My Best Girl – For Harper Jane

I’ve been reading too many sad articles this week. My heart is sore and sensitive. Part of me is aching for a world that I can’t help. I’m feeling raw. It’s time to crawl back in my cocoon and love on my littles. I have to put my phone away and stop reading things like this. They have a place. They have a purpose. But, no more for this week. No more tears for the world this week….

IMG_1441As I type this, my sweet best friend, my beautiful gold retriever, leans over and licks my leg. It confirms what I was already thinking. It’s time to get out of this house. She wants a walk and it’s a gorgeous, pristine fall day. I look down at her. I don’t know why they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I’d take this sweet gal over a diamond any day of the week. She’s the best of the best. All of these new studies confirming that dogs are intelligent, have the ability to reason and show emotion crack me up. All you have to do is love one. Then, you already know.

Harper Jane was/is my first baby. She’s the first one that I carried through the doors of our home. We loved her immediately. And, she returned our love without question. She loves hearing the story of how we chose her, straight out of a picture. It’s almost funny to watch. She gets still and quiet and listens carefully. So I tell her. I tell her all about how I became her mommy. She eats it up. So I keep telling her. I know it’s hard for her sometimes. She was the first baby, but most days, she comes in last. There’s a long line of needs that must be met throughout the day and she’s the quiet one. She’s the easy one. She’s the one that waits patiently for a little attention. Those of you that aren’t “dog people” may not get it. This is silly, you may think. But, she’s one of my great loves. And, she deserves more. I write about N and A all the time. I never write about my Harper. So, this one is just for her…

My Best Girl

She sees through us,

She knows what we need,
Her heart is gold,
So is she,
She’ll always be my best girl,
My best girl
Her soul is pure,
Her aura is bright,
She loves the wind,
She brings the light,
She’ll always be my best girl,
My best girl
She keeps us calm,
She makes us whole,
She brings love,
She soothes the soul,
She’ll always be my best girl,
My best girl
She doesn’t like to cuddle,
It’s not her way,
But she loves to give kisses,
It makes her day,
She’ll always be my best girl,
My best girl.

To My N, On His 4th Birthday

I have caught myself wistfully gazing at N on and off over the past few weeks …. And, yes, occasionally with tears in my eyes. I just can’t believe he’s 4. I just can’t grasp it. He’s my baby. Yet, he’s not a baby at all. He’s not even a toddler. He’s a kid. I have a kid. A kid who celebrated his 4th birthday with a Curious George party and 5 of his closest friends. A kid who is seriously as sweet as pie. A kid who stole his momma’s heart long ago. A kid who is full of surprises. A kid whose momma writes him birthday letters…

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To my Favorite Boy,

It’s your 4th birthday and there are things that I’d like to share with you. Things that one day, maybe you won’t remember. Things about your life right now, as you turn 4. Things your momma tells you now, but they just might matter more to you later.

First: You should know how positively crazy your daddy and I are about you. Yeah, I know we may act like you drive us crazy sometimes … and you do … which you should also know if perfectly normal and typical and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But, despite that, we adore you. We marvel at you. We are impressed by you. You are growing up and growing into yourself. God gave us YOU! And, we couldn’t be more thrilled. We see you. We like you. We love you.

Second: You are so sweet to me. You love me so much. I’ll always be grateful for your love. It’s the most special thing in my life. I never even knew, or imagined that a love like yours existed. You say you want to marry me. You say you love me to the moon. You say you’ll love me forever and ever. You say that you love me more than anyone else in the world. You melt me. My tears flow freely because my heart can’t hold all of the love you give me. Your love makes me strong. Your love makes me better. One day it won’t be like this. One day you’ll discover other interests or sports or friends or (gasp) other girls. One day I won’t be your whole world. Until then, I will CHERISH being your favorite – being the one you adore. I cherish it.

Third: You are seriously good at being a big brother. Maybe you don’t love to share. Who does? Maybe you get upset when A drools on your toys. Who wouldn’t? But, you sing to her in the cry when she’s upset. You sing, “Every little thing is gonna be okay.” You sing it over and over and over, in your sweet, magical voice. And, it works. It works almost every time. She stops crying, your little sister, and she watches you and listens to you. You soothe her.

Fourth: You still love George. He’s your guy. For an entire year, your stuffed Curious George has gone everywhere with us. And, I mean EVERYWHERE. He never stays behind. At first, he was your security. He helped you be brave when you felt shy, insecure, scared and worried. You needed him and he was there. Now, though, I see a shift. You don’t need George in the same way. You are becoming braver all on your on. You are changing. George is still there. He still goes everywhere with us, but it feels more like a habit. Part of your routine. The way things are done. I don’t think he’s your security anymore. I don’t think you need him. I think you’ve got this. You got this, my boy!

Fifth: You have a mind of your own. I’m not sure I need to say more. You pick out your “comfy” clothes each morning and you prefer matching … as in, orange on orange or head-to-toe green. You like things a certain way. You are Mr. Particular. Your imagination is really taking of now. I love watching this new change in you. Now, you spend your days stuck in a parallel universe somewhere between “real” and “pretend.” It’s pretty fun to witness.

Sixth: I think 4 is gonna be an awesome year. It’s only been one month, but already I sense a difference in you. Okay, I don’t just sense it … it’s plain as day. You are actually listening to me, responding, doing what I ask without complaining. Leaving me to stare at you with my mouth open wondering if someone has snatched my 3-year-old non-listener. Oh yeah. Someone has. It’s this 4-year-old. Hi, 4-year-old Noah. You. Are. Awesome.

Seventh: You are my best friend and one of the very greatest loves of my life. I thank God for you daily. I love you beyond measure.

Happy Birthday Love!

Love Always,  Your Momma

Sweet as a Peach Birthday

Last week, I shared my letter, To My A, on Her 1st Birthday, with you. As is my style, it was sentimental, a bit sappy, and loaded with momma love. But, there was more to her birthday than just me being emotional. So, today, I want to do something a little different. I want to share the PARTY!

To celebrate our A turning ONE, we threw a our “Peachie” a “Sweet as a Peach” party! Yes, yes, I’ll fill you in on the background of “Peachie” and her unique party theme — When I was pregnant with A, N was really into watching Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. In the movie, the woolly mammoth couple (Ellie and Manny) are expecting a baby. When she’s born, they name her Peaches. Thus, N decided that our baby should also be named Peaches. Throughout my entire pregnancy  … and for the first 10 months of A’s life, she was known as Peaches or Peachie. One day, N just stopped calling her Peachie. Just like that. No explanation, no anything … he just started using her real name. I don’t know why. It’s just one of those things, I guess. Still, a little piece of my heart broke off, I think, as I realized they were both growing up and moving on. Sigh.

Anyways, SO, once I started planning the party, I kept thinking about our Peachie … and a theme was born! It was truly an event … fun, happy and lovely! Perfect for our girl!

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To My A, on Her 1st Birthday

My sweet girl turned 1 a few weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve fully come to terms with it just yet. I’m just in awe of how quickly this year has gone and how much A has changed and grown. The first year is so FULL OF CHANGE. It’s amazing. And, she’s amazing. My sweet Little Miss Peachie. In honor of her first birthday, here’s my first letter to her …

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To my dear baby A,

We made it, Little Miss! It’s been a year! It’s an emotional day for me. I just can’t believe that you, my itty-bitty one, are 1 already. I’m not quite ready for you not to be my tiny baby anymore. I’m just not ready. You, sweet one, made the first year such a joy. From the moment you came into this world (full of fire), you were a happy, sleepy girl. You took it easy on me. Thank you for that! I just love you. I just LOVE you. From the very first second, I’ve loved you in the most fierce way. You are my girl. I still can’t believe it sometimes – that you are here with us, that you are ours. You’ve completed me in best way possible. I just don’t know if my heart can handle anymore! But, I hate how quickly I’m forgetting all of your baby-ness. It all goes by in a blur and, at times, it can be so hard to remember it all. I just want you to know that I loved your baby stage. It can be so hard, but with you, I truly enjoyed it. I wish I could keep a piece of you from each stage of your life, so that I could visit that part of you whenever I want. I’m already missing baby A, as toddler A has taken over. So, for today, here’s a written photograph of my lovely, beautiful, feisty girl … the piece of you for me to bottle and keep … just as you are in my mind right now.

At 1 you are …

  • Giggles. Full of giggles
  • Playing Peek a Boo
  • Playing chase & loving getting caught
  • Huge smiles
  • Fiery. What a temper!
  • My good sleeper. You love your bed.
  • A big eater. You love food!
  • Miss Independent. “Put me down and let me run.” You don’t want to be held. You won’t let me rock you.
  • Playing with toys
  • Loving on your “Betty Baby” doll
  • A giver of funny open mouth kisses
  • Full of big hugs and squeezes
  • Throwing kisses
  • Laughing at your Bubby N. He can make you happier than anyone else.
  • Screaming in the car. Man, you sure hate your car seat.
  • Squealing at Daddy. You adore your Da-Da!
  • Running toward me yelling, “MaMaMaMa”

Oh, my girl. Right now, at 1, I love listening to you babble and talk to your baby-doll. I love the way you scrunch up your nose when you smile … or when you are making a grumpy face. I love how excited you are to see me, and to see your daddy when he gets home from work. You know exactly how to turn it on and light us up! I love your determination. You refuse to be seen as a baby. In your mind, you are big girl and you are gonna do it yourself. I already admire your spirit and zest for life. You make us whole. You have our hearts.

I’ll love you until the end of all time.

— Your Momma

 

Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

This long, lazy, 4th of July weekend was simple perfection. It was sweet and carefree and so good for my soul. We kept it easy, old-fashioned, and no-fuss. It was exactly what our little family needed. It left us feeling refreshed, lighter, and proud. Proud to be living in this great country. Proud that we were born in America. Proud to dress the littles in red, white and blue! The 4th of July will do that for you … renew something inside of you … make you feel just like a child again. In the best way possible, of course!

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Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Is there anything better than laying in the grass and giggling?

With you, and all of your wonderfully carefree innocence, there isn’t. There isn’t anything better.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Popsicles on hot days. The sound of the ice cream truck. Finding shapes in the clouds.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Fireworks on the 4th of July. Hot dogs. Bare feet.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Picnics. Playgrounds. Lazy days. Pool days.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Sandboxes. Lemonade. Climbing trees.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Blanket forts. Popcorn nights. Red, white and blue.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Nursery rhymes. Jesus Loves Me. Curious George.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Play-doe. Finger paint. Sidewalk chalk.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

Puzzles. Hide and Seek. Hopscotch.

You bring me back. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

There is such a wonder. Such a magical freedom. I love going back with you.

I love watching it all through your eyes. Safe, shiny and new. It makes life feel lighter. It renews my faith in …

Everything. This is a gift. I’ll go with you. Back to free. Back to simple. Back to childhood.

I See Strength

There are so many facets that make up one’s personality. It’s hard to really know someone, truly, at times. It’s easy to make a quick judgement. But, by doing so, you may miss most of what makes someone who they are. Sometimes, you have to look twice.

This weekend, a friend casually said, “Your son is a really good-looking kid, but he’s kind of a wimp, you know. I mean, he’s a wimp.”  Oh. Gee. Seriously? Tell me how you really feel. I dismissed it immediately — because of who it was coming from, because of his personality and his habit of saying, well, just about anything. I brushed it off, saying, “Shut up. No, he isn’t.” And, that was that. I didn’t think about it again. Until today. Today, it’s on my heart. Today, I feel a little more protective. Today, I feel MORE about it. I know it was a harmless comment. I’m not mad. Just – a little pensive. Is he right? Am I raising a wimp?

Nope. No. I’m not. N isn’t a wimp. He’s a lot of things, but that’s not one of them. And, if it were, that would be okay too. But, it’s not. I can see it though, what our friend sees when observing my child. He’s not around him often. He hasn’t gotten to know him. It’s not his fault. N isn’t quick to open up. So, he sees a quiet boy. He sees a boy that isn’t playing with the other kids… at least, not at first. He sees a boy clinging to his momma. He sees a boy standing off to the side for a bit before jumping in to play. I can see what he sees. But, because I’m his mother, because I love him with an astounding force, because I really KNOW him, I see sooo much more. I don’t see a wimp. I see a boy who truly becomes himself around those he loves. Who saves the best parts of himself for his favorite people. I see a boy who is reserved in large groups. A boy who stands back and watches, observing, before deciding if he wants to take part. I see quiet strength. I see loyalty. I don’t see weakness. I see someone who may just be able to make decisions for himself one day. A boy who just may grow into a man that doesn’t need others to decide what’s right for him. A boy who is considerate and loving. A boy who might not give into peer pressure. Who may be okay saying no. Who may choose kindness over mean-spiritedness. I see my boy. My favorite boy.

Maybe it’s what everyone needs. Someone to SEE them. Someone to KNOW them. It feels good to be known. I feel fortunate to have quite a few people in my life that I believe truly know me. Yet, I too, can be quick to judge others at times. I can decide who I think they are. I shouldn’t. We shouldn’t. Maybe we should wait, give others the benefit of the doubt, and look a little closer. Maybe we’d SEE so much more.

The Hurried Truth

“Hurry, hurry.” I tell him. “We’re going to be late.” “What’s late?” He asks casually, not hurrying at all. I’ve explained “late” at least a dozen times, but his concept of time is not the same as mine. He’s 3. “Hurry” is not a word he enjoys. In fact, it’s not a word he even so much as acknowledges. He sees no need for it. Why should we hurry? I get it. I get him. But, if I were to follow his lead, we’d never actually make it anywhere at all.

I struggle with this. I struggle with hurrying him. I love who he is. I don’t want him to have to hurry. But there are certain protocols that society dictates and expects. It’s the game of life and we have no choice but to play. We must be on time … or at least close.

Like most 3 year olds, N is a free spirit. He beats to his own drum. This big ole world hasn’t broken him, hasn’t even attempted to snuff out his soul. And, I don’t want it to. I want to see this world through his eyes. It’s beyond refreshing. Yet, a typical outing for us involves a battle over getting dressed (“I want comfy clothes, not jeans”), over brushing teeth (“Not right now, after George is over”), over getting his shoes on (“Not yet, not yet, not yet”). Once all of that is done, and N is buckled in his car seat it’s usually, “Oh, Mommy, I have to pee again” or “I forgot my blanket” or fill-in-the-blank item of the day. I try to make it to where we are going. I try not to snap his neck in the process. I aim to be on time. I do. And, I was never very good at being on time when it was just ME. Now it just feels nearly impossible. Oh, yes, and did I mention there’s the other one too?! A, the 7-month-old who’s certainly not without her needs. She loves to fill her diaper with a fun surprise right before we head out the door!

So, how do we find a balance between letting them move freely at their own pace, enjoying the world as they go and making it out the door to where we need to be? I struggle with the anxiety that I feel about time and hurrying. It makes me frazzled. It makes me impatient. Some days, it even makes me mean. I snap. I threaten. I certainly say things that I shouldn’t. And, I feel terrible about it.

Today, I hurried them. But, I used more kisses and less empty threats. I used gentle reminders. I started the process earlier. It felt good. Still, A was crying when I buckled her in. Still, a glass was broken and needed cleaned up. Still, our dog came in with mulch and mud all over her. Still, we were late. But, it’s just going to have to be. I’m just going to have to take deeper, slower breathes. I’m not going to give myself a panic attack. I’m going to use the word “hurry” a little less, but it WILL still be used from time to time. And I’m not going to feel guilty about that. That’ll just have to be. We’ll aim to be on time. But, it’ll be okay if we are a little late. It will just have to be. N doesn’t feel stressed. Why should I? Yes, I have to guide them, lead them and show them what responsibility looks like. But, they don’t need to see me fret over the little things so much. Let’s pick what matters. Take our time where we can. Hurry when we have to, and enjoy a slower pace whenever time allows. Breathe. It’ll all be okay. It will just have to be.