To My Boy, On His 7th Birthday 

My sweet boy,

I know I say it every year. But, you are growing up. Things are changing for us and in us, and my boy, you are a big kid now. It’ll always be hard (maybe impossible even) for you to understand … the way the changes in you effect my heart. I know it’s natural for you to pull away. I know it’s normal for you to drop my hand when you think others are watching. I know big guys might turn away from their momma’s kisses every now and then. I know. I just didn’t think it would happen to us … not yet … not so soon. My poor momma heart can’t handle it. You are my N bug. My first baby. We were always connected in a special way. The thought of that bond being severed in any way is just more than I can take. 

You are the one who has and is teaching me so much about life and love. And I know I’m making this birthday letter all about me and my poor, raw feelings right now, but oh my love, you are my heart. My biggest life lesson right now is mostly about allowing my heart to stretch and let you go a little bit more and a little bit more. You’re SEVEN! You’re in 1st Grade now. You are learning what spreading your wings might look like. What it might feel like. I shouldn’t be so surprised.

My boy, you amaze me in most all the ways. You are smart. You are funny. You are kind and caring. You are witty. You repeat quotes in movies, while the movie is STILL playing … just like your daddy. You are creative. You are silly. You are quiet. You are observant. You are tender. You are loyal. You are logical. You are strong.


When I close my eyes and try to freeze you right here and now, at 7, I see you —-

Climbing. Trees. Walls. Light posts. Anything. Always climbing.

Riding your bike. Fast and confident and sure. Always riding that bike.

Playing. Playing Beyblades or trading Pokémon cards.  

Collecting. All the junky toys. All the time.

Building. Legos, creations, forts, etc.

Snuggling. Under “brown blankie” or your “monkey mat”.

Swimming. Around the pool with your snorkel on.

Doing cannonballs into the pool or crazy moves down the slide.

Soccer. It’s your sport.

Buzz cut. Your current ‘do.

Thinking. That mind of yours is always going. Always thinking. Always planning.

Reading. We still love to read together. Our books have evolved over the years. I’m holding on to that. 

Being. I love to just BE with you. 

So, while I miss (sometimes almost wildly and unreasonably) the way we used to snuggle under a blanket and watch Curious George together for hours on end … all tangled up together, I do cherish and adore our relationship now … just as much. I love our conversations and how we talk. I love the little man that you are. I love our “dates”. I love how your mind works. Always thinking, inventing, listening. I love you. All of you. Every stage of you. Every year of you. To the moon. For all time. 

Happiest “Golden” Birthday! #sevenontheseventh

Love, Your Momma

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To My Girl, On Her 4th Birthday

To my sweetest, A, on her 4th birthday —

Oh, Little Miss, it’s been quite a year. 3 was not easy. One day, maybe you’ll find out and you’ll understand. Maybe when you’re a momma, just like you want to be (“I want to be a Mommy when I grow up”), you will struggle through “3” with your own littles. And, I will be there, God willing, to help you through it… and to laugh a little bit along the way.

At 3, you tested me in every way imaginable. 3 was hard. For both of us. In a lot of ways and for a lot of different reasons. But, we learned and we grew and we cried and we yelled and we prayed and “we” read parenting books and we tried and tried again … and we made it to the other side. We did it! We did it together, my girl!

Now, we’re at 4 and oh, how I’ve prayed for a better year for us. We are close, you and I. We spend most of our time together, happily so. School (preschool) is not your favorite thing … it never has been. And, so you go … reluctantly … but you’d rather be home. You are my little homebody. You love our “outings”, but you’re always ready to go home. “Can we go home now, Momma?” You want home. You crave home. Familiar. Comfortable. Happy. Safe. Secure. Fun. Warm. I’m so glad that these are the things that HOME means to you. My heart beats stronger knowing that I’ve created a happy refuge for you. Oh, my girl. You love to just BE. You want freedom and peace and rest and quiet. You sit and play with your toys for long quiet hours and it’s in your play where I learn and listen and hear the most of who you are and how you see your own world. Though you often catch me watching and say, “Don’t look at me!” … I have to listen. It’s where I find the details of your day and your life … listening as you play and talk with your toys, your “girls”.

At 4, you are full of “I love you’s” and kisses and loooonnnng goodbyes. At 4, you are still fiery and bossy, but calmer and easier to settle. At 4, you are loving and sweet, but still demanding and easy to anger. You love BIG my girl. You already cry hard and loud when your heart is hurting. You feel BIG feelings. You are tender and harsh, all at the same time. You expect a lot, but you give great love in return. You are a wonderful mess most of the time! Your daddy and I have great fun imagining who you’ll be someday …

My “snapshot” of you right now, at 4 …

Twirling and dancing in the kitchen, in the backyard, on the sidewalk.

Singing loudly (to your brothers dismay) in the car … everywhere we go.

Making up your own tunes, your own words, your own grand stories.

Dresses and tutus and frilly skirts and princess gear.

Messy hair and messy hands.

Running with a soccer ball like a natural little athlete.

Cute and disheveled … all at the same time.

Ballerina class.

Bossy and demanding. Trying to “rule the world”.

Getting lectures about being kind and nice and showing others grace.

Listening to Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” and knowing all the words.

Saying, “you’re my baby girl, Momma” and “we’re best friends forever” and “never leave me, Momma, I want you to be my baby forever and ever…”

Laughing hard and loud when something is funny to you.

Asking for a snack. And, another snack. And, more milk.

Ranch and carrots.

Playdoe and markers.

Did I mention the messy hair already?! Ha ha ha!

Sweet bedtimes and “Will you sleep with me for a few minutes, Mommy?”

Asking for your daddy in the morning … you want him to sing his special morning song to you before you get out of the bed, each and every day.

Heartbreak over saying goodbye to your beloved paci.

Bunny and Blankie — your best friends forever.

Wearing your Cubbie vest to Awana and proudly learning your Bible verses.

All the pink. All the time.

Playing with your neighborhood friends … just like a big girl.

Kissing boo-boos and needing lots of band-aids for imaginary scrapes.

Holding hands and holding hearts.

Oh, my sweetness. If I could keep you little, I would. I’d keep you soft and squishy. I’d keep you all to myself. I’d keep you home, away from the world. I’d keep you as safe as I possibly could manage. I’d keep you. I’d keep you just the way you are … the good, the hard, the messy, the imperfect, the beautiful, the funny. I’d keep you, always. But, grow and go you must. It’s just the way, my love. But, I’ll be here … my heart is yours to keep … always, always. No number of birthdays will ever take that from us.

Happiest 4th Birthday, Baby Girl!

Love Always, Your Momma

Let Me Not Forget

Watching you by the water, my heart contIMG_0346racts and I feel a deep longing for something I cannot explain. The waves, their steady ebb and flow, fill me with a hopeful nostalgia and a desperate, almost wild, desire to freeze time.
“Stay little…”
My whisper is lost in the wind, never reaching your ears. Already gone. Sinking and disappearing into the sand of time.
I feel full of joy … and despair. You. My heart. Never mine to keep forever.
I watch you squeal with delight and run away in feigned fear as the water reaches your little toes.
“Oh, you are lovely…”
You glisten brighter than the sun, my child.
I watch you in wonder. Happiness floods my soul at the sight of your pure joy. Followed by a searing pain. The sheer weight of it all crushes down on me.
“I won’t remember this…”
The contradiction of emotions brings tears to my eyes as I laugh at your play.
Days upon weeks upon months upon years. Time is the thief of memory.
I force myself back to the present.
“Be in the moment…”
But. First. I try, with all my prayers and might, to capture it. To store it in my heart.
Let me not forget, dear little one, the feel of your little hand in mine…the way you reach for me, so sure that I’ll be there to hold you, to steady you, to be your safe place, your great comfort.
Let me not forget the sweet way you whisper “I love you” … your sureness in our love, your deep confidence in me.
Let me not forget the way you look running toward me, your curls bouncing, your eyes sparkling. You want to be near me. Always.
Let me not forget your kisses. So many. All the time. The overwhelming amount of kisses that you feel the need to give. It’s almost humorous, often annoying, but sweet and sincere nonetheless.
Let me not forget your urgent goodbyes when we part, full of hugs and love and a bit of unease. “I love you and I miss you and I can’t wait to kiss you.” Your goodbyes take time and reassurance, but I love them.
“I love you…”
Let me not forget your songs. All the songs that you sing. Your own versions and words. Melodies sung in the sweetest little voice. Carefree and confident.
Let me not forget how you play. The stories I learn by listening to you talk to “your girls.” The way you tenderly play mommy to your babies. The way you get lost in front of your dollhouse. A whole world of your own.
“I remember…” A faded memory, stored in the back of my heart…my own similar play from long ago…
Oh, sweet child. If I could just remember all of it. All of you. For all time. Let me not forget.

To My Boy, on His 6th Birthday

To my dear, N —

It’s weird for me, even to write it…six. Six. Six seems too big, too grown up, like such a KID. I still picture you as my little. I still see myself as a momma of toddlers. But, you aren’t a toddler. You aren’t a baby. You are a kid. And, I’m a big softie. I’m sentimental and I’m emotional. You’ll always be ‘My Baby’, even if you aren’t one anymore. I will always grieve the passing of time. The passing of each stage. The passing of your littleness. My heart will always break as I have to let go of you a little more and a little more… Time will never change that. Letting you go will never get easier.
This was a big year for us. This year you started kindergarten. This year you took your first really big steps away from me and toward independence. It was hard. It was hard or both of us. We are close. You are my best. We don’t like to be away from each other. And, yet, it was time. You were ready. And, you do love kindergarten. And, I’m glad. And, I’m sad. And, I miss you.

At 6, you are… Funny. Witty. Sharp. Quick. You “get” things all of the sudden and we are now able to share a joke and laugh together in a new way. You are tender. You want to please and your feelings get hurt easily if you think you’ve done something wrong. You are caring and kind. You are forgiving and sweet. You are so logical and literal. It makes you crazy that your sister lives in an imaginary world where her own rules apply. You can’t wrap your mind around that. To you, things are or they aren’t, so when she’s deep in “pretend” you often feel that she’s lying or she’s wrong. Still, you love that little girl. She’s your sister and I love that the two of you are currently best friends. You are cautious. You are never the first to jump in and do something. You stand back, watch and observe. You are shy, yet not insecure. You are quiet, yet once you let your guard down, you are no longer quiet. You are just like me in that way. You are fun. You are a good friend.

You are learning about comfort zones and what it means to step out of them. You are putting on a brace face. You are starting to understand prayer in a bigger way and you are now grasping that you aren’t alone in this world and what relying on God looks like to you. You are smart and creative. You are a problem solver. You are gorgeous, outside and in. You love projects and crafts and drawing and thinking. You are curious. You love books. You love life. You are a beautiful soul. Your character is strong. You seem to grasp goodness and understand that you need to walk toward it. Stay good. Oh, sweet boy, stay true to who you are right now. You’re amazing. To me, you are soo, so much. And, I wish you the happiest sixth birthday.

Love Always, your mommy

To My Girl, On Her 3rd Birthday

Dear A,

My girl. It’s your birthday. You are three. I can hardly believe it, and yet at the same time I can hardly remember what life was like before you. Isn’t it funny, how it works like that? There are days when I honestly can’t picture us before you. Your personality is big. Your presence is not easily overlooked. It’s hard to imagine our home without you in it. You were a sweet, easy, sleepy, happy baby. At 3, you are a little tougher. These days you aren’t always sure what you want but you ARE always sure what you don’t want. In fact, “don’t” is one of your favorite words right now. “Don’t look at me. Don’t touch me. Don’t look like that with your face.” It’s almost comical, but “don’t laugh” and definitely “don’t talk.” You ask a lot of us. You definitely want to be in charge. But, despite your naturally bossy nature and your general dislike of all the things, your tender heart shines through. You love your people and you always make sure we know it. You have my heart. You always will.

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At 3, you love to play. You love “your girls” (your Dora and Sofia toys) and make them talk and sing. You can play quietly for hours. You love Dottie Baby and Betty Baby and you are a good little mommy to them. Bunny and Blankie are still your favorite life comforts. You love to sing and twirl! You LOVE dresses and never want to wear anything that isn’t a dress. “I pick out a pretty dress today, Mommy” you say. And, then you do … you pick out a dress, promptly twirl around the room and then run off to say, “look at me, Daddy.”

From you I’ve learned that things aren’t so complicated. That things are more straightforward. That we don’t have to make things harder than they actually are. That “poopy does hurt and poopy does stink.” Lol. Your words, little girl, your words. You are bright and loving and witty and cute. Your sense of humor is sharp and quick. Your hugs are hard and full of love. You are demanding and bossy and sensitive and silly. Your smile can light up a room … and a heart. If you are having a bad day, you want to make sure that everyone else is to. You are slow to warm up to new people, but loyal and kind to those you call, “my friends.” You are super girly, but never afraid to play rough. You like soccer. You like running. You are sweaty. You are fun. You don’t like boys. You don’t like anything that looks like it might be “too boy.” My girl. You are so, so many things. If I could bottle you up, I would. I love our days together. Just me and you. We quietly pass the time or we go out and about in the world. Either way, I love having you right with me. You are my sidekick and I hope this sweet time with you passes slowly. I’m not ready to let you go. I’m not ready to watch you grow too big, too soon. You are our wildflower. Once you taste freedom, I have the suspicion that you’ll only want more of it. So, for now, stay little. Hold my hand a little longer. Enjoy age 3, with me tagging along.

Baby girl, I wrote the poem below a couple of years ago. It was shortly after you took your very first steps. On your birthday, sweet love, I wanted to share it again. I want you to know and to always remember that you’ll always be enough for me. Just the way you are… you are enough.

One day, when the light falls and the darkness sets in,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When kids are mean and the world seems hard,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When you doubt yourself, when you doubt your truth,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When a boy breaks your heart,

You may wonder why you weren’t enough for him to love.

You were. You are.

You are always enough.

When you feel lonely and don’t quite fit in,

You may wonder if you are enough.

You are.

You are always enough.

When things just aren’t quite right,

When you don’t feel pretty enough or tall enough or smart enough,

Even when you feel let down by life,

Remember that you are enough.

You are loved. You are adored.

I whisper it into the wind,

So that one day it may find you,

My love will always find you.

The beauty inside you,

Radiates from you,

You are SO much.

You are always, always enough.

Love, Your Momma

Dream Little. Dream Big. Just Dream

My little boy, N, has a book that’s become a favorite of mine. It’s called, “What Do You Do With An Idea.” Whenever we read it, I get all faraway and dreamy. I get stars in my eyes. Sometimes I even get a little misty.

We are never too old or too settled to dream.  Dream, my friends. Dream big. Dream little. Dream together. Just dream.

To read the full article, click here! It’ll take you to Raleigh Moms Blog! Happy reading.
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Joy

Joy. ~Watching him, I realize – I’m witnessing joy in its purest form. His life is uncomplicated and uncluttered. He has nothing on his mind. Nothing but love in his heart. It’s all so simple to him. Watching the waves roll in, laughing and running from them. With squeals of excitement and a bright light in his eyes, I see freedom. Right now, at this moment, he is utterly free. And full of a joy so pure, it makes my eyes fill and my heart hurt.~

To continue reading, head on over to Raleigh Moms Blog for my latest article!