hard, because that is my go to.
I see me when you laugh, because I at one time found it so easy to laugh.

But, I see you too.
The parts of you that are always and forever yours.
I see you when you are social, because I never was.
I see you when you are brave, because I never was.
I see you when you are walking into an event all by yourself, ready to see what friends you are going to make.
I see you when you find it so easy to make a friend.
I see you when you see only the good in people, and don't even recognize anything else.
I see you when you so easily find joy, because I am still on the hunt.
And I see your dad in all of that too.
Each reason listed being what made me fall head over heels in love with a person filled with that much joy.
And the reason I fall harder and harder for you, because I see so much of us wrapped in this little body of you.

For a little while, I would think to myself, you are too much like me, and that will mean butting heads.
And running into who is more right.
And stubborn everything.
And anxious hearts.
And worry.
Yeah, I see all of that in you...and it makes me a better me.
It makes me want to develop into a better me,
because that's what good people in your life do, they make you a better version of you.
And you are one of the best people I know so of course this would be what you did, for me.

Take it all in sweet face.
Take in what I do well, what I need work on, what I am trying hard to change.
Take in what works for you
what you wish you didn't pick up
what you know you can't live without
and develop into the best version of you
even if it means looking somewhat like me.

30
Apr

Parenthood - defined by just one mom

I have gained and lost two people.
I have woken up every two hours to pump for you.
I have been in an ambulance worried about what this means.
I have been in the hospital, too many times, holding hands and trying to make you feel brave.
I have stayed up all night worried about a fever.
I have labored, I have screamed and cried and pushed and ended up in surgery.
I have healed.
I have fed you from me and from a bottle.
I have wept for your pain.
I have been impressed by you, I am so so proud.

I have rocked you and played with you.
I have tickled your ear to try and keep you up for a feeding.
I have watched you sleep almost every night of your life.
I have started traditions that I hope you always and forever hold on to.
I have let you go, day by day, little by little...I have let you go.

I have cut up, dished out, poured and served thousands of snacks...thousands.
I have wiped faces and noses and mouths and bums and tears.
I have brushed your hair away from your face to look at dad's eyes staring back at me.
I have carried you
I have put you down
I have held on and
I have let you go.

I have seen childhood defined by snow days
and family movie night and pancake Sunday.
I have seen it defined in Cape vacations with framily
and Thursday night dinner with more framily.
I have seen it defined in sibling love
and Christmas Eve and morning.
I have seen it defined in happy safe secure love.

I have lost control of me
I have yelled and lost control of patience
I have surrendered to my fatigue and to my anger and I have let you down.
I have come back hundreds of times to say that I am sorry.

I have been woken up, slept on, held you through the night, held as tight as I could.
I have kissed away the pain, I have held you through the hurt.
I have been loved on, I have been made velveteen real.

I have given you a sibling
I have given you each other
I have watched you grow into the amazing you are.

I have done laundry, thousands and millions of loads of laundry.
I have washed and put away newborn onsies that are now childhood clothes.
I have boxed up clothes that no longer fit.
I have kept ones that have too much meaning to let go, I have cried over your laundry because of the big kids I have.

I have danced and sung and listened to the same song and watched the same movies and read the same books.
Over and over and over.
I have given up my food for you.
I have given up my body for you.
I have given up on caring about so many things because of you.
I have started caring about the right things because of you.

I am overwhelmed and stressed.
I am overjoyed and in love.
I am unhinged and falling every day a little harder.
I am learning to forgive all of the mistakes.

I am finally comfortable in my skin, scars and all.
I see beauty in the woman you look at, the one you turn to.

I have had good days
I have had great days
I have had terrible days
I have days that level me terrible
I have days that have built me and will be what keeps me warm in my final moments on earth.
I have been burst open by love.

I have lived through difficult trying and long years
I have lived through short ones, the ones that happen in a blink
I have taken you all in
I have cherished all of the warmth.

I have given my home to you,
I have lost control of the organization
I have lost the battle over filth
I have built you a home.

I have woken up to a bed full of family
and slept with love.

Grace was never a friend but we have kissed and made up.
Exhaustion is my new normal
but so is love.
And all of that is this mom's definition of parenthood.

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