8
May

Too much like me

It's late and the exhaustion is strong.
We are both at the end, of our day, of our patience, of our tempers.
And the quick transition from happy day to stubborn tears starts.
And just like me, you're not giving up, you're digging in.
But also like me, you're not willing to give up on who we actually are.
And just like me, you want a do over.

The older you get, the more and more I see me.
The more and more I see the person that won't be walked on.
The more and more I see the person that won't let someone else tell her story.
The more and more I see the person that stands up for herself, but only to her parents.
The more and more I see the person that is timid around others, unsure if this is something she has to take a stand on.
The more and more I see the person that is afraid to speak up, but has it in her.
The more ad more I see the person that will do almost anything for friendship.
The more and more I see me.

I see me when you are wrapped in a cozy sweatshirt, because I am always wrapped in warmth.
I see me when you are mad and all you can do in that anger is cry.
I see me when you are so happy that it shines from your face.
I see me when you look to me for approval, because I always wanted it too.
I see me when you are filled with pride, because I always wanted it too.

I see me when all you want is a hug, because you want to melt into someone.
I see me in your smile, because you always had my mouth.
I see me when you are thinking, processing.
I see me when you are old, because we were both born old.
I see me when you are trying, because we always try.
And I see me when you are tired and everything is therefore wrong.
I see me when you put on your fighting gloves, because I own a pair too.
I see me when you are making things too hard, because that is what I do best.
I see me when you ask to go for that run, because I always push too.
I see me when you want to work hard, because that is my go to.
I see me when you laugh, because I at one time found it so easy to laugh.

But, I see you too.
The parts of you that are always and forever yours.
I see you when you are social, because I never was.
I see you when you are brave, because I never was.
I see you when you are walking into an event all by yourself, ready to see what friends you are going to make.
I see you when you find it so easy to make a friend.
I see you when you see only the good in people, and don't even recognize anything else.
I see you when you so easily find joy, because I am still on the hunt.
And I see your dad in all of that too.
Each reason listed being what made me fall head over heels in love with a person filled with that much joy.
And the reason I fall harder and harder for you, because I see so much of us wrapped in this little body of you.

For a little while, I would think to myself, you are too much like me, and that will mean butting heads.
And running into who is more right.
And stubborn everything.
And anxious hearts.
And worry.
Yeah, I see all of that in you...and it makes me a better me.
It makes me want to develop into a better me,
because that's what good people in your life do, they make you a better version of you.
And you are one of the best people I know so of course this would be what you did, for me.

Take it all in sweet face.
Take in what I do well, what I need work on, what I am trying hard to change.
Take in what works for you
what you wish you didn't pick up
what you know you can't live without
and develop into the best version of you
even if it means looking somewhat like me.

16
Apr

Heaven

Like so many of us, I often wonder, what will happen when we all leave?
What happens to us?
Some think nothing, we just go, there is nothing on the other side.
Some think in specifics, their belief so strong in faith that they cannot imagine there being nothing.

I live somewhere in the middle.
Because I do not think there is nothing
and I do not think this is all for no reason
or there is no purpose.

But, this post isn't about what to believe
or what I want anyone to believe.
It's not an absolute, because there are none of those.
This, is just what I think and hope to be true.

I think and hope that heaven is your creation of bliss and joy.
That you get this little part that you create.
And everyone's will look different.
For some it might be their talents blown up.
For others it is all about the people they are around.
For still others it can be about the foods they finally get to eat.
And what I hope and think is that those who lead a good life, get to create this heaven,
filled with their most precious moments.
Moments that bring about the fullest most warm feelings.

Of course mine would have all of you.
I would see your dad's smile,
I would see how it lights up his whole face and an entire room.
I would feel his hug, his love of us.
I would see him carrying a glass of wine for me, so happy to hand it to me.
I would see him carry you in his arms, because he is your back and legs.
I would have your little hands in mine.
I would feel the warmth that creates.
I would see how small it is, resting in mine.
I would see us all snuggled on a coach, junk food and popcorn everywhere.
I would inhale deeply and I would smell the soap from your bath, or the outside in your hair.
I would brush away your sticky curls, I would see your dad's eyes on your face.
I would see my smile,
and I would hear laughter and whispers of love.
I would see Mia.
She would be running and smiling and her tail would be non-stop.
She would be playing with each dog we have ever loved, she would still be teaching them.
And at the end of the day, I would see her and all the rest sleeping, right by my feet.
And feel so soft, and so warm.
I would see all of us in the car, snuggled and calm.
I would see you guys reading or watching something and dad and I tuned in to a podcast that we can't get enough of.
I would see time, so much more time.
Time that I took advantage of
time that I want back.

I would see this little life,
this ordinary little life and family we created.
The one I didn't realize I couldn't live without.
And I would take it all in.
That is my heaven, filled with the crushing hard blow of love.
You are my heaven on earth.

19
Mar

Our journey continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


12
Feb

What I would give

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

IMG_7251

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

IMG_7427

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

100_7422

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

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

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

5
Feb

With or without me

I don't know what this life holds.
I have no idea what the future is.
But recently, I have been thinking a lot about what I want you to take away from our time together.
This crazy fleeting time that we have.
We are not going to be so intimately in one another's lives forever.
No matter what and where life leads, this I know.
I know that this time of just us four, it isn't forever.

And so, please remember
to always be kind
to always love, no matter what, put love first
to always work for what you want
that to be great does not mean to always be happy
but to be great does mean to finally find joy
that with your privilege comes the responsibility to speak for those that were not born with the same privilege
that a long rainy day washes a lot away
and a snuggled snow day covers the earth in a new clean white
that you need to find a friend and partner in your person
that you need to laugh hard with your person
that you should always want to hold hands with your person
that family is anything you define
that traditions are important and loving
that school is important and learning is forever
that your eyes, the ones you got from him, should never lie
to keep going, even when you don't want to
to make time and room and space for you
especially when the years of insane sacrifice of you are needed, especially then.

Remember that we had love here
remember what we taught you
remember that you taught us too
remember how much and how hard we loved you
remember that we rarely got it right and never got it perfect but we died trying
and remember how much we wanted and loved for you.

Remember that we lost a part of ourselves when we met you
we had to let so much go to gain something very different.
Remember that you are special, but not better or worse than anyone else.
Remember that you are smart, but you have to keep learning.
Remember that you were born lucky, and you aren't allowed to use that as a better than.
Remember that not any one of us is allowed to give up, ever.
Remember that you redefined beauty for me.
Remember patience and humor
God, please remember to always and forever laugh.

Remember us, remember our times and our love.
Remember that each day, we reshaped and redefined our family because you made it so.
But always and forever remember, with or without me,
the gorgeous and crazy beauty in our love.

22
Jan

Joy

All this anger, all this confusion, and for what?
I have spent so many of my years living a life of anger.
One that builds confusion and fog.
One that I, and I alone, carry the burden of.
And why?
For what?
Who does it serve and what is the purpose of anger?
I want for nothing.
I have a life I built, on purpose.
Nothing in my life was by mistake.
I have smart children, who will also want for nothing.
I have a home, one that is all ours, one that we built.
I have love, in almost every corner, and still, there were so many days I sat in this fog of anger and resentment.
So many moments of anger, when things are all too loud.
So many years I have wasted, given up,
to anger.
So many moments that joy is destroyed by me, I held it in my hands, and I let it go.
Because that is what happens when you hold on to angry,
everything is dark and black.
And your world starts to not make sense.

And because I have promised them more,
it is time I start with joy.
Which means I have to be the one to change.
I have to find a way out of the anger I have allowed in.

It is time for joy.

Just the other day, I was reading a woman who's new way of life I admire say...
I want to make memories, not to do lists.
I want to feel the squeeze of my kids' arms around me, not the pressure I build out of stress.

The pressure I build, this part stuck with me.
I build up my own frustrations...
in my head, in my mind, in my life.
I create my own stress,
I am in charge of the to dos.
I am in charge of me and me alone.

And so, I begin my path to joy.
Joy in my heart. The kind that I feel all over my body.
I want to be joyful again.

It is time for joy.

Because an angry mom has a scowl, and her words are like ice.
Her body so tense
everything aches.
And as she tries to raise tiny humans to be good people,
as she tries to teach soft and love
she is not leading by example.
She is not their role model,
she is not their rock.

And it is time for joy.

Joy has the opposite effect.
Joy allows you to feel giddy
and everything instantly becomes light and bright.
Joy brings warmth.

So, this chip,
the one I carry,
the one I nurse,
the one I am raising and nurturing,
the one I spend so much of my time taking care of
it is time to put you to rest.
It is time I discard you.
You no longer have a place in my life.

Because it is time for joy.

This, is my life.
This is what my life looks and feels like and truth be told,
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Because it is the one I created,
for me
for them
for all of us.
This, is us.
All wrapped up into one.

And it is time I bring joy back into this life.

And my crazy attention to detail and organization can and should be used for good,
not the evil I have allowed.

It is time for joy.

Not just for me
but my god, for them too.
The little ones that look to me for how I am going to respond.
The ones that look to me for what they need to feel and react this moment.
The ones that are learning from me on what love looks like
how we treat others
what love sounds like
what joy and greatness need to be
how love always comes first.

It is time they feel my joy.

16
Jan

Thin line of parenting

The love you feel for your children is intense.
When you first see them, hold them, get to know them, and all of their little noises.
There is a day where that love grows into something so immense that you think you may just burst.
As your first year together progresses the love you experience is this strange and new, yet so familiar and old love story.
A love you have never felt before, but somehow always had.
The relationships you have with your small faces, they will fill you full
they will also deplete you.
They will consume you
but cannot be all of you.
They energize you and make you feel so light
at the same time exhausting a young mother and this love is a weight of family that is heavy.

As a new parent, the line between joy and depression is thin.
The line between confidence and anxiety is also thin.
As a seasoned parent, that line thins out even more.
Anxiety builds and the heavy weight of family sets in.

And all of us go through this cycle.
As they age, our knowledge of what is the right thing to do or say...
all of our parenting becomes less and less confident.
They are helpless and so are you.
They want answers but they didn't come with a manual
so you hold on and you keep trying and changing because so do they.

We don't talk about the darkness
we don't show it on social media
we don't want to feel like we are the only ones doing it all wrong
except that we are.
And without the comfort of a nonjudgmental relationship, we become even more isolated,
and the line thins.

This love for our children,
it thankfully destroys our ego
it changes so much of us
and it makes us trust less.
It makes us trust ourselves less
it makes us trust our person less
it makes us question too much.
And the line thins.

But somehow, in their little eyes
in their nurturing hugs, you find your hope.
You find your will
you find your strength
you find your place
and you find your space to be their mom.

Somehow, in the ones you are raising
you find your way.
Because they have always been forgiving.
From the moment you didn't know how to put on their clothes, or how to bathe them...
to the day you snap and scream something at them...
they always forgive, with open loving arms.
In their little selves, they realize how hard we are all trying.
And my promise is to give them a chance at a bad day or bad moments, as often as they give me mine.
And to always come back to love.

13
Jan

Five Minute Friday - Middle

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. 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 middle.
Go.

I am in the middle of a reawakening.
I am in the middle of a transition.
I am in the middle of putting the pieces of me together again.
We are in the middle of a discovery.
We are in the middle of falling back in love, with all of us.
We are in the middle of traditions.
We are in the middle of kids, just kids being kids.
We are in the middle of deep family.

When you spend so long wishing your life away,
and denying love,
or connection,
or real family,
you wake up to realize how much you have missed
and you change courses.

Because at every state, we are in this together.
At every stage, we have to take care of one another.
In these four walls, in our neighborhood, in our community and globally.

Because although I am in the middle of chaos
and stubborn
and finding out who they are
and having to redefine who I am...
I am also in the middle of the most love I will ever receive.
I am also in the middle of the Friday family movie nights
and Sunday pancake breakfast
and kids laughing
and all the holiday magic we get to create
and believing in magic period
and night snuggled reading
and so much hand holding
and so many smooches
and so many nights in front of the fireplace
and so many "I love you"s
and so much sharing of your day
and so many smiles
and so much of your joy
and so happy to see us
and love, just simple, deep, heavy, filling love.

I am just where I wanted to be,
in the middle of it all.

Stop.

18
Dec

Tired

Around my 8th month of pregnancy, for both kids, sleeping was getting 30 minutes at a time because both of my kids decided pressing directly on my bladder was good fun.
I remember that last month and thinking that newborns can't even be this bad.
And, thank goodness I was right, because you both came out knowing that our family had a love affair with sleep and you fell right in.

But as you grew, and the more sleep we all got,
the more and more my mind, my body, everything actually hurts from exhaustion.

I think it starts with all the feelings that come along with raising tiny humans
and then you add all of the concerns
and as you both continue to grow so do my feelings and those concerns.

I don't remember moms talking about this amount of exhaustion.
Every book, every mother I talked about the experience, all of the advice I got about cherish each day and you'll miss every stage,
no one ever said,
listen to me, the second you are able to actually sleep through the night is when every part of you wants to cry because you are so tired, you feel like you can't do it anymore.

But somehow we all manage to find the strength to wake up at 1am because someone is sick
or find love and patience somewhere to ride out a storm
or find love and patience somewhere to watch you tantrum
or find love and more patience somewhere else to always be able to love you.
Because that too takes energy,
the one thing we are lacking at this time.

Because this level of exhaustion has a way of killing your joy
and your ability to feel love.
This level of exhaustion takes away your patience and your ability to remember how small they are,
how little they know
how much they need you during the storm.
And god, this level of exhaustion pushes love out of your heart.
And still, we find a way to keep going.
Keeping putting our arms around you and we keep pulling you in.
When, if we are being a little honest with ourselves, we would be better off to go away,
and scream into the storm, you are not taking me with you!
I can't be a part of this right now and I just want a time out too!
But we find this never ending energy, for you.
And that is because we don't get a time out.
We are allowed a day off from you or this.
And it isn't that we didn't know that going into this journey,
it's just that we didn't realize how much of us would be this so very tired.

But, what if we did allow ourselves that time out?
What if for once instead of leaning in to the storm, we just walked away,
took 10 minutes in our own blanket fort and found an ounce more of us.
A clear thought so that our words can be gentle.
A clear mind so that our arms extend out to bring you in, not push you away.
What if we all allowed ourselves to say, of course we will always love you,
but that never meant I had to lose me in the process.

Little ones, you don't even know this, but my love for you is so intense it keeps me up.
You don't even realize this but, my worry for you, like my love is never ending.
And that can make for one tired mom.
But she promises to find moments of quiet,
so that she can be the person you set out to find.
Your tired mom promises to sit in that quiet, pull it over her like a warm blanket so she can find the energy for you and her.

2
Dec

Five Minute Friday - crave

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. 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 crave.
Go.

When I was pregnant with you Anna, the biggest craving that I had was for egg...scrambled to be specific.
Seven years later, I not only hold on to that memory and laugh at how much I ate, but I still could fall face first into a plate of scrambled eggs and eat my way out.
With you Cole, nothing specific, just food and as much of it as I could get.
I remember second breakfast, second lunch.
I remember not being able to make it from home to office without stopping for food, feeling if I didn't the starvation would end me.
And you came out just the same.
Hungry, all of the time.
Wanting anything, everything, food is your pleasure and without it, you crumble.

As the years went by, and motherhood set it, so did loneliness.
Because raising tiny humans is hard, and loud and isolating.
In a world where we all feel connected through a screen, we are forgetting that genuine connection keeps you sane.
And so, there was a different craving.
One for community, connection, friendship, and framily.
Because my connections were all over but not a single one was close by and not a single one could I hug when I needed to.
I needed to find my circle, I needed to find someone I could tell my all, and I needed to open my family up to others.

The craving, it wouldn't go away, because as the loneliness started to take over, the days were deafening.
Everywhere I turned, I felt that others had someone.
Everywhere I turned, I felt like I didn't belong here or there.
My circle wasn't complete, I needed more than the four walls we built,
my craving was getting stronger.

Until one day, it all clicked again.
And this tired mom of two
the one pushing 40
the one who is so hurtful to herself and too harsh
found a friend.
And like a child, my heart actually sang.
Just yesterday, we were talking about how many of us have this craving but are so isolated.
She decided to do something about it and open up her home and introduce people to one another.
Because family needs framily
to be reminded of the silly and the crazy.
To be genuine and authentic.
To show the real you, the one that is still in pjs at 3pm.
The one that doesn't ever do her hair unless she has to.
The one that would live in workout clothes.
The one that feels that yoga pants are "one step below black tie".
The one that gets angry with her kids.
The one that shows the good, bad and ugly of parenting because nothing is perfect.
The one without makeup covering anything up.
Cravings are intense, they make you get up out of bed at 3am to find that thing you desperately want.
They make you keep going until you find exactly what you desire.

Stop.

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