Tag Archives: Love

It’s Not Impossible

12 Jul

The other night during our normal bedtime routine Ava climbed across me on the bed and with the most defeated voice said, “Mom, I wish I could love you as much as you love me, but that’s impossible.” I asked her why she thought it was impossible and she said, “Well, because you made me.” My heart melted into the biggest puddle in the world.

I replied, “Well sweetheart, you are the only person in the whole world who knows what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside.” Her eyes got really big and she said, “That’s true mom!” Then curiosity set in and she said, “When I was in your belly did I grow in your bones and stuff?” I told her no…that she stayed in a special place in my belly. Then she asked, “Mom, when I get a baby in my belly will people think I’m fat and make fun of me?” Oh my sweet girl…I worry about how much she worries. So I said, “No baby…people will come up to you and want to rub your belly and they will tell you how beautiful you are and that you’re glowing.” With eyes wide she asked, “I’m going to glow like a lantern when I’m pregnant?!?!? Really, mom, is this true?!?!”And I dissolve into a fit of giggles and she quickly followed suit.

I love these conversations. The ones where she has no idea the depth with which they touch me and yet can end on such a light-hearted note. I love the ease at which she switches from serious to funny…I love these moments I share with her. I know she might not remember them…that’s why I share them here. I hope that one day she can look back at her life documented and know how very much I love being her mama. That all of these little things are what makes up the big love I have for her.

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Running Changed My Life

6 Jun

Today is national running day so I thought it was a good time to write about running. You know…I get asked alot if I really, truly like running. I think so many people associate running with a form of punishment to whip our bodies into shape. A chore that some of us add to our exercise routine to burn fat, to look good, to be healthy.

At the prodding of my best friend, I signed up for my first 5k in 2008. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day at the time. I had been a smoker for half my life and had tried to quit more times than I could count and failed. Every. Single. Time. The problem was I really, truly liked smoking. I ran that 5k, still a smoker, and it sucked. I hated it. At the end of the race she looked at me expectantly, wanting me to love running. I looked at her like she was crazy and vowed to never sign up for another race ever again.

I honestly have no idea how she talked me into running a 10k next. “6.2 stupid, stupid miles” was all I kept repeating in my head. Why did I sign up for this? I had to actually train for this race. I couldn’t just wing it. So I trained. I kept smoking. But something changed when I finished that race…6.2 miles, to me at the time, was a REALLY long way…and I did it. There came a sense of accomplishment. A sense of pride. But inside I felt like a fraud…who can call themselves a runner and still be a smoker?

So I did something really crazy and decided to sign up for a half marathon. I quit smoking. I vowed that as long as I was going to spend the money and do a half marathon, I had to take it seriously. Something happened during training for that first half marathon. I went out diligently for my training runs. Mike joined me with Ava in a jogging stroller. He carried water and paced me. He kept me honest. He decided to sign up for that same half marathon. Our lives began to change…we talked about pacing, injuries, injury prevention and we ran many, many miles together. We did our long runs separately each week. Before I knew it, I started looking forward to the long runs.

My long runs were the only time I had that belonged to just me. No phone. No conversation. No bills. No Facebook. No email. No child. No husband. No friends. No chores. Just me and my thoughts. I wasn’t a wife. I wasn’t a mom. I was just a runner. And I knew as long as I kept running I would not smoke. I started to appreciate my body. The legs I once hated became the legs I adored. Not because they looked awesome but because they were strong and powerful and carried me along the way. My thoughts changed…I learned tenacity, commitment and sacrifice. I fell in love with running. The further I ran, the more I loved it. When everything in my body screamed for me to stop, I kept pushing on. I refused to give up. I counted light poles, trash cans, beach cruisers. I raced people on the bike path. I raced against myself. I raced for imaginary finish lines.

I get asked often, “What do you think about all that time while you run?” You have a of time to think when you spend that much time running…that’s for sure. Mostly I think about nothing and everything. I think about finish lines and seeing the people I love at the end of them. I think about the anticipation as I’m standing in the chute waiting for the race to start. But mostly when I run I just have this immense sense of gratitude for life and everything in it. Running is my meditation. It’s when I let go of everything and just run.

Running changed my life in a lot of ways. It brought me closer to my husband. I finally found something that made me want to quit smoking. I started living healthier. It changed the way I thought about my body. It made me realize that I was a hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I was, mentally and physically. It taught me about commitment, tenacity and sacrifice. And I really hope that me running, sets a positive example for my little girl. I don’t know what her passions will be, but I hope that seeing her mama run lets her know that she is absolutely capable of anything she sets her mind to as long as she’s willing to put in the work.

Running is my therapy. I live for the long runs, the lost toenails, the sore muscles, the feeling that comes only when I know I’ve left it all out there on the path and given it every single ounce I had. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.

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What I Want for Mother’s Day

10 May

Mother’s Day is coming. I know this because I get a dozen emails a day about sending mom flowers, buying mom the perfect gift or taking mom to dinner. I also get asked by the husband what I want for Mother’s Day at least once a day. My answer is simple, even if it might not be what most moms wish for on Mother’s Day.

I want to spend the day with my friends and family. I want to have a bbq. I want to cook for them. I want to open good wine. I want to turn on some classic rock. I want to sit outside in the sunshine. I want to laugh. I want to be with the people I love. I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel cherished.

Because it really does take a village. I have not done this alone. First and foremost, I have an AMAZING partner. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of daily tasks Mike takes on around the house…I am blessed beyond belief. From bath-time, to packed lunches, to parks, to homework and dinner. The man is truly a partner in all things, especially parenting. He is hands-on. He is involved. And 99% of the time I don’t have to ask for help. I am lucky to have him. And sometimes I can’t help but hear this lyric in the back of my mind, “I have been blessed. With so much more than I deserve…”

And then there’s my family saving the day with sleepovers and play dates. Seriously…I have had to leave Ava with a babysitter once in 5 1/2 years. Do you know how much peace I get in the fact that she’s with people who truly love her? I’m so grateful for that. I am grateful for the advice, perspective and experience that each set of parents bring to the table. I am grateful to have a family that is supportive without being overbearing. I’m grateful that I can pick up the phone and say, “What did you do when _____ happened?” and always have an answer. I’m lucky, but more importantly Ava is lucky to be so loved.

Then there’s my girlfriends. Always ready and willing to help regardless of when or why. I’ve dropped Ava at their houses at 7am on Saturdays so I can get my long training run in. They have picked her up from school when I got stuck in traffic. They offer to bring soup when I’m sick and bring dinner when Mike is out of town. They are always there to offer advice and to help when I need it. But mostly they are there to listen when I’m trying to juggle it all. And sometimes, when all else fails and I drop all the balls, they show up with a bottle of wine and a big, fat hug.

So yes, what I want for Mother’s day is time with the people who help me on the journey…because I haven’t done this alone. I want a good playlist, phenomenal food, great friends, my family, sunshine and a good bottle of red. I want to say thanks.

A Letter to My Daughter

4 Nov

There are so many things I would love to tell you about yourself. How could I ever possibly put into words all that I feel for you? Lately you are so inquisitive…always asking questions and always wanting to know more. What amazes me is that when you don’t understand something I’ve explained, you will ask me to explain each word you didn’t understand. Not the whole thing…just the words you didn’t understand and then you will try to comprehend it on your own. And sometimes when I’m not sure if you understood something fully you surprise me weeks later by repeating it with comprehension of what you’re saying. You, my little doodle-bug, amaze me.

Today you asked how we get goose bumps. I should have known that my response of, “We get them when we get cold,” wouldn’t work. You said you knew when we got them but you wanted to know how. You handed me my phone and said, “Here mom, look it up on your phone.” We were already running late but I could tell you weren’t going to let me get away with not doing it. Wikipedia says goose bumps form when tiny muscles at the base of the hair contact, the hair becomes erect and a goose bump forms. I asked if you understood and you said, “No…what does contract and erect me.” Once I explained those two words to you I saw a light bulb go off. I love those moments with you. You immediately wanted to call daddy and tell him how goose bumps form. I was so proud when you used contract and erect in your explanation to him.

This past weekend while we were in the dressing room at Old Navy, you were dancing and watching yourself in the mirror. You started singing, “I’m Justin Bieber’s girlfriend. I’m Justin Bieber’s girlfriend.” This made me laugh because you’re just barely five and where you get ideas about boyfriends I’ll never know. I have to think it’s from school. When I told you that I didn’t think Selena Gomez would be very happy that you were stealing her boyfriend you stopped, pondered this and then started singing, “I’m Taylor Swift’s girlfriend. I’m Taylor Swift’s girlfriend.” And then you stopped to inform me that it was okay if you wanted to be Taylor Swift’s girlfriend because it just mattered that you love someone. And I told you that was right. I’m amazed at how much sinks in when we talk.

I have always tried to be honest with you. To explain things the best I could in the best way for your little ears to understand. Right now there are all these anti-bullying campaigns going on. And I realized it’s never too early to start talking to you about treating people with kindness and understanding we are all different. So we got to talking about how people are different and that it’s okay for us not to all do things the same way or to like the same things. And you agreed that having friends who were different was good because it would be boring if everyone was the same. So I took this opportunity to talk to you about love. Because one day soon, you may have a school friend who has two moms or two dads and I wanted you to know that not everyone’s family looks like ours, but that just because it looks different doesn’t mean there is any less love in their home. You looked at me and matter-of-factly said, “I know mom. It’s like our family. You have two moms and two dads and you just love them all. Right, mom?” Yes, Ava. That’s right.

Last night in the kitchen we were listening to your favorite Selena Gomez song and I said, “Hey Ava, you know the girl singing this song? She’s Justin Bieber’s girlfriend!” And you ran up to the iPod, put your hands in prayer position and said, “Please Selena Gomez can I PLEASE just have your boyfriend for one day?” It’s moments like these that I wish I could bottle up and show you in 30 years because it’s moments like these that make my heart grow just a little bit bigger in my love for you. Moments where your complete innocence takes over and you really believe that Selena Gomez can hear you through the iPod AND will give up her boyfriend for you.

This morning while I’m brushing your hair you start singing,

“Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to my heart
Happy Birthday to you”

And I asked, “It’s your heart’s birthday, is it?” Without missing a beat you say, “Yeah mom. It’s November 3rd, so it’s my heart’s birthday. Tomorrow it’s my brain’s birthday and I’ll sing Happy Birthday to him tomorrow.” I said, “So your heart is a girl and your brain is a boy.” And you said, “Yep.” No elaboration…it made perfect sense to you. But I love that you sing your organs Happy Birthday…it’s almost like you’re thanking them or acknowledging them at the very least.

These moments are just a few from this week. Moments that make me smile, make me laugh but most of all, make me so proud to be your mama. Love you doodle-bug!

 Love,

 Mom

P.S. As of last night your favorite songs (in this order as stated by you) were: 1) Who Says by Selena Gomez 2) Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & the Waves and 3) Anything by Taylor Swift

Where I’m From

22 Sep

 

I am from the last day of the 70’s, from a land of Cabbage Patch Kids and slap bracelets.

I am from the brick house with a white front porch swing.

I am from the timber behind my grandparent’s house, the trails made by go-cart tires and laughter that can still be heard all these years later. I am from blackberries picked right off the bush and the taste of honeysuckle in the summertime.

I am from sweet iced tea and blue-eyed blondes, from a man who asked my grandfather to be his daddy when he was four and from grandmother who spoke her mind and stood up for what she believed in and from my southern mama.

I am from the woman who cooked in cast iron skillets and a man dedicated to serving his country.

From the place where the car would fly if us kids would sleep and pregnant bellies were the result of swallowed watermelon seeds.  

I am from the blue bus that took me to and from Sunday School. I am from a family of  Christians. Believer that kindness is a way of life, not just a random act.

I’m from the white sands of Daytona Beach, from the military tanks at Fort Knox, from the cobblestone roads of Charleston, from the gateway arch in St. Louis, from the city of the angels. I am from fried chicken dinners and grits with cheese.

From the grandfather who has hands that could turn a rusted out bucket of metal into a classic car that would take so many first place trophies at the car shows it would make him the man to beat, from  the father who could play just about any song on the guitar to make his little girl dance and from the mother who put the playpen in one arm and me in the other and spent every day on the warm sands of Pensacola Beach.

I am from pictures tucked up in my closet, photo albums with yellowing pages and a baby book filled with mementos from my childhood. I am from forgiving hearts, warm hugs and love.

Like The Old Days…

30 Jul

Today was one of those rare days. A day where nothing was planned and yet everything happened. The kind of day where the joy is found in the impromptu. The moment at the end of the day where you go, “I want to etch this one in my wall.” For no other reason than it was made up of the good stuff. A day filled with laughter and love and joy.

It started with a posted status on Facebook of a friend “missing the south bay.” I thought he was reflecting…yet he was here…and what turned into a “come visit” from me, thinking it was a date in the future, ended up with him and his gorgeous twin girls stopping for fun on a Friday night. Mike, Ava and I are homebodies on a Friday night so this was a wonderful, unexpected bright spot in our normally routine week.

Carpets were painted, stickers were stuck to hardwood floors, toys were everywhere, parades happened, bean bags were thrown in a pillow fight…as were zebras and lambs…it was beautiful chaos. It was the kind of chaos that only happens when three little girls are up past their bedtimes and we parents just let it go. We just sat back and took pictures of the fun and let them go completely wild…encouraged it actually. Because at the end of the day…it’s just carpet…it’s just floors…it’s just…stuff. But what they got…what I got…that was  joy I wish I could bottle and sell to everyone. The giggles…oh my…they were enough to keep California sunny all through June.

Three hours past Ava’s bedtime and uncontrollable laughter takes over. There are girls hitting the hardwood floors as they miss the bean bags they aim for…there are no tears…just belly laughs…the kind that make you think you are missing a great inside joke…but it’s just delirium setting in. And it was just plain wonderful. Annie and Sophie left amongst a bunch of hugs and promises to “hang out soon.”

Ava was too full of giggles to calm down, despite it being two  hours past her bedtime. Every time the room would get quiet she would bust into a fit of giggles. Giggles that I would catch and that left Mike shrugging his shoulders…because really….only girls understand those kinds of giggles. And though I usually never stay in her room to put her to sleep, she asked if I would. And I knew the only way to stop the giggles was to snuggle her up and let her fall asleep.

As we lay there together, I was brought back to the times when she was a teeny, tiny baby…when I used to rock and rock and rock her to sleep. I felt her head start to get heavy….every minute or so she’d open her eyes and make sure I was still there and just like when she was a teeny-tiny baby, she inhaled three quick breaths, exhaled and was alseep. And I couldn’t bring myself to move for awhile. I knew she was asleep…I knew she wouldn’t wake up when I got out of her bed…but it became clear…my  baby was growing up. As much as that teeny-tiny baby is still there, it became clear that she is a little girl now. One that adores pillow fights and giggles and staying up way past her bedtime. And I realized, as hard as it is to let go of my teeny-tiny baby, I’m so excited for the pillow fights and giggles and staying up way past her bedtime. I just hope that every now and then she’ll let me sneak in her room and snuggle her up like the old days.