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

 

 

Home

“It’s just a house”, Sid reminds me.

People make a place a home, not the walls or windows.

Yet these walls provided shelter, these windows light.

As the boxes are packed and a new house takes shape, I am reminded of the blessings of the place we leave behind.

A house that had been purchased to raise a family of five.

It rather quickly became a shelter for four.

Straddling the world of what was and what is, a daily, tangible reminder of possibility.

I could raise these girls here.

I could pay the mortgage, change the air filter, mulch the beds, clean the house and still dance in the kitchen.

Late nights spent sitting on the cool tile of the bathroom floor, holding back little girls hair as sickness overwhelmed them. I could parent alone.

Days listening to the sounds of laughter as my children played with their neighborhood friends. I could find joy in the moments of my day.

Evenings, after girls were tucked safely in bed, when a knock on the door meant a visit from my own dear neighborhood friend. A chance to connect over a glass of wine and the knowledge that I was safe. I could share my fears wrapped in the cocoon of this house with those who sought the best for me.

On February 23 we will say good bye to what was.

A new world of possibility exsists in a place where a family of eight will take up residence.

He and I will now do this together. Maya Angelou quote about home via Hurray Kimmay Blog

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Love

“I said I love you Momma and now he’s gone”, the words choked out between the sobs.

“I shouldn’t have loved him if it wasn’t going to be forever”, the ache in her heart a reflection of the joy his presence brought.

“Baby girl but isn’t that how Jesus taught us?” My words offered in the moment through God’s grace.

“We are to love without expectation”, I reminded her and I.

“You felt it and you gave it freely. Don’t ever feel badly about giving your love”.

“You are my brave girl”.

 

 

Talent Show

She caught me as I walked in the door.

Waving the green paper in her hand, telling me she was going to do the school talent show. All she needed was my signature.

What if she froze on stage?

What if kids laughed?

What if she looked at the others; the gymnast flipping, the ballerina leaping and the boy and his violin concerto, and somehow she felt less then?

How could I place her in the path of those possibilities?

Wasn’t my job to protect? Yet there she stood asking me to be a willing accomplice.

I was worn down in the moment. The paper signed, off she went.

For weeks she practiced with her friend and talked excitedly about the show.

Even after the preparation, I worried.

The evening arrived.

Glowing faces, happy smiles as parents and grandparents lined the aisles.

I sat glued to the hard, metal, folding chair wishing the night away, placing my own elementary school fears squarely on the shoulders of my ten year old.

Fears of rejection and failure from a recovering perfectionist, no wonder the air felt heavy.

But, as it always happens, she took the chance to teach me.

She sang.

Her face flushed with excitement, voice beginning softly then growing in confidence. The two friends side by side supporting one another.

Two minutes gone in the blink of an eye and it was over.

The exhale was for me alone. She had not needed it.

My story was not hers.

She wrote her own that night.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection

We took a break.

The four of us in a little bubble for 10 days.

We traveled.

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Saw ones we loved.

Woke up late and enjoyed our new toys.

It was a glorious holiday season.

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And when New Year’s Day rolled around I found myself wanting nothing more than to curl up with my girls and enjoy the last remnants of the season.

Now we are all back to school and work and activities. Finding myself in a reflective mood; so very grateful for the year that was.

The adventures we had, the dreaming we did.

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And as we begin a new season of dreaming, I realize what I want for this new year is all rather simple.

One of these little ladies is only 5 years away from moving out on her own.

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Soaking up her light in my home is my new year’s desire.

Helping her find her calling will be another.

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Gifted with a laptop for Christmas I’ve found her typing away on the keyboard. Essay’s and musings by Audrey Hope; that makes a Momma’s heart swell.

And this one, bringing up the rear.

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I will hold her more. I will carry her whenever she asks. I will read her stories before bed and sing her lullabies. Because, experience has taught me, I will not know the exact moment that it is the last time I carry her in my arms or loll her to sleep with an off key rendition of Baby Mine.

So that is how I will choose to live out this new year.

I’ve spent too many years looking back. This is my year to live in the present.

 

 

 

 

To blink

She went from this

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to this

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in the blink of an eye.

And this one, just a second ago, was refusing bottles.

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Now she’s refusing the squash I make and talking me into getting her a facial.

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This one was once my baby.

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Now she’s my boss.

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The girls that I once carried,

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are now, carrying me.

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Seasons

They’re beginning the walk away.

No longer toddling towards me arms out stretched.

I find myself staring at their backs as they lug their own bags, carry their own loads.

The season of parenting those whose physical needs are great is now over.

Sid makes dinner for us each week more nights than I do.

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Audrey doesn’t need reminders to brush her hair, say her prayers or wear a coat.

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The days of bathing children are finished as Ellery spends as long as she can in tepid water, lathering her hair and singing songs to her babies splashing in the ocean of suds.

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I am supposed to tell you that I am ready for the season to have passed,

that I am embracing this next stage of my life and theirs.

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But in reality, I never thought at 38 that my years of giving birth and nurturing babies would be complete.

Maybe I should have.

There is always an end why shouldn’t mine have been today?

My heart knows the joy I have here in this moment.

The beautiful ladies who fill my days with laughter and tears,

the children that teach me how to be a better person.

And in that I will be grateful.

 

Gender

Once upon a time there was a little girl who didn’t view gender as a barrier.

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She knew she was strong.

She new she was smart.

She knew that she was “luckier then boys because she got to wear dresses OR pants”.

And she knew that she could grow up and be anything she wanted to be;

then she went to Washington DC.

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The little girl saw this picture in the office of  congresswoman and she asked her Momma,

“Momma what is this picture of?”

The Momma answered,

“It’s the members of congress that were a part of  the Congresswoman’s first term in office”.

The little girl looked perplexed,

Why aren’t their more women Momma?”

You see, that little girl knew she was as smart as the boys in her class.

She knew her history, her math and could read super fast.

She also knew that to work in DC and make laws you had to be a person who was willing to do right by those you represent (her momma taught her that), and she for sure knew she could do that.

This little girl knew she had all those things and never doubted that she could go to DC and run the country.

But now, in this moment, she was doubting.

For the first time she was confronted with the statistics and she wondered aloud to her Momma-

“Maybe it isn’t so good to be a girl?”

And for a moment her momma doubted too.

She told the little girl that she needed to ask the Congresswoman what she thought.

Armed with the image in her head of all of those men in suits, that little girl marched up to the Congresswoman and asked her a question-

Why aren’t there more women in Congress?”

And just as the words slipped out of the little girl’s mouth, the Congresswoman knew what she had to do.

She knew that little girl just needed to hear, that regardless of what she saw, she could be whatever she wanted.

So she made the little girl sit in her chair.

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She told her that just because there weren’t more women in that picture now it didn’t mean she couldn’t be in that picture too.

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She made the little girl promise that she would work hard.

She told her she would help her in any way she could.

She made her stand on a chair and point at the picture.

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She wanted the little girl to see herself in that same picture two decades from now.

The smile that spread across that little girl’s face was all-encompassing.

Her momma couldn’t help but feel the importance of that moment.

And just like that the little girl went back to thinking she could be anything she wanted to be.

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 “Momma, she was my favorite.”