Broken

There was a midnight wake up call from a sick child, a husband away on a business trip and an eight year old in tears over the standardized testing taking place that morning. I was over the day before it had even begun.

A saint, my mother, arrived in the early hours to shepherd the six girls through their morning routine while I hopped in the car for a nearly three hour commute.

It was no wonder that fog filled my brain and I found myself on the road less traveled. Miscalculating my route meant no cell reception for a great portion of the drive rendering it impossible to join a 9am conference call. I had no choice but to watch the sunrise over the rolling hills.

I pondered the hard parts;

this journey of motherhood and career.

Feeling called to both I wondered why it could be so impossible at times.

And in that moment I came to realize that I will forever live in this space of in between.

There is no magic fix, no way to Maria Kondo my way into balance;

always there will be something off kilter.

The imbalance does not make me broken, it makes me real.

So I will feel sad that I miss the tooth falling out and ecstatic when a project I shepherd moves forward. I will hold the hurts and the happy all in one place.

There is beauty in the rising sun. This is where I want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Hallelujah

She dreamed of a man who worked hard, loved Jesus and lived a life of service. One who would desire a women and three beautiful babies to walk through life with.

Each night praying for him, not by name but with descriptors. Every morning awaking hopeful hearted that today he would appear.

One day it was as if it all made sense.

The man in the pew in front of her with his own three beautiful babies.

The Sunday’s spent watching as he patted heads, tenderly held hands and shepherded souls though mass.

Grateful that she had not missed it.

Through the loss, her God had led her here.

Now nearly two years since that date, she can hardly remember a moment he wasn’t a part of her peace.

As he turns the page to 40 she dares to dream what 40 more will look like by his side.

The babies they will raise.

The mountains they will climb.

The love that will be multiplied.

Tonight she will thank God for answered prayers, for her hallelujah.

 

 

 

Audrey at 12

Dear Audrey Hope,

You are bold. You are brave. You are incredibly beautiful.

You tell stories, weaving words together and turning the mundane into magic.

When people come into your presence, they most immediately feel loved.

And that smile! It simply lights up our lives.This birthday feels different, a bit of nostalgia mixed in with the moment. The threshold of the teenage years crossed, earning more of your independence with each passing day.I want to keep you close, to protect you from the ugly this world can throw. But, in doing so, it would also hold you back from the joy that comes after the ache.

I am so very proud of you.

I know you will make good decisions.

Never doubt how much you are loved and how uniquely and wonderfully made you are.

I believe in you.

Love,

Momma

P.S.- This years birthday song says it better than I ever could

 

 

 

 

Rachel

The laughing hadn’t occurred that long and that hard for some time. Both on the threshold of 42, nearly peeing our pants while giggling in her kitchen posing for pictures.

The journey here, years in the making.

It began at a midwestern college campus when overalls were cool before they were cool again.

Spring breaks in Ft. Myers, summers corresponding with letters written by pen, and daydreams over espresso and fondue.

She was the first to show me how to live life less seriously.

Her crazy antics- the DQ runs, the pranks on boys and all the baby oil and Sun In one could lather on to tan skin and lighten hair. We lived in the moment when Rachel was present.

Years and years went on and when Sid was a bump in my belly, I thought of her and the laughter and knew instantly no other could be godmother to the first little lady to join our tribe.

She showed up on the day of her birth. Having driven more than five hours to simply sit with me and bask in the beauty of this baby.

And over the years that’s what she has continued to do. Time and time again she showed up.

When my father died she journeyed far to simply sit in my presence while we grieved.

She showed up again one week after my 14 year marriage ended. She held my hand, stroked my hair, feed my three precious babies and made me believe that the laughter would return.

And when it did return, when I found myself at 40 marrying a man who brought me more joy then I deserved, she listened to me gush and reminded me of the journey.

No one has lived friendship more beautifully than this woman.

She gives and gives and gives and she teaches me to love without boundaries.

When grief overwhelmed her this past weekend and the agony of the moment set in, she gave again. She let me return the favor.

I got to hold her hand and rub her back.

She let me spew words of insignificance.

When we were done being 41 she let me feel 22 again.

I wish for everyone to find a Rachel.

And for my Rachel I wish for millions of moments filled with laughter like she has given me.

Hundreds of miles away as I type I can still feel the breath catch in my throat from the giggles.

Thank you beautiful friend.

Know that this too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

 

Here

The leaving is hard to explain.

Fulfilling work, beautiful friendships and things still left to learn

but, the longing persisted. I listened and left.

After a decade, leaving behind a “dream job”, because it wasn’t where he was calling me to be.

People were perplexed by the choice.

Four months later I find myself most Tuesday and some Friday morning’s, on an almost three hour road trip through Ohio’s heartland.

At 5:00 a.m., while children slumber and the rest of the world sips their Starbucks, I am alone on winding, country roads.

The years of early morning runs have prepared me for this meditation.

It’s nothing more than mental when one small town turns into another small town and the sun has yet to rise.

I dodge deer, map out the day ahead and daydream about beach vacations with my beautiful girls and their handsome papa.

Just about the time I’m ready for the morning commute to be over, I see the fog in the valley and make the final turn up the hill and I’m onto campus.

Waiting for me there will be meetings and memos.

The day will be long.

The learning curve steep.

And when dusk begins to settle over that little hilltop, I will hop back in the car and make the journey home.

I will be greeted by smiling girls and a sense of satisfaction knowing that for now this is where he is calling me to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molly’s 10th

Dear Molly girl,

Boy, do I love you!

I love your spunk.

I love the sunshine you bring to every room you enter.

I love your thoughtfulness and the way you examine our faces for reactions.

I love your crazy bursts of energy and your appreciation for a good, salty snack.

Mostly though I love all of the million and one little things that make you the best Molly I’ve ever known.

You’ve had one pretty big year.

You’ve moved twice and you’ve added three sisters, the best dog ever and a stepmom to the mix. That’s a heck of a lot of change, but you have managed it with such sweetness!

Thank you Molly for letting me be a part of your year. I’m so excited to see what 10 has in store for you!

Never forget how awesome I think you are.

I love you to the moon and back.

Heather

P.S.- Here’s your first ever birthday song. It pretty much says it all.

 

 

Anniversary

It’s not a fairytale.

It’s dirty socks found on kitchen chairs, next to toilets and in the dog’s cage.

It’s six lunches needing packed.

It’s scooters left out behind parked cars and its cold showers.

It’s the sounds of little girl’s laughter creeping through closed doors well after bedtime.

It’s tears by the tub-full and grace upon grace.

It’s “I love you” spoken when least expected.

It’s the desire of a man and a woman to live out this vocation with sometimes painful honesty which means it’s acceptance that what was broken can’t be made whole again.

It’s the understanding that no amount of family meetings or vacations can bring back what six girls lost when their biological parents parted ways. But, it is the belief, that while not perfect, not a fairytale, it is a home.

 

 

 

 

 

8

Dear Ellery Jane,

It started here.

You as the exclamation point at the end of my sentence.

Full of sass from the start.

Never one to shy away from your feelings you brought me to my transparency.

How have these years gone so swiftly by?

I can hardly breathe thinking of the moments that have made up these days.

My how well you have lived my girl.

Continue to be bold dear child.

Hold fast to your compass, your God.

Let me push you when it is necessary.

The days ahead will include moments of you doing the same for me.

Blessing upon blessing.

I can’t possibly put into words the joy it is to be your Momma, so instead this year I will let the pictures speak the words I cannot.

I’m here sweet, beautiful, sensitive, soulful girl.

We will dance together in the morning and I will watch you twirl your way into a new year.

Happy eight.

It only gets better from here.

I love you to the moon and back,

Momma

P.S. It couldn’t have been anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Dear Sidney,

So it seems fourteen is upon us. I now must acknowledge that you are without a doubt a teenager.

Welcome to these next four years full of discovery.

Days that will fly bye in such a way that at some point, way off in the future, you’ll look back on this time and wish you hadn’t rushed it so.

Pause here my love.

Enjoy the air turning from summer to fall and the field hockey games that will puncture its night sky.

Sit in the rocking chairs on the porch laughing until you cry.

Allow your mom to take you out on dates.

Go a whole week with letting the suns glow be the only make up that touches your face.

Remember the way it feels to walk in the door after a long day of school and practice and drop that heavy backpack on the floor. That’s the weight of the world falling away my sweet girl.

At fourteen you carry yourself with more grace than women two times your age.

You are resilient.

You are tough.

You are dependable.

You are honest.

You are without a doubt the best thing that came of my first 26 years on this earth.

Thank you for allowing me to grow this year and for forgiving me time and time again.

It is such a privilege to be your Momma.

I love you Sidney Reagan.

Happiest of birthday’s.

Momma

PS- no sap only upbeat for this year’s song

 

 

Thank you Lord

Thank you Lord

for the lilac bush on St. George Drive;

the tree canopy and trails on London Avenue,

and the deer in the valley on Robinson Drive.

Thank you for Mrs. Lovejoy, Mr. Monzo and Mr. Stewart;

for the Conwell’s and the McClain’s;

for Flower Farm Hill and the burning in my lungs it left me with.

Thank you for bridges to nowhere and all the Haluski and Perogies a Polish girl could eat.

Thank you for football jersey’s worn under Friday night lights.

 

Thank you for small towns within big cities;

for places youth makes us yearn to escape and age has us aching to return.

 

Thank you for making me a home.

Thank you for taking me there once again.