Well, you guys know how to really bring it.
We had one hell of a transitional year; you guys are ready as always.
A little nervous, a little tentative, but ready for your next step for sure.

I watched you bloom on your day Anna. You shined with such light and confidence.
Sweet child of mine, I want to grow up and be like you.

And then after the pictures and laughs and - mom, you're so embarrassing - you took off with your friends.

I watched you have a cool but proud smile on your day Cole. You didn't want to play your cards that it mattered, but it did to you, and having us there meant a lot to you.
Sweet child of mine, everyone should be more like you.

And when they called your name, they mentioned that your classmates think you are amazing, because that is exactly what you are sweet love.

Before we went to our spot for ice cream for dinner, we made our way to the elementary school that held you both close for nine years. The school that made you meet good friends. The school that had great teachers. The school that taught you who you are and gave you a window into where you are headed.

I didn't cry when we took our last pictures.
I didn't break down when we all piled around the table for ice cream.
I took one step back, I looked at you.
Once again trying my hardest to remember every eyelash, every smile, every birthmark, every mannerism.
Once again trying to slow down and really really remember.
Once again not blinking, not wishing away or backward, but being with you.

That night you rushed off to a friend's house for a sleepover.
We rushed to a friend's house for drinks, Cole in tow to play with the bigger kids.

You told me how you told your friends that you needed to leave for one of your favorite family traditions.
You lit up when I reminded you it was our night for ice cream for dinner.
You both remind me how much you adore the small that we protect.
You both remind me that you are ready for your next steps too and I better not dottle.

So okay rising high school kid and rising middle schooler; we see you.
We see your love of reading, your love of learning, your love of movement, your love of anything sports.
We see your growth, your readiness, your respect, your determination, your smile, your humor, your friendships, your love, and your desire to keep moving forward while holding on to who we have always been.

We see you guys, and we'll continue to follow your lead.



I know you worry about them, it's the most natural feeling in the world as a parent.
When they were younger it was worrying about if they were developing, especially with our late bloomers.
It was worrying about where they were in a store.
It was worrying about who was going to watch them when.
It was worrying about how they fell, how they hurt.
It was worrying about them being sick, how sick, how serious.

As they got older, the worry lines grew deeper.
It became worrying about their behavior at school, and whether they are being respectful.
Worrying about their potential, and whether they are living up to it.
I know you worry about his tornado spirit.
I know you worry about her pulling away.

As they continue to grow and grow, the worry lines will only grow deeper and deeper.
As they continue to grow, the worry gets more...specific.
Worrying about if they pick the right circle to lean on.
Worrying about if they are a good person in that circle.
Worrying about if they find a person to share this life with.
Worrying about their heartache, their decisions that we no longer have a say in, worrying about their choices for their life, worrying about them being too far, worrying about them, and not really knowing why.

It's worrying about if they are the people they were meant to be.
It's worrying about if we made the right decisions with them.
It's worrying about if we said the right things, at the right time.
It's worrying about if they know how much we love them and if they could feel it.

But, love of my life, the one thing we never ever have to worry about is the fact that we did love them.
You wanted this exact life, you had it pictured always.
I could see them in your eyes when I met you and it didn't scare me off.

The one thing we don't have to worry about is the love we have for them, I know it will carry them through.
I know it will make them who they are going to be - and be a guiding light - like you always were for me.

You, love of my life, you love to much and so strongly that you are always the light for our family.
Your love is what guides us through storms, darkness, and fog.
Your love is what keeps us warm, protected, and looking forward.
Your love is our light and you - you, love of my life - you are our moon and stars.


Five Minute Friday - sunshine

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 sunshine.

As I walked you to your bus stop, the sun shone brightly on us.
We are headed into our very last few days of middle school and soon, my first will be a high schooler.
Our last four years of "just us" will now be flying by.

I promise you, love of my life, I lingered in you and in us.
I did not blink, I watched and I watched and I stayed close to you.
I breathed you in. I held us close, I protected our time.

You are my sunshine.

As I tucked you in this week, it hit me that not only are you headed to middle school, but we, as a family, are done with elementary school.
Done with a school that was a massive part of our lives, your lives.
And my little boy is headed into three years of being in the middle.

When you were little, You Are My Sunshine, it was our song.
It was the theme of your first birthday party.
It was what we sang together when you were blue.
It was how I put you to bed each night.
When it comes on, we still smile at each other.

There is a warmth and light that shines so naturally from you.
One that makes everyone around you feel lit up.
And it is that specific loving thing about you that we can't lose.
That I will continue to protect and remind you of its importance in life.
It's who you are.

You are my sunshine.


Hello Babbo...it's been a year

Hello Babbo.
It's been one year.

You would be amazed and proud of her, I think anyway.
You'd also be mad but that's your way.
She worked hard through her dark days.
She slowly found her smile again.
She still cries and cries a lot, but it's no longer every day.
She smiles more now and I catch her laughing with her whole body sometimes and it's the sweetest.

She is watching a new baby...which you would hate...but the joy it brings her and the toddler is something magical.
The two of them are attached and that little girl is in love with her, and of course vice versa.
I'm amazed and proud of her, but that's my way.
She found her way through the thick of the dark and she found some way to shine.

She visits you all of the time and every single time, she cries.
She says that you fought always, but it was so much better to have someone to fight with instead of having you gone.
She hasn't moved a thing of yours in the house yet.
She still won't sleep in your bed, and she won't hear of getting a new one to see if that will help.
She's still on the couch, and she says she's most comfortable there.

She took a trip to Italy and it made her fall in love with happiness again, but it also left her feeling like you would be so so mad at her.
God, the struggle to get her to go and the guilt she felt, but that's her way.
Every time she called, she would mention the beautiful things she was seeing, how at peace she was in the churches, and how happy she was that she went, and then her voice would crack a little, you were always with her.

As for us, well, we mourned you.
Cory and I would mourn you so similarly. We don't do anything similar but this one hit us both in the same exact way.
For the first three months, I cried every time I took a run.
I don't know why there was a release in my runs, but there was.
He would cry when he saw a picture of you that hit him hard.
And even though you and I didn't have an "I can't wait to tell my dad this" relationship or an "I just need to talk this out with my dad" relationship, I missed you Babbo.
We both did.

We started planning our projects this year and both broke down crying.
Cory saying he can't believe we doing anything without you and how he missed how proud you would be of his work.
I don't know what that's about, how both of us needed your approval, but it's there.
Just last week we took down the backsplash you installed. The one you were so pissed about when we showed you. The one you said "I don't believe in this" when you saw what we picked out.
And, I'll be damned, I'll give you this one, I never loved it. And when it was chipped away, I cried. So, yeah, maybe you were right this one time.
The night it was taken down, you came to me in a dream, I know you were haunting me...half pissed, half telling me how right you were. The contractor said, "damn, this is really on there!" and I reminded him that my whole house could crumble to the ground but my shower and my tiles, they would remain for life...that's the Frank way.

The kids, are amazing. You would be in awe of how gorgeous they are.
You would also be so pissed at how much freedom we give them, especially Anna.
At 14, she has really become.
She has really stepped into her groove and you would find her so beautiful but you would hate how I'm raising her, that's your way, that's our way.
Cole is getting bigger too, a little less squishy but not with his Nonna. He holds a special place for her. He holds her really close and still snuggles right in.
He would be the same with you, I know it.
When she spends the night, which is so infrequent, she sleeps with Cole. It might be the cutest thing I have ever seen. And when we sleep there, he sleeps on the couch with her. Yeah, they're still squishy together.
He is with his dad too...really into sports and anything with a ball. Still a tornado that always has to be moving, even in his sleep.

For a while, we tried to do dinner with her every Sunday, but most times, she feels like she is intruding so she won't stay. We've talked about her long-term plans, but she won't let her mind go there.
We've made it through every first without you...your birthday, all the BBQ holidays you would host, the winter holidays, Mamma's birthday, all of it, without you.

So, it's been a year.
One without you.
I still can't believe it.
I was telling Zia Michelle and Zio Rob that I cannot believe anything in this world took down a force like you, but it did.
You are actually gone and have been for a year.

So it's been one full year, without you.


This life.

There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one. - –KAZUO ISHIGURO

I think of the different directions I could have gone in.
What if I stayed with Nonna and Nonno?
What if I didn't start at BBBS?
What if I had stayed with that boyfriend or the other?
What if I hadn't walked into that Blockbuster?
What if I didn't say yes to babies?
What if I didn't start this business?

But I am having this one.
The one in which an agency raised me.
The one in which I did go off on my own and I actually did it.
The one in which I found someone that wanted to do this life with me, not for me.
The one in which we moved to Saratoga Springs.
The one in which we made two amazing people.
The one in which we held our first puppy while she left us.
The one in which I did take a chance on me, again, and I did start something.

What if I didn't meet the girls I met at Geneseo?
What if I didn't surround myself with people that believed in me?
What if I never believed them that I need to start believing in myself just a little bit?
What if I didn't use writing to heal?
What if I didn't go to that therapist?
What if I didn't start to prove I could do hard things?

But I am having this one.
The one in which I met framily.
The one in which I forever and always tried to fill a space.
The one in which I was always searching.
The one in which I am finally done proving I do hard.
The one in which I can put down my fighting gloves, I don't need them anymore.
The one in which I found family.

What if I had held strong at saying no to you?
What if dad didn't say yes to Pearl?
What if I didn't get to find out about mothering?
What if we had smaller lives...quieter even?
What if we had stayed put in Rochester?

But I am having this one.
The one where I get to mother.
The one where I see how small our window of time is.
The one where I see it getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
The one where I get to walk and run and snuggle and play with a puppy that fills me so.
The one where our lives are big, and loud, and chaos.

I am having this one.


Five Minute Friday - quick

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 quick.

To interrupt but also to listen.
To get offended but also understand.
To get fired up but also become resigned.
To get angry but also to love.

To fall in love but also to get heartbroken.
To search but also feel complete.
To be serious but also be silly.
To be rigid but also free.

To be disappointed but also loving.
To be a worker bee but also expanding my interests.
To be hard on my body but also amazed by it.
To be terrified but never stuck.

To be tired but always moving.
To be a fighter but needing to retire my gloves.
To be in pain but also to be laughing.
To be hurt but not to heal.

I am quick to the punch.
I am quick to want to punch back.
I am quick to be
complicated me.

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