21
Aug

I promise.

In less than three weeks, you start on this great big adventure,
and I get to watch and cheer from my sidelines.
And so sweet boy...

I promise to take my proper place
I promise to cry in private
I promise to beam and take pictures and have a smile as big as yours in each and every one
I promise to make it all about you and not at all about me
I promise I am really proud, I swear I am not faking it at all
I promise I am in love with how ready you are
I promise I am just as excited for you
I promise to love your teacher as much as you do and I promise that too is not fake
I promise to watch you climb that bus
I promise to hold it all together until you pull away
I promise to count the minutes
I promise you will be great
I promise you are so ready
I promise to be on your side
I promise you will make all of the friends
I promise you will laugh and smile so much
I promise this is your time
I promise to be ready because you are ready
I promise to follow your lead

I have watched and cared for and carried you, sweet boy.
I have loved every second of our time together, five amazing years.
I have loved how we found a quiet moment of us, especially because you're my number two.
I thank you for your flexibility
and your patience
and your ability to quietly play.
I thank you for always being so creative
and for your excitement to just be with your toys, in your own world.
I will miss you
I will miss our time
I will miss these days
the ones you gave me.

See, I am not ready, not really, but you are and therefore I promise to be too.
Your dad is all a flutter, like always, just happy for you.
Your sister, she is excited to take good care of you on that bus and to be the leader she is.
She already has it all planned, how she will sit with you, how she will walk in with you.
I know how ready you are.
I know how much this makes you beam with excitement.
I know you want to meet all of the kids and your teacher
I promise to follow your lead and have you feel only the light of love from me.

But, in this safe place I hold,
the one I want you to read one day,
know that your mom had to be brave.
She was so sad to let you go even more than she has.
She is in love with your face and wanted more time.
She just wants more time with her little ones.
Because this is only the beginning.
This is only the start
and for her, it feels like the end of a very special moment of parenting.
And endings are always so tough for her.
So, she was brave lovey
and you were strong for her.
She wanted to cry and hold you and tell you it's not time
instead, she remembered her promise, the one she has to make over and over and over again
and she let go.

I promise I will always love you, even from the sidelines.

Now, you go do you because you're the best you I know.

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.

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!

28
May

#ThisIsFive!

You came into this world ready to make your mark.
Ready to show every single person, you are not your sister.
You are different in every way.
And I adore every last difference.
Every single one.
Because the second kid fights to make themselves stand out, and I get that.

Sweets, from the day you were born, you fought for you.
You will never need a rescue, even though you want to be, you never need to be.
But your want, your desire for help, I think that's just about spending time together.
And you love to be with people,
you love love love to be with us.

Because you my sweet boy, and this is my favorite part of all of you, you love love.
You love it.
You love hugs
and smooches
and more hugs
and I love yous
and I love you mores
and touching
and hand holding
and hand kissing
and little guy smooches
and closeness
and snuggles.
You love love.
You have made me fall in love with love, all over again.
And your love of love is getting stronger and stronger as you grow and I will cherish and protect it always.

You are joy
even in the raw emotional tantrums
even in the cries and screams
you are joy.
You are a reason to be lighter
happier
your smile is a reason to smile.
You are laughter
and fun
and more laughter
and adventures.
You define joy.

You are childhood.
You, you are childhood.
With its excitement
and its newness
and its raw
and all of the feelings every single day
and every emotion felt from the top of your head down to your toes...
you are the childhood I always imagined.
And I will protect this too.

You are big.
Big emotions
big appetite
big feelings
big tears
big tantrums
big cries
big screams
big talking
You can't be contained in little because you are always ready for more big.

You are always and forever all in.
With food
with fun
with games
with sports
with laughter
with shouts
with tantrums
with happy
with hugs
with kisses
you never sit one out.
Your whole body is in, no matter what we do.
You do not hesitate, you are the definition of all in.

And now, you are five.
Five.
You are ready for kindergarten
you are ready for bikes without training wheels
you are ready for responsibilities
you are ready for teams
you are ready to be five.
Five.
You are five.

See, I didn't realize that love at first sight existed.
I didn't realize that childhood could be so carefree.
I didn't realize that our family needed another piece of its puzzle.
I didn't realize we were incomplete.
I didn't realize there could be this much joy in one little person.
I didn't realize such a little body could hold so much of everything.
I didn't realize you turning five would be this meaningful to me.

But here we are.
Because I didn't blink and you turned five.
I knew that my baby, the one I rocked, the one I got up with, the one I started an amazing journey with...
would be my last firsts.
And so, I took you in.

Like how I watch you sleep.
I know you know this but recently, I haven't been able to pull myself away from you.
I haven't been able to stop brushing your hair and touching your face.
I haven't been able to stop smooching the tip of your nose.
I take and continue to take you all in.
And lately, I haven't been able to get enough of you.
Because as ready as you are, I am always one step behind but that means I am also your back.
You although you never need a push, who couldn't use a backup?

Happy fifth birthday monkey man.
I eat you up I love you so...
mommy's sweet and low.

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
.

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.

23
Apr

Dear kids

I make a lot of mistakes from day to day.
Each time I am presented with a situation, I feel as though I have a major decision to make.
This little decision determines so much, too much.
It determines how you come to me in the future.
It determines if you come to me in the future.
It determines how safe and comforted you feel.
And this my loves, this is the hardest part of parenting.
This is the part that keeps me up.
The thought of losing our trust, our connection, our bond.
The thought of you feeling alone out there, not having a home base, not wanting to "get in trouble" so keeping it to yourself.

And so, I want you to know...

I will always believe in you.
Always believe in who you are.
Always believe in your goodness.
We all make mistakes, I will be disappointed, but I will never be disappointed in who you are, only what you did.
Because I will always and forever believe in you.
I will believe in your heart, your soul, the core of who you are.
Whenever you feel that you don't even believe in yourself, know that I believe in you the most.
I will always believe in you.

You do not need to have any part of your life figured out.
And you don't have to have it figured out for a really long time.
And even when you are all grown up and have it figured out, you still can change your mind.
Adults put a lot of emphasis on what you're going to be when you grow up.
What are you going to do?
What is it that you will major in?
What career will you follow?
But, you don't need to have a single part of it figured out always and forever.
That is what life is, figuring it out, owning that part and then keep developing.
Keep changing, keep growing.
Never feel like a failure because your life isn't figured out yet.
Direction and passion and what excites you, all of that will come.
And sometimes, it will go.
And then another thing will pop up and then you will follow that
and that too may go.
You will figure things out on your own terms.

I see the good in you, the unique, the really really good.
I spend a lot of time focusing on what you need to improve.
I spend a lot of time trying to guide you
and redirect
and teach.
But the truth is, at your base, there is so much good.
Like how adventurous you are.
Like how you always try, always.
Like how much you love life, really love all the things about it.
Like how you play well together.
Like how you read to him.
Like how you comfort each other when you're upset or in trouble.
Like how you want him to be included.
Like how you are her shadow.
Like how hard you both work at school.
Like how respectful you both are of your teachers.
Like how you love love.
Like how well you both sleep.
Like how much you love your food.
Like how your face lights up when you see us.
Like how you always ask for dad to play with you.
Like how you find our traditions as important as I do.
Like how loving you both are.
Like how gentle you can be.
I see the good guys and I need to call you out on it more.

You can always trust me.
With your words
with your actions
with your mistakes
with your worries
with your thoughts
with your insecurities
with your choices.
I will protect all of it.
I will always be on your side, even if I am disappointed.
Even if I feel you know/knew better.
Even if I feel you had a choice and you knew the right one and you still choose the wrong one.
Because mistakes and bad choices, all of that is learning.
I am your trust, right here.
I will never turn my back on you,
I make you face your consequences and take responsibility,
but I will never turn my back on you.

Because this is home, and you can always come back to home base.
Even as adults, you can come back to comfort and warmth and us.
We all need that every once in a while, just a few minutes of safe to get back out there.
We are home.

19
Mar

Our journey continues

It's true, I do remember everything. I am the crazy one that remembers not only my entire childhood, but my sister's. I remember our entire relationship Cory. I remember every smile, every fight, every emotion, I remember where we were standing, what we were wearing, how we looked, if we were angry or sad or happy or excited. I remember it all.

And although this drives your father crazy mad because I remember every conversation, every argument, every moment and that leads to a lot of "no, I'm right and you're wrong" kind of conversations, with this crazy comes something beautiful. I also remember everything about your stories. I remember everything, about both of you. Every moment, every milestone, every memory. I remember how you looked, how it felt, how your dad looked. Our stories are linked, you came from us so you are a part of us.

I remember every single day of our nine months together, with both of you.
Most importantly, I remember how much I loved being pregnant with you both and how I didn't want to let you go and share either of you with the world.

Anna, it took you 24 very long and painful hours to enter this world, and I remember every minute of it.
Your first babble was Dada.
It would take you a year and a half before you said mama, you liked to torture me.
Your first word was woof woof (for Mia).
You hold a special place in my heart because you are my first.
Your fine motor skills were really advanced and so you took your sweet time with gross motor.
Your first crawl came at 11 months, it was March 2010 and just you and I were home. I remember it so clearly.
You first walked at 15 months and it was THE day I was calling early intervention.
You first smiled on my first mother's day, that was special.
You slept through the night (7-8 hours) 3-4 weeks in. You loved to sleep and by the time you were six weeks old, you were sleeping 12 hours a night.
Lovey was the first present we gave you in the hospital, you still love her to this day.
Your first day of preschool was 9.11.12 and you looked so big. I let go of your hand that day and realized I was now in for a lifetime of letting you go, over and over again.

Cole, your birth-day was scheduled for Wednesday May 30th.
Your birth took 15 minutes and I remember seeing your amazing face and I couldn't keep my eyes off of you. All of our pictures, I am staring at you only, you were glorious.
I was having contractions for months with you and our last week together was painful. You wanted out and I fought to keep you in.
You hold a special place in my heart because you completed us, even though we didn't know we weren't whole.
Lovey was your first present we gave you in the hospital and you reach for her at night.
Your first babble was Mama (and I have loved you so much for this!)
Your first words were "hi there".
You learned language very quickly.
You slept through the night at 8 weeks...12 hours straight. Before then, you were starving and we had no idea.
Your first day of school, you were magic...

You first smiled at my office and I couldn't wait to get it on film.
You struggled with gross motor skills and you worried us a lot.
You had to be rushed to Albany Med in an ambulance and it is a night I will never forget.
You didn't walk until you were 17 months old, but you were actually giddy when you got it.
You love your big sister.
You love getting hugs.
You, my sweet boy, you love love.

I remember it all sweets, all of us, here.
I remember the walk into the house from the hospital.
I remember introducing you both to Mia.
I remember you chasing after her.
I remember the look on both of your faces when we had to say goodbye.
I remember us, I remember our journey.
And as our journey continues, I am forever your home base.


13
Mar

My mind's eye

I take a lot of pictures.
Not for me to remember, but for you.
I realize most of our time together, so many of our years as this small little family, will be a blur.
But you want to see and feel and recall what you did when.
You are interested and in love with your past.
You ask for stories and allow the memories to wash over you.
I see the glow, the joy, the love it brings to you.
And having the pictures makes it so real for you.
Mom, was that me?
Look how small I was!
Did I love that outfit mom?
What was I doing there?
Look, that's my lovey!
Look at my hair!
Why was I smiling there mom?
What were you saying to me in this one?

But me, I have a solid memory.
I internally capture the pictures that won't fade over time.
I carry your memories with me, I carry all of you, with me.
Your past is here with me and I love to share it with you.
Your childhood, all wrapped up, like a special present.
This blog, your forever way of remembering our journey.

And although the pictures might be of the special occasion, or the precious moment to capture...
I hold all of the good, all of the bad.
I remember the details
I remember the words
I remember the feeling,
I hold all of you, inside of me.

So when you are losing sight of who you are
or where you belong
never be afraid to come back to where it all started.
Never be afraid to find out who you once were to create who you will become.
Because I hold all of you, inside of me.

You are right here.
I have my mind's eye on you, remembering every last detail.

12
Feb

What I would give

There are days, when I just have nothing left to give.
I have been with you all week, and now the weekend is here and I am in charge again.
I don't know what to do to make the noise stop.
The exhaustion of being your mom, it is crushing.
And then I remember how deafening the silence will be.
How I will long for the noise, how I will turn up the TV too loud, just to make it seem like the house if full.

IMG_7251

There are days, when you two can't get along.
You can't be in the same space.
Everything ends in a fight, screaming, yelling, running.
The entire family is off and we spend our moments screaming at each other because we are screaming at them.
And then I remember that she will leave first.
He will be here with just us and we will have to find a way to be without her.

IMG_7427

There are days when my "have tos" are never ending.
Work and mom and laundry and cleaning up and homework and activities and the house and work and more laundry.
The days when I am not sure when I will ever sit.
When it will ever end.
And then I remember that we built a house that they turned into a home.
We will one day feel the walls spread out, the space is empty.

100_7422

There are days the running won't stop.
You are all underfoot and I can't have a minute to breathe, or pee or be.
All I am is tugged on, and asked to do, and asked to look, and asked to help.
Days that I question every decision I make.
And then I remember that we are all afraid.
We are all living in fear,
we all question every decision.

There will come a day I will want it all back.
The good, the bad, the ugly.
The loud, the quiet, and the love.
The terrible, the fights, the hugs.
The tantrums, the screaming, the bedtime routines.
The running, the awful, the kindness.
And all I will think is, what would I give?

What would I give to go back and remember how many days you did get it right.
The days that you play together so well, so so well.
The days that you remember to be kind, to each other, to me, to yourself.
The days I remember to be kind to me and to you.
The days that you are all hugs, the days you and I smile.
The days that we have dance parties, and we laugh.
The days that the pizza is so good and so warm, and the movie is just right.
The days that we count down to pancake Sunday and that dinner is so much talking and excitement.
What would I give to hold you again, to remember how small you were and how well you fit.
What would I give to remember how small your hand was and how you loved to hold mine.
What would I give for you to come to me for advice, your venting space.
What would I give for just us four to be at the heart of our home.

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