When 10 Became 11

Dear Sidney,

Eleven years ago today, in a still, quiet operating room, I heard the cry of a babies’ first breathe. In that moment, the sound of your voice became the song of my heart.

The years since that day have flown bye.

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I am so incredibly proud of the person you are becoming!

You are everything good and perfect in this world.

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You are strong.

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You are passionate.

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You are loving.

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You are dedicated.

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You work hard.

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And you have a deep, abiding faith.

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God has written the most glorious chapters for you these last ten years and he will offer another equally marvelous one in this your eleventh year.

I will be here to help you navigate the course ahead. I won’t always have the right answers (or the answers you want to hear), but I will try to live up to the title of  Sid’s Momma.

Thanks for bearing with me this last year as we have adjusted to some new-found freedom you so richly deserve. Promise me we can keep up our late night chats? I have found so much joy in those moments of cuddling and conversation.

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Before your Momma starts the uncontrollable sobbing that you know is bound to happen on your birthday, let me end this letter with one more thought-

Always, always remember that you are loved beyond belief by your family and your God. We think you are one amazing person.

Love,

your one and only Momma

PS- I put a lot of thought into picking this year’s song for you. It had to be this one….

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

She found it in the hallway desk upstairs and wandered into my bathroom inquiring what it was.

The juice was gone. I told her the old iPod Touch in its  bright pink case needed energy.

She bugged me until I plugged it in.

Hours later she asked if it was charged .

Friends over, kids running around, lunches for monday to be made; I had a million excuses not to bother with it right then. Yet there I sat with her on the couch, one ear bud in her’s and one in mine and we watched the screen light up.

Heather and Ellie’s playlist

She giggled over the sight of her own name and in that split second I prayed I could hold it together.

The playlist made by a husband for his wife on the day she was to give birth to their third baby girl.

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That baby girl, now almost five, wanting to understand it; to listen to the songs with her momma and talk about what each one meant and how they were “written just for her”.

So we sat.

Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic

 

Brendan James’ Brand New Day

 

Pink’s Glitter in the Air

 

On and on it played winding one to the next,

thirty pieces of history in all.

And as we listened to the last notes, the final strains of the love story sung

there were no tears,

no heartache,

just peace over all that was and now is.

 

 

 

 

 

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This little girl had dreams a plenty.

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She was going to be a diplomat;

a writer;

maybe the next Oprah Winfrey.

But mostly she just wanted to be someone’s Mom.

At 4 she would wander around her house with the couch pillow stuffed up her shirt pretending she was pregnant. She carried her baby doll with her everywhere and  dreamed of a day when she would have a herd of kids running through her backyard.

34 years later she finds she never did get to become that diplomat or that talk show host.

But being that mom, well that dream came true.

Three beautiful babies that fill her world with such joy.

And as she turns the page and starts her 38th chapter she feels particularly blessed because those three little girls have given her the courage to be who she is today.

They are the long hoped for goal that yielded so much more than she could have ever imagined.

She knows that but for them she would not be that writer,

that athlete,

that executive.

So as she watches them make her breakfast and offer their homemade tokens of celebration for her birth, she acknowledges that their births are her greatest present.

Those nearly 11 years as their Momma are truly the reason she can celebrate today.

The happiest of birthday’s occur when you accept the privilege of having lived the last year and acknowledge the opportunity of the new year to come.

Today I am grateful for the life I get to live and excited to watch how the rest of it unfolds.

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Losing it

Today, I looked at this precious face, and I lost it.

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“We have to go”,

“You need to get dressed”,

“You are going to make me late for a meeting”;

words spit out.

She wouldn’t stand for the rushing.

Me hurrying her out the door when she had just awoken from slumber.

So I let go and I lost my patience.

“You must hurry. I am going to leave here without you!”

Really? Did I just say that?

What greater fear of a 4-year-old then to be left behind; all alone.

Once safely ensconced in our car, hurling down the highway, I felt the sadness.

I had started the day with such good intent. My heart full after my run and devotionals.

But yet when my 4-year-old asked for the same, a peaceful start to the day on her terms, I left her empty handed and feeling a bit abandoned.

I apologized right then.

And her in all her preschool wisdom,

“It’s ok Momma. I messed up too. We’ll both try harder”.

Grace.

 

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.”

 

Gone

We’ve been gone making memories-

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learning to paddleboard,

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watching the sunrise and exploring the beach,

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cuddling babies and holding hands with friends who are family,

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fighting like cats and dogs but ending the day with cuddles and smiles,

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We’ve grown up this trip.

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And we feel incredibly grateful for the 13 days away.

 

 

 

 

 

Memory of a wedding

An afternoon spent playing with cousins burning off energy.

A request for a detour before the hour and fifteen minute ride home.

“Can we see where you and daddy got married?”

With a blanket of snow covering the ground I am in no rush to head back to Columbus, so we park the car and head into Weaver Chapel.

The name does not do the chapel justice as the massive cathedral looms large over the University where their dad and I met, fell in love and started our lives on a November day in 1999.

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“You walked this whole thing Momma and Daddy stood at the end?”.

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I told them of the day and memories now 15 years old.

We giggled thinking about Daddy with a full head of hair and Momma in a big poofy dress.

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We held hands and talked about what it was like to walk down that long, long aisle with all of those eyes upon you.

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And as we left Audrey paused, “Momma thank you for taking us here. It was so cool to see where you and daddy got married.”

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It hits me like a crushing wave the importance of this moment.

The marriage did not endure, but it does not mean the precious moments of that union should not be celebrated and recounted for these girls.

It would be all too easy for he and I to brush those pieces of our lives aside and march forward with quiet determination to do things better the next time.

But these girls were born out of love.

And to walk away from these memories is to deny them the foundation of their lives.

So together we will relive these moments.

We will smile.

We will laugh.

We will celebrate a union that resulted in the three most precious gifts one could ever hope for.

Metamorphosis

“Momma what does metamorphosis mean?” she asks me.

Head buried in her book.

My eyes trained on the road in front of me.

“It means to change or grow in a dramatic fashion, like the butterfly from its cocoon” I tell her.

I try to explain more but she interrupts.

“Okay Momma I got it. Don’t need anymore”.

Just like that the moment is lost but I can’t stop thinking about her question.

I want to tell her that she on the cusp of adolescence is the definition of the word.

I watch her everyday moving away from those things that defined her as a little girl and marching straight forward into a new world.

No more dolls or dress up clothes. Cartoons are a thing of the past.

She spends her days reading her vet books and talking about the horses she loves.

Long gone are coloring books and cardboard boxes made into playhouses.

She facetimes with her friends and does homework on a computer.

Once upon a time she would crawl into my bed each night, nestle in close and tell me she was afraid of the noises outside her window.

Now she sleeps in until 9 and remarks about those noises inside of the house that keep her from more hours of slumber.

Desperately I want to press the pause button.

Hold on to these days where she still longs for my voice to be the last she hears before she falls asleep, where I can ease her worries by simply telling her “momma will handle it”.

These years of parenting, I am finding are some of the hardest. Not physically hard like the years of changing diapers and little sleep, when your body belonged to your child. No these years are mentally trying as your head encourages you to give them wings but your heart wants nothing more than to keep them in your arms.

I cried yesterday when she brought home a form for me to sign.

Right there in front of her I cried over a piece of paper. It requested her full name for inclusion on the 5th grade tile that would be placed in the entryway of her elementary school to remember the graduating class.

She laughed hysterically at my tears and then excused herself to use the bathroom.

She emerged a few moments later, the remnants of tears on her cheeks as well.

Maybe she’s not in such a hurry.

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Perfection

At Sunday brunch  Sidney was reflecting on her problems with another adult whom she felt wasn’t “keeping promises”. As I was attempting to guide her through it I explained that adults make mistakes too and not everyone is perfect. She countered with “But Momma you are perfect. You never make mistakes and you always say what’s right”.

Bam…

And there it was laying on my heart like a ton of bricks.

This notion that my child believes me to be perfect.

Ironic as I had just had an email exchange with an old friend where that same word was central to the conversation.

How wonderful that my child can see through it all to find the perfection inside of her momma. But what if it’s only because I am not showing her all of me?

Does she not know what the face of failure looks like?

Has she not seen me grovel; say sorry to those I have wronged; asked forgiveness for sins committed?

In my strive for authenticity I realize I cannot do it within a bubble, every few days of the week or when only certain people are in my presence. It has to be an all in approach. Even with my children.

So for Sidney I offer the following.

Sid-

I love that you think I am perfect.

But I too, like the grown up who wronged you, make mistakes every day (almost hourly).

This weekend alone –

I’ve spent too much time on my iphone

I ran into the garage wall (again). I don’t want you to notice because I know you will tell Uncle David who spent hours repairing the last hole I made.

I lied to Audrey on Saturday night when I told her I would sleep in the middle. I slept on the left side of the bed as I always do. Not sure why I couldn’t just be honest with her in the first place.

And finally, I had a cup of coffee….

I’m trying really hard baby.

But perfect I am not.

How about I share more of my failings?

And, for the record, you should know that you my dear are perfect……

All my love,

Momma

 

 

 

 

Authenticity

 

Your face is glorious. Inspiring #quotes and #affirmations by Calm Down Now, an empowering mobile app for overcoming anxiety. For iOS: http://cal.ms/1mtzooS For Android: http://cal.ms/NaXUeo

Eyes up, arms straight, back plank, muscles aching-minute number 45 in an hour-long hot yoga class.

Authentic.

The word drifts in, smack dab between thoughts of “I can’t do this anymore” and “Everyone can see I am failing horribly”.

Even after four classes I am still the most inflexible one in the room.

My leg strength built up from hundreds of road miles does nothing for me here.

In this place I am struggling, but not hiding. My yoga mat and I are front and center.

I wasn’t always this open, so willing to display my faults.

Many times I hid the warts; masked the burdens.

Numerous situations where I altered who I was to fit the needs of others.

I am not the only woman guilty of being a “pleaser”.

Now to live my life authentically, that is the goal.

To model for those three little ladies that life must be lived from the inside out.

*This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day.

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3

*Worth noting that this little nugget comes from Polonius’s to his son Laertes, who is in a hurry to get on the next boat to Paris, where he’ll be safe from his father’s long-winded speeches. My girls must feel like Laertes some days!