4
May

Five Minute Friday - adapt

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 adapt.
Go.

Do I adapt well?
Do I adapt to situations, or am I too stiff, unable to bend?
For a person who collects memories
for a person who holds on too hard to yesterday
for a person that worries too much about tomorrow
do I adapt?

I know there are times I feel as though I have allowed a new normal.
But that is not always a good thing.
A new normal of long hours
a new normal of forgetting to eat
a new normal of this is just how things are right now.
But when I really need to adapt to life changes, how do I do?

For all the moms that have a hard time letting go
I hear you, I feel you, I get you.
For all the moms that want to hit pause, take all the years of wishing time away, back
I hear you, I feel you, I get you.
For all the moms that have a hard time accepting, adapting to the new milestone, the new family dynamic,
I hear you, I feel you, I get you.
For all the moms that struggle with letting small go, saying goodbye to babies,
I hear you, I feel you, I get you.
It's ok.
It just means that your memories are warm,
they are rich
they are filled with life and love and happy
and who would want to move on from that?

In the end, we all adapt, because we have to.
We all move on, because they make us.
They take or hand, they lead this dance
and we slowly shuffle our feet along to their beat.

Stop.

29
Apr

You taught me

To believe in second chances.
To trust me.
To find my soft side.
To redefine family.

You taught me to laugh
and giggle
and believe in happily ever after
and love at first sight.

You taught me to take long walks
and listen, really listen.
You taught me to hug away cries.

You taught me to pay attention but to the important stuff.
You taught me how big little is.
You taught me to always pay attention to what seems to be little, because it is always big to you.

You taught me to believe that I am pretty
you taught me to look at myself so differently
you taught me to say things about myself differently
you taught me to say, good job mom.

You taught me that I have an important role
but you also taught me that you have one too.

You taught me to dance around the kitchen
you taught me to be silly
you taught me how important silly is.

You taught me that unconditional love is hard
you taught me that sometimes you run away and back towards love
you taught me that parenting is hard
but you taught me that it's all somehow worth it.

You taught me how important reading dates are
you taught me to fall madly deeply back in love with reading
you taught me that night time snuggles and ending a long day on a note of love is always and forever how we say goodnight.

You taught me not to care if it matches
you taught me how adorable words can be
you taught me how to love in such a different way.

So, I am here, eyes heart and ears wide open, ready and willing for all the teaching.

15
Apr

Finally grateful

What I once took for granted, I have found gratitude.
What I once saw as a burden, I now see as a gift.
In my year of different, I have found a way to be thankful for my life.

Thankful for things like
each night, we get a couple of hours of "us" time before we head to bed
on Sunday mornings, she would crawl into bed and read while we still sleep off the exhaustion
the kids are so healthy that they get to be crazy and drive us crazy
we still hold hands, still touch toes, after all these years
we have really amazing three day weekends
I am good at my job
we have friends that have become framily
snow days
family movie nights
slow Sundays
I sometimes get to steal 30 minutes alone in a coffee shop while my daughter is at piano practice
I sometimes get to spend that time with my son
vacations and not making school lunches
we make little getaways special and fun filled
a tired Pearl after a good day of play
finally learning how to ask for help
a handy husband that pours all of him into our house turned home
great classes at our inexpensive gym
traditions and making time stand still for just a few moments
coffee dates with good friends
hosting holidays in our new home

What I once saw as the wash and repeat, I now stop to recognize as special.
What I once felt was boring, I now see as time slowing down.
What I once carried as a heavyweight, I now see as my life, unfolding and I am putting my baggage away.
I am finding the room, the time, space, to reflect and be grateful for all I asked for and received.
This is my life and I am all in.

13
Apr

Five Minute Friday - other

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 other.
Go.

I have options.
I stood at this place in my life
a place of blue and hardship and I took a step back.
I looked at things from afar, tried to give myself some space and distance and I quickly saw two lanes, two roads.
I had to pick...one or the other.

One path looked foggy and had lots of obstacles and trees down, things in my way.
But it also looked so familiar, almost comforting because I knew every twist and turn.
This path has been all of me, I have built a life on this road.
I can see the younger me fighting for a way out.
I see all the things I put in my own way.
I see my home, my family, it's calling me to come back.

The other looked clear, it had more sunshine but was also brand new to me.
Newly paved, new trees planted, new life.
But all the same, new, and not at all familiar.
There was no same old same old on this path,
nothing for me to fall back on because I always fall back on old faithful.

I had a choice to make and it was time I treated that choice like a gift and not a burrden.
I am lucky enough to have options and choices in my life.
I am lucky enough to be afforded that space but I had to pick, one or the other.

Was I going to go down the path that was full of fog, steeped in it, so difficult to see but also so familiar that I could navigate it in my sleep?
Fog or no fog, this path knew me and I knew it.
Or would I choose to move through the new, the shiny, the sun, the light, the fresh air, the full of life but still...the other?
After almost forty years on this earth, where would I go, how would I live?

I stood at the crossroads
longing for things to be different and realizing that means I have to be different.
I was ready, no longer wanting to dip just my toe
I was ready and in my year of different,
I was ready for the new, the unfamiliar, I was ready for the other path.
And so, I took my first step in.

Stop.

16
Mar

Five Minute Friday - provide

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 provide.
Go.

There isn't much I leave up to anyone else to provide.
There isn't much that I am not the one that is giving, taking care of.
But in a class yesterday, one I take for me, one I take to remind myself to breathe,
I was reminded of how loudly the universe speaks to me, when I take the time to listen.

Because when I am ready to hear it, when I am ready to listen,
the universe provides me answers
and calm
and space
and opportunities to grow.

The universe reminds me that it is not all up to me,
I have partners
I have trust in my life and I can lean on them too.

The universe provides me balance and stops me from doubling down.
And there are times when it has to take things away from me to provide me with the reminder of what is important.

To provide me answers
it takes away my ability to move without pain
it takes away my ability to hold things without shaking
it makes me dizzy, seeing black spots dizzy, whenever I try and push through it all

To provide me sleep and rest
it takes away my ability to think clearly and makes my brain full of fog
it takes me from doctor to doctor trying test after test to finally come to the conclusion that I have to stop

To provide me with the love of my lives
it has my daughter wiping away tears in front of me daily
it has my son unraveling because he no longer feels a connection
it has my marriage exhausted

When I stop to accept and listen, the universe provides me with the answers I am always asking myself
when is too much too much
when is it time for me to pull back
how long can I do this for
how much more can I give

And yesterday I was reminded that I can still be provided with the lessons even when I am in balance
even when I am ready to be different.
I should not only listen when everything is dark
there are answers it is providing even when it all feels ok.

Like be with your kids on their day off
like set up family time and little dates with them
like they all need the real you, not the tired version of you that they see all too often
like love provides so much for them and you so just let love be your guide.

Stop.

18
Feb

Humor me

You know that I and milestones are not exactly best friends.
You know that the kids hitting a new phase of them breaks me a little.
I try and be strong
I put on a brave smile
I, of course, am thrilled for them...
but for you dear husband, you have to humor me.
You have to be the one to watch me crumble a little.
You have to be the one to pull me up, you have to listen to it because I cannot put that burden on them.
I know it does not mean or feel the same for you, but you have to humor me.

Traditions are our foundation.
I love them
you love them
you ask for them
you are disappointed if we have to change them (you look for how to rearrange it).
Traditions have become exactly what I had hoped.
But, there will come a day when you will want to go out instead of pile on the couch and watch a movie.
There will come a day when seeing friends will rank higher.
There will come a day when a sleepover keeps you from pancake Sunday
or when studying for a test will mean you can't make family dinner on Sunday night.
And when the nights start adding up and up and up and our time is more and more limited
I will ask you to humor me dear little ones.
I will ask you to please put it aside, please stay tonight.
Our family needs this right now, so find your way back to our foundation and humor your mom.

You know that with my intense and overwhelming love comes what can only be defined as crazy.
You know with my loyalty comes my emotions.
You know with my protection comes my fears.
So humor this mother of yours because she humored you too.
Humor your bride because you promised her she could rely on you.
She knows she is too much, she knows she is all in, she knows she is all consuming.

But, that is what real love is don't you know.
It's all consuming and crazy and overwhelming.
It's beautiful and awing
it's wonderful
and this woman who never thought motherhood would be her story is in awe.
She is in love
she is trying just like all mothers and fathers do
and she needs to be humored.

So, when I am singing as loud as possible in the car, humor me.
When I am dancing in the morning and insisting on a family dance party, humor me.
When I tell you we are going out for ice cream dinner and you feel you're too old for that stuff, humor me.
When I am crying because he/she/both of them are doing something new, humor me.
When they are far away and I can't remember how hard some of the years were, humor me.
When I insist on that last kiss good-night, even if your body is tall and lanky, humor me.
When I ask for a little guy smooch from you at 16 Monkey, humor me.
When I tell you I carry your heart on your wedding day Bella, humor me.
Because this mother and bride and person in your life, she needs to be humored.

4
Feb

I say I love you

There are so many times that "I love you" does not seem to be enough.
Because when your love is bursting from you chest
and at makes you feel like you can't breathe
"I love you" seems so small.
So I find other ways.
I find deeper way to connect and make you feel a love that can only be described as washing over us all.

I say it with looks and hugs.
I say it when I stop and settle with you.
I say it when I am not distracted.

I say it when I say olive juice.
I say it I reach for your hand.
I say it with I eat you up I love you so
I say it I carry your heart.

You say it back with mommy's sweet and low
and I carry yours too.

I say it with my February notes of love.
You say it by reminding me how much they mean to you.

I say it when I squeeze your hand three times.
You say it by squeezing it back twice.

I say it with our family movie nights
you say it with talk all week about how excited you are for Friday.

I say it with sign-language for I love you.
You say it back by getting your fingers just so.

I say it with creating a framily
you say it by falling just as hard.

I say it with warm snuggle blankets
you say it by asking me to join you on the coach.

I say it with our reading dates
you say it with begging for them and asking for night time snuggles.

I say it by telling you all about you as a baby, as a toddler, as my little one
you say it by falling in love with our story.

I say it through this blog, this journey I created for you
you say it by wanting to read them with me.

I wish I could let you know what it feels like to be a mom
the love that is just there, always there growing and growing and growing.
But, all if this is my attempt to have you even come to the flood you created.
Because you started something special when you picked us
and you redefined love to be messy and heartbreaking and complicated and tiring and energizing and...
so I will continue to find special small ways to remind you that love is all around us.

28
Jan

When love becomes family.

You will fall madly deeply in love.
Not just once, but several times.
You will meet people that leave actual marks on your heart.
They will be with you always.
You will dream about them well into adulthood, that is what love does.
But, if you decide to be with someone, always and forever be with someone, I want to share some things with you, and them.

First, I promise to find room in my heart for those you pick to love.
Your dad won't even have to work at this, it will come naturally for him.
Me, I will make it my mission to not be crazy
and love them
because you do.

I also realize that when you fall in love you bend and mold with them.
I promise I will not remind you that you are changing and making that seem bad because you should be.
We all grow with our person to become the best version of us.

I will also be the one to tell you if it feels off.
I will also call you out on your crazy
because forever is work.
Even when you are so in love you can't imagine it, forever is work.

Your mom and dad are deeply madly and forever in love with one another.
We are not perfect, because nothing is.
We are not without faults, blame or mistakes, we have made so many.
But, we always come back to us because there is something here that is worth it.
And that something is family.

People will tell you to be with your best friend
be with someone that makes you laugh
be with someone that challenges you
opposites attract
find your foundation
find someone to share things with
find common ground
find your soul mate.
All of it and none of it is true.

Find your family.
Find your person.
Find your connection that cannot be defined in any other way.
That is how you know.
They are family and you can't walk away from family.

There are many things that work for me and dad
like he is my balance, I am his.
We do have a strong foundation of common interests that were there from the beginning.
Your dad introduced me to things I didn't even realize I would love but I do, like being a sports fan
like home projects
like parenting.
He does make me laugh, even when I am mad, he makes me laugh.
I am a better person when I am with him, so is he.
He does challenge me, I do the same for him.
We show our love
we are affectionate
we tell each other how much we love each other
he won't allow either of us to walk away, I won't allow us to stand still.

There are many things we work at and on...
I need to be kinder, specifically to him and me.
I don't make him laugh, I'm just not that funny, he is just fine with that.
We do things very differently and drive each other crazy in the process.
I yell, he now does too.
I am a ball of stress, he now is too.
We fight, too much.

But, we are family and I never once felt differently.
From the moment we met, there was a familiarity with him, a connection that washed over me in a way that I hadn't experienced before.
He was my comfort, he made me feel at ease.
My body actual took a breath when I met him.
It melted and the anger, anxiety and hurt I had been carrying, it melted too.

And even through the dark times, that doesn't go away.
You can be angry with someone
you can not like them
you can need space from them
you can lose a feeling of warmth
but you never lose the feeling of family.

I don't know if we will be your compas
I don't know if you will look to us as what to look for
but if you do, this is the one thing that we did right.
We found family and never let go.

So, whoever you end up with, whoever you decide to share your life with
don't think about anything
don't search and search for a reason
don't weigh the pros and cons
don't think about their faults, their abilities
just go find your family and hold on for the ride.

We did.

12
Nov

Parenting

I think by now you know I don't have most of the answers.
I, like every single person that is a parent, am trying my best.
The curve balls you bring, the constant questions are all almost impossible to answer.
Most frightening, a situation I never saw coming.
How am I going to react to that? I think most days.
What should I say?
For real though, how I respond to this matters because they are going to remember my response.
When they are grown, they are going to tell someone this story and I am either going to nail it or suck...for kids, there is no in between for parents.
Because it is not until you are one, that you realize, we are all just trying.

But, in the quiet light of day, I can think of all of the things I want to teach you.
All of the lessons I want you to walk away from us having.
So this right here is my little list for you...without any feedback or questions as to why or how...here is what I hope you hold on to as you do you.

You are not going to be liked by everyone. That is more than ok. You are not going to like everyone and that too, is more than ok. Part of this journey is finding out who gives you energy and who takes it. Most of your life will be figuring people out, their intentions, yours. Being kind to all does not mean all end up in your circle. Walking away from unhealthy anything, including people, is always the right thing to do.

Work hard like me and smart like dad. Not for any other reason other than to make yourself proud. I can't promise you it will lead to success or money or good anything. I can't so I won't. But, I promise you that the best feeling I ever have is feeling good about myself. Proud of my work, my accomplishments, what I overcame, who I am, and most importantly, I am proud of those I allow in to my circle (this is clearly important to me). I am proud of the fact that I became a mom, I am so amazed I get to mother you, you make me proud of me.

Chaos and mess lead to clutter in your mind. I know, I am type A. I know I have a way the house needs to look, I know it is my calm. But here's something dad won't share with you because it means he has to keep up with it without reminders...order makes us all calm. I swear it, I promise. A made bed makes us all feel better, a clean floor and clean counters give us space to breathe and allow us to think. Clutter and too much stuff takes away space, it adds clutter to your mind and makes it hard for all of us to think. It's easier to toss and walk away, it's easier to not put a thing away, it's easier to get up and go, but in the end, it is always harder. It is harder to clean up big messes than small. It is harder to think in that mess, it is harder to even know where to begin so start and end each day with a once over. Keep up with the little messes.

Play sports and learn to be a good teammate. It will teach you about showing up and having others count on you. It will teach you how to rely on others. It will teach you to move your body and feel good about that. It will teach you to feel a part of something bigger than you. And speaking of your body, be so good to you. Don't push it too hard too young, be gentle be kind, be loving. There will come a day you might want to change every single thing about yourself and know that none of that is true. Your body needs you and your spirit.

Everything will matter to you and being mature means only the important things matter. The quicker you learn that the little things like who invited who to a party, or who was wearing what, or who said what, the better for you and you alone. Do what is good for you and you alone when it comes to the little things. Get so comfortable in who you are and know that of course you will change and grow, but at your core, you stay the same. What should matter to you is taking care of yourself, being kind to others, falling in love with learning, none of that should ever change. Come to realize that you are loved and that real relationships does not mean a ton of relationships. Always find genuine in your life and normally that means intimate, which means small. Be comfortable with you and know that your foundation, your home base, we are right here. You are honestly never ever alone. We could not love you more or less.

Taking care of others is just what we do. Notice how I give those who don't have a home food whenever I pass them. Remember our random acts of kindness. Remember that we are a family that is dedicated to taking care. People matter guys, making people feel accepted matters.

I don't know what social media will be when you are older, I don't know if it was an explosion for me in my 20s and by the time you are a teenager it will be over but I really don't think so. Be better than that. Be better than being addicted to someone else's dinner and plans and fake life. Use it for connections but make sure it is not replacing actual people.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I did make a lot of mistakes and I continue to make a lot of mistakes. That's fine, that's life, that's human. Always take responsibility. Always say sorry, always learn from them and try as hard as you can to not repeat them. Do not shift blame to anyone, own it, stare it in the eye, use your courage to apologize and mean it.

Be brave sweet children. I swear to God, if I ever see you back away or back down from something because you are scared I will find you, I will grab you by the shoulders and I will shake you. Please remember that your mom was scared every damn day of her life. She could hardly breathe from the amount of panic. I always feel like I will fail, I will lose, I will not be enough. I am not kidding about this, every day, in all decisions. But, I try and if I ever see you not trying, I will find you. If I am no longer walking this earth, I will haunt you. Do you understand how important this is to me? I showed you every second of my life that even though I'm scared, I try and you will too.

One day, you are going to define your family. Be loyal to whomever that is, put them as your only priority. Don't take them for granted. Don't walk away from them, don't make anything else more important.

In case I don't make all of these things obvious in my day to day, I promise I will continue to try. Because that is the best we all can do, try.

10
Nov

Five Minute Friday - silence

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 silence.
Go.

It's my favorite sound, the quiet.
It's what most parents, most mothers seek.
It's the sound we long for.
The quiet, the still, the silence.

Because we all know that most of parenting is loud.
Noise is common, noise from them, noise from us, noise from toys, the noise we allow in, the noise we bring in.
But even while all together, we can find moments of special silence.

Like when we snuggle on the coach for our weekly family movie night.
Like when we tuck you in at night and finally allow the day to stand still, to sit in our silent love.
Like when we have reading dates and everything comes to a slow stop and we regroup.
Like when we hug, when we steal moments of affection throughout the day, hold on to each other and allow whispers and silence to wash over us.

And I fully realize that one day, my house full of loud
full of shouts
full of laughter
full of temper tantrum tears
full of crazy
full of stomping feet
full of slamming doors
it will all fall silent.
I will read this journey back and I will think, why did I complain about a little bit of noise?
What's wrong with noise anyway?

But in the thick of it, it's hard to see past the fog.
Which is why the moments of quiet that we steal, they fill me to keep pushing through the noise of it all.

See guys, you fill our home, with love and noise and stuff and lessons and chaos and humor
but you cannot complete me and you cannot be all of us.
Because you don't belong here forever.
You belong out there, doing loud amazing you and your father and I, we belong right here
serving as your rock, your home base
sitting in the quiet of our love and remembering all of the noise we once had.

Stop.

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