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.

29
Oct

My new name

It started with you, my new name of mamma to mommy to mom.
It started with new and amazing and familiar at the same time.
Mother comes with all sorts of things.
And just like us, some of it is new and some familiar...
It comes with
a new body
and a new way of thinking
and new priorities
and new challenges
and new tempers
and old tempers
and new schedules
and new perspectives
and a new understanding
and old ways of doing things
and new ways of doing things
and a new sense of self and selflessness and selfishness.

Mom comes with a new love
a new meaning to the word love
a love so unique and incredibly genuine.
A love you can measure like rings around her heart.

Mother comes with new and old edges.
It comes with sharp replies
it comes with your history, your past, your wounds.

Mother comes with a new and an old soft.
Soft edges
soft words
soft reminders.

I have a new name, and it is mom.

20
Oct

Five Minute Friday - discover

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 discover.
Go.

Sweet daughter:
What has amazed me to the most about you is how old you were when you were born.
The world seemed so familiar to you, and you seemed so knowledgeable.
What I have loved watching is you discover your childish side.
The playful
the excitement
the kid you are and therefore should be allowed to be.
I don't know why I squash that person when she tips over to the other side and why I remind her of maturity.
You are a child for a short time, you will be an adult for the rest of forever.
Keep discovering that kid, never let her go.
Hold her close no matter what number your age says.
Keep discovering a new childish part of your old self
and thank you for allowing me to discover mine.
You are me and together, we have to remember that life is not that serious.
We have to discover the joy we want in our lives
take my hand let's lead each other to this discovery.

Sweet boy:
What I have loved watching is you discover this world.
That first year of life, when everything was amazing to you and you were taking it all in, it was a year of amazement to me too.
You came to me new, fresh, eyes ready to learn.
You were and are brand new.
You have reminded me that life should be full of discovery, you have reminded me of young.
Not because you work hard at it but because it comes so naturally to you.
Youth and childhood and new and discoveries are what you do best.
Being around you forces one to stop digging in their heals and remember how perfect young is.
You have taken the lead, you are in charge of childhood and you remind each of us that you don't have to look hard, it's right there, at our fingertips.
You don't have to discover the joys of life, you just clearly see them and for that, you are a wonder and wonderful.

You have each brought me on a journey in discovering who I am once you take away the lists, the to dos, the have tos the worry.

Stop.

8
Oct

Beauty

Dear Anna:

Growing up, I never thought I had an ounce of beauty.
I always judged myself,
my decisions
my looks
my walk
my words
my mind
hard.
I starting running at the age of 8, not because I loved to run,
but because I wanted to lose weight.
I never accepted a compliment.
I always put myself down.
And then, I met you.

There was a day when you and I finally connected and we became mother and daughter.
I remember it so clearly, you were fresh out of a bath, it was just you and I home.
I decided to snap a few pictures of you and put you down on a couch and pulled out an actual camera.
I started saying your name, trying to grab your attention and you recognized my voice.
You melted when you heard it and you looked at me, with such warmth, such love, such beauty.
You looked at me like a daughter should look at her mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

Dear Cole:
I was never a lover of love.
I didn't trust enough.
I didn't think people really cared because there was a lot of letting me down.
I didn't think that love could be so raw, so emotional so naked.
Until I met you.

The moment I held you, you were mine.
There is no way to explain it other than using the cliche of they slipped you into my arms and heart.
You are my one and only love at first sight.
You were full of so much new and wonder and wonderful.
You would look around the room and take it all in because every part was amazing to you.
Including me.
The moment our eyes met, they locked.
You looked at me with instant recognition and you looked at me like you knew we will have each other to count on.
You looked at me like you needed me because you did, but I needed you too.
You looked at me the way a son should look at his mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

My body looks, feels, and acts differently.
I am a shell of who I once was.
Because once upon a time, I was younger and young.
I was new too even though I always felt old.
I was smooth and I didn't have wrinkles and stuff didn't droop.
I was in charge and I was empty.
But I didn't like that girl that much.
I didn't appreciate her, I didn't know she was strong.
And instead, I focused on her anger.
I focused on all that was wrong, all I would change, all I wanted to change.
Until I met you coach.
And you told me she was good, she was worth it, she was able to be happy, it was ok if she was happy.

Now, this woman, I can appreciate.
I appreciate her for carrying two hearts, twice.
I appreciate her for pacing with sick babies.
I appreciate her for giving all of her and then coming back around to self-care.
I appreciate her for finding the room to breathe.
I appreciate her for taking time for her, finding her again in the fog of mothering.
I appreciate her legs for being able to run.
I appreciate her heart for being able to love.
I appreciate her soul for shining light outward.
I appreciate her stomach for stretching and molding.
I appreciate her arms for holding everyone up.
I appreciate her words for she picks them carefully.
I appreciate her beauty because she finally found it.
In the mix of all this confusion and chaos and fog and tired, she was able to find glory and grace.

6
Oct

Five Minute Friday - story

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 story.
Go.

My story is one of fear.
Always scared.
Looking over my shoulder, noticing those I pass.
Searching for monsters.
Looking for a feeling of safety.

At each turn, each new challenge, each thing I try, there is fear.
Every time the day turns to night, there is fear.
Taking a run in my neighborhood, there is fear.
Being alone in my house, there is fear.
Noises scare me.
Getting promoted terrified me.
Starting my own business made me stay up for months with panic.
Each new client I take on, fear.
Getting married was a blur of emotions, but the one that stands out is worry.
Buying a home scared me.
In parenting, there is too much fear to put in a box.
My blog fear of the raw and nakedness of my life.
Doing a race, trying a new yoga class, learning something new, at every single turn, there is fear.

So, when my little faces are scared, I remind them, mom is scared every day of her life.
Every single day kiddos, but I do it anyway.
I learn to swim so I can do a triathlon.
I take the promotion anyway.
I sleep with the lights on when alone.
I still go for that run.
I did marry dad, and we did have you and I am so happy I did.
And every decision I make, I am scared that I am messing it up but I make them anyway.
Because that's my actual story, even though I am scared, I do it anyway.
And I do it better because I use the fear to drive and motivate me, not stop me.
Never to stop me.

Yes, I wake up scared, yes I go to sleep scared.
Yes, I am scared most of the day.
Yes, this cannot be good for my health, but I am living.
I have a life and one that I built from the ground up.

Because it's true...being brave doesn't mean living without fear
it means being scared and doing it anyway.

My story is about walking through fear to get to what I need
what I have been looking for
and that is family.

My story is about walking through fear to find all of you on the other side and finding myself in the process.

Stop.

29
Sep

Five Minute Friday - depend

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 depend.
Go.

You depending on me is part of the job.
It's in the definition of parenting.
I am your rock and your constant everything.
I am the one you trust, I hold all of you with me.
I carry all of you with me, everywhere I go.
I am the strong one you can count on, you can depend on me.

And although that is true,
I don't feel strong most of the time.
I don't feel like I confidently have a handle on this, on us.
I don't feel like anyone should have to depend on me because I don't have the answers, I don't have it together.
Each day I feel less and less able to be your constant everything because the new challenges have nothing to do with nap schedules and feeding times and everything to do with raising humans.

Raising humans, I am responsible for raising humans.
What in the world made me think I could do that well?
Looking back, it was my person.
Telling me that love always fixes the broken.
That we were love and therefore needed to put love out there.
And so we did.

And now, you depend on me because I did this with purpose and on purpose.
I created two people who I wanted and wished for.
And now, I am the constant in their world.
I am the one you depend on.

And truth be told, in every other aspect of my world, I am dependable.
I am responsible.
I am the one most people can rely on
turn to
come to
ask of.
So why is this so different?
And why is it so much harder?
Being the constant is my jam.

It's because there is so much more riding on this relationship.
There are so many difficult twists and turns.
There are so many challenges that I should know what to do as they are presented.
I am the dependable one.
I am the grownup and even more, I am mom.

Moms know things
moms always have the right way, the right response, the right comfort built in.
My friends tell me that even as adults, it is their mom they turn to for help and guidance and what do I do now?
That's me now,
I am the dependable one.

Even when I feel out of sorts, I am the dependable one.
Because all you really need, back then, now and tomorrow is me.
Just being there, for you.

Stop.

24
Sep

Blankets

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Blankets are my security.
They are my go-to for snuggles and comfort and warmth and feeling secure.
Bad day? I wrap a blanket around myself and settle in.
Having a crisis? The warmth of a blanket can make it all feel ok.
Bad breakup? The comfort of a blanket feels like loving arms.
Feeling sick? Blankets make you feel instantly warmer, getting better.
I have blankets all over my house.
Extra ones hiding in all sorts of places.
At night, I need to feel the weight of a blanket on me, keeping me tucked in.
Blankets have always been important to me.
They are significant, they have meaning in my world.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I went away to college, my experience wasn't "normal".
I left home and went to college.
I left behind a family
a house
a familiar surrounding
a situation
and a life.
A life I knew, even if I wasn't in love with it, even if it wasn't the one I wanted, it was all that I knew.
And I landed in a college that felt like a warm blanket around me.
It's how I always describe my college, my experience there.
I felt taken care of and comforted, it felt familiar, homey.
And for a girl that was stepping into fear, she needed this comfort.
And for a woman that would continue to walk through fear, I continue to use blankets for protection.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I met my person, it was so easy between us.
I instantly felt safe, I felt his joy, and that too covered me in warmth and comfort.
He felt like the most amazing blanket, keeping me protected from the darkness.
He was my light, my warmth, my security.
And I knew, right away, he was it.
He always kept me warm, always kept safe, always kept me feeling perfectly covered.
He was my blanket.

Because wrapped up in a blanket, I feel loved, I feel calm, I feel good about my life.
I feel taken care of, I feel nurtured.
I feel like I can concentrate on the moment.
I am here, not rushing off to a million places, I am here.

And then last week a friend told me about a book he was reading and how a quote hit him hard...
...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Because now, I am that blanket for others.
I am the one who is covering you up in love, in security, in safe.
But, no parent can cover it all.
Even though I work so hard on intentionality with my kids.
Especially since they have hit school years and I feel like important memories and words are sticking, it's more and more important that I am not reacting to them.
That I am not white on rice with them.
That I am listening more than speaking.
That I am answering questions honestly.
That I am there, really present with them.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

But, days get long.
Patience runs out.
It feels like nothing is getting done
and you just can't cover it all.

You can't be everywhere.
You can't be everything.
You can't do everything.
You can't always be kind.
You can't always speak with intention.
The blanket is too small and something, someone, is being left out in the cold.

But, not to them.
They don't think that I am stretched too thin.
Because even if I'm too small for me, I am still the biggest most comforting blanket for you.
I am who you want when you are cold
sad
lonely
bored
scarred
worried
sick.
I am your warmth and comfort and protection from the cold.

No matter how small I feel, you see me as able, enough.
You see me as heavy and sturdy and strong enough to continue to stretch from corner to corner.
You never feel I am not covering every corner.
I am the one now wrapping you in comfort.
I have become a blanket for your life.

And just like dad is for me, I always will be the warmth and comfort you need.

22
Sep

Five Minute Friday - accept

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 accept.
Go.

My daughter and I are reading a new book together, Wonder.
It's been all over every bookstore and elementary school but it's about a strong and dedicated family who has two children, one was born with many obstacles.
August was born with genes and gene mutations that caused his face to look deformed.
He has undergone so many surgeries, so many life-saving procedures and was for a very long time just living in a hospital.
He has been homeschooled for most of his life and in middle school, his family decided that it was time they stop.
Stop treating him as delicate.
Stop treating him differently.
Stop treating him as breakable.
And start him on the path to normal.

He has an older sister, she is in high school and she too has grown up quick.
Not because the home isn't loving and supportive and full of grace
but because so much attention has been focused on sick.

It's a story of acceptance.

As I read to my eight-year-old, there so many questions and topics we have to cover.
That's the point of the book.
She's 8 so she doesn't yet comprehend that not everyone is a friend.
She doesn't realize that friendly doesn't equal friend.
She doesn't know that you create a circle and who you choose to spend time with.
She doesn't know that circle is a reflection of who you are.
She doesn't know about mean.
She doesn't know about looks and how important they are because she's right, they're not.
She doesn't know about clicks and hurt.
She doesn't know about singling out, talking behind backs, making people feel bad...on purpose.
She doesn't know that accepting yourself will one day be hard.
She doesn't know that there will be a time she will question everything good about her.
She doesn't know that there will be a time she will have to decide if she is accepting of this behavior, this outcome, this person.
She doesn't know.

And as we dive deeper and deeper, there are moments I feel I am taking away her innocence.
I am taking away some sweet parts of the world this child holds.
The parts she sees through the eyes of a child.
Because even though she has an old soul, she doesn't believe in darkness.
Not yet.

And so, sweet Anna...
it starts with accepting who you are.
Your good, your bad, your limitations, your point of no return, yourself.

It then means bringing people into your fold that accept you, all of you, as you are.
They laugh at your crazy with you.
They help you to see the humor in life.
They too accept your good, your bad, your limitations, your point of no return, they accept you.

That also means you accept them.
You surround yourself with people that talk about ideas, not people.
You hold each other to standards of kindness and affection.
You realize that none of this matters.
That beauty has nothing to do with how you look.

But the start of all of this, is you.
I have always surrounded myself with those that accept me.
Not because I am enlightened, because as an introvert, big and popular are never important.
Small circles of connection matter most.
I have always accepted them, because I have loved them and what they have meant to me down to my toes.
But, it took me over 30 years to accept me.
It took looking into the eyes of a daughter I put here and saying
acceptance starts with me.

Stop.

4
Sep

All you want...

...is us.

Play with me.
Color with me.
Read to me.
I want to go with you.
Snuggle me.
Stay with me.
Can you just be here?
Can we have a date?
Can I go running with you?

All you want...is us.

This summer, we took a once in a lifetime family vacation.
Your favorite parts: being in the pool as a family.
Sleeping in the hotel, because you each got to sleep with us.
Just time with us is all you need to fill your bucket.
You would whisper things to me like
"I love talking to you and I promise I always will"
"I love you mommy, I love being with you"
"this is the best vacation ever, we're all together!"

Since we have been home, all you want, is us.
Playing with us.
Snuggles with us.
Board games with us.
Reading dates.
All you want...is us.
Time with us
all of us with you all of you.
Us.
Just us.

Our trips to the Cape, you love the togetherness of it all.
You love how crammed and cramped we all are, because we are all together.
You love sharing the space.
You love how cozy it is.
You love how you all pile up on a coach.
You love being, with us.
All you want, is us.

And yes, there are moments when the attention and time are almost too much.
I get tired
days are long
but this needed time
this need for just me
take me as I am me
it's incredible.
It's what I will miss the most of this small window we all have.
That out of anyone out there, you have always accepted me.
As I am
crazy and all
tired
never put together
forever wanting pjs
forever wanting cozy
the woman that doesn't know how to dress
the woman that doesn't do her hair
the one that doesn't know how to apply makeup
the one that needs peace and calm
the one that finds that calm in routine and clean
stressed and crazed
hurried and impatient
me.

You love the real me
you see me as I see the real you.
You look beyond all of the flaws and you find the me you love.
And you don't really want anything from me,
you just want me.
Not distracted
not angry
not always tired
but happy to be with you too
me.

You slow me down.
You make me realize what is important.
Because how do I say no to being with you?
How do I look at a little face and say no, I can't help you.
No, I can't be with you.
No, what I am doing is more important, than you.
You are my reminder that time is fleeting.
You are my reminder that time is precious.
You are my reminder that all we will ever need, is us.

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