She's TWO!

reedalmosttwo10.jpg

She's TWO! And so, so goofy. She loves to laugh and dance and just mastered jumping off the ground with both feet. She says, "Please," "Thank you," and "Scu me!" appropriately without fail. She would spend all day "ow-side" if I let her. She doesn't know a stranger and often reaches for the hands of kind-looking people we don't know in public. She is the snuggliest and takes every opportunity for a cuddle on her Dada's or Mama's lap--pretty much every time we sit down. She wakes up excited to see her sister every morning, and then immediately runs out into the living room and asks me to, "Let Nellie out!" She offers spontaneous hugs and kisses to her sister, Dada, and me a dozen times a day. She is 26 pounds and is cutting her last couple of teeth before she has a full set. Her small amount of hair is wispy and soft and some lovely shade of blonde unique to her. She makes the best excited face, has the cutest run with her short little arms pumping wildly, and is obsessed with the Lady Gaga song Bad Romance. She counts to 12, says her ABCs, knows her shapes and colors, and sings lots of songs. When she's sleepy, she says, "Mama, story...bout, ummmm, a bunny!" and when I'm finished telling it she asks, "Jesus I Know?" so I've been singing a lot of "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know..."

Reed girl, you are the sunshine over our family. I can't even explain to you how lucky, blessed, undeserving I feel to get to watch you be you every single day, and to be loved by you, OH MY. You have grown all of our hearts so much, it's wild. I love you I love you I love you, sweet Reed.

Mama Needs A...Safe Space to Feel Her Feelings

reedmama.jpg

I am a 29 year old stay at home mother of two young children, and I don’t drink.

Before you click the X, please know my intentions with this post have nothing to do with you, your personal choices, or swaying you in any particular direction. I am not judging you if you drink. I am not even claiming sobriety to be the best lifestyle choice for everyone.

But for me, at the end of a long, hard, LOUD day of wiping bottoms (and oftentimes legs and backs and maybe even feet and heads—ick), getting climbed on as I sit on the toilet, and basically being used as a walking, talking tissue (WHEW—motherhood is kind of just a big collage of bodily fluids, yes?), a big glass of wine to dull the ache of loneliness and lack of appreciation is the last thing I need.

Because for me, getting buzzed fixes nothing. I still feel lonely and unseen, only now my limbs feel like I have bowling balls tied to them and I get to look forward to waking up (too early to a baby biting my poor, beat up boobs and a toddler jumping on my saggy stomach) with a headache to remind me of my failed attempt to feel better about my life. So then I spend the day feeling like crap, counting down the minutes until I can do it all over again.

A drink is the last thing I need when I am hurting. Stuffing it down so it builds up only makes it all feel worse when it overflows later.

Once upon a time (for like, the first 25 years of my life), I was a stranger to my own feelings. I considered myself “laid back,” “mellow,” and “go with the flow.” I prided myself on not complaining.

HA. I was actually burying my needs (yes, feelings and needs go hand in hand—feelings make us human and I was playing robot). Turns out fighting and hiding your feelings doesn’t make you a non-feeling person. It can, however, turn you into an explosive raging psychopath once they all finally bubble over. In my case, this happened in the midst of trauma I couldn’t control when my firstborn was diagnosed as Failure to Thrive and put through all kinds of scary medical tests to rule out terrifying illnesses. I was exhausted and convinced I was failing my child and I just didn’t have the capacity to hold anything in anymore.

I became consumed by anger and fear, some new, but a lot of junk I wish I would have dealt with as it came up in my life—some of it decades old. So began a years-long healing process I am still sorting through.

And in the midst of all of it, I’ve figured out why I don’t care for alcohol. I spent college trying, pretending, searching for the right drink when the occasion called for it. Turns out, I was allowed to just say, “No, thanks.” That was an option, too, even though it didn’t feel like one.

I don’t like drinking because, to me, it feels like putting a bandaid over a broken bone.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, it is because being a stay at home mom is like working six different jobs and so, yeah, I have every right to feel like it’s just too much sometimes—I need the space to do something that centers me. I need yoga or a hot bath, or five minutes of deep breathing. When I am lonely, it’s because mothering in our culture IS lonely, and I need to sit with a friend and talk about real things or get dressed and get out with my husband. Wine cannot replace the heart of someone who gets it, who hears me and says, “That sounds so hard,” or, “Girl, me too.”

Ultimately, I don’t want to spend my life just coping. Because for me, dulling the bad dulls the good, too. Spending the whole day waiting for bedtime steals me from being all there right now with my children, who are doing the magical act of learning pretty much every second they are awake.

I want to feel the bad, even the really bad, so I can feel the good, and the really really good.

Growth

tomato1.jpg
tomato2.jpg
tomato3.jpg
tomato4.jpg

I have been pretty quiet in this space recently. Life has been full and rich, though—my marriage has taken a sweet turn and for the first time maybe ever since our girls were born, my husband and I are really enjoying one another. I am feeling more connected to my daughters all of the time and just in awe of who they are turning into as the most empathetic, loving people I know. We are spending almost all day every day outside enjoying our land, tending to our first garden. I think of a thousand things to write each day, but finding the appropriate pause to do so is proving tricky. I don’t want to miss any of the magic happening around me. Bringing my computer outside during our hours long adventures feels wrong in this season,

But at the same time, my ache to write is only growing lately. For a long while I have entertained the voice that tells me I am not a real writer because this or that. But here’s the thing, I am a writer because I write. And I ultimately don’t write to impress anyone—I write because I have to. So here I am, back in this cozy space, hoping to preserve and make more sense of my life. And if anything I say can help one of you feel less lonely, then that makes it all even better.

<3

The Neighbor Girls

reedalmosttwo14.jpg

They come running down the hill,
their eyes wide and mouths open,
preparing to shriek out their joy
as soon as they see it. The mud hole
is still here; my four year old has
already refilled it with hose water
and asked if her friends can
come over again. They are eight
and ten and live four houses down,
these two new neighbor girls.

Last night they stayed out here til dark,
played with my younger daughters
until they were caked in layers
of dried dirt and grass before telling me,
”You are the nicest mom ever!
Ours doesn’t let us play
in the mud. She is going to kill us.”

I pause under the weight of this statement,
then stand up and turn the hose back on.
”Come here, you two,” I hear myself say
before rinsing their hands, arms, legs,
and feet. They thank me and take off
giggling down the street, not knowing
that most days I am just a little girl, too,
aching to cover myself in the earth
but too afraid to get dirty.