Fifteen years and one week.

Fifteen years ago today, you were one week old. Your hair still very dark brown, stick straight, and so long I could curl it around my pinkie. Your signature raspy cry was still soft and always adorable. You had that perfect, brand new skin that I can recall so very clearly with all of my senses. Especially your forehead. What IS it about newborn foreheads? I’d had a week of being a mom. A week of breastfeeding, changing diapers, cuddling, figuring out how to pee after an episiotomy… TMI? Sorry. Yes, I know you’ve heard about this a few times now as you get older…but..THEY DIDN’T WARN ME, or ask, or do anything to numb the pain before quite literally taking pair of silver scissors and cutting me like a piece of card stock!

I’m so sorry you had to listen to that (again), but I had to feel it 15 years ago and its just one of those things you’re never going to live down because you have a giant head. Those of us who were really “blessed” to experience a generation of medical practitioners who believed all medical intervention was better than a body naturally and gently doing things the way it knows how will someday corroborate my experience and the unnecessary trauma. I digress.

We grabbed a rhythm pretty quickly. At eighteen, I was just a baby myself, but I knew how to be a mom. It came very natural to me. To love and nurture you and care for you was what I was always meant to do.

On that Thursday evening, at one week old, I had a conversation with you at around 11PM. It’s a conversation that will forever be as vivid as the day we had it because I was smart enough to write it down for once. It’s one of the few whirlwind memories I have of your first year of life. I had on my purple Eeyore pajamas. I had just fed you. I was curled up with you on the futon, Kasey was on the other side laying on my feet like always.

Obviously when I say I had a conversation with you, it consisted of me whispering into your neck and face; You were sleeping with your little fists folded into my chest. You were wearing my most favorite thing, a pale yellow sleep sack, lined with super soft, fluffy stuff that kept you nice and cozy. After I whispered my thoughts to you, I typed out our “conversation” on my high school graduation present from your grandparents, a brand spankin’ new Compaq Presario. I have saved the letter and transferred it from computer to computer through the years. It’s never felt like the “right time” to give it to you, but seeing as you’re 15, and you know it all now, I thought maybe this might be a good time.

Here is what I wrote you on October 4th, 2001. I didn’t correct anything, I’m just copying and pasting.

HAPPY ONE WEEK OLD BIRTHDAY. WOWWWW. I’ve been a mom for one week. I am pretty sure I’m the only one in my graduating class that can say that. This has been like a blur week. I feel like all I do is feed you and feel uncomfortable and try to make sure we both look clean for all of the people that want to visit. You have changed me so much already. My body for sure. Thanks for that, but hey you’re here, and we’re both going  to have to get used to that.

This world is different now, this month especially. Before you were born, I can’t even tell you how horrible this last few weeks has been. You are the bright spot in pretty much our whole family. There is lots of stuff I got to tell you about when you’re much older, but for now I just want to hope your innocence will stick around for a while. The world is different. I am different. Oh and remind me to tell you why I will probably always call you “my full circle baby”, you’re straight from God, thats for sure.

The really, really good news is that we are in this together. I don’t really know you. You don’t really know me either, but I’m kind of in charge of things, for a while anyway, which is REALLY scary, but I think I’ll take it a day at a time. Right now it feels like parenting will be so slow, but I am thinking it will probably go fast like all 40 something year olds tell me ALL the time. “Don’t blink” they say. Okay, fine, I won’t blink. But when I do blink and I miss something or I don’t do the right thing I hope you know that I tried really hard. Most of the time. Already this week I’m just so freaking tired and like on Sunday, I probably should have given you a bath, but instead I just wiped you down with a baby wipe, and slathered you in lotion and thought to myself “good as new!”, and I fell asleep in the parking lot at Walgreens when I just wanted to go pick up pictures I took of you your first day home because the weather was actually nice and I just wanted to leave the house by myself for 10 minutes.Of course it was more like 30 minutes and I freaked out worrying if Papa knew what to do for you when I was gone so long. No one but you knows I actually fell asleep for like 20 minutes on the steering wheel, so never tell, okay?

I kind of don’t want to give away any parenting secrets or anything so you’ll probably open this letter some day when I’m dead, if I remember to print it off and put it somewhere safe, or it doesn’t end up on a corrupt disk. Where was I again? Gosh. SO, ANYWAY, so far the only parenting secret I have is that I don’t have any secrets because its my first time doing this and I just have to learn and trust my instincts about what you need and who you are. I can’t even believe I have a kid even though I feel like a mom. I’m young, so I’m probably (already) going to get judged, and so are you if you’re a brat or whatever, so lets try to avoid that. Overall, I hope its true that I will learn as much from you as you learn from me. I feel like I have a lot to prove. I talked to Aunt Judy, she’s your great aunt, she told me that I have nothing to prove to anyone but I definitely want to prove to you that I’m going to be good at this even though I keep getting told all the time how I need to listen to everyone around me and soak up their experience and advise so I don’t make any mistakes because i’m already at a disadvantage for barely starting college. So, yeah, I DO have things to prove.

I’m going to make sure that no matter who comes in your life, that you will always have me. I don’t think I have a great relationship with your NANA. We fight ALOT. She is ALWAYS still trying to parent me. Thats why we need to move out, like yesterday. But anyway, your dad said a bunch of times this week that he’s glad I know what I’m doing because he doesn’t know what it means when you cry your different cries and when you are hungry and your umbilical cord thing seriously TERRIFIED him. He thought you would bleed to death if it got bumped or something. It was kind of funny. He’s a hard worker. He loves us. He’ll be fine after a while I think, right now, he’s really good at working hard and going to school again, and holding you when you sleep because he says you’re the “least breakable” then. Cute, right?

OH HERE IS A SECRET. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN THE HELL I AM DOING. Fake it until you make it I guess is my motto. Also “SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS” and I’m not doing that, so I guess I should try and fall asleep for a little while until you want to nurse again because we seriously do this every two hours and half the time we both fall asleep.

One more thing my little Sydney Leigh, I LOVE YOU! And I am pretty sure that unless you do something really horrible, by the time you read this, that will still be true. And everything we go through and all of the learning that I have to do to be a good mom for you and to be a good example for you and to be a good person in general as I get older and we do all the fun things that life has to offer……………..I’m pretty sure I will just love you more and more. I don’t know how thats possible right now, but I have a feeling.

When I read that I can’t believe its been fifteen years. It’s easy to see how young I was, how simple things were. Oh, how much I thought I knew at just a few years older than you are now. I get it. I get how people were so worried about me being a mom at eighteen, because, I was just a kid. My writing voice is still the same, but hopefully it has matured a bit. I notice how in this letter I’m at my most vulnerable, I’m not trying to sound intelligent, or well spoken. I’m an eighteen year old talking to her new baby. I kind of love that.

I regret spending a lot of time trying to prove that I wasn’t a stereotypical teen mom, that I could do it all, that I could have the perfect grown-up life. I think I missed a lot of little things. I’m sure all parents think back to what they might have done differently, but overall I think we’ve done okay, you and me. I think you’re a pretty fantastic human, and I will take an itty bitty amount of credit for that, but mostly, I think it’s just who you are.

Your birthday is always going to be a special day for so many reasons. You made me a mom, you’ve been my “first” for everything. We’re in the stage of life where its a little harder for you to understand why I make the choices that I do, our arguments are a little more intense, and the discussion topics are quite a bit heavier. There has been a lot of life in your fifteen years, all of the most significant moments in my life began with your birth. With each passing year there are new layers added to our relationship, and somehow I do keep finding new things that I love about who you are. That naive 18 year old new mom was right about something, I do love you more and more.

 

Evening solitude

Bedtime around here is kind of a big deal. As much fun and creativity and laughter that resides in this house, there is also a whole lot of structure and schedule. A busy mom, and two busy daughters would be chaos without it. Even in the summer, as our bedtimes extend out by 30-60 minutes for various reasons, most nights we do not stray from our routine.

Both of my girls have no problem with bedtime, and I am not exaggerating when I say that they never have. Ever. Even as toddlers, I can recall very few times when I was fighting a child to stay in bed. Call me lucky? I don’t know, but when they are tired…They. Are. Tired. It does not matter if there are friends over. It does not matter if we are watching a movie. They abandon all things for sleep. A trait that would be impossible to trace back anywhere in my family history as I come from a long line of night owls and insomniacs.

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Our bedtime routine has been the same for as long as I can recall. It’s all rather typical. There is reading, pajamas, teeth brushing, face washing, and hair combing.  There are goodnight hugs and kisses exchanged between sisters; Pillow adjustments, blankets just right, and hair out of faces. It’s our last shot of the day to look each other in the face and say I love you. One last “Goodnight, girls” from the hallway, and 98% of the time, there is silence until morning alarm clocks. Although it may be typical, there are so many little details I hope I never forget about our routines. I’ve written about our routine once before. Three years of early morning, middle school drop off gave me that post.

While most parents would do dirty things to have the bedtime luck and routine we have around here, there are many nights in which I wish one of them would fight me to read longer, to sleep in my bed, to stay up with me and do something, anything, so they didn’t have to give in to sleep quite yet. Occasionally I get the opportunity and I gobble it up, and once in a while they will humor me with a dance party, or some instance where there is just too much fun to give up; They are kids after all.

After I tuck the girls in, I am left with many hours to myself. Sleep eludes me in various ways, so these hours can get long. Sometimes I am awake until 2am, and sometimes my evening starts over after a “nap” that only lasts until 2am, finding myself wide awake again until sunrise. There are several other variations of sleep patterns I cycle through.

Its in these night hours that my day unravels into a kind of “second day”, right inside the one that just ended with the sunset. Sometimes its chatting and laughing on the phone. There is often a glass of wine involved. There is almost always music. If its a nice evening, a sit on the patio could be in order. I can be a lump on the couch with trashy television. I can be a heap on my bed, choking back tears free to fall now that my small people are unconscious. I can catch up or get ahead on work tasks. I can fold laundry. I can listen to music with bad words. I can plan for the next day or work out details for an upcoming vacation. I can write. It’s often a combination of several. The crying is seldom, thankfully.

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Out of all of the things that I can do after bedtime, there is one thing I can’t do, even if I’ve done it all day. I cannot ignore myself. It’s just me. Long before I was divorced, long before I was a mom, this has been my life. As an only child with workaholic parents I’ve come to appreciate evening solitude. I love the opportunities to get out with friends and family, but I have never been scared to be alone at home by myself. As I moved quickly into adulthood by way of teenage pregnancy, this didn’t change. As I became a married woman, this didn’t change, soon finding out that my former spouse and I had no desire to spend our evenings together. Now as a single mom, it still has not changed.

A few months ago I started to get angry about it. I could be alone, but I shouldn’t HAVE to be alone. It felt like a big ole fuck you.  It’s never been about someone in my bed or sitting next to me on the couch, but those things are nice. For me, it’s a feeling. It became exponentially amplified as I headed towards the middle of 2016, and then seemingly rubbed in my face by everyone who was out living their lives while I sat here all by myself night after night. That’s where you end up when you look to everyone else to try and understand what is going on inside of you. Could no one see how much I was struggling? Did no one wonder or care what it was like to be me, night after night, tucking in my beautiful daughters and facing hours alone, unable to sleep or “shut off”? For several months it all felt so very unfair and undeserved. For a very long time I was embracing it, and then, it stopped feeling like a choice I was making for the right reasons, and started feeling like a punishment I didn’t deserve. The loneliness endured for many years that I thought was in exchange for some greater good, was in fact for nothing, and now everyone elses fault. Big no-no.

You can’t be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.  – Wayne Dyer

I spent way too much time criticizing the person I’m alone with most often. Liking me again has probably been the toughest task I’ve taken on this last several months. Especially fighting the slow battle of returning to more optimal physical health. Its very easy to become frustrated with how difficult and SLOW that process is now that I’m well into my 30’s. I’m thankful for the ability to think through those moments and flip the narrative. I certainly spent way too much time on telling myself all of the worst things.

My daughters heads hit their pillow in their own home, my house, all but 4-6 nights per month on average. I don’t like saying its a “sacrifice”, because I feel like that implies I am to be praised or that they owe me for this. They do not. However, it does mean I am tied to this house when they are here. I have never left them alone to go out for more than an hour or two to run errands or for work obligations. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve met a friend for a drink or lunch and left them at home. I’ve never left them alone once the sun goes down. Not once.  I do not believe it is my oldest daughters responsibility to babysit her younger sister so I can live my life. They are in my care for only a short amount of time. I will be present for as much as I can, even slumber. Some might say that I’m choosing many of these hours alone, and I guess in a way I am, which is how I’m slowly getting back to being content in these hours. A lot of this time is a choice.

I resolved at the very start of 2016 to be more grateful for all things. So I will be grateful for this part, too. Overall, I do really like who I’m alone with. She’s not too shabby. 🙂 Now if I could just sleep…

I changed my mind.

I hate May.

It’s always a rush of getting every field trip (three for Ava), concert (two for Ava), awards night (one for each kid), and Family Picnic & Field Day (Ava), crammed into the days where we aren’t clamoring into our basements for tornado warnings. There is the end of school rush to hang out with all friends, a birthday party (or three in our case) thrown in, Mother’s Day, and finally Memorial Day.

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I was looking back over our May family calendar and realized that we did not have one family night to just be “at home” the entire month. There was some event or special dinner or obligation almost every night.

Mid-April, I was laying in bed on a particularly tough night, thinking about how I just wanted to get away. I wanted to stop staring at everything familiar that was constantly bringing me to the edge of tears. Being home was hard. Working here, living here, and housing so many memories in these walls was overwhelming to say the least during the month of April. I fully believe that you should create a life you don’t need to run away from, so it took some hard thinking about what my solution was, and if it was made in a moment of sound mind. Over the week or two that followed, I got to a place where it wasn’t so much as running from everything, but just running forward because thats what you do. Every day you move forward. People and things get left behind, or they come along. You move forward regardless, the world does not stop spinning, you can’t stop living and growing and loving and being.

So, for the first time ever, I was going to take a full two weeks away from work starting May 23rd. I had no plan, just some ideas in my head that may or may not work out. Gulp. In practice, that is a very difficult concept. Having my own business, I am rarely able to completely escape work for a true vacation lasting more than a few days around a major holiday. Not this year! I decided I was in a good enough place with my clients to tell them to leave me alone…for two whole weeks. We started putting together a road trip that would end up on the Gulf side of Florida.

The plan so far: No work. Driving Southeast. 

I knew we would end up in Florida, but I didn’t really want to spend two weeks there. I started mapping out stops and routes and for several weeks I had us going to Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee. Basically, I had us in the car and hotel hopping so much that I went and bought a lottery ticket and prayed we could just spend the the entire summer traveling instead of trying to fit it all in to two weeks. Ultimately, I scratched everything and simplified and we ended up with what will probably always be one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken.

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We spent the final week of May 2016 in three stages. Chaos, Driving, Laughing.

Up first: Chaos. Packing, end of school tasks and events, wrapping up all work, finalizing plans, and oh…shit, where are we going to leave the dog? I am not a sleeper. I don’t sleep well about 70% of the time, April and May were especially bad, and in the days leading up to my official “last day of work” on May 20th, I barely sleep at all. However, since there was going to be a two full days worth of driving, I was also tasked with making sure I could stay awake and not kill us all in a fiery crash on the interstate. I forced sleep the last few nights before vacation with the help of a glass of wine and Tylenol PM.

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Hitting the Open Road. I decided that eleven hours in the car was probably long enough for the three of us to be within a few feet of each other, and booked a hotel for one night in Lexington, Kentucky. Truthfully, I wish we would have driven into Tennessee; I could have easily driven a few more hours. We got to our hotel, and everyone stretched out on the beds for a bit before we ventured out for food. We had one meal in Kentucky and I was on the hunt for southern cooking. We ended up sitting on the restaurant patio, drinking sweet tea, as the sun went down; Collard greens and okra for dinner. Day one of vacation was a smashing success.

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Day two was a bit more adventurous. We hit the road and stopped in Tennessee for gas where I was summoned to strangers car by a woman who felt compelled to tell me what a beautiful face I had. I returned to the car feeling warm and fuzzy, only for Ava to tell me: “And you don’t even look your best!”. She keeps me humble. Our drive continued into Asheville, North Carolina where we stopped for fruit at Whole Foods, drove around a bit and hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while. We stopped and hiked a bit before we came across a viewing area and rest stop.  Plastered everywhere, was the face of a man that only hours before, had been classified a fugitive. That promptly ended our wandering/hiking for the day. It was a beautiful drive, and a beautiful hike, but we were ready to see our friends, and clearly not interested in being in the wrong place at the wrong time with an escaped convict. I promised we would go back and hit the road for the last four hour leg of our journey to Pinehurst.

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Life is better when you’re laughing. From the minute we arrived at the home of our dear friends, there was laughing. Hellos, introductions (the kids had only just met), travel tales and more. We spent five nights laughing so much, that I lost my voice. We went to the coast to visit more friends and our location may have changed but the fun and laughter was still going strong. As l look back over our time in North Carolina that is what I will remember. Friends that became family, and laughing so much at our children, pets, each other, and every little thing, it was hard to want or need anything more in this life.

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So as I recently reflected on the month of May, there is a lot of ground to cover. I think about twenty two hours of driving there and back. The filthy car with snack crumbs and empty water bottles, flip flops and notebooks, pillows and gas receipts and fine white sand on the return trip, that is STILL in the truck. I think about the loud singing, and silliness that ensued after being in such tight quarters for so long. I think about all of the mile markers and states we crossed. I think about watching my oldest daughter fall in love with a state and try to describe the feeling of being “home”; I know that feeling, and those stares, it was the same thing I felt eight years ago when visiting Colorado for the first time as an adult. I think about how fortunate we are to know such incredible people who lead interesting and meaningful lives, and that we get to call them friends. I think about all of that laughter, and how downright hilarious, joyful, and full of personality our children are. I remember sweet baby giggles and how fast our children grow. Sadly, by the time we see baby Avalon again in person she will be walking. I thought about how wonderful it was to sit on a beach with a beer, laughing with friends, while watching our children collect sand fleas in the surf, at sunset. I think about all of the running around, the field trips, the days spent at an elementary school, the 12 hour work days that followed those days off spent on field trips or being present for yet another school function. I think about celebrating another birthday with my dad, so fortunate for my parents health and close proximity. I think about the two evenings where we realized as we were brushing our teeth and rushing to get tucked in, that we didn’t eat dinner because we had been so busy. I think about collapsing on the couch with a glass of wine and the new Radiohead album at 11pm on Mothers Day. I think about the morning we were so tired from all of the activities from the night before that we woke up 10 minutes before Ava was supposed to be at school, earning tardies all around that day, but throwing our hands up and laughing; All three of us looked the same running out of the house with messy ponytails and sleep creases on our faces. I think about how every year in May, I feel like we’re barely hanging on by a thread to just get through it.

After all of that reflection, one thing stands out. I GET to do that. I get to be there for all of those things. All the chaos. All of the scheduled events. All of the laughs. All of the proud faces. All of the moments. And then I decided thats sometimes we change our minds about things after the fact. And thats okay.

I love May.

 

 

Love thy neighbor.

If you want to make a difference in your lifetime, here is where you start: At home. If you have kids, KNOW them. Know their friends. Know their influences. Know what they are watching on YouTube, and what they are doing on their apps. Attempt to be a strong example of a caring, concerned, and INFORMED citizen that values life, ALL LIFE. Surround yourself and your children with the same influences that support what you want for your family. Get the kids off their electronics and teach them the true meaning of community and charity rather than filling their days with things that just keep them busy.

The voices of peace, change, and humanitarianism of our past didn’t have these social media platforms and they didn’t need them. They’re lives can be boiled down to very simple actions. They did their best to love their families, worked hard to provide for them, they valued personal accountability for their own actions, and remained knowledgeable about what was going on in their own towns and cities FIRST. They showed face to face concern for their neighbors near and far that extended beyond an electronic repost for prayers for any certain group. They met in neighborhood schools, churches, each others homes, and in the streets. There were no public Facebook invites to be “interested in”. They knew each other, beyond an app, beyond a comments section.

When was the last time you invited your neighbors into your home to discuss how you can better serve each other and your community? I’m asking myself as well.

I have seen the quote posted several times: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” and comments accompanying the quote calling out those of us who choose to remain silent on social media instead of expressing direct opinions on current events. Not only is that taking the quote out of context and further isolating others, but its implying that if you don’t have some sort of public outcry on you social media, that you don’t care. Simply not accurate, but a true testament to how dangerous social media can be if we don’t have a handle on our lives away from a computer screen.

It all starts with you, at home. Otherwise, how the hell will our kids know how to look up from their iPhones and iPads and face this pile of garbage we’re handing them? We’re looking through a wide angle lens at “how do we solve this?” and that is why I see post after post saying “I don’t have the answer but we need to do something”.

The answer is right in front of you. Start in your own front yard. If you don’t, who will? Vow to spend an entire day away from social media. Bake some cookies. Visit some neighbors. Shake their hands. Visit some first responders. Know YOUR community, and teach your children to do the same. Do it all without announcing it or taking pictures to share your good deeds. History has shown us, this behavior naturally lends itself to branching out farther to make larger scale differences.

There are always going to be bad people in all walks of life. The more we genuinely get to know about the good ones around us, the easier it becomes to reserve our judgements of groups of people by the actions of one.

To be lovely.

Exquisitely Beautiful; Beautiful especially in a graceful way. Lovely.

If there is every a word to aspire to, it is lovely.

My girls have always had a way with words and somehow I’ve imparted my “no filter” stance on how and when they express them. Sydney, unfortunately, was in her most authentic unfiltered phase long before I had social media to share just how articulate and hilarious she was. Ava has had the spotlight throughout my social media for quite some time. As she heads into her last year of elementary school this fall, I can’t help but hope she remains so unfiltered, even though I know it will change. She will start to question herself and her thoughts before she gives them freely and genuinely. Overall, that is a damn tragedy, but a right of passage as she figure out who she is and grows.

Last night she wrote a sweet letter for her tooth fairy to find, but she also left a letter for me. I picked it up around 6am, sleep still in my eyes, half confused and panicked, thinking that the tooth fairy had accidentally left her reply letter on my desk instead of back under her pillow. My confusion was quickly replaced with a quivering lip and warm electricity that spread from my chest to my fingers.

The traits she bestowed upon me are the traits I would ultimately choose to impart on her and her sister. They are the very important things, arguably covering pretty much the entirety of what is important in this life. Be you. Be kind to others. Be creative. Be lovely. 

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You are good at being… All I could think is that I am not worthy of these words, but she didn’t ask me if I was worthy. She just gave them freely from her own perception. So it doesn’t matter if I’m worthy, what matters is that I continue to give her the glimpses of these things, so she can continue to see how important they are for herself. What an incredible opportunity.

Above many other compliments I could receive, being called lovely is probably one of the highest I could imagine. Physically, I am mostly soft and squishy, carrying extra pounds right now. My physical self has birthed two children, ran lots of hard fought miles, seen depression and inactivity for a while, and been neglected for far too long. There isn’t much about me that is physically graceful as I work to do what is best for my body again. Even long miles don’t translate to a svelte shape yet, even if I do feel so much better now that I’ve picked it back up.  I’ve thought about it a lot lately. I am not ashamed of any part of me, I want better, but I will always be this person in this body that is a physical road map of all that I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, and all the ways in which I’ve lived. All that said, I have definitely not felt lovely in mind or body for quite some time. I’ve allowed circumstances and choices of others that were apart from me to hijack my own truth.

Like always, my children find some way to remind me exactly how wrong I’ve been. I’ve been focusing on the wrong things and the wrong voices. Lovely embodies far more than my physical self, but even that part of me is lovely in its own way. There are so many ways to be lovely. Self confidence is lovely, and she reminded me of that. I’ve gotten a few reminders lately, and this one might have pushed me right over the edge into belief.

 

A Monday purge.

I purchased and downloaded A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead’s latest release last night. I’ve had it on repeat for over 12 hours on and off. Especially though the storms last night that did me no favors in helping me (or the terrified dog) fall asleep. I woke this morning with lyrics and melodies floating through my head and hit play once more and went through it all once again. I’ve since turned it all off and am just focusing on the sounds of the day while I work. I don’t know if I’ll listen to music any more today. I think I’m spent. That album has left me feeling achey and raw, and haunted. An official track for True Love Waits may have been the straw that broke the camels back on this one. I need a rest from the inside of my brain, that album has attempted to create some chaos within me. Music is insanely powerful. But maybe just one more listen…

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I love lists. I have lists everywhere, for everything. I have lists that are full of lists I need to make. I love paper and pens, and writing. 90% of my lists are handwritten. Last night I made a few pretty powerful lists. I’ve got them open right here while I work, reminding me that what I’m getting paid to do is a means to make other shit happen, not my purpose.

I need more space for living things. Plants. I want more plants. It’s kind of a constant thought. I need more life around me. I spend a lot of my time in this little house, and I want it full of clean air and blooms and growth.

I’m never buying greeting cards again. Give me a stack of blank note cards and I’ll add my own message. There are very few that I find which actually speak the way I would, and overall, they are so damn expensive. I guess I am really just an old lady at heart. Sigh.

I’m tossing around a few posts that are pretty specific. I’m kind of scared. They are who I am, but they aren’t just general feelings of self discovery, they speak to the passions that I have for my life and how I live it. Music, politics, health, the internet…Putting that out there for others to criticize is scary. I think I’m going to do it anyway. I remember from my old blogging days what it was like to have some haters. I guess we’ll see what happens. 😉

 

The small things.

As a “noticer” the small things are what matter more to me than anything else.

Today was a lovely day. Mothers Day is nice, I get special recognition, gifts, extra hugs, etc. But what was special about today has not been those things in particular.

This morning Ava came in to my room, I was already awake, just staring at the ceiling as I’ve been in the pattern of doing for a while now. She crawled in bed with me and it didn’t take me long to notice that her hair was brushed, she had earrings in, and she was dressed for the day.

It wasn’t just any pair of earrings, they were the earrings I told her I loved on her a few weeks back, ones that she has worn frequently ever since. Her shirt was one I had chosen for her that she actually liked. At 10 years old, and living in this fine line world of tomboy and girlie girl, its tough to find something that she loves, and this simple striped shirt was right up her alley.

She snuggled into my neck and whispered … ” I can’t wait for you to go to the bathroom”. Made me laugh out loud, but I imagined what I would find. I wasn’t too far off…

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Best cook. Silliest Mom. Most caring mom. Funniest mom. Nicest mom. Prettiest mom. Most awesome mom. Weirdest mom. Coolest mom.

I heard the blender start. Sydney was up, too, and preparing my usual breakfast, because I’m focused on eating what my body needs for proper nutrition and they knew I was planning a run before our festivities  today.

My day was filled with wonderful things, but it culminated in something I can only attempt to describe.

I didn’t know how to bring it up, but I made a playlist for the girls for Mothers Day. It was all of “our” songs and songs that reminded me of them. I hadn’t told them yet, we had just gotten home from family dinner and it was now or never. I didn’t want to tell them, because I knew that I would cry. I knew we would listen, and I would cry.

So I turned it on. and I asked them to listen to the first two songs. And we cried. and we hugged and I told them all of the ways in which I noticed their love for me today. Not the presents, but their presence. Ava’s earrings and shirt. Sydney’s breakfast creation. My running shoes sitting by my headphones and phone by the door. The way they came home and made their own lunches for tomorrow without me asking. The countless times I glanced at one of them to meet eyes that returned gazes full of love and content smiles.

These things have not just been reserved for me because its Mother’s Day. Every day, in many little ways I see so much love around me in this home. And I will always do my best to show them, and everyone I love, how in awe I am of the little things, the small ways in which they know me, and show me that they know me. But even more than that, I will TELL them that I see it. Through tears, or laughter, or in whispers. I see how you love me, and I am grateful. Nothing bad has ever come from pouring your heart into others simply for the sake of them knowing. I will do my best to remember this every day.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude tonight.

You are the best thing – Ray LaMontagne