Transition

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.

 

 

 

 

 

To be 7

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.

Love,

Momma

P.S.- Your favorite part. I gave you a sneak peek earlier this week.

This year’s birthday song.

 

The Dress

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 Up Call

“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.

 

 

 

 

13

Dear Sidney,

Thirteen it is,

at the threshold of high school,

a teenager.

I just love who you are.

Hard-working,

dedicated,

focused,

helpful,

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.

Love,

Momma

I promised you nothing sappy for this year’s birthday song. I failed. I love you baby girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s End

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.

 

Authentic

We live our lives with the applause meter on.

The channels of social media feed the human desire for acclaim.

But, to live an authentic life, one in which we force ourselves to acknowledge the pieces that are less than show ready, that’s a challenge.

I was tired.

Really, really tired.

I needed coffee or a nap or both.

I snapped.

Little girls scurried.

Please Lord, next time prompt me to warn them when these things are brewing.

This is the piece of me I’m learning to love.

No one else to blame, just a recovering perfectionist who cannot rest before it’s all complete.

The woman who simply can’t manage when something is left undone.

Apologies were whispered, when really they should have been exclaimed.

Little girls tucked away for the night will soon forget the mistakes made.

The best of me sometimes comes from the worst of me.

Tomorrow we’ll go at it again.

 

 

 

Chicago

When the school year ends the girls and I pack our bags and head out.

The kick off to summer break always begins with a trip.

This year we headed to Chicago for three nights with beautiful friends who have become family.

We love them with all our hearts (so does our Anja girl).

It was Anja’s first road trip as a part of this tribe,

and each night she was worn out from the cuddles.

We’re so grateful for these people who love us when they aren’t required to;

who open their home and their hearts, and

whose wisdom and counsel is always shared with our best interest in mind.

If there is one example my girls remember from their years with me, I hope it is of friendship.

Chose wisely my girls.

When you find the women who will willingly go all in,

hold on tight.

There is nothing better than a life lived with others whose only desire is to see you soar.

 

 

 

 

Pride

Sometimes I think I don’t tell her enough how proud I am of her.

This girl with her smile as open as her heart.

The one who works hard,

keeps her promises,

and loves without condition.

The two of us, we have learned together.

A million and one mothering mistakes I’m sure I’ve made.

And now as she stands 5’9 and full of forgiveness for all of my failings, I am supremely proud of the young women she has become.

 

The Husbands

They are an unexpected bonus.

Their wives, on the other hand, were a given.

I knew the minute we met, a thousand years ago as college freshman, that our friendship was forever. I don’t believe, at the time, I thought about how the men they would marry would participate in our story as well.

And now, fresh off a fortieth birthday celebration weekend in Florida with these ladies, I find myself reflecting on the unexpected gifts of our friendship- those men who love them.

I looked back through my library to find their photos. Not at all surprisingly there weren’t many pictures. Not because they aren’t present at our gatherings; but rather, because they are often the ones behind the camera, off wrangling toddlers or fixing worms to hooks on fishing poles.

These men are a constant presence.

The girls refer to them as their uncles.

Among the first to hold them upon their births;

participants in birthday parties, thanksgiving dinners, spring break adventures and the yearly Labor Day weekend reunion.

They’ve rough housed, fixed bike tires and encouraged silly behavior that their Momma would have never allowed.

The gifts extend beyond their influence on my girls.

I’ve sought their counsel on topics ranging from financial planning to the purchasing of new computers.

They’ve served as my cheerleaders, my running partners and my changer of light bulbs.

Most importantly they’ve encouraged and nurtured the friendship I share with their wives, never questioning my place in the lexicon of their family.

Thanks boys for loving your wives the way you do,

for being the incredible dads you are and

for being my friend.

I’m glad I’m on this journey with you.