To the lady sitting on the rocks at the lake today…

Thank you. There is no doubt in my mind that you were not placed there by God.

” How old is he?”

He turned 3 at the end of June.

“He reminds me so much of my son who is 32 now”

Soft smile appears on my face.

G: ” Can I take off my shoes and socks momma?”

Sure, sweetie.

“Being a mom is probably the toughest job I have ever had. It is still hard and my son now has a 4 month old daughter. I still worry about him all the time. Being a mom is also the best job I have ever had too”

Still a soft smile.

G. ” Mom- LOOK at dat big rock! Can I throw’d it in the water?”

Of course.

“He is just so adorable. I bet he has a lot of energy!”

Giggles. YEP! He is literally running from the time he gets up until the time he goes to sleep.

G. ” Mom- Can we go over here and look for bigger rocks to throw?”

Yes.

” Enjoy this age. I know you have probably heard that before but truly, it goes by so fast. I worked so much while my son was young. He also had asthma so many of the times I had with him was giving him breathing treatments and making sure he was ok but you know what? He still remembers me sitting or laying with him during those treatments. He thanks me for all that I did for him when I really didn’t think he would even remember. I know so much feels up in the air and out of control but you are giving him everything that he needs. ”

That right there. THAT is what I needed to hear from this very kind perfect stranger today…” You are giving him everything that he needs”.

G has been in a sleep cycle from hell the past few months but especially the past 4 weeks. The nap is no longer. The bedtime is a fight. We are up with him multiple times a night and then he awakes at 6am ready to tackle the day. He is all go until about 4:30pm when as I like to say ” The Wheels on the Bus are falling off”. This is also the time that M usually starts her homework. The time between 4pm-7pm is intense. G is just delirious and M is wanting /deserves some attention as she has been at school all day long. Getting dinner made and on the table feels like the biggest accomplishment. And by dinner, as of late, I am talking cereal, toast, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, and nuts. Nothing that requires more than 3 minutes of a prep time because my attention is solely on G making sure he is keeping his hands to himself and redirecting is overtired little body.

This lack of sleep and crankiness (from all of us) feels like we have a newborn again. After 4pm, I feel trapped in the house. Not wanting to leave because the glazed look on his face and the knowledge that he can snap at anytime. It’s hard enough dealing with this, let alone having an audience.  Often, I feel like I am a in a big dark hole trying to dig my way out. Running has not happened as much as I would like it too because I am not able to wake up at 4am once I have already been woken up at 12am, 1:30am, 3am and then 6am.   The days are so very long.

In the silence of the night, I pray ,mediate and breath. I ask God to place it on my heart what G needs from me. What can I do differently? What am I forgetting?

Just hearing ” You are giving him everything that he needs” gave me the refocus that I needed to have a little more patience with him ( and myself) today .

I am sure this is just a phase and will be a blip on the radar for I, one day soon, will be the lady sitting on the rocks at the lake, marveling at a 3 year old boy and his overtired mom.

I hate the age 2-4 years old.

I am writing this during my almost 3 yr old darling boys “nap”. It’s 2:19pm and I am just praying that he will sleep for like 43 minutes so he is not a total______ by 5:03pm.  We are also in the mist of potty training. ” MOMMMMMMMAAAAAAA. MOMMMMAAAAAAAAAA. I got to poop again (his little head up close screaming in the camera) !!!!!” This is the 3rd “poop” cry for help. I have no clue if he is actually pooping because he closes the door for “pri-a-ceeee ( privacy) and flushes the toilet before I can see what is going on. Which is hysterical since I have not went to the bathroom by myself in like 22 months ( Ok- I take that back… I did pee very very quickly during the Chicago marathon at mile 17 in a porta potty. Oh heaven!) I have also been in his room to fill the request of water, one more hug and room being too hot. This guy is a master manipulator with his blonde hair, blue eyes and eyelash for days.

I fear we are in the almost phase of no more naps. I can’t imagine how I will function with out this 1-3hr respite that I so very desperately need. DD napped until kindergarten and even then, she would sometimes come home and take a little 45 minute siesta ( she was half day kindergarten). I will be super excited for no nap in the summer when we are at the beach, park or waterpark. Its still March in Cleveland. Its 28 degrees today with rain expected for the next 13 days. Momma needs her time. Bad. My brain can’t play anymore trains, hockey or hoops.

2 weeks ago we got rid of the crib. He is now in half of my husbands bunk bed with is new Rogue One Star War sheets. I cried a little at the sight of him in his “Big Boy Bed”. G will be 3 in June. Preschool papers are in. He is registered to start the Tuesday after Labor Day. G will be going to the same place that M went. As I met the director to give my enrollment form and the downpayment, she was shocked that he was already preschool age. I also cried then. I will probably also cry when I no longer need to buy diapers ( maybe not now that I am thinking about that).

Why did I cry?  Is it because G is our last? Is it because I think I should have been more active with him- taking G to the zoo, park, beach more. Could I have been more patient- read one more book, given that 60th hug?  Maybe its because the ages of baby to preschool scare me. I feel like I have no control somedays ( most all days). Is it because this is solid factual truth that I am getting older? Am I where I should be at age 29 ( ok 37.)?  37 doesn’t seem too old but geez…I guess 40 is knocking on the door.

Every day I wish I could be more. More patient. More healthy. More of a fun mom. More of a better runner. More of a better friend, wife, daughter  ( insert the list that could keep going here_______).  I was just mediating before I started writing to attempt to distract me from G not napping. As I was setting up to type, something happened to let me know that I am enough.  ( This is my favorite saying from one of my favorite humans Glennon Melton Doyle). My daughters teacher ( whom I am OBSESSED with!) sent me an email today to let me know that they were talking about the meaning of the word brave. Each student had to give an example of this word. M said ” My Mom”. She went on to explain that I was brave because sometimes her brother ( G$) was mean but I still gave him hugs and played trains with him even after a timeout. She also mentioned that I was brave because I ran marathons.

Wow. I needed to read those words at that time. Thank you M, the universe and God. I needed the reminder that God ( or whomever you believe in) made me a mother to M and G for a reason.

Age  “almost 3 ” is not my favorite age but neither was mile 21 at the Chicago Marathon.  I finished that damn thing with a huge smile on my face and no doubt being transformed into a stronger person. This stage for me will be tackled how I plan to tackle the next marathon. Stay in the mile (minute) that I am in, rely on support to get me through  ( husband, family and friends) and lots of beer at the end ( same.)!

 

Letter to my almost 7 year old daughter

Dear M,

Hi. It’s me, Momma. I just wanted to take the time to write you this letter because sometimes in the quiet of the night when I lay awake, I think of things that I want to tell you. When morning comes, we get in to the hustle of the day and moments to share some of my insights are replaced by asking you if you want peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch.

You, my darling, are simply incredible. You love with your whole heart. I still will never forget the day that I just realized how truly loving that you are. You were 3 yrs old and in the mist of hand, foot and mouth ( In my opinion, THE worst virus ever). I had rented a few DVDs from the library for you to watch. We were watching Clifford and I went to get you a popsicle from the freezer. When I returned, you had tears streaming down your face. I thought your throat was super sore and asked you if you wanted another cough drop. Your 3 yr old self then explained to me that you were sad for Clifford. The episode was  the one where Clifford ran away from home because he thought Emily Elizabeth and family could no longer afford to feed him because he eats so much food. Your heart hurt for Clifford. You didn’t want him to feel sad.

To this day, you still display this kind heart ( thats what I call it). Currently, in first grade, there is 1 student. A boy. He has no friends. The other classmates exclude him. He is a little rough around the edges and is often aggressive in his actions. YOU have made him a little softer . His mom, who is very much aware of his behavior, pulled me aside recently. She told me that this boy has had a really ,really bad year. They had to move in the middle of the night to escape an abusive situation right before the school year. The father has never been in the picture. Mom is working 2 jobs and going to school at night. She told me that this boy gets up in the morning just to see you at school. He tells her that you are the only one that is nice to him, besides your amazing teacher.

I am beyond proud of you.

Of course I want you to get good grades and exceed in school. Of course I want you to participate in whatever physical activity and try your best ( pretty please sweet baby Jesus make my gal a runner so I have a partner to run with!).

To me, being kind and spreading love in this somewhat scary big world tops anything successes that you may accomplish.

Its easy to teach skills to make you a great student and practice will take you to higher places in sports BUT it is hard to teach being kind. That is in your soul. In your being. Being kind, caring, loving and giving will take you farther in this life than anything.

My hope is that as you continue to grow, your kindness will grow with you.  The older you get, the bigger the kindness may be needed. Maybe it is to help a friend out who is in bad spot. Maybe it is for going against the grain and standing for what you believe in. Maybe its leaving a relationship that is no longer good for. (Being kind to yourself is critical as well).

Regardless, I am here. I am here to walk with you on your journey. Step by step. Always.

Thank you God for choosing me to be M’s mother. I just know that she will teach me more than I will ever teach her… she already hasmads-kind.

21 days

How many parents are marking off the days until school starts? 21 days until M starts 1st grade. 21 days for me to have her home and not in school all day for the first time. The other day, M and G were fighting all.day. long.  The fights were over everything.  M counted how many pretzels I gave G and then counted how many I gave her.  I failed. I gave G two more pretzel twists.  In that moment, I thought ” I can not wait until you go back to school. One child will be so much easier for me to deal with”.

Now-I am going to be real. I have thought this before during other incidents and accidents ( and I am human and will think these thoughts again)  Wishing away the child who was causing me the extra stress. Just needing to have a break from the constant ” Momma. MoMMMMMMM”, the screaming and fighting.

During todays early morning run, I was very blessed to run with 5 other ladies ( all moms). Boston Nancy has a daughter who will be a sophomore at college. As we were talking about returning to school, Boston Nancy became sad just thinking about her daughter leaving. 2 of the other moms have junior high aged children and then the rest, grade school and toddlers.

This run almost did not happen for me. I got up at 3am and posted on the group page that I was out and would run 4 miles later.  Sleep seemed to be my focus. As I lay in bed tossing and turning, I prayed and asked God what to do. After 15 minutes, I got up and got ready for the run. Driving to the run, I was regretting my decision. A few more hours of sleep was my focus. Once we started the run and we were all talking about our children and being moms, I had a lightbulb moment.  I little insight, forgiveness and grace.

Its ok that I do not love every moment being a mom. Its ok that I go to the upstairs bathroom  or go to check the mail for the 4th time in a day just to give myself a mom pep talk and to get my GAMEFACE back on. Its ok that I use the back up sitter once a week for a few hours just to have some 1-1 time with M to do things that we can’t do with G (2). Its ok to text my friend when I feel like I can not take one more minute of anything. Its ok that I serve cereal for dinner and have ice cream dates for lunch. Its ok that I nap with G naps. Its ok that I have not bought my single item on the back to school list or filled out any school paperwork.  Its ok if I choose not to join the PTA and get side eyes from all the other “better” moms. It ok that sometimes bedtime is at 7pm or 10pm. Its ok if pjs are worn all day long or I ask them to get dressed as soon as they get up.

I know it will be all ok.  God choose me- ME- out of all the other millions of women to be M and Gs mom. He trusted ME to carry them for 9 months. He trusted me to guide and to love them through this world.  God did not expect me to do this all on my own. He gave me an amazing husband, family ( my mother in law is an angel on earth.), friends, running, yoga and mediation.  God also has given me faith, hope, patience, and love. God also has given me strong coffee, wine and date nights out with my husband. All of these things make me a better mom and human.

21 days ( or the rest of my life) left to start being me- the mom I am supposed to be. Not the mom that looks good in pictures, Pinterest and in Parent magazines.  Me. Not the summer checklist mom (you know the one- the one who does “things”  just so we can say we done things this summer). Me. The mom that God made because he knew what M and G needed.

As Boston Nancy and I finished the run, I realized that before I know it, I will soon be counting down the days until my gremlins come home from school. I will now just start counting down the seconds until the “not so glorious” moments are over.

Today, I encourage you all to give yourself love and grace. We are all in this together.

The Sounds of Summer

{DISCLAIMER: To my dearest hubby and MIL (Grammy)… I love being a SAHM and I adore our little nuggets. The following post is just me using my not so funny/midwest Amy Schumer humor.}

“Moommmmmmmmmmmmm  Grant hit me. When is lunch. Why can’t we go to the pool? I wanna wear my Easter Dress. What can I do next? Can we have ice cream today? I don’t wanna read. Mommmmmmmmm Grant pulled my hair. Why do I have to go to the bathroom? Can I have screen time?  Can we leave the house? Why do I have to clean my room? Mommmmmmmmm Grant threw sand in my eyes…….

Mine. Fruit Snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No

This is my current sound of summer. M (6) is represented in the first paragraph and G (2 years old in 19 days) is the latter.

The day before M ended kindergarten I was on a summer high. I had images of glorious beach trips filled with the perfect amount of sun and breeze not dropped ice cream cones and a bird that attacked my head 3 times. Visions of bike rides with quiet content and nature filled smiles not fights over who gets to have the water bottle.  Dreams of blowing bubbles,  sidewalk chalk and picnics at the park. Instead, I am faced with my very own fight club, a never satisfying breakfast and without any official application or promotion that I am aware of, I am now a cruise director that must have activities planned for every waking second of every day (including back up ideas in case it rains).

I have reached out to my squad- other mommas, really at this point, the mail lady and I are BFFs ( just to talk to another person over the age of .. just anyone) to plan at least “one a day” playdates to get us out of the house. Just getting out to the house is a task that requires a to-do list. Water bottles. Sunblock. Snacks. Lunch. Snacks. Diapers. Wipes. Fruit Snacks. Coffee for me. Change of outfits. Legos. Coloring books. Crayons. Cell phone. Keys. Snacks. Beach toys. Ball. Beach towels. Money for daily ice cream trip because I am weak. More coffee. More water. More fruit snacks.

Today  I have 3- yep you read that correctly- 3 playdates planned. During one of them, G is going to the drop in sitters for 2 hrs. M is going to a friends house to play.

My to do list for these glorious 2 hours looks like this: grocery store, go get new running shoes, clean the entire house, read a book, go get nail out of the tire, fix an amazing lunch to enjoy outside with lemon water because you are fancy, watch 1 episode of Scandal, nap, take the dog for a walk, laundry, bake some banana bread, perhaps a bike ride….

I will probably be able to do two things from this list- get nail out of the tire and grocery store. Woooohooooo. But- I have already thought of how to make both of these tasks mo betta.

The place I go for all car stuff has this amazing waiting room with FREE  keurig coffee. I will take my book and make myself a cup or 3 while the nail gets removed. At Aldi, I will take my headphones and listen to a new podcast while sipping lemon water because I deserve it and I am fancy.

Oh gawd- I think they are awake. Time to take a 2 minute shower and brew another cup of heaven.  God speed to all the humans that are home with the kiddos for summer break. I am with you in spirit and sending you all the good juju.

 

What about the other 364 days?

Somewhere in between kids and developing security in myself, I no longer care.

Valentine’s day. For some, this day is used to define the level of love or worthiness of a relationship. Some refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday. A day that consumers spend money on cards, chocolate, jewelry, and flowers. Somewhere along the past 15 years, I lost that loving feeling for Vday.

Hubby and I do usually go out to dinner but it does not hold any more energy or significance than any other dinner date out. Now, time travel back to 6,8, 10 years ago and my idea of what should happen on Valentine’s was much different. No card. No flowers. No gift.  Does this mean you don’t love me?  You don’t care?

Somewhere in between kids and developing security in myself, I no longer care.

The standards I base my marriage on is more significant than a box of shitty chocolates. While I do feel hubby and I are just a kick-ass couple, trekking through life as a team, our marriage has been rocked.  The foundation has been tested.  The roof has leaked.  Windows have gotten broken.  BUT the house still remains.  The house is respected, loved and even fragile.  The house forgives.

What matters is how your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend acts or treats you the other 364 days a year.  Really, it takes no effort to “put on airs”for one day or even one love packed sickening weekend.  How does your better half act when you are sick?  Do they support you?  Show up or show out? It is my believe that hubby and I  should treat each other with the same respect whether it is Flag Day or Valentines Day.

That being said…. if Mothers Day is not declared a National holiday in my house… hell have no fury like a woman scorned.

 

PS- if you are curious how we spent Sunday… We got to see love and happiness on M’s(6) face as her buddy D(6) came over, in the snow, with homemade frosted sugar cookies, card covered in crayon and a homemade bead necklace displaying Ms name for Valentine’s day. Hubby also took the kiddos to the grocery store so I could nap ( best. “gift”. ever).  We then checked out an amazing new Vegan restaurant that we both have been eyeing for a few months now.

 

Mean and Nice. What defines you as a parent?

Wear your hat proudly, either way.

Sleeping in for me is a sailed ship.  The last time I was able to sleep past 8am (and that is being very generous) was probably 6 years ago.  That was before I was pregnant with M.  I can recall Saturday mornings spent hungover on the couch in our one bedroom, almost lake view, apartment.  We would get up around 11am. Order food. Watch tv. Take a nap. Shower.  Then head out to the bar again for a few pints of Smithwicks at our favorite Irish Pub. We used to think we were so very busy. So important. So very adult.

This morning I was woken up by M, peeking in our room, to see if we were awake.            ” Squeakkkkkkkk ” the door went. Shit.  Now I am up. My first thought on Saturday morning is, do I need to get out to get a quick run in or can I do it later, perhaps even tomorrow. I decided to rest today. Something funky is going on with my left leg. Now husband is up too. M crawls in bed with us. I log into Facebook to wish my irun4 buddy, Jacob, good luck on his pinewood derby today. I see something a nurse friend of mine posted as she asked her daughters a series of questions.  I asked M if she wanted to partake as well. M answered the questions for me and then for husband.  While some of her answers were funny and heart warming, a few of them really got me thinking.

When you are parents, you are somehow divide.  One is the “mean” one that makes the kiddos eat fruit, veggies, do homework, go to the bathroom, take showers, pick up toys, write thank cards, say please, apologize, share, get shots, go to the dentist, and just tried to keep the train for derailing off the tracks.  The other parent is the “nice” one. Nice parent gets to have all of the fun while the mean one, is again, trying to make sure the train doesn’t go off the tracks. I know later in life, the mean parent will be proud of the hopeful responsible, polite, little human that now is a productive part of society.

The mean parent usually also gets to be the one to provide comfort such as a hug, kiss, and holding until the world feels more safe. G is in teething toddler hell. Which means, I too, am in teething toddler hell. One minute he is happily playing and the next , tears for no reason what-so-ever.  Its like he is a hormonal pregnant person. Of course, I love hugging and holding G.  Wiping his tears. trying to distract with a squirrel outside or the 14 yr old beagle.  However, it would be nice to be able to “flip a switch”. Being a nice parent seems more carefree, more less responsible, more fun.

The fear with the switch being flipped is that the mean, now nice parent, would return to the mean parent the next to more laundry. More dishes. More emails needing returned. More of everything.  Its hard to let your finger off the trigger. The fear of “what if” and “shoulding” yourself, stops you.

Wearing my hat proud and loud as the mean parent, I have come to terms ( well, trying too anyways), with my role and what that means. Being the mean parent is needed.  The balance between good cop/bad cop is not a bad thing.  Kids require different traits.  Although M’s answers to these ridiculous Facebook quiz made me feel “less than”, I am enough to be her mom. I am enough to hold G and give him comfort. I am enough to obsessively check on them multiple times a night. I am enough to remind them of what it takes to be a decent human being. I am enough to keep this train on the tracks.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just remembered this morning asking M to pick up her room as it looked as if her closet threw up and G is crying for no reason.  Again.  < goes to put on conductor mom mean hat, proudly>

(this is G in a toddler teething crying fit)F8157D4D-1841-427A-87FF-720AE65707B153DB0627-25F0-412A-B4EC-2A1177D40913