Spread Your Wings Baby Girl

Soon you will be five. And I know what that means. I’ve known it since the day you started three-year-old preschool. You will be going to Kindergarten next year. You won’t be my baby girl anymore. And even though in my heart you’ll always be my baby girl, I know it’s time for you to spread your wings. It’s time for you to fly.

I was blessed to have the time I did with you. The time I got to be home and watch you grow…help you grow. I remember the first time you smiled at me in your swing, the first time you said I love you mommy, the first time you walked, how cute your voice was when you made all your animal sounds and all the other firsts I was blessed to witness. You are such a joy in my life.

My heart is torn thinking about the next year. I’m so proud of you and how incredibly smart you are. I’m proud of your kindness and respect for others. I know you’re going to be amazing. But I will miss you. Oh how I will miss you. I will miss spending my days with you. I will think about all the incredible things you’re doing and learning, but also wishing you were still small and here with me, wishing I could stop time and sometimes wishing I could keep you little forever.

But it’s time. It’s time for you to fly. It’s time for you to begin your journey in this world. It’s time for you to flourish. I only want the best for you. I’ll always only want the best for you, even if at times you don’t see it or maybe even believe it. So for now, I will cherish the months I have left. I will soak up every ounce of you. I will hug you and kiss you and tell you I love you a thousand times. I will hold our time together close to my heart and thank God (and my husband) for the ability to spend the time I did with you. My heart will always prevent me from letting go, but my strength in the incredible person you are, will. I love you baby girl, now spread those wings and fly.

All the Things They Don’t Tell You…

Being a mom is wonderful. It’s the most beautiful part of my life. It has completed me in words I cannot express. It’s a blessing that I get every day…to be a mom. My children are little pieces of me and big pieces of them. They are miracles from God, and they are mine.

Whether pink or blue, you prepare for these little ones. You imagine what they’ll look like and one day what they’ll sound like (not the screaming part). You’ll enjoy pregnancy, or maybe you won’t. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy your first one a little too much and by trimester three you’ll be eating an ice cream cone a day! But either way, the first time you hear your child’s heartbeat or feel that first kick, it changes you. In some ways, it’s a reality check…this is really happening…you’re having a baby. You’ll plan, you’ll read, you’ll nest and you will do everything you can to prepare for your little one, except nothing can really prepare you. You truly don’t understand the love your heart can feel until you hold your baby for the first time.

But what they don’t tell you is how difficult it is. Not just the labor, which if you’re a mom reading this, whoa, the labor. In an instance, you’re a parent. You have to figure out how to take care of this tiny human with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality (something a type A person like me cannot do easily if at all!). You also have to co-parent. And that is no easy task. If you thought your marriage was tested your first year (we did not live together prior to marriage so ours definitely was!), then times that by 100, and that’s your first year as parents. Your marriage is different. You’re a family now and that inevitably changes things. You’re trying to manage your new roles separately and together. As a new mom, you might feel a little resentful for how much your life changes versus your spouse. You will feel a lot of things. Your emotions may get a little out of whack for a while. You might get postpartum immediately (like I did), later on or not at all. As a couple, you’ll fumble through the first year. You’ll argue. You’ll question your decisions. You’ll struggle. But you’ll get through it together. And by the time you’re ready for a second child (or not), now you’ll know what to expect.

No one can prepare you for breastfeeding. It will either be easy or difficult. Mine was difficult. I cried. My daughter cried. I never made enough milk. I had a ton of mom guilt so I didn’t want to give it up but I had to. I hated it. It gave me so much anxiety and I felt like a failure because it wasn’t working. No one can prepare you for all the failures you’ll feel. And they hurt. They hurt deep. Because the expectations of mothers are insane. They are flat out unattainable. Breastfeed until your child is one, throw the perfect first birthday party, always look put together, get the best family photos, perfectly balance work being a mom and wife, figure out your stance of vaccinations, food and a million other decisions you have to make on a daily basis and of course, don’t screw any of them up, keep up with social media and posting how ‘amazing’ your life is and that’s just the beginning. Then as the kids get older you get to deal with school drama, homework, bullying, sports and extracurricular activities, your child’s clear independence from you, who your kids friends are, will they have cell phones and social media accounts and another slew of decisions you don’t know how to make because again, no one can prepare you for them.

Motherhood is not easy. It’s tested me in ways I never thought possible. It’s challenged me, questioned me, frustrated me, enraged me, on some days defeated me and on most days, taken all of me. But it also has encouraged me, bettered me, enlightened me, strengthened me and shown me what unconditional love really is. And that’s something no one can prepare you for either. That’s the joy of motherhood. There will be ups and there will be downs. There will be little joys and big disappointments. There will tears, lots and lots of tears (kids and you!). But there will be so much love. And that love is what will fuel you. It’s what makes you a compassionate, protective mama bear. That love will never stop. It will never end. And that is the blessing of motherhood no one can prepare you for. A love like no other. The love only given as a mother.

To My ‘Person’

We all have one. That one ‘person’. The one person who has been there for you. Whether from childhood, grade school, high school, college or your first job….you found that person and they have been with you ever since. They have stood by your side when everyone else walked away. They never judged you, doubted you or intentionally hurt you. And you love them. You love that person because they are irreplaceable. They hold a place in your heart that no one ever will.

I met this person when I was four years old. It was the day my sister was born. I didn’t know then what she would be to me now, but oh how I am blessed. I am blessed in ways I cannot even begin to explain. She is my person and she will always be my person. And yes, I said my sister not my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but husbands aren’t ‘persons’, they are spouses. They are our greatest loves. They are the fathers of our children. They make us whole. They have their purpose for us, but I don’t believe this is it.

Your person is someone different. It’s someone maybe you’ve known your entire life or maybe it’s just felt like that. The person that just gets you. It’s a relationship that requires no effort because you both know what you mean to one another. And while every relationship is different, here’s what mine is.

Mine is my best friend. My sister. The one person who has never given up on me, not even for a second, who has never judged me, never hurt me and never done anything but be there for me. She’s made me a better person…a better sister, daughter, friend, wife and mother. She’s my person. She knows what I’m thinking with one look, one word or even one gif. We have always joked that we really are twins just born on different days and in different years. She is the most generous, loving, kind, faithful and loyal person I have ever met. She is someone I admire and respect. She’s the kind of person that is really loved by all who meet her. She has a kindness that you cannot fake. She has a faith that cannot be shaken. She is stronger than she knows. She is beyond beautiful inside and out.

Maybe your person is your sibling or the person you grew up from down the street. Maybe it’s the one you met your first day of Kindergarten or freshmen year Biology. Maybe you met in the college dorms or your first job after graduation. Wherever you met, you know they are your person and you are theirs. No drama, no jealousy and very little arguing if any. This person has your back, they don’t stab you in it. They love you for the person that you are. They accept your flaws because you accept theirs. You get each other. You talk at least once a day because that’s just what you do. You’ve seen each other at your best and worst and you’ve always been there for each other during those times too. This person will forever be in your life.

I’m blessed I happened to grow up with my person and that no one can ever truly know me like she does because she’s been there from the beginning. I don’t remember what my life was like without her and I wouldn’t want to if I could. I am better because of her.

A while ago, I was struggling just as any other mother and wife does. My sister and I listen mostly to Christian music and she sent me Lauren Daigle’s song ‘Rescue’. She said this was her song to me. It, of course, brought me to tears. And that’s the amazing thing about having your person, they know how to help you when you need it most with just the right thing. Because no matter who, what, when, where, why, how…they are your person, and that will never ever change. Thank you being who you are Stephanie, I love you more than words could ever say.