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...

1
Oct

All I have learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

27
Aug

He's the one

He's the one you call for.
He's the one that signs you up for all of your stuff.
He's the one that gets you ready every. single. morning.
He's also the one that tackles night time routines.
He's the one you love two claps.
He's the one you look like.
He's the one that worries most about you.

He's the one that asked me out.
He's the one that got down on one knee to ask me to join him in forever.
He's the one that puts up with my crazy.
He's the one that has embraced my family's crazy.
He's the one that worries the least about us.

He's the one that sets schedules for you.
He's the one you spend your summer with.
He's the one that plans our vacations.
He's the one that plans our days.
He's the one that loves adventure.
He's the one that needs big breaks.

He's the one that celebrates your milestones.
He's the one that is never sad anything is over.
He's the one that loves your first and your last everything.
He's the one that asked for you, he's the one that realized we were now a complete family.
He's the one that wanted this life, always and forever, you were always a part of him.

He's the one that had the hardest time letting Mia go.
He's the one that I got to watch fall in love with her.
He's the one that adores Pearl, and I got to watch them fall in love too.
He's the one that walks her, he's the one that is so patient.
He's the one that realized we needed to wait and heal.
He's the one that also realized I couldn't live without her.

He's the one that won't let any of us walk away angry.
He's always the first to apologize.
He's the fixer, he's always putting us back together.
He's the one that built our house.
He's the one I see in every corner of it.
He's the one that is always trying to make us happy.
He's the one that loves us, so much he can't see straight.
He's the one that laughs, his job is to be silly.
He's the one that has so much joy, naturally sitting in there, and we're the ones that need to remind him of that.

He's the one you get your eyes from
he's the one you get your childhood joy from
he's the one you want to make happy
he's the one you really adore.
He's the one we can count on.
He is the one I count on.
He's the one that knew we were it for him.

He's the one that is more simple.
He's the one that doesn't question much.
He's the one that hasn't met someone he doesn't like.
He's the one that sees the good in everyone.
He's the one that has a good heart.

He's the one that forgets a lot.
He's the one we love.
He's the one that needs constant reminders that all of this is crazy messy goofy love.
He's the one that needs constant reminders that this is childhood.
He's the one that needs constant reminders that this was his childhood.
He's the one that needs constant reminders that this was him, always him.
He's the one that needs to be reminded that he will never be loved and needed this much again.
He's the one that we love.
He's the one that we love.
He's the one that we love.
He's the one that won't ever let us give up.
He's the one that won't ever walk away.
He's the one that expects you to move mountains.
He's the one for us, he's the one for me, he's the one that put this family together.
He's the one that we love.
He's the one that we love.
He's the one guys.

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.

8
Jul

Forever

When I first met you, there was a part of me that knew we were family.
When you asked me to walk beside you, hand in hand, for the rest of our lives, we made it official to everyone else.
But I always knew, way back then, we would forever be us.

Seventeen years later, everything looks different,
our bodies
our minds
our patience
our cares
our priorities
our home
our jobs
our health
our wrinkles
our skin
everything has changed.
Even our pledge to each other,
to our forever.

It doesn't look like puppy dog love anymore
it doesn't look young and fresh and sweet
it doesn't look like kids pretending to be grown
it's hardly even cute.
Our forever has changed
into real
and boring
and forgiving
and kindness
and turning towards
and heavy.

Because love changes and grows and molds
as people do
and you can either grow apart
or grow together.

One thing that has not changed is when things get hard, I am the first to question.
I question us
I question our decisions
I question our arguments
I question our commitment.
When things don't look and feel like us, I want to walk away.
But you have always realized that it is a result of me never wanting to live the life I had,
the one that I knew
that one that I walked out of
before I met forever.

And so, each and every time, you call me out.
You remind me that we don't ever give up
not on them
not on me
not on you
not on each other
not on us.
We do not get to give up,
because you remind me of forever.

So, we keep marching on.
We find our own adventure
we tackle the challenges
the trying and difficult times
and hand in hand, we find us again,
we find forever.

Because along the way, you remind me of love.
Actual, real, consistent and caring love.
Our love is more ordinary but you and I find the magic in boring.

Your I love yous come just the same...
you love through action.
You fix
you build
you have to make it all better.
And I finally understand your language.
Words, writing, presentations, none of that is how you speak.
Instead you research everything, for me, or us
you plan every vacation, so I can not plan a thing
you bring me a glass of wine
you fix me coffee
you get the kids up and ready
you tackle bed time
you hold my hand through the bad news
like the medical hell we went through
like aging parents
like losing our Mia.
You tell me you love me by saying yes to Pearl
and how fell in love, just by placing her in your arms
like the love you have for them
the amount you care about them
the expectations you have for them, because you see all they are going to become
your I love yous come just the same.

everything has changed.
everything looks different
even our forever.
But what will always stay is you are my forever.
Thanks for finding me.

21
May

Pearl Rose

Hi sweet love, it's mom.
It's hard to believe but it's been over 6 months since we said goodnight to you.
And it's been sad, and it's been blue and it's been lonely.

And so, we decided it was time to heal, it was time to open our home to love.
And when I saw Pearl I fell in love.
So similar to when I met you, just seeing a picture of her, I knew she was ours.
Dad needed more time, he just wasn't sure.
Because another puppy that wasn't you, was too hard for him still.
Then he got his hands on her and it was moon and stars love.
But it brought you back up and made us think of you all of the time.

She would really like you, she misses other dogs.
She would really really have loved to play with you.
You, you would have put her in her place.
You would have taught her the way.
You would have shown her.

But, she is just wonderful.
And has brought so much love and light.
Because that is what we needed most.
We find ourselves saying Mia never, or Mia always, or when I was training Mia...
But Mia did her incredible job of raising us and it was her time.

Here is the biggest difference
she came to us with an 8 and almost 5 year old and she knows no different.
So, she loves them.
She sits by Anna and waits.
She sits outside her door
she sleeps on her lap
she has to be touching her.
She lets Cole lay on her, struggle to cuddle and smooch her.
She embraces his love of love.
She too loves loves.
She folds into people
she curls right up to their love and attention.

You were much more confident in you, you were not needy
and love from the kids, you were not interested because it was only our love that you were loyal to.

She knows her name now,
she is starting to finally understand potty training.
She is ringing her outside bell and knows that's the cue to go out.

She too hates the rain and the cold
she refuses to even put up with it.
She is playful, she too loves tug of war.
She loves to be snuggled, loves the comfort and safe.
She adores that fireplace that was your home for all of those years.
That is her forever spot.

She looks to us for what is right, she knows when she is being naughty and hides.
She is getting more brave, more confident, but she still is needy for love and attention.

It's been over six months and hearing the sound of paws has been the light our hearts needed.
Being attached physically to her has been good for my soul.
I have missed you, I will continue to miss you and I hope you like watching us with her,
knowing she hasn't replaced our love, but instead, brought it back out.

Welcome home Pearl Rose.
You are love.

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
.

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