5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

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 take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


23
Jun

The year

I just read one of the most amazing articles of all time that put this whole school gig into the most amazing perspective. It's on the average kid, the one that doesn't make the team, isn't in every single thing, isn't straight As in all the subjects, isn't killing it since birth in an area of their life, isn't already headed for college at 10, hasn't already created something, invented something.

But the kid with heart, the one that loves to read, the shy kid, or the kid that can be friends with anyone, the kid that loves animals, or loves to color still, the one that still wants to play and just be a kid. That kid, the average kid, the one we all lost sight of, the one we are all trying to push, the one that doesn't need pushing because they are so content. And good, and kind, and smart at their thing, and thinking, and being little.

" School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best."

I made a promise that I would protect your childhood. Not a promise to protect you because you've got this, but your childhood. I made a promise you would get to be little, and kids, and not be over scheduled or overdone. I made a promise that it would be about being kids while I had kids because damn does that window close fast.

I don't know when or why it happened. I wasn't part of much when I was in school but I found my own way. Dad, he was part of the team, any team, but he still got to be a kid. He didn't have to start specializing at the age of 6 and somewhere along the way, parents lost their way and started down this really scary path.

And I just want you to know, my 4th and 1st grader, my little tiny faces, I am proud of the year you have had. Because you always tried, because you worked hard, because of your hearts.

Anna, I am so proud of you for knowing that all of your closest friends were all in one classroom together and instead of being upset, or sad, or even bringing it up, you made new friends. Good friend. Friends that you really love and laugh with and have so much fun with. Friends you have story after story after story about. Friends that you write notes to. Friends that you want to be around. Friends that make you feel good. You did something that has always been so hard for mom and you just put yourself out there and you connected. I am most proud that you befriended a new kid, one that you could tell was feeling shy and worried. You made the first connection and you brought her into your heart. I am proud of you for opening your arms and your heart out and as you get older, it will be harder but I hope you always remember how easy and natural it is for you to make friends.

Anna, I am proud of you for always trying, for giving your best. For putting your mind to something. Not because you are perfect at it, not even because school just comes easy to you, not because you don't get any mistakes or do everything right, but because you just keep going. When spelling was hard for you, you worked at it. You found solutions. You listened to tutors, you practiced. When things are hard, you do not give up, you do not get frustrated, you take the help and you learn and you cope and you do.

Anna, I am proud of you for really giving it your all. For leading with your heart, for being a social butterfly and loving to be around people. Anna, I love that you fell even harder for reading this year. I love that I find you all over the house reading. I love that you use the car to read. I love that you are covered in books and always have one near by. I love your love of stories. I love that you are starting to write your own and I love that you are still silly, and little and not at all growing up too fast.

Cole, I, and everyone that comes into contact with you, falls hard and heavy for your heart. I am proud of the person you are Monkey. I love that you make everyone around you feel loved. I love that everyone thinks and feels like you are their friend because you are. I love that there is nothing malicious about you. I love that there is nothing fake. I love that you just love people. I love that all the grownups in your life see that too. I love that you come in, get your homework done and just want to play play play. I love that you spend so many quiet hours with legos. I love that you make people feel loved and cared for. I love that people can always count on you. I love that you have a smile that can melt, and I love love love how funny you are.

Cole, I am proud that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. I love that you are emotional. I love that you put it all out there. I love that although sitting and listening are not your thing, you do it so well for your teachers. I love that you know what is right and what is wrong. I love that you look to them to confirm you have to step back. I love that you get excited, I love that you think most days are the best days of your life. I love that you would move heaven and earth to be with your dad. I love that you love hugs, I love that you love little guy kisses.

Kiddos, I am proud of you because you are good people. And I love you because you both love love. And that does not make you average, that makes you special. You receive what you put out and you always put out love and kindness. You put your best foot forward and you always try. You are not average, you are exceptional because you know and realize what really matters in this world. All of this other stuff, it does not matter, you have the real world figured out. Love, kindness, friendship, caring humans.

21
Jun

Five Minute Friday - question

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 question.

Go.

We all have them. We start pretty early in life trying to figure things out, or why certain things just have to be a certain way. We get in trouble for asking too many and we sometimes don't move forward because we are stuck in a cycle of them.

Although I am not motivated by a why, I am much more motivated by the because this is how "it" is "done", I do question every move I make. I do carry the thought right down to the worst case scenario. I do answer my own why but I still worry and think through, excessively think through, the decisions I make. I question myself more than I question my actions. I sit, I ponder, I think of every possible thing that could go right or wrong, and I reason it all out.

Raising two little faces that I ask to do this or that, or ask not to do this or that, I get asked why a lot. I have tried very hard to not come back with the typical, because I said so now just do it, response. Instead, I try an walk them through it all, I try and be reasonable and compassionate to all of the questions, but that's not always so easy. Patience wears thin, I have already explained it, I have answered and answered and now you're just arguing, and as always, I am tired guys. Gut-wrenching tired, bone tired, hard to stay awake ever tired.

But ask your questions, I will keep trying to answer them all. Ask your questions and dad will tell you how and why things are made. He will tell you where things are and about the history of this and that. I will tell you why I do things a certain way and how to keep yourself sane in an insane world. As you get older, remember it's okay to question yourself and your motives and your motivation and your decisions. Just do not get stuck, do not get trapped in a cycle of questions and talking yourself out of things that make you scared. Jump a little, believe just a little, trust just a little more.

Stop.

17
Jun

The fog

I talk a lot about how for years and years and years, we were in the fog of parenting. But just the other day, I was reading another mom's fog and it reminded me how desperate those times were and how desperate they felt. I can tell right away when two people are in the fog now. I can see it in their faces, I can hear it in how they talk, and I now know how normal it is.

Here's the craziest and scariest part, for us, it didn't happen in the beginning. It did not happen with newborns. No, for us, it came on three years in. Just when I thought we were not only safe, but I thought we were invincible. I found myself elated, telling him things like "we made it, we managed to avoid all of the fog." I was so damn cocky. I was so sure we sidestepped all of the crap, and we came out the other side, strong, loving, partners, leaning on each other, doing this incredible dance, it all just fit. And all of that was true, we were, we did, it was as if we were meant to do this, together. Until we started to walk on each other's toes and we no longer had any rhythm of a dance. Until it leveled me, us, what we had, who we were, what I thought we were, who I thought we were. The fog settled around us and we couldn't see each other anymore. We had lost, we were lost, and I thought we were gone.

The fog, for us it lasted for excruciating years. We did eventually figure out why. It all of a sudden all made sense. And you would think that would have fixed it but hell no. It took more years to fight our way back. I kept allowing the fog to cloud my vision, you kept shining a light in my face to have me see you and find you in the mess.

The fog settles at different times, in different ways, for different reasons for different people. The fog makes you deflated, angry, exhausted, resentful, full of contempt, unable to laugh, unable to see. It doesn't last all day every day but when it settles over, it lingers. And most of the days, you lose. You don't have a fighting chance against it. It changes you, it changes how you see your other, it changes how you see your life. It makes it too dark to see clearly so it's covered in gray. The fog makes you want, it makes you think it's greener someplace else. The fog makes you cry, hard. But, if you all hold on to each other, stumble through the mess together, if you go slowly, become more gentle, remember what is on the other side, all of a sudden, it lifts.

You have days that are clearer, you can finally see. You have days with more sunshine, they just feel warmer. You have days with more color, the green is on your side now. You realize how hard that was and how you somehow managed to make it through. I'm no longer cocky enough to think for even one second that the fog won't settle in again. I will no longer proclaim that we managed to avoid anything. Because for some, it doesn't settle in at all. But that is rare, that is not the norm. See, for others, it takes over for a short while, some others longer. And in the long run, all of it is short when you are staring at forever. But it is one of the many secrets of parenting that no one talks about, everyone is hush hush about. The fog is a real thing, it happens and it does not mean you are broken. It does not mean you are in trouble, it means you have walked through the thick of it, it's murky right now, it will once again lift.

What I have learned is that if you are with family, if you find someone you do not want to walk away from, you manage to hold on. You manage to find ways to laugh, you keep talking, you keep searching for each other, you stumble together, but you never let the other person fall. You lose, and it doesn't matter. You keep showing up for each other because you know how worth it all is. You realize this is a blip in your long long life together. You realize so many others are also walking through the fog and you shine lights in their faces too to remind them that this is all very normal. What I have learned is that you figure it out, the dance becomes more and more of the rhythm you know you have. You look across the table and you just smile because you know this is home, this is where your heart has always been, this is where you belong.

31
May

Five Minute Friday - name

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 name.

Mine fits me, is important to me, it's one of the things given to me that I am so proud of, in love with even. Dad's too, not only does his fit perfectly, even the spelling is him. Simple, not complex, nothing added as a buffer, just there, the real him. And together, our names now fit like they are supposed to. Not in a blended way, but just balance each other, compliment one another.

So, when it came time, we thought and thought and thought about the perfect names for you both. One, after so many women in our family, the other deeply attached to the family too. One, important to me, the other important to dad, both, fitting you. One meaning grace, the other a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth. Names that needed to sound right together, apart, with our last name, without it. Names that felt like the right extension, addition to us. Both timeless.

And once settled, we felt so good, so right about our decisions. You didn't grow into them, you were them. You were born feeling like them and you continue to live right up to them. You embody them. I love calling you by your names, I love that this is what we picked for you. I love knowing that you too love your name. I love that you too realize it makes you special, to us, to you. I love knowing you are in love with all the nicknames that come with them, I just love you.

Until this reminder, I had almost forgotten how important naming you was to me. I had almost forgotten how much thought and emphasis I put on it. I had forgotten how much I loved mine, how much I wanted you to feel that way about yours. I almost forgot that I really wanted to get this right and I love that we did.


12
May

This year - 2019 Moms Day

This year, I am more and more appreciative of our time together. I am more thoughtful of our words, our exchanges. I am more fragile because time seems to be fleeting. I am more attentive, more purposeful and softer. I am more present, I am more giving of myself, and that is huge when time is more and more out of my control.

This year, I have spent watching you, listening to you, loving on you. I have once again had to change my ways. I have slowed down with you, I have stopped talking and just paid more attention. This year, you have opened up more, you have done more and more of the talking. And most times, it is about silly things, times you think you are hysterical. Sometimes, they are about more important things, and no matter what, they are all important to you.

This year, I have quieted my voice with you, I have yelled less, I have tried to stop criticizing and judging and putting you in a box, labeled and sent off for eternity. This year, you have proved you are still the best you I know. You have melted into me, you have shown your heart, like you always do.

This year, I have made change my word and I have tried to change for you. I have taken this on so I can have more and more time with you. So we can see each other in the morning, so I can be here for all the big and little things, because to you they are all big and important. I want to be the one you continue to turn to and talk to and I have to keep reminding myself how much my reactions matter.

This year, you have struggled and shined in your different ways, which is and will be every year, always and forever. You have grown, you have stayed little, you have matured and you have taken a couple of steps back too. This year, you have made your circle bigger, you have gotten along, you have fought, you have fallen harder for Pearl. This year, you have played more games, gotten into a groove and are still trying to figure out you.


Motherhood, parenthood, life is ever-changing. It is a crazy and at times sickening ride. It is scary and there are too many directions to go in. Motherhood, parenthood, life is hard and somehow worth it. It is loving and sacrifice and hoping you are getting any of it right.

This year, I wanted to thank you for this really important title you have given me. This responsibility you have laid at my feet. I know I mess up more than I win, I know I learn more than I know, I know that you are trying to raise me as much as I am trying to raise you. But damn, I do love you and I work hard on providing that love. And damn, you love me too and when you do fold into me, I am reminded of the babies I brought home, the incredible weight of something so small and how lucky I am that I get to mother and love you.

10
May

Five Minute Friday - practice

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 practice.

Go.

It doesn't make perfect, it just makes you better. Little faces, this is one of the adult secrets that I have learned time and time and time again. No matter how hard I work at something, it will not make me the best, just the best that I can do. And sometimes, even that isn't true. Something I could do so well yesterday, I my body won't feel the same and I can't today. Something that felt so right and I felt so strong in, will all of a sudden give out. Either exhaustion, or a tweak, or it all not aligning will impact it all.

So, there is no such thing as perfect, that is obvious, but the fact that practice doesn't necessarily always yield the exact results you are looking for is the hardest pill to swallow. A run that felt so strong could in the next week feel tiresome. A piece you have practiced over and over on the piano could be easily messed up just by one note. A line you were rehearsing for a play could leave you feeling too nervous to get it out when you are on that stage.

But, that doesn't mean we don't practice because, over time, it does make us our better selves. And it teaches us discipline and commitment. It teaches us to get stronger, more confident and it teaches us that even if the stars don't align and on the day it counts we aren't our best selves, we tried our hardest dammit and that effort is what really matters. It tells us that we gave it our all, we tried our hardest and if it was in the cards or not, that's all we can give, our best try.

So, I will never win a race. Sometimes, I don't even come close to what I wanted to do. There were two times I came in last place. There are times the work I pour myself into doesn't make sense to me anymore for weeks at a time. And no matter how hard I try, I will never look good running or doing yoga, my body will always look wrong. But I am showing up everyday, I am giving it my all and even though there are times I feel so defeated and deflated, I can always look in the mirror and say, I tried. I practiced and I left myself out there.

You will too. You'll see. It doesn't always feel amazing but when you sit back, when you can rest your head at night knowing you did the best you could, well, that's the feeling you want in life.

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.

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