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.


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!

Praying My Way to Kindergarten

A few days ago, Raleigh Moms Blog posted an article that I wrote about kindergarten and all of my big feelings about that fact that it’s time. Time for N to start kindergarten. (Read “Kindergarten. It’s Time” here.) I talked from the heart about all of it … about how hard it is to let go and watch them grow, about the little crack in my heart and about giving myself the grace and peace to move forward and embrace this new chapter. But, there is more. There is more to this story. More about moving toward acceptance. More about “all the feels” about kindergarten. More about my big, full, raw, vulnerable heart. More about preparing my heart. There is more.

My boy is so innocent. And, if your baby is headed to kindergarten, I bet you feel the same way. They are innocent. Honestly, if your baby is headed to college you might even feel the same way!! My sweet guy – his heart is so pure and full of all the right things. I love it. I love him. I love his sincerity and faith in goodness. This world can be so scary, yet, right now…he has no idea. He is aware that there is evil out there, but it’s mostly a vague awareness. And, I yearn to keep it that way. We all have an innate, fierce desire to protect our babies, right? There is a “momma bear” in each one of us. The “momma bear” in me is feeling a little threatened lately. Change is coming and I know there is nothing that I can do to stop it. I fear the unknown. I fear the mean spirits … and the mean kids. I fear the things that he will learn about people and about the “ways of the world.” I fear the loss of his innocence. I fear not being able to always protect him. I fear watching him step away from me and out into the world. I fear the change that will happen to our relationship. I fear losing him. I’m having trouble accepting it. I’m having trouble letting go. It’s all out of my control and as a momma, that’s the scariest part. Giving up the control, right?

So…give it to God.


It’s funny how a little thing like seeing the word “kindergarten” on a postcard could completely derail my thought process. How easily I forgot that I’d already been praying and preparing for this very thing. This. Very. Thing. How easily I forgot to trust. How easily I sank into the fear.

Once I let my emotions settle. Once I was able to spend some quiet time alone with my thoughts. Once I had prayed. It all felt … still. Quiet. Focused. It may not be easy. Watching our babies grow will likely never be easy. But, my husband and I are not the only ones that love our children. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Their great creator, our Father in Heaven, loves them so much more than we can even imagine. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” I cannot forget this. They are His. He loves them. I’m not doing any of this alone. So, I’ll pray. I’ll pray and pray some more. I’ll pray my way to kindergarten. My prayer is that our Lord leads us into the school years with a full armor. My prayer is that He goes before us and paves the way. My prayer is that He’s already in our schools, working on our teacher’s hearts so that they may be exactly what N needs (and what your babies need) them to be. Let the school be full of light and goodness. Keep the evil away. Let that school be so full of love and Jesus that you can’t help but notice!

Friends, I don’t know where your hearts are, but I do know that you aren’t alone. Our fears do not have to weigh us down. Our burdens are not ours to carry. Send them up. Lay them down. We were never meant to go at it alone. We were never meant to fear. You can let it go and walk forward with faith and confidence that, while you are not “in control”, our God is. We can feel all the feelings and still march forward. We can do this scary thing called kindergarten. And, we can do lots of much, much scarier things too. But, we certainly don’t have to do it alone. We can do it together. We can pray our way through it. Imagine what a difference we could make! Praying our way…


Kindergarten. It’s Time.

I haven’t been feeling overly sentimental lately. I’ll admit, I can lose myself to the sentimental dark side from time to time, but I’ve been coasting close to “normal” these days. But, today. Wow, today! Today, I packed up a box of baby clothes to consign. Today, A and I watched cows and moo-ed and said hello to each one of them individually and laughed. Today, we received N‘s track assignment for year-around elementary school. We registered him for kindergarten in January and I had all the big feelings and emotions about it … and then, I just kinda let it go. So, even though I was expecting it, seeing his name with the word “kindergarten” and “track” beside of it … it just felt too real. Too soon. Honestly, my first thought was that maybe I could just toss that little postcard in the trash and pretend it wasn’t happening. Out of sight, out of mind. Eeek!

Y’all, head on over to Raleigh Moms Blog to read more!!


You Might Not Remember

N and I were laying side by side, having one of our bedtime chats a few nights ago and he was quizzing me about “when you were a little girl, Mommy”, “did you do this and that?” And, honestly, I had a hard time answering. I couldn’t remember all of the specifics that he wanted me to remember. The details are hazy now. I wish they weren’t. I’d love to remember. I had a beautiful childhood. I WANT to remember it. All of it. As he fell asleep, I held him tight for a little longer than normal. My heart hurt as I realized … he won’t remember this. Oh. My. Gosh! He won’t remember US, the way we are right now. And, ahhhh, the way we are right now is everything to me. And, to him. And, He won’t remember. And, I’d love to say that I would … that I’d remember for the both of us. But, I don’t have the world’s best memory, sooo, I might not remember all of it either. Ugh. My poor Momma’s heart! So, what’s a girl to do to? Well, write it down, for one thing …

~My N. You probably won’t remember. At times it’s a thought that haunts me. This special time that we are sharing right now – this magical season in our lives – this most amazingly wonderful time. You won’t remember it. You’ll simply call it “your childhood” and hopefully, think of it fondly. But, actual formed memories … You’ll have a few. You’re 4. Not many people remember 4 very well, if at all. Our day-to-day lives and routine right now – you won’t remember. You already don’t remember our first moments together – the very first time ours eyes locked, the way we already knew each other. You don’t remember the day you decided to finally smile at me. The way the fog lifted then, and all was right in the world. Or, the way you’d cling to me to me late into the night, not wanting to be left alone. You’d cry, “rockaby baby, rockaby baby.” You won’t remember how you loved bath time and how you’d giggle when I sang, “Stinky feet, Stinky feet, I love you.” You won’t remember Daddy and I taking turns laying in your bedroom floor because you refused to sleep or how you slip your hand through the rails of your toddler bed to hold hands with me. You won’t remember the way our hearts hurt when we had to say goodbye in the mornings at daycare. Your face and your tears broke my heart every time. Yet, you’d race into my arms at the end of the day and we’d both feel whole again. You might just remember how much you loved your Curious George, how much you needed him, how you took him everywhere, how he went to school with you every single day of your 3-yr-old preschool. You might have loved him just enough to remember loving him. You might not remember the summer that Audrey was born. I started staying home full time with you and we’d spend afternoons just laying in the grass talking to each other. You might not remember becoming your momma’s very best friend that summer. You might not remember, how, when I’d dry your hair after bath-time, you’d lay your head on my belly and whisper to your sister. You might not remember how you insisted her name be Peaches and how you called her Peachie her whole first year. You might actually remember coming to the hospital in your Big Brother shirt carrying a pink bear, ready to meet our baby for the first time. It was pure magic. The kind of memories that, when strung together, make up a lifetime. Sigh. You probably won’t remember how you’d swear you were gonna marry me one day. “When I’m a grown-up, I’m gonna marry you, Mommy.” “And, drive a big truck too!” Oh, how sweet your love for your momma is. May we never forget. How you’d shyly whisper, “I love you more than anyone else in the world.” My heart would burst, not just from your dear, sweet words, but from the way you said them. You pronounced words correctly, but in your own way. I adored it! It wasn’t “world”, it was more like “wolod”. And, my boy, you sure rocked mine. My world. You won’t remember singing the sweetest Sunday School songs in the car with me. Or, saying prayers for strangers whenever an ambulance would go by or we’d pass an accident. You probably won’t remember how you’d fly out of the door when I’d pick you up at pre-school and jump straight into my arms for giant hugs and kisses. You won’t remember asking me for “snuggle buggle time” or curling up with me under our favorite blanket. You might not remember how wonderful you were to your baby sister. How much time you’d spend talking, playing and teaching her. Oh, my boy. You probably won’t remember all of this — your first years. But, I want you to know. They were dear, sweet, messy, beautiful, lovely, innocent, perfection. I may not remember all of the details as clearly as I’d like either. Yet, I know we’ll always have it. The feeling that comes from it. That part won’t leave us. The love. The beauty. The joy. That feeling — it’ll always be ours. We’ll always have that.


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!


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.