9
May

To mother

To mother means sharing your whole body, regardless of if you carried a baby or not.

To mother means to sharing every part of your being, every ounce of energy you have.

To mother means you carry your baby, always and forever, regardless of how old they get.

To mother means you lose yourself, even for a minute, and then find yourself again and they reemerge someone, something different.

To mother means you find strength and then you find rest and then you find a way.

To mother means you say no a million different times but yes to so much more.

To mother means you mange...relationships, feelings, emotions, arguments, fights, brawls.

To mother means you mange...schedules, appointments, lives.

To mother means you manage...your feelings, your emotions, your relationships, your past that you thought you could keep in the shadows but to mother means they bring them out into the light.

To mother means you love differently. Yourself, your person, your littles, your life.

To mother means you are loved differently. By yourself, your person, your littles.

To mother means to give a lot up but to also gain so so much.

To mother means to be used and at times tossed aside.

To mother means you find yourself crying over a familiar smell, or an old article of clothing.

To mother means you look at pictures with aches in your bones.

To mother means you stare at the phone, you worry, you lose sleep.

To mother means to be the protector, the smoocher, the light, the happy they see when they wake up and go to sleep.

To mother means to be the one that keeps all of their moments, every single one.

To mother means to love them in your sleep.

To mother means they are with you, even when they are not.

To mother means to be strong.

To mother means something.

7
May

Five Minute Friday - SHE

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 she.

Go.

At one point in time, she was determined to go at it alone.

She thought it was the only way, the only option.

She was tough, not strong, but tough.

Tough to get through to, tough to be around, tough to get close to.

Until she wasn't. Until she allowed the hard edges to soften, melt a little.

Until she threw down her fighting gloves and picked up her babies.

Until she was able to create a family around her she never knew she always wanted.

Until she couldn't help but let him in, he was so easy to love.

Until she couldn't help but say yes to a life he always knew was possible.

Until she and they created a home.

She's different, but still her. She still reverts back to old habits but is more aware of them now. She knows where and how it all started, she knows how she is triggered...she's trying.

She's trying to work through the old muck, she's trying to manage it all, she's trying to realize how heavy the past is, but also trying to forgive. She's trying to move past the mistakes, hers and theirs.

She's trying to remember that time and love fix so much.

She once believed she was tough enough to never need anyone, until she was strong enough to love.

Stop.

3
May

Something special

"There's something special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there"

It's something we have heard since the moment you were born. People fought to be near you monkey. They fought to take care of you and hold you and change you and give you a bath and feed you. There has always been "something there".

It's not like it all comes with rainbows and sunshine. This special came with a little boy that started crying at 1 years old and didn't stop until he was almost 4. It came with "there's something wrong and we need to do more tests to figure out what". It continues to come with a lot of emotions, a lot of energy, a lot of doing things your way and a lot of feelings. It comes with a lot.

It comes with a lot of love. It comes with a lot of joy and so many smiles. It comes with big eyes that look at you like they really see you. It comes with a good heart, a good friend, a good student, a good teammate, a good and positive attitude.

It comes with a little boy that turns into a pumpkin at 8pm and needs to sleep. It comes with some talk back because dammit, you will be heard. It comes with a lot of "I won't do that". It comes with a lot of battles...so so many battles.

It comes with a little one that only wants to spend time with you, and especially time with your dad. A little one that wants to help, really be with you. A little one that loves loves loves family time. It comes with so many little guy smooches and a little boy that has no embarrassing feeling, he will scream I love you from anywhere at anytime.

It comes with so much movement, even in your sleep. It comes with bad dreams that call you to our bed. It comes with snuggles and hand holding. It comes with scared crying tears when something scary is on TV or someone is getting hurt. It comes with so much noise and screaming and the best kind of make believe play.

There is something there. It's the love and hugs and chubby hands. It's the curly hair and the big eyes made bigger by eye glasses. It's the love for dad, it's the best buddies. It's the cheering on of your friends. It's the way you feel for your sister and can't see her upset or struggling. It's the love you hold and it's the way it bursts out of you.

It's the way that people flock to you, even when you are in the wrong. It's the way you try to hold back tears, but you just can't. It's the way that you are so excited to see anyone anytime. It's the way you hug, it's the amount of enthusiasm you have for life. It's always been your voice, it's just so full of words that you can't make it all come out fast enough. It's the amount of movement you need. It's the stubborn streak you have. It's your loving heart.

"They're all beautiful, but there is just something about that Cole. There's something really special about that kid, I don't know what it is, but it's there."

25
Apr

Let's take a walk

Let's grab a flashlight and walk around in the dark. Let's hold hands and snuggle close. Let's bundle up, it's cold outside. Let's wear our hats, and gloves, and warm coats. Put your hands in my pockets, let's grab the hand warmers. Let's talk about how cute it is that Pearly smiles and trots when she's with us. Let's talk all about how cute Pearl is. Let's talk about how lucky we all are. How happy we are, how warm this feels, even though, yes, it's cold.

Let's look up at the sky and talk about the stars, the moon, the way the clouds look. Let's talk about the way sometimes it looks like a painting, that's how gorgeous it is. Let's talk about how funny our boys are, how adorable they can be. Let's talk about how good dad is at well, everything. How he fixes everything for us. How good he makes our house look, how lucky we are that he's in our life, how lucky we are that he asked me. Let's talk about how cute monkey is, how much he loves loves loves his dad.

Let's talk about school and your friends. How great they are to you, how funny you guys are together. Let's talk about how important friends are to me, why they are. Let's talk about how we make sure our friends are our right circle, how important that is. Let's talk about how to be a good friend.

You know what all of this is? It's gratitude. It's moments of appreciate that make us feel warm and lucky and grateful. This allows us to take stock. It helps us to see our big picture, see who else we can help, talk about how important helping is. It allows us to set priorities. Make sure we are going all we can when we put our head down at night.

Let's take a walk sweetie.

25
Apr

Five Minute Friday - broken

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 broken.

Go.

I walked into a week of systems breaking down and my business being in some trouble because of it. I felt like I was going to end up broken too. I felt the pressure mounting and as soon as I came up with a solution, another problem arose and things just continued to break all around me.

And you want to know what I did...for one whole night, I did nothing. I watched TV (sitcoms no less) with a bestie. I ate ice cream on her couch and I laughed at a romantic comedy watching 2 people in love. I did nothing. I have never once, not even one time in my entire time on earth, done nothing. And holy hell, it worked.

The next day I got to work. I looked at what I had in place, I leaned on those that I adore, those I trust, I asked those that work for me to extend themselves. I created a plan, I thanked, I praised, I thanked and thanked even more. I organized, I stopped panicking, I communicated, I asked for patience, I asked for forgiveness, I got to work. I fixed it, even temporarily until our long term plan could work out, I fixed it. And later that night, I celebrated. As I drank my martini, I turned to my husband that made me the perfect drink, looked into his gorgeous eyes and said, I fixed it Coach. "I'm proud of you".

Typically, when things break, I break a little too. I did this time for sure. But I took a night to be (who knew that was a thing) to not think, and just be. The world didn't stop spinning, the clients didn't run away, I was really ok. That night, on my bestie's couch, eating her ice cream and falling back in love with the couple that gave me couple goals, well, that was the start of fixing my broken.

Stop.

18
Apr

Bricks

I read a story written by a black mother that talked about the bricks she has to pack in her children's bags.

Don't wear this sweatshirt.

Don't go out in a group with other black people, but don't go out alone either.

Don't drive in this neighborhood, I know your friends live there but don't.

Don't be in a car with too many other black kids.

Don't run away, don't walk away, don't walk towards.

Don't make eye contact, but don't look away from.

Don't be too seen, don't call for attention.

Just come home to me. Just come back home, please.

Can you imagine how heavy that bag is, how many bricks are in there? Just come home to me baby.

I don't know how to read this and not ache, but I also have no idea what any of this feels like.

I have read and listened to so many in the black community talk about how exhausted they are. It's a never-ending war. I have read that each and every time, it is a reminder that they are less than. They are not as valued, they are not humanized. I don't know what that is like either. I don't know what it is like to not feel like you are part of society, you are not part of the human race. That I need to humanize myself to let you see me, I don't know what that is like.

All mothers worry. All mothers carry their babies long after pregnancy. All mothers want their babies to come home. But, this, it's different. It's a different feeling, it's a different worry. It's a life I cannot relate to and I am so sorry.

But, I am not tired. I haven't had to endure this always and forever, so I'm not tired. My kids are not tired, we are just getting started. I have not carried bricks, I have not placed bricks in their backpacks, so we are not tired. We can still move, I'm so sorry you have felt so differently for so long. I'm sorry for all I have done to contribute to it. I am sorry I thought not being racist was enough, and how much I did not do. I'm sorry it took the world seeing it on video to prove you right, and I'm sorry there are still some that do not believe.

I'm sorry that you are seen as a threat, that you are seen as scary, that you are seen as less than. I'm sorry that as white men continue to shoot up people, and churches, and even that Capital, they are not seen as a threat. I'm sorry it's always so different. I'm sorry that your communities are seen as less than. I'm sorry that protecting you is not an obligation, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry you have to show us pictures and videos of black pain, black joy, black families, in order to us to see you as a person, a member of a family. I'm sorry that we become the judge, jury, and executionist. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that you are told how to protest, I'm sorry that we who have made you need to protest, also tell you the right and wrong way to show your pain. I'm so sorry that it's always so different. I'm sorry that we are not moving fast enough because for people, you move faster than this.

I'm so sorry but I promise I won't stop at I'm sorry. The job is done when you no longer have bricks to carry, bricks to pack, and when we disassemble the building.

I see you, I believe you, I stand and kneel with you, and we will figure out a way to throw the bricks away and create something so strong and beautiful.

13
Apr

Five Minute Friday - pressure

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 pressure.

Go.

It's not Friday, it's actually late Monday night and the first time I've had a chance to do this. Not because I've been under too much pressure, but because I took the whole weekend off. You know how sometimes that can recharge you and other times you feel the pressure build? I had both happen. I had so much fun this weekend, but also kept a running list in my head of what I needed to still do.

I also had a lot of responsibilities unexpectedly fall into my lab this weekend and instead of the pressure building there, I took it in stride. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes the pressure is so much and sometimes it all just happens to fall into place. But, as you are too well aware of little faces of mine, there was a time when any little thing pushed this mama of yours over the edge. The pressure was built to boiling and I could not keep the lid on the pot. I was always exploding. There is a reason I need to remember those days and who I was then. I need to remind myself I cannot let it get to that point again. Busy, sure. Lots to do, okay. Too much to do sometimes, we can handle that. Lots of lists, I love a list.

But the pressure that made my head hurt for years. The one that made it so I couldn't chew because my jaw hurt. The kind that made me feel like someone was always standing on my chest. The pressure that made me shake and have nightmares. The one that made me cry so much and stole my joy, I allowed all of that to happen. I asked for it and I did more and more to welcome it into my life, our lives. That pressure I cannot tolerate anymore and have to know when I am getting close to the fire and walk away.

Life can be hard, it can be filled with things we feel are "have tos". Life is also pretty gorgeous and can be filled with a lot of laughter. So tonight, I had a meeting at 8, it was pretty important to me and the community that I want around me. But my brand new 12 year old daughter asked me with her big eyes if we could have a reading date and I blew it off. I sat in bed with her, we read and then I put her to bed and wrote to you. I picked well.

Stop.

6
Apr

12

I don't know Belle, it has been quite a year from 11 to 12. Something has changed, but stayed all the same. This year, you have held on to little so deeply and still grown and become who you are meant to be.

This year, we talked and walked and laughed a lot. You turn to me now, you and I became closer, somehow. There are a lot of things about 2020 that I want to keep and carry forward. This is one of the things I won't allow us to give up. Our late night walks and talks. Our snuggles, our reading dates, our love of Pearl, our holding hands, our relationship. I will hold on to those for dear life sweetie.

We became a thing in 2020 didn't we? After years of you asking me when I was going to come down from this crazy schedule, after years of me talking about when I would only run my business and be more available, we arrived. It mattered to you, it mattered to you a lot. You really were asking for me. You wanted my attention, all on you. You wanted me to know things. You wanted to tell me your stories, and without it, I lost you for a minute there. I lost you to a side of girl I don't love. I lost you to drama you were not into, but could not shy away from. I lost you to you not being you and we had to find who you were again.

Now, I adore you, but in no way am I going to sit here and not recognize all we still have to work on...like your tone with Cole, like your heart with him. Yes, he is younger and a little brother but he loves you in a way that cannot be described. We have to work on you not getting lost again. We need to make sure you always remember who you are and not blindly follow. You are you, and I need you to hold strong to who you really are.

But, we did 2020 right sweet girl. We got all of our time in, even more than we both wanted. I know you missed a lot and I know there were times you were so sad, but you worked hard on holding on to all of the good. You worked hard on being a good friend and a great daughter. You worked hard on loving our Pearl, you put her first. You did school with her, you read with her, she really is going to miss you.

So, two years ago, when you became my double-digit girl, I bought you a matching necklace. One we both wear every single day. This year, as you turn 12 (gulp) I have this front-row seat on watching you falling in and out of the in-between. Every day, walking one step farther away, but that's ok. You really are taking your time and I so love you for it. I love you for doing it apart from knowing how much I need it too.

So here's the thing Anna James. You think you aren't tough enough, you are enough. You think you aren't strong enough, you are enough. You think you can't do a lot of things, but you can. This falling in and out of the in-between has you still thinking you can be taken care of and although we will always and forever take care of our girl, it is time for her to realize how much she can do. I'm in there baby girl. I'm in there too. You have to trust and believe me on this, you can do hard things and you being scared is totally fine, do not let it stop you. Let that little voice guide you on what feels right and wrong but do not for one second think I can't. We've got you, but you've got this.

Alright 12 year old. We will see what coming out of COVID and walking into teenage years means for us. I hope it means that as we figure this out, we do so together. I hope it means the talking does not stop. I hope it means as you realize all you are capable of, you remember where you came from. I'm proud of you Anna. I'm proud and honored to be your mama. I'm happy you found us. I love your heart, your smile, your dimple, your laugh, your I love yous, your hugs, the fact that you're a book nerd, I love your love of Pearl, I love your love of traditions, I love that you hold us accountable to them.

I love you 12 year old. Happy birthday to you.

28
Mar

It's going to happen

For the first three years of your life, it was all you. All of your firsts, all of your milestones. Every single time you did something new, you had a first, so did we. We captured all of it. I wrote about it, I measured your everything, I wrote you letters, I journaled for you, I captured it all in photos, I created so many albums with you front and center.

Then, the other day I was thinking about how you leave for college, Cole will only be 15 and will still have a lot of firsts and milestones. Maybe a prom, driving lessons, driving on his own, maybe a team. There will be moments that exist and will be captured and you will not be here to see them. You won't be in the memories, because you won't be here.

And just like he literally wasn't here for the first three years of your life, you will not be in our home the last three years of his life with us full time. I don't know why I am thinking about this now and I don't know why it feels stranger to me to think of it and it wasn't strange at all with it in reverse.

The obvious reasons are he wasn't even a thought back then. He was a fit to a puzzle we didn't know was even missing. But once you got here, you were always here, with us. The thought of you living out there, calling to catch me up (hopefully), the thought of life moving on because you've moved on, it's all so far-away and right around the corner.

When I get like this, dad gets annoyed thinking that I'm so focused and living in a world that is so far off that I'm not present and enjoying all the things between now and then. But, I see it differently. For me, thinking of those days makes me more present, more patient, more on top of being with you. Because I know the window will close so so soon.

Listen, your mama has done a pretty decent job not making you her everything. I love my work, I have friends, I have activities and hobbies, I even have an empty nest bucket list. But, as much as I have tried to make my life full outside of motherhood, I have really loved motherhood. I truly adore and feel so special and chosen to be your mom. I feel so honored that you picked me. I tuck you in and see that little face, those little cheeks, I cannot help but get overwhelmed with the fact that I get to do this. I get to mother you. I get to be your goodnight kiss. I get to help you, I get to take walks with you. I get to be the one you can't wait to tell stories to. I get to be your mama.

And soon, all too soon, I get to watch you be the person you were always meant to be, out there. All too soon, I get to watch from the side lines and my front row seat will be replaced, taken away. I promise I know it is the way it has to be, is meant to be, the stupid circle of life and all, but yeah,

It's going to happen. I know that and I know that anything I try and do to slow it down or hold on too tight will make it backfire and have you resent me. So, I have to let it happen.

It's going to happen. You are going to grow up and out of your little. My little book nerd (god I hope you keep that always and forever) will find new passions and loves. My little one that tells me how much she adores me, and wants hugs all of the time, will fight me when I want any time with her (I do hope you hold on to some of our times together). My little one that tells me ALL of the things, with ALL of the details, will keep things closer to her chest.

It's going to happen. We're going to have years of pictures with just Cole, and you won't be there. You won't be a part of it, you'll be living a life somewhere else. You'll be checking in, more like I'll be begging for a check in. But, I'm going to have to really get my head around it being a different set of three. Until we are back down to the two who started it all.

21
Mar

Hello again

New York is starting to wake up again. The days are much longer, there is still light at 7pm, the sun is a little brighter. Even on the really cold cold days, we know that spring is trying to make her way back.

Today, I watched you both play outside like little little kids. I heard the laughter and shouts. God, monkey, you could spend forever outside no matter the weather but when you get to be outside with your big sister, you are in heaven.

Today, you asked and begged for play time with both of us outside. You and dad played hockey and basketball and you could not get enough.

Today, I took the puppy for our first really long run. We ran by the track, and I saw our little town wake up. I saw people walking, hand in hand. I saw dogs smiling and pulling owners. I saw cars with their windows down and people grinning from ear to ear, we all woke up again.

Today, I cleaned out my car and threw away all of gunk that comes with winter. All the salt, rocks, the garbage that is too cold to throw away when it's winter, isn't that weird, that winter makes it all feel a little too hard. But, not today. Today, it felt invigorating to throw things away and gather up all the old and start again.

Today, I drank really cold water, and it felt refreshing. I didn't turn my fireplace on and that felt like a good start. It hit 61 degrees in our little part of NY and that's warm enough for kids in short sleeves playing by a pile of old ice and snow.

Today, my daughter wore flip flops, my son a tank top. My dog was panting during our run, got tired even. During my run, I started to sweat a little.

Hello and good morning to us all as we wake up from the long winter slumber. This winter was a little colder, a little harder. The snow hit us hard, we lost some trees, but nature is really trying to heal now...sound familiar?

Next week, I get my second shot of the vaccine. I never in my life thought that I would be living through a movie like scenario in which a country has to figure out how to roll out a vaccine after we have lost half a million people. But, we are healing. Last week, hate struck again as 8 people were gunned down by a white hateful 21 year-old. Their families are living a nightmare, our country is trying to figure this out, and no one has any answer that will make the pain ever end. But somehow, faith carries us through to the other side and we heal.

Faith in each other. Faith in good over evil. Faith in love over hate. Faith in tomorrow being another day as we open our eyes and stretch. Faith in starting over. Faith in science. Faith in healing.

Hello again spring.

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