10
Mar

I'm having a moment

It's no surprise that the first year with both of you are some of my favorite memories. There is a peace with newborns that can't be explained, there is a comfort in the "dream phase" of parenting in which there is no actual parenting, only love.

It's easier now, sure, less reliant, absolutely. And watching you play Legos for hours while I do work is incredible. Having reading dates where we can all read our own thing is wonderful. Having you get yourself snacks, play with the dog, use equipment, go up/down stairs without a worry makes life so much easier on the constant need that comes with little ones. But the ease doesn't equate to calm.

There is a calm that comes with that first year. There is this outpouring of love for the little one on your chest, your person swaddling them, and the sibling that loves on them. The newborn bath smell that makes you feel like you are doing parenting right. The little noises that only you know what they mean, the facial expressions that tell you something else, the rhythm you establish together, a really special song only your little family knows the words to. A dance that you do that only your special group know the steps to.

When we had our last, and went through all the last firsts, I spent so much time loving reclaiming my home. Getting rid of highchairs and bumbos and newborn clothes and toys and reclaiming our bank accounts with no more diapers and no more preschool tuition and less and less daycare needed. But, the house gets refilled with other things, and the money goes to other places and I am having a moment of ache.

I am dreaming of babies, I can physically feel myself being so careful, so gentle. I can feel the weight as I hold them, as I walk them, as I smell them. I am meeting moms with twins and having thoughts like, what if we just adopted a set of twins, that would instantly give me the four I actually desire. I find myself in newborn baby aisles and picturing how and what I would do differently.

Even though I know (sort of) that this family is complete, I never had "the moment" of done and so I am having a different moment now. One in which the sadness hits me hard. Because I would be lying if I said I knew and I felt it and it was done and the stillness and calm of that decision makes me feel good. Instead, I know intellectually that we are done, I know that more would be more, I know that we are good, they are good, but damn, a girl can dream and so this one is.

For the mom who wanted none, but decided to give it a go, I'm having a moment for her. For the mom that had to be talked into it, and put all of her fears aside, I am having a moment for her. For the mom who held her daughter, claimed her motherhood and thought one and done, I am having a moment for her. And for the mom that held her son and three minutes into his life exclaimed I want 2 more...I am having a moment for her too.

I am having a moment in which I want it all back, I want my time with them back. I want the little back. I of course love where they are. I know how much my husband grows so easily with them. But this mamma struggles a little more with each and every passing that. I miss my babies and I miss newborn clothes and newborn detergent, and my husband looking like a gentle giant holding them. I miss the stillness that comes with that first year and I miss the quiet. It's a blip, I will feel better again soon, but for now I can admit, I'm having a moment.

3
Mar

What happened?

Do you ever look around and think, how did we get here? What decisions did we make along the way that got us to this spot? I think about it a lot because I remember it being exactly what we always wanted.

Remember when you knew exactly what you wanted to do, exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? And then, all be damned, you went and did it. You knew when you were nine and then you became the thing you always wanted. Every day, you're doing it, you're getting to go in and be all you ever wanted to be...remember?

Remember when my work and the mission and the agency and the mission and the work and the agency and the work were all that I could ever dream about? Remember when I left the first time, how sad I was to walk away from something that I believed in so much, with all my heart so much. Remember how when I got back I felt like I was home, exactly where I belonged. And then as I got more and more involved and more and more into it, remember how much more I loved it...remember?

Remember when you told me we were going to be parents? You knew, you always and forever knew they were a part of our story? Remember how you said it...we're having kids, it will be fine, you will love them, we are going to be parents. Remember when before they got here how we would talk about them? Their names, what they would look like, how we would handle this scenario or that, who would do what, when we would do this all? I remember, I would stare at you and wonder if they would get your eyes, or your smile? I would hope for my hair and green eyes are pretty too. Remember the few months it didn't work how heartbroken we were? Remember how much it physically hurt? Like they were somehow taken from us. That, by the way, that was how I knew you were right, I did want this. I wanted them before they came. You always wanted them...remember?

Remember how we could not imagine life without Mia? Remember how we would talk about it, we knew it would happen and we would wonder how and who and reactions and life after and timing? Remember how we thought you would be the strong one, I didn't even know if I could be there? Remember how she was our one and only for so so so so long? She was our reason, what we came home to, what we worried about, what we poured love into. Remember how I would joke that she would hate our kids, how mad she would be? Remember how everyone told me I would love her less once they got here, except I knew it would only make me love her more...remember?

Remember the promises we made...better or worse, sickness and health, together, strong...touching toes and holding hands kind of strong? Remember how eyes wide open I thought we went into parenting? Remember how easy it was to love each other, how silly the fights were, how walking away didn't seem ever possible? Remember how we always felt like family...remember?

So, we did it. You know, we really did it. All the big and little dreams. The ones like homes and careers and kids and moves. The ones like easy mornings with coffee and traditions that bind and movies that still define who we are. The ones like everyday living and big life planning. The ones like saying goodbye to our one and only and welcoming in a puppy that is a lover of love. The ones like adding kids and even more love and hearts growing. The ones like heartache and fights that shake us and how it takes actual effort and holding on to not walk away now. The ones like how your nook is still my spot, the ones like how we expanded our arms to fit them all in. The ones like hearts exploding and breaking and how love and time continue to put all the pieces back together again.

We did it, all we ever wanted, all we ever wished and dreamed for so we can look around and just be so thankful. Thankful that they are healthy. Thankful that we have space to fight over a parental decision or reaction. Thankful that it's messy. Thankful that it's loud. Thankful that they are good kids. Thankful that we do somethings with them right. Thankful that saying goodbye to Mia was so painful and we knew that pain only because we did love her as hard as we could. Thankful that we allowed Pearl in. Thankful that you convinced me this was our story to tell, thankful that you convinced me to have not just one but two little faces. Thankful that I convinced you to add another puppy and thankful that you said yes. Thankful for the work we wanted being our lives. Thankful for growing into bigger dreams for us. Thankful for the house turned home, the one we built together. Thankful for your ability to do anything, thankful for mine to want to tackle everything. Thankful for laughter, thankful for the tears, thankful for the fits of anger that crumble, and the hugs that heal. Thankful for all the smooches to end our day, thankful because we did it.

What happened was that we made it. We got our wish, so although that doesn't mean we stop, we can at least take a beat and say, we landed in the place we always wanted to be.

1
Mar

Five Minute Friday - search

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 search.

Go.

Some of us search for family, some search for freedom, some search for love, some search for homes, some search for fulfillment, some search for comfort, some search for dream jobs or homes, some search for companions, some search for meaning...all search for connection. A connection is one of the many ways we are all the same. Even for those of us who are introverts, even for those of us who need the quiet and the alone, all of us search for those to connect with, love on, smooch, laugh with, squeeze tight, and bring into our circle.

The need and desire to not feel lonely anymore. Because parenting, and couplehood, and adulting, and routines, and life can all be so lonely. And it is the connection, the true, the meaningful and deep connections that make us whole. Because the truth is, your person isn't enough. You can't expect to get it all from them. And your little faces grow and find their circle too. It is the connections that keep us sane, and laughing, and happy, remember happy?

Just last month, I watched my daughter meet up with a group of girls and I saw it unfold. I saw why she is so happy, I saw how much they hysterically laughed just by being in the same space. I saw it burst out of them. I see her recognize a friend she hadn't seen in a while and throw her arms around the person like they were long lost friends that haven't seen each other in years. And I see me. Who I have always been. The one that searches for connection and framily.

The search is one of the many things that makes us the same.

Stop.

24
Feb

happy safe secure love

I didn't realize how much I was seeking something so simple. Something most don't even understand they have because when you have it, it's your normal, and you know no other. You don't know that some never feel safe, never feel secure, are always waiting for one shoe to drop, are always on edge, are always ready to walk away because at any moment you might have to. There are some that walk this earth so protected and so ready to bounce because "I'll leave you before you leave me." Even 19 years in, even after all we have walked through, even though I love with all I have and want nothing more than you.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first found it, the one who will never walk away, I didn't understand. And so I did things to push, I still do things to push. Test who we are, test our limits. But happy, safe, secure love is easy, and you always made it easy. You always uncomplicated me. You were always the balance to my crazy, my extra, my hard. you were my calm, you embraced the crazy, you lessened my load and you softened me. And then you asked for them.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first met you my girl, it was new. The strong connection we had the entire time you were resting with me, it was weakened with the labor, the delivery, the recovery and everything felt new and unlike us. Until the day, the day it all came rushing back. Staring at your face through a camera lens, it hit me like a truck. You were and are my happily ever after. You had me believing in fairy tails. You reminded me of me, you reminded me of dad, you were my old soul with a silly and joyful heart. It wasn't new anymore, it was old and familiar. It was happy, and safe, and secure, I was in love.

happy, safe, secure, love. When I first met you monkey, it was my one and only love at first sight. You instantly struck my heart, and you continue to instantly strike at hearts. No matter where you are, no matter who you meet, no matter how many seconds have passed. Your heart demands to be loved because all you know is love. You are all love, all joy, all ease, all easy. You, like your best buddy, you uncomplicate me. You make life easy, you soften the hard. You were mine right away, it was always gorgeous love of love. It was happy, and safe, and secure, I was in love.

happy, safe, secure, love. For some it is their normal, what they have always had. A foundation so strong, so stable, you realize you always have a home and a base. And that is what we are for you, that is what I hope and dream and cross fingers and toes that we are for you. I hope you never wonder, I hope you never feel unsure, I hope you understand that love is right here, we are right here. You are always safe here, you always have security, you always have love, right here. In this house turned home. So as you go out into the world, as you find your person, your family, know that your cup is already full. As someone I look up to reminded me this morning, there is a definition of love that we do not always remember. Real love is filling yourself fully and being so full with love in your life that it spills over. The love you have within is filled and spilling over and that's what you get to now share, that's what real love means, you now have real love spilling out of you and onto them.

happy, safe, secure love. I didn't realize I was missing it until I found it. Until a young me, looked up in an empty store and saw your eyes smiling back. Until I melted with that smile, until the ease of us washed over me and melted my worries. Until every time I push and test and push away, you grab hold, you stare right back at me, and you tell me we are home. You remind me the other shoe won't drop, we are in this together. We are the rock and foundation that started all of this and will continue on long after they are grown. happy, safe, secure love. I understand it now.

22
Feb

Five Minute Friday - just

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 just.

Go. 

Just trying to hold on and make sense of it all. Just trying to remember the me that I am in the chaos that has been here. Just trying to breathe and let it come, let it go, let it build, let it be.

Just trying to redefine this year, just trying to undo the universe having heard me call it "terrible" before it started. Because what I actually meant was that it would be challenging, but I will rise to the challenge. It will be overwhelming, but I will find a way to calm my nerves. It will be a lot for me, but I will search for what I can and should delegate. It will be ever changing, but I am embracing my year of change. It will at times be painful, but I will look at the lessons and I will look to the love I give out and let in.

Just trying to connect, remembering that loneliness is the killer of my joy. Just trying to build the best me, be the best me, shed what makes me dark, embrace the light. Just trying to move towards light and love and loss and living.

Just trying to remember that I have you. Just holding on to the love that we have created in this house turned home. Just trying to connect with their little faces, just trying to be right here with them. Just trying to remember these days of small and crushing little. Just trying to embrace all the big kid things for a mom that cherishes the baby phase. Just trying and that's the best we can all do, is try.

Stop.

17
Feb

I love you because...

Each year, I hang little notes of why. Why I love you to bits. Reminders that we all need of what we possess that others notice, what and why others love us. I can't even begin to explain what having you has meant, has done, has changed. Your dad always knew you would be a part of our story, I needed way more convincing and we are just so lucky to get to do this with you, for you.

Bella, I love you because...

You always try.
You are a book worm.
You run with me.
You really love Pearl.
You miss Mia.
You care about your friends.
You love our traditions and demand them as much as I do.  
When you laugh, you do it with your whole body.
You love family movie nights.
We share books together.
You kiss noses.
You love to learn.
You work at the piano and you sound so lovely.
You love your family.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Anna, I love you because...
Because of your love of books.
You are an amazing artist.
You are open to trying new things.
Love, dad.

Anna, I love you because...
You are a rock star!
You love Pearl.
You have the best singing voice.
Love, Cole.


Monkey, I love you because...
Your heart is always full.
You are a very good friend.
You care about school.
You are an amazing little brother.
You are dad's best buddy.
You love with all of your heart and know no other way.
You love food and dance when you eat.
You give me little guys.
You are a great student.
Everyone who meets you knows you have an amazing heart.
You have dad's gorgeous eyes and smile.
You make us laugh.
You love love.
You are my Valentine.
Love, mom.

Buddy, I love you because...
Because of your kind heart.
Because you are my best buddy.
Because you are a great little brother.
Love, dad.

Coley, I love you because...
You are silly!
You are there for me.
You work to reach your goals.
Love, Anna.

Coach, I love you because...
You work so hard on our house and I love to show you off for it.
You have always believed in our kids and you won't settle for anything but their best.
You believe in me.
Our kids look like you and you are so handsome.
You took a chance on yourself.
You are my Valentine.
Love, your bride.

Dad, I love you because...
You share Harry Potter with me.
You share stories with me.
You work hard and never stop till you get there.
Love, Anna.

Daddy, I love you because...
You read Strange Scouts to me.
You are my best buddy.
Love, Coley.

Pearl girl, we all love you!
Because you are the best lover of love.
You love to play outside.
You're snuggly and give great hugs.
Because you run to the door when I walk in.
Because you love our family.
Because you love the snow.
Because you're cute.
Because you ring the bell to go out.
Because you love the fireplace.

Mom, we love you too...
You give me back scratches. Love, Cory
You are beautiful. Love, Cory
You never give up on me. Love, Cory
I love your love of naps. Love, Cory
You buy us stuff that makes us a matching family like PJs! Love, Anna
You are smart. Love, Anna
You love Cape Cod. Love, Anna
You love me. Love, Cole
You are great. Love, Cole
You're the best mom. Love, Cole
You are a fiercely loyal friend. Love, Cory
You work hard all day long. Love, Anna.
Your heart is so full mom. Love, Cole
You work very hard mom. Love, Cole
You are relentless in the pursuit of your goals. Love, Cory
You snuggle with me. Love, Anna
I just love you. Love, Cory

I just love you all too. Love, me

15
Feb

Five Minute Friday - Confident

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 confident.

Go.

I'm not.
I'm just not.
I can't pretend to be, because I just don't have it in me and I can't fake it. Because I am not.
In anything that I do, anything.
I am not. I am scared instead and damn do I question.
My parenting, my leadership, my choices, my words, my decisions, my wants even. I'm just not.  
And I will be okay. Maybe more than okay.
Because what I have painfully learned is that confidence has nothing to do with me. But that doesn't mean I stop trying to be the best me.
Confidence doesn't live in me, but that doesn't mean I stop at all.
Fear propels me, it keeps me on my toes and it keeps my nerves tingling and it keeps me alive and working for what I want.
Fear more than any confidence makes me me.
I walk through it, I push, and although I don't believe in myself always, I also know I won't let me down.
I don't let others down.
I work for what I want, I fight myself to get there.
I worry because I love the "it" standing in front of me and although I am not confident in me, I am confident in the thing. I know the thing is worth fighting for.
And so I fight for it, I work for it, I put me into it and that's all I've got to give, me and my very best.
You know what I confident in?
You, of course it's you.
It's always been you and all you stand for.
Love and family and us and your belief in us.
I'm confident in you and in us.
I'm not, and I know others are.
I'm not and I know at times it knocks me off my balance.
I'm not and I will be okay.   
And I will be okay, more than okay. 

Stop.

3
Feb

The next thing you know

She will be driving.
He will be in high school.
There will be significant others.
Phones or another gadget(s) will be coveted.
Privacy will be demanded.
Doors will be slammed.
But, we will still be us. 
And I will be okay. 

Because we have a base, we have a really strong foundation and we have ways that at the end of a hard day, week, month, cycle, we come back in small and meaningful ways. And it starts with all of our traditions. Lovies, I started them to remind you all that this is where we come home to. This is who we are, at our core, this is where we will always belong.

The next thing you know
prom will be a thing.
Graduation will come.
Schools will be researched.
The house will be quieter.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know
this chaos will be our "remember when"... 
And tomorrow we will laugh at what made us cry hard and worry today. 
The next thing you know, all the things that make us worry will no longer matter. They will be fine, they will be good, they will be them. Not our version of them, not our hopes of them, but them. The them they were meant to be, the them they want to be. 
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, their mess will be gone. The legos will be put away, the instruments will be no more, the running around will stop, the sign-ups for sports and things will be a thing of the past.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, it will go from just us five to four to three. And I, the one who struggles most with change, will be dragged into a new reality. One in which their decisions are out of our hands. One in which my time is again all mine. One in which I hope we remember how much we all loved and tried in this house.
And I will be okay. 

The next thing you know, our foundation will matter most. Our little reminders of love, our little reminders of us, our little ways of reconnecting. Because schedules will only get worse. Because time will only get more limited. Because we will have to divide and conquer. Because we will continue to be pulled in too many directions. Because we will be losing our minds at times. Because responsibilities will only get heavier. Because things will pile up and up. But, us, the real us, we're right here. The real us that will have warm pizza and a movie every Friday. The real us that will pile around the island and talk about our week over pancakes every Sunday. The real us that will connect over shows we are showing you from our childhood. The real us that always gives warm goodnights. The real us that piles on top of each other to read together. The real us that talks about our gracious heart. The real us that holds hands. The real us that sings in the car. The real us that eats ice cream for dinner to celebrate. The real us that vacations together every summer. The real us that hugs with all of our body. The real us that tries to laugh every day. The real us that makes dinner together important. The real us that snuggles. The real us that talks about love constantly. The real us that knows how to get home. The real us that realizes the power of puppy love. The real us that realizes we are a team. The real us.
And I will be okay. 

1
Feb

Five Minute Friday - where

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 where.

Go.

It's my year of change and that means a different direction and embracing all the change that has to come my way. That means being comfortable with them getting older. That means, for the first time in 40 years, being comfortable in my own skin. That means leaving something I spent 19 years building to someone else. That means stepping into something that is terrifying and changing how I see my future. That means changing how I am viewing my year of change and changing what I say about it. That means changing, period and end of story changing.

So where am I going? Where am I headed and what direction is this life about to take me? Where do I want to be at the end of this year? Where do I want to say I have been? Where do I want to spend my time and my focus? Where do I want to say I belong? Where do I go when things feel overwhelming? Where do I go when I feel lost and too scared to make it one foot in front of the other? Where do I soak my tired bones? Where do I feel safe? Where do I focus my attention, where do I want to be?

When change feels not only frightening but actually devastating, these are questions you shy away from. They are questions you don't want to answer because you just want things to stay the same. You want the comfort, you want the protection. But, kids get older too. Life moves on regardless of if you are on board. Change is our constant, like it or not. When you force yourself to look in the mirror, these are questions I had to answer. And so I did. I sat myself down and said I can't hold on to motherhood in the first year of parenting when you have a 6 and 9-year-old. They have grown and changed and you have to too. You can't hold on to a 19-year-old plan because it is time for fresh eyes. Where I am headed has to be different and I have to be not only ready, I have to want this. I have to tell the universe that I want it and I have to listen to it telling me not to force it.

Where I want to be at the end of this year is not where I am, change is coming my way.

Stop.

27
Jan

Try and get better

You said to me, isn't the expression practice makes perfect? And NO, came shouting out of my mouth. There is no such thing sweet girl. So just know that practice will make you better, end of story. And that's why trying and trying again is so important. It's how you get better, even at hard things. But better never means perfect, sometimes it doesn't even mean your best, it just means better than before.

Because here's the 100% very ugly truth about me...

Did you know that after YEARS of doing yoga, I still look like the strangest person in the room and my form is still off? Did you know it's been over three years and I still can't do a handstand for more than a few seconds? Did you know that I can't do a headstand from a tripod position? Did you know that my balance is hit or miss just depending on the day? Did you know that with every "let's try this" I fall, sometimes right on my face? Did you know that I get repositioned, reset, even after all these years? But did you also know that when the instructor asks the room to try, I always do. I always at least try and then I work and work on it. Did you also know that I come home and quietly find space and time to keep working so that I get better.

Or, did you know that even though I have been running since I was 8, my feet flare out when I run and I look like a mad woman? That people know it's me without even having to see my face? That strangers come up to me in bars and ask if I run on their road because I am that memorable, my run is that memorable. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly slow I am while I run and how much I get passed by everyone? How right before and right after every half marathon, I cry. Nerves get in my head, I don't want to actually do it, how much it hurts, and how much I have to talk myself into it? Do you remember finding me on a curb, head between my legs, crying and hurting and unable to talk for a while? How every year, while getting ready to train, I actually dread it? But year after year, there I am, back at it, trying again and trying to hit my time again. Because when I turned 38 I hit my best run, my best time. I got better. And at 39 I got worse by at least 2 minutes but that doesn't mean I won't show up at 40.

Remember how I told you that I learned to swim when I was 37...weeks before my first triathlon? Well, did I also tell you that the classes were my version of torture? They were at 8pm at night, in the freezing cold pool, I was the worst at it, I didn't have goggles at first, I looked like a drowning rat, it was all horrible. The teacher was so annoyed with me, I couldn't get it, and she was actually worried about my tri. She didn't know if I was going to make it in the open water. And, at my first race, I did make it out of the water, just to meet the bike with a flat tire and had to race over 3 miles carrying my bike on my back. Everything hurt when I was done, and the next year, I did it again and this time, I was the last person to finish on the bike. The last person to finish the bike. And the next year I did it again and then again, I have done four and I'm not done. The training at times is one and a half hours a day, I am exhausted, I am worried, the water is in the low 60s and that walk in, the feeling of sinking myself into that water is the most terrifying part of my life. But in my fourth one, I got better. My swim was my strongest, I made it all the way up the hill on my bike, and every time, I finish. Now, once a week, I hit the pool to prove to myself that I can. And just this month, I am swimming 1,000 yards and I am always passed, always the slowest in the water, but I am getting better.

I work for an agency that I believe in as much as I do you and this spring will be 19 years. You would think after 19 years in one place I would be perfect, I would get it all right all of the time but absolutely not. I make so many mistakes, daily mistakes. But now they are lessons and they are how I learn and how I get better.

In starting my own company, the fear drapes over me like the heaviest weight, but I still show up. I still go on and I have learned to be me with every interaction, every communication because that is how I get better. Staying true to who I am and trying and trying something in a different way, and messing up and learning from it and finding a potential solution and seeing if that worked and then going from there. Better, I am getting better.

Better takes time, it takes so much damn patience, it takes commitment, it takes want. Nothing will ever be perfect, you will never stop learning, you will always have to work at it, especially if you love it. Better is what you strive for, it's what your goals have to be because anything else is not obtainable or not worth it.

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