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

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

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.

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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…

 

You Are Enough

My beautiful baby girl took her first two steps this week. Two, tiny, tentative steps. My heart soared with pride! Then, it broke just a little too. Isn’t that one of the most astonishing, surprising things about parenthood? Who knew that your heart would break so often and so easily? Who knew what a vast range of emotions you would feel at any given moment?

My sweet A took two little baby steps. Two tiny steps away from me and into this big ‘ole world. Just the thought of it cracked my heart wide open. My A – she is a darling baby. Happy and sweet and so easy to love. I want to wrap her up and keep her safe and secure in my arms. I want to pack her away in a big ‘ole happy bubble with N, where they’ll both be safe, where nothing can hurt them. Huh. It reminds me of  “Finding Nemo”, when Marlin says, “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.” And, Dory responds brilliantly, saying, “Hmmm. That’s a funny thing to promise. You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.” And, so, I’ll hold my breath and pray A LOT as she takes more and more steps on her own and out into her very own adventure …. And, I’ll be here. Holding her father’s hand and waiting and watching. I’ll be here. For her. For N. If they stumble, fall, feel lost, or want to hide away, I’ll be here. To tell them that they are enough. To tell them not to apologize for who they are. Be YOU, dear babies! You are aways enough to me!

 

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.

 

Morning Glory

I’m not a morning person. I never have been. Yet, somehow, mornings have managed to creep their way into my heart. Without noticing that it was happening, morning snuck up on me and became my favorite part of the day. So unexpected, yet so refreshing….

Most mornings, A wakes first and R slips out of bed to go to her. He lets me sleep a little longer. He enjoys the first sweet coos and smiles of the morning with his itty-bitty one. She turns on the charm for him and they share some precious time together before he has to head off to work.

N wakes next and quietly sneaks in our room. He slips into bed next to me and wraps himself around me. He’s all sleepy sounds and smells and cowlicks in the morning. He’s full of ‘just-awake’ sweetness and he curls into me. We snuggle-buggle (our favorite word for cuddling) like that for a few minutes under the covers, until he’s more awake and starts whispering excitedly … then come the giggles and tickles.

After A’s bottle is gone, she and R make their way back up us, bringing our Harper (our golden girl) with them. She’ll bounce up with kisses and licks and good-morning wiggles. We share a few happy, family moments all in bed together before our day really starts. It’s untouched, unspoiled. The whole day is still in front of us and no matter what yesterday was like or what happened during the night, THIS day is still new. Fresh with possibility and hope. Before there are any meltdowns or time-outs or battles over food. Before I get tired or impatient. Before I lose my temper or feel like I’m failing miserably at this whole momma gig. Before N cries about something. Before A cries about something. Before the messes and spills happen. Before any wine is poured just to survive the ‘witching hour’ that we call dinner-time. Before evening comes, when we will all be tired, ready to wipe the slate clean again, ready to rest and renew. Before all of THAT, there is THIS … this beautiful morning.

This precious morning routine that we’ve established won’t last. Change is certain, especially with little ones. R and A won’t always greet the early morning together. N won’t always crawl into bed to snuggle with his momma. The mornings may slip away from me once again, no longer being my favorite. But, not today. Today is not that day. Today, I embrace the happiness that’s in my heart and push away the fear that tries to creep in. Today, I savor the peace that morning brings to our home and lives. God has given us a gift. A beautiful new morning. Take it. Savor it. Cherish it.

Happy morning, friends. Happy day!

 

I Will Always Be Your Home

Some days my heart is so full, the words just pour out. This one is for my little ones so that they may always know – they will always have me.

The sun settles over me with a blinding brilliancy,
As I watch you, my babies,
You are the most beautiful beings,
My heart radiates with a magical love,
Certainly there is no greater,
It is yours and always yours,
To carry with you on your travels,
I will always be your home,
Your refuge,
A safe place to hide,
A shelter from life’s storms,
I will always be your strength
On days when you need to fall,
I will be your ear
On days when you feel lost,
I will laugh with you forever,
For your giggles light my way,
I will hold you
Long after you are too big for my lap,
And, my heart will carry you
Long after the sands of time have faded away
You will never be alone,
My loves.
Your momma’s love will fly with the angels and surround you…
On and on and on…