Because of my heart

Years later, I still wonder about us.

How we’ve made it work, even when it hasn’t.

How I can possibly despise and adore you, sometimes within minutes – seconds – of each other.

Every year I remember how lucky I am to have had you for another calendar spin. With every tick of your old man clock, I am reminded of what we share every day.

People are in our lives. Everyone has people. People you see daily, people you talk to and interact with and share whatever.

But I get to share your life. Night times, deadlines, events, accomplishments. Anticipation, elation, worry and disappointment. Dirty socks and broken shoes. Car trouble and bill paying, raises and check cashing. Frustration and forgetfulness, small victories. Large victories.

Curly blond fireball tear fits, video game lessons and front seat companionships.

First tries, second tries. Last tries.

You are the first person I want to tell about anything, everything.

You are the opinion I trust and the approval I seek most.

In everything I do I see you.

We have experiences ahead. Things that will be difficult and things that we never thought we could do.

But when we do them, it will be together. And I’m so lucky to have that.

 

You’re my best friend, you’re the love I never thought existed, and it’s your birthday.

I love you.

Happy birthday.

 

 

In twelve more years, or the last of the offspring birthdays for the year

(Max was twelve on June 14th. Happy birthday.)

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In twelve more years, things will not be as they are now.

In twelve more years, you will no longer be my twelve year old son.

You will be twice as old as you are now.

You will no doubt be taller, broader, more of the you you’re growing into.

You will be my oldest, still.

My son.

The first to make me a mother.

maxflyIn twelve more years I wonder if I will look back to now. I wonder if I will remember your shoulder shrug chuckle and your constant interjection of usually random input. I wonder if you will still need to be told to take a shower and if you will remember your passion for Minecraft and Mario.

I hope I do.

But for now, while you are still my twelve year old son, I want you to know that I am proud of you. That I may never accomplish anything greater than I did when I gave birth to you and your sisters. That you are one of my greatest moments.

In twelve more years I will be just as proud. Prouder. Thank you for allowing me to be your mom. I will spend twelve more years watching you become a better person every day.

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Helpless

I am going to do my best to not come across as petty and whiny in this post. I realize that I am lucky to have a healthy family with a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I am grateful for this.

Davasurpriseisclaimer over.

For Ava’s birthday on Sunday, we bought her an iPhone. Not a new one, not even the next-new one. But it was perfect for her and it was exactly what she wanted. She was thrilled to be able to look at Facebook and send wi-fi text messages and take pictures.

The surprise was executed flawlessly. She was surprised and thankful.

Then, the next day – Monday – she went to rehearsal at the local community theatre.

Where her phone was stolen.

I found out about this on Tuesday morning, where I proceeded to worry for the entire day. I still haven’t stopped.

I felt powerless. I was – I AM – furious.

How dare they? How dare someone see something that belonged to my daughter – something she had waited for and hinted for and waited for some more – and just TAKE it? Her BIRTHDAY present? Something that had made her so happy?

And I can’t do anything about it. Nothing.

I realize this is a teaching opportunity. A chance to show that the world kind of sucks and things aren’t fair. A chance to enforce that things are JUST THINGS.

But she’s ten. It was a special birthday. There’s nothing wrong with being ten and having something you want, or being happy that you got it.

I was happy that – for once – we had the capacity to give her something we KNEW she would want and enjoy. And that’s okay, too – isn’t it?

Just once I would like to be able to not try to find the bright side. Just to be able to say that my kid is brokenhearted and I can’t fix it and it sucks.

A decade of you

Ava, tomorrow you will be ten.

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I remember being ten. It was strange and awkward and I was not a teenager but I SO was not a little girl anymore thank you very much.

You are amazing. You inspire me and worry me and make me so proud all at once.

I’ve said before how when I found out you were a girl I was so worried. Worried because l was so bad at being sure of myself and confident and true to the amazingness I knew I had within myself.

I won’t lie, I see some of that in you sometimes. I see you pause, unsure of your next step and timid about your choices. And in some ways, of course that’s good. You’re supposed to pay attention and question yourself.

But before it becomes too much of a question in your head, let me tell you again:

You are enough.
You are smart and capable.avaagain
You’re a leader.
You’re creative and funny, strong and so sweet.
Of course you’re beautiful, but beauty is the last thing I wish for you.

For you, my first daughter – I wish for you the imagination to find your dreams, the courage to claim them, and the strength to follow them. With every discouragement I wish you a lesson learned and the determination never to give up.

I love you, and I hope beyond hope that I will never see you doubt it.

Happy birthday, my sweet girl. I love you so much and I am lucky to get to know you. I cannot wait to watch who you become.

First in the birthday rumble.

I am terrible at being timely with important posts, like birthday posts. My kids’ birthdays all come like ticks on a clock, so I am starting this terribly late.

Lucy. Just a few weeks ago you turned four.

FOUR.
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I would tell you how much we love you, how much joy you bring all of us and how much you shine. But we tell you every day, so I want instead to tell you about a conversation.

You told me not long ago that you had decided you wouldn’t cry anymore, because you were growing up and growing up meant being big. So no crying.
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Appreciating the sentiment but not wanting you to become a bottle of unspent emotion in your thirties, I tried to reason that line of thought out with you.

“Everyone cries sometimes, Lu. Even big people. Sometimes things are sad, or sometimes you get hurt and need to cry. Sometimes crying is good.”

You pondered this for a moment, swaying in one spot and watching your skirt swish around your scabbed knees.

“Well then mom, we can make a deal. When you need to cry you can tell me and then you can cry. And I won’t tell anybody. Then when I need to cry I can tell you and you won’t tell anybody either. And then we can both still be big.”

Deal. That’s a deal.

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I love you, my four year old. Stay this way.

Only a month late

I’m sorry, Max.

Your birthday was over a month ago and I’m just now mentioning it on this chronicle of my thoughts.

Which is not to say that I didn’t think of it. Quite the contrary.

For eleven years, I’ve thought of you every day. It’s inescapable, really.

My firstborn. My son. It’s all very poetic.

Except lately it’s been quite obvious that you’re growing up – turning into a teenager, exerting your own brand of independence, testing waters and boundaries.

All in all, you’ve been kind of an asshole.

I know, it’s your birthday post and I shouldn’t say that – but let me expound. You are your own person. You are so like both of your parents that we are often blown away, but at the same time you’re so foreign and strange to us that we wonder what we’re doing wrong.

But then we realize that without a safe place to be an asshole, things could get kind of bad for you. For anyone, really.

Because that’s what family is. What home is. A place to let go and be awful and be unbearable and to know without a doubt that everyone there will let you be you. And love you no matter.

We do, so much.

You’ve grown so much in the past year. Your sisters adore you, even though they won’t admit it.

Your dad…you’re just like him.
Josh…I don’t know what he’d do without you to infuriate.

And me? You drive me crazy. Crazier than I already am. And I am, at the same time, simply amazed by you.

Amazed that I had any part in producing you.
Amazed that I get to know you.
Amazed that I get to see where this goes.

I love you. You are a stressful, grating, mindbendingly wonderful person. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Not forgotten

A week ago yesterday, my first baby girl turned nine.

Normally I’m on top of this kind of stuff. And Ava, because you are my daughter, you will one day look back into the troves of Internet history, you will see that in 2013 I didn’t write a post about your birthday until over a week after your birthday. You will inevitably read into this many things – neglect, ill will, suppressed resentment.

None of that will be correct. The sad and less interesting truth is that I am busy and I’m incredibly skilled at putting things off when I don’t want to face them.

And I don’t want to face the fact that you’re getting older.

I remember being young. And I don’t want you to have the moments I had. The times of being convinced that no one understood, no one cared. The preteen-erotica and angsty-poetry writing hours.

I know feeling that way is normal. And necessary.

But you’re so fantastic.

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I never want you to doubt that because at some point the way you think about yourself becomes a key part of your identity. Right now you know how amazing you are.
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Never lose that.

You’re perfect. You’ve made my life better for nine years now.
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Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love you.

Three years

I have three kids, you know.

The youngest is this strange being who is perpetually tiny and soft, sweet, and totally liftable and cuddly.

Except- she's not.

Today my baby is three.

Three as in too many scoops of ice cream, too many sugars in your tea. Numbers in your credit score.

I never thought I'd have three kids – and then I did. And now the one I never expected is getting to be an actual person. Thoughts and feelings and personality out the wazoo.

Lucy, you have done so much for me. For your daddy. For our lives. You took everything I expected and turned it on its head in ways we never thought of.

For all the ways I fall short – I don't know what to do with curly hair, I don't really put much stock in matching socks, I let you marinate your stinky feet in rubber galoshes and I probably introduced you to Family Guy way too early – I'm sorry. I try to be what you need, because you were and are everything our family needed to be complete.

I will spend the rest of forever helping you become whoever it is you are meant to be – because you have made us all everything we are.

Happy birthday, Lucy Grace.

 

We love you so. I can't wait to watch who you will become.

 

Love and hate – a birthday manifesto

Dear husband, today is your birthday. To celebrate your 29 years on our planet, I have arranged a list for you. Things I love about you. Things I love about us. Things I also hate about you and us.

With love.

Part One, Hate.

I hate that you leave all your socks on your side of the bed where I forget to look until there is suddenly a mountain of smelly socks peeking over the mattress.

I hate that you have pretty curly hair and I DO NOT.

I hate that you are so tall that you can find things in the cabinet in two seconds after I have spent thirty minutes tearing pots and pans out into the floor.

I hate that you are so young. Twenty nine. Damn you. Your thirties are coming.

I hate that you can work all the PhotoShop nonsensery and I can do it no more than I can speak Greek.

I hate that I cannot even begin to play you in basketball.

I hate that I cannot stay mad at you for any time. It’s totally unfair.

Part Two, Love.

I love that you are my best friend. Full Stop. Everyone says that they married their best friend, but I don’t think everyone knows what they are talking about because we are on the wavelength.

I love that you (at least most of the time) listen to my opinion. You let me ramble with my psychoanalytic babble and my drawn-from-the-air opinions and what’s more, you agree with me lots of the time. Maybe you’re just pretending, but it’s the shit.

I love that when you cook, you ignore that I don’t like things like mushrooms and onions and weird shallot things and you put them in anyway – but you make them big enough to pick out because you want me to enjoy what you’ve made.

I love that you wait to watch our chef shows until we can watch them together.

I love that you hold onto things you love – like cooking, basketball – and you make a point to do them just for you.

I love that you have friends. I envy that because I don’t have go-hang-out friends, but I love that you do.

I love that you can argue with people like car dealers and bank tellers and people who are trying to sell things for way too much. It’s a strength you have that I lack. I admire that in you.

I love that we have so much more to go.

I love that you are supportive of things l love.

I love that you are mine.

 

So today, though it may not be the birthday you will remember always, I hope you can stop a minute and realize that today is a big deal because it brought me you. Years before either of us knew. I love you so much. Thank you for being everything.

Being a person

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a party with no kids and no real time constraints.

Until this weekend.

Our friends The Wallins have somewhat concurrent birthdays, so they had planned a big party for this past Saturday.

Now, before my brain got all woobly and I started being anxious about things like my shadow and how maybe my shadow didn’t even like me after all, I was a party goer. I did the people thing. I loved it and I was good at it. Perhaps it is just a product of age and things like that, but more often than not I opt out of parties and people and being around other humans in wads.

For some reason, though, I wasn’t worried about this one. Maybe it was the fact that I really like The Wallins and I really enjoy all the JustUs Geeks and the little family it has become, maybe it was all the superhero themed wonder, or maybe it was just all the cake. I was excited.

It was so much fun. S’mores with marshmallows the size of my head, hamburgers, cupcakes, fire, pingpong, photo booth.

I saw people. I talked to people. And I had a good time. This is huge. HUGE.

I should be a person more often.