Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lawton : 2

Dear Lawton,

Just starting this letter I found myself grinning and letting out a big sigh.  In part because I can not believe my baby boy is TWO, but also because those are two very common reactions you elicit from me on a daily basis.  While you certainly love to test boundaries and push buttons and tempt fate, you are also sweet and affectionate and bright and funny as can be. 

Of course as the second, soon to be MIDDLE, child, it is hard not to compare you to your sister.  Did you meet your milestones when she did?  Do you talk as much or as well as she did?  Do you react to things the way she did?  But you are so clearly your own person already.  You are smart and precocious and curious like your sister was and is, but you are also loud and confident and daring and stubborn and sometimes a little bit wild.  You love to meet new people and are quick to offer hugs and affection.  Even as a baby you won people over just in passing, and you still do.  People fall in love with you right away and you eat it up, always amused and excited by attention and praise.

So much joy for me lately comes from watching you with your sister.  You are by far her biggest fan and you want to do EVERYTHING she does.  Laine takes gymnastics?  Well then sign you up.  Laine has fairy wings on?  You'll wear some and be a superhero.  Laine wants something to drink?  What do you know, you're thirsty too!  You are both attending the same three day preschool now in classes across the hall from each other and, even though you are only apart for three hours, if I pick you up inside (rather than in the carpool line) you run to each other and embrace like it has been weeks.  It is so much fun for me to see you grow to love each other so much and learn how to play with one another.  I'm sure eventually you will want to set your own rules but for now you are content to tag along with your big sister and do whatever she tells you to, namely being Tinkerbell's sidekick Periwinkle or Ariel's fish friend Flounder.

While you love playing with Laine and happily identify any and all Disney princesses, you are also so very much a little BOY.  You are newly obsessed with Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie (you have McQueen and Mater little wheelie cars that we must know the whereabouts of at all times OR ELSE).  We were lucky enough to get a handed down train table, which fueled your loves for trains (especially Thomas and friends).  You love trucks and buses and construction vehicles and basically anything with wheels.  Your birthday presents were all tremendous hits, but your current favorite is definitely the Batmobile from your aunts Chelsea and Tricia, combining your loves of riding on things, superheros, and cars.  You have already mastered zooming around corners, pressing the button that proclaims "back to the batcave!" and grinning like a fool.  I love it.

In a lot of ways it's been harder to acknowledge that you are no longer my baby than it was with Laine.  When she was your age you were already here, so her title as "baby" was usurped pretty early.  But now that you are officially two years old, in preschool three days a week, talking in full sentences and asking me "aw... WHY" every other minute, I can't really argue that you are becoming a little boy.  I'm so proud of you and the little person you are and are growing into.  You make a lot of people smile all the time, and I have no doubt you will continue to do so.  I am so lucky and thrilled and proud to be your mommy.

I love you, little stinker.


Monday, August 5, 2013

a letter to my daughter and son

Laine and Lawton,

Kiddos.  Let me me start by saying that you are both amazing.  I mean it.  You AMAZE me.  And, almost as amazing, somehow you both manage to have the entirety of my heart.  It's like each time I gave birth to a baby, my body also generated a new heart so that each of you could have your very own.  And so now I'm getting a third new heart, a third amazing little person.  And I could not be more excited to share this with you both.  Laine, you have been a rock star of a big sister from the day we brought Lawton home.  You are helpful and sweet and as patient as your 3 year old self can be.  You are certain New Baby is a girl and already want to buy her things and draw her pictures and set aside certain toys for her.  It makes my heart soar.  Lawton, seeing you as a big brother will be such a hoot.  You are so full of life and joy and energy and love and I know you will be amazing at sharing that with your new sibling.  I think I have held onto you being a "baby" for longer than I did with your sister and so it is odd for me to think of you as being old enough to be a big brother... but with your birthday less than a month away it is kind of hard to ignore anymore.  I am so proud of the boy you are becoming.

I find so much joy in the love you two have for one another.  Lawton, you ask for Laine as soon as I come to get you out of your crib.  Laine, when I took you on a special girl morning and Lawton was at MMO you asked and talked about him almost the whole time.  You are both ecstatic to be going to school together starting in a few weeks.  You teach, help, encourage and amuse each other constantly.  I feel so much hope when I see you two hug spontaneously, or when I hear you cracking up in your room together, or see you share a toy without prompting.  One of my most fervent prayers as a parent is that you maintain and foster and nurture that relationship into adulthood.  My sisters are like touchstones in my life, constant sources of pride and laughter and comfort.  I want that for you both, with each other and with your sibling to be.  I love how you love each other.

Don't get me wrong, kiddos, you are not perfect children any more than I am a perfect mother.  You challenge me and stress me out and test my patience, and I know you get frustrated with me and each other.  We have bad days, we have hard times, we have time outs, we raise our voices.  Being your mom is a hard and exhausting job.  But man oh man, so rewarding and a tremendous source of pride. It is important that you know that you are treasured, valued, appreciated, and so so very loved... no matter what.

I'm thankful to be your mommy, and grateful that New Baby will have both of you for siblings.

Monday, January 7, 2013


My family is currently in a major state of flux the likes of which I have not known for all of my 28 years.  Change has never been my favorite thing, and apparently neither is reevaluation of things I have been happy to take for granted.  Among these things:  home.  I can't really classify my family's current house as a "childhood home" (we moved a number of times when I was in elementary and middle school and I have warm memories set against the background of a number of houses), it is certainly as close to one as I have.  Before we moved in the house belonged to my grandmother, who bought it with my grandfather when my mom was only 18.  So even when the house wasn't ours it was part of our family: an oasis by the pool in the summer, a cozy place to spend the holidays, a treasure trove of sepia toned photos and hidden figurines and unusual musical instruments.

Right before Christmas the house went under contract.  Suddenly I saw parts of the house in stark relief; my initials in the cement of the driveway, my sisters' scribbles in the backs of closets, the "hobbit hole" in the bathroom designed mostly as a hanging space for my mom's stained glass, the quilted fabric I picked for the curtains in my bedroom, curtains hanging in the window where my husband used to throw rocks to summon me downstairs for our early morning walks before school, the living room home of my high school "playdates".  The house is full of little pieces of my history and my family.  Losing the house seemed like a symbol for everything else I was losing, for the loss of the ability to define myself and my family and my home with ease and comfort and assurance.

But there is a house and there is a home.  There is what I knew and there is what I will always know.  And I always know that I have a home in the love of my family.  I have ease and comfort in the laughter I share with my sisters.  I have assurance in the support and confidence of my parents.  The house may be a symbol, but it is a symbol of the time and investment we all made in creating memories that exist outside of walls and a ceiling.  Those pieces of history are mine to keep.

For what it's worth, the contract on the house fell through.  For a bit longer we get to surround ourselves in the comfort of a house that is still our home.  We get to take smaller steps on this new journey rather than one giant scary leap at a time.  But I will remind myself with each step that no one can take a home away from any of us as long as we remember to look for it inside ourselves and within each other.

"I'll never be a stranger and I'll never be alone.  Wherever we're together that's my home." 
Billy Joel

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I got mad at one of my best friends a few weeks ago.  I was having one of those days.  My prospects for success looked bleak, my ego was fragile, my abilities were few and inconsequential.  And I felt fat.  I was listing off all of the things at which I felt mediocre at best and he told me "if you want to be better at something, work harder".  In the moment that advice felt more like an insult.  I'm not good enough because I haven't MADE myself good enough?  Well then life IS over because by golly I can't DO anymore.  This is as good as it gets and it is NOT ENOUGH.

But it's a new year and a time for resolutions and I've realized (and he will LOVE this) that he may have been right.  The beginning of a new year is a time when it is appropriate for other people to ask you what you don't like about yourself and how you plan to change it.  Because what is a resolution but a promise to ourselves that we will get better at things by working harder?  We resolve to improve upon ourselves so that this year can be better than the last.  Rather than listing our inadequacies and expecting someone to tell us we are wrong, we list them and hope to be held accountable as we find ways to do something about it.

So I'm starting here.  Last year, I wrote only seven blog entries.  Writing is something that I enjoy and that I have been encouraged to pursue by people that I trust and yet I have not worked to improve myself as a writer.  If I want to get better, I have to do more.

I'm also going to run a 10K.  I started running last year around this time and have completed two 5K races.  I met my weight loss goals and have been able to maintain to a satisfactory degree.  But if I want to get better, I have to do more.

My other resolution seems a bit counter intuitive to the rest of what I have been saying, but I feel like it still applies.  I need to relax.  If I want to feel better, I need to do more for myself.  I need to invest time where it is valuable, I need to seek out things and people that bring me joy and peace, I need to mindfully, actively, and consistently be kind to myself.  If I want to be better, feel better, do better, live better, give better... I need to be, feel, do, live, and give MORE.  I will start 2013 resolved to be proactive.

And hopefully I will greet 2014 with AT LEAST eight blog entries.