Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Open Letter

It's been a long time since I've written or posted. I wrote this letter a year ago and I'm finally getting around to sharing it. Enjoy...

Dear Future Son-In-Law,

As I write this letter your future wife is “beep-bopping” in her crib. She should be taking a nap but from what I can tell, she has too much on her mind. It’s strange to call her “your wife” because she’s just barely one and, well, she still isn’t the greatest walker (she’s getting much better!) and she is still so innocent. But, she is yours and you are hers.

Right now God knows exactly where you are. Maybe you’re napping (as a good baby should!) or maybe you’re tormenting your dog much like your wife does. Or maybe my daughter will like older men and you are five years old and you’re outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather at the park or the pool.

I wish I could picture you. I have no idea what kind of boy you are or what kind of man you will be, but I’m not worried because God has that planned out. You future father-in-law tells me not to worry about the future because, “no matter what, everything will be ok”.

I’m sure you will hear this at some point, but your wife and I didn’t have the easiest start at our relationship. She knew she wanted to come out but when she got there she didn’t know what to do with herself. She didn’t breathe right away and spent the first 3 days of her life in the NICU. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure. After those 3 days we did OK… Until we didn’t. My first day alone with her resulted in both of us crying for about 10 hours. I was worried that I would never get the hang of this “mom” thing and we were both destined for failure. All I could do was pray and ask God to help me and give me the courage and grace to raise her. Eventually I did get the hang of things and she is currently a spirited, energetic, and a tad dramatic, 14 month old.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Peyton I have prayed for her mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. I had continued to pray for these things every day and will do so for the rest of my life. I pray that she is a Godly woman who can serve the Lord and make Him proud, a woman among women, if you will.

I often see lists published on the internet that contain “warnings” for future boyfriends (and don’t worry, they have them for girlfriends too). These have always given me a strange feeling as I feel slightly uncomfortable with the message they display. I’ve been where you are, in a sense. I’ve wondered how to make my new family like me better, or at all. I’ve wondered my position in my family. I’ve wondered if they thought I was just a silly girl and wasn’t the right fit for their “boys club”. I’ve felt the crazy amount of nerves flooding your body as you prepare to meet your new in laws for the first time (I met my father-in-law and brother-in-law for the first time at an airport as a surprise). I have felt every moment you are experiencing. I’m writing this because I want to help calm your nerves. I want you to know that I’m on your side because you are important.

I spent 9 months growing your wife. By the end I couldn’t even put shoes on and could barely waddle around. I got so tired of people asking me, ”How much longer?”, that I quit going out in public. Then I spent another few months getting to know her. I’ll spend the next 17 years going through the ups and downs. I will drive her to practices, recitals, try-outs, dances, and everything in between. I will have to teach her that we go potty in the toilet and it only needs to be flushed once (she’s really into flushing multiple times right now). I will have to teach her how to apply make-up and blow-dry her hair. I will have to ask her to change into something more appropriate and when she doesn’t do it, I will have to tell her. I will have to punish her when she comes home late or when she does something stupid. I will most likely sit through a million dance recitals/football games/volleyball tournaments. When she is ready to talk to me about the boy in high school who hurts her heart, I will have to lovingly listen and explain (most likely with ice cream) that sometimes boys don’t understand how hurtful they can be. I will share the story of how I hurt her father a few times but he was forgiving and continued to play for “our team” no matter what. I will prepare her for you as best as possible. As best I can.

I am not disillusioned on what my responsibility as a mother holds.I am responsible for raising a daughter to hear of the Gospel in the hopes that she will turn around and teach it and share it with others. I am responsible for raising a daughter to not only wipe her own butt, but to do it well! I am responsible for teaching my daughter to love others and serve them as best as possible. I am responsible for teaching her to respect those around her. I am responsible for raising a daughter who will grow into a woman who will love one man and raise her own children with these responsibilities. I am responsible for laying the foundation. I will hold her past, but you hold her future.

When you meet me and her father for the first time you will stand tall and strong even though you may be dying inside to reach out and hold her hand like it’s your life support. You will worry and stress about what to wear and whether the flowers you picked out for me are appropriate. You will be afraid to be 100% you and at some point will probably say/do/hear something embarrassing that will make you want to crawl in a hole and die; because honestly how could we be your in-laws?! Let me share a little secret with you…

I’m really looking forward to meeting you and I pray for you every day, even now.

Do you realize how important you are to my daughter? How vital you are in her life? I don’t simply see you as the man who will provide, protect, and unconditionally love my daughter (and the man who will grant me grandchildren - but please do that!). I look at you as the missing piece in the puzzle.

Unfortunately, moms don’t have it all figured out. We don’t raise complete children. Other people come in to our children’s lives and maybe they rough up some edges or maybe they soften some. Experiences and people change who our children grow to be. Am I afraid that you may hurt her? Absolutely. But I put my trust in God to allow you to see things clearly and make good decisions.

I pray that you are a man among men. I pray that you are a gentleman, respectful and humble. I pray that you have a servant’s heart. I pray that you know the Lord deeply and profoundly. I pray that you are a good man, in good times and bad. I pray that you take care of and love yourself. I pray that you are confident in who you are so that you can have a happy, beautiful, and blissful marriage with my daughter. You are such an important piece to the puzzle.

You will make her a better woman.
You will make her stronger.
You will make her feel things that she’s never felt before.
You will protect her and in turn heighten her urge to protect those she loves.
You will show her mercy.
You will teach her grace.
You will love her at her worst.
You will love her at her best.
You will give her the gift of becoming a mother.
You will show her how to be a great mother by being a great father.
You will look after her.
You will move mountains for her.
You will be her rock in a shifting world.
You will be her best friend.
You will her hold.
You will stand behind her.
You will stand beside her.
You will challenge her.
You will push her to be better than she was yesterday.
You will teach her intimacy.
You will love her, unconditionally.

And one day my daughter will sit with me as I wait for the Lord to take me home. As I begin to slip she will feel pain. She will stand with my body and know that I am with God but she will suffer. I am her mother. The bond is unbreakable. I am the woman who gave her life. I am the woman who taught her how to French braid. I am the woman who kissed the owies and bakes the most perfect chocolate chip cookies. I taught her how to gain and keep the respect of boys and that someone who doesn’t respect her doesn’t deserve to have her heart. I taught her how to tie her shoes. I taught her the ABCs and how to count to 100. I hold her past.

But you, future son-in-law, you hold her future.

You will experience life together. You will be her partner. You will be her best friend.

Do not be afraid of me. Do not think that I don’t love you. I love you. I love what you mean to my daughter. I love that God brought you into our lives to make her a better woman. To do things I can’t or could never do as a mother.
So today as your wife is napping I will sit and pray for you. I will do my best to raise a woman among women. A leader. And I will help her become strong, resilient, brave, loving, nurturing, and humble. A good woman.

Your Future Mother-in-Law

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Half Birthday {and a Side of Christmas}

Holy Moley! I cannot believe that it's already December. Like FOR REALS. This year went by so quickly and I can barely wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is like a week away! I remember last December, planning and being excited about having a baby for Christmas 2013 and now that it's here, all expectations have been surpassed. I think that the best part is seeing my kid's face when she experiences things for the first time. She was nothing short of amazed when she saw Christmas lights and then the fact that they went on a tree?! MIND. BLOWN.

I am more than looking forward to her first Christmas and I'm sure I'll take a ridiculous number of pictures. A post-Christmas blog post is definitely in the future complete with photographic proof of how excited {or not} P is to open presents {minus her giant presents that she already got from Papa and Nana and her wonderful, loving, adoring parents}.

Something else I just cannot believe? P.G. is 6 months old!!!!!!! How can it be that she's half way through her first year on Earth? Wasn't I just pregnant? Isn't she still a newborn? It is. Nope. Nope. Each day is still an adventure but I love every minute of it.

In the last month she's learned so much. She can now sit up, she eats food, and she even sleeps in her "big girl bed" {ie: she sleeps in her crib in her nursery}. She's the cutest kid on Earth {obviously} and she is constantly making me laugh, smile, and cry - usually all at the same time. She's also started to practice her crawling by scooting herself around on her tummy. She hasn't quite got the coordination to put her knees up at the same time as her hands, so of course there is a lot of screeching in annoyance/frustration. I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to the day in which she can move around by herself. In fact, that thought is fairly terrifying.

I leave you with pictures from her 6 month photoshoot {nothing fancy} and this message to you, Miss P - I love you more and more every day and if I could, I would put you in a shrink machine and keep you small and deliciously nugget, like forever and ever.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Sh!t No One Talks About

I recently came across an article that addresses what it truly feels like to be a working mom. While I no longer work full-time, it still resonated with me. It was a great {and short} read that really gets to the heart of... well, the heart. You can read the article here.

**Full disclosure: When I returned to work the VP of my department was 110% supportive and on board with taking my time getting back in to a routine as well as working part-time. Although this made my situation a little easier to handle, I still struggled with feeling like I abandoned my daughter each morning when I left for work. Each day it gets a little better but I definitely still count down the minutes until I get to go home and play with her.

Friday, October 11, 2013

4 Months

I didn't know what being a mom would feel like, nor what it is supposed to feel like. It's been an adventure every day and a whirlwind of missed sleep, cold food, and a lot of pajama wearing. But now that 4 months have passed I can say this:

I am tired. All. The. Time. And that's ok because I'm also in awe of this little human that knows me as "Mom". I'm happy to be tired because that means my daughter is growing up and developing her own personality. Over the past month I've come to the realization that growing up is harder on parents than it is on kids. I go through the back and forth of wanting her to stay little forever and wanting her to grow up faster so we can play together and I can hear her talk and we can share things. {like me and my mom. Hi, Mom!} I know it will come in due time and so I gently remind myself to take each day as a blessing and don't hurry or rush or take anything for granted. 

I'm proud too. Proud that she can roll over and hold her head up. Proud that she's mine. As she gets older I'm sure I won't always be proud, but here's to hoping. Pride in your child(ren) is interesting because it seems like you never know what to expect. You can give them the best tools possible and yet they still have the total ability to mess up. I know that my parents aren't proud of every choice I made growing up but they did the best to support me. I can only imagine how devastated they were when I made poor choices knowing that they "raised me better than that". And it's true. Unfortunately we forget that parenting, like growing up, is a learning process. There's no handbook or class on how to teach your kids morals. There's just you and the kid. But, I digress. I'm currently very proud of my daughter. {Peyton, you can remind me of this moment in 15ish years}. 

I'm so in love with this little girl. I wasn't aware that this much love was possible. Most mornings I watch her sleep when I first wake up and say a little prayer for her. Sometimes it's overwhelming and a single tear {or two} roll down my face. I pray that one day she'll know this feeling. She is my world {and I'm pretty sure she's Brian's too} and I can't imagine what life would be like without her. {Were we really a complete family before this?}

With that, I say, Happy 4 months, PG! I love you more every day and I am so excited to watch you grow even more!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

3 Months and Counting....

Welp, we survived! Peyton has had her first official graduation; she is no longer a newborn but rather an infant. Sometimes I wondered if we would make it through the {almost} sleepless nights or if she would survive our {possibly} sub-par parenting skills. But, alas, here we are, 3 months later and everyone is still kicking.

In the past 3 months I think I've learned more about myself as a person than in the last 3 years. Being a mama bear is a real thing. Should anyone dare-decide to criticize or speak poorly of my child, my husband, or my parenting abilities I will eat them alive. Now you might say, "Hey, crazy lady, that's a little over the top," but let me let you... If you spent almost a year of your life creating something that was initiated in love and respect with a co-conspirator and then some Joe-Schmo off the street told you that your masterpiece was really a piece of garbage, you would lose your mind too. {Also, my "masterpiece" is adorable and shares my DNA so I am allowed to get extra cranky}.

I've also learned that everyone has an opinion about how YOU should parent YOUR child. If I've learned anything {which I have, if you read the 2nd paragraph of this post you will remember} from the past 3 months it's that you have to do what works for you, your kid, and your family as a whole. So, hey, if I want to hold my baby while she cries instead of letting her "cry it out" {side note: Although this idea was introduced by Ferber, he never actually used the term "cry it out"} then I'm going to hold/rock/sing/bounce/sway to her all I want {and then I'm probably going to thank God that a) I'm not your kid and b) judge you}.

But, the most important lesson I've learned is to just laugh. If you're too serious you'll die. OK, fine, you probably won't die, but you won't have very much fun living because you'll be crying. A lot. Having a daughter {or child in general} makes you really realize that laughing is the only way to make it through the hard days. Sometimes your kid is going to cry all day and sometimes she's going to throw up on you right after you shower so you have to shower again, only to repeat the process like 3 more times. And you know what? That's cool and it's funny and even though it's been a short period of time, I can already look back and say, those were some good/crazy/memorable moments.

So, Happy 3 months to my little bear, the sweetest girl I know, my heart. Mommy loves you so much, Peyton. I can't wait to watch you grow!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I can't believe it's already been one month since we brought our little Sweet P in to the world. It's been an adventure, to say the least. The memory of how painful labor was is beginning to fade {although I'm not sure it will ever go away completely} and I'm starting to believe that my body WILL return to its normal state.

I was re-reading past blog posts that I wrote while I was pregnant and I'm going to re-visit one as a means of my continued reflection.

Eating/Cravings: Sometimes it's hard to remember that I'm not pregnant anymore and so eating whatever I want, whenever I want, cannot continue. I know that breastfeeding burns like an extra 500 calories/day but I want to make sure that I'm eating healthy for both of us. Also, if you base your caloric intake on the recommended 2,000 I would need to eat SO much more. I would be stuffed full all of the time if I tried to do this. Not gonna happen.

Weight Gain vs. Weight Loss: At my final weigh in {a.k.a. the hospital in Labor & Delivery} I had gained 38 pounds and at my 2 week postpartum check-up I had already lost 30 of it - WHHAAAATT?! I know, crazy! I'm pretty sure that the majority of it was baby and water weight in my feet but it made me feel good that I only have 8 more pounds to go. I'm going to try and shred an additional 10 while I'm at it. We'll see how that goes.

Comments: "You had a baby?!" Yes. Yes, I did. "Did it hurt?" {in reference to labor} No, it was the best feeling ever. YES, IT FREAKING HURT! DUH! "When are you having another one?" Seriously? I just had this one. Can I get a minute? {Also, not for a while}.

Fears: Everything, but mostly germs. I am so scared that she is going to catch something. I mean, even a cold would be devastating for such a tiny human without any vaccines or immune system. Oddly enough, I'm not as scared of SIDS as I thought I would be. I thought I would be up all night staring at her to make sure she was still breathing, but, nope. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fear, I'm just not irrational about it.

General Mood: In general, I feel pretty good. Some days are better than others but I try to remind myself every day how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. I have so much more than most people will ever have and remembering that is humbling. 

Things I Was Surprised By: How much of a mom I became and how quickly. I can already see myself being a "helicopter mom" so I'm glad that I married a guy that reminds me to chill out once in a while. I was also surprised how quickly I adapted to a minimal amount of sleep. Sleeping for 2-3 uninterrupted hours is now the best feeling and generally leaves me feeling rested. 

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To: Each milestone is going to amazing. I can't believe that we're already at one month. I know time is going to go way too fast and as hard as having a newborn is, I have to remember that these moments are fleeting. 

What I Think Is Really Cool & Crazy: I pushed a baby out of me! I honestly doubted myself for a while, but I did it and I rocked it! Every time I look at her and think about the fact that Brian and I made a tiny human, I cry. She's absolutely perfect and I couldn't be happier that she's mine.

I'm sure I have a million more things to say but Ms. P has a doctor's appointment so I'll end this for now with some pictures...

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Mommy Diaries

Day 1... OK, well it's not technically day one of this child-rearing business but it is my first day alone, all day, with Ms. P and what a day it has been. I will start off by saying that she had the best/easiest night in her short 4 weeks here on Earth. She slept 10pm-3am, woke up, ate, and went right back to sleep. Peyton for the win! But today, TOTALLY different story. She is either making up for the sleep she got last night or she's got a case of the Mondays . Either case, I feel as if I'm being tortured very slowly today. I know we're both tired {I'm simply emotionally exhausted at this point} so why doesn't she sleep?! I'm pretty convinced that my daughter has FOMO {fear of missing out} which she no doubt inherited from her mother. All I can do is give it my best shot, right? Brian says I get a gold star in the mom department. Let's just hope Little Nugget feels the same way. Perhaps tomorrow we'll make it outside of the house. {Hey, a girl can dream!}