3
Jun

Everything changes

The heartbeat I once saw on the screen is a school-aged girl wonder.
The baby I nursed is a six-year-old lover of love boy.
The bottles I once washed are now family dinners arguing over what we like to eat this week.
The diapers are gone and replaced with sports equipment everywhere.
The daycare I once needed is replaced with after school everything.
The house with just a little pile of toys right here is now stuff, just more and more stuff on every surface in every corner.
Everything changes.

As a seasoned mother reminded me this week
the things that make me anxious and tired and wanting an out
are all of the things I will look back and realize how much I miss.
Everything changes.

The toddler holding my hand, learning to talk still needs to talk things out with me, for now anyway.
The chubby fingers and face are now growing into who you were always meant to be.
The little is being replaced with personality.
The laughter and patience I once had are becoming more tired and faded.
The baby love that made me whole is scared of the children I need to raise
the adults they will be tomorrow.
Everything changes.

So, as I go around the house and wipe down counters,
as I pick up and put away
as I clean on top of clean on top of clean
as I tidy and the frustration builds in my chest
I have to remember
everything changes.

The day will come when they are either no longer in need of all this stuff
no longer in want.
The day will come when the house will be so quiet that "noise" will split me in two.
The day will come when I will long with my whole body for signs of life in my home.
Everything changes.

Velveteen mothers know all too well that the years feel like days.
They find themselves staring at the people they once held on to so tightly and thinking over and over
once upon a time not so long ago
you were an extension of me.
I was your world and you were my stars.
Everything changes.

Which is why I love that I am the collector of stories
I love how much I can play back each and every memory.
But it is also at times quite painful to feel as though I can still reach out and touch that little that I got the privilege to mother.
Everything changes.

Here is what I know to be true and need you both to understand.
I have zero regrets about how I spent my time...
carefully examining you and breathing you in.
Watching each day with love.
Hearing myself in old videos
seeing old pictures
I am reminded how much I enjoyed mothering you.
How much fun I had and how much I relished in the days.
I was slow with you.
I enjoyed you.
Everything changes.

And as the parenting gets more delicate and heavy.
As I feel this need to guide more and this worry hanging over me
I hope to return to the me I was and still am.
Everything changes, even this velveteen mother.

26
Jan

Five Minute Friday - surrender

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 surrender.

Go.

I surrender to who I am.
I surrender to my strengths my weaknesses.
I will no longer spend time trying to fix me, I am no longer broken.
I surrender to the fact that I am type A.
I surrender to the fact that I create rules that I feel cannot be broken.
I surrender to the fact that slowing down is hard for me.
I surrender to my schedule, I surrender to my to-do lists, I surrender to my mind that won't turn off, I surrender to my multi-tasking.
I surrender to who I am.

I surrender to the fact that these qualities make me work too much, make me stressed, make me tired.
I also surrender to the fact that they made me a hard worker, made me successful, made me succeed.
I surrender to the fact that they take me away from parenting and make me a better parent.
I surrender to who I am.

I surrender to the fact that chaos in my home hurts my mind.
I surrender to the fact that I like clean space.
I surrender to the fact that it is how I create space in my jammed life.
I surrender to the fact that getting up early works for me.
I surrender to the fact that I fall asleep early because I work so hard.
I surrender to the fact that I work on my health.

I surrender my wanting to change.
It is too difficult to change who you are at your core.
What you can do is get better.
I surrender to being a better me.
I will always have things to work on, and I know that I now will do that with more insight.
I will use what I now know about myself and be a better me.

That means I can be slower
I can be more intentional with my love
I can make things different.
I can use how I function to be the best version of me.
I surrender to who I am.

Because I am a good mom
I am a good leader
I am a good listener
I am a good friend
I am a good bride
I am a good person
I have a good heart
I work really hard to get what I want
I set goals and achieve them.
I surrender to this person.
She is doing the best she can so I surrender to you sweet soul.
I will no longer fight you, I no longer want to.
You can put your head down tonight and know you are trying and I recognize that.
So sleep well, I surrender to you.

Stop.

12
Jan

Five Minute Friday - simplify

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 simplify.
Go.

Oh how I need to.
This upholder needs to work so much smarter and less hard.
And so, with the start of the new year and how different things are going to be, I am starting all over again.
Because yesterday is over and it's time to write another story.

This year, I start with automation of my home.
Figuring out the little areas that I am spending a little time here and there that are taking up too much of my time.
I can automate the lights going on/off with special bulbs that detect dawn and dusk.
I can automate when things I get every month show up at my house.
I can automate my budget spreadsheet with formulas so things populate on their own.

I am simplifying the things I bring into my home, like cleaners.
I no longer want a cleaner for each surface of my home.
It seems strange to even think of that as an area that consumes time, but thinking through how much cleaner I have to dust vs how much toilet cleaner vs how much floor cleaner vs how much bathroom sink cleaner vs how much kitchen surface cleaner vs how much sink cleaner and then adding them to different lists and getting them at the store...stop!
I have simplified down to 3 and 2 of them are easy homemade.

I am simplifying my routines.
I am using my knowledge of me to not take on challenges.
I am saying no to things that take up my time and fortunate enough to say, is there a way I can pay someone else to just do that for me.
I am starting this year with a new different thing each month and not making all of the changes all at once and feeling overwhelmed.
Slow, I am going slow and smart.

I am going to be proud of the simple ways I inject love into my family.
Like all of our traditions that make my kids feel grounded, close, connected, loved and build a strong foundation.
I am going to find simple ways to connect with friends that don't live near me, so we all feel together.
I am going to take a step back from complicated relationships that make me feel weighted down.
I am going to remove so much of the noise that this loud loud world brings.

I am going to sit in the white clean simple empty space and all of its beauty.
This year is different.
And as this mamma gets closer and closer to 40, she is ready to own this life she built.

20
Oct

Five Minute Friday - discover

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 discover.
Go.

Sweet daughter:
What has amazed me to the most about you is how old you were when you were born.
The world seemed so familiar to you, and you seemed so knowledgeable.
What I have loved watching is you discover your childish side.
The playful
the excitement
the kid you are and therefore should be allowed to be.
I don't know why I squash that person when she tips over to the other side and why I remind her of maturity.
You are a child for a short time, you will be an adult for the rest of forever.
Keep discovering that kid, never let her go.
Hold her close no matter what number your age says.
Keep discovering a new childish part of your old self
and thank you for allowing me to discover mine.
You are me and together, we have to remember that life is not that serious.
We have to discover the joy we want in our lives
take my hand let's lead each other to this discovery.

Sweet boy:
What I have loved watching is you discover this world.
That first year of life, when everything was amazing to you and you were taking it all in, it was a year of amazement to me too.
You came to me new, fresh, eyes ready to learn.
You were and are brand new.
You have reminded me that life should be full of discovery, you have reminded me of young.
Not because you work hard at it but because it comes so naturally to you.
Youth and childhood and new and discoveries are what you do best.
Being around you forces one to stop digging in their heals and remember how perfect young is.
You have taken the lead, you are in charge of childhood and you remind each of us that you don't have to look hard, it's right there, at our fingertips.
You don't have to discover the joys of life, you just clearly see them and for that, you are a wonder and wonderful.

You have each brought me on a journey in discovering who I am once you take away the lists, the to dos, the have tos the worry.

Stop.

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.

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