13
May

Everything I need

It's not about the gift, the handmaid one you were so excited to give me.
The picture you couldn't wait to show me, the one you painted.
The card you made, all the things you kept from me all week long.
It's about the look on your face, this joyful, smiling from ear to ear, this bursting with love you have, just to see me .

But for now, I listen to your excitement, your glee for making the day special, for me.
I love how you make me breakfast
I love how you sit in anticipation of the gift
I love how you talk about it
I love how you tell me, you can't wait for Sunday
I love how much bringing me joy means to you.

As you grow, the day will mean less and less.
Because the years will pass and you will grow up and away from me.
But all I have ever needed, you already gave.
And we didn't even know it because I fought it for so long.
Because you are all that I need.

When you grow, I don't need you to call me this day, I don't need you to send flowers,
I am not a collector of things, but of memories.
And the ones you have given, they are all I need.

Did you know that you were my second chance?
Did you know you placed it so carefully in my hand and you asked me to take care of childhood this time around?
Did you know that you made me believe in happily ever after?
Did you know you were my one and only love at first sight?
Did you know that I believe in family because I met your dad?
Did you know that I believe in the power and energy of joy because of him?
Did you know that is where you get it from?
Did you know that you give me a warm heart?
Did you know that when you gave me my title of mother, you gave me a world a life I didn't know was waiting for me?
Did you know that all of these gifts, they will keep me warm and fill me full?
They always have, they make me remember so much of our good.
All I ever needed was this amazing time with you.

Time moves on and you too will have a family, however you define it.
But, if you decide to be parents, I will remind you to love this day for them.
They will make it special and active parenting is tough so allow them to.
All of the handmaid everything will mean so much to you too, but not as much as this time you get together.
Because you gave me all I ever needed, when I was given the gift of being yours.

29
Apr

You taught me

To believe in second chances.
To trust me.
To find my soft side.
To redefine family.

You taught me to laugh
and giggle
and believe in happily ever after
and love at first sight.

You taught me to take long walks
and listen, really listen.
You taught me to hug away cries.

You taught me to pay attention but to the important stuff.
You taught me how big little is.
You taught me to always pay attention to what seems to be little, because it is always big to you.

You taught me to believe that I am pretty
you taught me to look at myself so differently
you taught me to say things about myself differently
you taught me to say, good job mom.

You taught me that I have an important role
but you also taught me that you have one too.

You taught me to dance around the kitchen
you taught me to be silly
you taught me how important silly is.

You taught me that unconditional love is hard
you taught me that sometimes you run away and back towards love
you taught me that parenting is hard
but you taught me that it's all somehow worth it.

You taught me how important reading dates are
you taught me to fall madly deeply back in love with reading
you taught me that night time snuggles and ending a long day on a note of love is always and forever how we say goodnight.

You taught me not to care if it matches
you taught me how adorable words can be
you taught me how to love in such a different way.

So, I am here, eyes heart and ears wide open, ready and willing for all the teaching.

22
Apr

Rich

I want your memories to be rich.
I want them to keep you warm.
I want smells to bring you back to your home, the one you started in.
I want sounds to take you back.
I want your memories to be rich.

I want our time together to be remembered the right way.
I want you to look back and realize how hard we all tried.
I want you to think back on each tradition, the ones I created, the ones you love
and I want you to know how much those were meant to stop time.
How much those were meant to slow us down, slow everything down.
How much those were meant to hit pause.
How much those were meant to create what became so special, so meaningful, so gorgeous.

I want you to go to the beach and not be able to not think of our summers at the Cape.
I want you to go to the track and not be able to not think of your dad.
I want you to sit on Christmas Eve and miss Nonna's food, the gifts, the family.
I want you to spend your first Thursday away from Framily and realize how amazing it was when...

When we were all together
when time stood still
when only love mattered
when it was this simple.

I want you to look back on your childhood and remember the smell of dad's sauce
and mom's perfume
and Nonna's gnocchi.
I want you to remember Easter and all of the cooking, all of the wine, all of the kids.
I want you to remember all the pools and all the Sunday family swims.
I want you to smell pancakes and immediately be transported to a Sunday around the island.
I want you to set the table on Sunday night and remember how much mom wanted it to be a little more special.
I want you to think how important it was to her that we focus on the good and show what we are grateful for.

I want you to remember your childhood as that, a childhood.
I want and I need to know that you had one
that you can remember being a kid.
I want and need to know that you had fun
you laughed
we played games, I need you to remember all the games we play, all the movies we fell in love with.

I need you to remember sand in your hair
and sun on your skin
and Pearl and Mia at our feet
I need you to remember puppy smooches
and mom cuddles
and dad's arms.

I want you to know that we were stable, even when we felt shakey.
I want you to remember that home is here.

I want you to remember the mother I was when we first started out.
The one you have zero memories of, but I hold on to.
The one that wrote a chapter she never thought she would, the one that held you, smelled you, fell madly deeply and forever in love with you.

I want you to remember the mother I was when I was running toward and away from love and you.
The one that struggled, the one that panicked.

I want you to remember the mother I am now, the one that listens to you, that turns everyone off to put all eyes on you.
The one that drops everything to play a game or read a story.
The one that will never say no when you ask for attention from me.
I want you to remember the mother I am now.
The one that makes mistake after mistake after mistake and comes to you on bended knee to ask for forgiveness, the one that demands the same from you.
I want you to remember the mother I am now, the one that laughs with you, teaches you, expects lots from you.
I want you to remember the mother I am now, the one that wants you to have a happy childhood.

I want you to remember the mother I will someday become.
The one that is scared of the future and letting go.

I want you to remember how much you loved each other.
How important having a sibling was.
I want you to remember your summers.
Your time with dad,
the track
the adventure days
the sun
the warmth
our town.
I want you to remember our little house at the Cape
how close we were to the beach
the framily that crammed themselves in.

I want you to remember your family.
That you always have a place
that you always belong
that you have a home to go back to.
I want you to remember that your family is strong, we are present, we are neverending.

I want you to remember the good, the bad and the ugly and we gave you plenty of all three.
I want to you remember times you were disappointed and times you were heartbroken and I want you to remember how you were still able to get up, go on.
I want you to remember times you, we were happy and times you, we weren't.
I want you to remember that families are alive and with life comes grace and love and imperfections and fog.
I want you to remember that we always loved,
we always tried.

I want your memories to be rich.

25
Mar

My hardest step

I set goals
and deadlines
I like to think about my future and where I am headed
where I want to be
what I want to focus on.

Since I was little, I had a goal.
I focused all my effort and attention on one thing.
And at 21, I made it.
Goal...game set match, I was done.
Somehow, I had forgotten to plan for the next thing.
I had forgotten to go past 21 and so I didn't know where to go or what to do next.
I was lost and confused and searching for me and a purpose.

So I did what I always do and I got to work.
Planning and planning
working harder and harder
keeping my future in my sights so I would never lose it again.

Until I met you and well you changed everything.
You happened at the exact time I was lost and getting myself back on track and you took me off the rails.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which I believe in me in a completely different way.
I no longer had to just believe in my determination
or in only my commitment
or in me being able to do everything alone.
It was now time to believe in myself as a part of a family.
It was time to believe I mattered as part of something.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

And I started plugging away.
Happy, content, very comfortable.
Until I met you and well, you changed everything.
All over again.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which I believe in me in a completely different way.
Not only in my love but my ability to love in a way that no one dreams possible.
It was time to believe in me as a mother
and motherhood
and parenting
and it was now time to believe in me as part of a new family.
One that included a child
and sacrifice
and an outpouring of every emotion.
It was time to come to life as a mother.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

And there I was, happy and content again.
Having this whole thing under control, because control matters to me and realizing that I kicked ass at motherhood mattered to me.
I was once again happy, content, very comfortable and filled with this overwhelming joy.
Until I met you and well, you changed everything.
All over again.
You made me take my hardest step,
the one in which our family is complete.
The one in which I have to say goodbye to little
goodbye to the last firsts
the one in which I become a velveteen mother.
It was time for me to believe in all that I had.
It was time for me to believe in myself, my ability to mother you, my experience and inexperience because you were determined to be different.
It was time to push through my wanting to run towards and away and back towards love.
It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

I fell for each of you in a very real way.
I fell for your smile, the one that told me all would be ok.
I fell for your connection, the one that told me you were mine.
I fell for your love, the only love at first sight that I have ever felt.

You each made me take a step you didn't even realize I was taking,
my hardest step that had nothing to do with grit and determination.
This step had me believing in a different part of me.
A part that was all mush, all love, all warmth.

It was time for me to believe in me, fear or no fear.
And so, I fell, for you, for us and as I took my hardest step, I believed.

4
Mar

Love notes

Each February, I fill your doors with a note a day.
One specific reason why I love you
because, don't we all need reminders, clear reasons why our love is so strong.
This year, Cole, you can't read but you can count and so I would hear
"mom, you forgot this mornings note, today is the 9th and there are only eight notes"
Anna, you can read so the look on your face watching the love unfold around you was enough to make me burst.
Guys, I so deeply madly love you!

Dear Anna, I love you because...
you are my Bella
you made me a mom and started our family
you're the best you I know so never stop being you
you are helpful
you are pretty and you are pretty smart too
you are my Valentine!
you love to snuggle
you always try your very best
you love family movie night so much
you love spending time with us
you love having friends, just like mom
you love to write and draw and create
you love to read
you make me proud
you love all of our traditions and you fill me full with how much you look forward to them
all of your teachers really love you
being your mom is my favorite
you read to Pearl and Cole
you think like mom
you work hard at school and learning new things
you love Pearl
you miss Mia and talk about her often
you love downtime and just being snuggly
you have dad's eyes
you love to play chess with us
you love to color and love coloring dates
you respond to love
you love Cole
you tell us all how much you love us and you really mean it.

Dear Cole, I love you because...
you love Starwars
you take school very seriously
you love dad
you remind me of love
you're a good little brother
you love life
being your mom is my favorite
you love Anna
you are my Valentine!
being around you is fun
you love to play
you need to give little guy kisses before bed
you love your family
you are learning to read!
you have the best heart
your teacher really loves you
you give great hugs
you are my monkey and because you asked me to put up a love note that said so
you're the best you I know so never ever stop being you
you love love love love love food!
you completed our puzzle
you have a great imagination
you look so happy learning new things
you are so kind
you fill my bucket when you show love.

Happy Valentine's Day little faces.
Love, mom

4
Feb

I say I love you

There are so many times that "I love you" does not seem to be enough.
Because when your love is bursting from you chest
and at makes you feel like you can't breathe
"I love you" seems so small.
So I find other ways.
I find deeper way to connect and make you feel a love that can only be described as washing over us all.

I say it with looks and hugs.
I say it when I stop and settle with you.
I say it when I am not distracted.

I say it when I say olive juice.
I say it I reach for your hand.
I say it with I eat you up I love you so
I say it I carry your heart.

You say it back with mommy's sweet and low
and I carry yours too.

I say it with my February notes of love.
You say it by reminding me how much they mean to you.

I say it when I squeeze your hand three times.
You say it by squeezing it back twice.

I say it with our family movie nights
you say it with talk all week about how excited you are for Friday.

I say it with sign-language for I love you.
You say it back by getting your fingers just so.

I say it with creating a framily
you say it by falling just as hard.

I say it with warm snuggle blankets
you say it by asking me to join you on the coach.

I say it with our reading dates
you say it with begging for them and asking for night time snuggles.

I say it by telling you all about you as a baby, as a toddler, as my little one
you say it by falling in love with our story.

I say it through this blog, this journey I created for you
you say it by wanting to read them with me.

I wish I could let you know what it feels like to be a mom
the love that is just there, always there growing and growing and growing.
But, all if this is my attempt to have you even come to the flood you created.
Because you started something special when you picked us
and you redefined love to be messy and heartbreaking and complicated and tiring and energizing and...
so I will continue to find special small ways to remind you that love is all around us.

28
Jan

When love becomes family.

You will fall madly deeply in love.
Not just once, but several times.
You will meet people that leave actual marks on your heart.
They will be with you always.
You will dream about them well into adulthood, that is what love does.
But, if you decide to be with someone, always and forever be with someone, I want to share some things with you, and them.

First, I promise to find room in my heart for those you pick to love.
Your dad won't even have to work at this, it will come naturally for him.
Me, I will make it my mission to not be crazy
and love them
because you do.

I also realize that when you fall in love you bend and mold with them.
I promise I will not remind you that you are changing and making that seem bad because you should be.
We all grow with our person to become the best version of us.

I will also be the one to tell you if it feels off.
I will also call you out on your crazy
because forever is work.
Even when you are so in love you can't imagine it, forever is work.

Your mom and dad are deeply madly and forever in love with one another.
We are not perfect, because nothing is.
We are not without faults, blame or mistakes, we have made so many.
But, we always come back to us because there is something here that is worth it.
And that something is family.

People will tell you to be with your best friend
be with someone that makes you laugh
be with someone that challenges you
opposites attract
find your foundation
find someone to share things with
find common ground
find your soul mate.
All of it and none of it is true.

Find your family.
Find your person.
Find your connection that cannot be defined in any other way.
That is how you know.
They are family and you can't walk away from family.

There are many things that work for me and dad
like he is my balance, I am his.
We do have a strong foundation of common interests that were there from the beginning.
Your dad introduced me to things I didn't even realize I would love but I do, like being a sports fan
like home projects
like parenting.
He does make me laugh, even when I am mad, he makes me laugh.
I am a better person when I am with him, so is he.
He does challenge me, I do the same for him.
We show our love
we are affectionate
we tell each other how much we love each other
he won't allow either of us to walk away, I won't allow us to stand still.

There are many things we work at and on...
I need to be kinder, specifically to him and me.
I don't make him laugh, I'm just not that funny, he is just fine with that.
We do things very differently and drive each other crazy in the process.
I yell, he now does too.
I am a ball of stress, he now is too.
We fight, too much.

But, we are family and I never once felt differently.
From the moment we met, there was a familiarity with him, a connection that washed over me in a way that I hadn't experienced before.
He was my comfort, he made me feel at ease.
My body actual took a breath when I met him.
It melted and the anger, anxiety and hurt I had been carrying, it melted too.

And even through the dark times, that doesn't go away.
You can be angry with someone
you can not like them
you can need space from them
you can lose a feeling of warmth
but you never lose the feeling of family.

I don't know if we will be your compas
I don't know if you will look to us as what to look for
but if you do, this is the one thing that we did right.
We found family and never let go.

So, whoever you end up with, whoever you decide to share your life with
don't think about anything
don't search and search for a reason
don't weigh the pros and cons
don't think about their faults, their abilities
just go find your family and hold on for the ride.

We did.

14
Jan

One clap

Sweet Cole,

There was a time when you would tell people how much you loved them through claps.
We would ask how much you loved anything and you would tell us by clapping and the amount of joy this brought you was incredible.
It started with one clap and then you quickly caught on that you can add to the claps depending on how much love you were feeling.
One clap meant love.
Four claps meant SO much love!
How much do you love me?...one clap
How much do you love Mia?...one to two claps.
How much do you love that breakfast...again and again.
And again and again and again.
It was adorable.
Sometimes you would say it...
"I love you 3 claps"
Most times you would show us.

And so, the little dance began...
how much do you love me...one clap
how much do you love dad...four claps
and the funniest part is then you would always finish with
mom, I love dad four and you one
as if I wasn't there to watch it all.

I would feign jealousy
COLE! Only one clap for me and 4 for dad??
But the truth is, I just loved it.

Who do you want to go with today?
Dad.
Dad has to run to the store.
Can I come?
Dad, can we have an epic battle today?
Dad, can I help?
Dad, want to play with me?

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

And I adore every single moment of it.
See, you are a small version of dad.
You are him, inside and out.
You have his smile, his eyes, his heart, his soul, his messy everything, his love for food, his joy.

And being around the crazy whirlwind you are might be taking your dad down to his knees
but for me, I adore it.
I adore your crazy mess, because it is my balance and reminds me that none of it matters.
And, it's making me fall in love with dad all over again.
You remind me of the joy that I fell in love with.
You make me laugh, your soul is so new, you love this life.

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

You follow him around.
When he is working on a project, you grab your toolbox.
When he is making food you have to "help".
You play like him, loud and toys crashing into each other.
You get so messy like him, food all over you, always dirty.
You eat like him, always hungry, always needing more.
You sleep like him, tossing and turning.
You can't sit still, like him.
You need to get out of the house like him.
You can't hear like him.
You break things like him.
You lose things like him.
You make people melt with a smile like him.
You ruin your eyeglasses like him.
You have a big heart, like him.
Small things make you laugh so hard, like him.
You love with everything you have, like him.
You are emotional like him.
You love to play like him.
You love a new anything, like him.
You are sweet and kind, like him.

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

He is your best buddy.
He is your everything.
You have to physically be touching him most of the time.

So, I pretend to be jealous.
I pretend to be sad.
I pretend but the truth is, I could watch you two all day.
I could live on the outside of your little world together and I fall in love with you both, over and over.

So, I understand why he is four claps and I am one.

17
Dec

I lost my hum

There is something that happens when you say yes to everything.
There is something that happens when you think, sure, I can do that too.
There is something that happens when you keep on going and forget to eat, or breathe or think.
You lose your hum.

There is something that happens when you don't delegate.
There is something that happens when you take control of it all.
There is something that happens when you keep plugging along.
There is something that happens when you keep adding to your plate.
You take other things away.
You make your priorities out of whack.
And in the end, you lose your hum.

I first heard someone describe the hum on a Ted Talk and as soon as she opened, I immediately cried.
Tears of anguish
tears of guilt
tear of understanding
tears of being understood
tears of heartbreak
tears of wanting a different life
tears of realizing how beautiful my life is if only I stopped to look.

But, there is something that happens when you don't stop to look
you lose your hum.

I have acknowledged the hum before but in five minutes, I couldn't exactly dig deep...
So, here is how the hum goes...
I introduce myself by the number of hours I work in a week.
I wear it like a badge of honor.
I define my life by it.
Because a mom that loves her work and loves to work has to justify it, to someone and everyone.
And I do love to work.
I love working
I love the joy, the accomplishment, the tasks, the wave, the ride, the emotions, the winning.
I love to work.
It makes sense to me, I love that there is a right and wrong answer.
I love that I can get better at it.
I love that math makes the world seem real and I understand it.
I love that I get to be good at something.
I love to work.
And so, I do it all of the time.
I do it in my sleep
I do it instead of other things
I do it instead of things that I am worried I am not good at
I do it instead of sitting in quiet
I do it all of the time.

And the harder I worked, the better I got, the higher up I was promoted, the more work I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and the harder I worked
and the more I was promoted
and the more I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and so on and so on and so on.
Until, there was nowhere else to go.
And I was doing so much of the work
and I am a hard worker so she can do that too
and I won't let it fail so I work harder
and I won't give up so I keep going
and the hum got louder.

And then one day, it was gone.
The hum, the drive, the determination.
I lost my hum.
Suddenly, none of it made sense.
None of it seemed right.
Suddenly I was filled with regrets and what ifs and I should haves and what did I do and resentment and anger.
Because the hum made me think and feel
the hum was my guide.

So, I doubled down and searched everywhere for the hum.
I hear it when I am working, so I will work harder.
I hear it when the work makes sense so let me stay right here until it all makes sense.
I hear it when everything comes into focus so let me stare at the problem, I can find a solution again.
I just need to work harder.
But the hum was gone.
And I went into mourning.
I mourned a loss.
Of my work
my time
what I sacrificed
what I allowed to be sacrificed
I mourned me.

And then, I rooted to rise.
I ground down to rise up
and I found a new definition.
I found a new badge to wear.
I found other things to be proud of
and I learned to find a hum in different places.

It is still my go to
and when things get stressful and work becomes overwhelming
I still put my head down and forget to come up for air.
It is only when my depleted and exhausted and angry body climbs out of bed in the dark that I realize
I am here again.
I am in the bad place and I have to set a different plan in motion.
I have to determine a time, a limit.
I have to set a schedule of I will allow this for this amount of time and then,
I find my hum someplace else.

I cannot do it all
I cannot say yes to all
I cannot be it all
but I can still love the work
and the life.
I can say yes to my kids
I can read to them
I can train with them
I can journal with them
I can play board games
I can comb their hair
I can have quiet snuggles
I can be present when I am with them
I can make this life I asked for lovely
I can find my hum.

This Ted Talk changed me...http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything

3
Dec

Enjoy the process

Sometimes in life, we rush.
We get through, we survive.
We work really hard to get to the other side of a bad day, week, month, a string of months.
Some have a string of bad years that they want to hurry past, put behind them.

Most forget to enjoy the process.

I am one of those people.
So many days are spent wishing this difficult time away.
The crunch of deadlines
the weight of my work
the start of my company
the space I am not afforded
the space I don't allow myself to take.

I forget to enjoy the process.

Because the process feels like the minutia.
It feels like the part we slug our way through to get to happier moments, times, events.
We want to move past the process of life.

The process of slowly moving through a store so your little one can look at every single toy and wish.
The process of washing the dishes and having your puppy at your feet.
The process of doing homework and watching how much they have grown.
The process of bath time and how small they look all wet.
The process of laundry and watching how big their clothes are getting.
The process of grocery shopping and how excited the whole family gets around food.
The process of cleaning and cooking and being.
The process of living as one, as a unit, as a team.
The process that is life.

I forget to enjoy the process.

I rush to check it off my list
I hurry through the parts I feel are sluggish and slow me down.
I want the last six weeks behind me, I want to move on.
I want the next five weeks to be done so that I can start to feel settled.

I forget to enjoy the process.

I forget that I am wishing my life away.
The life I wanted, asked for.
The one I actually love.
The one I allow to get too loud, too busy, too chaotic.

And what I end up doing instead is forgetting to enjoy all of the processes of life.

I will work on me more so that I can work on this.
I will allow more space and balance so I can breathe.
I will allow myself to be a part of the process a part of this life.
I belong with all of you doing all of this.

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