10
Feb

Five Minute Friday - safe

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. 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 safe.
Go.

I want you to always feel that this is your base
that we are your comfort
that this house turned home is your foundation and your rock
that here, inside these walls, surrounded by love is where you feel safe.

I too feel safe here
my most comfortable
my most cozy.

I want this to be a place you can always feel right at home,
right where you belong.
Because although we will challenge you
although we will ask you to rise to greatness
you can also come here to rest your head
and your tired eyes
and your bones that need healing.

You can come here to recharge and regroup before you head back out and do you.
Home is where you are safe,
where you are loved
where you have a team.

Home and safe should all be one word here.
Interchangeable even.
Because I built a life of love and safety
even during our times of stress and confusion and feeling lost.
Home was my compass
home is where I feel most safe.

Home was not always defined as safe for me,
which is why as an adult I need to make sure it now is.
I will not allow it to feel any other way
I will remove all hate and fear from these walls
I will allow only us, the real us, to live here.

Home will always be your safe haven.
Your refuge and your calm.
A place for us to reconnect and remind ourselves that we are in this together,
we are all on the same team.
You are safe here little faces, you are safe.

Stop.

18
Dec

Tired

Around my 8th month of pregnancy, for both kids, sleeping was getting 30 minutes at a time because both of my kids decided pressing directly on my bladder was good fun.
I remember that last month and thinking that newborns can't even be this bad.
And, thank goodness I was right, because you both came out knowing that our family had a love affair with sleep and you fell right in.

But as you grew, and the more sleep we all got,
the more and more my mind, my body, everything actually hurts from exhaustion.

I think it starts with all the feelings that come along with raising tiny humans
and then you add all of the concerns
and as you both continue to grow so do my feelings and those concerns.

I don't remember moms talking about this amount of exhaustion.
Every book, every mother I talked about the experience, all of the advice I got about cherish each day and you'll miss every stage,
no one ever said,
listen to me, the second you are able to actually sleep through the night is when every part of you wants to cry because you are so tired, you feel like you can't do it anymore.

But somehow we all manage to find the strength to wake up at 1am because someone is sick
or find love and patience somewhere to ride out a storm
or find love and patience somewhere to watch you tantrum
or find love and more patience somewhere else to always be able to love you.
Because that too takes energy,
the one thing we are lacking at this time.

Because this level of exhaustion has a way of killing your joy
and your ability to feel love.
This level of exhaustion takes away your patience and your ability to remember how small they are,
how little they know
how much they need you during the storm.
And god, this level of exhaustion pushes love out of your heart.
And still, we find a way to keep going.
Keeping putting our arms around you and we keep pulling you in.
When, if we are being a little honest with ourselves, we would be better off to go away,
and scream into the storm, you are not taking me with you!
I can't be a part of this right now and I just want a time out too!
But we find this never ending energy, for you.
And that is because we don't get a time out.
We are allowed a day off from you or this.
And it isn't that we didn't know that going into this journey,
it's just that we didn't realize how much of us would be this so very tired.

But, what if we did allow ourselves that time out?
What if for once instead of leaning in to the storm, we just walked away,
took 10 minutes in our own blanket fort and found an ounce more of us.
A clear thought so that our words can be gentle.
A clear mind so that our arms extend out to bring you in, not push you away.
What if we all allowed ourselves to say, of course we will always love you,
but that never meant I had to lose me in the process.

Little ones, you don't even know this, but my love for you is so intense it keeps me up.
You don't even realize this but, my worry for you, like my love is never ending.
And that can make for one tired mom.
But she promises to find moments of quiet,
so that she can be the person you set out to find.
Your tired mom promises to sit in that quiet, pull it over her like a warm blanket so she can find the energy for you and her.

11
Dec

Velveteen

Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

It's one of your favorite books to read.
You bring it along for car rides, you ask for it at night.
To me, it's long, so it's not my go to for us.
Because at the end of the day, this tired mother wants some time to regroup and recharge.
But recently, whenever I pick it up, I can't help but feel that little bunny is speaking to all of us.
Somewhere, somehow, at some point, we all became real.
You stopped being mush in my hands.
You stopped doing anything I needed and wanted because all I had to do was place you somewhere.
You stopped not having an opinion and you became real.
And somewhere between changing diapers and listening to you talk about your day, so did I.

I became a little too soft around the edges, frayed in areas.
I don't look the same, I don't feel the same.
My hair is no longer shiny, and never was a priority, so certainly isn't now.
My appearance was never something I thought I did well,
so I gave up on even wanting to look a certain store front way.
And I became real.
Which means my stitches are a little loose.
I am a little thin and showing some of my seams,
because I am not at all who I once was and you made me real...
just by loving me.

We have stayed up all night to hold you while you cough.
We have slept upright so you could breathe through your flu.
We have held you while medical experts work on you.
We have fed you, with our bodies, with our love.
We have worked with you on homework and skills.
We have stood at doorways and waved goodbye to the eager child desperate to move on to the next milestone.
We have waited for the bus to pull away before breaking down to cry at another loss of you.
We have taught you how to go to the bathroom and how to blow your nose.
We have given you your medicine, never forgetting you.
We have taught you how to be gentle but still stand up for you.
We have put you first, even when we didn't want to, even when we knew it was bad for us.
We have given up our desserts and our last bite that we were saving for ourselves.
We have given up our days for you.
We have started traditions for you, ones we hope you carry with you.
We have read so many stories, fighting through exhaustion.
We have taught you to talk and then speak with kindness.
We have taught you to walk and give you the freedom to run.
We have held your hand, always and always will.
We have taught you that love will fix the broken.
We are raising tiny humans and we have watched you become real.
And with all of that, you made us real too,
just by loving.

We are weathered
we are not the same
we never will be again.
We have bruises and are banged up
because we are loved so hard
and we were made to be real.

Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

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