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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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

Being Still

Sometimes, some days, my heart just gets caught up in all of it. In all of the … the mothering. And, I start to forget. I forget the point of it all. I start yearning to hear God’s voice. I start aching for … more. I start feeling like I should be doing more of something.

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The past few weeks have been harder than most. Full of chaos, tears, tantrums, sickness, teething, messes, more tantrums and just … soooo many needs that must be met. I’ve felt pushed and stretched and tested. I’ve felt raw, vulnerable, exposed. I’ve felt like a big, giant failure. Yes, there will always be days like this. Weeks like this. Days when motherhood will take all that you have to give, and then ask you to give even more. It’s easy to get caught up. Lost. That’s what was happening. I was starting to lose myself to these types days. Starting to drown in them.

But, then … yesterday happened. The sun was bright and warm against my skin. I had a few minutes to myself (let’s be honest, I was going to the doctor, but still … I was alone.) I felt … something more. And then, today happened. Today, my sweet girl (who doesn’t like to be held) actually fell asleep in my arms. This is so rare. Sooo rare. She typically pushes me away and reaches for her bed. Yes, honestly. She’s only 20 months. It’s tragic. I know. So, when she let me hold her for longer than 1.2 seconds, I was immediately in tears. I was in tears and thanking God for this sweet gift. This precious moment to just let go, be still and stare at her. I took in her beautiful baby profile, her flawless skin, her sweet smell, the gentleness of her breathing. Time stood still. Everything got quiet. My mind. My heart. In that moment, I pictured her … I pictured her jumping into crisp, beautiful lake water – feeling the coolness on her skin. I pictured her laying in the grass watching the clouds roll by. Feeling the fresh wind of spring on her face. The spray of saltwater on her warm skin. The butterflies that come with new love. The warm sand beneath her toes. The voice of God within her heart. The feel of her own baby in her strong arms. I just sat there, held her and glimpsed into her future … and let the quietness carry me…

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As time started moving again, as I laid her in her bed, I knew I had been given a gift. A moment of stillness with my growing girl. A moment of calm during days of storm. A chance to hear God’s voice in my own heart. A confirmation that I’ve been needing. I’ve been praying and seeking – wanting to know the plan. The next step. Yearning to understand what I’m supposed to be doing. What I’m supposed to be writing. If this blog should be growing. But, clarity comes … with stillness, clarity comes … and the voice I’ve been seeking has been trying to answer me all along. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Be still. Be STILL. And know. He’ll let me in on the next step when it’s time. Right now, it’s not time. I’m right where I’m supposed to be. This is my season in the sun with the littles. These are short, precious years. “Be still.” THIS is what I’m supposed to be doing. Being “Mommy”. The rest … He’ll reveal it all in time. I can rest in that beautiful knowledge.

XOXO

Side Note: My sweet husband, R, sent me a link to this video and it was exactly what I needed to watch. It’s short and sweet … if you want to check it out. I already loved Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and Magnolia Homes, but now I love her even more.

Photo Credit: The top photo is from Janna at Yellow Prairie Interior Design. I love following her Instagram page and snatched this photo to share with y’all. Isn’t she awesome? Also, the “Be Still” sign, as well as the other, are from The Rustic Orange. The bottom photo is from The Secret Place Ministries.

I Didn’t Know – So Hard to Watch Them Grow

This morning N wanted to watch a video (a video of himself) on my phone. He doesn’t usually watch the older ones, but this morning he chose the oldest. It was recorded a year and a half or so ago. We watched it together and laughed at how cute and sweet his baby voice sounded. He was maybe two and a half years old. He was singing happy birthday and other silly songs. He was talking about my growing belly and what it was going to be like to have a sister. He looked so much smaller to me, so much more like a baby. I didn’t realize just how much he’d grown. Just how different he’d become. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to react to it the way that I did. But, his voice was just too precious. It brought tears to my eyes immediately. I smiled over at him, tucked snuggly under my arm, and we giggled and laughed about “silly Mommy and her happy tears.” Later though, after I dropped him off at pre-school, I watched it again by myself and I cried a little more. Maybe it IS silly. But, for a moment I let myself miss that little guy. I allowed my heart to hurt. It’s just amazing to me … how much he grew in a single year … how different he sounded. How different he is. I don’t want to be sad. This is a GOOD thing. This is the BEST problem to have. My children are growing. I’m not crying over any tragedy or loss. It’s all good. Yet, every now and then, I let myself grieve the passing of time. I let myself FEEL it. It does hurt. It does. I have a wonderful boy and a wonderful girl. They are healthy.  I love watching N grow and become who he’s going to be. I love it. I love who he is today. Yet, I just didn’t know it would be so painful. I didn’t know how I would mourn each stage once it passed. I watch A now and try to memorize each little piece of her. I know how quickly it goes. How fast it’s moving. I want her to be my baby. I’m grasping for her to stay little. I’m no fool. I know exactly what happens when you hold too tightly to something. It slips right through your fingers. I want them to grow, of course. Of course. I just didn’t know. I just wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know that I’d yearn for them, my babies. That I’d miss their littleness, even as they are still right by my side. That I’d miss two-year-old N and 3-year-old N and 6-month-old A. My memory isn’t the best. I have trouble holding on to all the details. I just can’t keep them all or remember it all. It grows fuzzy way too fast and I’m left feeling helpless. I didn’t realize, I didn’t know, that with motherhood would come the strangest combination of wholeness and brokenness. I had no idea it was possible to feel, simultaneously, complete joy and the crush of a broken heart. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that watching my babies grow would fill me with pride and wonder… and agony. I didn’t know that I marvel at the child they were becoming while still longing for my chubby-handed baby. I didn’t know that I would feel so much all of the time. All. The. Time. I feel so much. It’s like I’ve been stripped raw. They say that once you have a child, it feels like your heart is separate from your body … that your heart is out there, walking around in this big ‘ole world. And, I find that statement to be completely true. My heart grew, with each baby, so full and tender that there are days when I worry it will burst wide open. It’s full of love, joy, peace, happiness, tenderness, fear, worry, pain. There are days when I’ve never felt more, or less, like myself. It’s the most puzzling of mysteries. The heart of a momma.

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.