11
Aug

Walk slow

I have been spending some time looking at older pictures of you both. Ones from years past, ones in which your smiles are ear to ear. You are the embodiment of childhood. You are happy, you are small, you are loving a little life that we have all created.

Each year, each day, I know we let go just a little more. And each year, I worry that this might be the last year that they are young enough to want to do this or that. But the one thing I have really noticed is that you are both walking slow. You too are holding on, not clinging but walking slowly. You have always been in charge of this dance, you have always led and I have followed. But, this is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen, you somehow understand there is time for all of this that awaits and you have decided to walk slow.

Dearest Anna, my old little soul. You have always taken your time. You arrived on your terms, you did things at your speed. I choose to believe it is because you realize you will get to responsibilities, you will get to all that is on the other side of little. But, these days, this time, this little sliver of a window, it's fleeting and instead of rushing towards being older and wishing you could do more of this or that, well, you are walking slow.

Sweet Cole, my little monkey with a brand new heart. I choose to believe you honestly live your best life and every single day is your greatest. So, you want to stay right where you are, with love and playing and toys and make-believe and friends and chaos and surrounded by legos and books and childhood. You want to be covered in childhood. So although you don't know the meaning of the words walk slow...for this, you are taking your sweet time.

Selfishly, I choose to believe that you are giving me my greatest gift. The gift of lingering longer in little with you. The gift of dolls and playing and bike rides and legos all over my house and hugs and snuggles and smooches and hand-holding and "I love you" out of nowhere and reading dates and wanting to be read to and piggyback rides and being held and a want to talk about nothing that is your everything.

Although it is not for me, I still want to thank you. I want to thank you for taking your sweet time. I want to thank you for still loving childhood and all that comes with it. I want to thank you for believing in Santa and the tooth fairy and magic and wishes. I want to thank you for believing in happily ever after so much you made me a believer too. I want to thank you for proving to us all that love at first sight does exist. I want to thank you for filling this home and this jaded mamma with a second chance at childhood.

Thank you for walking slow.

9
Aug

Five Minute Friday - again

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 again.

Go.

I spent a week with love, and the sound of water, and the feeling of sand on my feet, and warmth from the inside out. And then I came home and it started all over...again. I felt the tension, I wasn't sleeping as well, I started to feel tighter, more concerned. I was at it...again.

I kept trying to find the feelings that were there just days ago. The ones that were light and happy. The feeling of comfort, the feeling of being surrounded by family and framily, the feeling of joy, the feeling of childhood. But the more I tried, the further away it all seemed. My littles faces felt it, my body felt it, my joy was fading and slipping away and it was being replaced with worry and being shut down...all over again.

So in my last few months of this year, I have a lot I still need to do. I am finishing my year of change and I still have a lot to complete. A lot to work on, a lot to change. And it will be tough, at times, it will be brutal. And that is why I really need to remember that I have to put down the things that are too heavy. The things I cannot carry. The things that are too much for me and I need to be an example to you. We are not responsible for everything and everyone. We are not responsible for every reaction and every decision. It is time I take a hold of my life...again.

Stop.

19
Jul

Five Minute Friday - distant

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 distant.

Go.

Hello my dear old friend, my go-to, my pull that I work on pushing away. Hello to one of my many coping mechanisms, the ones that serve me well and poorly, all at the same time.

Hello to the thing that hurts me most about myself, the thing I learned to take away most from them. The thing that confuses me most about adulthood. Am I being healthy by creating distance, am I being same old me that just walks away? Is it a good idea, when is it a good idea? What would make my kids cringe when they are older, what will they understand and be proud of my boundaries? Do I have boundaries or do I have old unhealthy patterns?

Hello to yet one more pattern I worry about. Hello to what I know too much about. Hello silent treatment, hello distance, hello confusion, hello my dear old friend.

Hello to the constant nagging of "here we go again" and the "no, you need to walk away because you just feel so bad around them". Hello to the constant nagging of "why do you always go this route" and "when are you going to stop letting them in?" Hello to the constant nagging of "you take after them" and "you can't allow this negativity in anymore". Hello to being split and not knowing what is right, what is ethical, what to do.

And I watch others weave and go through life. Not having this weird part of them. Knowing when to walk away with health and courage, knowing what is worth fighting for. Knowing when to not look desperate and knowing when to not be too proud.

But me, I carry an old dear friend on my shoulders. I carry distance and being distant and anger and resentment and old ways and old ties and writing people off and just walking away. Hello dear sweet old friend...hello my dear.

Stop.


3
May

Five Minute Friday - opportunity

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 opportunity.

Go.

Your dad worries about this one more than I do, at least in different ways than I do. He worries more about offering enough choices, activities, chances at doing better. He sees what you will become, he already sees all of the potential and he strongly feels it is up to us to nourish that, push you, have you be your best you. I worry about it in the sense of different choices. Do you have the opportunity to voice your concerns, do you have the opportunity to feel really heard, the opportunity to have us available to you, when you need and want us around?

Do you have the opportunity to feel what it means to be a part of a team, not just out there, but a team at home. Are we giving you an opportunity to see what that means, how much we rely on each other, how much we need each other? How we don't work without each other? Do you have the opportunity to see us fight and make up? Do you have the opportunity to see us hug and smooch and the opportunity to see what healthy relationships are, not perfect, there is no such thing, but loving. Do you have enough responsibilities, and the opportunity to grow beyond what you have done?

Do you have the opportunity to see how privileged you are? How privileged we all are? Do you have the opportunity to see that when you want something, you go get it, but that of course means sacrifice. That of course means something taking priority and something else not. Do we give you the opportunity to experience joy enough? Childhood enough? Are you living the childhood you want to be living? The opportunity to have enough down time, enough play time, enough time to just be and be you.

Those are the opportunities I want to present. One isn't more important or more precious. I get and understand where you dad is coming from. But, I do know that you will be your best you, I know you will turn out just great. I worry more that if you don't look back and see this time, this little window of just us, this very small stretch of cozy and family and little as simple childhood, I will feel as though an opportunity was lost.

Stop.

28
Apr

Dear joy

It's been a while for you and I. I think I finally figured out that in my chase to secure happiness, I forgot about our relationship and how important we are to each other. I forgot that you creep in, that you live in a moment, not in an idea, or a lifetime, or in the future. You are right here, you spring up now and again and it is just as much up to me to keep our relationship going, to keep it strong, to keep it fed. I forgot to keep our relationship flourishing and to keep us connected. I forgot how much I need you.

Happiness is what we desire, it's what we tell our kids to be, but I am starting to realize that happiness brings with it a lot of anxiety and a hunt. I am also realizing if you make happiness the ultimate goal that means you are looking for a life void of other feelings. Like feeling blue, down, sad, pained, mournful. All of those emotions are just as important, they allow you to grow, they allow you to move on, the allow you to feel, they allow all of life in. But if all you care about is being happy, you then feel like a failure when life inevitably happens and the other emotions have to come through. I think I always knew that of course, you would feel other things, but overall, you want to lead a happy life. That's what I always believed, you want to lead an overall happy life.

Unfortunately, you will go through days, weeks, months, years of just not being happy. You will go through stretches of things being hard. You will go through stretches of not loving your job, or not being on the same page as your person, or not seeing eye to eye with your kids, or trying to figure things out. If you continue to search and hunt for happiness, you are likely to think you have to just walk away. And sometimes, you do, but sometimes, you have to realize you might be in a season in your life where happiness is more difficult than you though.

But joy, joy can enter at any time. Joy can be found at a funeral when telling a funny story, joy can be found in your darkest hour, joy can be found while folded into yourself. Joy comes and goes, it dances with you. Joy is something you can actually bring into your world. You can surround yourself with reminders of joy. You can do it in the littlest ways. You can find joy in a song, or a quick dance party, you can find it in cleaning up and getting your house decluttered, you can find it by painting something fun, you can find it by going for a walk, petting your dog, you can find it in a smile, you can find it, I promise you that. You can always find it and you can be the joy for others too.

But, here's the funny thing about joy. Even if you're not looking for her, even if you're not ready to let her light shine, she finds you, she can't help it. She won't let you sit and wallow for too long, she finds her way in and she makes your heart lighter, she makes you feel better, even if it's for a moment. Here's the other thing about joy, you do need her so when she pokes her way back in, you have to remember that feeling and you have to remember that you need more reminders of her. You have to remember to welcome her in more, it's too heavy otherwise. You can't carry all the weight forever and ever, you need to lighten the load, and that is her job. She lightens the load and makes you feel like you can take on this minute, this hour, this day.

Dear joy, I am sorry I forgot about you. I'm sorry I neglected you. Thank you for reminding me that you are never far away. Thank you for calling my name and asking me if you can come over to play. I'm so sorry my door was closed for so long. I'm sorry I allowed my darkest hour to take completely over and I'm sorry that I forgot that I have the ability to make room for you. I can give you a call and ask you for a quick cup of coffee because I need you today, I need you and I will allow you in.

19
Apr

Five Minute Friday - next

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 next.

Go.

What is next for me? Where do I go from here and how do I keep going and moving towards what I want? I am scared, I am tired, I am so worried and my fear comes from having to only believe in me. I have to grab my whole family by the hand and throw them off a cliff and tell them that I am going to have us land successfully, without scrapes and bruises. Trust me guys, I can do this, I can have us fly off the cliff, not come crashing to the ground. And although they have all the faith in the world in me, I don't know if I trust myself enough to do that. And so I am worried, I am retreating, I am walking myself back and I am allowing fear in.

My next chapter in this journey will most likely be my last so I wanted to be intentional and really smart about it. I wanted it to be a combination of me and a challenge and growth. But, what if it now feels unauthentic, what if it now feels like I am an impostor? Is that the fear talking, is it me, should I listen to the nagging voice, should I push through? What is next? There are moments in this, glimpses in which it feels so natural. I feel right, I feel in control, my connections are aligning, my hours mean something. There are most times when I feel defeated, like it is all for nothing. Like I will never move, like my next will not come.

So, it is time to use my "me-ness" for the good. Set a plan, get it in order, get all my to-dos laid out and move. Don't stand still, don't bury your head, don't just cry and complain. Exhale, know what is next, remember your why and your reason, remember the hours and what you really want your life to look and feel like, move with your breath, be intentional, connect, be there for people, remember it all started with a purpose. Hold on to that purpose, know that others will find you because they too want this in their life. Hold on to who you are, hold on to them, jump, leap, cradle them in your arms and believe. You will land, you will do this. This is your next chapter, do your thing, do you, make it count.

Stop.

14
Apr

Goo

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Years ago, I met someone. Every Sunday, I would show up to her class. I would rush in late, head down, never talking to anyone. And I would see her, hear her, follow her. I sat close to her for years and years, never looking up, never talking, but I felt a pull. She didn't know my name, she doesn't know my story, but she is so important to my life. And several weeks ago, she started hinting of a move and then finally announced her intentions of not just a move but a cross country move, and I slowly fell apart.

Little faces, it is mom's year of change. And a year of realizing there is so much I just have to roll with because I don't roll easily. I don't let go easily, I mourn every change. But it is starting to really feel like a season of loss and like I asked for this, I called it to me. I told the universe that this is my year to embrace change and how hard it is for me so the universe responded with moves, and people leaving in dramatic ways, and people slipping through my fingers, and the parts in my life that made me okay all of a sudden not being there and me having to rebalance and shift and dammit, I don't balance well so to rebalance is hard and how am I going to keep shifting?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Just last month, I finally introduced myself. I finally spoke directly to her, I laughed with her a bit, we connected. Little does she know I was already connected. I am the girl that fully listens to her on Sundays, open-hearted, open-minded. My stubborn fades when I am sitting by her side. My hardness melts and I am not only softer, I am kinder. And mostly, I am kind to me, and I am rarely kind to me. I have cried with her several times. I have laughed from my toes with her. I feel differently when I leave her each week, better, I just feel better.

There are other things too. She has taught me what my body can do, she has taught me how to breathe, and more importantly, how to exhale. She has taught me not only can I do a hand-stand, but she changed my whole perspective on it, she took away my doubt. She has taught me how to keep what I learned with me all week. She has taught me about allowing joy and good in. She has taught me how good it feels to be part of a community that comes together each week, she has taught me how to meditate, she has taught me to put the lists away and be here for just this hour and a half. All from a woman that didn't even know my name.

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

Little faces, these are the words she spoke to me just last week. And the tears started to roll down your mom's face, they didn't stop for a solid 15 minutes. Because I am in a season of such fear and not believing in myself and doubting my decisions and fearful that I am going to lead us into the dark, the unknown. Having to just let go and believe and how does a planner, a type A, an upholder, one that controls all aspects of her life her world do that? How do I let go and believe I have it in me and it will just come? And, god, what if I fail? What does that mean for our security, our future, what does it mean about our survival? How am I to believe that it was in me all along? How am I to realize that I have to now call this part forward, I have to affirm it in my soul. This is the actual change I seek.

She began her talk about "the goo". How when you are in the middle of a transition, whether it is sad or joyous, whether it is scary or exciting, whether it is a new beginning or the very end, every transition has what she referred to as the "goo" phase. A phase in which everything unravels and there is destruction and you have to mourn the old to get to the other side of the transition. She said it's similar to how a caterpillar has to become this butterfly. It slithers along, it goes deep into itself, it then destroys all that it is and knows, it becomes a pile of goo, only to re-emerge. Brighter, faster, able to fly.

And that is exactly what I do and exactly what change feels like for mom. Unlike dad and the two of you who all deal with change so so well, mom rarely stops to look and admire the butterfly. She is so stuck mourning the damn caterpillar. I am always looking at the caterpillar and sad for the loss, I am wanting it to come back to us, I am screaming at it to breathe, I just want it to stay the same.

She talked about how she, her family, and her entire community are in this goo phase and all I could think was, when am I not there? That is the reason I had to make change my word this year. I needed to force myself out of the goo phase. But instead, I have found myself stuck in goo, mournful of my year, mostly sad. And watching this woman fly like a butterfly has me on my knees giving CPR to the caterpillar and wondering, what next?

Then I asked her "what am I going to do without you?"? and she responded, "you're going to realize it was always in you".

As the tears continued to fall throughout her entire speech, I wanted to tell her I am part of the goo phase too and her leaving is leaving a huge hole in my heart. But, here's the thing. She's right. You have to go through the goo. It is an essential part of the process. Where things get difficult is when you linger there or when you stop moving forward because you are there. It's when you let fear take over and you refuse to move. Or when you think it's easier to stay where you are. Or it's when the sadness is so much you cannot see the beauty of the butterfly. That's what I do. I forget to see how gorgeous the butterfly is because I am so sad for the caterpillar.

But the three of you, you always see the butterfly. Yes, you love the foundation and Anna James, my little me, you long for the known and the traditions because you ache for it to stay the same. But you, like your dad, always see how gorgeous that butterfly is. See, your dad says things like, I'm sorry your instructor is moving. I know this will be hard for you and how much you loved her class. But, there might be someone else that takes over and you might like them too? That is looking at the butterfly.

So universe, I am trying. I really am. I am trying to embrace the beauty of the butterfly but at the same time, I need you to back off a tiny bit. The change I have called forward, I could use a small break. I get it, you are trying really hard to get me to keep flying through change but I am a puddle these days. I need a hint of stability because what I want is to walk away from a 20-year relationship and project that I have believed in down to my toes. A relationship I will always and forever believe in. A relationship that taught me more than anything the power of childhood. Because the change I want is to grow and fly. Please, let me become the butterfly and give me the stability I need to be grounded in the other.

Dear girl in my life, the one that just learned my name. Yours was not just a class, it was my church. Yours was not just where I went to learn a new pose, it was where I learned to get stronger, to believe in me. I know you are going home and I am looking at your butterfly with all its beauty. Dear universe, please allow me to keep believing in her words

"you're going to realize it was always in you"

and allow me to become my own butterfly.

5
Apr

Five Minute Friday - offer

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 offer.

Go.

It's been a crazy crazy ride. I am only three months into my year of change, and everything has changed...ask and you will receive I guess. I have been through drama and heartbreak and actually breaking and worry and stress and my body has revolted and my head has pounded and I have been concerned and scared and cried.

So, I surrender, I am waving my flag and telling this grand universe, I am yours, I am up for the taking and I hand it all over to you. I offer you control and all of me. I offer you my life, my future, my path, my journey. I offer you my mind and my concerns and my heart full of fear. I offer you my tears and my pain and my aching jaw. I offer you my stress and my place in all of this and me, I offer myself up to you. I offer it all up to you. I offer you my wonder of where I belong and my craze of how it will all work and my heart up and down. I offer you my days and my nights and my weeks and my months. I surrender to you because I do not know how or what to even ask of you so instead, I just plain surrender and say it is yours for the taking.

I offer up to you full control of all I have rattling in my head.

Stop.

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.

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