Saturday, February 17, 2018

To my Friend Becoming a Mom

Hey friend,
You're embarking on the biggest adventure of your life. I'm so excited for you! And sympathetically feeling all the feels. Because kids are...well, they're all-consuming. And delightful and frustrating. You will (literally) give your blood, sweat, and tears for them. And you will be willing to give your life for them. Some days it will feel like you have given your life for them. They will be covered with your kisses and prayers. And you will be so tired. Weary in your bones, my friend. Mothering will uncover some ugliness in your heart, and you will question whether your children are unusually needy or you are exceptionally selfish. For the record, my dear, their neediness is probably average, and your selfishness is normal. But it is hard. And worth it. Simultaneously. You will sometimes hold them in your arms and feel so fiercely protective and so thoroughly exasperated that they won't that your heart will actually ache from the sheer intensity of it.
There's so much strife and so much joy in parenting little ones. It's a constant tangle of contradictions. They smell so good. It doesn't matter which baby wash or lotion you use, they still smell so sweet. Sometimes you will bury your nose in their neck or breathe in the top of their heads and feel that all is right in the world (for a second or two.) Your body will feel foreign and miraculous and utilitarian. Because your body can grow a child and deliver that child and then nourish that child. It is powerful and awesome. It is also sticky and painful. There is something so transcendent and humbling about the physicality of keeping a child alive. You will have many internal debates about how much and what types of bodily fluids necessitate a clothing change. Because there is already so.much.laundry. You will be mired in physical contact with your offspring for more than half of the day (and night when they're tiny). It's not so much the loss of freedom that will get to you; it's the loss of self. You will carve out a new space for this new you, but it will take time. You are not just a mother, but motherhood will change who you are in ways that other life changes just don't. People talk about priorities shifting and your heart expanding, and that's true, but it's more than that. Sometimes becoming a mom fulfills a lifelong dream and you neglect to realize that it's also an ending. You are now the one who has little ones looking to you for sustenance and answers, and all the parenting philosophies in the world will not prepare you for the reality of it. Don't read all the articles. Screen time and gender roles and advice about how to make your child smart can make you doubt your ability to do the best for your kid. So read them sparingly. And trust in your gut and God. Because at the end of the day, your kids will remember the love and care you show them, not all the imperfections and apologies you had to make. At least, that's what I'm banking on because I am very much in the middle of this young motherhood phase, and the results of my mothering have not come to fruition yet. Give yourself grace. And take deep breaths. Seek advice when you want it, and pray constantly. You've got this, friend. It's going to be beautiful, and I truly am so excited for you!

Lots of love and grace,

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


We started preschool last week. I am claiming the first person plural of the experience because prepping for preschool is no small feat. I was knee-deep in nap mats, special water bottles, and shoe stickers last Monday in anxious expectation of handing my baby over to strangers for fifteen hours a week.
Thankfully, the little lady seems to love her teachers and the whole school experience. It is exhausting, and her one-hour naps on the floor do not a well-rested toddler make, but overall, we are liking the whole preschool experience.
For my own happy recollections, I'd like to indulge my sentimental side and record a few pertinent facts about my beautiful two-year-old and her preschool journey:
  • She loves The Beatles, which is totally my fault, but we now have to listen to "I Love You" (She Loves Me) and "Yellow Sub-narine" (Yellow Submarine) on repeat when driving anywhere. Especially on the 20-minute ride to and from her school three days a week. Occasionally she will mix it up by cooning, "All the Lonely People," which makes me look like a stellar parent.
  • Each night when she picks out her outfit for the next day, she tells me that she needs to wear such-and-such because it's her favorite. The child has a lot of favorites. 
  • She has also learned how to scream while at school, presumably from the other children. Ok, she already knew how, but the frequency has increased greatly in the last week. On the car ride home after her first day, she randomly shouted out, "Sit down, Jackson." And when prompted, explained that was what she had learned at school. Apparently socialization at the preschool level involves a lot of loud exclamations.
  • She is very proud that she gets to go to her own school, just like Daddy goes to his every day.
  • Little lady is very into apologizing. She informs other children that they need to apologize when she feels wronged and often says "I'm sorry 'bout that." for unknown offenses. She also likes to sassily tell her parents that we don't have to "pologize at her." Thanks, sweetheart.
  • She has started calling me "sweetie" but only allows me to call her by her first name and middle initial. She's adamant that she be called by this combination or she will not respond.
Maybe now that I have some time to collect my thoughts sans a little person I will start writing on here more. In the meantime, here's my little lady in her "butterfly dress." Naturally, it's her favorite.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Inherited Traits

My kid inherited my overactive gag reflex. I have caught vomit in my hands 3 times in the past week. These facts are definitely related.
We tease my dad that my sister and I inherited his sense of humor (thanks, Dad!) and his sweat glands (no thanks). We overheat easily, always have pit stains, and are asked after mild physical exertion if we have a third degree sunburn. Yes, heat is not my friend. It makes me look like a lobster and exude lots of sweat. 
But, I digress. Back to the little miss who I fear will someday write a blog post, or whatever form of self-expression they use when she's grown, about how her mother cursed her with an oversensitive gag reflex. After twenty-some-odd years of dealing with this malady, I am good at not throwing up. Gagging is inevitable, but up-chucking is a choice. Not so much for my toddler.
I'm trying to handle the situation with levity, but without knowing exactly what is causing her to gag, it's getting pretty serious. She loves milk, and I am terrified to give it to her. We are running out of clean clothes and baking soda to clean up the stains. Someone please send Pedialyte, stat.
Just kidding. Kind of. Here's to hoping there's a lot less throw up in all of our futures.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Things my Kid Says

Preface: I prayed while pregnant for a smart little girl, and I have been blessed with one whose verbal aptitude delights and challenges me every day. She speaks in fairly grammatically correct sentences, "reads" parts of her favorite books, and can repeat any new word she hears. She can also use words to be obstinate, (innocently) manipulative, and easily frustrated. In other words, no matter how smart she is, she's a toddler.

The other morning when I went to get her from her crib, she told me "Momma always comes back" which I have said before to comfort her and is a surefire way to make me feel guilty for not running to her at her first cry. Well played, small child.

Almost every morning, she asks for "mulk," which used to be pronounced "bilk," so we're moving in the right direction. Sometimes she gets "chockit mulk," but she asks for it at least three times for every one time she actually receives that treat. She often tells me she "needs" things, and I have on occasion tried to explain to her that not all of her wants are actually needed. Yes, I am the mom trying to debate abstract concepts with a less-than-two-year-old. 

She has also started reporting frequently after nap time that she has dreams. It goes something like this:
Little Lady: I had a nice dream.
Me: What was it about?
LL: Jesus
Me: What about Jesus?
LL: He's a baby.
Me: What did he do?
LL: He's ok.

So...I'm probably in line for Christian parent of the year because my kid still thinks Jesus is a baby in spite of the fact we just celebrated Easter. But she knows about Him, so I'm feeling pretty ok. :)

In other Easter news, the little lady LOVES the Easter Bunny and asks to see him frequently. She recounts how she gave him "a hug" and "I gived him a high five!" 

She can say her whole name and age "twenty-one months," but frequently gives the answer to the other question when asked. For example, "what's your whole name?" is answered "twenty-one months."

There you have it. A random collection of funny things my kid says.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Rest of the Story

If my Facebook and Instagram posts were truly the summation of my life, they would be a lot messier, and I wouldn't get nearly as many "likes." For example, tonight as I put my overtired, cuddly toddler to bed, she reached for and held my hand as we said prayers. The adorable, quippy and true Facebook status version of that story is: "Having a daughter who can say prayers aloud with you while holding your hand is a new level of awesome."
And that's true. It is. But that's also a sanitized shortened version of why that moment was so meaningful to my mom-heart. Because the moments before that sweetness involved me putting her to bed by myself after a long day of attempting to parent her by myself. (My husband is awesome and working hard for us, but that doesn't make the days shorter. :) I ended up physically holding her down on the changing table and forcing her foot into the footie pajamas after trying unsuccessfully to negotiate with her (rookie mistake) and give her my "I'm serious, child" mom eyes. And after all that impatience and frustration and struggle, she reached for my hand and repeated after me as I asked God for more patience for her tired momma and thanked Him for our day, our family, and Jesus.
Even that expanded version of the truth doesn't encompass all my mistakes, triumphs, and epic need for grace today. We watched too much TV, I got frustrated when she refused to wear her jeans, and I told her with my actions that sometimes my work is more important than her, and it goes on. So, today I am immeasurably grateful for a God who hears our prayers and metes out bushels of grace before we ever know to ask. And I am beyond blessed to have a forgiving baby girl who seems willing to love me through all my trials as a first-time parent. Oh, and as a side note, hearing her little voice say "Jesus" gives me all the feels. I am not good enough to be her mom, but He has me covered in grace. And since all of that just won't fit in a status update, I decided to write it out here. Here's to all (parent or not) of us striving to be our best and awash in His mercy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I love my Husband. I felt tempted today to post one of those sappy I love my Husband. He's the best and the way he loves our daughter... novels on Facebook. And then I realized that I had more to say than standard Facebook posts allow. Because today isn't our anniversary and he hasn't done anything extraordinary like cleaning the entire house while taking care of our toddler while I was at the spa.
Today is just an ordinary day, and his actions lately haven't been heroic. But when our toddler heard a car engine rev, she ran to the back door with a huge grin, shouting "Dada!" Like she does every day when we hear his car pull into the driveway after a long day of work. She loves her Daddy simply because he is her daddy. 
And today I find myself loving my Husband for being himself. For sharing his dreams with me and letting me take them on as my own. For leading without ever making me feel less-than and for genuinely consulting my opinion and taking my two cents in all matters of importance to our family.
And yes, while I have been dealing with an upper respiratory infection, he has stepped up and done more than his usual "share" of toddler and household care. But he does most of that stuff on any given day. And I hope I don't need a grand gesture like a dozen roses or a spotless kitchen to remind me that we are good together, and he is so good to me.
So today I am indulging in the sap and sentimentality afforded to those who are on NyQuil and antibiotics. :) And taking a moment while our beautiful little girl entertains herself to write out how much I truly love my Husband. On days like today, I can say without sarcasm that I also like and appreciate him, which makes for a pretty good day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Eleven months

May 14, 2015

Dear child of mine,

You have two bottom teeth! And more and more hair, and you're taking a couple of steps at a time! This month has been another one for the record books in terms of your milestones. You are babbling exuberantly and learning animal noises in addition to your favorite words "Momma," "Dada/Daddy," "hey/hi," "bye-bye," and "uh uh oh." You wave your arms now when we ask you to tell someone hi or bye, and you say "hi ya ya" when we FaceTime with LaLa, which she loves. You also threw your first little fit in her presence when I took something away from you. You are generally sweet tempered, always on the move unless you're asleep, and so enthusiastic about everything you attempt. I am so excited to see how God continues to develop those traits in you and how your unique personality fits into our family and into His service.
You took your first solo steps at Grandma and Granddad's house on Mother's Day, and you have been adding a few more steps to your repertoire each day. You still prefer to crawl because you are speedy and can get to the houseplants, trashcans, and electronic devices much more rapidly that way. Basically, you understand what you're not supposed to get into, and you make a beeline for those few things whenever given the chance. You shake your head "no" and then proceed to do whatever you're not supposed to do, so we're working on that. Your general adorableness doesn't help with my resolve to discipline consistently, so tone it down a bit, ok?
Oh, my baby, you love food just like the rest of us, and I'm working so hard to keep you eating healthy foods most of the time. You enjoyed a few bites of bread pudding this month as your first sweet treat, and you requested several follow-up spoonfuls. You have also enjoyed roasted butternut squash, chicken pot pie, tortillas, black beans, blackberries, and lots of cheese and yogurt. I cut back on your nursing sessions, so you're down to 5-6 per day in addition to three hearty solid food meals, and your adorable thighs attest to the fact that you're well fed.
Your laugh is still the best my sweet girl, but more often than not it makes you choke and gag when I really get you laughing, so I have to be careful. You love music and have discovered which of your toys make noise and activate them often. You also have discovered that several toys are hidden in the living room ottomans, and you take them all out multiple times a day. I'm limiting myself to picking them up twice a day while you nap so that we can start the process again when you get up. :) You FaceTime like a champ and smile so sweetly when you see people you love on the phone screen.
Most days are spent wandering around the house calling for Daddy (you adore him), helping Momma with the laundry (which never ends), running an errand or two, napping, playing, and eating. We keep our schedule pretty simple right now, and I love having my days with you at home. I try not to be too distracted by my phone or housework, but I'm a work in progress. Seeing your joy when I drop everything to play on the floor with you is a good reminder, and Daddy has graciously told me that my priority is to take care of you and anything else that gets done is a bonus. He's so good to us, and we miss him when he's busy at work, especially when he misses bath time. I could write an epic novel about all your adorable quirks and brilliant achievements, but I will close with how much I love you and how proud I am to be your Momma, You are my sunshine, little stinker, and we are so grateful that God entrusted you to us,

All the love,