5
Jul

It's my honor

As milestones pile on and time starts really speeding up, this introverted mother has really gotten sad. So sad that you will find me folded into myself. So sad that I feel very heavy, unable to breathe, and like someone might be standing on my chest. So sad that I call framily huddled by garbage cans hysterical and unable to be understood. So sad, that I message framily and can't get through my thoughts because the tears won't stop coming. So sad that I need to make sure my littles don't see me so I hide.

And then, my wise loving friend reminded me...we get to watch our babies grow up. That is a privilege, it's actually an honor. And I never ever thought of it this way. We get to watch them grow and figure it out. We get to be a part of every single milestone so far. We get to experience this, we get to watch them figure it out, we get to do all of this.

When a mother has to do the unthinkable and put their babies to rest, I have heard them cry out for what I get to do. I won't ever see them...I won't ever watch them...I won't be able to be there when...that was all I needed to hear.

My sweet girl, my Anna James, the one I named after a strong woman that doesn't realize her strength, the one that started my path. From the moment I met you, I knew you would be teaching me. I knew that I would be following your lead and I knew that you would be in charge of our dance. There are times when I cannot believe I am the mom you are turning to because you have taught me way more than you will ever realize. I will continue to learn from you, I will continue to be the one you will lean on and I thank you for your gift of motherhood. Your smile, your personality, your sense of humor, your love of reading, your consumption of books as if they are food, your love of Nutella, your love of silly, your love of friends, your need for framily, your desire to stay little because you too love childhood. I promise I will listen more than I talk. I promise I will never make your feelings less than. I promise that I will remind you that a good night's sleep will cure most things. I promise I will laugh with you when things are funny. I promise to be silly. I promise to also be your mom, the one that sets your limits and boundaries, I promise to be your structure. Most importantly, I promise to be your foundation and the one you can always come home to. I promise to remind you how strong we are, how much we can do, how much we can overcome and I promise to fill you with the hope of a better tomorrow.

To my loving son, the one we named after a dad who you resemble in all of the best ways. The one that taught me, love, at first sight, was possible. The one that made me fall in love with joy again. The one that reminds me of how incredible it is to love love. The one that reminds me of why and how hard I fell for dad because you embody all the good that he also carries. The one that is just happy because life is good. The one that believes, always, that every day is the best day...just because it's a new one. The one that taught me to fall in love with Lego messes and building and who reminds me...connection brings peace. All you want is time with us and you will demand it no matter what. Your energy, your heart, your imagination, your creativity, your love of love, your little guys. I promise to play with you, I promise to really connect with you. I promise to always let you build. I promise to trust you. I promise to build you into a man that will be accountable for his actions and realize that every action has a consequence, you pick if it's good or bad. I promise to always love your love for your dad and remind him how special that is. I promise to always try and keep up with you. I promise to try and see things the way you do, and I promise to teach you to do the same.

My littles, there are so many things this mama does that needs a redo. So much I feel like I am messing up and so much I keep trying. But, there are also things that are being done right.

Like I will forever protect your childhood, it's how we approach everyday.

Like I never ever take advantage of the time we have, I know that it is fleeting and I know how small our window is so I see it every day...I see our family every day and I take us in and hold us close.

Like although I mess up, I have very little that I regret.

Like I didn't just introduce you to the concept of framily, I helped create and structure your first framily ties and connections. And, I picked right. I always have. From the framily that reminded me that this is my privilege, this is my honor, I get to watch you become...to the framily that got to work and filled my Amazon cart with things to put some love and connection and control in the uncontrollable...the ones I call crying when nothing makes sense and they listen and guide me...the ones that teach me that "what makes adults adults and kids kids is that even if we haven't been through THIS, we've been through STUFF. And, we can (even unconsciously) know that things can work out and things can get better and feelings and situations aren't forever. Kids haven't been through STUFF so they don't actually know any of that". The ones I call hiding near garbage cans. The ones I call locked in my room and freaking out and they bring their mama knowledge like the bosses they are. The ones that make me laugh by saying, "none of this is happening, so let's stop talking about it" because they too are scared. A hubby that reads about what and how to do this all. This is our circle of love. The trust we have built. The courage and needing of each other and the leaning and knowing we are always there. I didn't just introduce you to the concept of framily, no, I helped create and structure your first framily ties and connections.

Like how I apologize when I am wrong and ask for your forgiveness.

Like how I dance with you.

Like how I sing on the top of my lungs in the car and make you feel music and how it can move you and help work out your feelings.

Like how I taught you to love reading.

Like how I gave us the best puppies and taught us how important furry babies are.

Like how I love you spills from us in words, in touch, in actions.

Like how I taught you how important traditions are for building family and love and knowing what is coming and knowing how to make it special, even in the ordinary.

Like how I taught us to do happy hearts each Sunday.

So now, this is the next thing I will do for us. I cannot even pretend to say that I will not continue to fall apart at each and every single milestone. Of course I will. Watching you grow up does bring about a loss for me and I will forever lean on my framily for the support I will need. But, I swear to you, I will remember that it is my job to teach you that this is "stuff" and we all go through "stuff" and we all get through it. I will remember that although you are walking through your next chapter, you're always and forever the kids I love. I swear that I will remember that this is my honor that I get to watch you grow.

22
Jun

To our rising girl

For six years, more than half your life, you have walked through those doors, walked down each hallway, learned your way, and loved your days. You have stayed in touch with the teachers you have met, you have opened your heart to new friends, you have loved being a part of this school.

Anna James, you loved your elementary school and the years you grew and developed there. You loved the activities, the before and after school "things", you loved their events, you loved the bus, you loved walking into the school, you loved the people you met, you loved loved loved your elementary years.

Yes, your last year was so hard on your heart. Yes, many months were taken from you and yes, you do not feel that there was closure and a real good-bye. But, you did do it. You worked, you learned, you connected, you found ways to make people feel connected to you, you were resilient, even if you were sad and lonely and a little heartbroken and unstable. All of those feelings are ok Bella. This is why I didn't allow us to ignore them or make them feel "small" because to you, this is the biggest thing that has happened to you. In a lot of ways, I too feel as though we didn't get to close the door on this incredible milestone. You are becoming a middle schooler, you are a rising sixth grader.

When the pandemic first hit in March, and we thought this was life for the next five weeks, it felt so cozy and family-centered. We really regrouped and found a great rhythm. We missed our framily and connections but damn, we found so many ways to still feel connected and close. We also found this gorgeous dance in our house. As mom started to slow down and find her new balance, you guys did your work, and we all snuggled into the office or in front of the fireplace. We would huddle around the island and even found times for walks, we were so warm and snuggled.

As the reality of the pandemic settled in, we all quickly realized, this is it... this is the new way we do school, life is all different, our days are way different and we went through the roller-coaster of emotions. You, sweet girl, you took it the hardest.

You missed the most. You missed friends and teachers and classrooms and activities and connection and important field trips and little special moments and all of it was ripped from you. You had to say good-bye from afar and you were hurting. I was hurting. We would talk about it on our walks, we would talk about it at nighttime, we would talk about it so you didn't feel like it was nothing or you needed to keep it from us. We would also talk about the good things that came out of this. We would talk about some of the really important positives and no matter what, you made it, we made it.

I know that these last few months were important to you. I know that being in that building, saying goodbye to important people in your life was important to you. I know that it was going to make you feel more ready for your next chapter, not less sad, but more ready. I know none of that happened. I know.

So to you sweet girl I say this. This is the year that will make history. It will be written and talked about and your experience will always matter. You will forever remember this. Whatever comes our way this fall, we will deal and do. We will figure it out together and we will make sure you are ready and feel like you will also appreciate and love this next experience.

There is one thing that is always true about you, you always try. You also make friends, you always connect, and you always do your best. It's all you can do and you definitely do so you've got this. Now, go be you.

12
Jun

Five Minute Friday - how

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 how.

Go.

How did this historical school year come to a close? How did we make it through all of these months at home plugging away? How did we make it all feel so normal when it was anything but?

How did 2020 manage to level us and allow us to rise, all at the same time? How did it quiet us and slow us down and make us worry and make us panic and allow us to appreciate what really matters and allow us to give up what doesn't and change how we all interact and continue to fight for what is right, all while fighting a pandemic? How did we survie?

How is it only June? How is it not 2037 because these days are short and long and never ending and passing too quickly and stubborn and easy and hard. How is it only June?

How is this summer going to go? Things are starting to open up but camps are closing and children are bored of being home and parents are working and we are all surviving and how are we surviving?

How will this end? How will it be when we all come out of the other side? How will we treat each other, how will we move forward for change and equality. How will we speak up and how will be find the right balance and how will we move forward?

Stop.

7
Jun

The elements

I started a class. A course to change my thoughts, my patterns. To change the constant motion I am in and slow the hell down. Last week, we talked through the elements and it became so clear to me how each one lives in our home.

Fire provides heat and light, warmth. We are warmth. We are passionate and our natural intensity compels others to take notice that makes us natural-born leaders. We follow our gut instinct and become fully committed to what we believe. Our passion turns to anger quickly and blinds us when hurting those close. When not contained, Fire spreads to anything nearby we need other elements to survive. Anna and I are part Fire. We are passionate and focused and decisive. We are warm and bright. We are prone to anger and rage, we are easily irritated and fight hard to not be vindictive.

The Earth is stable and reliable, yet constantly working and moving. We are practical and logical and stand firm in our convictions. We learn through experience and believe in setting achievable goals that are attained through hard work. Our home is welcoming and warm and always open to friends and family, which is fitting considering we are a bit of a homebody. While we are always friendly, we do not let people into the inner circle easily. However, once we do, we are loyal to a fault. On the opposite side of this, we can be overprotective. As it is impossible to stop the world from turning, it is also impossible to change our mind once it has been made up. We. Are. Stubborn. and bull-headed and will often stick to our position for no other reason than it is your position. In relationships, we are empathetic and nurturing and don’t mind waiting out a few rough patches. I am part Earth. I am stable and consistent, I am hard-working and loyal and nurturing and empathetic. I am stubborn and rigid as hell!

Water is constantly flowing, it is flexible and goes with the flow. It is the balance to fire, it is my balance. Cory, you have always been and will always be my balance. On the outside, you may seem calm and collected but inside, your feelings are boiling. You are compassionate and caring and can relate easily to others. You connect with people whole-heartedly, which can sometimes make you overly trusting. When spread too thin you are ineffectual, but when collected and focused you are a force to be reckoned with. You see life as a journey and every movement you make is part of a definite path (though sometimes an unexpected one).

However, your ability to connect so deeply also makes you prone to carrying other people’s burdens, my burdens lovey. This compassion for others leaves your own needs neglected. Your emotions ebb and flow, making you sometimes volatile and irrational. You must find balance in learning to help others and learning to help yourself in order to find harmony. You sweet love, you are water. You are understanding, and trusting and devoted, and forgiving. You are flexible and gullible and want harmony and everyone to go with the flow. You help me put out my fire and you water my earth.

Air is constantly in motion, even when you can’t see it. This is the same for sweet incredible Cole. You find clever solutions to difficult problems, you see the big picture and the details. You are outgoing, rational, and clever, you are scattered, eccentric, and everywhere. You are easily distracted and strongest when focused on one problem at a time. Cole, you are thoughtful and witty, charming, and carefree. You flow and are everywhere in constant motion. You are air.

Anna, you are my fuel, you keep me warm. Cole, you are the air we breathe, you keep us in motion and inhaling. Cor, you keep our flames tamed, you water my earth, you keep me alive.

31
May

The magic of play

And I would sit in my home and do laundry and cleanup and live in my reality and get to watch my six-year-old play and create worlds and friends and whole conversations. It was as real to them as the laundry was to me...

Have you ever peaked in on a little one playing alone? Have you ever listened in on the full on conversations they have...all by themselves? Have you ever been cautious, knowing the second they spy you, it stops because they start laughing to themselves?

Have you ever stopped what you were doing and really listened to the whole world and people they create around them? How real it is to them? How boredom is not boring when you are this young and you have so much magic living right inside of you? How real this world is to them? How engrossed they become, how large this world is? Have you ever watched a child play?

Do you remember doing this too? Do you remember playing this way? I definitely do. I remember that little big world that I created, I remember the discussions, I remember feeling not alone. I remember doing it with my parents "around" but when I noticed them, I would feel differently. The world would shatter because their reality would set in. I remember playing school with real students sitting there, I remember assigning homework and doing math problems. I remember the wall I used in my pantry as a chalk board and I remember my basement when we moved being my whole world. I remember posts in my house being people, I remember dancing with them. I remember playing.

Have you ever watched this world be built from the ground up? Have you ever seen how intricate it becomes, how legos become whole worlds, amusement parks, stadiums, war zones, homes, communities? I have a little one building communities like crazy in here. Have you ever watched a child play?

Have you listened to the families they create? Have you listened to how they set up different rooms in their homes and cradle their babies and talk about having to go to work and the pets they have? I have a little one creating her dream family, from the ground up, all the things she wants, baby in hand, career ready to go, dinner with those she loves. I have a little one creating a family. Have you ever watched a child play?

I remember how young it started, how my 2 year old would spend his days creating and building and constructing and conversing. I remember working close by and whenever I was able to take just one little breath, I would hear this tiny voice in the room next to my office, I would hear his imagination and all he was up to. I would smile so hard tears would spring to my eyes. Here he is at 8, doing the exact same.

I remember a little girl, my one and only, for three incredible years. I would watch her take care of her toys, I would watch her dress up and make and become so involved in the world she was creating. Here she is at 11, and that little girl is still there. The little girl that still wants to play with a doll and have a make-believe moment because it's not make-believe, it's her reality. Even living in the in-between has not robbed her of this joy.

Have you seen magic unfold in front of you? Have you seen the magic of play take over? Have you ever watched a child play?

29
May

Five Minute Friday - born

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 born.

Go.

The night before you were born, I knew you were coming. It was scheduled and I sat on the edge of my bed, looking at my packed suitcase and wondering and wondering about you.

I knew I would love you, I already did. I knew we would make room for you, we already did. I knew she would fall in love with not only you, but her brand new role, she already did. I knew it would be tough, it already was. I knew it would be easy, it already was. I knew it would be good, it already was.

There were a few moments when you had some people thinking you would come a little sooner, but I knew you were going to be born on May 30th, I knew we would hang on. I knew I was not sharing you with the world until that day arrived, I knew I would keep to keep you close, a little while longer.

The night before you were born, I held you on the inside of my body, I talked to you, I felt you push into my hand and I told you a little about the family you were about to be a very big part of. The night before you were born, I held you tightly, knowing this would be my last night with two heartbeats, and your mamma cried.

On the night before you were born, I knew it was time. It was time to put a huge and incredible chapter in my life behind me. A chapter I had no idea I wanted to write and a chapter I loved every word of. I would never be the "expecting mom" again. I would never again wonder, I would never again sit on the edge of my bed and hold anyone this way.

Here we are, eight years later, on the day before your 8th birthday. Monkey, can you promise me you won't get older tomorrow...I'll try mom.

Some things will never ever change.

Stop.

22
May

Five Minute Friday - forward

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 forward.

Go.

Each Friday, I plan, in detail, my next week. I look at my meetings/events scheduled, I prioritize my to do lists. I figure out what I have to do and when. And each week, as I look forward, I keep deleting all of the "things" we had planned since they no longer are happening.

In the beginning of the year, I had planned to slow down and take things easier. I had planned to find a new rhythm and slow dance. I had planned for things to be calm and bright. Fast forward to March of 2020 and the world stopped spinning. At first, it was the exact pause I needed and maybe it still is. But as it continues to fly forward, I don't see an end and I don't see a solution and I don't see how this will ever change. I only see the pause and isolation.

I, and my family, have been very fortunate. It is a privilege that it has taken me this long for it to feel heavy. I am privileged, no question about it. I am healthy, I am strong, we are both working, my brand new leap of faith business is still going. So, with knowing this all comes from a place of privilege, the weight is starting to feel a little heavy. I don't know if I can keep going and going without an end and without connection. So, today, I say a little please to the universe, a quiet little prayer. I would like to start looking forward once again and having something to look forward to.

10
May

Mother's Day 2020

This year, I asked for all to be calm and bright.

I asked for time with you, time to regroup, time to calm my nerves, time to do one job only, and take on a new career, time to find the strength to walk away from a 20-year project. Time to linger and sleep, god, I really really needed so much sleep. I asked for time.

I asked for quiet, I asked for sleep. I asked for darkness and rain and sunny days and walks with Pearl. I asked for days off. I asked for time off during the day. I asked for more and for less. I asked for quiet moments to read, and look at you, and listen. I asked for it to be quiet.

I asked for you, I asked for you to talk to me. I asked for you to want and need this time as much as I did. I asked for your heart, I asked for your stories, I asked for your ramblings, I asked you to lean on me. I asked you to trust me, I asked the universe to give me the courage to not react, but to really listen and build on our already strong foundation. I asked for you lovies.

I asked for perspective, to get a grip on reality. I asked for fewer distractions, I asked for me to find out what I now am. I asked for my heart to grow and let go, I asked for a change to not make me feel like everything was ending but I also asked for grace to be sad. I asked for perspective on moving on, forward, and remember that love is what I do best. I needed perspective to get a firmer grip but a losen the hold I always need.

I asked for grace. Grace for me from me. I asked myself to remember how hard I worked, how much I care, how much I always do the best I can, how I am the first to admit that I could have done it better, but the grace that I did all I could, gave it all I had and did so only with love. I will always give it all I have. This all in girl needed grace.

So, here we are. I got all I wanted, all I needed. I have so much time. I have all of you, all of the time. I sleep and nap and then sleep more. I have given myself permission to sleep all I want when I want. That's grace for you. I read here and there. I work out. I eat so much and it feels so good. I binge-watch everything and I love it. I drink and that too feels so right. I have a new perspective and so many less distractions. I have all of you. I have everything I asked for.

It looks different than when I asked...it always does. It comes with the rest of life and the world tied to it...it always does. It comes with worry and concern and stir crazy emotions and tears...it always does. But, we are here. All of us, under one roof. We are safe, we have all we need, most of what we want, we have each other.

This mother's day, I am forever grateful that you talk my ear off Anna. I am forever grateful that our walks mean so much to you. I am so sorry how much we all miss our friends, so much that it is painful. I am so sorry that there are days we all just need a good cry...that unfortunately will never change.

I am grateful that you come with me on my runs monkey. Even on the days I so badly need just an hour alone, you're all in with me and you're ready to tackle that challenge. I am grateful that you love to work out with us. I am grateful that you love our reading dates and time with us, it is all you want...all of the time.

I am grateful that Pearl hugs us all and gets really upset if we're not all together. I am grateful for her sloppy kisses and playful heart. I am grateful for ball games in the backyard and a deck we are all enjoying.

I am grateful that during a normal spring we wouldn't even see dad but he is home, working with you on all of the school work, working on house projects. I am grateful he is so good at this, and even if he grumbles, he really loves it because he's so proud of himself and he should be, everything he does he does with only love for us in his heart.

I am grateful for the time, perspective, grace, quiet, you.

3
May

Today was hard.

It's Friday, May 1st. Normally, this time of year, we would be crazy busy. The kids would be in activities...baseball, tennis, piano, chess, drama stuff. Coach would be coaching and I would be trying to keep it all together. The kids would be bursting with excitement about the spring season and how warm it is and desperate to just be outside and play. The end of the school year would be looming, we'd all be over it in some way but instead...

Today was hard. Because today, it was announced that NY schools are closed for the rest of the year. My 5th-grade little girl folded into herself and cried, a cry so hard her body heaved, and whenever she found a quiet moment, she cried all over again. Right before bed, she held me in a way she hasn't in years and she sobbed. Today was really really hard.

What are you going to miss the most?

I'll never see my teachers again, this was my last year there and it's just over now.

This little one loves a tradition and loves looking forward to things and loves loves loves her friends...remind you of anyone?

The little one struggles with things ending, it feel differently to her, and she needs to mourn it a little bit...remind you of anyone?

This little one is scared, and sometimes, she thinks she can't do anything because she's too scared to try, but she always tries...remind you of anyone?

This little one feels things with her whole body, she cries with her body, just like she laughs with her body. She loves to find things to laugh about, she desperately looks for them because she just wants to laugh...remind you of anyone?

This little one started living in the in-between and can't go back now.

Today was really hard.

I messaged her teacher to tell her about her sadness, I told her about what she said about missing her and the response back was, well, it was the reason Anna will miss them most.

I have so many words and none of them seem to be right to convey the admiration and love I have for the tiny human that is Anna. The adoration is a two way street and being one of her teachers has been a great joy.
Our ride together is not over. I will continue to support Anna through her years at Saratoga and when she takes that walk across the lawn at SPAC I will be there with tears in my eyes and pride in my heart lining her path.
I have no doubt that Anna is going to do great things. I trust that with her sweet disposition, perfect comedic timing, beautiful smile, and driving determination she is going to continue to make us proud for years to come.
I have done my fair share of crying today as I mourned to the loss of many things. But as I worked through consoling myself I thought of the amazing impact these kids are going to have for what they have lived and thrives through.
Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you for all that she is and all that she will be.
I will see that sweet girl again
...

Today was hard. Tomorrow might be better, it might not. That part doesn't matter, what matters is that she's 100% allowed to feel sad. I told her that a good night's sleep will help, but she will feel sad for a long time and that's okay too. You're allowed to be upset because for a 10 turned 11 during quarantine little girl, well, you're allowed to feel like your whole world just shut down. You're allowed to miss your friends and your teachers and your routine and your school building and your activities. You're allowed to because you shouldn't at all be thinking about how much worse things can be, this is bad enough.

Through her sobs, she did say things like, I'm happy we're all healthy, and I'm really happy your uncle feels better...I know sweetie, but I know this is hard too and that's ok.

I do promise you will see your amazing teachers again. I promise that we will make these last two months as good as they can get. I promise you aren't the only one that misses her friends. I promise I will continue to make sure you're all in touch as much as possible. I promise it will get better, but I also promise that today was hard and that really is ok.

Tomorrow might be better, or there might be more hard around the corner, either way, we're in this together kiddo.

2
May

Five Minute Friday - distraction

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 distraction.

Go.

It seems as though many are looking for a distraction to get through these days. But, what if you were always distracted and you need a pandemic to have a new perspective? What if you used every excuse as a distraction and now, you are finally able to sit and see and feel and be okay. What if it took the world to no longer spin for you to find a sense of normal and stop being so damn distracted?

I was distracted with busy and work and hours and hours and hours of exhaustion. No, I was not the only one. No, it's hard for a lot of working parents, stay at home parents, single parents, people, life can just be hard sometimes. So, no, I was not special and no, I am not that important. But distracted was the name of my game for sure and how I lived most of my days.

No, it was not all bad. I still saw my kids and they still felt loved. I still had fun and found a good routine. There were moments I felt my hum, I didn't just hear it, I felt it in my body. I felt it vibrating and I felt so so good. But, once you lose that hum, once you are just doing to do, once you are "getting through" a week or a time or a lifetime, that's not a life worth living and you are too distracted.

No, I didn't have much of a choice. I made decisions and sacrifices for our family, I did what needed to be done and I wasn't keeping myself distracted to NOT face something, I didn't see a way out and even with space and distance, I would go back and do it all over again just this way.

I was able to set up some space, some security, I was able to do it in the way I felt most comfortable, I planned and I worked hard. All of that is ok and it was a "short time" in the grand scheme of life. But, distracted I was. So now, I look a little harder. I take in the view more, or at all. I find different routes to run, I really pay attention. Now, I spend time showing my daughter things and talking to the kids a lot more. Now, I'm a little less distracted.

Stop.

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