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.

17
May

Five Minute Friday - promise

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 promise.

Dear Cory, when I met you, I made a promise to my heart. You would be a part of my family. You would be in my life, no matter what, we became connected, instant and immediate. I found home.

Dear Mia, when I met your furry little face, I was at the end of a life goal I had set. I was so young, so old, so ready for love and snuggles. And I met a little old soul puppy that had so much life and love to give. We made a promise to each other, we would raise one another, and we did.

Dear Anna, when I met you, I became a mom. I held this intense responsibility and for the first time in my life, believed in happily ever after. I met a little face that was so serious, so trusting, reaching for us, and so observant. I realized that little is so big and you were my dream. I realized that I now carry a heart in a very real way and I promised to love and hold and let go. I promised to forever carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.

Dear Cole, when I met you, I knew what love at first sight meant. I learned that people are so attracted to you, I learned that they are drawn to you. I learned that love is attractive and that kindness is something that doesn't always need to be taught. I learned that people are loving and I made a promise, to be more like you. To learn from your natural love and light. To fall in love with love.

Dear Pearl, when I met you, I was ready. I had mourned the loss of my first puppy and I was ready for my home to be filled with puppy kisses and snuggles. What I quickly learned is that if you ask for things, they come and what I got was a lover of love. I got hugs, actual hugs and smooches and a puppy that needs to be held, needs to be noticed. I got love and I made a promise to always and forever embrace. I made a promise to stop and hug and pay attention and slow down and remember that if you live life without these connections, it's just not worth it.

I made a promise to take advantage of this second chance. I made a promise to love you as hard as I can and not regret out time together. I made a promise to not look back and wish I did it differently. Even though I mess up, I promise that I am always trying. I made a promise to you, to me, to all of us.

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.

31
Mar

Stepping back

You know how sometimes, I get so angry and my patience is nonexistent and all I can think about is how messy the house is or how loud everyone is? You know how sometimes I get so mad at dad for yelling or you guys for fighting or Pearl for eating something? You know how it feels like I am always asking you to clean up after yourselves or setting up rules for the house? Well, even with all of that, even in all of those times, even when I am my most mad, I want you to know I am not taking any of this for granted.

I always take a step back and I know, I realize, our time together is limited.

That is why I am also the mom that has started an empty nest bucket list of things I want to do when you are gone, because I need direction and things to look forward to. I am also the mom that has set traditions, and foundation, because I want our base to be strong. I am also the mom that can see into the future, the one in which you are off and our time together has come to a close, and I just don't get to anymore.

I don't get to know every detail. I don't get to know what your new facial expressions mean. I don't get to kiss you goodnight, I don't get to sit for hours and read with you. I don't get to mother. And that is why I always take a step back. I know, I realize, our time together is limited.

It is true that in the thick of motherhood, in the middle of actually surviving, every moment is NOT about tomorrow. Most moments are trying to get through without your teeth itching and you losing your shit over nothing. Most days, most parents, are running on actual empty. Most days, most parents, do not have anything left in their tank. Most days, most of us are all together and for one reason or another, we are on each other's nerves. But, this mom who is focusing a year on embracing change, knows that tomorrow always comes and every stage is limited. And that is when I take a step back, and hold on. Because our time together is limited.

It is not hard for me to imagine a day when you are gone. It is not difficult for me to realize that day is coming and I cannot be swallowed by it. I know that I will linger in your bedroom. I will remember why we put this one thing here or there. I will remember how I set up your crib, how carefully we chose your first bedding, your decorations. I will remember the talks and the books we have read, and the tickle fights and the quiet will hit me hard. I know this day is coming. I also know that your dad will do better with it all so he will find me in a puddle, missing you. Which is why I work so hard on stepping back, taking it all in and realizing our time together is limited.

When it does come, the beds will be permanently made. The toys will be long long gone. The carpets will not be landmines of legos. My laundry chores will be easier, my kitchen will never need to be picked up and homework will no longer be a stress. Our four person office will quickly turn to two and your spots will be empty. See, your absence will be everywhere and I will have to be okay. And that is why, I keep stepping back, looking at it all from a future point of view, I take it all in and realize our time together is limited.

When we get to come together again, maybe just us, probably an expanded family, all of that will be a visit, almost like a gift. But I won't be your immediate, I become an extension. That is the actual circle. But know this, I loved you as hard as I could. I lingered in our limited time. Yes, I was annoyed at the stuff and the noise, but I basked in your little. I spent days upon days watching you, listening to you, opening up my heart to all of this. I spent time stepping back, taking it in, realizing our time is limited. And I won't take it for granted.

22
Mar

Five Minute Friday - reward

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 reward.

Go.

Parenthood is hard, and lonely, and difficult, and trying. It ends a life you once had, a life you really enjoyed and it creates a whole new one. Parenthood puts your marriage through every test, every bump, every crash and bush. Parenthood makes you wonder what happened, and why did you, and where did you go, and what family are you living for, and how are you defining love. Parenthood makes you break, shatter, lose, find, gain.

So why do people sign up? What is the actual reward? Is there one? Here is the actual truth about it all. Parenthood is a struggle. Most of the time, you feel lost, unsure, scared, worried, not on top of your game, your patience goes away, you wish you hadn't said that, you wish you had showed up for that, you wish you could have taken that back, you are mad, you are tired, you don't know what to say, what to do, you are in a fog, you come out of a fog, you remember there is a you in there somewhere, you cry...a lot, you lose sleep, you stress. But, the good...

...the good it so good that it carries you through all of that. The good is so good that they are the moments you will think of during your last days. The good is so good that it skews the bad, it makes you remember it differently, it makes you laugh at the things that bothered you yesterday. It makes you wish for the times that while you were sitting in them thought to yourself, when and how will this ever end? The good is so damn good that you would do it all over again. The good is so good that it makes your heart burst open. The good is so good that when you close your eyes, you find yourself actually smiling. The good is so good that when you look back at pictures, you only remember the good. The good is so damn good, it is so so good.

Is it for everyone? No. Is it what every person on earth should do, needs to do, is wasting away if they don't do it? No. Is it what I thought I would be doing? No. Is it how I envisioned my life? No. Is it what I always thought I would be, a mother? No. Do I remember the bad? Yes. Do I remember why I was crying, or worried, or yelling, or stressed, or tired, or scared? Yes. Is there a reward, yes.

It is in their hugs. It is in their smooches. It is in their stories. It is in their playing. It is in the good-nights. It is in the reading dates. It is in the traditions. It is in the fresh out of a bath and pjs on look that melts my heart. It is in the I love yous. It is in the little hands that reach for you. It is in the little shoes that I trip over in my mudroom. It is in all the pictures, all over my house, the ones that make me feel like the rewards are so so great.

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.

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