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Friday, October 27, 2017

Why Wear Pink in October

When she put her socks on today, she looked at me and said, "Why are we wearing these?" And we talked about  Breast Cancer and the many women we love who have fought a battle against it. 

When she took her socks off after the game, she looked at me and said, "I lift up other girls at every game. I make sure they never fall. If I think they are going to, I catch them. I get all sorts of bumps and bruises." And she's right; she does.

She handed me her pink socks, "These are a good reminder to be the type of person who lifts people up on and off the field -- when they are sick, when they are sad, when they are feeling weak, when they are struggling. And if we see someone who loses their strength and is about to fall, these are a good reminder to be the type of person who reaches out with whatever strength we have left and catches them...even if that means we end up with a few bumps and bruises."

A Thank You to Teachers As Another School Year Starts

Dear Teacher,

Maybe today is your first day back or maybe you've been back at school for a week or two.

Maybe this is your first year teaching or maybe this is your last year before retirement.

Maybe you skipped into school ready to conquer another day or maybe your feet moved a little slower as you inched your way to the school doors.

Maybe your room is completely set-up and your lesson are meticulously planned or maybe you are taking it "one day at a time."

Maybe you feel confident and comfortable or maybe you feel slightly unsteady and a little unsure.

Maybe you came home today energized and eager or maybe you are absolutely exhausted.

While there are so many "maybes," there is one certain truth: Dear teacher, you are important.

You inspire and motivate, and you uplift and reassure.

You have the power to remind each person of the goodness that exists in them.

You empower and you encourage.

You are a kind word and an empathetic ear.

You instill courage and confidence.

You are a constant in an ever-changing and often unpredictable world.

You are a builder of the future.

So, maybe your back aches and your feet hurt and your brain is completely overwhelmed.

But your heart is full.

And with every kind smile and each encouraging word, you fill the hearts of so many around you.

Thank you.

#teachers #backtoschool

Why I Will Always Make Time to Hold My Kid's Hand

"Momma, hold my hand," you say to me at bedtime. Your blue eyes widen as your lips soften into a pout. "Just for a little while, momma."

Without hesitation, I climb into your bed, snuggle beside you, and watch as you wrap your hand tightly around one of my fingers. You make soft circles on my hand and trace over lines on my palm, and your eyelids become heavy with each stroke of your fingertips. Before you drift off to sleep, you squeeze my hand and repeat, "Hold my hand, momma. Just for a little while."

And I do, because in a little while, you will no longer fit on my lap and you will no longer want to be rocked to sleep. You won't ask me to read just one more bedtime story, and I will no longer be strong enough to carry you here and there. In a little while, you won't need me to help you tie your shoes or push you on the park swings. You will not want to braid and brush my hair and you won't care to sing silly songs with me. In a little while, you will no longer reach for my hand to hold when crossing the street or walking through the aisles of a busy store or at the end of a long day.

"Hold my hand, momma. Just for a little while," you ask of me. And I do. And I always will, because the "little whiles" in life are fast fleeting -- faster than we think.

#motherhood #momlife

What Matters More Than Swept Floors

I ran into a friend at the park yesterday. We exchanged pleasantries and lamented the end of summer. She ran down her list of summer accomplishments, and afterwards, she turned to me and asked, "What did you accomplish this summer?" And the truth is, nothing. My house is no more organized than it was at the start of summer, and I've still not completed one darn project I have pinned, and yet I feel like we accomplished so much.

We made crafts at our local library, and we made friends at the Splash Pad down the road. And I left my dishes to soak for another day.

We took a trip down Route 66 and dusted off old albums for late night dance parties, while I let the dust settle on my shelves.

We dipped our toes into the cool, blue water of the swimming pool and ran barefoot through grass collecting lightening bugs at night. And I forgot to sweep and mop the floor.

We conquered the slide at the park and worked hard to master a cartwheel, while the laundry waited patiently in the dryer to be tossed and tumbled.

We painted rocks to hide and wrote stories to share, we ate funnel cakes at fairs and downed lemonades at festivals, we baked cakes together and we made mud pies. And I didn't rush to start another load of laundry.

We had balloon fights and we giggled and we snuggled at night. We made s'mores and blanket forts and we had epic pillow fights, while the beds sometimes went unmade.

So, when asked what I accomplished this summer, my answer may seem simple, but it is true: I spent time with my kids, and that was the best thing I could ever do.

And I hope, that when my kids grow up, they won't recall an unswept floor or dishes waiting in the sink. I hope they will remember a mom who loved them so much that she didn't want to waste a moment of her summer on anything other than making memories with them.

#motherhood #summer #momlife

Thursday, August 3, 2017

On Bed Sharing

The little one crept into my bed in the middle of the night and slowly inched me to the very edge. She flipped and flopped and tossed and turned. She threw an elbow a time or two. She kicked her legs. She twirled my hair in her fingers. "I love you, mommy," she said, and she sighed a big sigh, looked at me and smiled, and drifted off into sweet sleep.

The big one snuck into my bed as daylight broke.  She tiptoed in and quietly closed the door. She struggled for a small square of covers to call her own. She kissed her sister's forehead and gently held her hand. She closed her eyes, spread her limbs out as far as possible and fell asleep just like that.

And there I was with one leg off the bed and one leg on, one arm numb and the other sore, entirely exhausted and somehow completely satisfied. I laid in the stillness of that room, until they began to stir, wondering how someone who can take up so much of your bed can also take up so much of your heart.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

11 Signs Summer Is Drawing to a Close

If you live in my neck of the woods, then you are fully aware summer is quickly coming to a close. There is only about four weeks left till school is back in session. How do I know? Well, it isn't because I glanced at my overpriced Erin Condren Life Planner or because the back to school items are spilling out of their homes on the shelves of Target and Walmart. I know summer is almost over when:

1. I don't know what day of the week it is, and there is absolutely no way I can tell you the date. Maybe I need an Erin Condren planner after all?!
2. I can't recall the last time I gave my kids a bath...unless, of course, swimming in the pool or running through the sprinklers count?!
3. I've been wearing the same t-shirt for the last three days, and I don't care who knows it.
4. My go-to beauty look is a highly disheveled ponytail and an ample amount of sunscreen. Okay, the t-shirt, the ponytail is also probably about three days old.
5. I contemplated feeding my kids Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner. Again. Enough said.
6. I no longer care how I look in a swimsuit. That start of the swim season when I feel super self-conscious has passed. I'm officially Tyra Banks catwalking it like a boss...chasing after two kids at the Splash pad.
7. I forgot what time bedtime is supposed to be, and my kids are totally taking advantage of it.
8. I've pulled out all the stops, done all the summer fun summer stuff, vacationed, and now my kids are entertaining themselves with an empty vacuum cleaner box.
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9. I've watched every episode of "Fixer Upper" on Netflix and Pinned no less than 110 home improvements. None of which I have actually completed...much less attempted.
10. I no longer respond to "mom" or "mommy" or any other variation of the word.
11. I've seen at least five teacher friends lament the arrival of back to school commercials and ads on their social media pages.
And while I understand their disappointment that all good things must come to an end. I won't lie. I'm kinda ready to head back to school. Because I know -- as well as anyone -- that in-between Parent-Teacher Conferences and Field Trips, state testing and early mornings, math homework and after school activities there is the promise of another beautiful summer just over the horizon. And that's more than enough for me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

7 Life Lessons for My Children

I hope you dream big and without fear. Search for buried treasures you may never find and build castles on clouds you will never live in, and in doing so, know that no matter how big or how silly a dream may seem, if it brings you happiness that is all that matters. Carry those dreams in a pocket close to your heart.  Pull them out on days when the world feels a little too gray and storm clouds loom.

I hope you explore the world around you and absorb it like a sponge. Dive into the deepest, darkest waters and climb to the tallest, towering points. Listen to the words of others as you go, and etch their stories on your heart. Fill your lungs with fresh air, and learn the native songs as they float around you.  The world is a truly beautiful place with so much to teach, and you have so much to learn.  Soak in the very simple lessons and the undeniably epic ones too -- each will help shape you into the person you will become.

I hope you know your value and never settle for less than you are worth -- at school, at work, and in relationships. Know that you are worthy of love and respect, and once you believe it, teach others how you expect to be treated. Don't allow others to berate you.  Don't berate yourself. Negative inner dialogue is often the thief of much happiness. Learn to love yourself. The rest will all work out.

I hope you stand strong in what you believe, even when you are standing alone and especially when you are standing up for others. There may be comfort in numbers, but nothing worth accomplishing is ever done out of comfort. Though you may feel small and your knees may shake, your one voice can make a tremendous difference. When others try to quiet you with threats and fears, this is the time your voice needs to be heard most. Value kindness over popularity and courage over conformity.

I hope you see that there is more good than bad in this world.  People will lead you to believe that monsters are lurking around every corner.  You will read terrible stories in newspaper that will make you feel uncertain and afraid.  And you will see horrible events on your television screen that will make you question humanity.  Don't believe everything the media tries to sell you. Instead, believe what you witness firsthand. Experience is a wise teacher, and he will show you the good people. There are many of them.  

I hope you laugh every day -- big laughs, belly laughs, laughs that come from the soul.  I hope you laugh loudly and boldly as tears stream down your face.  I hope you snort. I hope you almost pee your pants at least once from this type of laughter.  And I hope you cry with no apologies -- through heartbreaks and broken promises and earth shattering news.  I hope you are never afraid to feel your sadness, and I hope you are never too serious and solemn to share your amazing laugh with the world.  

I hope you find the beauty in the simple moments -- a child's small hand nestled in yours, the sound of faint giggles at bedtime, the way sun dances on your skin as the soft breeze kisses it, a warm embrace, the smell of freshly cut grass in the spring, the feel of the soft ground underneath your bare feet, a familiar face, the whispers of the rain, a kind parting word.  There is so much to appreciate in each second of every day.  Life is fast fleeting; live for the little moments.