Dear Teenagers, Be patient while I let go…

To my teenagers,

Be patient with me as I learn to let you go.

I know it’s time. I know you’re growing and becoming and that sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Be patient with me because it’s not just you who is adjusting, my love. It’s me too.

I know it’s hard to understand, but hear me out.

I dreamed about you before you were a whisper or a reality. I dreamed of you when you were so tiny in my belly no one could see you, but me. I dreamed of you when I was bent over a toilet until there was nothing left. I dreamed of you while I laid on the couch telling Dad that yes, I was sure I needed fries ASAP and another episode of Lost. I dreamed of you and I treasured you as my belly made my pants tight and uncomfortable, as my legs swelled, and as my cheeks grew full and my dimples deeper. I dreamed of you on the sleepless nights holding my belly and counting contractions like the midwives told me I should. I dreamed of you as I gave my body over to something that was completely beyond my control.

I’d never felt such purpose and anticipation, my love.

I dreamed of you when the contractions radiated through my body and I knew this was it. I dreamed of you as I labored through a pain I didn’t know existed. In my heart I knew you were worth every breath, every pain, every push. I knew, because I was the one who carried you. I carried you in my womb, in my heart, and in my soul.

You were my dream before the world even knew you existed.

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I dreamed of you as the hospital room became a war zone and I fought with all my strength for your entrance into the world.

And then you were on my chest, there you were, my dream; my reason, my heart. You were all my purpose in one tiny body, pressed against my soul.  Every second was worth it, every single second.

I never wanted to feel that pain again, but I also knew I’d do it a thousand times just to hold you in my arms. A mother’s love is unexplainable; it’s unreasonable; it’s undone. A mother’s love completely belongs to her children. There are no corridors of her heart that are off limits.

Every door is wide open for you; I am all yours.

And then you grew.

Every day I doubted myself. I struggled to become the woman who I felt you deserved. I wanted to give you the world, but my actions seemed to fall short.

I dreamed of your future as I spent sleepless nights with milk soaked sheets. I dreamed of you as you sat screaming at me from your timeout chair in the thick of your toddler years. I dreamed of you when I cried myself to sleep because I was sure I was doing it all wrong and I so badly wanted to get it all right. I dreamed of you when I snuggled your warm body after a bad dream. I dreamed of you when I held your hand and walked you to your first day of kindergarten. I dreamed of you as I watched you run onto the football field for the very first time.

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Someday maybe you’ll see. Maybe you’ll hold your own baby on your chest for the very first time. Maybe your heart will shatter into a million pieces and be built again from scratch. A love like this is impossible to explain until you’ve had the chance to touch it.

These baby, these are the days I dreamed of. I dreamed of the person you’d become; I dreamed of seeing you fly. Please be patient with me my love, as I learn to let go and let you stretch your legs and use your voice. Be patient with me as I go through yet another transition and becoming.

You’re growing, and I am too.

You were my dream before the world got to share you. You were my dream before your very first breath.

Be patient with me as I unclench these fingers and loosen these hands that have held you. Be patient with me as I relax these arms that have carried you since the first day you breathed life. Be patient with me as I recognize that the time has come to do less protecting and holding and more listening and cheering.

I dreamed of you and here you are.

And still I dream.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mama

***

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Don’t drink the Mom-Koolaid

I had a few moms over for coffee the other day and one of them was telling me about the “imposter syndrome” among moms. I’d never heard of it before, but I’ve definitely experienced it. The imposter syndrome, she said, is a term for moms trying to appear to have it all together, probably because they feel less-than.

Look, I know that’s tempting. I dropped the F-bomb at the kiddy park today when my dog pulled over my stroller and later mom-handled a isntshetoooldforthis tantrum from my four-year-old. In that moment, I remembered how my friend used to use a fake name at the bar, and considered that that might be a good idea for me at the park. Hello, I’m Veronica and these are my kids Kevin, Stuart, Jenny, and Britney. You will not find us on Facebook. Please forget we ever met, kthanksbye.

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To My Mom: I get it now.

Dear Mom,

I’m laying on my bed hiding right now. I can hear the kids bickering as they get ready for bed, and a little voice calling for water and a song. I’m tired and weary to my bones. I will get up anyway. I will go kiss little foreheads and pray a prayer. I will get the extra sip of water and I will listen while they tell me about their toe with the sliver. I will say, “Okay sweetie, no more talking. It’s time to sleep now, ” but then I will still say “uh-huh” a couple more times as I sneak out the door.

Now that I’m a mom, I’ve learned that motherhood is a lot more about showing up than it is about anything else.

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Please stop telling Moms to enjoy every minute

Nothing makes me feel quite as overwhelmed as the words “enjoy every minute”.

Like do you mean right now while my kid is spread eagle on the Target floor demanding a slushy? Do you mean when I make dinner and half of the family is crying because it looks weird? Do you mean when I clean the toilets and I wonder how the pee reached the corner under the trash can?

I can do it; it’s worth it. But enjoying every minute is a different type of pressure.

In truth, there are a whole lot of minutes I feel annoyed or tired.

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Being a mom is hard, and that’s okay.

Today I met some friends in town for coffee and shopping. I ended up bear hugging my four-year-old on a bench as she screamed and kicked in a level ninety-nine tantrum. A shop owner came out of a pottery store with wide eyes, but her face softened when she saw me.

I’m so sorry I mouthed.

“You are totally fine!” She smiled encouragingly. A minute later a woman and her older daughter walked by and said, “You’ve got this mama! You’re doing a great job!”

I continued on as a human straight jacket.

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To my friends who are new moms, here’s what to expect…

Welcome my friend, you’ve got this. It doesn’t seem like it now, but you will grow into motherhood just as gradually and quickly as the brand new baby you’re holding in your arms. It will become you, it already has. You just went through the most mind blowing, godawful, gorgeous, magical, frightening event of your life. No one prepared you. They kind of tried, but they forgot to use the words “blow torch” and “freight train” and “concrete drill” to describe what you might feel when your little one was born earth side.

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Mom Guilt is a Liar

I have friends that grow, cook, and make almost everything from scratch that their kids eat. They are amazing. I salute them while I rip open a box of macaroni and cheese and add an extra few tablespoons of butter. It’s Annie’s Organic on a good day…otherwise we are not above the 19-cent variety.

A friend of mine researches every health related issue, and spends her extra change on the supplements she reads about. It is her passion, and it’s how she loves her family and friends so well. I spend that money on lattes and stretch pants.

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Dear Stranger, Yes, my hands are full…

There I am, standing in the checkout line. One child is having a meltdown because they want a soda and the other one is doing aerial spins in the aisle. She is seconds away from taking out an elderly gentleman. He will never see it coming; she’ll take him out right at the knees. I grab her, which is kind of like capturing a demonic butterfly. I wrangle her and pin her between my legs.

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Why I Will Not Judge Your Parenting

I’m too damn busy.

I’m too busy making mistakes and praying my kids turn out alright anyway.

I’m too busy looking at my musty smelling laundry pile and wondering if I should fold it or light it all on fire.

I’m too busy teaching my kids good work ethics which means saying “stop playing and keep cleaning” over and over until everyone is crying.

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Dear Middle-Child, You’re important…

Dear Middle-Child,

Yesterday you asked me why your older brother always gets to choose. We were staying in a vacation rental and I’d given him the choice of beds since he’s the tallest and the most likely to be uncomfortable. “He’s always going to be older,” you said, “so he’s always going to choose.” You imitated me in a perfected ‘mom voice’; “‘Malachi gets to choose because he’s ten’; pretty soon it’s going to be, ‘Malachi gets to choose because he’s eleven;'” you laughed and I laughed, but I understood that your question was real and you felt something deeper than you let on.

I also understood that I was guilty as charged.

Sometimes I don’t see that you get lost in the shuffle between oldest and youngest. I miss it, and I’m so sorry.

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