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

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More Than Beautiful

Yesterday, my first blog post for Raleigh Moms Blog went up! Whoop! I’ve been excited about joining their team as a contributor. But, I’m also excited to share my words with you here as well….

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Excerpt: “A few days ago, A (my 2-year-old) and I were strolling through Target (yes, it’s always Target, right?). She was in a particularly playful mood. I was stealing kisses from her. We were smiling. We were in our own happy world for that particular minute in time. I leaned down and said, “You are SOOO beautiful!” She wrinkled her nose and beamed up at me, giggling. And. Then. A woman (a woman whom meant well I’m sure — they always mean well, right?) said, “You know, you shouldn’t tell her that she’s beautiful.” My head whipped around. I hadn’t even seen her there. I hadn’t even noticed her in the aisle with us. My mind went blank.”

Click HERE to continue reading More Than Beautiful at Raleigh Moms Blog!

Photo Credit: Shannon Haynie Photography (She’s awesome, by the way!)

This Beautiful Season

I adore fall. I adore this time of year. Everything about it makes me happy. I wrote a poem about it once, long ago. It took me a bit of time to track this oldie down, but I found it. I wrote it on Oct. 6, 2003, when I was trying to get back into writing. The date is funny now. October 6 is the date I married R. But, not until 2007. In 2003, we hadn’t even entered each others lives. So, it’s funny, yet appropriate, that this was the date on this poem. Back then, my heart was searching. Now, it feels so full and whole. Perspective, uh? Sometimes it’s the things that I wrote years ago, that end up coming back around again. Writing and I are like old friends. We spend a chunk of time apart, but we always find each other again. We always pick back up where we left off …

One Season

 

The breeze of autumn,

My favorite time,

It comes in soft and gentle,

Soothing, caressing,

Renewing my soul,

The chill in the air brushes against me,

Somehow warming the core of my being,

I feel more thoughtful during this time of year,

The sands of time move quickly,

Staying permanently beyond our grasp,

It leaves me lonely enough to feel alive,

And peaceful enough to let it surround me,

I understand myself most as the leaves change,

Though I don’t know why,

It’s mystery appeals to me,

Nostalgia tugs at my heart,

Images of love and love lost drift and scatter,

The smell of the air brings tears to my eyes,

I long for something,

Unsure what,

Yet, as the sun dips down,

Through a kaleidoscope of pink and orange,

Soft wool of an early winter sweater tight around me,

I look up at the sky,

And thank God that I am me, and I am happy.

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.

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.

 

The Calling

Not to go all religious on y’all, but yes, let’s do that. It’s spring, after all, the season of renewal and rebirth. And, we just celebrated Easter. It’s such a special holiday, but one that I, unfortunately, generally, fail to truly ponder and reflect on just how significant it is. This year I felt a bit more … reflective, I suppose, for lack of a more creative word. Sometimes, don’t you just feel Him calling you, pulling you near? Don’t fight those feelings. FEEL them. Let Him tug at your heart. And then, just maybe, let yourself feel strong enough to go and do just what you feel led to be doing. Maybe it’s big. Maybe it’s little. Maybe it’s microscopic. It doesn’t matter. It’s in your heart for a reason. FEEL it.

The Calling

Sometimes your heart speaks softly,

Whispering your name, urging quietly,

It calls to you in peaceful slumber,

And in nights dark with mystery,

 

It seeks you out,

In days full of grace filled moments,

As in days when tears and rain,

Flood the only path home,

 

You feel it’s pull in soft waves,

When life stills,

And for a brief, yet miraculous second,

You listen,

 

Sometimes your heart speaks loudly,

Impatient for attention,

A voice from beyond beckons,

Forcing you to hear it’s gentle calling,

 

Fear finds you in this instance,

Pulling you back,

Towards a familiar place of comfort and ease,

Still … the mystery calls,

 

Desire takes over,

Running through you,

A deep longing to be filled with a warm, spiritual haze,

And you give in,

 

The voice in your heart surrounds you,

Covering everything you once knew,

It reveals itself,

A form you always knew was there,

 

It showers you with love,

Showing you at last, who you really are,

Knowing you fully and completely,

And finally, finally, you listen

 

And you follow.

I Imagine

Imagining my babies, as I awaited their arrival, was one of my favorite things about each of my pregnancies. Daydreaming about them was a “favorite-life-moment” for me. Imagining them. Imagining who they’d be and what we would share.

If you are anticipating the arrival of a little miracle, don’t stop daydreaming about them. But, just remember, no matter how you imagine them, no matter how you picture it … it will be so much better! The love you feel for them will take your every breath away. There is hard, sure, most definitely. But, let’s forget about that for a moment and cheers to the good, to the lovely. Here’s to motherhood!

I imagine

You will be like a great discovery,

Opening yourself to me,

Little by little,

Day by day,

I imagine

All the ways we will grow together,

You teaching me with spectacular wonder,

New eyes in which to see the world,

Such fresh perspective,

And creative grace,

I imagine,

Your beauty will astonish me,

Captivating my soul,

Captivating the very essence of who I am,

I imagine

Your face,

Picturing your daddy,

Picturing me,

Marveling at the pieces of us,

Reincarnated in your reflection,

I imagine

Such an amazing adventure of life for you,

A journey of magnificent joy,

Memories mixed between the pages,

Of daily smiles and holidays,

Laughter filling all the spaces of our hearts,

I imagine you…

                My baby-to-be