Moments

“Mommy, you love dis song?”

Yes baby girl, I do love this song!

“Jam it Mama!!”

I look up at his request.

I look up and find the twinkle in his eye.

I look up and see his out stretched hand imploring me to dance.

You see, this was not a rock song or a pop song, not even a catchy country tune. Today, in the background of life sang a ballad of a song that told a story. A story that I have forever connected to. A story that my children live, yet may not understand. But they can read me like nobody else. When this song comes on, my shoulders soften and my smile widens. Gracie notices my face and Noah steps in to maximize on the moment.

So dinner prep was paused, and we danced. A sway here – a twirl there. Me and my 2 youngest danced. It was lovely. And then, for a moment the attention fell away from Mama and my babies were lost in their own little damcing world. I sat on the sideline and beamed with pride as Noah twirled his little sister and she trusted his every move.

These raw, unplugged, real life magical moments…. well they remind me how precious Moments really are.

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My Gracie Girl

Maybe its because she’s my baby. I savor each moment with her.

Maybe it’s because she has 2 older, wild brothers. I adore her sweet smile.

Maybe it’s because she has 2 older, wild brother. I laugh at her shenanigans.

Maybe it’s because I never thought I’d have a girl. I melt when she calls me Mommy.

Whatever the reason, This little girl of mine has forever changed my heart.

A slice of Seven

I have a dozen thought bubbles floating above my head. So many moments. Which do I chose? How do I capture them? Each one so special.

Aidan turned SEVEN. I can not! He is my baby. SEVEN is a big kid number. Seven rolls his eyes when Mama acts too silly. Seven complains about chores and dinners. Seven gets annoyed when his little siblings hang on him. BUT what seven Can do is amaze me. Seven is wise. Seven can think ahead and problem solve an issue yet to arise. Seven can laugh and tell jokes at the dinner table. Seven can think critically and write conflict. And today, seven brought home a 420 page, big kid chapter book from his school library!!

I am SO proud of Aidan for finding a book that interests him, Star Wars, taking a look at it, and thinking, “Yep, I can handle this!” He pulled the book from his backpack with pride. He was excited to tackle this reading adventure together. We’ve been talking about doing another chapter book together (we recently read James and the Giant Peach) and Aidan has found just the one!! I promised we would do our very best to read this book cover to cover. He gave me a hug and walked off.

A while later, I find Aidan cuddled on the couch, book in hand. He glances up and apologizes, “Mama, I’m sorry I started without you, I just really wanted to see what happens in this book. I can tell you all about it so you don’t miss anything!”

Oh my sweet, smart, seven year old baby boy, you make your mama so very happy.

She still slices

I’m still here.

Yet, its different now. I miss those halls, those faces. The laughter and comrodity. I miss the Ah-ha moments. So I signed on. I snuck a peek on Sunday night and I felt myself smile as I read a slice or 2. A peek into the world I once knew so well. And I felt pride in the community of writers that accept this challenge each March.

And I decided I could dive in. But let’s be honest, it’s more of a belly flop in, because not that much has changed. I’m still me. I’m 10 days late to the challenge and a little rusty. But I’m still me. I still sleep way too little and drink way too much caffeine. I still drink a ton of water and eat all day long. I still practice reading, writing and arithmetic every day.

But

Now, I can go to the bathroom anytime I want, granted I have a 2 year old watching me pee, but hey gotta pick your battles, right?!?

Now, I go to my kitchen for coffee and snacks, not the local DD.

Now, 10am reading lessons are PreK site words and 2 year old letter recognition. Read alouds are whenever they ask, but always before bed.

Now, nightly school work is His 1st grade math lessons, not Mama’s 4th grade papers.

Now, I am lucky enough to explore the learners world side by side with my 3 beautiful children. Now, I am lucky enough to have time to make them breakfast each morning and be the first face they see after an exciting day at school.

Now, I walk those halls as visitor, knowing that they will always hold a piece of my heart.

What If

Yo, Mrs Weathers, did you get that Ambert Alert?

Ya, bro, some dude shot his girl and then kidnapped her kids.

Nervous chatter,
Cell phones ON in the halls.
I hustle them into our room,

our safe place.

“Hold up guys, slow down, everything is ok, tell me what you heard”

And 1 by 1, my kids relive the moment an Amber Alert set off Their personal cell phone. Some were gaming, some were woken up from innocent dreams, some began their day with this news. News that 1 mile away from school, their safe place, a woman was killed and her children were stolen.

Of all life’s twists and turns that my kids have experienced, this loop set them flying. They collectively began to question.

Think they’ll catch him?
Think he’s long gone?
What’ll happen to the kids?

And then

an unsettled…

What if he’s close to our school?
What if he still has a gun?
What if someone with a gun comes into school?

Yeah, like Florida.

“Mrs. Weathers, what IF someone with a gun comes here? To OUR school?”

I swallow hard. Breathe deep.
I say all the things I’m supposed to say. I do my best to remind them that we have discussed this, that we have practiced this. That we are safe. BUT if God forbid something bad does happen, we know what we should do.

And then, a question, from my kids, MY young adult beautiful children.
A voice from the life I am here to protect

whispers,

 

So what, we hide in the closet and hope he doesn’t get us?

 

Behind the scenes

6:00 am – I can’t see you but I know you’re there. Do I have enough gas? Is my phone charged? What is the weather going to be like? Are backpacks ready to go? Breath. Shower. Morning hugs and kisses.

7:00 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Please stop playing we need to leave. Where is my water bottle? Is everyone buckled? Does Gracie have her blanket? Breath. Focus.

7:45 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. I love you and I’ll miss you. Please be good today. Participate and play nice. Have fun learning new things. Breathe. Regroup.

8:10 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Are my copies ready? Did she have a good night? Did her mom come home last night? Will he be in the same clothes again? I hope its a breakfast he will eat, he needs to stay awake in class today. Breathe. Smile.

3:30 pm – I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. What is traffic like? Do I have enough gas to get home? Did Gracie nap, did Noah make good choices, did Aidan eat lunch? What should I make for dinner? Breathe. Smile. Afternoon hugs and kisses.

4:30 pm – I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Unload dishwasher, please play nice.  Boil, chop, bake… No I can’t play with you, I need to make dinner. Ok, give me 5 minutes. What do you have for home? Mom Gracie pooped! Can I have a snack? Can I watch a show? I’m hungry! Breathe. Unclench you jaw. Relax.

6:00 pm I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Please give Gracie a bath, I need 5 minutes. No time. Bags packed. Water bottle washed and set out. Clothes laid out. Breathe. You made it.

9:00 pm I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Everything hurts. Breathe. Close your eyes. Breathe.

2:00 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Did Gracie cry? Maybe she is teething. When is her next doc appointment?
3:00 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. Did Noah cough. Lord he can not get sick again.
4:00 am I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. I really need to get some sleep.
Breathe. Write about it. Have faith. Breathe.

Mini n Me Moment

They say, sharing is caring.

Well, I must really care about my kids, because I share EVERYTHING with them. I share my bed when they are sick and need extra cuddles. I share my t-shirts when they paint masterpieces. I share my blankets when they are chilly. I share my food when they insist on more – But not more from their plate. (Veggies obviously taste better from Mamas plate. Noah ate my entire salad today for lunch – after insisting he did not want me to make him his own.) It’s ok though. That’s what Mamas do, we care, so we share. EXCEPT for my coffee. Mama does not share coffee. Other than the fact that it will hurt their tiny tummies, coffee does not invite the tiny people to gather round.

Coffee is sacred. When I work, its a quick run through DD on occasion and then barely having time to drink it down before I get too busy. But when I am home, I make coffee and sneak away for 5 minutes. Its a planned and precise moment. I sense it coming and I gift myself a moment. Kids are fed and happy, Keurig gets turned on. Kids happily playing with toys, coffee gets brewed. Final drips reach the rim and I slink towards my living room. Nestle into my couch. Breath in the warmth and soak in the moment. Peace.

Today, my mini me wobbled into my moment. But even at 18 months she knows that coffee is “hot” and coffee is “mamas.” Today, Gracie every so gently “cheers” me with her milk cup. She then sat down next to me with her milk and her books. Not saying a word. She just sipped her milk and read her books. Today, I shared my coffee moment with my baby girl and it was perfect.

Sunrise snuggles

For the past 6 years I’ve been forced into learning the art of being an early riser. This is a skill that does not come easy to me.

Grammar school me would often be woken up by my dad pulling off my covers followed by blaring light from the morning sun as he opened my curtains.

High school me would wake up for school by the sound of my ride’s car horn in the driveway ready to start our day.

College me never signed up for an 8am class, cause that was “just too early.”

City me rolled out of bed just in time to make it to brunch and not a minute earlier.

Mama Me… wakes up to pitter patter feet at my bedside and sweet little boy voices – Mama, is it time to get up? Mama, can I lay with you? Mama is it time to read yet? Mama Me wakes up no later than 6:30. Every! Single! Day!

Saturdays are no exception. This morning I was basking in my morning haze before the boys woke up. I heard Noahs door open and I braced myself for the undeniable “Can I wake up yet?” When suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks and stared out the hallway window. He declared, ever so loudly at 6:15 am, MAMA, YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS BEAUTIFUL SKY. MORNING IS HERE! My sleepy eyes opened as my heart burst with love. I walked to the hallway, Noah took my hand and lead me to the window to admire the beautiful morning sky. Noah noticed the sky was the color of his favorite starburst flavor – pink! We stood there for a moment, holding hands and soaking in the brillant morning views. Just Noah and me.

To a 4 year old, time does not exist. To a 4 year old the world is his to explore! I am so happy he chose to explore the 6:15 early morning sunrise with his Mama.

I made a deal

“I don’t know if I have enough to say.”

“Yeah, me either. And 31 days is A LOT!”

“I have too much on my plate as it is. Have you seen my pile of laundry?!”

“Hey you could slice about laundry!”

“Do people write about laundry?”

“People write about everything!”

“Yeah I was reading my slices from previous years and I have so many great memories in there.”

“Oh me too! Remember that one about the mac n cheese?  Oh and the brown crayon slice is still a favorite of mine”

“Yeah slicing really is a fun challenge! Maybe I will try it again this year.”

“I’ll do it if you do it.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah!”

“Ok, its a deal.”

“DEAL”

And here we go again…

Small moments

The past 6 years have proven to be anything but easy. Fun! Exciting! Memorable! Celebratory! Yes, but I wouldn’t say easy. So many changes have happened in my life. Yet one thing remains consistent – my husband has remained by my side.

2 house, 2 kids, family tragedies, family celebrations, combined with the highs and lows of everyday life. Life can be very complicated. Marriage can be very complicated, but it is always worth it. At the end of the day, family and love always win.

My husband works very hard to provide for his family. He is a man determined to build a family based on love yet he knows a paycheck is necessary as well.

Through the long work days he always finds a way to spoil me and the boys. An extra 5 minutes of play so that the Lego tower can reach the ceiling – the boys’ eyes have never been wider. Special time in the basement with dad playing hockey – extremely loud shouts of excitement!

For me, I’m spoiled by the daily cup of spark (energy vitamin water) that he leaves on the night stand. He leaves for work before I begin my day, yet always says good bye with a gentle kiss and a cup of spark. Most of the time I don’t even wake up at his departure.  But I know he’s left for the day when I roll over to see my cup. I smile reach for my morning boost and my day starts with love.

Last night my husband worked overnight. So thos morning I woke up, rolled over and No Spark! As I cleared my head to recall the day and his schedule, I sighed. Surrendering to the fact that I will have to travel downstairs to the kitchen to make my own morning spark – tragic.  

Here’s to 6 years of not taking the small things for granted. Because at the end of the day love always wins. Family, love and Spark!