Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Reflections at Christmastime

Lil' Dude's Mama, circa 1982

One of my Besties began her email to the group of us this morning;
Hi friends- back at work today. boo. The growing pains of getting older and changing traditions suck. I miss being a kid sometimes! ha
I know what she means.

Yesterday was perfect, Christmas magic here at the Casa de Lil' Dude. Just the three of us, four if you count the one with a tail. It was the first time in my adult life I've spent Christmas Day home just as us- as in, where I live and with whom I live. The year the lil' dude was born, my parents and brother brought Christmas to us. But yesterday was a first.

And at first, I balked at not traveling after Santa showed up. I'm so accustomed to organizing, packing, and schlepping an entire truckload of holiday cheer to someone else's house. I'm a diehard traditionalist; I love upholding traditions and reveling in repeated, repetitious joy year after year. But I eventually embraced the change of routine ... and it was perfect and the first of our new Christmas Day tradition was born.

Who knew I'd love it so much.

And we weren't short of family time this holiday- one big Christmas December 15th, another December 22nd, and some mini celebrations the 16th, 17th, 20th, and 23rd. Christmas Eve was at my Grandma's ... that's unmissable. Unless in the event of a newborn baby or snowstorm.

This year, I really felt what it's like to straddle that line of child/adult, of daughter/parent. I realized how much I owe it to my own Mother for the past 33 Christmases she continues to make for me. I realize how much goes into ... everything.

Perpetuating myths, magic, Christmas traditions
Shopping, shopping, budgeting, shopping, wrapping, presenting
Remembering everything & everyone from teachers, coaches, aides, dogs, and friends
Handling travel, menus, grocery stores, recipes, adjusted routines
For never, ever saying or acting like any of the holiday mayhem was anything except worth it
Managing expectations, ridiculous wish lists, ungratefulness at times
With gratitude, exuberance, and grace

Clearly, traits she learned from her own Mother, My Grandma, who at 81 years old, invites all 55 members of her family, from her eldest daughter down to her great-great granddaughter to Christmas Eve dinner at the Fellowship Hall at Zion Lutheran Church mentioning in the invitation please bring a bottle of soda or juice to share, I'll have all the rest and very true to her written word takes care of all the rest- all 55 of us and our specific holiday favorites including Swedish meatballs, Lutefisk, ice cream roll, pickled herring, Lefse, Rosettes, white dinner rolls, and her legendary mashed potatoes. She became a Mother 64 years ago and she's made Christmases- each and every single one, perfect and memorable despite circumstance ever since.

This year, in my traditional handwritten thank you notes post holiday, I will make more than a brief mention to both of those women how much I appreciate their continued effort toward family celebration and Christmas in general. How I know it pained both of them to celebrate when it meant doing so without my Grandpa, or when new work schedules meant my Mom had to work Christmas Day for the first time in her kids' lives. How they both forged on with a song in their hearts despite heartache, overwhelmingness, sickness, fatigue, and circumstance.

Because that's the true meaning of Christmas.
And I learned it from the best(s).

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Kid Rock's teacher always emails parents on Sunday evening to layout the week ahead.
This time of year, it's basically to let us know which days the kids will be playing outside so we can pack their appropriate gear.

Yesterday was an intended snow day. She had her snowpants, boots, and mittens at the ready in her cubby.

At pickup time, the kids were still outside. I noticed my daughter's jacket, boots, and Princess bag of gear still intact inside. The rest of her class was out in the snow. I wondered if she was sick or ... in trouble. She hearts snow days.

She came out to me from the classroom- looking fine. I asked her why she wasn't outside.

And she said, Mama, CeCe is sick and can't go outside to breathe cold. So I stayed in with her to be her friend. I didn't want her to be alone. My eyes instantly filled (and are again, right now!); my throat burned. I made eye contact with her teacher and held her silent gaze. We obviously had the same exact feelings about the lil' dude at that exact moment. #26Acts

#26Acts is a hashtag phenomenon taking the world by storm. Started by NBC News correspondent Ann Curry (whom I have always admired & adored) after she visited Newtown, CT last week, it's simply finding the good in each day the rest of us have with our children. It's random acts of kindness, mostly anonymous, some not. It's paying it forward, it's lighting each of Newtown's 26 victims memories ablaze by being the people and humanitarians we are.

I have always said it's the little things in life that bring me the greatest joys. It's Kid Rock's artwork on my walls. It's the Beagle's undying love of fleece blankets. It's text messages from my husband. Letters from my Grandma. Whipped cream on my coffee. Music ready to be retrieved from the library. Mint lipgloss. Gray anything. Songs on the radio that remind me of my Besties. Happy hours. Clean sheets. Fresh fruit. Target runs. Instagram. Goats. Hallmark Channel movies. All of them; little things. The littlest. The little things that make my heart big.

#26Acts is about the little things. Think of what brings you the most unadulterated joy and do it for someone else. Pay for someone's drive-through coffee. Look at the stack of wrapped gifts under your tree, and pick one or two to donate. Leave a balance on a giftcard for the cashier to surprise the next patron with. Leave a 50% tip. Plug meters. Salt sidewalks. Leave handwritten notes in mailboxes, under windshield wipers, on computer monitors. Send text messages to six people, right now, with a favorite memory the two of you shared. Be present. Listen. Absorb. Appreciate.

And there is no expiration date on kindness and intentionality. This isn't an Advent calendar. It's a life calendar so begin your legacy right this second. Do it, be it.

Have fun!

Mama loves.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Green

I didn't want to write this post. I still don't.

Newtown, CT.

I won't make it political, I won't make it wordy. God, I'll even leave out the cliches. Or most of them. No promises on the swearing.

I have written about some pretty awful things in the past. Parenthood and humanity ain't all rainbows and unicorns. But, the rainbows and unicorns are what makes it worth living.

My 5-year old doesn't know what happened in Connecticut last Friday. How ... How would I even begin to explain that to her? She is scared of spiders. She cries when her boots come off in the snowbank. She's just a little kid. Just like those 20 children. She's just a little kid.

And she is my whole goddamned world. I'm hellbent on making her know that every single day. That didn't start because of Friday, either. That started when I received the call March 23, 2007 from my doctor ... pregnant.

And because she's my whole goddamned world, I have to protect it; protect her.
And that means I cannot become cynical, jaded, complacent.
I have to instead focus on the rainbows and unicorns.
I have to find them when they're buried. I have to find them when they've been overrun by everything dark and disgusting. I have to present them to my girl, my only child, in order to foster and maintain her own faith in humanity.

This country and its people are amazing. We're lucky to live here. We have nothing to be afraid of. We simply cannot live like we do.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. -Mahatma Gandhi


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Tale of Two Birthday Parties

                                                           1985                                2012

History has a weird, often shitty way of repeating itself where family matters are concerned.
And now, lil' dude, you and I can say we've both had our 5th birthday parties cancelled (partially) due to snowstorms. You in December, of course, and me, the first week of April.

We should move.

Saturday was gorgeous here- sunny, clear, mild. The forecast for Saturday night and Sunday, when your party was planned however, looked hellish. Meteorologists kept nicknaming the impending storm Snowmageddon and Snownami and other ridiculous names. I knew we'd wake up to something nasty, however, and I prepped you the best I could even before you went to sleep.

We woke up to something nasty.
Your peeps, the near lot of them, couldn't come.
We didn't want them to ... everyone had to drive too far.
Nothing involving cake and glitter is ever worth endangering life and liberty for.
Trust me on that ...although it's a hard lesson learned!

And you? Handled it like a rockstar. You made me so proud.
It's hard to countdown to a particular day of awesomeness and not have it happen on day zero.
And you are quite the look-forwarder to.
It helped that your peeps are awesome, too. Like your Papa, who was magically in town to work the weekend, who had the foresight to grab your presents from Grandma G. before he left. And like your Uncle D. & Auntie T. who have a ginormous new SUV and even bigger hearts and showed up, too.

We sang, we had your handpicked menu, opened presents, had cake and made the most of out the day we had in front of us. We fielded phone calls and wishes from our stranded guests and did our best to quell their sadness.

And take it from me, dear girl, that sometimes things work out the way they are supposed to, planned for or not. I am a planner with a capital P. The snowstorm that knocked out my 5th birthday party also knocked out all my guests. And I looked forward to things, then too, just like you. In fact, I would get so anxious and worked up about looking forward to things, I would often throw up the night before the actual event. I missed a few fieldtrips that way! But looking at that photo above, you wouldn't know I was heartbroken that day in 1985. I had my parents who ensured I knew it was still OK to celebrate and rock that My Little Pony cake!

Let it be a lesson for you ... to make the most out of any situation that doesn't go your way.

I sorta was kicked out of my college's School of Business & Economics for a poor GPA.
I then majored in Mass Comm ... was good at it, loved it, and have used my degree each day since I graduated 10 years ago.

I didn't want to leave my college town to come to this town ... but I did.
And I met your Dad.

And on a girls' trip with your Fairy Godmother and some Aunties, we tried in vain and failed to find Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. Instead, we freestyled our way into a tattoo shop for matching symbols of beauty and vigilance. One of my favorite memories and tokens of friendship.

And guess what?
You have at least two more birthday celebrations to come thanks to Mama Nature!
December rocks our faces off.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Happy, Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby Girl.
You've been so excited for this day.
I am so glad it is here, for you.
And for me, too, of course.
Motherhood means celebrating all your little's loves, too.
Even the ones that sting a little more than usual.
I love you; I am proud of you; you made me ... well, me.
Mama loves.

And because of my affinity for words- typography, quotes, lyrics, mantras, poems, stories what have you ... I will borrow someone else's words for the rest of this entry. Because I couldn't say it better.

From a Carter's Count On It commercial, narrated in tiny-girl speak which sounds remarkably like someone I know and love very much:

I was born on a cold, September Sunday.
When you brought me home, it was a whole new world.

That first night was a DOOZY.
But you got the hang of it and so did I.
And together, we grew and grew and grew.

Some days were fussy.
But others were all smiles.
And even now, many moons later when you take my hand,
I hold it right back.

Because the day I became yours, you became mine.

From the first night home to the first day of school.
And every first in between.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Longest Day in the History of Ever

Her name was Ann, and she was a dirty, dirty liar.
A sweet and well-meaning dirty, dirty liar.
But still.
5am hooked up to Pitocin ... Nurse Ann telling me we'd have a baby by lunchtime.

I have blogged about my day that Thursday, December 6th, 2007 here so I don't need to repeat it again.
Even though it's currently on repeat in my brain and seeping out of my pores.
Ask me how I am this week and I will launch into my labor and delivery story unprompted.

From the very beginning of this family, we realized we weren't in charge.
Show up when we're told. Leave the rest to chance. I get it, now, thanks to that little blonde cyclone above. Not in charge. Check.

I am emotional. I am nostalgic. I am grateful as shit.

Imagine hearing a lifechanging song, or finding THE cupcake recipe or favorite fit of jeans for a killer price ... and loving your discovery every single day. That's basically what parenting is. Every single day. And I have had five years of those days. These are the good ol' days; this is as good as it gets.

I just scanned Little Dude's Mama posts looking for my labor and delivery story. I stumbled across some videos of Kid Rock ... made me cry, they did. Her pretending to be a pirate with one of my headbands, age three. Her reciting her ABC's before bed, at just over two years old. Sob, I did.

Love, I did, even more.

So yes. On December 6th, 2007, I lived the Longest Day in the History of Ever.

Pretty clueless. Wearing a Victoria's Secret sweatsuit. 10 days overdue and with the patience of a, well, 4 year old, I was at the mercy of the process. I was bored. I was starving. I was waiting for the greatest gift of all. I woke up at 3:30am that morning- and intentionally by alarm - so I could straighten my hair and put on eyeliner so I could go have a baby. And then the minute I had my first nasty contraction, I begged for an epidural ... and I wasn't even 2cm. Pretty clueless.

And still, I didn't have an ounce of an inkling of what was going to happen to my life the very next day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, this is what we looked like.
OMG- that hoodie, a non-maternity fave, was workin' overtime on that belly!
I had to relinquish it to the thrift pile post-birth; as it never regained its shape.
Sorta like me, I suppose ... !

Five years ago today, I was seven days overdue. I waddled into my clinic to the sympathetic smiles of the front desk staff- no doubt shocked I survived Thanksgiving & the weekend storm without having That Baby. Did you have extra pumpkin pie? They giggled. That- THAT right there was why I stopped going into the office a week prior. People, while meaning well, annoyed the shit out of me. The day I hit my due date, 11/27/07, I stopped leaving the house, for all intents and purposes. Except to forcefully walk the dog for miles and miles, while cursing every single old wives' tale of that starting labor, in the Dad's giant snowboarding jacket and loosened Sorels. Except to go to another OB appointment, except for a regular peppermint mocha run to the Local Blend uptown ... caffeinate that sucker, please, I'd tell the Barista. Maybe that will shake the baby out.

Five years ago today, I had several heart-to-hearts with my pediatric nurse bestie about my cervix; I had several full-on cry-cry-crying sessions with my Mama; I had several emails with my wife-of-a-Chiropractor bestie about my transverse fetus & how to get it head down, once and for all.

Five years ago today, my beloved, and I truly mean that, OB, in her long, gray braids, Aztec vest, and soothing voice told me to burn some sage to induce labor. Burn some sage, Mama. Get centered. Feel the calm, welcome the storm, Oh, I welcomed the storm alright. Of hot tears and the complete inability of being in control. Call my nurse in the morning, let her know how the sage burning went, and we can discuss an induction ...

Five years ago today, I still swore on everything I owned and held sacred I was having a boy. I worried about the freaking green, fuzzy Carter's snowsuit I bought was too girly for him to come home in. I also worried that after purchasing the coming-home outfit at a Newborn size, up to nine pounds infant-swathing capacity, it would be too small after I had baked this kid into eternity.

Five years ago today, I started an email to everyone & their Mothers with this as the first line ... "Well, it seems our little Thanksgiving turkey is instead going to be a Christmas ham ... " to give them the update before becoming inundated with their requests for one. Once again very well-meaning, but still ...

Five years ago today, I still worried about my water breaking when I joined my friends at a birthday Happy Hour at a Real Live Bar. I tried ordering an icy shot of Grey Goose when I finally got that belly hoisted onto the stool; but instead received a complimentary mug of drought root beer when I answered the bartender's, when are you due? with an, "168 hours ... AGO,"

Five years ago today, wide-awake and sitting sentinel in my spot in the living room at 2am, I feared- not labor or pushing or drugs or sterility or screaming at my husband, but of never, ever sleeping, ever again. I am pretty sure I didn't sleep a wink all of November, and I had the stocked-to-the-hinges deep freeze full of baked goods and holiday crap to prove it. Come out come out wherever you are, baby ham, I have some scones and brittle and muffins and strudel and lasagna and stew and stromboli and rosettes and biscotti and peach brandy slush to feed you.

Five years ago today, I had no clue ... not even a tiny ounce of how my life was going to change in a mere 72 hours from now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wall of Fame; 5

We're down to just 12 sleeps until Kid Rock's 5th birthday. We've got one excited chipmunk on our hands. As much as I beg time to slow the freak down ... let's just hope for this one little instance time goes quickly.

And as planning goes- menus and parties, and events and spoils, gifts and traditions, the Dad and I pore over the year's millions of photographs to whittle our favorites to just four for the dining room Wall of Lil' Dude Fame, in 20" x 20" glory.

And here those snapshots are, in no particular order of awesomeness:

At this rate, we already have 20 giant photos of her sweet mug catalogued behind glass. By the time she's 18 and we're throwing her one hell of a graduation party, we'll have 72 photos to display, and I'm sure, much to her dismay.

A picture is worth 1,000 words.
And 1,000 tears of happy memories.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude ... 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the 316!

Besides being eternally grateful for family, friends, health, and everyday, this year we are particularly thankful for:

Drive-through coffee; Kevin Love's return; mustard yellow; Gap pajamas; Great-Grandma's and their handwritten letters; plastic giraffes, goats, and turtles; New Christmas lights; Boeheim returning for another season; Sundays at home; Instagram; Of Monsters & Men; Twirly dresses and coordinating tights; Sequins anywhere, any color; Beagles; Belly laughs; Target Clearance; Stickers; Magic Hat #9; Crockpot soup recipes; Hoodies; The Black Keys; Movie Nights; November sun; Text messaging; Inappropriate Humor; Jax Teller; Carhartt stocking hats; Smoked turkey; Camisoles; Four-year-old drama; New razors; Colonial candles; Striped socks; Magazine subscriptions; iPods; A full calendar; Gymnastics; Hairspray; Manicures; The Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill; Art projects; Besties; Inside jokes; Greek yogurt; Gray flannel pants; Chippy paint; Philosophy; BBQ sauce; Radar apps;; Sleep; Cardigans; Holiday movies; AppleJacks; EasyMac; Tattoos; Running; Scarves, scarves, scarves; cashews; Peppermint mochas; lunch dates; The New Girl; To-do lists; love, laughter, life, & light.

Mama loves.

Photo Courtesy The Lovely & Talented Auntie Mo

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Growing Pains

The other night, you asked me if you could take a bath with me.
It's easy to say no to that.
Who has the time.

But I paused- ever remembering my Grandma's story of when, 25 years ago, she was elbows-deep in her summer day of canning when my cousin C. called her, asking if she'd come swim with him. He was home alone and knew the rules- adult supervision. So, he called in the big gun- Grandma- and she didn't let him down. She shut off her stove, took off her apron, and headed for the pool. She said that day she knew the time when C. would ask her to spend time with him would cease. He'd grow up and get his license and join the world of unchildren. Grandma wanted to be present and a Yes person for as long as she could.

I remembered that as I drew our tub full of Philosophy's Raspberry Sorbet bubbles ... there will be a day, and mad-quick, that you won't ask to take a bath with your Mama. I'll say yes for as long as you wants me to.

We played mermaids, fashioned mohawks, listened to Taylor's new album, and got wrinkly.
You traced my stretch marks, commenting on how those were my owwies from letting you grow.
You asked me if they hurt, and I said yes.
Not the marks, so much, if at all. But yes ... it hurts, letting you grow.

In the best way hurting can.

Fall makes me nostalgic; November makes me swandive into memories of being pregnant, and waiting, not knowing. Of learning how to swaddle and clip tiny baby nails and lock carseats into Target's carts. Of learning to record your words, your hair clippings, and kissing your bruised forehead after another tumble. Of preserving handmade Halloween costumes and introducing you to Dirty Bingo at Thanksgiving and picking out Fir trees at River Bluffs Tree Farm. Of pictures of Santa Claus holding a tiny, fuzzy reindeer, only seven days old at the hot and crowded mall. Of the front porch and school bags with your name and new shoes in three bigger sizes from last fall.

Grow, grow little girl.
Mama loves.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bird of a Feather

The last, lonely goose left this fall ... named Lily

Last week, we had the lil' dude's conferences for PreK. I'm the Mom who forgot to complete our child development form to bring with though, it just slipped my mind. I promise my kid had clean underwear on that day, and ate some form of breakfast during our commute, I just forgot to do my homework.

Her teacher asked The Dad and I what word best describes our daughter. Without hesitation I said, "Determined. For better and for worse." Her teacher wholeheartedly agreed. She commended us for realizing her determination has its negativities. Oh, sing it. I know it does. Just that very week, my blonde Sagittarius split both of her palms wide open in angry blisters as she once and for all mastered those pesky monkey bars at school. Seriously, open, gaping wounds we had to dress and redress, the four-year-old wincing through the process, begging to skip the peroxide.

Who does that?

My daughter, that's who. I've always said she's the perfect storm, who looks like Daddy and acts like Mama.

Last year at both sets of conferences, we were told the lil' dude needed to work on the simple process of things- sharing, taking turns, encouraging others, being patient. Not hoarding all the damned stuffed puppies I knew she'd lose her mind over. Of course, I wanted to speak right up and say, "But she's an only child ..." when in reality, that doesn't even matter an ounce. Her birthright doesn't mean she's prone to acting like a miniature jerk, nor does it mean she's entitled to act like a miniature jerk. It simply means she's a contributing member of society who needs to act accordingly.

Last week, during our conference, her teacher- the same, dear, sweet woman she had last year, remarked how different the lil' dude is 12 months later. That she has calmed down (say what?) and changed for the better. She tries everything. Says hi to everything. Trusts the process- trusts she'll get her turn, her chance, her freedom to politely decline the everythings she doesn't love. Listening to the praise of my daughter, I straightened my spine. Smiled a genuine, unsmug smile. Pride burned in my chest. Her teacher went on to say how the lil' dude is bit of a trendsetter in class (hear that, Auntie SG?) and doesn't seem to notice or care what others are doing around her. One day, she decided to decorate her cubby, asking her teachers to politely leave all the taped-up art intact. The other children noticed after a few beats of routine, and began decorating their own cubbies in a new vision days later.

Dude. Duuuuuude, I love being a Mama. Hashtag; pride.

I want to inject this story and that example into my veins for when she's 13 and a carbon clone of her Besties- dressing, talking, participating the exact same way as her impressionists. I'll have the same conversation with her my own Mama and Grandma had with me. Do your own thing, girl. People will love it, hate it, or not even notice. Set trends. Ask for forgiveness instead of permission. People who love and support you will continue to do so.

And yes, I'll even concede a little on having clones ... I had (have) a group of girls I'm crazy-proud to be compared to, and even prouder to point out and celebrate all our separate idiosyncrasies knitted together over 20+ years of friendship and connectivity. So yes. Have your gaggles, your flocks, your murders, your rafters, your paddles. But make sure each of your plumes are a different color.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Sorta

Be still my heart ...
Two of my favorite things on this planet ...
Kid Rock & goats ...
He's officially on my Christmas list.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The PreK Diaries

Ask her how many sleeps it is until her 5th birthday, she'll tell you.
52 days.

This was the lil' dude a year ago as a newbie preschooler.

Here she is this year, as a seasoned veteran in PreK.

Shocking difference, right? She went from a baby-faced kid to a self-assured half-grown lady in the span of 12 months. It took my breath away, seeing her smiling face wrapped in cellophane in her cubby yesterday. We battled in true girl fashion over her wardrobe for picture day this year- she won. I constantly need to remind myself what my aunt- Mama to three awesome teenagers- told me when I commented on something my daughter was doing to make me crazy over the summer ... "major the major and minor the minor," which basically means choose your battles. Headbands are definitely not major.

Favorite food: Mac & cheese (just like her Mama's entire childhood)
Favorite movie: The Little Mermaid
Favorite song: Anything by Rihanna
Favorite color: purple
Best friend: E.
What she wants to be when she grows up: A basketball player
Favorite activity: Gymnastics
Favorite book: Spot Goes to School (because she can read/memory it to us!)
Favorite day: getting coffee, watching movies, wearing dresses, walking the Beagle
Favorite store: Fleet Farm for plastic animals
Favorite subject at school: Alone time at the easel

Routine before bed includes practicing her handstands for gymnastics, and reciting flashcards for spelling and reading. The way her wicked-powerful memory works ... she's beginning to memorize words which makes me realize I need to buy entirely new packs. On our way home last night, she spewed a made-up sentence to me and asked if it was Spanish. I told her, no. No bueno.

This morning I whispered my Mama things to her as I dropped her off. You know, a typical Tuesday mantra of have fun, be kind, try hard, help your people. This morning, she turned to me and whispered her mantra to me. Mama, you go to the library today to find Spanish books so we can learn that, OK? Please, Mama? 

"Sí, querida niña. Te lo prometo."

Never a dull day at our house, and how typical of my caped crusader of a kid- from zero to 60 in 5.2 ... she's learning to read in English and now wants to learn how to call to her dog in a second language. She's the Michael Phelps of life, this kid.

Never a dull day.

Word {from} Your Mama

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You Are My Sunshine; My Only Sunshine

Three years ago this month, Daddy and I began a new chapter in our lives, and that chapter, we assumed, would be the short and sweet story of how we made you a big sister. Three years ago this month, you were a darling 22-month old who finally learned how to say thank you and sported the tiniest of ponytails. I had this to say about you, then:

You were the center of our universe as you still are. We were about to enter the third year of your life as we planned your second birthday party. Plan, plan, plan- your Mama is good at that. Some days, I feel like I majored in planning. Except I forgot to take the final and all that test included was how to plan for failure. How to accept planning to unplan. I never got around to planning for that.

So now, three years later, you are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You'll forever be an only child. I've begun telling you that now, more forceful than ever before and you seem to understand and accept it, too. It doesn't mean you don't cry or whine at the acceptance, when the frank reality of it seems so damn unfair, as I do at times, too. It doesn't mean you don't ask me one hundred questions of why. But you know the truth. You know our little birdie of hope has finally flown the nest, and this fall, he's flying south to never return.

And we're fine. My favorite four-letter F word. Fine. But we are. And in most ways, we're way better than fine. We're healthy and happy and have a gorgeous home in a sweet neighborhood in a village that's beyond anything we could ask for. We eat fresh food we handpick, we seek doctors we trust, we sleep on bedding of thread counts higher than we need. There's money for music, coffee, and the future; there's insurance to cover the unexpected, and 47 text messages from people who love the shit out of us. There's freedom to go to school and church and vote as we damn well please. There's guidance and acceptance and forgiveness and celebration every single day.

I wrote above that you're the reason and the answer to everything. That we're so delighted to have you in our lives- the same is still true three years later. Even more so, now. It's a powerful feeling to so brightly see the path you've lit in our world, what your true role on this earth would be. Think about it! What you have given to your parents and who you made them, will forever be unrivaled. Unparalleled by another human. That's pretty cool- I promise. It's a big deal. You're the only human being with the title of Our Child. Celebrate it!

With that title, I know there comes responsibility. As you get older, you'll likely feel it more and more. I want to apologize in advance for any burden you have to bear simply because of semantics. I mean, with the knowledge that I'll never, ever give birth again, I could simply go bat-shit crazy. I could quit my job and pull you out of PreK and daycare and never let you out of my sight. I could deny you the opportunity to ever sleep somewhere other than right beside me. I could hover and suffocate and squeeze the life out of you. I could, and hell, I maybe even want to. But I won't. There is your Daddy and your Aunties and maybe a therapist and definitely several bottles of Shiraz that will see to it that I don't. But ... give me a break once in a while and cut me some slack. I promise to only ever do the best I can as your Mama. If you want to go to college on the East coast, fine. If you want to go home with your roommate your first Thanksgiving break, fine. If you want to stop vacationing with your parents someday, fine. You're lucky I am allergic to cats otherwise I might have ended up with a farmhouse full of them someday, named after all the Disney princesses you loved so much as a child.

You're lucky.

There. The post of a lifetime, full of truth and hurt and heart. I promised to always tell you the truth, and I intend to continue doing so. Just this morning, you asked me what gray wolves eat and I told you, small woodland creatures, and you started to cry. Well, it's true. They are carnivores. Sorry honey.

And no, wolves don't eat little girls. You're not a small woodland creature.

I love you to the moon ... to Starbucks and back. I love you bigger than the sky and deeper than the ocean. I love you more than you have stuffed animals or I have lipgloss.

My only sunshine. We are lucky ladies, indeed.

Mama loves.

Word {from} Your Mama

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yes, it's true I put you in a mini skirt and leggings for your baby shower before you were a month old.
It's true I handmade the tutu you wore in your 18 month photo shoot.
For every cardigan, scarf, and layering tank I bought myself, I bought you three of each.
For nearly five years, you've been my favorite hobby.

Then out of nowhere, you developed your own sense of style and urgency when it came to how you
dressed, styled your hair, and wore your life. The audacity.

It's a hard thing to die to, the power shift between a power-hungry mother and her only child. I was not ready, am not ready, to let that phase go. I spent last weekend bridal dress shopping with your future Auntie T., and her mother still had opinions on her visions of her firstborn these 25 years later. That's women, I suppose.

I sniffle and wring my hands when in reality, my heart is bursting with pride at your assumed confidence and utterly amazing sense of style.

I absolutely take credit for your four-foot fashion. You're damn right I do.

Every morning when I see my laid out, intended outfit on your chair covered by what you actually picked out after lights out, I sorta smile. My stubborn little mule. My Tiny Tyra Banks. I love it.

Ask your Grandma G., your Great-Grandma S. or any of your aunties- I've always pushed the envelope when it comes to style and self-expression. Many, many holiday mornings I would wake up and hear my own Mama say, 'that's what you're wearing? Your Grandmother will have a fit,' when in reality I knew she'd hug me all the same. I never, ever had fear of not being accepted within my family or village. That, my dear, is an awesome way to grow up. I intend to let you grow up the same exact way.

Last week, before school started you said you wanted feathers in your hair, and asked if I would get some, too. Absolutely, sign me up. I called 17 salons before I found one who still offered the service. And even she told me they no longer were in style. Away we went, you with hot pink and Mama with white and gray. Damned be the trend or lack thereof.

One night this week, Daddy asked you what your friends thought of your feathery flair. You shrugged nonchalantly, saying boys had made fun of it and followed you around saying your feathers were stupid.

Those little @&$!#+[.

That was my honest reaction. Adolescent, no doubt but that was the Mama bear in me. I wanted their names so I could point out their lame VELCO shoes, cowlicky hair, and too-short too-faded carpenter jeans.

Carpenter jeans.

I asked you the next morning how you handled the criticism and you said you walked away and didn't listen to what they said.

And that right there, is called winning. Winning at childhood and winning at parenthood.
I have never, ever been prouder.
All I can hope for at this stage in the game is that you always remember to walk away and shut it out. Walk away from the criticism, the hate, the absolute jealousy.
Be your own you.
Pierce your face, listen to obscure music, add purple highlights, wear your Dad's flannels.
Push the envelope like it's your J-O-B because it is.

I have said it before and I'll say it again ... being a girl is hard.
But it kicks some crazy ass.
I found this gem along the way, and choose now to share it with my favorite human.
I'll apologize for the swear words.
Good thing you can't spell yet.

I will always be your biggest champion, and fiercest supporter. Your Dad will too. I swear on pink hair.  I will give you one sage piece of advice- it's wiser to ask for forgiveness than permission. It's easier to say, 'I was thinking of getting a tattoo right here ... ' then lift your shirt and show your Mama the actual tattoo. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

But do not ever show up wearing Duke Blue Devil blue, anything hockey-related or with a new Mariah Carey album.

Because baby girl, we don't love you that much.


Mama loves.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Letter from Mama; v.PreK

Darling daughter;

Today was your very last first day of preschool. Next year at this time, a scant year from now, you'll be my Mighty Kindergartner ... something you've dreamed of since you were at least three and a half.

You were so excited this morning - experiencing Open House meant you had the knowledge your classroom, teacher, and aide were the same from last year. You were in a mixed 3/4's last year; this year straight 4's with a few 5's sprinkled in. You're one of the oldest (and tallest!) in your class. I talked to an older man last week who asked me about my kids and if they were in school. I mentioned your December birthday and how anxious you were to ride the bus, and he took the time to mention how he and his wife waited to send their November-birthday son (now in his '30s) until he was five on the first day of school. He told me it was the best decision they ever made, and how they truly believed he had been on the fast-track and ahead of the curve his whole life since his days as an older kindergartner in that classroom. So, kill, Kid Rock. It's yours to rule.

I told you last night we could have breakfast at Starbucks as a treat before class this morning. When you woke up and got ready, you declared skipping breakfast and heading straight to school was your plan instead. How can I be raising a Starbucks skipper? But I get your (mild) anxiety and charged attitude for something new. We marched into school.

Now, please remember to stay polite. Because you've been there, done that before doesn't mean you get to run that town. You're still the pupil. Be patient with your friends, your new friends, and both teachers. Don't run to greet me at pickup; simply because it's against the law. Remember to take turn at the easels that you like to occupy too much, and don't hoard the rubber frogs, plastic fish, or stuffed dogs. Try all new snacks, keep paint, paint, painting, and raise your hand. Wish everyone a good morning and talk to everyone. You don't have to like them, but you have to be kind. As your buddy JW's Mama says, "Don't be an asshole," and I think that pretty much sums up my advice for your year in PreK.

I am proud of you, and rooting for you, and think you're the most crazy-awesome kid. Have fun.

Mama loves.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Four Fire

Three months from today, she'll be five.
Usually, I'd be weeping in my soy macchiatos over this giant looming milestone- but this time? I am excited. Excited for a new number, a new year, a new new.

About this time a year ago, my own Mama and I were talking about December and all its planned glory. She casually mentioned age four was easily the hardest she experienced for both my brother and I. I scoffed at her horror stories, knowing in my heart of hearts, my precious baby girl would once again prove the universe wrong by being the best. She was a rockstar newborn; perfect toddler; and delightful three-year-old. Four? In the bag.

In three short months, we're setting fire to four and spreading its ashes all over five and 2013. That's about the summation I can muster as a mother of a current four-year-old.

She's wicked smart. Fiercely independent and focused. Logical to a fault, and as stubborn as a gray mule. She looks just like her Daddy and acts just like her Mama ... she's the perfect storm. She's sarcastic and sneaky, sassy and dramatic. She doesn't forget and won't forgive. She's self-righteous and indignant and brave and beautiful and doesn't listen for shit.

She's my everything- my little blond tornado who will smack her head against her wall at night if she's not tired or interested in sleep. She sashays instead of walking. She makes you earn the right to be spoken to, or answered. She's hilarious and witty with perfect comedic timing. She has that rubberface my Mama's side of the family always seems to have. She's competitive and calculating never without her accessories.

She's a girl, alright. She's as girl as girl gets. She's making me earn motherhood, I guess you could say, finally. I've sailed up until this year, full of love and sleep and without protest. I wouldn't have it any other way- I've always maintained I love learning new things and stepping outside my comfort zone. It's baptism by four fire, that's for sure. One day she loves mashed potatoes and the next she gags when she eats them ... she keeps me on my toes and off autopilot.

90 more days. Let it ride.

And oh yes, Mama loves. Without question ...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Great Battle

“Be Kind for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle.”–Plato

One of my favorite quotes because of its absolute truth. Humans are resilient and have a natural ability to shove whatever battle they fight underneath their very surface. You never know. So be kind. End of story.

I've bared my soul on this blog for over four years. I've admitted my fears- both logical and illogical. I've admitted I don't know what I am doing. I know having you in the first place was a gift I probably took for granted before I even had that positive pregnancy test. So these words and stories and experiences and humor and heartache have all been true. I'm about to write about one of the worst? hardest? humbling? experiences I've had as a mother yet.

There are fewer places more sacred to you than daycare. You've been a fulltimer since you were 10 weeks old. You love everything about it- the Daycare Lady and her children, and her ancient dog. You love all the other kids who have come and gone. You still talk incessantly about G., your little dude friend you made when you were five months old. You two are tight! You love the routine, safety, and reign of daycare and we do too. We struck gold with that place.

Yesterday, you got in trouble for misbehavior. Honestly, you're four and it happens more and more. I know you are emotional and stubborn and dramatic and sassy and an only child who struggles to share. As your mother, I can list your shortcomings in a paragraph. I love you, but you have your ... things that I don't love. That's humanity. I have things your Dad doesn't love, and vise-versa. Doesn't make us less of people, and we try to not let those particular characteristics define us.

But yesterday's misbehavior was new for you. We were actually mean to one of your friends. Intentionally, unrelenting mean. I won't go into specifics because they don't matter. You were mean. You upset your friend, made her cry, upset your Daycare Lady and your parents. My eyes burn still, as I write this. I was stoic at pickup yesterday, calm. I drove you home, music louder than necessary. I was calm on the outside while a storm brewed on the inside. I didn't know what to do with you- because this incident was one of the biggest our family had faced yet and I didn't want to mess up how I handled it. I called you emotional and stubborn and dramatic; where do you think you got those genes? I didn't want to say or do something to you I would regret. So as you wailed all the way home, the gravity of what you were about to face (telling your Dad; every girl's worst nightmare, and not doing anything fun that night) sinking in. When we got home, I simply sent you to your room. 

For two hours.

Sounds harsh. It probably was. But- you were in the comfort of your room with 456 toys, books, outfits to try on, your radio, NaNa, and big bed. You weren't struggling for survival.

I waited for the Dad to get home by doing the thing I do when I am anxious- cleaning. I clean or bake when I need something to do with my mind and hands. Music loud, mind racing, I tried to get a grip on my brain and heart. When Daddy walked in the entryway, I greeted him by bursting into tears.

Emotional. Told you.

I tearfully recounted what happened in your day. How you acted. How you might have earned a tiny stigma of being a mean kid. That is my greatest fear, that somehow lil' dude, you'll walk out of this house thinking you're better than anyone else and treating others just like you believe it. I kept wiping my eyes saying how surprised everyone was- your friend, her parents (I assume), Daycare Lady, us. I never imagined getting that report on you. 

Daddy spent his time with you behind closed doors- being calm, big-hearted, and rational as he always is. I just know that 15 minutes later you came out still crying as you apologized to me. Sobbing, you said you were sorry and knew why it was wrong. You vowed to make your friend some mail to apologize and reiterated what Daddy asked you ... would you ever want to be treated that way? The answer is no, every single time. No.

You and I have had discussions at parks, diners, and Target as you witnessed firsthand the different ways people can be. Yes, people wear robes and capes and turbans. Yes, people are in wheelchairs, walk with canes, and talk with their hands. Yes, boys wear makeup and girls shaved heads. Anything goes in this grand world, and your only role in it is to be respectful. As your preschool teacher told you all year, you don't have to be friends with everyone. Just kind and respectful.

The greatest battle there is.

Monday, August 20, 2012


We went to the park last night; just you and I. And the anxious Beagle. You told me you learned how to do the monkey bars in Daddy's hometown over the weekend with your grandparents and were excited to show me. We couldn't get there fast enough.

I stood there, camera poised, dog on leash, waiting for you to scale the ancient playground equipment. You hung there, bony frame swaying back and forth, not making a move for the next bar. Squinting against the sun, you swung and swung, fingers gripped tightly, feet making repeated contact with the bar below. You were not crossing any monkey bars. I backed off and found a bench.

The entire 30 minutes we spent at the park you didn't try to reach that next bar. I kept my mouth shut. It was your feat, and your ability. Not mine.

Not long after I settled onto that bench, a little girl with a curly red ponytail bounded up to the monkey bars, too. She swiftly crossed one time, and returned again. Arm after arm, she whipped through. As you watched her, I could see your face start to crumple as you jumped down and ran for Mama.

I can't do it, you cried. I can't be like her.

I paused for a minute. You've been emotional the past few weeks, I know this via the Daycare Lady and her quiet 5pm reports, and Daddy's stories of you two when I was in New York last week. I accidentally made a promise to you Saturday evening, and when I backed out, you cried your face off and ripped my heart to shreds. I get you, now, I really, honestly do. I promise. I am a girl too, and emotional most of the time. It's harder than hell being a girl. I won't ever lie to you about that.

But it kicks a lot of crazy ass too. Your shirt, for example, you wore last night to the park? Says;


Your Grandma G. bought it for you. Because, HELLO, you're rad!

And who cares if you can't be like that redhaired girl on the monkey bars. Judging by her height, I'd guess her to be five or six. With age usually comes ability. Hey, just last summer you couldn't even crawl onto those stupid monkey bars let alone reach that first bar! Look at you! I bet she can't sing the words to that Cher Lloyd song "Want U Back" that I didn't know existed on the radio like you can. There's no way she can remember exact routes we took to parties two years ago. She doesn't have the heart for putting beloved packs of stickers in her bestie's mailbox like you do, nor can she probably Superman sleep in 14 hour stretches like someone I know can.

She's no you, lil' dude. There's no you who's youer than you!

We as a human race, and even more so as females, constantly compare ourselves to others. It's brutal. If I can do anything to alleviate that for you at your age, I want to. I try every. single. day. to do that in my own life. Notice I said try. At age 32, I am still trying to not be like other people on the monkey bars in my life.


And I am proud of you no matter how long it takes for you to cross those monkey bars. You might never cross them; I don't care. Ask your Grandma G. how much she loves me- her daughter who has never, ever not even one time, learned how to do a cartwheel.

A cartwheel! Who cares.


Mama loves.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Put It In a Box & Wait

You know your Mama's obsession with words. I have written ... however many blog posts from the very heart of my hearts. And in this season of life, when you've got your barrel pointed at five and increasingly remind me I am raising a girl-child-human and not a drooly baby pet, I am devouring words with a fervor. I have quoted lots of my favorites on this blog, both mainstream and notsomuch. I have another excerpt for you, sweet girl, from a book called Tiny Beautiful Things, written by Cheryl Strayed. This book, combined with The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan are my favorites of 2012. You do know when you graduate from high school I am going to give you an armoire of books, right, and not a cute sports car? You'll thank me some day. Back to Cheryl:

Part Five: Put It In a Box And Wait

You give a lot of advice about what to do. Do you have any advice about what not to do?

Don't do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don't stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don't fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don't focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fallout. Don't surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn't true anymore. Don't seek joy at all costs. I know it's hard to know what to do when you have conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it's not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it's hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do- have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don't think there's a single dumbass thing I've done in my adult life that I didn't know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself- as I did every damn time- the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I'm learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I've still got work to do.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Be Brave. Be Bold. Be True.

You can blame or thank Proctor & Gamble's Olympic commercials for this post. All those teary, emotion-packed scenes depicting mothers and children pursuing excellence through the most mundane of tasks. Cracking eggs. Washing uniforms. Driving in the rain. Bandaging feet.

Lil' dude, your Dad and I are competitive people. We love competition, both in it and as bystanders. We love athletics. I love music. Hell, even Daddy likes watching competitive barbecuing shows on TV. You've inherited this spirit from an early age, even if we didn't push it. You think everything is a race, you're always looking over your shoulder to see how close someone is to to you. I winned, you losed! Right or wrong, you're racing. It makes me smile. It makes me smug. It makes me ... speculate. I just can't wait to see where your race takes you.

That race might take you nowhere. You might not do a damn thing competitive besides shopping lower priced detergent at one store or another. You might think the mere idea of wearing any team color unacceptable. You might sing at home, journal in your room, and run in the park alone. You might cheer all your friends on in their activities for a lifetime. I hope you know that's fine.

I trust you'll at least join some sport, some team, in the next few years as you already talk about it. Currently your obsession is swimming. The fact that it's summer just might have everything to do with it. Your parents' (and worlds') obsession with Michael Phelps might have the rest. Every single day, it's all you want to do. Two weeks ago on vacation, you really learned how to swim without that life jacket. Each afternoon in the 15' feet of Birch Lake water, you'd make Daddy and me get further and further apart from each other so you could swim between the two of us, chin high in the air, legs furiously kicking, arms scoop, scoop, scooping. It didn't even take a full afternoon for you to learn if you swim under water, you go faster. You keep your eyes open so you can "see how my arms move" and no longer swallow buckets of water in the process. Your tanlines perfectly outline the tiniest of Speedos.

And yes. As your Mother, I love thinking about the possibilities of your future kicking ass at anything, swimming presently and firmly included. It's fun to take a millions pictures and narrate video as you learn and become good at something, wondering, honestly, what kind of highlight reel they might someday be included in. We're not helicopter parents or Dance Moms, I promise. We're just your parents. Cheering you on. Bragging about our only child because it's our right. Wondering and perhaps hoping in the future because that's humanity, especially during an Olympic year.

I want you to know, to remember these words as I type ... hope does not mean expectation. Never confuse the two, ever. What I hope for you never leads itself to expectation. I don't care if you stop swimming tomorrow. Or when you're seven or a freshman in high school. I will crack your early morning eggs, make sure your suits are dry, wear huge photos buttons of you on my turtlenecks, and comment on the current swimmer you want to be just like, beat, or date. Until you're done with that, then I will be too. When you want to quit because it's your decision.

America's current darling, Michael Phelps' mother Debbie has this to say; "Children have to do what they enjoy ... You have to let your kids find what's best for them and what their own niche is."

Now, admittedly, easier said than done. I remember the conversations I had with my own parents about the same topic. There's a degree of ... what is it? Guilt? Responsibility? Failure? My wish for you, lil' dude, is to never feel that way when you're wielding the same power over your own life. May there never be pressure, besides that you put on yourself. May there never be doubt you're capable of making your own decisions. May there never be expectation mistaken as hope.

My hope for you is always the same, it has been since you made me crave spaghetti for nine months straight in utero; the same since I ransacked your crib in the pitch black looking for your pacifiers; the same it has been when I dropped you off preschool; and the same it always will be:

Be brave. Be bold. Be true. 
Be you.

Mama loves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Age of Innocence

A majority of the parenting decisions I make are based off how I was raised. It's my first line of defense and utmost point of reference ... what would my parents do? I have zero complaints of my childhood. Sure, I didn't have cable or even a microwave. I had to do chores. I never went to Disney World. I had to be in choir in order to play sports. I had dinner every single night of the week at the table with my parents and brother. I wrote thank you's, I was told NO a lot, I earned every pair of Nikes and Abercrombie jeans I owned.

And, I had to be nine years old to get my ears pierced. It's what my Mom said. And when I incessantly whined about the injustice of her math, she told me she had to be 13- that was her Mama's rule.

So when my daughter started inquiring as to when she could get her ears pierced a few years ago (yes, she was barely two; using little adhesive gemstones to her ears as jewelry) I told her she had to be much older. Probably nine. She didn't even know what that meant. The Dad overheard this and scoffed at my rule and assumed when his baby girl was good and ready, he'd take her to the Piercing Pagoda to get her first piercings done.

Well, his baby girl was good and ready yesterday. At the tender age of four point five.

It doesn't surprise me, her perseverance to want real earrings. She wears gaudy, painful plastic clip-ons most days of the week along with her standard headband, necklace, anklet, and bracelets. And hats and sunglasses and tiny purses filled with spare accessories for costume changes at whim. And the LAUNDRY I do to keep her in three, ruffly, flouncy, glittery, blingy outfits a day ... I am raising a girl.

So while my Grandma started the trend of reaching a certain age to experience ear piercing as a rite of passage, it was the next generation who broke the rules. That's part of parenting, knowing where you came from, appreciating the tradition, and upholding rule. And then breaking it.

I whispered to my now much bigger girl yesterday, "in 14 years you can pierce your nose!" And she looked at me like I was crazy. I'm sure her grandma and great-grandma would agree.

That's the best part of parenting, after all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guess What

Everyone and their mom want to know where summer is going. Too damn fast, per usual. And we're literally trying to soak it in- the photo pretty much depicts life at Casa de Lil' Dude- swimming & sweetness.

Swimming. It's no surprise it's all the tiny Olympian wants to do, day in and day out. And, a few weeks ago she abandoned the lifejacket for good. Which means Mama's long, luxurious days of floating by on tubes and noodles or sunning on the chaise with a fresh stack of mags are over. Just like taking the baby gate down, or transitioning from a crib to a bed ... another milestone, another stride in life I am not ready to make but am making nonetheless.

My daughter is fearless. We spent the weekend at a campground that featured not one but two waterslides. She burned 60,000 calories being catapulted into the 5' water, getting tossed toward the shallow end, and paddling for the stairs over and over and over again. As I lotioned her up last night post-bath, I marveled at her tanlines on her thighs ... how her lower half isn't usually exposed to sun as she bobs around in the water all day. Well, for four straight days she was on the deck, running up the slide stairs, and waiting her turn in the sunshine. It makes sense.

She was nearly the youngest of the kids she ran with all weekend; she kept up with a pair of insanely adorable and sweet 6-year-old boys, and patient and adoring 8 and 9-year old girls. The girls were her safety nets, who gave Mama a break from catching her at the end of slides and pushing her hair out of her eyes. But it was the boys ... no surprise here ... she wanted to be just like.

Saturday evening, the pool is at max capacity, all the parents are gathered around and the boys start doing tricks off the edge of the pool and garnering attention and all sorts of oohs and aahs. The lil' dude watches from her tippy toes in the pool for a few turns, then heads for the deck. She walks out to where the boys are about to take their approaches and says boldly and loudly, Guess what? I'm gonna rock your faces off! and off she goes, full-speed for the edge where she attempts a summersault mid-air into the pool.

And fails, miserably. She kinda folded into a canonball and landed on her face.
But, she surfaced, smiling that little shit grin she gets from her Daddy, to uproar and high-fives.
Oh, yes she did. I wasn't a bit surprised by my daughter or her actions.

I knew the minute the doctor laid my naked, brand-new baby girl on my chest that I had one helluva job to do, in raising a girl. Overcoming insecurity and comparison, encouraging independence and calming irrational fears. Teaching her she doesn't have to impress anyone but herself by being anyone but herself.

Except maybe a poolside of tanned boys in bright blue goggles.

Word {from} Your Mama