It’s time. For a last night in the nursery. Like Wendy, my Darling, You are already flying. With my feet on the ground. Eyes towards the sky. I want to see you soar. While wishing for just one night more. In Neverland.
Ahhh my heart. My little girls are growing and while I've entered this wonderful sweet spot where diapers are done and they still love to cuddle, it's difficult to say goodbye to the nursery forever.
So I'm dealing with this change by getting excited about a creative project. One that my girls actually helped with while my husband was on a hiking trip with my brothers out west. It was a labor-intensive collaboration with plenty of tears, screaming, and excitement - familiar hallmarks of parenthood.
My three-year-old is very sure of herself and her opinions, so her creative design brief for the room was: purple, pink, unicorns, kitties, and a white bed.
My husband and I exchanged a worried glance as we heard our pediatrician calmly say, “I suggest you go to the hospital.”
Then she added, “and don’t stop at home.”
It was December 24th. We were new parents who, only an hour earlier, were debating whether or not to take our new baby to the doctor for what seemed like a bad cold. The worry about being “those parents” who overreacted was quickly replaced with new worry as we barreled towards the downtown Chicago children’s hospital with our baby in the backseat suffering from a case of bronchiolitis caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
This stage of life is hard and we both make mistakes. But, the truth is – parenting sometimes doesn’t bring out the best in either of us. So, I’m I’m sorry for what I said when I was parenting.
I’m sorry I said the kids were great until right before you got home.
The last ten minutes before you pull in the driveway sets loose THE CRAZY. Someone throws a sucker punch, swipes a toy, or empties the miscellaneous basket with the loose Barbie accessories, holiday Happy Meal toys, missing puzzle pieces and a few stray Fruit Loops all over the living room floor. And someone is always screaming.
If you missed the window for a sunkissed summer family photography session, you may now find yourself, like me, frantically trying to book a mini-session to have something suitable for this year's Christmas card.
Maybe it’s the Midwesterner in me, but I certainly feel compelled to capture my littles picking apples or wobbling amongst pumpkins at the orchard, sitting on a tartan blanket against a wall of fall colors, or bundled up among evergreens at the Christmas tree farm (or all of the above).
With holidays on the horizon, family photo sessions are a great way to knock out the Christmas cards and grandparent gifts. But sometimes it’s fun to explore other ways to capture your family at this moment in time. Last year, I gifted myself a custom watercolor of our family, including the dog, and I love it! So if you’re looking for some alternates or complements to this year’s family photo session, or for a unique personalized gift, these options can add a little something extra to your family gallery, in your own personal style.
I was one of those women who just loved being pregnant and may have actually been glowing. Then my water broke 5 weeks early. Rather, it exploded as it doused the front seat of our car, leaking down to the toes of my boots while my husband and I drove home from our first parenting class. Two hours and an emergency c-section later knocked that glow out of me real quick. I caught only a glimpse of my new daughter as she was whisked away to spend the first three weeks of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
A birth not-at-all according to plan can be expected, but a NICU stay was not remotely part of my own mental preparation for labor or this whole parenting gig. And so I went into the dark, mourning over all the unmet expectations I had for new motherhood. I couldn’t see anything beyond the beeping monitors and the lonely chair where I rocked my tiny baby as she was hooked up to tubes that needed rearranging each time I picked her up. When I came home from the hospital with her still in the NICU, I would walk into her room and stare at the empty crib.
My husband and I just returned from a blissful week-long, kid-free, tropical vacation celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary. We traveled with two other couples and as the six of us were rehashing the trip on our final night we realized we had the best time together, had checked off some bucket list items, and had each only gotten in one fight with our significant other. As married couples and parents with seven kids between us, that last trip highlight felt like quite the feat.
Research has found that couple friendships are an important part of marriage wellbeing. But how do you know whether you are ready to take your couple friendship to the next level and travel together? Here are a few signs your couples trip will be a success.
Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
Saint Barthélemy. We visited St. Barts on a couples trip celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversaries.
How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
One week was the perfect amount of time to explore the beaches, restaurants, and shopping. We visited the week after high season ended, so had an easy time booking restaurant reservations and had the beaches mostly to ourselves.
What Was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?
The question caught me completely off guard. “Well, I guess since she’s still in the hospital, I could come in this week,” I heard myself answer as a lump formed in my throat. My boss had called my cell as my mom and I were driving to visit my newborn daughter in the hospital NICU.
What I thought had been a check-in to ask how I was doing after my first baby arrived five weeks early, was instead a request to come into the office for a few hours and train my replacement.
Yes, my daughter had arrived at 35 weeks with no warning and no, I had not trained the person who was going to be covering my maternity leave. But my boss hadn’t even figured out who my replacement would be. Now the team was scrambling and I was asked to lug my one-week postpartum body, which was still shuffling instead of walking thanks to an unexpected c-section. And my emotionally unstable postpartum mind, that couldn’t go an hour without sobbing, on a 45+ minute commute downtown, up an elevator 40 floors, and back into work while my new baby lay in a hospital hooked up to tubes. I wish I would have articulated all of these considerations out loud to him, but instead, I hastily hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears.
My aunt just posted one of the only photos she has of just her and her mom, my grandma, to Facebook. The picture was from the summer of 1976. My aunt is 10, my grandma is 50. They are standing in front of a rocky shoreline at sunset, my grandma’s arm wrapped tightly around her shoulder, my aunt’s head snuggled into her embrace. It’s one of the only pictures of her and her mom because she was the eighth in a family of nine kids. The photo has the aged, yellow glow of an Instagram filter, warmly reminding my aunt of that hug from her mom forty-some years ago.
But it is not 1976. Kids like mine will have countless photos from their childhood. How will they curate their own photos when so much has been documented of their little lives?
I look at the girl in the photo, and yes, I can call her a girl because, gosh even though she was 30, she looks so young. She is smiling and excited and I’m sure she thinks her stomach looks “huge”. She has no idea how huge she will become. Or how her back will ache, her feet will swell, her first birth story will not be at all the way she pictured it or how long it will take her to let that last part go. But right at this moment, in this picture, she looks downright radiant. I can’t believe how much that girl has grown, too.
That was only six years ago and I want to tell her not to sweat all that other stuff, it will all be OK. I want to tell her so much, because six years seems like both a lifetime and a minute ago, as fresh as it is faded. I can’t tell her everything, though, she has to live it to learn it, but if I could just tell her something, I would want to tell her this.