31
May

The magic of play

And I would sit in my home and do laundry and cleanup and live in my reality and get to watch my six-year-old play and create worlds and friends and whole conversations. It was as real to them as the laundry was to me...

Have you ever peaked in on a little one playing alone? Have you ever listened in on the full on conversations they have...all by themselves? Have you ever been cautious, knowing the second they spy you, it stops because they start laughing to themselves?

Have you ever stopped what you were doing and really listened to the whole world and people they create around them? How real it is to them? How boredom is not boring when you are this young and you have so much magic living right inside of you? How real this world is to them? How engrossed they become, how large this world is? Have you ever watched a child play?

Do you remember doing this too? Do you remember playing this way? I definitely do. I remember that little big world that I created, I remember the discussions, I remember feeling not alone. I remember doing it with my parents "around" but when I noticed them, I would feel differently. The world would shatter because their reality would set in. I remember playing school with real students sitting there, I remember assigning homework and doing math problems. I remember the wall I used in my pantry as a chalk board and I remember my basement when we moved being my whole world. I remember posts in my house being people, I remember dancing with them. I remember playing.

Have you ever watched this world be built from the ground up? Have you ever seen how intricate it becomes, how legos become whole worlds, amusement parks, stadiums, war zones, homes, communities? I have a little one building communities like crazy in here. Have you ever watched a child play?

Have you listened to the families they create? Have you listened to how they set up different rooms in their homes and cradle their babies and talk about having to go to work and the pets they have? I have a little one creating her dream family, from the ground up, all the things she wants, baby in hand, career ready to go, dinner with those she loves. I have a little one creating a family. Have you ever watched a child play?

I remember how young it started, how my 2 year old would spend his days creating and building and constructing and conversing. I remember working close by and whenever I was able to take just one little breath, I would hear this tiny voice in the room next to my office, I would hear his imagination and all he was up to. I would smile so hard tears would spring to my eyes. Here he is at 8, doing the exact same.

I remember a little girl, my one and only, for three incredible years. I would watch her take care of her toys, I would watch her dress up and make and become so involved in the world she was creating. Here she is at 11, and that little girl is still there. The little girl that still wants to play with a doll and have a make-believe moment because it's not make-believe, it's her reality. Even living in the in-between has not robbed her of this joy.

Have you seen magic unfold in front of you? Have you seen the magic of play take over? Have you ever watched a child play?

29
May

Five Minute Friday - born

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on born.

Go.

The night before you were born, I knew you were coming. It was scheduled and I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at my packed suitcase and wondering and wondering about you.

I knew I would love you, I already did. I knew we would make room for you, we already did. I knew she would fall in love with not only you, but her brand new role, she already did. I knew it would be tough, it already was. I knew it would be easy, it already was. I knew it would be good, it already was.

There were a few moments when you had some people thinking you would come a little sooner, but I knew you were going to be born on May 30th, I knew we would hang on. I knew I was not sharing you with the world until that day arrived, I knew I would keep to keep you close, a little while longer.

The night before you were born, I held you on the inside of my body, I talked to you, I felt you push into my hand and I told you a little about the family you were about to be a very big part of. The night before you were born, I held you tightly, knowing this would be my last night with two heartbeats, and your mamma cried.

On the night before you were born, I knew it was time. It was time to put a huge and incredible chapter in my life behind me. A chapter I had no idea I wanted to write and a chapter I loved every word of. I would never be the "expecting mom" again. I would never again wonder, I would never again sit on the edge of my bed and hold anyone this way.

Here we are, eight years later, on the day before your 8th birthday. Monkey, can you promise me you won't get older tomorrow...I'll try mom.

Some things will never ever change.

Stop.

25
May

Five chapters

Autobiography in Five Chapters
1) I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there
I still fall in it… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5) I walk down another street.
-- Portia Nelson

Chapter one. I lived in chapter one for at least two decades. It felt comfortable, familiar, it felt a little homey. It was awful, the rage and anger and tears were plentiful. The hole was enormous and nothing was my fault ever. It felt really good to be the victim and I needed to be the victim. I could not have healed if I didn't feel like it was happening to me. Because when you are a child, it is happening to you. You are a victim of your surroundings. You are a product of what has happened. I didn't move on to chapter two because I grew strong or smart, I just grew tired.

I then lived in chapter two for several years. Pretending it wasn't there, everything was fine, being triggered by everything, all the time, never ever my fault. I lived there not because of comfort, but out of fear. I again needed to feel as though this wasn't my fault, I landed here but only when I was pushed. I didn't leave chapter two because I was brave, I turned the page because I finally saw what was in front of me.

I lived in chapter three for a few more years. I saw things, clearly. I saw that part of it was my fault, there were things I needed to take responsibility for. There were things I did wrong, it doesn't matter the situation. There were things I did wrong. And, there were things I needed to do. I needed to push towards. I am a product of my past, but I am also the choices I make today and the choices I want to make for tomorrow. I still fell down the hole, it just took me so much less time to get out. Not for any other reason than I was ready.

I stayed in chapter four for an even longer time, I am probably still there. I am a product of the good and bad of my past. I am loving, I am all in on love because of my past. I am a hard worker, my work ethic is undeniable, because of my past. I am loyal, I am fiercely loyal, all of my heart loyal, because of my past. I love and laugh often, because of my past. I love food, because of my past. I also see the bad and have decided to NOT allow the cycle to continue. I see it, I accept its pull, its presence, its undeniable presence. But, I continue to walk around it, I continue to not fall for it. I continue on my path. My life, my decisions. I get to write the pages from here on out.

I see chapter five, I see it around the corner, I just need to turn the page. I need to have the courage to turn the page and finish the book.

And I will, I will walk down another street, all in due time.

18
May

When it snows in May

When we take a little walk downtown, there is plenty of parking. The stores are so quiet, there are chairs up on tables and signs up all over the place about how "we're closed" due to COVID and keeping customers and employees safe.

There is no more traffic, the roads are wide open and no one is in a hurry, there is no where to go. I've gotten really used to doing just the speed limit because, what's the rush now?

Restaurants that were once filled with long wait times, are empty, closed, some are closing forever. Our little town that is always full of so much life is the quietest I have ever seen, it's too quiet.

Going out for a coffee, alone in the car for 10 minutes is like heaven. Honest to goodness heaven. It's the only alone time there is. I shower with questions constantly being thrown at me, I go to my room just to have a door bust open. I do yoga with someone chattering at me. I run with kids biking next to me. I take walks with my daughter. I'm woken up to be asked if they are allowed to be awake. No one is tired, just mamma. I hear mom 13,000 times a minute. The only quiet is during homework time when we're all working together.

And then, the schools closed for the remainder of the year, the day was really hard. The following weekend, it snowed, in May, and I thought...there isn't much more I can take. It's all starting to feel like too much, there is no such thing as normal anymore. Everything just feels off.

May 15th right before dinner, a tornado hit our town. A tornado, two weeks after it snowed, three weeks after the schools closed down, one month into murder hornets, two months into a pandemic. The fear from my children was physical, the screams were desperate, the tears were making their shirts wet. We're all fine, the house is fine, everything is fine, even though nothing is fine.

The next day, we all put our lawns back together as best we could. Trees were taken down, fires were started, assessments of damage were made. Some homes were badly injured, ours looked like a bad storm flew through. I struggled because I didn't sleep at all, the anxiety was a bit much and I hit my limit. I brought friends coffee because they didn't have power and I felt better. I took a really long run with my little man riding his bike next to me and I felt even better. I went for a long walk with a part of my squad, yes , we were socially distant, yes, we wore masks, and I felt even better. I had a zoom call with my college crew and I felt even better.

I drove home from my walk and noticed that even though no one had anywhere to go, our little town still exploded. The weather drove people out to walk, to hike the park, to walk the streets. You can tell they are desperate, they want people, they want movement, they want connection, they want something to do and somewhere to go.

I came home to my coach all cleaned up, ready to grill pizza. Any other night, we would have had framily over. We would have picked a house, started a fire, had too much to drink together, and it all would have made sense. But still, it was good to smooch my person, hug my kids, feel a little sunburned from all my time outside. See how tired my puppy was from the long walk and hop on another lit screen and see my girls and laugh really hard together.

We go up and down. This was the break I needed, maybe the break we all needed. We all needed our weekends back from all the things we are committed to and now it feels like most days are a weekend. I wanted peace and quiet. I wanted a year of calm and bright and I did get a lot of what I needed, wanted. The rest, the naps, the sleep, the food and eating that I needed to do. The letting go of early mornings, the letting go. The family time I needed. Then, there are days that I can't believe my kids will be home for 6 solid months. That there are no sports, that all concerts are canceled. Careers are frozen. Cities are silent, but bursting. Musicians are hosting concerts on TV to keep spirits up. Graduations are canceled, people that have worked so hard for so long, have no end to their years of dedication. That going to the doctor's office is a really big deal. Going grocery shopping is scary and treasured time. What life is this? There are days that I am so happy, days that I feel really ok. Days that I can't sleep and I'm so worried. This year is just all over the place. It's all over the place and an actual show. You can't make this stuff up anymore, it snowed in May.

10
May

Mother's Day 2020

This year, I asked for all to be calm and bright.

I asked for time with you, time to regroup, time to calm my nerves, time to do one job only, and take on a new career, time to find the strength to walk away from a 20-year project. Time to linger and sleep, god, I really really needed so much sleep. I asked for time.

I asked for quiet, I asked for sleep. I asked for darkness and rain and sunny days and walks with Pearl. I asked for days off. I asked for time off during the day. I asked for more and for less. I asked for quiet moments to read, and look at you, and listen. I asked for it to be quiet.

I asked for you, I asked for you to talk to me. I asked for you to want and need this time as much as I did. I asked for your heart, I asked for your stories, I asked for your ramblings, I asked you to lean on me. I asked you to trust me, I asked the universe to give me the courage to not react, but to really listen and build on our already strong foundation. I asked for you lovies.

I asked for perspective, to get a grip on reality. I asked for fewer distractions, I asked for me to find out what I now am. I asked for my heart to grow and let go, I asked for a change to not make me feel like everything was ending but I also asked for grace to be sad. I asked for perspective on moving on, forward, and remember that love is what I do best. I needed perspective to get a firmer grip but a losen the hold I always need.

I asked for grace. Grace for me from me. I asked myself to remember how hard I worked, how much I care, how much I always do the best I can, how I am the first to admit that I could have done it better, but the grace that I did all I could, gave it all I had and did so only with love. I will always give it all I have. This all in girl needed grace.

So, here we are. I got all I wanted, all I needed. I have so much time. I have all of you, all of the time. I sleep and nap and then sleep more. I have given myself permission to sleep all I want when I want. That's grace for you. I read here and there. I work out. I eat so much and it feels so good. I binge-watch everything and I love it. I drink and that too feels so right. I have a new perspective and so many less distractions. I have all of you. I have everything I asked for.

It looks different than when I asked...it always does. It comes with the rest of life and the world tied to it...it always does. It comes with worry and concern and stir crazy emotions and tears...it always does. But, we are here. All of us, under one roof. We are safe, we have all we need, most of what we want, we have each other.

This mother's day, I am forever grateful that you talk my ear off Anna. I am forever grateful that our walks mean so much to you. I am so sorry how much we all miss our friends, so much that it is painful. I am so sorry that there are days we all just need a good cry...that unfortunately will never change.

I am grateful that you come with me on my runs monkey. Even on the days I so badly need just an hour alone, you're all in with me and you're ready to tackle that challenge. I am grateful that you love to work out with us. I am grateful that you love our reading dates and time with us, it is all you want...all of the time.

I am grateful that Pearl hugs us all and gets really upset if we're not all together. I am grateful for her sloppy kisses and playful heart. I am grateful for ball games in the backyard and a deck we are all enjoying.

I am grateful that during a normal spring we wouldn't even see dad but he is home, working with you on all of the school work, working on house projects. I am grateful he is so good at this, and even if he grumbles, he really loves it because he's so proud of himself and he should be, everything he does he does with only love for us in his heart.

I am grateful for the time, perspective, grace, quiet, you.

3
May

Today was hard.

It's Friday, May 1st. Normally, this time of year, we would be crazy busy. The kids would be in activities...baseball, tennis, piano, chess, drama stuff. Coach would be coaching and I would be trying to keep it all together. The kids would be bursting with excitement about the spring season and how warm it is and desperate to just be outside and play. The end of the school year would be looming, we'd all be over it in some way but instead...

Today was hard. Because today, it was announced that NY schools are closed for the rest of the year. My 5th-grade little girl folded into herself and cried, a cry so hard her body heaved, and whenever she found a quiet moment, she cried all over again. Right before bed, she held me in a way she hasn't in years and she sobbed. Today was really really hard.

What are you going to miss the most?

I'll never see my teachers again, this was my last year there and it's just over now.

This little one loves a tradition and loves looking forward to things and loves loves loves her friends...remind you of anyone?

The little one struggles with things ending, it feel differently to her, and she needs to mourn it a little bit...remind you of anyone?

This little one is scared, and sometimes, she thinks she can't do anything because she's too scared to try, but she always tries...remind you of anyone?

This little one feels things with her whole body, she cries with her body, just like she laughs with her body. She loves to find things to laugh about, she desperately looks for them because she just wants to laugh...remind you of anyone?

This little one started living in the in-between and can't go back now.

Today was really hard.

I messaged her teacher to tell her about her sadness, I told her about what she said about missing her and the response back was, well, it was the reason Anna will miss them most.

I have so many words and none of them seem to be right to convey the admiration and love I have for the tiny human that is Anna. The adoration is a two way street and being one of her teachers has been a great joy.
Our ride together is not over. I will continue to support Anna through her years at Saratoga and when she takes that walk across the lawn at SPAC I will be there with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart lining her path.
I have no doubt that Anna is going to do great things. I trust that with her sweet disposition, perfect comedic timing, beautiful smile, and driving determination she is going to continue to make us proud for years to come.
I have done my fair share of crying today as I mourned to the loss of many things. But as I worked through consoling myself I thought of the amazing impact these kids are going to have for what they have lived and thrives through.
Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you for all that she is and all that she will be.
I will see that sweet girl again
...

Today was hard. Tomorrow might be better, it might not. That part doesn't matter, what matters is that she's 100% allowed to feel sad. I told her that a good night's sleep will help, but she will feel sad for a long time and that's okay too. You're allowed to be upset because for a 10 turned 11 during quarantine little girl, well, you're allowed to feel like your whole world just shut down. You're allowed to miss your friends and your teachers and your routine and your school building and your activities. You're allowed to because you shouldn't at all be thinking about how much worse things can be, this is bad enough.

Through her sobs, she did say things like, I'm happy we're all healthy, and I'm really happy your uncle feels better...I know sweetie, but I know this is hard too and that's ok.

I do promise you will see your amazing teachers again. I promise that we will make these last two months as good as they can get. I promise you aren't the only one that misses her friends. I promise I will continue to make sure you're all in touch as much as possible. I promise it will get better, but I also promise that today was hard and that really is ok.

Tomorrow might be better, or there might be more hard around the corner, either way, we're in this together kiddo.

26
Apr

The grass is greener

Taking slower walks allows you to see things like when the grass changes from a brown/hint of green, to greener, still not summer green, but getting there.

Watching the world unfold like this allows you to see the ups and downs that people are having, feel the roller-coaster ride because you are going through it too, but you are going through it, it is not steamrolling you. We are getting there.

Watching a long, slow, calming rain come down on a Sunday afternoon reminds me of the things I love. The snuggle time, the flicker of candles, warm coffee, long long naps, kids still in jammies, smiles on everyone's face, getting slower, which is so needed because I am getting there.

Making my bed, cleaning up my kitchen, doing the laundry, cleaning the washroom, putting things away, getting it less messy, wiping away the goo from counters, cleaning up the floors, vacuuming, getting it to smell better reminds me of who I am and what also calms my heart. Because we all need a little bit of normalcy in order to get there.

Having a chat through a window, birthday drive-bys to show you love someone, calls, video chats, wine dates, social media connections, they are how all of us are reaching out. We need connection and love and our families and framilies and each other, we all just need each other. It's the only way we're going to get there.

Family puzzles, card games, movie nights, grilled pizza, happy hour on a deck, talking, planning, kid games, family time, long runs with littles on bikes, doggy runs that exhaust, it's the love in all of us that will get us there.

The grass is a little greener this week, we are getting there.

29
Mar

I see

We play I spy in the car a lot. It always starts out kind of cute and time makes it drag on too much. Now, I'm playing my own kind of I spy and you guys aren't really all that aware.

I see a lot of families going for walks together.

A lot of siblings playing together.

A whole bunch of family games being played in backyards.

I see families gathered outside by a fire.

I see them cooking together.

I see friends finding each other and supporting each other and sending smiles any way they can.

I see communities coming together.

I see the world getting smaller.

I see real leaders stepping up.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see worry lines and tired faces.

I see loved ones leaning on each other.

I see priorities getting clearer.

I see A LOT of family time.

I see introverts living their best lives.

I see introverts hiding under covers.

I see people trying to do anything they can to help.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see books being devoured.

I see binge-watching at its finest.

I see liquor stores doing quite well.

I see house projects being completed.

I see workouts getting a new routine.

I see happy pets.

I see love, a lot of it.

I see kiddos reading to each other.

I see siblings going from a loving moment to screaming matches in seconds.

I see forts being built.

I see a ton of Legos...everywhere I turn.

I see family puzzles.

I see family dinners.

I see BBQs in March.

I see couples working together.

I see love, a lot of it.

27
Mar

Five Minute Friday - adjust

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on adjust.
Go.

So, we're all doing it, adjusting, but how are we all doing?

It's a new normal, but does any of it feel normal?

We're trying to find the good and decent in this. We're trying to stay strong, positive, supportive, loving, kind, but we keep having to pivot and realign.

We're adding homeschool teacher to our resumes.

We're finding ways to all live and work and play and settle into our homes.

We're finding ways to help support small businesses and nonprofits and still keep each other safe and protected.

We're finding things to do and new ways to be.

We're walking more, our pets are in heaven.

We're eating together.

We're less addicted to schedules and have tos, there is nothing that is more important than the world we created.

We're connecting through technology.

We're laughing at how we're all dealing, we're laughing and that says a lot.

We're showing up for each other.

We miss each other.

We are slowing down.

We're sleeping in.

Jammies are the new black.

Rum and wine have become my love language.

We're still working out because our gyms are incredible!

We're talking, a lot. The kids are nonstop chatter, they cannot get enough of us and really show off during video calls.

We're also worried. We're worried about the other side of it, who will be ok, who we will lose (in more ways than one).

We might be losing sleep at times.

We're learning a lot from the experts that are on the ground researching this and pouring their lives into solving this for us.

We're ordering in, weekly.

At times like these, what I see are that people, good people adjusting and showing up. People are remembering what is important. People, good people adjusting and making the right things a priority. People, good people adjusting their lives to find normalcy and calm in the middle of the biggest storm the world has ever faced.

Stay strong, keep doing what we're doing, stay in, stay home, wash up, love always.

Stop.

23
Mar

Shhh.

Lovies, this is a time we will all remember. Always and forever. The time the entire world went black and dark and quiet. The time we were all hunkered down and living each day minute by minute. The time we were inundated with information and closed off, all at the same time. The time when everything was closed and we all just watched. The time it all hit, all at once and everywhere.

So, in a time of worry and concern and just not knowing what the hell is going to happen next, and not knowing who is going to make it out ok, and not knowing what will happen to our entire town and just plain not knowing anything, here are some things we do know....

Right before this all happened, you two could not be in the same room. You were both at each other, all of the time. You could not have one single conversation without anger and disdain dripping from you. And we had had enough. We would be 3 minutes into our day and both of you would be sent to rooms and asked to separate. I would cringe with how you acted around each other. And then, overnight, you had to become each other's only friend, only person, only source of entertainment and it all changed.

You both worked together, you both compromised, you both play silly games, you both take turns, no one is in charge anymore. You both work side by side, all day long, in one office doing work and helping each other. You both read and play and snuggle on Pearl. You eat together, take turns watching things you both enjoy, you are all you have. As much time as we have to be spending together, it's made it so much better. You are getting closer and Anna, Cole is living his best life because he has you back.

Our house is getting messy but organized and projects we were going to get to, they are getting done. And extrovert dad is on fire with all of his projects and finding ways to run to Lowes for everything and anything. And introvert mom is loving being cooped up and staying put.

Laundry is getting done.

Dinner isn't rushed.

Saturday mornings are really lazy, so are Sundays.

Dad is still working out...at home!

My business is still turning, for now.

We are watching cute movies.

We are snuggling a lot.

I am sleeping a lot and less and then a lot again.

My lists are getting shorter.

We are walking Pearl all of the time, and she could not be happier, having us all here.

She too is loving her crate and alone time.

I am watching so many shows, and I know that sounds like a weird positive but it really really is.

Dad and I are holding hands all of the time.

Hugs are plenty around here, out of nowhere hugs, I really love you hugs, thanks for doing this with me hugs.

Cole is a Lego builder master and got us hooked to a new Lego Master show that is adorable and hysterical and fun. Anna is watching and really into it.

We're all sleeping in!

I'm not addicted to my phone anymore, I actually have it on silent so I can really take advantage of the quiet.

There is a lot to worry about, a lot to stress over, a lot to wonder how it's all going to look on the other side, who will be impacted the most, who isn't able to count a single blessing because their world is falling apart. So, for those of us who can, who are able to find the good, it's important we remember that and let go of little things that just don't matter.

When this is all over, I'm going to hug my friends hard. I'm going to go to the gym and do a dance of glee. I'm going to yoga and cry. I'm going to remember sleeping until I naturally wake up. I'm going to try and do more of that. I'm going to be ok.

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