8
Oct

Beauty

Dear Anna:

Growing up, I never thought I had an ounce of beauty.
I always judged myself,
my decisions
my looks
my walk
my words
my mind
hard.
I starting running at the age of 8, not because I loved to run,
but because I wanted to lose weight.
I never accepted a compliment.
I always put myself down.
And then, I met you.

There was a day when you and I finally connected and we became mother and daughter.
I remember it so clearly, you were fresh out of a bath, it was just you and I home.
I decided to snap a few pictures of you and put you down on a couch and pulled out an actual camera.
I started saying your name, trying to grab your attention and you recognized my voice.
You melted when you heard it and you looked at me, with such warmth, such love, such beauty.
You looked at me like a daughter should look at her mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

Dear Cole:
I was never a lover of love.
I didn't trust enough.
I didn't think people really cared because there was a lot of letting me down.
I didn't think that love could be so raw, so emotional so naked.
Until I met you.

The moment I held you, you were mine.
There is no way to explain it other than using the cliche of they slipped you into my arms and heart.
You are my one and only love at first sight.
You were full of so much new and wonder and wonderful.
You would look around the room and take it all in because every part was amazing to you.
Including me.
The moment our eyes met, they locked.
You looked at me with instant recognition and you looked at me like you knew we will have each other to count on.
You looked at me like you needed me because you did, but I needed you too.
You looked at me the way a son should look at his mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

My body looks, feels, and acts differently.
I am a shell of who I once was.
Because once upon a time, I was younger and young.
I was new too even though I always felt old.
I was smooth and I didn't have wrinkles and stuff didn't droop.
I was in charge and I was empty.
But I didn't like that girl that much.
I didn't appreciate her, I didn't know she was strong.
And instead, I focused on her anger.
I focused on all that was wrong, all I would change, all I wanted to change.
Until I met you coach.
And you told me she was good, she was worth it, she was able to be happy, it was ok if she was happy.

Now, this woman, I can appreciate.
I appreciate her for carrying two hearts, twice.
I appreciate her for pacing with sick babies.
I appreciate her for giving all of her and then coming back around to self-care.
I appreciate her for finding the room to breathe.
I appreciate her for taking time for her, finding her again in the fog of mothering.
I appreciate her legs for being able to run.
I appreciate her heart for being able to love.
I appreciate her soul for shining light outward.
I appreciate her stomach for stretching and molding.
I appreciate her arms for holding everyone up.
I appreciate her words for she picks them carefully.
I appreciate her beauty because she finally found it.
In the mix of all this confusion and chaos and fog and tired, she was able to find glory and grace.

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.

28
Jul

Five Minute Friday - inspire

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 inspire.
Go.

I find it in the quiet.
The time alone in the shower just the sound of water.
The time alone on a run, just the sound of my feet and the road.
I find it in the morning, just the dimmest light on and my thoughts, my work.
I find it on the rainy days that curl me up
I find it in a lit candle a moment of peace.
I find it when the noise stops around me, the noise in me too.

I find it when I write, when the words finally come.
The words I struggle to put together and the ones I want you to carry with you always.
I find it in my desire to keep you in the know of what this journey meant to me
how much these years with you changed me and how I will never be who I once was.

I found my inspiration for a forever, one full of happy, when you first smiled at me.
I found my inspiration to exhale and be as you made your way over to me.
I found my smile in yours.

I find it in love.
The love I am trying to spread the one I am learning to receive.
I find it the warmth and comfort we have created, the family I never knew I always wanted.

I find it at night when I peek in and see the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe.
I find it in the knowledge of the good we put forth that day
the love we shared.
I find it when you whisper to me from your dreams
the love letters you write directly to my heart.
I find it in your whispers.

I find it in beauty, in clean and in our home.
I no longer want a house but a warm and loving home.
I find it in the walls that have your eyes and smiles and laughter staring back.
I find it in the toys you love, the little that has exploded.
I find it in your childhood, my second chance.

It is in the quiet that I come alive
I find it in the stillness I need
the silence I desire.

Stop.

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.

16
Jun

Five Minute Friday - worth

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 worth.
Go.

I find myself asking, is it worth it a lot these days.
The arguments to keep her healthy
the arguments to make them good people
the arguments to remind those I live with of love
the struggles at work
the struggles I am enduring for my business
the races I work hard for, even though my time doesn't change
the time I put into all that I do
is any of it worth my time
energy
effort
worry.

What stands out as worth it?
What do I not question?
It always comes back to the quiet with you guys.
The Friday nights on the couch
when I should be finishing up work
it is always worth it to be with you.
The endless book dates when I should be doing anything else
is always worth it.
The bikes rides, the runs we take,
they are all worth it.

Because side by side
and moments of quiet love remind all of us what is important.
They remind us of the why we put in the work and they remind us how of effortless the work is.

They remind me, that it is always worth my time
because everything else is a distraction.
You, this, now, it is worth it.
Your smiles, your arms around me, slowing down, it is all worth it.

I won't be distracted by life
I won't be consumed by have tos
I won't be made to feel guilty for putting on my mask first.
Because I am building.
A life, a family, love.
It's easiest to love you and always and forever worth it.

2
Jun

Five Minute Friday - future

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 future.
Go.

No one knows, right?
What tomorrow will bring,
what the future holds?
No one knows if there is a tomorrow, if they have a future.
But for some reason, we all keep making plans
even though nothing is promised
and I see that as hope unfolding each and every day.

I hope that this third date leads to a future with you.
I hope that one day you will be my forever.
I hope that we will build a future together.
I hope that this anniversary isn't our last.
I hope we spend our 40s owning our lives.
I hope we give them the best future possible.
I hope that we are setting them up for a future.
I hope that they see their future as exciting.

Hope is what keeps us making plans.
Hope is why we go to bed angry, hoping we have tomorrow to make up.
Hope is why we think it's a better time another day.
Hope is even why we put things off, I hope to get to that one day.
So hope can be beautiful and calming and peacful
because we are not saying never, we are saying in the future.

The reality is much darker
much more fearful and full of sadness
the never promised tomorrow
the not knowing what the future holds.

So, we make plans.
We make future plans.
And we build today around tomorrow.
We hope to see another day that gets us one day closer to our future.

Stop.

28
May

#ThisIsFive!

You came into this world ready to make your mark.
Ready to show every single person, you are not your sister.
You are different in every way.
And I adore every last difference.
Every single one.
Because the second kid fights to make themselves stand out, and I get that.

Sweets, from the day you were born, you fought for you.
You will never need a rescue, even though you want to be, you never need to be.
But your want, your desire for help, I think that's just about spending time together.
And you love to be with people,
you love love love to be with us.

Because you my sweet boy, and this is my favorite part of all of you, you love love.
You love it.
You love hugs
and smooches
and more hugs
and I love yous
and I love you mores
and touching
and hand holding
and hand kissing
and little guy smooches
and closeness
and snuggles.
You love love.
You have made me fall in love with love, all over again.
And your love of love is getting stronger and stronger as you grow and I will cherish and protect it always.

You are joy
even in the raw emotional tantrums
even in the cries and screams
you are joy.
You are a reason to be lighter
happier
your smile is a reason to smile.
You are laughter
and fun
and more laughter
and adventures.
You define joy.

You are childhood.
You, you are childhood.
With its excitement
and its newness
and its raw
and all of the feelings every single day
and every emotion felt from the top of your head down to your toes...
you are the childhood I always imagined.
And I will protect this too.

You are big.
Big emotions
big appetite
big feelings
big tears
big tantrums
big cries
big screams
big talking
You can't be contained in little because you are always ready for more big.

You are always and forever all in.
With food
with fun
with games
with sports
with laughter
with shouts
with tantrums
with happy
with hugs
with kisses
you never sit one out.
Your whole body is in, no matter what we do.
You do not hesitate, you are the definition of all in.

And now, you are five.
Five.
You are ready for kindergarten
you are ready for bikes without training wheels
you are ready for responsibilities
you are ready for teams
you are ready to be five.
Five.
You are five.

See, I didn't realize that love at first sight existed.
I didn't realize that childhood could be so carefree.
I didn't realize that our family needed another piece of its puzzle.
I didn't realize we were incomplete.
I didn't realize there could be this much joy in one little person.
I didn't realize such a little body could hold so much of everything.
I didn't realize you turning five would be this meaningful to me.

But here we are.
Because I didn't blink and you turned five.
I knew that my baby, the one I rocked, the one I got up with, the one I started an amazing journey with...
would be my last firsts.
And so, I took you in.

Like how I watch you sleep.
I know you know this but recently, I haven't been able to pull myself away from you.
I haven't been able to stop brushing your hair and touching your face.
I haven't been able to stop smooching the tip of your nose.
I take and continue to take you all in.
And lately, I haven't been able to get enough of you.
Because as ready as you are, I am always one step behind but that means I am also your back.
You although you never need a push, who couldn't use a backup?

Happy fifth birthday monkey man.
I eat you up I love you so...
mommy's sweet and low.

19
May

Five Minute Friday - truth

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 truth.
Go.

It's hard to speak your truth.
It's hard to show your crazy.
And that's when true friends come in to show you that your crazy is normal.
We all carry crazy, but be true and honest to yourself.
Laugh at your crazy and always speak your truth.

So here is mine...
I am type A
I am a cleaner, an organizer
I feel calm in the non chaotic
I make lists
I feel good crossing them off
I overachieve
I overreact
I yell
I cry
I am introverted
I spent two very lonely years looking for my circle
I now know why, because I love time with a circle of friends, the comfort the laughter
I went through a really hard time when my daughter turned three
I went through an even worse time when my son turned one and that didn't end until he was four
I doubt myself all day long
I doubt my strength
I doubt my ability
I doubt my love
I doubt my grit
I doubt my mind
I doubt my achievements
I doubt my gentle
I am not confident
I am so good with not being confident
I can laugh hard
I was terrified of becoming a mom
I used every excuse in the book to not start this journey
I have never been more wrong and more right all at the same time
I love motherhood
I am and will forever be petrified of motherhood
I worry
I cannot stress this enough, I worry about all things most of the time
I was diagnosed with MS at 23 and I walked through hell and back with my person
I will continue to walk through hell and back with my person because he is my forever
I walk away too quickly from relationships that make me think I am reliving my past
I am fiercely loyal to those I love
I go above and beyond
I sleep hard
I want more sleep (but see above)
I find miserable really easily so
I am on the hunt for my joy
I found a second chance in my kids
I protect their childhood
I am determined
I am a good friend
I am a good mother
I do not have balance, but I find the space to breathe
I allow love in

My raw, my honest, my spoken truth.

Stop.

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
.

12
May

Five Minute Friday - mom

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 mom.
Go.

Each year, I write a letter.
A thank you.
A mother's day love.
Because I don't need ribbons and bows.
I don't need breakfast in bed and cards.
I need you to know that I already got a gift, the day I met you.

But last year, it occurred to me how all in you are.
How much this day means to you
and how hurtful it was that I was shutting it down.
And so, this year, I too am all in.
I will wait in bed for you to come get me.
I will hear you and dad making something special for me downstairs.
I will be all in with you.

And just the other day you were beaming with excitement...
I just can't wait until Mother's Day this year!
And when I asked why the answer was so simple, so kind...
because I want to celebrate you mom.

I am all in with you.
Because how do you ever say no to that?

This seasoned mother who is velveteen real still feels brand new to it all.
And it is because each day, something changes.
You change, you are always and forever changing and nothing is ever the same.
And so I have to change with you.

Moms are full of love
grace
humor
patience.

Moms are full of strength and power.
They are strong and determined.
They are tired and full of energy to keep going
for you.

You are here because I asked you to be.
I hoped you would be, I tried for you.
And each day, I continue to try because now I am here for you.
Moms are here for you.

Stop.

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