Coming to an End

09B2B18D-17BB-46D3-9565-538FE016BF02I can feel it in my bones. My time as a mother to one is slowly dwindling. Soon I will be torn between two sets of little hearts and hands that need their mama.

I will feel strained and pulled in ways I can’t imagine and I am fairly certain I will spend all my time thinking there is not enough of me to go around. I will simultaneously love and cuss most days. But even all that is not what has my stomach in knots tonight. In the blink of an eye the three years that felt like forever but now seem so short will be the only years I was a mother to just one sweet little boy. All of those sacred moments are almost over. That time and chapter is coming to an end.

It was all too easy to get use to our little life together. I have felt the calm and simplicity of rocking you to sleep when it feels as though the rest of the world is silent, I have soaked in the peace and quiet of the moments shared with just the two of us, I have laid with you for more naps than I can count and found myself staring at your soft face. I learned how to be a mom holding your hand. And now I find myself wondering if you will even remember a time before your brother existed, but a piece of me hopes you do. That you will carry a sliver of the memories I will forever cherish.

I have asked myself a million times if I could love anyone else as much as I love you (I am told most moms go through that) but once again you have been the one to show me that it is not only possible, but that I already do. I am the parent, but your big heart is always leading the way for both of us. Since finding out you would be a big brother you have done nothing but play the part beautifully. You have offered to share toys, you have hugged and kissed my belly, you have shown excitement and anticipation about your brother’s arrival. You have said his name with pride and you have boasted about how you will be the “big brother”. Having seen that I have tried to take my cues from you, my sweet boy, and remind myself that although there is something to be said for what is coming to an end, what this baby will add to our lives will more than replace it tenfold. The memories, the bond, and the years that will follow will be nothing short of miraculous. You will have a forever best friend, a best man beside you on your wedding day, and an unconditional love. I will get the honor of playing a referee, of watching my sweet boys challenge and grow each other, and of feeling double the pride in my heart as the two of you share your journey. I will get the peace of knowing that neither of you will ever be alone in this world.

So here is to toasting a chapter that is bittersweetly coming to an end and honoring the beautiful new beginning waiting for us.



Boy, oh boy!

“It’s a boy,” said the ultrasound tech. I had already noticed that small object positioned in just the right spot on the ultrasound screen and had silently concluded this in my head but I was waiting to hear her say the words. I smiled and my husband, in true form, immediately said, “Think of all the money we are going to save.” Leave it to this man I love to bring both comical and logical humor into this moment.

I feel guilty now reflecting on this because for just a moment after she uttered those words, I felt a twinge of disappointment. Now before you start judging, I know the old cliché about just taking happy and healthy and that is all I want for my son, just like any mom. I love and will always love my boys very much. However, if I get really honest with myself, a small piece of me had to let go of a few dreams I had in my head at that moment.

Braids and tutus are not in the cards for me. I will not have a young version of myself to take shopping who can keep me up on the latest fashions. I will never get to experience the turmoil and growth that is having a teenage daughter. There will be no tear wiping when her heart gets broken and confiding in her the cold hard truth – that boys are idiots. The friendship that comes after those teenage years pass will not happen. I will not get to help my daughter plan her wedding, pick out a dress, and watch her daddy walk her down the aisle. I will not get to hold her hand and walk beside her on the journey that is motherhood. There will be no phone calls that her kids have lost their minds and that I must come immediately. The simple fact of the matter is, I will not be a girl mom and I believe it’s okay to mourn that for a minute.

I have now reached a place of acceptance. I will not be a girl mom, but I will be a kick butt boy mom. I will play tractors and trucks if that’s what they want. I will love every minute of wild and sticky they throw my way. I will learn what every part of an engine does (don’t hold me to that). I will wash a lot of sweaty, dirty clothes. I will spend my afternoons at the baseball field sporting the obligatory mascot t-shirt. I will swell with pride at any baseball game, wrestling match, soccer tournament, or football game. I will be their biggest fan. I will cuss at how much food it takes to feed two growing boys and my adult husband. I will cringe when they fight over who has to have me on their team for tackle football. I will cry when they take a wife and pray that she will understand what it means to me to “give them away”. I will hope to gain the daughters I never had. I will pick out tuxes, teach them how to buy a corsoche, and to open the door for their date. I will go to deer camp if necessary. I will try not only to understand fantasy football, but enjoy it. I will hop on a four-wheeler and spend the afternoon mudding. I will make sure they know what it means to be a gentleman. I will watch them become the fathers I always hoped they would be. I will call them on Sunday’s just to make sure they are doing okay. I will never stop trying to find interest in their interests. I will soak up every minute of the way boys love their moms with an unmatched ferocity and I will love it.

And just as I would have with my daughter – I will make them watch Gilmore Girls and read “Anne of Green Gables” and show them what strong female role models look like. I will do everything in my power to raise these little boys into strong, honest, hardworking men. I want them to know when to stand tall but not be afraid to cry when the moment warrants it. I will teach them kindness and compassion, responsibility and loyalty. They will know what it means to show their emotions and support their future partners and families. I want nothing more than for them to love and be loved.

The truth is what I want for them really isn’t all that different from what I would have wanted for a daughter. The clothes just aren’t quite as cute.

My Dearest Husband

My dearest husband,

Sometimes it is hard to find the right words. Sometimes I am not sure you will understand the vast range of emotions I can roll through in a five minute timespan. The mix of like and dislike, complete admiration and total disdain, the peaceful bliss and the total insanity that is marriage sometimes leave me at a loss for the right words or emotion.

Often I get so lost in the everyday to-do list that I forget to notice our marriage. I am wrapped in a mountain of activities, laundry, bills, jobs, baths, and bedtimes. I focus in so tightly on those things that our marriage takes a backseat to life. My anxiety, stress, and frustration lands on your shoulders – partly because you are there everyday and largely because you are, and always have been, my safe place. I know that you will carry the weight I throw at you and still love me even after the storm rages. I set unrealistic expectations and ask you to meet them because I know you are the one person in the world who will move mountains trying to obtain them for our family. You never fail (even on a bad day) to look at me like I am the strongest, most beautiful woman you have ever seen. I never say thank you for that…Thank you.

The truth is most of the time there is really no way you could have won, nothing you could have said, and nothing you could have done differently that would have been right. The issue wasn’t really about you, it was about me and the weight that sometimes overwhelms me. It’s the cold, hard reality and it isn’t fair.

Marriage has a way of breaking you down and building you up all in one breath. It will completely crush your heart if you let it, and oh boy have we come close a few times. I am sure of a few things though.

I am sure of our survival rate so far. We have survived young marriage. We have survived living off of ramen noodles and spaghetti o’s. We have survived minimum wage jobs and long nights of college classes. We have survived opposite shifts that left us like ships passing in the night. We have survived buying our first home. We have survived losses that I can’t put into words. Most notably, we have survived entering parenthood together. We have survived the best and worst days of our lives with each other as the co-pilot.

I am sure that you make me laugh. Not just a one of the small, giggly laughs, but a full belly laugh until you cry or pee your pants kind. No one else has ever pulled that out of me. I am sure that your sense of humor was made to pair with mine and that my heart is the lightest in a moment when we share the most ridiculous inside joke that no one else would find even slightly funny.

I am sure that you are the dad I had always imagined for my children. There is no one I would rather them learn from. I know without a doubt that if our boys become even half the husband you are that their partners will be very lucky. I am so proud of the father I have watched you become and I’m sorry it gets lost in my complaints about you refusing to clip nails or clean ears.

I am sure that we love each other even at our worst. You have seen me ugly cry with snot all over my face and smeared makeup but you still lean in for a snotty kiss. I have seen you lose your calm, passive demeanor you always carry but  have still reached for your hand in that moment.

I am sure that there is no one I would rather eat ramen noodles with, scream at while birthing a child, or kick in the middle of the night to get out of bed. I am sure that everyday I love you more for dealing with the craziness of life, for being the family man you are, and for being the kind of man I always needed. I know without a doubt you are everything I could have hoped for and so much more. I am certain that on my worst days you are my saving grace. I am sure that you often treat me like I am the one that holds our family together and keeps the wheels turning, but I also know as humble as you are you are totally oblivious to the fact that you hold me together.

I don’t say it enough, but I am so proud of the man, husband, and father you are. I am your biggest fan and always will be. I am sorry it gets lost in the everyday. I promise someday it will get easier. In the meantime, I will try a little harder to remind you of the good I see and ignore those dirty dishes in the sink.

Love always,

Your loving wife


Pregnancy Number Dos

I should start by being upfront about the fact that I HATE being pregnant. I truly believe that those women who tell you they could stay pregnant forever have some sort of mental disorder. If I could get the baby without the 9 month waiting period (my husband has reminded me several times that this is called adoption or surrogacy) – sign me up!  It is not that I am ungrateful for the chance to grow life because I feel blessed everyday to take the journey to motherhood that many are not able to but that doesn’t mean I have to love the experience of getting that beautiful life into this world.

There are a lot of things they don’t warn you about with the second pregnancy and this is in no way a comprehensive list…

Exhaustion: Sure, you were tired the first time around. But if you thought you were exhausted and impatient the first time try doing it while chasing after a toddler. Dragging them out the house screaming feels like a whole new level of torture when you are growing a life inside your womb. Wiping their butt for the tenth time in an hour when you feel like your back cannot stand for you to bend down one more time will make you want to scream at your child for pooping (your crazy mom is showing). It will make the first pregnancy look like a walk in the park.

Healthy Living: So you tracked the amount of protein you ate, made sure that you drank the recommended amount of water, and regularly went to the chiropractor the first time around…all I have to say here is HA! Forget regularly remembering to take the prenatal vitamins – you are too distracted in the morning shuffling a toddler out the door and at night your head hits the pillow and you forget your own name. Better set that phone alarm and get a good app to help you keep up.

Classes: This time around if someone asks me about child birth classes or a birth plan I have to look at them with a blank stare as if I don’t know what those words mean and hope that they do not press the issue. There is no pregnancy yoga the second time around either (even though your back could use it). Classes are for beginner schmucks anyway right? *Grits teeth*

Guilt: They also don’t mention the immense amount of guilt. One minute you are holding your sweet toddler and suddenly you are wondering if you have destroyed their life by having another baby. Will they feel forgotten or left out? What could you do to combat that? Will they hate the baby? Will this traumatize them for life and lead to so many unforeseen issues that they will forever blame on your having a second child? And the list goes on…

Bladder Control: Since I know you all want to know about bladder control – forget it, it is nonexistent. For those of you who are oblivious, you pee ALOT when you are pregnant the first time around. Then, after pushing something the size of a watermelon out, you pee every time you sneeze, jump on a trampoline, or if the weather man calls for a slight chance of rain. But if you think that is bad just wait until the second time around when you have to pee every 30 minutes even though you are only half-way through your pregnancy because this time your precious peanut has their butt shoved against your bladder which you no longer control because of the aforementioned watermelon.

The Fear: Everyone says the second child gets the shaft so you would think your fear is nonexistent because you don’t have time for it, but it is there and very overwhelming on an already hormonal, emotional pregnant woman. You fear for their health, you fear that you will screw them up because you can’t possibly be a great parent to two kids at once (I am barely surviving one!), you fear that you will not love them as much as your first, you will lay awake at night with all the fears inside your head…just like the first time around. But here is the kicker – that is what means you have what it takes. You definitely have your work cut out for you, but that fear will drive you to be the best parent you can (even in the moments where your partner is unavailable and you are outnumbered).

While I am overwhelmed with love for this babe and can’t wait to see his sweet face, I wish I could just skip this part and meet the next love of my life. For now I will just hunker down with my snacks and try to curve the level of crankiness I feel for the sake of my angelic husband who has only threatened to move me in with his grandma once so far (in my defense, the air conditioner went out on a 95 degree day and that would have made me cranky without the extra furnace who has taken up residence in my womb).

Not today, but someday, when my two boys are playing chase through the house after I have told them not to run at least twenty times, my heart will soar at the sound of their laughter and the knowledge that they will always have each other and I will know that it is all worth it.

Surviving Miscarriage

Miscarriage. The word no expectant mother ever wants to hear. That simple word doesn’t do justice to the void, the emptiness, the pain that follows it. Webster uses the synonym “failure” for the word miscarriage. Failure… as if you could have done something differently – as if eating more protein, getting more rest, or avoiding stress would have saved your baby. It wouldn’t have.

What do you do after a miscarriage? The stigma surrounding the word tells you that you keep your mouth shut. That you carry your grief silently. It is, in my opinion, one of the biggest losses a person can experience yet there is no closure, no comfort, no acceptable time period for grieving. You pull up your boot straps and carry on, at least that is what we are taught.

Four years ago I thought there was a chance God had decided that I wasn’t worthy of taking the motherhood journey. After three losses, three crushed dreams, three silent grieving periods, I began to accept the possibility that it just wasn’t in the cards. The plan I had for my life, the vision of who I was, the mom I always wanted to be, slowly began to disappear. I survived by holding onto whatever small tattered remains I could of that dream. I held tightly to the belief in my heart that I was meant to be a mom. When the day finally came, the joy I felt was insurmountable. The day I held my son I finally understood for the first time why it had never worked out before. I wasn’t just meant to be a mom, I was meant to be HIS mom and the stars had to align just right for that to happen. I told myself after that day that it would never matter if I got to be a mother to anyone else as long as I had him.

I didn’t realize at the time that in the years to come my heart would long to hear him play with someone else. That I would come to the realization that there was room for more than just one in our lives. So when I became pregnant again, I felt relief that I could give our family the gift of another child. When we lost that pregnancy, I survived by reminding myself of the promise I had made so many years ago when my son came. The promise that it was okay if I never got to be a mom to another child because I had him. I reminded myself daily of how lucky I was and that some women don’t ever get that.

That’s what we do to survive. We hold onto the things we have and we work everyday to let go of the things that aren’t meant for us.

Most recently, we were excited to learn (at a viability ultrasound – also a terrible term) that not only did we have a “viable” pregnancy – we had a beautiful, strong heartbeat. We waited until we had heard more than once to share with family and friends. Although our pregnancy hasn’t been flawless and we still have a few tough things ahead of us, I know without a doubt that we are infinitely blessed to get to experience this a second time.

I want every other woman that experiences pregnancy loss or infertility to know that she is not alone. You will survive the loss, the grief, the waiting, and the pain and you don’t ever have to do it alone. Hold onto the knowledge that someday when you hold your child for the first time, you will finally understand why it never worked out before. The child you are meant to mother will find there way to you. In the meantime though, cry, scream, but most of all, talk. Talk to your friends and your family and know that you are not alone.


Broken…that’s the word I use to describe myself. Unwhole, pieces, shattered, just broken. For years that has been the perception in my mind. My “broken” heart, my “broken” childhood, my “broken” family, and on, and on. In the last six months I have been on an amazing journey of self-discovery (or having a quarter-life crisis, whatever you want to call it) though and the best thing I have discovered is that I am not, in the least, broken. I am HEALING and what a miraculous difference there is between the two.

This is not an ending, it is a beautiful beginning. I am becoming the woman I was always, somewhere deep inside, meant to be. I am discovering or remembering all the pieces of myself that I had forgotten or never even knew existed. I am selfishly taking time to get to know who I am. I am spending time with the person who needs it the most. I am investing in my soul and already seeing the returns of that investment. My soul is on fire and what a beautiful thing that has been to watch.

I forgot that I love scary movies and haunted houses. I sat down and made a bucket list and learned I wanted to ride a motorcycle and that I wanted to learn to play the guitar. I want to see the ocean and feel the sand under my feet. I want to climb a mountain. I actually really like tattoos. Fitness matters a lot more than I thought it did to me. I forgot how much I love quotes, I could spend hours just pinning them. I forgot how eclectic my music taste could be if I give it that chance. I love photography and may even want to take a class in it. I am a terrible cooker and will never fit the mold for a perfect housewife. I want to go skydiving and feel myself free-falling.

In the last six months I have started meeting, getting to know, and falling in love with the most amazing woman and she has been right under my nose all along. It’s a beautiful relationship. So I will will no longer use the word broken. I will say I am healing. I am a survivor. I am a warrior. I am me and me is just right.

Letting Go

“I finally understood what true love meant…love meant that you care for another person’s happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.” – Dear John, Nicholas Sparks

Letting go is one of the hardest things to face in life. We are trained from a young age to hold tightly to anything and everything that matters. We carry that into adulthood and we continue to cling to the things that matter most to us. Sometimes we cling so tightly that we cannot even admit to ourselves when it is time to let go. We hold tightly to relationships, friendships, and ponytails even knowing in our hearts that they are no longer serving our own emotional wellbeing. (You all know a bad ponytail can be make or break you). We continue to give whole pieces of ourselves to relationships even when we are only receiving halves or less in return.

Why do we do that to ourselves? It’s unfortunate to think that we subject ourselves to so many things that no longer serve our own inner peace. I’ve heard it said that letting go of the past isn’t the hard part. It is letting go of the future we had envisioned that is the real struggle. I believe there is some truth to that. The past can’t be rewritten but we look to the future as a blank slate and when we come to the realization that we can’t write that story the way we envisioned it I think we begin to feel a sense of lost control. It is hard to know we are not the only ones in charge of how the story unfolds.

There comes a moment when we realize we have no choice but to let go of the future we had dreamed of so that we can somehow begin to create a new future. If we can muster up the strength and courage to let go of what is hurting our heart and soul we will find a path that heals us and allows us to start rebuilding. I challenge you to consider that if your soul is tired and restless that it might be time to consider letting go of some of the things holding you back in your life, even the things you are most terrified to let go of because you know it will hurt. It is time to start writing a new chapter. The process will undoubtedly be slow and painful, but I promise it will be worth it. I know letting go seems so difficult, impossible even – but it is not nearly as difficult as holding on. Today is the day my friend. Whatever it is that is keeping you from your inner peace, let go.


“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” – One Tree Hill, Nathan Scott

I can remember seventeen like it was yesterday. Can’t we all? Maybe it’s that time you snuck out to meet your boyfriend or that first sip of alcohol you choked on. Maybe it’s that cigarette you got caught smoking behind the school. It’s a little bit of freedom meets rebellion meets carelessness but it’s beautiful in a way isn’t it? I can remember that stubborn, proud, headstrong teenage girl who knew everything about life, love, and the world around her. She was a pistol who was ready to take on anything and anyone who stood in her way. She naively believed that she had a plan, that she could control how that plan unfolded, and that life would never surprise her. (Insert laugh here)

Lately I have been seeing life unfold through the eyes of an adult. I have watched friends have children, friends lose children, go through divorces, find their second loves. I have watched blended families become a real thing, I have watched women find themselves after years of losing themselves in their marriages, I have watched them struggle to help their children understand what it means to have two homes. I have come to realize that there is no plan. There is no control. Life and love have a way of knocking us down when we least expect it. We grow, we change, the plan changes, and the future is absolutely unknown.

We associate those struggles as being a negative thing. They come with a stigma attached to them but surprisingly I have also come to learn that is in those struggles, those moments of chaos, that people undergo an awakening of the soul. It is when they truly discover who they are and what they are made of. It is when they find their own power and become the truest version of themselves. It is no doubt a painful process of growth, but what comes out on the other side is truly miraculous. It is empowering to watch. It is a reminder of the resiliency and stubbornness of the human heart, and the world loves a stubborn heart.

So maybe, just maybe that seventeen year old didn’t have it entirely wrong. Maybe the simplicity of it is what seems so daunting. Find what it is that makes you happy, what it is that you love and follow it. Do not let the logistics, budgeting, planning, or backlash stand in your way. Life is fleeting and humbling, it requires that you live everyday to it’s fullest and if you find that you are not doing that, you owe it to yourself to change the story. The only one you have to answer to in the end is yourself and I truly hope that you like the chapters you have to look back on when the time comes. This is it, today, now is the time to live your life. Find what it is that fills your soul and hold onto it as tightly as you possibly can. Do not live your life wishing that you had lived it differently. There just isn’t enough time for that.

Today is the day to start rewriting the ending.

The Hardest Part

What is the hardest part of being a parent? My favorite question (insert sarcasm). Being a parent is the only job in the world where two days of experience suddenly makes you an expert. I have done something along the way to convince my childless friends that my 2 1/2 years of experience (and I use that term loosely) qualifies me to give them my professional opinion. As if me saying “Yes, the terrible two’s are the worst part” makes it the ultimate truth and somehow negates the fact that I have yet to see the three’s or four’s or tweens or anything in-between.

I am a hopeless romantic and having a child was no different. I romanticized the crap out of bringing a baby into this world. Romeo and Juliet didn’t hold a candle to the beauty of the parenthood story in my head. While reality turned out to be better and worse in many ways, I always find myself wishing people had been more honest. That I had heard more truths and less stereotypical responses with half-smiles. I think I would have been better prepared. Having been asked this myself though I can now say I understand why they took the easy road. I understand why they smiled and said “Oh the lack of sleep is tough but it’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do” or “Think of how much fun it will be” or “This is the best time in your life”. They did it because the truth, the words that really hit it home, are inadequate.

How do you tell them the hardest part is all of it? How do you explain to someone that the best and worst days of their lives will be had in parenthood? How do you tell them that the it will both breathe life into them and crush their soul? How do you explain that they will never look at any piece of the world the same? That all the bad becomes so much worse and that they will lay awake at night wondering what kind of world their child will grow up in? That the good becomes so much clearer and that they will hope everyday that their child holds onto their innocence long enough to be a kind human being and bring more good to the world?

How do you quantify what it means to have a piece of your heart beating outside your own body? That every fall, every scratch, every tear will take a little piece of you? How do you explain that every time their child is sick they will lay awake just to make sure they hear them breathing? How do you tell them that will give up so much of themselves somedays that there will be nothing left? How do you tell them that everything they thought they knew will become irrelevant when they have a child – that they will be learning everything all over just when they thought they had finally figured it out?

How do you share the hopes, the dreams, the fears? How do you tell them you can’t even see a child diagnosed with an illness without looking away because it hurts to even consider the possibility? How do you say that you worry about if you will like your future daughter-in-law (which seems so silly when they are 2 1/2)? How do you tell them the difference between dreaming for them and with them?

How do you adequately explain to someone the gut-wrenching, all-encompassing, forever evolving journey of parenthood? You don’t. You simply can’t. So you just smile and say “Oh the lack of sleep is tough but it’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do” and you hope that when they take their journey they will understand your stereotypical answer and your half-smile.

The Woman I Used To Be

She was vibrant, charismatic, carefree. She was well-rested, well-dressed, and well-read. She smiled and laughed, the kind that reaches all the way to your eyes. She was a summer day, windows down, radio blaring. She was messy. She was a little reckless. She was fun.

She was everything I am not.

My memories of her have continued to fade and it recently occurred to me that I am not sure I recognize her at all. I am simply just not the woman I used to be. That woman could have a night out and not worry about what time her tiny human alarm clock would go off. She could spend an hour doing her hair and makeup without concerns of making everyone late for work or daycare. She had time to plan meals, date nights, and girls time because her days were not filled with budgeting, errands, and to-do lists a mile long. She did not know what true exhaustion felt like because she had never weathered the storm of a sick toddler in the middle of the night. That woman was able to float blissfully unaware through her days. She didn’t know the heaviness that is felt with the responsibility of having someone depend on you 24/7.

I am certain that my husband noticed her slipping away long before I did. Maybe it was in a joke he told where I forgot to laugh. Maybe it was in the moment he wanted to stay up late and I didn’t. Maybe it was in the lost ‘just checking in’ text messages, the calls on your way home from work, or the sweet voicemails. Maybe it was the moment he needed support and I had none to offer. The funny thing with something like that is it doesn’t happen all at once – it happens slowly, piece by piece, so that you can’t even see it until there are too many pieces missing.

So my love I ask you to be patient with the woman I am. When you look into my tired eyes try to look past the woman on the surface. Although there was beauty in that woman and that time in her life, there is also more beauty in this woman and this time in her life than we could have imagined. Occasionally on a date or after a few too many glasses of wine when you catch a small glimpse of the carefree woman you fell in love with, cherish that moment for what it is. Know that our children will not always be little and it will not always feel like the weight of the world rest on our shoulders. Someday our sweet littles will grow and our home will quiet. It is there in the peace and bittersweet memories that you will find the woman I used to be waiting for you.