It is a fairytale.
Not the kind of hallmark movies or a Nicholas Sparks novels.
It’s our heavenly father’s version of happily ever after.
A fairytale born out of stretching and growing, missteps and heartache. Building blocks on a journey that brought us to this day.
No glass slippers, just a belief that a desire born of the heart was God’s whisper; his calling that marriage was a part of his plan for us.
Sometimes a momma’s heart just hurts.
There are things she cannot fix with kisses or hugs.
Little girls growing pains, stretching that at times feels unbearable.
The urge as a parent is to fix it, yet fixing isn’t what she asks of me.
I listen and hold back the words, refrain from spewing all sorts of advice. And in the holding back learn that parenting is sometimes best done in silence.
This transition from child to young adult is about learning to sift through the quicksands of life on one’s own.
So I will sit, make up excuses to take her for morning coffee and steal hugs when she passes me in the hall. This time I cannot make it all o.k. but I can hold the hurt in my hands and blanket her in love.
Dear Ellery Jane,
Wow did this year just fly.
I look at you, sound asleep in my bed, and I still see remnants of my newborn.
Seven years ago you emerged on the scene, eager to take your seat at the table.
Life instantaneously became more interesting with you in it.
You are full of big words and big ideas.
You are passionate.
You are hilarious.
I am so proud of the person you are becoming.
This year will be full of change. We talk about that a lot don’t we?
Do me a favor baby girl- keep talking.
Keep using your voice to tell us how you feel.
Those feelings are real, they are valid and they deserve to be heard.
I can’t wait to watch the next twelve months unfold for you.
Thank you for the happy you bring to our family.
Happy birthday my beautiful girl.
P.S.- Your favorite part. I gave you a sneak peek earlier this week.
This year’s birthday song.
It was wrapped in layers of tissue.
Purging led to its discovery.
The girls couldn’t have been more delighted by the appearance.
The dress a 22-year-old girl wore to wed her beau,
now worn by the next generation during a nighttime game of dress up.
They twirled and spun and looked more first communion than wedding day.
And as laughter filled the house, smiles in honor of the dance that brought us here.
“Wake me up in the middle of the night Momma”.
What she really means is when the sky is dark, grab me from my bed, wrap me in a blanket and cuddle me on the couch.
Before sissy’s wake up, homework needs completed and breakfasts are made, in your arms give me moments of quiet slumber.
A tradition started soon after her daddy moved out.
My alarm clock would ring at 4:45am and the treadmill would beckon.
Most days, when I would return from the run, I would find her asleep on the couch. Awoken by the movements of my mornings; needing me, but knowing even at three the importance of those runs for her Momma, she staked her claim on the couch and patiently waited.
Together we came up with a solution.
The morning run complete, I would sneak into her room and whisper in her ear,
“It’s the middle of the night, shall we cuddle”.
And now as we await the addition of four new family members, the requests have returned.
She is finding her own ways of articulating what she needs to manage this life transition.
And, I am finding, our needs are not all that different.
Thirteen it is,
at the threshold of high school,
I just love who you are.
endlessly fascinating to me.
A gazillion words and none could do justice in describing you.
Over the last twelve months, it has been such a gift to watch you grow your talents.
You are acutely aware of the needs of others, whether that be your horse, your best friends or your Momma. The way you engage with thoughtful questions and generous compliments makes each person in your presence feel loved and valued. That gift my dear will take you farther than any algebra skills ever could (apologies to your eighth grade math teacher).
Your drive is impressive. Would you do me a favor though? Give yourself a moment each day to pause and reflect on all you have accomplished. There will always be something else to strive for, but the here and now will be gone before you know it.
Thank you for your laughter, your cooking abilities so lovingly shared with your family, your attention to detail and for kissing me goodbye in the drop off line at school.
I’m very excited for your year ahead.
Happiest of birthday’s Sidney Reagan.
I promised you nothing sappy for this year’s birthday song. I failed. I love you baby girl.
In God’s house,
on bended knee,
he asked for my hand.
These girls, this man, this beautiful life and the journey that brought us together – yes.
When the giggles subsided, with tears flowing, we joined our hands and bowed our heads in prayer. Gratefulness poured out of me as I promised our heavenly father I would seek each day to be the wife, the mother, the women, he is calling me to be.
Our lives now joyful, together.
Born on this day 71 years ago.
A decade passed since the last celebrated with him.
His favorite pie, steak’s on the grill, a side of dry rub wings while we sat on the patio watching the deer dance down the hill. Daisy dog by his side.
Looking at the well-worn hands, holding the beer, you wouldn’t have guessed him a preacher.
Years spent weaving words together for his “day job” yet true joy came from moments spent in his yard on that hill or at his beach house, the constant battle with the encroaching prickly bushes.
Two days before he passed, as we stood around him, I rubbed his thumb. The low hum of the medical devices keeping him alive became the background music as I stared at those hands, flooded with a lifetime of memories.
He and I on our knees inspecting my work done with hand shears trimming the lawn. Gentle correction to cut the grass shorter next time.
His hands on the steering wheel, another road trip adventure to some far-flung battlefield. His baritone belting out You are My Sunshine.
His hands a reflection of his message, of how he choose to live his life;
battle-scarred, worn rough from working and loving hard.
One day these words will fade but I hope its my hands the girls will remember, may they resemble his.
Each evening before sleep our prayers are joined.
Whispered words over the phone after little girls are tucked away.
The routine born from a desire to put our faith at the center of our relationship.
Before the I love you’s to each other were spoken, we had chosen to share our love for him.
108 nights have now passed.
Vacations, work trips, weariness and girls unable to sleep, but not one night interrupted; not one evening missed.
Our foundation on which we build this house.
Seems silly that with the end of July we face the end of our summer, the start of school around the bend.
Seventeen sleeps before our carefree days are over.
I’m simply not ready.
The summer camps, the trips, the lazy nights lingering with friends will soon be replaced with homework, evening activities and dinners eaten on the run.
As Matt and I talked last night about the impending end, a large part of me wanted to revolt, to grab those babies and leave it all behind in favor of a never ending supply of cotton candy.
But, we are called to be in this place, moving through our days, preparing hearts and minds for a lifetime of more adventures.
So I will pull out the lunch bags and begin the school prep, but if you find I am slower to return your emails or your texts go unanswered, know I’m just busy soaking up a few more summer days.