Wednesday, September 23, 2015

those things you do.

You love pretty days. Whenever the sun is shining, you say, “Mama, look it’s a beautiful day.” Or you beg to forgo your nap, saying, “But mom, I can’t sleep because it’s such a pretty day out.”

You are thoughtful. When coloring a picture for your brother the other day, you made sure to use his favorite color, black, and when I thought you were done with it, you insisted on adding orange saying, “I don’t want to ‘dispapoint’ brother.”

You are a fan of cozy. The other day, you set up blankets and pillows on two chairs for us to read together and said, “Mama, I made it cozy for us.” You keep your eye on the details and always want to create a warm, comfortable place for yourself and others.

You are one organized chica. The other day, when we were going out of town, I walked upstairs into your room and found you folding shirts, shorts, pants and swimsuits to take for our trip. You made sure you had socks and unders and your bunny, Squishy, and books and blankets and headbands. You made my job easy … so easy in fact, I was tempted to ask you to pack for me.

You are a helper. You love setting the table and make sure that each person has the right bowls and spoons and drinks at their seat. The other day daddy was a little late and you asked, “Is daddy eating dinner, too?” and when I said yes, you said, “Daddy loves green” and pulled out a green plate and green cup. You came up to me, so proud of yourself, and said, “Look, they match!”

You are my exercising pal – or as you like to call it, ‘extercising.’ You’ll do jumping jacks and squats and stretches and say as you struggle through it, “look mom, it’s not too hard for ME.” And of course you love the cool downs when we get to sit “criss cross applesauce.” You keep asking me if I can buy you your own set of weights.

You are full of curiosity and this can be both magical and maddening. You ask, “Why is that boy sad?” or  “Can you I help you with that?” and it’s heart-melting. But you also ask, “What kind of grocery store is this?” “Why is this called a trunk?” “Why does the wind sound like that?” “Why did you say why?” “Where are we going?” “When will we be there?” Why, when, how, what, why, why whyyyyyy? It’s all day every day. Magical. And maddening.

Quite simply put, you are amazing, Kenzie. My little pal, my ray of light. So much silliness and sweetness and strength swirls around you and I am all blissfully tangled up in the beauty you create every single day. Thank you, Kenzie girl. You illuminate everything inside of me.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Caleb B,

I’ve had time to reflect on why the first day of kindergarten is so hard for me, as it is for so many other moms in my place.

It’s a little of this, a little of that, and pretty much everything in between.

It is the dropping you off. It’s the walking away. It’s the wondering … the all-day wondering about what you will do and who you will meet and how you will feel. It’s the hoping you’ll be accepted. It’s the hoping you’ll accept others. It’s the clenching my hands together and squeezing my eyes shut and praying you’ll make the right choices, learn from your mistakes, and know that you are loved no matter what.

It’s the letting go. And I’ve done it before – in many ways and to different degrees – and it’ll be okay, but it always hurts. The letting you go – it always hurts.

I don’t want to. I want to pull you in. Closer than ever before. I want to brush your hair back, kiss your forehead, wrap you up in my arms and tell you, the school district, the government … whoever made the rules that five year olds are ready for this nonsense … that NO THEY ARE NOT. They are babies. Babies that we watched breathe their first breaths, see their first sights, cry their first cries and need us more than they’ve ever needed anything. We taught them to crawl, to walk, to eat solid foods, to sleep on a schedule and use the potty and say please and thank you.

And now we are packing them lunches, shoving rulers and glue sticks into their backpacks and sending them off. To meet new people. To find their own way. What if they are scared? What if they feel left out or unsure? What if they want to go home and we’re not there to hear them?

I mean it’s crazy. Five year olds going to school. Who in the WORLD came up with this?

But lo and behold I’ve caved to the system and I’m sending you off. Spiderman backpack, Batman lunch box and all. I’m letting you go a little more than I’ve ever let you go before and my heart is crumbling and it’s bursting.

Crumbling because this is just plain too soon too fast and WRONG, as I’ve stated before.

And bursting because of the privilege of getting to go through this milestone day with you. To know that this moment represents the first day of you “becoming” what you’ll eventually be.  I cannot wait to see where your bright and curious mind will take you. I can’t wait to see who you gravitate towards and who you will draw in with your hilarious, quirky and compassionate nature. I can’t wait to see your interests evolve and to journey right alongside you and encourage you in your passions.

So maybe stopping time isn’t the best thing for any of us. Because watching you grow and change and become your amazing five year old self has and will forever be my life’s joy. And I want to see more. I can’t wait to see more – no matter how gut wrenching the act of letting go has and will be – my tears will be both crushing AND delirious because I CANT WAIT to see more.

And on the subject of you “becoming,” I can’t wait for that either. An athlete, a scientist, a fisherman, a builder, or a “sharky shark.” The possibilities are endless and I promise to devote myself to loving and supporting whatever you love.

But just know, even before you set foot in that classroom, you have already “become” to me. You already ARE a phenomenal human being – full of warmth, sensitivity, compassion, zest, humor, excitement and love – lots of sweet, Caleb-sized love that is beyond compare.

Happy first day of becoming, Caleb B. Be your best- you are already mine.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

keeping it real.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’m not sure this is a trait with all kids, but at least with mine, they let us KNOW when they are sick. And by let us know, I mean LET. US. KNOW. As in loud, guttural cries, “MY TUMMY HURTS!” followed by sobs, moans and pleas for help. It is painful to be home with them when they are that sick – to hear their distinct cries of agony and feel helpless to stop them – to wish the squeeze of my hand or warmth of my arms were enough to take the discomfort away. But it often doesn’t.

There are many things I admire about a child’s ability to be … well … childlike. I found myself this morning adding guttural screams to the list.

When something hurts, they tell us. They don’t hesitate, they don’t worry about being too loud or too pathetic, they don’t worry that their cries will fall on deaf ears, and they don’t even necessarily expect us to fix it. They just want to tell us they are hurt, in the real, honest raw moment that it hurts, and have us be there. While my hand squeezes and back rubs and snuggles may seem to me like inadequate remedies in their momentary suffering, it means everything to them. They hurt, but they are not alone.

I just started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I’m not too far into it, but from what I’ve read, she considers vulnerability to be a very courageous, necessary thing to lead a wholehearted life. It is brave to acknowledge your feelings, to really feel your feelings, and to let others in without pride or shame.

Being vulnerable has somehow, somewhere along the way, translated to us adults as weakness. And who wants to show weakness in a world that teaches us to outdo, out-perform and portray our lives through all kinds of rosy filters?  I get it. It's easier to use filters. Showing your weaknesses is freaking scary. But, I love and appreciate and admire how others can be truthful with me without caring about how it makes them look. And I can only imagine that people appreciate the times when I can muster the strength to be vulnerable with them, too.

It hurts to see my kids hurt. And in my adult lens I realize that it hurts those I love to see ME hurt. But I know that I am honored beyond belief that my kids want ME and trust ME when they are at their weakest. It’s a great privilege to be their “person” in those hard moments and I will cherish that role forever. They teach me that vulnerability is not only helpful and freeing to the vulnerable – it is an honoring, life-giving, supernatural, relationship-building gift to the person who gets to receive it.

Exposure is pretty dang humbling, complicated and scary - so there will always be an inclination to hold back – to not put it all out there. But, as I’ve learned from the tiniest, purest little souls, when you strip away all of your filters and bare your truest struggles in the most raw, authentic ways – the broken walls of isolation, the freedom, the going forth into the light, the absence of hiding – even the squeeze of a hand – makes it all worth it. You are naked, you are scared, you are real, and you probably look a lot more messy than you ever have - but still - you are so much better off than you were before. Because you are no longer alone.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

chelanigans 2015.

this is all i wanted. uninterrupted time with these four without school or work or schedules or obligations. the glorious sunshine, daily french fries and overall gorgeousness was a bonus. but them. just time with them was like stopping time to taste a piece of heaven. i will never forget it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Musings.

Image courtesy of Google

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15

Mother’s Day is a tricky one for me. Years ago my sister gave me some perspective on Romans 12:15. I was struck by how many times I’ve heard that verse, but never really processed it properly. I looked at rejoicing and weeping as two separate things. To be done on separate occasions. Apart from each other.

But after reading her perspective, I was truly conscious about how rejoicing and weeping can happen together. On the same day. In the same moment. You can be so happy for what you have – what and who you’ve been given – but be so sad for others. You can say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU and in the same breath cry WHY, WHY, WHY?

I feel this. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mommy. But the fearful, worrisome girl in me wondered, “Will I be a good at it?” “Will my children be healthy?” “Will I have difficult pregnancies?” “Will I experience loss?”

And God in his faithfulness gave me wonderful pregnancies, amazing labors and perfect, healthy babies. I am grateful. For as long as I dreamed of what my kids would be like, what they’d look like, what their names would be … I could never have imagined the glorious creations that are Caleb and Kenzie. They fill me up and now that I know them, my heart is consumed with an ever present, gracious love that brings "better" to even the worst of days.

Believe me, I am thankful.

But I also ask why? Why did I get this? Why me? Why some people and not others?
There are many people in my life who find Mother’s Day hard and painful. Some find it unbearable. Friends who have lost their mothers. Friends who struggle with painful or broken relationships with their mothers. Friends who long to be moms, but whose dreams are unfulfilled. Friends who have lost their precious babies.

I mean. This isn’t easy stuff.

In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we are bombarded with the signs, the announcements the advertisements that IT IS COMING. Flowers on sale and Hallmark cards galore. The sappy commercials and the alerts that pop up on the computer screen, “Find that perfect gift for Mom.” And I love it. I love being able to celebrate the moms in my life and be celebrated myself.

And I also find it so hard. I find it hard to enjoy and be so happy when I know this day must just feel like salt in the wounds of so many. A horribly unfair day that mocks and taunts and gloats and hurts. I wonder if the joy felt by so many on this day is worth the anguish felt by so many others. 

Rejoicing and weeping.

I feel both. And I am reassured of the character of God in asking us to rejoice and weep with others. His character exemplifies what LOVE  is. When done correctly, it is an action. It is hugging and praising and appreciating someone. It is accepting the goodness given to you with a grateful heart. It giving the brokenhearted grace and compassion and prayers. It is making people feel valued and cherished and not alone. It’s being genuinely happy and genuinely sad for people. It’s sharing our experiences, joys and sorrows. It’s connecting, relating, standing beside one another. It’s doing what we can do for each other to magnify joy and make the pain in this life a little more bearable.