14
May

It means everything

To mother means something, to love like one means everything.

I am not your everything, you are not mine. But together, we are everything I ever wanted to be.
As I enter my 15th year of motherhood I have learned that

  • I miss my babies
  • I have made so many mistakes but have no regrets
  • I apologize often
  • I remember so much of your childhood and believe I always will
  • You continue to teach and lead, I continue to learn and follow
  • You will always be more ready than I am and I just have to take a deep breath and trust
  • You are the best people I know
  • You are who I want to be more like

I still want you to know that

  • There is nothing you can do to make me love you more or less.
  • I am still learning. Anna, you are forever and always my first attempt. Cole, you will forever and always want and need to do it differently so I'm still learning.
  • I am so so happy that I picked the bigger life and decided to say yes to motherhood. You are my best decision.
  • You both make me melt with pride. And love. And like. And amazement. You make me melt with all of it.
  • I might actually love you more than Pearl. Maybe. Kind of. Sometimes. When the moon and stars align just right.
  • I wanted this life. I never ever knew it, but I wanted this exact life.
  • Your dad always knew you would be a part of his story.
  • You have honored me and given me the privilege of having a front-row seat to this life you are making for yourself.
  • I am in love with you.

To mother means something, to love like one means everything.

To love like a mother means that I would give up my life for you, but not who I am.
I would give up my breath, but not my air.
I would give up my ability to walk and talk, but not my voice and rhythm.

I have gone through the stages of infant-to baby-to toddler-to child- to big kid-to teenager.
I have loved like only a mother can. As only a mother can.
I have loved with all that I have and all that I was.
I love with all that I have and all that I am.
I have broken up with myself and my person and my old life.
I have found a new me, a new us, a new life.
I am grateful to you for all that we are.

To mother means something, to love like one means everything.

14
Apr

The Storm

When I'm in the middle of a storm, I feel the clouds getting darker and heavier with rain.
I can sense the wind picking up and garbage being flung around.
And all I have to count on is my reaction.
I can either get swept away or find stillness.
I get to pick.

I can try to find beauty in the storm, or even better, honor the beauty of the storm.
None of which should not be hard for me, a lover of rain and gray and storm clouds.

I can remember how much I love to watch a storm because it makes me feel like I'm allowed to hibernate.
I love to watch from my windows with something warm in my hands.
I love to feel protected in my house and snuggled as the storm rages on.
I love a quiet dog on my feet, snoring from the quiet day.
I love the protection I get from the walls of my home and I love the lazy day ahead of me.
I can choose to honor the beauty that the storm brings.

I can put on warmer clothes. I can sit on my couch. I can find that book. I can listen to the rain on my rooftop. I can have a fire lit, I can find a warmer blanket. I can write. I can work. I can be okay.

I'm there now.
I'm watching the clouds roll in and at first, I panicked. I became the little kid in my basement, scared, worried.
I threw a temper tantrum because I thought my roof was going to blow right off of my house.
I thought my foundation would crumble and the water would swallow us up.
But then I remembered, I love this weather.
I am okay and most importantly, there is nothing to be scared of.
I have already seen the worst the weather can bring and my house is always still standing.
The next day, I am still here.
I just need to protect myself from the strong winds and I know how to do that.
I have built a home strong enough to brace itself.
I'm okay.

I need to use my time wisely and embrace the hibernation.
I need to allow the rain to fall and fall hard and wash away.
I need to remember that the storm has power, but I'm going to pick honoring its beauty.

11
Mar

Losing your heart

I lost my heart.
And you did too.

I lost who I was and what I love most about myself.
And you did too.

I lost my smile and any ease I had (which already was so little).
And you did too.

I felt lost.
Like I couldn't even imagine who I was anymore.
Or who I wanted to be because I felt so alone.
I couldn't image what I would become if I didn't have this heart to lead my way.
I felt uncomfortable.
Like I still wanted to shine, but I also needed and wanted to hide.
I wanted to continue just loving the parts of me that I loved and grow the parts of me that need growth, but I also wanted to go the hell away.
But you did not.

I lost my heart.
And you did too.

We talk a lot about how I am feeling through it all.
Not because we don't recognize the change in you, but because I need to talk it out. And I need to do that with you.
We don't talk about the change in you and there are times you won't acknowledge your change at all.
But, we lost our hearts. We lost who we are, who we fell in love with.
Not out of growth, but out of pain and stress and pressure.

I lost my heart.
And you did too.

I do not know how to find it again or who I will be from here on out.
As for you, you are starting to come to grips with your change. You are starting to realize you want to find who you were and bring that person back into our light.
You are finding your softer edges and your joy again. You are finding your heart, who you were - who you always were - and who you still are.

I lost my heart.
And you did too.
I lost who I was.
And you did too.
I lost who I wanted to be.
And I'm still quite a bit lost.

I will work on me because you are working on you.
I will work on what I will now become because you are getting back to who you were.

I lost my heart.
And you did too.

11
Feb

A mother to babies

Many people told me, and still tell me, that I struggle with change.
I believed them - big parts of me still do - after all, when you're told something from those who love you and know you the most, what is there to question?
I understand why. I love a tradition. I love a routine.
However, I have come to realize that I am quite resilient and more comfortable with change than I understood. What was confusing is that although I had to change as a mom, I had to, I did struggle with the growth and milestones.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear –OCTAVIA E. BUTLER

I believe that what I struggled with was watching you stop being babies.
I loved being the mother to babies.
I loved protecting your little.
I loved having a little one snuggled on my chest.
I loved how you smelled. I loved the way you laughed at my peek-a-boo.
I loved how your face lit up when I walked in.
I loved feeding you a bottle. I loved your little clothes.
I loved watching you sleep. I loved feeling your breath in and out.
I loved a snuggled you in a crib. I loved you after a bath.
I loved being a mom to babies.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear

And you, you were the kindest most gentle introduction to parenthood.
You were full of love and joy and sleep and food.
You slept like angels and ate like champs.
You were a lover of touch and hugs.
And you loved to be a part of this crazy little family.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear

When you become a parent, you have to be okay with change.
You are breaking up with yourself every single day.
You are breaking up with your marriage, the parts you thought you would never give up on must change.
You are breaking up with your body.
You have to accept the changes to your home, to your sleep, to your career.
You have to learn to be okay with all of it - or else the insanity of it will consume you.
You have to be flexible and change with the moment.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear

You have to constantly reevaluate your parenting style and change and mold and refigure your family out.
You have to change your tone, change your mind, and see things from their point of view.
You have to change your priorities, change your schedule, change big parts of your life.
I had no choice but to accept change and I did.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear

When I look at all of our old pictures and see your beaming faces, and your grumpy ones, god I miss you.
I miss the rolls and the insane bursts of love.
I miss the squeals and the silly.
I miss the little hands wrapped around my hand all of the time.
I miss my babies.
Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear

It is no secret that motherhood was not something I longed for.
The fear of all of this, all of the time, was unbearable to think about.
So I went in with eyes wide open.
I knew our marriage would take a hit, I just didn't realize how much.
I knew our money would take a hit, and I planned for it.
I knew our home would change, and I braced myself for it.
I knew my body would have to change and change again and again and again, and I made a commitment to you.
I knew my health would take a hit and I got myself ready.
I knew our lives would change and I opened up my arms to you.
You, you met us with kindness and love.
The kind that eases change and certainly quiets fear.

22
Jan

Love

Kindness eases change / Love quiets fear –OCTAVIA E. BUTLER

Love is an amazing emotion.
It takes up space, it fills the empty space in you, it washes over you like a bath.
And just like that, love makes you feel warm, cared for, present. It brings out smiles, joy, kindness.
Love is an amazing emotion.

When you are in doubt - of yourself, your worth, your self-worth - love whispers to you.
Almost like sweet nothings in your ear - love reminds you that you are important, you are here, and it matters that you are here.
Love is an amazing emotion.

Love helps with pain, sorrow, even grief.
It fixes the broken, and allows for healing.
It humbles you, it it astounding.
Love is an amazing emotion.

Love tells you to be kinder. Love reminds you that no matter what you do or don't do, it will show up.
Love won't back down, won't be afraid, won't back away.
Love is not shy, it is not written in ink, it is ever-changing, growing, evolving.
Love is an amazing emotion.

Love melts the hard spots, especially the ones in your heart.
It allows you to dream bigger, and see brighter. It asks you to forgive, it asks you to kneel and it asks you to rise.
It allows you to think about a future, with a person, in a spot, or to do more than think, to plan.
Love it an amazing emotion.

Love cannot be scripted, it does not wash away, no matter distance or circumstance.
It is ever-present, always involved.
Love asks your heart to grow and it asks it to rest. It asks it to settle into comfort as it flutters at a voice, or a sound or a smile.
Love is an amazing emotion.

I have met many lovers of love in my life.
I too am one.
I also created one.
I also adopted one.
I understand their need, their desire to feel loved, to show love, to give love, to have it received.
I understand their hearts, how pure it is.
I understand how and why they are all in on what they love, who they love. They know no other way.
I understand their emotions, I understand their power.

Love is one amazing emotion.

19
Dec

I respect your presence

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once limitless love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once love with limits and boundaries, and tempers, and pain, and I respect your presence.

Our whole relationship was complicated.
Packed with fighting and times of so much rage and craze that we just walked away.
Most of my life was filled with so much anger because I could not understand you.
The time you wasted being angry, the reasons you were angry, the people you chose to be angry with, I could not understand any part of it.
And the thing that made me the most angry is you wasted time being angry and you wasted time wasting time.
You never understood that time was a gift and that all of our time is borrowed.
And yet, there were parts of you that I really understood, and I got your why.
Not always, but every once in a while, I got your why.

And the end with you was also complicated.
Filled with moments of laughter and lightness.
Filled with moments of heaviness and vulnerability.
Filled with a scared little boy and a grown man in denial.
Filled with anger and resentment.
Filled with more wasted time, and time worried about the wrong things.
Until finally, it was time to say goodbye.

Once you were gone, I had no idea where my mind, thoughts, and memories would go.
I am honored to say that I felt pure grief.
Loving, missing you, missing your big personality, pure, beautiful grief.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I respected you from the moment you arrived, and I have not stopped.
I respect you for making me feel small and sad.
You reminded me that love once existed where you now stand so stand proud.
I respect your presence.

It felt like nothing could tear us apart. We were one family, united. We were everything and always. We were endless and always a breath away. We were each other's safety net and you were my laugh, my balance, my friends. Until we were no longer. Somewhere, somehow, we hit our limit in our limitless friendship - and it did not explode, it just vanished.
We were done, and you were all gone.
I spent months upon months upon months unable to catch my breath. I felt like I was being crushed with sadness. And then I lost my dad and I realized what I was feeling for us was grief.
Even though you still existed and walked around in the world, I was grieving you/us/ideas/love. I was grieving our love lost.
I replayed our times together and conversations. I picked up the phone countless times. I doubled over in pain. I held my son's hand as he grieved too. I curled up into a ball most nights. I yelled, I screamed, I did nothing at all but get small and quiet.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and not only did I not respect your presence, I tried to deny you existed. Until I had no other choice. I had to accept the fact that we were done and grief now stood proud.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence. The love you now replace was limitless, endless, truthful, and pure. You should stand proud because real love existed and I respect your presence.

I have had to let go of expectations of people, relationships, and what I had hoped we would be, or what I had thought we were. I have grieved safe spaces and love. Maybe something more beautiful will be born. Maybe we will be exactly what you have always told me we are. Maybe grief will help me to move on, or maybe it will keep me lingering. Maybe the love I still have will melt away the protection I am now seeking.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I honor you for finding me because it means that I allowed my heart to feel this way. I allowed this amount of love in and outward. I poured as much of myself as I could and I am so lucky to have had this in my life. I respect your presence because it reminds me that I felt love.

As a 45-year-old woman who left her family with no reassurances, who created two amazing kids, who found the love of her life at 21, who left a career that raised her, who buried a puppy that was her reason, who is now raising those two incredible kids to be people in this world, who started a company that she adores, who has another puppy that fixed the broken, who has gone through stage after stage after stage with her husband, who walked her father to his death, who loved and lost, and lost a lot, who was born 40, who is living her best decade, who stopped proving she can do hard things, who continues to look at herself to find how to can be better, stronger, more myself. I am lost. I am living my best years and am still lost.
I have broken up with myself over and over again and I still am. I am still trying to make sense of who I am, how I fit in, where I fit in, who I need, what I need, and when.
Although I spent an entire year trying to live in a place of self-respect with boundaries on being a doormat, I still find myself, searching. I do not know what I am seeking or searching for, but I know that I am looking for something. And I know that I am grieving past lives.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
Where you now stand proud, stood a woman who was so fulfilled with her choices in love.
Where you now hold value was once a foundation that was so strong, and now is a little wobbly.
So I respect your presence. I respect your heartbeat and I respect the waves you bring.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.



11
Dec

Year in review

In what ways am I pouring inward? And how does that change the way I pour outward onto others?

Dear 2023, I walked into my year of self-respect because
*I have been a punching bag and a doormat.
*I am mean to myself, really mean.
*When I feel taken advantage of, I become the worst version of myself.
*I spent 13 months walking my father to his death and it was really hard.
*I was hurt, my heart, my toes, my eyes, they felt the physical pain, but I was hurt.

And the year did not disappoint.
I was bombarded with pain and loss and loneliness and times of deep sorrow.
There were times I felt sought after and attacked.
But, I will say that those moments made me the kindest I have ever been to myself as I poured inward.
I reminded myself that I am a good friend with a good heart and I carry people with me.
I reminded myself that I was in trouble for allowing this to happen to me and I really really looked at why.
I reminded myself that I was the common denominator and I needed to find a different way or different loves.

I backed off and backed away.
I got quiet and sad.
I cried.
I held on to memories but also forced myself to remember the hurt, shock, and pain.
I looked at old photos and I read old letters.
I walked down memory lane after lane after lane.
I thought through who I wanted to be and who I wanted to show up for.
I felt empty, most of the year, I felt empty because I wasn't sure I could be myself anymore.

And I realized a lot.
Grief is fascinating and it comes out in outrageous ways and at the damndest of times.
I spent three solid months crying on every single run I was on and every single time, I was stunned.
Grief is experienced even when the people you love are still alive.
And most significantly, I feel so honored to feel grief because real/true/limitless love was once there.
I realized that many people can only take me in small doses because I am, in fact, too much.
I also realized you can shrink not to be too much but be careful because you will start to feel invisible, if only to yourself.
If you are a lover of love, you have a superpower and a kryptonite at the same exact time.
Your superpower is how you make others feel - how loved they feel - and that feeling gives you life.
Your kryptonite is that you will make others feel stuck and like they have no out with you.
And if you try and control your superpower and extinguish its light, you will feel as though you are no longer part of the living.

I also spent some time figuring out what and how to pour inward.
I realized that I could find some space.
I found my breath on my mat again and I found my quiet in the slowness of it all.
I found people who reminded me I can and will find love again. It will take time and it will take some trial and error but it will happen. And although I don't believe it in my heart yet, I know that logically, it has to be true.
I spent time with my mom. I watched her try and re-emerge. I watched her handle grief in a very loving and healthy way. She is still deep in it, but she is also finding moments of levity and reasons to smile.
I spent so much time with my littles.
One comes home and tells me everything but nothing.
The other is a tornado in a storm and I get whisps of information in a blur.
We continued to do a lot of traveling.
I fought and made up with my husband.
I found a really loving routine for my body.
I slept.
I read.
I walked thousands of miles (or so it feels).
I lifted heavier weights and trusted the process.
I bought new clothes for my new body - the one that is now athletic - yes, on purpose.
I start my morning with a glow - -candles, a clean home, warm coffee, relaxing walks and sounds, and of course, puppy snuggles.

As my year of respect wraps up - I cannot say that I am better for it or worse.
Worse because of the blueness that I feel engulfed in at times, better because I did pour a little more love inward.
No, my cup did not run over, but I did pour a little more than the year before.
As for 2024, I will look to the beauty in this world and show more gratitude for what I have in front of me.

But, like most of us, I lived another year full of ups and downs and joy and pain.
I know that is how all of my years will go - because I am part of the living.







3
Dec

I chose bigger

When I was younger and Dad and I were starting, I can't begin to explain how lovely our life was.
We were smitten.
Everything was so calm and joyful. We had this quaint little life and I loved it.

We spent our evenings watching shows and movies or going out.
We spent our weekends food shopping, going to coffee houses, and walking our puppy.
We lived in a city and we would walk and see friends and have dinner and just loved on each other.

We worked and got by. We started careers and got promoted. We would travel here and there, nothing extravagant.
We lived in apartments, some shitty, some nice, all of them small.

Once we got married, I knew how he wanted to live.
I walked into our marriage knowing he wanted to be a dad and he walked in knowing he needed to convince me of parenthood.
And he did.
I chose you both, I chose a bigger life.

And, although for Dad, there was no choice, it just always was the life he wanted, the life he pictured, and he could not see it any other way, this was an actual choice for me.
I was letting go of my little quaint level.

My quiet little lovely life and I was choosing bigger.

Bigger meant louder.
It meant more space.
It meant more of everything, including more love.
More love for each other as we changed and grew into parents and changed and broke up with ourselves and reformed who we were.
It meant more love for you, two new people in our lives.
We needed to make more room for you and I did.

And I loved it.
I won't be so bold as to say that I loved every part of it.
There were years upon years that were so hard.
Hard on us as a couple, hard on us as parents, hard on us as people, hard on you as we navigated our new lives and parenthood and couplehood.

But I went in eyes wide open and I embraced you and motherhood and loving on you.
I spent my time protecting your little.
I spent my days creating and celebrating special moments.
I spent my life creating our traditions and foundation.
I spent my love on you.

I chose bigger.

And I know your life will look different.
I'm excited to see what you will choose.
And I'm excited to see what will choose you.
What, like your dad, will not be a choice but just a must.
What will make you feel full...joyful...alive?
I'm excited to see what your world will look like, all wrapped up in your own comfort.
Because for one of you, you think you have it all figured out.
And the other seems to think there is no life outside of this little family of ours.

But, to both of you...
Although I can remember my other life. The one I loved.
And I can honestly say I would have loved living that life forever and always - I know that I wanted this one. The one we have right now.
The one that is messy with shoes everywhere and coats and bags thrown.
The one that has me stepping on Legos and forever cleaning a kitchen.
The one that has me tied to the laundry like an anchor.
The one that has me running from place to place to get you from one thing or another.
The one that cost me more money.
The one that will forever have me tied to you.
The one that changed me, changed who I am, changed my wants.

I want this one because I chose it lovies.
I chose you.
I chose bigger.

27
Nov

Grateful

Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything. – THOMAS MERTON 

Like the weather.
Or how fast time is moving.
Or about the kids. Or about our family. Or about our work.
Or how early it gets dark.
How hard it is to get up in the morning.

So instead, let me break the habit.

Like how much I enjoy each and every single season in NY, so, I may as well lean into the things I love about them.
Like how much earlier I want to sleep and hibernate because it is darker earlier.
Like how much I love to snuggle into a warm bed and that's why it's so hard to leave in the morning.
Like how time is moving way too fast, but I have a front-row seat to our kids getting older.
I get to see my daughter laugh like I do at TV shows.
I get to see my son scream with excitement with his dad at any game.
Like how much family I have surrounding me all of the time.
Like how much joy my career brings me.
Like how hard we work on us and how important that is to me.
And how much you realize how important it is to me so you try too.
Like how I get to work out every single day. My body has not failed me yet and I still get to move and get stronger and better.
Like how calm the water is when Pearl and I go for a walk.
Like how much our puppy loves to go for a walk and how happy she is.
Like having Pearl in our lives at all and realizing there is a true lover of love out there that puts all others to shame.
Like how she gives hugs.
Like how Cole still gives me little guy smooches.
Like how Anna still wraps her arms around me and gives me soft kisses on my nose.
Like our traditions and how important they still are to the kids.
Like my business that keeps me on my toes but doesn't make me feel stepped on.
Like how amazing rain sounds falling on our home.
Like how beautiful the world is covered in white snow.
Like how wonderful it is when the weather turns and we start to feel free outside.
Like how much I adore our Friday nights.
Like how much I look forward to our Sunday dinners
Like how we figured out how to heal before it was too late.
Like how we have each other.

25
Sep

Team Houser

I have been having a case of the mamma blues.
I have been feeling disconnected, disjointed, and unaware.
I have been missing the little, the cuteness, the wanting to be "just like mom".
I have been really really missing my kiddos.

Yes, they are right here with me.
Yes, we see and talk to each other all of the time.
But lately, they have been getting so big and going so fast that my head is spinning a bit and I feel off.
I feel like we're off.

And then, I came back from a weekend getaway.
I was greeted with the biggest smile I had ever seen.
My daughter baked me a birthday cake.
My son gave me little guy smooches.
And our little team was back.

And then, we went and worked out together.
And this daughter of mine, the one I was in twisted knots about, she kicked ass.
She pushed herself, but hard.
She picked up weights she hadn't even dreamed she could before and she pushed and pushed.
We did thrusters together and she kept up. She pushed and pushed and pushed and after every block, she looked for me to high-five.
And our little team was back.

And then, we came home and she told me all about her weekend, all about her time.
She filled me in on some of her friends and she talked and talked, just like she always does, about nothing, but just wanting to talk.
We made dinner together, turned on our show, we laughed together.
And our little team, we're back.

And then, our son and my hubby ran off to practice.
And my son wanted to try a play HE came up with.
And my hubby worked it into the rotation, and he was proud.
And they love doing this together.
And our little team, we are back.

And my hubby and I got two days away.
We ate and drank and smooched and walked and shopped and talked and smooched some more.
We hiked and played around, we laughed and held hands and touched toes.
We watched movies and smooched.
And our little team, we are back.

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