7pm

motherhood, Uncategorized

You rub your tired eyes and tug at your ears. Your mouth stretches to a yawn but before your lips close, you let out a big sigh… trying to hide the sleepiness because you’re too worried you’ll miss something if I lay you down.

You’re going to be a handful, we say. You’re a riot, we say. So silly, so smart. But you are so genuinely sweet. So analytical and thoughtful. I can tell you’re really going to captivate us. You already do.

I cradle you. Once upon a time, I could hold the length of you with one arm. But not anymore. Now, your legs overflow off of my lap. You cross your ankles and close your eyes. No more fighting the tiredness. You’ve found solace with me. I am your favorite place to be; your mama.

I’ve been rocking you a little longer these days. I’ve been making up more verses to “you are my sunshine” for us. I’ve been sure to hold your hand while you sleep. I’ve been running my fingers through your hair a few more times than I did before. Extra kisses on your nose before I lay you down. Endless whispers of goodnight.

Moments are fleeting, I’ve heard. The days are long, but the years are short, I’m told. For every first, there is a last, and I savor each one as I know this to be true.

29

motherhood, Uncategorized

I wake up to “ba-ba” sounds coming from across the hall. 6:50am. Grace slept in… yes! It’s still dark outside and it’s chilly in our house. I roll over. Corey whispers, “Happy birthday” and gives me a kiss. I smile and make my way out of bed. I open Grace’s door and even though the sun hasn’t risen and her room is still dark, I can see her sleepy eyes and two-toothed smile. She’s bouncing up and down in her crib without lifting her feet, anxiously waiting for me to come scoop her up. I do, and she starts whispering ma-ma’s as we make our way back into our bedroom. I lay her down in our bed and climb in myself. The three of us are cozy for a moment, until Grace crawls over us both like we’re a playground. My favorite 15 minutes of the day.

Corey and I throw on jeans, get the baby dressed, and the three of us are out the door. He drives us into the city to pick up coffee. The man behind us in line at the cafe is holding one of those small foil balloons that belong in a vase of flowers and Grace cannot stop staring at it. I fall in love with how new everything is to her. I make a mental note to pick one up for her next time we’re at the grocery store.

We stop to pick out donuts on the way home. I order one with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Corey tells the cashier I’ll also have the pumpkin streusel flavor. It is my birthday, after all. I make big eyes and act like that’s just crazy, but I eat both, happily. Corey has Grace sitting on his knee and I let her try some icing, but she is more concerned about her next banana puff. We finish and leave, a sugar haze around us.

Corey holds my hand the entire drive back in the car. Grace goes down for a nap when we get home and I collapse on the couch, closing my eyes in thankfulness. I open them and ask Corey to come sit next to me. We talk, look at home furnishing ideas for the investment property, and just exist next to each other. Never mind the dishes, the toys on the floor that we so often trip over, or the half-completed first birthday invitations and envelopes I have strewn across the ottoman. The mess can stay today.

Maybe this isn’t a birthday morning that some would call extraordinary. To me, it is magic. I want to soak in and remember every detail. When I turned 27, I was heartbroken. When I turned 28, I dreamt of this day.

How grateful am I that no matter how much I change year to year, God NEVER does. He is with me today just as much as he was in years past, and not any less than he will be in the future. 27 was a time to lose, a time to embrace. 28 was a time to heal, a time to plant. I don’t know what 29 will bring, but he does. Maybe it will be a great year by definition; maybe it will be the most heartbreaking yet. Regardless, I trust him and am thankful for this season of peace.

For everything there is a season, and a tie for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I remember you

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I remember you
In worn out blue jeans and your old t-shirts – the kind with the pocket on the chest – working away on your latest project.
I remember you
Telling jokes so simple and obvious that they would make me laugh, and then you’d laugh, and soon enough we’d be in our own little fit, with others around the table smiling and wondering why it was so funny just to us.
I remember you
Taking calls in the office – alternating between Pennsylvania Dutch and English, calling everyone “Boova!”
I remember you
With your country Western music in the old truck, your special chair you sat in in the living room.
I remember you
Building us a life-size teepee in the backyard, a place of our own at your house so we could play,
Using your excavator to pile up all the snow you could manage into a hill that we could sled down in the driveway.
I remember you
Driving the mower around the backyard, us kids with our bare feet hanging off the edge of the wagon attached in the back.
Cutting watermelon in the summertime out by the barn, with juice running down all of our faces.
I remember you as Santa Claus
and how I argued with the kids in school that Santa was real – because I had seen him in the flesh, sneaking into my house to drop off presents.
I remember you in ‘The Shop’
A place where cheese and pretzels and ring bologna and beers and laughs never ran out.
All of the parties, the cookouts, the yard sales, the family reunions. I was so young, but I remember. You star in the fondest memories of so many. Especially mine.

When we’re young, we never know we will live a day without our grandparents. When we’re older, we know better, but we fight the thought with all we have because we can’t imagine the emptiness without them.

I will remember you with that smile. You’d look at me and shake your head and smile like you just couldn’t believe your eyes. You always made me feel so special.

I will remember you always this way, my grandpa: with your unruly white hair and your bright eyes and your big smile and your hugs. I will remember you always by the way you’d make me belly laugh and how I always felt safe in your presence. I will remember you with your strength and your zest and your talents and your endearing Dutch accent. I will always remember you with so much love.

27

motherhood, Uncategorized

Today is a birthday different from any other I’ve had before. 1 month ago today we found out I was pregnant. 1 week ago today I had a miscarriage.

Each year, I have planned dinners, cocktails, small get togethers… To celebrate the past 12 months and welcome in the next. I would use the day as a reason to get all of our friends together…I would buy a new dress. Eat a fancy dessert. Use the day as an excuse to be totally selfish.

I’ve been told that once you become a mother, it’s never all about you again. Your child will come first forever, and you’ll make sacrifices, and it won’t be comfortable at first, but you won’t trade it for anything tangible or not in the world. I won’t have a baby in my arms come May, but I can tell you I will be forever changed because of the 3 short weeks I grasped that I would become a mother.

When we found out, Corey wanted to share the news with everyone we knew. I didn’t think I could love him any deeper than I already did, but seeing the pride he had for our growing family made my heart explode. I knew it was hard for him to hold back the news. “If something happens though…” I would say. The thing is, “something” did happen, and I find myself wishing I would have told everyone with whom I crossed paths. What a gift we had been given. I celebrate the blessing of being able to become pregnant, and I mourn the loss at the same time.

This day isn’t the day I pictured, and I can’t help feeling like I’m missing someone as my 27th year begins, but I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness and I pray that He works through me to connect with other women who have experienced this, and to talk about it…because sometimes the most comforting thing someone can say to you in a hard time is “me too.”

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

an ode to my 2nd grade bully

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Thank you to the girl in 2nd grade. The one who wore plaid skirts with knee-high socks and brand name clogs, sweaters with gems. The one who taught me early on how mean girls work. Thanks for that time you asked me what my favorite store was and I responded with “Kmart” because that was all my (single) mother could afford at the time. You cackled and told everyone… I learned that I should ask for a shirt from Limited Too that year for Christmas.
Thank you for continuing to pick on me for the next year, waiting to hear any less-than-cool statement come from my mouth so you could flourish in my embarrassment, for never letting me forget that you were richer, more popular, and prettier than me. You taught me very quickly how important it was to hide the less than ideal aspects of my life.
Our city is a small one. I regularly attend professional networking events with my co-workers and husband, and I happened to see you there… the first time in more than 15 years. Both seemingly happy. Both seemingly successful. I wonder if we’re equals now.
I’m not holding grudges for 15 years to a second-grade child, but the petty part of me would sure love to tell you how you shaped my opinion of myself as a child. I hope one day, if you have a daughter, she’ll never be tempted to find her own worth in minimizing others.