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.


Finally grateful

What I once took for granted, I have found gratitude.
What I once saw as a burden, I now see as a gift.
In my year of different, I have found a way to be thankful for my life.

Thankful for things like
each night, we get a couple of hours of "us" time before we head to bed
on Sunday mornings, she would crawl into bed and read while we still sleep off the exhaustion
the kids are so healthy that they get to be crazy and drive us crazy
we still hold hands, still touch toes, after all these years
we have really amazing three day weekends
I am good at my job
we have friends that have become framily
snow days
family movie nights
slow Sundays
I sometimes get to steal 30 minutes alone in a coffee shop while my daughter is at piano practice
I sometimes get to spend that time with my son
vacations and not making school lunches
we make little getaways special and fun filled
a tired Pearl after a good day of play
finally learning how to ask for help
a handy husband that pours all of him into our house turned home
great classes at our inexpensive gym
traditions and making time stand still for just a few moments
coffee dates with good friends
hosting holidays in our new home

What I once saw as the wash and repeat, I now stop to recognize as special.
What I once felt was boring, I now see as time slowing down.
What I once carried as a heavyweight, I now see as my life, unfolding and I am putting my baggage away.
I am finding the room, the time, space, to reflect and be grateful for all I asked for and received.
This is my life and I am all in.


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.


There's no wrong way to be you


Mom has always been really into learning the most she can about herself.
Personality tests, loves them.
Assessment tests, bring them on.
Anything that gives me that ah-ha moment about myself, or others
clears a fog of frustration
stops me from judging people
and helps me to understand those I love, including myself.

And recently, I could not be more all in on this.
I have started listening to a podcast that on almost every episode asks a "know yourself better" question.
Are you more of an over or under buyer?
Are you more of a moderator or abstainer?
Are you more of an owl or early bird?
Because the message is, there is no wrong way to be you.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Know who you are.
Know your strengths, know your weak spots and use your strengths to set you up for success.
Not success in a career
not success in a relationship
not success at school
not success as a friend
but in life.

If there's something you don't like about yourself, let's figure it out.
Let's find out how to make you be you because life is all about what is working and not working for you.
But, and this is most important, know when to accept yourself and when to ask more of yourself.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Know when this is something that just is with you
and when it is something you need to improve.
And how can you do all of that if you are not finding out what makes you tick?
What makes you react?
What triggers you, good or bad?
How you feel appreciated and loved?
How you feel motivated?
How you communicate?
How you show love?
There is no wrong way to be you.

I have spent years
all of my life kind of years
feeling bad about the things that made me tick
badly about how my mind processed.
So judgemental, of me
so secretive about who I was and how I did things
so lost with why others think so differently
have so much more room
work so smart and not hard
can let things go so easily
all of my life kind of years...
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom is all about order.
Everything has to have a home, a place.
Clutter hurts my brain, my stomach, my ability to move.
Clutter in all forms.
Clutter wastes my time
it depletes my energy
it makes me have to stop when I probably don't have the time to stop
it makes me have to think too hard and I already have too many decisions on my plate
clutter takes away my space to think clearly and process.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom is all about responsibility.
I am responsible.
I am loyal.
You can count on me.
I have a hard time saying no and if I say yes, that is it, I am all in.
I have a lot of responsibilities and I make myself responsible for a lot.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom is all about words.
Because I have always searched for approval
because I have longed to hear I am proud of you
because I work so hard and do so much
because I show love by doing
because I sacrifice so much
because words matter to me
because I write to you
because I tell you
because words can hurt and uplift
because words matter to me.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom is all about quiet and alone.
I crave it
I find it
I start my day before most of the world wakes up because it is just me
I spend a lot of time in the car
I run alone
I bike alone
I close myself in my office
because all day I am asked to give of myself
because people come for me all of the time
because I have to be social and chit chat a lot
because I have to ask so many times for one thing
because I am in meetings all day long
because I am an introvert and I find my energy in the quiet sitting.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom needs very little friends but very deep connections.
Because I believe that friends are the family you get to pick.
Because I believe that connection is important.
Because I believe you have to laugh to get through this life.
Because I believe you have to have someone to count on and someone that counts on you.
Because friendships make your heart strong.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Mom has a lot to work on
like finding smart ways to work
like recognizing when she is in over her head
like when she is repeating bad habits and making costly mistakes
like when she is over the edge
like when to pull back
like seeing it all sooner than she ever has
like not doubling down.
There is no wrong way to be you.

Now it's your turn.
Because I will remind you there are things that just are with you
but accepting yourself does not mean we don't' ask more it means we realize
There is no wrong way to be you.


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


Humor me

You know that I and milestones are not exactly best friends.
You know that the kids hitting a new phase of them breaks me a little.
I try and be strong
I put on a brave smile
I, of course, am thrilled for them...
but for you dear husband, you have to humor me.
You have to be the one to watch me crumble a little.
You have to be the one to pull me up, you have to listen to it because I cannot put that burden on them.
I know it does not mean or feel the same for you, but you have to humor me.

Traditions are our foundation.
I love them
you love them
you ask for them
you are disappointed if we have to change them (you look for how to rearrange it).
Traditions have become exactly what I had hoped.
But, there will come a day when you will want to go out instead of pile on the couch and watch a movie.
There will come a day when seeing friends will rank higher.
There will come a day when a sleepover keeps you from pancake Sunday
or when studying for a test will mean you can't make family dinner on Sunday night.
And when the nights start adding up and up and up and our time is more and more limited
I will ask you to humor me dear little ones.
I will ask you to please put it aside, please stay tonight.
Our family needs this right now, so find your way back to our foundation and humor your mom.

You know that with my intense and overwhelming love comes what can only be defined as crazy.
You know with my loyalty comes my emotions.
You know with my protection comes my fears.
So humor this mother of yours because she humored you too.
Humor your bride because you promised her she could rely on you.
She knows she is too much, she knows she is all in, she knows she is all consuming.

But, that is what real love is don't you know.
It's all consuming and crazy and overwhelming.
It's beautiful and awing
it's wonderful
and this woman who never thought motherhood would be her story is in awe.
She is in love
she is trying just like all mothers and fathers do
and she needs to be humored.

So, when I am singing as loud as possible in the car, humor me.
When I am dancing in the morning and insisting on a family dance party, humor me.
When I tell you we are going out for ice cream dinner and you feel you're too old for that stuff, humor me.
When I am crying because he/she/both of them are doing something new, humor me.
When they are far away and I can't remember how hard some of the years were, humor me.
When I insist on that last kiss good-night, even if your body is tall and lanky, humor me.
When I ask for a little guy smooch from you at 16 Monkey, humor me.
When I tell you I carry your heart on your wedding day Bella, humor me.
Because this mother and bride and person in your life, she needs to be humored.


I notice you

I am quick to remind you of all the things you're not doing.
I am quick to get annoyed.
I am quick to excuse it all with my exhaustion, my lack of patience, how I was raised.
But I am slow at figuring this all out.
Slow at seeing all you bring
all that is important to you and how you show love.
I am slow at the thank yous and I am never coming with the "I am sorry".

So, today, on my track to being different
today on my month of gratitude
I want to thank you for all you do.
For me
for us
for them
for the family.

Because I want you to know, I notice.
I notice you and all you do, I notice your smile when you look over at them.
I notice your happy face when he pulls out his Starwars guys
I notice your pride when she is working hard and not giving up
I notice you.

And I know, words don't resonate as much with you as they do with me,
but I think it's important to document my gratitude for all you do.
Like how you don't make me feel crazy for my crazy
like how you don't let me get away with it either
like how you are a doer, you always get stuff done for us
like how you have poured all of you into this house
like how you are the one he turns to in the middle of the night because "dad stays to snuggle longer"
like how you are the one she gets homework help from
like how you are patient with their learning
like how you see them for what they will become
like how you always saw them, even when I didn't
like how you were the first person to believe in me
like how you made me believe in love
like how you made me a mom
like how you never give up on us
like how you will never let us be angry forever
like how you always say sorry first
like how you need hugs
like how you tell me I'm still pretty
like how you tell me I am strong
like how you never question my hours
like how you never worry

I notice.
I notice all you do
I notice how much you work at all of this
I am proud of you
and I heart you.
I notice you, sweet love, I do.


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.


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.


Pearls of wisdom

We were heartbroken when we said goodnight to our Mia.
We felt this empty void of love.
We felt lost and searching.
We lost our reason.
But, we also needed time.
Time to let her go, time to heal, time to feel like she was really gone and what that actually looks like.
We needed to give her memory time.

Mia was always wise.
She was all-knowing and felt energy.
She felt a room, was connected to our feelings and lead us towards each other, kept us close.
She was an old soul.
She was my reason.

But Pearl, she is so new.
She is so excited.
She is so all loving.
She too keeps us all close.
But even in the new and wide-eyed puppy love that she is...
she comes with her own pearls of wisdom.

Like to love the entire family.
To find comfort in warmth.
To exercise so you don't go crazy.
To give so many kisses you knock people over.
To hug, always hug.
To not accept no as an answer to an offering of comfort and love.
To be affectionate.
To be excited.
To greet with enthusiasm.
To be loving.
To want to be around those you love and sad when you can't be.
To demand walks in life.
To play so much you smile.
To run wild.
To run towards love so hard you can't stop and skid right into it.
To nuzzle those you love and even those you don't.
To be ready to learn.
To be eager to make those around you happy.
To love food.
To demand attention and affection.
To stand up for your family and warm them when danger comes close.
To sit and wait for something you want, it is always worth it.

This new love is full of her own wisdom.
Maybe not one that comes from being old and all-knowing
but one that comes from new and exciting.
She has mended broken hearts.
She is demanding of our time and pulls us back home, where we belong.

She comes with her very own pearls of wisdom and I am learning from her.

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